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2. I think the next great people migration may be people in the American Southwest heading for the American Northwest in search of water. Groundwater is a resource you can exhaust…
3. My, my…have I gotten a lot of backlash over declaring that Romans 13 means what it says. This, from the very same people who would say that Romans 1 and other passages mean what they say about homosexuality…
4. If you think Romans 13 is irrational, by all means avoid the Sermon on the Mount…
5. I’ve had a theory for quite some time, that being that children are a favored target of the enemy. All this bullspit about gender identity issues is simply another attack on the most vulnerable. It’s creating confusion in children that would not otherwise exist and the results will be hellish.
6. I’ve recently discovered that I’m “cisgendered”. That means I am not transsexual and identify with the sex I was assigned at birth. The other word for “cisgendered” is “normal”.
7. The point I’m making is this…the kingdom of God does not function according to rational means, but supernatural ones. If we want God to “bless America” (or our own lives) we have to live according to the theology of the cross, not the theology of glory.
8. Unanswered theological questions will either make you worship or walk…
9. Despite all our differences there is “one faith, one Lord, and one baptism”. Naturally, we won’t agree on what that means either…
10. This wasn’t worth waiting for…my apologies.
“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
(Ephesians 1:15–23 ESV)
Paul has this way of bursting into prayer and really long sentences….
I think the reason for this is that Paul loved the people he was writing to so very much that his desire to tell them how much God loved them overwhelmed any concerns about grammar and brevity.
He couldn’t get out more enough, fast enough…
That’s how a pastor should feel about his people and if he does he will pray for them with this kind of enthusiasm and zeal…giving thanks for those he is serving.
Please note what he thinks of when he thinks of this church… their faith and their love.
He prays that the Ephesians will receive a supernatural, God given knowledge of God that isn’t simply head knowledge, but a result of having “the eyes of your heart enlightened”.
We believe all this wonderful news to be true…and we don’t.
We believe it because the Bible says it and that settles it, but when it comes to owning it in our hearts, for ourselves, we struggle.
We need this prayer of Paul’s prayed for us and we need to pray it for each other.
We believe, Lord…help our unbelief.
Once we believe with our hearts we will see the three things that Paul says are ours.
1. “The hope to which He has called us.” You were called for a purpose, to something for something. You are in Christ, part of the advance team of the kingdom and you will fulfill that which you are called to. You have hope, a sure hope that this is true and when His purpose is fulfilled here you have eternity with Him.
2. “The riches of His inheritance in the saints” Preachers argue whether this is referring to the fact that we are Christ’s inheritance or the fact that as adopted children of the King all the richest blessings of heaven are ours. Quit arguing and take both…
3. “the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe”. The greatest display of power in the history of the world was when God raised Christ from the dead…and that same power is at work in you and through you today.
We believe, Lord, help our unbelief…
The last thing Paul wants you to know is that your King reigns now.. He is” far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”
The church is the Kings body bringing His rule and reign now in anticipation of His final return.
If only we acted like it…and were known for our faith and love.
Next week…Ephesians 2
We confess that the purpose of our life, purposes twinned, are your glory and our joy.
That is our true end!
But when we come to the end of our work together, and the end of our text together, It strikes us that we know less about “ends” than we imagine.
We sing our explanatory doxologies,
We reiterate our concluding slogan that “thine is the kingdom and the glory and the power.”
We add our confident, loud “Amen” to our best petitions.
But-truth to tell-We cannot see the end; when we do see the end, we do not know its meaning … whether termination or transition.
And so, like our many fathers and mothers always,
We trust where we cannot see,
eating what we are fed,
taking what of recognition we can muster,
restless and present under a myriad of surveillances,
but finally ceding our end to you,
in our simple, final prayer: Come Lord Jesus.
Come among us,
Come to your church in bewilderment,
Come to our state in its vexation,
Come to our world in its insomnia.
Grant us peace with justice, peace with joy, peace at the last, peace on earth … and glory to you in the highest.
Walter Brueggemann. Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (p. 130). Kindle Edition.
“St. Augustine became a Christian when he heard a child’s voice singing as he sat in a garden on the edge of the Alps. He raced into the villa, opened St. Paul’s Epistles and saw the line “Not in reveling and drunkenness, not in lust and wantonness, not in quarrels and rivalries. Rather, arm yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, spend no more thought on nature and nature’s appetites.”
