Monday, January 23, 2006

Ouch


Check this out!

This is a tree we saw while we were walking aimlessly around down town Pasadina. It's a full size tree, about 16 inches in diameter with those 3/4" spikes all over it, all the way out to the smallest of branches. Amazing, not a tree you would want to tangle with!

I've dubed it: evolutions answer to tree huggers.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Prodigal Son

Pastor John Macarthur spoke on Luke 15 the parable of the prodigal son. He explained the story as the Pharisees would have seen it. He said that honor and shame were a big part of the culture back then, they were like gods to the hypocrites. So the Pharisees would have seen a lot of shame in this story displayed by all the parties involved.

Verse 11 And He said, "There was a man who had two sons.

Shameful Request
Verse 12a: And the younger of them said to his father, "Father give me the share of property that is coming to me."
In Jewish tradition the second born son would get one third of the father's estate after his father had died. For the son to request… no rather demand (“Father give me”) his inheritance before it was time would have been very disrespectful, selfish, and dishonoring, thus shameful.

Shameful Response
Verse 12b: And he divided his property between them.
Rather then scold and punish his son’s selfish request, the father fulfills it.

Shameful Rebellion
Verse 13: Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.
The son acted quickly, he was in a hurry to be away from his father's house. He cashed in his portion of the estate and ran as far and as fast as he could into a sinful lifestyle. There he wastes his money, his honor, and his future.

Shameful Occupation
Verses 14-15: And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.
Because of his recklessness the son now becomes a beggar, and someone with the lowest of jobs a swine feeder.

Shameful Survival
Verse 16: And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
In order to survive he was humiliated by eating out of the same trough as the pigs.

All of this disobedience and shameful activity by the son is because he doesn't have a good and honoring relationship with his father.

Shameful Repentance
Verses 17-19: But when he came to himself, he said, "How many of my fathers hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, father and I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants."
He "came to himself" he realizes the wrong he’s done that he has dishonored and broken off the father-son relationship with his father, so he can’t just go back and ask or demand more money. He remembers that even those who are servants in his father’s house have more than enough to eat. This tells us that his father was a generous man, he wouldn’t just give those working for him enough to survive, he would give them "more than enough." The son figures that he can trust in this generosity to at least be able to serve his father in exchange for food. The Pharisees would have seen this as shameful because they would have seen the son as officially cut off from any ties with the father, he should stay in that far country and work out his own survival.

Shameful Reconciliation
Verses 20-21: And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you I am no longer worthy to be called your son."
Not only did the father not punish the son for the wrongs he had done him, but while he was a long way off (implying that the father was probably watching anxiously for his son wondering if he would return) he Ran to greet him, in the Jewish culture of the day up standing and respectable men did not Run, it simply wasn't done. They wore long robes and it would've been considered very shameful to show one's legs by hiking this robe up so as to be able to run. The Pharisees would have seen this as very shameful, a gentlemen running down the center of town to embrace his disobedient son.

Shameful Rejoicing
Verses 22- 24 But the father said to his servants, "Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found." And they began to celebrate.
The son gets lavished upon by his father who tells his servants to bring his robe and ring and put them on the son. The robe would have been a sign of great honor this garment was reserved for the father to wear to important events. The ring was most likely the signet ring the family seal that was used to authorize letters and documents of importance, this would've been essentially giving the son back full authority over the father's household and estate. And if that wasn't enough he also requested that they kill the fattened calf for a celebratory feast. This calf would've been one that was raised and nurtured and saved for a special party, most likely the first born son's wedding feast. The son does not get what he deserves, instead of a life of service to his father in an attempt to reconcile his wrongdoings, he immediately receives grace and mercy from his father.

Shameful Reaction
Verses 25-30 Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, "Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound." But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, "Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!"
Now we see the Pharisees those to whom Jesus is talking, enter the story. The older son responds very disrespectful towards his father, if he truly had his father's best interests at heart he would have been involved in the story from the beginning, encouraging and challenging his younger brother to be obedient and stick around. Instead he comes to his father (actually he stood outside impatiently while his father came out to him) and doesn't ask a polite question about what is going on, but demand's by saying "Look" "See Here" I have been faithful and obedient. Then he goes on by whining about the fact that he has never received even a goat that he might celebrate with his friends (notice he doesn't care about his family, their out of the picture he would rather be with his friends). The rightful place of this oldest son should have been by his father's side helping his father make plans and arrangements for the feast, as well as celebrating and rejoicing along side him. But he gave that up being more concerned with what he does and doesn't have and what is and isn't fair.

