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  • To Tell the Truth | Anne Robertson
    like it is ours we have told a lie When we do not treat others like God s beloved we are bearing false witness Domestic violence is false witness Racism and hate speech are false witness Those words and actions proclaim that another person has less value than other people You don t have to go further than Genesis to see that is wrong Every human being is made in the image of God every human being When we treat someone as less or when we act like we are superior to others we have borne false witness This reaches extremes in suicide and murder Both make claims that someone is unfit to live That is false witness We can t go beyond God s reach There is always forgiveness there is always redemption there is always unconditional love for every person on the planet To say a life has no value and must be ended whether it is our own life or the life of another is a lie I could go on all morning with the list because in fact every single sin you can name is a false witness unless as you sin you shout out I m sinning now this is not what God intends That is why I chose part of one of Jesus more confrontational speeches as the Gospel lesson this morning This is the one place in the Bible where we are taught what evil actually is rather than just seeing what evil does The devil says Jesus is a lie He is a lie himself and is the father of all lies Elsewhere in John s gospel Jesus says that he by contrast is the truth When you want to know whether something is evil or good the first question to ask is Is it loving The second question to ask is Is it the truth All evil great or small begins with a lie The great evils of the Holocaust and of slavery began with the lie that some people are inherently better than others or that those who look different are not people at all From the lie that God will not save those who don t believe the right things came the great evils of the Inquisition and the Crusades When we tell a lie when we tell the world that things are one way when they are really another we have participated in evil And it s not always easy to tell whether we have spoken truly even in the small things because our culture is very focused on what is technically true not what is true for the soul of the world or what is true in the eyes of God I recently was asked to fill out a questionnaire that asked for a time when I had lied and felt it was the right thing I answered with a time I had told a child that a completely scribbled drawing was beautiful As a technical question

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/tell-the-truth (2016-02-16)
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  • Thou Shalt Not Covet | Anne Robertson
    commandment At the end of Matthew chapter 6 the chapter where Jesus expands the meaning of the Ten Commandments Jesus says Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you That s the point of the first commandment God first and the rest all falls into place God first and you will keep all the other commandments by default The first commandment is the basis for keeping all the others and the last commandment is the basis for breaking all the others If we don t start with God first we fall to the bottom of the list and begin to covet We think we should have what others have We begin to think that we know as much as God knows that our needs should take priority over any of God s plans we reach out and eat the apple that looks so inviting and we fall Coveting is about our desire to be in control in ultimate control it is about our desire to be alpha dog to be God and to have the right to take what another has to be the owner of all rather than the steward We might want the right to take possessions but it might also be more abstract It might be that what we want is not control over things but over people Individuals are coveted and then taken in adultery or in slavery We might enter into marriage thinking that the other person now belongs to us coveting their freedom to be the person God created them to be insisting that they become who WE want them to be We look at others and covet their jobs their success their families It might be coveting a reputation a certain honor or someone s authority Dishonoring parents seeks to take the authority they have been given or the dignity they have as children of God False witness seeks to take away a person s influence by attacking their reputation We might covet God s right to vengeance and commit murder We might be jealous of God s right to reap the harvest and so we work and work never taking a Sabbath rest sure that God cannot possibly get on even for a day without us We want to control where we place our allegiance so we decide that things other than God will take priority and thus make our idols When we covet we open the door to breaking any and all of the commandments The Ten Commandments are not ten different rules They are nine examples of how we should put into practice the first rule The book of James recognizes this when it claims in James 2 10 Whoever keeps the whole law and yet offends in one point he is guilty of all There is no point in boasting that you have been able to keep nine of the ten If you break one you have broken

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/thou-shalt-not-covet (2016-02-16)
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  • Numbers | Anne Robertson
    Lens The Gospel According to David The King Repents Kings Job Why Be Good Psalms Become Thanksgiving Lamentations Where is the Hope Ezekiel Can These Bones Live The Repentance of Believers Where Are The Shepherds Jonah A Big Fish Story Apostles Creed Sermons Matthew Booking Passage By Their Fruit Don t Go Back the Way You Came Epiphany Get Out of the Boat Guard Your Heart Is God Fair Jesus The Son Mount of Olives Sealed in the Tomb Temptations The Canaanite Woman Mark Blind Bartimaeus Clearing the Temple Eating With Sinners I Believe The Living Christ Whatever It Takes Luke Conceived By the Spirit Counting the Cost Going Out of Your Mind Mother of God Mt of Transfiguration Revealed Rock Concert The Duty of Constant Communion The Shepherd Channel The Shepherd Channel Transformation in Whoville Ups and Downs Who s In Charge John Immigration This Must Be the Place Wade in the Water Water Into Wine Lazarus Come Out Stay in the Machine Where are the Shepherds While It Was Still Dark Acts God s Cleansing Love Holy Spirit Sharing the Load Singing In Prison Romans Apart From the Law Maker of Heaven and Earth Tower of Love Who

