My Picks for Monday 4-25-2016

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Everyone who ever steps on the platform for a church service should have these concepts embedded in their psyche…

Ten Tips for Leading Church WellRory Shiner
Lecture
“Our regular gatherings should aspire to be rich (Col 3:16)—a rich feeding together on the word of God in song, prayer, praise and preaching. Practically speaking, the person who leads church can have a massive influence, for good or for ill, on the experience. Like an orchestra conductor, a leader can determine the difference between whether the parts come together in a beautiful, edifying whole, or dissolve into a chaotic mess. Here’s what we tell our service leaders to aim for on a Sunday…”


I definitely experience this. The hard part is getting your body started…

How Neuroscientists Explain the Mind-Clearing Magic of RunningMelissa Dahl
“A good run can sometimes make you feel like a brand-new person. And, in a way, that feeling may be literally true. About three decades of research in neuroscience have identified a robust link between aerobic exercise and subsequent cognitive clarity, and to many in this field the most exciting recent finding in this area is that of neurogenesis. Not so many years ago, the brightest minds in neuroscience thought that our brains got a set amount of neurons, and that by adulthood, no new neurons would be birthed. But this turned out not to be true. Studies in animal models have shown that new neurons are produced in the brain throughout the lifespan, and, so far, only one activity is known to trigger the birth of those new neurons: vigorous aerobic exercise, said Karen Postal, president of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology. “That’s it,” she said. “That’s the only trigger that we know about.”


Yup…

Ten Sentences That Make Pastors CringeThom Rainer
Ten-Sentences-That-Make-Pastors-Cringe“Let me take you behind the scenes again in the life of a pastor.

For sure, your pastor is not likely to let you know the pain these brief sentences cause.

But, for most pastors, they hurt. They really hurt.

Here are ten of the most common painful sentences uttered to pastors by church members…”


Be afraid. Be very afraid…

How Facebook plans to take over the worldOlivia Solon
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote address at the F8 conference.“The scale of Facebook’s audience is unprecedented. More than 1.6 billion people use Facebook at least once a month, or half of all internet users. That’s before you count users on other Facebook-owned sites including WhatsApp, which has more than 1 billion monthly active users, and photo-sharing site Instagram, which has 400 million.

Facebook has also introduced its free basics service to 37 countries, offering a free but limited package of apps to mobile phone users, but which some critics say allows Facebook to tightly control the online experience of potentially the next billion people to come online.

“You hear all the platitudes about Facebook connecting the planet, but to say they are doing it for benevolent reasons is absolute nonsense. It’s about connecting commerce, not people,” says venture capitalist and former journalist Om Malik, who reminds us of the hidden agenda of social networking firms: if you’re not paying, you’re the product.”


Hasn’t this already been done?
http://bizarro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/bz-panel-04-21-16.jpg
Source: Bizarro

Leviticus 10:1-20

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

We’re going to be going through a section of scripture where the details may make your reading feel a little tedious…and your stomach a little queasy. Please do your best NOT to skim. Let the images sink in. God made sure this material was preserved and included. Let’s see if we can see why…

Leviticus 10:1-20
Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized[a] fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” And Aaron held his peace.

And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said to them, “Come near; carry your brothers away from the front of the sanctuary and out of the camp.” So they came near and carried them in their coats out of the camp, as Moses had said. And Moses said to Aaron and to Eleazar and Ithamar his sons, “Do not let the hair of your heads hang loose, and do not tear your clothes, lest you die, and wrath come upon all the congregation; but let your brothers, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning that the Lord has kindled. And do not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting, lest you die, for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you.” And they did according to the word of Moses.

And the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying, “Drink no wine or strong drink, you or your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. 10 You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean, 11 and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the Lord has spoken to them by Moses.”

