Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bethany Bullet - January 27, 2015

Reading inflection is difficult apart from context.  In a tweet, an email or a text it can be tough at times to tell if an author is being sarcastic or comedic...true in a Bullet too.  IS THE AUTHOR ANGRY or did the all-caps tab accidentally get pressed?

Matthew, Mark and Luke all record an event in which parents are bringing their children to Jesus and the disciples seek to detour them.  When, Jesus says, "Let the little children come to me." 

Was he fed up with the chore but reluctant to end it?  Was he frustrated with folk who didn't mind bothering him and interrupting the important work he had to do?  Context provides the answer.  "Don't hinder them for to these belongs the kingdom of God."

What the authors of the gospels are telling us is that there is nowhere Jesus would rather be than with His children, that we are those children and that our children are His! 

Therefore bringing our children to the Lord's house and bringing Him into our homes are among the most important things we can do!

- Pastor Kevin Kritzer

Monday, January 26, 2015

The One Year Bible- January 26th

As we journey in the Bible this year we will see narrative sections as well as prescriptive sections.  The narrative portions get the big billing since they tell the “story,” but don’t just skip past the other sections.  There is some good stuff in there.  Just over 40% of the Old Testament is devoted to telling the narrative story.  The following Old Testament books are largely or entirely composed of narrative material: Genesis, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Jonah, and Haggai.  Also, Exodus, Numbers, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Job contain substantial narrative portions.  People like stories, and the stories in the Bible are important.  They are purposeful stories that tell the historical events of the past and are intended to give meaning and direction for a given people in the present.  There is a difference in the Bible’s stories for they tell God’s story.  As the book How to Read the Bible for all Its Worth says, “The Biblical narrative tells the ultimate story—a story that, even though often complex, is utterly true and crucially important.  Indeed it is a magnificent story, grander than the greatest epic, richer in plot and more significant in its characters and descriptions than any humanly composed story could ever be.” (How To Read the Bible for All Its Worth, p. 90)  Enjoy the stories and remember to try to see the overarching story of God’s love for his creation and his desire to save us from sin.

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament
Exodus is a well written book that is foundational for the faith of both Christians and Jews; within its pages lie some of the key elements of our faith (the Passover, the 10 commandments a.k.a. the 10 words). A reading of this book is not complete without seeing the awesome wonder and power of God. One of the key words in the Old Testament is translated as “remembered”, as in God remembered his people, the people are to remember to celebrate the Passover etc. This is a theologically significant word in that it shows God’s grace and his love for his people. This theme will be carried out to completion as God “remembers” his people once again as they are slaves to sin and provides redemption through his son. Before we get to the Passover lets take a closer look at one of the most famous sections in the book, namely the plagues. Much has been made of these events in movies and other media but they show how God works in systematic ways. One thing to remember is that even when God showed his mighty wonders, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. He said the right things but went back on his word. I think at times we are all a bit like Pharaoh. We like to have things our own way and when things are going badly we will promise everything. Things ease up and we go back on our word. Eventually this will end up badly for us. But I am getting off track, so back to the plagues...

Before the first plague Moses and Aaron have a confrontation with Pharaoh and his magicians. We see here that Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them. By looking at the first nine plagues in groups of three we can see some interesting things.

The Plagues:

1. Blood (7:14-25)
2. Frogs (8:1-15)
3. Gnats (8:16-19)

4. Flies (8:20-32)
5. Animal Disease (9:1-7)
6. Boils (9:8-12)

7. Hail (9:13-35)
8. Locusts (10:1-20)
9. Darkness (10:21-27)

In each series the first and second plagues are announced to Pharaoh in advance. The third is given without previous warning. The series of 3 x 3 leads up to a climax in number 10—the number that is the symbol for completeness. Within the plagues themselves there is a progression, an increase in severity. The last three are especially severe and destructive. The Egyptian magicians vie with Moses in duplicating the first two plagues. At the third they try but no longer succeed in their magic arts. They must confess, “This is the finger of God.” Beginning with the second group of plagues (4,5 & 6) a distinction is made between the Israelites and the Egyptians. The land of Goshen where the Israelites live is spared. The first nine plagues deal with phenomena that have to do with nature. Since the Egyptians worshiped the powers of nature, what more effective way could God display his power over all things, which they looked upon as deities? The tenth plague was the plague of the firstborn. With this plague all the first-born were to be killed. But the angel was to “pass over” the homes of the Israelites.

