Friday, February 24, 2012

Lent and Stinky Feet!

As part of our class in Theology/Ethics of Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, we have been participating in the sacraments. Sacraments are a peculiar things, often described as an outward sign of an invisible grace. John Wesley, having a unique and developed theology of what he called "means of grace" defined the sacraments this way, "By ‘means of grace’ I understand outward signs, words, or actions, ordained of God, and appointed for this end, to be the ordinary channels whereby he might convey to men, preventing, justifying, or sanctifying grace.”[i]

Last night we participated in an ancient Christian practice that I had never considered a means of grace: washing each others feet. 

Now I know some traditions do this. They observe Maundy-Thursday with a washing of the feet, but this is not usually apart of my tradition, nor would it normally be considered a sacrament or means of grace.

But Jesus commands it with a triple portion in John 13:
And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.’ Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’ Jesus said to him, ‘One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.’ For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’  After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. (John 13:2-17).
Jesus says (1) we ought to was another's feet, (2) Jesus points to his own example of washing feet as something we should do and (3) calls us blessed if we wash feet. I cannot think of another command Jesus gives his followers 3 times in a single breath. Even more, it is doubtful if there has ever been an instance in recorded history where a superior has washed his subordinates feet pre-Jesus.

So... we did it. At the end of a lecture on Pistis Christou and Schliermacher and Wesley's view of sanctification and how to write a proper academic research paper, we filled bowls of water, took off our shoes and socks, and washed each others feet. We also recited some liturgy as we did it -  which to any passers-by we probably looked like a cult.

I could not think of a better symbolic action for Lent. Our feet are one of the hardest working parts of our body, often sore, tired, and smelly. We use and overuse our feet. We strap hardware on our feet so we can do extra work. And when our feet are out of line, our whole body is effected. A friend of mine is just getting off crutches from ankle surgery. One foot was out of commission and he had to have crutches, a scooters, elevators, alternative routes avoiding stairs, and for his mom to trade cars with him because his was a manual. Our feet are small but effect our whole body.

So, stripping our feet down from shoes to socks from socks to bare feet, smells, scars, hang nails, bunions and all, we washed each others feet. Having them washed to get all the sock particles and "toe jam" removed was great. Then, taking our newly washed feet, we put them on the ground in a new place (class and the hallways) and just felt a connection and experience with somewhere else in a fresh way. It was weird and interesting a fantastic.

Of course this relates to Lent. But instead of our feet, we strip down our souls, exposing them to the cleansing power and grace of God. We clean all the toe jam off our souls. We get it realigned. We have the soul dry-cleaned and ready to go so that when our soul touches down on Easter morning, we get to experience the place afresh. We get to sense it, participate in the resurrection in a new way, unclouded, and transformationally.

So, wash your feet. Or if you are feeling adventurous, wash someone else's feet. Let it serve as a reminder of what we are doing in Lent, why we do it, and what the purpose is.

Blessings!









[i] Albert C. Outler and Richard P. Heitzenrater, edit., John Wesley’s Sermons: An Anthology (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1987), 160.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Beginning the Lenten Journey: Washing the Car!

From the Lenten devotional material I am using:

During my last winter as a resident I began to envision Lent as the process of washing my car after the effects of a long Chicago winter. For those who are unfamiliar with the effects of Midwest winter driving, envision your vehicle covered in layer upon layer of a nasty, salty, wintery film. With each new snow an additional covering of grit clings to your paint job, serving as a constant reminder of the treacheries of the season. It is an affliction that we bore with dutiful commitment to the city we loved, all the while hoping for warmer days.

Now imagine with me what the first mild day in the beginning of March might feel to a winter-weary soul. The snow has temporarily melted and the first glimpses of spring are on their way. In a moment of mild insanity you decide to take a stab at washing your car — beginning to strip away the layers that have been accumulating over the winter months in hopes that something different is on the way. 
The same thing can happen during Lent. Over the year our hearts and minds can become coated with the salt, grime, and dirty snow of life. We can become dulled to the realities of the kingdom and merely trudge through day-to-day existence. Therefore, as we move throughout the year the reflective, repentant nature of Lent could be likened to taking a power washer to the soul. This might not be the typical image used to describe the church year, but perhaps it sheds a little light on what this season is about. As we approach the Easter season we want to strip away what is not of God in order that we might more fully reflect the new creation that was enabled through the work of the cross. We do this through intentional prayer and confession, as well as by taking on various fasts or spiritual disciplines in order that we might realign our priorities and focus on the one to whom we owe everything. 
~ Kelsey Holloway
My car has only been through one snow storm here in Seattle and it was covered in filth,  goo, and, believe or not, raccoon mucous that froze to the top of the trunk for months. My car is painted white, and most of the car shows only white. But the parts with goo and filth need some work.

