Why Leadings?

Not to lead, but to be led            -- by the Holy Spirit.

See Leader, Servant, or Slave? in the section below, "Walking the Walk".

Jack in Denali National Park, 2012.

God's Wrath

Why was Sodom destroyed? Ezekiel tells us in chapter 16, verse 49: "This was the sin of your sister, Sodom: Pride, full-ness of bread, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

That's also why Jerusalem was destroyed.

And now, with greed as our national virtue, what hope is there for the United States of America? We are afflicted by imperialistic pride, obesity, and entertainment addiction, and we are all called to do our part to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

"Strengthen the hand" is the King James wording. Modern translations say "help the poor and needy." And there's a world of difference between the two. Helping the poor = as little as throwing some cash in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. That's charity. It's doing for, not doing with.

My Grandmother was right about charity. On a below-zero day, she went out on the back porch with a skillet to throw hot grease on the back-yard snow. She shivered as she re-entered the kitchen and said, "Wooooh, colder than charity."

Strengthening the hand is much different. We get personally involved with another person who needs help, and we work with her or him to get the needed help. That's risky. You're vulnerable. It takes prayer, time and patience. You need knowledge and wisdom from the LORD. There are great rewards, however. You get a brother or sister.

Strengthening the hand is great work for our churches -- which we ignore far more often than we perform. Why? Because we're afflicted with the Ameri-can curse of individualism. Christians are to be a tribe -- a tribe that takes care of each other. In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls us "the Israel of God" -- the new 13th tribe.

Jesus said, "The poor you shall always have with you." He didn't mean that as a curse -- the notion that the poor are an inevi-table nuisance and expense, to be hidden in the slums. Rather, He was saying, "You shall always be among the poor."

When you strengthen hands, you fulfill Deuteronomy 15:4-5: "However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God . . ." It's a glorious responsibility and promise.

And how do prosperous Americans fulfill that promise? Generally, by making sure they have no contact with people who are poor -- and we have been that way from our beginnings in the 17th century. Early villages in Massachusetts solved the problem by out-lawing poor people. Today, we deal with the same problem by confining the poor in urban reservations, our slums.

As the Supreme Court Bailiff says at the beginning of each session, "God save the United States of America..." 

Saturday
Feb092013

ISAAC AND ABRAHAM

Here is the first of my eight Bible Teens improv sketches. The eight sketches each have a teen in the lead role:

Isaac

Samson

Jeremiah

Esther

Mary (on the morning after the birth of Jesus)

The Boy Who Brought the Bread and Fish

Rhoda

Eutychus

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Here's the Bible improv sketch, Isaac and Abraham --

 

 

ISAAC  AND  ABRAHAM

Issue:   What if God’s command appears to conflict with His promises?

 

First Card:  The MC

ISAAC & ABRAHAM            Genesis 21-22            MC

In the 22nd chapter of Genesis, the LORD tells Abraham to put his son, Isaac, on an altar and sacrifice him to the LORD.  This couldn't have made sense to Abraham, because Isaac had been the child of promise, born to Sarah and Abraham when he was 100 and she was 90.  The LORD had promised that, through Isaac, Abraham's descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky.

But, Abraham obeyed.  He took his son up Mt. Moriah.  Abraham had a knife and carried burning coals in a pot. Isaac carried the wood.  Isaac reasonably asked, "Father, where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"  Abraham answered, "God will provide the lamb."

On top of the mountain, they piled rocks to make an altar and put wood on it.  Then, Abraham lassoed his son, tied him up, and put him on the altar.  Abraham raised his knife for the kill, but the LORD stopped the sacrifice of Isaac and supplied a ram instead.

Genesis doesn't tell us what Isaac and Abraham talked about after the sacrifice.  And that's what we discover as _________________________________ portrays Isaac and ________________________________ is Abraham.

* * * * * * * *

After the Sketch:   Isaac and Abraham are still in role.  What are your questions for them?

 

 

Second Card:  Isaac

ISAAC & ABRAHAM            Genesis 21-22            Isaac

After sacrificing the ram to God, you are a typhoon of emotions.  But you are also a dutiful son, so you begin by quietly asking:  "Father, have I been an obedient son?"  He replies, and you demand:  "Then why did you want to kill me?"  During the rest of the sketch, you have a torrent of questions – for example:

When you said, “The LORD will provide the lamb?” you meant me, didn’t you?

What were you thinking when you put me on the altar?

Do you always do what the LORD tells you?

Phoenicians sacrifice their children to their god, Molekh?  We don't.  When you heard god's voice, how did you know it was our God?

Then, was all this just a test?   If so, why didn't God warn me?

You’ve always told me the truth before.  How will I be able to trust you now?

How will I be able to trust our LORD now?  

[And any other questions which occur to you – from your reading of Genesis -- or in the heat of conversation with your father.]

If you want to end the sketch with humor, you have the curtain line. Just before going offstage, turn and say: "Wait til Ma hears about this!"

[Note:  Abraham leaves; you stay.  Why?  You too want to hear from the LORD.]

 

 

Third Card:  Abraham 

ISAAC & ABRAHAM            Genesis 21-22            Abraham

The LORD has commanded you to sacrifice Isaac.  This command made no sense, because Isaac was the child of promise.  The LORD gave Isaac to you and Sarah as a blessing in your old age.  Also, he told you, that through Isaac, your descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky.  (Genesis 15:5) 

So, you still don’t understand – you’re in major emotional turmoil – but you obey.  You took your Son up the mountain to sacrifice him to the LORD.  All the way up the mountain, you were telling the LORD.  “Take me, not him.”  The LORD didn’t answer.

On top of the mountain, you built an altar, put wood on it, and then you lassoed your son and put him on the altar.  You raised the knife – and at the last possible instant the LORD called to you,  "Abraham, don't lay a hand on the boy."  Instead of Isaac, you sacrificed a ram caught in the bushes.

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Now, after the sacrifice, Isaac has many questions.  Answer them.  See if you can persuade him that the LORD was teaching you both profound lessons this morning.

Your relationship with your son has been tragically damaged.  What can you do to repair the breach?

One possibility:  When you raised your knife to kill Isaac, you had three possibilities.  You can speculate with Isaac, which alternative you were going to choose.

 


Fourth Card:  Questions from the Audience

ISAAC & ABRAHAM            After the Sketch            Questions

In this sketch, what was Biblical?  What was made up?

Isaac, how was your relationship with your Father after your returned from Mt. Moriah?

 

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Note:  The printed questions are to be planted in the audience.  Why?  To get the audience warmed up.  

If the MC says to the audience, "Any questions?", the normal response is no response.  But if a couple of questions do come from audience members, then others can feel comfortable to ask about what has troubled, amused, or puzzled them.

And it's in that exchange between the audience and the actors that the Holy Spirit has great opportunity to work.

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Purpose of this blog is to compile a book for my grandchildren to read in 25 years.

Copyright © 2008, 2013 by Jack Towe

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