In our travels through the book of Luke, we have made it to the Easter season 2014 at the same time we read and preach the last moments of Jesus life on the cross.
This past Sunday was Luke Part 123 in a series of sermons taking us all the way through the book of Luke. This has taken five years, yet has been met with interludes along the way like Christmas, Easter, B90X, and other short book or series studies.
I don’t think this is by accident that we meet right now with a intersection of these ideas.
The thought I had this morning related both to the sermon last Sunday and the group of men I have the privilege of meeting with every Wednesday morning. I don’t even begin to think that I have the all-inclusive, final answer to every section of scripture which I preach. For this past Sunday, the Holy Spirit lead me to share some particular ideas relating to the four verses surrounding the two thieves crucified at the same time as Jesus.
The cool thing which happened this morning at coffee was how much more there is to the story than meets the eye. Nearly all six of us which spoke up about it, had a little different take, inflection, or depth to the story than the others. Granted we all had the same foundational view. However, each of us brought a different light, perspective, or world-view to the passage. It was mighty.
One of the things our time together this morning reminded me was how alive and living the Word of God is. Taking the time to meditate on it can bring to light all sorts of things. Rather than me thinking I have to have all the answers for everyone each and every Sunday, some ideas are spread around like the sower and his seed in Matt. 13, and those seeds fall on different kinds of hearts and lives and grow (or don’t grow) in all sorts of ways.
This was a really rich time for me. Thank you Jim, Chris, Rick, Vince, Nathan, and Bill for sharing your hearts and thoughts on the Living Word of God.
“Increase our Faith” (Luke 17:5). As we travel through the scriptures this year, we are looking at how faith, belief, and trust are present in the stories and incidents of Bible characters. The faith or lack of faith of a person ought to spur us on toward faith. Let’s use the fruit and results of their lives to help us increase our faith.
Today, as I was reading the last half of Exodus, I was struck by the story of Aaron, Moses’ brother and first high priest of the Hebrew religious system. Particularly chapter 32 when the people became impatient when the man of God spent more time in the presence of the Lord than they wanted him to. In their impatient state they asked Aaron to make a god for them rather than faith in Yahwah, the invisible. Interestingly, they even named the golden calf they fashioned Yahweh.
The questions I had of the text pertained to Aaron and how he failed in his faith. He was the appointed and anointed High Priest. He could speak for the Lord. He saw miracles. He was in the presence of Moses as He heard from God. He knew all the spiritual and material articles of the tabernacle and vestments of the priests. He had access to the urim and the thummim.
So what happened? His faith failed. His trust in the Lord wavered. His memory of all that had happened waned. Why? What was the state of his soul that he could so easily be bent towards bowing the the request of the people? What words or actions were so convincing that he agreed to go along with their crazy idea? What part of “you will have no other gods before me,” did they not understand? Where the voices so loud and obnoxious that he relented out of shear overwhelming? What did Aaron think he would gain from the decision? He built the alter, he planned the festival, he agreed to the revelry, he participated in the eating and drinking.
I am going to pray about this today. I don’t want something like this to happen to me.
When one reads through the Bible in 90 days, it only takes four days to get through all 50 chapters of Genesis.
Genesis is easy reading. It is also full of crazy stories that seem like they just are made up, almost unbelievable. It is the collection of the beginning of earthly existence for the heavens and the earth from the macro to the micro. One sees the hand of God present and active in the lives of some very unlikely characters hosting the power, life, and legacy of the Lord.
Today at CRBC, to kick of the weekly series of sermons as we walk through the Bible, was my preaching professor, Scott Wenig.
Interestingly, as I read through Genesis this go-round, Joseph made a heightened impression on me. His integrity, his wisdom, his patience, and his faith seemed to all speak voluminously to faithful believers for millennia to come.
Joseph and his life was the subject-du-jour for us today. The big idea was this, “Do you believe that God is always good and that He is always at work in your life?” That question needs be be answered with a resounding, “yes.” If not, that is a good goal to reach for. It is good to make that connection. To see God as bad, absent, or an antagonist to your life is no way to live and think.
For the next few days, as you read through some of the more challenging portions of scripture, ask your self this question and see what kinds of ideas you have. Hopefully you will answer in the affirmative time and time again.
“Increase our faith!”
It is that time of the year again!
No, not tax time, B90X time.
As we gear up to read through the Bible in 90 days, the Lord, through a man of God, gave us the idea of reading this year through the lens of faith. So as we read, look for signs of faith. Look for men and women of faith. Look for qualities of faith evident in people. Even look for folks who don’t walk in faith and examine some of the reasons why or what may be going on for them to not live a life of faith.
Today, I found a couple of things. First, in Genesis 4:26 it says, “At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.” If faith is believing and trusting, what was it that they knew for them to trust in and call out to? How did the Lord reveal Himself for Him to be sought after? How did they know to ‘call on’ the name of the Lord? What did this kind of faith look like and did the Lord consider those calling out to be people of faith? Lots of unknowns there.
Secondly, what did the faith of Enoch look like. He is found in Genesis 5:21-24. The Bible says that he walked with God. What did that walk look like on an everyday scale? Then it says “God took him away.” Enoch is one of two people who did not die and earthly death, Elijah is the other. What was it about the faith of Enoch that he was taken away? Where did he learn to live the kind of life that pleased Father so much that he was here one minute and gone the next?
You get the idea. We are going to read through the entire Bible in 90 days. We will come across verses and people we have read before or are meeting for the first time. Allow the Holy Spirit to use their lives to help increase your faith (Luke 17:5)
There is a legendary figure named Honi who was known for his audacious prayers. He would pray for rain and it would. And not just a sprinkling, but torrents of water would fall in places not known for inundation.
Mark Batterson hits the nail on the head with a challenge for all of us to pray boldly, persistently, and for the long haul. I am personally encouraged in my faith to alter my prayer form. Rather than vaguely and singly, I am motivated and inspired to take my prayer life to a whole different level. And not just for my own purposes, but for Gods. I want my prayer life to honor all that he is in our lives on this planet in our generation.
So briefly, I make the bold suggestion for any and all of you– glean from a local pastor who has made his story available. A pastor who the Lord has used to plant a church in one of the most influential cities on the planet. We can imagine how much prayer is need there.
All you CRBCers– I so want you to read this book, that if you present the receipt to me, I will pay you for reading it. Blessings.