It’s Here

9781622954209C_F copyIt has finally arrived.  November 19th, 2013, almost three full years after the event of Samuel’s life, I finally get to share what the Lord did with him with the world.  Samuel’s life was tragic at times, blessing us more than we could imagine, and yet his story is much like many of ours.

I know many of you prayed for him and Kelly and I during those difficult events.  Would you do me a favor now?  Would you tell “your” world about this book and encourage them about God’s story in Samuel and what it means to wrestle with God amidst tragedy and pain?  Do you know of anyone experiencing loss or hurt, a broken marriage or estranged relationships, or even disease and pain?  This book does not cure anyone; only Christ does through the cross.  But I believe this will help some as a catalyst to see God’s glory amidst their pain.  So please, repost this on Facebook, link this link on there, take a picture of this picture on your phone and post it to your instagram account, tweet it, and email people.  I know it may seem like a lot, but remember when you did that during Samuel’s life?  It was only through community and the power of the Holy Spirit that Samuel’s story went “out there.”  I am asking for that again.  Here’s the link:


Here’s what’s written on the back of the book:

What happens inside us as we experience the agony of the loss of a child? When the loss of it grieves you at first, and then, as time passes, doesn’t seem to go away but comes in waves upon waves? Tragedy befalls all of us, circumstances are beyond our control, and it is in these moments when God beckons us to the mat and wrestles us into submission out of His great love.

In Nineteen Days, Daniel Parkins gives insight into anyone who has ever experienced pain in this life. How do we cope when unmet expectations seem to surround us? How are we to navigate the rough waters of divorce, heart ache, loss, disease, or any kind of hurt? Nineteen Days is raw, but intensely real as Parkins reveals to all of us an honest portrayal of pain, yet in the midst of it, the undying love and sovereignty of a patient God who is still and forever good. Inside he challenges each person to look beyond the hurt, and see the love of Jesus Christ as not just a good idea, but truth that carries us forward for His glory.

Thank you!  Kelly and I are more than excited, and genuinely love you all!

Love Like Men

photo copy 161 Corinthians 16.13-14, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love.”

A lot can be said as we stand on the cliffs in our lives, as we done the armor of soldiers readying for battle, our cleanly polished shoes, our conquering sword, our truth we hold within our hearts.  Let now you men ready for battle Lord, but as we first fight in our homes for your glory and purpose and truth, let us hold to this truth and never forget.  All of it, every single action in our lives, is meaningless, a resounding gong, less than dung, if we have not love.

James MacDonald stated, “all truth and no love is brutality…absolute truth in the hands of absolute sinners is absolute brutality.”  He also said, “All love and no truth is hypocrisy.”  Men all over the world, in too many homes, come down upon the world and those closest to us with this brutality or hypocrisy.  We say “I love you Lord, and I would give my life for you and your service,” to stand firm in the faith and champion the truth, acting like men who are strong.  Or we love with reckless abandon, and perhaps the world will notice this, and our fame becomes a stench in the nostrils of God because it is about our glory and not His for His truth is not evident.  But, and please listen to this:

If we are not the most loving people the world has ever known, we have failed.  If a homosexual, transgendered person, an adulterer or a murderer, a sex offender or an addict, can look down an isle of people, and see a follower of Christ, and not say that they are the most loving person in the world, then no amount of truth will amount to anything.  We never celebrate, accept, or condone sin in any capacity, but we never trample them with the truth of God without the love of God.  We are to never hammer people down in the earth where they are at, we are to push them to the cross where Jesus is at.  Paul says we could have the tongues of angels, and yet, if we have not love, we are failing.  Oh church, we are failing.

The truth becomes our mantra, our call, our banner that we wave.  Have we become so brutal in truth that we care not for the love to which we are called and to which binds truth and makes it powerful?  What are some ways in which you know you are all about truth and lacking in love?  Again, MacDonald had some poignant statements here.

