Passions and Pursuits

Re:Verse passage – Galatians 1:11-24 (day two) being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions. vs. 14b

What are you passionate about? What is the subject  you could speak extemporaneously on at any moment? We all have them, and I would pray that your first response to those questions is Jesus. But do you put your zeal, your energy, and your thoughts to him or to other things. When you imagine yourself zealously giving a litany of why your ‘thing’ is the best, are you speaking of Jesus? Honest inventory here; we have many passions, but they often have little to do with our Savior. I love cycling and can talk endlessly about riding, my bike, my favorite riders. I love Star Trek and all things sci-if, and yes, I’m the guy that can tell you which episode such and such happened.

I do notice it in others more than myself. I don’t particularly care for college football season anymore. Heresy, I know, but I discovered years ago that all I heard on Sunday mornings through the Fall was passionate discussions about the games the day before. We are much like Paul was. Zealous, eager to share, but with the wrong passion. Hobbies, interests, pursuits are good and noble, and many can lead to deepening out witness if we use them in that way. Let us make every effort to speak with more fervor about our pursuit of Jesus as our love for anything else.

Family of faith

Re:Verse reading–Genesis 11:10-32 (day seven)

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith“–Galatians 6:10.

It was an amazing family.  Kennedy-esque.  We tend to see faith’s formation as an individual process. (God spoke to me, I have a personal faith)  The Bible places equal value on the influence of family.

Since Noah lived 950 years (Genesis 9:28) most calculations have him alive 58 years after Abraham’s birth!  Did they see each other at family reunions?  Shem lived 600 years and didn’t die until Jacob (Jacob!) was 48.  Shem and Eber both outlived Abraham!  Through this family, God carried forward lessons of faith into each generation.

The church is designed to be such a family.  “Young men shall see visions, and old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:14)  Senior Adult and Seniors in High School, living together the shared lessons of faith.  One family.  Learning/living/telling each other of a glorious God.


Re:Verse reading–Genesis 11:10-32 (day six)

Did you know that Shem is one of our spiritual forefathers? It’s true. The line of Shem runs straight to Jesus, and then extends to His church. This genealogy is a reminder that God is at work fulfilling what He has promised- the destruction of sin and death, and the restoration of humanity. We are the recipients of that fulfilled promise through Jesus, while God is also completing His Kingdom work through us . We are the light of the world, salt of the earth, image bearers of the glory of God displayed in us through the Gospel.

We share in a rich heritage of Kingdom fulfillment! Here is the exciting news, the church by the power of the Gospel will conclude what God started so long ago!

Own your spiritual heritage! Continue the Gospel work!


Re:Verse reading–Genesis 11:10-32 (day five)

It is wonderful to think about and appreciate the power, wisdom, and sovereignty of God. His love and plan extends thru generations of people. His awareness and involvement spans over the course history. These traits never cease to be at work. He is large and mighty. These genealogies describe a God who wills and works through the whole human race. “For God so loved the world.” A God of this magnitude deserves our wonder and our worship.

But if we say His desire is to work through all of us, then we must also say that his desire is to work through each of us. Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do YOU say that I am?” We must also answer the same question. Personally. Individually. A God who is this personal will require trust and obedience from all of us and each of us.

God at Work

Re:Verse reading–Genesis 11:10-32 (day four)

This passage covers almost two centuries of time.  It was a very significant time in the history of the earth.  Nations were developing, the Ice Age was occurring…but man was in rebellion against God.  None of this history is recorded in Scripture, but that does not mean God was not at work.  He was preserving the messianic line and His work was on schedule.

Have you ever felt that God was not at work in your life?  You could not see Him doing anything?  Oftentimes, we fail to see God at work, because there is rebellion in our hearts.  Our lack of clear vision does not equate to inactivity on His part!  God is at work and His work is right on His schedule.  “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me I the everlasting way.”  (Psalm 139:23-24)


Re:Verse reading–Genesis 11:10-32 (day three)

“They set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan.” 

A death within the family of Terah ushered in a restlessness that fueled a movement westward.  They didn’t go as far as they had envisioned; loss seemed to weigh them down, and the name of their stopping place reflected the memory of the brother and son whose death so deeply etched their lives with grief.  Wanderlust would continue to roil Abram’s life, and into that nomadic spirit God would speak.  Restlessness was not a bug, it was a feature through which God worked to establish a people and a promise.  Sometimes discontent isn’t ingratitude, but rather an honest question: Where is God?

The One

Re:Verse reading–Genesis 11:10-32 (day two) Terah became the father of Abram vs. 27b

Often we spend our lives trying to be the one. You know, the one who cures cancer, or the one who breaks the record, makes the money, invents the machine, etc. We live in a place that encourages doers. As a people we are achievers, dreamers of dreams, risk takers.

What if that isn’t your assignment? What if, your job is to parent the one, and not be the one? What do we know of Terah, of Jesse, of Joseph? Their role was not to be a father of nations, the king of Israel, or the savior of the world. Their role was to shepherd the one who would be.

What if the child for whom you have prayed has an assignment that shapes the world? Does that diminish yours? Not in the least. The tears, the prayers, the guidelines you set forth for them will be the framework for who they become. Shape them well. Their story is yours.

The road less traveled

Re:Verse reading–Genesis 11:10-32 (day one)

“Terah took Abram his son. . .and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan.”–v 31.

It has been rocky so far.  The relationship between God and men.  First, a flood to destroy the world.  Afterward, things aren’t much better.

Swiftly the race of men drifts away from God.  They (we) build cities and towers without any reference to God’s will or word.  Seeking glory for themselves, they begin to experience His active opposition.  (Genesis 11:1-9.  Last week’s lesson)

Then, a new thing begins!  Hopeful.  History-changing!  The story of God telescopes down to a single life.  Abram. The rest of Genesis, and the Bible, and history and eternity tells the story of this life.

Many travel the wide road that ignores God and seeks success apart from Him.  Only a few (and sometimes only one) travel the narrow road that believes God.  And the world is never the same!

Can He bless it?

Re:Verse reading–Genesis 11:1-9 (day seven)

Consider, please, the promises and warnings of God’s word.

1) God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  James 4:6. Genesis 11. He actively and deliberately hinders the efforts of people who seek to make life make sense without Him.

2) God blesses those who meditate on His word (in order to obey it).  Psalm 1.  What happens in my head matters.  What happens in my heart matters more.  “The eyes of the Lord search to and fro over the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:9.

3) Ultimately, all projects are judged against our motives for doing them.  Genesis 11.  Hebrews 4:12.  Is this about God?  In line with His will and word?  It is really about me, my needs, my name?

Important and helpful question–Can God bless what I am trying to build?


Re:Verse reading–Genesis 11:1-9 (day six)

Pastor Don has already written on the difference between the unity depicted in Genesis 11 and the kind prescribed for the church in John 17:21-23, but I can’t help but have a go too. It is clear that humanity’s aim in Genesis 11 is glory, not God’s but their own. They sought to make a name for themselves by building a tall tower that stretched to the heavens; ironically they fell short (don’t excuse the pun). God looked down upon their small tower and fractured their ill-aimed pursuit.

The truth is we are not designed to display our own glory, we are designed to receive a greater glory. Jesus prayed in John 17:22, “The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one.” Isn’t that remarkable? Humanity in Genesis 11 had it all wrong; they had no need to contrive a glory of their own, they only had to receive God’s glory by faith. Perhaps that is exactly what God intended when he made us in his image, and perhaps that is exactly what Jesus restores through the Gospel-God’s glory given to us!