Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Learning Powers & Biblical Texts / Teachings

Our church primary school using the idea of Learning Powers. We are thinking about trying to link these to Biblical texts or teachings. Below is my rough 1st attempt (with some help from Facebook friends). Some of the texts are perhaps a bit of a stretch and some might have been used elsewhere. Any additional suggestions most welcome.

be creative

God as creator, humanity created in his image as creative (Genesis 1 esp vv26-28)

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant law with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent— the table and its articles, the pure gold lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand— 10 and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests, 11 and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them just as I commanded you.”” (Exodus 31:1-11)

be determined

The parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8)

Or see also Hebrews 12 below

“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51) – Jesus focusing on his mission – could also be used below – similarly Mark 1:35-39

focus on the goal

“24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

be curious

The boy Jesus at the temple (Luke 2:41-52) esp v46, “they found [Jesus] in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions”

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” (Proverbs 25:2)

Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Mark 4:9)

work together

the church as one body with many parts, all needed - God gives his people a variety of gifts to be used for the good of all (1 Corinthians 12:4-31)

The defeat of the Amalakites (Exodus 17:1-16)

Moses appoints judges to share the load (Exodus 18)

make links

Everything is made and known by God

“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1)

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36)

“15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:15-17)

“So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)

 be flexible

the Apostle Paul’s missionary strategy: “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-22)

enjoy learning

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23)

The parable of the Sower (Mark 4)

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Some further jokes

How does Willy Wonker clean his teeth?
Candy Floss.

What's the best think to put in a chocolate pie?
Your teeth.

What did the Starburst say to the Mars Bar?
Going my Milky Way.

What happens when Willy Wonker goes to sleep?
He has sweet dreams.

What did the nose shout out at the school play auditions?
Pick me! Pick me!

Why did the teacher get cross-eyed?
Because he couldn't control his pupils.

Why was the maths book so unhappy?
Because it was full of problems.

What's green and slimey and found at the North Pole?
A lost frog.

What do you call a fairy who hasn't had a bath?

What do monkies like to eat?
A choc-chimp cookie.

What did the bannana say to the monkey?
Nothing. Banannas can't speak.

Exodus The Movie (parish magazine item preview)

I recently went to see the new Biblical epic, Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings. I was especially interested to do so because last year I preached my way through Exodus chapters 1-20 and I am planning to return to the book soon. And I thought it might provide me with some copy for the insatiable parish magazine, which it appears to have done! If you haven’t already seen the film and intend to, perhaps I should say that you might think this article contains spoilers. Right, those of you who are still with us, what should we make of it?

Both The Telegraph and The Guardian gave the film 3 out of 5 stars, and I think that’s about right. I found it watchable, but I’ve no real desire to see it again. Not Ridley Scott’s best work, I reckon. Gladiator is worth owning; Exodus isn’t.  

I suppose we can expect Hollywood to take some licence when it treats Holy Scripture. I didn’t see the Noah movie, but my impression is that this adaptation was rather less outlandish (no giant stone monsters, for example) but much less straight that Cecil B. De Mill’s The Ten Commandments, which is undoubtedly a classic of its type and still a great film. I was disappointed that there seemed to be some unnecessary monkeying about with the Biblical narrative in Exodus. For example, I can’t really see that it was required for Moses to have a bump on the head before he met with God at the Burning Bush. Even if the film-makers had issues with historicity of the Exodus narrative they might have trusted it as a great story and left us to make up our own minds about its truthfulness. Attempts to explain or explain away the story might not carry as much conviction as letting it stand on its own merits.

The drama of the plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea were striking. The film brought home the mighty power of God and the devastation of these terrible events with the full panoply of modern special effects. Though we might have our quibbles, this might actually enhance our reading of the Biblical texts as we wonder what these things might have been like to live through. If we are tempted to sanitise, domesticate or gloss over the events which are briefly narrated in Exodus, Exodus might be an antidote.

The depiction of God was interesting. He appeared as a ten year old boy. For the Christian this is intriguing, especially when the movie is released just after Christmas. God as a boy could suggest identification with the human condition, especially with his people in slavery in Egypt. The incarnation is all about God caring enough about our plight not only to somehow save us from afar but to enter into it as our rescuer. Thus we have a God who is not also powerful but personally sympathetic. He knows what fear and exploitation feel like for a human being from the inside. Though I fear that for the film-makers, God as a child was perhaps meant to suggest petulance and unpredictability. This God played dice. Moses seemed to have modern liberal values; God less so. This God didn’t quite stamp his foot and have a tantrum but you felt that he might. In the film the Passover is presented as morally problematic when the Bible sees it as a deserved judgement, though we might find this hard to swallow.

The film’s Moses was perhaps more Braveheart than prophet, but one point which did come through clearly was Moses’ inability to save his people. He has to learn humility and come to the point where he recognises his dependence on God. To this we can say, “Amen”. In fact, the Bible later calls Moses the meekest man in all the earth. We might fairly assume that this was to some extent hard-won rather than a natural part of his personality. More importantly, Moses might be the agent of salvation – in this he is a picture of the greater Saviour to come, the Prophet like Moses, Jesus Christ. But salvation is the work of God alone. God saves us despite ourselves, because of his undeserved love for us. Our response is trust and obedience. It’s not for us to set about saving ourselves or other apart from God.

If the Exodus movie causes us to revisit the Biblical book of Exodus that would be a very good thing. And even better if we manage to see in Exodus a picture of our own deliverance from our slavery to sin.

The Wrong Wise Mans

If you intend to attend divine worship in the parishes Warbleton or Boble Street Green this Lord's Day, you may wish to look away now.

Some jottings for a normal sermon and an all age talk for Epiphany on the Visit of the Magi:

(See also here, here, here and here)

The Wrong People (Wrong Nationality, Wrong Jobs)
The Wrong Method
The Wrong Place
The Wrong Time
The Wrong Person
The Wrong Question
The Wrong Results
The Wrong Attitude
The Wrong Gifts

God Welcomes Wrong People Who Get It Wrong (more than that he deliberately and especially draws them)

Come and Welcome & Give Thanks – we are wrong ‘uns too

Draw in other wrong ‘uns – and be prepared to change!

There will be pictures!