There’s a saying, the origin of which I’m unsure, but I like it. I’ll paraphrase it: There’s no need to explain yourself; your friends don’t need an explanation, and your enemies won’t accept an explanation. The problem is, life isn’t quite that simple. We don’t live in a static world. Sometimes people who were friendly to you at one time
Notice I didn’t ask what will happen in 2018. The more I’ve been wondering what the year ahead holds for us, the more I realize that our particular circumstances will be profoundly less important than how we deal with them. Because how we address our circumstances tends to reveal the state of our souls. Let me share with you the
Don’t you wish there were more things in life that could be a one-and-done proposition? Like shoveling snow? In fact, there are very few things in this world, once accomplished, that you never have to think about again. Certainly not the dishes or the laundry, and, in the case of the Harris home, sweeping up dog hair tumbleweeds. It just
Being in spiritual leadership is such an easy gig. It’s the little things; like how everyone respects your advice, and nobody causes problems. Nobody questions your motives or takes issue with your decisions; nor do people compare you with other preachers. Criticisms are few, always presented in love and gentleness, and never behind your back. Just ask Moses… or the
Here we are, in the midst of Sukkot, the most joyous of all Jewish festivals. This holiday is also known as Zeman Simchateinu – ‘The Season of Our Rejoicing’. In fact, so significant is this seventh of the seven God-ordained holidays, occurring in the seventh month, lasting seven days, and featuring the sacrifice of seventy bulls, that it came to
How many of you used to watch the game show Family Feud? Maybe some of you still do. Steve Harvey has hosted it since 2010, but there have been six different hosts in the show’s history. Did you know it’s been on the air for 46 years? I remember when it first came on, and Richard Dawson (one of the
A Rosh HaShanah Meditation on Matthew 25:1-13. Introduction: Did you know there’s a Jewish wedding feast to take place in Heaven? It’s true! In fact, the Scriptures are filled with examples of God portrayed as a Husband, and Israel His bride. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “For your Husband is your Maker, whose name is the Lord of hosts… (Isa. 54:5).
Introduction: This morning we are continuing in our study of Rabbi Paul’s first letter to the believers in Corinth. The Corinthian church was in all kinds of disarray, and reading through the letter sometimes feels like having to have a tooth extracted. It seems long and drawn out, and painful. But these things were written as much for our benefit
Introduction If ever there was a chapter of the Bible that was frequently misunderstood, and that misunderstanding led to contention in Messiah’s Community, I’d say 1 Corinthians 12 is it. This chapter outlines the gifts of the Holy Spirit; misinterpreted and/or misapplied, it’s like theological nitroglycerine. Handle with care! Considering how much division there is about the gifts of the
(or: how to completely destroy your credibility) Don’t you just love it when you hear a Christian (usually one with a pride issue) claim that there aren’t any good churches and say something like, “I want to be part of an authentic ‘New Testament’ church.” My response is, “Oh really? Like, say, the Church at Corinth (not exactly a sterling
The parasha for this Shabbat is entitled Terumah and covers Exodus 25:1 through 27:19. This morning, rather than our usual 5-7 minute commentary, I’ll be expanding our parasha into a full message. Terumah means contribution, gift or offering. The parasha opens with God’s invitation to raise a contribution - a terumah. It was not to be under any compulsion, but
The thoughts I will be sharing with you this morning from Scripture fall under the category of the Second Great Commandment – “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” I have a riddle to propound to you. I wield no weapon, nor do I even raise a hand, and yet I can inflict wounds from which some will never recover.
We have a humorous saying that describes Jewish history and we trot it out each year around some of the more festive holidays. The saying goes like this: “They tried to kill us – we won – let’s eat”. We laugh, and we can afford to, since we did win. One of the great lessons of Chanukkah is that God
I have never served in the United States Armed Forces, but I have the utmost admiration for those who do and those who have. In case you didn’t know it, we have men and women right here at Shema who have served our country, and with distinction, and I couldn’t be more proud to be associated with them! They are
Without a doubt, Sukkot is the most joyful of the seven God-ordained annual holidays. In my book it’s as much fun as Purim and Chanukkah combined! Now to be honest, you could chalk some of it up to relief at having made it through the repentance and solemnity of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. But the Feast of Tabernacles has
Happy New Year, everyone! I know that for some of you this is your first High Holidays experience, and I’m excited for you, because you are going to discover that thematically there is so much about these three important Fall holidays that points us to Yeshua the Messiah, and the salvation He provides, and His Second Coming to Planet Earth.
This morning we’re continuing our study of the amazing letter of Rabbi Paul, written to the believers at Rome. Last Shabbat Jerry completed chapter three. Therefore, this morning we’ll begin at chapter four. Now, it’s important to remember that the chapter and verse divisions in our Bibles weren’t there when these books and letters were written. The chapter breaks as
I had jury duty this week. The timing of it was awful; so many other things were happening, and Rabbi Loren was out of town. What transpires in a courtroom is both fascinating and tedious, and even at times troubling; particularly when witnesses take the stand, swear an oath to tell the truth, and then lie through their teeth. An
The word Yehudi (“Jew”) means “one who gives thanks. Because we’re in a passage in Romans addressed to Jewish people, I thought I would share that fact with you. And here are a few salient truths that will emerge from the passage we are reading this morning. Being born Jewish is no guarantee of going to Heaven. Jewish people need
Shavuot is a holiday that reflects God’s generosity. Shavuot is the time of Israel’s wheat harvest. Historically, it was the time of the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai, as well as the giving of the Holy Spirit after Yeshua’s resurrection and ascension. All these are gifts from a lavishly gracious God and Father. Most conversations about the “gifts
I would like to begin our message this morning with a kvetch (complaint). Why do I have to lock every door of my house and car? Why must I give a sizeable chunk of my income to a company just in case my car is stolen or my house burns down or someone decides to sue me because they tripped on the
Introduction Shabbat shalom, and Chag Samayach – a joyful Passover to you all! This is a special Shabbat, the first full day of Passover and of the seven days of the Holiday of Unleavened Bread. This morning we’re going to look at Exodus chapter 12, verses 43-49, which is really an abbreviated repetition of God’s rules for Passover. As you’ll
Throwing Caution to the Wind Luke 7:36-50 (Matthew 26:6-13) This morning we’ll be reading and studying in Luke, chapter 7, beginning at verse 36. It’s a remarkable encounter; one which teaches us the relationship between forgiveness and love, and which illustrates the contrast between arrogance and humility. It’s also a stirring example of faith and throwing caution to the wind.
“See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:39) I. God’s ‘Default Setting’ (Life-if we would simply not interfere!) But now ask the
The history of the Jewish people has been summed up this way: “They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat… Chinese!” And indeed we shall eat – in a little while. First you have to let me put in my $0.02. I’m still wondering why I only get a penny for my thoughts, but I have to put in