First, you know you are all truth and have no love if you see passive resistance around you.  If people are afraid to approach you then guess what, you need to work on your love.  Or, if people say you don’t listen to them.  Are you one of those people who always finishes other’s statements?  You think you know what they are going to say so you cut them off.  Guess what?  Maybe they NEED to say what they are going to say to you, maybe they NEED to express it, and maybe you NEED to just be quiet!  Or, perhaps you are one of those people who pride themselves in being a “realist”.  You always have to be right don’t you?  Is this you?  Search your heart and think back, when was the last time you were wrong and you freely admitted it?  Perhaps you need to love in your life a lot more.  Not perhaps; you do!  Who cares if you are right?  Do we think in our arrogance that we are moved up in the ladder of life if we are always right with our wife, that somehow it makes us a better person, better husband, or better father?  Men we are failing!  If being the head of your family, and leading this gift from above the Lord has given you, means getting your way in everything than you are failing.  We must love better.  Everything must be done in love.

Or what about this:  when people disagree with you, do they have to separate from you?  What if your sister disagreed with you on something, and wouldn’t budge?  Has it been months, years, or even decades since you talked with them?  Guess what, you need to work on love.  These are all tell tale signs that you are all truth, and no love.  We must grow in our love!  In all things:  Love.

And guess what, according to MacDonald, he would say, that if you disagree with any of this and are forming an argument in your mind against these things, than you are all truth and no love.  But we don’t swing the pendulum too far from the middle, for love without truth is just hypocrisy and is JUST as meaningless.  One can even make the case, however harsh this may be, that if you are not growing (men or women) in love, than you are not God’s man or woman.  Think about that.

Self-righteousness melts in the face of true love.  Self-vindication vanishes when true love is present.  And the glory of God—that which we seek to lift high above everything—will affect change to the world when they see love coupled with truth.  According to Christ, this is the way the world will see Christ, by the way we love each other.

I will end on a few points that MacDonald gave, as well as give a few of my own:

On the Major things in life, we are called to action.  Ask yourself, is this a critical path that I need to intervene in?  What if I don’t take action here in this situation?  Is it a chronic problem that is recurring and painful and you need to step in?  Does its proximity bring it to your attention.  We do indeed need to enter in and lay heavy the truth coupled with love; but love must be present.  Most things in life, just to help you out, are not majors.

On the Minor things in life, we are called to acceptance.  We must let go of our preferences.  So what if things around you do not always make sense.  There’s no “sense judge” or “logic dictator” in your household is there?  Do not boast in this; accept the minor things and let them be.  Let your wife keep the bathroom the way she keeps it.  Let your friend put his feet on the dashboard.  Let your husband leave his hair in the sink after he shaves.  Let it go.

In everything, love.  And in this, if we find that we are not loving, if truth is more important to us than Christ’s love displayed through that truth, than we have failed, and the truth is not in us.  And if this is the case, repent.  We have work to do with the Lord, and it begins on our knees before the loving God who calls us to Him, and before those whom we have crushed and damaged.  Engage them with the Love of God.  For the love of God, love God, by loving others.

Fear and Faith

photo copy

There’s a fear within me that something is going to happen to me.  My health has been a bit precarious in my life.  My liver function levels have been up and down lately.  I’ve lost so much weight lately due to an inflammation in my intestine as well as complications from my diabetes.  This is the time of year when I’ve experienced all of my trials and pain.  It holds too many memories for me to withstand at times; like a bucket trying to contain the waves of the sea during a storm.  It shows my weakness and need of Jesus, but it manifests in gripping even tighter on my loved ones.  Past trials make me see things clearer; pictures are sharper, memories more cherished, the present more appreciated.

The listening of my wife’s breath as it slowly goes in and out, dripping into my ears like a sweet symphony as the moon waxes through our window.  It is the small steps and pitter-patter of my youngest child running down the hallway, laughing as he plays with my oldest boy who just might be the best older brother in the world.  It’s the grace I see in my daughter’s eyes as she peeks up at me when my voice gets a little too loud and I near the line of going to far and too close to crush her little sweet spirit.  I hold her then, in my arms, longing for more of these moments, asking for promises from her that when I am old and gray, if I make it that far, that she will still let me hold her.  It’s the closing of her eyes when I say I am sorry, that instead of being mad, I am called to protect her and love her.  Her sweetness is my accountability; her grace to me is my motivation.

