Newsletter 8-29-19

Saints,

Bless you all. Remember to pray for one another this week. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful, and you are all righteous in Christ, your glorious Lord. Look to Him. Cry out to Him. Appeal to Heaven on one another’s behalf.

May the end of summer be sweet and full of light and sunshine and ice cream.

Filling up the edges

Mark 9:14-29

In the house Jesus emphasizes the theological point of an incident. In this instance the final conversation relates to the central theme of the unit, for the epilogue qualifies the faith of verse 23 as the faith that prays.

In response to the inevitable question of why they had failed, Jesus explained to the disciples that such malign evil spirits can be expelled only by a full reliance upon the unlimited power of God expressed through prayer.

This response contains at least the implicit criticism that the disciples had failed because they had not acted in prayer and sincere faith.

Prayer is a sign of our humility and faith. Our prayer lives reflect whether we think we control our own lives. Whether we are self-sufficient and don’t need anything from one another or God.

Prayer is both a thermometer and thermostat. It heats up our spiritual lives and shows how hot they are.

The disciples relied on Jesus’ previous command and equipping. They relied on their previous success, forgetting where their success had come from.

The father was honest, damaged by the church’s failure, He turned to Christ and humbly stated exactly where he stood in relation to Jesus.

And Jesus responded. Continue reading “Newsletter 8-29-19”

Church Newsletter 2019-8-23

Saints,

This newsletter is a little late, I apologize and hope your week as been fruitful. I have been enjoying a wonderful staycation with my family; celebrating the end of Summer and enjoying some rest for the coming of school and the busy fall schedule. Taking time to reflect on what has been given to us, drawing strength from it, prepares our hearts and hands for the new struggles and difficulties of life that inevitably come. This is a process that God has built into us – Sabbath rest. New revelations. Transfigurations. These are the means of preparation for the way of the cross. Faith is the substance of things not seen. Our faith gives the objects of faith substance. And what God has done, as recorded in His word and in our lives, is the food for that faith.

Blessings.

Filling up the edges

Mark 9:7And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

Cloud, or light, had been the sign of God’s presence in the wilderness; and, in true Old Testament style, on this occasion too, there came a voice from the cloud.

The cloud just like the bright, white clothes (v. 3) suggests the shekinah glory and calls to mind the tent of meeting. In the Old Testament clouds are symbols of God’s presence, protection, and authority.

Exodus 13:21And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. Exodus 19:16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled.  

The Holy Spirit is glory the cloud that filled the tabernacle and temple according to Nehemiah and Haggai. Continue reading “Church Newsletter 2019-8-23”

Church Newsletter 2019-6-19

Saints,

Please pray for the Schmidt family as Peter undergoes hip replacement and pray for Crystal Grubb. Crystal has attended our church in the past. She has been diagnosed with cancer, her husband is an unbeliever and Crystal’s faith suffers a great deal from her isolation from the Body of Christ. Also, continue to pray for the families traveling.

May this find you all well.

Filling up the edges

Genesis 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

God wants Adam, the father of mankind to work and to keep. Work has to do with nurture and cultivation, while keeping refers to protection; a man’s duty to be a fortress for his family.

We find a working definition of masculinity right here, in the first few pages of the Bible.

When men take up their responsibilities to nurture and cultivate and the responsibility to protect and guard the fruit of that nurture and cultivation, they are doing something that resonates with their foundational, creational nature.

When they walk away from these responsibilities, in a very real sense they walk away from their assigned masculine identity.

A man has broad shoulders so that he can carry heavy loads. The man who gets u in the middle of night to see what that noise is, isn’t doing it because he has a penis, has one feminist author suggested mockingly.

The father as “provider and protector” is not something man came up with as a pragmatic solution to certain practical problems.

It is not a human invention or tradition, or just a holdover from our hunter/gatherer days. This is an essential part of God’s creation design for Man.

At the beginning these roles were assigned, by God, to the man. Man was placed in the garden with this twofold mandate in mind. This is what men are for.

All men are called, like Adam our first father, to provide for their families and to protect their families.

The fall consisted of sins of omission and commission. Adam ate the fruit but before that he was acting contrary to God’s law, He failed to obey God by inaction.

God said to provide for your wife, so why is she unfed, susceptible to the temptation of Satan to eat? Why is Eve out considering the food of others? Continue reading “Church Newsletter 2019-6-19”

Church Newsletter 2019-5-23

Saints,

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.

Outreach update

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.

Filling up the edges

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”

Church Newsletter 2019-5-14

Saints,

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.

Filling up the edges

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.

Heart

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.

Conclusion

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.

Around the web

An important talk for men.

https://www.christkirk.com/sermon/make-men-pious-again/

Devotional

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.

Amen.

Church Calendar

NEXT WEEK:

Keith, Confession

Byron, Prayer

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.

PENTECOST PARTY

June 9, 5:30-8:30PM at the Northshore Senior Center in Bothell. More details to follow.

 

 

Church Newsletter 2019-4-24

Saints,

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.

Amen

Filling up the edges

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”

Church Newsletter 2019-4-11

Saints,

I pray that the Lord’s grace and goodness fills your hearts and minds with gratitude, peace and hope as you fulfill your callings, love your wives, respect your husbands, obey your parents and raise your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

May the face of Jesus Christ shine on you all.

Filling up the edges

Mark 6:48–50 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, [49] but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, [50] for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

Between three and six, in the morning, in their time of greatest need, and in a totally unexpected way, Jesus came to their rescue.

Job 9:8 who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea.

 Jesus was walking on top of the water, a miracle unprecedented in the history of redemption. Jesus isn’t coming to them as their teacher, as their friend or leader. He is enacting a theophany.

Theophanyis derived from two Greek words meaning “God” and “to show.” A theophany, then, is a manifestation of the deity.

Appearances of God mark significant events in the life of Israel in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Generally speaking, in the OT, God would manifest Himself as something comprehensible within creation as a means of communicating with man, such as the burning bush in Exodus 4 or the pillar of fire and smoke leading Israel through the middle chapters of Exodus or as the military commander in Joshua 5.

Jesus here turns the idea of a theophany on its head.  God, the transcendent revealed Himself to man in a comprehensible way. Jesus here reveals Himself not as comprehensible but as transcendent.

Jesus, a man bound by the “laws,” of creation reveals himself in a way that transcends created limits, communicating that he surpasses creation and the “laws,” of nature as the creator of the heavens and the earth.

The words “pass by them,” doesn’t mean he was going to walk passed them, ignoring them. It means He was going to display himself to them.

They are exhausted, tormented. They are hardened to His revelation. They are resisting Jesus and so Jesus goes further, pushed them further to break up the hardness of heart.

Two of the most famous theophanies in the OT occurred when Yahweh passed before two prophets, revealing His Glory to man.

Exodus 34:5–6 The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 

Yahweh also passed before Elijah.

1 Kings 19:11 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 

Jesus is showing himself to be the greater prophet, but He is passing before the disciples which put the disciples on the same footing as Moses and Elijah.

Who does that make Jesus to be, then? This theophany works, in a way, contra to the OT ones, because a transcendent God is not veiling himself in a way human minds and senses can comprehend. Jesus, a man, is pulling the veil back and revealing His transcendence. Continue reading “Church Newsletter 2019-4-11”