12 Moses spoke to Aaron and to Eleazar and Ithamar, his surviving sons: “Take the grain offering that is left of the Lord‘s food offerings, and eat it unleavened beside the altar, for it is most holy. 13 You shall eat it in a holy place, because it is your due and your sons’ due, from the Lord‘s food offerings, for so I am commanded. 14 But the breast that is waved and the thigh that is contributed you shall eat in a clean place, you and your sons and your daughters with you, for they are given as your due and your sons’ due from the sacrifices of the peace offerings of the people of Israel. 15 The thigh that is contributed and the breast that is waved they shall bring with the food offerings of the fat pieces to wave for a wave offering before the Lord, and it shall be yours and your sons’ with you as a due forever, as the Lord has commanded.”

16 Now Moses diligently inquired about the goat of the sin offering, and behold, it was burned up! And he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the surviving sons of Aaron, saying, 17 “Why have you not eaten the sin offering in the place of the sanctuary, since it is a thing most holy and has been given to you that you may bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord? 18 Behold, its blood was not brought into the inner part of the sanctuary. You certainly ought to have eaten it in the sanctuary, as I commanded.” 19 And Aaron said to Moses, “Behold, today they have offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, and yet such things as these have happened to me! If I had eaten the sin offering today, would the Lord have approved?” 20 And when Moses heard that, he approved.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Disturbing, isn’t it?
Wait. Which part do you find disturbing?
The fact that Nadab & Abihu disobeyed?
Or, the fact that they died for it?
Why do the things that disturb me not disturb you, and vice versa?
What kind of a God do you think I am?

Leviticus 9:1-24

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

We’re going to be going through a section of scripture where the details may make your reading feel a little tedious…and your stomach a little queasy. Please do your best NOT to skim. Let the images sink in. God made sure this material was preserved and included. Let’s see if we can see why…

Leviticus 9:1-24
On the eighth day Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel,
and he said to Aaron, “Take for yourself a bull calf for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, both without blemish, and offer them before the Lord. And say to the people of Israel, ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering, and a calf and a lamb, both a year old without blemish, for a burnt offering, and an ox and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the Lord, and a grain offering mixed with oil, for today the Lord will appear to you.’” And they brought what Moses commanded in front of the tent of meeting, and all the congregation drew near and stood before the Lord. And Moses said, “This is the thing that the Lord commanded you to do, that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” Then Moses said to Aaron, “Draw near to the altar and offer your sin offering and your burnt offering and make atonement for yourself and for the people, and bring the offering of the people and make atonement for them, as the Lord has commanded.”

So Aaron drew near to the altar and killed the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself. And the sons of Aaron presented the blood to him, and he dipped his finger in the blood and put it on the horns of the altar and poured out the blood at the base of the altar. 10 But the fat and the kidneys and the long lobe of the liver from the sin offering he burned on the altar, as the Lord commanded Moses. 11 The flesh and the skin he burned up with fire outside the camp.

12 Then he killed the burnt offering, and Aaron’s sons handed him the blood, and he threw it against the sides of the altar. 13 And they handed the burnt offering to him, piece by piece, and the head, and he burned them on the altar. 14 And he washed the entrails and the legs and burned them with the burnt offering on the altar.

15 Then he presented the people’s offering and took the goat of the sin offering that was for the people and killed it and offered it as a sin offering, like the first one. 16 And he presented the burnt offering and offered it according to the rule. 17 And he presented the grain offering, took a handful of it, and burned it on the altar, besides the burnt offering of the morning.

18 Then he killed the ox and the ram, the sacrifice of peace offerings for the people. And Aaron’s sons handed him the blood, and he threw it against the sides of the altar. 19 But the fat pieces of the ox and of the ram, the fat tail and that which covers the entrails and the kidneys and the long lobe of the liver— 20 they put the fat pieces on the breasts, and he burned the fat pieces on the altar, 21 but the breasts and the right thigh Aaron waved for a wave offering before the Lord, as Moses commanded.

22 Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them, and he came down from offering the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings. 23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Do you think Aaron took his job seriously after this?
How does this compare to today’s ordination services?
Verse 24:
Have you ever wondered why I don’t do that kind of thing anymore?
Or do I? I could, you know.
Would it make a difference?

