Saturday, June 30, 2012


Good afternoon sisters and brothers,
Today's passage is God's call to Moses to be part of the liberation of Israel from slavery. I love the moment in this passage where God says "I have heard Israel's cry, so I will respond by sending you." In a way, that's what God says to each of us. We are God's hands and feet in the world to serve others. Where is God calling you this week?

God bless,


Exodus 3:1-10
Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” 4When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

7Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”

Friday, June 29, 2012

next move

Good evening sisters and brothers,
First, I'd like to share some great news: Betty, whom many of us met in worship a few weeks ago, has found an apartment and will be moving in tomorrow. I put an air mattress for her on the stage, but if someone has a pump to inflate it for her and someone could take her and the mattress home after worship on Sunday that would be great.

In our story of God's people tonight we see the next move. Pharaoh has moved with fear and oppression. The midwives courageously stood for grace and protected the Hebrew boys. Pharaoh kept right on his track, so now we see the beginning of God's next move. Moses is born and God's surprising story continues.

God bless,


Exodus 2:1-15
Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. 2The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. 3When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. 4His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.
5The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. 6When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him, “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. 7Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” 8Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. 10When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

11One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and saw their forced labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsfolk. 12He looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13When he went out the next day, he saw two Hebrews fighting; and he said to the one who was in the wrong, “Why do you strike your fellow Hebrew?” 14He answered, “Who made you a ruler and judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” 15When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh. He settled in the land of Midian, and sat down by a well.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

oppression and resistance

Good morning brothers and sisters,
We fast forward again several generations. Joseph has led his family into Egypt to escape a major famine. They have been honored guests given choice land in Egypt. Years later, Egypt's king has forgotten where they came from and sees only that they are not Egyptian. Difference becomes fear, and fear becomes oppression. Not only do the Israelites become slaves, Pharaoh even seeks to kill the male babies to reduce their population. Even in this situation God acts for Israel through the courage of two women who are midwives. This is the first act of non-violent resistance in the Bible and a great example of living faith. May that courage inspire us today.

God bless,


Exodus 1:8-22
8Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. 10Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” 11Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. 12But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. 13The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, 14and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.

15The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16“When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.” 17But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. 18So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?” 19The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” 20So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. 21And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. 22Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.”

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

famine and family

Good evening friends,
I'm sorry these readings have been so inconsistent the last month or so. Our reading for today is a big jump forward. On Sunday we talked about God calling Abram to leave his home and go to a land God would give to his descendants. As always, God kept his promise: Abraham and Sarah had a son named Isaac, who married and had twins, Jacob and Esau. God changed Jacob's name to Israel and Israel had 12 sons, who became the 12 tribes of Israel. In jealousy the sons sold their brother Joseph into slavery in Egypt, but God's wisdom enabled Joseph to become Pharaoh's right hand man. With God's wisdom, Joseph administered Egypt's agricultural policy during seven years of abundant harvest to prepare for seven years of famine that God told him were coming. Because of this wise planning, Egypt survived the famine and Pharaoh consolidated power.

Our story picks up from there with Jacob/Israel hearing that there is grain in Egypt while the famine raged in Canaan. All these years he has believed his son Joseph was dead. We're poised for a dramatic reunion that eventually leads Jacob's whole family to take refuge in Egypt as Pharaoh's honored guests. Blessings on your evening,


Genesis 42:1-8
When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you keep looking at one another? 2I have heard,” he said, “that there is grain in Egypt; go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die.” 3So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. 4But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he feared that harm might come to him. 5Thus the sons of Israel were among the other people who came to buy grain, for the famine had reached the land of Canaan. 6Now Joseph was governor over the land; it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground.

