Saturday, November 21, 2009

From the Introduction to THE GOSPELS IN THE NOW: The Four Biographies of the God-Man Re-Imagined in Modern Context

Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. (Ezekiel 1:5, 6, 10 - NKJV)


I love Matthew's Gospel...the Gospel of the Kingdom...the Gospel of the Lion-King...a uniquely important revelation, written for the Jews, from a firsthand, up-close-and-personal viewpoint, portraying Jesus as the Messiah so long awaited after Abraham...the King after David. There is a particular and sometimes palpable tension in Matthew, probably because it was written in the name of a Jew whom the Jews hated, because he was a collector of taxes for the Romans. But it is written with much love, nonetheless. Matthew was apprehended by Jesus, and was not at all like the other disciples, so the writings that bear his name bring a certain richness to the Jesus narrative that is essential to our understanding of the Son of Man. What the other Synoptic Gospel writers call the "Kingdom of God", Matthew calls the "Kingdom of Heaven" (or, better translated: Kingdom of the Heavens"). "Kingdom of God" says Whose and what it is..."Kingdom of Heaven" says Whose it is and where it's from. Perhaps the most significant contribution of Matthew is the attention to detail in the Sermon on the Mount...the blueprint for the "Kingdom of/from the Heavens". Matthew…the Gospel that roars!

I love Mark’s Gospel…you can feel the youth and vitality of the man whose name it bears pulsating in every page of it…the Gospel of passion and fire…the most masculine of the Gospels…a Gospel that gets the job done…the “can do!” Gospel. Matthew is symbolized by the Lion, Luke is personified in the Man, John shows us the Eagle…but Mark’s is the picture of the OX…strong…utilitarian…dependable…effective…the Gospel with muscle. No attention is given to Jesus as a baby…those kind of details are less important here. It’s also the shortest of the Gospels…it does more and says less…gets to the point…emphasizes themes like faith and power. Mark’s Gospel provides a much-needed paradigm to the big picture…an aspect of the earthiness of Jesus, the Carpenter, who personally builds His Kingdom without fear of getting His hands dirty…a concept that is especially appealing to the Romans, to whom it is written. Mark…the Gospel that bears!

I love Luke’s Gospel…the Gospel of the fully evolved Man…sophisticated…elegant…educated…intelligent. Luke is a physician with an excellent bedside manner, who writes a thoughtful and lovingly detailed letter to the young Greek, Theophilus, about the amazing God-Man. But in reality, it is written to all the Greeks, who would, in theory, appreciate the culture and refinement of its author, and the miracles and philosophy of its Main Character. Luke gives the most attention to the Nativity, because it is the most biographical of the four Gospels…it was also originally combined with the Book of Acts. It brings the Synoptic Gospels full circle, showing us the complete spectrum of all that was and is the Son of Man. Luke…the Gospel that cares!

I love the Gospel of John…a living, breathing Word, unlike anything else…so different from the three Synoptic Gospels. Each of them brings something original to the table, but John’s account of the greatest story ever told is in a class all by itself. It is the Gospel written for non-conformists and individualists…for those who can comprehend Jesus outside the box…a flight plan for eagles who exist high above the clouds. Matthew is written for the Jews, Mark is written for the Romans, Luke is written for the Greeks, but John’s writings come from the paradigm of a universalist…he paints his picture in very broad strokes, and writes with the global vision of one who sees the whole earth through a bird’s eye view. Can you imagine the visionary mind of someone who begins his story with , “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”? Matthew and Luke open the Jesus-narrative in the little town of Bethlehem…but John begins IN THE BEGINNING…in eternity…in the cosmos…in the now! You could spend a lifetime just discussing that one wonderful concept and still not be able to fully plumb the depths of its meaning. John’s is the Gospel of the Son of God…John…the Gospel that soars!


Son of Zadok said...

GITN is going to blow the doors off it! Love these intros!


Your boys are going down to the ground today like lightening.

Big Love 2 U. Your gonna need it...

Jimmie said...

Wow, this is incredible Bish! Great writing!!

Pastor Jimmie

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Can't wait to make the purchase.

Debra M.

SCRIBE said...

