Monthly Archives: August 2010

Righteousness & Justice

My reading from the Prophet’s this week was Jeremiah 21-25. Jeremiah is largely a book about what happens to God’s people when they don’t pursue Righteousness and Justice and plead the cause of the poor and weak. This portion of Jeremiah provides great insight into God’s heart and will for our lives.

 Jeremiah 22:3 This is what YHVH says: “Do what is right and just; rescue the wronged from their oppressors; do nothing wrong or violent to the stranger, orphan or widow; don’t shed innocent blood in this place.”

God told Israel that if they would repent of this sin and heed this call to action then he would relent in His planned destruction of Jerusalem and establish a continual kingship for David’s throne.

As believer’s and follower’s of the Lord, we have an earnest desire to conform to His image and to “know the Lord” more intimately. Often though we are a bit perplexed on how to make this a reality and practice and not just something we assent to. Jeremiah helps us in this regard:

Jeremiah 22:166 “He (Josiah) upheld the cause of the poor and the weak, so everything went well. Isn’t that what knowing me is all about?” say’s YHVH.

God say’s that upholding the cause of the poor and weak, which is pursuing righteousness and justice is what knowing Him is all about.

Jeremiah 23 shifts its focus to disgraceful shepherds who are destroying the flock and leading them astray and then goes head first into a powerful Messianic prophecy:

Jeremiah 23:5-6 “The days are coming,” says YHVH when I will raise a righteous Branch for David. He will reign as king and succeed, he will do what is just and right in the land. In his days Y’hudah will be saved, Israel will live in safety, and the name given to him will be YHVH our Righteousness.

We know this promised Branch or Vine (John 15) to be Yeshua from Natzeret (Branchtown). This powerful Messianic prophecy has only partially been fulfilled and we anticipate its fullest realization in the Messianic Age.

Righteousness and Justice were two major character traits of Yeshua and in turn should be of primary importance to those of us who are disciples of our Master.

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the matchless name of Yeshua the Messiah!


The Devil’s Right Hand

“The devil’s right hand, the devil’s right hand….” is the lyric of an old song by one of my favorite alt-country rocker’s Steve Earle. This song is about a misguided youth, a poker game went awry and the allegorical blame of a Colt 45 being “the devil’s right hand”. For some reason this song popped into my head when I sat down to write this blog and it seemed to be an appropriate title.

One of my best friends and neighbor (see his blog at www.smoothcookies.wordpress.com) and I have been discussing the past few weeks a lot about character traits and maturity as it relates to biblical community and congregational life. We’re both going through transitional periods and are in search of somewhere to plug-in and put down some roots after deciding to move away from the congregation we had both been a part of for six plus years. In many ways we’re looking for the same biblical model but from different perspectives (I’m married with two kids and a fish) and (he’s single and doesn’t even own a pet :-)). In reading David Stern’s NT Commentary on Acts 16:33 today, Stern was discussing the issue of infant baptism and the differences of opinion between all the denominations in Christendom and the divisions this has caused in the Body of Christ throughout history. My friend and I have been discussing the “lesser matter’s” that can cause division amongst believers in family’s, friends, congregations and the Body at large. We have been discussing some of the condemning natures found in some ministries or amongst individual believers and the damning effects that this has on reflecting God’s glory to the lost. This behavior has been likened to HaSatan (Satan) whose name means “the accuser of the brethren” and especially for believer’s who espouse this type of behavior where it could be said that they are indeed being “the devil’s right hand”. Stern offers some great advice and encouragement for believers of all different denominations and backgrounds to hold fast to the core of Who the Messiah is and What He’s done for us! I paraphrase below:

“As believer’s we should be especially aware that the Adversary uses such differences of opinion to turn one part of the Messiah’s Body against another. Believer’s must remain in fellowship with each other and with the rest of the believers, no matter on which side of the issue they stand, so long as it is clear that the basics of the faith are being preserved. Our Lord Yeshua (Jesus) prayed “that they”- meaning we-“may be one” (John 17:20-23). It is far more important to live out that unity and avoid the scandal of “the Messiah…. split in pieces” (1 Corinthians 1:13) than to insist that one’s own interpretation must be accepted (even though, when all is known, it may prove correct) at the expense of fellowship with believers who disagree.”

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the matchless name of Yeshua the Messiah!