7When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he said. They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.” 8Although Joseph had recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

genealogy and back to the story

Good afternoon friends,
Today's reading is a little dry, let's just be upfront about that. We're doing begats. I want to point out two things about the genealogy: first, the author wants to draw a clear line from the family of Noah (Shem's father) to Abraham so we know the story is all in the family. Second, God earlier said that people wouldn't live past 120 years old anymore, but these folks keep living a long time. At the same time their lives are getting shorter as the genealogy progresses. Now once the story gets to Tarah, Abram's father, we're back on track to a story we connect with. The seeds of trouble are clear even in this beginning: a big part of the story is how generations move forward in God's story, but Sarai can't have children. English teachers would call that foreshadowing. Anyway, the story of Abram and Sarai will take center stage on Sunday as we listen to how God might be calling us too.

God bless,


Genesis 11:10-32
10These are the descendants of Shem. When Shem was one hundred years old, he became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood; 11and Shem lived after the birth of Arpachshad five hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. 12When Arpachshad had lived thirty-five years, he became the father of Shelah; 13and Arpachshad lived after the birth of Shelah four hundred three years, and had other sons and daughters. 14When Shelah had lived thirty years, he became the father of Eber; 15and Shelah lived after the birth of Eber four hundred three years, and had other sons and daughters. 16When Eber had lived thirty-four years, he became the father of Peleg; 17and Eber lived after the birth of Peleg four hundred thirty years, and had other sons and daughters.

18When Peleg had lived thirty years, he became the father of Reu; 19and Peleg lived after the birth of Reu two hundred nine years, and had other sons and daughters. 20When Reu had lived thirty-two years, he became the father of Serug; 21and Reu lived after the birth of Serug two hundred seven years, and had other sons and daughters. 22When Serug had lived thirty years, he became the father of Nahor; 23and Serug lived after the birth of Nahor two hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. 24When Nahor had lived twenty-nine years, he became the father of Terah; 25and Nahor lived after the birth of Terah one hundred nineteen years, and had other sons and daughters. 26When Terah had lived seventy years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

27Now these are the descendants of Terah. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot. 28Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29Abram and Nahor took wives; the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah. She was the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah. 30Now Sarai was barren; she had no child. 31Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan; but when they came to Haran, they settled there. 32The days of Terah were two hundred five years; and Terah died in Haran.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Good morning brothers and sisters,
This is a fascinating story about how we identify ourselves and where we put our trust. The people try to establish their reputation and future based on their accomplishments. God doesn't like this idea at all; after all, we are called to put our trust in God, not ourselves. In a society like ours where what we accomplish is a huge part of our identity this is a word we need to hear. Work and achievement are important; God calls us to use our gifts and abilities to serve others and to establish justice. But achievement is not how we establish our worth or our security; those things are established by trusting God.

Blessings on your day,


Genesis 11:1-9
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

5The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. 6And the Lord said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

Monday, June 18, 2012

after the flood

Good evening friends,
After spending all that time in the ark, I'm sure Noah and his family were thrilled to have a little more space. Unfortunately, things didn't go perfectly smoothly after the flood either. In this story we see both Noah and his son Ham acting in less than idea ways. The story of Ham being cursed by his father has been used as a justification for the oppression of Africans and African Americans for much of history. As usual, when we use the Bible for oppression we're not following God's calling. The interesting thing about this passage is that Noah's anger focuses on Ham's son, Canaan, more than on Ham himself. That doesn't really make sense, but often we aren't logical when we're angry. That curse is important as the story progresses because Canaan is the ancestor of the people who inhabited the Promised Land (Canaan) before Israel came into it. Scholars believe this passage was written to reflect and justify Israel's conquest of the land.

God bless,


Genesis 9:18-28
18The sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. 19These three were the sons of Noah; and from these the whole earth was peopled. 20Noah, a man of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard. 21He drank some of the wine and became drunk, and he lay uncovered in his tent. 22And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.

24When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, 25he said, “Cursed be Canaan; lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers.” 26He also said, “Blessed by the Lord my God be Shem; and let Canaan be his slave. 27May God make space for Japheth, and let him live in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his slave.”
28After the flood Noah lived three hundred fifty years. 29All the days of Noah were nine hundred fifty years; and he died.

