Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday Recap - Caleb the Beast!

"The mountains shake before Him, the demons run and flee.
At the mention of the name 'King of Majesty'
There is no power in hell or any who can stand
Before the power and the presence of the great I AM!"

Hallelujah, Holy Holy
God Almighty, the great I AM
Who is worthy, none beside Thee
God Almighty, the great I AM.

My heart is still singing this today (and I occasionally let my voice participate)!  Worship is such a joy for me because when I have the opportunity to celebrate who God is and what God has done, my faith is strengthened and I am reminded of the totality of God.  It gives me courage, strength and peace.

As we read through Joshua last week, it seems that Joshua gets all the publicity as the leader of Israel and for having faith enough to call out for the sun to stand still.  But if you want another role model in faith, Caleb is a spiritual BEAST!  Caleb was with Joshua as a spy 40 years before when they had their first opportunity to take the promised land.  Even though he recognized that in that land there were giants who made them look like grasshoppers and strong fortified cities, he told the people not to be afraid.  They should go take the land because the Lord was with them.  They didn't listen to Caleb (and Joshua and Moses) and suffered for the next 40 years.

Now 45 years later (Caleb was 85 years old!), after the land was generally conquered Caleb was given his portion of the land.  It was the area of land in which the descendants of those very giants he saw all those years before still lived.  This octogenarian looked up in that hill country where the giants were and with great excitement went after those giants with everything he had.  Age didn't stop his zeal for the Lord, or his trust in the Lord.  That is the kind of faith I want, but oftentimes decide not to live.

Yes, that kind of faith is a decision.   It shows itself in action.  Not a foolish rush into the enemy's line, but the passionate actions of doing what God wants us to do.  With no excuses.  Just believing that what God would have us do is possible not because of us, but because of God.

 If God has planned it, God will empower it!

An Apprentice of Jesus,


Monday, October 8, 2012

October 7 Recap

Thanks, Del, for the great job in bringing us to worship "The Famous One!"  Of course the horns and all the musicians and singers made it a special worship for me.  It is so important to celebrate our God, allowing us to remember what God has done!

And a special shout out to our tech team, YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!  Even in the craziness of technology going haywire, you kept calm and worked the problems.  Thanks for all of your hard work.

What do we do when God shows up?  We often think that we would cheer like we would for the conquering hero coming home.  Or perhaps we would bow in solemn respect.  Maybe even quake in fear like so many did in the scriptures when they came into the presence of God (maybe everyone in the Bible did this!)  And sometimes we weep.  How can we not when we come face-to-face with the hopelessness that we see all around us?

And yet we, much like the Israelites going to the promised land, are so focused on our own fears and insecurities that all we want (all we crave) is for God to take care of us and do all the work of our faith life.  We refuse to take hold of the promises given to us AND to work at the responsibilities given to us.  We have allowed discouragement and fear to drive our focus back onto ourselves.  We have decided that since our needs have not been met in the way we want that it would have been better if we were back in a different land following a different God.  We don't put it that way, but we do give ultimatums to God to meet our needs while we neglect to take the steps to live life God's way.  And we defiantly shake our fists at God and say, "We will not do what you have said!"

Why do we act this way?
  • Fear drives us more than God's greatness
  • Although we believe in God we do not TRUST God.
  • We believe in a small God and live as if God cannot...
  • Selfish Craving (sensuality) drive our decision-making.
  • We end up being Monday morning quarterbacks for God's actions (or non-actions), as if we know more than God.
  • We forget God!
 Will you trust God this week, or will you let other things drive your relationship with God?

An Apprentice of Jesus,  Kevin

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why Have Rules and Laws?

There are so many ways in which we legislate our lives with rules and laws.  For instance, diets create the laws, or boundaries, of what we can and cannot eat (although most of operate on the "see food" diet - if I can see it I eat it).  We decide what we can and cannot watch on television, how late we should stay up at night, how our day should be scheduled and what our friendships will look like.  These are all boundaries that we create. 

We cannot go anywhere without being under the watch care of boundaries set for us by laws, ordinances, regulations, religions or families.  Sometimes these are written laws (speed limits) or sometimes oral (you have to eat all your vegetables before you leave the table).  Driving (speed limits), workplaces (appropriate attire), eating establishments (no shirt, no shoes, no service) and parks (keep pets on a leash) all place boundaries on our lives.

Week 5 of the story offers a glimpse at not only what rules God has given for us to live by, but why we have those rules.  Imagine this new nation, now living on it's own after being slaves for hundreds of years, now building a community for living together.  They must have had at least unwritten rules for their life together in Egypt, but they were ruled by both the national rules of Egypt AND the slave masters who ruled over them with whips.  These were the models of what life together might look like now that they were on their own.

Along with that, if God was going to come and live with them (for the first time since Eden!), there needed to be an understanding how life was to be lived.  There has to be some common base of right and wrong.  How do we live life together in community?  Who decides these rules?

For Israel, God begins HIS community by creating the rules which will govern their lives.  As you read through them this week, and we talk about them on Sunday, we can see the wisdom and power of these boundaries for our lives.

An Apprentice of Jesus,


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Week Four Recap

Sunday was a good Sunday, but one of those where it seemed everyone was a little sleepy.  Thank you Jacob for leading worship.  And thanks to the whole tech team for all that you do each and every Sunday to make Sunday work.  There are so many people involved each and every Sunday and each one of them plays an important role in our gathering together.  THANK YOU TO EACH ONE OF YOU!

After seeing how God interacted with people during the Exodus (Chapters 1-17) I began to wonder what my interaction with God is usually like:
  • Am I like Moses, who tried to talk God out of choosing him for a particular task, but ultimately said yes?
  • Am I like Pharaoh, who saw the power of God but continued to fight against God?
  • Am I like the people of Israel, who could never keep the memory of God's moving in their lives in front of them, so that when things did not go well their faith disintegrated into a cacophony of complaining?
I am sure I have responded to God in all of those ways during my life, but I hope that over time my responses to God have matured in the same way we have seen the faith of Abraham, Sarah, and Joseph mature over time.  If we do not see a maturing in our faith we need to be asking why this is so.

On this Tuesday I am praying for a maturing of my faith and yours.  God is as big and powerful as we have been reading during this past month.  Knowing that, and keeping that in front of us, is helpful in the maturing of our faith.

An Apprentice of Jesus,


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Week Four - Moses

Tomorrow we look at the familiar events surrounding the Exodus.  There is so much to look at when we read about the story of God's deliverance of His people.  We usual preach or teach these events as separate events, but the more I understand God's upper story, the more they make sense as one story.  Everything that happens in Exodus 1-17 (and beyond) has to do with God working for the redemption of ALL people, even though God is seeking to free Israel from the Egyptians.

This part of the God's story deals with:
  • God's calling of Moses to a specific task
  • The power struggle between Pharaoh and God (is was only a struggle for Pharaoh)
  • The painfully slow way the people of God would follow God whole-heartedly.
  • Bringing back God's people to the promised land.
Tomorrow (Sunday) we will talk about this during worship and see how huge God is!

See You in the morning!

An Apprentice of Jesus,