Follow Jesus to the Ends of the Earth

Month: September 2015

Truth in advertising

Sign on a beach in South Africa where no dogs are allowed.

Sign on a beach in South Africa where no dogs are allowed.

Jesus touched the leper

A man with leprosy approaches Jesus and begs to be healed. He’s desperate, in pain and shunned by society. People around Jesus pull back in fear and revulsion. They don’t want to get leprosy, they don’t want to be close to the diseased man. They harbor the thought that this man must have done something, some sort of sin, to deserve this fate.

Jesus, however, responds differently. Moved by compassion, he reaches out and touches the leper! Jesus touched him. No one touches a leper. How long since this man had experienced human touch? How long since someone looked at him with anything besides fear and disgust and slid quickly away?

Jesus touched him. I don’t think it was just a poke. I think that Jesus held the pus-filled sores and made them whole. I wonder what it felt like for the leper as his body was knit back together? Could he feel the sickness leaving? Did it hurt? Itch? Did it take seconds or minutes? Did Jesus smile as he touched the man? Did he laugh as he watched surprise and joy spread across the man’s face?

The leper, now made whole, totally overjoyed, completely disobeyed Jesus’ instructions to keep this incident quiet and told everyone about the touch of Jesus. I love that part. It was too astounding to keep to himself.

The story found in Mark 1:40-45 is told in just a few lines, but for the leper, he told the story the rest of his life. Such are those who’ve experienced the touch of Jesus.

The truth about languages

unnamedMy friend, Ken Cochrum, recently shared this infographic from the Washington Post in his blog On Leading Well.  I’ve been thinking about it and so I pass it along.

As this infographic shows, the majority of people in the world speak one of 12 languages as their native tongue. If you want to communicate a message to all the world, these are the languages to focus on first. It’s also interesting to remember that as a second-language, English predominates world-wide, which is helpful to the language-impaired, like myself. But for people to really hear a message and understand it, there’s no substitute for their heart language.

The Road to Character

IMG_0208 (1)I picked up The Road to Character, by David Brooks,  because I liked his thoughts when I’ve listened to him on PBS and Meet the Press, and I’ve read some of his stuff in the past. In this book he takes on our current narcissistic culture that he names “The Big Me,” offering a response consisting of deeper values, like kindness, bravery, self-sacrifice, struggle and self-control.

Brooks shares biographical studies from history to bring his points to life. These are interesting, but the reason to buy this book comes in the final chapter where he gives the qualities necessary to live a life of character and thereby maturity and significance.  A more biblically solid list you won’t find elsewhere. It’s like the man has gotten religion. It’s refreshing to see the same values echoed in the book that the wisdom of scripture has brought us for centuries and it’s engaging to see a thinker like Brooks take on the selfie-obsessed world in which we swim daily.

I heard this gentleman speak a few months ago while at a Cru conference where we were discussing working with people all across the ethnic spectrum, and I keep coming back to his thought on the topic:

The flourishing of the brother is the point.

Dr. Sam Barkat


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