Monthly Archives: October 2012
This is a spur-of-the-moment post, but today’s Bible reading made my gears whirl.
Here it is:
Although I have great boldness in Christ to command you to do what is right, I appeal to you, instead, on the basis of love. (Philemon 8-9, HCSB)
Before this passage hits you with all intensity, you have to think about what’s going on behind the scenes of Paul’s writing. This short, personal letter has a lot packed within twenty-five verses: betrayal, abandonment, injustice, crime, conflict, redemption, appeal, tears, prison–it’s like a drama series on NBC.
The list of characters is Philemon (a Christian slave-owner) and Onesimus (a Christian slave), with Paul writing an urgent appeal to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus. Roman slavery in the first-century was very different from the more horrific chattel slavery of America’s early years, yet it was still an injustice that the New Testament repeatedly undermines. In this case, Onesimus was a runaway slave, a crime punishable by death in the Roman empire. At some point in their friendship, Paul must have led Philemon to a saving knowledge of Christ, for he claims that Philemon owes him his entire self (19). It is the effect of this gospel that Paul uses to leverage the situation on behalf of his new friend, Onesimus, to spare his life.
Paul could have demanded Philemon to change his behavior.
Think of all that was at stake! Onesimus was facing execution, or in the most merciful of circumstances, imprisonment with torture. Paul certainly could have used his Apostolic authority to manhandle the situation, as he has done elsewhere (2 Cor. 10-11). But in this case, he mentions that while he has authority to command right behavior, he instead, wishes to appeal “on the basis of love.”
Paul, in this case, attempts to break the chains of injustice, not by legislation, protesting, bullying, or picking up a sword, but through the power of the gospel. By winning Philemon to the gospel of Jesus, he is able, through that gospel, to make an appeal to Philemon’s changed heart for the freedom of Onesimus. What’s radical about the gospel is that Paul was able to use it to stretch Philemon even further than mercy–he calls him to treat Onesimus graciously, as a free man and brother.
Can you imagine the effectiveness of the church, if we put more weight on the transforming power of the gospel to save sinners?
Paul described the good news of Jesus as “the power of God for salvation” (Rom. 1:16), which not only results in declared righteousness, but crushes the ongoing desires behind our wicked behaviors! (Rom. 6:12-14).
Sometimes we seem to put more of our hope in our tactics of rhetoric, close-minded argument, and anger to change their behavior? Perhaps we are fighting for truth and justice, but to what end? With what effect? If our only method of treating a fallen world is to protest their actions from a distance, perhaps our trust in the power of the gospel has long faded. If that be the case… you better scream louder.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. – Jesus (Matthew 5:5, ESV)
If we’re gonna talk about the Holy Spirit, it don’t hurt us to get a little excited!
I got to teach at Reality LA this Sunday in the middle of their new series on the Beatitudes. This particular verse was on Matthew 5:6,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (ESV)
For more on their series, The New Society, check out this short intro video, and join them at kingjesus.realityla.com
There comes a point in the Christian’s life where we recognize the need to grow into spiritual maturity, to be nourished in the life of Jesus, to be effective in His kingdom. We often speak of this in individualistic terms, (e.g., “quiet times with God”) or as a one-on-one environment (e.g., “discipleship”). Both of these are equally necessary, yet still incomplete. The Christian needs the Christian(s). We also need spiritual formation that is energized and provided by a community of like-minded believers. We need the whole family. So, I introduce to you James Wilhoit’s, Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christ through Community, as a worthy choice.
