‘Temptation Wilderness’: a sermon on Matthew chapter 4

This is probably a bit odd, but despite the sermon title, I never did make a connection between the temptations Jesus faced in chapter 4 of Matthew’s* gospel and any of the recent TV shows that play on that theme. Boy howdy, did I make a slew of other references and winks, though. ‘Cause, you know, gotta be me.

My thesis was Jesus used his power to care for others and lift them up. We’re called to do the same. As always, I’m interested in knowing how what I intended to say compares to what you hear. All the visuals I used (plus a bonus one or two) are below, after the audio.

The many faces of the Devil/devil/tempter/tester…or could it be…Satan??

 

devil angel wings
devil with angel wings

 

devil bat wing
bat wing devil

 

devil shazam
Shazam! devil

 

devil ghost
ghost devil

 

devil sith lord
Sith Lord devil? Or is it tall Jawa devil?

 

devil dante lovitz
Dante-Lovitz devil

 

devil black lagoon
WTH??

 

Maps! We’ve got maps. I know I struggle to remember where to find all the places mentioned in the story, so these help me.

zebulun & naphtali map

 

galilee capernaum

 

 

Bonus image! I didn’t think of this in time, but I should have shown the congregation what Spider-Gwen looks like. (I couldn’t re-find the devil image that reminded me of her.)

spider gwen

 

Obviously didn’t show this during worship. But still. Seriously, see. this. movie. “It’s amazing. You could even say it is spectacular.”

 

*Fun aside…thanks to the absolutely fantastic Marvel/Neflix series, Daredevil and its tantalizing and fun companion, The Defenders, every time I say or write “Matthew,” I hear Elodie Yung’s Elektra Natchios distinctively intoning that name. Every. time. You can get a sense of it in this video. But, seriously, watch those shows. Luke Cage too. I’m really ticked they are all cancelled.

Featured Image photo by Andrew DesLauriers on Unsplash

Reach globally, gather locally, end slavery

“Jesus said, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me… He sent me to liberate those held down by oppression.’” – Luke 4:18

Now is the time, the time is now…We need to get the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) passed through Congress and signed into law.

This week, it’s back to anti-trafficking work. Why? We are under a time crunch. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act expires September 30. Fortunately, a multi-organizational push to get Congress to pass the TVPRA is in full-court-press mode.

What will the TVPRA do? As International Justice Mission (IJM) writes:

In particular, this legislation supports the State Department‘s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP)–our government’s most important asset for combating modern-day slavery internationally. TIP’s skilled diplomats monitor slavery and press governments around the world to confront it. By providing grant funding to organizations like International Justice Mission, the TIP Office has enabled the rescue and rehabilitation of thousands of survivors of sex trafficking and forced labor slavery, and the prosecution and conviction of hundreds of trafficking perpetrators.

IJM does great work all over the globe. And they are not alone. Change.org, World Vision, and Polaris Project, just to name a few, are all helping to get this legislation passed.

Polaris Project seems to have the most detailed information on the TVPRA. Here’s a taste:

Both the House and Senate versions of the TVPRA include language that strength the following efforts:

  • Encouraging the distribution and posting of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center within Federal Agencies as well as by states;
  • Requiring stricter regulations for contractor employees abroad to work within the U.S.;
  • Strengthening enforcement of child exploitation laws against U.S. citizens living abroad; and
  • Providing assistance for minor victims of trafficking. {Read more}

The wording may differ a bit among the organizations, but each of them encourages you to let your voice be heard. I certainly hope you will! It doesn’t really matter to me which one you pick, but, please, pick one and let your members of Congress know that this is important to you. With just a few clicks you can make a difference for people enslaved all over the world. (Ok, I know that’s corny. But being corny doesn’t make it untrue.)

Digitally signing a letter is important and a good, quick, easy way to help. But sometimes a more tangible way to respond is desired. This Monday, September 19, is the Illinois Town Hall Meeting to Combat Human Trafficking. It’s 7:00pm at Park Community Church (1001 N. Crosby, Chicago).

This is a joint effort of IJM, CAASE (Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation), Traffick Free, and more. Featured speakers are:

  • U.S. Rep., Peter Roskam, IL District 6
  • Lynne Hybels, co-founder of Willow Creek Community Church
  • Holly Burkhalter, IJM’s VP of Government Relations

This is a time “to demonstrate to our policy-makers that their constituents care about ending human trafficking at home and around the world.”

I’ll be there. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll join us.