By Pastor Jack
Luke 4:1-15
“Jesus, for the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the spirit into the desert, where for 40 days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “if you are the son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “it is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.” The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, where it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the Temple. “If you are the son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “he will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered, “it says: ‘do not put the Lord your God to the test.” When the devil had finished all his tempting, he left him until an opportune time. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. And he taught in their synagogues and everyone praised him.”’
Servants Who Lead
The 1st Temptation: To Be Relevant.
“The devil said to him, ‘If you are the son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” The Christian servant of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self.
Henri Nouwen tells his story:
“After 20 years in the academic world as a teacher of pastoral psychology, pastoral theology, and Christian spirituality, I moved from Harvard to L’Arche, a community for mentally handicapped people.So I went from teaching the best and brightest, those wanting to rule the world, to men and women who had few or no words and were considered, at best, marginal to the needs of our society. The first thing that struck me when I came to live in a house with mentally handicapped people was that their liking or disliking me had absolutely nothing to do with any of the many useful things I felt I had done until then. Since nobody could read my books, the books cannot impress them, and since most of them never went to school, my 20 years of teaching at Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard did not provide an impressive introduction. All of my considerable ministerial experience proved even less valuable. Once, when I offered some meat to one of the assistants during dinner, one of the handicapped men said to me, “Don’t give him meat. He doesn’t eat meat. He’s a Presbyterian!
Not being able to use any of the skills that had proved so practical in the past was a real source of anxiety. I was suddenly faced with my naked self, open for affirmations and rejections, hugs and punches, smiles and tears, all dependent simply on how I was perceived at the moment. In a way, it seemed as though I was starting my life all over again. Relationships, connections and reputations could no longer be counted on. These broken, wounded and completely unpretentious people forced me to let go of my relevant self— the self that can do things, show things, prove things, build things— and forced me to reclaim that unadorned self in which I am completely vulnerable… I am telling you all this because I am deeply convinced that the servants of the present are called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. That is the way Jesus came to reveal God’s love.”
The great message that we have to carry, as witnesses/minister’s of God’s word and followers of Jesus, is that God loves us, not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love is the true source of all human life.
Jesus’ first temptation was to be relevant: “turn these stones into bread.”
One of the main sufferings one may experience in the places of ministry is that of low self-esteem. Many servant ministers today increasingly perceive themselves as having very little impact. They are very busy, but they do not see much change, what some may call fruit. Setting ‘being relevant’ as a priority will make competency the standard by which to gauge our potential, our worth. If by attempting to be relevant, we do not see outcomes that the world measures and declares to be successful; we can fall into a deep current of despair. It is at this point that many would give up and walk away. Feeling irrelevant is a much more general experience than we might think when we, as servants, look at ourselves through the lens of a seemingly self-confident society. It is here, in the tension of those moments, that the need for a new definition of kingdom servant-hood becomes clear.
Servants who lead, who dare to embrace their irrelevance, who do not rely upon their own understanding, who put no undue emphasis upon their gifts, talents and reputation, (just filthy rags) have the potential to overcome the temptation to promote an “I am/I can” self-image and become a surrendered vessel who is totally dependent upon the God’s Word and power.
Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice great”, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation; humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Our Response:
Philippians 2:5-11 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men…” “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father.”
The 2nd Temptation: To Be Spectacular
“And he said to him, ‘… I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will be yours.”
Henri Nouwen:
“I was educated in a seminary that made me believe ministry was essentially an individual affair. I had to be well-trained and well-informed, and after six years of training and formation, I was considered well-equipped to preach, administer the ordinances, counsel, and run a church. I was made to feel like a man sent on a long, long hike with a huge backpack containing all the necessary things to help the people I would meet along the way. Over the years, I came to realize that things are not as simple as that, but my basic individualistic approach to ministry did not change. However, when living at L’Arche this individualism was radically challenged. There I was one of many people who tried to live faithfully with handicapped people and the fact that I was a minister was not a license to do things on my own.Suddenly everyone wanted to know my whereabouts from hour to hour, and every movement I made was subject to accountability. One member of the community was appointed to accompany me; a small group was formed to help me decide which invitations to accept and which to decline; and the question most asked by the handicap people with whom I lived was, “Are you home tonight Henri?”
Once, when I had left on a trip without saying goodbye to Trevor, one of the handicap people with whom I lived, the first phone call I received when I had reached my destination was from a tearful Trevor, saying, “Henri, why did you leave us? We miss you so. Please come back.” I’ve learned how important the little things are and how much they mean to others and also how much they mean to me.”
The 2nd Temptation to which Jesus was exposed was precisely the temptation to do something spectacular, something that would win him great applause. Individualism can set a servant up to think of him or herself as deserving of the praise and gratitude offered from thankful congregants. We might give into the temptation to strive for significance through the spectacular efforts we accomplish; all when secretly boasting of our tireless work ethic and considerable human talents. For, after all, aren’t we called to do greater things than these? Diffusing this temptation through shared experience.
Jesus sent them out in twos. “Where two or three are gathered in my name.” “If two of you on earth agreed to ask anything at all.”
It is radically different when you travel alone than when you travel together. Together makes it almost impossible to be self-promoting, to take credit when the labor is shared. Nouwen:
“In the past I always went alone. Now every time I am sent by the community to speak somewhere, the community tries to send me with a companion. Being with Bill is a concrete expression of the vision that we should not only live in community but also minister in community. Bill and I were sent by our community, and the conviction that the same Lord binds us together in love, will also reveal Himself to us and others as we walk together on the same road [journey].”
James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.”
Our Response: John 3:30: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
The 3rd Temptation: To Be Powerful
“The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the Temple. “If you are the son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
Henri Nouwen:
“Let me tell you now about a third experience connected with my move from Harvard to L’Arche. It was clearly a move from leading to being led. Somehow I had come to believe that growing older and more mature meant that I would be increasingly able to offer leadership. In fact, I had grown more self-confident over the years. I felt I knew something and had the ability to express it and be heard. In that sense I felt more and more in control (i.e. power). But when I entered my community, with mentally handicapped people and their assistants, all controls fell apart, and I came to realize that every hour, day, and month was full of surprises— often surprises I was least prepared for. When Bill agreed or disagreed with my sermons, he did not wait until after the service to tell me so! Logical ideas did not always receive logical responses. Often people responded from deep places in themselves, showing me that what I was saying or doing had little if anything to do with what/where they were living. When people have little intellectual capacity, they let their hearts— their loving hearts, their longing hearts— speak directly and often very unadorned. Without realizing it, the people I came to live with made me aware of the extent to which my leadership was still a desire to control complex situations, confused emotions, and anxious minds. It took me a long time to feel safe in this unpredictable climate. But I am getting in touch with the message that leadership in ministry, for a large part, means to be a servant who leads.”
The third temptation of Jesus was the temptation of power. What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible to a servant who leads? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of loving. “For love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy it does not boast. It is not self-seeking it is not easily angered… it delights in the truth.” 1st Corinthians 13:4-5 Servants who do not share power cannot be love and love just so happens to be the chief defining characteristic of the God and Messiah whom we profess to serve.
2nd Corinthians 12:9a “but he said to me, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Our response: 2nd Corinthians 12:9b “…therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Be blessed,
Pastor Jack



