It was great that Al Stewart is back preaching at the City Bible Forum for the rest of this year. He's one of my favourite Bible teacher. Sharp and clear his preaching is, and they are always challenging.
The passage for this week is on Luke 12:49-57. Al started with different images of Jesus people would like to have. Feminie Jesus dressed in pink robes. Lovely Jesus cuddling a little lamb. Feeling good kind of Jesus -- that is what people want. But in reality, whenever the word "Jesus" is dropped into a conversation, you surely are going to offend someone. Just as Jesus has already told the crowds in the passage:
Luke 12:49-53 (English Standard Version)
49 "I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."
The kind of Jesus that brings warfare and division? Yes he is. Even in the same family, difference in opinions towards Jesus can also divide up close relationships.
And then Al revealed that not all his kids are Christians. That came as a shock to me -- a well known pastor and public speaker, CEO of Anglican Youth Works -- but having unbelieving children? Then again, few people in my church circle that I truly respect also have children that are not professing Christians. At the end, each of us is responsible to our own relationship with God. Family can influence us. On the day it is just me, myself and I who stand before him, and no other Christian relatives can pardon for me.
But I can imagine the agony they must have gone through. You brought them up in a Christian family. You read Bible to them when they were young. You prayed together, brought them to Sunday school, beach missions and maybe countless number of church camps. But then they rejected God. Being a Christian parent who loves his children so much, and knows very well the consequence of ignoring Jesus... It is not something that people would often want to talk about. At least not with those I know.
Yeah. Need your prayer. That this family will not be divided. But what unified us shall be no one else but Jesus.
Just blogged about this morning's "conversation" with Anna (more like teaching her to pronounce words), and thank you for the prayers.