Enough Rules?

I was substituting at Beck. Beck is your last stop for the students who have trouble in the regular schools and/or want to get some technical training along with their High School diploma. As I was leaving the principal asked: “I almost hate to ask; how did it go?” It can be difficult you just have to choose your battles. I actually had a great day. I let one kid sleep in one period; and I forced the “I never do the work” kids to et least copy the answers working in groups. One kid wanted to talk about the Peace Corps after learning that I was in Africa after talking horse stories with a young man whose family owns horses.

While there in the science room I copied down these posted rules: 1) Be impeccable with your word 2) Don’t take anything personally – many people have false projections 3) Don’t make assumptions 4) Always do your best; your best can change with circumstances but by doing your best you avoid self-condemnation, self-abuse and regret.

It will be my sermon illustration for tomorrow. Easy to find corresponding bible verses; what is not easy is to live a life that encompasses those rules, biblical rules or any philosophy that has excellent rules to live by. Looking at students who could overnight have their lives change for the worse; you know it’s not about rules; it has to be relationship. “Christ in you, the hope of glory”. Something powerful about a blood covenant with God.

I read some Jonathon Edward’s sermons this week. He stated that he was preaching the same sermons in the same way that he always had when his church experienced a visitation from God that brought in 300 new members. This was the beginning of something God was doing simultaneously in Europe and the colonies called the Great Awakening. How or why I am not really sure but it seems providential that we experienced the first Great Awakening just before the Revolutionary War and the Second Great Awakening just before the Civil War. A civil war in which Lincoln believed that we as a nation were paying a blood price for our sin of enslavement to a sovereign God. Here is an interesting article to read. We can all expect a day of visitation:

1 Peter 2:11-12

11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. NKJV

I have been doing some thinking about the Crusades (still trying to get it together to actually write some things) when I examined the 5 texts of Pope Urban’s II speech that started the first crusade. After reading them what struck me was the huge disparity in the recordings. We know he made the speech and we know the fruit of it so the differing details don’t trouble us. I tried to compare that to the crusading historian doing his best to destroy the harmony of the gospels. In terms of written records of an event that happened 2000 years ago you would think, comparing that to Urban’s speech, and I would assume all other historical records that the gospels would be a unique example of harmony despite the minor differences. I am only talking about the comparing of the documents with other ancient documents. We understand why it is important for them to destroy the gospel leading to their own destructions.

In thinking about the Crusades and the power of relics I was rereading Poul Borchsenius’ “History of the Jews; The Three Rings” (a great history read) and came across this quote from the Jewish Christian debates that went hand in hand with the beginnings of the Inquisition in Spain: “Another priest asked Rabbi Nathan; ‘Why did God reveal himself to Moses in a burning thorn bush?’ ‘Why did he not use another tree?’ And Nathan answered; ‘Because it is impossible to carve a cross from a bush of thorns!'”

We did 13 bible studies today on outreach and ran into a young man who had prayed with us a couple of weeks ago. Running total 304. I have started telling young people about showing the film “James Tembo, Detective” the saturday before Easter. Always hoping.

About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
This entry was posted in Biblical, Illustrations, One Minute Bible Studies, Sparta. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Enough Rules?

  1. Laura Michelle says:

    Daddy! The article you referenced from Asia Times Online, is fantastic! I wish I had had it when I was writing my SMP. I didn’t have as strong a representation of the Puritanical thread during the Civil War as I would have liked. But this article highlights it beautifully. For example.
    “Lincoln’s celebrated statement that God held both sides in the Civil War to strict account for their transgressions echoes John Winthrop’s warning that God would hold America to stricter account “because he would sanctify those who come near him”. What applied to ancient Israel applied also to the almost chosen people of America. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.”
    This article shows that American leadership still believed that God was deeply interested in how we conducted ourselves as a nation since He was intimately involved in its formation.
    But I don’t agree with Spengler’s conclusion.
    “After the Civil War, it was replaced by the conceit that political tinkering and social engineering could remake the world in America’s image – an underhanded way of stating that there is nothing really special about America, and that America’s unique character as a country whose citizens selected themselves from out of the other nations does not really distinguish it from nations defined by blood, tradition, and geography.”
    American expansion, in its most ideal form was a desire to include more people in the blessing of God that we had as a chosen people. We had something special and unique as a nation and a Godly/evangelical motivation wanted others to be part of it. Was this exactly how history played, out? Absolutely not. And yet, those impulses and desires are intrinsic to our national identity. To forget this would be to disregard who we are as Americans.
    I’m all excited about this again. I just contacted SMCM for a copy of my SMP to go over it again. Maybe I’ll continue to work on it for fun  Love you!!!! Laura Michelle

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