By Pastor Jack
As part of our Pentecost Sunday Service, we did something we have never done before; we did a wave offering. We didn’t do the wave as you see at sporting events, no we collectively waved loaves of bread before the altar.
I had instructed the congregation to bring two loaves of wheat bread with them to church for Pentecost Sunday. I told them they would find out why when they came. For those who may not have heard the announcement we purchased small loaves to pass out. Many came with the loaves and we distributed all that we had purchased and asked them to make sure they were sitting near their spouse or family. Some had whole loaves and some bought packages of sliced wheat bread from their supermarkets. I had two loaves of wheat bread for my wife and I.
Why would a Christian church do such a thing as a wave offering? Well, we find the instruction to offer a wave offering before the Altar of the Lord of two leavened loaves of wheat bread given during Pentecost to the congregation in Lev. 23:15-17: 
‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. 16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD. 17 From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the LORD.” The High Priest would lead the congregation in the wave offering but over time its full meaning and purpose is said to have been lost. But, not all is lost. Here is what remains today.

1. It is a “firstfruits” offering. The first harvest for the Israelites is the barley harvest around the time of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was on the day of the “Feast of First-fruits” (Bikkurim) the 7th day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread that Jesus rose from the grave. The wave offering was of sheaves of raw barley (unprocessed and unleavened). Paul would refer to Jesus as the “first-fruits of the resurrection”. Pentecost was the second first-fruits festival but now of wheat. The third harvest festival would be held during the Feast of Tabernacles.

