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Showing posts from June, 2012

Put Down That Tablet! Exodus 35

Moses assembles the people of Israel at Sinai one last time before they set out into the wilderness, headed for the Promised Land. He gives them a reminder of some portions of the commands of God and emphasizes the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35 link).He also gives the one Biblical mention of tablet-type mobile devices in Exodus 35:3, where the command is given not to use your Kindle Fire on the Sabbath Day. Some of you just groaned. Some of you skipped the one-liner, and others just missed it. I’ll address you all in turn, but first let us address the person who thought this might be the hidden meaning of that command. After all, we are so easily distracted from our worship and commitment by all of the digital noise around us, why would we not take this text in this manner?The quite simple answer is: because it is not about digital devices. In total, the command to focus the day on Yahweh, Covenant God of Israel and all of Creation, and if your device subtracts from your f…

This does not end well: Mark 13

While I have the utmost of sympathy for those who have been, in times past, let down by the doom and gloom predictions of the end of the world, it is time to admit the truth. This world does not end well. Whether you want to contemplate the end of human history or the destruction of the Earth, whether you think Jesus comes back and takes some of His or if you think He waits until all of His are set, things are going to get ugly someday.How do we know that? Take a look at todays’ passage, Mark 13 (link [oh, and please, if you click through, disregard the poor choice of words on the NLT section heading.]) In this passage, Jesus speaks to His disciples about the things to come before He comes to finalize justice on this earth.The occasion that sparks the discussion is when one of the disciples points out the beautiful stonework and construction standards at the Temple. This disciple, unnamed in the Synoptic Gospels, was highlighting the work the people of Israel had done to honor God. It…

June 24 Sermon Wrap-up

I noticed last night that my computer’s left speaker does not work. How did I learn this fact? I tried to listen to the podcast and I could hear the flute music, but could not hear the sermon. Now, I know that the flute is the highlight, but that was just not right. So, I figured out the problem. I have adjusted the settings on the sound editing software and hopefully it will now work no matter what audio setup you have.I was glad to find the problem was my computer. Here I was listening back and could not find a sermon that you could actually hear, and then thinking “People have been clicking the LIKE BUTTON on Facebook for the podcasts. Do they like that they can’t hear me?” It’s just my computer, though.Without further intro:AM Sermon: Luke 6:27-36 Audio Here (Alternate) No outline for the morning sermon. Besides, there would not have been a point marked for “Have a power line fall across Jimmy’s truck in the parking lot” on the outline anyway.PM Sermon: 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Audio Her…

Let's go over this again, shall we? Exodus 34

Before departing Mt. Sinai, there is a little bit more business to attend to for the Israelites. When Moses came down from the mountain to confront the people about the golden calf, he smashed the two tablets that God had inscribed with the covenant. This causes two problems. The first is symbolic: broken covenant leads to broken tablets, and there needs to be a replacement covenant. The second is practical: even if the covenant is restored, you have no records/information about it! So, before the people leave, they have to pick up a new copy of the covenant. Just like if you accidentally spill coffee on your house closing paperwork and have to make new copies, so the Israelites need a new copy of the guidance for their relationship with God. This is provided at the hand of the Lord God and Moses, as Moses carves out two new tablets and God re-inscribes the details of the covenant. This includes reminding the people of what the covenant involved and acknowledgment by the people of t…

Questions, Questions: Mark 12

It's political campaign season here in America, and we're going to see something repeated over and over and over again: the loaded question. It's a political maneuver that is older than our country, but one both candidates and media have learned to play to a nearly perfect note in these days. One of the joking examples of the loaded question is the old “When did you stop beating your wife?” question. You cannot provide a short answer to that question: if you say you haven't stopped, are you admitting you still do it? If you give a date, are you admitting you used to?
Or there's the question my old chemistry teacher used to ask: “Do you walk to school or carry your lunch?” The two halves are non-related, creating a false dichotomy. What if you walk to school while carrying your lunch? Historically, we see the question-framing continue. At the outset of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther was brought before the imperial powers in his home nation, but rather th…

Put your behind in your past: Exodus 33

Back in the dark ages, when animated films were made by drawing picture after picture (well, cel after cel) and those were all strung together to make the movie, there was a great film called The Lion King. Now, much of the film is fully steeped in traditional, animistic religion. And there’s the idea that Darth Vader became the king of a pride of lions, only to be replaced by a Die Hard villain who has to be taken out by Ferris Bueller, but that’s another discussion.However, in the midst of the film, there are a couple of good scenes about the idea of a person’s past. Ok, a lion’s past, but it’s an animal allegory. The story centers on a young lion who is running from his past, and how he deals with both the wrong things and perceived wrong things in that past. The first is the wisdom of the warthog, Pumbaa, who initially tells the young lion, Leo (no, Simba) that he must “put your behind in your past.” He is corrected by the meerkat, Max Bialystock (no, Timon) that the proper phrase…

