The Race… …Go

April 29, 2018 we completed our three-part series, “The Race.” The video of this morning’s service is below. I decided against posting the manuscript because this sermon came out VERY different from my plan.

18 Jesus came near and spoke to them, “I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. 19  Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.” (Matthew 28, 18-20, Common English Bible).

 

 

Next, May 6, we will begin a new series, our summer series (the plan is for it to run through Labor Day weekend), “Plain Janes.” We will look at some of the women of the Bible some of us may not know quite as well. Some have a great story to tell.

If… Then… Else…

For some reason, this didn’t auto-post today!!!

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1 Kings 6-7; Luke 20:27-47

 

11 The Lord’s word came to Solomon, 12 Regarding this temple that you are building: If you follow my laws, enact my regulations, and keep all my commands faithfully, then I will fulfill for you my promise that I made to your father David. 13 I will live among the Israelites. I won’t abandon my people Israel. (1 Kings 6:11-13, Common English Bible)

Prior to ministry, I made my living as a programmer/analyst with the FDIC. The IF-THEN-ELSE statement was an essential part of my daily work. Essentially it was IF this condition exists THEN do this ELSE (do this). It might look like this:

10 IF counter = 10
20 THEN GOTO 50
30 ELSE counter=counter + 1 .
40 GOTO 10
50 END

This little piece of BASIC computer code (though this is simple BASIC does not mean simple. It is acronym standing for Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) for a counter loop. The computer looks at a variable, in this case, “counter” does the variable equal 10? If it does then it is to go to line 50 and end the program. If not, the computer is to add 1 to the variable and return to line 10 and look at the variable and follow the path again. It is basic (not the programming language) boolean logic.

I think it might be better to call it basic divine logic. After all, God told Solomon IF you follow my commands THEN I won’t abandon Israel ELSE (implied) I will, many centuries before George Boole laid down the foundations of the logic bearing his name.

God’s statement to Solomon, simple logic though it may be, had far greater consequences, consequences with effects lasting for years that impacted the real lives of a real nation. God gave them a simple pathway to follow. If this THEN that ELSE you are just in trouble.

God was just saying to Solomon what God had said before and would say again to the kings that would follow Solomon. Be faithful to me then I will remain faithful to you else I will leave you on your own and you will be in trouble. It is a simple statement that the Israelites just couldn’t find it within themselves to follow.

We are often hard on the Israelites for not learning from their own history of being obedient and having God’s blessings followed by being disobedient and having God’s consequences. You would think they would have learned. What we see, however, is the nation repeating the same foolish behavior again and again.

But before we are too hard on the Israelites, we really need to take a look in the mirror. We aren’t much better. God tells us to be faithful and we still fall short. All too often, we think, “I’ve got Jesus. That’s all that matters. If I go too far, I confess and ask forgiveness, then God will forgive me and life goes on.” The flaw in that logic is, just because there is forgiveness does not mean the consequences of our choices go away. If you choose to run a red light while driving and say as we enter the intersection, “Lord forgive me.” God will forgive. But, the eighteen-wheeler bearing down on you probably will occupy the same space as you in pretty short order. We have forgiveness, we also have consequences.

The key is more than forgiveness, it is obedience.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

Journey Through Scripture – May

We got started on this Journey beginning January 1st. If you have missed some along the way, do not fret about it. Nobody is perfect and there is a good chance all of us might well fall behind before the year is over. Just pick up where we are now and go back at the first of the year and start reading from the beginning and this time next year you will have read all the Bible.

In January we completed Genesis. In February we finished Exodus, Leviticus and from the New Testament, we completed Matthew. In March we scratched off Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua. On the New Testament side, we completed Mark. In the month of April, we finished Judges, Ruth 1 and 2Samuel and began 1 Kings. On the New Testament side, we started with Luke and we are still reading Luke. As May begins our Old Testament focus will be on both 1 and 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles and begin 2 Chronicles. From the New Testament, we will finish Luke in just over a week and then move on to the fourth Gospel, John.

