Thoughts from Pastor Derek...
The Deuteronomy Sermon Series
The Video below is from a group called The Bible Project. It does a good job of explaining the themes and structure of the book of Deuteronomy.
Thoughts from Sunday September 29th
The Bible has a lot to say about the topic of communion or The Lord’s Supper. This is a special meal in which we remember and celebrate Jesus sacrifice for us. We can see this clearly in the book of I Corinthians. In a passage about communion, Paul says:
“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenantin my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
One of the things that stands out to me about this passage is the last line. Paul says that when we eat the bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Communion is an act of proclamation. It is proclaiming that we are God’s people and that anyone who trusts in what is represented by communion, Christ’s death and resurrection shall be saved.
This Sunday, October 6th, we will be celebrating communion together. This Sunday is world communion Sunday. This Sunday, believers around the world will be celebrating communion on the same day. All of us, together, testify to the hope that we have in Jesus. I invite you to come and celebrate communion with us this Sunday.
Scriptures for next week: Deuteronomy 26:16 — 27:8
Thoughts from September 22nd
I Peter 5:7 encourages us to, “Cast all your cares upon God because He cares for you.” This coming Sunday, Sept 29th, we are going to have a special opportunity to do just that. We are going to have a time of prayer as a part of our weekly worship service. We will have the opportunity to come forward and lay our burdens down before God and trust Him to care for us. I would like to invite everyone to come to this special service as we cast our cares upon God.
Scriptures for next Sunday: Deuteronomy 7:7-9, Deuteronomy 24:17-22 and I Peter 5:7
Thoughts from September 15th
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
This past Sunday, we talked about the need to recognize the incredible value of a relationship with Jesus. In Matthew, chapter 13, Jesus is speaking with the crowds about what the kingdom of heaven is like. He talks about recognizing its great worth. One of the things that stands out to me about these two short parables is the incredible joy that Jesus describes. Jesus says that knowing God should produce incredible joy in our hearts, joy beyond understanding.
Scriptures for next Sunday: Deuteronomy 20:1-9, Judges 7:1-8 and I Corinthians 15:1-6, 50-58
Thoughts From September 8th
I recently had the opportunity to spend time with my wife’s family. While we were together, her family got out old family photo albums. As they looked at pictures of their family over the years, I couldn’t help but notice how much my wife’s brothers looked like their father. I also noticed how much my wife looked like her mother. It was clear looking at the photos that my wife and her siblings were members of the Henry family.
In Deuteronomy 14, Moses reminds the people of Israel that they belong to God’s family. Moses begins by reminding the people of their family identity. He says —
“You are the children of the Lord your God. You are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession.”
In I Peter 2, Peter echoes Moses’ language when he reminds us of the identity that we have through faith in Christ. Peter says —
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
Scriptures for next Sunday: Deuteronomy 14:28 - 15:11 and Matt 26:6-13
Thoughts from Sunday September 1st
The book of Deuteronomy can be divided into three main sections.
People sometimes get bogged down in the center section of the book. Chapters 12 - 26 are the section which contain the majority of the specific laws and commands of God. They do not contain as many stories or narrative sections. This section can be harder to understand, but it helps if we realize the purpose of this section. One way of looking at the center section of Deuteronomy is seeing it as an exposition of the Ten Commandments. Chapters 1 through 4 provide historical background that leads up to the giving of the Ten Commandments in chapter 5. The rest of the book until the end of chapter 26 elaborates on the meaning and implication of the Ten Commandments. In this way of understanding, the center of the book of Deuteronomy would break down as follows.
Commandment one: Deuteronomy chapters 6-11
Commandment two: Deuteronomy 12
Commandment three: Deuteronomy 13:1-14:21
Commandment four: Deuteronomy 14:22 - 16:17
Commandment five: Deuteronomy 16:18 - 18:22
Commandment six: Deuteronomy 19:1 - 21:23
Commandment seven: Deuteronomy 22:1 - 23:14
Commandment eight: Deuteronomy 23:15 - 24:7
Commandment nine: Deuteronomy 24:8 - 24:16
Commandment ten: Deuteronomy 24:17 - 26:19
The third section, Deuteronomy chapters 27 to 34 contain Moses’ final exhortation for the people to follow God’s law and the account of Moses’ death. At it’s heart, the entire book of Deuteronomy is a sermon to God’s people encouraging them to follow God’s ways.
