Posts Tagged Jewish

The Jarring Reality of the Crucifixion

In working through the podcast series History of Philosophy without any Gaps, I’ve spent the previous few months with Medieval Jewish and Islamic philosophers. From Maimonides to Crescas and Avicenna to Averroes, they’ve put my mind on two ideas: God’s Transcendence and God’s Ineffability. The former talks about how God is so distant and other than we are while the latter claims boldly that God is unknowable.
Meditating on those ideas, I found myself in preaching team on Monday afternoon when we normally dive into the text together talking about biblical language, historical context, theology, illustrations, and the like. The script was changed this week though as Mike requested 4 individuals to come read Mark 15 to us. So, for about 20 minutes, we listened as Mark 15 was read aloud and any notion of utter transcendence or ineffability were obliterated.
I was able to hear the Gospel anew with a kind of freshness I hadn’t experienced in years. The Gospel had become rote for me: what I believe and what I live for, but what I also often took for granted. To hear read aloud the God how becomes truly human (not transcendent only, but radically immanent), the God who allows Himself to endure physical abuse (not at all ineffable), and the God who demonstrates love by suffering to redeem His creatures (destroys utter transcendence and ineffability), was nothing less than JARRING. It was offensive which made me reflect on how much my sin offends the Lord. It was convicting. It is our story; it is our salvation, and He is our Lord.

LIFE Groups on Mission: Rachel McRae Edition

[A great example of how an entire LIFE Group can be on mission through the efforts of sending one person off . . . not to mention everything else they do! What will our culture become when every LIFE Group is represented on non-local missions every year?]

By Rachel McRae, Growing Deeper LIFE Group Leader, Brentwood Campus

As a LIFE Group, we annually participate in Engage, Reboot, Cul2vate, and Operation Christmas Child. We also participate in other opportunities and needs that arise during the year.
I am on the board for The Matzevah Foundation, a nonprofit that serves to care for Jewish cemeteries in Poland, commemorate mass graves, and provide Holocaust / Shoah education. It was officially started in 2010, but the work began earlier . . . and Brentwood Baptist Church is a big part of it. Poland has been a mission journey destination for many years. In the early years, we partnered with IMB missionaries in Warsaw. One of those missionaries, Steven Reece, was working in a Jewish cemetery outside of Warsaw. Teams from BBC went over to help. It was there that I, along with others, caught the “bug.”
The Matzevah Foundation includes 4 BBC members who serve on the board and one that serves on the advisory board. BBC continues to be an invaluable partner in our work by including a trip each year as a mission journey opportunity.  While the work is focused on clearing an overgrown and forgotten cemetery, the ultimate goal is to bring reconciliation between Jews and Polish; and man with God. God has used our work to open conversations about why a bunch of Baptists would come over and do this work (to serve with loving kindness) and what drives our actions (the love of our Messiah, who is Jewish). We have formed wonderful relationships with Polish believers over the years and have been blessed to be a part of their Christian walk for so many years.
My LIFE Group has been a big supporter of my work. Several have shown up at fundraisers and many are always curious about the work. They have prayed over me as I go on trips. I know that they are praying for me each day as we work, and I’m grateful. I head off to Ukraine this week for a project and they sent me off with well wishes and commitments to pray for us as we work!