There are some great books on spiritual growth, but Wilhoit’s emphasizes a heavy communal approach. Spiritual formation is described in Wilhoit’s own words as “the intentional communal process of growing in our relationship with God and becoming conformed to Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit” (23), and presents the local church as an irreplaceable necessity. Wilhoit asserts that spiritual formation is the central task of the church, and not a supplement. Instead of placing the loci of formation on a few specialized people or programs, he suggests that the local congregation “must resume the practice of making spiritual formation of their members into Christlikeness their primary goal” (10). This topic of spiritual maturity seems one of the more evasive practices of the church, because it is so easy to lob abstract theoretical grenades into the congregation that make little sense or are difficult to apply to the tangible sphere of recreation, family, and work. There are plenty of books on spiritual formation and discipleship that start with the imperatives of Scripture, but leave you to guess the implementation of those Scriptural truths. Granted, while no one wants to be mechanical or formulaic with spiritual maturity, it would still be nice to have a tangible push in the right direction, even if only to polish the rust from our orthopraxy. What I appreciated most about this book is Wilhoit’s practical insight into the disciplines of spiritual formation in community. Here’s a glance…
A brief outline.
In the first chapter, Wilhoit quickly sets the groundwork for spiritual growth in the Gospel. A lot of groundwork!—seven pages are devoted to unpacking the meaning and implications of the Gospel for the Christian’s identity, so as to prevent moralistic therapy from pervading the process that he outlines in the book. This chapter is excellent, and can stand on it’s own, with anthems such as, “All our spiritual problems come from a failure to apply the gospel,” (32) and “the gospel is the power of God for the beginning, middle, and end of salvation” (27). These indicative truths serve as a divine railway to guide the reader into a practical set of imperatives designed for measured growth. What follows chapter one is a curriculum (ch. 2) made up of four responses to the gospel that are designed by Scripture to take a church through a holistic engagement of spiritual nourishment, discipleship, and formation. These four are receiving, remembering, responding, and relating. Each subsequent chapter is a lens for viewing the practices in terms of community and the local church. Spread throughout the remaining 8 chapters is the following narrative… Read the rest of this entry
On Friday, I wrote that the Bible is a healthy mixture of both Law and Gospel, which, when read in its entirety, brings a person low by showing them the impossible commands of God’s holy Law, and yet elevates the one who puts their faith in Christ. When you read the Bible with a full view of both Law and Gospel, you nourish the soul! But if these two elements are the whole of Scripture, it still leaves us wondering about the point of Scripture. We can get this by walking through the narrative of Emmaus.
Luke 24:13-25 (HCSB)…
Now that same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 Together they were discussing everything that had taken place. 15 And while they were discussing and arguing, Jesus Himself came near and began to walk along with them. 16 But they were prevented from recognizing Him. 17 Then He asked them, “What is this dispute that you’re having with each other as you are walking?” And they stopped walking and looked discouraged. 18 The one named Cleopas answered Him, “Are You the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days?”19 “What things?” He asked them.So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus the Nazarene, who was a Prophet powerful in action and speech before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that He was the One who was about to redeem Israel. Besides all this, it’s the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women from our group astounded us. They arrived early at the tomb, 23 and when they didn’t find His body, they came and reported that they had seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they didn’t see Him.”
My commentary: The story starts with a group of discombobulated disciples, still trying to put the pieces together after Rome crucified their Messiah. In an ironic twist, they end up griping about their “failed Messiah” to the risen Messiah Himself, even dumbing down some of the first eyewitness reports of the resurrection (I’m trying to imagine Jesus’ facial expression).
He said to them, “How unwise and slow you are to believe in your hearts all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
My commentary: Jesus rebukes them for being ignorant to centuries of Scripture that foretold all that would happen. But the great part is in verse 27, when Jesus gives the disciples a Bible study through the entire Old Testament! A Jesus-led Bible study? Yes, please! (I would love to be a fly on that wall). But I want you to notice this key phrase: the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. This is our lens for reading the Law and the Gospel in the Old and New Testaments. The Bible is more than just a bunch of disconnected clippings of life in the Ancient Near East, or proverbial moral statements. It is an intricate narrative that points to one hero alone…
The point of all Scripture is Jesus.
But what exactly is the point? Some would say the point of Scripture is to be more like Jesus. Others would say the point is to pay closer attention to his teachings–while others would emphasize his actions. What do you think Jesus said to His disciples concerning the Old Testament Scriptures? He taught them that the Old Testament in its entirety pointed to His redemptive death and subsequent resurrection. The underlying question in the heart of the Torah is, “Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into His glory?” (v.26).