The Passover presents to us one of the most important Old Testament types of the Savior Jesus Christ. As we look at the directions for preparing the Passover meal, we see step by step how the entire ritual points to Christ, our Passover lamb. The Passover lamb was to be a year-old male. John the Baptist tells of the Messiah who was to be the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." In Corinthians, Paul says, “For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed.” God directed that this Passover lamb was to be “without defect.” Peter wrote that we were redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” The Passover lamb was to be slaughtered as a sacrifice. Paul reminded his people “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”. The writer of the book of Hebrews repeatedly refers to Christ as an “offering” and “sacrifice”. “Do not break any of the bones.” This was direct foreshadowing of Jesus. The Israelites were to “take some of the blood and but it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses.” God said, “When I see the blood I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” This points to the teaching that we are redeemed from the power of sin, death and Satan with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. God tells the people that they are to remember the Passover for “generations to come”.

I hope you can see how the Passover celebration is important to our understanding of who Jesus is and how he is the culmination of Gods redeeming work on earth. It is no coincidence that Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples the night before he was betrayed. Again it is no coincidence that Jesus instituted another celebration that is to be celebrated for “generations to come” as he gave his disciples the first communion feast.

The New Testament
I want to spend a little bit of time talking about parables this week since we have seen so many of them in the book of Matthew and we will see more as we go through the Gospels. In my seminary classes on the New Testament we spent quite a bit of time on parables because of their wonderful content and use for us not only as preachers but also as Christians. Today I would like to share with you some material from an article written by Dr. Erich H. Kiehl who was a professor at Concordia Seminary St. Louis for many years. He wrote an article titled “Why Jesus Spoke in Parables” in which he said:

A parable may be defined as “a story with a puzzling quality which confronts the hearer with the need to make a decision for or against Christ through the Spirits work.” Perhaps the most helpful is the more usual definition: “A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly (spiritual) meaning” with the addition “in the sense that it confronts the hearer with the need to make a decision for or against Christ through the Spirits work.”

An analysis of the content of the Gospels indicates that about one-third of the Gospel accounts are parables. Aside from their theological importance, parables shed much light on life in the New Testament era. Except for the Egyptian papyri, which emphasize life in Egypt, the parables are the best source of information about life in the Near East in the New Testament era. They reflect the innate love of graphic, pictorial speech and the great delight in a story, which is still true of life there today. Jesus’ parables demonstrate everyday experiences and events in the world of nature.

Since Jesus’ hearers would not listen to him on his terms, that is, the true meaning of the kingdom of God as revealed in Scripture, Jesus then began to speak to them in parables. His hearers had an innate love for graphic stories and pictorial speech. Jesus used this appealing parabolic approach to catch their attention and to seek to get them to ponder the true meaning of what he said. As people wondered and pondered what Jesus was telling them in his parables, the Holy Spirit could work in their hearts, seeking to lead them to the proper Biblical understanding of His message. In time, as the Spirit penetrated the hardness of the heart, hearers could grow in understanding of the true meaning and nature of God’s kingdom and of life in the kingdom. Crucial in this was the Spirit leading them to understand who Jesus truly is in His ministry and teaching as the fulfillment of the prophecies in his person and work, and its decisive implications for their life as members of God’s covenant people.
From The Concordia Journal July 1990 p.248-249.

Dr. Kiehl continues in his article to develop the skills of determining what Jesus actually meant when he told his parables. He warns us not to try to put our own meaning into the parables but to strive to find the true meaning, the one that Jesus meant for us to have. This is no easy task, especially when Jesus does not explain the meaning of the parable. Don’t worry too much if some of this flies over your head. The main point is not to force our own thoughts and insights on the text and miss the true point of the parable. When in doubt, pray, meditate, or ask your pastor if you don’t fully understand.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bethany Bullet - January 21, 2015

Pick a Gospel, any Gospel.  

Read two or three chapters and one thing, perhaps more, but at least one thing will become crystal clear.  That thing?  Jesus' life was crazy busy.  His practice…was time with God faithfully.  When the record shows His days were busier and crazier, the chances increase all the more that the author also ties in a recording of a subsequent or consequent event: "Jesus went off alone to pray."

