Live Well! Genesis 9

geese_formation_470x353Read Genesis 9:1-17

The good news i see form this passage is that God INITIATES grace and maintains it. Thats good news. But the problem we face today is that often this is not how we see God. Christians might profess it, but do we/they live into the reality that God is the giver of all good things and is actively extending His hand toward us/them? There are days when we believe that God is holding out on us, that He is being stingy. We are inclined to selfishness, and need contracts to ensure our rights.

We are not unlike the man who, after his plane was cancelled, barged his way to the front of the line to confront the sole gate agent who was trying her best to get people where there needed to go. The man yelled at the agent saying he was flying first class and demanded to go on the flight. The agent politely explained the situation and asked that the man take his place in the back of the line. The man blew up at her, and said, “Do you know who I am?” To this the agent calmly picked up the microphone for the PA system, and announced to the entire airport, “This is Delta desk 64; we have a gentleman here who does not know who he is. If anyone can come and identify him please do so.”[1]

We are not unlike the man in this story. We are inclined toward selfishness. We need contracts to ensure that our rights are ensured. And we take this attitude and place it on our perception of God. He becomes stingy in our minds. But the good news is that God is not contractual, He is covenantal. He is the giver of all good things, and loves us. God initiates grace and maintains grace. And that is good news for us today.

The covenant God made w/ Noah includes us. It is an eternal covenant and covers us. Noah’s covenant of common grace sets up God’s future covenant w/ His people, the repeated promise that God gives, saying, “I will be your God and you my people.” The covenant of grace initiated by God to His people blesses us w/ forgiveness for our selfishness. It sets us up for adoption as His kids. It blesses us w/ the Holy Spirit, and guarantees our final glorification. God’s common grace paves the road to His special grace. The grace made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus is an everlasting covenant. And like Noah’s covenant, this new covenant is not dependant on human actions, but on God’s free and gracious commitment to us. The good news is that God initiates grace and maintains grace. The covenant God made w/ Noah includes us today.

So what shall we do now/with the good news? We are simply called to accept the covenant and live into it. The covenant requirement for humanity is to accept the promises of God by faith and enter life in the covenant, to live into the call to live life to the full, to set aside our selfishness and orient our lives around the purposes of God, loving and worshipping Him, while loving and honoring those around us. So live well! You are called to do it. And may we be found faithful, setting aside our selfishness, and living into the abundant life of Jesus, loving God and those around us in His name.

[1] http://www.businessballs.com/stories.htm#angry_customer_story

Table Worship, Sunday, 5:30pm August 30th at the Fairhaven Library

Noah_mosaicThis Sunday, August 30th, The Table is gathering for worship at the Fairhaven Library (1117 12th St.). Bring something delicious for a shared meal starting at 5:30pm. After our meal, our worship service will begin. This week we are continuing our study of Genesis, by looking at Genesis 9, asking: “Who is God? And who are we in relationship to Him/each other?” Invite a friend and join us. Everyone is welcome!

Just for Fun

4d17833c14ab97e916abc3d9f6502d2c

Table Worship, Sunday, 5:30pm August 23rd at the Fairhaven Library

imagesJoin us this weekend for a Table worship gathering this Sunday, August 23rd at the Fairhaven Library basement (1117 12th St.). We will begin at 5:30pm with a shared meal, so bring something to share if you are able. This week we continue our study of Genesis, by looking at Genesis 7-8, asking “Who is God?” and “Who are we in relationship to God and other?” We would love for you to join us. Invite a friend, everyone is welcome!

Just for Fun

add_toon_info

Table Blessing, Sunday, 3-7pm August 16th at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church

church2This Sunday, August 16, we are taking a break from worship to help bless our neighborhood. From 3pm-7pm, at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church (1720 Harris Ave.), we will be joining neighbors and Lutherans to serve at a neighborhood fundraiser, supporting the Southside Community Meals. Join us if you can. Contact us for details/questions.

Our next worship gathering will be August 23rd at the library.

HitchBot and Genesis 6

HitchbotThis past season has been a difficult one for many of us. We read the news and wonder what the world is coming to. I know many of you were saddened to hear last week that HitchBot, the robot, was found vandalized and damaged beyond repair. This child-sized robot was designed to hitch hike, and had been all across Canada and Europe. And so I know that many of you were shocked to find out that this robots trip from Boston to San Francisco ended abruptly on a Saturday in a Philadelphia alley, where it was found with its head removed. It was tough news to hear. I know many of you appreciated the sentiments from the robots owners, when they said, “We wish to remember the good times, and we encourage hitchBOTs friends and family to do the same.” They said, “Sometimes bad things happen to good robots.[1]

I am of course having some fun w/ this odd news story, but it is true – Sometimes it feels like the world is going downhill fast. We read about the affairs in the world and wonder what is going on – values are challenged, violence is commonplace, and exploitation is marketed for gain. We can look at it all and get quite discouraged. And in the midst of discouragement, we may wonder where God is in it all, and if He cares.

