Saturday, November 04, 2006

new blog location is my new blog site. I'm pullin' up stakes and moving on to WordPress. Blogger served me well as a first foray into the blogging world, but its time for a fresh look and a new location for ye old blog. Change your bookmark/favorites list. You'll find me at Words That Bless that's

Monday, October 02, 2006

3 interesting posts

Three interesting blog posts I've read of late:

Saturday, September 30, 2006

know his voice - Oct. 2006

October marks the start of the final phase of this year’s Bible reading project here at MoSt Church. This year's trip - the Know His Voice project - has been a journey through the Gospels with an emphasis on the words and ways of Jesus. The remainder of this year we’ll focus specifically on some of the questions Jesus asked. Questions tend to stick with us longer than most other forms of communication and so it only stands to reason that when Jesus asked a question, he wanted the thought to linger with us. How would you reply to Jesus' questions if/since they were made to you personally? How would Jesus want you to respond? Those are two good questions!

And let me suggest the following method to you to use as you ruminate on these questions our Lord asked of people: (1) read the passage three times slowly and aloud (yes, outloud to yourself), (2) do the same with the focus question, (3) thoughtfully pause and ruminate/meditate over the question for a minute or two, (4) pray about this question and it's meaning for you in your life at this time and (5) then carefully consider what comes to your mind. Repeat steps 2-5 throughout the course of the day as you have opportunity.

Sun., Oct. 1Matt. 5:13 – vs.13a – “But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?”

Oct. 2Matt. 5:43-48 – vs.46-47 – “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?”

Oct. 3Matt. 6:25-34 – vs.27 – “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”

Oct. 4Matt. 7:3-5 – vs.3b,4b – “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye … ?”

Oct. 5Matt. 7:9-12 – vs.9-10 – “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?”

Oct. 6Matt. 7:15-20 – vs.16b – “Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”

Oct. 7Matt. 8:23-27 – vs.26a – “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”

Sun., Oct. 8Matt. 9:1-8 – vs.4-5 – “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?”

Oct. 9Matt. 9:27-34 – vs.28b – “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

Oct. 10Matt. 11:1-19 – vs.7b – “What did you go out ... to see?”

Oct. 11Matt. 12:22-37 – vs.26-27a,29a,34 – “How can [Satan’s] kingdom stand?”

Oct. 12Matt. 12:46-50 – vs.48 – “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”

Oct. 13Matt. 14:22-35 – vs.31 – “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Oct. 14Matt. 15:1-20 – vs.16-17 – “Are you still so dull?”

Sun., Oct. 15Matt. 16:13-20 – vs.13,15 – “Who do people say the Son of Man is? ... what about you?”

Oct. 16Matt. 16:21-28 – vs.26 – “What good will it be for you to gain the whole world . . . ?”

Oct. 17Matt. 18:10-13 – vs.12 – “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep . . . ?”

Oct. 18Matt. 19:1-12 – vs.4-5 – “Haven’t you read ... the Creator made them male and female ... ?”

Oct. 19Matt. 19:16-30 – vs.17a – “Why do you ask me about what is good?”

Oct. 20Matt. 20:20-28 – vs.22a – “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”

Oct. 21Matt. 20:29-34 – vs.32 – “What do you want me to do for you?”

Sun., Oct. 22Matt. 21:12-17 – vs.16 – “Have you never read ... you have ordained praise?”

Oct. 23Matt. 21:28-32 – vs.28a,31a – “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

Oct. 24Matt. 21:33-46 – vs.42 – “Have you never read ... the stone the builders rejected ... ?”

Oct. 25 Matt.22:23-33 – vs.31-32a – “... have you not read ... I am the God of Abraham ... ?”

Oct. 26Matt. 22:41-46 – vs.42 – “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?”

Oct. 27Matt. 23:13-39 – vs.19 – “Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred?”

Oct. 28Matt. 24:45-51 – vs.45 – “Who then is the faithful and wise servant ... ?”

Sun., Oct. 29Matt. 26:36-46 – vs.40b,45a – “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me one hour?”

Oct. 30Matt. 26:47-56 – vs.53-54 – “Do you not think I can call ... twelve legions of angels?”

