Thank you for tuning in to Crossroad Community Church Georgetown. We hope the podcast is a blessing to you. For more information about times, small groups, bible studies and other ways to get connected please visit us at crossroadcc.us
Crossroad Community Church PodPoint
- Religion & Spirituality
Thank you for tuning in to Crossroad Community Church Georgetown. We hope the podcast is a blessing to you. For more information about times, small groups, bible studies and other ways to get connected please visit us at crossroadcc.us
Hi, this is Pastor Ken, I want to welcome you to my Thoughts on a Thursday Podcast where I take some regular occurrence or personal story from my life and connect it to a scriptural truth. So here are my thoughts on this Thursday, June 1st, 2023…Vapor Trails
A few weeks ago my wife and I were at our little cottage in the Blue Ridge Mountains. As I often do when we are there I took some time to sit on the deck and relax, taking in the warm sunshine, the gentle breezes carrying the fresh mountain air and the sound…of silence. I was basking in my perfect recipe for peaceful relaxation sitting with my feet propped on a small wicker ottoman and my head leaned against the back of the loveseat. My eyes as they often are when I have assumed such a position were closed, until…the silence was interrupted by the faint and far away sound of a jet engine. I opened my eyes scanning the bright blue sky, and sure enough there it was. The airplane was too far away to be seen, but the direction it had come from and that it was headed in, were no mystery. The vapor trail it left behind was as clear as the sky it was traveling through. On one end it kept extending following a silver pinpoint that was in actuality a very large metal fuselage. On the far end the trail widened and became less sharp in the sky. Interestingly, though I knew the plane was traveling through the clear sky at high speed, the vapor trail was not getting any longer, as it extended forward it equally dissipated behind. Then as soon as it had appeared, it was gone, out of my line of sight.
A familiar thought when I see one of those vapor trails appear while I am enjoying a healthy dose of R&R, once again escaped my lips. I turned to my wife and said, “There go important people, traveling to important places, to do important things.” I always find the contrast of those people’s supposed existence…to mine in those moments…striking. In my mind’s eye those planes are crammed full of business men and women jetting to their next important meeting, where they will either succeed or fail. I imagine the stress they must be under as that metal tube propels them forward toward the next big thing in their lives. I on the other hand am so relaxed in my setting that I wouldn’t trade places with them for any amount of money, fame or success. Everything they are flying toward and working so hard for, could be gone as quickly as that vapor trail disappearing behind them. And, that peaceful mountain view I am taking in…that’s going to be there for a while.
James wrote about the disappearing act we are all engaged in. He reminds us that essentially we are all here today and gone tomorrow. However, He also pointed out that though we will not remain on this planet forever, our existence will continue on…even long after that awesome mountain view I enjoy so much, fades away. Allow me to read James 4:13-17 from my favorite paraphrase, The Remedy. There it is declared this way…
Pay close attention – especially those who say “In the next few days we are moving to a new city and will live there a year, open a business and make huge profits.” You don’t know what the future holds. Your life is like a vapor trail: here one minute and gone the next. You might not even be alive in a year. So stop being so rigid with your preplanning – it only increases your stress. Instead trust God with your future and how things turn out. Learn to say, “If it is in harmony with God’s plan for my life, then that is what I will do.”, and you will worry so much less. As it is you focus on yourselves; you brag, boast, and try to control everything in order to advance your own agenda. All selfishness is destructive. Anyone who knows God’s methods of love but chooses selfishness deviates from God’s design for life.
I know that it is incorrect for me to assume every person on those planes in the sky above are headed to their next business meeting, to make their next pitch, and
Marriage and Divorce Vol. 7
Hi, this is Pastor Ken thanks for joining me once again for the Monday Marriage Message where we search God’s instructions to experience a highly successful marriage.
We are currently looking at the topic of Marriage and Divorce, and what God’s word has to say concerning it. This will be our seventh installment in that series. As I have mentioned previously, I understand this is a complex topic, and even as we search the scriptures for answers, it can be daunting. However, all truth originates with God, and if we are to know how to succeed in our marriages we must be willing to explore His truth. We have been exploring the conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees where this topic was discussed at length, and using that as our focal scripture. I mentioned that Jesus, desiring to speak primarily about the righteous subject of marriage, asked the Pharisees about the law hoping they would expound on Genesis 2:24. Rather they chose to focus on Deuteronomy 24:1-4 to defend their perspective concerning their ability to divorce.
