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Week 02

Red Couch Theology Podcast

Sermon Conversations with Alex and Aaron

There’s only so much we can cover in a Sunday morning gathering!
Each week, you’re invited to tune into our podcast at 11 am on Thursdays – recorded (and sometimes prerecorded) for later, online viewing.

What can you expect? Pastors Alex, Aaron and the occasional guest, having a casual conversation diving deeper into ideas related to last Sunday’s teaching.

Ask questions about the sermon series, Advent – The Revised Common Lectionary


Expectation of His Saving Power

It is preferred that questions be sent through
https://redcouchtheology.com/  


FYI: Texting is to be discontinued for asking questions
for consideration on the podcasts.

Blog sites:

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCWnNSTN-6XA7oYy6TBfS0LAxqxPvxVjH

Apple Podcast:  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/guys-drinking-tea/id1616539767 

Red Couch Theology Podcast2023-12-08T21:45:09-07:00

Advent 2023, December 14

Introduction: For hundreds of years many Christian traditions have read passages of scripture using a tool called a lectionary. This Advent season our devotional team decided to resource you with selections from the Revised Common Lectionary. You will encounter texts from the Psalms, the Prophets, and the New Testament as well as formal prayers. Each text has been selected to build anticipation for the coming of Christ – the Light of the World – amid the dark, cold days of winter. Reflect on the first coming of Christ while yearning for his second coming.

Note. If you desire to read these passages in a different version of the Bible, this link will provide all the readings for week 2 in Bible Gateway where you may also choose other versions of these passages.)

Mark 1:1-8 NIV 

The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way” –“a voice of one calling in the desert, `Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'” 

And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Source: Year B – Advent : Revised Common Lectionary

 

Did you notice the connections from the Isaiah 40:1-11 reading on Monday and this one? Mark quotes Isaiah 40:3 here. Think of the meaning of these verses in your life as you pray this prayer.

God of hope,
you raised up John the baptizer
as a herald who calls us to conversion.
As we joyfully await the glorious coming of Christ,
we pray to you for the needs of the church and the world.

Prayers of the People, concluding with:

Hear our humble prayer
that we may serve you in holiness and faith
and give voice to your presence among us
until the day of the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Advent 2023, December 142023-12-08T21:21:47-07:00

Advent 2023, December 13

Introduction: For hundreds of years many Christian traditions have read passages of scripture using a tool called a lectionary. This Advent season our devotional team decided to resource you with selections from the Revised Common Lectionary. You will encounter texts from the Psalms, the Prophets, and the New Testament as well as formal prayers. Each text has been selected to build anticipation for the coming of Christ – the Light of the World – amid the dark, cold days of winter. Reflect on the first coming of Christ while yearning for his second coming.

Note. If you desire to read these passages in a different version of the Bible, this link will provide all the readings for week 2 in Bible Gateway where you may also choose other versions of these passages.)

2 Peter 3:8-15 NIV

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. 

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.

Source: Year B – Advent : Revised Common Lectionary

This passage in II Peter gives us a glimpse of Jesus’ glory that is to come. Do you see the anticipation? Are you ready to meet our Lord in the clouds? Listen to this hymn; think of the truth expressed in its words. As we anticipate Christmas, let’s remember we are also anticipating Jesus’ return!

“I Know That My Redeemer Lives” 

https://youtu.be/8l8_rmvo6kg?si=_W7OQnDsihpLXJdL

Advent 2023, December 132023-12-08T21:06:58-07:00

Advent 2023, December 12

Introduction: For hundreds of years many Christian traditions have read passages of scripture using a tool called a lectionary. This Advent season our devotional team decided to resource you with selections from the Revised Common Lectionary. You will encounter texts from the Psalms, the Prophets, and the New Testament as well as formal prayers. Each text has been selected to build anticipation for the coming of Christ – the Light of the World – amid the dark, cold days of winter. Reflect on the first coming of Christ while yearning for his second coming.

Note. If you desire to read these passages in a different version of the Bible, this link will provide all the readings for week 2 in Bible Gateway where you may also choose other versions of these passages.)

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 NIV

You showed favor to your land, O LORD; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins. Selah

I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints–but let them not return to folly. Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. 

Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.

Source: Year B – Advent : Revised Common Lectionary

The Lord is faithful. He fulfills His promises, ALWAYS. Thank the Lord for His faithfulness in your life. Remember how He has been faithful to you in the past, to your friends and to your family. Be assured, He will be faithful to you and to His promises in the future regardless of your current circumstances. 

Use the prayer below or Psalm 85 above to pray to God and thank Him for His faithfulness in your life in the past and in the future.

