Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hosea and the Ho

Hosea was a pastor. His life connected deeply to integrity, honor, truth, and high morality. His wife was a call girl which has nothing to do with a phone. Hosea married a ho...hmmmm that kinda goes together...Hosea...ho.... What's more God commanded Hosea to marry the....you know.

They had children together. This had to be very special to the pastor dude in a macabre sense. He loved her, tolerated her, and yet adored the 3 children they had together. My son Dan looks like me. His son Carson resembles him. Therefore, Carson looks like me. I feel attachment to the little guy. I think the world of my son. I love my family. I think Hosea was torn.

Then, Hosea's ho walks out of his life to check into a HOtel with another man. Crushed is an understatement for the pastor.

Then in Hosea 3 God speaks to the pastor and tells him to go and love his wife though she commits adultery with other lovers. Hosea HOnors God by purchasing his wife from her pimp.

Hosea takes her home, puts her in proximity to their children. He watches her walk through the home, guilty as sin. Did you know an adulteress was to be killed in that culture? She sleeps in his bed, she eats his food. This was wrong on so many levels.

Each time he looked in his children's faces he could see her image in them. I am not sure words can fully describe this dysfunctional home.

But if you look close enough you can see the image of God emerging from this crazy family. God seeks...he pursues us when we betray Him...He forgives our sins.... A beautiful word weaves its way through this account...Hesed. It means a love that endures, cares for, is loyal to another. God is love the Bible says....I fear this word cannot convey the depth and wonder of what he feels for us and what he chooses to do in pursuit of our heart.

Today...you are pursued...treasured...cared for. Read this great book and you will see the God who wipes the HOrrible makeup of the oldest profession on the planet from our faces, he brings us tenderly to the home of his heart, he makes a place for us with an amazing family he calls the church.

Recently a young woman in her 20's came up to me after a church service. She told me her name, thanked me for a wonderful church service, and declared how thankful she was that Jesus bought her from a life of prostitution and drugs.

She is so young, so beloved by God, I see healing touch her heart. This morning I greeted her and she was amazed that I remembered her name. Are you kidding? God has your name written on his hand Isaiah says. She matters, your heart matters, whatever you have done, whatever you have become, he pursues you. Love is only the beginning. For everyone who has betrayed or belittled the greatness of God...you are welcome to come home.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thinking Deeper About Covenant

I had an email today from a young friend going through some marriage difficulties. Ok, big time trouble. He asked me how I do it...you know...stay married.

Lori and I are sooooo different. She is dignified, I am down and dirty. She is sweet, I am sour, Lori is quiet, I am obnoxious.

What keeps us together is a deep truth, covenant. This is stronger than the lame idea of love today. You know Jon and Kate separate, or Brad dumping Jennifer.

I live my life to serve my wife...to honor our vows...I try to listen to her pain...heal her wounds...pray for her growth and depth.

What I receive on the other end of giving my life for her is amazing...she is sensitive about my world, she cares for me...is tender.

I see strength in her eyes which draws me to her.

And very little of this is based on the goof ball notions of love we see in the media today. Lori and I stand on the truth of Jesus...his unconditional, tender, committed loyalty drive a deeper love.

So I reflect on the wonder of God's covenant love for us. His love is everlasting...sure, strong. I love what the writer of The Song says

...place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it. If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned. The Song 8.6-7 NLT

So, let me know how you see love...can you go deeper to covenant?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

God Chases: Covenant

Hey gloggers, great to have you back this week.

Sunday September 27, 2009 I will speak on God Chases: Covenant.

There are 6 covenants in Scripture: Adam -Genesis 1.26, Noah- Genesis 9.8, Abraham -Genesis 12.1, Moses -Exodus 19.5, David- 2 Samuel 7.8, and Jesus- Matthew 16.17; 26.28.

All six connect ending with the fulfillment of covenant in Jesus and his church...you.

The Hebrew word for covenant is berith...this means literally to cut. Blood is shed and the members of the covenant make a loyalty pact that if they break the boundaries of the agreement their own blood is to be shed.

When I consider this aspect of covenant, I think...serious. This is no game.

I also think of loyalty. The primary Hebrew word attached to the word covenant is hesed, community love and loyalty.

Hesed speaks to affection, choice, passion, loyalty, and community. This is no individualistic program. Covenant speaks about a community relationship of loving loyalty locked into a serious commitment.

I like to say that covenant is the deepest word for love in the Bible. When I look at marriages which fail I see serial selfishness and a void of covenant.

I also see the angst of aloneness in the reflections of my single friends. How cool is it to have a friend who will be loyal to the point of shedding their own blood for you?

You are a student in school...do you ever wonder if you truly belong to anyone?

I think this is groundbreaking for your local faith community and your market place or school. Covenant love runs deep...I have a sense of solid connection to Jesus, my wife, and children.

I have this picture in my brain of Charleton Heston as Pres of the NRA raising his rifle above his head and exclaiming to cheering NRAers "from my cold dead hands!!!!" I am not sure about all that but I love his passion and commitment to something.

