All posts by Lloyd Hamilton

Genesis 3:9-19

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 3:9-19
But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”[a] 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
    cursed are you above all livestock
    and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
    and dust you shall eat
    all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring[b] and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for[c] your husband,
    and he shall rule over you.”

17 And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
    and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
    ‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
    in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
1. Who do you tend to blame for your disobedience?
2. You know who is really responsible, right?
3. What about the consequences?
Spend some time today thinking about your past sin and what the
consequences of that sin has been in your life.
4. Dust.
Not really a question, just keep it in mind.

 

Tuesday Morning Picks

How Should Christians Think About Socialism? – John PiperHow Should Christians Think About Socialism?

I like John Piper’s answer this question.

“Well, I suppose I should put all of my misgivings up front to say I am not an expert in political science or economics. So take it for what it’s worth. Here we go…”


Six Marks of a Healthy Sexuality – Gary Thomas6 Marks of a Healthy Sexuality Final“Seeking a healthy sexual relationship is a fair and good and wise and holy pursuit. These six marks aren’t exhaustive; I’m sure there are many more, but here’s a short, non-scientific test to see how you and your spouse are doing in regards to sexual intimacy…”


The Post-Modern Church Leadership Checklist – Carey Nieuwhofchurch leader's survival checklist

“In some ways, it’s like leading into a head-wind rather having the tail wind your predecessors may have enjoyed. As a result, seeing results might take longer. Leadership is probably going to be harder. It’s certainly going to be more complex. But it definitely will be worth it, and the potential for impact is huge. With that in mind, here are 10 things church leaders need to thrive in our post-modern, post-Christian context…”


And, last but not least,
Lucrative Films presents:

 

 

Genesis 3:1-8

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 3:1-9
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[a] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,[b] she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool[c] of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”[d]

From this passage I hear God asking me:
What lies do you believe?
Why do you believe them instead of Me?
Where are you trying to hide from Me?
Why do you try to hide from Me?
Lloyd, where are you?

The “R” Word

RetiremeRocking Chairnt.

RETIREMENT?

During the months leading up to my retirement date I had quite a bit of trouble simply wrapping my brain around the concept. It’s not that it was a new idea. I had been thinking, praying, and talking with a few close friends about it for over a year. It’s not that I didn’t think it was the right move. It seemed most of the conversations I had with close friends, and so many of the little “moments” and circumstances served to confirm for me that it was the right thing to do. Right for the church and right for me.

However, there were two big concepts I had trouble with:
How did I get here so fast? And, what next?

The first issue is nothing new. I’ve known people who have retired and they seem so…well, so old! I had (have?) a hard time using that word (“retirement,” not “old.” Ok…”old” too) in reference to myself! The older I get the faster time seems to go by. It’s cliché, I realize. But when something is so universally true, that’s what happens. It becomes cliché. But it’s a cliché that I feel in the depths of my soul. I mean, if this life is a bridge, I’m probably somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 of the way across.

The second issue is a little more specific.

My church put on a lovely reception for Kathie and me that was very fun and touching. I remember thinking I should have set up a big poster with FAQs because I think I answered the same question several million times: “So, now what are you going to do?” I suppose it would be more accurate to say that I tried to answer it.

Is it typical to ask that question of someone who is retiring? Maybe it is, but I don’t think I was prepared with a good answer. I had some vague idea of some of the things I wanted to do but the truth is it was very vague and I was primarily looking forward to the free time to not worry so much about doing but to let myself just be. I had a hard time putting that thought into words, and looking back on that sentence, I realize that it still doesn’t sound like much of an answer, but there it is.

So now, about 7 weeks into this thing called retirement, I have found that, generally speaking, the adjustment is an easy one. That’s not to say that I feel like I have completely adjusted or that I have a better answer to the question, “What next?”