Honorable Response
Verses 31-32 And he said to him, "Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found."
This was indeed an honorable response as was everything that the father did, and it would have been a great ending to the story if the Pharisees would have finally "got it" but they didn't. The party, though it appears to be for the son, is really a party to display the fathers glory because it shows his grace on somebody undeserving.

The Players
Us, the elect, previously lost Gentile sinners: Played by the younger son

God: Played by the father

The Jews, but specifically at this point the Pharisees: Played by the older son


This is taken mostly from notes that I took while listening to John Macarthur at Resolved.
But I added some of my thoughts and ideas as well.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Another quote from Steve Saint

Steve speaking of his aunt Rachel shortly after her death. She had spent 30 years living with and helping the Waodani.

"She knew what I have just recently begun to realize: God doesn't need us to do His work, or He wouldn't be omnipotent. He wants our love and a relationship with us. It is about "being," not "doing."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Resolved: Rick Holland

I just got back from a great weekend down in Pasadena at the Resolved conference. We heard from a number of great speakers, I think that I will post a few of there outlines over the next few days.

Let’s start with Rick Holland, the college pastor at Grace Community Church. He preached on Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:6 challenging us to resolve to redeem the prime of life, to enjoy our youth 11:9, to resolve to recognize the giver life to remember our Creator in the days of our youth 12:1.
But we will be judged for what we do 11:9b, so we need to enjoy life but that doesn’t mean that we should go out and sin in order to have fun.

He also encouraged us to look at life from the prospective of just before death. What would you wish you had done? We’ll be dead a lot longer than we’re alive, so let’s live like we are dieing, and invest in eternal things not earthly things.

A great quote from Rick was "Life is like JuiceFruit sweet but it doesn’t last long."

Monday, January 09, 2006

Do Not Be Anxious

And He said to His disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you then the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you or to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need then. Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Luke 12:22-34

Being anxious is something that I struggle with. I’m a do-it-now, make-it-happen, kind of guy. So I often find myself being anxious about things that I should be being patient and resting in the Lord's timing for. Instead of being anxious, I need to seek HIS kingdom and the things that I need, will be added to me.

Where is your treasure?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Stupid Video

Recently I've been wasting some of my time on stupid videos.com, but at least now we know what happened to Barney.


Friday, January 06, 2006

More from the End of the Spear

I wanted to post one of my favorite sections from the book thus far. This is from Steve Saint right after he had been told in detail how and why his father and four other men had been killed, and he knows it is a true account because those that did the killing 40 years ago were now the ones telling him how it happened.

"One of the men could have climbed up into the tree house and called from there on the extra radio to let the world know what was happening. Dad could have gotten into the plane and taken off. Kimo, Dyuwi, and Mincaye could have run away like they started to do. What if the only beach in all six thousand square miles of Waodani territory had not been near a Waodani village and right on a commonly used hunting trail? The Waodani probably would never have found dad and his friends. What if Nenkiwi and Nampa had not been feuding? What if it had not been January when Gikita was expecting a rate from the downriver part of tribe? It is unlikely he would have been willing to risk their once-in-a-lifetime no there once in all-time chance for friendly contact with the outside world, just to keep Nampa and Nenkiwi from spearing the other one.
There are too many factors that all had to work together to have allowed the events to happen as they did. Too many for me to believe it was just chance. I have come to the conclusion that God did not look away. He did not simply allow this to happen. I think he planned it. Though this has not been an easy conclusion to come to, I believe it is the right one.
I have personally paid a high price for what happened on Palm Beach. But I have also had a front row seat as the rest of the story has been unfolding for half a century I have seen firsthand that much good has come from it. I believe only God could have fashioned such an incredible story from such a tragic event.
I could not begin to record of the thousands of people who have told me that God used what happened on Palm Beach to change the course of their lives for good. Besides, it is enough for me that because Mincaye killed my father, my family now has the privilege of loving him and being loved by him. And because my dad and Jim and Ed and Pete and Roger were willing to die, Kimo and Dyuwi and Gikita and Wmpodae and Tementa and Gaba and Odae and Tidi and Dawa and Cawaena and Coba and Gaacamo and their children and their grandchildren and their great grandchildren and many others will have a chance to live. If I could go back now and we rewrite the script, I would not change a single scene. I have come to understand that life is too complex and much too short to let amateurs direct the story. I would rather let the Master Storyteller do the writing. I don't say that casually. What happened to dad was extremely traumatic for me, but even so it has not been the most difficult a event in my life."