This is Kelsey's point here... Lent is the time we do work on the parts with goo and filth.

What are our filthy spots smeared on to our souls? 
What are the things we have let sit for far too long on our souls?
  • Maybe it is something someone has done to us, that we need to name, deal with, and forgive.
  • Maybe it is something that we have done to someone else that we feel shame and need forgiveness.
  • Maybe it is something we have done or are doing to ourselves. Some unhealthy action or thought that causes us to be less than we could be, be less than God made us to be.
Also, in my continuing theme to re-center Lent towards more of a communal event, where is the filth coming from in our social, consumer lives? Are there practices, attitudes, and/or behaviors that run our soul through the goo by how we treat others, the environment, people in other countries?

Lent is 40 days - which means we don't have to have the answers today. Let us begin the process of meditation and naming.

One great practice for this week might be to literally wash your car.

O Lord show me where I have come up short and the practices, attitudes, and beliefs where I drag my own soul through the goo. Let me have eyes to see and ears to hear in ways that are unclouded and unhindered. Give me the strength to meditate and name those things which hinder. Help me "...to strip away what is not of God in order that we might more fully reflect the new creation that was enabled through the work of the cross." Amen!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lent Devotional Material that I am using!

I am using the devotional material put out by Seattle Pacific University...

Some preliminary things I love about it:
  • It is weekly instead of daily which means that I can miss a day or two and not feel behind. It also means that I can meditate on one section for a week instead of cramming more stuff into each day. Because it is not about new stuff, but about understanding the old stuff in a new/fresh way.
  • I know the person who wrote it and I would follow her spiritually into the depths and back: Celeste Cranston. I am in a small group with her and she is in-tune with it, if you know what I mean. She is working with the material, with the scholarship, and has an M.Div of her own. This is good stuff.
  • The material is mostly based off of Dr. Laura Sweat's scholarship in Mark. Dr. Sweat is a Markan scholar and faculty at SPU. I would put her up against anyone when it comes to the Mark material. 
So, I will be reading and blogging along to this material. If you want to read it as well, you can download it HERE (note: this link "HERE" is a .pdf).

Blessings!

Tomorrow begins the season of Lent!

Tomorrow begins the season of Lent for Christians all over the world.

In case you are wondering, Lent is a 40 day period of waiting and preparation before Easter.

40 has great symbolic meaning in scripture. The flood of the Noah and the ark story was 40 days. The Israelites wandered the desert for two 40 years periods. Jesus fasted 40 days in before his public ministry. Jesus hung out with his disciples for 40 days after Easter morning, preparing them for ministry and the reception of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

40 is almost always connected to preparation and purification. Lent is just that. It is the emptying of self. It is preparing oneself to receive the good news of Easter, to experience it afresh, uncluttered from opulence, comfort, worldliness, and mixed-up priorities.

This church season is usually practiced by fasting (or giving up) something that will help one remain focused and move towards the above goals.

Every year I am tempted to try and kill two birds with one stone. If I give up all sweets I will lose weight and hopefully will have more spiritual direction, removing unnecessary comfort. It seems like a great plan, the best of both worlds. But that is precisely the problem for me... I want both worlds, I want both kingdoms.

This year I am going to try and think of something that is truly self-negating. I think it should be something that is self-emptying instead of something that self-improving.

This, of course, is entirely an impossibility inherent in the exercise itself. For to participate in the grace of this season is just that, unmerited grace. Lent is a response to what Jesus has already done and is doing in my life. My action of identifying with the passion of the Lord is a reaction. I have already been moved, improved, changed, transformed and am semper refomanda (always being reformed/reforming). So, this process is inherently supposed to "improve me." Spiritual disciplines should always have the goal of drawing closer to the Lord who is the source of goodness and transformation.

More than all that, I think the mark of a changed life is a changed community. I want my lent practice to change the community around me, to change the people around me, to change the world around me. If the greatest commandment is to Love God and neighbor and if the royal law of Christ is to love one another, than my actions should not only benefit me.

