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The Hidden Life of Nazareth

By: Jake Ostrowski

July 2, 2023

Thank you for checking out this sermon. If you are moved by what you hear and are in the Boston area, consider visiting in person!

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Well, good morning. It's great to be with you. If you have a Bible, I would encourage you to join me in Luke chapter two. We will be there in just a few minutes. If you're following along digitally, I'll be reading from the New Revised Standard Version this morning. And if you want to be hyper-specific, the anglicized version of the New Revised Standard Version, because one of the things that happen when you're a nerd like I am, is you like the way British people talk. But it is really great to be with you this morning, Grace and peace to you all. Admittedly, I'm very out of practice at doing this, so I'm actually very nervous right now. No, don't do that. It's going to make it worse. So I ask for your grace. I feel like several people, namely my mom, have been talking this up way too much and there's no way I could possibly meet Janet Magnuson has not been helping much either. Thank you, though. I'm very encouraged. It has been hyper. Pray for me in your seats now, but it is great to worship with you this morning. It's been way too long since we've been here.

Actually, I think it was 15 months ago, in March of last year. Travel is just difficult with a family of five, and my parents have been gracious enough to come to visit us in Texas several times, but I just love being in New England, if for no other reason than to get to escape the weather in Texas. I don't know if you've been paying attention to the news, but we've had this record-like heat wave of 100-degree-plus days, which is bad, but it's great to be here. But it's also just such a worthwhile trip because there's no place in the world I feel more at home than here. And Bethany and I have been blessed to live in several different places along the way and places we've loved with people we've loved. But there's no place that feels more like home than coming back to New England and coming back to Massachusetts. What I'm about to share with you I'm sure you've heard from my mom, but allow me to share it with you as well. This is a recent picture of our family. The Texas Ostrowskis, as we are calling ourselves, are settling nicely into our new lives in San Antonio.

This is actually a picture we took. Some of you may be familiar with Fixer Upper and kind Chip and Joanne of Gaines, their compound that they call Magnolia something is just a couple of hours north of us in Waco. So we recently took a trip to Dallas and got to stop in Waco on the way back. And this is where they have their tourist trap, the Chip and Joanne Gaine tourist trap. But it was a lot of fun and got to have a great memory together as a family. Our oldest, Jack, is actually about to turn eleven. He'll be starting middle school here in the fall, which totally blows my mind. And he's just sharp as a tack, just such a bright kid. He's actually going to go to a special middle school where they focus on engineering and science and math and just really proud of him. Yeah, absolutely. He'll be able to explain all those things to me because I clearly don't know what any of them mean. I'm really proud of him. Our son Hank is 8. He'll be starting in third grade in the fall. Our daughter Edie is six. She'll be starting first grade in the fall and just could not be more proud of them.

Love them a ton. They're growing up so quickly. Bethany is awesome and has just been so supportive as we've made this transition out of the ministry so I could go back to school and kind of in a really awesome way. She actually started working for Sts Consulting this last year. What some of you may be familiar with, Steve Smith runs a brother named Steve Smith runs a small company that does administration for small churches in our fellowship. So Bethany gets to take all the knowledge she has, having been in the ministry for 14 years, and now gets to help churches just use their money wisely in a way that glorifies God. She's just doing such an amazing job and I'm so proud. I'm proud of you, baby. You're the best. And it's just been so supportive of me as we as a family have pursued God's calling on my life and I'm about to cry. I am my mother's son in so many ways. So I'm actually, for those who don't know, I'm about to start my third year of a Ph.D. Program in Christian spirituality. It's actually my last year of school for classwork.

Christian spirituality may sound super new-age or intimidating. I don't know what you think about that term, but we study Christian discipleship, essentially. We study how men and women, starting in the scriptures and through the course of the last 2000 years, learned how to live in a relationship with God and relationship with one another in light of the teachings of Jesus. So it was so much fun and I loved it so much. Bethany and I, a couple of months ago were going through some old photos and we actually found this one. This was taken when we were about 20 years old. And when we found it, we were looking through these photos and Bethany looked at me and said, oh, you look like a Ken doll. Which I took as a compliment at the time and still do, as I remember it. Sometime either later that week or the next, I walk into a convenience store just to get something to drink for our family movie night. And I was wearing kind of khakis and a collared shirt. I was wearing my glasses. And I walked up to the counter and the gentleman behind the counter looked at me and says, you look like a college professor.

