Showing posts from January, 2016

A remnant

Perhaps you are someone who likes to look through the remnant bin at the local cloth store.  After people have bought a certain number of yards of cloth from a bolt, there is often a little bit left, a remnant.  The store takes it off of the cardboard it’s wrapped around, folds it up into a little piece, and puts it with other small pieces into a bin in an aisle.  What’s a remnant good for?  A few crafty people with vision know.  Little crafts, little clothes for little people, decorative parts of a pattern—remnants are very useful to someone with skill.
When Paul mentions a remnant in Romans 11:5, he is picking up a theme of the pre-exilic and post-exilic Old Testament prophets.  “So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.”
In Isaiah’s language, the remnant is the group of Israelites who remain after the Assyrian invasion of Tiglath Pileser III (Isaiah 10:20–22).  They will have learned to rely on the Lord, not on political leaders, and they will be the group of pe…


Luke 4:14-21 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." Aaron Rodgers threw a 41-yard Hail Mary pass to Je…

Worship Helps for Epiphany 4

Artwork: The prophet Elisha and the widow of Sarepta Artist: Bernardo Strozzi Date: 1640
Worship Theme: Our human inclination is to listen without faith. This can only lead us to the brow of a cliff and throwing Jesus out of our lives. But the Savior of the Nations comes with his gracious words of redemption and membership in his body. The Word of the Lord is proclaimed through the revelation of his Anointed One. In him faith is rooted, love flourishes, and salvation is known from generation to generation.
Old Testament:1 Kings 17:7-16 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the LORD came to him: 9 "Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, "Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?" 11 As she was…

Christ in Our Home Jan 24-31, 2016

A characteristic of a healthy congregation is that it feels like a family-people feel a sense of belonging, care about each other, and feel valued. The reverse is equally true – a characteristic of a healthy home is that it feels like a church.
I don't mean that your house needs a pipe organ or that the seating should be wooden pews. But your home does need a spiritual environment. Your family needs to connect with God each day, not just on Sundays. Your home can be a temple of worship, Bible study, prayer, and Christian songs. Paul writes,"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God"(Colossians 3:16).
Here's another truth – it will never happen by itself. Our lives are hectic. Parenting is exhausting, and if you wait until you have extra time and feel peppy, that day will never come. Just as it is important for husbands and wives…

The Prayer of Believers

All over the United States, Christians are asking themselves why God would allow political leaders to make decisions that do not line up with the morality of the Scriptures.

I wouldn’t have been surprised if the believers with Peter and John were asking themselves the same question.  Peter and John had been thrown into prison.  Clearly they were doing the will of the Lord.  Why not let the gospel have free course and be preached to the joy and edifying of Christ’s holy people?
One answer is in the prayer of the believers.  Herod, Pontius Pilate, and the Gentiles all conspired against Jesus, but God turned their plans into his plan of salvation.  Kings and rulers gather against the Lord, but it is all in vain.  Christians who see immorality sanctioned by the government need not despair.  The One enthroned in heaven laughs.  He is still in control.
What is happening in the United States is not coming just from political leaders.  America is a representative democracy, and, if polls are to …

Worship Helps for Epiphany 3

Artwork: Synagogue During Torah Reading Artist: Edward Moyse
Worship Theme: Jesus’ “going public” should not have surprised his Jewish countrymen. They had known of the coming Messiah for a long time, dating back to the promise given Abraham (Genesis 12:3), even to Eden (Genesis 3:15). Yet, when Jesus finally arrived, “his own did not receive him” (John 1:10). He was not the kind of Savior that many were looking for. That too was foretold: “He was despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:3).
Old Testament:Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 All the people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel. 2 So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. 3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men…