Oct. 31Matt. 27:45-50 – vs.46 – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Friday, September 29, 2006

5 interesting posts of late

Here are five interesting blog posts I've read of late:

Monday, September 25, 2006


Heads up and a word to the wise - be sure and Bring Your Own Bible to class and worship this coming Sunday morning (Oct. 1). I'll be checking to see if you're totin' yours! :-)

Friday, September 22, 2006

recent pantry stats

Do you realize how many people in our community MoSt Church regularly assists with food? Following are a collection of assorted stats from just over the course of the past month. To all who serve in our pantry or help support it in some way - may God bless you as you bless others!

Tues., Aug. 22 - 47 families (169 individuals)
Thur., Aug. 24 - 44 families (186 individuals)
Total - 91 families (355 individuals)

Tues., Aug. 29 - 65 families (218 individuals)
Thur., Aug. 31 - 33 families (112 individuals)
Total - 98 families (330 individuals)

Tues., Sept. 12 - 52 families (179 individuals)
Thur., Sept. 14 - 45 families (185 individuals)
Total - 97 families (364 individuals)

Tues., Sept. 19 - 39 families (132 individuals)
Thur., Sept. 21 - 43 families (151 individuals)
Total - 82 families (283 individuals)

humor - the end is near

A local priest and a preacher were fishing on the side of the road. They thoughtfully made a sign saying, The End is Near! Turn yourself around now before it's too late! and showed it to each passing car. One driver who drove by didn't appreciate the sign and shouted at them, "Leave us alone, you religious nuts!"

All of a sudden they heard a big splash, looked at each other, and the priest said to the preacher, "You think maybe we should have just said Bridge Out instead?"

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

interceding prayer

Judging by the comments some of you shared with me as to the reading I read from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book Life Together on a recent Sunday night, I thought you might like to have the whole text in front of you to consider and share with others. Here it is. Yes indeed, it is rich! It's hard to imagine a passage more relevant to the needs of many of us at the moment, no?
"A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner. This is a happy discovery for the Christian who begins to pray for others. There is no dislike, no personal tension, no estrangement that cannot be overcome by intercession as far as our side of it is concerned. Intercessory prayer is the purifying bath into which the individual and the fellowship must enter every day. The struggle we undergo with our brother in intercession may be a hard one, but that struggle has the promise that it will gain its goal.

"How does this happen? Intercession means no more than to bring our brother into the presence of God, to see him under the cross of Jesus as a poor human being and sinner in need of grace. Then everything in him that repels us fall away; we see him in all his destitution and need. His need and his sin become so heavy and oppressive that we feel them as our own, and we can do nothing else but pray: Lord, do Thou, Thou alone, deal with him according to Thy severity and Thy goodness. To make intercession means to grant our brother the same right that we have received, namely, to stand before Christ and share in his mercy.

"This makes it clear that intercession is also a daily service we owe to God and our brother. He who denies his neighbor the service of praying for him denies him the service of a Christian. It is clear, furthermore; that intercession is not general and vague but concrete: a matter of definite persons and definite difficulties and therefore of definite petitions. The more definite my intercession becomes, the more promising it is."

"Finally, we can also no longer escape the realization that the ministry of intercession requires time of every Christian, but most of all the pastor who has the responsibility of a whole congregation. Intercession alone, if it is thoroughly done, would consume the entire time of daily meditation. So pursued, it will become evident that intercession is a gift of God's grace for every Christian community and for every Christian. Because intercession is such an incalculably great gift of God, we should accept it joyfully. The very time we give to intercession will turn out to be a daily source of new joy in God and in the Christian community."