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/numbers (2016-02-16)
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  • The Offering | Anne Robertson
    deserved their wages just as much as others so God came up with the idea of the tithe God said to the other eleven tribes okay the Levites are performing an important service They are making sure that the worship of God stays active and true in the community Since that takes all their time the rest of you need to bring ten percent of everything you get to them so they can provide for themselves and for their families That s what a tithe is giving ten percent for the support and maintenance of the church and its workers And no cheating says God Don t bring the leftover sour stuff for the Levites Farmers bring ten percent of your best crops Shepherds don t go bringing diseased animals bring the good ones the best ones And so the practice of the tithe began People brought tithes and they also brought offerings which were additional gifts above and beyond the tithe to help the poor and needy That is why each Sunday when I ask the ushers to come forward I instruct them to bring their tithes and offerings They are distinct things tithes support the maintenance of the church and the offerings are given to those in need That was still the system in Jesus day and after Jesus death and resurrection the early church gave it still more meaning In the early days of the church after Jewish Christians had been booted from the synagogues and before the church was established as an institution there wasn t really anything like the Temple to be maintained The church was simply gatherings of people in different homes where they studied together told the good news about Jesus and shared in a meal together which they brought potluck They didn t really need a tithe to support a building or workers anymore but they did still need offerings they needed to care for the poor and the widows and orphans We see in the book of Acts that Paul travels to the churches in Asia Minor asking them to contribute to an offering for the poor back in Jerusalem This is a gross oversimplification but hundreds of years went by and finally the Roman Emperor Constantine decided that Christianity should be the official religion of the Empire Freed up from persecution and officially supported by the state churches could really put down roots build cathedrals support schools for religious training and all sorts of things Voila Now there is again a need for maintenance There is still a need to give to the charitable work of the church however so the need for the tithe returns and the need for the offerings remains Up until the last couple hundred years however the offering time in the worship service was completely tied to the sacrament of Communion As Cyril Richardson describes in his book The Church Throughout The Centuries Each Christian brought some bread and wine and this was collected by

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/the-offering (2016-02-16)
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  • The Bronze Serpent | Anne Robertson
    milk toast who exists to serve us is a dangerous position to take God does get angry and God doesn t like being pushed around or being taken for granted any more than we do It doesn t hurt every now and again to remember Who it is that we re dealing with The poisonous snakes had exactly that effect on the people This wakes them up and they realize this is punishment Not everything bad that happens is punishment from God but this time it most surely was and they knew it They also knew it was deserved Nobody in this story says God is so awful look what God has done to us innocent people Nobody charges God with wrongdoing When the snakes show up and people start dying the people say Uh oh We ve done it now and they go to Moses to ask forgiveness Remember Moses is the intermediary between the people and God They go to Moses and admit that they were wrong to complain about him and about God and they ask Moses to pray for forgiveness This is the appropriate and faithful response to God s wrath To repent as they did shows that they know that God is just and would not give them a punishment they did not deserve To ask for forgiveness shows their faith that God is not only just but merciful They ask because they know it is in God s nature to forgive That is how the faithful respond Often our response to stories of God s wrath is something like That is cruel and harsh I can t worship a God like that OK so how smart is that If God has just blasted you with a plague of poisonous snakes as an attitude adjustment what sense does it make to refuse to do what God wants If you re going to refuse to worship God because God gets mad on occasion then please go live over there and keep the snakes to yourself I will opt for the repentance thank you very much Anyway the people ask Moses to pray for them that God might take away the snakes and Moses does as they ask God s answer is perfect I think God does not take away the snakes But God does provide a way for people who are bitten by the snakes to be healed Moses is instructed to make a bronze snake and put it up on a pole From then on whoever got bitten had to look at that bronze snake to be healed and live It seems like a weird solution but I think it shows a lot of God s wisdom Think for a minute about the solution proposed by the people take away the snakes Given what we have seen of Israel in the story so far what do you think are the chances that when the snakes were gone they would remember the incident so vividly that

