Who were the poor in the Gospel of Luke?

The poor in Luke’s gospel represents individuals caught in social power structures which impedes mobility and intrinsic value one has in community. This, obviously includes people without economic means, but Luke portrays a greater motif than monetary lack.

To be poor, is to be powerless (Acs, et al. 2018). For Luke, the poor are synonymous with the blind, oppressed, lame, hungry, mournful and persecuted (4:18, 6:20-24, 7:22). Even the sinner, according to Luke, is castigated by the exclusionary religious social structures of Judaism in Jesus day and could be considered as poor (Green, 70). The rich are identified as those wielding or desiring coercive and worldly power such as the Pharisees, Scribes, and at times, even Jesus disciples themselves (9:48, 11:37-53, 16:19-31, 20:46-47).

For Luke, the gospel is very good news for the poor, and judgement for the rich. He recounts Mary’s Magnificat at the start of the gospel. “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble” (Luke 1:52). It’s against this backdrop of the marginalized, and disadvantaged, that Jesus comes as the Messianic emancipator in a ministry of Jubilee’s release (4:18-19). Jesus’ ministry to the poor includes many signs and wonders, healing, exorcisms, forgiveness of sins, and even raising from the dead to illustrate for us the nature of His sent mission to liberate all who are hungry for mercy. Those whom society had rendered valueless, Jesus has affirmed worthy. Throughout Jesus ministry, Luke portrays the prophetic Magnificat in motion as the self exalted are exposed by the teaching of Jesus and mercy, and the humble are in word and deed lifted up through healing, inclusion, and love (18:14). All who are willing to receive Jesus, to identity and obey Him, are lifted out of their bondage of this present age, and become children of the Most High (6:47, 8:15, 8:21). It’s no longer about your social status or lineage.

Luke is careful to include Jesus earthly origins as well, his humble beginnings as one not born into earthly power. Jesus comes to the poor, among the poor (2:7, 2:24). The Father has always been toward the disenfranchised, even the gentiles (4:26-27). He chooses disciples from among many classes, from sinful fisherman (5:8), to tax collectors (5:22). 

After the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, Luke concludes that his followers, “returned to Jerusalem with great joy.”(24:52). The ministry of release is complete! In Jesus, regardless of race, gender, or present infirmity, we are all equally rich, free, healed, and welcomed participants around the table of God (14:23). 

References:

Acs, Maitreyi, Conner, Markus, Patel, Lyons-Padilla, and Eberhardt. 2018. Measuring Mobility from Poverty. US Partnership on Mobility From Poverty. Accessed April 8, 2020. URL: https://fuller.instructure.com/courses/5010/files/677569/download?wrap=1 

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Love.

I’m reminded of the ongoing sending heart of our triune God. We each, in different ways, moments, and chapters in this brief life are privileged to come alongside the Spirit. We may cross oceans, but the greater sacrifice may be to put down roots and bear kingdom fruit right where we are. To be available, to surrender into Jesus love that we may embody His love in this very confused world.

I read a good question recently: What does it look like for the loving reign of Jesus to come in my neighborhood? This question takes mission out of the realm of theory, and into our relatedness to others. To be, not to do, is our first task. To throw up the sails of willingness, of grow in a posture of listening.

Those that are intentional with listening, I believe, are blown into the lives of the hurting, and inquiring into the lives of the lost with the patient posture of mercy. The world doesn’t need information, it needs incarnation, a people living into and embodying Jesus life.

We are His extended hands and His feet to our generation. There’s nothing new under the sun. Let’s keep it simple. Love!

Thank you everyone that donated in 2020 to our new mission building at Lighthouse in Ukraine! A special thanks to World Challenge for providing a very generous grant that helped us finish our goal!

As soon as the weather permits, we plan to continue with the walls, and roof. Then, as God provides both resources and hopefully small construction teams (hint!) we can finish out the interior.

Fist pump.

90 Day Pilot Launched!

And behold, I saw a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.

Just imagine that day. Now picture a moment in your week, here on earth, when you get to taste just a little of this future reality around Jesus. Young and old, from completely different cultural backgrounds, gathering to be encouraged as we interact with one another for an hour.

“A passive group of listeners is not an active group of learners.”

The 60 minutes will consist of a greeting and instructions for our breakout rooms. We will provide intentional open questions for your small group to process, which will build weekly through the 10 weeks.

YES! THEY ARE TRANSLATED!

I’m really excited to introduce some missional friends from different parts of the globe in our Guest Story section. Our first guest will be Jim Mills, missionary for over 30 years in Belgium and founder of Creative Arts Europe. The following week, our friend Ken Steorts co-founder of the rock band Skillet, and president of Visible Music College in Memphis. You can check out our line up of guests by clicking here!

At the 45 minute mark, we’ll officially finish. For those hungry for a deeper reflective time, Deb Crowe will guide a 15 minute exercise you are welcome to explore!

For time zones, and the Zoom link for each Sunday, please visit and bookmark our new page – Missions Network!

Please pray for us as we host this, and for all the moving parts. We enjoy pioneering new things but this definitely feels as though it has some spiritual resistance. Our enemy wishes to keep us insulated, divided, and knows there is great power in unity under Christ!

Thanks for checking in 🙂

Bruce & Deb

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Missions Network

Our new pilot – Missions Network – Click Here To visit and sign up for WhatsApp group chat, and also check out the dates, times and join us!

