Jason and the youth took off Sunday afternoon for Central Florida Bible Camp. They looked happy, energized and excited to leave. When they get back they will look dazed, exhausted and excited to return to their own bed. More importantly, they will return with a renewed spiritual focus and appreciation for each other. This will also be one of the best relationship builders for Jason and the young people. Even so, David Rogers, deacon over youth, piled in with them for the week as well as our summer intern Blakely. I am excited to hear about the trip when they get back.
Speaking of Jason, you may have heard he and Suzanne have a new baby. Well, you can’t become a new parent around here without getting a baby shower. So, on Sunday, July 23rd, there will be a special celebration for Beckham. It will take place at the home of Chris Dean (4555 4th St.). They are registered online. You can click on https://www.babylist.com/suzanne-king to view and purchase gifts. That is about as simple as it gets. Missy and I will never forget our first baby shower when I was a youth minister. It was a huge help.
Speaking of kids…uh…young adults, Sasha Chisholm and Troy Wiley are in Antiqua and fully engrossed in the work in Antiqua. Continue to pray for them. I am also looking forward to hearing all the things they did and learned along the way.
Sunday was a great day of worship, fellowship and lots of visitors. A group from Tennessee, who makes their pilgrimage to Vero Beach once a year, filled a whole pew. I also met an elder from Kentucky, and his son, who are working in the area through July. There was also a lady visiting with us from the community whose children have been coming with us. I’m sure I missed some others. We need to make sure NO ONE sits alone. Share the love of God to others – both inside and outside our building.
Funny thing is, one of the young people with the Tennessee group mentioned to Missy about a sermon I did on Samson the last time he came and the guys from Kentucky mentioned my baseball sermon a few weeks ago. I mention this because they were “exciting” sermon topics. You can’t beat the Bibles strongest man and two of our guys throwing a baseball during worship. That said, this Sundays topic doesn’t seem to be as exciting. In fact, many are not sure what it means. It is the word Propitiation found in Scripture. Believe me when I say it is one of the most exciting subjects in all the world. Right now I am not sure if it will be one lesson or a series. If you ever wanted a topic to bring others who do not know Jesus, this is the one.
BONUS: Yesterday I mentioned several religions who taught an aspect of “The Golden Rule.” It is also found in Jewish writings as early as the Apocryphal book of Tobit (3rd century BC). “What you hate, do to no one” (Tobit 4:15). Rabbi Hillel made a similar statement the generation before the Incarnation of Jesus. There is a famous passage in the Talmud comparing Hillel with his contemporary, Shammai, tells this story:
“A pagan came before Shammai and said to him, ‘Make me a proselyte, but on condition that you teach me the entire Torah while I am standing on one foot!’ Shammai drove him off with the builder’s measuring rod which he had in his hand. When he appeared before Hillel, the latter told him, ‘What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary. Go and learn it!'” (Shabbat 31a). Of course, like the others, this is the negative form of love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18). It is still good, but Jesus gives the positive form of treating people as we want them to treat us.
ADDED BONUS: Steve Hoskins talked about the mercy seat that sat on top of the Ark of the Covenant. It was much more than a lid for the ark. This is where Yahweh dwelled in the midst of Israel (Ex. 25:22). This was God’s throne on earth. I say all of that to say this, when you read the Psalms you discover many passages that allude to the throne of God. For example, Psalm 47 is a liturgy celebrating the Great King over all the earth. If you listen to the language, the psalmist is speaking about Yahweh ascending in a victory procession into the Temple (v. 5-7). As King of the nations, He is seated on His holy throne (v. 8). This is reference to the Mercy Seat – the throne of God – as it is being brought back to the Temple (probably taken for battle). Remember, much of the Psalms was used in public worship at the Temple. Therefore, when the psalmist refers to the throne of God, more than likely it is the mercy seat. By the way, this is a great class on the Tabernacle.
THE WRAP UP: As we look back at Jesus’ teaching on prayer, may we be people who pray often and from a sincere heart. When we talk to the Father, our words are intended to be heard by Him and not to impress others. We should approach God often and not just when we want/need something. “The Model Prayer” shows us how to pray and can also be recited with an honest heart. Going to the Father often changes us. We no longer will be people who desire the help of God, but also to be a people who help others, and treat them they way we would want to be treated. So continue to ask, search and knock!