It’s the smells of Mia’s hair after a shower, all nice and clean, as she asks me to brush it so it won’t be tangled in the morning.  It’s both Noah and Mia running up to me asking me to brush their teeth or Noah grabbing his silky blanket and, almost at age seven, sucking his thumb as he nuzzles his nose and face into my neck at any time of the day.  It’s the focus of my son, longing for validation from me, as he kicks the ball during practice that I coach.  He loves me, I know he does, and wants so badly to do well in soccer, but wants even more for his daddy to say “good job.  I’m so proud of you.”  And I tell him.  And he beams.  And in goes to his thumb.  It’s these moments that are slipping through my fingers quicker than I can imagine.

So I take the time to get down in the dirt with Noah, dressed in our cub scouts uniforms.  It’s these moments that spur me to say “yes” to them and “no” to my own time.  It’s not about resting, it’s about them.  So of course I’ll be Noah’s pack leader in cub scouts.  Of course I’ll be his coach.  And when Mia’s asks, of course I’ll be the loudest who cheers at her gymnastics and of course I’ll hug the hardest after her dance recital.  Of course I’ll run first thing in the morning to get Christian out of his crib, or dance with him in the hallway to old VBS music.  Absolutely.  I’ll be the world to them, because in me, they see my Jesus.  It’s just the way of things.  In me, they see God, judge God, know God, love God, and experience God.  I may have a fear, and though there’s nothing to fear in God, I know God uses my weaknesses for His glory.  So I revel in my children, in my wife that is more than lovely, in the little fingers that grasp mine and the smiles that encompass my heart.

I may fear, but I’m okay.  I may be sick at times, but I’m okay.  In fact, I’m better than okay.  I’m exceptional.  I see things sweeter than most; I appreciate things more than most.  And for that, I wouldn’t change anything.

Samuel and Christian

Today marks the 21st of March, or thereabouts, and I can’t help but be paralyzed by two realities very near and dear to me.  The first is that Christian is now sixteen days old and is cause for celebration.  His round face is beginning to become even more rounded with the added weight of a mother’s nutrients and his lovely eyes are becoming even more blue as each day passes.  His umbilical chord fell off which means we can begin to give him submerged baths, and his cries, however cute they may be, are growing seemingly louder and louder by the minute.  He also only woke up twice the night before, and gave Kelly and I some much needed rest.  He’s only sixteen days old, and already so much a part of our family.

I remember another boy who was sixteen days old, not too long ago, who was very much a part of our family.  But remembering when Samuel was sixteen days old, though his rounded face was framed by liquids unnatural and disheartening, gives my heart a sense of longing again.  I see Christian, and within Christian, I see Samuel at times.  But of course I do.  He only lived for nineteen days, but in those days we had loved so passionately.

Oftentimes Kelly and I, trying to comfort Christian, have called him Samuel because of varying reasons.  I can’t quit explain it, but Samuel will always be a small baby to us; we will never have the joy of raising him.  And knowing this, because Christian is still within the stages of his older brother when he passed away, still encompassed within the same images of Samuel, I think those images are just so close to us in memory.  For so many days and hours we stared at Samuel.  Now, we have what we believe to be a lifetime with Christian and as his face begins burning our vision, like an image too long on an old television, we continue forth knowing of the faithfulness of our God.  Christian is not Samuel by any means, and though we miss our son who passed over a year ago, we move forward with the joy of this new bundle of our hearts eager to see a future lived with him.

It is hard, but this is life isn’t it?  It will forever be marked with joy and pain, happiness and sorrow, and to ask for anything other than this in life is to ask for something beyond what the Lord has planned.  We grow through the pain, we grow through the trials, we grow through our own weaknesses in seeing that God is all in all.  God has taken all our fears, all our failures, all our heartache and all our pain, all our burdens, all our troubles and shame and tears and placed them within the very bosom of redemption through Jesus Christ.  This is our God; He is our hope, He is our healer, He is our freedom, He is our refuge, He is our justice and He is with us.  God is love, and we will forever praise Him.

All creation sings of your Glory God, all humanity is a display of your glory and each one of us, who have called on the name of Jesus Christ to be saved, are meant to worship and adore you.  I bless your name this day Father.  You are my song, my hope, and my everything; rich in so much love and mercy and unfailing in every way.