Scriptures for Sunday: Deuteronomy 14:1-21 and Mark 7:1-23
Thoughts From Sunday August 25th
“Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.”
I would like to thank everyone for the stories that they shared this past Sunday during our testimony Sunday. I was very encouraged by hearing all of you share about what God has done and how you have seen him at work in your lives. Many people also came up to me after the service and told me how much they had been encouraged by what people had shared. So, thank you to everyone who shared and I want to encourage you to continue sharing these stories with one another so that we might remember God’s love for us and be encouraged by the ways that he is at work!
Scripture for next Sunday: Deuteronomy 11
Thoughts for Sunday August 25th
In Deuteronomy chapter 10, Moses tells the people of Israel, “Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.” This coming Sunday, August 25th, we are going to have a testimony Sunday in order to share about how we have seen those “great and awesome wonders” in our own lives. Please be thinking about stories and examples that you could share about ways that you have seen God at work in your life.
Scripture reading: Deuteronomy 10
Thoughts from Sunday July 28th
The Bible has a great deal to say about how we treat foreigners. Here are just a few of the verses from the book of Deuteronomy about this topic:
Deuteronomy 1:16 “I charged your judges at that time, “Hear the disputes between your people and judge fairly, whether the case is between two Israelites or between an Israelite and an immigrant residing among you.”
Deuteronomy 10:18-19 “God defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the immigrant residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are immigrants, for you yourselves were immigrants in Egypt.”
Deuteronomy 27:19 “Say to all the people, ‘Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from an immigrant, the fatherless or the widow.’ Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
Two excellent books that I would recommend for further reading on this topic are:
1) Welcoming the Stranger by Matthew Sorens
2) Seeking Refuge by Stephan Bauman
If you would like to examine more of what the Bible has to say about this topic, download the document below to review a list of scriptures put together by a group called The Evangelical Immigration Table:
Thoughts from Sunday July 21st
The fear of the Lord is something that is talked about many times throughout the Bible. When the scriptures command us to fear the Lord, they also attest to the many benefits of fearing the Lord. We can see some of the many benefits that fearing the Lord can bring in verses such as these:
Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Deuteronomy 5:29 “Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever.
Deuteronomy 6:1-2 “These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.”
Deuteronomy 6:24 “The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today.”
Thoughts from Sunday July 14th
This past Sunday we looked at Deuteronomy 10:1-11. In this passage, God commands Moses to make a second set of stone tablets after he had broken the first ones. We saw that this is an example of God offering his people second chances because of his grace.
Below is one of our families’ favorite videos about the God of second chances. It is a scene from Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie.
Click Here for Movie
Scriptures for next week:
Deuteronomy 10:12-15 and Micah 6:6-8
Thoughts from Sunday July 7th
This past Sunday, we talked about wrestling with God. We said that it is ok and can even lead to blessing when we allow ourselves to wrestle honestly with God. We looked at the examples of Moses in Deuteronomy 9:25-29 and Jacob in Genesis 32 who wrestled with God. When we wrestle with God, we need to keep in mind that God knows the things that we face and that he promises to answer us. We can see this in Hebrews 4:14-16:
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Scriptures for next week: Deuteronomy 10:1-11, Philippians 1:3-6 and the book of Jonah
Thoughts from Sunday June 30th
This week we looked at the story of the golden calf which is found in Exodus 32 and Deuteronomy chapter 9. The story of the golden calf shows us an example of people forgetting about God’s grace. We can see this in the first verse of the story in Exodus, “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.” They forgot what God had done for them. In this story, we are reminded of our own sinfulness and that God’s grace is always greater.
When Nehemiah mentions the story of the golden calf, he draws from it the lesson that God’s grace is greater than all our sin:
“But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies. “Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst.” Nehemiah 9:16-20.