So apparently school is working because I've been quickly completing my transition from Ken Doll to college professor. But I love the research I get to do. Forgive me if I'm going on a bit here, but I just want to let you know what's going on in our lives because I love you guys so much. My research is starting to focus on actually the epistle of 1 Peter is something I'm becoming utterly fascinated with. I'm taking a Greek class right now, actually, and my big translation assignment is 1 Peter 1 verses 17 through 20. I love studying spiritual formation and how God changes us to become more like Jesus. I really love the spirituality of the everyday and ordinary Christian life. How do we go about the comings and goings of just the ordinary and glorify and honor God through following Jesus in those situations? I'm really interested in, actually, the relationship between Christian spirituality and technical parlance is what's called eschatology. In other words, how does how we think everything's going to end affect how we live? How does our understanding of what's going to happen when Jesus comes back affect how we live today and tomorrow and for the rest of the time God gives us here?

Because it does in ways that I'm not going to get into today but I think are really important for us to constantly look at. What I've recently kind of come to realize and articulate is one of my deepest concerns, is quiet and the role of silence and quiet in our discipleship to Jesus but also in communicating the good news of Jesus and his kingdom to the world. And then I think the other thing I've realized is in some ways what I'm really trying to do is I'm attempting to bring my parent's spirituality how they have followed Jesus and how I've seen them follow Jesus through the last 35 years. I'm 38. I don't remember anything before that. But through the last 35 years, how I really want to attempt to bring their spirituality to the highest levels of the academy and for people to see this beautiful way of life that so many other people need to adopt. So what we're going to chat about this morning will be some of those reflections and some of the things I've been thinking about and studying and I've had the opportunity to write about and study and some recent personal experiences.

These are not fully formed. My dad and I were talking here. It's the thing about where I'm at is it just takes time to kind of put everything together in a way that is most helpful. So you'll get the beginning version and then when I write my dissertation in a couple of years, I'll give you the finished product and we can talk about it a little bit more. What I hope is today sparks your thinking and really helps to integrate some ideas into the community here that you can continue to work out because that's one of the things I really believe, too, is that Christianity, while the principles of Christianity are universal and eternal, they also need to be contextualized. Into your community, what does it mean to follow Jesus? And Framingham with being a parent of two, working a job in Boston where commuting an hour a day, how do you do that? And that's what the community is all about, is you figure those things out together. And I'm grateful that one of the reasons God gave us church is because none of us can follow Jesus well alone. So I'm really grateful for that.

I really just want to make one kind of more, just throw out one more thing. Bethany and I have been the beneficiaries, and part of our journey has been because of the generosity of so many people who have loved what I'm trying to do and trying to bring to our fellowship and have decided it's a worthwhile investment. So we're so grateful to even folks here either in the metro or who were a part of the metro at one point, who have helped support us financially and helped us be able to make it through these times. I'm lucky to have a full scholarship to the school I'm going to, but the scholarship does not support a family of five. So if in any way you're interested in joining us financially in our journey as a family, we would love to have you be a part of it. Anything helps. So thank you in advance. You can come to talk to me after if that's something you'd be in. If you want to give more benevolence, benevolence, my family, that would be awesome. So all that having. So please come talk to me if that's something you can do.

And if not, thank you. Just keep praying for us. We're really grateful for any support we can get. All that having been said, if you're taking notes, the title of our sermon this morning or of our teaching, is The Hidden Life of Nazareth for the Busy City of Boston. The Hidden Life of Nazareth for the busy city of Boston. And as I read our opening text, I actually want to invite you to stand to honor the reading of Scripture. So culturally, we are far better at shaming than honoring, at cursing than blessing. So honoring the Scriptures through standing as they are read is just a simple act to train our bodies, our minds, and our hearts to honor things worthy of honor. Additionally, after I finish reading the text, I'm going to invite you to join me in what we'll call a communal response to the reading. Some of you who grew up maybe in more high church, Catholic, or Anglican traditions may be familiar with this practice, but I think it's a way to honor the Scriptures through responding to the Scriptures. So after I'm done reading as we stand, I'll give you I'll say, this is the word of the Lord.

And if you would respond, thanks be to God. Okay? So please stand with me for the reading of scripture. Luke 2 verses 39 through 40. And I'll go through these three texts. When they had finished everything required by the law, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon him. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years and in divine and human favor. Finally now, when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were open and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came from heaven. You are my son, the beloved. With you, I am well pleased. And Jesus was 30 years old when he began his work. This is the word of the Lord. Let's pray. Father, we're so grateful to be able to spend this time together studying your Scriptures, learning from men and women who have gone before us, and our own desire to faithfully follow your Son Jesus, to live as his apprentices, to live as your sons and daughters who please you.

