Category Archives: Sermons

Loving Mercy

1211240529094590-micah6-8•    There has been lots of drama in this little body of Jesus followers over the last few months
•    It seems that everything that could go wrong has gone wrong
•    In the middle of all of this

o    It is easy to get your eyes off the goal of loving people
o    It is easy to get caught up in the drama and take offensive at what folks have or have not done

•    To help us refocus, I want to take some time to talk about why we are a church

o    Why do we gather here each week
o    Why do we meet in our homes
o    Why do we do what we do
o    And what does it mean to walk in mercy and forgiveness

(Audio recording of this sermon can be found on the PRV website)

Why we meet as a church?

•    To Corporately Worship God

o    yes, you can worship by yourself, but there is something powerful about coming together as a group to worship God.
o     It is interesting to note that pretty every region across every culture has a sense of the corporateness of worship…
o    kinda makes you think that perhaps there’s something to it.

“When I first became a Christian, about fourteen years ago, I thought that I could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology, and I wouldn’t go to the churches and Gospel Halls; . . . I disliked very much their hymns, which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music. But as I went on I saw the great merit of it. I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off. I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit.”  ~C. S. Lewis; God in the Dock

•     To Remember The End Goal of Life

o    It is easy here in the USA to forget that what we see and do each day isn’t the end goal.
o    Coming together each week reminds us that we are to focused on Jesus and His mission.
o    We also need to know that we are not alone – no matter what happens, there are people around us who has walked the path before us or, perhaps, are walking it with us.

“If God exists…and if He had an investment in His incredibly complex piece of art called the human being…and if He wanted to use those human beings to bring about His overarching purposes for a world that’s gone haywire…and if He created an organization—a movement—that would be made up of these creatures to do that, wouldn’t it be a pretty amazing thing? That’s a Big Idea. That’s the Church.” –Dave Workman, Vineyard Cincinnati

•    To Learn How To Be God’s People –

o    The weekly gatherings are the practice to the real game (i.e. the rest of the week).
o    It is where we come to learn how to go back out into our daily lives and live as people of God.
o    Church is a place full of people who are different – just like the Kingdom of God
o    There are those who we like and those whom we dislike
o    In coming together we learn how to forgive, love and bless our family members so that we can love, forgive and bless our enemies.

Come as you are

•    Over the years we have talked about being a ‘come as you are’ people

o    This phrase was also given to the new pastoral candidates by you guys when describing yourself

•    This phrase means two things

o    The first is that folks can come to church wearing whatever they want

*    Jeans, shorts, suits, ties or t-shirts
*    Folks can come fresh from doing chores

o    The second, and most important, is that we don’t expect people to have their act together before they come to church

•    It seems strange to say that as the Scriptures tell us that we all are sinners

o    That we all screw up
o    That we all have issues in our lives
o    That we all have problems that sometimes splash over onto other people

•    Sadly the history of the global church has been full of God’s people trying to set boundaries

o    They say that only this type of folks can come to church
o    That if you do that or this you can’t come

•    They try to keep sin out of the church while forgetting that sin came in the door with them
•    Jesus addressed this pretty clearly in his life and ministry

o    Sinners of all sorts came to Jesus willingly
o    The folks who would normally stay away from the religious leaders of the day came to Jesus in crowds
o    There was something about Jesus that drew messed up people like ourselves to Him

•    Matthew 11:19 says that the church of the day called Jesus a friend of sinners

“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’

•    This was the reputation of Jesus

o    And I believe it should be our reputation as well
o    We should be found standing on the side of the broken and the hurting
o    The messed up and wounded
o    For that is the side that I am living… that we are living on

•    To do otherwise is to lie about who we really are….
•    I know this flies in the face of religion and what a lot of other preacher have taught over the years

o    It is common to say that we are to avoid the “appearance of evil”
o    I know that phrase is meant to help people stay out of trouble
o    That to some it is better to stay away from certain places as it could pull them back into a life that they are trying to break out of
o    For example, a drunk trying to break out of alcoholism has better stay away from a bar