So, in those themes, I have a few suggestions for myself and anyone else looking:
  • Not fasting from chocolate but fasting from slave chocolate
    • Something like 70% and up of the world's chocolate is plagued by the issue of slavery. 80% of slaves are women and children. Whole cocoa operations are run by child slaves. So, maybe don't give up chocolate but give up chocolate that is not fair-trade certified. This would men resisting those Reese's Peanut butter cups and Cadbury Eggs (oh I love them -  but self-emptying) in exchange for a more neighbor-friendly choice. There are some great options:
      • One of my favorites is Theo Chocolate right here in Seattle. It is so unique in so many ways. It is Fair Trade, Organic and Bean-to-bar. That means that they get their beans from farms and make the chocolate themselves, which very few chocolate factories do. It does cost more than Hershey's or something like that, but this is the actual cost of food not produced by people who are enslaved and underpaid.
      • Also, Ben and Jerry's ice cream is trying to remove all chocolate that isn't fair trade from their products. Though they aren't all the way there, they have done a good job so far and are worth supporting. You can read about it here.
  • Planting Trees in Africa and South America
    • Eden Reforestation Projects is doing it better, cheaper and with more transformation than anyone out there. They are planting trees for 10 cents a piece. And with their nursery system, they are providing jobs for people in impoverished areas. Their model is fantastic. $10 plants 100 trees and provides jobs. 
      • If you are unsure of the need of such a project, you can read here about deforestation.
  • Eat-in for 40 days and donate the left over money to people who are without food...
    • This one may take some math but there are some ways to go about it. Look at your debit card transaction from last month see how much you spent on food outside of the home. Subtract from that your grocery expenses and give the rest. 
    • Where to send it is up to you...
      • Every community has a shelter that gives food away. Salvation Army, A Food Bank, a shelter.
      • The need over seas is even greater with so many good organizations to give to. World-Vision is a popular one. One of my favorites is International Child Care Ministries.
        • Through ICCM you can give to a food fund or even buy an animal for a family or village in other parts of the world that can produce food for a long time to come. There are other funds for food, water filters, rebuilding efforts and so on.
These all meet the requirements of self-emptying sacrifice that betters the world around. May we all sense the Lord's presence in a mighty way as we enter into a new season. May the emptying of ourselves make room for a new work of the Spirit to change and transform us. May the good news of Jesus move us to faith and love.

Blessings!

Friday, February 10, 2012

"James with a 'Y'" - The story of a name!

Everyone is always intrigued by the ‘y’ in my first name… ‘Jaymes.’

I am always a little hesitant to tell the story I was told but the story goes like this:

“My parents said that I was always going to be ‘James’ but a few days before I was born they were down by the river drinking wine coolers. They noticed the brand was ‘Bartles and Jaymes’ and thought it was a cool spelling. And so… I was born… Jaymes.”

That’s right... 

My full name is Jaymes Grady Lackey. The 'Grady' comes from my dad's name. It is actually his middle name, but it is the name he has gone by since birth. My brother and I both share this middle name.

Some people in my family (Mom) wanted me to give Titus my middle name. I figured that 'Lackey' was enough of a connection to scar him for life. So, as I received my Father's name as my middle name, Erin and I gave Titus my first name: Titus Jaymes.

So, 'Bartles and Jaymes' lives on at least one more generation.




Try and BEAT THAT!!!!! No really, what are your name stories, mispronunciations, traditions...

Mormonism and Christianity - Last Post

This is my last post for a while discussing the debate about the whether or not Mormons and Christians are the same. 

I find the debate interesting because Mormons seemed more convinced than ever that they are Christians and I can't think of a single prominent Christian denomination that would affirm such an idea.

Here is an article discussing just this very issue: http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2012-01/are-mormons-christian-its-complicated

Some interesting quotes:
  • "Whatever it is, Mormonism is not Christianity," Land said. "They do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, they do not believe in God the Father as he is recognized in the orthodox Christian faith, and they believe that 'As man now is, God was once.' The only thing right about that sentence from the orthodox Christian perspective is the punctuation." 

  • But even Catholics and more liberal Protestants, such as the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church, do not consider Mormon baptisms valid. 