God of hope,
you call us from the exile of our sin
with the good news of restoration;
you build a highway through the wilderness;
you come to us and bring us home.
Comfort us with the expectation of your saving power,
made known to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Advent 2023, December 122023-12-08T20:36:51-07:00

Advent 2023, December 11

Introduction: For hundreds of years many Christian traditions have read passages of scripture using a tool called a lectionary. This Advent season our devotional team decided to resource you with selections from the Revised Common Lectionary. You will encounter texts from the Psalms, the Prophets, and the New Testament as well as formal prayers. Each text has been selected to build anticipation for the coming of Christ – the Light of the World – amid the dark, cold days of winter. Reflect on the first coming of Christ while yearning for his second coming.

Note. If you desire to read these passages in a different version of the Bible, this link will provide all the readings for week 2 in Bible Gateway where you may also choose other versions of these passages.)

Isaiah 40:1-11 NIV

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. 

A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” 

A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” 

You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. 

Source: Year B – Advent : Revised Common Lectionary

Did you notice the various words and phrases that talk about paths, or leading me, or preparing the way? Are you about to start on a new path in your life? Are you starting a new season in your work, family, or friendships?

Listen to this hymn and think about how God leads us. Thank Him for leading and directing us.

“He Leadeth Me” 

https://youtu.be/eARj8qKkV2E?si=5Jy6LUTyWOZnlGUW

Advent 2023, December 112023-12-08T20:39:11-07:00

Red Couch Theology Podcast

Sermon Conversations with Alex and Aaron

There’s only so much we can cover in a Sunday morning gathering!
Each week, you’re invited to tune into our podcast at 11 am on Thursdays – recorded (and sometimes prerecorded) for later, online viewing.

What can you expect? Pastors Alex, Aaron, and the occasional guest having a casual conversation, diving deeper into ideas related to last Sunday’s teaching.

Ask questions about the sermon series, Sermon on the Mount,
“What Should Your Attitude Be (Part 1)”
at https://redcouchtheology.com/ or
by texting 720-316-3893 prior to, or during the “LIVE” podcast.

Blog sites:

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCWnNSTN-6XA7oYy6TBfS0LAxqxPvxVjH

Apple Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/guys-drinking-tea/id1616539767

Red Couch Theology Podcast2023-09-21T17:39:19-06:00

The Hunger and Thirst For Righteousness

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6 ESV

What is it to hunger and thirst for righteousness? And how can someone who hungers and thirsts for righteousness be filled?

To hunger and thirst is to have deep needs and deep aches that are completely consuming, taking up all of a person’s thoughts. There is a desire for righteousness that most people can identify with, a desire for injustice to be addressed. This can take many forms — lingering sadness, annoyance, self righteousness, despair, entitlement, and anger. In my mind, these reactions are more superficial than what Jesus is talking about. What Jesus means, I believe, is a desire to see righteousness in the world and within oneself. That’s the point at which the desire for righteousness becomes consuming. That’s the point at which we realize we cannot survive, let alone thrive, without being filled.

How can Jesus offer the hope that we can be filled?

There’s no end to injustice; we see it all around us. Given the way news is presented so negatively in order to get viewers, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and to believe that there is no righteousness on this earth.

I believe our desire for righteousness will never be completely filled this side of eternity, but I also believe we can experience the filling Jesus talks about. I’m a grassroots leader in my town, and for me, getting involved in my community has been one way to be filled.

I love the definition Alex gave of “vision” recently: He said, having vision is “imagining what could be and should be”.

I’ve met with others sharing visions for ways our local government could and should be better; and so, we have worked together toward achieving these common goals. As we go beyond consuming media to get involved addressing issues, we can start to be filled by connecting with others —  having the satisfaction of working toward common goals and the peace that comes from inner change.

The Hunger and Thirst For Righteousness2023-09-17T15:56:19-06:00

Blessed are the Meek, Matthew 5:5

Darrell W. Johnson in his book, The Beatitudes-Living in Sync with the Reign of God, points out that each of the character qualities Jesus calls “blessed” are not natural human qualities. It is as people follow Jesus and grow into his good news of the Kingdom of God that they will grow in the qualities that are characteristic of the kingdom.

I try to imagine what the response might have been for various people on that mountainside when they heard Jesus say,

“Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth” NIV

How about Matthew who had been a tax collector working for the Roman government and likely making a living by overcharging his own countrymen?

Or Simon the Zealot, who was committed to the violent overthrow of the Romans controlling the country?

Peter, Andrew, James and John who, having worked hard as businessmen catching fish for a living, were a pretty rough group of men.

Might some in the crowd who had come from Jerusalem, remembered what the scriptures said about Moses in Numbers 12:3 ASV? “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” Or What David wrote in Psalm 37:11 ASV? “But the meek shall inherit the land, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”

According to the W. E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, the word “prautes*, which was translated as “meek”, really is hard to express in English, because It definitely does not denote weakness, timidity, or lack of courage. To quote: “It must be clearly understood that the meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power.”

*Note. Look up Strong’s number 4239 and 4240.

It seems to me that the beatitudes are really a preview of the whole sermon on the mount. What Jesus goes on to say in the rest of Matthew 5-7 circles back to what we will become as we grow in Jesus’ gospel of the kingdom of God.