Well, thank you so much. I feel very blessed for the opportunity to teach from the Word. I pray that you help this to be helpful to our minds, our bodies, and our souls. And may we leave this place with new ideas, fresh perspectives, and new ways of engaging our lives as Jesus's followers. We love him and we love you. It's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen. Feel free to have a seat. Now, admittedly, this is an odd collection of texts on which to ground a Sunday morning teaching. If you're patient with me for just a few moments, I hope you'll see the immense significance for our lives and spirituality and the particular context the Father sees fit that we call home from these texts. But as a preface to these texts in Luke, allow me to introduce you to a Greek word. This is the Greek word philotimeomai. And philotimeomai can be translated as ambition or aspiration or aim, depending on how it is used in the particular context, in Scripture. It appears three times actually, in our Greek New Testament, all in the writings of the Apostle Paul. And each time the Apostle Paul uses philotimeomai, he uses it to describe a desired outcome of life for those who carry the yoke of Christian discipleship.

In other words, he says, this is what you should be aiming for, aspiring to as disciples of Jesus. Let me go ahead and show you those three texts. The first is in 2 Corinthians, chapter five, verse nine. When Paul says so, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please God. We make it our philotimeomai to please him. And Romans, chapter 15, verse 20. Thus I make it my ambition to proclaim the Good News where not where Christ has already been named so that I do not build on someone else's foundation. I make it my philotimeomai and then in 1 Thessalonians chapter four, verses ten, B through twelve. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more, to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands as we directed you, so that you may behave properly towards outsiders and be dependent on no one that you may philotimeomai to live quietly. Now, if you're paying close attention, each of these uses of this Greek word is coupled with a different pronoun. In other words, they're aimed at a different group of people every time.

So for instance, in Two Corinthians five, verse nine, we make it our aim to please him. So it's the aim of our, of everyone to please God. In Romans, chapter 15, verse 20, thus I make it my ambition to proclaim the Good News. Paul is saying this is the ambition I have adopted as a follower of Jesus, as an expression of my followership of Jesus. But we urge you in 1 Thessalonians chapter four, you beloved, to aspire to live quietly. Now, I may be over-interpreting this, but it seems to me that for Paul, all followers of Jesus are to aim to please God. That is the ambition of every single one of us who carry the name of Jesus, who take his yoke on our shoulders and decide to become his methotase, his disciples, to be the kind of people and to live the kind of lives that engender the joyful blessing of the Father. To hear this is my son, this is my daughter, with him, with her, I am well pleased. Additionally, a smaller number, those who are possessed with Paul's unique gifting and temperament and vocation, are to make it their aim to be missionaries.

We need missionaries to live public lives as transient, declarative witnesses. In other words, to go around and tell people about Jesus in a public setting. To declare the resurrection of Jesus and the establishment of his kingdom on earth. To devote their lives to what we might call the evangelist enterprise. To go about preaching and teaching the Word where it is not known. And then finally, in complement, not in contrast, but in complement to the missionary endeavor, the vast majorities of followers of Jesus within Paul's spiritual imagination are to aspire to lead what he calls a quiet life, or a tranquil life, or a peaceful life for the Church, in Thessalonica where Paul is addressing the epistle the last of these texts we read, was neither to abandon society awaiting the kingdom's arrival, for Jesus's final arrival, which, if you read in context, was their grand temptation to leave society alone, to disconnect from the world around them and just sit around waiting for Jesus to come. Nor were they to be public proclaimers of King Jesus's intimate return that we can tell from this. Rather, they were to manifest the kingdom and all of its simple beauty through the comings and goings of the common and the everyday.

To focus their attention on the charming significance of living the ordinary in an extraordinary manner, to do their work well, and embody the culture of the kingdom in a culture that is prone to hostility towards the way of the king. And I believe Paul would have us know, would have you and I know as co-heirs of this first-century Christian community and the blessings and responsibilities of Jesus' kingdom. I think he'd want us to know that the quiet life is as pleasing to God, as noble and honorable of ambition as that of a missionary. But the quiet life is not merely a feature of Paul's writings. It's also an easily overlooked but prominent expression of Jesus's spirituality as well. If you look back at Luke chapters two and three, if you put these verses together that we read in Luke two and Luke three, if you put them together, they would total little more than a paragraph of straight text. But they represent something in the neighborhood of 30 ish years of Jesus's life. So we get 30 years of Jesus's life and a paragraph. And depending on how we date some of the historical events and interpret some of the texts of Scripture, Jesus lives somewhere between 33 and 36 years.

