Archive for February, 2012

Last week I started the post on Tuesday as Tuesday Faith Check (you can link to that post here).  In keeping with that idea, I have a question for you:  Where do you put your faith?

Here is what I mean by that question.  Often times, with good intentions, we begin to put our faith in the system and not in the person.  And this is not a new problem.  Case in point, my scripture reading this morning was from the Gospel of Mark.  As this story unfolds, Jesus has a run-in with a group of Pharisees and scribes who have a real problem with the disciples not washing their hands before a meal.  You can read the story here.

Now, on the surface, we might say that the Pharisees made a good point.  It is a good idea to wash your hands before you eat.  It’s just a sanitary thing to do.  But when you dig down to what was really going on in the story, the words the Pharisees were using were religious terms.  They were complaining that the disciples were eating with “defiled” hands and not paying attention to the “traditions” of the elders.

What was meant, many, many years before as a good thing – a common sense thing – washing your hands before a meal, had become a ritual.

There was an entire book written to interpret the Bible.  This book, the Midrash, was an attempt to explain the law and develop practical systems for keeping the law.

Again, not a bad idea to have some practical steps for keeping the law.  But what was meant as an aid, became the new “law.”  In the story from Mark, Jesus explained to the Pharisees that they had forgotten the law and had become focused on the tradition.  Over time, their faith had been moved from what God intended to what man had created.

So back to our question for today, Where do you put your faith?  Is it in Jesus and his teaching?  Or do you put your faith in the traditions we have created?  Is following Jesus about a set of rules?  Or is it about a relationship?

Now that you are thinking about this, I need your help.  I am planning on developing this thought into a sermon.  I would love some feedback from you that might just make it into the sermon.

Take a few minutes and respond to this question:

What are some ways today that we in the church have taken our focus off of what God intends and put our faith in the traditions we have created?

You can reply here or send me an email at bhill33@me.com.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Be blessed today!

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A Prayer for God to Move

Have you ever desired to see God move.  I mean, as good followers, we know that God is at work all around us.  We believe that God moves every day.

But do you ever want to see it – experience it?

I read about amazing spiritual renewals in our nation over 100 years ago and I think, “Why not today?  Why not now?  Why not here?”

Today, I am praying the prayer of Habakkuk – the Old Testament prophet:

LORD, I have heard of your fame; 
   I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD. 
Repeat them in our day, 
   in our time make them known; 
   in wrath remember mercy.

I know of God’s power and ability.  I have read of God’s mighty works.  I pray that we will see them in our time.

Will you join me in this prayer?

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Have you ever noticed that we have a real knack for making things more complicated than they need to be or than they really are?  Often we get so pulled into the frenzy of things that we can’t look at an issue from the big picture view.

William Wordsworth is one of my favorite Romantic Period poets.  He was a lover of nature and had the ability to pull back the veil of human understanding with his words.  As I sat and pondered the complex simplicity of life today, his words came ringing back to me from a poem he wrote entitled, The Tables Turned: An Evening On the Same Subject.  The last two stanzas say this:

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;

Our meddling intellect

Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things: – – 

We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art;

Close up those barren leaves;

Come forth, and bring with you a heart

That watches and receives.

Isn’t it true that we often ruin things when we try to over-analyze and make them more complicated.

We can try and interpret God’s grace.  We can strive to understand it.  We can debate it, research it, question it and even doubt it.  But the reality is that God extends it to us even though we don’t deserve it.  It is a free gift.

All we have to do is accept it!

Be blessed today!

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