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Closing the Old, Waiting for the New

This last Sunday I had hoped to finish the Old Testament portion of this series of teachings I've entitled "From Garden to Glory" - a Big Picture look at the story of the Bible.  Alas, the weather turned ugly with blowing snow and ice and it shut down church services for a large part of southern and central Wisconsin...even well into the northern parts of the state. 
The last part of our Bible is from the Minor Prophets.  They are not called Minor because are as important as the Major Prophets; but they are called Minor because of their length - both in terms of writing as well as history.  These Prophets served God as spokespeople to the nation that had decidedly stepped away from their covenant with God.
Now, lest you say this is all OLD stuff, and therefore it is of little value to us today; I would point out that they are people whose words are's as if they could have written it today.  It was Paul Simon who wrote in music:  "The words of the Pr…
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A Guest Blog from my Twin Brother

My twin brother Ed (Edward) is retiring this month after 20 years of Missionary work, and 35+ years of Ministry.  I'm very proud in a human way of having him to be not only my brother but a friend.  We fought and played with each other as kids growing up; and after I came to Christ he went into the military for a number of years.  Yet at some point we talked about the Gospel and he came to know Christ as his Savior.  That began almost 40 years ago.  Now after 35 years of serving Christ in ministry he is going to retire, but knowing Ed that just means he'll stop receiving a salary for what he does.
He often writes papers on important subjects related to theology and Bible.  He just completed his most recent one and I decided to reproduce it here...not because I don't want to write this week, but because I want to honor him.  I hope you enjoy it:

Christ in You, the Hope of Glory!  by Edward Pollasch I went through “confirmation” in the Lutheran Church as a young teenager.After…

Ezekiel - The Prophet Who Scares Me

No other Prophet in Scripture quite scares me as much as Ezekiel.  As a little boy growing up in Fox Lake, I use to venture out on my bike almost daily.  There was one house at the intersection of two streets...a corner house...that had a couple who were "Scary".  The couple weren't bad, or angry, or bothersome...but they dressed weirdly and acted even more weird. 

Ezekiel was a Prophet God sent to speak to the nation both before and after the EXILE.  A little history is in order:  Babylon attacked and took captive a number of Jews from Judah (Jerusalem) in three stages:  First in 605 b.c., then 8 years later in 597 b.c., and finally 11 years later in 586 b.c. it was completed - the walls of Jerusalem torn down, the temple destroyed.  Among the people in the Exile was Ezekiel.
While in Babylon, Ezekiel has numbers of Visions...often strange visions.  Besides that God tells him to use graphic imagery, symbolic acts, and words that show that the slow death they were experi…

Weeping For God

This week we turn our attention to Jeremiah - sometimes called "the weeping Prophet".  Of all the Prophets, Jeremiah - in my opinion - is the easiest to understand...which doesn't mean his message is easy to take in.  But, to understand his message, a little history is in order.

Israel - the 10 northern tribes - had one King after another who proved unfaithful to God's Covenant.  They disobeyed with religious idolatry that descended into despicable actions such as burning children as sacrifices, cultic prostitution, and injustice towards the poor.  Isaiah (read blog before) had prophesied warnings and judgement against the Northern Kingdom; and sure enough, in 722 b.c. Assyria attacked the northern Kingdom and took many of the Israelites into Captivity.  The only part of the nation left was the southern Kingdom that was called Judah and was centralized in Jerusalem.

You would think that people in Judah would notice when this unfaithfulness to God in the North led to …

Easter - When the Risen Jesus Sets Our Hearts Aflame

R.C. Sproul wrote a book entitled, "Who is Jesus?".  As he talks about Jesus, he inevitably gets to the issue of the Resurrection.  What he says is so profound when it comes to Easter that I felt it necessary to let him speak, instead of letting me speak for him.

The life of Jesus follows a general pattern of movement from humiliation to  exaltation. The movement is not strictly linear, however, as it is interspersed with vignettes of contrast. The birth narrative contains both ignominy and majesty. His public ministry attracts praise and scorn, welcome and rejection, cries of “Hosanna!” and “Crucify Him!” Nearing the shadow of death, He exhibited the translucent breakthrough of transfiguration. The transition from the pathos of the cross to the grandeur of the resurrection is not abrupt. There is a rising crescendo that swells to the moment of breaking forth from the grave clothes and the shroud of the tomb. Exaltation begins with the descent from the cross immortalized in cl…

Wednesday - The Silent Storm approaches

It is Wednesday in this Final week of Jesus' life.  As the week progressed Jesus retreated from Jerusalem for a day, staying in Bethany with his friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  The storm that was about to occur was quiet – silent.  Yet what happened was clearly a picture of the rest of the week.
Matthew 26:1-16
 When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples,
2  “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
3  Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas,
4  and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.
5  But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”
6  Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,
7  a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table.
8  And when the disc…

Monday of Holy Week - A lesson from a Fig Tree

Yesterday we celebrated Jesus' entry into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey - fulfilling the Prophecy of Zechariah (9:9) some 500+ years before.  After that he returned to Bethany where he was staying at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  The next day...Monday of Holy Week Jesus returned, and a fig tree became his teaching lesson.
Matthew 21:18-27 18  In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry.
19  And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.
20  When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?”
21  And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.
22  And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive,…