  • May 1: 1King 10-11; Luke 21:20-38
  • May 2: 1King 12-13; Luke 22:1-30
  • May 3: 1King 14-15; Luke 22:31-46
  • May 4: 1King 16-18; Luke 22:47-71
  • May 5: 1King 19-20; Luke 23:1-25
  • May 6: 1King 21-22; Luke 23:26-56
  • May 7: 2King 1-3; Luke 24:1-35
  • May 8: 2King 4-6; Luke 24:36-53
  • May 9: 2King 7-9; John 1:1-28
  • May 10: 2King 10-12; John 1:29-51
  • May 11: 2King 13-14; John 2
  • May 12: 2King 15-16; John 3:1-18
  • May 13: 2King 17-18; John 3:19-36
  • May 14: 2King 19-21; John 4:1-30
  • May 15: 2King 22-23; John 4:31-54
  • May 16: 2King 24-25; John 5:1-24
  • May 17: 1Chron 1-3; John 5:25-47
  • May 18: 1Chron 4-6; John 6:1-21
  • May 19: 1Chron 7-9; John 6:22-44
  • May 20: 1Chron 10-12; John 6:45-71
  • May 21: 1Chron 13-15; John 7:1-27
  • May 22: 1Chron 16-18; John 7:28-53
  • May 23: 1Chron 19-21; John 8:1-27
  • May 24: 1Chron 22-24; John 8:28-59
  • May 25: 1Chron 25-27; John 9:1-23
  • May 26: 1Chron 28-29; John 9:24-41
  • May 27: 2Chron 1-3; John 10:1-23
  • May 28: 2Chron 4-6; John 10:24-42
  • May 29: 2Chron 7-9; John 11:1-29
  • May 30: 2Chron 10-12; John 11:30-57
  • May 31: 2Chron 13-14; John 12:1-26

Good reading. I hope you enjoy. And as I have so far this year, I will continue to write my daily post from at least part of one of the daily passages. I think I did better in April, well except the last couple of days of the month. I will continue to give it my best effort.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

It was Just a Dream

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1 Kings 3-5; Luke 20:1-26

The king went to the great shrine at Gibeon in order to sacrifice there. He used to offer a thousand entirely burned offerings on that altar. The Lord appeared to Solomon at Gibeon in a dream at night. God said, “Ask whatever you wish, and I’ll give it to you.”

Solomon responded, “You showed so much kindness to your servant my father David when he walked before you in truth, righteousness, and with a heart true to you. You’ve kept this great loyalty and kindness for him and have now given him a son to sit on his throne. And now, Lord my God, you have made me, your servant, king in my father David’s place. But I’m young and inexperienced. I know next to nothing. But I’m here, your servant, in the middle of the people you have chosen, a large population that can’t be numbered or counted due to its vast size.Please give your servant a discerning mind in order to govern your people and to distinguish good from evil, because no one is able to govern this important people of yours without your help.”

10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had made this request. 11 God said to him, “Because you have asked for this instead of requesting long life, wealth, or victory over your enemies—asking for discernment so as to acquire good judgment— 12 I will now do just what you said. Look, I hereby give you a wise and understanding mind. There has been no one like you before now, nor will there be anyone like you afterward. 13 I now also give you what you didn’t ask for: wealth and fame. There won’t be a king like you as long as you live. 14 And if you walk in my ways and obey my laws and commands, just as your father David did, then I will give you a very long life.”

15 Solomon awoke and realized it was a dream. (1 Kings 3:4-15, Common English Bible).

“Oh, it was just a dream,” and we discount it and throw it away. For whatever the reason we think because we weren’t awake and God spoke it wasn’t really God speaking. Yes, we discount it, forgetting that again and again in Scripture God spoke to people in dreams and the results were very real.

It seems to me, it would be one thing if it was a non-believer say, “Oh, it was just a dream.” They don’t believe in God anyway. Yet for all too many of us who profess faith, we all too often have the same attitude.

Early in my ministry, I was planning on preaching a particular sermon. I went to bed on Friday night with my plan in place. I was ready to go. Then I had a dream. I don’t remember my dreams often but I did that Friday night. I encountered two of my mentors at a meeting. The thing was, we were all in different districts and wouldn’t have been at the same meeting. Both came to me separately and told me, that sermon I had in mind, yeah, I wasn’t supposed to preach that on Sunday. They gave me reasons and I have long since forgotten.

What I do remember was waking up knowing I had to write a new sermon. After breakfast that morning I went over to my study to write a new sermon. I wrote that sermon that day faster than I have written a sermon before or since. It confirmed for me that God was really speaking to me.

