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Archive for September, 2008

Hezekiah: the Greatest King

September 30th, 2008 1 comment

For the king .. had taken counsel to keep the passover in the second month.
–2 Chronicles 30:2

Everybody’s heard of King David, but how many remember King Hezekiah? He ruled over Judah, the southern part of what had been a united kingdom under David. After David’s son Solomon died, the northern part of the kingdom, Israel, broke away. Its rulers set up their own dynasties, while David’s descendants, including Hezekiah, ruled over the southern part.

What makes Hezekiah so interesting is that he was a good king. None of the kings of Israel, and few of the kings of Judah, were good kings. But of Hezekiah we read: “there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah after him, or among those who were before him.” (2 Kings 18:5)

Hezekiah a better king than David or Solomon? How’s that?

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Frogs in the Machine Room

September 20th, 2008 No comments

I’m preaching from Exodus 8 — the plague of frogs on Egypt — and I crack up every time I read that story. I laugh partly because it’s intrinsically funny, but partly because of this picture:

Frogs in the Machine Room

which I clipped out of a computer magazine some years ago. I assume it was for some kind of disaster recovery service, but honestly, I don’t remember.

It’s pictures like this that make me wish I could project pictures on a screen during worship.

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Good advice from the Preacher

September 12th, 2008 No comments

Ecclesiastes can be a little tough to take. But I was reading it the other day and this jumped out at me:

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that are given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. — Ecclesiastes 9:9

There’s wisdom in that. The spouse whom you love (and the enjoyment of life you share) is your portion.

It’s an interesting word, portion. It means the part that is assigned to you. TNIV renders portion “your lot in life.” NLT/2E over-translates it as “your reward.” The Hebrew word chelek is fairly neutral. It occurs in Scripture 26 times in 22 verses and doesn’t have any emotional overtones that I can detect, although we might be tempted in that direction in Ruth 2:3 when Ruth gleans in the portion of the field belonging to Boaz.

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Decent, Orderly Worship

September 4th, 2008 No comments

…but all things should be done decently
and in order.1 Corinthians 14:40

This verse from 1 Corinthians is often described as the “unofficial motto” of the Presbyterian church, particularly with respect to gathered worship. The idea behind that description is that the Presbyterian Church is open to new ideas and is willing to experiment–so long as any new ideas are “decent” and “orderly.” The problem with this description is that “decent” and “orderly” are subjective criteria. One person’s decency is another persons’ outrage, and we all have different understandings of “orderly.”

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