  • "The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by self-definition, does not fit within the bounds of the historic, apostolic tradition of Christian faith," the Methodists wrote in 2000. 

  • For example, arguing that Mormons are not Christians because they do not recite the Nicene Creed would leave Jesus and his disciples outside the Christian fold as well, argues Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the LDS Church's Quorum of Twelve Apostles. And, Holland says, the idea of a flesh-and-blood God should not sound strange to Christians, who, after all, believe in the bodily birth and resurrection of Jesus.

    Christians who insist on a single, closed canon forget that Catholics and Protestants use different versions of the Bible, argues Stephen Robinson, a professor of religion at Mormon-run Brigham Young University in Utah. And didn't differing interpretations of the Trinity contribute to the Great Schism between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches in 1054? 
What do you think? Should we even be determining who is in and out? Do you find the argument that Mormon's don't accept Christian baptisms and vice versa compelling?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Commentary on 1 John 4:7-12

Jaymes Lackey
November 29, 2011
Commentary of 1 John 4:7-12
Translation of the Text
(7) Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. (8) Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.
(9) God’s love was revealed to us in this way: God sent God’s only Son into the world so that we might live through him. (10) This is love: it is not that we loved God but that God loved us and sent the Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. (11) Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. (12) No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us, and God’s love is perfected in us.

2. Exegetical Idea:
God loves us. When we know God we are transformationally born of God to be able to love in the example of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son. When we love each other this way, though God has never been seen, God is revealed through our love towards each other.

3. Exegetical Outline
1.     We love each other because we are born of God (7-8)
2.     We know God’s love because God sent Jesus (9-10)
3.     When we love each other God is made known. (11-12)

4. Commentary
(7) Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

Agaphtoi’’ is the noun form of that agape love that everyone knows about. This word sets the tone for what is coming, namely that “God love us” repeated twice in vv. 10 and 11; the crowning proof of which is that the Father sent the Son. The church is beloved not because the author loves those who have held fast to the apostolic witness, but because God sent Jesus “to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (10).  Judith Lieu points out that this is the beginning of the “we”/“us” inclusive language. This “continues emphatically through the rest of the chapter, and the author does not directly address his readers again as “you” until the letter draws to a close (5:13).”[1]

The word “allelouj” (“one another”) shows up again. This word by itself should be the clearest expression of what kind of love this is. This love is not love of enemies or even a general neighborly love reported in the Gospels. This agape love is the Christians love for other Christians. The love of Christians is to be directed towards one another because we are in God’s community. Love is the direct result from being born of God. When a Christian knows God, the key mark of the person is love because it is one of the key marks of God (v. 8). The character of the God’s community needs to be love for others in the community.

“…born of God and knows God”: Being born of God, in reiteration, is a transformational quality that makes us God’s children. This is not adoption as Paul sometimes talks about, this is much stronger language, this is having God’s DNA in us. We are the beloved of God, God’s children who are able to have the characteristics of God and know God. We love because we have been transformed by God’s love to love.

Knowing God is also a result of transformation. Knowing has a very clear meaning for the author of 1 John. It is not just knowing of God, for James would say, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder” (2:19). As for both, this context and the context of James, knowing God requires: (1) obeying Jesus’ commandments (cf. 2:3-5) and (2) loving the community of believers (4:7). This definition of knowing God may account for much when it comes to the object of our love. Following Jesus’ commandments will certainly allow for us to love our neighbor and our enemy. Loving neighbors and enemies is a love we do, whether we want to or not, out of obedience. Loving the community of believers comes from comes from being transformed by the God who is Love.

(8) Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

V. 8 is a parallel of v. 7 but in the negative form. It becomes a measuring stick for who is really born of God and who isn’t. It parallels v.7 in that those who love, they know God. The reverse is true and reiterated that way.

V. 8 also contains the strongest equation of God and love that is possible; “God is love.”  In this pericope, God is love because: (1) God is the progenitor of love to both the world (v. 9) and to God’s loving children, Christians (v. 10), (2) God is the example of love in (a) sending Jesus (v. 9) and (b) the Son dying for our sins (v. 10).

This phrase certainly parallels the earlier statement that “God is light” (1:5). The marks of God theologically mean something about God and transfer to be marking characteristics of his Children. In God there is no darkness. God sacrifices God-self for us, to be our Father and we God’s children. Likewise, God’s children are to be marked with holiness, purity and righteousness. God’s children are to be marked with love for their siblings, the community of God. These are the traits we inherit from our heavenly Father. As God’s children bearing God’s seed, we get God’s qualitative marks. Instead of having God’s nose or eyes, we get transformation into holiness and love.