I am not trying to say when you dream you won a contest and were the winner of a new car that God is speaking and you are going to actually win a car. In that case, and many others, I doubt God is actually speaking in that dream. It really is just a dream.

In Solomon’s dream, God told Solomon, ask what you want, you can have it. Solomon didn’t ask for anything to really benefit himself. He asked for something that would help him lead Israel. Solomon was faithful in his request. Because of that faithfulness, God gave far more than Solomon’s request.

As people of faith, we are called to put others ahead of ourselves. When we do, dream or not, God will bless us for it.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Don’t Make Him Angry

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1 Kings 1-2; Luke 19:28-48

 

22 King Solomon replied to his mother, “Why ask only for Abishag from Shunem for Adonijah? Why not ask for the entire kingdom for him? After all, he is my older brother and has the support of Abiathar the priest and Joab, Zeruiah’s son.” 23 King Solomon swore by the Lord, “May God do to me as he sees fit! Adonijah has made this request at the cost of his life! 24 Now, as surely as the Lord lives—the one who supported me, put me on the throne of my father David, and provided a royal house for me exactly as he promised—Adonijah will be executed today.” 25 So King Solomon sent Benaiah, Jehoiada’s son. He attacked Adonijah, and Adonijah died. (1 Kings 2:22-25, Common English Bible)

I admit it, I am no authority on The Incredible Hulk or any other superhero, cartoon character (well, except perhaps Bugs Bunny and his cast of characters). I do remember some of the old television show. Bill Bixby played Dr. David Bruce Banner who, conducted experiments on himself using gamma radiation. The end result came about whenever Banner got angry or stressed. He would turn green, get the muscle structure of a professional bodybuilder and become ready to rip something apart. He was “The Hulk” played by bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno. Banner, and his alter-ego “The Hulk” manage to find ways of helping people while Banner travels across the country searching for a cure or at least a treatment that would work on his gamma radiation exposure.

Now, that was the Reader’s Digest version of my memory or the old show, The Incredible Hulk. It was kind of like the Israelites. He would go through life as the mild-mannered Banner. Then something would either made him mad or stress him out and he would turn this particular shade of green. He would calm down and find himself back as Banner again.

King Solomon didn’t have the power to turn into a green-eyed (and bodied) monster. That didn’t mean you wanted to make young Solomon angry. If you made the king angry, you could easily end up on the wrong side of the grass.

If you don’t believe me ask Joab. Here he had been the king’s military leader under David. He murdered someone but David could do little about it because they were at war and he needed the general of his army. David didn’t try to sugar-coat it. He told Solomon to kill Joab right straight off. And, he did as much.

Solomon killed Adonijah simply because Solomon told him to stay at home and Adonijah left the country but came right back. Solomon ends up saying, “King says you are gonna die.” And Adonijah did just that.

But, there was more to this than simply cleaning things up. It was also about cleaning up loose ends. Joab had shown his loyalty to David until David dies. Right before David dies, he tells Solomon to take care of things. Show them who was boss. Then Adonijah goes out and follows Solomon’s instructions and Adonijah is killed.

In the end, the thing that happens is exactly what God had planned. God used a relatively small number of soldiers and great things happened as a result. If we let God do it, God can do great things in and through us.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

I would ask a favor of you. I am doing some research on church and the internet for a paper I want to write. I have created a short 10 question survey that shouldn’t take more than about 3 minutes to complete it. I want to ask if you can do that for me. You can find the survey on either my Facebook page, one of the Church’s three Facebook pages and find the survey. Or, you can just follow this link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/R7V7PTR

Thank you in advance for helping me out. If you know some folks who are not active in a congregation and you think would be willing to help with the survey I would love to hear from them as well. Thanks for your help.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/R7V7PTR

How Far Would You Go to Get Noticed?

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 Samuel 23-24; Luke 19:1-27

 

19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through town. A man there named Zacchaeus, a ruler among tax collectors, was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but, being a short man, he couldn’t because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When Jesus came to that spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay in your home today.” So Zacchaeus came down at once, happy to welcome Jesus.

Everyone who saw this grumbled, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I repay them four times as much.”

Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this household because he too is a son of Abraham. 10  The Human One came to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:1-10, Common English Bible).