The most glorious display of Jesus is seen in the horror of the cross.
But how should this inform our reading of the Scriptures? Surely not every obscure passage is about the cross, right? Should I read Obadiah or Philemon as though every verse and passage was a reference to the cross of Jesus? Well, no, not exactly. But yes! Here’s what I mean…individual verses deal with a scattered variety of topics, but you must see them through the narrative of Scripture–the full story–as one that is about Jesus redeeming the world through his gruesome death. Even if a verse does not directly make reference to the cross, the framework surrounding the verse is looking forward to (or looking back to) the finished work of Jesus. THIS is what Jesus is telling His disciples. But even after what must have been the most mind-blowing Bible-study ever given, these men are still not receptive of the message–proving even further that the Holy Spirit must open our hearts to understand God’s Word–but let’s finish the story…
They came near the village where they were going, and He gave the impression that He was going farther. 29 But they urged Him: “Stay with us, because it’s almost evening, and now the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. 30 It was as He reclined at the table with them that He took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him, but He disappeared from their sight. 32 So they said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts ablaze within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?”
Wow. Just wow. At the moment that Christ gives out the sacraments, the Holy Spirit opens their eyes to recognize Jesus, not only physically, but as presented rightly in the Scriptures. Specifically, it says that their hearts were “ablaze” leading up to the full recognition of Jesus. This is profound. Yes, we need to do the hard work of studying and exegesis when reading the Bible, but we also need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to see the glory of Christ, or it will be nothing more than literature for us–or, even worse, a set of moral teachings–instead of broadcasting the treasuries of Christ.
This is also attested powerfully by the Apostle Peter, as he explains to a group of second generation Christians the times he has personally seen the Lord. But then he pulls an unexpected move: he tells them they are better off because they have the Scriptures.
“So we have the prophetic word strongly confirmed. You will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dismal place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all, you should know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:19-21, HCSB).
Based on all of this, I suggest that while you are prayerfully reading the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit might be already working in your hearts (setting it “ablaze”), even when you are struggling to understand, and that you must tenaciously continue until “the day dawns and the morning star [Christ] rises in your hearts.”
Keep reading the Scriptures until a glorious Christ emerges!
The cross is the blazing fire at which the flame of our love is kindled, but we have to get near enough to it for its sparks to fall on us. – John Stott
Our church has been delving into the nature and implications of theology, Bible translations, and the importance of the Apostolic message (released next week), and our ever-present 1-year-Bible readings. By God’s great mercy, many of us feel a renewed draw towards the Word of God, expecting that He will speak to us when we open the pages. But this post is redirect our attention to the full range of Scripture.
It’s easy to romanticize the Bible as a giant reference tool full of verses to make us feel better about ourselves. Or as God’s answer book, loaded with sound-bytes for everything that triggers our curiosity, including where to apply for our dream job. Even worse, God’s little love note to us…I digress.
My understanding of the Bible changed when I realized that it was not written about me, but God. Rather than looking for a divine psychologist to fix my problems, my gaze realigned onto a transcendent Other, as my universe began to revolve around the glories of who God is. After this, the Bible made my heart come alive. Years later, I still have to keep two things ever before me…
I have to read the Scriptures as Law and Gospel.
Every word you read in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, the Psalms, the Chronicles, and even the apocalyptic literature, all fits warmly under these two headings: you are either reading Law, or you are reading Gospel. A Law-demanding life is hopeless without the power of the Gospel, yet the good news of the Gospel is nonsensical without the Law. Simply put, the Scriptures are truncated unless both Law and Gospel are in it together.
Let’s talk about the Law.
