Author Archives: Pastor Mark

The Promises We Make

In thinking about the promises we make, the movie “Hook” came to mind.   It is a wonderful film about Peter Pan, Hook, and Tink starring Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, and Julia Roberts respectively.  There are many life and spiritual lessons within for any family who would like to use it as a platform for great discussion.

promisesOne of the issues embedded in the film is the busy life of Peter Banning and his dysfunctional relationship with his son, Jack.  In an attempt to juggle work and family, Peter makes empty promises to his son.  The tragedy occurs when, due to the Jack’s awareness that his father’s words are empty, Jack’s affections wander towards someone outside his family. Jack begins to trust someone other than his father.  In this case, he begins to trust in Captain Hook, regardless of who he was.

Jack gravitated towards someone who showed true interest in him, not for what he could do, but for who he was.  Captain Hook is a swarmy character antithetical of a father figure, however, did portray the quality of speaking truthfully to Jack.

In doing life as many years as I have, it is so much easier to work with people who keep their promise.  Those who are more thoughtful about their words and the vows they make.  If I enjoy working with people who possess this quality, then I have to believe that others do too.  So I want to work really hard at thoughtful promise making and then promise keeping.

Jesus encouraged us to let our yes be yes and our no be no.  Maybe it was more than an encouragement, maybe it is an significant element to a life of integrity.

Let’s be conscious of the promises we make.

B90X – Ezekiel 11:19 Sunday, Mar 03, 13

We live in a hard world…and we encounter it everyday.

We’ve all attended the school of hard knocks, lived between a rock and hard place, and discovered that there are no hard and fast rules. We meet people who are as hard as nails, drive a hard bargain, are a hard nut to crack, and are a hard act to follow. We encounter circumstances that are hard to swallow and have learned the hard way. We’re hard pressed, hard up, play hard to get, work hard, fall on hard times, and need hard cash.  We offend someone and say, “No hard feelings.” Of course, we know without being told that this is not what the Lord wants for us. Out of sheer self-protection, our tendency is to become hard ourselves: we take a hard line, develop hard feelings, and in the process become hard-hearted.  After thinking long and hard, many of us are hard of hearing on some matters, and we know that old habits die hard.  Along the way, we run into hard voices, faces, attitudes…and hearts. So, let’s take a long, hard look at what the Bible has to say about hard-heartedness.

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B90X- Easy Keel 36:24-32

stone and flesh heart

24      For I will take you from among the nations,
gather you from all the countries,
and return you to your own soil.
25      Then I will sprinkle clean water on you,
and you will be clean;
I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness
and from all your idols.
26      I will give you a new heart
and put a new spirit inside you;
I will take the stony heart out of your flesh
and give you a heart of flesh.

27      I will put my Spirit inside you
and cause you to live by my laws,
respect my rulings and obey them.
28      You will live in the land I gave to your ancestors.
You will be my people,
and I will be your God.
29     I will save you from all your uncleanliness.
I will summon the grain and increase it,
and not send famine against you.
30     I will multiply the yield of fruit from the trees
and increase production in the fields,
so that you never again suffer the reproach
of famine among the nations.
31     Then you will remember your evil ways
and your actions that were not good;
as you look at yourselves, you will loathe yourselves
for your guilt and disgusting practices.
32     Understand,’ says Adonai Elohim,
‘that I am not doing this for your sake.
Instead, be ashamed and dismayed for your ways,
house of Isra’el.’

B90X- Isaiah

The purpose of the book of Isaiah demonstrates the trustworthiness of the Lord.  The first king whom Isaiah serves, Ahaz, does not trust the Lord.  He ignores Isaiah’s advice and follows his own schemes.  This leads to defeat and servitude at the hands of the Assyrians.  Ahaz’s son Hezekiah, in contrast, trusts the Lord and Jerusalem is delivered from Sennacherib and the Assyrians.  In the second half of the book the exiles are also encouraged to trust the Lord to bring deliverance and to respond like Hezekiah, not like Ahaz.

Isaiah and coal

A significant theme is the hope in a future ideal Davidic king.  The book provides a template for Messianic expectation as it develops a profile of God’s plan, including the exaltation of Jerusalem (ch. 2), the coming child whom is the reign (ch. 9), peace and stability of the reign of the Davidic heir(ch. 11), and how the ideal Servant of the Lord will carry out God’s mission (chs. 42-53).

Walton, Strauss, and Cooper.  The Essential Bible Companion.

B90X Psalm 106

Golden calf

In Horev they fashioned a calf, they worshiped a cast metal image.  Thus they exchanged their Glory for the image of an ox that eats grass!  They forgot God, who had saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, wonder in the land of Ham, fearsome deeds by the Sea of Suf.  Therefore he said that he would destroy the, [and he would have,] had not Moshe his chosen one stood before him in the breach to turn back his destroying fury (Ps 106:19-23, CJB).

The location of the incident repeated above is originally found Exodus 32.  Quite a group of folks whom Moses had to lead out of Egypt into the Promised Land.

A couple of things that I was thinking about this morning as I read this:

1. There may not be a golden calf in which I have melted down all my gold to replace for God, yet, is there something instead?  Have I forgotten God and created something else in place of Him?  What have I called Yahweh instead of Father?  What have I exchanged my imago Dei for?

2. As a church we are participating in a Seder Dinner this March 7th.  The purpose of a Seder is to remember all that the Lord had done for the descendants of Abraham in setting up for them a land of promise, a land of refuge and peace, and a place to show Father’s glory.  Father was faithful in his promise, but the people were not.  The above says, “They forgot God, who had saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, wonder in the land of Ham, fearsome deeds by the Sea of Suf.”
The main point to a Seder is to never forget.
Not to forget,
not to forget who saved them,
not to forget the great things,
not to forget the wonder,
not to forget the fearsome deeds. 

Father, I pray we never forget all you have done for us.  From all you have redeemed us.  From the old.  From the degenerate.  From the habits.  From the addictions.  From it all.  Help us to have constant reminders of your glory in our lives and the image we possess and how that image is to interact with the world’s we live in.  Amen.