If you hold these feelings, you may resonate w/ the state of affairs in Genesis 6. Humanity is misusing the freedom that God has given them. The result was broken relationships -b/t humans and God, b/t individuals, and b/t social groups. Instead of living into the design of creation, acquiring and exercising power became the pursuit. And the means of power and selfishness was the violence we see in the text. And so God regrets what has happened, and it seems like the world is going down hill fast.

Yet there is hope, in the gloom. Noah finds favor in the eyes of God. “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” God is going to bring justice to the corrupt world, but that is not the end of the matter. He says in v. 18: But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark -you and your sons and your wife and your sons wives with you. Deliverance and judgment walk together in this passage, 2 parts of the same process. God chooses to reestablish order through the family of this righteous man. He delivers his family, and promises to establish His covenant w/ Noah. This promise of covenant was unquestionably the exact word this faithful family needed in the face of the disaster unfolding before them. It was a word of security, and was a word of hope for this family during this crazy storm and flood.

As you face the chaos before you, know that the God of creation has not fled the scene. Gods covenant remains for us. When the world appears to be going down hill, the God of creation gives hope. In Noahs covenant we see that the Creator remains committed unconditionally to His creation and His everlasting covenant. In the face of chaos, God is committed to you, unconditionally. And like Noahs family, we can know that God will endure w/ us through any storm, and make things right.

 

[1] http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/03/us-usa-robot-pennsylvania-idUSKCN0Q826G20150803

Table Worship, Sunday, 5:30pm August 9th at the Fairhaven Library

noah_ark_01Join us this weekend for a Table worship gathering this Sunday, August 9th at the Fairhaven Library basement (1117 12th St.). We will begin at 5:30pm with a shared meal, so bring something to share if you are able. This week we continue our study of Genesis, by looking at Genesis 6, asking “Who is God?” and “Who are we in relationship to God and other?” We would love for you to join us. Invite a friend, everyone is welcome!

What Are You Living For?

fighting-kidsRead Genesis 4.

The point I want to think about form this text is that God is worthy of our worship. As the God who gives and grants life, He is worthy of our best. But the problem is that we are selfish. Like Cain, we promote ourselves. And we give to God and our families some of what we have to offer. We try to promote ourselves w/ the least amount of effort possible. I was at a coffee shop this week and overheard several people tell the barista: “Don’t work too hard.” Do you ever say that? Personally I would prefer if the barista worked hard, so I can enjoy a good product. What are we bringing forth w/ our work/time? God is worthy of our worship, our best. This includes our efforts of formal worship, but also our interactions w/ family and coworkers. It includes the effort we put into work and relationships.

Our God is the God who gives and grants life. He gives purpose and fulfillment in it. So the question is: What are you living for? And how are you living for it? The great Catholic thinker, Thomas Merton said: If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for. So what are you living for? How are you living for it?

There is a story involving Yogi Berra, the well-known catcher for the New York Yankees, and Hank Aaron, who at that time was the chief power hitter for the Milwaukee Braves. The 2 teams were playing in the World Series, and as usual Yogi was keeping up his ceaseless chatter, intended to pep up his teammates on the one hand, and distract the Milwaukee batters on the other. As Hank Aaron came to the plate, Yogi tried to distract him by saying: Henry, you are holding the bat wrong. You are supposed to hold it so you can read the trademark. Aaron did not say anything, but when the next pitch came he hit it into the left-field bleachers. After rounding the bases and tagging up at home plate, Aaron looked at Yogi Berra and said: I didn’t come up here to read.[1] Hank Aaron knew what he was there to do. What about you? What are you living for? And how are you living for it?

I believe giving our best pleases God and brings fulfillment. We saw this w/ Abel, as he brought his best before God from his work and purpose. Our God is worthy of our worship, and of our best. He is the giver of life and purpose. As we look at this passage, this is not a message for you to feel bad about, how you might have missed the mark in the past, or how you might feel more like Cain than Abel. No. This passage is an invitation to thrive in what God has you doing. Its an invitation worship Him out of a purpose filled life. Its an invitation to bring your best before the God of grace, in worship and in your family and at work. So may we hear this grace filled invitation. And, may we bring our best w/ what is before us this week and this season.

[1]  J. M. Boice, Learning to Lead, Revell, 1990, p. 38.

Table Worship, Sunday, 5:30pm August 2nd at the Fairhaven Library

dailybreadThis Sunday, August 2nd, we are back at the Fairhaven Library (1117 12th St.) for worship. Join for a shared meal at 5:30pm. From there we will pray, sing, and continue our summer study of Genesis. This week we are in Genesis 4, asking: “Who is God? And, who are we in relation to Him and each other?” Invite a friend, bring something to share, and we’ll see you at the library!