Old Testament

The Day of the Lord

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SUNDAY 10 DECEMBER 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

This talk is called kia whakatomuri te haere whakamua. It means that we walk backwards into our future with our eyes fixed on the past.

As we approach Christmas, it is not only important to tell the story of Jesus’s birth, but its also important to understand the story and context that Jesus was being born into.

Being able to hold Jesus’s birth and everything that Jesus says and does, with the narrative of the old testament in the back of our minds, helps us to remember that Jesus was Jewish and God has always had a dream for our world.

As last talk in our series about the old testament James summarises the entire Old testament to help us all to land Jesus’s birth in the ancient near east in the first century with 4000 years worth of stories, histories, proverbs, poems and prophecies about the relationship between God his people and his creation of which we are a central part.

There are tonnes of themes that run from the start to the end of the bible, temple, trinity, sin, law, salvation, kingdom, holiness, justice, the image of God and thats just to name a few... but in order to summarise the Old Testament, James picks up on a theme that has captured my imagination over the past 6 months which is The Day of the Lord.

The Old Testament and Advent

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SUNDAY 03 DECEMBER 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

We are in the season of Advent - Advent is the four-Sunday period before Christmas Day.  It marks the start of a new Christian Year and is traditionally used by the Western Church worldwide to reflect on the coming of Christ.  Advent - ‘to reach for’, ‘to long for’, ‘to come’ has to do with waiting and hopeful expectation. 

Waiting through Advent is far from passive.  Our waiting is a discipline.  An active preparation of our hearts and desires to celebrate the coming of God among people on earth.  Through Advent we take the opportunity to slow ourselves down, to take time to remember the incredible story of God coming to earth as a human, and reflect on our own response to that event.

Often at this time of the year we read the accounts of God, taking on flesh and arriving in our neighbourhood in the form of a baby - Jesus.  And I’d love for you to turn with me to Matthew  1:1-17 - the Genealogy, History, Story of the people who came before Jesus. 

We don’t see much information in this passage but the key thing to note here is this:  All of these people, all of these stories, all of these expressions of faith are crucial pieces in the arrival of Jesus - some of these people we have talked about over the last 6 months - some we haven’t, but the reality is that if we dug into any of these names we would find stories of faith, of hope and people we could learn from as we seek to become more like Jesus.  All of their stories find their fulfilment and purpose in Jesus. 

The unifying thread is that all of them lived lives of faith - some haphazardly, some consistently, some we recognise the faithfulness of God, some we recognise the brave steps of obedience - there is very little else that clumps them together - the one thing that does is faith...

This morning we unpack a familiar passage that links in here:  Hebrews 11 - “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good testimony”

Judges - Activists, Leaders & Liberators

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SUNDAY 26 NOVEMBER 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

Judges 2:7, 10-14
One generation is all it takes to lose the awareness and heart to follow God.

Ehud
Judges 3:12,15, 20-22,30
The hero is a left-handed man - in those days left handed ness was considered a disability...you might have something you or others who regard as a disability...they weren’t expecting it - God can use anyone, don’t write yourself off

Deborah & Jael
Judges 4:1-4, 6-7, 14-15,17-18, 21-22
Many of us don’t appreciate the change the early Church brought to societal structure- in Galatians the coming of Jesus all 3 societal structures turned upside down: slaves led churches, gentiles led Jews and women led in their gifting - gifting not ministry is what defines leadership in the NT culture of Church.

Gideon
Judges 6:1,12-16
Low self image - lowest tribe, and the weakest one of them.
32,000 down to 300 - it’s a picture of what God can do with a small group of committed people.

Samson
Judges 13:1-5,24, 14:1-3
Great weaknesses: weakness for beautiful women, wouldn’t take advice, hothead

Judges 15:9-15
Lone operator - did all the things a leader should not do

Judges 16:1-3
Phenomenal strength - that is the gift of God, morally he loses the plot...that became his undoing

Judges 16:4-6,17,21-23, 28-30
Sad story of what might of been, so much promise of what could be.
Amazingly gifted, great heart, but couldn’t control himself and missed out in the end
The key contrast between GIFT & FRUIT
The gift doesn’t say anything about the recipient- it says something about God
Jesus said, it’s not be your gifts you’ll be known, it’s your fruit...
Gifts given spontaneously/instantaneously by God but fruit takes years to grow and at the end of the day it’s the fruit that counts.