•    Here’s the thing:

o    We are the people of Jesus
o    We are to follow what Jesus did
o    And Jesus went to the broken and the lost and the messed up
o    He hung out in the wrong places and with the wrong people
o    And people were changed when they gathered around Him
o    Why?
o    Because he brought life with Him

•    For us as a local church body, we are to know that when folks – when we – gather together something happens

o    Something powerful
o    Something amazing

•    We meet Jesus

o    We come into His presence
o    And when we do, we are changed

•    We become like the women at the well in John 8

o    The women who had many husbands and was living with someone who she was not married too
o    The women whom Jesus talked too and cared about
o    The women who ran into her town telling people about Jesus
o    The women who wasn’t afraid to unveil her stuff because in doing so she helped others find Jesus

•    That is what we should mean when we say “come as you are”

o    That is what we should mean when we say that “mercy triumphs over judgment”

The Problem

•    Only there is a problem in all of this
•    The problem is outlined by St. Paul in Romans 7:15,21-25

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do… So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

•    Each of us are struggling to follow God

o    It is not easy
o    It is counter to everything around us and in us

•    Yes, we are a new creation with Jesus

o    Yes, Jesus brought freedom from sin, evil and death
o    Yes, we are being made new

•    At the same time we are still struggling

o    It is a paradox
o    A tension

•    We live between two ages

o    We are both saints and sinners at the same time
o    We are have both liberty and  struggling

•    This is where mercy comes in


•    Mercy….mercy….
•    James 2:12-13 has been an important verse to our community

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

•    Mercy is defined as

o    “Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.”

•    We are walk in mercy as God walks in mercy

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:12-15

•    Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

•    Three things that we are to do

o    Act justly
o    Love mercy
o    Walk humbly

•    To act justly means that we are seek the high road

o    We are to stand on the side of innocence
o    We are to seek to make wrong things right

•    To love mercy is to give grace and forgiveness when undeserved

o    Just like Jesus gave us grace and forgiveness

•    To walk humbly is to place our pride at the cross for it is pride that keeps us from asking for forgiveness or offering mercy

o    It is our pride that makes us take offensive when none was indented
o    It is out pride that makes us bow up and fight

•    God has told us to walk in humility so that we can find mercy
•    Proverbs 28:13 has been on my heart for much of this last week

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

•    We are to confess and renounce our sins so that we can find mercy
•    St. James connects confession of our sins to healing…

“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.” – James 5:15b-16a

•    To be healed

o    To be made whole is to walk in humility
o    To be set free is to know that we all mess up and that we are to ask for forgiveness

Lectio Divina – Step Four: Contemplate (Contemplatio)

The fourth and last step of the Diving Reading is to contemplate – that is, to stop and be silent while allowing everything you have read, mediated on, and prayed about take shape in your life. This is where we use our intuition in order to coalesce the previous three steps. It is meant to consummate the union of our mind and God’s truth, our heart and God’s love, our life and God’s life, our person and the person of God.

Since it is a time of silence – which is hard for most people – it is easy to skip this part, but we must NOT skip it as it is the most important part. It is during this final step that we let go of our own ideas and plans and let God’s ideas and plans wash over us. It is a time of silent prayer; of breathing in all that happened.

The spiritual discipline of “Contemplative Prayer” comes into play here:

“Contemplative prayer is silence, the ‘symbol of the world to come’ or ‘silent love.’ Words in this kind of prayer are not speeches; they are like kindling that feeds the fire of love. In this silence, unbearable to the ‘outer’ man, the Father speaks to us his incarnate Word, who suffered, died, and rose; in this silence the Spirit of adoption enables us to share in the prayer of Jesus.” –from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

In other words, the contemplative step is a way of cementing everything together as one.

A practical tip: before you start, set a timer for five or seven minutes and then don’t look at it until it goes off. This will force you to focus on sitting there and processing the first three steps while giving you the security that you won’t drift off and miss your next appointment.  😀

Lectio Divina


Lectio Divina – Step Three: Pray (Oratio)

prayAs mentioned before, the Lectio Divina (or “Divine Reading”, to use the English translation) was developed in the 3rd century by the early church fathers as a way to pray through the Scriptures.  Split into four parts, the Divine Reading helps one to slow down and really allow the Scriptures to seep into one’s soul.

