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Posts tagged "Jim McNeely"

The Word of the Cross: A Conference Breakout Preview

The Word of the Cross: A Conference Breakout Preview

This one from conference magician, Jim McNeely.  The time for the most wondrous conference – the Mockingbird NYC spring conference – has rolled around again, and the powers-that-be have condescended to let me come and do a breakout session! I’m going to talk about a book I’ve been writing for 3 years now called “The […]

Hopelessly Devoted: First Peter Chapter One Verses Three Through Seven

Hopelessly Devoted: First Peter Chapter One Verses Three Through Seven

This post comes to us from our friend, Jim McNeely. My friend Mike Rehmet once told a story about his wife, Gina, who likes plants but apparently doesn’t have the greenest of thumbs. She brought home a new potted plant and set it on the front porch. As they were going out, he noticed the plant […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Matthew Chapter Thirteen Verses Forty Four Through Forty Six

This morning’s devotion comes from the great magician, Jim McNeely III. 

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44-46, NASB)

pearlHere we have two very distinct parables with two very distinct messages: the “Treasure in the Field” and the “Pearl of Great Price.” Let’s start by getting our actors straight. In the first parable, the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure, and you and I are the man. In the second parable the kingdom of heaven is like the merchant, and you and I are the pearl. The simple observation that the kingdom of heaven is said to be like the merchant, not like the pearl, ends up being very significant, as you will see.

After years of thinking and writing about it, I am more convinced than ever that the message of the parable of the treasure hidden in the field is critical for us. It is because there was a treasure that the man sacrifices all. It is from joy that he sells all that he has. It is from a great and a true desire that he acts. The Gospel is not simply doctrinal correctness or sound theology—it is a great treasure, and once we perceive its surpassing value hidden in the scrubby field of the church, it engages our desire powerfully. We drop our self-justification projects with joy, because we have found a treasure of much greater worth. We are released from all care and worry, and we have become impossibly and eternally rich and taken care of. Of all the people on earth, we have found our way and have obtained our fortune—we are spiritual gazillionaires.

I am even more convinced that the message of the Pearl of Great Value is critical for us. The heart of the message of the Gospel is that God truly wants us. He is greedy and jealous for us. He has sold all that He had, to obtain us:

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:10-11, NASB)

Why do we call Christ’s death on the cross the “Passion?” I haven’t researched it at all and I have no idea why we call it that. But I know what passion means—it means extreme desire, reckless love, fierce devotion to the point of obsession. It means laser-like focus born of strong wanting. How does this word relate to Jesus’ death on the cross?

His love for us is an absolutely reckless and dangerous love. It is abandon-everything-else desire. It is the pearl merchant selling all he had to get that one perfect pearl. It is passion for us that led to such sacrifice. He wanted us. Badly. Enough to do this.

God is love. Not just any love. Not just idle affection. Not the gentle, detached love of a grandmother. That is a wonderful kind of love, but it is not this love. His is a passionate, reckless, die-for-you love. His is a throw-away-every-other-option love. We are His obsession. We are not His obligation, we are His joy (Heb 12:2). This is the God who is love—the God who would go to such shocking lengths on our behalf.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. Amen.

The Uncomplicated and Stubborn Love of <i>Ordinary Grace</i>

The Uncomplicated and Stubborn Love of Ordinary Grace

This book review comes to us from our good friend and author, Jim McNeely. “That was it. That was all of it. A grace so ordinary there was no reason at all to remember it. Yet I have never across the forty years since it was spoken forgotten a single word.” I recently read a […]

Zen and the Art of Law and Gospel – Jim McNeely

Only a couple more left! This one comes to us from our esteemed conference magician:

Zen and the Art of Law and Gospel – Jim McNeely from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Hopelessly Devoted: Isaiah Chapter Six Verses Five Through Eight

Hopelessly Devoted: Isaiah Chapter Six Verses Five Through Eight

This morning’s devotion comes to us from magician and pyro, Jim McNeely. “Woe is me, for I am ruined! / Because I am a man of unclean lips, / And I live among a people of unclean lips; / For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Ephesians Chapter One Verses Eighteen and Nineteen

Hopelessly Devoted: Ephesians Chapter One Verses Eighteen and Nineteen

This comes from Mockingbird Magician-in-Chief, Jim McNeely. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who […]

Zen and the Art of Law and Gospel: A Conference Breakout with Jim McNeely

Zen and the Art of Law and Gospel: A Conference Breakout with Jim McNeely

I am very excited about the upcoming Mockingbird Conference! First, and possibly most importantly, I have been asked to do a few magic tricks at the conference. If you come, you will be one of the few humans ever to witness a one-time demonstration of the power of the amazing Cords of Shastri, which have […]

"All This an Illusion": A Reflection on Determinism and Free Choice

“All This an Illusion”: A Reflection on Determinism and Free Choice

This humdinger comes from Jim McNeely: I recently listened to episode 93 of the Partially Examined Life podcast (you can listen to it or read about it here). It is a fascinating listen; these are not rabid militant “New Atheism” people, just fun and thoughtful agnostic/atheists who love philosophy. I have found that it is […]

Resolved to Fail: Honesty and Personal Transformation

Resolved to Fail: Honesty and Personal Transformation

Well, time for our annual skepticism of New Year’s resolutions to take off a little (despite a promise to stop – our wills are bound here!), with this timely reflection on habit-change coming from our friend Jim McNeely: It’s New Year’s! It’s a new year, and I’m always excited about that. This year is especially a time […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Ephesians Chapter One Verses Four through Seven

Hopelessly Devoted: Ephesians Chapter One Verses Four through Seven

This morning’s devotion comes from our friend, magician and author, Jim McNeely.  He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to […]

Another Pearl from McNeely's <i>Romance of Grace </i>

Another Pearl from McNeely’s Romance of Grace

So often, we see ourselves through the eyes of the world that is constantly evaluating and judging us. What if we looked at ourselves through the eyes of God? What would we see? In his book, The Romance of Grace, our friend Jim McNeely has an uplifting, but rather scandalous answer which he takes from Matthew […]