The love that will not let go

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SUNDAY 12 NOVEMBER 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

Continuing our series on the 'not so Sunday School version of the Old Testament', John Cadigan brings us a powerful word on agape through the story of Hosea.

Setting the Culture

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SUNDAY 05 NOVEMBER 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

One of my all time favourite Bible stories is found in Daniel 3 - and most of us will be very familiar with the Sunday School story.

My adult question is:  how did these three men stand up - to the point of death - against the prevailing ruler, culture and law?  AND... what is our equivalent today? How do we live in a culture and not be shaped by it, but rather shape it? 

As part of investigating that question - I’d like to show you a video clip that I think captures the one of the prevailing rulers, or culture and norm of our day...

The king was looking to change the culture of the people he had conquered and he did by intentionally going after their:  Language, Literature, Food, Names.  This is genius - modern day sociologists say:

“The observable aspects of culture such as food, clothing, celebrations, religion and language are part of a person’s cultural heritage...the shared values, customs and histories shape the way a person thinks, behaves and views the world.”

By intentionally going after the Literature, Language, Food & Names the king was seeking to completely swallow and rewrite any previous culture. We too live in a world that is seeking to do that to us - the prevailing culture we live in has a ruling power of consumerism, personal preference & pain avoidance

The powers of the age seeks to call us to worship, surrender and be owned by it all at the same time,  and spends trillions of dollars doing so!  So what can we learn & how can we resist?

Let's unpack three intentional practices - cuisine, connection and clan - that can be used to create a culture that empowers us to live in such a way that the world around us notices a difference - that sees the God in our midst - and has the opportunity to then change and join in! 

What is the space that most connects with you?

There is no Sunday School version of Leviticus

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SUNDAY 29 OCTOBER 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

Leviticus is a book about how Israel are going to be able to live with the presence of God at the centre of their community, but to do this there are lots of laws they need to live by.

To unpack this book and put it into context, James takes us through a a quick recap of the previous book Exodus, which ends with Moses not being able to enter the tent he has just completed. 

The first verse in Leviticus (1:1) says: The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him FROM the tent of meeting. but when we jump forward a book the first verse states: The Lord spoke to Moses IN the tent of meeting in the Desert of Sinaion" (Numbers 1:1)... so something about the book of Leviticus is trying to tell us how we should approach God so that our space and his space can overlap. As well as how we can live in such a way that we can be faithful to how he calls us to live and how we can be in this world but also set apart from it.

The book of Leviticus has a beautiful design and it breaks down into seven key parts:
1. Ritual sacrifice
2. Priest stuff
3. Clean and unclean (ritual purity)
4. Day of atonement
5. Clean and unclean (moral purity)
6. Qualifications for being a priest
7. Ritual festivals

The bible is not a book about us. It is a book about God and his mission of restoration for humanity.
It is not a book about how we get to heaven, it is a book about how God has been at work throughout history to bring heaven to earth.
God has wanted to live with his people since the beginning. Leviticus shows us that, and this is the story that Jesus steps into...

Esther & Mordecai, the story of Identity, Risk & Destiny

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SUNDAY 29 OCTOBER 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

The Sunday School version we are mostly presented with is Esther, the Brave Queen.
But when you read the book of Esther you find it’s not quite that simple. Mordecai and Esther are not perfect, blameless examples – they are living in a compromised system and they themselves are not perfect examples but living ones.

One of the curious facts in the book of Esther is that God’s name never appears – there isn’t a hand of God writing on a wall like in Daniel, there’s not a burning bush or a red sea parted like for Moses, there weren’t any obvious markers for Mordecai or Esther. God was at work – but it wasn’t clearly named or identified.

As I reread this book this week I see a story about a couple of people who at first hid their true identity and family background, who got involved in situations that broke Jewish law – who blended in until things got to a place where they couldn’t anymore. And then, even in their acting – it was in the sense of maybe this is the time and maybe this will be the way – I will choose to act even though I may perish.  I don’t think it was as black and white for them.  

Mordecai and Esther are people who lived in a system and time that is like ours.  Where God is not honoured.  Where the ways of the land and the leaders of it are not the ways of the Kingdom.  And where people who love God are not always accepted.  So, what can we learn from their story? 

