Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Fourth Command: Keep the Sabbath Day Holy

After 3 comes 4: Keep the Sabbath Day Holy.  What does it take to keep the sailboat of life sailing on an even keel and gliding along the water towards the desired destination?  

Answer: A healthy respect for the rhythms of rest God has built into the fabric of our being for our good.  So important is this creational rhythm to God that he commands it.  Must be important.  

In today’s culture of 24/7 activity and work, what does Sabbath day observance look like?  How ought it to be obeyed in our lives before God, and in Christ?  What does the command forbid?  What does it allow?  What does it encourage?    

Again, as with any command of God there is much freedom in how it takes expression in our life.  Living out the specifics of this command can take different forms of obedience.  What’s important is that the command is honored and obeyed.  

And with all God’s commands, in following them there is ‘great reward.’  Blessing follows obedience.  Following Sabbath brings Shalom physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually – God’s design.

See you Sunday – take a Sabbath,

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Third Command: Protecting God’s Reputation

On to the 3rd command, “You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain.”  This is a good command to restate in the positive – “Do everything you can to promote God’s good name and reputation in both word and deed.”  The scope of this command can be narrowly and broadly applied and cover everything from our speech to the way we live.

How do we as Christ followers bring honor or dishonor to God’s name?  When does our use of God’s name cross over into commandment breaking?  In what ways do we tarnish God’s name in the things we do?  Why does God make this one of his core commands for his people?  

“The law of the Lord is perfect, trustworthy, right, radiant, pure, and firm – refreshing the soul, making wise the simple, giving joy to the heart, giving light to the eyes, enduring forever – they are altogether righteous.  They are more precious than gold, sweeter than honey.  By them your servant is warned and in keeping them there is great delight.”  Psalm 19:7-11.  Our new TQ!

See you Sunday!

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Second Command: Honoring God’s Name

In the second command for this week, it seems that God commands the exact same thing: You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and forth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.  (Exodus 20:4-6) In the first command God emphasizes he alone is to be worshipped.  In the second command he reveals that there is to be nothing beside him or in the place of him.  Why?  Because he is jealous (zealous) for his interests and for our love.  

The Law of Life in 10 Commands!  This is shaping up to be a great series for us that will take us all the way to Passion Week.  In the 1st command we saw God’s call to love Him with all we are – whole heart, whole soul, whole strength.  

The Israelites found out what this means when Moses was taking to long time away from them with God on Mt Sinai.  They desired to have some object that they could see and worship, so they fashioned a golden calf.  (Exodus 32)  This did not please God in the least (putting it mildly).  This command seems easy to obey because we don’t bow down to idols of metal, stone, or wood that image God or another god.  Idols seem primitive and tribal.  Yet, is that all there is to this command?

Each week we will broaden the scope of each command.  Each command of the 10 commands has a broad scope.  Are there other ways in which we place something beside God or in place of God where we might ‘bow down’ to it?  Something or someone that takes up our time, money, energy, that takes up residence in our daily life that could rise to the level of beside God or in place of God and in a very real way ‘bow down’ to it?  

See you Sunday, in the name of Jesus,

Join us this Thursday at 7:00pm at the Brewing Market in Lafayette for a discussion on Civil Government and the Christian with some dabbling into the idea of Civil Religion.  

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

First Command: Love the Lord your God

Hebrew Text On Stone Tables: The 10 Commandments

This Sunday we begin a 10 week series on the 10 commandments: The Law of Life in 10 Commands.  Growing up in the church it was a regular weekly practice to read the 10 commandments.  Hearing them with this regularity can tend to lead you to recite them without thinking and give you the impression that God is all about what you can’t do.  

Since the early days of my church experience with the 10 commandments, I have done a 180 on how to view the commands.  The Law of God is life.  I now see the 10 commandments in light of Psalm 19’s reflection on God’s law: radiant, trustworthy, perfect, right, and pure – sweeter than honey, more precious than gold…  for ‘in them your servant is warned and in keeping them there is great reward.’

The commandments of God lead to life.  I now see God’s law as creational norms spelled out for us.  God’s laws reflect the true reality of truths built into the fabric of creation that lead us in God’s ways of flourishing.  

Each week we will address a different command and unpack its understanding in terms of each commands scope.  The ten commands actually cover every area of life in terms of its scope.  Think of it like an archery target.  The bullseye of the command is the central driving emphasis of the target.  The surrounding rings on the target are different areas of the central commands scope.  I’m really looking forward to this series.  This series will lead us deep into our 2019 Lenten season – great preparation for Passion Week.   

Reminder: Sunday there is a Super Bowl party invitation for all to the Huffaker home late afternoon and evening.  Bring yourself and some food.  Also, Thursday Feb 7th 7:00pm its Pub Theology night at the Brewing Market Espresso Vino on the topic of Civil Religion.  

See you soon,
Pastor Mark