So think with me about that for a moment. The vast majority of Jesus's life was spent quietly and anonymously in his hometown. The most enduring role Jesus played while he was a human was not preacher or rabbi. It was a stonemason. It was a son and brother. It was a synagogue congregant and neighbor. And what does Luke say about Jesus's life during this extended period of quiet? Did he say, that Jesus was biding his time until all the important stuff started? No. What did Luke say about Jesus's life during this time? Twice he said God's favor was on him, that Jesus's life in the quiet of his hometown was a favorable life to God. Brothers and sisters, a central aspect of our discipleship for most followers of Jesus is to embrace him by embracing with gratitude a quiet, tranquil, ordinary life. In the language of Paul, you and I are to make it our ambition to live quietly. But the quiet life does not happen by accident. Ambition assumes design and intention. We're not talking here about the lazy life or the disconnected life. We're not even talking about the silent life. This isn't a life where we do not speak.

It's a life where our inner disposition manifests in the world, in a peacefulness that knows God is in control. And we need to go about bringing his kingdom into every area where we go through our lives more than through our words. The question that arises, though, is that? What might the quiet life look like specifically for you and me? How do we pursue this divine ambition, which is what it is? It's a divine ambition. And the busy, dare I say, loud cities like the ones you and I call home. Now, for inspiration, I want us to consider the life and work of a man named Charles de Foucault. Now, this is where the Jake scholar Nerd is about to kick in. So if you have a great game on your phone, don't play it, because this is going to be really good. So Charles de Foucault is a man who's actually slowly become a dead mentor of mine. Here's the beauty of the depth and the breath of the Christian tradition. We can have mentors that are both living and dead because Christianity was inherently a written tradition. So we have their writings. My dad and Nate and Ryan and so many others are reading from the early church fathers.

We have their writings because Christians have thought we need to learn from these people for all times, not as Scripture, but as a way of understanding how people have tried to faithfully live Scripture. We need that. We need to figure out how these men and women who have gone before us try to faithfully live Scripture in their time and in their culture, so that they can come as examples for us of how to integrate it into our discipleship, into our time, and into our culture. Now, Brother Charles, as he allows me to call him, but as he's affectionately known to this day by those who carry on his legacy, was actually born into a family of French nobles in 1858. He had what was described as a casual relationship with religion until he had this very profound conversion experience after serving in the French army. He later recounted, as soon as I believed there was a God, I understood that I could not do anything other than live for him. My religious vocation dates from the same moment as my faith. Now, to live for Jesus in Brothers Charles, thinking meant devoting his life to imitating Jesus, things we all agree on as followers of Jesus.

But rather than focus on his efforts on imitating Jesus, the preeminent teacher, Brother Charles found his spiritual grounding and the period of Jesus's life lived in obscurity, the period we highlighted when we considered Luke two and three. And here's what he said. Everyone knows that love's first effect is imitation. Therefore, I was to enter the order where I would find the most exact imitation of Jesus. I didn't feel I was made to imitate his public life of preaching. Thus, I ought to imitate his hidden life as a poor and humble workman in Nazareth. And he affectionately referred to this way of thinking as the hidden life of Jesus, in Nazareth, he first practiced spirituality as a Trappist monk. Then he actually moved to Nazareth and he worked as a handyman for a nunnery. And finally, he devoted the last decade of his life to living in a Muslim village in North Africa. The villagers actually came to refer to him as Marabat, a word that means holy man. This title was a title of admiration. It was gifted to him by his Islamic neighbors because of the wisdom and dignity with which he conducted his life among them.

When summarizing his understanding of the hidden life of Jesus in Nazareth, Brother Charles taught Jesus came to Nazareth the place of the hidden life of ordinary life, of family life, prayer, work, obscurity, and silent virtues practiced with no witness other than God, his friend, and neighbors. It was these qualities of Jesus that Charles de Foucault sought to live, exemplify, and then pass on to other people. Now, Charles de Foucault was a celebrated priest who lived in an Islamic desert community and was violently martyred by anticolonial extremists. So, needless to say, the lifestyle is a bit removed from suburban Boston. Regardless, I do believe, as I said earlier, it's incumbent on you and I, our church community, to wrestle with what it means for us to live out an ordinary life of family, work, and neighborliness, to embrace the hidden life of Nazareth for the busy city of Boston. Now, to be totally honest, I'm still wrestling with these implications from my own life, from my family, from my church community. How do poverty and simplicity and silence evidence themselves in contemporary discipleship to Jesus? How do we do this? I still don't know yet.