Friday, June 15, 2012

get my children out of the muddy, muddy

Good evening friends,
The first evening of our New Beginnings retreat was fruitful and engaging. I ask you to continue to pray for our urban Presbyterian congregations as we learn more tomorrow. I'd also ask you to keep the work of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in prayer as they host a festival the next two days at Sahlen Stadium (4 pm each day.) I pray that God will bring a rush of the Spirit in Rochester so many can hear the good news of God's love.

Today's reading gives us the story of Noah in the ark with his family and all the animals. It's a hard scene to imagine, but even out of destruction, God eventually brings new life.

God bless,


Genesis 8:1-14
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided; 2the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, 3and the waters gradually receded from the earth. At the end of one hundred fifty days the waters had abated;

4and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5The waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared.
6At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made 7and sent out the raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. 8Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; 9but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him. 10He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark; 11and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. 12Then he waited another seven days, and sent out the dove; and it did not return to him any more.

13In the six hundred first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and saw that the face of the ground was drying. 14In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

...there's gonna be a floody, floody...

Good afternoon brothers and sisters,
Today's reading actually gets Noah and his family into the ark to survive the flood God sends. It's hard to imagine being cooped up in a small space with all those animals. It's also hard to imagine what Noah's neighbors would have said as he built a giant ship in the middle of the desert. His courage and faithfulness are pretty amazing.
blessings on your faithfulness,

Genesis 7:1-12
Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation. 2Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate; 3and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth. 4For in seven days I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights; and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.”

5And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him. 6Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came on the earth. 7And Noah with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, 9two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah. 10And after seven days the waters of the flood came on the earth. 11In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 12The rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Lord said to Noah...

Good morning friends,
Today's reading tells the story of God's warning to Noah about the flood that was coming and God's instructions for building an ark to rescue representatives of each species. The story of Noah and the ark is familiar and strange. We'll be talking about it on Sunday, so this is a good introduction during the week.
May God bless you as you start your day,

Genesis 6:11-22
11Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth.
13And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth. 14Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch.

15This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

19And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive. 21Also take with you every kind of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them.” 22Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Good morning sisters and brothers,
I hope your week is off to a good start. Our story today is a strange one about God being sorry that he made people because we are so messed up. The story also mentions Nephilim, an odd type of being that seems to be a cross between "sons" of God and women. The Bible doesn't explain that any further, but you'll notice further along when Israel gets close to the Promised Land, that some of their enemies are said to be descended from Rephadim, which seem to be related. They take on an almost giant-like quality in the later story. This passage is a reminder that there are stories and events that surround the Bible story and that the authors knew about but didn't write down. Most of those surrounding stories are lost, so we're left guessing the whole story from the fragments left in scripture.



Genesis 6:1-10
When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, 2the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. 3Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years.”

4The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown. 5The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.

6And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

8But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord. 9These are the descendants of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God. 10And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Methusala and Noah

Good afternoon friends,
Thanks to everyone for a great meeting and congregational meeting today. Today's reading gives us Methusala, known as the oldest man ever, living to the ripe age of 969 year. We also bring this bit of genealogy to a close as we meet the main character of our next story, Noah. May God bless you as you enjoy the beautiful weather and as you begin the new week,

Genesis 5:25-32
25When Methuselah had lived one hundred eighty-seven years, he became the father of Lamech. 26Methuselah lived after the birth of Lamech seven hundred eighty-two years, and had other sons and daughters. 27Thus all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty-nine years; and he died.

28When Lamech had lived one hundred eighty-two years, he became the father of a son; 29he named him Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands.” 30Lamech lived after the birth of Noah five hundred ninety-five years, and had other sons and daughters. 31Thus all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy-seven years; and he died. 32After Noah was five hundred years old, Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Good evening friends,
Thanks to Bob, Sally and Chris for serving at the Redwings game last night. They worked hard on a busy night to raise a good deal of money for the Rochester Family Mission to serve those in need. I want to remind you that tomorrow during worship we will welcome new members into our church, which is always an encouraging moment. Right after worship we'll have a brief congregational meeting to elect officers for our life together. I hope you can be there to take part in this important moment.