Personal time with God in prayer, meditation, and reflection is, at least by some including unfortunately me, too often sacrificed to the craziest, busiest of days.  Yet, for our Lord apparently it was essential in the carrying out of the crazy busy.  

Will it not bless us as it did our Lord?  Do we need it any less than Him?

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer

Monday, January 19, 2015

The One Year Bible- January 19th

We are almost one month in to our year-long journey in the Bible and this week we will finish up the first book of the Old Testament. This is no small accomplishment. Genesis is a long book, filled with important stories that serve as important pieces to the overall story of the Bible. We will make reference to many of these stories and events as we go along. Each time we reach a milestone in our journey we should celebrate. As well as finishing the book of Genesis we will also finish one month in the word. Give yourself a pat on the back and you should feel good for your accomplishments. I also want to encourage you to keep going. If it is not already, your daily reading will become habit and spending time in God’s Word is one of the best habits you could ever have. On to the study...

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament
We will finish up the story of Joseph this week. It has been a longer story than most and there is good reason for it. First of all, this is the back-story for the most important event in Jewish history, the Exodus. The Exodus tells of God’s love and mercy for his chosen people and how he redeemed them from slavery in Egypt. As a New Testament Christian this story foreshadows the story of how Jesus redeemed us from the slavery of sin. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. As we read the Old Testament we see many similarities between it and some stories in the New Testament. I believe that this is one purpose. Theologians call this Biblical Typology.

I found this description of typology in a resource I have entitled “Fellowship With God” written by Rev. Henry F. Fingerlin:“The Bible is an amazing book. But something not too commonly know is that the Bible contains a unique kind of prophecy that no other book contains or could contain, namely, Typology. In Romans 5:14b St. Paul says that “Adam...was a type of the one who was to come.” (That is Adam was a type of Christ). In I Peter 3:21 Peter tells us that Baptism “corresponds” to Noah’s ark in which 8 persons were saved through water. The word translated “corresponds” in the Revised Standard Version is antitype in Greek. There are many such “types” and “antitypes” in the Bible. For example the Passover Lamb and the scapegoat, who bore the sins of the people, are types of Jesus; and the work of the High Priest in making sacrifice for the sins of the people is a type of his saving work. Types, copies, shadows, miniatures, scale model, partial, earthly, temporal, limited, imperfect—these are the people, observances and events of the Old Testament. Fulfillment, spiritual, eternal, perfect, unlimited—these are the realities, the completion, the fulfillment brought into being through Jesus and the New Covenant. This is the way Jesus and the Apostles understood the Old Testament and its fulfillment in the New. Only God who knows the future and also brings it to pass, could so thoroughly detail through prophecy and types all that would transpire through John the Baptist, Jesus, and the beginning of the New Covenant.”

There is much to say about Biblical typology but one thing to remember is that Old Testament Biblical types are always less than the New Testament antitype. As Paul writes in Colossians 2:17, “These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”  How does this relate to the story of Joseph? Some theologians see Joseph as a “type” or Christ. Here are a few examples:
- Joseph is the “beloved” son of his Father(Gen. 37:3)—Jesus is the Father’s “beloved” son (Matt. 3:17
- Though innocent, Joseph is sold for silver (Gen. 37:28)—Jesus is betrayed and sold for silver (Matt. 26:15)
- Joseph finds himself in prison with two other criminals (Gen. 40)—Jesus suffered death (a kind of prison) between two criminals (Luke 23:32-33)
- Joseph foretells death to one prisoner and release and restoration of the other (Gen. 40:9-19—Jesus tells one of the thieves that he will be with him in paradise while the other dies in his sins (Luke 23:42)
- Joseph is freed from prison by a decree of Pharaoh (Gen. 41:37-41)—Jesus is freed from the prison of death by the Fathers decree of Life, Resurrection, for His Son (Acts 2:24)
- Joseph is exalted at Pharaoh’s right hand and given a name that is above all names (Gen. 41)—Jesus is exalted to his fathers right hand and given a name that is above every other name (Phil. 2:9-11, Acts 2:33-36)

There are others that we could talk about but these are the big ones. I will be highlighting some more typology as we go this year. Let me know what you think about typology. Remember you can't always say that something is a “type” of Christ, but if you see something that you may think is let me know and I will do some investigating for you.

