We handed the bottle round, as
it crinkled and shimmered in the sun.
Wrinkled, scarred, dented, soft, smooth
were the hands that passed it,
for a moment. All, in black and dress uniforms
shared in a common humanity
And drank deep
We handed the bottle round, as
it crinkled and shimmered in the sun.
Wrinkled, scarred, dented, soft, smooth
were the hands that passed it,
for a moment. All, in black and dress uniforms
shared in a common humanity
And drank deep
May the LORD continue to grant us this glorious sunshine! I hope this finds you all well and in high spirits.
We are getting ready for the family series so be praying for the teaching to be clear, our ears and hearts to be open and God’s mercy to pour out on us as we take stock of our marriages and families in the coming weeks.
Sabrina (the young lady in outpatient rehab who you all so generously supported with sheets and gift cards) is still doing well. She has been sober for 70+ days and continues to experience God’s victory over addiction. Her update is this, “I really appreciate the prayers because I definitely believe God’s hand has been on every situation I’ve been through thus far!”
If you are still interested in helping her out, we are accepting gift cards for her from Safeway or Albertson’s. Or you can make a donation to the church marked “redemption road – Sabrina,” and we will get that to her. Thank you!
I met with the folks at Next Step, a pregnancy resource center in Lynnwood. This is going to be another fertile field for us. The elders will be discussing this and some of us will be touring their facilities, considering various service options. Please be praying for us as a church as we consider this and pray for Next Step – they are in search of a full time RN.
Mark 7:25 But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. Now the womanwas a Gentile, a Syrophoenicianby birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
In the course of events Jesus was approached by a woman whose non-Jewish character is stressed. She was a member of the Hellenized citizen class in the Phoenician republic of Tyre, a Gentile by birth and culture.
The mother’s anguish over her daughter’s condition is thoroughly understandable and does much to explain her bold persistence in begging Jesus to expel the demon from her child. Her prostration at Jesus’ feet was a mark of deep respect as well as of profound grief.
It was fitting that widows should receive help from a God who cares specially for widows and orphans Psalm 146:9 The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
Mark 7:27-28And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
Now, the readers of the Gospel know that Jesus fed His own people, with twelve baskets of left overs. They know that there are indeed crumbs. But this woman, only just hearing accounts of Jesus determines what kind of man He is, what kind of character He has. She is appealing to His abundant grace and power. His compassion and generosity.
She is the only person in the whole Gospel account of Mark to call Jesus “Lord.” The Jewish leaders question Jesus’ presumption at the head of the Table. The Disciples refuse to accept the import of what Jesus has been doing. Continue reading “Church Newsletter 2019-5-23”
Leviticus 1:3-9 “If his gift for a burnt offering is from the flock, from the sheep or goats, he shall bring a male without blemish, shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. and he shall kill it on the north side of the altar before the LORD, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall throw its blood against the sides of the altar. And the priest shall offer all of it and burn it on the altar; it is a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.
We’ve all experienced it.
Mom is cooking the London broil or the meatloaf and has to run after a toddler, then break up a fight, then answer the phone, apply bandaids, get batteries for the gaming controller and before you know it the pleasing aroma of dinner turns into the the unpleasant smell of burnt flesh.
We’ve all been to, or hosted, the BBQ where the host is flipping burgers, but has to step away to get more ice, then clean up purple soda on the carpet and fill the chip bowl and when he returns to the grill, his beautiful burgers are all hockey pucks that fill the air with the putrid smell of char.
No one likes the smell of burned meat. But in the passage read for us this morning, the whole burnt offering is a pleasing aroma to the Lord. Continue reading “Be a Whole Burnt Offering”
Spring seems to have taken a break, but I think our thirst for summer has been officially revived. It is supposed to be a particularly mild summer, so be sure to take the moments when they come. Make the most of the glorious outdoors.
As we come out of the winter and take stalk, do some spring cleaning, consider how we are running our race – we ought to consider what might actually be in our hearts without our realizing it. The following list is from out text on Sunday which I did not have time to enumerate. So, take this list slowly. Talk about them with your spouse and children. Break up the fallow ground of your heart with God’s word. Pray for insight. Call what is inside you what Christ calls it. Repent. Rejoice. Repeat.
Mark 7:20–22 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.
The locus of a person’s thoughts, will, decisions, emotions and the knowledge of right and wrong. The sense of the word is your “self.”
It is the heart which makes a man what he is and governs all his actions Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
In the Bible it usually designates the whole personality. Both in the OT and NT it is the seat of wisdom (1 Kgs. 3:12), and of thought and reflection (e.g. Jer. 24:7, Lk. 2:19), the instrument of belief (Rom. 10:10) and of will, the principle of action (Ex. 35:21) which may be hardened so that it resists God (Deut. 15:7; Mk. 16:14).