The first step is to read a short passage, savoring each word as it crosses your lips rather than trying get through large volumes of verses. Following this, one is to meditate on words of Scriptures – turning them over and over again as they seep into one’s heart. The third step of the Divine Reading, which we will be talking about today,  is prayer – or more distinctly, creating a place where you can talk to God about what was read and meditated on. The last part, which we will cover later on, is to contemplate upon all that has happened with the previous three steps.

Four steps working in unity to breath life into the Scriptures and change our souls. Powerful stuff made even more powerful by the fact that countless Jesus followers throughout centuries have walked through these four steps… wow, talk about finding the “ancient paths” of the faith (Jeremiah 6:16). 

Enough of the review, let us turn to the third step of the Lectio Divina, praying.

Step Three: Pray (Oratio)

The third step is where we dialogue with God about what He told us. It is where we move from thinking about – meditating about – and start responding to the message of the Scriptures. It is the place where we allow our feelings to come out and we get to share our joy, love, sorrow, repentance and desires with God.

Saint Ambrose in the 4th Century said of this step:

“Let them remember that prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that God and man may talk together; for we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine saying.”

In praying, we should remember that it is a two-way conversation. We need to – no, we MUST – allow times of silence so that God can respond! All too often we use this time to talk, talk, talk, talk without letting God say anything – and then we get upset at Him for not talking to us!!

God voice could be a silent word in your spirit, something that normally would not be there. Or it could strong impression, reference to a Bible verse, a vision or dream…. perhaps He will bring to your mind something that you have heard or read before or speak to you with an audible voice.

The Bible tells us that God speaks to His people in different ways. Some people get scared about hearing from God because they are afraid they will get deceived. Jesus answered this concern in Luke 11 right after the 12 disciples asked Him how to pray and He gives them the Lord’s prayer. This is what Jesus says (Luke 11:9-13):

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

If you are talking to God, he will guide you and give you good gifts! You don’t have to be afraid being deceived or led a stray. You are just allowing your Father to talk to you about the Love Letter He gave you to read. Having a dialogue with the King is a wonderful thing – for without it, we are just people reading a book and trying to figure things out on our own. We NEED the Holy Spirit and input from the Father on how to walk out the Scriptures in our modern world.

So let us create a place for God to talk to us.

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina – Step Two: Meditate (Meditatio)

garden pathThe next step in the Divine Reading (Lectio Divina) after savoring the Scriptures is to meditate on the words which you just read. It is about stopping and really thinking about them rather than checking an item off your to-do list and moving on to the next thing.

In mediating about the words of the Scriptures is to allows the words to seep through you. You are not trying to assign meaning to the words – you are letting the words work through you. To mediate is to hold the Scriptures gentle, turning them around and around so you can see them through different angles and view points.

It is about allowing the Holy Spirit to breath life into the words – turning them simple letters on a page to life giving manna from heaven. For without the Holy Spirit, reading the Bible is like than reading the label on a can of soup without actually opening and eating the soup. We HAVE to have the Holy Spirit, and we HAVE to ALLOW the Spirit to move in our lives!

This is also the time in which we can use our imagination to enter into the Scriptures like we mentioned before. Here shortly I will talking more about this step as I have some suggestions based upon the four basic personality temperaments…but for now, know that this step is where you allow the word that you have just read to permeate our lives.

Here’s an example, a few weeks ago I went into a conference room at work to pray. Opening the Bible my fingers led me to Romans 8:15:

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.

I have read that verse many times – shoot, I even preached on it a few years ago!  Yet that day, my heart stopped on the last half of the verse: God adopted me;  He choose me

My eyes started tearing up… My soul couldn’t believe it…No fear again…I was adopted…For the next few days that’s all I could think about…I’m still thinking about..

This is mediating. It is slowing down and letting the words become alive – letting the Holy Spirit speak to us rather than just closing our Bibles and walking off.

