Saturday, June 28, 2014

CP 251 The getting of Wisdom...

CP 251 The getting of Wisdom
A couple of weeks ago, while getting ready for Sunday, I had one of those moments when a few unrelated thoughts go click, click, and click, and the next thing you know you’ve seen something in scripture you’d never seen before. You could say that it was a case of being wise after the event.
My message theme for week was going to be based around the business of choosing the Apostles’ helpers in Acts 6. There was ‘trouble in the camp’ and somebody had to be appointed to sort it out. The Apostles’ instructions were specific. ‘Choose 7 men… known to be full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.’ (Acts 6:3) That reference to wisdom got me thinking about Solomon and his ‘wisdom’, and the remark of Jesus that ‘…one greater than Solomon is here.’ (Matt 12:42) Next thing, my eyes see the reference to Solomon’s Colonnade. (Or Portico or Porch). So check out what the ‘Colonnade’ is. Turns out to be a huge undercover area on the built-up, east side of the Temple.
Do some more research…
  • It’s the place where Peter’s second ‘address’ is given after he has healed the crippled man at the Temple gate. Acts 3:11
  • It’s the place where the disciples used to meet in Jerusalem! Acts 5:12
  • It’s the place where, with great power, the Apostles continued to teach and to testify to the resurrection of Jesus. Acts 4:33
  • It’s the place where Stephen, Philip and the others were chosen as being ‘full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.’
It also turns out to be the place Jesus could be found… John 10:23 records, ‘Jesus was in the Temple area, walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. It was here that he spoke some of his profoundest truths… (27-30)
  • My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me…
  • I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish…
  • No one can snatch them out of my hand… no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand…
  • My Father and I are one…
One of the things that really struck me was that the Apostles are proclaiming the death and resurrection of Jesus, and that he is Messiah and Lord, in the very place where Jesus had declared that his sheep would hear his voice!
Do a little more research…
  • It’s the place where the Scribes, the Teachers of the Law used to meet for discussion, debate and decision-making…
  • Which means it is almost certainly the place where the 12 year old Jesus was in his Father’s house, ‘…sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.’ All the while, everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers! Luke 2:41ff

Anyway… I thought that was pretty neat…

Thursday, June 19, 2014

CP 250 Forrest Gump knew God's name...

CP 250 Forrest Gump knew God’s name…

Here’s something that came via email a week or so ago. It’s as good a bit of humour as you’ll ever want to read. Read on…
***Forrest Gump dies and goes to heaven. He is met at the Pearly Gate by St. Peter himself. The gates are closed, however, and Forrest approaches the gatekeeper. St. Peter says "Well, Forrest, it's certainly good to see you. We have heard so many good things about you.  I must inform you that the place is filling up fast, and we've been giving an entrance quiz for everyone.  The tests are short, but you need to pass before you can get into heaven.
Forrest responds, "It sure is good to be here, St. Peter. I was looking forward to this. Nobody ever told me about any entrance exam. Sure hope the test ain't too hard; Life was a big enough test as it was.”
St. Peter goes on, "I know, Forrest, but the test is only three questions:
1. What days of the week begin with the letter T?
2. How many seconds are there in a year?
3. What is God's first name?”
Forrest goes away to think the questions over. He returns the next day and goes up to St. Peter to try to answer the exam questions.
St. Peter waves him up and says, "Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over, tell me your answers." 
Forrest says, "Well, the first one how many days of the week begin with the letter "T?"  "Shucks, that one's easy. That'd be Today and Tomorrow."
The Saint's eyes open wide and he exclaims "Forrest!   That's not what I was thinking, but... you do have a point though, and I guess I didn't specify, so I will give you credit for that answer."  "How about the next one? How many seconds are there in a year?"
"Now that one's harder" says Forrest, "but I thought and thought about that and I guess the only answer can be twelve." Astounded, St. Peter says "Twelve! Twelve! Forrest, how in Heaven's name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?"
Forrest says, "Come on, St Peter, there's got to be twelve. January second… February second… March second... " 
"Hold it," interrupts St. Peter. "I see where you're going with it. I guess I see your point, though that wasn't quite what I had in mind, but I'll give you credit for that one too. Let's go on with the next and final question.  Can you tell me God's first name?"
Forrest replied, "Andy."
St. Peter asked how in the world he came up with the name Andy.
Forrest replied, "You know, St. Peter, that song we sing in church: "Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am his own…"
St Peter opens the Gate and says, “Run, Forrest run.”***
You may roll your eyes, but Forrest Gump understood something fundamental about the God who made heaven and earth, and who redeemed a fallen humanity. The Lord’s absolute purpose and passion, joy and delight, is to be with his people! Here are some scriptures to think about:
  1. Because of the golden calf idolatry, the Lord declares that he is not going to go with Israel to the Promised Land. Moses intervenes on Israel’s behalf. (Note the words in italics) “Then Moses said to him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?’ (Exodus 33:15-16)
  2. Joshua was told, ‘As I as with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you or forsake you.’ (Joshua 1:5) Abraham, Jacob, David, Jeremiah, and many other OT figures had the same promise.
  3. The promises find their fullest fulfilment in the coming of Jesus Christ. ‘I am not alone, for my Father is with me.’ (John 16:32).
  4. John 1:14… “The word became flesh and dwelt (pitched his tent) amongst us.’
  5. Matthew 1:23… They will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.’
  6. ‘…The Father will give you another counsellor to be with you forever… I will not leave you as orphans… I will come to you… We (the Father and I) will come to you… (John 14-16)
  7. ‘All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me… And I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18,20)
So you see, Forrest Gump was right. He walks with us, talks with us, tells us we are his own…. His presence is what distinguishes us from all other peoples. By grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith, we are the people of the presence of God. We have been placed ‘In Christ’, and in Christ we are never separated from our Father’s love.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

