1. I read the excellent biography of Sam Phillips by Peter Guralnick last week. Phillips, (for the uninitiated), was the owner of Sun Records in the 1950’s and “discovered” Elvis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Jerry Lee Lewis.
He was a man of singular vision and undeniable genius.He was also extremely complex and sinful.
To understand and appreciate the man one must hold the vision, genius, complexity, and sin in honest tension.
Such, I believe, is the case with all men….and why I reject hagiography.
When I read the “biographies” of “great” people in the Bible I read of redeemed sinners, not sinless saints.
Our expectations of leaders in the church should be of what has gone on before.
The mark of a godly and righteous person isn’t a lack of sin, but a willingness to repent where sin has happened.
Perhaps if our expectations were biblical, our actions and the actions of those who lead would be too…
2.Pondering whether my cat wonders if humans go to heaven…
3.I’m completely disgusted that every tragedy that happens in this country is now utilized for partisan political purposes…
4.I’m further disgusted by those who think there is some equivalence between a wicked man shooting up an abortion clinic and Muslim terrorists. Last time I checked, there weren’t armed groups of Christians terrorizing entire countries and taking the heads off those who wouldn’t convert…
5. There has been no doctrine responsible for more mischief in the church than the one that declares pastors and worship leaders as more “anointed” than the flock…
6.If your priority as a pastor is growth in numbers instead of growth in grace, you’re a manager, not a pastor…
7.To be successful in the kingdom of God you must be willing to be an abject failure in the kingdoms of men. This is much easier to say than to live…
8.Whatever happened to statesmen?
9.You have a better chance of winning the lottery than finding a Christian loving their “enemies” on Facebook. Remember the difference between Christians and the world is supposed to be love…
10.May God deliver us from the need to be right and deliver us onto a thirst for righteousness…
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Usually we get just a short passage – a verse or two quotation to make a point.
Here we have a long quote that is here for no other reason than to say God had a plan for a new covenant – because the old one was flawed.
Just as the old priesthood Aaronic / Levitical need to be replaced – by Jesus in the order of Melchezidek
“The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah”.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 – making the point that the old covenant under which Israel had its religious experience is now superseded by a new covenant. The writer’s interest is in the fact that under the new covenant forgiveness of sins is brought about. As soon as he comes to the words about forgiveness – he breaks off the quotation.
9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
This covenant will be different
The Mosaic covenant was not just Law and Judgment – we also see compassion – “when I took them by the hand”
The new covenant is different – how?
By which way the blood goes – watch this closely.
Old Covenant the blood was delivered by us to God
Now the blood is delivered to us, by Jesus. Where do we see this best? (forget best, where do we see it at all?)
Of course, in the Lord’s Supper where instead of us bring our blood sacrifice to God; Jesus brings his blood, his real blood to us. Matt 26:26-29
“26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Note – this new covenant is ‘written’ in the blood of Jesus.
Note – it has a purpose and it is efficacious in doing what it claims to do – forgive sin.
Note – Jesus delivers that forgiveness in real time at the table. Some groups have difficulty with this part.
10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Here is the big issue. Who is this new covenant for? In our LCMS church we teach that it is for the people of God – us, today called the Church. That God promises in this to do a new thing – a game changer as we have said.
Some see “the people of Israel” and can see only ethnic / geographic Israel – that somehow this covenant already took place with the return to the land after the captivity OR and this is big today in America and particularly here where we are in Orange County – that this new covenant will take effect in the ‘last days’ after the Church has been removed in the rapture.
That this is not a new covenant that involves the Church, but at best the Church gains some benefits that rub off by being friendly to the nation Israel.
In other words, the promise of Jeremiah for a new covenant is the way God will save Israel at a later date. Oddly this is claimed even though the writer of Hebrews is using the Jeremiah “new covenant” passage to show that Jesus is the great high priest of this very same new covenant.
This is totally false, so we will move on.
After what time? After the time of failure
Heart & mind – why both? – It is inward and dynamic
We should not make a big distinction between mind & heart here. I have heard the saying “he missed heaven by 18 inches” meaning he had it in his head but not in his heart. God puts it both places and it is just as effective in either.
Part of the failure of the Old Covenant was its outwardness.
Laws were good, but they were written on tablets of stone.
A promise of a close relationship. “I will be … they will be.”
Not totally new – but stated with a new emphasis
Exodus 6:7 “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
On Wednesdays we encourage people to advocate for the release of Saeed Abedini.
We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like” the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.
We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release.
We will continue to do so until he is released.
I never though this campaign would ever be controversial, but in the light of Naghmah Abedinis accusations of domestic abuse it has become just that.
Because victims of spousal abuse and child abuse have so often been marginalized or ignored (especially in the church) the expectation now is that all accusations of such acts be accepted without question and without any due process.
I have much sympathy with this stance.
I’ve seen victims ignored or worse, revictimized by those in authority.
I’ve seen more cover ups than I can count.
However…I’ve also been lied to.
More than once.
There have been allegations sent to me with the hope of my advocacy that upon minimal scrutiny have collapsed like a house of cards.
The necessity to hear both sides of a matter is both a Christian and democratic ethic.
I do not disbelieve Mrs. Abedini, but I believe Saeed Abedini has the right to answer these charges before we convict him.