Thursday, April 30, 2009

Communion Meditation-Sabbath

Sabbath is rest. Christ is Sabbath.
Communion is Christ. Communion is Sabbath.

There are many ways to rest. And there are an equal and even multi-numerous ways to not rest. Of course, one way to rest is sleep. If you sleep and if your sleep is sweet, then sleep is a great picture of Sabbath. No worries. No troubles. At least until tomorrow morning. But some cannot sleep. And some, even if they do sleep, sleep in fits and starts with the worries of the world crashing upon them at each waking moment. That is not rest. That is not Sabbath.

So, how do we Sabbath when awake? How can we Sabbath on this day that seems almost as troublesome as every other day. We have to get up and get to church. We have to put on church clothes and church faces and attend in Sunday best with a fitting Sunday attitude. For some, that is exactly the opposite of rest. The day that ought to be the most restful, turns out to be a day of more frantic rushing about.

Well, it starts here at the Lord’s Table. You have been invited to eat with Jesus. Will you turn down such an invitation by Jesus? Will you not eat with the Lord who created heaven and earth? Will you not dine with the Spirit who hovered over the face of the waters in the beginning? Who would make excuses?

We have to work. We have trouble to deal with. We have kids to raise. We have a job that needs oversight.

Stop all that. Jesus has invited you to eat with Him. What could possibly be more important than that? Are you going to bag out on an invitation to eat food with God?

Stop. Change your priorities. Cancel all your engagements. Clear your brain. Say a prayer. Look around at the guests. You don’t have anything else to do. Just sit here and eat with Jesus. That is rest. That is Sabbath.

Exhortation-Sabbath Rest

Today is the Lord’s Day, Resurrection Day, the day of the Christian Sabbath. What does Sabbath mean to us? Sabbath was one of the central confrontational issues in the New Testament. Jesus was always causing problems on the Sabbath. Or, I should more accurately say that Jesus was pointing out problems on the Sabbath and problems about the Sabbath. Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Jesus fed His disciples on the Sabbath. Jesus walked through the fields and picked grain on the Sabbath. The establishment did not like this.

We need to learn how to rest. We need to learn Sabbath. Now, part of what I mean by this is abstaining from your busy desires on the Lord’s Day. You need to put aside your work, your busy emails, your striving and driving to get ahead in the world. Getting ahead on this day means putting your trust in the Lord. Do you do that?

But even if we don’t work to make money, or do our normal jobs, say of being a student and studying on the Lord’s Day, Sundays still require work. We have to get up and get ready for church. We often have guests over for food and we all know that good food and a fine table is a lot of work. We have all of these kids to take care of and that is work, too. So, where is our Sabbath, among all this hustle and hurry?

Well, that is the point, isn’t it? Stop a minute. Slow down. Take a breath. We should ask, not only, “How do I practice Sabbath, but Who is my Sabbath?” Jesus is Sabbath. Jesus is rest. You need to learn to rest in Jesus all the time. We should have entered a continuing Sabbath but that takes practice.

The Lord’s Day is a good day to practice Sabbath. Stop doing so much. That’s good. But also learn that in any doing that is left, and some of it is necessary, that the rest continues in Jesus.

Sabbath is about peace with God. Sabbath is about thinking God’s thoughts after Him. Sabbath is about forgiveness. Sabbath is about hope. Sabbath is about resurrection. It takes some planning and slowing down to see all of this but you can see this even in the work you do on the Lord’s Day. So, rest in Jesus today. Rest from your labors. Rest from your striving. Rest in God’s promises. Rest in Christ.

Things I Never Noticed in the Bible

Luke 23:40-42 40But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

Of course, we have all read and remembered, to some degree, of the faith of the thief on the cross. We have expressly related this story to those who have little hope for their loved ones as they grow old or near death in sickness. We remind them that even at the last hour a vile sinner can repent and be saved. That's all true and amen.

But have you ever noticed the FAITH of the thief on the cross?! Think about it. Even after the resurrection and Jesus's appearance to some, the disciples on the road to Emmaus have a hard time believing. They say, 'but we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel." You see, they thought it WAS he. They HAD faith but the faith was gone. Becuase Jesus died, they no longer believed that Jesus would redeem Israel. Their faith died with Jesus on the cross.

How much more glorious the faith of the thief? He was dying on the cross with Jesus dying on the cross. What does he say? Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom!

For most (all?) of the other disciples, Jesus was loosing every opportunity at coming into His kingdom by dying on the cross. But for thief dying on the cross, Jesus was coming into His kingdom. He embraced Christ and thus, while dying, was made to live. What FAITH!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

SABBATH Rest-The Rest of God

Just finished reading, The Rest of God-Restoring Your Soul by Restoring SABBATH, by Mark Buchanan. I am what you would call a Sabbatarian. That is, I believe the Lord's Day, Sunday, is the Christian Sabbath. Mark Buchanan believes this as well. However, this book is not a theological apologetic for the Lord's Day as Sabbath. It is much more practical and thus, theological, than that. The book is about resting in God, resting in the rest of God. He has a very balanced view. The book itself is restful and enjoyable. It is an invitation to slow down, to breathe, to notice the world that God has made rest.

These are good words for our time.


Ever tried reading an MRI? Have no idea what I am looking at, even after looking at instructional pics on the internet. I'll find out next week but looks like meniscus and maybe ACL tears. I'll need surgery as I cannot straighten my leg. Something is stuck in the joint. If you are over 40 and thinking of doing some big jumps, don't!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Things I Never Noticed in the Bible-Mark 5

Mark 5:5-9
5And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. 6But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, 7And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. 8For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. 9And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.

Who is worshipping?