The Law first pointed to the Ten Commandments (called the moral law), and was later expanded to include the entire Torah–which included a total of 613 commands. Jesus summarized the Law of God with these two,
He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands. (Matthew 22:37-40, HCSB)
We (Christians) sometimes make a couple of mistakes when we think of the Law. First, it’s a temptation to think of the Law as an anachronism relegated to the world of the “Old Testament.” Yes, there are many imperatives in the Old Testament, but there are also many imperatives in the New Testament. We should think of the Law as all of God’s commandments in Scripture. The second mistake we make is to denigrate the Law as legalism, per se, which is non-binding on believers from the New Testament. But Paul said, “the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good” (Rom. 7:12, HCSB).
Let’s talk about the Gospel.
When we fail to keep the commands of God and are rightly condemned as a result, it is the Gospel that declares us justified before God, by grace, through faith in Christ alone (Rom. 5:18). Justification is more than mere forgiveness. When your debt is forgiven, you can still be left broke, though without outstanding debts. But when a person is justified, they experience a credit. In this case, we are given the wealth of Christ’s righteousness (2 Cor. 8:9)! But where did He get it from? You say, “Well, He’s God, so he was already righteous.” That’s true…in His divinity. But in the doctrine of the incarnation, something buck-wild occurs. The sinless Christ learned obedience (Heb. 5:8, ESV), lived His life as a Spirit-filled man (Mark 1:9-13), and though we failed to obey God since the time of Adam (Rom. 5:14), Christ adhered to His Father’s Law perfectly (Rom. 5:19-21). Jesus becomes the propitiation for our sins (Rom. 3:25), and the justification for sinners who are graciously enabled to turn to Him (24). Justification, then, means we end up with the righteous resume of Christ!
How should this effect your reading of Scripture?
The Law is God’s holy command. The Gospel is His enabling power.
Everything you read in the Scriptures show one of these, because the Bible is Law and Gospel. When you read one while ignoring the other, you truncate the whole council of God’s Word, and substitute something more palpable (and impotent) in its stead. For example, if you were to only read the imperative truths of Scripture that exhorted you to some type of obedience, you would either despair, or become legalistic and self-righteous. You must read imperatives (Law) along with the indicatives (Gospel). But if you only care about Gospel passages that proclaim your true your identity in Christ to make you feel good about yourself, yet do not acclimate to that truth by responding in loving obedience, you become antinomian and relativistic. You still need the Law! You need it to give you rails by which you can respond in your loving worship to a holy God, who calls us to love him wholeheartedly, and our neighbor as ourselves. This is the whole council of Scripture–it’s everything God must say to us in this moment in history. If you are discouraged by a bland reading of Scripture, I suggest you read MORE Scripture, and you read it while looking for these two themes. You will constantly be hearing how God has purposed you, how you have failed, and how He, in His lovingkindness, has made a way.
Unless you have some type of reading plan, such as a yearly Bible reading, or a schedule, you may find yourself gravitating towards the same books of the Bible. Perhaps it’s because the passages you go back to regularly stroke your self-esteem! Or it’s because you love to beat your self up with commandments. But you need the full meal of God’s Word. Read the whole council of God. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart to it. Be humbled to the dust by His transcendence. Be elated to the skies by His lavish mercy.
“Catechisms were written with at least three purposes. The first was to set forth a comprehensive exposition of the gospel—not only in order to explain clearly what the gospel is, but also to lay out the building blocks on which the gospel is based, such as the biblical doctrine of God, of human nature, of sin, and so forth. The second purpose was to do this exposition in such a way that the heresies, errors, and false beliefs of the time and culture were addressed and counteracted. The third and more pastoral purpose was to form a distinct people, a counter-culture that reflected the likeness of Christ not only in individual character but also in the church’s communal life. When looked at together, these three purposes explain why new catechisms must be written.” (Redeemer Presbyterian Church)
The deterioration of the Bible study (White Horse Inn podcast)
Michael Horton and crew discuss the sometime’s shallow nature of today’s average Bible study, a classic key in discipleship.
You don’t need to go to China to reach the unreached. Just go to Costco.
