In this way, God provided an inheritance for the prophet's family.
"Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.” 2 Kings 4:3-4
A prophet's widow and two sons we destitute. Though the prophet was a righteous man, or more likely because he was righteous, his family was left with an unmanageable debt. The two sons were to be forced into slavery and the widow would perish in poverty. So she pleaded with Elisha the prophet--the mentor of her deceased husband--is there anything you can do to help?
Inspired by God, Elisha responded. Gather empty vessels and pour what little you have into them. Don't stop pouring until every vessel you can find is filled, he said. Pour out from your emptiness, your poverty, your nothingness, your insufficiency, and don't stop pouring.
2 Corinthians 4:7 says "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." We are all empty vessels, longing to be filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit. But like the oil in this story, the overflow of the Holy Spirit only continues as long as it is poured out into other empty vessels.
Do you want to keep your supply of oil flowing? Listen to learrn how at www.QCQradio.com.
You are what you do, repeatedly.
How does the traditional Christian liturgy affect our brains? "You are what you repeat," according to Cloe McLaughlin, who studies Christian worship at Indiana Weslyan University. Repetition and meditation have been a part of Christian liturgy since the birth of the Church. It can be found in the Psalms and Proverbs, and continues even today as an important teaching tool. We become "transformed by the renewing of our minds" through the ritual repetition of the prayers and actions of the liturgy.
Do you want to be transformed and renewed? Listen to learn more at www.QCAradio.com.
Our mind is shaped by the liturgy--literally. We call it formation.
The science of neuroplasticity provides evidence that we can intentionally change our brains, regardless of our age. Stroke victims can re-establish limb control. Athletes can improve technique through visualization. Addicts can learn to live without their addiction, one day at a time. How? By utilizing visualization, imagination, meditation, and repitition to form new neuropathways.
These are all tools used by the Church in Christian formation, to reshape how we think, percieve, and interpret what we experience in the world. Perhaps that is precisely what the Apostle Paul meant when he instructed believers to "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" in Romans 12:2. Listen to learn more at www.QCAradio.com.
The treasure . . . aaah, the treasure is incalculable.
A SUMMARY OF SUNDAY'S SERMON
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and in his joy he went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he found one very precious pearl, he went away and sold all he had and bought it." Matthew 13:44-46
Have you ever read this passage and asked yourself why? What is so special about that treasure that would make a man give up everything? Perhaps it's because what was found was just the beginning? Perhaps the man knew in his heart there was a much greater treaasure burried beneath? Perhaps the "very precious pearl" is even more rare and precious and valuable than is immediately seen?
The man in this short story is our example. The treasure is Christ himself. And that "very precious pearl" is Christ's bride, the Church. To own them, we must sacrifice. We must invest our time, talent and wealth to make Christ and his bride our own.
TIME, TALENT AND WEALTH TO DISCOVER TREASURE
How do we do this? We use the tools of excavation. First, a shovel--a tool to break up fallow ground of our hearts and reveal what lies beneath. This is our gift of TIME spent engaging in worship, study, and submission to the riturals and doctrines of the Church.
Next, we must use a pick--a sharp instrument to break up the rocky hardness of our hearts. This is the gift of TALENT--to step into ministry in any form. It doesn't matter if God is calling you to the ordained ministry, or to vacuum the carpets. It's ministry, and it requires a breaking of ego, a deep giving of self, and a piercing level of humility.
Finally, we take up our brush--gently removing all the dust and pebbles that obscure the beauty of Christ in us. This is the giving of our WEALTH, offered as tithes and gifts to support the work of the church. There is no act of the Christian life that better reveals "the joy thereof." Those who tithe will inevitably discover the faithfulness of God and the freedom of giving as our materialism and selfishness are swept away.
Now go, brave Christian. Trade your trappings for tools--a shovel, a pick, and a brush. Discover the treasure that awaits you in Christ and his bride, the Church.
It's very important for the Church to prove that Christ was both fully God and fully man.
Heresy abounds. One common heresy is Gnosticism, which is the idea that Christ was not fully man, but was only spirit. The documented circumcision of Christ provides historical evidence that Christ truly took on human flesh and bore the pains of earthly life, just as we do. Christ's circumcision is important to the doctrines of the church, but it is also a personal comfort to those who follow Christ. How so? Listen to learn more at www.QCAradio.com.