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Showing posts from February, 2016

Secrets and Stresses: Matthew 6

In Summary:

Still working through the Sermon on the Mount, we come to the passages containing instruction on works of righteousness, forgiveness, and worry. Matthew 6:1 provides the introduction as Jesus warns His hearers not to practice righteousness for the sake of being seen by a human audience.

He then proceeds to provide a few examples of “works of righteousness” for the audience. The ones given are almsgiving, prayer, and fasting though I think we can see the pattern set for all spiritual disciplines. Forgiveness is bundled with these disciplines as if it is central to spiritual life: restoring relationships with others is vital in demonstrating and living the restored relationship with God. (Note that dealing with deep, harmful sins like abuse or adultery is the subject of a much more detailed post than this is. Forgiveness and its practical outworking need more than I will give here, but suffice it to say it’s not that simple.)

Jesus then goes on to explain where His followers…

Sermon Recap for February 21

It looks like I forgot to post the recaps from last week. So, here are two batches of sermons.February 21 Morning: A Box, Not a God 1 Samuel 4 (audio)February 21 Evening: Job, Exodus, and a few others (audio)February 14 Morning 1 Samuel 3 (audio)February 14 Evening (audio)

Book: The Body Under the Bridge

And we’re back. With a bang and with a book. It’s been one of those months, but hopefully regular posting will resume soon. In the interest of “Full Disclosure,” this is supposed to be a review book that I received free for doing the review. I lost the free one, so I bought a replacement. I don’t know if that makes this a free book review or a bought book review.Murder, mayhem, and mishaps? Prior to The Body under the Bridge, I had only heard Father Gilbert’s name in reference to audio dramas, but I had not looked into them. So, I have no background on the characters outside of the blurb. One can easily figure, though, that Father Gilbert left Scotland Yard with a desire for peace and, perhaps, atonement. Not to become a crime-solving vicar.What is there to like here? First, the plot is compelling. Who committed what crimes? What bodies are here just because, and are not actually victims? McCusker has woven a good tale here, with a hint of unpredictability. It had what I like in a mys…

Sermon Recap for February 7

Morning Sermon: 1 Samuel 1 (audio)Evening Sermon (audio)First principle: reading narrative for truth. Relevant practices: read the whole passage. Look for what happens. Look at actions. Look at what God clearly does and does not do--just because something occurs or even "works out" does not mean it meets with God's approval. Second principle: extended patience with the providence of God. God is not to be hurried.      Sub principle: The rivals for your attention will demand and demean you while you wait. (Peinnah)      Sub principle: Human comfort is sometimes not enough (Elkanah) Third principle: Prayer is between you and God--take your burdens there. DO NOT SHARE A PRAYER REQUEST TO PEOPLE YOU WANT TO SOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS. PRAY, THEN ASK THEM FOR HELP. Seriously. If you're in a room full of auto mechanics and your car needs help, don't ask them to pray when you want them to help. Ask them to help.      Sub principle: and stop using "prayer request"…

No Heart: Deuteronomy 29

In Summary:

Deuteronomy 29 turns from a general retelling of the covenant (note the similarity of Deuteronomy 29:1 and Deuteronomy 1:1) to the last words of Moses before his death. Prior to this point, Moses has presented the covenant between Israel and God according to the typical treaties between sovereigns and subjects of the time.

These next chapters take more of a personal turn, as Moses reminds the people what has happened under his leadership. We see, as final words should be, reminders of critical moments and very direct warnings about the future.

For example, Deuteronomy 29:5 reminds us of Deuteronomy 8:4, that the shoes and clothes of the Israelites did not wear out during their wanderings. The next verse, 29:6, highlights that the Israelites have not eaten bread for the last 40 years. This connects back to chapter 8 as well, and we see again the importance of context. “Man does not live by bread alone” was not merely a thought. It was the life of the Israelites. They lived …

Book: Ashes to Ashes

It's time to return to Bampton for the further adventures of Master Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon and Bailiff to Lord Gilbert Talbot. The "medieval medical murder mystery" section in the library isn't particularly big, but as long as Mel Starr's series is there, it's big enough. Ashes to Ashes is the eighth entry in this series. Once again, we find a mysterious body and Master Hugh is called upon to determine who, what, when, where, and how the evil deed took place. His travels take him to the nearby village of Kencott and the local politics there.  As always, Starr takes his readers into a medieval world that requires a glossary at the beginning, a map after that, and an historical note at the end. The book is written in a first-person style, so whatever Master Hugh does not know, we readers do not know. Since this is the eighth novel in a series, the reader would be better served to start earlier in the series. Once you know a bit of the background of Hugh, …

History Repeats: Matthew 5

In Summary: The Sermon on the Mount begins with Matthew 5. That tells us we have a lot of ground to cover, and one post may not be enough for it. For that matter, I have a couple of complete books on the shelf about the Sermon on the Mount. There is so much here that is worth considering, and we’re going to hit it in one blog post. In doing so, let us look at the Sermon on the Mount as just that: a sermon. What are some keys to understanding a sermon? First, consider the audience. The audience, according to verse 1, are those who are disciples of Jesus. In this case, we are likely looking at a larger group than the Twelve Apostles. That opening verse gives us enough of a context for the audience: they are people from the area that have been in the “crowd” which watched and listened to Jesus, and they wanted to know more. They wanted to know more enough to separate from the crowd and go up on the mountain to hear from Jesus. Second, consider the preacher. In this case, the Preacher is Jes…

Sermon Recap for January 31

Here’s the sermon from yesterday morning! January 31 AM: John 6We’ll take a detour from John for February and start on 1 Samuel.