I have been thinking about faith this last week, probably because I have been into Hebrews—not the coffee shop at a hipster church… the book in the bible. There are an amazing number of deep one-liners in Hebrews. I read the first two or three chapters wondering, as some have postulated, whether Mary, Jesus’ mom, did write the book. It has a lot of “Listen up! This is my son and he is greater than all prophets, higher than all angels” themes in it. Later in the book I got more immersed in the concept of a brand new order where every follower of Jesus has gained access to the courts of heaven where their advocate represents them. I took a detour of sorts to learn more about Melchizedek.
Now I have arrived at the 11th chapter where clearcut definitions and examples of faith are supposed to be, and I find a messy collection of madmen going for moonshots. “I am pretty sure I heard God say he was going to give me a whole country… and me and my...
Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting. Leviticus 26:5
Even business leaders whose companies are doing well wonder whether their current business performance can be sustained. What if Scripture showed a possible way to avoid business downturns? The first thirteen verses of Leviticus 26 hold the conditions and the promises of sustained business performance. Our challenge is that we read it and think it is Old Testament mumbo jumbo and therefore miss the truth.
The conditions don’t seem that onerous: No idols of any sort, observe the Sabbath, reverence the sanctuary, follow God’s decrees, and obey his commands. What does this look like if we put that into New Testament speak—make that 21st Century language?
Fires are raging on the West Coast of the US. Family and friends are posting images of eerily lit orange streets. In recent years there have been fires in Australia, Europe and Africa. Some of this is nature’s way of clearing out years of underbrush or propagating a species that needs fire to explode into new life. Some of it is of human making, like the fire set off at a party. Some say climate change is the cause—too much human intervention—and others claim there was not enough management of the environment. (For the record, I do not attribute God’s judgement to acts of nature.)
There are many perspectives… and the fires burn. Weeds and brush are burning, debris is turning into ash. Your heart stops, however, when you see old growth redwoods, hundreds of years old, going up in flames and family homes gutted by the blaze. In some cases a large percentage of towns has been decimated.
As I was reflecting this morning on where we are in the world I...
…new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.
We know that our calling is derived from the calling of Jesus: how we should walk out this calling with an internal humility, and how our calling has no context without the unstoppable I AM being at the center of it all.
6 "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
8 "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.
9 See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you."
There are four more things about the “how to” of this calling:
First, if you want business as usual then you don’t want your business to be in...
Some years ago we started spending most of the year in a coastal town called Melkbosstrand just North of Cape Town. A local pizza eating spot is called I Love Melkies and their sticker can be seen on cars in the area.
I think it is time to bring out an “I love Melchiz” sticker. Truth be told, Melchi of the Old Testament has one of those names it is easy to gloss over. He pops up obscurely then disappears into the background for about 1000 years until David gives him a fleeting mention. Then Melchi seems to vanish again until the book of Hebrews unpacks his significance.
This Melchizedek was king of the city of Salem and also a priest of God Most High. When Abraham was returning home after winning a great battle against the kings, Melchizedek met him and blessed him. Then Abraham took a tenth of all he had captured in battle and gave it to Melchizedek. The name Melchizedek means “king of justice,” and king of Salem means “king of peace.”...
Religion can be a terrible thing when people get attached to the form of something and miss its essence. About 500 years before Moses introduced the nation of Israel to the idea of having a whole tribe that were priests there was a man named Abram (which means exalted father) who encountered a guy who was both a king and a priest. Abram recognized that this man was awesome and spontaneously gave him 10% of the loot that he had collected from a battle with a bunch of other kings. Then the man, who was a king-priest, refreshed Abie with wine and bread, and blessed Abram, giving him a new name... Abraham—father of many nations.
Fast forward to Psalm 110 and King David gets a peep into heaven and observes a conversation between Father and Son. “The Lord said to my Lord sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool… The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow:
“You are a priest forever in...
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
At the beginning of Luke 10 Jesus lays out a pattern of missions: go from house to house until you encounter a “Man of Peace” which you will discern, in part, because they receive your blessing. Listen, eat, perform signs and wonders, and talk about the kingdom. (The acrostic BLEST helps me remember all five crucial aspects of this pattern.) This is great missions stuff, but what did a “man of peace” look like to Jesus? The short answer is… a woman. Martha.
The scene is that Jesus and his disciples are “on their way” which is usually the way it is with Jesus. Many people stay at home waiting for Jesus to talk to them about ‘getting on their way’ but he already did this. Some of your best conversations will happen with Jesus while you are on your way somewhere with him. They come to a village and Jesus,...
When I came to the USA from South Africa in 1986 I had to get used to new colloquial expressions. I remember asking a senior executive how much tailored executive information he received: “A goose egg,” was his reply. I was wondering, “Is that a round zero, is that a golden egg…?” Another expression was “we eat our own dog food” and I remembered when my dad was sworn off meat because of his high blood pressure. My mom went out and dad attacked the remains of a meatloaf that was in the fridge, frying it in copious amounts of butter. When my mom returned she asked, “What happened to the rest of the dog food… it was in the fridge?” Eating your own dog food can be a wonderful thing, and I have been thinking a lot about this during the pandemic.
According to Investopedia, “Eat your own dog food is a colloquial expression that describes a company using its own products or services for its internal operations. The term is...
You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing. Isaiah 42:20
We have so much information streaming into our lives on a daily basis. Much of it is good—there are great podcasts of excellent preachers and teachers, there are online books, there is 24x7 news (some of which is not good because media channels retain viewers by stirring up anxiety). If you want to miss the bad news you can subscribe to 24x7 prayer rooms, and endless streams of ‘prophetic words’ and megabytes of preaching a minute. There is no shortage of information. We spend so much time drinking from the information fire hydrant that we have little time or cause to ponder. We are on the brink of information inoculation. Our heads are getting bigger, but our hearts are getting dryer. Unless…
Before I get to the “unless” let me restate the obvious. It has been said many ways, but talk without tasks leads to trouble....