Character in Context
Episode 11: The Seven Woes Part 1: Polemic in the Ancient World

Episode 11: The Seven Woes Part 1: Polemic in the Ancient World

May 31, 2019

You won't want to miss this episode! This is the beginning of a teaching series on one of the most uncomfortable sections of the Gospels--the seven woes of Matthew 23. Uncomfortable because we either like to box in Yeshua/Jesus as entirely meek and gentle or, conversely, because some people use this one section of Scripture--which served a unique cultural function that is no longer appreciated--as an excuse to behave boorishly toward anyone who disagrees. But polemic was well understood in the Hellenistic world and was widely used in verbal battles not only between Jews and Gentiles, but between Jews and Jews! We're going to look at examples from Gentile philosophers, as well as Jewish writers like Josephus, Philo, and the authors of the Qumran scrolls (commonly known as the Dead Sea Scrolls). How did Yeshua's polemic measure up to the standards of the day? Let's take a look.

Episode 10: Unplanned and Precious: Our Adoption Story

Episode 10: Unplanned and Precious: Our Adoption Story

May 24, 2019

I oftentimes wish we didn't have such an amazing testimony, but this is the story closest to my heart. What would eighteen-year-old Stephanie, pregnant with twins from a forced sexual encounter with a former boyfriend, decide to do when she encountered God on the ultrasound table? Would she give her life to Him? Would she keep her abortion appointment? 

But it's also my story. What did I decide to do when our dream match of twins went horribly wrong with a devastating special needs diagnosis and when we found out that the jailed birthfather would be legally contesting the adoption? Would we back out, or stay the course?

And most importantly, what did God do?

Episode 9: Image-bearing–How are we made in God’s image and why? And what does it have to do with Messiah’s mission?

Episode 9: Image-bearing–How are we made in God’s image and why? And what does it have to do with Messiah’s mission?

May 17, 2019

People often ask me--"Why did Yeshua/Jesus have to die?" It's a really good question and the pat answers don't do a lot to answer it for us. It's one thing to know He died to set the whole world free from the powers of sin and death and quite another thing to understand why it had to happen that way. How did idolatry, the subversion of worship through a focus on the images of false gods, lead to the need for the One whom Paul referred to as "the image of the unseen God" (Col 1:15)

Episode 8: The Parable of the Four Soils?

Episode 8: The Parable of the Four Soils?

May 10, 2019

The Parable of the Four Soils? What the heck? Didn't Yeshua/Jesus Himself call it the Parable of the Sower? Why are you renaming the parable? Are you some kind of heretic? 

Nope, just wanting to teach it from the perspective of the soil, namely the soil of our own minds and hearts. I will also be doing a teaching on the "rules of the parable" in ancient Judaism based on a very good book that I have been reading.

Episode 7: Eunuchs in the Kingdom–What Messiah had to say about divorce and being single

Episode 7: Eunuchs in the Kingdom–What Messiah had to say about divorce and being single

May 3, 2019

Why did Yeshua, for all intents and purposes, call divorced and remarried Pharisees serial adulterers? Why on earth did Yeshua/Jesus teach about eunuchs after denouncing the Hillelite ruling on divorce? Maybe a better question is--would He approve of our tendencies to treat single believers like they are second class citizens, or diseased and in need of a cure? Hold on to your hats, this one will get a bit controversial as we look into the marriage controversies during the first-century.

Here's the link to that article I talked about: https://foreverymom.com/marriage/enough-enough-church-stop-enabling-abusive-men-gary-thomas/

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