It is the principle both of virtues and vices, of humility and pride, of good thoughts and of evil thoughts.
Hence in Scripture the heart is the center of the human person, in which the physical and the spiritual life are concentrated, and therefore in the NT the dwelling-place of Christ (Eph. 3:17) in which reigns the peace of God (Col. 3:15).
In this sense it is used in the language of Christian spirituality, which regards the human heart as the special organ of the love of God.
The heart is a big deal and what does Mark consistently bring into play? What has Jesus been dealing with?
Mark 3:4–5….But they were silent. And [Jesus] looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart…
Mark 6:52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
Mark 7:6–7 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
The source of true defilement in men is the human heart, and the tragedy of man’s original sin reaches its demonic fulfilment in man’s wanting to sin in his heart.
There is no heart in which this radical evil has failed to take root. We have to be honest about what is going on inside of us.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
Sin is just something that “happens,” to us. We wants it. Yet we feel shame, pain and estrangement. We fear man and what they think. Pride, fear and shame ties us in nots or cause our hearts to cool.
The answer is found in Psalm 44:21…God…knows the secrets of the heart.
God knows what is in the heart of man.
We have to let God show us what is inside of us. And we have to accept the diagnoses and the cure, which is heart surgery. But, Heart surgery is a lot scarier then hand soap. Then gourmet kosher food. Than a religious to-do list.
A man is defined by what he holds in his heart. Eating or refraining from certain foods will not change this list one iota, nor will washing one’s hands. It is the heart that must be cleansed.
Your religion cannot be a matter of externals, but internals. Your internals.
At the head of the list is “evil thoughts.” The word “thoughts,” is itself amoral, which is why the word evil is added.
It carries the idea of discussion or debate, with an under-tone of suspicion or doubt. Either with one’s own mind or with another.
For example; Luke 9:46-48An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts…
Arguing with brothers about foolish things, quarrelling, ungracious suspicions, and doubt are all implied and summed up with this phrase, evil thoughts.
Fornicationis a broad term covering all acts of sexual immorality; it is wider than adultery.
The word “fornication” is used in the Scriptures to mean several different things. Its general meaning refers to every kind of illegal sexual intercourse, that is, any intercourse except that between a husband and wife.
But don’t be too hasty, patting yourself on the back.
Fornication is as common to modern men and women, Christian or otherwise, as having elbows.
Theft,murderand adultery. The three that stand in the mind of many as the, well I never sins, so I must be a pretty good person.
Matthew 5:21–22“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder… But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment….Matthew 5:27–28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery. ’But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Washing cups, bowls and hands seems a lot easier, doesn’t it? A long list of externals certainly seems a lot easier than what Jesus is teaching here.
So, murder and adultery are two big, yeah but I never sins – always brought up in a self-justifying way. But you can be a serial killer and adulterer and never leave the confines of your heart and mind.
While the Hebrew word for “covet” can also be translated “to desire,” in the tenth commandment it means an ungoverned and selfish desire that threatens the basic rights of others.
Coveting is sinful because it focuses greedily on the property of a neighbor that is his share in God’s grace.
Coveting is a gateway sin. It is a lack of contentment and gratitude.
It leads to theft, lying, adultery and a host of other potential sins. Coveting starts in the heart and unless it is uprooted it will not remain there. It will manifest itself in a host of sins.
Wickednessappears to be a general term denoting acts of deliberate malice, translated variously as evil, Ill-will, spitefulness, trouble or harm.
Wickedness refers to evil in its active form, i.e.mischief (Nu. 16:26). As such, it denotes perversity of mind (Pr. 15:26; Rom. 1:29) by which the natural man surrenders himself to evil impulses (Ps. 10:1–11).
Wickedness has its seat in the heart and is inspired of Satan (1 Jn. 3:12), it is progressive and contagious in its manifestation.
The wicked man is utterly perverse, finding unholy delight in the infliction of injury (Pr. 21:10).
It is like leaven in a bread. It spreads and affects the reaction and condition of the whole loaf. Wicked men seek are mischief. They don’t just gossip, they who to gossip to in order to cause the most damage.
They manipulate, muddy the waters of clarity and stir up strife.
Malice characterizes the life of men under the wrath of God (Rom. 1:29). It is not only a moral deficiency but destroys fellowship.
For believers it belongs to the old life according to Tit. 3:3, so there is still need for exhortation to ‘clean it out.’
1 Corinthians 5:7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
That is what this whole section is about. Jesus has begun a new work in you. You are not yet perfect. There are things in your heart that need to come out.
Deceit implies the components of cunning and treachery.
Sensuality is Moral abandon. Indulgence in sensual pleasure unrestrained by convention or morality.