Gospels in the NOW! Provocative and engaging, encompassing the entire Divine Truth from four different perspectives, each in a class all its own, yet stitched together in a unique way where each person that reads GITN will know and understand that God Himself has met them right where they are and speaks to them in a language that they can understand! Amen and Amen. Gospels in the Now has the power to melt the hearts of even the most cynical, where they shall be forever changed after reading it and grasp hold of the fact that no person is isolated or excluded, the God of the Universe is for all, in all, and reaches out to embrace one will forget nor will they ever be forgotten by the Lord Almighty, for as they are drawn to His Presence with the loving heart of a child, the Kingdom of God will have arisen in their hearts, opened their minds, thus fulfilling the True Message, Mission, and Purpose within the people: God says "Whosoever will Let them COME"....

Anonymous said...

Did you know that what you have discribed is the Foursquare Gospel?

Iris said...

I am spending this lovely day sitting in the beautiful sanctuary of nature. The colors and the cool crisp breeze is absolutely divine. How great is our God.

Bishop, I absolutely love your interpretation on the Gospels, it brings a God that is sometimes perceived to be distant and unreachable to a God that is here, now and incredible tangible in our everyday lives.

In the years of sitting under your ministry, I have grown, and experienced a paradigm shift to a God that is totally in love with His created. He wants, and yearns for a relationship that draws Him close.

My love for Him is deep, my heart pangs with ever beat to experience the height, depth and width of Him, seeing Him and all that He is through the tree of life, and experiencing my life through His eyes. Becoming all that He has designed me to be is my heart’s desire. “To worship Him I live, I live to worship Him.”

I am a blessed woman to be a part of this ministry. I am blessed by each and every person that has touched my life. I am truly thankful for my wonderful life and that I have the eyes to see Him clearly in everyone and all that is around me. God has made Himself known, He has come near to be experienced fully. And for this I am BLESSED.

I love you all

Karl said...

Really enjoyed this reading bishop!

Four heads...hmmm...north, south, east, and west?..encompassing the whole earth(four corners)...all mankind?

Hey, ya'll remember a few days back I made reference to the show "The Waltons." It's so funny because just yesterday walking back to my car at Kroger, I saw someone's license plate in the back and it said "WALTONS"

word ver: mitetuf
"our God is mighty tuf!"
-or "my turf"
...mighty mouse?...HEFTY, HEFTY, HEFTY!!!
Dear God I've got to go to bed, gotta get up for choir rehearsal.

Karl said...

Morning bishop,
yep, I'm up...believing for all of us to have a great worship and revelation time! if I can just keep myself from falling off the stage from sleep deprivation. I'm sure I'll be just fine once the singing starts...I'm made alive in Christ, right?..the dead live!

word ver: osiess
"oh see us"

非凡 said...

I'm appreciate your writing skill.Please keep on working hard.^^

Donald said...

Much needed word for me today Bishop, thanks.

Anonymous said...

For what ever reason my new mac pro will not allow me to stream from Chicago. It is the first time I've tried it on this machine. A little bummed about it but will endure and overcome eventually.

The intro to GITN is like an attractive object that catches the mind's eye. I do love the parallel of the gospels to the the prophetic poetry of Ezekiel. This idea has probably been around for a while but you are the first person that I heard make that connection. Something that I haven't thought of before now is that each of the four creatures had all four faces. This adds a quantum infinitum understanding of how they are eternally connected. It has been my assumption in the past that each creature had a different face. That would have suggested four separate views. However the common unity of mind is seen more clearly in that they were open to the views of each other while maintaining the integrity of their own proclamation.

It is more difficult for me now, to pick a favorite gospel when before it would have been the gospel of John without a second thought. That is the way it should be. All members of the body should be respected for their unique contributions to the whole being of the Christ. Every voice that proclaims the good news is valid.

A very beautiful and fitting intro Bishop.

Looking forward to the release.

John Brumlow

Iris said...

Bishop, Amazing service this morning, thank you, I am truly grateful.

The song, In Remembrance Of Me is one of my favorite songs. A choir I sang in performed it at the Fox theatre back in the 70’s.

When you sang it this morning put me on a mission to find it.

Below is a link you can download from if you want.

Thanks again… I am blessed.


