Archive for April, 2013

As Joshua was leading the Israelite conquest of Canaan, he knew what tribes were going to settle in what locations. It’s interesting that two and a half tribes were located on the east side of the Jordan River: Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh. Apparently, they needed more room for all their livestock (Numbers 32). So after building sheep pens they took up arms to help their people drive the people out of the Promised Land (which they didn’t really do, but that is another story, Judges 1).

When the job was done, those tribes went back across the Jordan to get on with their lives. As soon came to the region of Jordan they built an altar of “imposing size” (Joshua 22:10).
What’s interesting is what happens next. The rest of the nation of Israel, the people who they were just fighting with, turned to make war on them! Ten chiefs, the heads of all the clans, came to this place because they thought the people had turned their back on God. The leaders from those two and a half tribes across the Jordan had to stop and tell them that it was all a big misunderstanding. This altar wasn’t set up against God, it was set up to remind future generations that all of Israel was united in worshiping God. They did not want future generations to forget about them and exclude their descendants from worshiping the one true God, the LORD. They named the altar “Witness” because it was a witness between them and the LORD God (Joshua 22:34).
As I meditated on this passage I thought about the waste of time and resources that are spent jumping to the wrong conclusions. If those 10 chiefs would have sent messengers to question what was going on they would not have had to take time to travel to Jordan and confront the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half-Manasseh. Everyone could have saved face if they would have assumed the best and not the worst about their extended family/countrymen. What looked like a monument to a false idol turned out to be a reminder of the LORD’s faithfulness.
In my life I wonder how much energy, effort, time, and resources I waste by assuming wrong motivations in the actions of others. It is my prayer that I give others the benefit of the doubt in all situations, and that I would assume good motivations instead of sinful ones.

“This world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there’s a rumor going around the shop that some of us are someday going to come to life.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


Posted: April 17, 2013 in Sermons
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I recently preached a sermon at our church on forgiveness as part of our series on Grace-based marriages. I always learn a lot when I preach and this time was no exception. I will post a brief outline below and you can listen here or download the podcast via iTunes.

Ruth Graham: “Every good marriage is defined by two good forgivers.”

1. One purpose of marriage is to reflect the mystery of Christ and the church (Eph 5:32)
2. Forgiveness comes from the God.
-Ephesians 2:1-7 (We were dead and he made us alive.) This is one long sentence/thought…The subject is “God” (v. 4). The verbs are “made alive” (v. 5), “raised us up” (v. 6), and seated (vs. 7). The object is “us.” We were dead in our sins. We were living out of the passions of our flesh, and not obeying God with our lives or with our minds.
3. Christians lives differently than the worlds. There is no clearer picture of this than in marriage.

Where does the need for forgiveness come from? 1. Unmet expectation. 2. Sin

Forgiveness is not…
1. Approving sinful behavior
2. Ignoring sin.
3. Forgetting.
4. Emotional death or using pain numbing substances.
5. Reconciliation
6. Neglecting justice.

1. What is forgiveness?
-To grant a pardon or to release a debt. Jesus taught a parable of forgiveness in Matthew 18

2. How does this look in a relationship? (Ephesians 4:25-32)
a. Don’t go to bed angry (v. 26)
b. Some of the ways you used to live will change. (V. 28)
c. Use words to build up: Edify (v. 29)
d. Avoid all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice (v. 31)
e. Be kind and tenderhearted. (v. 32)
f. Forgive (v. 30) – to give up desire or power to punish

Forgive also means “to leave behind”
There will be sin and failure. There also needs to be confession and forgiveness.
Our response is to come clean, cancel debts, and turn to the cross of Jesus.

Created for Worship

Posted: April 12, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Life is hard. Remember this…God did not make any mistakes. You were created for one purpose – to worship God. Anything less for your life is sin. Jesus Christ came to die in our place for our sin to set us free from the bondage of sin and our greatest enemy, our sinful selves. As this man says so clearly, “Life is not worth it without Jesus.”