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Biblical Messages

A Snapshot of the Prototype

What is the church supposed to be like today?  A cursory glance at the book of Acts gives us an idea.  A deeper study of that book gives us a clear picture.  Today, we looked at a snapshot of the prototype – a few verses, Acts 2.42-47, that show us God’s plan for how his people should function as the body of Christ.  Have a listen here:

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spiritual formation

Fear Not: Spiritual Direction For Protestants

Here’s a talk I gave at a gathering of The Renewal Fellowship Within The Presbyterian Church in Canada about understanding spiritual direction, something that is new to many contemporary Protestants.  It’s a half-hour talk that hopefully will help you understand it better.  Feel free to comment with any questions you may have.

Biblical Messages

Spiritual heartburn in the afterglow of Easter

Lent creates a buildup to Good Friday, and the anticipation of the resurrection.  In the afterglow of Easter, we often find ourselves wondering, “What’s next?” Well, of course, forty days after Easter comes the ascension, and another ten days after that comes Pentecost – but until then, what’s next?

The story in Luke’s gospel that follows the resurrection is the journey to Emmaus trod by two friends.  The risen Lord Jesus joins them, but they don’t recognize him.  They remain baffled by all that has happened, for they were hopeful that Jesus, who was crucified, would be the Messiah.  Those hopes were dashed when Jesus was crucified, but then they heard the remarkable rumour that the tomb was empty and he had risen from the dead.

These faithful people, like most of their fellow citizens, did not think this was how the story of the Messiah was supposed to go.  But Jesus, at this point a stranger to them, explains the Scriptures to them to help them see that indeed, their faith tradition did call for the events that had transpired in recent days – even if their cultural tradition did not see it that way.

The story of the walk to Emmaus has many lessons in it for God’s people, and perhaps this one flies under the radar too often:  when we make assumptions about our faith that are cultural and not biblical, Jesus may surprise us.

The Jewish people of the first century expected a political Messiah, one who would ride in on a white horse and send the Romans packing.  While there are occasionally allusions to such a hope in the Old Testament, there is much more that points to the Messiah who would suffer and die, and be raised from the dead.

Though Jesus does not walk alongside us physically as we journey through life, he does live in and through us by the Holy Spirit, who helps us understand the Scriptures as we read them.  The Holy Spirit wants to work in us; the trick is to position ourselves for that to happen, and it starts by reading the Scriptures.  For as we read the Bible under the promised illumination of the Holy Spirit, we will find, as those journeying disciples did, that our hearts will “burn within us”.  That’s a kind of heartburn no antacid will take away!  And that reading of Scripture will help us see what’s cultural and what’s biblical about who we are and how we live.

They said to each other, ‘Didn’t our hearrts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?’” (Luke 24.32, NLT).

Biblical Messages

Christian friendship

Last night, I gave a talk to our Presbytery, the regional judicatory body that oversees my work in the congregation.  I spoke about the importance of Christian friendship and the unity of the church, based on the story of the walk to Emmaus in Luke 24.13-35.  Have a listen:

Biblical Messages

Victory!

This Easter Day, we celebrate the victory that’s ours over sin and death through Jesus’ death and resurrection.  What’s the impact?  What’s the relevance?  Based on 1 Corinthians 15.50-58, you can listen here:

 

 

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Biblical Messages

SONGS OF L(AM)ENT: Watch With Him

On this Good Friday, we wrapped up our series on the songs of the season of Lent with a 03_08look at the time of prayer Jesus had just prior to his betrayal.  We sang, “Go to dark Gethsemane”, and practised visio divina with this image, a painting by the 15th-century Italian artist Andrea Mantegna called “The Agony in the Garden”.

The message was based on Matthew 26.36-46 and can be listened to here:

Facebook video, watchable by anyone, is available here:

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Biblical Messages

SONGS OF L(AM)ENT: Redeemer King

How does Palm Sunday relate to contemporary life?  One answer comes to us from the traditional Palm Sunday hymn by Bishop Theodulph of Orléans, a 9th century church leader who was imprisoned:  “All glory, laud, and honour, to Thee, Redeemer, King”.

What does it mean for Jesus to be Redeemer King?  Based on John 12.12-19, listen here:

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