I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine.

We will forever praise You.

Upside Down Part II

Mark 9.35, “And he sat down and called the twelve.  And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

This verse is so incredibly powerful.  It turns the world’s culture on its head and brings the philosophy of our age down into the mud in which it belongs.  The attitude of Christ is in direct conflict with the world; and so should the minds of us, His disciples.  The world’s idea of greatness is to rule, but Christian greatness consists in serving.  The world’s ambition is to receive honor and attention, but the desire of a Christ follower should be to give rather than to receive.  It should be to attend upon others rather than have others wait upon us

In short, what Jesus says here is this:  The person who lays himself out most to serve his fellow men, and to be useful in his day and generation, is the greatest person in the eyes of Christ.  We are so focused on self-pleasure right?  We are self seeking, self-indulgent.

Ask yourselves this:  Is there any service that you can perform today or tonight or tomorrow for your fellow Christian?  Is there any kindness you can do to them?  Is there any way to help them or promote them or to make them happier?  If the answer is yes to any of this, then we should do it without delay.  Yet there are so few in the church today who have this heart.  The people who are willing to do good, to break down prejudices, and who shake the very foundations of the world are these people.  They are the people who are willing to be last of all, servants of all.

All for the glory of Christ and not their own glory.

Let us rekindle what it really means to live in an upside down kingdom.  Take our passion for money and our use of it:  John Blanchard writes, “Few things test a person’s spirituality more accurately than the way he uses money.” This hurts my pride in a good way; it causes me to take stock in the fact that generally I use my money for myself only.  There are hundreds of other examples.

Mark 9.36-37, “And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

I believe this section needs to be taken by faith.  Jesus teaches this lesson in a very touching manner.  He takes a child, after the disciples had been arguing and says, “Whoever receives one such child in my name and receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”  Such a profound statement!

This is foolishness to the natural person.  David Garland writes, “The point of comparison is the insignificance of the child on the honor scale.  The child had no power, no status, and few rights.  A child was dependent, vulnerable, entirely subject to the authority of the father; yet Jesus chooses such a one to represent those who are needy and low.”  If we want to be great, we must shower attention on those who are regarded as insignificant.

And Jesus follows this up with another paradox.  If we want to receive Jesus, we must receive those without status.  When we do this, we receive Jesus.  Imagine the implications of this!  It means that the greatest thing we can do is serve those who are forgotten and regarded as not important!  Those who have no influence, no titles, not priority and no power, they are those who have no importance in this world except to God.  This is foolishness to the world.

When you have a party, you want those who are closest to you, who have the most to give back, to come to your house.  Flesh and blood can see no other way to greatness than to serve kings and queens, people of high rank or wealth, or those with high positions.  JC Ryle states, “The son of God declares that the way lies in devoting ourselves to the care of the weakest and lowest of His flock.”

Those who serve like this will be honored, so Christ says.  Their work may often be hard and discouraging.  They may be mocked for what they do or ridiculed by the world.  But let them know that the Son of Man, Jesus Christ himself, remembers all that we do and is well pleased in this area.  Whatever the world may think, those who serve like this are they whom Jesus will delight to honor at the last day.

Now let me end this by saying a few things about Jesus here.  He is creating a team of disciples, pouring into them intimately with no one else around.  They are in the intimacy of Peter’s own home in Capernaum.  Jesus here talks about the fact that he will be delivered up to authorities, that he will suffer, and that he will die; BUT that he will be raised again into life.

It is the blood of Jesus Christ that makes all of this possible; it is the gospel of Christ that must, BY FAITH permeate all that we have been talking about.  You see, the temptation is to go and TRY HARDER to do these things.  But that’s not the way of the cross.  By faith we have to understand that Christ has already done it.  His blood, by faith, has cleansed us from our power trips and desires for self.

The disciples’ idea of Jesus was wrong; he was not going to give them everything they wanted in life.  He was going to give them everything they needed in DEATH.  That’s what’s so upside down about all of this.  It would make sense to anyone that Christ’s life would enable them the things they needed.  It is not so with Christ; His death and resurrection is the only thing that would give us what we need; reconciliation to God by the forgiveness of sins.  Help us Lord!  Help us see the upside down Kingdom and follow hard after you because we love you!