The New Testament
We read a few more parables of Jesus as well as read about some miracles including the feeding of the 5,000 and just as amazing, the feeding of the 4,000. One of the most powerful passages we read came in Ch. 16. Peter’s confession of Christ is a powerful witness to the divinity of Jesus and his claim to be the Messiah. After hearing Jesus preach and witnessing his miracles he boldly professes, “You are the Christ (Messiah) the Son of the living God." Either Peter was crazy or he was convinced that this simple man from Nazareth was the promised Messiah.

Bits And Pieces

We will dive into the book of Exodus this week and here are the vital stats:

PURPOSE: The Lord reintroduces Himself to Israel, rescues them from Egypt, and gives them a covenant of laws and sacrifices.
KEY PEOPLE: Moses, Miriam, Pharaoh, Pharaoh’s daughter, Jethro, Aaron, Joshua
KEY PLACES: Egypt, Goshen, Nile River, Midian, Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula, Mount Sinai
LAW THEMES: Plagues against unrepentant Egypt; God gives the Ten Commandments and requires an oath to fulfill the Law.
GOSPEL THEMES: God remembers and fulfills His promises to the patriarchs; atonement through sacrifice.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Exodus relates more miracles than any other Old Testament book and is noted for containing the Ten Commandments

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Bethany Bullet - January 13, 2015

An epiphany is a manifestation or a revelation. 

The Season of Epiphany is a display of Jesus’ manifesting and revealing that He is God incarnate.  Through His acts He also presents the power, peace, and presence of God. 

At THE Epiphany however, the day the Magi made it to Bethlehem to offer Him their gifts, it was the Lord’s not THE Lord who did the manifesting.  Or said another way, in His earthly ministry Jesus Himself manifests who He is and how much God loves.  Prior to that ministry’s beginning, at His Nativity and at the Epiphany it is God’s people whom manifest who Jesus is and how much He shows God’s love.  Angels and shepherds who speak and sing, Magi who bow and bring, a Star hung on a string as nature suspends her own laws and let’s one rest over the place where the child lies.  Through these is manifest God’s mercy, is revealed His redemptive purpose, and is presented His power, peace and presence among us.

In that regard, we are or at least ought to be, C & E Christians – that is people who live each day as if it were Christmas (the first one) and Epiphany (the first one).  We are the primary means through which God intends to bring an epiphany to somebody.  As like those before us, we speak and sing, bow and bring, have hung on a string a star (or a cross) over the place where Christ resides (our hearts and homes).  May the Lord lead you to bear witness to who He is and how much He loves.

