Tag Archives: Monty Python

You’re Not The Messiah!

In the irreverent Monty Python satire Life of Brian, a man named Brian Cohen in 1st century Judea is mistaken for the promised Messiah. Throughout the movie, his ardent followers look to him to save them from Romans oppression.

All the while, he tries to convince the people, “I’m not the Messiah!”

Unfortunately, many of us believe that we are, indeed, the Messiah—or we look to other people to be our Messiah when they’re not.

Join us today in our daily Bible conversation as we explore why we’re not the Messiah.


Isaiah 12:1-14:32
2 Corinthians 13:1-14
Psalm 57:1-11
Proverbs 23:9-11


Isaiah 12:1-14:32. In the second half of chapter 13, Isaiah prophesies that the Medes will invade Babylon—which they did in 539 B.C. He also prophesies that Babylon will eventually be uninhabited. Since the second century A.D., Babylon (located in Iraq) has indeed been a desolate city.

In the book of Daniel, we can see a marked difference between the Babylonian kings and the Persian/Median kings (this was a combined kingdom of sorts—Persia and the Medes). The Babylonian kings were not nearly as compassionate as the Persian/Median kings. For example, in Ezra and Nehemiah, we read that in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia’s reign—right after he invaded Babylon—he ordered the reconstruction of the temple in Jerusalem.

Some preachers hearken to Isaiah 14 as a reference to Satan’s fall from heaven, citing Luke 10:18 and 1 Timothy 3:6, but this is only conjecture—and it makes for a rousing sermon. It may be true or it may not. Prophecy is typically highly symbolic, making it difficult to interpret. Such is the case here.

2 Corinthians 13:1-14. Paul intends to return to Corinth to face his accusers but insists that every matter “must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (13:1). This practice—which continues to this day in western society—was first established in Deuteronomy 19:15 and affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 18:16.

Also, notice the words of verse 14 in Paul’s farewell: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Although the word “Trinity” is never mentioned in the New Testament, this is the clearest reference to the three.

If you’ve found A Daily Bible Conversation helpful, share it with your friends! Forward your daily email or send them a link to the website: http://www.bibleconversation.com.


David was on the run. Saul was the hunter and David was the hunted. People had betrayed him and let him down nearly every step of the way. While hiding in a cave to avoid being seen, David wrote Psalm 57.

He writes, “I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings” (verse 1). Like a hen who protects her chicks, David relied on God to grant him protection. Furthermore, he writes that “[God] saves me” (verse 2).

In the same way, we read in Isaiah 12:2 that one day Israel will say, “Surely God is my salvation.”

This may seem blatantly obvious, but God is our salvation.

While I know this truth in my head, I don’t know it so well in my heart. Too often I look to people or myself for salvation.

I have a friend who is looking for work, and potential employers and contacts continually let them down. Yet those people aren’t his salvation.

Another friend is living as a single dad while his wife is receiving treatment for a mental illness. But the therapists, as effective as they may be, aren’t his salvation.

But looking to God to be our salvation is hard. We want immediate solutions and tangible answers. We want a God with skin.

Placing our trust in a God we cannot see requires faith. And it means the solution may not be readily visible.

If you’re in a difficult place in your life, remember this truth: God is your salvation.

You can’t save your wayward child.

You can’t overcome that addiction on your own.

You can’t convince that potential employer to hire you.

But God can. He’s your salvation.


  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. To what extent do you find it difficult trusting God to be your salvation?
  3. How have you experienced God as your salvation?

If you’re reading this blog on FaceBook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here.


Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Beware The Killer Rabbit

All that stood between King Arthur and the Holy Grail was a “harmless” rabbit. Slay the rabbit and his life’s mission would be fulfilled.

One of Knights of the Round Table approaches the rabbit and is brutally killed. Then, the rest of the knights attack the rabbit and suffer a similar fate. Finally, King Arthur yells, “Run away! Run Away.”

Something as harmless as a rabbit may be more than it seems.

Beware the killer rabbit.


2 Kings 18:13-19:37
Acts 21:1-17
Psalm 149:1-9
Proverbs 18:8


2 Kings 18:13-19:37. The beginning of this reading seems a little confusing. Hezekiah pays tribute to Assyria, which is followed by the Assyrian commanders challenging Hezekiah to a fight. Scholars speculate that these are really two different situations, or that the King of Assyria was trying to press Hezekiah for a complete surrender.

Acts 21:1-17. Verse 4 presents a dilemma: Through the Spirit [the disciples] urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.”

Paul felt compelled (by the Holy Spirit?) to return to Jerusalem. The disciples sensed from the Holy Spirit that Paul shouldn’t return to Jerusalem.

Agabus confirmed the prophetic message of the disciples in Tyre. Sever persection awaited Paul if he returned.

Either God intended for Paul suffer or Paul disobeyed.

Psalm 149:1-9. I wonder what our churches would look like if we praised God according to the first five verses of this psalm.

If you’ve found A Daily Bible Conversation helpful, share it with your friends! Forward your daily email or send them a link to the website: http://www.bibleconversation.com.


Judah was in trouble. If you remember, their cousin Israel had just been absorbed into the Assyrian empire. If Judah surrendered, they would be no more and God’s promise of his continued presence and their continued existence would come to an end.

Imagine a country threatening to devastate your country, deport you to another land, and force you to marry their people. How would you feel?

What a perfect set-up!

King Hezekiah could have responded to the threat in a variety of ways:

  • Surrender
  • Rally the troops and die fighting
  • Plead to Egypt to defend them.
  • Run away

But what does he do? He seeks direction from God.

And what does God do?

He delivers them. Like the killer rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, God overcomes King Arthur-like Assyria.

We need stories like these to remind us that God isn’t impressed by the power of evil. Even when we feel powerless, God has more than enough power to change our situations.

Are you unemployed? He’s got it covered!

Are you experiencing a difficult relationship? God’s all over it!

Do you feel overwhelmed by circumstances in your life? God has you right where he wants you.

He may seem distant, perhaps even as powerless as a rabbit. But remember, he’s a killer rabbit—and no one in heaven and on earth can assert their will over him.


  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. What does the story about Judah’s deliverance tell you about God?
  3. Describe a time when you have felt overwhelmed by a situation–and God miraculously delivered you.

If you’re reading this blog on FaceBook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here.


Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Trouble With Inquisitions

One of many blights on the face of the Christian church is the Spanish Inquisition. If you’re like me, I cringe whenever the term is uttered. Enforced between 1478 and 1833, the purpose was to expose crypto-Jews (practicing Jews who acted like Christians) and force them to convert. If they confessed and did their penance, their lives would be saved. If they relapsed, they were burned at the stake.

Estimates of the number of Jews murdered during that period extend as high as 32,000.

While a variety of factors contributed to this atrocity, the desire to bring purity to the church was close to the core.

But the trouble with inquisitions is that all of us are guilty—as you’ll see in the Monty Python video at the beginning of this post.

In today’s reading, we’ll explore this in greater detail.


Genesis 41:17-42:17
Matthew 13:24-46
Psalm 18:1-15
Proverbs 4:1-6

Don’t forget that A Daily Bible Conversation can be sent to you by email every day.  Look for “Email Subscription” in the sidebar and click through.


Genesis 41:17-24. Remember that Joseph had two dreams—just like Pharaoh. Duplicate dreams were an indication that they would be quickly fulfilled (see verse 32).

Genesis 41:40. When Pharaoh named Joseph second in command in Egypt, he also was given authority over Potiphar, his former master.

Genesis 41:45. The Bible Background Commentary explains, “The marriage arranged for Joseph allied him with one of the most powerful priestly families in Egypt.”

Genesis 42:9. This is an easily overlooked verse: “Then he remembered his dreams…” In his dreams as a child, eleven brothers and his parents bowed down to him. But his brother and father were missing. This discrepancy between the prediction and the reality—and probably his intense curiosity—caused Joseph to question his brothers.

Matthew 13:25. The weeds in this passage were probably darnel (usually translated “tares”). They were poisonous and in the early stages resembled wheat.

Matthew 13:31-32. The mustard plant can grow as high as 15 feet.

Psalm 18:2. When psalms use the word “horn,” it usually means “strength.” Think of a bull with horns versus a bull without horns. Horns are a distinct advantage.

Proverbs 4:1-6. The first part of Proverbs doesn’t actually offer any proverbs. It stresses the importance of searching for wisdom. Wisdom isn’t valued in our culture. Material success is, but wisdom? Not so much.


For most of my life, I’ve been moderately fixated on who was in and who was out. Who was right and who was wrong. Who was a Republican or Democrat, Catholic or Protestant, even the specific flavor of Protestant.

Partly, I was looking for a label to place on the people around me. But also, I wanted to hang out with people just like me. People who wouldn’t steer me in the wrong direction.

In Jesus’ parable about the weed sown among good seed (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43), two insights stand out:

  1. Jesus determines who’s in and who’s out. I cannot know the state of a person’s heart. Only Jesus can see through someone’s actions to who they really are. Granted, our actions say a great deal about the state of our hearts, but they only go so far.
  2. Completely purifying ourselves is impossible. The weeds were intermingled with the good seed (probably wheat). This prompted Craig Blomberg to comment on this passage:

Jesus’ principle here applies in every age to the question of why God allows evil and suffering in the world. His creation can be purged of all evil only through the judgment and re-creation of the universe at the end of the age because evil resides in every person. God’s delay in bringing the end of the world is thus entirely gracious, giving people more opportunity to repent (2 Pet 3:9).

Obviously, this doesn’t mean I need to give up my pursuit of purity. But it does mean I need to stop drawing lines in the sand—and placing me on the good side. I can treat people with whom I disagree with humility, respect, and love…because I’m a work in progress just like them.


  1. What spoke to your heart in today’s reading?
  2. Describe a time when you—like Joseph—were placed in a position where you could take vengeance on someone who wronged you. How did you respond? Why did you respond in that way?
  3. What distracts you from searching for wisdom?
  4. What does purity look like for you?


If you’re reading this blog on FaceBook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here.


Filed under Uncategorized