Scriptures for next week:
Deuteronomy 9:25-29 and Genesis 32:22-32
Thoughts from Sunday June 23rd
This past Sunday, we talked about how God’s blessings are not because we earn them or because we deserve them. God blesses us because he loves us. We saw this clearly in our passage of scripture from Ephesians 2:8-10:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
When Paul says, “We are God’s handiwork”, he uses an interesting Greek word. He says that we are God’s “poema”. This is the word from which we get our English word “poem”. Paul literally says that we are God’s poem and that God is writing his poetry through our lives. This beautiful image shows us what it means to live by faith. We are the poem that God is writing and through that poem God shows his love and grace to the world.
Thoughts from June 16th
This past Sunday was Father’s Day, and it provides an opportunity for us to be reminded of the love and care of our perfect Heavenly Father. Matthew chapter 6 has a great deal to say about our Heavenly Father. In fact, I would encourage you to read the entire chapter. Over and over throughout this chapter, we are reminded that our Heavenly Father knows what we need even before we ask him. We can trust that He knows our needs and that he will provide for us. It is interesting that it is in this context that we find the Lord’s prayer in Matthew’s gospel and the Lord’s prayer is addressed to “Our Father”. Look carefully at the words of the Lord’s prayer as they are recorded in Matthew chapter 6 and notice how the entire prayer is based on knowing that God is our loving Heavenly Father:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
Scriptures for Next Week: Deuteronomy 8:11 - 9:6 and Ephesians 2:1-10
Thoughts from June 9th
Yesterday in worship, we talked about the story of Pentecost which we find in Acts chapter 2. We focused on how Pentecost occurred during the feast of first fruits, which reminds us that we can trust God with an uncertain future. Another aspect of Pentecost, which we did not focus on yesterday, is how the Holy Spirit of God brings people together. When we read the story of Pentecost in Acts 2, we find the names of places that were scattered all over the Roman world. All of these people were in Jerusalem for the feast and when the Holy Spirit fell, it enabled the disciples to speak in languages they had never studied so that all those gathered could hear the gospel proclaimed in their own language. The Holy Spirit brought people from many different nations, languages, cultures and backgrounds together in the unity of the gospel of Jesus as brothers and sisters. This points us forward to John’s great vision of heaven that we find in the book of Revelation chapter 7, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throneand before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
Scriptures for next week: Deuteronomy 8:1-10, Matthew 4:1-11 and Matthew 6:25-34
Thoughts From June 1st
This past Sunday, we talked about Deuteronomy 31:8 in which God says, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” This is a promise that we can count on. God is always with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. In fact, the gospel of Matthew starts and ends with the promise that God is with us. When we read about the birth of the baby Jesus in the gospel of Matthew, we are told that, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”). The gospel starts by telling us that God is with us. The gospel ends by assuring us that God will always continue to be with us. The final words of Matthew’s gospel are, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” God is with us and he always will be.
Scriptures for next week: Acts chapter 2
Thoughts From May 19th
This past Sunday, we looked at I Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” The scriptures talk repeatedly about how our God brings things and people out of the darkness and into the light. 2 Samuel 22:29 affirms, “You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.” Scripture tells us that this is why Jesus comes into the world. In Jesus’ first sermon in the gospel of Matthew, he quotes Isaiah chapter 9 and says, “The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Also, Jesus says in John chapter 8 that, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.” Scripture tells us that Jesus came into the world to bring us from darkness into light, and it also affirms that through faith in Christ, this is exactly what God does in our hearts and lives. In 2 Corinthians 4:6, Paul refers to the story of creation in Genesis when he says, “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” Our God brings things out of the darkness and into the light.
