Deep Dive: Them Locusts (Joel 1)

pabloDeep Dive is a weekly series in which I look at an aspect of the text that was important, interesting or just weird but that I was not able to touch on in the sermon.

When I was a kid, one of our pastimes during the summer would be running through the vacant lot next to our house and capturing grasshoppers in glass jars. We would look through the class and see the different colors and variations of the grasshoppers. Joel must have had a similar fascination. In Joel 1:4, he describes the locust hordes that descended upon Israel and Judah. Continue reading “Deep Dive: Them Locusts (Joel 1)”


Psalms on Saturday (Mar. 18, 2017)

“My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food…
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night.”

Psalm 63:6

Earlier this week my wife and I had the excellent opportunity to stay at the Haven River Inn in Comfort, Texas. On Tuesday evening, we ate at the Subway there in Comfort and at 4 o’clock in the morning, I discovered that the Subway food and I were having a large disagreement in my belly. For quite a while, I rolled around and could not fall asleep as the battle raged on in my belly. Giving up the fight for sleep, I reached over, grabbed my phone and began browsing through social media, blogs, etc. for an hour.

My wife eventually woke up and I flipped on the lamp and began reading Psalm 63 and in verse 6, the Holy Spirit dropped the hammer upon my heart. In my rolling around, searching for sleep and relief from the Subway-stomach carnage, I never once prayed and asked God for relief. I never once thought back to the Scripture I memorized for just such an occasion. I didn’t even pull up the YouVersion Bible app on my phone to read the Bible for comfort. Instead I sought comfort in the backlit, blue light screen of my iPhone. I did not exemplify Psalm 63:6 (which is quoted above).

Psalm 63:1 says, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” I love this verse; it is one of my favorites in all of Scripture and it is what I aspire and hope would describe me. But if these things are true, if I truly and earnestly desire the Lord, then why was the Bible the last place to which I turned?

The answer is not that I do not love Scripture or do not love God. But the answer is that earnestly seeking the Lord, having a soul which thirsts and yearns for the Lord is a daily and lifelong process with many victories and failures. I failed to turn to Scripture because I was not trusting that God could take care of my problem or provide comfort. However, I did think that my phone would provide the comfort I needed. I failed to trust God.

But even amid the failures, the Lord is gracious and plants the seeds of victory. If I would not have failed, I would not have realized how easily distracted my mind can be and how I do not turn to the Lord in moments of crisis and pain. But through my failure, the Lord showed me these things and now they will be more and more present in my mind the next time a small crisis arises.

“Thank You, Lord God, for showing me that I was not trusting and finding my comfort in you. Please Lord, help me and every Christian to find our comfort, not in our phones, or something else, but to find our comfort in you.”

Sermon Notes – July 17, 2016

This Sunday, in light of the recent events in Nice, France, I preached a sermon on Genesis 3 that answered two questions: why do bad things happen? and why doesn’t God do something about it.

All evil can be traced back to a single event that happened near the beginning of creation: the Fall. Even in our rapidly secularizing culture, the narrative of Adam, Eve and the Serpent is a fairly familiar one. Satan in the guise of serpent deceives Eve (Gen. 3:1b-5) and his particular method of deception is convincing Eve that God’s word is not to be trusted. Satan lies about God’s motives in commanding Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:16-17). Satan states that God is holding out on Adam and Eve; Satan tells Eve that God does not want Eve to be like God.snakeandfruit Continue reading “Sermon Notes – July 17, 2016”

How (Not) to Read the Old Testament

The Old Testament is filled with stories we know, or are at least vaguely familiar with. Adam and Eve. Noah and the Ark (and all of those animals). David and Goliath. Jonah and the Whale. We know the plot lines, the conflict, the endings. We know these stories. We learned them in Sunday School or through Grandma or Mom and Dad or a friend or just through cultural osmosis. There is a danger when we approach these stories that we know. The danger is that we will read them and many other portions of the Old Testament (and even the New Testament) and we moralize them.

What does it mean to moralize a part of the Bible? Moralizing is when you draw a moral out of the story which may, but is probably not, what the author intended. An excellent example of moralizing is with a modern interpretation of David and Goliath. Continue reading “How (Not) to Read the Old Testament”