Fresh from the desk…

A Leper’s Legacy

 

3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. 4 There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? 5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. 9 And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
(Mar 14:3-9 ESV)

The 14th chapter of Mark records an incident which I find to be more fascinating every time I read it. I am talking about the story of the woman (John says it’s Mary, Lazarus’ sister) who anointed Jesus with expensive ointment, not long before He would ride into Jerusalem and subsequently be crucified. There are many things about this story that are interesting, the amount and type of ointment used, the grumbling of the disciples about the poor judgment in using the ointment, the fact that Jesus says she was preparing His body for burial, and so many others. But what sticks out to me this time is that the Scriptures record the name of the person whose house they were celebrating in: it is Simon The Leper’s house! Now we hear about several different Simons in the Bible, and they are identified in varying ways, but this particular man is recorded as being known as THE LEPER. For more than 2000 years now, this poor guy, no matter what else he may have done or been (maybe he was a craftsman, or a builder or a shepherd or maybe just a really great friend or conversationalist… it doesn’t matter) he is pegged forever as Simon the leper.


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Off the Bench

Off the Bench

I read this article this morning from Michael Newman’s blog, and felt that it was easily as pertinent and well written as anything I might post this morning.  Read and enjoy.

Pastor Aaron

the following is copied from the April 9, 2013 blog post of Rev. Michael Newman at http://www.mnewman.org/blog.php

 

If you saw Kevin Ware’s injury during the Easter Sunday Louisville-Duke NCAA basketball game, you know how it made you stop in your tracks. I saw one replay and couldn’t watch another one. Louisville player, Kevin Ware, experienced a devastating injury. It was so devastating that his teammates dropped to the floor. Some were nauseous, some were in tears, some were paralyzed in disbelief. Even Duke players were stunned. Even grown coaches cried.

As I watched, I thought to myself, “Isn’t there a team chaplain to help this player out?! Isn’t there a pastor somewhere?!”

Then God’s correction came swooping in. I read an article by Adam Himmelsbach of the Louisville Courier-Journal. He said:

“When University of Louisville forward Luke Hancock saw Kevin Ware lying near the sideline with a shattered right leg, he initially recoiled like his teammates. Some Cardinals were vomiting, others were crying and inconsolable.

But then Hancock thought back to last summer, when he suffered a gruesome shoulder injury in a pickup game. He remembered how others were aghast. He remembered how former U of L guard Andre McGee was the only one to rush to his side, to rush him to the hospital. He remembered how much that had meant.


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“How Long O Lord, How Long?”

Pastor’s Note, Dec 14, 2012, Edwards, Colorado

I spent some time last night talking with my cousin. His wife’s cancer has returned. She’s only 46 years old. The doctors are using a new experimental drug on her. “Experimental” is another word for expensive and desperate. In my cousin’s words, “Well, it’s not a death sentence, but it doesn’t look good.” If that wasn’t bad enough, their child is in Afghanistan. My cousin spends the first part of his days first worrying about his wife and the second part worrying about his son.

As I was preparing to write this note, I got an email from a good friend of mine. He just found out that he has cancer too.

This happens every Christmas. Every Christmas I find out that someone I love is very sick. Every Christmas some new stressor enters our family’s lives. Every Christmas – I kid you not – the copy machine breaks. It broke yesterday.

So I’m sitting at my desk thinking and praying, “Why Lord? What’s next?” It’s like walking on egg shells waiting for the next moment of bad news. Psalm 13:1 keeps repeating in my head, “How long, O Lord? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” How much longer Lord?


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Sometimes, if you can’t figure out which direction God is telling you to GO, it’s because He is telling you to STAY!

So you are searching God’s Word, you are looking in the right place, and you are doing all you can to leave your agenda out of the equation and consider only God’s plan, but you are seeing no direction, no open doors, feeling no push or pull. Is God ignoring you? Nope. But it could be that you are so eager to do the big new thing that God has for you, that you have overlooked the thing He has already put you right in the middle of. The GPS on my phone will give me signs and notices and directions for the duration of a journey, but at some point, the lady says “you have reached your destination”. No more directions, no more signs, because I am where I am supposed to be. When you feel like God has been remiss in directing your life, look around for a minute at where He has placed you. What is God already doing where you are? Be a part of that until the next journey begins.


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On what should we base our assurance of salvation?

Q: On what should we base our assurance of salvation? I know the Word and the promises of the Gospel are our rock, but how do we distinguish between real faith and mere intellectual assent? I ask this because many evangelicals make me nervous when they say that if one has doubts about one’s salvation, one is probably not saved, because the Holy Spirit is supposed to provide inner assurance. (I guess this ties in to the whole Pietist problem.) But in the face of emotional ups and downs, moral failings, intellectual doubts, and confusion over doctrine, how can one know if one truly has faith in Christ?


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