Morning Musing: Amos 3:5-6

“Does a bird land in a trap on the ground if there is no bait for it? Does a trap spring from the ground when it has caught nothing? If a ram’s horn is blown in a city, aren’t people afraid? If a disaster occurs in a city, hasn’t the Lord done it?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Occasionally, I’ll tell one of my kids to stop doing something, and they’ll retort back that they weren’t doing whatever it is. My standard response to this is that if they hadn’t been doing it, then I wouldn’t have said anything to them about it. Because I did, they obviously were. Amos was prophesying God’s judgment against the people of Israel. In response, some of them may have been tempted to question what they had done that was worthy of judgment. Let’s talk about Amos’ response and what it might have to do with us.

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Morning Musing: Amos 3:1-2

“Listen to this message that the Lord has spoken against you, Israelites, against the entire clan that I brought from the land of Egypt: I have known only you out of all the clans of the earth; therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

If you are a parent, you probably have some rules for your kids. Those rules may be very formalized and strict, or they may be more relaxed and informal. Whatever form they happen to take, though, you have rules. When those rules are violated, there will be some kind of consequences, again, whether formal or informal. Still, though, the bonds of the family hold even when the rules are broken. But what happens if someone in the family starts to assume on those family bonds while living however they please? Let’s consider that for just a minute this morning as we move forward with the prophet Amos.

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Digging in Deeper: Amos 1:13-15

“The Lord says: I will not relent from punishing the Ammonites for three crimes, even four, because they ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to enlarge their territory. Therefore, I will set fire to the walls of Rabbah, and it will consume its citadels. There will be shouting on the day of battle and a violent wind on the day of the storm. Their king and his princes will go into exile together. The Lord has spoken.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What do we do about evil that is happening a great distance from us? There’s a nice, encouraging question to start of this new year. We live in a nation that in spite of our growing secularity has a system of laws rooted in a Christian worldview. We strive for justice as a people, even if imperfectly. But around the world are evil regimes and human rights’ being devastated by oppressive rulers. What does God have to say about that? In what will be the first stop in one of three occasional series we are going to be working through in this new year, we find part of an answer from the prophet Amos. Let’s take a look at this together.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 12:25-29

“See to it that you do not reject the one who speaks. For if they did not escape when they rejected him who warned them on earth, even less will we if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven. His voice shook the earth at that time, but now he has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ This expression, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of what can be shaken – that is, created things – so that what is not shaken might remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been in an earthquake? The answer to that probably depends on where you live, just like it does with about any other natural disaster. Different areas are prone to different kinds of disasters. I never thought I lived in an earthquake-prone region until I was sitting at my desk a few years ago and everything suddenly started shaking. It wasn’t a big earthquake (at least, we were far enough from the epicenter that we didn’t shake too much where we were), but it was an eerie moment. The world was moving, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. As we come to the end of chapter 12 today, the author is talking about another shaking that’s coming. But this one will be a bit bigger than what I experienced. Let’s talk about God’s shaking things up and the hope we have in His kingdom.

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On Specks and Logs

The world hates judgmentalism. The idea that someone would loo kat another person, assess their behavior or lifestyle choices, and enforce some sort of negative relational or social consequence on them absolutely makes our blood boil. And there is no institution in the world more associated with this kind of thing than the church. But what if this all-too-common image of the church wasn’t actually rooted in reality? No, I’m not saying the church hasn’t ever been judgmental in the past (or present). It has. A lot. We’ve worked hard to earn our reputation. But what if that wasn’t how things were supposed to be? What if Jesus hated judgmentalism just as much as – or more than – the world does? What if several of the common negative perceptions of the church fell along about the same lines? This week we kicked off a brand-new teaching series looking at this very question. Join me as we look at what the world thinks, what Jesus said, and what this all means for the church.

On Specks and Logs

Used to be, if you wanted to be someone in this culture, you needed to be a part of a church. It didn’t really matter much which one, you just had to have your membership in their record books and attend just often enough that people knew your name and thought of you as a member. Of course, if you wanted to really achieve something significant in the culture, you had to be more than just a member. You had to be an active member. You needed to be on a key committee or two. Bonus points were definitely given if you were a deacon. You also needed to be fluent in the language of faith. Now, whether or not you actually believed any of this was an entirely separate matter. In fact, it was often better if you didn’t, because then you could keep your eyes on the prize you were seeking without worrying about God coming along and messing things up by calling you in a different direction. Whatever level you wanted to achieve, though, being a part of the church was the entrance gate. Today…not so much. 

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