Apr 152017
 
…On our own, we conclude:
that there is not enough to go around
we are going to run short
of money
of love
of grades
of publications
of sex
of beer
of members
of years
of life

we should seize the day…
seize the goods…
seize our neighbor’s goods
because there is not enough to go around
and in the midst of our perceived deficit;

You come
You come giving bread in the wilderness
You come giving children at the 11th hour
You come giving homes to the exiles
You come giving futures to the shut-down
You come giving Easter joy to the dead
You come … fleshed … in Jesus

And we watch while
the blind receive their sight
the lame walk
the lepers are cleansed
the deaf hear
the dead are raised
the poor dance and sing.

We watch … and we take

food we did not grow and
life we did not invent and
future that is gift and gift and gift and
families and neighbors who sustain us
when we do not deserve it.

It dawns on us, late rather than soon, that
You give food in due season
you open your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

By your giving,
break our cycles of imagined scarcity
override our presumed deficits
quiet our anxieties of lack
transform our perceptual field to see
the abundance…mercy upon mercy
blessing upon blessing.

Sink your generosity deep into our lives

that your much-ness may expose our false lack
that endlessly receiving, we may endlessly give,

so that the world may be made Easter new,
without greedy lack, but only wonder
without coercive need, but only love
without destructive greed, but only praise
without aggression and evasiveness…
all things Easter new…

all around us, toward us and by us
all things Easter new.

Finish your creation…
in wonder, love and praise. Amen.

Apr 152017
 

Matthew 20:17-34

Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time – This will be Jesus’ 3rd passion prediction.

17 And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them,

  • You get a picture here that there is a great crowd either traveling with Jesus or just following along for a way and then as they peel off and return home, perhaps others join in.
  • This would be why Jesus needs to take the disciples “aside”.

18 “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death

  • This is huge each time Jesus uses the Daniel like description “The Son of Man”.
  • To use this term alongside “condemned to death” – “Delivered over, mocked and flogged, crucified” will just boggle the mind of his hearers.

19 and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”

  • Each time Jesus predicts his death, he expands it to the horror of his listeners – his audience.
  • This time he is adding the ‘who he will be delivered to — the Gentiles.

 

A Mother’s Request

20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something.

  • The Sons of Zebedee are James & John
  • She would be Mrs. Zebedee
  • They have been walking with Jesus but they don’t quite get it yet…. Do they?

21 And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.”

  • Jesus’ kingdom is one of service and they can only perceive power & might.
  • Jump ahead and look at v. 26-28
  • They heard in Matt 19 Jesus saying they would sit on thrones – so now they are saying (through Mom) “hey Jesus, Pony Up!”
  • How is Jesus going to rule? He just told them — by being handed over to his enemies.

22 Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.”

  • The cup I am to drink? = death
  • We are able – so they think.

23 He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”

  • Who were the 2 chosen by the Father – “Prepared by my Father” – to sit on the left & right of Jesus?
  • The 2 criminals on the cross.

24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers.

  • The other 10 – were they mad at the request or were they mad that mom intervened?

25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.

  • This is obvious – just look at any world leader – good or bad. They lord power and authority over us.
  • Make your government mad enough and see if you don’t get a visit from the IRS.

26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,

27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,

  • But how is a Christian church leader to be? A servant
  • One who must put himself last.
  • But is that just the leaders? How about us with each other – How about us in helping our leaders?

 

28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

  • They get this after Pentecost … but why then?
  • Because in John, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit – that the Holy Spirit would lead them (these 12 – the 12) into the truth in all things.
  • As a reminder. It is not us – just the 12.
  • Into all truth – which is Jesus.

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

29 And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him.

  • Great crowds are typical.
  • Here is God in the flesh for the sake of his people – saving from their sins.
  • Is it any wonder they would want to follow him and hang on him?

30 And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”

  • The people have use / need for Jesus
  • Just like the Canaanite Woman, they know who he is AND why he has come.
  • ‘Lord’ = He is the one true God = Emanuel
  • Son f David = They know he is the promised Son of David – The King of   2 Sam 7
  • And what he is here to do = have mercy on his people.

31 The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”

  • Who is this crowd? Who is the crowd that does not get it?
  • What will it take for us to do this? What does God want from us? He wants us to pray.
  • But these 2 have such a hunger for Jesus that they will not let anything stop them.

32 And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?”

  • Does Jesus not know?
  • Perhaps Jesus is waiting for these 2 to first name and then claim their healing.
  • I think Jesus wants them to ask for their healing in a specific way so that when he heals, all will see the exactness of what Jesus does.

