This is a book that comes out today not only from my pastor, @thebanning , but it really does come straight to you from my church @JCSacramento . It comes from me in a way.
Today in Sacramento there was an actual thunder storm. As someone from the Midwest, I can say 'real' thunderstorms are rare in California. Today, though, my girls were eating their breakfast and I was making coffee in my aero press when, in a matter of two seconds, the power went out and there was an enormous clap of thunder that set off my car alarm. I smiled with delight. Haddisen (3 years old) was shocked and then smiled. Bryleigh (4 years old) put her hands over her ears and cried.
I calmed the situation and then explained what thunder really is. I explained that it is one of my favorite things.
I also told them the story of Nikola Tesla, the brilliant inventor, engineer, and designer of the alternating current (AC) electricity supply system, who was known to sit near his window during a thunder storm. He would sit and wait until the next thunder clap when he would rise to his feet to give God a standing ovation.
Pslam 96:5-8 says: "But the LORD made the heavens Splendor and majesty are before Him Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. ASCRIBE to the LORD, O families of the peoples ASCRIBE to the LORD glory and strength ASCRIBE to the Lord the glory of His name."
"Ascribe" means to attribute something to something or someone else. We are to attribute great and powerful and beautiful things to God. The LORD does and provides these things; they are not coincidence or simply natural reactions. God is to be ascribed these things.
The girls loved this idea and for the rest of the morning we all three clapped for God with each thunder roll and clap. Haddie would even copy me each time saying, "Dadda, how cool!!!"
The cities of refuge have to be one of the most intriguing things to me in the Old Testament. God commanded his people as they were establishing themselves in the promised land by tribe to each have a city of refuge outside the parameters of the city. These cities were to be a place for people who had killed another to escape. It was not a place to go be innocent and free of guilt. It was a place of protection. Why protect the murderer? These places were for them to escape those who avenge the victims. It was God's justice. Wait, what?
God knows our revenge is always more emblazened and severe. God protects from unequal severity of revenge. The murderer, though in refuge, remains under judgement for his wrong. That is until the acting priest dies. (ps, another interesting reality is that the cities of refuge were always maintained by the priestly tribe. The mission of the cities of refuge should be the mission of pastors, ministers, and followers of Jesus.) Like us, they were under judgement until our High Priest died to free us from under the burden of judgement.
Yesterday, I was contacted by a ministry to my neighborhood (Oak Park/Tahoe Park). The ministry is called, City of Refuge Sacramento. While it is not a hiding place for murders, it is a place to reach into a community to which high crime and poverty is attributed. It is a ministry which attempts to infiltrate in community to make efforts toward this freedom out from under the burden of the judgement.
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/58339643 w=500&h=281]
Today you all will playthe roles I give you. I am the author of your story today.
You may sit in my created scene, but you will obey my back story. Drink up and carry on, but know I am writing you.
We will begin with you, Nerd Runner. You are always here in runner's gear and a new pile of boring books. You.are.a... Self-proclaimed genius. Don't get me wrong; you are smarter than me, no doubt, but you are not Shoeless Sage.
Shoeless Sage. You are white-haired...looooooong white hair. No one can know the true length of your white hair because it is always pulled back in a pony tail. Each day you come in, remove your shoes, and sit "Indian-style" on a seat the rest of us have sat at one time. You.are.a... Computer gamer who will never be too old for W.O.W. You pull off the sage look, but your bike helmet and posture indicate you are better known as beastslayer69. You would make Doc shake his head in disappointment.
Doc You seem able to leave the craziness of medicine to enter the scene nearly every day wearing either full scrubs or that "Doctor Casual" look complete with cell phone belt holster. You.are.a... Doctor of some alternative medicine that your internet diploma indicates. It is more than "alternative"; it is top-secret. We only know that you always look dapper and yet prepared for spontaneous surgery. You are likely in cahoots with Lois.
Lois Your name really is Lois. I cannot even make satirical back story for you because your sweetness weakens me. You are always cuddled up in a chair (never a bench or booth) with whatever Michael Crichton novel you're on to now. You.are... FREAKING CUTE!!!
what is the punchline