Sermon Wrap-Up for June 17

Well, this past weekend I saw a somewhat crazy computer breakdown and collapse. My personal laptop is now running Ubuntu as an operating system, because the Windows Recovery Partition on it was corrupt and the PC was out of warranty. So, no fixing it without a huge charge, and I was going to lose all my data anyway. So, I put Linux on it and restored documents from a backup. I would spot a big endorsement to using an external hard drive right now—my Seagate FreeAgent Go saved me a trip to the Funny Farm.Here are the links from Sunday’s Sermon. We just had service in the morning to allow folks time to celebrate their fathers, celebrate being fathers, or go home and celebrate a nap. Here you go:Audio Link (alternate)Come back to Luke 6:21-26 Raise these questions: 1. Are you striving to be filled with the things of this world?      What costs are you paying for those things?      What costs are your families paying for these things? 2. Are you doing the things you do to be praised by th…

Clean this mess up! Mark 11

Mark 11 (link) moves us from the general life and ministry of Jesus and into the last week of His life. We open up with the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday and start progressing through the events that lead to the arrest, trial, and the Cross.What do we get in this week? Much of the focus for this chapter tends to fall on the first section, called the Triumphal Entry. This is where Jesus enters Jerusalem to the acclaim of many, riding on a donkey, and they wave palm branches. He then goes out to Bethany, from which He is essentially commuting for the week.The real center of this chapter is not the Triumphal Entry, though. It's the narrative descriptions of Jesus exercising His authority in all matters. Let's take a look at those:First: well, there's the "Go get a donkey" in the opening story. The simple statement to bystanders of "The Lord has need of it" takes care of any accusations of Grand Theft Beast of Burden, and on they go. Consider how you would…

Don’t Have A Cow! Exodus 32

As a quick reminder, for the past several chapters, Moses has been atop Mount Sinai. Joshua has been about halfway up the mountain, waiting on him. The rest of Israel?They’re at the foot of the mountain, camped out and waiting. Moses is gone for a week. They wait. Two weeks. They wait. Three weeks, and still waiting. Four weeks, and the waiting goes on. Then we come to Exodus 32 (link).Finally, after about forty days, the people decide that perhaps Moses isn’t coming back. They are at the foot of a mountain, remember, that God has descended on in fire and thunder and cloud. After these forty days, the suspicion rises that whatever is going on up there, it’s not survivable.So the people come to Aaron and tell him to make a god for them to worship and to be the center of their community. Aaron then tells the people to bring him some gold, and he fashions it into a calf. One question that has long troubled me about this passage is this: Why does Aaron know, so readily, how to fashion an …

Stop looking for the loopholes: Mark 10

One thing that keeps me in a consistent state of awe regarding the Bible is how clearly God's standards and ways are expressed in Scripture. This happens partly because I think there is an entire industry that exists to find ways to make the clear less-than-clear while also using the less-than-clear to build personal kingdoms. Some of that, though, is another sermon for another day.Rather, let's dig back into Mark and take a look at Mark 10 (link). Here are few of the stories in this chapter:First, you have a few of the Pharisees trying to get Jesus to settle one of their disputes. The Pharisees, to their credit, wanted to get the Law of God exactly perfect so they could obey it. The Pharisees, to their discredit, seemed to believe that they were better than anyone else for this effort and that God liked them better, too. One of the Pharisaic debates at the time was over divorce.Back in the Old Testament, when Moses gathered from God the laws to govern Israel, divorce had been…

Sermon Wrap Up from June 10

Morning Audio Link Here (Alternate)Evening Audio Link Here (Alternate)Morning Outline:June 10 AM Luke 6:22-23Blessed by God when...I. Men think otherwise     A. Hate     B. Ostracize     C. Insult     D. Scorn your nameII. If it is done: for the sake of Jesus!     A. Not for our political leanings     B. Not for our Economic prowess     C. But for our commitment to Jesus     D. And for our standing for His truthIII. Rejoice!     A. The prophets were treated the same way     B. God will reward you for your faithfulnessEvening Outline:No Outline. Psalm 58

Book: Son of the Underground

Today's Blog Post is driven by the deadline on Kregel's Blog Tour Program, which also provided the free copy of the book for this review. There is no demand that the review turn out any specific way, only that it turn out within a specified time frame.Next Sunday, June 17, is Father's Day here in America. Many people will celebrate the positive impact that fathers have on their children. Others will challenge fathers to step up and be more positive in the lives of their children. Alongside that, we will lament fathers who are not active in the lives of their children.Yet we would do well to consider the story found in today's book, Son of the Underground. This is the short autobiography of Isaac Liu. Isaac's father is Brother Yun, a Chinese pastor whose story is told in the book The Heavenly Man. No, I have not read that book.The story begins with the fact that Liu's father was absent at his birth. In fact, he did not meet his father face-to-face until he was f…

Nothing is that important: Exodus 31

The last ten chapters of the book of Exodus have focused on instructions about how to build the Tabernacle and its associated materials. Yet there has been something missing throughout the instructions.You have to have someone to put it all together. It is not very different from the kitchen: I have stacks and stacks of cookbooks, but I cannot cook like the authors of those books. For example, I’ve got all 3 of Alton Brown’s Good Eats Cookbooks, but you’d rather have him cook then me.Well, with the instructions of the Tabernacle, it takes the right person to put the directions into reality. It is, though, not Moses. It’s not Joshua or Aaron or any of the priests. It’s a guy named Bezalel and another one named Oholiab. These are some great names, aren’t they? These men, though, are specified by God as the ones to handle the craftsmanship of the Tabernacle and furnishings. Different views float around about whether or not these two had training or whether or not it was a completely supe…