In fact, most religious people in America fully embrace science; while 40% of scientists are religious
“[The] doping conspiracy was professionally designed to groom and pressure athletes to use dangerous drugs, to evade detection, to ensure its secrecy and ultimately gain an unfair competitive advantage.” – USADA CEO Travis Tygart
If this is true, mankind is desperately wicked. If this is not true, mankind is desperately wicked.
Before I answer that, there are still other basic questions we should answer. For example…
Why are there so many translations anyway??
The Scriptures were written in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. Scholars must interpret these manuscripts accurately and effectively for us to read. Accordingly, there are different methodologies that translators adopt. The most popular are the formal equivalence (word-for-word) and the dynamic equivalence (thought-for-thought). The formal equivalence is what many call a more “literal” translation of the text, because it translates words, grammar, syntax, idioms, regionalisms, and slang, as is, and without alteration (e.g., NASB, ESV). This is great for Bible study, because it allows you to have the most control over the process of interpretation. A dynamic equivalence aims more at translating the meaning of the text (e.g., NIV, NLT). These are useful when word meanings and phrases are lost in translation because the syntax, grammar, and style are too stilted in the original language, and are great to use when you want to read for devotional purposes. That being said…
There are many good English translations!
Because of the complexity of the English language, there is no “perfect” Bible translation. You don’t have to get the same translation I or anyone else is using. But you can and should know what you have and why you have it. It may even be helpful to have more than one translation on hand for studying–perhaps a formal equivalence and a dynamic equivalence. I often use 3-4 translations when studying for a sermon (Greek NT, HCSB, NASB, NLT). Doing this opens up the depths of Scripture for me, and aids me in both study and personal enrichment. While preaching, I usually read from a Bible translation called the HCSB.
What is the HCSB?
The HCSB stands for Holman Christian Standard Bible, and is a modern English translation (2004), assembled by an “international, interdenominational team of 90 scholars, all of whom were committed to biblical inerrancy,” and whose purpose was to create a translation that would “convey a sense of the original text with as much clarity as possible.” The textual base for the New Testament [NT] is the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th edition, and the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament, 4th corrected edition. The text for the Old Testament [OT] is the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 5th edition. (Bible Gateway article)
Why I like using the HCSB?
- It is a newer translation of the original languages, not a revision of previous translations. This means it can consider the wealth of textual manuscripts now available to us, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
- It combines both formal and dynamic equivalence methods of translation. HCSB’s default method of translation is formal equivalence. But in some instances, formal translation sounds unnatural or contrived. For example, in Amos 4:6, God says, “I gave you cleanness of teeth” (ESV). This sounds like God is punishing people by brushing their teeth! But it is actually an Hebrew idiom describing the conditions of a famine. Now, I am all for doing the hard work of closing cultural gaps in interpretation, but it is also helpful when a translation takes steps to remove such unnecessary colloquialisms without reverting to a paraphrase. HCSB seems to strike this balance, by employing a dynamic equivalence method only when the original rendering feels too awkward. And where a dynamic equivalence is required, HCSB does so sparingly, even including extensive footnotes to show the literal translation. In the earlier case, the HCSB renders that verse in Amos, “I gave you absolutely nothing to eat.” And down in the bottom margin, it gives the literal translation, “Lit you cleanness of teeth.” So HCSB marries both fine methods of translation, and calls it “optimal equivalence.”
- The English syntax flows naturally and beautifully. Some will miss the “poetic” flow of older translations, and I don’t blame them; those “wooden” English sentences are attempting to capture a particular emphasis that the author had in mind (To its credit, this is my favorite thing about the NASB). But it is sometimes refreshing to read a literal translation with modern English word placement.
- This is a bonus: the technology behind the HCSB is overwhelming. Their mobile app is wonderful (and a bargain at $10). Not only does it offer a pleasant user experience and interface, but the programmers somehow managed to include a grip of study features into their little app, too! I’m talking about Greek/Hebrew word studies (just click on an English word for a Strong’s definition). If HCSB ever includes the full text, not just lexical values (e.g., BlueLetterBible.com), this app will be unparalleled. Oh, and check out their desktop version. It looks like candy. Just, wow.