Envy is more than coveting but a grudging jealousy with which a man looks upon the possessions of another. It’s not merely wanting what another has but resenting that another has it.
Slander is to speak critically of another person with the intent to hurt them. To falsely accuse another.
Elsewhere, Jesus said, “I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak” (Matt. 12:36).
This should cause each person to be very careful what they say about others.
Pride The emphasis placed on pride, and its converse humility, is a distinctive feature of biblical religion, unparalleled in other religious or ethical systems. Rebellious pride, which refuses to depend on God and be subject to him, but attributes to self the honor due to him, figures as the very root and essence of sin.
Foolishness describes the dominant disposition of the man who is morally and spiritually insensitive; he does not know God and he does not wish to know him.
Foolishness is characterized by thoughts, behaviors, attitudes, or judgments that lack sense, prudence, and discretion. Foolish behavior may be immoral or dangerous and is often used for self-destructive tendencies. Foolishness stands in contrast to wisdom, prudence, and sound judgment.
Titus 3:3–7For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
He gives the spirit. He gives us new hearts and minds. He takes your envy, malice, fornication, lies, murders, deceits, etc. and replaces them. With what? How?
Galatians 5:22–24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
To you and me. No, don’t turn away. Don’t hide in shame and guilt and doubt. What’s inside you? You don’t want to face it. You don’t know what to do with it. You don’t know where it comes from.
Don’t be so willing to self-justify and remain in self-deception. That is slavery and death.
Let Christ give you the heart surgery you so desperately need. You are muddled.
But Jesus knows what is inside of you. John 2:23–25[Jesus knows] ‘all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.
He knows what’s inside you, that no one else knows. That you hardly know yourself. He will tell you. He will tell you what to call it. He will take it from you willingly. Its why He came. Its why He reigns. He is here to heal you. To cleanse you from the inside, out.
This parable is still connected to the parable of the sowers. Jesus is giving you the seed of eternal life.
But remember Jeremiah 4:3 For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
Come. Don’t linger. Don’t trust in the externals. Trust Him and He will give you new internals – a new heart and thus a new desire, mind, emotion and will and it will work from the inside out.
But you must remove the weeds, thorns and stones.
Come to His word. His spirit will teach you – Him. His law. His heart for you. He will give the new heart.
Godliness isn’t a list of action items. Godliness is not to be attained through a list of rituals. Godliness is not a matter of eating or washing.
What is godliness? 1 Timothy 3:16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
An important talk for men.
1 John 2:16-17
Increase my faith, O merciful Father,
That I may not swerve at any time form your heavenly word.
Give me an increase of hope and love, together with a careful keeping of all your commandments, that no hardness of heart, no hypocrisy, no lust of the eyes, nor any methods of the world, may draw me away from obedience to you. And, since we live now in these most perilous times, let your fatherly providence defend me against all violence and harm.
GAME DAY WITH TRINITY
Join some folks at the Trinity Church Office for board games from 10AM-4PM on Saturday, May 18. Open house format; Snacks provided, bring your own lunch. Bring a game to play, or try one out there. 14623 NE North Woodinville Way, Suite 201.
THE CHURCH AT PLANNED PARENTHOOD
Worship service (not a protest); Wednesday, May 29 from 5:30-6:15pm, at the Planned Parenthood in Everett. 509 – 32nd St., Everett 98201
FREE BOOKS IN THE MONTH OF JUNE
Free books available, coinciding with a new sermon series in June: The
Meaning of Marriage, Decluttering Your Marriage, Father Hunger, Militant Motherhood, and Raising Little Ones.
June 9, 5:30-8:30PM at the Northshore Senior Center in Bothell. More details to follow.
The more I deal with my own sin and the sin of others, I am convinced that our problem is one of fullness – of satisfaction and contentment. Our lack of fullness manifests itself in our insatiable lusts, our anxieties and insecurities. We have hungry hearts and hungry stomachs and hungry egos – that are often, unsatisfied.
Fellas, you know that you are hungry creatures. You lust for power, position, respect – flesh and food and drink. You want more. You are never satisfied. We aren’t hungry for Christ’s power, position, food or drink. The food of his word.
We want more than our daily bread. We want more than what our wives offer. We want more from the toke, the joke, the drink, the look…. How can I overtake the next guy, make the deal, build it better, get the promotion…?
Christ’s food and drink was to do the will of His father. Our food and drink is our will – our appetites – our desires.
And we wonder why we are unsatisfied, grumpy and restless – it’s because we never rest in Him, finding our full satisfaction in Jesus Christ alone. If we have appetites that cannot be satisfied in Jesus Christ, they will never be satisfied. No amount of sports, pop-culture or cuisine, can fill us. No authority on this earth can satiate us. We feel empty because we are seeking to fill what Christ’s grace will not fill.