"Since meditation on the Scriptures, prayer, and intercession are a service we owe and because the grace of God is found in this service, we should train ourselves to set apart a regular hour for it, as we do for every other service we perform. This is not 'legalism'; it is orderliness and fidelity. For most people the early morning will prove to be the best time. We have a right to this time, even prior to the claims of other people, and we may insist upon having it as a completely undisturbed quiet time despite all external difficulties. For pastors it is an indispensable duty and their whole ministry will depend upon it. Who can really be faithful in great things if he has not learned to be faithful in the things of daily life?"
Source - Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, translated from German by John W. Doberstein (Harper & Row, 1954), pp.86-87. First published in 1938 under the title Gemeinsames Leben.

eat this book - together in Jesus

"No can be understood outside of its entire context. The most 'entire' context is Jesus. Every biblical text must be read in the living presence of Jesus. Every word of the scriptural text is a window or door leading us out of the tarpaper shacks of self into this great outdoors of God's revelation in sky and ocean, tree and flower, Isaiah and Mary, and, finally and completely, Jesus. Meditation discerns the connections and listens for the harmonies that come together in Jesus."
Source: Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading by Eugene Peterson, p.102

Monday, September 18, 2006

looking ahead - MoSt Church

- Potluck lunch (Caleb's Classics) - Sept. 21

- Ladies bunco night - Sept. 21

- Hawk-watching trip to Smith Point - Sept. 23

- 24/7 small groups - Sept. 24

- Combined JH/HS youth huddle - Oct. 1

- 24/7 small groups - Oct. 8

- Memory Walk - Oct. 14

- Combined JH/HS youth huddle - Oct. 15

- Fall retreat - Nov. 18-19

Sunday, September 17, 2006

buried with Jesus - Troy Saultz

Troy Saultz was baptized into Christ at 11:45 a.m. this morning! Our sister church, the Lakewood Church of Christ, was kind enough to let us use their baptistery, seeing as how ours is out of commission at the moment due to renovation work. Troy is Jorge Hernandez's brother-in-law (i.e. - Ana Saultz and Jorge Hernandez are brother and sister). Welcome your new brother!

Monday, September 11, 2006

eat this book - living it

"We are in the odd and embarrassing position of being a church in which many of us believe in the authority of the Bible but, instead of submitting to it, use it, apply it, take charge of it endlessly, using our own experience as the authority for how and where and when we will use it. . . . This book make us participants in the world of God's being and action; but we don't participate on our own terms. We don't get to make up the plot or decide what character we will be. . . . We enter this text to meet God as he reveals himself, not to look for truth or history or morals that we can use for ourselves . . . We do not read the Bible in order to find out how to get God into our lives, to get him to participate in our lives. That's getting it backwards." (pp.59,66,67)

"We are fond of saying that the Bible has all the answers. And that is certainly correct. . . . But the Bible also has all the questions, many of them that we would just as soon were never asked of us, and some of which we will spend the rest of our lives doing our best to dodge. The Bible is a most comforting book; it is also a most discomfiting book. Eat this book; it will be sweet as honey in your mouth; but it will also be bitter to your stomach. You can't reduce this book to what you can handle; you can't domesticate this book to what you are comfortable with." (p.66)

"Obedience is the thing, living in active response to the living God. The most important question we can ask of this text is not, 'What does this mean?' but 'What can I obey?' . . . Not that the study is not important." (p.71)

"Reading the Bible, if we do not do it rightly, can get us into a lot of trouble. The Christian community is as concerned with how we read the Bible as that we read it. It is not sufficient to place a Bible in a person's hands with the command, 'Read it.' That is quite as foolish as putting a set of car keys in an adolescent's hands, giving him a Honda, and saying, 'Drive it.' And just as dangerous." (p.81)
Source - Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading by Eugene Peterson

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

eat this book – on exegesis

"Many of us have picked up the bad habit of extracting 'truths' from the stories we read: we summarize 'principles' that we can use in a variety of settings at our discretion; we distill a 'moral' that we use as a slogan on a poster or as a motto on our desk. We are taught to do this in our schools so that we can pass examinations on novels and plays. It is no wonder that we continue this abstracting, story-mutilating practice when we read our Bibles. . . . It takes the whole Bible to read any part of the Bible." (p.48)

"Exegesis is the discipline of attending to the text and listening to it rightly and well. . . . All our masters in spirituality were and are master exegetes. There's a lot going on here; we don't want to miss any of it; we don't want to sleepwalk through this text. . . . exegesis is . . . noticing and responding adequately (which is not simple!) to the demand that words make on us, that language makes on us." (pp.50-51)

