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Series: New Testament Eschatology

From time to time, I hear a lot about the early church’s understanding of the “end of the world” or their belief that the “Second Coming of Jesus” would take place within their generation. And it’s usually not in a very good light. “They were obviously mistaken,” is often the remark I hear most. I know it’s hard to imagine but what if we’re mistaken? What if we’ve misunderstood what they meant? I’m hoping that this series on some of the major statements from the New Testament about the “end of the world” will show that they weren’t mistaken in their understanding of the “signs of the times.”

Before we begin, however, let’s look at some terms that will have to be used. As most of you know, I try to refrain from using big “church” words. My reason for this is because those words are like suitcases where ideas and thoughts and understandings are packed into them. To explain the words would mean a long time spent unpacking the suitcases and explaining their contents. While such a pilgrimag…
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Lectionary Reflection—20 August 2017

Matthew 15.[10-20] 21-28 (adapted): [Jesus called the crowd near and said to them, “Listen and understand. 11It’s not what goes into the mouth that contaminates a person in God’s sight. It’s what comes out of the mouth that contaminates the person.”
12Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended by what you just said?”
13Jesus replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father didn’t plant will be pulled up. 14Leave the Pharisees alone. They’re blind people who are guides to blind people. But if a blind person leads another blind person, they’ll both fall into a ditch.”
15Then Peter spoke up, “Explain this riddle to us.”
16Jesus said, “Don’t you understand yet? 17Don’t you know that everything that goes into the mouth enters the stomach and goes eventually out into the sewer? 18But what goes out of the mouth comes from the heart. And that’s what contaminates a person in God’s sight. 19Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adultery, sexual sins, …

Pipe Smoking—The Theological Part

“I believe that many who find that ‘nothing happens’ when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.” — C.S. Lewis
I started this series as an introduction into the wonderful world of pipe smoking and theology. So far, we’ve focused on the pipe side of the series. Now I want to focus on the theological side of it.
Before we go any further, though, let’s just put this out there so there’s no misunderstanding:
There aren’t any passages in the Bible that speak directly to smoking a pipe.
Oh, I suppose someone could claim that since prayer is like incense before God and the smoke from a pipe is sort of the same thing, it’s really not. And while Latakia tobacco does remind me a lot of incense, and incense is mentioned over 120 times in the Bible (even more so if you include the Apocrypha, and if you don’t, you really should),…

Lectionary Reflection—13 August 2017

Matthew 14:22-33 (adapted): Right then, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead to the other side of the lake while he dismissed the crowds. 23When he sent them away, Jesus went up onto a mountain by himself to pray. Evening came and he was alone.
24Meanwhile, the boat, fighting a strong headwind, was being battered by the waves and was already far away from land.
25Very early in the morning Jesus came to his disciples, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified and said, “It’s a ghost!” They were so frightened they screamed.
27Just then Jesus spoke to them, “Be encouraged! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
28Peter replied, “Lord, if it’s you, order me to come to you on the water.”
29And Jesus said, “Come.”
Then Peter got out of the boat and was walking on the water toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the strong wind, Peter became frightened. As he began to sink, he shouted, “Lord, rescue me!”
31Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him…

Pipe Smoking—The Cleaning Process

“I believe that many who find that ‘nothing happens’ when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.” — C.S. Lewis
Now that we’ve had such an enjoyable smoke, let’s clean out that pipe!
We’ll start with a general, after you smoke your pipe, cleaning. You’ll need some pipe cleaners (who knew that this is what they were really for instead of making crafts!), paper towels, cotton swabs, and a cloth (preferably a microfibre cloth). Now, you could get away with a shorter list (only pipe cleaners and maybe the cloth), especially if you’re smoking your pipe on the go, but this is a good list for a standard cleaning.
First, you want to make sure the pipe is completely cool before taking it apart. Taking the stem out of the stummel before it’s cooled could damage your pipe.
Next, using the pick of your pipe tool (a pipe cleaner w…