2. The offering wouldn’t be a sheaf of wheat, but two leavened and baked loaves of refined wheat bread. The measure of the loaves were of two-tenths of an ephah. An ephah was made up of 10 omers so the loaves were each two-tenths. Consider it a double tithe. Each family or individual was to bring the double tithe or “double portion”. What did this represent? Consider the fact that the portion (inheritance) given to the firstborn, was the “double portion”. Consider the request by Elisha of Elijah: “And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” Elisha didn’t ask for twice as much but requested the firstborn’s portion of his spiritual father. Consider then that the loaves represented a harvest of the firstborn sons of a spiritual inheritance.

3. The loaves were two in number and leavened. Consider that at the first Pentecost the Word and the Spirit were given to both the Jews and the Gentiles. Sinners now refined by this same word and spirit, first-fruits of the redeemed. Consider the offer of a relationship to both Jews and Gentiles with Yahweh. Consider the calling upon Israel: NIV Exodus 19:6 “you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites” coupled with the prayer of Jesus: “NIV Matthew 9:38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Further add this admonition by Jesus: NIV Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The waving of the loaves on Pentecost represented not just firstborn among Jews and Gentiles but both being called to be spirit filled witnesses.
The Wave Offering Ceremony
Having established these truths during a short teaching we moved to the waving of the loaves as a congregation as prescribed by scripture. With two loaves for each household and each solitary worshiper and myself as the minister (acting High Priest) we acknowledged these truths revealed in the bringing and waving the loaves:
1. God provides. “Give us this day…”
2. We offer thanksgiving and praise for His provision
3. We gladly offer a portion (tithe) back to God
At this moment we waved the loaves in the pattern of the High Priest,
twice we waved them back and forth
then twice we waved them up and down
Here I paused and asked the congregation what symbol we had just reproduced, many now with tears responded “a cross!”. Again consider Paul’s confession concerning Jesus as “our first-fruits”. Did the High Priest know what he was prophetically signifying during the waving of the loaves? No I don’t believe so but we see a “sod” or “mystery” revealed.
As powerful as this was as a reflective and revelatory moment it wasn’t the end. At this point in the ceremony the High Priest would take a tenth of each loaf and throw it onto the altar to be consumed as a sacrifice unto the Lord. I asked the congregation to bring to the altar 1/10 of their loaves and lay it upon the communion table. Thus that brought the tithe to the Lord. I asked them if they were having fun bringing the tithe for they were now talking and laughing as the pile of bread on the table mounted up with just the tithe. I asked them to consider how much it was when we all give our tithe joyfully to the Lord.
I also asked them to now look at the 9/10 and consider how much God leaves us. And the good news is now that we have brought the tithe and offered it as a sacrifice unto the Lord, we get to eat what remains. I said “’Lets break bread together’ and don’t forget your neighbor”. There was plenty for everyone and plenty left over.
Be blessed,
Pastor Jack



By Jack Cairns
Judeans/Jews living before and during the time of Yeshua had been expecting a Messiah who would be both ‘Son of God’ and ‘Son of Man’. Son of God and Son of Man are descriptive titles (and roles) found within the Brit Chadashah and applied to Yeshua the Nazarite. The original idea of a Messiah was not invented to explain Yeshua since these Messianic titles existed prior to His birth, and were meant to define him and therefore help them to recognize him when he would appear. This is why so many Jews were prepared to accept Yeshua as Messiah for the application of the titles was not lost upon the Judeans.
The titles Son of God and Son of Man would be used to reveal Messiah to be both God and Man. The Messianic meaning of Son of Man originates in Daniel 7:13 were “Son of Man” is understood to be a divine figure. Mattityahu (Matthew 12:39-40) saw the Son of Man to be God the sovereign savior of the world. This was the title Yeshua would most often use for himself.
Son of God, finds its origins in Ps 2:2, 6-7, “You are my son; today I have begotten you,” and is an ancient understanding that Messiah would also be a human King, a descendant of David. (1 Chronicles 22:10; 2 Corinthians 6:18) The Brit Chadashah would also reveal that this term, while originally understood as a human King, was also divine. (Romans 1:1-4, 9) Son of God and Son of Man reveal that Messiah would be a descendant of King David, who will rule eternally, and also God, who brings salvation into the world through His resurrection from the dead.
1. Boyarin, Daniel. The Jewish Gospels. (New York: The New Press) 72 -73.
Be blessed,
Pastor Jack