Thursday, January 28, 2016

Parashah Messiah: On Being Priests

Torah Portion: Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23)
Gospel Reading: Romans 15:8–16, 1 Peter 2
Commentary by: Kelsey Bryant

“You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:4–6)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Book Review: You Lost Me -- Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church And Rethinking Faith
You Lost Me
(by David Kinnaman)

I was looking through the books I had on our e-reader (I forget what I was looking for), when I came across one that I had downloaded several years ago, but never got around to reading: You Lost Me--Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church And Rethinking Faith. Having just watched a documentary called Divided about the problem of youth leaving the church, the topic was fresh on my mind. Like Divided, this books aims to diagnose the church drop-out problem and propose solutions. Unlike Divided, this book is backed by years of research and offers a more balanced point of view.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Parashah Messiah: No Turning Back

Torah Portion: Beshalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16)
Gospel Reading: Romans 6:1-11
Commentary by: Chris Knight

This week’s Torah portion covers what is, considered by most, the single most significant event in the Old Testament: The Exodus from Egypt. It is here where the plagues and wonders of God climax with Pharaoh sending the Hebrews out of Egypt and the people of Israel beginning their long journey as a new nation of their own. This event sets the stage for the rest of Israel’s history as a people, their covenant relationship with God, and ultimately it paints a picture of the great future redemptive work of the promised Messiah.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Center of the Bible

Most modern scholars will tell you that the primary rule in approaching the Biblical texts is to look for what the original author was trying to say within his own time, culture, and context. That is, do not start out with "What does this mean to me?" or "What is this symbolic of?" or "What is the hidden meaning here?" Questions like these circumvent what the author is trying to say. Rather we should seek to understand the language and the culture and then let the text speak for itself.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Parashah Messiah: Light in Darkness

Torah Portion: Bo (Exodus 10:1–13:16)
Gospel Reading: Matt. 5:14–16; 2 Cor. 4:4–7
Commentary by: Kelsey Bryant

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even a darkness which may be felt.’ So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings.” (Exodus 10:21–23, NASB).

It couldn’t get any more poignant than this: God’s people were bathed in light, while their oppressors wallowed in darkness. This darkness was so oppressive it prevented the Egyptians from living their lives; it was as if they were dead for those three days. After that, when the darkness lifted, the Egyptians saw clearly yet again who was God and they understood that He wanted to rescue His people. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Why I Practice Communion

Photo Credit: Kurt Clark
Communion is one of those Christian traditions that most of us Messianics left behind. After all, once you learn that the "Lord's supper" was actually a Passover seder, why hold on to tradition?

That's why I was wary of joining our local church in their practice of weekly communion for a long time. It seemed intellectually dishonest for me to participate in something that I believed had no real foundation. The Lord's Supper was Passover, not some new thing.

I began reconsidering my position when I read an article entitled Penal Substitution vs. Christus Victor by Derek Flood. The article challenges its readers to reconsider the way in which we think about atonement, but in the midst of this Derek pulls in the concept of communion:

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Parashah Messiah: A Promise Remembered

Torah Portion: Va'era (Exodus 6:2-9:35)
Gospel Reading: Luke 1:46-55, 67-79
Commentary By: Matthew Day

I've heard it said that God's sacred name, Yod Hey Vav Hey, carries the connotation of Covenant keeper. This idea comes from our Torah portion this week, "God spoke to Moses saying, 'I am YHVH. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as El Shaddai, but by my name YHVH I did not make myself known to them.' " He goes on to speak about the Covenant that He made with them and His intention to now fulfill that Covenant. To Abraham, God revealed Himself as the promise maker. But, it was not until Moses that God revealed Himself as the Covenant keeper by redeeming His people from Egypt and bringing them to the promised land. At this time, it was made clear--this is a God who remembers His promises.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Double Mirror Experiment

Photo Credit: David Marcu
Most people look at the world through some lens--their worldview. These are ordinary people. A few take the time to examine the different worldviews people have. These people we call philosophers. They hold up a mirror and allow us to see ourselves and the worldview we have. Even fewer people take the time to examine the worldview with which they look at other worldviews. These people we call mad. They hold up two mirrors so that you can look at one through the other.

If you value your sanity, I suggest you stop reading now.