As we made our way through most of that scripture phrase-by-phrase I pointed out some important details relevant to the correct interpretation of it, and mentioned that the Pharisees, as scholars of the law, would have been well aware of each of those truths.
1. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 is case law not demonstrable law – it’s structure leaves no question as to its classification.
2. In Old Testament case law, the directive is given only after the facts of the case are presented and no legislation should be derived from those facts-in-evidence unless it had been presented elsewhere in the law previously.
3. To conclude that the facts-in-evidence equated to demonstrable law where none had formerly existed was an illegitimate reading of the law. This is important in this situation because several errant conclusions were being drawn (though I don’t believe they were arrived at unintentionally)
• Those from the school of Shammai (the more conservative group who I believe Mark wrote concerning) concluded that some indecency had to be discovered in one’s spouse to justify divorce. They errantly determined that the facts-in-evidence presented in the case law in Deuteronomy 24:1 equated to God-ordained grounds for divorce. This is supported by their initial question to Jesus, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” I think they knew they had misrepresented case law as demonstrable law and were as Mark stated, asking this question for the purpose of testing Jesus. If He answered that it was not lawful they would have espoused their inaccurate reading of the law to be correct, if He would have said it was lawful, they would have pointed out that He apparently didn’t know case law from demonstrable law and shouldn’t be trusted as a Rabbi.
• Those from the school of Hillel (the more liberal group I believe Matthew referred to) also misconstrued the meaning of this scripture. They believed that the example of the second husband detesting his wife without a stated cause should be interpreted to mean that divorce was permissible for any reason a husband found himself displeased with his wife. They too, demonstrated this by their initial question to Jesus recorded for us in Matthew. “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” If Jesus had simply said no, He would have begun a heated dispute between the two groups of Pharisees and been the apparent cause of a large public disruption. If He had answered “Yes, any reason will do” the Pharisees from either group could have pointed out that the Rabbi obviously didn’t understand that case law was not demonstrable law.
• Both groups of Pharisees were misrepresenting that Moses had specifically instructed them as to how to obtain a divorce. Because the listed circumstances of the case included an accepted societal procedure used to validate divorce, The Pharisees were selfishly misappropriating it as Mosaic law. In
Marriage and Divorce Vol. 6
Hi this is Pastor Ken and I want to thank you for joining me yet again for the Monday Marriage Message. This is the sixth edition in our study on the topic of marriage and divorce. Last week we continued to listen in on the conversation between Jesus and the two groups of Pharisees as they exchanged questions and responses about marriage and divorce. Jesus was trying to keep the Pharisees on track by speaking in terms of marriage while the Pharisees were trying desperately to focus solely on the subject of divorce .
When we last examined their exchange it was the Pharisees turn to speak. Jesus had asked them what Moses had written in the law concerning the subject. As I noted, Jesus desired the conversation surround the righteous topic of marriage and so He was referring to Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. Jesus then added additional commentary; “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh, Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:8,9 & Matthew 19:6). The first of the two groups of Pharisees, wanting to remain on the topic of divorce responded to Jesus question; “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and to dismiss her” (Mark 10:4) and the second group responded by asking Jesus, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce and put her away?” (Matthew 19:7) As I mentioned in last week’s podcast these responses from the Pharisees were an attempt to twist the law so that they could interpret it the way they wanted to and feel justified in divorcing their wives. The portion of the law they were referring to is found in Deuteronomy 24:1-4, and today we will look at that scripture, and see what it actually says.
Deuteronomy 24:1-4 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, 2 when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3 if the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife, 4 then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.
There are several things that must be taken into account in order to accurately interpret what this portion of the law is dictating. First it must be determined what kind of law this is. What I mean by that is what form does the law take? Basically there are two kinds of laws found in the Pentateuch [ˈpen(t)əˌto͞ok] (the first five books of the Old Testament). The first is demonstrable law, in which we find absolute commands or prohibitions and are simply the statutes of God. We recognize these as the “Thou Shalt…” and the “Thou Shalt Not…” laws. The ten commandments are a widely known example of demonstrable law. The second form of law found in the Pentateuch is case law. This form of law is given beginning with a description of the conditions under which the law is applicable. These cases usually begin with Hebrew words that are most accurately translated “if” or “when”. Following the conditions where the law would apply again usually following the word “then” the legislation is laid out. A good example of case law is found in Exodus 21:33-34. There the law dictates that if a man digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or donkey falls into the uncovered pit, then the man who dug the pit must pay the value of the ox or donkey to its owner and he (the one who dug the pit) takes possession of the dead animal. The statute opens with the conditions and c
Are We There Yet?
Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Are we there yet?
When I was a child we spent a fair amount of time as a family traveling by car. For the better part of the first half of my upbringing we lived in areas far away from our hometown in Western New York State. For several years we lived in Columbia, South Carolina where my father attended Bible College and then we moved to the Susquehanna Valley of Eastern Pennsylvania, where he pastored his first church. Occasionally, we would travel home from either of those far-away places back to visit family in familiar territory. Each of those trips took place in the car.
In preparation, mom would pack our clothes, sandwiches and drinks, as well as the other necessary things to keep my brother and I busy for the duration of the trip. Dad always had the task of figuring out the puzzle that was required to get all of it to fit in the trunk, so that the back seat could be left free for two boys to play, argue with one another, and sleep during the trip. It really did feel like a journey in those days. The national speed limit back then was still 55 miles per hour, and as much as we complain about the condition of roads now, they were much more difficult to travel then. Many of the four lane highways we use these days were only two lanes during that time. Consequently, the trip from Eastern Pennsylvania back home took 6 to 7 hours and when we were traveling to or from South Carolina…those car rides could last upwards of 18 to 20 hours. Even prior to the constraints of children’s car seats and safety belts, with all those hours to travel, my brother and I would quickly tire of being restricted to confines of the back seat. It usually didn’t take long for one of us to pose the question asked by every kid at one time or another, “Are we there yet?”.
As a parent, I came to understand just how annoying that question can be. I can only imagine the number of times my parents heard it on one of our longer trips. In actuality, it is a good question to ask. Why? Because it indicates a level of trust. The child who poses that question believes they will at some time safely arrive at their destination, they just want to know when. It might be more accurately asked, “How much longer will this trip take?”, but it usually comes out as “Are we there yet?”. There was an occasion recorded in the Bible when I think Jesus would have welcomed the question, “Are we there yet?”.
In Mark 4:35-41 there is an account of one of the many journeys Jesus took with His disciples. Allow me to read it to you from the New Living Translation. 35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. 38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” 39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
As I said a moment ago, I think Jesus would have preferred it if His disciples had roused Him to ask if they were there yet. Instead they abruptly woke Him up to ask “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”. After Jesus calmed the storm by commanding it to cease, He had a question of His own for His disciples. He asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”.
This was an interesting exchange, one that I think holds some important truths for us to consider. The beginni
Marriage and Divorce Vol.5
Hi this is Pastor Ken, thanks for taking part in the Monday Marriage Message. This is the fifth episode in our series of study concerning marriage and divorce. For those who may be checking in for the first time we are primarily basing our study on a conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees recorded for us in Matthew 19 and Mark chapter 10.
Last week I took time for a sidebar from that conversation we are looking at so closely. I took the time to explain to you why I think it is so important for us to literally break that scripture down phrase-by-phrase. As we move forward my prayer is that the slow and methodical way we are working our way through this will be a blessing and not a frustration. God’s word is so jam-packed with truths, and His ways and thoughts are so much Higher than ours…as high as the heavens are above the earth…that slow and steady is the only way to not leave too much grain in the field.
The week before last I shared with you the two questions recorded for us in the gospels of Mark and Matthew that Jesus posed in response to the initial questions asked of Him by the Pharisees. There is irrefutable evidence that there were in fact two different factions of the Pharisees who disagreed with each other as to what constituted grounds for divorce. These schools of thought covered far more territory than simply marriage and divorce. They disagreed on matters of ritual practices, ethics and theology. They were known as the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel named for the sages who founded them. Those who followed Shammai’s teaching were the more conservative when it came to divorce and those who subscribed to the teaching of Hillel were the more liberal of the two. I shared with you a few weeks ago that I believe each group came posing a question intended to entrap and discredit Jesus. Mark records the more conservative question and Matthew recorded that the Pharisees asked about a more liberal view of divorce.
