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Have you ever said to yourself: I wish there was a way to tell my story? I want to preserve knowledge for future generations but I’m not sure how? I want my community to have a way to access my knowledge after I’m gone? I do. It’s called the Spiritual Community Preservation Project. Hi my name is Andrea Welker, host of the Sacred Hearth podcast and owner of Sacred Hearth Media, and I want to tell you about a new podcast here at Sacred Hearth Media. I want to help preserve the knowledge and l ...
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One day, a few years ago, I was visiting my oldest daughter Her oldest daughter, came to me and said, “I dreamed you last night” - she had told my daughter, “I dreamed grandpa” • Jennifer asked her, “Which grandpa?” she said, “The bald one.” • fortunately I have another dream story - in 1992, my life had been shattered by divorce • that summer a ni…
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Chapters 2 and 3 may be the most well known section of Revelation At least two of our favorite quotations are found here - what’s the theme of these chapters? Answer: “Church Repairs” • in chapter 1 Jesus appears in a form not found in the Gospels • in his right hand he held seven stars–which represented the angels of the seven churches ◦ in script…
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Revelation gives us a unique picture of the inner life of our Christian experience It is much different from Paul’s carefully structured teaching - with his separation of the new self from the old self • and his contrast of having the mind of the Spirit versus the mind of the “flesh” • Revelation reaches into our inner lives through symbols and biz…
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You may wonder, Why the book of Revelation? I admit, it is the most confusing and frustrating book in the Bible - it’s not an easy read – some images are very strange • they seem fairytale or mythical, except but even weirder ◦ for instance, we find, not just a beast with ten horns, ◦ but it has seven heads (?) and ten crowns on its horns • there’s…
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Today’s story is challenging and difficult to understand It turns everything we think we know about Jesus on its head - it involves a foreigner in a different region of the map • the setting for the life of Jesus is mostly in Israel ◦ he passes through Samaria, and briefly sets foot in Gadara ◦ but in this story he goes north – the one and only tim…
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The stories we hear today will serve as an illustration They illuminate a line from the prayer Jesus taught us - you know it and you’ve prayed it–maybe many times • it is one-third of a petition “hallowed [revered] be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt. 6:9-10) • it is that last line I hear in these tw…
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I decided to continue in Jeremiah for another week There are two stories we will consider that I’ve always enjoyed - one reason they appeal to me is because they’re interesting • another reason is that they are meaningful • although the main character in each story is connected to Jeremiah, ◦ they have nothing else in common - both stories have two…
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The two chapters of Haggai are about putting God first Israel had been driven from the land of Judah for seventy years - on returning to their homeland, one of their priorities was to rebuild the temple, • but there was a lot of work to be done, few workers, and limited resources ◦ they also had to construct homes for themselves • after awhile, a f…
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Even in infancy, people discerned that Jesus was extraordinary Simeon, a righteous and devout man, was led by God’s Spirit into temple - there he encountered Mary and Joseph and their baby • taking Jesus into his arms, he prophesied over him - then the elderly widow, Anna–who was herself a prophet, • she also encountered the holy family in the temp…
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Morning Talk: Jim Calhoun Luke 2:8-19, King James Version This is how I first heard the Christmas story. King James original from Linus van Pelt (from the Peanuts comic strip). I can’t say it makes me sad. It was a fine way to be introduced to Christmas. Later, when I was 11 or 12, I found our family Bible, my grandmother’s Bible and read it for my…
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The Christmas story is compressed into a few pages in New Testament For instance, no sooner do the birth announcements arrive than the babies are born - first John and then Jesus • in Luke chapter 2 Jesus is born, and by end of the chapter he’s already twelve years old ◦ though the magi are often pictured alongside the shepherds at the stable, ◦ wh…
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A few months ago, my grandson Calum began telling me what he wanted for Christmas Do you remember when it took forever for Christmas to get here? - now it’s like, “Is it that time again already?” • I used to be amused by people who left Christmas lights up all year • now I get it – they’re not lazy, they’re just old - we’re about to complete anothe…
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Chapter is not what we’ve come to expect from Jeremiah It is a short piece of autobiography, a personal episode in the life of the prophet Background King Zedekiah was the end of the line for the kings of Israel and Judah And he was in the last full year of his reign Jerusalem, the capital city of Judah, was under siege the army of Babylon was at t…
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Two weeks ago, I pointed out a shift in Jeremiah’s prophecies Until now, his message was a reminder to Israel of all their failures - they had turned from their God and were rushing downhill • so Jeremiah delivered a message of condemnation, rejection, of doom and gloom • but now a light breaks through the dark passages ◦ there is hope for Israel a…