Glog to me your heart about covenant...I wonder if this is the love our culture seeks. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

God Loves and Judges

Thank you so much for helping me prepare and think through this message series. Honestly I did not think this process would be so fulfilling and helpful. Your input and discussion challenges me and I think keeps me on a relevant track. I hope you will continue this journey.

Sunday September 20 I will be speaking on God's love and judgment.

The thinking follows the logic that God's image can shed light on who we are...our identity becomes clearer as we connect with his image.

In Genesis 1-3 amazing pictures emerge. God creates mankind in his own image and he calls them, man and woman, good creatures.

I see a God of love speaking the world into existence, and our Creator then fashioning man with his own hands. The image is of a personal Creator God who personally brings man into being with love and tenderness.

Then when man falls from the pride of sin, the same loving God judges mankind, pain and suffering result.

How do you reconcile the loving Creator and the just judge? How do you connect those dots in your own life?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Let me give you something to think about as you ponder the six theories of Creation. Think with me about the context of Creation ideas in the ancient world. In Greek mythology Gaea, mother earth, simply appeared. She gave birth to a son named Uranus, in Greek ouranos, the word for heaven. She then became the incestuous lover of her son. They had children who became irritating to Uranus so he imprisoned them in the womb, the deep earth, of Gaea. She became angry and plotted with her son Cronos to ambush Uranus. Cronos with a flint sickle provided by his mother co conspirator cut of the genitals of Uranus and threw the remains into the sea, the bloody foam on the shore produced the goddess Aphrodite.

In Sumerian mythology Tiamat was the primevil chaos monster goddess. Pictured as a dragon she is described as a bizarre figure of serpent parts, udders, and human appendages. Her husband Apsu was irritated by their children and plotted to kill them. Tiamat resisted and in a battle with the god Marduk she was distended, shot, cut in two, and pierced in the heart. Her crushed skull signaled her death and the corpse which remained provided structure to hold up the sky.

And then Genesis...In the beginning God created... He calls his creation good using the Hebrew word tob meaning beautiful, delightful, morally good. The Creation account is good news for mankind gone wild with family meltdowns, incest, hatred, violence, immorality.

What if the purpose of Genesis 1 has nothing to do with the six theories but instead is the Gospel of Creation?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

God Creates

Genesis 1.1 says In the beginning God created....

This has been a hot topic for a long time.

There are a number of opinions within the Christian community about who done it and when.

Was there a bang, a boom, or is that all a big bust?

Here are 6 opinions in Christian communities about creation. I want to thank Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill in Seattle for this outline. Gracias Mark.

1. Exegetical Historic Creationism-the Hebrew word bereshith "in the beginning" means an indefinite period of time. This could have been billions of years. Historic creationism also holds to the truth that after this creating for an indefinite period of time, six days of creation took place. In this view you have much time elapsing and 6 literal days.

2. New Earth Creationism-This view holds to a literal 6 days of creation and essentially rejects scientific claims.

3. Gap Theory-This view posits that two creative events happened in Genesis 1-3. The first event explains the "oldness" of the world, and the second event explains the "newness" as it relates to the literal 6 days of creation.

4. Literary Picture-This view holds that the creation account is a lovely literary picture.

5. Creative Event Theory-This position sees creation happening in 6 events without chronological limitation of 24 hour time period.

6.Theistic Evolution- Theistic evolution believes that God created but then removed himself from direct control. This allows the theory of evolution to emerge.

So where do you land and how bad do you want to fight over your position?

Let's have some fun this week. Watch for more posts as I develop this message.

Glen

Friday, September 4, 2009

Psalms 107.17 God's Word Heals Me

This is the final post for the week before our message on Sunday September 6, 2009.

The passage comes from Psalm 107.17

Some were rebels and suffered for their sins.
They couldn't stand the thought of food and knocked at death's door.

"Lord Help!", they cried in their trouble and he saved them from distress.

He sent out His Word and healed them,
snatching them from the doors of death.


He sent out His Word and healed....

The Word of God, His speech, heals. In the context His word heals us rebels from our sins.

Lovely imagery here, we stood anorexic at the door of despair. The speech of God saves and heals.

I find this so true of my life. When I was a young man, I felt so lost. The Scriptures connected with that broken place inside of me and led me to Christ. He fills, connects, and Jesus speaks still.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thank you for your great insights...you guys rock. Here is another passage for this Sunday.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. Hebrews 4.12-13

When I look at this passage, another reason emerges for believing in and applying God's speech to my life. The Bible talks about me. The word is alive...powerful...cuts between the tender tissues of soul and spirit, joint and marrow. I wonder if the inspired writer is saying that the Scriptures dissect not only my spiritual self but the physical...total...comprehensive coverage of the holy spirit in my life through the Bible.


Today I sense this exposition of his discerning work. I feel thankful, connected, near.

Let me know how it goes for you today.