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Showing posts from September, 2010

Military history and the Bible

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Last night I watched a show on the History Channel called "Bible Battles." The show is worth watching, but it has its limitations.

Bible Battles was released in 2007 and presents the theories of Dr. Richard A. Gabriel, who wrote The Military History of Ancient Israel. The show starts with Abraham's liberation of Lot from an alliance of Canaanite kings who had captured him along with many others who had lived in Sodom. It ends with Israel's struggles with the Philistines during the era of David.

Now I love history and the Bible, so I was hooked while they were talking about ancient Israelite approaches to warfare. And it's interesting to think of Abraham, Moses, and Saul as effective military leaders. Also, in the last major segment of the show when they were talking about the Philistines, I learned a lot about the Jezreel Valley and why both the Philistines and the Israelites wanted control of it. It makes me want to go back and reread the stories of the Bible th…

Some comments on Christian leadership

I read a paragraph this morning about Christian leadership that is so packed with sound insights, I had to pass it along in its entirety. It is from Neil Cole's book Organic Church (p. 204):

"If you want to do anything of significance in God's Kingdom, follow these suggestions: listen to the Lord's voice and follow that lead. Create an environment that allows failure and restores people easily. Do not invest in potential, but in provenness. You can learn from our mistakes, but I think it is also wise to learn from your own. So do not be afraid to take chances and make mistakes."

If you are in leadership, Cole's advice is worth chewing on. Whether you are or aren't in leadership, please pray for those who are.

An occasion for boasting

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I love boasting... not so much about myself as about other people -- people who are "getting it right." These are people who have their priorities in good places and who follow through on their commitment to the right things. Today I want to boast about our new church.

First I want to issue a caveat about boasting. The apostle Paul talked occasionally about boasting. He wanted people to remember that we are saved by grace, and that we can't boast about our own good deeds, as if they are saving us (Rom 3:27). He had plenty to boast about in his own pedigree, but he chose not to (Phil 3). However, he enjoyed boasting about what God is doing in the world. One of Paul's favorite verses is Jer 9:24, "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord." Paul quotes this verse twice in his letters -- in 1 Cor 1:31 and 2 Cor 10:17. He talked a lot about boasting to the Corinthians, because they liked to boast about themselves. Bad idea. God was doing things among them, and they…

Doing Nothing with God

Last Sunday, I asked the Sanctuary congregation to please, if at all possible, do a whole lot of nothing this week. That is, "enjoy a time of doing nothing with God." The context was Acts 1, in which Jesus instructs his followers to stay in Jerusalem and "wait." We learned from Acts 1 that communion with God comes before mission. In fact, mission flows from communion. Waiting on God means enjoying communion with him. It's the foundation for our mission.

Waiting with God can be tricky, so I wanted to say a bit more about it. First, when we think of waiting, a picture might be helpful. Let's think of Mary in the "Mary and Martha" story in Luke 10. Here's the story. Read it, and then I want to ask a quick question.


38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distract…

A special shout-out

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Ginger, you asked me to keep blogging, so here's a special shout-out to you... If you ever hear me complain about being a pastor, please remind me of those Christmas seasons when I used to water poinsettias at Nordies hour after hour until I turned into a braindead zombie. :-)

My first Sunday with Sanctuary

Lots has happened in the last month, but one thing hasn't happened -- my blog. Sometimes you get so buried that you don't have the time and energy to write. This has been one of those times. But now the dust is beginning to settle.

I want to say first that I really, really... really... appreciate the help so many people have provided to help us move from Redondo Beach to Sacramento. There are too many names to mention, but some people stepped up with extraordinary measures of service. It was very difficult moving. You made it happen! Thank you!!

After lots of tears and a couple of weeks of great chaos, I can see the outlines of a new life beginning to form. Spencer and Nathaniel are in school and doing well. They are both starting to make friends. Susan and the Wagner family were up for a week putting the house together, and now Susan is back in Redondo. She will be back and forth for a couple more weeks as she helps get Lauren situated. Lauren is going to stay in the South B…