Scott Arany speaks on Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18 on this Communion Sabbath. February 22, 2014.
Archive for February, 2014 // All the posts in this month
Ray Bitar speaks from Mark 10:46–52 and Psalm 139:7–14 on February 15, 2014.
By Andrew Froemming
“Love one another in the same way I love you, you love one another.” John 13:34
This week I had several conversations with people about the word love, so I decided to research the topic. I know that we often tend to use the word love to mean different things but it had never really occurred to me that there are different kinds of love. In C.S. Lewis’ book The Four Loves, I read that we can express four different kinds of love: storge (affection), philia (friendship), eros (romance) and agape (unconditional love).
Jesus tells us a story in Luke 15 of a father and two sons—and unconditional love. The youngest son ask his father for his portion now of his father’s wealth that he should get when his father died. After receiving his inheritance he skips town and goes to a different country. There he makes friends that love living the high-roller life-style his wealth affords them. Soon the money dries up for this young man, and his “friends” leave him. Left with nothing the son is forced to work for a farmer. Because there was a famine in the country not even his work could keep him from going hungry. One day he thought, “I have hit rock bottom. If I stay here I will die from hunger. But if I go back to my dad’s place
I could ask to work as a servant on his farm. I know I don’t deserve to have any favors after the disgrace I put our family through but as a servant at least I will have food to eat.” So the son headed home. While the son was still a long way off his Father saw him and ran to him, hugged him and kissed him. He ordered that the finest clothes in the house be brought for his son and a party to be thrown in his honor.
Jesus told this story so that we would know how he sees us. We are like that son: we have often treated God as if God were dead. Despite such disrespect, God spends His days searching the horizon waiting to see a glimpse of me. When He does, God will run to us and tells His secretary to get the Gucci and Chanel that He had made for me in my size and God will call the event planners because I came home.
Each and every day God offers unconditional love to the world—and to you. God has laid His cards on the table. He sent His son to the world to pay the bill for all the damage that we have done. This was a death sentence for Jesus: He died so that we could receive the free gift of salvation. The Bible challenges us with these questions: What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us (Romans 8:31). If God is who God says He is then no one can be against us. With our struggle already won we are called to love each other as God loved us. What a joyful task! This next week, let’s live in victory and share God’s love with someone.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK – We all have questions about God and religion. Yet as each of us grows in our spiritual journey, we see things from different perspectives. As a way to encourage dialogue, we’re going to post a new question each week from members of our congregation. Perhaps you’ll see something that you’ve been wondering as well; perhaps you’ve struggled with one of these questions and found some answers that seem to make sense. This is not a forum for providing pat answers or critical discussion, but rather a chance for us to share insights and suggestions of things we might have found helpful in our own wrestlings with these questions.
Do you have a question that you’d like to submit for discussion? Email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Question of the Week.”
Question of the Week, February 8-15
What is my plan? What is God’s plan for my life? Does my plan matter if I’ve surrendered “all” to God?
Question of the Week, February 16-22
What does God look like? What did Jesus look like?
Interim Pastor Rockne Dahl speaks on 1 Corinthians 2:15 // Matthew 7:1–5, 16 Genesis 48:12–14;17,18 // Ecclesiastes 10:2 // James 2:8,9. February 8, 2014.
By Rockne Dahl, Interim Pastor
One of my favorite scriptures is found in Psalm 40:1–3: “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Verse 4 adds: “Blessed is the person who makes the LORD his trust.”
Many people struggle to get out of their own personal slimy pits such as drug de- pendency, depression, illness or chronic debt. A friend of mine, Pastor Jeff, felt called to the ministry so he enrolled at Pacific Union College. He and his wife had little money so they found a chicken coop which had been converted into a rental house. It was all they could afford. Jeff’s wife became very depressed. Maybe it was the fragrance of the chickens which had lived in their rented accommodations; maybe it was the distance she felt from her family home or their lack of money; no one ever knew exactly why she became depressed. But with severe depression comes a fall into helplessness. My friend’s wife became incapable of doing anything for herself. For an entire year he had to
feed her each and every meal. She was in a deep psy- chological pit.
Pastor Jeff tells the story of how he found the pas- sage quoted above in Psalm 40. He claimed this scripture as God’s very own promise to him and his wife. Every day he read it. Every day he prayed over it and claimed it as God’s word to him. Every day he took care of his wife. He fed her, bathed her, helped her get dressed and loved her the best he could even though despair sometimes crowded into his own heart—and gradually she got better. Gradually she got well as God lifted her out of the mud and mire and set her feet on a Rock.
The next time you meet someone stuck in a slimy pit read this scripture to them. Tell them that God will turn and help lift them up if they wait patiently and trust him. God may lift them up by means of earnest prayer, or a therapist, or self-help books, or the love of a friend or a support group, but he will lift them up—it’s a promise! Ellen White said that “God has a thousand ways to help us of which we know nothing.” The point of Psalm 40 is hope. God wants to help us find firm standing on the Rock. He wants to put a new song in our mouths.
Corrie Ten Boom wrote: “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”