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Good Morning MVC · March 30th

by Joe Phenisee on March 30, 2020
Happy Monday to you all.
I don’t know about you, but it's hard for me to believe that we are only on week two of sheltering in place. And while this season has presented its challenges and shake-ups, it has also given me some time to think about some of the things I am grateful for. 

One thing that comes to mind this morning is that I get the opportunity to continue Bible Study on Zoom with our students. Since January, we have been reading through the book of Mark, and just two weeks ago we stumbled upon an odd illustration, presented by yours truly Jesus. 

In Mark chapter 2, Jesus is causing a ruckus in Capernaum. He’s touching lepers, offering forgiveness outside the temple, refusing to fast, and worst of all, he is eating with the Roman IRS. 

The Pharisees, watching the action in horror, have had enough of Jesus’ antics. And so they confront him, asking him the question that I sometimes ask my middle schoolers… “Why?”  

And Jesus, without missing a beat, starts to talk about wineskins. And how you don’t put new wine into old wineskins, otherwise they burst. No no no, new wine can only go into new wineskins. 

What does this mean? 

Well, as I explained to the students, its sort of like this. Last September, Apple released the new IOS 13 for the I-Phone. This update came with features such as dark mode, battery lifespan expander, and most importantly three new animojis: Mouse, Octopus, and Cow… oh my. 

But here’s the catch. IOS 13 is incompatible with phones older than the iPhone 6. 

But imagine that I tried to download the update anyway on my i phone 5. And finally, after many attempts and fails,  
if I said the problem was not my phone but the IOS, what would you say? 

You would point out, I hope, that the problem isn’t the IOS, but the parameters of the device itself. The phone is too old, its too limited, it can’t handle the new things that the IOS wants to do, it can’t process the new possibilities the IOS wants to present, and it doesn’t have the capacity to make space for those new animojis.

Likewise, the Pharisees were stuck within their own dated parameters. They had their own ideas about who God was, they had their own expectations for how he supposed to act, and so when it came to Jesus, the Pharisees saw him as the problem. 

But in reality, it was the Pharisees, with all their notions about God, who were incompatible with the new work that he was doing in Jesus Christ.

Can I be honest for a moment? I can’t be too hard on the Pharisees because I struggle with the same issue. Because here’s the truth: At times I have my own ideas about who God is supposed to be, my own expectations for how God should act, and I try my best to fit my IOS 13 Jesus into my dated iPhone 5 views… only to feel frustrated, confused, and betrayed. 

Especially nowadays, when Jesus has clearly failed to meet my false expectations that life is not supposed to be this uncertain, this difficult, and this anxiety-producing. 

But Mark reminds us of this important truth: that we serve a God who is always working outside of our parameters. A God who does not act according to how we wish, but according to what is best for us. A God who challenges us daily to rethink what we know of him, but who also encourages us to expand our imagination for how he is at work in our families, our community, and in our world. 

So MVC, although its easier said than done, let’s not get so caught up with how God ought to be, that we completely miss what he is doing in our midst today. 

Go on and get your new wineskins ready this morning, and in the weeks to come. 
Because in this season Jesus is doing something new. It may not be what we expected or hoped for, it may be uncomfortable and stretch our limits, but in the end, we can be confident that he is working all things together for our good. Amen? 

We love you MVC.
We are praying for you.
And we look forward to worshiping and praying with you this Thursday during our livestream at 7:00 pm. We will see you then. 

God Bless,