And yet consider what is offered to us in John 1:16 “For from Christ’s fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” Our enemy Satan is a murderer and is not satisfied until our virtues, faith, relationships; our very lives and souls lay in a dead heap. And he murders us by encouraging and satisfying all the appetites that are not satisfied in Christ.
It’s like eating subtraction soup. The more subtraction soup we eat the hungrier we become – we eat and eat until the very soup itself consumes us. This is how lust works. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is your position and power. He is your food and drink.
Ladies, sisters, you have the same problem. You are anxious and insecure, and both are issues of fullness. Are you ever so secure that there is nothing to fear? Are you ever so well provided for, that there is never any reason to be anxious?
You ask yourselves, “Am I teaching the kids enough -well enough? Does hubby make enough? Am I beautiful enough, thin enough, sexy enough? Are we going to run out of food? How high is the electric bill going to be? Do I cook as well as his mom? What if the kids hurt themselves on accident? I can’t disappoint him again. Why don’t I have better friends? What’s wrong with me?
Will you ever receive that compliment that secures you permanently in your beauty, intelligence, competence and grace? Continue reading “The Fullness of Christ, The Fullness of Life”
May the face of our Lord Jesus Christ shine upon you all and give you peace. May the Spirit so embolden and entangle your heart that bow humbly before your Lord Jesus and praise Him without ceasing. May the Father convict and comfort you that you know no righteousness but Jesus.
John 5:28–29 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
This is called, traditionally, the last things or by some, eschatology. And most of us think the last things take place in a remote time. In a nondescript, enigmatic future era: distant and unknowable. But eschatology, can be understood in two different ways. The end of the world is far off and unknowable, but the end of your life can be reasonably guessed with a fair amount of accuracy by a good doctor or a life insurance agent.
C.S. Lewis again fromWeight of Glory; “When any man comes into the presence of God he will find, whether he wishes it or not, that all those things which seemed to make him so different from the men of other times or even from His earlier self, have fallen off him. He is back where he always was, where every man always is….do not let us deceive ourselves. No possible complexity which we can give to our picture of the universe can hide us from God: there is not copse, no forest, no jungle thick enough to provide cover. It will happen to all of us in the blink of an eye. In a breath, in a time too small to be measured, at any time and in any place, all that seems to divide you from God and from other men, will flee away, vanish leaving you naked before Him, like the first man, like the only man, as if nothing but He and you existed. And since that contact cannot be avoided and since it means either bliss or horror, the business of life is to learn to love it. That is the first and greatest commandment.”
The business of life is to learn to love it. Because the Lord Jesus will call you forth from your grave and you will stand before Him. Everyone will be resurrected – those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
And that separation into two groups is the end of a long line of decisions. A long line of works. Actions. Words. Things done and left undone.
Because you stand before His gaze every day. But because we don’t see Him, we act as if each moment isn’t happening before His very eyes.
The business of life is to learn to love to stand in His gaze. Loving it is what leads to heaven. Not loving it leads to hell.
Hebrews 4:13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Loving the one who gazes upon us is what leads to Him – heaven. Continue reading “Church Newsletter 2019-4-24”
The Theologian Fred Sanders explains in his book, How the Trinity Changes everything, this important aspect of Biblical interpretation;
“One of the most powerful features of the Trinitarianism of the New Testament is that it is revealed to us largely in the conversation between the Father and the Son.…Even in the darkness of the cross itself, the Son keeps up an intimate running dialogue with his Father. Jesus is confident that his prayers are heard and that the Father is with him, and in a few spectacular instances of a voice speaking from heaven we get to hear the Father declaring his attitude toward his beloved Son. All this inner-Trinitarian conversation is intentionally held in public, for our instruction….what they said to and about one another for us to overhear is not only a solid foundation for the doctrine of the Trinity, but it is also a marvelous invitation to us to be included in that conversation.”
We see this dialogue at Christ’s baptism and at the transfiguration. We hear it in the prayer of Jesus at Lazarus’ tomb:
John 11:41–42, So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”
Jesus is talking to the Father, out loud, so that others may hear and join in the knowledge of the Father and the Son.
This is why the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray in Luke 11:1. The dialogue between Jesus and His Father is public and meant to draw us in.
So we turn to John 19:28–29 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.
What we think is happening here is strictly an exchange between Jesus and His murderers.
Indeed, Jesus is fulfilling the scriptures, like Psalm 22:15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws.
But in this moment when Jesus speaks of thirst, as in His whole earthly ministry, He is misunderstood by His immediate audience.
Understanding what is being said, to whom and its meaning – is an invitation for us to join the inner life of the trinity.