I shared with you in that episode that Jesus answered their questions without taking a side as they had hoped He would. Instead He responded to them with a few questions of His own. He asked the first group, “What did Moses command you?” and essentially asked the second group if they had failed to read what Moses had commanded and then quoted the portion of the law (Genesis 2:24) He was referring to in his question to their colleagues. By doing this Jesus was asserting that their question was actually one of Marriage and not divorce. He was pointing out that marriage was the God ordained institution, divorce was man’s created remedy when marriage became too difficult. Essentially Jesus was redirecting the Pharisees into an honest and truthful conversation.
In this edition we will look at the Pharisee’s responses to Jesus’ follow-up questions. When you look carefully at how they answered, it is quite telling and explains the condition of their hearts. Let’s read now what those recorded responses were. I will read each excerpt including the follow-up question Jesus posed and the answer the Pharisees gave. As before we will begin with Marks gospel where I believe Jesus is speaking with the more conservative group. Mark 10:3-4 says, And He answered and said unto them, “What did Moses Command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her”. Now from Matthew; the question to, and the answer from the more liberal group of Pharisees. Matthew 19:4-7; And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together let not man separate.” They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and put her away”?
The way this
Survival of the Fittest
Hi, this is Pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Survival of The Fittest.
Last evening, I was watching a clip from a nature show on YouTube. I’m not sure why this particular video ended up in my feed or why I was intrigued enough to click on it and watch…but I was. The video was of a fight to the death between a scorpion and a black widow. I don’t know just how long the contest lasted because the video began with the two arachnids already engaged, but I know it didn’t continue longer than a minute or two more. The spider was franticly spinning web material and using its legs to try to secure the scorpion’s tail to its body in order to restrict its ability to sting. While attempting to ensnare the scorpion in its strong sticky silk, the spider was also taking every opportunity to try to puncture the scorpion’s exoskeleton with its fangs and inject a lethal dose of venom, and bring its distant cousin into submission. While this was the Black Widow’s plan, the Scorpion had a strategy of its own, and continued to flick its tail resisting the restraint of the spider’s webbing. Seemingly within the first minute of the video, the spider’s fangs managed to find a weakness in the scorpion’s armor as simultaneously the scorpion wriggled free its tail and the stinger pierced the black widow’s abdomen. In the space of just a few more seconds both had succumbed to their wounds and the venom of the other. Almost as soon as it had begun…it was over…both creatures expired and lying motionless. It was a battle which might have been dubbed “Survival of the fittest”, and though that particular engagement concluded, the question of which was more fit…well that was left unanswered. Both paid the ultimate price and there was no winner, winner scorpion or black widow dinner!
Charles Darwin theorized that human beings arrived on the planet through a process he called evolution which relied heavily on ideas like “Survival of the fittest”. His thought was that God had not lovingly created the universe, our solar system and our planet to provide for the rest of His creation. Darwin didn’t accept that God spoke each of the plants and animals into existence and as the crowning achievement of His immense love formed Adam from the dust of the ground and then offered to him the breath of life. Darwin’s theory couldn’t accept that the first woman would be a gift to the man, taken from the man’s own flesh and blood. The theory of evolution required belief that mankind had evolved along with the rest of creation and had simply won more of the contests of the “Survival of the fittest”, than any other creature. This errant thinking brought forth others like “The process of natural selection”, as well as even farther outlandish, non-scientific conclusions such as “The Big Bang”. With each of these we are supposed to accept that other scientific laws such as the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics are not true at all. We are asked to believe that an initial energy source isn’t actually necessary to input energy into a new process. Furthermore, the theory of evolution requires us to accept that things gain momentum without a renewed input of energy rather than degenerate as we know full well and can prove that they do. I think that it is with innate understanding that theories like evolution can’t possibly be legitimate that we sometimes use references to them with sarcasm and humor. Places like YouTube will also treat you to videos of people doing incredibly dumb and dangerous things, and dub them “Darwin Awards” or opportunities to watch examples of the “Process of Natural Selection” in progress, as people do stupid things that might have taken them out of the gene-pool if it were not for “dumb luck”.
“Survival of the fittest” is contrary to God on more than one level. This is not simply so because it flies in the faith of the truth of Creation week. It is not “Survival