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Showing posts from May, 2013

Bible Reading Challenge- Genesis, Psalms, Matthew

For those who are attempting to read through the whole Bible in a year I am providing a bit of an introduction for some of the books of the Bible. I hope it is helpful. 
Reading the Bible in General: We are in the habit of reading for information. We consume as we read. The Bible was not written to be read this way. The bible is not a newspaper, or a text book, or even a novel. The Bible is an entirely different kind of book. Reading the Bible is about prayer and spiritual-formation, not merely information gathering. As we read we get a sense of who God is and who we are. We begin to see ourselves and our lives in the pages of the Bible. As we learn to live in its pages we begin to relate our lives to situations we read about. We see the betrayal of family as the betrayal Joseph experienced. We see our prayers in a difficult time as related to Jacob wrestling the angel. We see our own denial of our gift as Jonah running away from God. We see reconciliation with a friend as the story of…

Trinity

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Trinity Sunday is a difficult Sunday for preachers. We are given the task of taking a complex idea, like the Trinity, and communicating it simply and clearly. The idea of the Trinity is this- God is one in nature, but three in persons. If you ask what God is, we say “God”. There is only one such being in that category. If you ask what we are, we say human.  God is in His own category.  If you ask who God is, we say “Father, Son, Spirit”.  As we speak we have to be careful not to mix the persons of the Trinity together. However, we also need to be careful that as we describe the Persons of the Trinity that we don’t divide their nature- which is God- one and unified. That’s the basic idea. Three persons. One God. It is not necessarily an easy concept to hold in your head. As we try to make it easier to understand we quite often get into trouble. We try to make it easier by imagining that God changed into tree forms. So he was The Father, then he became the Son when Jesus was born, and o…

beam me up Scotty- Ascension

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Ascension
Luke 24:44-53
Acts 1:1-11




For a long time I had many mixed feelings about Jesus’ Ascension. I never quite understood why Jesus left. It was as if he was “beamed up” to the Starship Enterprise boldly going somewhere else and leaving us down here. I sometimes wonder if the Apostles felt the same way.  It was pretty obvious that they still needed Jesus’ help. In our reading from Acts the disciples ask Jesus a question.They asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" John Calvin commented on the Apostles’ question and stated that there are almost as many errors as there are words in the question. Keep in mind that Jesus has been teaching them for fourty days after the resurrection, and that is on top of the three years they spent together.  They still had the sense that the kingdom was something that would happen suddenly. The sky would suddenly open up and the kingdom would fall on them. Jesus spoke about the kingdom being like a must…

The Lamb on the throne- Rev. 7

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Rev7:9-17


Revelation is an unusual book. It is filled with symbols and references to other parts of the Bible. It is mysterious and often difficult to understand. All this means it is not often read, and often not understood. Different books of the Bible speak to us in different ways. Some speak to our emotions. Others speak to our will, or our intellect.  The Bible scholar Bruce Metzger says, “the book of Revelation is unique in appealing primarily to our imagination- not, however, a freewheeling imagination, but a disciplined imagination.”[1] We should also be careful not to discount it because it speaks to us through our imagination. Like a parable, the book of Revelation speaks truth to us in its own particular way.   As human beings we tend towards extremes. With the book of Revelation we tend to read literally as a description of future political events, or we tend to dismiss it as not worth reading at all. Speaking about those who tend to use Revelation as a Crystal ball to see t…

Eat, Pray Love- Acts 16

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Acts 16:9-15


What do you do if you want to find Truth?... People say it in different ways. Sometimes people want to “find themselves”. Or, they say they want to find “meaning”, or “purpose”. Some people travel across the world to meet a guru or medicine man. Some get on a motorbike and ride along the hi-ways. Some retreat to a cabin in the woods. … Sometimes we feel the need to search when we graduate high school or university and we’re trying to figure out how we’ll spend the rest of our lives. … Sometimes it’s after a tragedy and we’re trying to find out how we will go on living. … Sometimes we search after the end of a relationship, or when we retire. At some point, most human beings, hopefully, begin to search for what really matters.  
I recently watched the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”. (It was a book first). It is about a woman named Elizabeth Gilbert who finds herself frustrated in the life she is living. She notices an emptiness in her life where meaning and purpose should be. Despe…