 

My Weekend Picks for 4-22-2016

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

I hate articles like this, because they challenge me…

Secret Shame Of The Middle ClassRod Dreher
Photo by Rod Dreher“He felt that to choose otherwise would have made him inauthentic, untrue to himself. He felt that he deserved the life he had, and could not choose otherwise without betraying himself. I think this must be an extraordinary thing, in terms of history: people who spend recklessly to give themselves the lives they think they deserve. If you think about it, though, our culture, which valorizes Authenticity, encourages this.

So that was stupid of him, but it’s an error many of us would be subject to…

…The point is that to live a more financially stable life in America today requires the ability to be strongly countercultural. It requires fighting the tendency within oneself to believe that one deserves to live in a certain manner, because to do otherwise would be inauthentic. You may think there’s safety in numbers, because everyone is doing it, but the thing our mamas used to tell us when we were little kids is still true: if everybody was jumping off the cliff, would you do it too?

The trick is being able to see that everybody is jumping off the cliff, not simply jumping for joy at being able to live in the manner in which we believe we’re entitled.”


You may not agree completely with all of this piece (I don’t), but we make a huge mistake if we dismiss this line of thinking as simply reactionary…

How the Hillsong Cool Factor Changed Worship
for Good and for Ill
David Roark
Hillsong
“In an interview with a Christian music blog called Whole Notes, Joel Houston says, “We want to do everything with excellence not just for the sake of excellence but because if we’re going to do something we might as well do it the best we can. That’s one of our mottos. Why should it be bad? Not that it’s awesome, but we want to do the best we know how as long as it’s to the glory of God and helping people connect with God.” …

…for a brand known first and foremost for its unique style, Hillsong also boasts its fair share of substance. Contrary to critiques from certain streams of Christianity, especially those in the neo-reformed or neo-calvinist movement, Houston and his team write songs that aren’t just theologically rich and based in Scripture but that are also intensely poetic and literary—in the same vein as the hymns that came before them. It’s a quality of songwriting that has earned Hillsong attention from a number of critics and publications, including Billboard and the New York Times

…where Hillsong—specifically Hillsong music—actually causes problems for evangelicalism is not necessarily in their style but in their approach…this approach actually seems to be counterproductive to the mission of the church…”


Brokenness Is a Crucial Part of Becoming WholeRob Tims
8439930816_88fba90775_o“Becoming whole through brokenness is not about the quality of your faith, but about the object of your faith. And if it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. God will determine at a specific point and time to give you more character … to make you a more complete person. And He will do this by breaking you, because brokenness is a crucial part of becoming whole.”


I can’t think of anyone I know who has isolated themselves from the church and drew closer to God because of it…

Isolation from the Church Is DangerousJosh Buice
Isolation from the Church Is Dangerous
There are a multiplicity of reasons that isolation can creep into a Christian’s life, and not all of the open doors for isolation are sinful… As with many other sins, isolation from the church can sneak up on a family without notice.

Is it sinful to have relationships with people outside the church?  Absolutely not, but it is sinful to neglect the church and to put your primary focus on relationships within your place of employment, business circles, or recreational activities.  Isolation is one of those sins that can go undetected for a while, and before long, there is a sudden coldness and unhealthy wall built up between an individual and their church family.

In short, isolation is the devil’s oldest trick in his black book of sinful temptations.”


There is much to be learned from leaders of small churches…

Listen to the Little Guy TooJared Wilson
littleguy
“I do not believe that big = bad. Nor do I believe that small = good. I just don’t believe that big = good and small = bad, which seems to be the prevailing and operating assumption of the vast majority of American evangelicals. In the same way, because I don’t believe that big = bad, I don’t believe that all megachurch pastors are idolaters of ambition. Little church guys can be just as idolatrous of ambition, perhaps more so if they are discontent with the relative smallness of their churches.

I’m not proposing an either/or here, but a perspective corrective, an invitation to open up one’s view to encompass more than just what is most visible.