It does need to be stated that love is not God. Lieu says it this way, “…the author is not engaged in abstract definitions of God… still less is he concerned with idealizing love… Love is not an abstract idea but is known through what God has done toward women and men; it finds its goal in the shared life of those who are formed by what God has done….”[2]

(9) God’s love was revealed to us in this way: God sent God’s only Son into the world so that we might live through him.

God’s love is centered on the Son and his appearance to us. Jesus becomes the example both of God’s sacrificial love and how we are to love. The “we might live through him” is an enigmatic passage. “Zesomen” is used only once in 1 John. “Through him,” in my opinion, is both (1) seeing Jesus as an example and (2) through the power of the transformation in being God’s children. Lieu points out that death isn’t mentioned here. For the author, it is the sent Son that is important. Atonement theories don’t seem to be important to the author of 1 John.[3]

It is interesting to note that with all the language of Christians being God’s literal children through transformation, bearing God’s seed and qualitative marks of holiness and love, Jesus is still regarded as God’s one and only Son. Maybe “only” shouldn’t be the translation. Maybe “unique” or “one-of-a-kind” or even “only-begotten.” “Monogenh/” is the term here. It is used primarily in the Gospel of Luke and John. Hebrews may be the key to this passage. In Hebrews 11:17 the word is used of Isaac as the “monogenh/” of Abraham. Clearly Abraham has another son, Ishmael. Isaac is the unique son of the promise, of the covenant and so maybe we should see Jesus in this light. Jesus is the unique Son of God in natural birth, covenant relationship and mission, but we are now children of God through Christ. St. Paul says it this way, “When we cry, ‘Abba!* Father!’ 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness* with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8). We receive the same reward and punishment with Christ and children.

Lieu concludes that Jesus could be “monogenes” because he was sent. The authority of messengers as relating to the sender sets Jesus apart from us as children because Jesus was sent and was Son. Ultimately she concludes that there is nothing in 1 John that invites further reflection as the uses are probably formulaic.[4]

Yarbrough also wants to make a connection between “monogenes” and being sent. Though Yarbrough wants to uphold “one and only” which to me negates qualitative state of the believers. He, in passing, uses the word “unique” which may be a better translation preserving Jesus’ position but allowing believers to be totally transformed.[5]

Lieu and Smalley disagree on the word “world”. Lieu suggest that “kosmos” throughout 1 John is in reference to humankind and their sinfulness and therefore Jesus is sent to the world in this sense (cf. 2:2)[6]. Smalley suggest that it is neutral referring to Jesus as the incarnate one coming to the earth in time and space. He seems to think that is the context of v. 9 as expounded through the word “revealed”.[7] Though I see Smalley’s points, I think Lieu is the most consistent with the context of the word “kosmos” in 1 John and find that Jesus was sent for all people.

Wall wants to point out that the revealed one, the incarnation, is the basis for the apostolic witness. The apostle’s have seen and touched this Jesus who came to the earth. This Jesus is the greatest and highest example, the definition of God’s love and is the very same who the apostles have known.[8]

(10) This is love: it is not that we loved God but that God loved us and sent the Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins

This scripture defines love for us: God sacrifices God’s son. Jesus’ death is how we know that God loves us. This is not the first act of love, as the time sequence in the passage may seem to imply, but it is the greatest act of love. Nothing else compares to this.

 ,Ilasmon” shows up again here (cf. 2:2). This translation cannot be propitiation, which implies a wrathful deity being satisfied. Here, clearly there is a loving deity. God is defined as love. More than being love, this pericope is holding God up as the example of love in sending Jesus to be a sacrifice. The sacrifice is not in response to God’s anger but for the world’s (kosmos) sake, that the works of the devil may be destroyed in us (3:8).

(11) Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.

Here we have a reiteration of what has been said before (vv. 7-8) but with the elucidation of vv. 9-10. God loves us by sacrificing and this should be the example of our love towards one another (allelous). This love is not just a feelings love but an action love. It requires that we love others in the community of God at the expense of ourselves and everything we have (cf. 3:16-18). Lieu agrees that 3:16 is “the nature of authentic love… defined.”[9]

(12) No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us, and God’s love is perfected in us.