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A god who never surprises us nor could ever surprise us, a god we could know perfectly well, whose every move we could predict, who has no secrets, so there’s no mystery, no confusion, no missing pieces, is not the God of the Scriptures For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are h…
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One thing we cannot say about prophecies of Jeremiah We cannot say God was silent –he did not sit back and watch passively, - as his people destroyed their religion, their nation and themselves • Jeremiah says God rose early to send all his prophets (Jer. 25:4) ◦ in the Old Testament, to rise early signifies eagerness, a compelling energy • God eag…
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One of the challenges I’ve wrestled with in Jeremiah, Is that it is so distant and unpleasant that it seems irrelevant or offensive - distant, because we are out of sync with that period of time and culture • we don’t share their norms, values, or kinship structures ◦ their geopolitical context was nothing like ours today ◦ their hardships are not …
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We’re going to make two trips to the Pottery Shack this morning The messages God had for his people required illustration - there’s an interesting angle to using pottery to reveal a truth • archaeologists depend on clay pots for vital information regarding ancient cultures ◦ even broken pieces of clay vessels have stories to tell • excavations dig …
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My senior year in high school, my best friend surprised me He said, “I don’t think I can justify bringing a child into this world” - that was something I was still looking forward to enjoying, • getting married and some day having children ◦ I knew about war and poverty and race riots and assassinations and environmental pollution • but my outlook …
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The purpose of Yom Kippur was to resolve a problem Israel was the community of God’s people living in a world of impurities – some impurities resulted from contact with natural sources (not sinful) • others resulted from violations of God’s religious and social laws • these impurities affected the entire community, even God’s sanctuary and its furn…
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To fully appreciate what’s here, we need perspective If we take an aerial view and rise high enough, – we’ll discover in Jeremiah themes and sayings from Deuteronomy • both use the metaphors of a circumcised heart and an iron furnace • both lay great emphasis on God’s covenant with Israel The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Not with …
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There were two times in the gospels when Jesus identified precisely what had to be done in the moment - once, when he told a wealthy man, “you lack one thing” (the man had to liquidate all his assets and follow Jesus) - another time he explained to Martha, “one thing is necessary” • then he defended the one thing Mary had chosen to do - it can be a…
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The first time I visited Shiloh in Israel, I loved it Finally I felt something extraordinary in Israel--like an energy vibrating up through the soil - that was on the path, before we had even reached the site • one strong appeal that Shiloh that appealed to me was that there was nothing there but bare hillsides • but for that same reason, Shiloh wa…
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In 1989 Bob Dylan released the song “Everything Is Broken” - it’s a bluesy song that I love listening to when I feel down but not out • when something that is important to you falls apart, ◦ or a lot of unpleasant things line up in your day, this song fits your mood ◦ lots of people, in different situations can connect with these lyrics • it someti…
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Every year, my dad directed a summer camp in Williams, Arizona So that was our typical family vacation - one year, when all the campers were assembled in the chapel, • Dad began, “There was a murder in the forest last night ◦ he paused to let that sink in • then holding up a carving knife, he said, “This was the weapon” ◦ and “Here is the victim” –…
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I always been enchanted with the way this chapter opens If you look at the text, God’s speech is arranged in a poetic format - Hebrew poems do not look or sound like English poems • Hebrew poetry has a different structure and rules ◦ in chapter 1, Jeremiah had expressed his thoughts in prose (the ordinary written form of essays, etc.) ◦ but God’s m…
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There are several words in the Bible we don’t understand They pose a problem for us, because they’re common words, - and we assume we know what they mean • that is why we get confused when we come to them ◦ for instance: "name," "fear" ("Am I supposed to be afraid of God?"), "holy," and "sons of" • biblical Hebrew has a small vocabulary ◦ so it has…
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The book of Proverbs is a collection of pithy sayings If you read it several times, those clever lines stick in your mind - for instance, here is one that comes to mind regarding this last week: Iron sharpens iron, so a person sharpens the face of a friend (Pr. 27:17) • you might remember, last year, Guy Gray spoke here ◦ we met up again this past …
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About twenty years ago, Barb attended a seminar at work A psychologist lectured on Compassion Fatigue Syndrome - it is a common condition among healthcare professionals • their encounters with the suffering of others takes a toll ◦ if they are not treated yet continue to work, they can become numb ◦ they stop feeling empathy for their patients’ pai…
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Last week, God’s question to Elijah was, “What are you doing here?” We’ll start with that question: “What are you doing here?” - isn’t one reason that your here is because you came to hear what I have to say? • Okay, I feel uncomfortable when I think that or say that ◦ not only because it’s like I have to give an oral report every week (and feel li…
