Minimal Art for Numbers

Do you know those motivational posters folks hang up in their offices that say things like “ACHIEVEMENT” or “COURAGE”? Well, this edition of the minimal art from the Bible taken from the site, Being RKP, could have hung on the walls of the people in Numbers. What are we doing in the desert? What is all this wandering for? Then they look at this poster and buck up. It’s an Israelite motivational tool.

MILK AND HONEY, “Taste and See that the Lord is Good.”

As hokey as those posters can get, it is good to be reminded of our purpose and our goals. We should not walk aimlessly through life, but should always hold before us the hope that we have in Christ and seek to be obedient to his call upon our lives. The Israelites lose sight of goals and of their past, and in so doing are tossed about by the influences of the nations surrounding them.

Did Christ Go Up Up and Away?

Ascension of Christ, Garofalo, 1520

In the end of Luke and in the beginning of Acts we read about the ascension of Christ. This short article from the site Near Emmaus raises some questions about what occurred that day and makes you think about where heaven is.

Here’s a quick blurb:

Jesus didn’t keep going into space, past Jupiter, to some floating New Jerusalem a few miles past Neptune. Rather, Jesus disappeared into a parallel reality, yet God accomplished this in a way that would have conveyed symbolic meaning to the disciples.

No More Sacrifices?

You see a lot about the sacrifices as we read Leviticus. It’s practically a manual for how to perform them. But you may ask yourself, do Jews still sacrifice today? Christians see a radical change when God came to earth in Jesus Christ. That event changed the world. But for the Jews who don’t accept him, should they continue in Old Testament practice? If they don’t sacrifice, why not?

I found this article to be helpful. It’s written from a Jewish perspective and is a bit technical, but if you stick with it, it may shed some light on the situation. I have a different perspective on some issues, like the Old Testament system being a precursor to Christ, but that’s to be expected.

Here is sample:

The last place appointed by G-d for this purpose was the Temple in Jerusalem, but the Temple has been destroyed and a mosque has been erected in the place where it stood. Until G-d provides us with another place, we cannot offer sacrifices. There was at one time an opinion that in the absence of an assigned place, we could offer sacrifices anywhere. Based on that opinion, certain communities made their own sacrificial places. However, the majority ultimately ruled against this practice, and all sacrifice ceased.

Welcoming the Stranger

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It was brought to my attention recently that there is an event going on this Friday at 7pm at Church of the Good Shepherd (Durham, NC) entitled “Welcoming the Stranger: a biblical perspective on loving all our immigrant neighbors.”

In Exodus, God puts great emphasis on the treatment of the needy, including the sojourner:

“You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

Exodus 22:2

Reading this during this past week along with hearing about the event caught my attention, so I thought I should let others know about it. Here is the synopsis from the website:

In a time when “the immigration problem” is becoming more divisive, Christians must cut through the rhetoric on all sides and listen clearly to what God teaches us through the Bible. How do we, today, listen and respond to God’s declaration of love for the immigrant?

God loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing. Therefore you are to love the foreigner, since you were foreigners in the land of Egypt (Deut 10:18-19).

Instead of advocating for a particular stance on immigration reform, this event seeks to remind us that immigrants arepeople and not representatives ofa problem. What does it mean to love our immigrant neighbors in the Triangle, including undocumented immigrants?

Love does not eradicate the many worthy questions of immigration policy—what about those who are here illegally?, what about the economic realities?—but it does require us to engage. Loving our immigrant neighbors starts with learning, and that’s the purpose of this event, Welcoming the Stranger. We hope you will join us at this free community event. Please invite everyone you know.

Out of Ur: Stupid Church Tricks

In reading about the resurrection this week and celebrating Easter last Sunday, did you feel as though something were missing? Maybe a huge prize giveaway?

Go to Out of Ur and check out this church that certainly thought so. My favorite quote from a comment is this, “How you get people to church is how you keep them.” Jesus was clear and up front with his disciples about the sufferings and tribulations we will face if we follow him (John 16:33).

What do you think about this?

Week Three Begins

We finish our first books this weeks as both Genesis and John come to a close. They are some of the longer books of their respective testaments, so I hope that can be an encouragement to you and will build some momentum for your reading.

Today is Easter and John will give you additional time to review the events that led to Christ’s death and to rejoice at his resurrection. The story of Genesis will closely follow Joseph and will end with his death.

This is a perfect time to try out a reading group, as well. If you’ve had questions about either of these books, bring those questions along with you before we press on ahead to Luke and Exodus.

Happy Easter-He is risen!

See What a Morning

This is a few hours early, so maybe just wait until morning to watch this. I think this song captures a great tone of triumph and joy, which should characterize Easter Sunday.

God rescues righteous Lot?

If you are familiar with a text from 2 Peter, you may have some questions as you’re reading about Lot in Genesis. Peter says God “rescued righteous Lot” (2:7). But given his deeds in Genesis 19, Lot doesn’t seem so righteous.

I found an article, by academic dean and pastor in Hawaii, Chris Bruno (PhD from Wheaton), helpful in trying to understand how both passages can be read together. Bruno writes:

It seems that the only way to affirm both the account in Genesis 19 and the teaching of 2 Peter 2 is to read both in concert. And when we are reading these texts canonically and Christologically, the pieces fit together in such a way that they can only lead to one conclusion: Lot was simultaneously righteous and sinful.

Read the rest on The Gospel Coalition’s website.