Wow… powerful, yet simple stuff… =)

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina – Step One: Read (Lectio)

bible 2The first step in the Divine Reading (Lectio Divina) is to read the Scriptures. While this seems self evident, it really isn’t as we all have different ways of reading. For example, there are some folks whose goal in devotional reading is to make it through large chucks of Scriptures. And while there is a time and place for reading large amounts of Scriptures (after all we NEED to get the overall story line of a particular letter as well as the Bible as a whole), reading with the Divine Reading is not that place.

The reading of the Lectio Divina is a prayerful reading. It is using our senses to perceive the works of the Lord – to slowly savor each word. It is a gradual reading of a verse or a few verses, pausing after each word and recognizing how carefully the Spirit chose each word to be recorded. It is reading like you would fondle over a new toy or tool – looking at over and over, turning it over and over, seeing the beauty and life behind the printed text.

In fact, I would recommend reading the verse(s) out loud as there is something powerful about physically voicing the Scriptures. In speaking the words out loud, it is almost as if the verses become real and moves from your mind into your heart. It is not a magical formula or a way of manipulating God – it is a way of using all of our senses to experience the words of God given to us.

It is about seeing the words on the page – hearing the words read out loud – about touching the pages of the Bible (or one’s cell phone, tablet…) – smelling the paper and perhaps a candle or two.

It is about slowing down and relaxing… opening yourself up to read a letter from your Lover and King….

Read the passage…re-read it…re-read it yet again… savor each word… that is the first step of praying through the Lectio Divina.

After all, the Scriptures are, in the words of King David:

They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb.
(Psalms 19:10)

Lectio Divina

Introducing The Lectio Divina

•    Let’s open our Bible’s to 1 Peter 2:1-3

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

•    We have tasked that the Lord is good

o    Each of us have bowed our knees to the King of Kings

•    Now that we have done so, we are to seek to grow in Him

o    To “train yourself to be godly as St. Paul said in 1 Timothy 4:7

•    We are to “CRAVE pure spiritual milk”

o    It is a strong desire to learn and grow
o    It is following in the steps of The Rabbi
o    Getting to know Him

•    Which is the whole purpose of prayer

o    To align our lives – our souls, spirits, minds, emotions with Jesus

•    We pray not to get answers

o    We pray because we want to know Jesus
o    We want to be WITH Jesus

The Ancient Paths

•    During the siege of Jerusalem the prophet Jeremiah warned the people against disobeying God
•    In Jeremiah 6:16 he is recorded as saying

This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest for your souls.
    But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

•    Ask for the ancient paths

o    Ask for the tried and true paths

Lectio DivinaLectio Divina (The Divine Reading)

•    Starting in the 3rd Century (200 AD), the church adopted a form of reading – of breathing the Scriptures
•    The Divine Reading has four steps

o    Read (Lectio)
o    Meditate (Meditatio)
o    Pray (Oratio)
o    Contemplate (Contemplatio)

•    These are simple steps

o    Some of us probably already do them without knowing

•    However I would say that most of us have never really thought about how we read the Scriptures

o    I know I didn’t!!

•    We may read them like we do a novel, or a school book…
•    The Scriptures are an interesting book

lectia-divinao    They are different than anything else out there
o    They are love letters to us
o    They are the story of God working in and through history

•    The four steps of the Divine Reading uses all four of our psychological function

o    Sensing (heart, reading)
o    Thinking (mind; meditating)
o    Feeling (spirit; praying)
o    Intuition (body; contemplate)

•    As such, it is a tool that can be used by anyone of any temperament
•    Carthusian Prior Guigo II in the 12th century said of the Divine Reading

“Reading, you should seek; meditating, you will find, praying, you shall call; and contemplating, the door will be open to you.”

•    A Southern rural minister, it is said, once replied to the question as to how he prays:

“I read myself full; I think myself clear; I prays myself hot; I lets myself cool.”

•    Four pieces operating in unity…

o    Four pieces breathing life into our souls

•    It is a progress from “hearing the Word of God to studying it, reflecting upon it, praying upon it, and adapting it to our situation”

o    It is a progress that will lead us deeper and deeper into the union with God
o    Like steps on a ladder
o    Each piece builds upon the other

•    Tomorrow we will look at the first step of the ladder, “Reading” or “Lectio”

Blessings till tomorrow. 🙂

The Skill of Prayer

when God talks backIn talking about prayer, we tend to think about it as something everyone can do without training. We tend to think about it as breathing…each person does it with out needing to learn anything.  And on one level, this is correct as God has put something deep within our soul that desires to connect with the Creator of Heaven and Earth. However,in the other hand, we need to recognize that prayer takes work.

