My new grandson Alexander Thomas Yi Luper was born today!
Big brother William and I are checking him out earlier today.
We are so blessed!
last week our neighborhood pond looked like this:
Almost solid ice, you could see footprints where someone had walked across the frozen pond.
What a difference a week makes.
Whatever has you hardened and frozen over, seek the Father through Jesus, let the Holy Spirit help you walk in faith and God will help you through until spring.
I learned that when I preach a message, I need to present the context of the text, explain the text itself, and apply it to life.
Sweet Anna and I visited a friend’s church today, a Korean speaking church. I caught bits and pieces of the sermon (my Korean is very limited) but because I can read a little and know many of the books of the Bible, I figured out the outline of the message (there is a point to these details). Sweet Anna told me it was about ring encouraged. So as I followed the texts on the slides I saw the sermon shaping up as I read their contexts: like figures in Scripture, we get frustrated and discouraged in life, but there is hope.
Moses was frustrated by the whining of the people and expressed his own struggles to God.
If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.” (Numbers 11:15 ESV)
Elijah on the run from Jezebel.
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” (1Ki.19.4 ESV)
Jonah (you should need no intro).
Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4.3 ESV)
Let’s press on. They got discouraged, but God used them:
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Gal. 6.9)
The Prodigal came to his senses and ran home to his waiting father. God is waiting for us:
And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20 ESV)
Look to Jesus who endured, Jesus is our strength to endure and press on:
…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Heb. 12.2-3)
Here’s the beauty of this sermon: it was so based on Scripture and the power of God’s word, it was not dependent on the preacher (or my ability to totally understand the preacher’s words).
The Word of God preached its own message.
Preachers, let’s be reminded: God doesn’t need your passion, pastoral abilities or plans, just preach the Word of God as the Word of God.
Preach the Bible not your agenda. The Bible preaches itself as long as we keep ourselves out of its way.
Press on in Jesus’ power, sharing His word! Be encouraged!
On this trip I was on my own a lot and was able to explore beautiful Sarajevo on my own terms.
Here are a series of pix I took in a neighborhood up the hill from Old Town. They are of a kind of neighborhood mosque with many graves from 1992-1995 and the main mosque in the Old Town.
My assumption is that these died in the siege during the war when Serbs bombarded the city from the surrounding mountain tops.
Down the hill, I went to the main mosque, it’s minaret was visible down this alley…
And upon entering you are given the rules…
On Fridays this mosque is filled with Muslims…
Walking by the side I noted the extra prayer rugs stacked in the window…
Martin Luther said that Muslims (among many others including Jews and many “Christians”) worship the same God, but they worship him incorrectly. As I study Islam (for my Cross Cultural Studies program) and read from many sides of this discussion, it seems Luther makes a sound argument. The enemy of God wishes to keep people away from him and the best way is a way that looks right while being wrong. A one degree error send KAL 007 into Soviet airspace and hundreds died when the Soviets shot it down. Worshipping the right God the wrong way, through works, may look good, but is not His way.
We depend on grace alone, trusting in the final and complete work of Jesus: death, burial and resurrection. In Christ alone.
Allow not a desire for pluralism to water down the way and the truth.
Years ago, from 1997 – 2006 (or so) about a hundred of us, 10 or 15 at a time, went to Szeged, Hungary on mission trips from Covenant. I’m in Szeged right now and had a day pass and some time so I went to see some of those places…
Years ago a colleague did this reading to this music in a faculty meeting. I immediately read it to my classes and then, in Charlottesville, it became a Christmas Chapel tradition and then at the annual Live Nativity. Those days are past so here it is for those who remember or for those who have not heard it before.