Please continue to join with us in praying and pondering the Lord’s Prayer,

“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Blessed are the Meek, Matthew 5:52023-09-17T07:49:32-06:00

Comfort for Those Who Mourn

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matthew 4:17 NIV

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:1-4 NIV

The Greek word used for “to mourn” in Matthew 5:4 is “penthein”. It expresses strong, visible, audible lamenting, sobbing or passionate grief*. We need to understand that grieving and mourning is healthy, normal, and even a necessary process when we suffer the loss of a loved one or friend. Jesus mourned and cried with Mary and Martha after Lazarus died (John 11:1-37). He also wept over Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (Luke 19:41-44) because most people in Jerusalem did not recognize Jesus as God, as their Savior, so His heart was broken with that knowledge.

* Note. See Strong’s number 3996.

Darrell W. Johnson in his book The Beatitudes makes the point that Jesus wasn’t telling people they had to mourn in order to be blessed, but rather that people who mourn are comforted and blessed. The beatitudes describe people who are welcome in God’s kingdom and who – as a result of hearing Jesus’ message to repent, they turn around, embrace Jesus and His teaching – are transformed by the blessedness of these beatitudes.

The word “comfort” in Matthew 5:4 in Greek is “parakaleo” which means “to be strengthened by being with”. It is related to the Greek noun (Paraklete) which is the word Jesus used for the “Holy Spirit”, the comforter”.**  Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted,” Matthew 5:4. One can’t be comforted if one does not grieve; just as we do not grieve if we do not first love.

** Note. See Strong’s numbers 3870 and 3875.

We live in a sinful world with poverty, injustice, oppression, wars, earthquakes, illness, violence and death – every day:

  • Creation groans and it all breaks our Lord’s heart. Does it break yours?
  • Do you mourn for those who have not experienced God’s kingdom in their lives because they haven’t accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for them?
  • Are you mourning the loss of someone? Do you allow others to comfort you?
  • Does the injustice in this world grieve your heart?
  • Do you have people whom you love deeply who act in ways that hurt themselves and others? Do you grieve as a result?

If so, then you are blessed because you will be comforted by the Holy Spirit now, and in the end times when all will be made right. Also, we can be comforted now when we are conduits of comfort for each other. That is when we allow the Holy Spirit to direct our steps to accept comfort from others or to give comfort to another when they are grieving – being strengthened by our mutual companionship.

Comfort for Those Who Mourn2023-09-16T11:14:09-06:00

The Beatitudes: Present and Future Happiness

It’s important to remind ourselves that Jesus was, is, and will remain the most intelligent human being and the most effective leader of people who will ever exist. He knows what we are made of and our vulnerabilities. Therefore, as we study his Sermon on the Mount, let’s assume he’s designed it to be grasped by the simplest soul as well as providing stimulation for the most gifted intellect.

Please notice three things about the Beatitudes (perfect happiness) which form the sermon’s introduction (Matthew 5:1-12 and Luke 6:12-22):

First, a fair portion of the conditions/qualities Jesus describes in the Beatitudes are negative results of the “Fall” described in Genesis 3.

Second, all but the first and last of these Beatitudes promise future rather than immediate benefits of following Jesus.

Third, in using the term “Blessed are…” Jesus characterizes members of the Kingdom of Heaven (his followers) in terms of a core identity rather than describing goals to be achieved.

For today, let’s consider the first Beatitude:

“Blessed are the poor *in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3 ESV

*Note: the shorter version of the Beatitudes found in Luke doesn’t include “in spirit”.

Some readers of this Beatitude have furthered two unlikely interpretations. One view insists that “poor” refers strictly to physical poverty and therefore true disciples must divest themselves of as many earthly possessions as possible. Another speculates that all poor, needy people are Jesus in disguise.

Popular teachers sometimes minimize this Beatitude, promoting the idea that Jesus’ main aim is to make his disciples materially prosperous. Others map out weighty plans to eliminate material poverty for all humanity.

I advocate that we understand this Beatitude in the context of many scriptures. Take a look at such things as Jesus’ interactions with the poor, how the early church handled the poor in their midst, and the value of spiritual riches in Jesus. In short, resist making this and the rest of the Beatitudes a tidy “to do” list.

Here are just a few among many passages to contemplate:

Jesus’ interactions with widows (often the poorest of the poor): Luke 4:24-26, Mark 12:41–44, Luke 7:11-17.

How the early church handled (satisfactorily or not) the poor in their midst: Acts 4:32-37, Acts 5:1-11, Acts 6:1, I Corinthians 11:17-22

The value of our riches in Christ: Ephesians 1:3-14. (Every blessing bestowed, implemented and guaranteed.)

Again, end with The Lord’s Prayer:

…“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:9-15 ESV

The Beatitudes: Present and Future Happiness2023-09-16T09:51:23-06:00
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