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Showing posts from August, 2012


I have been reading through the Torah - the first five books of the Bible - sometimes called The Pentateuch.  Torah means "instruction" and it gives an account of God's shaping the world for redemption.  Starting with the creation it leads the reader to see how the Fall of mankind is being reversed through the work of God in and through his people. As I read recently I was struck by this particular passage: Exodus 25:1-2 (NIV) 1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give... 6 olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense... 8 "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. 9 Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.  From there Moses goes on to explain the various things God directed him to have made.  They made a chest that would become

Building the Walls

A reading from the Old Testament book of Nehemiah is where my thoughts as a Pastor go today. Nehemiah 4:1-6 (NIV) 1 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, 2 and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, "What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble--burned as they are?" 3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, "What they are building--if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!"... 6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. Later it is added: Nehemiah 4:14-17 (NIV) 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "Don't be afraid of them. Remembe


Hello my friends, back to blogging after a 10 day drought.  Sorry, I took some time off for some work around the house, and extra work in my areas of Pastoral ministry and college lecturer. First though, let me add that I've been reading through the Pentateuch this summer.  (I read through the entire scripture in a year and finished that early in July).  In the Fall I begin my fifth year at Christian Life College - Madison as a lecturer and Academic Dean.  I love teaching scripture and I have a deep appreciation for Academics over more general ways of learning.  The Fall course is called "The Torah Story - a Survey of the Pentateuch" (which if you are not familiar with is the first five (Penta) books of the Bible:  Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy).  I am looking forward to this course as much as anything I've taught over the first four years. Last week I drove to Chicago to give a lecture on the Process of Spiritual Formation.  This summer clas

A Proper Fear

I am still thinking about this role of the Fear of The Lord.   It seems that we live in a world of easy believism and the tendency to excuse, or even deny, the nature of our sin.  I know it from personal experience.  Being willing to be ruthless in being honest about what we face, and where we succumb, is the first steps in our ability to make wise choices, instead of foolish ones that lead to shame and condemnation. Here's a few passages I've read recently over the last two days or so that I didn't seek after, but read in the natural settings of my readings...see how they hit you. Proverbs 1:1-7 (NIV) 1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: 2 for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; 3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; 4 for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young-- 5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning ge