Tag Archives: Jesus

2016B90X Day 5 Exodus Passover

I have heard of people who faint at the sight of blood.  Fifteen percent of us have our blood pressure drop when the red liquid is in sight.  Admittedly, when I see someone’s life source pouring out of their body, I want to make it stop so no other issues occur, like death.

The nauseous sensation when one sees blood is universal and timeless.  It made me think about the incident in Exodus 12 where the Lord is at the end of his rope in dealing with Pharaoh and the Egyptians.  The last plague involved death to every firstborn male in a household.  Whether it was Pharoah’s firstborn or the firstborn of a slave-girl, even the firstborn of animals born to ones home, there was going to be wailing and a lament unlike anything anyone had heard before.

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The solution to not having this happen was to slaughter a young lamb and to take its blood and apply it to your house.  Fortunately the blood from one lamb could be shared just a bit.  But the idea was that every household used their own possession because there is something about a sacrifice when it costs something.

But I digress, this idea of using fresh blood to protect a household from the angel of death is quite a precaution.  So for the hearers of the news on what to do, it must have been a head-scratcher.  The prophetic implications of this action was not known then, but is significantly clear to us today. Never-the-less, if one applied blood from a lamb to the main doorway into their house it saved their lives.

There is so much that can be said about this action.  Bottom line- it is the presence of Jesus, the spotless, young lamb of God, that saves you and me, even if it just the presence of His blood.  It is only when we apply the blood of Jesus to our lives, to the proverbial doorpost of our heart and mind, that we can be saved from a death that brings a wailing and lament like no other we can imagine.

Living in the presence of Jesus is both a now and a later blessing.  Salvation is not just for the future, it makes life so much better now.  It makes living on planet earth that much better.  I would rather live in the presence of the Lord than any other option.  How about you?

B90X Day One

Genesis 1:2 tells us the Spirit of God (ruah) hovered over the waters.  What did that look like?  Have you ever tried to recreate that in your mind?

The theme for B90X 2016 at CRBC is “The Presence of the Lord.”  As we read through the Bible this time around, ask Father to show you his presence in the story.  Where does he show up?  How does He interact with the folks the story is written about?

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How is His presence tangible, real, manifested, or obvious? How does the Lord present himself in a story?  How does that presence minister to folks? Is it a blessing? Sometimes it is not.

Right out of the gate, the Holy Spirit is present with us.  He hovered.  He was right there.  His presence is so thick, it covers and hovers.  The word for hover there has all sorts of meanings.  It can also mean brooding, gently moving, or even, fertilizing.  Fertilizing?  That is cool.  Fertilizer has to come in contact with something for it to have an effect.   And what an effect it can have.  Whatever the fertilizer touches is affected.  It can’t be the same.  The same with the Holy Spirit.   Whatever it touches is never the same.  I don’t want to be the same- touch me Holy Spirit.  Help me grow, help me be more like Jesus, help me to know you more intimately.

For a complete schedule of the readings go here.  We’d love for you to join us on the journey.

Two criminals with Jesus

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 passageScreen Shot 2014-04-09 at 9.05.26 AM.  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.

‘The Long Silence’

billions before the throneAt the end of time, billions of people were scattered on a great plain before God’s throne.

Most shrank back from the brilliant light before them.  But some groups near the front talked heatedly – - not with cringing shame, but with belligerence.

 

‘Can God judge us?  How can he know about suffering?’ snapped a pert young brunette.  She ripped open a sleeve to reveal a tattooed number from a Nazi concentration camp.  ’We endured terror… beatings… torture… death!’

In another group a Black man lowered his collar.  ’What about this?’ he demanded, showing an ugly rope burn. ‘Lynched…for no crime but being black!’

In another crowd, a pregnant schoolgirl with sullen eyes. ‘Why should I suffer’ she murmured, ‘It wasn’t my fault.’

Far out across the plain there were hundreds of such groups.  Each had a complaint against God for the evil and suffering he permitted in his world. How lucky God was to live in heaven where all was to live in Heaven where all was sweetness and light, where there was no weeping or fear, no hunger or hatred.  What did God know of all that man had been forced to endure in their world?  For God leads a pretty sheltered life, they said.

So each of these groups sent forth their leader, chosen because he had suffered the most.  A Jew, a Black man, a person from Hiroshima, a horribly deformed arthritic, a thalidomide child.  In the centre of the plain whey consulted with each other.  At last they were ready to present their case. It was rather clever.

Before God could be qualified to be their judge, he must endure what they had endured.  Their decision was that God should be sentenced to live on earth – - as a man!

‘Let him be born a Jew.  Let the legitimacey of his birth be doubted.  Give him a work so difficult that even his family will think him out of his mind when he tries to do it. Let him be betrayed by his closest friends. Let him face false charges, be tried by a prejudiced jury and convicted by a cowardly judge. Let him be tortured.

‘At the last, let him see what it means to be terribly alone.  Then let him die. Let him die so that there can be no doubt that he died. Let there be a great host of witnesses to verify it.’

As each leader announced his portion of the sentence, loud murmurs of approval went up from the throng of people assembled.

And when the last had finished pronouncing sentence, there was a long silence. No-one uttered another word.  No-one moved. For suddenly all knew that God had already served his sentence.

Selah.

The issue of evil and suffering here on earth has puzzled humanity in every millenia of our existence.  As early as Job, with the Epicurean Paradox, and as recently as CS Lewis- questions, discussions and solutions abound, even confound. The brutal death of Jesus provides the basis and resolution for such discussion.  

The playlet above is found in a fabulous section on ‘suffering and glory’ in a lengthy classic by John R. W. Stott entitled “The Cross of Christ” an InterVarsity Press publication 1986.

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.