In 1 Timothy 4:7-8, St. Paul says:

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Just like we train our bodies to work, we have to train our spirits. Remember that goal of prayer is to get to know God better. God is a person – not a force out there that can be controlled. Prayer, therefore, is about a relationship and relationships take work and time.

Here’s the awesome part: Each one us can hear God!!!

Hearing God is not limited to the special few – the cool, the pastors, or those people on TV. Jesus said that “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says.” (John 8:47a). If we have bowed our knees to the King and follow Him, then we can expect to hear the King.

A few weeks ago I hinted at a cool scientific study about prayer, I want to talk a bit about it as fit into this concept of hearing God.

Hearing God’s Voice

  • T. M. Luhrmann, a psychological anthropologist and profession at Stanford University
    • She is not a follower of Jesus
    • Calls herself a secular agnostic in her book
  • She spend four years trying to understand more about the Evangelical relationship in America
  • During this study, which was published as the book “When God Talks Back”, she set up an experiment to see if people could be taught to hear God’s voice
    • The Bible said we can
    • The Church as said we can
    • But does it really happen?!
  • To prove this, she recruited a 128 subjects
    • Screened them to make sure they were mentally healthy
    • In other words, they weren’t crazy
  • Then she split the folks into three groups
    • Each group were supposed to participate in a spiritual discipline for
    • 30 minutes a day for 30 days

Prayer and Fasting

fastingWe are moving forward in our series about the spiritual discipline of prayer; about creating a rhythm of life that it is in communication with Jesus. Prayer, as we looked at last week, it NOT about asking for things – even good things.

The goal of prayer is to get to know God! It is about bring our heart, soul, lives into unity with God.

In keeping with that theme, we will be talking about prayer and fasting (click here to listen to the audio version of this talk). Next week, on March 30th, we will be kicking off a 21-day corporate prayer and fasting period. This has become a tradition in our church with this year marking the fourth year we have done this. It is interesting to me how God has used this periods of fasting and prayer within the life of our church

o    2011 – Pastoral transition from Brian to Emily and me
o    2012 – Looking at buying property; we actually bought the land right after the fast ended
o    2013 – A period of looking at our souls, our family, our jobs, our calling

*    It was a tough time in the church
*    The evil one was attacking us from all sides

o    2014 – We are combining all the elements from the last three years

*    Pastor transition
*    Building plans
*    Renewed life with God
*    Fighting off attacks

Because of all of the stuff that is going on, we need to be in tune with God more than ever. Remember, fasting is not about getting answers to these problems per say.  We are not trying to change God’s mind or force Him to talk to us. We are not trying to get God to like us better

Fasting is about re-aligning OUR mind, heart and soul coming into line with God’s

We get distracted; we get confused; we get sidetracked. We need to re-tune our lives so that we are inline with God’s plumb-line.

Psalms 139:23-24

•    Let us turn to Psalms 139 for a bit
•    This is a song of King David

o    The most famous king of ancient Israel
o    The man whom God testified about saying ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ –Acts 13:22

Continue reading Prayer and Fasting

Prayer: Intimate Communication

angel-n-isaiah-the-prophet-unclean-lipsThe below are the sermon notes from Sunday, March 16th. The audio file can be found on the Payette River Vineyard Christian Fellowship website. Blessings.


  • Why teach on prayer to a church full of praying people?
    • What more can I say that hasn’t been said?
  • Did you know that here are a lot of books out there about prayer?
  • It seems that prayer is a bestselling topic
    • Everyone seems to have written about prayer
  • Prayer is a HUGE topic to write or teach about
  • One could talk about healing prayer
    • How to pray for the sick?
    • What happens when folks don’t get healed?
    • What do you do when they DO get healed?
  • Corporate prayer
  • Intercession prayer
  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • Dinner time prayer
  • Bedtime prayers
  • Not to mention our two favorite types
    • prayers of petition
    • prayers of help
  • Over the next five weeks we are going to be focused on the spiritual discipline of prayer
    • About creating an ongoing prayer rhythm in our lives.


