This is the story of a collection of people who follow Jesus. We live in Littleton. We encounter people in the name of Jesus, we allow Jesus to turn us into disciples, we gather often, and we equip people to love and serve other people better.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Mark's Sermon, Matt. 1:1-17,
Arrival, Christmas Logistics
Making it all come together
Arrival – the time that the wheels hit the ground. For those of you who travel often in this room, it happens so often for you, you probably don’t even notice that the rest of us have just breathed a sigh of relief. We made it.
Have you considered how much effort and energy is put into an arrival. The planning, the purchasing of tickets, and the coordination of schedules all take time. This year during our advent season, I would like for us to think about how many details came together in the birth of Jesus: the arrival of our savior on this planet. I am going to do my best to pull back the veil of heaven, and to reveal the God of the Universal, the maker of heaven and earth, as He mighty works on put on display in the birth of a baby boy in a barn.
We have been in the book of Matthew, and we will stay here, only now we will back up to the beginning. Having studied the beatitudes of Jesus, we now flip the pages back and start at the beginning of the book.
And we find there a list, a historical record. This family tree is unlike any other. This one connects some dots that would be of the utmost importance to any Jewish reader.
The first sentence sets up the importance of the list:
The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah
1 This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah[c] and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
This leads to the first insight, the first clue as to why this list is important.
1) It shows us that God’s planning is perfect!
God lined up the generations exactly so that Jesus would be born 14 generations after the exile, which was 14 generations after David, which was 14 generations after Abraham.
Abraham - promised the land
David - ruled the land
Exile - lost the land
Jesus - fulfills the promise, rules the land, and redeems the people lost in exile.
You might wonder why it matters who Joseph’s ancestors were if Jesus was not by birth his son. The answer is found in John Darby’s Synopsis of the Bible:
It is the legal genealogy which is given here, that is to say, the genealogy of Joseph, of whom Christ was the rightful heir according to Jewish law. The evangelist has omitted three kings of the parentage of Ahab, in order to have the fourteen generations in each period. Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim are also omitted. The object of the genealogy is not at all affected by this circumstance. The point was to give it as recognised by the Jews, and all the kings were well known to all. (John Darby's Synopsis of the Bible)
But this is where this sermon takes it first turn. I had intended this to be a one point sermon: God’s plans are perfect, so relax. But as I studied I discovered that this 14-14-14 thing was not quite what it seemed.
Now to be fair, it is not that Matthew is lying. When he says that Jothan is the decendant of Uzziah, that is true. But Matthew skips two generations to get to Jotham.
Now I was stuck between a theological rock and a biblical hard place. How does Matthew, the holy spirit inspired writer of the first gospel in the NT get his history wrong?
And then, as if to add insult to injury I read in another commentary that the numbers of the generations actually go 13-14-13. And again, I find myself asking, is Matthew a bad historian and a bad mathematician?
1) Abraham - 2) Isaac - 3) Jacob - 4) Judah and his brothers - 5) Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar - 6) Hezron - 7) Ram - 8) Amminadab - 9) Nahshon - 10) Salmon - 11) Boaz, whose mother was Rahab - 12) Obed, whose mother was Ruth - 13) Jesse – 14) King David.
1) David - 2) Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife- 3) Rehoboam - 4) Abijah - 5) Asa - 6) Jehoshaphat - 7) Jehoram - 8) Uzziah - 9) Jotham - 10) Ahaz - 11) Hezekiah - 12) Manasseh - 13) Amon - 14) Josiah – 15) Jeconiah[c] and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon - 1) Jeconiah - 2) Shealtiel - 3) Zerubbabel - 4) Abihud - 5) Eliakim, 6) Azor, 7) Zadok, 8) Akim, 9) Elihud, 10) Eleazar, 11) Matthan, 12) Jacob, 13) Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of 14) Jesus who is called the Messiah.
And before I go any further, I should say there was no lack of answers to these questions. Evidently the Hebrew culture was not particular in its use of inclusive and exclusive counting. Which means you can count 13 generations, by not including the first person in the chain. Or you can get the number 14 by counting the first person.
As to the people left out, one person suggested it was a tool used by the teachers of the day to make it easier to memorize.
Regardless of how you account for it, its messy. And to be honest, I find this to be refreshing. I will explain this further in my next point, but let me just hint at it here. There are times in my life when I submit to God, and I ask that he use me, and I fully commit my plans to him, and when its all said and done, something goes wrong. And I say to myself – why was that not the perfect plan! Why were there errors in my math? How could that have happened? Wasn’t God using me? Wasn’t God working in me? And what I find here is Matthew, filled with the H.S. and making mistakes, and God using it anyway, and getting glory from it!
2) This leads to point two: God’s plan allow for human error.
And this is not just found in this text, but also in the content. If you look back at our list there are 4 women included. Which is unusual, and therefore attracts our attention. Each one brings us back to an OT story.
The story of Tamar –
Married to two sons, both died, promised the third son
Promise not kept, so Tamar comes up with a plot to sleep with Judah
Acts as a prostitute, and becomes pregnant. Judah wants to kill her
Judah finds out its his kid.
The story of Rehab
A prostitute in the city of Jericho
Saves the lives of the two spies.
Makes the list of people of faith in Hebrews 11
The story of Ruth
Naomi has two sons and they both marry Moabite women
Moabites are the descendants of Lot and his daughters.
Sons die, one daughter in law returns to Moab, Ruth goes with Naomi
“Wherever you go, I will go, Your people will be my people, Your God will be my God”
The story of Bathsheba
Her name is not mentioned, Urriah’s wife
The story here is well known. Adultery, Deceit, Murder
All this to say, the stories that come to mind as we read this list are…messy
And from this we can pull two conclusions.
