Monday, July 27, 2009

I won again for the third time!

My caption: "Is this the 12-step group for recovering non-conformists?"

I picked up the latest edition of the Leadership Magazine, turned to page 92, and found out that, for the third time, I am a winner in the caption contest. The cartoon and caption I submitted are above. Other captions submitted included:
  • After 13 years of doing leadership training classes, Pastor Ray found he was completely beside himself. (Scott Mueller)
  • Ed decided not to report the copier problem (Neil Young)
  • "John Maxwell was right:'You teach what you know, but you reproduce what you are.'" (Ray Jones)
  • "Welcome to your first Anonymous Anonymous Meeting." (Dolly Bilstad)
  • "Is this the seminar on identity theft?" (Deborah Griffin)
  • Bob finally found a church where he wouldn't have to compromise. (Doug Spinney)
  • Stunned, Brother Ed realized he had forgotten to check an important box on the eHarmony compatibility form. (John Beukema)

The artist who drew the cartoon is Tim Walburg

Enjoy! Ed

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Twofold Meaning of the Lamb

Image of the Lamb of God

After 37 years in ministry, it is a serendipity for me when I read something that is a new insight for me. I had such an insight when reading a book by Dan Stone and David Gregory called "The rest of the Gospel (When the partial Gospel has worn you out)" (2000, One Press, Corvallis, Oregon) The fifth chapter unfolds the picture of the Passover in Exodus 12 explaining that the purpose of the lamb's blood was to save the life of the first-born in each family when the blood was sprinkled over the doorposts of each Hebrew house. The authors went on to explain that the blood of the lamb was only part of the story. The meat of the lamb was also provided for the family to eat to provide nourishment in preparation for the beginning of the journey from slavery in Egypt out of bondage into freedom and the inheritance of a new homeland in Canaan. We have a tendency to think about the blood of the lamb, but forget to think about the meat of the lamb as God's provision.

Likewise, Jesus blood is provided to us for the forgiveness of sin, but his body is also provided to us for nourishment. Jesus is, for us, the bread of life. We are to remember that during our time of communion. It is common to think of the shed blood of Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. But we only see half the picture if we fail to think of Jesus as the lamb who was slain and eaten in preparation of the journey out of slavery. This is the theme of Jesus sermon in John 6 which he preached to the crowds the day after he fed over 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes. The crowds liked it when Jesus miraculously provided food to the masses, but they were unimpressed when Jesus called himself the "bread of life." Jesus told the crowds, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:51 NIV) At this point many in the crowds left him and many of his disciples also left him. They didn't want to hear this even though it was a major theme of his message concerning himself.

For the believer, Jesus is the Lamb of God, and his provision as the Lamb is twofold. The blood of the lamb is for salvation from the prospect of death, and his flesh is provided as our nourishment and sustenance in life. The experience of Jesus on the cross, and our connection to Jesus at the cross, is twofold as well. We thank God for the blood of Christ which cleanses us from sin, but we also need to see our connection to Jesus as the bread of life, who becomes the very life source of all who died with Jesus when he died on the cross. Romans 6 explains that connection to Christ at the cross where we died along with him and were raised up to a newness of life with him. Jesus is now our life itself. Our connection to him is permanent, and it is from him that we draw our nourishment. The message Jesus gave that was rejected by the masses in John 6, is the source for our lives in connection to Him. Jesus is the bread of life. our connection to Him is the very basis for our life as children of God. We need to see both the blood and the body of Christ when we look at the cross. See the forgiveness and the nourishment coming from our connection with Christ at the cross.

Monday, July 20, 2009

How to locate your Congressional Reps.

US Capitol Building:

Pam Hall sent me an e-mail with information about how to easily get in touch with your Senators and Congressional Representative. With us needing to get in touch with these people on so many things being considered by Congress these days. This is really important. Therefore, the information is listed balow:

How to locate and email your senators and representative:

Go to
Type in your zip code and hit "Submit It"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thinking about Leisure Time

"Rest" by Ola Jacobsen

Having just returned from some leisure time in Illinois followed up by three days in Port Aransas, my thoughts turn naturally to the subject of rest and relaxation. Through the years I have often heard certain people brag about never taking a day off and never going on a vacation. It seems that a minority of preachers and missionaries I have known fall into this R and R avoidance category. It seems to me that they didn't just avoid time off; their non-stop work endeavors were worn as a badge of honor. Spouting such cliches as, "I'd rather wear out than rust out," these folks use the "hard work" angle to prove their superiority over the lazy masses around them. Maybe it's just me, but I can't help but detect that these people don't seem to be doing themselves any favors by always staying "on the clock" so to speak. I remember one clergy couple in particular who's argumentative behavior with each other and most people around them, practically screamed out, "I need a good nap!"

Naturally, a topic like this lends itself to the proverbial question, "What would Jesus do?" Fortunately, we can do better than that by looking at Mark 6 to observe one of Jesus' busiest days of ministry. We can look at what Jesus did do and encouraged his disciples to do with him. Jesus had just sent his men out two by two into area villages to preach and brought them back together for a de-briefing session. The text then records (Mark 6:31), "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'" Thinking about the King James verbiage of this text I remember a preacher's admonition to "come ye apart" or else you will come apart (literally). Jesus is also the one who said, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) While Jesus was certainly a hard working man himself, I can't imagine him boasting about "wearing out rather than rusting out." The most amazing thing about Jesus' leisure time was that he seemed to spend most of it in prayer in a place where he was able to be alone. It seems that for Jesus, communion with Abba Father was blissful relaxation of the best kind. He was not only favorable to relaxation, his rest was spent in union with the Father. If only we could learn to "clock out" the way Jesus did as he talked to God in a quiet and lonely place. Consider Jesus admonition, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." Think about that for a while.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Breath Prayer information

In a sermon on prayer a week ago I mentioned "breath prayers" which was something used at the Jesus Way Conference in San Antonio in preparation for the morning session. We were encouraged to contemplate two phrases from Psalm 36:8. As we exhaled we would say (or think) "We feast on the abundance of your house..." and when inhaling, "...You give us drink from the river of your delights." I enjoyed that mental and spiritual preparation for the morning session. My wife had also been hearing about breath prayers lately, some as short as just saying, "Lord have mercy." I also had a 4 page article on breath prayers written by Dr. William Gualtiere and had placed about 8 copies of that article in the foyer. Here is the link in case you are interested in reading the article for yourself.