Scriptures for next week:
Deuteronomy 7:12-16 and Rev 21:1-5
Thoughts From May 12th
Please watch this video as a follow up to our sermon this Sunday:
Thoughts From Sunday May 5th
Yesterday in worship, we had a service of prayer for healing. The Bible talks a great deal about healing, but I want to remind us of just two verses that speak of God’s incredible power to heal. Isaiah, in a prophetic passage about Jesus says
“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Notice that the end of Isaiah’s prophecy shows that the gospel includes both forgiveness of sin and healing. Also, in the book of James, we are encouraged to pray in all circumstances trusting that God knows our hearts and that he hears our prayers. We can trust that God answers our prayers simply because he loves us and not because we have earned what we ask for. James tells us to pray specifically for healing. James says
“s anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”
Scripture Reading for this week: Deuteronomy 6
Thoughts From Sunday April 28th
Over the past several weeks, I have spoken with several people who are experiencing difficult health problems. As I have spoken with them, two verses from Isaiah 53:4-5 keep coming to my mind. In a passage that is a prophecy about Jesus’ death and resurrection, Isaiah says,
“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
On Easter, we celebrate that death has been defeated and that through faith we are forgiven of our sins. However, this is not the only thing that is accomplished through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Isaiah specifically says that by his stripes we are healed. Isaiah talks about healing. This coming Sunday May 5, we are going to have a time of prayer during our worship service. We are going to pray specifically that God would grant us healing. I encourage everyone to come and join us during worship this coming Sunday as we pray for healing.
Scriptures readings for this week
Thoughts From Sunday April 21st
“Happy Easter! We pray for God’s blessings on you and your family as we celebrate and live in the new life offered to us through faith in Jesus’ resurrection from the grave!
Scripture readings for next week:
Deuteronomy chapter 6 and Luke 12:1-35”
Thoughts from Sunday April 14th
Over the last several weeks, we have been looking at the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy and the richness which they hold for the living of our everyday lives. This week on Maundy Thursday, we celebrate and remember the last supper which Jesus shared with his disciples before he went to the cross. At that last supper, Jesus gives his disciples his command that they love one another and that command comes from a scripture in Deuteronomy. In fact, it comes from a scripture right after the Ten Commandments. Please come and join us on Maundy Thursday as we finish our look at the Ten Commandments in the book of Deuteronomy. Our service times for Holy Week are listed below:
Maundy Thursday — Thursday, April 18th at 7pm.
Good Friday — Friday, April 19th at 7pm.
Easter Sunrise — Sunday, April 21st at 8am.
Easter — Sunday, April 21st at 11am.
Readings for this week:
Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Mark 12:28-31, John 13:34-35 and John 15:13
Thoughts from Sunday April 7th
We are approaching one of the most special times in the life of the church. This Sunday is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week when we remember and celebrate the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. We remember his last supper with his disciples on Maundy Thursday, his crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. I would like to encourage you to join us for our Holy Week services. Service times are listed below. We look forward to worshipping with you:
Palm Sunday — Sunday, April 14th at 11am.
Maundy Thursday — Thursday, April 18th at 7pm.
Good Friday — Friday, April 19th at 7pm.
Easter Sunrise — Sunday, April 21st at 8am.
Easter — Sunday, April 21st at 11am.
Readings for this week:
Deuteronomy 5:23 — 6:3
Thoughts from Sunday March 31st
This past Sunday, we looked at the fourth commandment, the commandment to keep the Sabbath. We said that this commandment, found in Deuteronomy chapter 5, is a reminder of the freedom that we have through faith in Christ. One way that we can see this is that God bases his command for his people to keep the sabbath in the fact that he has set them free from slavery in the land of Egypt. Whereas they could never stop when they were slaves, God commands his people to stop and celebrate the sabbath as a reminder of the freedom which he has given them.
We saw the sabbath as an example and reminder of freedom once again in our story from the book of Luke 13:10-17. In this story, Jesus sets a crippled woman free from her sickness and declares that the sabbath is the perfect time to proclaim freedom. Currently, our church has a wonderful opportunity to help others, both in the USA and around the world, receive tangible freedom. We are collecting for the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, which helps to fund the relief and disaster recovery work of the Presbyterian Church. As people, like the woman in Luke 13, receive tangible freedom from the things that have kept them bound, our hope and prayer is that they would also receive the far greater freedom from sin and death which our God offers through faith in Jesus Christ.
