Say it Again Moses (Deuteronomy)

Say it Again Moses (Deuteronomy)

Say it Again Moses May 24, 2020 A Baptist church was looking for a pastor. After many candidates were vetted and interviewed, the perspective candidate preached his trial sermon and wowed the church. Everyone agreed that he was the right person for the job. The vote was unanimous, and the church called their new pastor. On the very first Sunday as their new pastor, the pastor walked to the pulpit, opened up his Bible, and preached another powerful sermon. It was biblically sound, theologically accurate, and useful to the congregation’s everyday life. People nudged each other and said, “This is just who we needed.” On the second Sunday, he walked to the pulpit, opened up his Bible, and preached from the same text. He preached the same sermon as he did the week before. Some heard it for the first time, but those that were there the week before were a bit shocked. On the third Sunday, the pastor walked to the pulpit, read the same passage, and preached the same sermon again. Now the congregation was confused and a bit miffed. Some members approached the deacon chairman and said, “If he dares to preach that sermon one more time – you’ll need to talk with him!” On the fourth Sunday, the pastor walked to the pulpit, read the same passage, and preached the same sermon. After the service, the deacons requested a few moments of the pastor’s time. He invited them into his study and asked, “What can I do for all of you?” They answered, “We are concerned that you keep preaching the same sermon every Sunday....
The Number is Two – The Book of Numbers

The Number is Two – The Book of Numbers

May 17 There’s a lot we don’t know about the human body. But when we fail to educate ourselves about the knowable things, we set ourselves up to get sick or to die a lot sooner than we should because we didn’t take care of our bodies. There’s a lot we don’t know about climate change and its effect on our world. But when we fail to educate ourselves about the knowable things and take care of the earth while we can, we set ourselves and future generations up for a bleaker future. There is a lot we don’t know about God. God is too big for us to know everything about Him. But when we fail to educate ourselves about the knowable things, we make life harder on ourselves because we could have voided a lot of needless failures. The Book of Numbers is a story about failure on a massive scale. The book starts where the Book of Exodus leaves off.  If you look at the last verse in Exodus and the first verse in Numbers, you will see that there is only one month separating the two books.  Leviticus is sandwiched between these books, and that throws the chronology off. So, we should ask, “Where did Exodus leave off?” Moses had led the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt. Through God’s miracles, they were freed from the bondage of Pharaoh. They became a nation of people, and God gave them laws to follow, and he provided priests to assist them in their worship. God was guiding them across the wilderness toward a land He promised their ancestors...
Leviticus – A Savior in the Shadows

Leviticus – A Savior in the Shadows

 I’ve never met anyone that said, “I sat down and read the Book of Leviticus last night, and it was fascinating.”   No. The truth is that most people, not even church-going people, have read the entire Book of Leviticus.    It’s not entirely uninteresting, but if you have never read the Bible, you need to have read Genesis and Exodus for Leviticus to make any sense. While the Old Testament is mostly written in Hebrew, the word “Leviticus” is a Latin word derived from a Greek word that refers to the priestly tribe of Levi.  To be a priest, you had to be a descendant of Levi, one of the sons of Jacob.    Priests were essential to the worship of the Israelites.   Leviticus has been called a “handbook for priests.”   Reading this book is like reading an ancient religious handbook of rules followed by the priests and the Jewish people. Since these rules have little to do with how WE live, we don’t find the reading all that helpful for us. Also, we don’t have priests in our church, so that’s a strange word to us.  “Priest” is not a Baptist or even a Protestant word.   However, the word is common in both the Old and New Testaments. Priests played an essential role in helping people connect with God.   Throughout the Bible, priests had special access to God. The way the religious system was designed, priests stood between the people and God, usually trying to reconcile people to God. From the first book of the Bible, we learn that fellowship between humanity and God was broken when...
Following God Out of Bondage – Exodus 

Following God Out of Bondage – Exodus 

After Jesus was raised from the dead, he met a couple of people walking from Jerusalem to their home in Emmaus, and Jesus joined them, but they were unaware that it was Jesus. They were telling Jesus about the things that had taken place in Jerusalem, of Jesus being crucified, of his body being missing from the tomb that morning. They were distraught. Jesus did not reveal his identity and after listening for a while, he said, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25-27 NIV) Now that is a lesson I wish I could have heard because Jesus took the stories of Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament, and in the time it took them to complete their walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus, he summed up how those stories pointed to himself. As we go to Exodus, which is where we will find the story of Moses, it’s important to note that Jesus connected what happened with Moses with himself.  It will be appropriate for us to do the same. Exodus begins with the author naming the sons of Jacob, all twelve of them, including Joseph, who was made second in charge of all of Egypt by Pharoah. Let’s reach back into Genesis for a moment and talk about Joseph. He was the great-grandson of Abraham, whom God had led from his home in Ur of the...
God – The Creator of New Beginnings

God – The Creator of New Beginnings

The Book of Genesis April 26, 2020 “In the beginning God”—this is how the book of Genesis and the Bible begins. We can pause right here with the first four words of the Bible and spend some time because there is a lot of information packed in these four words: “In the beginning God…” These words say that God is unexplainable. We cannot explain how God could be present in the beginning because this implies that God was present before there was a beginning. Even a child can formulate the question, “Where did God come from?” Every parent knows the answer to that question. “Honey, go ask the preacher. Let him tell you.” But the child learns quickly that the preacher knows no more than the parents. God is mysterious and much too big for us to comprehend all there is to know about Him. Genesis teaches that we can know God, but we cannot know everything about God. “In the beginning, God” is the prelude for everything else that is to come in the created order. Were it not for God, there would be no heavens, no earth, and no us. The book of Genesis is a story about the beginning of God’s interaction with humanity. It is not a story about the beginning of God because God has no beginning or no end. Again, this is a concept that we cannot comprehend. In our world, things have beginnings and endings. God is not confined to our world. God is not limited by time and space. Genesis is the story of God’s relationship with His created order. It...
What Jesus Cannot Do

What Jesus Cannot Do

Easter Sunday April 12, 2020 It’s dawn in Galilee. Jesus is already awake. It was rare that the sun crested the horizon before Jesus awoke from his sleep. He was an early riser, accustomed to prayer before the day began. The disciples are beginning to stir about, each looking for something to eat and gathering up their items, eager for Jesus to give them the day’s itinerary. As each sit down to eat some cold fish and a few pieces of bread, conversation breaks out. “If we weren’t one of Jesus’ disciples, what would we be doing today?” Thaddaeus asked. One by one, the disciples reflected on their various occupations. Peter and Andrew concurred that they would be washing their nets from their previous night of fishing and getting the night’s catch ready for the morning market. James and John’s response was much the same. Matthew said he would be sitting at his tax collector’s booth, making money and enemies. The others laughed. Bartholomew said that it was his father-in-law’s birthday. If he were with the family, he would be taking the day off to cook for the family. Mentioning his family caused each man to think of the sacrifices they were making to follow Jesus in hopes of God’s Kingdom coming into its own. Each disciple agreed that being with Jesus was worth the sacrifices they were making. “Who knows who will happen today?” asks John. “Will our Lord calm the sea again with his voice? Will he command demons from a madman?” Andrew said, “Perhaps he will he heal the lame or the blind or challenge the...