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/the-bronze-serpent (2016-02-16)
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  • Ruth | Anne Robertson
    The God Lens The Gospel According to David The King Repents Kings Job Why Be Good Psalms Become Thanksgiving Lamentations Where is the Hope Ezekiel Can These Bones Live The Repentance of Believers Where Are The Shepherds Jonah A Big Fish Story Apostles Creed Sermons Matthew Booking Passage By Their Fruit Don t Go Back the Way You Came Epiphany Get Out of the Boat Guard Your Heart Is God Fair Jesus The Son Mount of Olives Sealed in the Tomb Temptations The Canaanite Woman Mark Blind Bartimaeus Clearing the Temple Eating With Sinners I Believe The Living Christ Whatever It Takes Luke Conceived By the Spirit Counting the Cost Going Out of Your Mind Mother of God Mt of Transfiguration Revealed Rock Concert The Duty of Constant Communion The Shepherd Channel The Shepherd Channel Transformation in Whoville Ups and Downs Who s In Charge John Immigration This Must Be the Place Wade in the Water Water Into Wine Lazarus Come Out Stay in the Machine Where are the Shepherds While It Was Still Dark Acts God s Cleansing Love Holy Spirit Sharing the Load Singing In Prison Romans Apart From the Law Maker of Heaven and Earth Tower of

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/ruth (2016-02-16)
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  • Samuel | Anne Robertson
    King Repents Kings Job Why Be Good Psalms Become Thanksgiving Lamentations Where is the Hope Ezekiel Can These Bones Live The Repentance of Believers Where Are The Shepherds Jonah A Big Fish Story Apostles Creed Sermons Matthew Booking Passage By Their Fruit Don t Go Back the Way You Came Epiphany Get Out of the Boat Guard Your Heart Is God Fair Jesus The Son Mount of Olives Sealed in the Tomb Temptations The Canaanite Woman Mark Blind Bartimaeus Clearing the Temple Eating With Sinners I Believe The Living Christ Whatever It Takes Luke Conceived By the Spirit Counting the Cost Going Out of Your Mind Mother of God Mt of Transfiguration Revealed Rock Concert The Duty of Constant Communion The Shepherd Channel The Shepherd Channel Transformation in Whoville Ups and Downs Who s In Charge John Immigration This Must Be the Place Wade in the Water Water Into Wine Lazarus Come Out Stay in the Machine Where are the Shepherds While It Was Still Dark Acts God s Cleansing Love Holy Spirit Sharing the Load Singing In Prison Romans Apart From the Law Maker of Heaven and Earth Tower of Love Who s the Judge 1 Corinthians Here I

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/1-samuel (2016-02-16)
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  • Not By Sword and Spear | Anne Robertson
    my sheep but I m not sure I would have been doing that with lions And if I did I m not sure I would live to tell about it David is both brave and tough BUT and this but is the heart of the story David does not claim that it is his courage and strength that did it Listen to what comes next Your servant has killed both lions and bears and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them since he has defied the armies of the living God The Lord who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will save me from the hand of this Philistine Even as a strapping teen David did not boast of his own exploits He boasted of God s exploits We don t know what his father Jesse taught him at home but somehow David had come to learn the truth the battle is the Lord s It doesn t matter whether the threat is a lion a bear or a champion named Goliath whose height was six cubits and a span A cubit is about 18 inches makes him over 9 feet tall They are all nothing when compared to the power of the living God David has learned not to try to fight his own battles He meets the giant with the power of God Listen to what he says when he confronts Goliath You come to me with sword and spear and javelin but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts the God of the armies of Israel whom you have defied This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hand and I will strike you down and cut off your head and I will give the dead bodies of the Philistine army this very day to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the earth so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not save by sword and spear for the battle is the Lord s and he will give you into our hand That paragraph is what this whole story is about I can t tell you if it really happened this way or not There s another place in Scripture 2 Samuel 21 19 that claims somebody else killed Goliath It doesn t matter The truth that the writer of 1 Samuel wanted us to get is right there in that last line I just read The Lord does not save by sword and spear for the battle is the Lord s and he will give you into our hand We know that is the point because it appears throughout the story David makes the point in his speech to Saul about the lions and bears he makes it again in his speech to Goliath and it

    Original URL path: http://annerobertson.org/not-by-sword (2016-02-16)
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