Upside Down

Mark 9.31-32, “for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him.  And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”  But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.”

Jesus here passes through Galilee but does not want anyone to know about it.  He leads the disciples from Caesarea Philippi along by paths and less frequented roads.  He is taking special care to pour deeply into his disciples because He knows his public ministry is coming to a close.  The end of His life, the purpose of His life, is coming to a head.

He needs privacy to teach them; success hinges on training these few men, who will carry the gospel to the world.  His success does not depend on the approval of the thousands or the ovation of the crowds as he performs miracle after miracle.  He does not need them; He does not need to perform another sign for that is not the point.  The point of it all is His glory, and they will soon come to understand this.  It’s not their glory!

He taught them expressly all that lay before Him in the suffering, death, and resurrection that was to come.  And they listened to him, but still did not understand.  The dullness of the disciples appears again to us in understanding spiritual things.  But notice that there were good things as well as bad things that Jesus mentioned.  He will suffer, but he will be victorious.  He will die, but he will be raised again.

But it was all very confusing to them.  Verse 32, “But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.”  Their minds were obviously, as we see in the next section, set on earthly things.  They were still set on the mistaken idea that the Messiah would have his initial reign on earth; they thought this was going to appear very soon.

This is interesting; JC Ryle states, “Never are we so slow to understand, as when prejudice and pre-conceived opinions darken our eyes.”  The immensely important statement about Jesus death comes out again.  He does this very specifically and intentionally.  He would have his disciples, and us therefore, know that His death was the Great End for which he came into the world.  It is only through the death of Christ, THIS death that he speaks of, that accomplishes and does away with the great problem we all face daily: that of Sin.  He reminds us how God can be just, and still justify sinners through the perfect sacrifice of His Son.

It reminds us that Christ didn’t merely come to earth to show a way to live, to teach a few things, or to work miracles.  He came to make satisfaction for our sin.  And that’s exactly what He has done in His death.  Let us never forget this!!

The great object that we fix our attention on is His death at Calvary.  We do not fixate on our own desires, we do not fixate on our own problems, and we do not sit in daydream realities where we lose ourselves in our own little worlds.

Mark 9.34, “But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with on another about who was the greatest.”

What had they succeeded in that gave them this idea of greatness?  They had argued amongst themselves over who forgot the loaves in 8.16.  They had argued with the teachers when they failed to exorcise an unclean spirit in 9.14.  They will argue with successful exorcists who do not follow men in 9.38.  They will mock a woman who shows extravagant love to Jesus in 14.4-5.  This competitive spirit even carries on in 14.29 during the last supper when Peter boasts more than others that he will remain faithful even if the others do not.

The disciples should worry on who it is that will betray Jesus, but instead they argue with one another about who ranks the highest in the Kingdom of heaven.  They are jockeying so to speak, for the position of highest honor next to their powerful liberator and Messiah.  Yet we see here as they do this, that Jesus walks ahead in silence, heading to his known death while his disciples push and shove each other on who would be the best.  Yet we see in his willingness to go to the cross that He was least.

The disciples still have visions of grandeur and do not romanticize about becoming servants.  They probably had images of power as they never had experienced it before.  Everybody would be their servants in this new system in their minds.  It seems they will never be able to take up a cross and follow their suffering Master who would be the redeemer of mankind.

They want redemption on their terms; not God’s.

Doesn’t this sound strange?  Who would have thought that a bunch of fishermen and a few tax collectors would have succumbed to such strong desires for supremacy?  Yet it is here plainly for us to see and apply to ourselves.  Though most of us are simple, yet we are all born a Pharisee.  We all naturally think far better than ourselves than we should.  We all naturally think that we deserve something far better than what we have; in fact, most of our lives are spent like these disciples…dreaming of it.

Pride is the source of it; pride says we deserve better.  Pride says we should have more money, more power, more freedoms.  It began in the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve thought they hadn’t received everything that was their due and it continues in us today.

But Christ calls us to a different way; an upside down way of looking at things.  We must become like children; we must serve radically out of obedience and love of our Great King.  We are in the service of the King now, chosen vessels to carry His banner of truth forward.  Let us stop and take notice of this.  The way down is the way up.  The way to lead is to serve.  The way for wealth, is poverty in Christ.  Oh when will we get this?  We live not for our own glory, but for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Setting Our Minds

Perhaps it’s the epic Gladiator soundtrack I am listening to at the moment, perhaps it’s the place I am at in life or the degree at which I see my failures, but nonetheless I am amped right now.  I am expectant for God to move; but I must be careful.  God will not move according to what I desire, but for His glory alone.

I catch the same sort of drive within Peter in Mark 8.31-33, “And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.  And he said this plainly.  And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.  But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan!  For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Now, let me use an illustration.  It is one thing for me to disagree with my Senior pastor, Byron MacDonald and voice it in submission.  It is an altogether entirely different thing for me to rebuke Pastor Byron; yet in similar ways, that’s precisely what we see going on here; but much worse.  Peter was passionate; make no mistake about that.  The word used here in both instances for “rebuke” was the same word Christ used to rebuke the demons and condemn them.  It is very clear from this perspective that Peter’s protest was not mild at all; he went toe to toe with the Living Word and had incredible hostility.

The same apostle who stated that Jesus was the Christ just a few moments earlier, who was then called blessed by Jesus, had the gall to stand up to his Master.  This to me could be on some comedy show, if not for the reality that I am Peter more times than naught.  What was the nature of Peter’s rebuke?  Matthew 16.22b, “Far be it from you, Lord!  This shall never happen to you.”  Peter was coming against all that Jesus was saying plainly, according to Mark 8.32, because he was prepared, in his own mind, to prevent all those things from happening.

Now, I will not go into why Jesus rebuked Peter even sharper, calling him Satan, too much.  Suffice it to say, Peter was in a way acting out or being used by Satan to speak to Christ about the temptation in the wilderness in Matthew 4.8-10.  He was in effect suggesting that Jesus could have all that the work of the cross could do, without having to undergo the pain of the cross.  After the temptation in the wilderness, Satan leaves but looks for an opportune time according to Matthew 4.13.  The time, through Peter, comes.  But why was the rebuke handled so sharply?  Jesus states in Mark 8.33, “But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me Satan!  For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Oh how often do we do this?!  How often do I set my mind on the things of man rather than on the things of God?  From the Lord’s perspective, we see that Christ had to suffer so that victory of sin would be accomplished.  From Peter’s point of view, he was hoping for a political leader that would deliver the Jews from Roman rule; as well as perhaps a high place within that new governance.

I read myself in this passage, and I hope we all have the courage to look at our hearts in this.  Am I setting my mind on the things of God or the things of man?  It is a crucial question; the answer means we are setting our minds on God and godliness, or setting our minds on the world and worldliness.  The godly person is moved to act upon the things of God; the worldly person is likewise moved to act upon the things of the world.  It is really very simple.

In my zealousness of life, particularly as Gladiator or Braveheart’s soundtrack plays loudly in my ears, am I setting my mind on the things of God, or am I romanticizing the things of the world and preoccupied by them?  Where is my heart?  Where is my mind?  Am I rebuking Christ in my actions, in my arrogance, setting my sights and heart and mind on the things of this world?  Am I seeking to bend God’s will to my own so that my own little will is accomplished, or am I humbly submitting to the Lord of all as He leads, guides, and directs my life through His Word?

Where is my energy this day devoted?  Is it devoted to building up my own little empire?  Am I attempting to fashion God, or manipulate the divine, as IF He could be manipulated, so serve my own selfish gains, or am I seeking first the Kingdom of God and HIS (Christ) righteousness?  Have I made any plans, any attempts, to pursue righteousness or are those plans this day merely for my own little kingdom?

As RC Sproul writes about this section in Mark, “We especially need to ask ourselves these questions if we find that Jesus’ teachings offends us and prompts us to question or even rebuke Him.  May we never be so foolhardy.”

Let us not rebuke Christ in our actions or desires, humble ourselves and throw ourselves solely on the work of the cross, and seek the things above.