Thursday, November 24, 2016

Parashah Messiah: Where Faith May Be Found

Haftarah Portion: Chayei Sarah (1 Kings 1:1-31)
Gospel Reading: Luke 18:1-8
Commentary by: Kelsey Bryant

King David, once a force to be reckoned with, was deteriorating. Without consulting his father, David’s fourth son, Adonijah, decided that he was supposed to be the next king. Adonijah’s older brothers were out of the picture, and normally the oldest living son was first in line to the throne, so Adonijah thought all was clear. He and some of David’s advisors set himself up as co-regent with his dying father.

But that was outside David’s plan and God’s intentions. David had sworn to his wife Bathsheba, “Surely your son Solomon shall be king after me and he shall sit on my throne” (1 Kings 1:17, NASB). Bathsheba and Nathan the prophet clung to that promise. Solomon and his supporters were put in danger by Adonijah’s actions; seeing that Adonijah had acted so precipitously and that he hadn’t invited them to his coronation banquet, there was no telling what he might do to Solomon as a rival.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Parashah Messiah: Living Faith

Haftarah Portion: Vayera (2 Kings 4:1-37)
Gospel Portion: Matthew 8:5-13
Commentary By: Daniel Clayton

The Torah portion of Vayera is filled to the brim with rich, meaningful accounts and messages. There is much that could be said about this portion, but as we’re focusing on the Haftorah this year round, I will just ask you to keep the binding of Isaac in mind as I go through it all.

In the span of Elisha’s life and happenings, he encountered a particularly hospitable woman who opened her house to him whenever he might be passing through. The kindness this woman showed was apparently remarkable enough to put in him the desire to repay her.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Parashah Messiah: Creator God, Redeemer

Haftorah Portion: Lech Lecha (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)
Gospel Reading: Romans 8:18-39
Commentary By: Matthew Day

Remnant Israel stands in Babylonian captivity. They cry out, “Why is my way hidden from the LORD? Why is justice denied to us by our God?” (paraphrase Isa. 40:27). Seventy years they have waited in captivity for the time of the exile to end. Seventy years they have waited under the oppression of foreign power in conditions we can only imagine, crying out for a Redeemer. The LORD responds,
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth? (Isa. 40:28a ESV)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Book Review: The Great Spiritual Migration,204,203,200_.jpg
The Great Spiritual Migration
(by Brian D. McLaren)

Most people who know me know that I try to keep an open, yet critical mind about new ideas. I will consider the ridiculous, try to get into the shoes of those who believe it; but when I'm done, I'll apply the same ax that I apply to my own beliefs. It is in this vein that I opened up The Great Spiritual Migration and it is under this standard that McLaren's book failed to hold up.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Parashah Messiah: Strength in Weakness

Haftarah Portion: Noach (Isaiah 54:1-55:5)
Gospel Portion: 2 Corinthians 12, Philippians 4
Commentary By: Chris Knight

The Haftarah portion for Noah is a beautiful passage from the book of Isaiah in which we see God comforting His people, Israel. In a time of destruction and exile, God shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel. He shows us a glimpse of restoration and redemption with all credit going to Him. We read,
"Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman,” says the Lord. “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited. “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, and will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore. For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. For the Lord has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused,” says your God. (Isaiah 54:1-6 NKJV)