The Rise and Fall of King David

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SUNDAY 15 OCTOBER 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

We know more about David than we know about any other character in the Old Testament, and Murray breaks down the whole story into six episodes:

  1. The boy wonder (1 Samuel 17:45-47)
  2. David and Jonathon (1 Samuel 18:1-4)
  3. David and Saul (1 Samuel 18:6-9, 26:7-11)
  4. Bathsheba and Uriah (1 Samuel 11:2-5, 14-15, 12:7-10)
  5. Absalom's rebellion (1 Samuel 14:25, 15:1-6, 13-14, 18:9-10)
  6. How not to finish well (1 Kings 1:1-4, 2:1-9)

Elijah

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SUNDAY 8 OCTOBER 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

I remember the story of Elijah from Sunday School, and as a kid you heard these amazing things that God did through Elijah. He's almost portrayed as a Christian Superman and unfortunately that's usually where the story ends. It's not made obvious that the central figure of the story isn't actually Elijah but God.

Through all the books of the Old Testament, the main purpose of all the stories, poems and historical narratives is to make God known. And because God can be known we are able to be in relationship with Him.

In our western culture of individualism knowledge is highly prized. Especially these days, if you want to know something you just Google it. But our relentless individualism can be a weakness. We are keen to pursue knowledge but sometimes we are too busy to pursue understanding, because understanding is often acquired through community. Together as a community we share our experiences and learning of God - it's not supposed to be an individual journey, we are supposed to be doing this faith walk together...

Here are Trevor's thoughts on his study into Elijah's story.

King Saul; Listener, Lover, Believer, Follower

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SUNDAY 01 OCTOBER 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

---

Liam takes us through the story of King Saul through the persepective of a word spoken by one of our Tamariki O Te Atua:

"A listener is a lover,
a lover is a believer,
and a believer is a follower"
- Grace, 8

What was Saul a listening too that he was a lover of, that he became a believer and therefore resulted in the way he acted. 

We start our journey in 1 Samuel, chapter 8.

Jonah, the hero that wasn't

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SUNDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

The story of Jonah is an upside down story...

It invites us into what is called non-dual thinking. Or more simply, to ask some questions about the ways that we have judged people.

See in the book of Jonah, the categories are all scrambled.
The “Righteous Israelite” is defiant and lazy and angry.
The “Evil heathens” are open to Gods message.

The upside down-ness doesn't stop there, at the end of the story Jonah goes to Nineveh, and he sees this miraculous change of heart, and he's so angry about it that he wants to die.

Wisdom Books: Part Two

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SUNDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 2017

Everything is Hevel

Often translated to English to 'meaningless' but that’s not quite the essence – the word in Hebrew HEVEL means Vapour or Smoke and there’s two parts to it:

  • Life is beautiful & Mysterious, Smoke looks solid – but it is impossible to grasp and like fog – when you are in the thick of it, it can at times be hard to see. 
  • Life is both: Temporary & Fleeting (like a wisp of smoke) as well as: an Enigma (a paradox – looks solid but when you try and hold on to it, it disappears)

Life is HEVEL

The book of Ecclesiastes challenges our false hopes – wealth, health, security, career, and calls us to put our hope in God – and for that hope to shape the way we live…this future hope fuels a life of integrity & honesty before God – despite the fact that we will remain puzzled by most of life’s mysterys.  And in the middle of the mystery we live with trust in God and hope for the future.

That’s the wisdom of the book of Ecclesiastes.

Wisdom Books: Part One

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SUNDAY 27 AUGUST 2017

I love movies - I’ve always loved the power of the story - that you see and understand the world differently through the journey - all stories basically go like this:

Act 1 - character & their current circumstance & a PLOT POINT - something happens to throw the character onto a new trajectory - somewhere they would never of gone under normal circumstances…out of their comfort zone you move into:

Act 2 - Conflict/Danger - where the hero faces loss and danger both internal and external and woven through it seems the hero is about to fail, suffering, pain, sacrifice…DARKNESS

Act 3 - Climax - unexpected twist or making of the character - where they overcomes obstacles - evil is defeated, the hero becomes a better stronger person & all tension is resolved… the world is set right.

Sometimes even as we read the book that describes this journey and informs it we don’t see how parts of it apply to us…And there have been many people who have gone before us in this story and there is wisdom we can learn by zooming out…

Here is a stunning video that talks about the big story we are in and where our part is…

So we are part of this story, and there are many who have gone before us and captured the complexities of living - that have wrestled with right and wrong, with choices and how to make them - there are three books found in the Old Testament that capture the questions that are in common for all humans:

What kind of world are we living in?
What does it look like to live well?
How can we wisely negotiate the realities of our fragile existence…

What kind of world are we living in and what does it look like to live well in this world?  What does the Bible say about living the good life?

