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..." 

Wednesday
Jan042012

REACTING TO THE RESURRECTION

On Easter Sunday morning, our churches are all joy, joy, joy. But, for Simon Peter, it was probably a time of gloom. We see what may have happened in this Bible improv sketch about Mary Magdalene and Peter.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Could Mary Magdalene have had conversational prayer with the risen Jesus before He ascended into heaven? I don’t know.  Many believers have been able to converse with Him since his ascension, but before? We have no way of knowing. But, that makes little difference. Either she is talking with Jesus or is being led by the Holy Spirit.

In writing Mary Magdalene and Peter, I had to wrestle with the differing details among the four Gospels. At the Easter Sunday service with my family, the Gospel was Matthew 28:1-10. I discovered that Matthew’s version differs significantly from John 20. I sweated over that problem for two days and discovered not to dwell on the details, but focus on the main point – that Mary Magdalene had seen Jesus, alive and in the flesh, He had returned from death.

A further problem: Many Christians -- apparently about a third -- find my Bible improv sketches objectionable. And for good reason – the objectors venerate the Bible and do not want to have words put in the mouths of people in Scripture. They want their Bible stories straight. I respect their views. They love Bible stories as they are. So they should avoid Bible improv.

What can I say in defense of Bible improv sketches?  Five claims --

1.  From church experience, we tend to see Bible characters as plaster saints, so we appreciate the Bible more if we experience the characters as living people with real problems, real emotions.

2.  The improv actors get to know the relevant Bible passages thoroughly. This is especially valuable if some are not believers.

3.  Some Bible improv sketches are funny, some tragic, but they usually have one character who is God infused, the other is a 21st century skeptic. Unbelievers easily identify with the sceptic – and thus hear the Gospel message in a new and different way.

4.  The United States has a massive epidemic of Biblical illiteracy, which includes many church members. When people watch Bible improv sketches, they learn Bible stories – and enjoy them.

5.  Our purpose in doing the sketches is to introduce people to Jesus -- so they get to know Him personally as lover, savior and LORD -- as well as prodding their curiosity so they become dedicated Bible readers.

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

Copyright © 2011 by Jack Towe

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