24 Nov

Hagaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

42-16422557As you may remember from elementary school an onomatopoeia is a word that sounds like its meaning. For example, saying the word “splash” sounds like a rock landing in a pond.   In the Hebrew language there are a lot of these.  I learned one this past weekend from Ray Vander Laan at his weekend conference. The Hebrew word is “Hagah.”  Unfortunately, when the word as it is used in the Old Testament got translated into English, translators decided to go with it’s more literal meaning – “meditate.”   But this only slightly captures it’s original intent when written by the Hebrew writers.    Look with me at Joshua 1:8 :

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

The word “meditate” here is “hagah.”  Typically we think of meditate as a quiet reflection.  So here we get the idea that we should quietly reflect on God’s law day and night, which is of course a wonderful thing.  But the original idea was even more powerful!  So what did it mean? “Hagah” is an onomatopoeia for what a hungry lion does when he’s seeking food.  Imagine that lion in your mind and hear his roar as he passionately and even desperately seeks after something to eat – “Hagaaahhhhhhh!”  Does that sound like meditation to you, at least as we’ve defined it?  Joshua 1:9 is about focusing on God’s Word but maybe not as quietly and passively as we might think.  It’s about being HUNGRY for God’s Word day and night!  And not just a little bit hungry for a snack.  We’re to desire God’s Word like a starving lion.  “Hagaaahhhhhhh!

I would suggest that most Christians treat God’s Word more like a snack, if that.   No wonder it has “departed from our mouths” and we aren’t careful to “do everything written in it” as God declares boldly in Text.  But there’s more.  God goes on to say in Joshua 1:8 that our hunger and obedience to His Word is directly related to our “success” in life.  Obviously it’s not being implied here that if you read God’s Word that everything will always go well. But no matter what you face in life, if you have been “Hagaaahhhhhhhing” on God’s Word then you’re going to be able to follow God through that moment.  Why?  Because His Word is not only our guide, it’s the way to live life fully. Somehow we’ve reduced it to a set of rules and obligations. But God’s Word is LIFE as it’s meant to be LIVED!    The  laws and “rules” are there but not to merely restrict us – they are there to give us LIFE!  Of course there are things there about what  NOT to do.  But that’s because those things that we’re being told to avoid will DESTROY us!  We have to really believe God’s Word is life if we’re going to hunger for them.

Listen to the “Hagaaahhhhhhh!”  used again in Psalm 1:1-2

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he
meditates (hagah) day and night.

If we’re going to follow Jesus as our Rabbi and truly be “covered in His dust” then we must know Him.  And the way we know Him is by immersing ourselves in His Word.  I want to wake up every morning hungry.  I want to “Hagaaahhhhhhh!” all day for His Words so that I can be more like Him, so I can do what He does, and so I can go where He goes.

It’s time to work up an appetite and then to devour God’s Word.  Day and night, I can’t get enough.  “Hagaaahhhhhhh!”  God’s Word is my food and I want it more than anything!  “Hagaaahhhhhhh!”  God’s Word is LIFE and to live it I have to know it.  “Hagaaahhhhhhh!

Maybe the more we “Hagaaahhhhhhh!” the more we can be like Jesus, the LION of Judah.

19 Nov

Jesus the Youth Minister?

sandals 2I love working with teenagers for many reasons.  I love their passion and the way they believe they can change the world.  I love their desire for sincerity and their openness to learn and grow.  I believe this generation of teenagers are a part of a revolution that will indeed change our world for the better.  I am truly blessed to work with a large group of teenagers and then a smaller group of teen disciples (talmidim).

It’s cheap MLB jerseys no wonder that Jesus chose those he did to change wholesale MLB jerseys the world.  Maybe you’ve never thought of it this way, but I would suggest that Jesus was…a Youth Minister.  Let me explain.

While it may sound strange to some, Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi who would have been called Rabbi Yeshua.  His Hebrew name literally meant “salvation.”  While the term “rabbi” did not become a formal title until after the time of Jesus, during His day it simply meant “my teacher” and was used to describe those respected enough in the community to teach from the Torah.  Rabbis taught as master teachers and they called disciples (talmidim) to follow them.  These talmidim knew that their ultimate goal wasn’t just to learn information from their Rabbi but to be just like him.  They followed their Rabbi everywhere and sought to be just like him by following him so closely that they became completely “covered in his dust” (as one ancient Rabbi suggested).

