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September 17th, 2017

Let’s End This

Every temptation is an opportunity to pass a test. 

Genesis 22:1-18

 

Beautiful and horrible

Genesis 22 is both beautiful and horrible. For many, this is a narrative that points in the direction of total commitment to God – reverence, worship, obedience. For others, however, it is a repulsive story that creates a barrier to faith. God seems to demand capriciously the unthinkable – especially to the modern reader.

If you haven’t felt the horror of this story, you haven’t meditated on it sufficiently. On the other hand, if you have dismissed it without discovering its beauty, you have also been shallow and perhaps condescending in your reading of it. Read more »

September 10th, 2017

Abram believed only because what God said was what GOD said. 

Genesis 15:1-18

 

The first believer

What firsts do you remember? Your first teacher? Your first car? Your first kiss? The first time you held your baby? The first time you dropped that baby off at college? Firsts are memorable, and Genesis is a book of firsts. Genesis means “beginning.”

Genesis 15 is a chapter of firsts. This is the first of many times in the Bible that God or one of his messengers says “Do not fear.” It’s the first time anyone in the Bible addresses God with the title Adonai Yahweh, or Lord LORD – “Sovereign Lord” in most versions. It’s the first time we read that “The word of the LORD came” to someone.

Perhaps most significantly, Genesis 15:6 is the first time we find the word “believe” in the Bible. Read more »

September 3rd, 2017

God’s call is not about what you do. It’s about whose you are.

Genesis 12:1-9

 

The story of God

You’ve heard me say this often but probably not often enough: when we read the story of Noah or Abraham or David or Paul, it’s not about them. It’s about God. In Genesis, the book of “Beginnings,” we find the Bible’s first lessons about God.

In the story about Adam and Eve, we learn that God creates and commands.

In the story of Noah and the flood, we learn that God promises. The promise was that a storm will never be the end of the story. Read more »

August 27th, 2017

Never again will a storm be the end of a story.

Genesis 9:8-17

 

The Historical Point of View

Today we turn in our studies of Genesis to chapters 6-9. It is also the Sunday on which I am concluding a Sunday School class on C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. Screwtape is a senior devil guiding a young tempter as he learns to lead humans astray. In Letter 27, Screwtape discusses The Historical Point of View. He says that one of Hell’s goals is to cut every generation off from the wisdom of those who came before them. He’s not just talking about the Bible, but he includes the Bible when he says the devils don’t want a “learned man” to read an old book asking whether it is true. Read more »

August 22nd, 2017

Why We’re Here

It helps to remember why we’re here. We’re here today not so much to grieve a death, although we are certainly doing that. We’re here to celebrate life – the rather remarkable 48 years Doug Leatherman lived on this planet, and the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

I remember 18 months ago when I first heard that Doug had been diagnosed with colon cancer. I think it was Anissa who said something like, “We’re remembering that cancer is not a death sentence.” Why do I bring that up today? Because she’s still right. I’m wondering how many people in this room have at some point in your life been diagnosed with cancer. If you don’t mind, I’d like you to stand in witness to the fact that cancer’s not a death sentence. Doug would not be envious of you. He would be so proud of you, so glad for you. Don’t forget that. Read more »