Here are some reasons we ought to seek out and listen well to (and perhaps even give large public platforms to) the guys who pastor small churches, especially if they’ve been doing it for a while…”


And what about the “bathroom issue”?
http://bizarro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/bz-panel-04-12-16.jpg
Source: Bizarro

Leviticus 8:1-36

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

We’re going to be going through a section of scripture where the details may make your reading feel a little tedious…and your stomach a little queasy. Please do your best NOT to skim. Let the images sink in. God made sure this material was preserved and included. Let’s see if we can see why…

Leviticus 8:1-36
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
“Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments and the anointing oil and the bull of the sin offering and the two rams and the basket of unleavened bread. And assemble all the congregation at the entrance of the tent of meeting.” And Moses did as the Lord commanded him, and the congregation was assembled at the entrance of the tent of meeting.

And Moses said to the congregation, “This is the thing that the Lord has commanded to be done.” And Moses brought Aaron and his sons and washed them with water. And he put the coat on him and tied the sash around his waist and clothed him with the robe and put the ephod on him and tied the skillfully woven band of the ephod around him, binding it to him with the band.[a] And he placed the breastpiece on him, and in the breastpiece he put the Urim and the Thummim. And he set the turban on his head, and on the turban, in front, he set the golden plate, the holy crown, as the Lord commanded Moses.

10 Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. 11 And he sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all its utensils and the basin and its stand, to consecrate them. 12 And he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him to consecrate him. 13 And Moses brought Aaron’s sons and clothed them with coats and tied sashes around their waists and bound caps on them, as the Lord commanded Moses.

14 Then he brought the bull of the sin offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bull of the sin offering. 15 And he[b] killed it, and Moses took the blood, and with his finger put it on the horns of the altar around it and purified the altar and poured out the blood at the base of the altar and consecrated it to make atonement for it. 16 And he took all the fat that was on the entrails and the long lobe of the liver and the two kidneys with their fat, and Moses burned them on the altar. 17 But the bull and its skin and its flesh and its dung he burned up with fire outside the camp, as the Lord commanded Moses.

18 Then he presented the ram of the burnt offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram. 19 And he killed it, and Moses threw the blood against the sides of the altar. 20 He cut the ram into pieces, and Moses burned the head and the pieces and the fat. 21 He washed the entrails and the legs with water, and Moses burned the whole ram on the altar. It was a burnt offering with a pleasing aroma, a food offering for the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses.

22 Then he presented the other ram, the ram of ordination, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram. 23 And he killed it, and Moses took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. 24 Then he presented Aaron’s sons, and Moses put some of the blood on the lobes of their right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet. And Moses threw the blood against the sides of the altar. 25 Then he took the fat and the fat tail and all the fat that was on the entrails and the long lobe of the liver and the two kidneys with their fat and the right thigh, 26 and out of the basket of unleavened bread that was before the Lord he took one unleavened loaf and one loaf of bread with oil and one wafer and placed them on the pieces of fat and on the right thigh. 27 And he put all these in the hands of Aaron and in the hands of his sons and waved them as a wave offering before the Lord. 28 Then Moses took them from their hands and burned them on the altar with the burnt offering. This was an ordination offering with a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord. 29 And Moses took the breast and waved it for a wave offering before the Lord. It was Moses’ portion of the ram of ordination, as the Lord commanded Moses.

30 Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and of the blood that was on the altar and sprinkled it on Aaron and his garments, and also on his sons and his sons’ garments. So he consecrated Aaron and his garments, and his sons and his sons’ garments with him.

31 And Moses said to Aaron and his sons, “Boil the flesh at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and there eat it and the bread that is in the basket of ordination offerings, as I commanded, saying, ‘Aaron and his sons shall eat it.’ 32 And what remains of the flesh and the bread you shall burn up with fire. 33 And you shall not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the days of your ordination are completed, for it will take seven days to ordain you. 34 As has been done today, the Lord has commanded to be done to make atonement for you. 35 At the entrance of the tent of meeting you shall remain day and night for seven days, performing what the Lord has charged, so that you do not die, for so I have been commanded.” 36 And Aaron and his sons did all the things that the Lord commanded by Moses.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
“So that you do not die.”(vs. 35)
Meditate on that today.
Does that seem severe to you?
Why is this a “life or death” thing?
What kind of a God do you think I am?

