Olympic

I do not have an Olympic faith

For to have such would be a disgrace

This does not mean my faith is not strong

It’s only that it is focused where it belongs

For my belief is in something higher still

As Paul pointed out on Mars Hill

For our hope is not in the creations of man

For trust in them cannot stand

So things Olympic they do pale

And a faith in them will surely fail


Padre

Acts 17

I Did It My Way

Last week Brother James used the prodigal son as his theme. He noted that the young man made some bad choices, and those came with consequences. This came on the heels of me seeing a Tik Tok in which a young woman made the bold claim that God is pro-choice. She said that God supports and applauds us for making decisions as he has designed us to make them. Why else would God have put the tree of good and evil in the garden?

Let’s take a step back here. God indeed has given us the ability to chose. Speaking theologically, God being omnibenevolent (all kind and all loving) would not subject us to slavery, even the slavery of His will. Thus we were made “free moral agents” or beings with the ability to act according to our own will. That does not mean, however, that He likes it when we disobey him. No matter “pro-choice” issue you want to discuss, there is a moral right or wrong to it. And we can (and often do) make the wrong choices.

Let’s examine Adam in the garden. In Genesis 2: 16-17, God clearly said: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” In Chapter 3, Eve and then Adam do eat from the tree. If all choices are applauded by God, then why once they received the knowledge of good and evil did they feel ashamed? In fact, they having eaten tried to hide themselves from God, and then even lie about it and try to pass the blame on: Adam blaming God and Eve, and Eve blaming the serpent.

A chapter later we see Cain and Abel making offerings to God. Abel’s was acceptable (I won’t deviate to a theological discussion on it here), and Cain’s fell short. Because of this Cain becomes angry. Here again we see a divine intervention and warning. No not divine control, as Cain is a free moral agent. God tells him to be careful, and to not let sin take control of him. The end result is that Cain gives into the sinful urges and kills his brother. This resulted in punishment. Why punish him if his choice to be angry and kill was just as valid as accepting that his brother had done better?

In Numbers 22 we find the prophet Balaam, being called by the king of Moab to come and curse the Children of Israel. Balaam inquires of God about what he should do, and God says, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed (verse 12).” Balaam then tells the king’s messengers that he won’t do it. The king then sends even more impressive messengers offering him riches it he will do the king’s bidding. Balaam, rather that accepting that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, goes back to God to ask Him again if he can go with them. God responds that Balaam needs to do what God has told him. Balaam then heads to Moab. It is only by the wits of his donkey that he is spared from punishment by an angel. The reason for the potential punishment, Balaam is told is that “your path is a reckless one before me.”

David, the man after God’s own heart was not exempt. In 2 Samuel 11, we find the king falling in lust for another man’s wife, a bad choice. He then acts on the lust and sleeps with her, and she becomes pregnant (bad choice number 2, and a big consequence). Bad choices number one and two lead to a cover up (bad choice three), which involves murder (“free moral choice” four). In the following chapter the prophet Nathan comes to David and lays out a story of rich and powerful man who has wronged and robbed a poor man. On hearing the tale: “David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity (2 Sam 12: 5-6).” Why should David be so upset with the free choice made by the rich man? Surely all choices should be celebrated. The real kicker is when Nathan tells the king, “You are the man.”

With apologises to Frank Sinatra – he got it wrong. It isn’t about doing it your way. The biblical accounts we have looked at make that clear. But nevertheless we continue to do it our way and fail. Fortunately, that isn’t where it ends. If it were we would be paying eternal consequences for our actions.

We are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23f). And the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Yet, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). The consequences of our bad choices has been paid by another’s choice to be punished in our stead.

When I next speak I hope to follow up on this message with the theme “Doing it Thy way.”


Padre

Sermon for 22 Jan 23

Return

A youth set on self-gratification

Upon his father made demands

Wanting no more than his own satisfaaction

He set off to foreign lands

He wasted all that he had

And into despair he did fall

It was only then

That with his father he had had all

A broken man he set back to home

To humbly make his plea

But his father none of it would hear

When his lost son he did see

Welcomed back and robed and shod

A ring upon his hand

He was still by his dad beloved

And a banquet was given grand


Padre

Thank you Pastor James for your message

Beyond, Around

It is not being self-centered to which your purpose is found

It is for others beyond, around

By loving others, putting them first

The law is fulfilled – every verse

By serving others – God we serve

And all the scriptures we thereby observe


Padre

The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Gal 5:14

Servants

Risen to service

No longer dry bones

Following the example

That Jesus has shown

Reflecting not

On ‘what’s in it for me?’

But putting others first

Whatever the need might be


Padre

Thank you Pastor Vince for your message from Ezekiel 37

In the Father’s House

In the Father’s house there are many rooms

A place to fit in – belong

And in it people from every land shall join as heaven’s throng

For while we may dispute on matters small – while we are here below

We shall all united in every way – when He His glory shows

So let us strive for harmony – while we prepare our way

And as loving neighbour’s when we get there

Forever together stay


Padre

John 14

Servant’s Heart

It is a new year, a perfect time to start

To manifest in ourselves a servant’s heart

By humbling our desires

And showing true love

Following the example of Christ above:

Forsaking His throne

To be in a manger layed

Later washing the feet

Of those He had made.

We too can serve others

Putting their needs first

And by our example change

The universe


Padre

Philippians 2, Luke 9

Thanks Pastor Vince

Name


It might seem to many – a thing insane

That I attach such reverence to a name

That they might use day to day

As an utterance quite profane

It is the time though – of the year

When the name is on the radio

Broadcast for all to hear

Of mangers, and wise men, shepherds and more

The radio blasts them out – score after score

And at the end of this season all too brief

The name of Jesus will again come to grief

Why is it that their hearts are so base

That they don’t see the folly and the disgrace?


Padre