CP 249 Will you miss him?

CP 249 Will you miss him?
 They were looking for a Lion, He came as a Lamb, and they missed him.
 They were looking for a Warrior, He came as a Peace-maker, and they missed him.
 They were looking for a King, He came as a Servant, and they missed him.
 They were looking for Liberator from Rome, He submitted to the Roman cross, and they missed him.
 They were looking for a fit to their mold, He was the mold-maker, and they missed him.
 What are you looking for? Lion? Warrior? King? Liberator? What are you looking for?
 They were looking for their temporal needs to be met. He came to meet their eternal needs, and they missed him.
 He came as a Lamb to be sacrificed for your sin. Will you miss him?
 He came to make peace between God and man. Will you miss him?
 He came as a servant for all mankind. Will you miss him?
 He came that we might have the freedom that is freedom indeed.. Will you miss him?
 He came to give you eternal life. Will you miss him? 
As we submit to the Lamb we will meet the Lion. As we follow the Peacemaker and we will meet the Warrior. Align with the Servant and we will meet the King. Walk with the Submitted and we will meet the Liberator. Fix our eyes the Eternal One and all things temporal are covered.
 If Jesus is not fitting into the mold you have, then come to the mold-maker and get his new one.  Submit to his plan for your life and you will see the eternal need met first, then all the other things you have need of will be taken care of as well.
 Author Unknown
·        O woman of the city… (From Walter Wangerin, Reliving the Passion)
“For what was your gesture? An act of pure love for Jesus particularly. It was an act so completely focused upon the Christ that not a dram of worldly benefit was gained thereby. Nothing could justify the spillage of some three hundred days' wages, except love alone. [...] The disciples, in fact, were offended by an act that produced nothing, accomplished nothing, fed no poor, served no need. They reproached you as a wastrel. They were offended by the absurd, an act devoted absolutely to love, to love alone. But Jesus called it 'beautiful.”

·        Being Like Jesus (From Henri Nouwen)
Very often we distance ourselves from Jesus.  We say, "What Jesus knew we cannot know, and what Jesus did we cannot do."  But Jesus never puts any distance between himself and us.   He says:  "I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father" (John 15:15) and  "In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, and will perform even greater works"  (John 14:12).
Indeed, we are called to know what Jesus knew and do what Jesus did.  Do we really want that, or do we prefer to keep Jesus at arms' length? 
·        You don’t realize Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have. - Tim Keller