Thursday, January 22, 2009

Presidential Do Over

Like many Americans and perhaps a lot of people around the world I tuned into the Inauguration Tuesday to watch Barack Obama become the 44th President of the United States. It was with some amusement that I watched the first presidential blunder of our new president when Chief Justice Roberts misspoke the oath of office and President Obama stopped midsentence and stumbled over his lines.

After flubbing the oath of office for the President of the United States President Obama and Chief Justice Roberts repeated the oath a second time in front of a few reporters the next day (not because it was necessary but do to an overriding “abundance of caution” by White House counsel. History indicates that this is not the first time that a President has had to have a do over of the oath of office because of flubbing their lines, Calvin Coolidge and Chester A. Arthur both were given “do overs.”

While some people might find the concepts of “do overs” wrong, the Bible is full of “do overs” Abraham had a habit of lying about his relationship with his wife and yet God allowed him back into fellowship. David certainly was allowed a do over when his relationship was restored after committing adultery and murder.

Peter was allowed a do over after denying Christ three times he confessed his love and loyalty to Christ three times after the resurrection. In fact if you read 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to purify us from all unrighteousness.

While there are always consequences for our action (just ask a farmer what happens if he gets his seeds mixed up when he plants) it seems that humans are much less forgiving then God is. We don’t care to give mulligans unless it’s involves our own failures. Yet Paul has to remind us that we were all sinners but God gave us a do over when we became followers of Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

I’m sure glad that we serve a God of “Do Overs!”

Aren’t you?

Pastor Val

Saturday, January 3, 2009

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like … The First Century

It seems that the more of the 21st Century that we experience the more it seems that we are living in the past. Bob Webber author of the ancient-future series used to say that the future is found by traveling through the past. He encouraged his student and readers to recognize that today the western Christianity faces many of the same obstacles that believers did during the first three centuries. The plurality of religions and the duality that has crept into Christianity all point to similar circumstances with the early Christians.

Now to start the New Year comes yet another similarity with the first century. Hamas has legalized crucifixion for enemies of Islam. For centuries this form of execution that been called the most brutal of all capital punishments was outlawed. But that no longer is the case.

This announcement was reported in the Jerusalem Post. You can read the entire article at

“On Tuesday, Hamas legislators marked the Christmas season by passing a Shari'a criminal code for the Palestinian Authority. Among other things, it legalizes crucifixion.

Hamas's endorsement of nailing enemies of Islam to crosses came at the same time it renewed its jihad. Here, too, Hamas wanted to make sure that Christians didn't feel neglected as its fighters launched missiles at Jewish day care centers and schools. So on Wednesday, Hamas lobbed a mortar shell at the Erez crossing point into Israel just as a group of Gazan Christians were standing on line waiting to travel to Bethlehem for Christmas.”

Isn’t interesting, we have not heard any news reports outside of the Middle East about the reinstitution of this punishment. I wonder when the first sanctioned crucifixion will be carried out. Will the Western News outlets carry it? It makes you feel like we are slipping back in time as we travel into the future.

Jesus said that in this world we would know persecution and if they hated our master why would we expect to be treated any better?

Enjoy the New Year but never forget that our job is to live out our King’s command to spread his message of shalom to a world that hates our King and fights against the shalom that he offers to all who follow Him

Happy New Year may His shalom live in your heart throughout this coming year!

Grace to you

Pastor Val