One of the struggles we have in unpacking the Old Testament is that we don’t always understand the genre and make up of the books - we jump in or hold tightly to one bit without seeing the whole.  When we ask the question 'how do we live well?', the Old Testament answers that in three books and each one carries a different perspective -

As highlighted here, Wisdom is understood from all three books/perspectives - Our issue is that often we only hold one view and then we try and justify/make life fit our view.  But Biblical wisdom is multi-faceted and holding all three in tension is our challenge - let’s start with part one today...

Be Strong and Courageous

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SUNDAY 20 AUGUST 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

Meditation (hagah and siyach) means to roll a word, thought or phrase around in the mind, continually contemplating, pondering and dwelling upon it, viewing it from every angle, weighing it and considering it carefully.  Not just once, but over and over again - until you begin to talk to yourself about it, allowing it to infiltrate, permeate and saturate your thinking.

Scripture meditation, is the digestive system of the soul - it is the process by which we apply, absorb and internalise truth as a working principle into our daily lives.

Just as natural food is taken into our bodies and the digestive system absorbs it, that’s the same with the process of meditating on the Word of God – it’s the process by which spiritual food is absorbed into our spirits and transformed into spiritual faith and energy, making Biblical principles working realities in our daily lives.

The underlying secret to Joshua’s success was his continual process of meditating on the Word of God and the Word of God being the filter that determines action. His ability to be strong and courageous and to step into all that God called him to be, was constantly meditating on the Word of God - allowing it to shape his every thought, attitude and behaviour.  From strategy for setting up economies, households, businesses, families, for temptation, for battle - everything shaped by the Word of God.

Throughout the bible and history we see this it in the change makers, the Word of God was the shaper of their hearts, minds and behaviours.  So what does this look like for you? What is your practice of ingesting, and meditating looking like?  What’s your tangible step to increase this in your daily life?

Even in the mess, God is at work in this

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SUNDAY 13 AUGUST 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

There are lots of Sunday School versions of Ruth, but today we ignore all of those and look at the significance of ending the book with geology of Perez.

At first glance the book of Ruth is about a jaded mother-in-law convincing her daughter-in-law to leave her own mother and father and hook up with Boaz. But if you fly a little higher, you see that the book of Ruth is also about Gods commitment to Abraham and his family.

The Moabites and the Isralites are reunited in Boaz and Ruth. God is commited to the restoration of all things, but sometimes that is played out through a period of pain, suffering and injustice. 

A life without pain, suffering and injustice is not really what we find in the bible.  It's our culture that says that life should be fair, it is advertising that tells us that life should be easy, its social media that tells us that we should always be happy, its NCEA that says everyone should pass. Its our school system that tells us that a successful life is a good education, a good job and a nice house.

Jesus’s death on the cross is not just the gift of forgiveness for your sins, or an invitation into eternal life. Its also an invitation into the pattern of being a living sacrifice, to accept and understand that we are experiencing this period of life so God can use it and us in the future.

Jesus dying on the cross is not just something that he did for us… it is him demonstrating for us how he wants us to live. If we want to be like Jesus, we need to trust that God will ALWAYS bring something good out of pain and suffering.

The Midwives

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SUNDAY 06 AUGUST 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

Last week we spent time with Joseph – seeing in the story of his life that God had a dream – through pits, prisons and palaces God was faithful to work in and through Joseph to see the dream realised. We now move out of Genesis and into a significant shift…from the people God made promises too – Abraham, Isaac & Jacob – that they would be a great nation and through them the whole earth would be blessed.

And right at this critical pivot we find two unlikely people who God uses to deliver a nation... I don’t know about you – but I wonder if you jumped to Moses & Aaron? They are usually the next heroes in our usual Sunday school stories. But in this text there are two people who step in first to bridge the gap. We find inbetween the people who the promise of God was made too and the people who would see the promise first realised –  two women.

Two women who feared – held in awe/respect God and therefore obeyed God rather than humans.  And in doing so delivered a nation!This is there story...

Pits, Prisons & Palaces

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SUNDAY 30 JULY 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

God has a dream for each one of us - that dream is for us to represent God in our world. Each of us is entrusted with a piece of God’s Kingdom to bring to earth. This representation is multi-faceted and is defined by your wiring, gifting, personality, passions and life stage. This representation is vital - as only you can reach the people in your sphere and only you can create the ideas or products or atmosphere in your specific field.