One adjustment example: I spent almost one whole day going through the 600 or so photos we took on a recent vacation. I culled (down to about 150), cropped, edited, ordered, captioned and uploaded to FB. (You can see them here.) I was surprised to find that I felt guilty about spending so much time on something that probably wasn’t important to anyone but me. But then again, that’s just the kind of thing I was looking forward to having the time for!

During the first few months of retirement I have also sensed the need to separate from my church for a time. This is both for me and for them. I’ve been attending a different church every week. While this has been good in some ways for the short term, it is not healthy over the long haul. (Plus, apparently Kathie hates it!) It will be another adjustment for me, when the time is right (…and if Kath has her way, the time may be right sooner than I thought…), to become a church member instead of a staff member. I haven’t been that since 1980.

I’m at the point now where I’m feeling the need to organize my time rather than just doing whatever whenever. So, my next step is to add some structure to my day. I want to write for this web site. (I promise that all my posts will not include this much “navel-gazing.”) I want to work on some musical projects. There are some other things I have in mind, but in order to be productive in any of these areas I hear that it’s important to have some discipline…my favorite thing…

Bottom line: So far, retirement is good. I recommend it.

 

Monday Morning Picks

Putting the Mini in Ministry
I really appreciated this article reminding us of “Small things we can all do to make a big difference in our churches.” Basic stuff that we sometimes forget.

It’s Ok to Be the “Away Team”
11_Tune_ICOM_JN“The church is now the visiting team in our culture. The crowd is not cheering for us. Any measure of “home-field advantage” the church may have once enjoyed has vanished. A new game plan is needed.”

The power of fear – by Seth Godin

Fear will push you to avert your eyes.

Fear will make you think you have nothing to say.

It will create a buzz that makes it impossible to meditate…

or it will create a fog that makes it so you can do nothing but meditate.

Fear seduces us into losing our temper…

and fear belittles us into accepting unfairness.

Fear doesn’t like strangers, people who don’t look or act like us, and most of all, the unknown.

It causes us to carelessly make typos, or obsessively look for them.

Fear pushes us to fit in, so we won’t be noticed, but it also pushes us to rebel and to not be trustworthy, so we won’t be on the hook to produce.

It is subtle enough to trick us into thinking it isn’t pulling the strings, that it doesn’t exist, that it’s not the cause of, “I don’t feel like it.”

When in doubt, look for the fear.

 

Genesis 2:18-25

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 2:18-25
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for[a] him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed[b] every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam[c] there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made[d] into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.”[e]

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Who is your “suitable helper”?
Beyond sex, what are some implications of being “one flesh”?
Does your life reflect those implications?

Worship Fire

The fuel of worship is
a true vision of the greatness of God;

the fire that makes the fuel burn white hot is
the quickening of the Holy Spirit;

the furnace made alive and warm by the flame of truth is
our renewed spirit;

and the resulting heat of our affections is
powerful worship,
pushing its way out in confessions, longings,
acclamations, tears, songs, shouts,
bowed heads, lifted hands, and obedient lives.

– John Piper

Saturday’s Picks

Notecard Answers for Why I Believe the Bible
“As Christians we are to always be ready to give a defense of the hope that is within us (1 Pet. 3:15). The basis of this hope is our confidence that the Bible is God’s Word. It is trustworthy and sufficient…I’ve put these 5 together as something of a quick reference notecard for why I believe the Bible. I’m sure there is an acronym or something clever but I’ve not thought of it.”

Boredom Is Not a Problem to Be Solved
Stunning Teenage Girl in the Woods“You know the best antidote to boredom, I asked them? They looked at me expectantly, smartphones dangling from their hands. Think, I told them. Thinking is the best antidote to boredom. I am not kidding, kids. Thinking is the best antidote to boredom. Tell yourself, I am bored. Think about that. Isn’t that interesting?”

What if moms talked to each other the way they talk to their kids?
Very Funny!

Genesis 2:15-17

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 2:15-17
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat[a] of it you shall surely die.”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
What have I told you to avoid?
Why do you think it seems so attractive?
When do you most want it?
How can you avoid it?