Today's reading gives us a couple more generations in the family of faith. Most notably, we get the story of Enoch. Enoch is a departure from the normal pattern of the way the author presents the generations because rather than tell us that he died, we're told that "Enoch walked with God and then was no more because God took him." That has led to speculation about Enoch's departure into heaven. I don't have any great insight to offer on that, only to point out the difference, since our New Testament authors sometimes refer back to it. I hope the day has been wonderful for you and I look forward to seeing you in worship tomorrow.

God bless,


Genesis 5:13-24
13Kenan lived after the birth of Mahalalel eight hundred and forty years, and had other sons and daughters. 14Thus all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years; and he died. 15When Mahalalel had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Jared. 16Mahalalel lived after the birth of Jared eight hundred thirty years, and had other sons and daughters. 17Thus all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred ninety-five years; and he died. 18When Jared had lived one hundred sixty-two years he became the father of Enoch. 19Jared lived after the birth of Enoch eight hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. 20Thus all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty-two years; and he died.

21When Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methuselah three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. 23Thus all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty-five years. 24Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

brotherly hatred

Good evening/morning sisters and brothers,
I'd like to mention again a cool opportunity to serve our neighbors this weekend. On Friday evening beginning at 5pm we'll be staffing the hotdog and dippin dots stands at the Redwings game to raise money for the Rochester Family Mission. The mission provides great programs for kids as well as feeding families and teaching the Bible. Raise money while enjoying a great time at the ballpark. Please give me a call or an email if you can help out.

Today's reading will also be our main passage for Sunday, so it would be really cool if you have questions you'd like to explore if you send them to me so I can think about your questions as I prepare. The story of Cain and Abel is both familiar and strange. Jealousy and murder are as common as TV or newspaper articles. But many details seem strange to us. For one thing, if we read the creation story as the whole, historical account of humanity, who is Cain worried about? There are questions hovering around the text, but the biggest one is directed at each of us: how will we master sin when it lurks at our door?

God bless,


Genesis 4:3-15
3In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

6The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

8Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. 9Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10And the Lord said, “What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground! 11And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”

13Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14Today you have driven me away from the soil, and I shall be hidden from your face; I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me.” 15Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! Whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfold vengeance.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, so that no one who came upon him would kill him.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

leaving the garden

Good morning friends,
One exciting opportunity I haven't shared with you aggressively enough is an Urban Presbyterians Together initiative called Boots on the Street. Boots on the Street is an intensive week of community service by our urban churches to make a difference and show the community we care. This is the week and there are many ways you can participate. If you've enjoyed home rebuilding projects or wanted to, but never been able to, there are opportunities to spend a day working on a Habitat house in Rochester. That opportunity is available Wednesday through Saturday and is an all day commitment. There are also opportunities to serve in food ministries at Third Presbyterian Church on Thursday or Saturday. New Life, Brighton and Calvary St. Andrews all have touch up projects this week. I'll be heading over to School 25 (Goodman and Bay) to do some painting and possibly some gardening tomorrow afternoon around 4. Please give me a call (340-6095) or email if you can help out with any of these opportunities. You'll have a good time, get a T shirt, and meet other great Presbyterians engaged in the community.

Our reading today follows up the story of Adam and Eve leaving the garden and beginning their family. The twists and turns of the story of God's people keep things interesting.

God bless,


Genesis 3:20-4:2
20The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
21And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.
22Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life. 

4:1 Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.” 2Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground.

Monday, June 4, 2012

trouble in the garden

Good evening brothers and sisters,
Today's story is the story of Adam and Eve and the serpent. This story is also often called the story of the fall. Notice that the woman hadn't yet been created when God told Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Also, as Susan Dennis pointed out, the woman wouldn't know that there was such a thing as lying, making her very vulnerable to the serpent's temptation.
Blessings on your day,

Genesis 3:1-8
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’“ 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; 5for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. 8They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

9But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” 13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”

14The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” 16To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

17And to the man he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”