I'm still trying to figure it out. But I believe the foundational question that must be addressed before specific ways of life can be articulated and manifested is how do you and I become the kind of people who can live the quiet life in gratitude and contentment and joy over the long haul? How do we become the kind of people for whom the quiet life is not simply our aspiration, but our reality as we figure out its specifics and the comings and goings of our lives? With that in mind, I want to leave you with this simple idea. Jesus thrived in the quiet life because he fostered a quiet soul. Jesus thrived in the quiet life because he fostered a quiet soul. Brother Charles asserts this in referring to the idea the visible part was your life in God. He was speaking directly to Jesus, a life of unceasing contemplation. You worked, consoled your parents, and conversed with them with the utmost fondness and holiness. You prayed with them throughout the day, but you prayed, too. In the solitude and darkness of the night. Your soul was poured out in the silence. Loud is a factor of modern life.

Life is loud. In fact, I don't think I need to defend you. I don't think it's an accident that I started getting really interested in the quiet life after having three children and living with an iPhone in my pocket, I think you can draw a straight line between those two things happening. We live in a culture of dis-ease, which is to say we daily encounter numerous forces that work together to rob us of peace in our inner being. Cell phones 24 hours a day, news cycle, social media, the demands of our work and family life. Personal, emotional, and spiritual trauma which we could talk about on and on and on. We could go for all the time we spend talking about not conforming to the sexual culture to the Western cultural sexual ethic, which we should talk about. We spend surprisingly little time talking about resisting the pace and chaos of the information age, surprisingly little time talking about how we say do not conform to the sexual ethic but adopt their way of life in its pace. And we wonder why our hearts are so diseased. We neglect the simple Christian truth that often the most spiritual thing we must do is say no.

No to the noise and the pace and the chaos and the ambition and the pressure to do what is permissible at the expense of what is most beneficial to our souls. I observe far too many followers of Jesus obsessing over things that are outside of their control because they allow emotion, their emotions, to be controlled by the loudest voice in their lives, which is often not. Jesus. God speaks often to us and whispers, and I believe it is because he wants to know he has our full attention. But because we allow our interior life to be dominated by noise, our interior lives are often far too loud to hear God's whispers. As I was preparing this teaching, I went back and listened to part of your Father's Day service, and my dad just delivered what I thought was a really helpful, tremendous charge from a dad to other dads and included it. He shared his desire that what my sister and I remember of growing up in his household, is him reading the Bible and his praying by our beds in the morning and his relationship with my mom, to put it a different way.

I think what my dad wanted us to remember is that he imparted quiet onto our souls. I just turned 38 a few weeks ago, and at this point, I've lived far more years on my own than in my parent's house. Do you know what I remember about growing up? I remember waking up on Saturday mornings to find my mom and dad reading their Bibles next to one another on the couch. I remember my dad accidentally waking me up in the morning while he prayed by my bedside. I don't think he intended to do that. Maybe he did. Maybe he wanted to let me know who's praying. But he did wake me up. But I remember that. I remember the kindness and warmth of my dad's relationship with my mom. I remember the excitement of the garage door opening every evening. He was about to walk up the stairs and restore the cosmos to the chaos we had created. Our home was a place of peace, and it left an indelible mark on my discipleship. To Jesus, quiet leads to quiet. And I have found when I have a quiet soul, the spirit of God makes his specific desires for my quiet life more and more apparent.

Not that he's trying to hide that my soul is too quiet to listen. Pursuing a quiet soul will most likely mean carefully curating and moderating your digital inputs. Walking into waking into the peace of the early morning and devoting time to meeting with God. Having a person or two in your life who will affirm the virtue of saying no. As Dallas Willard said, the first and most basic thing we can and must do is keep God before our minds. This is me getting played off. This is the fundamental secret of caring for our souls. Actually, let me go here. Okay. To live God, to please God, is to live a quiet life. And to live a quiet life necessitates fostering a quiet soul. If we're honest, for many of us, this is hard to accept and understand. I know for me, I intellectually and spirit this idea, but it's been emotionally hard for me to wrap my mind around it, my heart around it. Let me close with a brief story about my wrestle with all this. One of the interesting perks of the last year is I've actually been able to meet some of my spiritual heroes.