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer

Monday, January 12, 2015

The One Year Bible- January 12, 2015

In seminary I took a class called Biblical Theology and Exegesis. Don’t get too impressed. I am convinced that theologians want to sound smart, so they use technical names for most of the classes. For example, other seminary classes I took include Hermeneutics, Homiletics, and Old Testament Isagogics. In regular English that means I took Bible study, preaching, and Old Testament history (I hope I didn’t give away any company secrets). Anyway, part of Biblical Theology and Exegesis is seeing the whole story of the Bible. My textbook gave this definition, “Biblical theology is principally concerned with the overall theological message of the whole Bible. It seeks to understand the various parts in relation to the whole.” This is exactly what I try to do each week with our studies. I guess I didn’t even know that I have been teaching a class in Biblical Theology every week on the internet for almost ten years. Well, I hope that through these studies you will start to see the whole picture and the overall theme of God’s Word. At the end of the first chapter of my textbook it says, “The Bible is about humankind falling into sin, and God’s determination to put things right. It is about salvation, God’s rescue plan for human beings under judgment. It is about the worship of the one true God and the rejection of the gods that fail.” Lets all try to keep this in mind as we journey in God’s Word together.
Seth’s Thoughts
Old Testament
The opening stories of the Old Testament revolve around what we call the Patriarchs. This includes Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph. The first week of the year we sped through many generations as well as many years but this week we have been focusing on one family. This family has some issues. Jacob is encouraged by his mother to pretend to be his brother so that Isaac will give him the family blessing. If this sounds dysfunctional you are right. We will see plenty of dysfunctional behavior in the Old Testament. Remember the Old Testament is setting the stage for the coming of the Messiah, the one that was to save the people. Just wait until we get into the book of Judges and then we will see some real dysfunctional behavior. That PLR (people, land, relationship) promise that we talked about last week comes back (in whole or in part) quite often. We saw it multiple times this week. Each time I read it I put the letters PLR in the margin. I hope you begin to see that this is an important promise. This becomes the foundation for all the other promises that God will make in the Old Testament, including the coming of the Messiah. We read about Jacob and his rather strange relationship with his father-in-law, and then his odd relationship between him and his bickering wives. Once again we see some facets of dysfunctional behavior, but we also see that God will be faithful and keep his promise. The story of Joseph is one of the longest stories in the Old Testament. I will have more to say about this story later. For now be sure to catch all the details and see if they remind you of any other stories in the Bible. Perhaps some of you are familiar with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical called Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This musical is a pretty faithful rendition of the story and if you get confused you may want to rent the movie version. It stars Donny Osmond (don’t let that scare you) and has an appearance by Joan Collins (well…that might scare you).
New Testament
In our readings from this week we find that Jesus still continues to teach, and heal and now he is starting to generate some interest. John’s disciples start to question him about things and we get a deeper glimpse into the ministry of Jesus. Chapter 10 has some interesting things to say about going out and speaking about Jesus, but remember that Jesus was speaking to 12 Jewish men in Israel almost 2000 years ago. It can be dangerous to make a one for one comparison with these teachings and today. One very interesting section in our reading is found in chapter 12:13. Jesus uses some Old Testament stories to bring light to his earthly ministry. He gives us some clues about the end of his earthly ministry as he compares himself to Jonah. This is a fascinating passage for theologians as it sheds light not only on the work of Jesus but also the reason that the book of Jonah is in the Old Testament. For those of you at Bethany, we will be studying the book of Jonah this Lenten season. In that study we will explore this relationship ever further. Jesus also says that he is greater than Solomon. This was a big claim because no one was a wise as Solomon especially in the eyes of a Jewish person. It is also another place that shows the relationship between the Old and New Testaments.
Bits and Pieces
One thing I think I forgot to mention last week. Every time you read the word LORD (in all capitals) in the Old Testament, the translators are saying this is the proper name Yahweh. It is God’s personal name. Remember that Moses is the one writing the first five books and he was the one to whom God revealed that name. So it makes sense that he uses it in his writing.
Another thing I want to point out to you is the use of names. Names are important in the Bible. Like I just said above LORD is translated from Yahweh which means “I Am who I Am”. It sounds rather nebulous to us but how could you try to contain God in a few letters no matter what language it is in. On to my point, we have seen quite a few names, the names of people and places. If you are reading through the NIV or the ESV you will notice that every time we encounter a new name there is a footnote. If you follow those footnotes you will find some more information about the name. For example, when Isaac was born we read in the footnote that Isaac means, “he laughs”. Some of these names have some theological significance. The name Jacob means, “he grasps the heel” which is an idiom for someone who deceives which is just what he does to his brother twice. Later in the story we will get to Joshua. His name means “the LORD saves”. This is the same name that is translated as Jesus in the New Testament. Makes sense doesn’t it. The phrase Jesus Saves is almost redundant. I will try to point out some of these names when they come up but feel free to follow the footnotes to get some more information.
That is about all for now, but one word of encouragement. If you get behind in your reading don’t try to catch up all at once. Just double up your readings each day and soon you will be back on track. The other option is to just let some of the readings go, like water under the bridge and just pick up on the current day. Either way you are still in the Word, and that is a good thing. Have a great week and look for a new post next week!!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Bethany Bullet - January 6, 2015

Soon if not already, your Christmas tree will be put away, the lights will be packed up, the wreath boxed and the busy season of Christmas will be in the rear view window.  But let’s be honest, does it really get any less busy?

We all live crazy busy lives.  If your calendar is like mine, it is filled to capacity with events and obligations, meetings and commitments and I just hope there are some moments left for my family, my marriage, and myself.

