All posts by Lloyd Hamilton

Genesis 19:1-29

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.

Genesis 19:1-29
The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth
and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down. 10 But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. 11 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.

12 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. 13 For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” 14 So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

15 As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” 18 And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords. 19 Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. 20 Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!” 21 He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. 22 Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.[a]

23 The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.

29 So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
So, you think your culture is bad?
Why do you think Lot “lingered”? (v. 16)
What causes you to “linger” when I call you?
Where is your home?

My Picks for Tuesday 11-10-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

“Ressentiment” – The Danger That Destroys Your Hope
-Trevin Wax
slide12“We betray our faith when we are united more by bitterness and grievances than by cheerful confidence in God’s good purposes for the world and our love for the people who may injure us. When we are united by outrage, we look and sound just like the world.”


Why I Don’t Always Give People an Answer – Even When They Come to Me for Answers -Ron Edmondson
multicultural mentor“Leaders, parents, friends – ideally you want people to develop healthy decision-making skills. You want them to gain independence and be able to stand on their own. If you’re always making the decisions for them they will never they will never become all they can be individually.”


Winsome Weirdos -John Piper
Winsome Weirdos“According to the apostle Peter’s first letter, labeling Christians as ‘winsome weirdos’ is not only linguistically alliterative; it is also exegetically accurate. The implications for our cultural moment in America are crucial.”


Thanks, Snoopy. Sometimes I just need to be reminded of this…
Die - not die

 

 

Genesis 18:16-33

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.

Genesis 18:16-33
16 Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way. 17 The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18 seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I have chosen[a] him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” 20 Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether[b] according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”

22 So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 26 And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

27 Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29 Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” 30 Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” 31 He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” 32 Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” 33 And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Just one question today, but do something about it:
Who do you plead with Me for?

Remember when we used to _________?

remember-when2

“Remember when we_______________?”

“Man, that was great.”

“How come we don’t do that anymore?”

Have you ever been part of a conversation like that? I was a worship minister for 30 years. I’ve had that same conversation approximately a billion times. The blank has been filled in by different things at different times over the years but it was the same conversation. Here are a few of the things that have been inserted in the blank:

Had a Sunday night church service.
Did a Living Christmas Tree (Remember those?)
Had a handbell choir.
Used an organ.
Wore choir robes.
Wore ties when we served. (BTW-Research has proven that the first century Christians never wore ties.)
Did Broadway-style Christmas productions.
Sang the old songs.
etc.

The blank varied but the insinuation was always the same.

The implication was that what we do now is inferior. We think that the church has lost its former glory. We remember the way things used to be, the important place some of those things had in our lives and in the life of the church, and we have trouble seeing the wonderful things that are being done right now, and the way God is moving in our people and activities right now.

Maybe we need to open our eyes, and hearts, to the possibility that God has something in mind that we can’t imagine.

The Israelites were in captivity for 70 years in Babylon. When they were finally released and allowed to return to their homeland they undertook the huge task of rebuilding the temple. There were some older folks who were alive before the earlier temple was destroyed and they remember what it was like.

Ezra 3:10-13
When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord:

“He is good;
his love toward Israel endures forever.”

And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.

There have been times in my ministry when it seemed like the same thing was happening. There were people who would be moved in powerful ways by the things that God was doing through our church while others could see nothing but things that upset them. The shouts of joy and the sound of weeping were occurring simultaneously. The celebrants couldn’t (or wouldn’t) understand the complainers and the complainers couldn’t (or wouldn’t) see what the celebration was all about.

Maybe we need to open our eyes, and hearts, to the possibility that God has something in mind that we can’t imagine.

God had something BIG in mind for the new temple. Listen to this:

Haggai 2:3,6-9
‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Maybe we need to open our eyes, and hearts, to the possibility that God has something in mind that we can’t imagine.