“I would not wish his fate on a dog. I cannot imagine what it is like to spurn nature and nature’s appetites.” Charles Bowden
The cat has demonstrated no spiritual virtues this week and has left me without pious ruminations about her behavior.
Thus, I’m left with the ruminations of the only person I spend as much time with these days, Mr. Bowden.
I have long felt a unique kinship with Bowden…we seem to have had similar personalities and we both write about cartels.
His cartels distributed drugs, mine distribute religion.
Both will try to destroy you if you interfere with their business.
We both depended on sources to write accurately because these organizations mainly operate in secret.
We both understood that it wasn’t the product that was the problem, it was the people buying, selling, and profiting from the product that needed examination.
“All the saints seem to see the world as a barrier to their spiritual lives and personal salvation. They find personal salvation more important than the world itself. And they find women to be a menace to their souls. This is clearly the best case that can be made for seeking damnation. Heaven and Hell do not concern me, nor does the state of my soul. Scorning the world is beyond my understanding. Why be here then?”
He wrote things like the above that shocked me and made me laugh at his impudence…and made me think uncomfortable thoughts.
I have grown to love uncomfortable thoughts…indeed, to take comfort in them.
They indicate that I have not sold myself to one of the cartels.
Drugs and religion can be distributed by cartels or by doctors and pastors, to enslave you or to heal you.
Be careful where you buy your dope.
“A faint shower last evening brings up the raw scent of the grass come morning. The sun rises as a disk of gold, the hummingbirds descend with lust in their hearts, acorn woodpeckers pillage the feeders and a vulture sits high in the cottonwood across the wash and basks in the early light. A great blue heron flaps across the sky.
I am always puzzled when I am told life is meaningless.
I am always puzzled when I am told the meaning of life.”
Make your own application…
Franklin Graham started quite the firestorm for himself by posting this on Facebook last week:
“Listen up–Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and everybody else. Most police shootings can be avoided. It comes down to respect for authority and obedience. If a police officer tells you to stop, you stop. If a police officer tells you to put your hands in the air, you put your hands in the air. If a police officer tells you to lay down face first with your hands behind your back, you lay down face first with your hands behind your back. It’s as simple as that. Even if you think the police officer is wrong—YOU OBEY. Parents, teach your children to respect and obey those in authority. Mr. President, this is a message our nation needs to hear, and they need to hear it from you. Some of the unnecessary shootings we have seen recently might have been avoided. The Bible says to submit to your leaders and those in authority “because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.”
The Christian right exploded with amens and affirmations, the Christian left exploded with the opposite sentiments.
If anyone other than Franklin Graham had said this, I might be inclined to agree with them.
Being a good police officer is an incredibly demanding job both physically and emotionally.
They see the worst of what humanity has to offer every day they go to work and it takes a massive toll on them.
They are a necessary and vital part of the social fabric of our society and the front line of social order.
I’m very ‘pro-police”.
However, it cannot be denied that all across the country we’re seeing an increase in the abuse of authority by some in this profession.
Those offenses and abuses must be honestly addressed as well.
Franklin Graham doesn’t carry any weight with me.
First off, he is lecturing his followers on respect for authority and calls on a President he’s shown no respect for to speak to it.
The very people shouting amen the loudest to Grahams exhortation on Facebook are the ones posting the most disrespectful things imaginable about the current “authorities” in Washington.
Second of all my own experience with Graham is that he’s never met an abusive authority he didn’t like and defend.
He’s encouraged abusive (and in one instance I know of), illegal behavior by evangelical celebrities and condemned those who dared stand up to them.
My bottom line is that I don’t believe that Franklin Graham believes that abuse ever happens among those who support him financially and agree with him politically.
In those beliefs, he has far too much company…
Graham knows which side his bread is buttered on and he is a master at pandering populist notions that keep him in both bread and butter.
There’s always more of both if people “submit” to his friends.
That’s the social order that Franklin Graham is most concerned about preserving.
I’ll always obey my local police and teach my boy to respect them…but Franklin can go pound sand.
I’ll teach my boy that as well.
We do more than just remember, however…we stand with him by using our social media to advocate for his release.
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.
Jacob Abedini…another missed birthday.