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We’re going to spend time this morning with a unique person Elijah was one of the most gifted prophets in scripture - in fact, he became the representative of all the prophets, • right up to and including John the Baptist, who came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Lk. 1:17) • Elijah will teach us a lesson on hearing the voice of God…
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We’ve come to the last chapter in Mark’s gospel And to the enigma at the end of the book - that’s because the story ends at Mark 16, verse 8 • you say, “Chuck! My Bible still has more verses” ◦ “Yes, I know, but read the fine print” • the most ancient manuscripts that we have in our possession end at verse 8 ◦ scholars tell us the quality of the Gr…
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This story is about Christ the Victim becoming Christ the Victor I’m going to jump right into my meditations on this chapter My meditation: “I want Mark to use his remarkable storytelling skills to enhance the details of what is depicted here. I want him to enable us to visualize it and hear every sound. It would benefit us to begin to fathom what …
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My first thought is that this is Jesus these religious leaders want to eliminate. He has done only good; he has opened windows to the kingdom of God; he has advocated for spiritual and humanitarian reforms; and he has healed countless people. My second thought is the devious approach the religious teams use to eliminate him. There is something abou…
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The temple plays an important role in Jesus’ story The one clear accusation brought against him at his trial was, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands’” (Mk. 14:58). - but they weren’t certain what that even meant Yet even about this their testimony did n…
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For the last few chapters, tension has been growing The religious establishment has taken notice of Jesus – in this chapter, the conflict leads to a public showdown • this began at end of chapter 11 with priests, scribes, and elders By what authority are you doing these thing or who gave you this authority to do them? (Mk. 11:28) ◦ so the ‘And’ at …
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The chapter begins with Jesus’ dramatic entrance into Jerusalem But first, he gives instructions to two disciples regarding the colt he was going to ride - imagine this: the disciples go find the colt and begin untying it, • wouldn’t the bystanders assume they were stealing it ◦ so Jesus instructed them to say,…
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When Nicodemus visited Jesus, his first words were, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God Nicodemus was correct -- Jesus is a teacher - Mark tells us teaching people Jesus' “custom” – his usual response when people showed up • that is what we witness as we watch Jesus move through this chapter • Jesus never ran out of things to say ◦ …
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There are at least two ways to read the Bible We can dive into it head-first or we can enter with our heart – of course it’s important to think about what we’re reading • but it’s also important to feel what we read ◦ to be responsive to the content of the text and how it affects us • I study Scriptures with my head and meditate with my heart – my …
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We are at the center of Mark’s gospel, heart of his message – the hub of the wheel In chapter 8 Mark pulls everything together - Jesus Christ appeared in the world on a mission • he came to introduce people to the kingdom of God • but making them aware of God’s presence and kingdom proved to be extremely difficult ◦ it is not easy for us to awaken …
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I have been blessed with a number of extraordinary friends One of them was incredibly creative - he could hardly complete a project, because he was constantly distracted by new idea • sometimes I would call him when feeling depressed • his creativity was so inspiring, it changed my outlook - he agreed to fill-in for me as a guest speaker • it took …
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Years ago, a woman who worked at the church experienced an emotional or psychological breakdown – her therapist recommended a clinic for in-patient care • when she was allowed visitors, her family asked me to go see her • right away I noticed she looked different – lighter, like a weight had been lifted ◦ she was definitely in a better frame of min…
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Every year, one line from the Easter story comes to mind I decided that I would talk about that line today - the women came early in the morning, • and they found the tomb, but they did not find Jesus • however, two men met them, dressed in dazzling apparel ◦ I don’t know about their "apparel," but that sounds like "Project Runway" to me ◦ the only…
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I have enjoyed this story ever since I was a child When spending the night with cousins or friends, - we would sit in the dark and tell ghost stories • it surprised me to find one of the spookiest of ghost stories in Mark's gospel ◦ and this one is true – it really happened ◦ Mark turns flashlight into his face and tells "The Legend of Legion" • “I…
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I’ve enjoyed the privilege of walking the shores of the Galilee "sea" Sometimes in the early morning, other times in the afternoon, and some evenings as well - so once, when reading this chapter, I put myself there • Jesus could be seen walking those shores frequently ◦ that’s what he was doing when he called his first disciples (Mk. 1:16-20) • in …
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