"A close relationship doesn't guarantee understanding. A long affection doesn't guarantee understanding. In fact, the closer we are to another and the more intimate our relations, the more care we must exercise to hear accurately, to understand thoroughly, to answer appropriately. Which is to say, the more 'spiritual' we become, the more care we must give to exegesis. The more mature we become in the Christian faith, the more exegetically rigorous we must become. This is not a task from which we graduate." (p.53)

"These words given to us in our Scriptures are constantly getting overlaid with personal preferences, cultural assumptions, sin distortions, and ignorant guesses that pollute the text. The pollutants are always in the air, gathering dust on our Bibles, corroding our use of the language, especially the language of faith. Exegesis is a dust cloth, a scrub brush, or even a Q-tip for keeping the words clean. . . . But exegesis does not mean mastering the text, it means submitting to it as it is given to us. . . . Exegesis is an act of sustained humility." (pp.53,55)

"It is useful for readers of the Bible to keep company with some of our master exegetes; the easiest way to do it is to use their commentaries. Biblical commentaries are, for the most part, employed by pastors or teachers in the preparations of sermons or lectures. They are treated as 'tools.' But there are treasures in these books for the ordinary reader of the Bible. . . . biblical commentaries have for too long been overlooked as common reading for common Christians." (p.54)

Source: Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading by Eugene Peterson

Saturday, September 02, 2006

three posts worth reading

Here are three interesting blog posts I've read of late:

Friday, September 01, 2006

know his voice

This month at MoSt Church we continue to center our Bible reading each day around our Know His Voice project. This project's reading consists of something Jesus said about a specific topic, something said about what Jesus did in light of a certain subject or a record in the Gospels dealing with a specific theme. So, read and reflect on the following passages this month and get to “know his voice” better. Consider the verse in in parenthesis at the end of each day’s reading as a suggestion as to a good verse to come back to again and again throughout the day in contemplation.

Sept. 1 - accusation - Matt.12:10; 27:11-14 / Mk.3:1-2; 15:1-5 / Lk.3:14; 6:6-7; 23:1-12 / Jn.10:36 (Jn.10:36)

Sept. 2 - angels - Lk.1:5-38; 2:8-21; 9:26; 12:8-10; 15:8-10; 16:19-22; 20:34-38; 22:41-44 / Jn.1:43-51 (Jn.1:51)

Sept. 3 - baptism - Matt.3:13-17; 28:18-20 / Mk.1:9-13 / Lk.3:21-22 / Jn.1:29-34 (Matt.28:19)

Sept. 4 - blessed - Matt.5:3-11; 11:4-6; 13:16; 16:13-17; 21:9-11; 23:39; 25:34-36 / Lk.11:27-28 (Lk.11:28)

Sept. 5 - communion - Matt.26:26-30 / Mk.14:22-26 / Lk.21:14-20 (Lk.21:19)

Sept. 6 - conspiracy - Matt.27:62-66; 28:11-15 / Jn.5:1-18; 7:1-36,40-46; 11:45-57; 12:9-11; 18:1-14 (Jn.11:47b)

Sept. 7 - cowardice - Matt.27:15-26 / Jn.12:42-43; 13:36-38; 18:15-18,25-40; 19:1-16 (Jn.12:43)

Sept. 8 - crucifixion - Matt.27:32-56 / Mk.15:21-41 (Matt.27:46)

Sept. 9 - darkness - Lk.11:33-36 / Jn.8:12; 12:35-36,44-46 (Lk.11:35)

Sept. 10 - demons - Lk.4:31-37,40-41; 8:1-3,26-39; 9:1,37-43,49-50; 10:17-20; 11:14-26; 13:32 (Lk.13:32)

Sept. 11 - denial - Matt.26:69-75 / Mk.14:66-72 / Lk.22:54-62 (Lk.22:62)

Sept. 12 - discernment - Matt.13:44-46; 16:26; 26:6-13; 27:1-2 (Matt.13:46)

Sept. 13 - diversity - Mk.9:38-41 (Mk.9:40)

Sept. 14 - emptiness - Matt.12:43-45 (Matt.12:45b)

Sept. 15 - hate - Matt.5:43-44; 14:1-12 / Lk.6:22; 21:17 / Jn.15:18 (Matt.5:44)