The (Christian) Music That Has Shaped Me

So, I’ve been thinking: what if I did a series on the blog about the Christian music that has had a significant influence on my life. Music that shaped me.

If you know me well, you know that I cut my musical teeth in HS Jazz Band. I think I must have had the best band director in the world, Jerry Robinson. The joy and freedom that he brought to our group combined with his high expectations of us just lit my fire. I was immersed in the music of the Stan Kenton bands as well as Buddy Rich, Don Ellis, Maynard Ferguson and others. The complexity and intricacy of the arrangements, along with the fire and energy of the rhythms, plus the freedom and self-expression of the solos…all of that combined to imbed the “big band” jazz form deep in my soul.

Consequently when bands like Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago and others came along…well I couldn’t get enough.

But, here’s the thing. I was also serious about my faith. I loved music, and believed it was all from God. Still do. But this was 1968-1971. Christian music? It was choir, hymn, or Southern Gospel.

It left me a bit…dry.

In church, I normally sat with this one buddy of mine. We would sing the hymns with gusto. We would sing whichever part we liked the best. Often the parts we sang weren’t on the page. We would add the 7ths, 2nds, and 6ths that we knew should have been there. The people sitting near us may not have agreed.

But I digress.

Something amazing started happening with Christian music. I realize that the music used in the church has undergone many changes over the millennia, but this is different. Even after a career as a church musician and worship leader, it’s still hard for me to describe what has happened in my generation.

There are churches who like to do some special services they call “Classics” or “Heritage” or some such name. The idea is that they get together and sing the old songs that the old people miss.

Ok. Whatever.

If we did a service like that for me, I would likely want different music. I’m in that awkward stage. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE tons of the modern worship music. Absolutely love it!

But I miss the freshness and life of the earlier and developing Christian music. Music that started pushing the boundaries. Some of those earlier recordings honestly don’t sound very good today. But they moved me. They still do.

This was music that didn’t limit itself to the I, IV, V of Southern Gospel. It also used language and imagery that resonated with me and my generation.

So, starting on Tuesday (4/26) I think I’m going to do a weekly post (until I run out of songs…or endurance) on one song that helped shaped me. Maybe it was a lyric. Maybe it was the instrumentation. Maybe it was just some harmonies that moved me emotionally.

These may be musicians and groups you have heard of. Maybe not. Either way, the individual songs I share are the ones that shaped me in some way, and aren’t necessarily the ones that were the most popular.

I think this will be fun. I hope you do too!

Lloyd

 

My Picks for Thursday 4-21-2016

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

I’ve enjoyed N.D. Wilson’s insightful and reflective writing for some time now. I appreciate very much what he says here about children’s literature..

Why I Write Scary Stories for ChildrenN.D. Wilson
“I write violent stories. I write dark stories. I write them for my own children, and I write them for yours. And when the topic comes up with a radio host or a mom or a teacher in a hallway, the explanation is simple. Every kid in every classroom, every kid in a bunk bed frantically reading by flashlight, every latchkey kid and every helicoptered kid, every single mortal child is growing into a life story in a world full of dangers and beauties. Every one will have struggles and ultimately, every one will face death and loss.

There is absolutely a time and a place for The Pokey Little Puppy and Barnyard Dance, just like there’s a time and a place for footie pajamas. But as children grow, fear and danger and terror grow with them, courtesy of the world in which we live and the very real existence of shadows. The stories on which their imaginations feed should empower a courage and bravery stronger than whatever they are facing. And if what they are facing is truly and horribly awful (as is the case for too many kids), then fearless sacrificial friends walking their own fantastical (or realistic) dark roads to victory can be a very real inspiration and help…

…But the goal isn’t to steer kids into stories of darkness and violence because those are the stories that grip readers. The goal is to put the darkness in its place.”


She’s going to be on the $20 bill, click on this link for a little bit about why…

Harriet Tubman
-from the book 131 Christians Everyone Should Know
Harriet Tubman

“I always tole God, ‘I’m gwine [going] to hole stiddy on you,
an’ you’ve got to see me through.'”


