Category Archives: Genesis

Men, Enough is Enough

The following is my latest article in the Tacoma News Tribune, published on Saturday, Nov 18…

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. [Genesis 1:27]

Please indulge me as I go on a little rant. Ever since accusations of sexual misconduct began to surface involving Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, accusations from various other women have surfaced left and right. You can’t login onto social media or turn on the news without hearing about someone else coming forward. Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming these women, but rather I am embarrassed for men in general. This is not right and we, men, need to step up and do something. We need to say something and raise the bar for the next generation. There is something definitely missing in people to cause them to think that it is okay to treat people as just sexual objects to satisfy one’s own desires. I am not saying I am a model man; “Look at me and see perfection”, but something needs to change in this culture. Something has to give.

Treating people as something less than what God created them to be is a sin. God created men AND women in His own image; both equally precious in His sight. Men and women are both equally loved and loveable. They are created for a purpose but not for the purpose of being abused or harassed or treated as an object. I imagine God, the Father, being saddened to see His daughters (women) treated like this. For men to treat women like an object is to disobey the creational purpose of God. God created men and women and then brought them together in marriage. Through marriage, God is putting the relationship of Christ (bridegroom) and the Church (bride) on display. Ephesians 5 says, Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Sexual abuse and harassment of women is so contrary to God’s purpose for men and women. Godly men ought to be angered and offended to see and hear other men acting so immature and irresponsibly. Godly men need to stand up and say, “No more!” Godly men need to be shaken to the core and be determined, more than ever, to be godly examples to our sons and to the rest of this world. Godly men need to teach our daughters what it looks like to be treated with respect. Godly men need to take the reins and write a new narrative for our culture; that harassment and abuse of women is no longer welcomed. Men, let’s be the men God created us to be and glorify God through our example. Let’s take back our godly roles.

Rant done. All praise be to God. Amen.

The (feisty) Pastor -|—

Covenant faithfulness ~ A Lenten Prayer

Tonight we join with our brothers and sisters in Christ, from First Presbyterian Church, for Lenten worship. My colleague and close friend are preaching through the Old Testament texts assigned, through the Revised Common Lectionary, for the previous Sunday.

Last week my friend preached about the covenant with Noah and all of creation following the great flood. Tonight I get the privilege of preaching on Genesis 17:1-16; the covenant with Abraham and Sarah and their descendants. These two texts are wonderful texts that set up the Gospel of grace through Jesus Christ. And I can hardly wait to proclaim this message.

Below is the prayer I wrote to pray before I preach and so I offer it to you tonight.

Let us pray…

Oh holy God, to gather around your Word is such an awesome privilege. To join with our brothers and sisters in Christ in worship is an awesome joy. And tonight, oh holy covenant-keeping God, we joyfully and expectantly and anxiously await the proclamation of your Word. And so I appeal to You to send Your Spirit to infuse these words with life and faith-filling purpose; for Your Word does not return to you empty. My words, on the other hand, are empty without Your Spirit. My words have no power or influence or life; only Your words do, Creator God. So may I be faithful to say what You have ordained me to say. And may I bring glory to Your holy name. Bless this time, oh God, and then send us forth to faithfully serve You in covenant faithfulness. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Let us come before the Lord our God in worship.

The Pastor -|—

Much Sin. Much Love

Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” [Luke 7:47]

Your love of God is proportional to the sin that has been forgiven you.

If you believe your sins are not that bad or that someone else is a worse sinner; if you believe you are doing fine, then your love of God will be reflected in your faulty view of reality.

Very little love.

You will not obey as you should and you will not worship as you should. And it makes sense, if you think you’re not that bad then why would you need Jesus. Your thankfulness will be empty and your praise will be shallow and your worship will be silent.

But if you believe you have been forgiven much; that your sins are many; that you deserve the worse place in hell (if there is such a thing) then your love of God will be reflected as such.

Very much love

You will then be driven to obey and worship God. You will be driven to glorify God’s name and honor it. You will be driven to proclaim the name of Jesus through your words and actions. Which makes sense. If you believe you have received the best gift of all time, then there is no way you are going to keep it quiet AND there’s no way you’re going to turn your back on the giver.

But we do.

We turn our backs on God.
We don’t worship as we ought.
We don’t obey as we should.
We don’t proclaim the name of Jesus loud enough.
We don’t love much.

Miserable sinners that we are.

Oh God, forgive me.

Our sin is ever before us, our condemnation is just but God’s mercy and grace and compassion is endless.

Praise be to God!

We are in the midst of Lent; a season of reflection and self-examination. A season of remembering and contemplating our sinfulness. A season of repentance and drawing closer to God. So I urge you, brothers and sisters, to reflect on your sinfulness and the fact that you deserve hell. Reflect on your mortality and the fact that your bodies are decaying until death.

from dust you came and to dust you shall return. (Genesis 3:19)

Remember your sin and then contemplate the cross; that Jesus died there and then rose from the grave that your sins would be forgiven. Accept the fact that you have sinned much but through faith in Jesus you have been forgiven much. Try to wrap your brain and heart around that and then worship and praise this awesome God of ours.

You are a sinner, but God our Father is our redeemer through Jesus Christ. Turn to Him and love much and praise much and worship much.

What an awesome God!

