Should parents childproof their house or houseproof their child? What do speedbumps say about a city’s opinion of its citizens and their integrity? Do chastity belts produce good Christian girls?
Too often modern man is caught trying to pick the lock on Eden’s gate as he works to make a world with “no alarms and no surprises”. Our anthropology today has man’s nature being something altogether good. Any evil actions must be the result of poor nurturing and nothing else. Man doesn’t need to change; his world does. In The Terror of a Toy, G.K. Chesterton gives us an antidote to this error in essay form. We’ve all been bit by the viper and its venom is in our bloodstream, but this Sunday’s discussion should be good and timely medicine!
Somewhere in the Sonoran Desert in Scottsdale, Arizona you’ll find the frozen remains of Ted Williams. Somewhere in San Juan, Puerto Rico you’ll find the old bones of Ponce de Leon. And somewhere in the foothills above the Dead Sea you’ll find the sodium chloride reduction of Lot’s wife. Death is difficult to live with. It doesn’t do to run from it. It’s not living to dance with it. And it’s not right to spit at it. The Bible thinks it best to be prepared for it by beating the old stinger to the punch. While the world conspires to have us either embrace death or think nothing of it at all, the church is called to dispel the power of death by welcoming it into our consideration and calculation. As we look this week at an old tale and a couple of famous poems, let’s look to sit with the enemy – uncloaked and without his scythe.
How is it that we freely do so many things we despise? Perhaps we’re not so free after all.
In Shooting an Elephant, we have a haunting, brutally honest confession of a powerful man, powerless to do what he knew was right. This wonderfully written little essay by George Orwell serves as a rich mountain for us to mine; providing the coal to fire a discussion of our own powerlessness in the face of unending societal pressure. I hope that, as we gather for this Sunday’s roundtable, we’d be as sober in our assessments of ourselves and as unflinching in our pursuit of the honest truth. Are you tired of shooting elephants?
The same fire that heats your home can burn it down.
Passion is a blessing from God and few would want to try and live and love without it. But the same passion that can stir your heart can break it as well. In Austen’s Powers, Jennifer Farrara compares the passions of two of literature’s most famous leading men and offers many reflections into matters of love, romance, marriage, and our relationship with God. Some of Farrara’s insights are a little provocative and I’m not sure I share all of her convictions. That said, I think there’s a lot here that merits discussion and there’s much to apply to our relationships with each other and the Lord. Please take time to read the article and consider joining us for a roundtable discussion of it this Sunday morning at 8:30 in room #208 in the Family Life Center. Hot coffee and a homemade treat will greet you at the door!
For the theater-goer, the intermissions between scenes in a three-act stage play are some of the most suspenseful moments of the entire night. The curtain comes down on a scene full of turmoil and unresolved tension, on characters in crisis and distress, and on a story coming to a climax. As you sit in the dim half-light, surrounded by the hushed, excited chatter of the audience, you hear the stagehands hard at work behind the curtain. Props are being wheeled in and out, actors and actresses are scurrying to find their marks, and the director is whispering the script in the wings. When the curtain goes back up, what setting will you find for the final scene? What characters will be center stage? What kind of score will be struck up from the orchestra pit? One can hardly wait!
In the great stage play of history, there was no intermission more important or suspenseful than that provided between the Old and New Testaments. As the curtain came down on the Israelites rebuilding the walls in Jerusalem, the Lord was wheeling out the great Assyrian, Egyptian, and Babylonian empires and wheeling in the Greek and the Roman. A great and seismic scene change was underway, the world being outfitted with an entirely new setting. A cast of new characters were being positioned center stage. As the house lights went back down and the spot light put on the Savior of the world and the dawn of His kingdom here on Earth, the final act became the story of the Church. Right now, we’re offering an opportunity for everyone to take a tour backstage during this intermission. Professor Jere Vincent is teaching a class on Sunday mornings entitled Early Church History. Using videos, pictures, and vivid description, Jere is resetting the stage for us and opening our eyes to the amazing work the Lord did in preparing the world for the establishment of Christ’s kingdom. Please consider joining us Sundays at 8:30am in room #208, upstairs in the Family Life Center for this excellent look behind the curtain. Hot coffee and a delicious home-baked treat will also be served! Don’t miss it!
A child’s Christmas is often witness to a parent’s wonderful and mysterious bustling about. As the big day draws nearer and nearer, Mom and Dad become special agents involved in any number of top-secret, undercover, covert operations. All the whispering, the dashing, the late-night stashing and stowing – it’s all so deliciously exciting. What treasures that bedroom closet must keep! What joys will come from their glorious conspiracy! What wonderful new world will be discovered downstairs on Christmas Day!
A Christian’s Christmas is often enjoyed in much the same way. For who’s a better gift-giver than God? And who can best the Holy Spirit in the art of mysterious bustling about? No one, of course! The Lord who fixed a peculiar star in the Middle Eastern sky, who sent angels to surprise the lowly with blessings unbelievable, whose most royal of philharmonics filled the Bethlehem sky and performed a chorus of glad tidings; is the same Lord who today ensures that this Christmas season is just as pregnant for you and me as the first. Your Christmas should be filled with expectation as God continues to grant all the riches of reconciliation and revolution. What treasures your prayer closet must keep! What joys will come from this divine conspiracy! What wonderful new world will be discovered in the depths of our hearts on Christmas Day!
The beautiful sugar maple standing tall in the dooryard of your house is yours. Its sap, its shade, its bark and branches, its trunk and treetop view; they’re all yours. What’s also all yours is every lovely little leaf turned golden yellow and candy apple red that the wind shakes loose every autumn. What becomes of all those leaves anyway? Surely they don’t all fall in your yard.
I spent a good bit of time this weekend raking up in front and behind the house. As I was making piles and wrangling tarps, the thought entered my mind: “I wonder how many of the leaves I’m laboring over fell from neighbor’s trees and I wonder how many of my leaves are making work for my neighbors?” I thought about it some and concluded that there’s no telling exactly. But I’m sure the number isn’t none. Everyone in our neighborhood shares a little of their fallen foliage with everyone else. It would be nearly impossible and more than a little silly for me to traipse up and down the street endeavoring to collect all my wayward leaves. And I certainly wouldn’t expect the Joneses to come over and claim their runaways from out of my shrubs and fence lines. The burden of autumn is just a collective one I suppose. This is kind of how it is in a church family. No matter the season, we all have troubles and trials that we are dealing with. Most of these are burdens that we alone must bear. But like the wind, the Spirit will often direct some of my troubles to your dooryard to share with me and some or yours to mine. The burden of the world, for the church, is a collective one I suppose. And I love the Lord for it. “Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, for I’m part of the family, the family of God!”
http://www.emmanuelacc.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/standing-in-leaves.jpeg34565184Josh Ricehttp://www.emmanuelacc.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/EACC-114_Logo-300x115.pngJosh Rice2017-11-13 23:28:452017-11-13 23:29:04What Falls in My Yard