Moving

So you know…

We are moving our blog from the https://parkriverbiblecamp.wordpress.com site to www.parkriverbiblecamp.com/blog. You can read Luke’s most recent blog there.

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Come and See

In John chapter 1, Jesus tells two disciples of John the Baptist, one of whom was Andrew the brother of Peter, to “come and see” where he was staying.  They spent the whole day with Jesus and Andrew ended up introducing his brother, Peter, to Jesus.  Eventually both of them became disciples of Christ.

A few verses later, Nathanael, another would-be disciple is invited by Philip to “come and see” this man named Jesus he has been following.

Not long after this in chapter 4, Jesus tells a Samaritan woman about the living water he offers.  The woman went on to encourage the people in her city to “come and see” Jesus the Messiah.

Three times people were invited to “come and see” Jesus the Messiah, either by Jesus himself or by those deeply affected by him.   It’s the invitation to discipleship.

Later in John 11, we find Jesus traveling to Bethany to attend to his beloved friend Lazarus who died only four days before.  When he drew close to the city, he met with Lazarus’ two sisters; first with Martha, then with Mary.

When Mary came out to meet Jesus she knelt at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  She was weeping and mourning the loss of her brother along with many other Jews from the area.  When Jesus asked where Lazarus was laid, the mourners said to him, “come and see.”

This is when Jesus wept.

When Jesus was asked to come and see, the tables were turned.  He who invited others to come and see the purpose of God being accomplished through him was now invited to come and see the fate of fallen and sinful humanity, exemplified by a tomb.

Jesus, being both fully human and fully God, was confronted with the desperate situation humanity found itself in; the same humanity that Jesus was baptized into.

When Jesus was invited to come and see, he did not balk, but obediently heeded the will of his Father through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Christ endured death on the cross on our behalf taking the whole weight of humanity’s fallenness upon his self.  Being a perfect sacrifice, God the Father vindicated him by resurrecting him, a resurrection to new life that Jesus shares with those who believe and are baptized into him.  Through Christ, death no longer has its sting.  It is no longer victorious and it no longer has the final say.  The tomb was not the end for Christ, nor will it be the end for those who are in Christ.  Amen.

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He Heard My Voice

The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. Psalm 18:4-6

With these words David recalls, first of all, the perils he had faced and secondly the God who heard his cry. David’s life was not characterized by peace and luxury but rather by danger, hardships and action. As a boy he risked life and limb defending his family’s sheep. As a teen he fought a giant. As a man he was pursued by a jealous, spear-wielding king. As the King of Israel he defended the people from the enemies surrounding them while dealing with rebellions stemming from his own family line.

Time and again David encountered near death experiences. Time and again David’s adversaries threatened to undo him. But David knew what his adversaries did not. For even while David was at his weakest, he knew that God was strong to save. Here in this Psalm, David relates to us the saving acts and power of our God so that we might know that our God is mighty to save and might call upon him in time of need.

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He Heard My Cry

The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. Psalm 18:4-6

With these words David recalls, first of all, the perils he had faced and secondly the God who heard his cry. David’s life was not characterized by peace and luxury but rather by danger, hardships and action. As a boy he risked life and limb defending his family’s sheep. As a teen he fought a giant. As a man he was pursued by a jealous, spear-wielding king. As the King of Israel he defended the people from the enemies surrounding them while dealing with rebellions stemming from his own family line.

Time and again David encountered near death experiences. Time and again David’s adversaries threatened to undo him. But David knew what his adversaries did not. For even while David was at his weakest, he knew that God was strong to save. Here in this Psalm, David relates to us the saving acts and power of our God so that we might know that our God is mighty to save and might call upon him in time of need.

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State of the PRBC Address (April)

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Number 4

"Isaiah 45:7" by Mark Lawrence

“I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me.” – Isaiah 45:5

I have been a Vikings fan all my life.  Cut me open and I bleed purple and gold.  When I found out I was going to be the father of a boy my first dream was of him playing football professionally in a Vikings uniform.

As a Vikings fan, it goes without saying that I despise and hate (at least in a sporting sense) the Green Bay Packers.  They are Slytherin to my Gryffindor, the Sith to my Jedi, the Joker to my Batman, the devil to my… well, you get the idea.

Now, for the majority of my life as a football fan the Packers have had one person in particular upon whom my wrath has settled.  Brett Favre. For years, Brett Favre was the face of the Green Bay Packers.  For years, the Green Bay quarterback, Brett Favre, represented everything I loathed about the Packers.  Brett Favre. Seeing him trot onto the sacred field of play caused the bile in my liver to boil.  Brett Favre. His very name was poison to my lips.  Brett Favre.

So you can imagine my consternation when my beloved Vikings wrangled Brett Favre out of retirement and invited He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to play quarterback in 2009.  How could they do this to me?  How could they bring in our mortal enemy to play the most important position on the team?  Brett Favre, the very bane of my existence as a fan of the Minnesota Vikings, now became one of us.  Disgrace upon disgrace.

The “you” that God is addressing in Isaiah 45:5 is Cyrus the Great, the pagan ruler of the Persian Empire who lived around 550 BC.  In Isaiah 45, God anointed Cyrus to do a great work for God’s exiled people, Israel.  Cyrus is Israel’s Brett Favre. He isn’t supposed to be the one upon through whom God’s deliverance would come.  Yet, it happened.  Through Cyrus, the people of God began to return to the Promised Land.

God’s people were in exile.  They were beaten down and they longed for deliverance.  So, God planned to do just that, but he planned to do so in the most unexpected and unlikely of ways.  Cyrus. Why?  “That people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.  I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.” (Isaiah 45:6-7).

God raised Cyrus in order to show his people who was really in control.  Had one of their own risen to liberate them, would they have believed it was God’s doing?  God raised him as a display of God’s sovereignty and God’ sovereignty served to show the power and expanse of God’s grace.  And nowhere is God’s sovereign power and grace more evident for us than in the incarnation, the crucifixion, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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Video Blog – Episode 3

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