When “Worship” Misses The Mark

“He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.’” (Exodus 32:4)

It is significant that Aaron and the people of Israel did not present the golden calf as “another god.” They used it as a symbol of Yahweh: “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.”  In :5 they said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to YHWH.” So all this they were doing was supposedly for Yahweh — it just wasn’t how He had taught them that they were to worship him. Their great sin here was not so much worshiping “another” god, as worshiping the Biblical God in an unbiblical way.

We need to beware of the same temptation.  Continue reading

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The Problem of Impatience

“Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain …” (Exodus 32:1)

One of the biggest problems that afflicts God’s people is IMPATIENCE. We want instant results. This is certainly true in our “microwave era”, although we see here that it was manifest in Moses’ day too. The people of Israel couldn’t wait for Moses to come down from the mountain. They couldn’t wait for God to finish what He was doing.

But aren’t we just the same way today? We are not willing to WAIT for God to work: Continue reading

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Paul’s “Theology 101”

The Apostle Paul preached at Mars Hill has been criticized by some for not being directly based upon the Old Testament scriptures. But upon further inspection it is an amazing compendium of knowledge about the One True God. Notice what all he teaches the theologically inquisitive Greeks about the nature of God here:  Continue reading

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“Meeting With God” (Exodus 29:42-45 sermon)

Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met? I was talking to Barbara Riddle the other day, after Billy Graham had passed away, and she was telling me that some years ago Ruth Graham was at the same hospital as one of her family members, and Barbara got to go down the hallway and meet Billy Graham!

It’s a memorable thing to get to meet someone like that. I read a survey they did some time ago, in which they asked, if you could meet any one person from all of history, and have lunch with them, who would it be? And interestingly enough, the #1 answer was Jesus Christ! People want to meet the Lord. And the thing is, that is exactly what the Lord wants for us, too — and He has provided a means for us to be able to meet with Him.

I hope that you aren’t getting complacent in your daily Bible readings — that’s easy to do as we come to places like Exodus, with all the descriptions of the sacrifices, and the measurements of the tables, and the amount of the grain offerings, and all those details, but if don’t pay careful attention, you’ll MISS some real treasures that God has for you there.

That was certainly the case this week, reading in Exodus 29 about the ordination of the priests of Israel. There were all these details, but then the end of chapter 29, in :43 God says: “At the doorway of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there.” That little sentence tells us some important things about what the PURPOSE of all these things we have been reading about, really is: Continue reading

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“What Did This People Do To You?”

“Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘What did this people do to you, that you have brought such great sin upon them?’” (Exodus 32:21)

The truth was, the people didn’t actually “do” anything to Aaron. At least it wasn’t like they had stoned or tortured him. Verse 1 says they merely “assembled about Aaron” and said “Come, make us a god.”  It was just what we might call “peer pressure.”

And isn’t that often all it takes with us too? Continue reading

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“The Man Who Almost Gave Up His Faith” (Psalm 73 sermon)

One of the best known memoirs of the Holocaust is Night by Elie Wiesel. Wiesel was a devout Jew before his experience in the Nazi death camps, but his time there destroyed his faith. He wrote, “Why, but why should I bless Him? In every fiber I rebelled. Because He had had thousands of children burned in His pits? Because He kept six crematories working night and day, on Sunday and feast days? Because in His great might He had created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many factories of death? How could I say to Him: ‘Blessed art Thou, Eternal, Master of the Universe, Who chose us from among the races to be tortured day and night, to see our fathers, our mothers, our brothers, end in the crematory?” (Night, 64-65). What happened to him, and what he saw happening around him, raised questions that caused him to give up his faith. (Nik Ripken, the author of the video we’re going to watch the next several Wednesday nights, was like that. He lost his son on the mission field, and he was asking, “Is God insane for asking His people to make sacrifices like that?” God’s NOT insane; but these kinds of questions are real, and difficult.)

The author of Psalm 73, Asaph, was almost like Elie Wiesel. This Psalm is his very personal testimony. He opens it with a truth: “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.” But then he begins to tell his own personal testimony in :2, “But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling.” He says God is good; I know that — but I came close to stumbling (in the Bible “stumbling” means to be lost; to give up the faith. In the NT Jesus says “don’t cause one of these little ones to stumble” — that means don’t do anything that might cause someone to be lost.) So here Asaph says, basically, I almost gave up the faith! He DIDN’T — but he said, he almost did. He was really troubled by what he had seen in the world around him, and it raised questions which bothered him. Some of us today, if we are honest, might say that we are troubled by some questions is our lives just like Asaph was. What caused Asaph to almost lose his faith, and what brought him out of it — and how can this help those of us today, who might have some questions like he did? Continue reading

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“What The Centurion Can Teach Us” (Acts 10 sermon)

Well I learned something new this week: Cheryl & I had dinner with Chris & Gina Bailey, and she made the best homemade eggrolls. I asked her what was in them, and one of the ingredients she mentioned was “white pepper.” I had never heard of white pepper before — but it was great!

There are so many things in this world, and God has given people such a variety of gifts and abilities, that there is always something you can learn from every single person — and if we are wise, we will listen and learn.
This week we read one of the great stories in the New Testament, of Cornelius the centurion. And there are some very important lessons that this centurion has to teach us: Continue reading

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