Monday, January 30, 2012

Meditation: The Journey from My Voice to His

I am in my usual place. I close the door. My room feels secure.

I start to read. My mind hears the sound of my own voice. I am the narrator: “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them . . .” Of course these are not my words, but I hear them in my own voice. I’ve been here before. The words continue, “. . . so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Students of Jesus has a new Web address. Click here to read the rest of this post and check out our new design.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Parable of the American Businessman

Micahel Norton's blog, The Suburban Vagabond, incorporates one of my very favorite words. I've liked "vagabond" ever since hearing the lyric in The Lion King (sing it quietly to your self). He is a Jesus-follower and avid questioner. He lives near Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife, Amanda and his daughter, Lux. Michael is/has been a blogger, musician, pastor, poet, barista, construction worker, children’s minister, and ministry leader. Among his many hobbies are songwriting, hiking, coffee, travelling, listening to music (all kinds), reading, and people. His favorite authors include C.S. Lewis, N.T. Wright, Erwin McManus, Jack London, and Ted Dekker. You can read some of Michael’s endeavours into the world of poetry @

An American businessman, an oil executive, was flying into Afghanistan for an important meeting. On the way, his plane experienced catastrophic engine failure, and was forced to crash land. The passengers and crew – with the exception of the businessman – were all killed. He managed to stagger out of the burning wreckage, and lay bleeding, battered, and bruised under the shelter of a boulder, crying out for help from God and man.”

Students of Jesus has a new Web address. Click here to read the rest of this post and check out our new design. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Meditation: Fully Transformed

Becoming a follower of Jesus requires at least three transformations: we must be born from above; we must acquire his character; and we must imitate his works. Most believers North America have a grasp on the first, a hope of the second, and almost no concept of the third.
Jesus had a high view of his followers. He believed in them more than they believed in themselves. He gave them extravagant assignments during their three years together on earth. And as Jesus prepared to leave, he charged his disciples with the impossible: 
Students of Jesus has a new Web address. Click here to read the rest of this post and check out our new design. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Parable of the Two Brothers

What happens when the artists become the Bible expositors? Apparently some people are offended, some are challenged, still others yawn and go their solitary way. More and more I find myself with the artists, because they help me see with new eyes, hear with new ears, and taste the sweetness of God’s good heart.

For example, look what happens to the Parable of the Prodigal Son in the hands of Franco Zeffirelli, director of the still-fabulous Jesus of Nazareth. In this six-minute clip Jesus tells the familiar parable from Luke 15, but this film version helps us understand more than one meaning of the well-known story. . . 

Students of Jesus has a new Web address. Click here to see the video and read the rest of this post and check out our new design. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Four Lessons I Learned from Jefferson Bethke, the "Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus" Guy

My nine year-old daughter listened to Jefferson Bethke’s Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus just two times, and pronounced him theologically orthodox. I would take her endorsement over many a seminary professor’s.

In my work as an editor for I had a chance to chat with Jeff Bethke for about 30 minutes by phone Saturday night. You can read the heart of the interview here. Students of Jesus is a blog about spiritual formation, so today I’d like to share four spiritual formation lessons I gained from the 22 year-old poet and follower of Jesus:

Students of Jesus has a new Web address. Click here to read the rest of this post and check out our new design.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Meditation: Hearing All the Prophet Says

Everyone reveres the prophet after he’s dead. But in his own day the prophet is rejected, ridiculed, scorned, misquoted, misunderstood, vilified, and in some cases shot in the head.

Today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. In predictable Biblical tradition we have honored the prophet after he’s gone, have reduced the honor to an innocuous three-day weekend for federal employees and school children. In his honor Sears, Best Buy, WalMart, Kohls, and Toys R Us all offer fantastic deals of up to 75% off!

Students of Jesus has a new Web address. Click here to read the rest of this post and check out our new design.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Parable of the Storytelling Son

Andrew Perriman provides our guest post today. He and his wife, Belinda, and have lived in various parts of the world over the last 20 years: the Far East, Africa, Holland, the Middle East, the Nethelands, and London.They recently moved again to Dubai. His current theological interest is in how we retell the biblical story as we negotiate the difficult transition from the center to the margins of our culture following the collapse of Western Christendom.

There was a man who had two sons. The older son loved to tell stories and would keep the relatives and servants that made up his father’s household enthralled for hours with his repertoire of tales—not all of them believable—from the family’s eventful history. The younger son was of a much more rational frame of mind and couldn’t tell a joke to save his life.

Students of Jesus has a new Web address. Click here to read the rest of this post and check out our new design.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Eight Revelations from the Lost Episodes of the Great Commission

There was a time when I was once five feet seven inches. The advancing years have exacted a toll on my frame, but once--at my peak--I commanded 67 inches of altitude. I wasn’t tall, but every inch was important to me. I resented anyone who would short me an inch, and I suspect the Great Commission of Matthew’s gospel feels the same way.
Matthew’s gospel ends with a stirring call to action from the Lord Jesus. The passage has been popular among Evangelicals for more than a century, but over the years--in our hurry to get to the words of Christ in red--we have chopped a couple of inches from the stature of this great passage. We have ignored the two verses that set the stage; verses 16 and 17. They provide the setting for the Lord’s missional statement. Seriously, who reads these verses? As it turns out, you will, today:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Meditation: The Familiar Neighborhoods of God

Chicago is my home town. When I hear someone say, “I’m from Chicago,” I immediately ask, “What part?” North side? South side? Downtown? Polish neighborhood, Irish neighborhood, Lithuanian, the projects, the suburbs, the Cubs, the Sox--what? It’s a big place: too big to be contained by any one description. Most people from Chicago have only hung out in a few neighborhoods. 
The Creator of the universe is bigger than Chicago. A lot bigger. When we say, “I know God,” we make a laughable statement. We know him: but we don’t know all of him. He’s too big to be contained by any one description. If we know God at all, we are familiar with only a few neighborhoods of him.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Parable of the Shrewd (Good Guy) Manager

How do you argue with a story? One of the joys reading of the parables of Jesus is discovering the multiple meanings layered in by the Storyteller. Just when you think you understand his meaning, along comes another possibility.This eight-minute video suggests that the Parable of the Shrewd Manager is actually a tale of righteousness breaking into (previously) shady business dealings.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Intentional, not Good Intentions

I drove into town yesterday, just four days into the new year, and the roadside was littered with new years resolutions thrown aside like so much trash. We start each year with such good intentions--perhaps the road I was driving on was paved with them.

Jesus is looking for disciples, not revelers. Discipleship requires us to understand the difference between good intentions and intentionality. The Lord was quite clear: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16: 24-25). This kind of following is more than a one-time decision; it is no mere “accepting the free gift.” It is the conscious choice to lose our lives in him.

Students of Jesus is moving to a new address: read the rest of the post here . . .

Monday, January 2, 2012

Meditation: There is More

My Dad used to believe some crazy things about me. Every so often he would tell me I could do anything. He said I was smart and funny. He thought I could beat up any kid in my class. It was comical because I was the pee-wee of the school who ran his mouth way too much and then hid behind the teacher’s skirt. Clearly, my father didn’t live in the same world as I did.

I was convinced that my father had no clue about my life, so I ignored his advice. Years later, when I came to the pages of the New Testament I began to hear the same voice urging me to lift my vision. I’ve heard that voice at least four times, and I know it’s talking to all of us, not just me.

Students of Jesus is moving to a new address: read the rest of the post here . . .