The point is not to read what I’m reading, but to know why you’re reading what you’re reading, and to do so with good reason.
This is the Word of the living God we’re talking about! We want to make sure we get what He actually said. You can start by checking out different versions (including the HCSB), and find at least one translation that is…
- faithful to the method of interpretation it claims to bring to the text
- brings your heart to life
- shows you Jesus!
What version do you use, and why?
If you want to study the topic of Bible Translations and their differences on a deeper level, I recommend Which Bible Translation Should I Use, by Kostenberger, Croteau, and Stowell.
I was absent from the blog due to a storm of life-change, and have missed this yarn for a while! I do miss posting thoughts on the intersection of theology with our lives, and the exchange and conversation that many of you brought to the surface. After a bit of break, it’s time to open it up again. But first, a word for fellow readers. Blogging is like taking dancing lessons, but never going to the ballroom. Even if you never end up dancing, you’ll always wish you did. Well…
The ballroom is open.
But there’s nothing worse than a ballroom full of wallflowers. I remember this from when I used to live in Santa Cruz county. My friends and I would spend too many hours exegeting plausible East Coast swing combinations at the Palomar ballroom to any music with a back-beat, even hip-hop. And you’d always see them—three or four guys from out-of-town that came to “check things out,” yet, remained unaffected by the fervor, and having been there for hours already, would leave early simply because they couldn’t work up the nerve to ask a gal to dance.
There are “blog” wallflowers too!
When I post, and a few of the outspoken will interact on occasion, some of you relegate yourselves to a distance, hoping only to scan a written post anonymously. That is fine, of course. I am so thankful to blog, and to know that you are reading it. But I want you to know that you’re welcome to get on the dance floor and discuss, converse, chip in. Most of the reasons the “out-of-towners” were so hesitant was because 1) they didn’t know anyone 2) they just started dancing, or 3) the show-offs intimidated them. I will say to you what I might say to them in retrospect: you don’t have to be a theological professional to engage this blog–I’m certainly no pro—I just love talking about God, and how knowledge of God (theology) intersects with life. There is no offense if you see things differently, have a voice, or add to the conversation, as long as we can do this respectfully, humbly, and in love for the other person. If we follow Jesus together, the dancing will come naturally. And I will try to filter out any trolls who ruin our ballroom. :-)
The point is, I hope you will join me as I start this blog back up again. Talking to oneself can get boring quickly. But I would love to talk with you about God.
I’m not keeping a rigid schedule just to take up space–sometimes there is a constant pressure to bust out a blog post every other day. I hope I can get there, but I’m sure you would agree–better blogging is better than frequent blogging. You can still expect me to post fairly regularly–I’ll try to stick to two or three times a week as the content allows. (and as my newborn daughter allows!)
What kind of posts?
I want to wrestle with the practical implications of theology. I’ll also want to blog about theological musings and opinions that would never make it into a sermon because they are not imperative, but are fun to think about. The non-essentials, you could call them. Look for some mild book reviews, some round-ups of other people’s content, and a few sermon links. This list may grow. But whatever is in the list, the golden thread weaving through everything will be the intersection of faith in Christ with our life and culture. The Prophet Jeremiah once said that the Word of God is like a hammer that shatters the rock (Jeremiah 23:29), which asserts that every worldview be filtered through the Scriptures. I want to do that here.
A few minor changes…
I am no longer the college pastor at Reality, but am serving at the interim pastor for preaching. That matters a lot because this blog was known as “Millennials on Mission,” with the primary emphasis of equipping and dispersing young-adults on mission for Christ in Santa Barbara, CA. My heart beats harder than ever for young adults, and they will still be addressed here, but I will also be widening the scope of this blog to consider other demographics and people groups in the body of Christ on the coastland. So instead of addressing only with Millennials, I will include those of an older “flavor” too. Heh heh.
Basically, I’m speaking about the same things but to more people. I hope it blesses you, and stirs you up. I would be blessed by, and look forward to being stirred up by your interactions and contributions, as would the rest of us.