I’ve used movie scenes as sermon illustrations many times. But I think this article makes some excellent points for reconsidering that practice…

Should You Use Illustrations from Movies?Jesse Johnson
movie“A good friend of mine asked me what I think of pastors using illustrations from movies in their sermons. My friend uses them because he thinks they are helpful in relating to a culture that increasingly has their worldview formed through entertainment.

But I don’t buy it. In my experience, illustrations sparked by the golden screen (or Netflix, or what have you) generally fail, and are almost always unhelpful.

Here are some reasons why…”


This excellent insight isn’t just for pastor’s wives,but for everyone who serves regularly in their church…

Pastor’s Wife, Don’t Just Give to the Church
Christine Hoover
“But sometimes I am almost so robotically tuned to “giving” mode that I forget how much I need the ministry of the church myself. I don’t mean that I forget I have needs; I’m well aware of them. I mean that I overestimate my importance in the church and underestimate the importance others are intended to have in my life according to God’s design for the church. This is a dangerous perspective for any leader in the church.

Because here’s what happens. When I wake up on Sunday morning after a busy weekend or with a heavy heart and know deep down that I have nothing in my flesh to give to others, it can be very difficult to prepare my heart and mind for church. Rather going to church with a prayerful expectancy to enjoy the mutual ministry of the Body, I’m prone to self-condemnation because of my weakness, grumbling, and hiding my needs from others. It’s a self-protective, just-get-through-church perspective, because it requires me to be strong and to give but never receive.”


For the good of the country…
Click image for a larger view. Source: Dilbert by Scott Adams

Leviticus 7:19-38

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

We’re going to be going through a section of scripture where the details may make your reading feel a little tedious…and your stomach a little queasy. Please do your best NOT to skim. Let the images sink in. God made sure this material was preserved and included. Let’s see if we can see why…

Leviticus 7:19-38
19 “Flesh that touches any unclean thing shall not be eaten. It shall be burned up with fire. All who are clean may eat flesh, 20 but the person who eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of the Lord‘s peace offerings while an uncleanness is on him, that person shall be cut off from his people. 21 And if anyone touches an unclean thing, whether human uncleanness or an unclean beast or any unclean detestable creature, and then eats some flesh from the sacrifice of the Lord‘s peace offerings, that person shall be cut off from his people.”

22 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, You shall eat no fat, of ox or sheep or goat. 24 The fat of an animal that dies of itself and the fat of one that is torn by beasts may be put to any other use, but on no account shall you eat it. 25 For every person who eats of the fat of an animal of which a food offering may be made to the Lord shall be cut off from his people. 26 Moreover, you shall eat no blood whatever, whether of fowl or of animal, in any of your dwelling places. 27 Whoever eats any blood, that person shall be cut off from his people.”

28 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 29 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever offers the sacrifice of his peace offerings to the Lord shall bring his offering to the Lord from the sacrifice of his peace offerings. 30 His own hands shall bring the Lord‘s food offerings. He shall bring the fat with the breast, that the breast may be waved as a wave offering before the Lord. 31 The priest shall burn the fat on the altar, but the breast shall be for Aaron and his sons. 32 And the right thigh you shall give to the priest as a contribution from the sacrifice of your peace offerings. 33 Whoever among the sons of Aaron offers the blood of the peace offerings and the fat shall have the right thigh for a portion. 34 For the breast that is waved and the thigh that is contributed I have taken from the people of Israel, out of the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons, as a perpetual due from the people of Israel. 35 This is the portion of Aaron and of his sons from the Lord‘s food offerings, from the day they were presented to serve as priests of the Lord. 36 The Lord commanded this to be given them by the people of Israel, from the day that he anointed them. It is a perpetual due throughout their generations.”

37 This is the law of the burnt offering, of the grain offering, of the sin offering, of the guilt offering, of the ordination offering, and of the peace offering, 38 which the Lord commanded Moses on Mount Sinai, on the day that he commanded the people of Israel to bring their offerings to the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Strict rules, calling for strict obedience.
Do you think this is necessary?
Does it matter what you think?
What was I teaching my people?
What am I teaching you?