From ages 4 until 12, Jewish boys dedicated their schooling to memorizing the Torah (the first 5 books of the Old Testament).  The best of these students went on to a second level of schooling from ages 12-15 to be a taught the oral Torah which was the equivalent of studying modern day commentary on the Scriptures.  Only a few of these elite students would then go to a Rabbi and ask to follow him.  If the Rabbi believed they had what it would take he would invite them to “come and follow me.”  Most students however would not receive this great honor and would move on to learn the family business.  They might become fishermen or tax collectors or maybe a stone mason.

One of  the most radical things about Jesus was that He didn’t choose the best of the best talmidim as the other Rabbis of His day would have done. Sports  The very fact that He finds Peter and Andrew on the shore as fishermen means that they weren’t good enough to be talmidim of any other Rabbi.   And because you could become a fisherman or could be working full time with your father by age 13, the talmidim TALMIDIM that  Jesus chose could have easily been teenagers as young as 13!  In fact, an even more significant clue into this is when Peter asks Jesus in Matthew 17 if he should pay the two drachma temple tax.  According to Exodus 13 you weren’t required to  pay this tax until you reached 20 years Wholesale of age.  What did Jesus tell Peter?  Go fish.  Jesus told him that the first fish that he would catch would have a four drachma coin in his mouth (don’t you wish it worked this way with the IRS today?).   What’s the point?  Let’s do the math.  Jesus is probably around 30 so he needed to pay a two drachma tax.  Peter is probably over 20 because he’s married and Jewish men usually didn’t marry until at least age 20.  So Peter needs a to pay a two drachma Miami Dolphins Jerseys tax.  So Jesus + Peter = 4 drachma tax.  What about the tax for the other 11 disciples?  Matthew 17 clearly states that ALL of the disciples are present but Jesus says nothing about their tax. If he’d wanted to pay their tax plus his own then we’d be talking about one really valuable fish carrying 26 drachma in his gills.  How old are these guys!   Apparently, with the exception of  Peter, they are all under 20 and therefore do not need to pay the tax!

Rabbi Jesus takes these 11 teenagers that no other Rabbi chose, along with 1 very imperfect young adult, and uses them to change the world. How?

By making them talmidim.

And just before He leaves them, He tells them to go and make other talmidim (Matthew 28).  And they will.  Just read the sequel.  The book of Acts shows passionate disciples being made and the church coming alive with a fire that is passed from Jesus to His talmidim and then ignites a revolution.  That revolution was the early church that has survived for 2000 years.  And it A all started when one man took a young adult and 11 teenagers and said, “Follow me!”  You might call that JESUS Driven Youth Ministry.

17 Nov

TALMIDIM

tree logoWhy does discipleship fail so often today?  Because we’ve lost the very core.  When “everyone” is a “disciple” it seems that no one is a disciple.

This is a passionate call to rise wholesale nfl jerseys up cheap nba jerseys and change the world today by being a follower of our Savior and Rabbi Jesus.  The Hebrew word for disciple is TALMID.  Talmidim (plural) followed a Rabbi.  Today, we are called to be 29-year-o talmidim and jerseys Jesus is our Rabbi.  If we are going to be just like our Rabbi, we must know our Rabbi.  Today, discipleship has often been reduced to showing up at a worship service and Bible class.

Will you get to know your Rabbi?  To know Him, we must begin by knowing what He’s already done. And then we can begin to discover what He’s doing now.

The ancient rabbis said that talmidim should follow their rabbi so closely that they become “covered in his dust.”  This is a call to know and follow Jesus. Follow Him.  Talk to Him.  Watch Him. wholesale mlb jerseys Know Him. cheap  Be like Him.  Cover yourself in His dust because you’ve followed Him so closely and want more badly than anything else in the world to be like Him.

And then…once we become talmidim ourselves, we can really begin to cheap jerseys rescue a watered down, 21st century idea of discipleship by making more talmidim.   But we can’t make what we have not already become.  Do you want to make disciples?  Then first you have to be a disciple.  Become talmidim.   Go make talmidim.  It’s the Rabbi’s way.