We see in the life of Joseph some transferable principles for ensuring that we live out the dream God has for us. 

Joseph's dream revolved around him - he was young and arrogant and confident in his sense of how it would play out. God has a dream for each of us - a piece of His kingdom to be extended - in homes or workplaces or further afield. However, there is a way in which it gets extended - God places these dreams in the hearts of people and then he takes them on a journey of learning to trust and follow Him in order for them to be realised.

What we see in the next chapters & 20 years of Joseph’s story is the transferable principles to our world. We see PITS, PRISONS & PALACES.

Jacob the Deceiver

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SUNDAY 23 JULY 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

Murray breaks down the story of Jacobs life into six episodes of an interesting saga :

  1. The Birth (Genesis 25:19-26)
  2. The Birthright (Genesis 25:27-34)
  3. The Blessing (Genesis 26:34-27:4, 27:19-29, 36-41)
  4. The Dream (Genesis 28:1-5, 10-17)
  5. The Marriage (Genesis 29:16-27)
  6. The Encounter (Genesis 32:3-8, 22-31)

God had this great purpose for Jacob, he'd spoken to Rebekah about it... Jacob's great problem in life was that he was impatient, He wasn't prepared for God to work out His purpose in His way. Jacob was always grasping for something he didn't have.

Although God's promise was eventually fulfilled, the tragedy of Jacob's story is we will never know how the story would have gone if Jacob had the patience to trust God and wait for God to work his plan out in His way.

Jacob has to be humbled and broken. When he looks back on his life he describes it as short and troubling. it didn't need to be like that. God had this wonderful purpose for Jacob, but due to his impatience he couldn't wait for God to work out his purpose for him.

This can happen to anyone who is a believer. you can know that God got good things for you but so often people can't wait, not have the patience, to trust God to work things out in His way and His time. It's one thing to know God's purpose but it's another thing to trust his timing. But it's worth doing, because if you don't you end up like Jacob, trying to make things happen and it always goes wrong. Far better to trust God, so when you come to the end of your days you don't look back on your life as see them as few and difficult.

Technology and Tsaaq (זָעַק)

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SUNDAY 16 JULY 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

The Bible has a lot to say about technology. It can be so easy to skip over simple lines, without asking some questions. But a great question to ask is, why did the writer include that detail? Because that one sentence is actually alluding to a pretty profound new technology and a significant shift in society at that time...

We have tremendous power and ability as humans. We can invent things and build things and dream things up and then make them. Its extraordinary and it is to be celebrated and enjoyed!

However we also have tremendous capacity to use our energies and minds and power and abilities to further OUR OWN purposes through greed and empire building at the expense of those around us. We can use technology to make the world a better place, but we can also use technology to make the world worse. We can use the power that we have for good, to care for people like Jesus implores us to, or we can use our power in destructives ways that can dehumanise ourselves and others.

  • We can become slaves to our technology
  • We can develop a technology induced anxiety
  • We can forget our true identity
  • We can bring heaven to earth, or we can bring hell to earth

Listen to James as he unpacks the impacts of Technology in the Old Testament and in our lives today...

 

Legacy

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SUNDAY 09 JULY 2017

The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

Jesus loves you, likes you and is inviting you into an incredible adventure.

One of the great things about the Bible - particularly the Old Testament, is that it doesn’t sanitise or minimise that those incredible adventures are really mixed. The people within them - who are loved, liked and called on the adventure don’t get it right all the time - they lie, cheat, embezzle, commit adultery, worship idols, murder, circumstances don’t work out, steal, fall into temptation, wuss out when God speaks, get bored, depressed, discouraged, frustrated… and that’s after they have seen miracles, provision, visions, dreams, acted in the power of God.

How we remember that God loves us, likes us and has an adventure for us even in the middle of circumstances that look the opposite is so vitally important. How we position our heart is key. How we recognise and respond is vital in shifting frustration and battle.

Our legacy is formed by the steps we take in those moments - David could defeat Goliath because he learnt how to be overlooked in a field. Deborah could lead a nation cos she learnt that God’s point of view was more important than humans. Joseph could see his adventure to the end because he learnt how to negotiate the pit and the prison.

Frustration & Battle are places where our heart and character is revealed and opportunities to form within us the character that will carry the adventure.