Last fall at a conference endeavor, I briefly got to have a conversation with Tim Mackey, who works with the Bible Project. Some of you may be aware of Tim Mackey and the Bible Project. Everyone under 40 is like, Yep. And everyone more seasons like, is he my neighbor? Did he mow my lawn last week? He works with an organization called the Bible Project. I got to meet and have a great conversation with him. And then this last spring at the Oblate School of Theology, where I go to school, where I'm a student, we hosted a retreat with a man named John Mark Comer. And some of you may be familiar with John Mark Comer. He has been a pastor at a church in Portland, Oregon for a number of years. He's written a couple of New York Times bestsellers. Some of you read the Ruthless Elimination of Hurry or Live No Lies. Anybody? No? My parents. That sounds about right. They take my book recommendations. Thank you. But discovering John Mark Comer's teachings had such a profound impact on my spiritual vocation and my spiritual life. And you could actually draw a direct line between his ministry and my pursuing a Ph.D. Because of the things that started getting me to think about and increased my curiosity.

So I say all that to say, meeting John Mark Comer was the closest I've ever come to asking someone to sign my Bible. It was just a really significant moment for me. One of the nights we were there as a student at Oblate, kind of helping out with the retreat, one of my roles was just problem solver. So one of the nights we were there, John Mark and Father Ron Rollheiser, who's one of our professors, did, and this is actually you'll see this on YouTube in, like, six months, but they did this really great interview. They were going to discuss spiritual life, and the interview would be released as promotional material for Comer's next book. So I was there to make sure the building was taken care of, open doors, and make sure people had everything they wanted. But also, I was there because I wanted to be there because for a nerd like me, being present for this interview was like watching Ted Lasso and Mr. Rogers have a conversation about being nice. It was an honor to be in the room. It was just so cool. But in addition to doing this interview, John Mark Comer and his crew wanted to record a few short videos for a book promotion with students who had come to San Antonio to study under Father Ron to be a part of our Ph.D. Program.

So if there was an obvious choice for this, it would have been me, right? Like, I'm a huge John Mark Comer fan. I resigned. I resigned from my job right before I got a promotion to move my wife and three kids from our home in Idyllic, coastal New Hampshire, to a desert outpost with great tacos and strip malls so I could be one of Father Ron Rollheiser's students. I would have been perfect for this exact role. But they picked other people. Not only did they pick other people, but they also picked three or four students who do not go to Oblate and did not come to study under Father Ron. They just happened to be there because Dave POCTA and the DCE told them to come, and they're about to leave. So I'm watching all this happen. They're starting to do these interviews, and I'm stewing. Just stewing I'd spent all day hearing about all the things that were going wrong at the retreat. I'm exhausted because I have the stamina of a retired coal miner who decided to stop drinking coffee after decades of guzzling a gallon a day the week his grandchildren came to visit him.

So tired. My professional idol is sitting feet away from me, very interested in everyone else in the room but me. And I was not asked to be in this video. I should have been asked. Kind of a ride home with a friend of mine, and I vented a bit. I walk into my home, and Bethany's like, how was the day? And I started to vent again about everything I was feeling about being passed over for this public opportunity to be in this video. At some point, I looked at her and I said, you know, been talking a lot about this hidden life of Nazareth stuff. I guess I'm going to have to see if I actually believe it. I'm going to see if I actually believe this is true. I guess I'm going to actually have to see if this is actually a noble ambition and a noble way to live your life. So two months later, here's where I'm at. I'm more convinced now than ever that Richard Foster was correct when he said the desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people or gifted people but for deep people. I'm additionally convinced now more than ever that depth is achieved through what Eugene Peterson, who ironically borrowed this from Frederick Nietzsche, but what Eugene Peterson called long obedience in the same direction, namely decades of faithfully following Jesus wherever he may lead.

You find contentment in the fact that God, your family, and your intimate community may be the only ones who notice and experience the benefit of your devotion. What this city needs is not more famous Christians or famous churches, but more followers of Jesus who are quietly virtuous, who demonstrate with their lives that Jesus is Lord. More people like Ken and Lowey and Kristen and Fernando Honesian and Glenn and Kerry Travis and Lonnie and Arlena Jameson and Mike and Scarlett Van Aucken. And speaking as one who benefited from their quiet lives, Ken and Judy Ostrowski. And on and on, I could go among people in this congregation. The city needs those who have embraced the hidden life of Nazareth in the midst of the busy city of Boston. So, brothers and sisters, I leave you with this charge aspire to live a quiet life. Mind your own affairs, work with your hands, behave properly towards outsiders, and in doing so please the Lord. Amen. We're about to have a baptism.

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