Showing posts from September, 2015


He had another dream, and told it to his brothers, saying, “Look, I have had another dream: the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”  But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him, and said to him, “What kind of dream is this that you have had? Shall we indeed come, I and your mother and your brothers, and bow to the ground before you?”  So his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.   Genesis 37 So far in Genesis we have encountered creation, how God sang all that is seen and unseen into being.  How God sunk God's fingers into the soil and breathed the breath of life into us.  How Adam and Eve hid from God, prompting that great spiritual question, "Where are you?" from God...a question that we will never be able to answer or exhaust fully.  We heard about violence begetting violence in Cain and Abel.  We studied how God appeared under a star-filled sky.  Now, we land in this great

Abraham and Sarah: Genesis 18

So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?"   Genesis 18... click here to read the whole story Exhibit A is when Ethan walks out with a mischievous smile on his face and says, “Dad why are jokes about Minnesotan’s so short?”  And I say, “I don’t know, why?”  And he says, “So Iowans can remember them.”  (Insert rim-shot here) Exhibit B is the story of an angel who went around visiting congregations.  At first, the angel stopped by the Methodists who were so nice, invited the angel to a potluck meal featuring hot dishes and a whole table of Jell-O desserts.  The angel reports all this to God who was pleased.  The next day, the angel visited the Baptists, whose enthusiastic worship was infectious and left the angel singing all the way home.  Again God was pleased.  So, the next day, the angel visited a UCC church.  But the angel did not return that night with a report.  Nor the next night.  Nor th

Genesis 4

When I stare into the mirror that the story of Cain and Abel holds up to my life this morning, I am reminded that no group puts the fun in dysfunction quite like your family.  Church committees can sometimes come close.  But family members know that special combination of buttons to push that can send your blood pressure soaring and the tiny vein in your forehead pulsating.  While culture shows us families with lovable curmudgeons, perfectly timed commercial breaks, and everything being resolved in neat and tidy ways within a half hour.  I soon realized that one, family tensions we have can sometimes fester for years with the unspoken rule that we don’t talk about it... whatever “it” is.  While the hymn is right, "Blessed be the ties that bind," sometimes those ties can also make us feel bound and gagged with guilt or brokenness or pain.  As you read Genesis 4, it is like looking into the mirror of Cain and Abel, you may only want to glance, not gaze too long.  The wit

Genesis 3

Genesis...this book of beginnings and attempts to respond (not necessarily answer once and for all, but contribute to the on-going conversations that matter) to the big questions of life: if we were created good and set in a beautiful garden (albeit one that had loneliness of Adam and anxiety of Eve talking to the serpent), why is life so hard?  Enter in a dialogue with snake...a forbidden of their nakedness...and God walking in the garden.  This would be where you want to cue the dramatic music please.  Go ahead...I'll wait. The narrative of Adam and Eve is about our humanness in full, beautiful display.  But this narrative is NOT an eraser that wipes clean God's original blessedness and proclamation that you are good...VERY good.  Rather, this introduces tension.  Or rather seeks to respond to why we feel tension in our lives. We all live in that messy middle of blessedness and brokenness.  It is just east of Eden, where we feel like we are so c

creation 2

Then the Lord God formed a mud-being from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being..The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.  Genesis 2:7 and 15 We have just passed Labor Day weekend.  While it is often seen as the bookend to summer which started with Memorial Day weekend, to celebrate the work of our heads, hearts, and hands in this world is perhaps sometime more.  From the very beginning God calls the mud-being to work.  Please notice that "Adam" in Genesis 2 is less a formal name and more a generic description.  Adam means of red earth and it sounds very similar to the Hebrew word for "Ground".  To call this being God fashioned and formed into being Adam is stating the obvious...the being was "of dirt and mud" and more Work today has a complicated place in our lives.  Many of us, myself included, define


In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.  Genesis 1:1-2 Beginnings matter.  Where you start a story sets the tone and leaves an impression in the hearts of the listeners.  Take, for example, the first date with my wife.  I could the start the story by telling you about how I was willing to see a movie a second time...which clearly tells you that I am a caring guy.  Or she might start the story by telling you that she had to call me and that I did not return her phone call right away.  I would, of course, chime in and say my parents were in town at the time.  And we converse in loud, emphatic voices about the reasonableness of this excuse.  Or we could start the story years before, in college, when we were both at young adult retreat and I can still remember the flannel shirt she wore...again proving my caring nature. So beginning