Lloyd

 

My Picks for Monday 11-9-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

“Nobody knows who the four evangelists were, but they almost certainly never met Jesus personally. Much of what they wrote was in no sense an honest attempt at history. . . . The gospels are ancient fiction.” – Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

If Dawkins is correct, one might imagine Matthew, Mark, Luke and John enjoying a couple of drinks together and having  the following conversation…

If Richard Dawkins Is Right -Bernard N. Howard


The Atlantic has an interesting article here and refers extensively to Al Mohler‘s approach…

Hating Queerness Without Hating the Queer–Emma Green
“It’s a somewhat novel approach to being an evangelical in public life: engaging debates about sexuality on their own terms. As Mohler himself admits, this hasn’t always been the case. ‘While Christians were secure in a cultural consensus that was negative toward same-sex acts and same-sex relationships, we didn’t have to worry too much about understanding our neighbors,’ he said. ‘We did horribly oversimplify the issue.’ Now that norms around LGBT issues are changing, evangelicals can no longer afford that kind of glibness, but it’s tricky to balance civility with steadfastness. Mohler said he’s not ‘trying to launch Culture War II,’ but he also doesn’t want evangelicals to back down on their beliefs. ‘Christians have not had to demonstrate patience, culturally speaking, in a very long time. The kind of work and witness we’re called to—it could take a very long time to show effects.'”


There is a delicate balance that every worship pastor and every creative type person involved in church ministry needs to keep constantly in mind. It’s very easy to get the balance off in either direction…

The Question Every Local Church Creative Team Needs To Ask -David Santistevan
Thequestion“As we approach the Christmas season, we worship pastors are thinking about special music, productions, songwriting, and bigger and better creative elements than last year. The last thing we want to do is fall in love with our own creativity and miss the point.”


Apologies to my millennial friends, but this did make me grin…

Merit Badges for Millennial Life Achievements

Genesis 18:1-15

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.

Genesis 18:1-15
And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks[a] of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord,[b] if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahs[c] of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes.” And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.” 10 The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” 13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard[d] for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” 15 But Sarah denied it,[e] saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
1. What are you laughing at?
2. No, seriously. What have I told you that you find humorous?
3. “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

Take Off Your Shoes

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IGDYAhMvvaQ/VGQgEMwEhDI/AAAAAAAALVU/heizLMZdcH0/s1600/holy-ground.jpg

“If your local church is doing things right,
it will be seeking to provide a spiritual environment
for your growth predicated on God’s terms—which is to say, not yours. Let’s not neglect to approach that holy ground,
and take our shoes off in reverence when we get there,
even if it means shoving one of them in our mouths.”

–Jared Wilson


From his excellent article, What We Talk Like When We Talk About God

Genesis 17:1-27

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.

Genesis 17:1-27
When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty;[a] walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram,[b] but your name shall be Abraham,[c] for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah[d] shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give[e] you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac.[f] I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”

22 When he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham. 23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 That very day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised. 27 And all the men of his house, those born in the house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Once again, have you noticed that I’m not really in a hurry?
Why do you think I keep bringing this up?
Why do you think Abraham tried to get Me to use Ishmael?
Why do prefer your own way to Mine?
Reminder: I’m God and you’re not.

25 Things

Several years ago there was a thing circulating around Facebook called “25 Things.” The idea was that you would write down 25 random things about yourself so that others would be able to know a bit more about you. I suppose there was a degree of narcissism involved as well, which made it doubly fun.

Anyway, I ran across my list today and thought it might make for a fun blog post. Fun for me, anyway.

So, here (with a little updating) are 25 Things about myself which you may find interesting or amusing…or maybe just narcissistic.