Life at The Village

The past few weeks or so have been filled to the brim. We have been out-of-town for extended weekends over the past three weeks for weddings, family reunions and multiple birthday parties. Not to say the normal of my full-time plus job, Elizabeth’s part-time plus job, the two kids who are a double-full-time job and whew, so much for the lazy days of summer. Through all of this God has been faithful even when we haven’t been. He has kept us steady when we began to waver and He has calmed us when we got too anxious. Blessed be the Name of The Lord!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving home………………

  As some of you who read this blog (mostly a close friend or family member and many times just myself) know by now that as a family, Elizabeth and I felt led to pull back and make a transition away from The Village Church. This decision was confirmed a few weeks ago in late July after much prayer, deliberation and many discussions with friends and family. This was not an easy decision and in many ways took years to arrive at and could take a while longer for us to be at complete peace over this move. In addition, we’re well aware that we will undoubtably continue to have questions that will probably never be answered in this lifetime. We still hold The Village Church body and leadership in high regard and pray that God continues to use The Village in a mighty way for His Glory and Kingdom. The Village Church has been a true blessing for our family and we will cherish the relationships that have been established and memories that have been made for the rest of our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking back………………

  The Village Church has been our faith community ever since Elizabeth and I met in March of 2004. When we first met we found out that we had both been attending The Village for a few months but had never ran into or seen each other there. At that time in our lives God had been gently wooing us back to himself separately and while we were still young in this process He brought us together for what has now been the “ultimate sanctification” for the past six years. Since the end of 2003 Elizabeth has been faithfully volunteering with The Little Village, where both Braylee and Josiah , since they were both six weeks old, have been taught the grace and love of Jesus. One of our great joys after a service was to ask Braylee what she had learned and she would say “God is good” or “Jesus came to save sinners”. In late summer of 2005 I joined the Running Club at The Village which started on Day 1 with a group of 20-25 people and culminated after 4 months and 150-200 miles later in December at the White Rock Lake Half-Marathon with a core group of six. In the fall of 2005 we felt led to become “covenant members” at The Village and together we made the commitment to seriously pursue Jesus through our new church family. Towards the end of 2005 and beginning of 2006 we started premarital counseling with Malcolm and Melanie Kwon who were a very gracious and patient couple who had been long-time members of The Village. They invited us into their home and for many weeks not only fed us but shared their personal testimonies of marital ups and downs while at the same time challenging and strengthening us for what we would surely encounter in the years to come. Elizabeth and I were married in April of 2006 by Paul Matthies who was an Associate Pastor with The Village at the time and was one the funniest and sweetest preachers we had ever met. In Feb 2007 our daughter Braylee was 2 months old and we took her to the baby dedication that The Village was celebrating and that was officiated by Executive Pastor Josh Patterson. In April 2007 we visited our first home-group, which happened to be the only one we would visit as we immediately had a connection. This was the Benson Homegroup led by Travis and Julie Benson. The Benson Homegroup is without a doubt one of the primary reasons we didn’t leave The Village sooner. This homegroup is filled with Godly men and women committed to the discipleship of Jesus and striving to walk out their faith in community within every aspect of their lives. We hope to continue to be able to have fellowship and nurture the relationships from that homegroup experience. On Thanksgiving Day 2009 a fellow member of The Village and close friend informed me that our Lead Pastor Matt Chandler had had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital. Over the next few weeks and months we were all informed that Pastor Matt had a very aggressive and malignant form of Brain Cancer that would need immediate attention. For the past nine months I have marveled at how God has used Matt Chandler and his amazing talents as a communicator to deliver God’s message of hope and perseverance through Jesus in the face of the gloomiest of circumstances. Matt has truly suffered well through all of this and is a public declaration of God’s grace and goodness for His people in the end no matter what happens to him or any of us individually. This is a short-list of some of the highlights for us and by no means fills the pages for six plus years of us walking together. Another thing that you don’t see on this blog are the reasons for leaving. I plan to cover that in a more general and constructive way in part II as we Look Forward.

Over the next few weeks or months or maybe sooner I will post our thoughts about moving on from The Village and What’s Next as we continue to seek and search God out and proclaim His Kingdom.

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the matchless name of Yeshua the Messiah!


Well Versed: Pause

 Unfortunately I’ve had to put the Well Versed commentaries on hold indefinitely. Due to time constraints that have taken place over the last few weeks I got behind and I don’t foresee anything changing much with my schedule anytime soon. At some point I hope to start posting a condensed version of Well Versed but the full weeks worth of Scripture readings and notes just got to be to time consuming. Continue to keep knocking and He will be faithful to answer.

May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the matchless name of Yeshua the Messiah!