I suppose I had always read this that the Gadarene was worshipping Jesus. He was, in fact, worshipping Jesus. It was his body. However, when Jesus speaks to him, the Gadarene is nowhere to be found. He is lost somewhere among a legion of demons. He is so lost that he is not even able to speak to Jesus. The demons who are in control of his body and his speech speak to Jesus.

Here's the part I never noticed. It is weird. The Gadarene was not worshipping Jesus. The demons were. This was a worship of obeisance but not of love. They were afraid of Jesus and so they gave Him homage. But these were not His willing subjects. They did not love the Lord.

Not sure what theological ramifications this has but it must have some. I'll have to think more about that. But suffice to say, demons can worship the Lord.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Just a Blog

Since my squirrel scribble I guess I'm in the mood to blog. I don't do straight blogging much and I fear it is somewhat of a disease that needs eradicating. But here goes.

I saw something else today that I am almost embarrassed to relate to you but it effected me so that I want to pass it on. Someone may need to examine my ID, because it is that sort of thing.

Have you heard of Susan Boyle? Try watching this and tell me if you get all choked up. You might think I am joking at first but keep watching. It really is amazing.

I nearly wept. Can't really say why, but there it is. Anybody else?

I'm 44 now and have the boldness to say I cried watching Britain's Got Talent. Who says I'm not sensitive, vulnerable and transparent? There you have it.

Davidbird and Goliath

The world is a strange place. It is more than strange, it is magical beyond our wildest imaginations. In fact, our imaginations are never so wild as reality is. Reality mocks our imaginations as too plain, too simple, too unimaginative. Take the giraffe, for instance.

Now, back to Goliath.

Never before had I thought of a grey squirrel as Goliath but today I did. It was only fleeting, barely noticed and if I hadn't been daydreaming, I might never have noticed, at all. But I saw a blackbird chasing a squirrel today and it struck me as quite preposterous. Little black David chased him down the trunk and out onto a limb, down to the ground and out into the road. I am sure the bird was hoping a truck would zoom by and throw one of five smooth stones at the squirrels head. It probably happened but my light turned green and I hurried away.

Easter Exhortation

There is hardly room for sadness on this day. We can hardly find in ourselves the need to repent for so great is our joy. Jesus is risen and sins are forgiven. But we can confess our unbelief. We can confess that we, like the disciples, cannot comprehend that the God of the universe, in the person, in the man, of Jesus, must suffer, die and rise again. But He has done so.

Let us take joy and in everything that we know, let us learn Christ, suffering, dying, rising, reigning. Let us learn the glories of Resurrection so that we take hope in each of our sufferings and deaths. The Christian life is about life but it is about life through death to life.

We confess that we are prone to death and dying, at times unable to see the glory of the dying bloom because we do not comprehend the seed of life that must spring from that death. But our Lord Jesus died with suffering, shame , sadness and despair. But this day, this day above all days, our hope is rekindled and death, despair, even suffering and sorrow, are mocked for all their supposed strength. For nothing is more powerful than Christ risen.

Book Recommend-What He Must Be

Just finished reading What He Must Be...if he wants to marry my daughter, by Voddie Braucham, Jr.

This is an excellent book. Braucham challenges much of the prevailing evangelical culture surrounding families and especially fathers. In our own circles, we are familiar with these arguments for male headship and for the father participating in his daughter's courtship. So, we are not much surprised by what we find here. However, it is refreshing to hear someone outside of our immediate CRECish circles saying the same things that we are saying.

Furthermore, Braucham is a Reformed Baptist and sounds very covenantal in his thinking. This, too, is refreshing. He has many quotes from Luther and Calvin. Can't go wrong there.

I highly recommend this book to fathers thinking about what to do with daughters, sons and suitors, as your children approach marriagable age. Actually, you need to read this book, even if your children are very small. You need to think very long term in the way you raise your children so that when they grow into teens your way of leading and teachng them towards courtship is the way it has always been. If you wait until they are teenagers and then try to go down this path, you will have a rebellion on your hands.

I would love to see a Douglas Wilson/Voddie Braucham, Jr. courtship and marriage conference.

Easter Poem

Not the dead Jesus but the living, we hold!
The Lord of glory this mystery told.
That those who believe would see greater things.
Jesus the victor, King of all Kings.

Death could not hold Jesus’s breath.
He died, He rose.
And dealt a death blow to death.

Jesus is risen! Hallelujah, Amen.
Jesus is risen, Sing praise unto Him.
Jesus is risen and sin is unseated.
Jesus is risen and death is defeated.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Supper of the Lamb

I just finished Robert Capon's, The Supper of the Lamb, A Culinary Reflection. I gave it four stars of four, only because it would seem dishonest to give it four and one half or five of four. That doesn't quite make sense, does it?

This book is really superb. I think it is a necessary antidote to incessant wrigglings and wigglings about stuff. American Christianity needs a good dose, no a great wallop upside the head, about the goodness of things. Capon does that well.

Why do we have such guilty consciences about participating in all that God calls good? Food to the full, wine by the glassfuls and joy overflowing in the heart of man. If anything is from the devil, it is the insistance that our stuff is not really good after all. And then, we find that we like stuff so much, beautiful things and ugly things alike, that we have to trip over ourselves to make that which we think is not good, somehow good. We analyze, philosphize and symbolize until the good stuff is anything but itself, or good.

But God made it all and called it good. So ought we. Capon says it much better than I do, so I suggest that you go out and buy this book, and after that, some pots and pans, a bottle of wine, a probably a gallon of Sherry (does it come in gallons?), a good batch of cigars, and start to relish in this world that God has made. Until we learn that God's Earth is good, we will never learn what or where Heaven is.