I am blessed to study the Bible live and in person (as opposed to "imaginary" and online - which isn't better or worse, just different :) ) with a great group of friends. The last two weeks we have read through the book of Matthew, twice. One of the fine (and hilarious) ladies commented that reading The Message version of Matthew should come with Marvel Comic style sound effects: "POW!" "BLAM!" when Jesus speaks with the Pharisees. Unfortunately all too often I find myself hearing those same sound effects ( "KA-ZOW! WHOP!") when Jesus' words speak to me. This week when I read Matthew I kept a list, a list of all the ways the Jesus challenges His followers sometimes even delivering a swift right upper cut to the jaw (Rocky style, for Miss Nancy) :
our heritage * our past * our authority * our security * our comfort * our concept of blessing * our definitions * our purpose * our morality * our forgiveness * our integrity * our religion * our prayer life
* our worries * our possessions * our conduct * our finances * our friends * our enemies * our mission
* our habits * our heart * our lifestyle * our devotion * our obedience * our health * our death * our sight * our plans * our motives * our priorities * our direction * our fears * our unbelief * our thoughts * our intelligence * our marriages * our parenting * our words * our responses * our Sabbath * our worth * our end * our grief * our wounds * our beliefs * our bodies * our safety * our suffering * our name * our sacrifice * our work * our rest * our world view * our delights * our knowledge * our hearing * our understanding * our path * our rights * our readiness * our wants * our needs * our
purity * our desire * our love * our forgiveness * our freedom * our position * our hope
He's a challenging Savior - not one to let us lie fallow in our humanity, but who not only tells us the better way, but lived it perfectly, and then came back to change us from the inside out so that we too could "Follow Me"