The Promise of New Life – December 3, 2017 – Ezekiel 37: 1 – 14

I’ve said before that the thing I like about the Narrative Lectionary is that it challenges me to preach texts I wouldn’t consider preaching if left to plan for myself. This is the first time I’ve preached a text from the book of Ezekiel. I mentioned last week that Ezekiel is a hybrid of prophetic text and apocalyptic vision because of stories like this reading in which God invites him to prophesy to a strange vision.

First a little about Ezekiel. He is a priest and the son of a priest. His name means God strengthens. Ezekiel was exiled to Babylon during the first Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in 597. His wife died in the battle and he was moved with royalty, nobility and priests. Continue reading

Advertisements

The Promise of God’s Presence – November 26, 2017 – Daniel 3: 1 – 30

We took a 2-week break from our Old Testament readings for our spiritual retreat and for me to have a vacation. The spiritual retreat was a significant moment in our vision discernment process. While we could have spent all day talking and sharing ideas at the retreat, you provided a lot of insight in the time you did have. I’m working to summarize your ideas to formulate a vision for the Board to look at tomorrow evening.

I want to thank Cliff for preaching last week while I was on vacation. He had a powerful message for you sharing an idea that he and I have talked about and have been praying about. It may seem like a God providing a jet type of prayer, but God has given us talents and resources to do ministry and we can dream big. I’ll have more to share with the Board tomorrow night and hopefully something to share with all of you very soon. Please continue to pray for our vision discernment and the ways in which God will use us, our building and our resources to fulfill His purpose.

This Fall, I had been preaching messages that led up to and prepared us for our spiritual retreat and Cliff’s message about grand vision and wise use of God’s gifts. We’ve made a quick journey through the Old Testament from Genesis to 1 Kings reading the stories of Creation, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, and Elijah. We’ve heard about how God worked in the lives of each of these men to do grand things for the nation of Israel and God’s people.

Now, we’ll pick up the Old Testament readings among the prophets. Our Narrative Lectionary would have had us read Amos, Isaiah and Jeremiah in the weeks we stepped away from the lectionary. Today, we pick up with Daniel. I should have gotten my fire Bible out for this book, especially this story today.

The book of Daniel is the first of the apocalyptic books. Ezekiel is a cross between prophetic text and apocalyptic text but Revelation is the only other apocalyptic. The book of Daniel is put in the Old Testament among the prophetic texts but Daniel is not actually a prophet. Continue reading

Called to the Quiet – November 5, 2017 – 1 Kings 19: 1 – 18

The story of Elijah is an important story. Moses was the first prophet. Elijah was the second great prophet. He is the second man to be taken up to Heaven without dying.

Let’s start back with king Solomon. When he died, Jeroboam, one of his King Solomon’s officials, until he was exiled to Egypt. When Solomon died, the king’s son Rehoboam was set to take the throne. However, the political climate was greatly divided between the poor people and allegiance to the royal family. The king had heavily taxed the people to make himself rich. Then, his son wanted to tax the people even harsher because he wanted to be even more rich than his father. Jeroboam was a tradesman and servant. He wanted to be free from the slave labor and heavy tax burden.

Under Jeroboam’s leadership, the northern 10 tribes of Israel broke away from the Davidic kingdom to remain the kingdom of Israel. The remaining tribes of Benjamin and Judah consolidated to form the kingdom of Judah which held the Davidic line of king. The capital of Judah was Jerusalem where the palace and the Temple were. The people of Judah remained faithful to the covenant, more so than the northern kingdom, because the Kingdom of Judah worshiped at the Temple. Continue reading