When I was fresh out of bible college, as a young youth pastor, newly married in Canada, God gave me a little hint toward my future vocation. I had already an idea that Deb and I would eventually navigate our way towards the Russian speaking world, but was finding myself quite frustrated at the pace of God’s movement.. when you’re young, you think God must also be in a hurry.

I was in the shower, of course, and God dropped a term in my heart – Missions Network. It was odd, because this was around 1997, I didn’t know what the Internet was, hardly nobody did. What I did know in that moment however, was that God’s church was quite immobile, focused entirely (from my limited experience) on its local context, with little concern or viable pathways for those whom God might burden for other cultures and spheres. Missions network, for me, in that moment, meant little more than a concept of putting wings on the local church, somehow mobilizing it towards global awareness, and participation. It sat with me for many years, as a piece to the puzzle that might somehow emerge down the road.

A decade later, Deb and I with several kids, found ourselves no closer geographically to Slavic culture, and were in Texas. I had founded a small web company, and much to my frustration at times, swimming in the depths of technical projects and customers. We built websites, for business and many ministries. It hit me one day that I should look for the domain name, and by a series of quite incredible events which I shall spare you but tell my children, I got the name, and registered the name also as a 501c3 in faith – and began to believe God was well underway on the idea He came up with. I was wrong, I jumped the gun, and after two years of waiting for the charity and vision (at that time a website that has ambitions beyond God’s) closed up. I moved on, I didn’t need to make this thing happen.

Fast forward another decade or more, and I’ve been in Ukraine now for 14yrs. I’ve since sold the Texas business, and been cultivating a small community of faith here, with Lighthouse, widows ministry, and other things I won’t bore you with. Over the past few years, God has really networked us to the body of Christ in several creative and missional spaces. Some have come through my graduate journey with Fuller Seminary, others through Belarus and my role directing our current 501c3 Mir Ministries, and others as God has woven divine pathways both in Ukraine, Russia, and North America with folks.

This December, I registered for 2 of my final 5 courses at Fuller, and one of them was a New Testament course that had in its reading requirement reading the NT over the 10 weeks in entirety. I figured, “hey, if I’m reading this on top of the other books and course I’m taking, our Lighthouse community can do this reading plan too!” This idea was embraced by our team, and I found myself enamored with the idea of opening this up to any global friends, missional partners, along with a weekly Zoom that might gather like-minded folks for a debrief, a time of prayer, refelction and perhaps a place to practice some of the mentoring material we’ve enjoyed over this season personally – personal, spiritual formation has been Deb and I’s world for the past few years, or I should say rather, God’s work in our lives in preparation for an upcoming season.

So, like most things I tackle, it grew beyond the original scope. Bronwyn, her friend Adrienne have been here for Christmas, and they, along with Tucker my son have been building sites and training on Zoom with its new translation tools. Without initially intending it, we have resurrected the original idea of missions network, it’s been like putting flesh to a skeleton that has already been formed. It feels a little nostalgic, I’m not the same young man I was, but the same little urging, sense of the Spirit’s invitation is the same – so, here we go!

On January 1, we will begin reading the NT with (so far) 40 friends, representing 6 countries. We along with whomever God attracts to our weekly Zoom, will gather over 10 consecutive Sundays, beginning January 10th. I write about the style and vision of the Zooms here, so I won’t repeat, click if you are interested, but the main thing is that this isn’t a sermon time, its not spectator style, but interactive and I’m now working out the themes, the design of the learning plan that will build over the 10 sessions – they will focus on the Triune nature of our Creator, and how His inner personhood instructs and empowers His missional activity. It’s rich, its deep, there will be plenty of meat for chewing on as we place this tribe into break-out rooms with specific questions, and space for connection. Also, we’ll be highlighting various missional partners, hearing their stories, and have some really cool guest.

We’re calling this a pilot program. We have no idea if this will gain momentum, or fizzle. I’ve learned that failing is the key for learning and adapting, I’m not afraid of failure like I was in the past, it doesn’t define me, but I do really hope folks are encouraged and find some fresh air in their spiritual journey.

So Lord, with your blessing, I’ll try this missions network once again. It’s for you, for your bride, in many cultures and spaces, that she would rise up and glorify Jesus who has indeed secured a people from every tribe, nation and tongue. Connecting the global church to God’s ongoing mission.

Bronwyn helped us make this logo, using the Greek X (Christ symbol), the fire of the Spirit warming the hearts of the global church, the tribe 🙂 I wrote about this a little more too here –

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Straws 2.0

Covid caused us to pause our little business idea for an entire year..but now we’re ready to go and need your help!

It’s called The Straw-Straw, a bio-degradable wheat stem drinking straw. A fun and functional plastic alternative, and better than those awful paper straws!

This has been a side project for our children to learn about business. Tucker learned how to build a website, Abigail and Noah how to assemble like factory workers (they formed a union!), Broderic & Bronwyn have product in the US and will act as our shipping and customer service!

The price is $7.00 (100 Straws)

Before we do online marketing, it’s my job to find some friends who’d be willing to order some straws so we can make sure our systems a-go.. or not! 🙂

Would you please order a package of straws from us?

Click to Visit our Straw-Straw.com Website!

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