The video below shows some of the ways that the One Great Hour of Sharing offering brings physical freedom to those in need around the world:
Scriptures for next week:
Thoughts from Sunday March 24th
This past Sunday, Tanner shared with us in worship the essay that he had written for the DARE program at his school. After he shared, Dr. Mike Mahoney came and shared with us about the issue of addiction and what we can do if we know someone who is affected by addiction. Dr. Mahoney provided some resources that are listed below:
Al-anon(For family/friends of alcoholics):
Nar-anon(For family/friends of drug addicts):
Local Treatment Centers:
Gateway Rehabilitation Center
Greenbriar Treatment Center
Pyramid Health Care
Thoughts from Sunday March 17th
Over the next several weeks of Lent, we are going to be looking at the Ten Commandments found in Deuteronomy chapter 5. Often, when we think of the Ten Commandments, we think of a list of do’s and don’ts. We think of a list of rules that we have to keep. The focus can be on our actions and on our behavior. But, this is not how the Ten Commandments are presented in Deuteronomy. Look at the verses immediately before the Ten Commandments. Deuteronomy 5:1-6 says,
"Moses summoned all Israel and said:
Hear, Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. It was not with our ancestors that the Lord made this covenant, but with us, with all of us who are alive here today. The Lord spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain. (At that time I stood between the Lord and you to declare to you the word of the Lord, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And he said: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
Notice that even before the Ten Commandments are given, we are reminded that God has provided a way for us to have a relationship with him. Before the Ten Commandments are given, we are reminded of God’s saving acts on our behalf when God says, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” The Ten Commandments are about our Gospel God who comes to save us from our sin and draw us to himself.
Readings for next week:
Deuteronomy 5:1-22 and Exodus 20:1-21
Thoughts from Sunday March 10th
This week, as I was reflecting on the words of Deuteronomy, I looked the window of my office and saw the hill behind the church. This is just a small hill, but it made me think of larger hills and of the mountains that we find throughout our country. In Deuteronomy, Moses talks about how God met with his people at a mountain. He met with them at Mount Sinai. This language is picked up in Hebrews chapter 12, where the author of Hebrews compares the hope that we have in and through Jesus Christ to a mountain. He said that our hope is as unshakable as a mountain.
It says, “You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Let us live in that unshakable hope.
Scriptures for next week:
Thoughts from Sun, March 3rd
This past Sunday, we talked again about Deuteronomy chapters 2 and 3. We talked about how Deuteronomy tells the grand and epic tale of God leading his people through the wilderness and into the promised land. It is a story about the forces of good conquering over the forces of darkness. It is a story about those who trust in God conquering over the things that stand opposed to him. I mentioned that we can live in hope because we know the end of the story. This is the sure and certain hope that we can have through faith in Jesus Christ.
This hope is shown very clearly in the next to last chapter of the Bible. In Rev. 21, we read about John’s vision of heaven. He tells us that, “I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Scriptures for next week:
Deuteronomy 4: 15-49 and Deuteronomy 5:1-6
Thoughts from Sun, Feb 24th
Yesterday, we talked about how we approach passages of violence in scripture. I tried to lay out several approaches that can be useful in thinking about this issue. What I said is by no means exhaustive and I know that this can be a confusing topic. If you have questions about this topic or would like to discuss it with me further, please stop by the church office. I would be happy to talk with anyone about this.
Please read these scriptures for next week:
Deuteronomy 4 and Hebrews 12: 18-29
Thoughts from Sunday February 17th
Yesterday in worship, we talked about the second half of Deuteronomy chapter 1. This passage recounts the story of the Israelites coming to the border of the promised land after they are delivered from slavery in Egypt. When the spies go into the land, they find a cluster of grapes so large that it takes two of them to carry it back (see Numbers 14:23). This incredible fruit was meant to serve as a testimony to the Israelites of God’s blessing to them. I mentioned a movie called Transformations that documents God’s incredible blessing on his people today. The town of Almologna in Guatemala experienced incredible crops after a revival of belief in Christ. Here is the picture of the giant head of lettuce I mentioned yesterday in my sermon:
If you would lIke to watch the entire Transformations documentary, here is a link to it on YouTube. Please be aware that this documentary deals with God conquering many evil forces. Because of this, it mentions drugs, witchcraft, alcoholism, gangs, prostitution and discusses a pastor being martyred.