33 They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.”

  • There you go, a specific request

34 And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.

  • And a specific answer to prayer.
  • Note the immediacy of the healing.
  • And they followed him – They became believers.
  • Isn’t it funny that they are blind, yet they believed what they were hearing?
  • They have heard the word of God and they know this man Jesus is the messiah and they trust in him.
  • Now that their eyes are open, they can see what their ears heard.
  • What had they heard? That this man Jesus, who looks like any other man is the messiah.
  • The irony is that they can’t see but they know who he is — as opposed to all the seeing ones who don’t.

 

Apr 152017
 

This video should carry the Viagra warning for ODM’s…because they will be overstimulated for more than four hours.

Personally, I think it’s great… Brodersen asks the right questions and Warren answers them directly.

As I said on Facebook, I think most of the disputes with both men are more methodological than theological and both fall under the broad umbrella of orthodox Christianity.

If you have differences with either, you can simply not go to their respective churches or the ones under their influence.

I disagree with both…I’m an Anglican.

I can still bless them both as we follow God on different paths.

Go and do likewise…

I almost forgot…this picture is making it’s way around the ODM sites;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it…proof that Brodersen plays well with others.

Stones are available in the lobby next to the information desk…

 

 

Apr 142017
 

I woke up this morning hoping that one of my esteemed comrades had written a Good Friday homily for this weeks column.

This is an important day on the church calendar and it’s a day when pastors earn their chops.

 

I always feel a responsibility to feed those who read here with solid spiritual food.

I’ve got nothing…and there was nothing in my email either.

There are days… when it feels like God has died.

Days when the darkness and sadness and stress never lift.

Days when it seems like we have believed in vain.

Days where it seems like hope is nothing more than a mirage that evaporated under the heat of the desert we dwell in…just as we thought we were going to drink from a deep well.

Days when we feel abandoned.

Those are days when we feel like a disciple…the first disciples on the first Good Friday.

We should be able to think of them more graciously as they cowered and hid after the crucifixion…they were shattered and did not understand that Sunday was coming.

They didn’t know the rest of the story.

We do.

Drink deeply today from the darkness we commemorate and the darkness you’re living.

It is fitting today to do so.

It is also fitting to pray for Easter.

Easter us, Lord…you need not wait for Sunday.

We dare pray while the darkness descends and the earthquake trembles.  We dare pray for eyes to see fully and mouths to speak fully the power of death all around.  We pray more for your notice and your promise and your healing.

Our only urging on Friday is that you live this as we must: impacted but not destroyed; dimmed but not quenched.  For your great staying power and your promise of newness we praise you.  It is in your power and your promise that we take our stand this day.  We dare trust that Friday is never the last day, so we watch for the new day of life.  Hear our prayer and be your full self toward us.  Amen.

Brueggemann

Make your own application…

 

Apr 142017
 

There has been a constant meme from some in Calvary Chapel that Brian Brodersen led conferences have ignored Chuck Smith’s legacy.

Someone decided to answer…

 

Apr 132017
 

Maundy Thursday

The meal was done. The observance of Passover was complete.  The week had started with triumph. As Jesus had come into the city, people had greeted him, laying palms in his path.  He had turned his wrath upon the money changers and taught in the courtyard of the temple.  Tonight, however, the mood had changed.  No one could define the atmosphere – ominous, expectant or, perhaps, something unexpected would take place. As a small group in an upper room finished their meal, their leader, one Jesus of Nazareth, did something that placed all of us here in a direct line that takes us back to that room.

Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

On that first Maundy Thursday, Christ himself presided at the first eucharist. In the days before that evening, Christ had given himself to the world.  He’d given himself as the messiah to the crowds waving palms.  He had given himself as a judge to the money changers.  He had given himself as a teacher to religious inquirers in the temple courtyard.  Now, however, he gave himself to his own, to his followers, to his disciples.  These were already marked by the baptism of John in the Jordan river, just as we are marked with baptism in the name of the Trinity.  Here, in the seclusion of the upper room, hidden from the eyes of the world, he gives himself exclusively to the Church and to no one else.

“Given for you…” “Poured out for you…”

The following day, Good Friday, he would take upon himself the sin and suffering of the whole creation. He would offer himself for all, and to all, once again. Yet, even in his death and resurrection, he would provide for his followers.  As St. Paul says, “don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”  Yet, while baptism is a once in a lifetime, at the altar, we may, again and again, as the Church, enter into his life, death and resurrection and find a foretaste of eternity.

