Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bowels Yearn?

From some recent reading, a discourse by John Wesley (the founding figure of the Methodist movement), regarding evangelism and the desire to share Jesus with others:
Can we believe [God’s people] would be unconcerned at the sight, at the misery of those for whom their Lord died? Would not their bowels yearn over them, and their hearts melt away for very trouble? Could they then stand idle all the day long, even were there no command from Him whom they loved? Rather, would they not labour, by all possible means, to pluck some of these "brands out of the burning"? (From "Scriptural Christianity", in The Standard Sermons, with a reference to Zechariah 3.2).
From Wesley’s perspective, it is both urgent and natural – organic – for us to introduce others to Jesus. We don’t use all of Wesley’s language today (it is over 200 years old), but the basic truth remains. As Jesus said, "Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Luke 10.2).

Risk and Recognition

Matthew 14.22-33, June 17 (Father's Day)
Audio file

Opening theme:
Aslan, "not a tame lion" (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)

Three notes on the language of the story:
14.24 to torture, to question by applying torture
("buffeted" by the waves)
Yet, Jesus commanded them to get into the boats and cross the lake
Being in the center of God’s will is not guaranteed to be smooth!

14.27, "Be courageous. I AM. Do not be afraid".
The divine name,
I am, not simply "It’s me!"
Isaiah 43:1-3 Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Being in the center of God’s will is being accompanied by God in Jesus!

14.33, "those in the boat" worshiped him
Would expect Matthew to write, "the disciples" or "his disciples"
This phrase invites us into the story, puts us "in the same boat"
Following Jesus’ command, tortured by the waves of life, unexpectedly met by God, doing the impossible, crying out for salvation ... can you find yourself, put yourself, in that story?

God Sense

A wonderful message by Laura Hulsey, in audio only, from the 11:15 Celebrations service on June 10. Her focus was on sensing the invisible God.

Friday, June 8, 2012

BCLC Graduation - 11:15

Thanks again to Wanda and her staff, and to Lorri for coordinating the breakfast reception.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Danny, headed to Penn State!

Learning Center Graduation - 9

Thanks to Wanda and her staff team for another great year! The youngest kids had their program at our 9:00 Traditions service this past Sunday, June 3.


Audio file. Below, notes only.
John 3.1-17, Trinity Sunday, Learning Center, Graduation

Trinity Sunday & mystery
3 persons, 1 God – co-eternal

Like explaining a joke – it’s no longer funny
Like showing how a magic trick is done – it’s no longer amazing

"How?", asked twice
"How can anyone be born after having grown old?" (3.4)
"How can these things be?" (3.9)

focus on the mechanics misses the mystery (jokes, magic)

as an expression of unbelief: John Crysostom, "You call him ‘Master’ and say that he ‘comes from God’, and yet you do not receive his words but utilize a word with your master that brings in endless confusion. For the ‘how’ is the doubting question of those who have no strong belief and are still earthbound" (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, NT IV a, John1-10, p111).

Mystery: Proverbs 30:18-19 Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand: 19 the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a girl.

The greatest mysteries defy "how?" and remain a mystery

Humble (or humbled) before mystery

The religious expert is astonished. "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand?" (3.10)

Avoiding the mystery, asking the mechanical question "how", allows us to remain "masters" rather than be humble before the Master.

Avoiding the mastery, not wanting to be mastered by the command "you MUST be born from above" (3.7) or mastered by the promise "enter the kingdom of God" (3.5) and "be born of the Spirit" (3.6)

Augustine: "Do we think that the Lord meant to insult this master of the Jews? The Lord knew what he was doing. He wanted the man to be born of the Spirit. No one is born of the Spirit if he is not humble . . . . Jesus pulled down his pride so that he might be born of the Spirit" (ACCS, NT IV a, John1-10, p 118).

Nicodemus – I’ve got a good life, why do I need to start over? It is not about how good or bad our life is, but whether or not we want God’s.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Picnic 2

Thanks again! It was a great way to spend an afternoon together.


From the ancient church, Theodoret of Cyr:

If the only meaning of baptism were remission of sins, why would we baptize newborn children who have not yet tasted of sin? But the mystery of baptism is not limited to this. It is a promise of greater and more perfect gifts. In it are the promises of future delights. It is the type of the future resurrection, a communion with the master's Passion, a participation in his resurrection, a mantle of salvation, a tunic of gladness, a garmet of light, or rather it is light itself.

From The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament IVa, John 1-10, p 114.


Thanks to Sharon for organizing the picnic on Sunday May 27, and to Ron for the pics!