May you see your sin as filthy and therefore your sentence of death. May you see Jesus as your Savior. May your love overflow for the God of creation.

Have a great day worshiping God in every second of your life.

The Pastor -|—

Awesome calling

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. [Genesis 2:24]

I met with a couple last night who are preparing for marriage.

Wow! What an awesome privilege to walk along side a man and a woman as they get ready to proclaim the Gospel through their marriage, but also scary.

I say scary because marriage is an awesome calling from God, not a right. It is also an awesome responsibility. Marriage is about putting Christ’s relationship with the Church on display. Marriage is about showing what forgiveness looks like; what God’s love looks like (among many other things). And I get to help couples see this.

Wow!
God help me.

If only we could grasp this “profound mystery” (Ephesians 5:32) we would all fall on our faces before God, begging for forgiveness, for how we have messed up and watered down marriage.

So God help me as I walk with this couple. I don’t want to mess this up. But more importantly, I want to be faithful to scripture; I want to be faithful to your promises and commands.

So I ask all of you to be in prayer about marriage. Pray for men and women who are married. Pray for those preparing for marriage. Pray for those who are single that they may honor marriage through their calling to be single. Pray for those in struggling marriages that they may find healing in some way. Pray for those who are divorced that they may be made whole through Jesus Christ.

Pray for marriage. Pray for marriage with all your being. And then pray some more.

And…

If you have time, pray for me as I work with couples. May I be faithful and bold and loving and compassionate. And may I glorify God.

And may YOU glorify God as well.

Have a great day 🙂

The Pastor -|—

Formless…for now

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. [Genesis 1:1-2]

The New Year’s parties are done and many of you are back to work or school.  And with the work week resuming; 2012 seems to be a distant memory with 2013 in full swing.  Now we are left to wonder what this new year will bring.  A couple days ago we contemplated the ending of one year and dreamed dreams of what 2013 might bring.  Now it is here.

For some 2013 can’t be any worse than 2012.
For some 2013 can’t possibly be any better than 2012…can it?
For some 2013 brings with it new challenges.
For some 2013 brings with it tremendous changes.

But one thing we can all agree on:  Right now…2013 is formless and void.  There’s no shape.
There’s no light.
We are simply sitting in an empty page; one yet to be written.  A story is out there…somewhere.  A plot yet unknown.

But in the midst of this unknown our Creator is hoovering.  God is waiting to reveal the next pages in this new chapter.  God is waiting to reveal the beauty that is your life.  The Creator is over the surface of (and within) our lives.  The Creator is hard at work and this Creator is faithful.

I imagine that the early days of this formless creation was a scary looking place, but in the hands of the Creator…not so much.  It may seem scary looking into 2013 but God is a faithful and loving God. He has your hand; He has your future…secure.  Through Jesus Christ that which is unknown becomes known and certain.  2013 maybe unknown, formless and void but our ultimate destiny is indeed known, formed and filled…through faith in Jesus.

God is hovering over and within this formless new year but that which is formless will become a beauty to behold.  Such is your life in Jesus Christ.  Let’s enter this new year with confidence that the Creator of the universe is our loving and grace-filled God; one who sent Jesus to give us a future. Let’s walk by faith and not by sight.  Our Creator is hard at work.

Happy New Year!

The pastor -|—

Unbelievable forgiveness

This week I am continuing our Old Testament sermon series by talking about the story of Joseph and “unbelievable” forgiveness.

In Genesis, chapter 50, Jacob dies and Joseph’s brothers get nervous.  They are nervous that Joseph will unleash his fury since Jacob, the family patriarch, is now gone.  So they tell Joseph that their dear ole dad has said that he is supposed to forgive them the wrongs they had done to him.  The brothers then throw themselves down on the ground before Joseph and vow to be his slaves.

Joseph weeps.

I have never really thought about why Joseph is weeping.  But now I am wondering if Joseph is sad because after all these years of providing for them in Egypt his brothers still believe Joseph doesn’t really forgive them.  When Joseph revealed himself to his brothers in chapter 45 he gave no indication he was going to lash out at them even though Joseph had the power to do so.  But Joseph told his brothers not to be distressed or angry with themselves; this was part of God’s plan.  Joseph showed nothing but love towards them by taking care of them through the terrible famine.  Now…after all these years…the brothers still don’t believe Joseph really forgives them.  If I were Joseph I think I would be sad as well.

I wonder if God weeps when we doubt his amazing forgiveness.  I mean…there are times when I wonder if God actually forgives ALL my sins.  Surely there is something that God holds on to.  Surely there must be a limit to God’s patience.  Forgiving ALL my sins?  That almost sounds to good to be true…almost unbelievable.

But God says, “What more do I need to do to prove it to you?  My beloved son, Jesus, died on a cross and rose from the grave to forgive your sins.  I would think that would be proof enough.”  And yet we have our doubts from time to time.  God’s forgiveness of our sins, at times, almost seems unbelievable…there must be a catch.

But there is no catch.

When we go to God in confession, through Jesus Christ we have forgiveness…period.  No strings attached. That, my friends, is pretty amazing.  Unbelievable?  Nope…it’s true.  Through Jesus Christ we have forgiveness of ALL our sins.

So don’t be afraid and don’t be distressed.  Go to God and know his amazing love for you…forever and ever.  Amen.

-edh-