In Remembrance
(Ragan Courtney and Buryl Red)

In remembrance of Me eat this bread
In remembrance of Me drink this wine
In remembrance of Me pray for the time
When God's own will is done

In remembrance of me heal the sick
In remembrance of me feed the poor
In remembrance of me open the door
And let your brother in, let him in

Take eat and be comforted
Drink and remember too
That this is my body and precious blood
Shed for you, shed for you

In remembrance of me always love
In remembrance of me don't look above
But in your heart, in your heart
Look in your heart for God

Do this in remembrance of Me
Do this in remembrance of Me
In remembrance of Me

clark kent said...

One tune leads to another...

In remembrance of me open the door
And let your brother in, let him in

...sure rings a bell in my mind from a favorite tune of mine by Paul McCartney and the Wings... "someone's knockin' at the door, somebody's ringin' the bell, do me a favor, open the door, and let him in...yeah, yeah, yeah, let him in...

Really enjoyed the unplanned lift of laughter today bishop...lots of fun!

Clark Kent said...


So funny, when I was typing my last entry about the Wings, I initially was typing Wongs then corrected myself and was looking for that song "someone's knockin' at the door", and the link I ended up clicking on showed me Alejandro Wong's Kindergarten Concert, posted by Greg Wong, singing "someone's knocking on the door." So if Paul McCartney ever did a number with them it really WOULD be Paul McCartney and the Wongs.

The laughter felt good while writing it!
God bless!

Northern Light said...

Whew Bishop ~
Love these intros....
I can not wait for the printing to be complete and get mine in my hot little hands, hot off the press! (well as hot as in the Media dept, then I order, then it's shipped, then it gets to me in MI,......then hot little hands, to wrap and gift.. gift.. gift.

I am even more ishewso excited to give this year, because everyone is getting just what fits and they will undoubtedly LOVE IT ~

Northern Light

karl cobos said...

Hey bishop, thanks for the word yesterday, and the laughs.

I meant to show you where I had left my pen in the Bible marking the place of Psalm 103 that I was reading the previous morning. Cool confirmation to me because I had just underlined those same verses about His benefits within the last 24 hours before church.

I had been thinking about creating a journal again for keeping notes of answered prayers, and God's leadings (more things that help us to NOT FORGET), and you mentioned in the service about gratitude journals...neat.

Also I had been thinking how I thought the Lord was using Toby Mac songs this past week in different ways, and at the end of the service after you dismissed everyone, I had come down and was praying, and the music came on, guessed it...a Toby Mac song entitled "CITY ON OUR KNEES", the tech crew had put on. Wow!

Looking for Him today!..God bless!

Northern Light said...

I'm really enjoying listening to the Thanksgiving Play list...I had never heard of some of those songs. Playing it while I do things around the house getting ready for the holiday. Sweet ~

Northern Light

Anonymous said...

John 11:14

So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I AM GLAD I WAS NOT THERE, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."

"I am glad I was not there."



If the Lord choses a timing that seems to create the death of something, know that the results are still the same...LIFE, NEWNESS, RESURRECTION!

Let it go! Trust in the Lord! Know that He will bring to completion that which He has begun.

Avatar said...

非凡, how very cool to see you!

...and all the regulars...hey, too.

Karl said...

Anon 12:42

That was good...
If the Lord chooses a timing that seems to create the death of something, know that the results are still the same...LIFE, NEWNESS, RESURRECTION!

Thanks for sharing that.

word ver: realba

Anonymous said...

Thanks Karl,

It's like the burn victim that has to have the blackened portion of his skin painfully removed so that grafts can grow in a healthy environment- it may seem like you are dying in the short term, but the end is what the doctor is seeing...

Avatar said...

Anon @10:08...and a debridment nurse who gives in to the screams for mercy can set a patient back months with just one day of failing to remove the bandages attached to the top skin...the best skin grows in layers from the inside out.

Lord, I love this place!

Karl said...

Following doctor's orders may be painful...but he's usually the one who has "seen this before", and knows what has worked.

word ver: pless
-a combination of pleasure and bliss; ie-"so how is it?"..pless, man, real pless!"
..."check out the view from this window, it's real pless!"