“No one has ever seen God…” certainly this is true in one sense. No one has seen God the Father. Even those who have seen parts of God have not seen the full glory of God. But we have seen the Son. The apostolic witness in 1:1-4 makes this clear that Jesus was here, touched and seen. The author wants to shock the audience a bit in that the Father does abide in the world. The Father is revealed in the community as each one loves the other. God dwells there, the Father abides in the love of the children for each other. The statement is conditional, it is only when we love that God shows up. God is only manifested when the children love one another. This may be the church’s greatest attribute and evangelistic tool.

Teteilome,nh” is an interesting word worthy of a vast more research. In a small sense, it means completed, perfected, a goal reached. In the four uses found in 1 John (cf. 2:5, 4:12, 4:17, 4:18) it should be noted that each occurrence is coupled with the context of love. For 1 John it would seem that the end result of God’s love is for us to love another. This is the goal of God’s love. It is the highest and best thing we can do as the beloved children of God. There is nothing worthier of our time and attention.

Lieu makes claim that this verse says that a loving community is the “most certain experience of God.”[10]


5. Theological Reflection
The community above all is the most important thing in the cosmos. God’s love has reached its perfect goal when we love each other in Christian community. This is the end all, be all of our faith. There are some presuppositions to this. We must know God, which implies that we will follow the commandments of Christ. That implies our Christian walks. Also, this love for each other is not open to interpretation but is clearly defined for us in 4:9-10. It must be a love like the one God has shown us through Christ, namely self-sacrificing love.

The community’s love for one another is the highest end of God’s love this side of resurrection. Though God has never been see, this is the way that God the Father is present in the world.

6. Lesson Plan for Preaching
Title: Our Ultimate Life’s Goal!
1.     Intro: What is our ultimate life’s goal. What does scripture tells us about what our greatest work in life is to be?
2.     We love each other because we are born of God (7-8)
a.     We are God’s children… we have his inherited trait of love.
3.     We love in the example of God sending Jesus (9-10)
a.     God’s love is our example
                                                 i.     God’s example is self-sacrifice
                                               ii.     We need to love each other in this way, through Christ.
4.     When we love each other God is made known and Love’s highest goal is reached. (11-12)
a.     This is God’s love reaching its highest goal in this world.
                                                 i.     By loving each other we are living into “our ultimate life’s goal”
b.     This is how God the Father chooses to manifest in the world.
                                                 i.     It is when we love one another through Jesus bringing us new birth, empowered by the Holy Spirit, that God abides.
1.     The Father abides in the community!
5.     Conclusion: Are we playing church or are we being the church? Is this time of a gathering and the highest expression of God’s love perfected or something else? Have our lives been about us and our individualism, being by ourselves in pursuit of our individual life’s goal or have we joined God’s family, for better or worse, to live into the fullest expression of God’s love here on earth?






Bibliography
Craddock, Fred B., Luke Timothy Johnson, David L. Bartlett, Duane F. Watson, C. Clifton
Black, and Christopher C. Rowland. 1998. The New interpreter's Bible: The letter to
the Hebrews, the letter of James, the first and second letters of Peter, the first,
second, and third letters of John, the letter of Jude, the book of Revelation. Volume
XII. Nashvville, Tenn: Abingdon.

Lieu, Judith., I, II, & III John: A Commentary. Louisville: Westminister John Knox, 2008.

Smalley, Stephen. 1, 2, 3 John. World Biblical Commentary, Vol. 51. Thomas Nelson, 2007.

Balz, Horst. ed.  Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1993.

Schunack, G. “τύπος, ου, ” Pages 372-6 in vol. 3 of Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Edited by Horst Balz. 3 vols. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1993.

Yarbrough, Robert W. 1-3 John. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2008.

Wall, Rob. The Catholic Epistles of John. Disseminated through Blackboard as an inclass
handout.



[1] Leiu, I, II, III John: A Commentary, 176.
[2] Lieu, 177.
[3] Lieu, 180.
[4] Leiu, 183.
[5] Yarbrough, 238.
[6] Lieu, 180.
[7] Smalley, 1,2,3, John: World Biblical Commentary, 240-242.
[8] Wall, 24.
[9] Lieu, 177.
[10] Leiu, 186.