“Given for you…” “Poured out for you…”

You see, through Christ the new age of eternity has come and is manifested in his Church. It is proclaimed through word and sacrament; through baptism and the eucharist.  An while it is indeed true that the world with its suffering, and its death has not passed away, as another writer has said, “the new Kingdom has, nevertheless come, the promises are fulfilled, and life eternal is already given in an anticipatory manner to those who believe in Christ and live with him in his Church.” And tomorrow, Good Friday, we will liturgically encounter once more the turning point of history in that hour when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was lifted on the cross and from that cross raised his triumphant cry to all nations and all ages and said, “It is finished…”

Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

The Project

Apr 132017
 

In the Old Testament, when the king or his emissary came to town, he usually was received with fear and trembling. Two examples illustrate this reaction:

  • When Samuel went to Bethlehem, “[t]he elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, ‘Do you come peaceably?’ ” (1 Sam 16:4) and
  • When King David went to Nob in search of food, “Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling” (1 Sam 21:1).

The implicit question on everyone’s mind was: “Is the king coming as a friend or enemy?” But because of their timid consciences, they assumed the king was angry with them or their city for some reason. So they feared and trembled because the king held their lives in his hand.

It works the same way when God comes, only more so. The timid conscience knows and feels that God, who sees and knows all, is an enemy of sin and severely punishes it. Remember Adam: “But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.’ ” (Gen 3:9-10) Or the Israelites, who in the wilderness could not even bear to hear the voice of God (Ex 20:19).

If Christ had come as an earthly king, valiant and riding on a war horse, who could stand before Him? Who would have the courage to receive Him? Mary Magdalene? The woman with the discharge of blood? The Canaanite woman? Zacchaeus? The woman caught in adultery? Mary and Martha? The countless unnamed lame, possessed, tax collectors, beggars and lepers? The problem with a timid conscience is that it makes an enemy of God.

Therefore, Christ came in humility. To comfort our delusions and timidity, Christ came as the son of a poor virgin, born in a manger, constantly on the move with nowhere to lay His head, despised by the religious leaders, and finally processioning into Jerusalem on the back of a borrowed donkey. He came, as if saying: “Do not flee and despair, because I have not come as I came to Adam, to Cain, at the flood, at Babel, to Sodom and Gomorrah, nor as I came to the people at Mount Sinai.” Christ did not come as a King who wished to settle accounts and collect His debts. Christ came to take our burdens on His shoulders, to make satisfaction for our debts and ransom us from sin and death. Christ laid aside wrath and brought nothing but grace and mercy to his people.

“This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.” ’ ” (Matt 21:4-5, see also Zech 9:9)

“Say to the daughter of Zion.” By his entrance, Jesus discouraged all carnal and political Messianic hopes and dreams. He was not coming in the manner of a conqueror-hero, as many of the worldly-minded Jerusalemites expected. Jesus came to the city, which ultimately would reject Him, with the offer of God’s peace, but the people did not “know the things that make for peace” (Luke 19:42).

The inclusion of Zechariah’s prophesy in Matthew’s gospel not only testifies to its fulfillment in Christ, but provides Christians with what to say (or preach) about Christ, if we are to gain a right knowledge of Him. Here we have what may have been the backbone for the apostles’ preaching before the New Testament was written, of which Paul wrote: “[I was] set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures” (Rom 1:1-2).

“Behold, your king is coming to you.” This sermon makes a bold assertion: “Behold, your King.” God is offering you His Christ, right now. What kind of King is He? Paul wrote that in Him and His kingdom “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col 1:14) His is truly a kingdom not of this world. No earthly king could accomplish the wonders of Christ. In what appears to be weakness, defeat and death in His cross, Christ ransomed us from the powers of sin, death and the devil and made satisfaction for our sins. In Christ, God has revealed His righteousness, “so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Rom 3:26)

Our King comes to us. We do not seek Him, but he seeks us. We do not find Him, he finds us. For His preachers come from Him, not from us; their sermons come from Him, not from us; our faith comes from Him, not from us; everything that faith works in us comes from Him, not from us. Therefore, “Behold, your King.” Jesus humbled himself so that we might understand the way of God’s grace and mercy. May His way become our way. In faith, love and hope, let us join our Savior’s procession with all the faithful who proclaim: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matt 21:9) Amen.

But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Heb 2:9) Amen.

Christ, the life of all the living,
Christ, the death of death, our foe,
Christ, yourself for me once giving
To the darkest depths of woe:
Through your suffering, death, and merit
Life eternal I inherit.
Thousand, thousand thanks are due,
Dearest Jesus, unto you.

 

You have suffered great affliction
And have borne it patiently,
Even death by crucifixion,
Fully to atone for me;
For you chose to be tormented
That my doom should be prevented.
Thousand, thousand thanks are due,
Dearest Jesus, unto you.

 

Then, for all that bought my pardon,
For the sorrows deep and sore,
For the anguish in the garden,
I will thank you evermore,
Thank you for the groaning, sighing,
For the bleeding and the dying,
For that last triumphant cry,
Praise you evermore on high.

 

Christ, the Life of All the Living, by Ernst C. Homburg

 

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