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We So Easily Forget

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In short, Israel’s identity (to be a priestly kingdom) declares a mission, and Israel’s mission demands an ethic (to be a holy nation).
— Christopher Wright

Exodus 19:1-11

1 On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, 3 while Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

7 So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. 8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord. 9 And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.”

When Moses told the words of the people to the Lord, 10 the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.


Work: What's the Point?

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We are told twice, once as intention and once as instruction, that humans’ likeness to God will equip them to ‘have dominion’ over animals in sky, sea, and land. We shouldn’t pass over this three-part taxonomy too quickly. The author clearly intends us to grasp the extent of human beings’ responsibility—they are made to rule not just a few easily domesticated animals like cattle, chickens, and goldfish, but the whole panoply of the animal kingdom. . . . [H]uman beings will be responsible for the creation in its totality, not just for their immediate neighborhood.
— Andy Crouch

Genesis 1:26-31

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Anger & Compassion

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Compassion can never co-exist with judgment because judgment creates the distance, the distinction, which prevents us from really being with the other… ‘Do not judge and you will not be judged yourselves’ is a word of Jesus that is indeed very hard to live up to. But it contains the secret of compassion.
— Henri Nouwen

(Please note: This recording is a bit echo-y.)

Jonah 3:10-4:11

10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.

 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 2 And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”

5 Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. 6 Now the LordGod appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. 7 But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” 9 But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” 10 And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”

The People's Court

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Faithful is the Lord, who has made himself our debtor, not by receiving any thing from us, but by promising us all things.
— Augustine

Exodus 17:1-7

1 All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” 3 But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lordamong us or not?”

The Vendor's Invitation

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Everyone will be forgotten, nothing we do will make any difference, and all good endeavors, even the best, will come to naught. Unless there is God. If the God of the Bible exists, and there is a True Reality beneath and behind this one, and this life is not the only life, then every good endeavor, even the simplest ones, pursued in response to God’s calling, can matter forever.
— Tim Keller

We Have Access

But here’s the thing: pretty good people do not need Jesus. He came for the lost. He came for the broken. In his love for us he came to usher us into his foundness and wholeness.
— Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life
From beginning to end, the Holy Scriptures testify that the predicament of fallen humanity is so serious, so grave, so irremediable from within, that nothing short of divine intervention can rectify it.
— Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ

A Treasuring Church

I was about 30 and I had a lot of friends who were about 30, and we’d all, you know, been grotesquely over-educated and privileged our whole lives and had better healthcare and more money than our parents did. And we were all extraordinarily sad.
— David Foster Wallace

Rev. Marshall Brown, Pastor of Grace Presbyterian North Shore joins us to preach on:

Matthew 6:19-24

Sunday, April 24, 2016

 

Meek

Ever since Cain, one type of person looks at another and thinks, maybe that one is going to get what I need, let me kill him to save myself. What can overcome that fear? Only love. Which is not a vague feeling of benevolence towards the other group. Love requires interaction. Understanding. Living alongside. Sharing. Sacrificing for the other. Listening. Repenting. Love brings a change in perspective, from competition in a world of scarcity, to collaboration in a world where grace throws all bets off. Love means confidence that God has my back, that I don’t have to kill or threaten or dominate my neighbors to survive. Love celebrates the differences that make this world beautiful and interesting…
— Dr. Jennifer Myrhe

Psalm 37:1-11

Sunday, August 9, 2015