What worship pleases God?

Hint: we’re offering more than a song.

For hundreds years now, many of us have read the New Testament letters for personal spiritual formation, to help us learn how do better as individuals. What if that was never the goal?

What if the NT letters were written primarily to teach us how to be better communities, how to live together as human beings on God’s earth? How would we see them differently if that was our goal?

Okay, let’s try this with a familiar favourite:

Continue reading “What worship pleases God?”

The Lord’s table: the Jewish background

Christians meet around the Lord’s Table. Some call it Eucharist (receiving the goodness of God’s grace). Some call it communion (communing with Jesus and his people). Why is it called the Lord’s Table?

The phrase occurs only once in the NT, and it’s worth the effort to understand:

Continue reading “The Lord’s table: the Jewish background”

The party God (Exodus 5:1-13)

The God of the Bible is not a hard task-master; he calls his people to celebrate.

Open Exodus 5:1-13.

Who is God? What’s he like? What authority does he have in a world where there’s so much injustice?

The God of the Bible turns out to be very different from what many imagine.

Continue reading “The party God (Exodus 5:1-13)”

Where did Jesus learn mercy? (Matthew 9:13)

Why did Jesus accept people when other leaders of his day wanted to cut them off?

Open Matthew 9:13.

One evening after work, a bunch of disreputable people were laughing and drinking shamelessly over their evening meal. It was exactly the kind of influence Israel didn’t need, so some Pharisees approached to name and shame them. Normally that would have broken up their unholy dinner party and send them slinking off into the darkness, but tonight one of these “disreputables” rises to his feet to defend his friends. It’s Jesus!

Continue reading “Where did Jesus learn mercy? (Matthew 9:13)”

When running is bad for your health (Genesis 31)

Run, or reconcile?

Jacob has a history of running instead of sorting things out. Remember how he ran from Esau? Well, it’s happening again. It tends to do that when you don’t resolve things. Continue reading “When running is bad for your health (Genesis 31)”

Jehovah Jireh (Genesis 22:13-24)

There’s a special name for the place where the Abrahamic people offered their first sacrifice to God. What is it, and what does it mean?

You’ve heard the songs celebrating God as Jehovah Jireh, my provider, the one gives me everything I need? Did you realize it’s not a name for God, but the name of a place? Continue reading “Jehovah Jireh (Genesis 22:13-24)”

Why did God test Abraham? (Genesis 22:10-12)

What was the point of testing Abraham? Why this specific test?

We’ve approached the testing of Abraham from a modern perspective (Why did Abraham plan to kill his son?) and from a Jewish perspective (The binding of Isaac). What about a kingdom perspective? Continue reading “Why did God test Abraham? (Genesis 22:10-12)”