Sept. 16 - invitation – Matt.11:28-30 / Mk.1:16-20 / Lk.5:27-32 / Jn.1:35-42 (Mk.1:17)

Sept. 17 - Jerusalem - Matt.24:1-35 / Lk.21:20-24 (Matt.24:34)

Sept. 18 - John the Baptist - Matt.11:1-2,7-15 / Lk.7:18-35 (Lk.7:28)

Sept. 19 - leadership - Jn.10:1-16 (Jn.10:11b)

Sept. 20 - lostness - Matt.18:10-14 / Luke 15:1-32; 19:1-9 (Matt.18:14)

Sept. 21 - Messiah - Matt.22:41-46; 26:57-68 (Matt.27:64)

Sept. 22 - misunderstanding - Jn.8:12-30 (Jn.8:25)

Sept. 23 - reserve - Jn.2:23-25 (Jn.2:25)

Sept. 24 - rescue - John 12:27-28 (Jn.12:28)

Sept. 25 - return - Matt.16:27; 25:31 (Matt.16:27)

Sept. 26 - rewards - Matt.6:33; 19:27-30 / Mk.10:28-31 / Lk.18:26-30 (Lk.18:30)

Sept. 27 - self-awareness - Lk.22:66-71 / John 8:54-59; 10:22-42; 13:20; 16:28; 17:4-5 (Jn.8:58)

Sept. 28 - self-control - Matt.26:62-63; 27:12-14 / Mk.3:1-6 (Mk.3:5a)

Sept. 29 - Scripture - Lk.24:13-49 (Lk.24:25)

Sept. 30 - world - Jn.1:9-12; 3:16-21; 6:51; 7:7; 12:31-32; 14:30-31; 17:6-26; 18:36-37 (Jn.3:17)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

eat this book: some good quotes

". . . Austin Farrar [once] referred to 'the forbidding discipline of spiritual reading' that ordinary people have characteristically brought to this text that forms their souls. Forbidding because it requires that we read with our entire life, not just employing the synapses in our brain. Forbidding because of the endless dodges we devise in avoiding the risk of faith in God. Forbidding because of our restless inventiveness in using whatever knowledge of 'spirituality' we acquire to set ourselves up as gods. Forbidding because when we have learned to read and comprehend the words on the page, we find that we have barely begun. Forbidding because it requires all of us, our muscles and ligaments, our eyes and ears, our obedience and adoration, our imaginations and our prayers." (p.10)

"I want to counter this widespread practice of taking personal experience instead of the Bible as the authority for living. . . . I want to place personal experience under the authority of the Bible and not over it. . . . It is a matter of urgency that interest in our souls be matched by an interest in our Scriptures. . . . An interest in souls divorced from an interest in Scripture leaves us without a text that shapes these souls. In the same way, an interest in Scripture divorced from an interest in souls leaves us without any material for the text to work on." (p.17)

". . . not everyone who gets interested in the Bible and even gets excited about the Bible wants to get involved with God. But God is what the book is about. C.S. Lewis . . . talked about two kinds of reading, the reading in which we use a book for our own purposes and the reading in which we receive the author's purposes. The first ensures only bad reading; the second opens the possibility to good reading." (p.30)

"If the culture does a thorough job on us - and it turns out to be mighty effective with most of us - we enter adulthood with the working assumption that whatever we need and want and feel forms the divine control center of our lives. The new Holy Trinity. The sovereign self expresses itself in Holy Needs, Holy Wants, and Holy Feelings. . . . The new Trinity doesn't get rid of God or the Bible, it merely puts them to the service of needs, wants, and feelings." (pp.32-33)

"God and his ways are not what most of us think. Most of what we are told about God and his ways by our friends on the street, or read about him in the papers, or view on television, or think up on our own, is simply wrong. Maybe not dead wrong, but wrong enough to mess up the way we live." (pp.34-35)

"When we submit our lives to what we read in Scripture, we find that we are not being led to see God in our stories but our stories in God's. God is the larger context and plot in which our stories find themselves." (p.44)

Source: Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading by Eugene Peterson.