JESUS ASKED: Where Shall We Buy Bread for All These People?

Did you know that there are only a few stories shared in all four Gospels? Mark, Matthew, and Luke have a ton of similarities, but very few stories make it into all four. The "Feeding of the 5,000" is one of them. If this story was important enough for all four gospel writers to include, then it's important enough for us to pay attention to.

Today I want to focus on John's account. (So far, all these questions occur in John's Gospel.) Let's just read it and then we'll look closely at the question Jesus asked.

     When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
     Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
     Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loa…

JESUS ASKED: Do You Want To Get Well?

Humans are funny creatures. One of our greatest traits is our ability to adapt to almost any set of circumstances. Humans have lived in some of the most extreme climates on the planet - deserts, frozen tundras, dense jungles, and southern Indiana. We can adapt and thrive in just about any kind of environment.

Just don't ask us to change.

It's really weird. We're super adaptive, but we resist change. We fight to the bitter end to make sure things stay exactly the same. Because we get comfortable. Adapting is doable but difficult. Staying the same takes very little mental or physical effort. We are strong and we adapt...but we would really rather not. We'd much prefer to take the path of least resistance, even if it's to our detriment.

Jesus was known for his miracles. Once word got around that he could heal people, the broken and diseased masses began making their way to him. He could heal virtually any disease or disability. That was even part of his own divinely …

JESUS ASKED: Will You Give Me a Drink?

I find it fascinating that Jesus can take just about any kind of interaction and turn it into an in depth theological conversation that changes peoples' lives.

Jesus and his disciples were traveling from Judea in the south to Galilee in the north. The region of Samaria lay in between. Most "good Jews" would completely bypass Samaria, going many miles out of their way to avoid stepping foot in the region. But not Jesus. He takes his disciples straight through.

When they got near the town of Sychar, Jesus hung out by the well outside town while he sent his disciples to go find some food. (It's nice to see these disciples doing the tasks of lowly interns!) While Jesus is chilling by himself around noon, a woman came up to the well to draw water. Instantly, this sends all kinds of messages about what kind of woman she is. Most women in the town would have gone out together early in the day when it was cooler, and they would help each other out and socialize for a while.…

JESUS ASKED: Why Do You Involve Me?

There's an interesting little exchange between Jesus and his mother which led up to his first recorded miracle in the Gospel of John:

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
     His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
     Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
     Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
     Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
     They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water kn…

JESUS ASKED: What Do You Want?

Who were your favorite teachers? Odds are they weren't the ones who simply lectured and acted like they knew all the answers. The best teachers are those who ask the best questions.

As I read through the gospels I'm amazed by the questions that Jesus asked. In fact, if you keep reading in Luke 2 after the birth story, the next time we see Jesus is as a 12 year old boy. He ditches his family in Jerusalem after a festival and spends three days alone in the city. Surprisingly, his parents find him in the Temple carrying an in depth conversation/debate with the religious leaders. They were amazed by his understanding that was revealed in the questions he asked.

People asked Jesus questions all the time. But let's take a look at some of the questions Jesus asked of others. They are the same questions, I believe, that we are asked today.

Let's begin in John 1. Check out this story:
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he…

My UPDATED Definitively Subjective Star Wars Movie Rankings

It's an amazing time to be a nerd.

I've found myself thinking and saying that a lot over the last several years. I've always been a nerd - Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Monty Python, DC, Marvel, and everything in between.

I remember sitting in elementary school having Star Wars trivia contests with my friends. Who was Luke's childhood best friend? What was the name of the droid Uncle Owen almost bought instead of R2-D2? That sort of thing.

When I was home sick as a kid, I wore out our Star Wars trilogy VHS tapes.

And yes, Han shot first.

Is every Star Wars movie a masterpiece? No, not by a long shot. But each movie has something I can really appreciate for what it's worth. I've also been getting into the new canon books (especially the audiobooks - those things have incredible production value) and the TV series on Disney+ (The Mandalorian, Clone Wars, Rebels, and Resistance). I appreciate how they are trying to flesh out the fuller story within …

BEHIND THE MUSIC: Silent Night, Holy Night

Silent Night, Holy Night Lyrics by Joseph Mohr (1816) Music by Franz Gruber (1818)
In the cold, snowy December of 1818, a young Austrian priest was frantically making preparations for his village’s Christmas Eve mass. This being one of the most important worship services of the year, Joseph Mohr, only 26 years old at the time, did not want to disappoint his parishioners. He wanted to make sure the night was full of wonderful and inspiring music. There was only one problem. The church organ was out of operation and would not be fixed until well after Christmas.
As Christmas Eve approached and Mohr still had no solution to the problem, he took a long walk home one night to clear his mind. Looking over the serene, snow-covered village of Oberndorf below, he suddenly remembered a poem he had composed two years earlier. He was not much of a musician himself, but he knew just who to ask.
The day of Christmas Eve, mere hours before their midnight mass, Mohr knocked on the door of his friend Franz…


O Holy Night Lyrics by Placide Cappeau (1847) and John S. Dwight (1855) Music by Adolphe Adam (1847)
Largely regarded as one an essential Christmas hymn with a breathtakingly beautiful melody and inspiring lyrics, O Holy Night is the song that almost wasn’t. This beloved carol faced so many hardships and improbabilities along the way that it’s almost a miracle that we are singing it in 2019.
It all began with a gun left out and found by two little eight year old boys. That’s how Placide Cappeau tragically lost his right hand and avoided following in his father’s footsteps as a barrel maker. Instead, because of the accident he was able to pursue his schooling where he developed a love for art, literature, and law. Later in life Cappeau became mayor of his hometown, a wine merchant, and a part-time local poet.
In 1847 Cappeau was asked by his church priest to compose a poem to be read as part of their Christmas Eve service. Along the bumpy road to Paris, the one-handed poet put pen to paper.…

BEHIND THE MUSIC: It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear Lyrics by Edmund Sears (1849) Music by Richard Willis (1850)
“Peace on Earth” spelled out in colored strands of lights displayed on the rooftops of homes and businesses. We’ve all seen it. We have all longed for peace. We want the wars to end. We want the violence to stop. But is it all just a false hope? The world seems to be anything but peaceful. Let’s be honest. Sometimes the world seems just as dark and cold as a night in late December. It can seem downright impossible for peace to win out. This was exactly the kind of melancholy that lead to the composition of the Christmas hymn It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.
The lyrics were written in 1849 by Edmund Sears, a Unitarian pastor near Boston, Massachusetts, at the request of one of his friends and fellow church leaders. The Mexican-American War had just ended the year before. Bloody social revolutions were happening across Europe. The American slave trade was operating in full force with no feasible end …

NF & the Enneagram

Unless you've been living under the proverbial rock, you've probably heard of the rapper Nate Feuerstein, more commonly known as NF. He's been on the scene since 2014, but has recently made it big with his 2017 hits Let You Down and Green Lights. NF is a Christian who is a rapper, but not necessarily a "Christian rapper." His lyrics are not explicit, but they hit just as hard as others like Eminem or Kendrick. His whole business is about "real music." He writes deeply and passionately about his own struggles with mental health, abuse, and loss.

Since his songs are so personal and packed with emotion, I thought it would be interesting to pair some of his songs with the different Enneagram types. If you've never heard NF before, give these a listen. They also happen to be some of my favorite tracks.

Type 1: Let You Down
Type 2: I'll Keep On
Type 3: Motivated
Type 4: Outcast
Type 5: The Search
Type 6: Intro III
Type 7: Turn the Music Up
Type 8: W…