Please read these scriptures for next week:
Deuteronomy chapters 2 and 3
Exodus chapters 7 through 11
When you read Exodus 7 through 11, watch for the phrase “that they may know the Lord” or similar phrases like “that they may know that I am the Lord”. This is a big theme in these chapters. See how many times you can spot a phrase like this.
Thoughts from Sunday February 10th
Yesterday in church, we talked about Deuteronomy 1:5-18 which reminds us that we, like the people of Israel in Deuteronomy, are children of the promise. Through faith in Christ, we are heirs of the promises of God. But, what are these promises? Well, the scripture tells us many things about the identity that we have through faith in Jesus Christ. The following is a list that is taken from a book called “Victory Over the Darkness” by Neil Anderson:
John 1:12 I am God’s child.
John 15:15 I am Christ’s friend.
Romans 5:1 I have been justified.
I Corinthians 6:17-20 I am united with the Lord and I am one spirit with him.
Ephesians 1:1 I am a saint.
Ephesians 2:18 I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 1:4 I have been redeemed and forgiven of my sins.
Colossians 2:10 I am complete in Christ.
Romans 8:28 I am free from condemnation
Romans 8:35-39 I cannot be separated from the love of Christ.
Philippians 1:6 I am confident that God will finish his work in me
Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven
2 Timothy 1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear.
Ephesians 2:10 I am God’s workmanship.
I would encourage you to read through this listing of Scriptures and listen to what the voice of God says about your identity and who God makes each one of us to be through faith in Jesus Christ.
Please read the following scriptures in preparation for Sunday, Feb 17th:
Numbers 13:17 - 14:11
Thoughts from Sunday Feb 3rd
This past Sunday, we talked about how the book of Deuteronomy is the conclusion to the story of the Pentateuch. The video below talks about the books of the Pentateuch and is taken from our children’s Sunday School curriculum, What’s in the Bible. After seeing this video in Sunday School, each time my children here me mention Deuteronomy, they want to sing “Deuteronomy, Deuteronomy!” Watch the video to see why:
In our sermon yesterday, we talked about how the entire Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, tells the story of God giving life. With the exception of Genesis, all of these books also tell the story of Moses. The story of Moses contains many of the famous stories in the Bible, such as the burning bush, the plagues of Egypt and the receiving of the Ten Commandments. The great irony of this is that the man who became such a great leader did not feel up to the task. When God called Moses through the burning bush to go and set his people free, Moses had many concerns. Some might even call these downright excuses. Moses thought that he was the wrong man for the job. He objected that he couldn’t speak very well and suggested that his brother Aaron speak to Pharoah instead. He worried that the Israelites would not believe that God had called him. Finally, when he had run out of other excuses, he asked God to just send someone else. This part of Moses’ story is well-known, but we sometimes forget that Moses was pulled from the Nile by the daughter of Pharaoh. He was raised in the palace as a son of Pharaoh. He was given the best education available and had access to all the riches of Egypt. Yet, in spite of all this, Moses did not feel ready for the task to which God called him. The story of Moses reminds us that the things which God calls us to are not things that we are able to do in our own strength and power. Rather, when God calls us to something, God promises that he will be with us. (Exodus 3:12)
Please read the following scriptures in preparation for Sunday, Feb 10th
Thoughts from Sunday January 27th
This week, we are starting a sermon series going through the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is a very important part of the scriptures and deals with many themes and ideas that we still encounter today. In fact, the book of Deuteronomy was Jesus’ favorite book of the Old Testament. Jesus quoted the book of Deuteronomy more than any other book of the Old Testament.
Each week during this series on Deuteronomy, I will be posting here some follow up thoughts to my Sunday sermon. In addition, I will also be posting a list of scriptures that relate to the passage of Deuteronomy we will be looking at the following Sunday. Please try to read this list of scriptures at some point during the week. This will allow our congregation to engage together even more deeply with the themes and lessons of the book.
Here is the list of scriptures for next Sunday:
Exodus chapter 1