Pride in a job well done is often times all the encouragement I need to fill my calendar to capacity. We have been taught that pride in a job well done is a good thing.  I could say it another way, perhaps even more honest…If I don’t stay busy, I feel guilty. Pride is what we have, right? Vanity is what others have. 

I enjoy the acclaim and the approval for being busy.  I try to work hard to please everyone and I desire to be the best, and often I am left feeling like I am missing something.  I’m proud at the work I put in, but perhaps pride is what is getting in the way.

Now, I know that it is by grace that I have been saved, through faith, and it is not anything that I have done, but… it seems that there are always expectations of behavioral codes or ecclesiastical dues that, when not achieved, leave me feeling that salvation is not as sure-footed as it once was.

Have you felt the same? 

It is one of Satan’s subtle lies that tells us that we need to work more or work harder, and when we don’t we feel guilty. Our pride gets the best of us and soon we have lost sight of the cross of Christ. 

Martin Luther considered pride the mother sin of man.  He once wrote, “The world considers this vice the highest virtue…The world is permeated by this poison of striving after praise and glory…The world says that those who are not moved by praise and glory neither are, nor can become, men of power and worth, but those who are considered the best who disregard everything, body and life, friend and possession, in order to win praise and glory.” 

Benjamin Franklin in his autobiography said it this way, “There is perhaps no one of our natural possessions so hard to subdue as pride.  Beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive.  Even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.”

Our text from Sunday, speaks to this as well.  If you have your Bibles, open them to Luke the 10th chapter; we start at verse 38, “As they were traveling along, Jesus went into a village. A woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary. Mary sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to him talk.  But Martha was upset about all the work she had to do. So she asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself? Tell her to help me.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things.  There’s only one thing you need. Mary has made the right choice, and that one thing will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

Martha was a wonderful servant.  She had an eye for detail, but perhaps her pride was in overdrive as she was crazy busy as the Lord came to her house that day.

Martha was so focused on her work, she lost sight of Christ.  Jesus Himself was sitting in her living room and she was too busy for Him. 

In our crazy busy lives, Christ can get pushed to the fringes, can become something that has its time and place, but is not center stage.

Other times we feel that we have to be so busy in the life of faith that we sink in our own service and in the myriad of volunteer hours we forget to focus on Christ.

How often have you worked so hard at something, trying to please everyone and wanting to be the best at everything?

Is your crazy busy life responsible for your own pride to be in overdrive?

Theologian and author C.S. Lewis called pride “the great sin” and is the name of a chapter in his work titled Mere Christianity.  He goes on to say, Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind… it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began.” (Mere Christianity, p. 109)

In our text we see that Martha’s intentions are good, but soon Pride swept in and set her focus on her own actions.  She even tries to drag Jesus into it, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself? Tell her to help me.”

For all of the times you have given in to pride, there is one thing that seems to be lacking.  That is communion with Christ. 

Martha was busy preparing; Mary sat at the feet of Jesus. 
Martha thought she was doing what was right.
Jesus reminded her that it was OK to sit at his feet, to just be in His presence.

Are you crazy busy?  Then it is time to sit at the feet of Jesus.  You may be up in the balcony, but here, in this place, you are down at the feet of Jesus.

As the Spirit gathers us for worship, our pride is stripped away and we can look to the cross and encounter the One who came for all sinners, Jesus our Savior who says to you, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

This week the church pauses to celebrate Epiphany, the day we remember the Magi from the east who came to visit Jesus.  I’m sure their lives were crazy busy too, they were very important people in their own land, but they worshiped at the feet of Jesus.
It was the work of Jesus on the cross that is the only activity that matters.  He took your pride and self-centeredness and nailed it to the cross. 

He comes to you in bread and in wine and asks you to simply kneel at His feet once again and see that renewal and direction come from Him.

Here, in this place we are transformed for His glory, not our own.  Soli Deo Gloria!  To God ALONE be the glory.

Theologian Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “Be not proud of race, face, place or grace.”

Here in this place we see the face of Jesus who comes to us in grace so that with the whole human race we will find our place in heaven. 

On that wonderful day when we are called home, our crazy busy lives will give way to the peace of eternity in heaven.  It is with profound thanks that we come here today, for here your pride gives way to peace because of Christ.

-Pastor Seth Moorman

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