Graduation season is upon us. Within the next 2-3 weeks, colleges will start graduating their seniors. Within a week or so after that, it will be time for high schools to do the same. That means, it is also time for the relatively new custom of decorating the tops of mortarboards.

When I graduated from high school back in the mid-1970s, I don’t remember anyone decorating a mortarboard. When I graduated from college almost two decades later, there were a few, but I really don’t remember many. When I graduated from seminary six years later it was noticeably more.

A few years ago I attended a college graduation and there was something crazy going on. Almost everyone had something on top of their flat square hat with the tassel hanging off.

I am told that decorating mortarboards started out as a way for parents and others attending graduation to be able to pick their graduate out of the crowd of people all wearing the same color.

It seems to me that these days if I wanted to find my graduate, I would tell them to leave the mortarboard just like they got it. There would be quite a few less to look at.

I don’t think Zacchaeus was necessarily trying to get noticed when he climbed up in the sycamore tree. He just wanted to see Jesus. The Scriptures say he was a short man. He was also, as a Roman tax-collector, a hated man (do you like your friendly neighborhood IRS agent?) that no one was going to go out of their way to help.

So, if one is short and can’t see over the crowd, what do you do? You find a way to make yourself taller. Man lifts and cherry pickers were still 20 or so centuries away from being invented so Zacchaeus had to find another way. Most of us don’t carry ladders in our pockets and even if Zac had a box with him, it still might not have made him tall enough to see Jesus over the crowd. So, being the observant guy he was, he sees the tree and climbs it. I’m not actually sure how he was able to do that with a robe on but, as the old saying goes, “when there is a will there is a way.”

Imagine shock for Zacchaeus and everyone else around him when Jesus stops the procession and tells good old Zac to get out of the tree and then invites himself over for dinner. Some might say it was rude on Jesus’ part but somehow I don’t think Zac is one of them.

How would you feel if all you were trying to do was get a look and then you got so much more? For Zacchaeus, it was enough to get him to turn his life around, to make a change, to see the harm he had caused others. It was enough to get Zac to repent.

So, how far would you go to get noticed by the Master?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

They Understood Nothing

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 Samuel 21-22; Luke 18:24-43

31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and said, “Look, we’re going up to Jerusalem, and everything written about the Human One by the prophets will be accomplished. 32  He will be handed over to the Gentiles. He will be ridiculed, mistreated, and spit on. 33  After torturing him, they will kill him. On the third day, he will rise up.” 34 But the Twelve understood none of these words. The meaning of this message was hidden from them and they didn’t grasp what he was saying. (Luke 18:31-34, Common English Bible).

Mark Twain once said, “The more you explain it, the more I don’t understand it.”

Niels Bohr said, “If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.” Um, no problem there Niels. I won’t argue your point. I don’t understand it.

Elbert Hubbard said, “He who does not understand your silence probably will not understand your words.”

William Howard Taft wrote, “Don’t write so that you can be understood. Write so that you can’t be misunderstood.”

Stephen Covey said, “Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply.”

Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Some of the authors of books I read in seminary needed to hear at least a few of these. Immanuel Kant, author of The Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals would be number one on my list of people who need to talk to Einstein about his quote. I read the book ten times (short book) and I still didn’t understand what he was saying.

The disciples were like that too. I feel certain they didn’t understand quantum mechanics and many other concepts we live with today, some I understand and some I do not. I feel the same is true for you. Somewhere, someone is going to bring forth an understanding that most of the rest of us just are not going to get.

For the disciples, it was the one who can easily pull the wool over any of our eyes. God, who does understand quantum mechanics and is not, despite what Niels Bohr has to say, profoundly shocked by it, blocked the things Jesus was saying from their minds.

It is important for us to remember that the disciples were probably of a mindset, much like the rest of the Jews, that the Messiah, and they did understand that this would be Jesus, was going to be a militant. As such he would march into Jerusalem and throw the hated Romans out. He then would re-establish Israel as a world power and Jerusalem would once again be the capital. It would be really easy for the idea that Jesus would be killed to fly over their heads. They didn’t understand yet. In truth, they probably didn’t want to understand.

Things were about to happen. They would be things the disciples wouldn’t understand, at least not at the moment. But, three days later, just as Jesus was telling them in this lesson, everything would change. On the third day, they would see power like they had never known before. Thanks be to God.

Have a great day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved