After John Wimber became a follower of Christ, he began reading his Bible. Actually, he didn’t just read his Bible, he consumed it. Page after page, he observed a lifestyle that he longed for, a life that differed from anything he had seen before.
Weeks later, after attending yet another boring church service, he asked one of the church lay leaders, “When do we get to do the stuff?”
“What stuff?” the leader asked.
“You know, the stuff here in the Bible,” John replied. “You know, like stuff Jesus did—raising people from the dead, healing the blind and the paralyzed. You know, that stuff.”
“Well, we don’t do that anymore.”
“You don’t? Well what do you do?”
“What we did this morning.”
Incredulous, John asked, “For that I gave up drugs?”
Because they didn’t make room for “the stuff,” John Wimber left that church and eventually helped start what became known as the Vineyard Movement.
You can do the stuff, too. Learn more by joining me in today’s reading.
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Deuteronomy 33:1-29. Reading Moses’ blessing over Israel makes me wonder, Why don’t we bless people anymore? The word is prominent in the Old Testament, but to my surprise derivatives of the word “blessing” are mentioned 95 times in the New Testament.
Twice in the chapter, Moses refers to “Jeshurun,” which is poetic reference to Israel.
You probably didn’t notice, but Simeon—one of the sons of Jacob—isn’t mentioned in Moses’ blessing. Scholars theorize that the tribe was absorbed into Judah at some point.
As I read verses 26-29, I began personalizing it, as though God was talking to me:
“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help me and on the clouds in his majesty. The eternal God is my refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
Luke 13:1-21. In the first four verses, Jesus shoots down the idea that the calamities we suffer in this life are the result of our sin. More evidence that karma doesn’t exist.
Proverbs 12:25. Follow the idea of blessing, we read in this passage, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Our words are powerful.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
Growing up, I was convinced that in order to live a life that was pleasing to God, I must make a huge impact on the world. So as a child, I dreamed of preaching to the masses.
Jesus, however, offers a different picture of usefulness to God: planting tiny mustard seeds (Luke 13:18-19).
The mustard seed is an extremely small seed, which can grow up to 10 feet high in certain regions in Galilee.
Jesus’ point was this: Don’t worry about the size of the seed—just plant!
After 23 years of pastoring, I’m convinced the majority of people in churches expect the pastor to do all the planting. People want to live vicariously through us. But in doing so, they miss out on the life God intended for them. They settle for boring lives when they could be doing the stuff.
You don’t need to begin by praying for someone’s healing or casting out demons. But do something. Plant even a mustard seed–not one but hundreds–and see what God does with it.
- What spoke to you in today’s reading?
- It’s been said that people need 10 compliments to compensate for 1 negative comment. Do you agree? Why or why not?
- How has God used the spoken blessing of others into your life to change you?
- What mustard seeds have you planted in the past that God has used?
- What mustard seeds can you plant today?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.