  • It is about intimate communication with our Lover, our King, our Best Friend and Master
    • Some of you may have a hard time thinking about God as your lover
    • Especially  men…
    • But we are the Bride of Jesus – just read Song of Solomon
    • It is full of language that should make you blush
    • God is seeking an intimate relationship with Him
  • Sadly, I think we – stereotypically – have learned to be content in having a so-so relationship with God
    • We like Him – we will give Him our tithes
    • We’ll go to church
    • We may even study the Scriptures
  •  But if we were honest with ourselves, we really don’t want a truly inmate relationship with Him
    • It is scary
    • It is a freighting
  • Not because of what may happen, but because I think deep down in our heart of hearts we don’t want Jesus to know who we really are
    • We can fool our neighbors
    • We can fool our family and friends
    • We can even fool ourselves to a certain degree
    • But we can’t fool God
  • And that makes us nervous
  • One of the verses that has shaped my life the most is Isaiah 6:5
    • Isaiah is mining his own business – perhaps prayer, perhaps not – we don’t know
    • All of a sudden he sees this vision of God
    • As he watches these seraphim start sing

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

  • As they sang the temple shook and Isaiah drops to his knees crying out:

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Colossians: Changing Our Relationships Patterns

Parents-FIGHTPublic reading: Colossians 3:16-4:3

An audio recording of this teaching can be found here.

  • I spend a lot of time in prayer and research about this passage
  • The sad history is that this passage has been use and abuse in some very cruel ways over the years
  • People have used the verses as a weapon
    • Hurting wives and women
    • Children
  • They were used before and during the Civil War as justification of slavery
    • You cannot simply replace the slaves/master language with employee/employer
    • Slavery was real then and now
  • If you are going to read the parts about husbands and wives, fathers and children as a divine rule for family life
    • Then you have to say that slavery is a divine rule
    • To be consist in your reading of the Scriptures
  • As you can imagine, this can cause problems as we, hopefully, all recognize that slavery is not something Jesus or God wants or designed
    • It is a product of our pride, greed and evil
  • So there must be another way to read these verses
    • A way that stay true to the Scripture
    • And true to the heart of God as reviled in and through Jesus
  • When reading the Bible, I believe there are three very, very important lens that we must look through
  • Jesus
  • Jesus is God relived to us
  • So when we have problems understanding what the Scriptures are saying, we look to the life, ministry and character of Jesus
  • If our interruption of Scriptures does not match that of the life and character of Jesus, we MUST rethink that passage!
  • The Trajectory of the Scriptures
  • What has God been doing throughout history?
  • What has been His focus?
  • What is the overarching theme of the Scriptures?
  • The Context of the Scriptures
  • St. Paul did not write Colossians in isolation; as such, we must ask ourselves what was happening in the Roman Empire during this time
The Passage at Hand
  • I’m going to re-read this passage in the Kingdom New Testament

Let the King’s word dwell richly among you, as you teach and exhort one another in all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God with grateful hearts. And whatever you do, in word or action, do everything in the name of the Master, Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the father.

Now a word for wives: you should be subject to your husbands. This is appropriate in the Lord. And for husbands: you should treat your wives with love, and not be bitter with them. And for children: obey your parents in everything; this pleases the Lord. And for fathers: don’t provoke your children to anger; otherwise they might lose heart.

A word, too, for slaves: obey your earthly masters in everything. Don’t do it simply out of show, to curry favor with human beings, but wholeheartedly, because you fear the Master. Whatever you do, give it your very best, as if you were working for the Master and not for human beings. After all, you know that you’re going to receive the true inheritance from the Master as your reward! It is the Master, the King, that you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be paid back for wrongdoing, and there will be no favorites.

And a word for master: do what is just and fair for your slaves. Remember that you too have a Master – in heaven.

Devote yourselves to prayer; keep alert in it, with thanksgiving. While you’re about it, pray for us, too, that God will open in front of us a door for the word, so that we may speak of the mystery of the King – which is why I’m here in chains.

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