  1. I fell in love with my wife when I was 5 years old and I don’t think that ever stopped. Though we sort of went different ways for a while now that I look back on it I think it was what God had in mind all along. I do know that – knowing all that I know now – marrying Kathie was, other than maybe deciding to follow Jesus, the best decision I ever made. I can’t imagine life without her.
  1. I never thought I would be, nor did I have any desire to be a minister. However, I have absolutely no doubt that, in being on staff in the three churches I served over the past 35 years, I was exactly where God wanted me to be, doing exactly what He wanted me to do. It’s a long story but I have come to the conclusion that God has plans for us that, if we knew about them ahead of time, we would reject them out of hand. It’s amazing how He works in our lives to bring us around – we just have to take the next step.
  1. I can waste an incredible amount of time without even trying. However, when I do get started on a project it tends to consume me until it’s finished.
  1. I have a tendency to make jokes at inappropriate times.
  1. I have been surrounded by women my entire life. I’m excited to say that I now have 2 grandsons
    The boys – Asher & Oliver

    but I grew up with 2 sisters, I have 2 daughters, even our pets have always been female. The main male influence in my life, other than my Papaw (who was significant) was my Dad.

    Bob Hamilton – Christmas 2014

    I don’t think I can overestimate my respect for him. And now, as I look back on it, I think one of the most important things I learned from him was how to treat women (not that I understand them any better).

  1. I am not a very social person. I MUCH prefer spending time with a few real friends or my family than with a large gathering of acquaintances and strangers.
  1. I have friends who mean more to me than I ever thought possible.
  1. Music – I don’t think that there is a “genre” of music that I can’t appreciate on some level but there is something about the sound of a 16 piece jazz band that transcends the rest. When I say I love “big band” music many think only of the nostalgic sound of the 40’s – for me the attraction is not nostalgia – it’s the intricacy of design required to bring 16 musicians together for a common end combined with the freedom of improvisation for the individuals in the group that makes it powerful to me. Recordings are good but you have to experience it live.
  1. I might be a little competitive.
  1. There was a time when it was difficult for me to actually worship when I was leading worship because of all the details I had to think about. Over time, however, I began to find it difficult to worship when I was NOT leading worship. I’d be too busy analyzing and critiquing. In retirement I find I’m still having trouble with this.
  1. I never made great grades in school (better in college than HS but still…)
  1. Except music.
  1. I am indescribably proud of the adults that my kids have become (are becoming?). I can’t say I was thrilled with all their choices, (I’m not always thrilled with my own) or that there weren’t times that they frustrated me with their immaturity, (I’m often frustrated with my own immaturity) BUT I am completely impressed with who they are and where they are going.
    L-R: Liz, me, Kate

    They are easily the most interesting and fascinating people I know and they both have a depth of character that impresses the socks off me. They also crack me up.

  1. L-R: Asher, Iris, Oliver

    Being a grandparent is waaay more fun than I ever imagined! Sometimes they wear me out…but still.

 

 

  1. I truly detest the thought of getting old.
    I joke about it, but I hate it.
  1. I’ve never really struggled with being overweight or with my overall health but I do struggle with keeping myself fit – ok maybe I don’t struggle enough.
  1. Ice cream is the best! (why did I think of that next?)
  1. I really enjoy driving. In fact I’m sort of feeling the urge for a road trip right now.
  1. I appreciate the grace of God more every day. There was a time when I was a bit of a legalist but I find that the older I get the more I realize how much I need grace, consequently I’m more willing to extend grace than when I was young.
  1. However, I could never make it as a counselor – I’m pretty impatient.
  1. I’m on a lifelong quest for the world’s best cheeseburger. So far, the best one I’ve ever had was here in 2007 with our good friends, Bruce and Kathy Maxwell.

    DSCN2273
    The Haunted Hamburger, Jerome Arizona – 2007
  1. Worship – it’s not about “style”.
  1. I’ve always had a strong sense of my roots.
    Five generations. (Hint: I’m the kid.)

    I was raised with family history and it affects who I am today – it makes me deeply happy that my kids seem to feel the same way.

  1. I have never even considered trying to smoke. It’s not that I’m so goody-goody it simply has always disgusted me.
  1. I love finishing things.