1)God is not afraid of messy stories, in fact, he includes messy people in his family tree and in so doing he honors them.
2)We are left with a sense of awe that Jesus would descend from Heave to be a part of our very human family.
Which leads to the third insight from this passage:
3. God exceeds all our dreams and expectations
Abrahams expectations: blessing
In Genesis 12:3 God promises Abraham that his descendants would bless the whole earth. He repeats that promise in 22:18
David's expectations: rule
God promises David that the Messiah (the anointed one) will descend from him,
2Sa 7:12; Ps 89:3; Ps 132:11;
The Exiles expectations: redemption
And these promises are all met - be it takes time, and its messy. (42 generations – 43 people)
CONCLUSION God’s plans for you
1)Are perfect – 14 -14-14
2)Allow for human error – not the best family tree
3)Exceed all our dreams and expectations
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Sermon notes for November 21, 2010
Salt and Light: Bright Lights, Good Deeds
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
When your life is radically different than those around you, you stick out!
Have you attended a high school reunion?
Perhaps in the early reunions, your class was mostly single,
And those Christians stuck out because they stories were not nearly as wild
Then 5 years later, they are mostly married, and
10 years later, they are mostly divorced,
and people are curious why you are still married – and you like it
Are you an alien?
It comes time for the annual end of the year donation,
And you feel lead to give a generous gift
And everyone around looks at you like you don’t really love your own kids
Are you an alien?
Its Saturday night, and you leave the party early
And every asks where you are going
And you say you have church in the morning, and its really important to you
Are you an alien?
You receive bad news – like Kevin Chenoweth did this week
And you don’t freak out, you act as if there were some higher power
Who loves you and has your back, and you are actually peaceful
Are you an alien?
How on earth to we make sense out of the “strange alien” look.
Point one: YOU ARE
It is not a suggestion. It is not a goal. It is not a choice. It is a declaration to his disciples. You are radically different from the world.
You are light.
I would have expected this at the end of the three year training process, Jesus’ school of discipleship. Congratulations, Peter, I didn’t think you were going to make it. Particularly with that triple denial at the end there, but you pulled it out, and now I declare you – LIGHT!
I also would have expected Jesus to point to the religious leaders of the day. Now they are the light of the world. Look how good they are. Look at how they follow the rules, even the obscure ones, and they are very careful in their teachings to make sure everyone else also follows the rules.
But instead, Jesus points at his rag tag collection of fishermen and tax collectors and says, “I just want you to know, YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WHOLE WORLD.”
Point two: Let your light shine before others.
Second phrase I want to pick up is the line, “let your light shine before others.” We are God's plan for lighting up the world. We must do our jobs. It is who we are, and it is what we do.
When I was young we did a lot of camping. We had a Coleman lantern. This was a monster. You had to have the right filament. You had to fill it with kerosene, and you had to pump it forever. But once it was lit, the whole campsite would light up with this blue/green hue. We were free to continue with whatever activities we were doing – dominoes, UNO, even reading Charlie Brown comic books to each other.
This is what we are called to do. We are to bring light to the dark campsites of the world.
Now this bright beacon of light was not always a welcomed addition, particularly to a heavily populated camp ground. I learned new words, as the people in the tents near us shouted out, “Turn off that @#$%@ light, we are trying to get some ^&*$% sleep.”
Which brings us to point three: The light goes into the darkness.
Point three: Hill tops, bushels, and candle operas. Where does the light come go?
We are called to expose the darkness. People don't necessarily even know that its dark until the light comes on. We make it possible for people to see themselves and we expose their motives and expectations. It is all dark.
The world hates the light and loves the darkness. But the light goes into the darkness.
We have been placed by God on hilltops and on candle stands. But we often want to crawl under a bushel (A bowl).
Why would we not shine our lights? Because it is too hard to “stick out.” We want to be unique, but we also want to be popular. Some of us have a very strong desire to be liked. To be admired. To be welcomed as an equal and as a friend, is just a part of life. Just watch jr high kids in action some time.
But the bible teaches clearly that the world will not embrace the light. And we must choose. To either shine our light, or hide it under a bushel. And to be fair, it is not really a choice. If we are truly a follower of Jesus, we can not not shine. That is Jesus point when he says, “A city on a hill can not be hidden.” When Jesus places us on a hill, we are by our very nature “un-hide-able.”
The light comes from with in us, as the Holy Spirit dwells with in us.
Light not only exposes sinful deeds, it shows the way to the go. It provides hope.
Point 4: Hope
According to Peter we are children of light, who declare God’s praises.
1 Peter 2:9-10
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
God will lead us to hope.
In John 3, Jesus declares he did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it.
If our lives only condemn, and do not lead to truth, we leave people in a worse place than before they encountered us. Our lives should lead people to Jesus.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Worship Leader at The EDGE Colorado
- Posted: 10/19/2010
- Location: Littleton, CO
- URL: http://www.theedgecolorado.org
- Hours: Part Time
Only 6 miles from the Seminary! New and growing church looking for a part-time worship leader to plan and lead our weekly worship. Candidate needs to be able to grow and develop our worship team, and demonstrate a heart for worship to the congregation. Must have a growing faith in Jesus Christ, passion for worship, and a strong musical background. Responsibilities include: - Assist the pastor in weekly planning of music and theme of service - Select music, prepare charts and rehearse vocal and instrumental musicians - Coordinate audio/visual materials and operational crew - Meet with and become a member of the staff - Lead the congregation in worship
To Apply: mark@theEDGEcolorado.org
Could this be you?