We are on our summer schedule, gathering for worship on Sundays at 10:00am.

Reflections from Daily Reading, Feb 7th

Jesus gives us a very important lesson on how to read Old Testament prophecy in Matthew 11. Jesus is teaching about the importance of John the Baptist and his role as the forerunner to the Messiah. The prophet Malachi’s words are quoted by Jesus, “This is the one about whom it is written: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’”  Jesus goes a step further. Malachi had prophesied that God would send the prophet Elijah to Israel again. Jesus comments, “And if you are willing to accept it, he [John the Baptist] is the Elijah who was to come.” (Matt 11:14).  This is an important lesson because it shows that the New Testament determines for us how we ought to read the prophesies of the Old. Not always to be taken literally (John the Baptist wasn’t literally Elijah reborn, but an Elijah type figure), Scriptures prophesies are to be taken seriously!

Reflections from Daily Reading, Feb 6th

Psalm 25 is a beautiful prayer. As we’ve been thinking about prayer recently, part of this Psalm really jumped out to me. The psalmist writes, “For the sake of your name, LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.”  Asking for forgiveness is linked to God’s name, his glory. I think there are two things going on here. First, the sins of God’s people are a stain on God’s reputation. Asking for forgiveness is asking for this stain to be removed, washed clean. Second, when God forgives, he is praised as the merciful, graceful, clemency giving, sin forgiving God. Both aspects of this prayer appeal to God’s concern for his glory and desire to be glorified. This is an important element of godly prayer, understanding how our prayers and God’s answers serve to bring him praise and honor. DW

Reflections from Daily Reading, Feb 5th

Reading through the narrative of Scripture, it is easy to see that God progressively reveals himself to his people through the ages. Noah knows more of God than did Adam. Abraham knows more than did Noah. Moses knows more of God than did Abraham, Isaac or Jacob. God explicitly tells Moses this is the case in Exodus 6:2-3, ” God also said to Moses, “I am the LORD [Yhwh].  I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, l but by my name the LORD [Yhwh] I did not make myself fully known to them.”  This progressive revealing did not end with Moses either…it continues to us. We know more about God than Moses or David or any saint living before God’s ultimate revelation of himself in Jesus (Heb 1:1-3).  In addition, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit who illuminates previous revelations and guides us into all truth (John 14:24-26). What an amazing privilege! May God find us to be good and faithful stewards of what he has revealed to us. DW

Reflections from Daily Reading, Feb 1

Today I began my readings in the book of Exodus. The first chapter chronicles the growth of Joseph’s descendants in Egypt becoming a mighty people. The Hebrews were so numerous the Egyptians feared them and tried to control the population through hard service, slavery and even infanticide. Yet, God’s people grew – “The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread abroad.” This passage brings to mind the oft quoted words of the early church father Tertullian, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” Mistreatment, persecution, and suffering are never pleasant – they certainly were not for the Hebrews or the early church. But, God seems to work through them more than prosperity, ease and comfort. Even in, or maybe especially through trials, God accomplish his purposes, advance his kingdom, and builds his church. DW

Reflection from Daily Reading, Jan 31

A couple of days ago I read the conclusion to Joseph’s story (Genesis 50). After the passing of their father, Joseph’s brothers fear he make repay them for the evil they had done to him by selling him into slavery decades prior. It is and understandable fear. But Joseph’s perspective is different. He reassures them, saying, “Am I in the place of God.” In other words, “God is the one who will judge and hold you accountable for how you’ve wronged me; not me.” That’s a hard perspective to adopt, but a critical one. We’re taught repeatedly that we need to stand up for ourselves, fight for our rights. We, in the quietude of our thoughts, are often planning our revenge, rehearsing what we’ll say and do to those who’ve wronged us. But, Joseph’s attitude freed him from this, allowed him to move on without bitterness and enabled him to forgive his brothers. How freeing to rely on the ultimate, perfect judgment and justice of God! DW

Reflection from Daily Reading, Jan 25th

Today I read Genesis 49 and was reminded how NOT to seek the will of God. When I was in high school, I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go with my life other than NOT ministry. I went back to my room on a Sunday morning after hearing a convicting sermon about seeking God’s will. I prayed that God would show me what to do with my life, opened my Bible, plopped my finger down on Gen 49:16 – “Dan shall judge his people.” I went off to college a few months later determined to go to law school and become a judge (hence my Political Science degree). I’m very glad it didn’t fall open to the story of Daniel and the Lions Den – I may have gone off to join the circus and become a lion tamer. Not the way to do it!!! DW

Reflection from Daily Reading, Jan 23rd

In my daily reading I am finishing up the book of Genesis, which means a lot about the story of Joseph. Consider how Joseph serves to foreshadow Christ for us. Joseph is the most beloved son of Jacob (Gen 37:3), as Jesus is God’s son, whom he loves (Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11, et al).  Joseph’s brothers, his own flesh and blood, betrayed him (Gen 37:19-28), as did Jesus’ own people (John 1:11).  Jacob is deeply grieved and tears his robes when Joseph is presumed to be dead (Gen 37:34); God the Father rends the temple curtain, turns day to night, and shakes the earth when Jesus dies (Matt 27:52, Luke 23:45). Yet, Joseph and Jesus forgave those who betrayed and did evil against them (Gen 45, Luke 23:34, John 21:15ff). And, in both cases, while the deed was carried out according the wicked intentions of man, it served God’s purposes to bring/save life (Gen 45:5-7, Gen 50:19-21 and Acts 2:23, Acts 4:27-28).  Millenniums before Jesus stepped foot on the earth, God was preparing his people to understand the salvific miracle of Jesus, his Son, given for us! DW

Reflections from Daily Reading, Jan 18th

I love the realism of Scripture. I’m currently reading through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6 and read today the wonderfully convicting section about worry. In the midst of theses great reminders that God knows what we need and is committed to meeting our needs is this sentence, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Not, “there will be no trouble tomorrow,” but instead, “don’t let tomorrows troubles worry you today.”  We aren’t promised a trouble free life, but a God who is bigger and more compassionate than we can imagine. DW

Reflection from Daily Reading, Jan 16th

Reading earlier (and trying to catch up a bit) I read the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26ff).  The eunuch was reading from a scroll of Isaiah when Philip,  having been guided by an angel, crossed his path. Philip asks the Ethiopian if he understands what he is reading and the eunuch replies, “How can I, unless someone guides me?”  That is true of each of us. We can understand the words, the grammar, even the meaning to a degree. But, apart from the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit, we will not truly understand the import, the deeper meaning, and the implications for our life and relationship with God. So, we ought to be reading prayerfully, asking the Spirit to be our guide into all truth. DW

Reflection from Daily Reading, Jan 13th

Yesterday I read the familiar story of Jacob tricking his father Isaac into giving him the blessing that, by all rights, belonged to his elder brother Esau. Esau was, obviously, a bit angry. Genesis 27:41-42 says, “He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” 42 When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob.” Here’s what struck me for the first time: Esau ‘said to himself’ sound like he was carrying on an internal conversation with himself (don’t judge, we all do it). The next verse tells us ‘Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said.’  If it was an internal conversation, who overheard it and warned Rebekah?  I believe it was the Lord or an angel of the Lord.  The line of promise ran through Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob (Gen 25:23).  Jacob’s scandalous behavior doesn’t negate God’s promise nor God’s protection. That’s good news for all of us! DW