Week 08

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 LIVE 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:

Sermon on Wall Street – Matthew 6:19-24

 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

(Conclusion,  II Peter 3:10-14)

Questions may be sent through

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 Podcast2024-03-21T11:21:38-06:00

Are You a Shrewd Manager?

by Grace Hunter

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV

Jesus’ teaching topic was money one-fifth of the time. It was obviously a high priority for him.
 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money,” Matthew 6:24 NIV. 

Sometimes it is helpful to look at the parallel passages in the other gospels to get insight into the meaning of any particular verse. In Luke 16:1-15,
Jesus tells the parable of the shrewd manager. This is an interesting parable in which Jesus used several examples of cheaters and those engaged in unethical business practices to make a point about money, and being shrewd with the money we have. Jesus ended it with,No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money,” Luke 16:13 NIV. In this parable everyone was looking out for himself, was corrupt, and valued money and worldly security above all else.

Jesus is making the point in both Matthew 6:24 and in Luke 16:13, that we are to be shrewd with our money, with our talents, with our resources. The shrewd manager used the tools he had available to him to cause people to feel indebted to him, because he realized his job was gone and he was going to need help from other people in order to live. Jesus wants us to be shrewd with our resources — to use them for the Kingdom of God.  He wants us to be seeking ways to make eternal investments. Perhaps the questions we need to ask ourselves are, “how can I use my money, my time, my resources to further His kingdom?” What gifts do I have that I can share with others that could influence him or her to consider their eternity? Am I using my money and resources to spread the gospel in my neighborhood, in my country and in the world at large?

The Apostle Paul tells Timothy, 

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life,” I Timothy 6:17-19 NIV

If we are looking at money as means of security and safety, we will be disappointed. Jesus wants us to trust in him for our security and use our money for eternal, kingdom values.


Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Are You a Shrewd Manager?2024-03-16T12:38:42-06:00

A Healthy Outlook

by Kathleen Petersen

The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! Matthew 6:22-23 NET

In this word picture, Jesus wasn’t addressing our physical eyesight, but the spiritual lens we use to evaluate and interact with God, other people and circumstances. 

The essential contrasts in this passage are health versus disease, and light versus darkness. Both eyes see the same things. But the healthy eye sees clearly, positively, where the diseased eye sees morbidly, negatively. Jesus adds an emphasis to the morbidity — ”how great is the darkness!” This emphasis suggests hell itself is the trajectory of one who fails to cultivate a sound spiritual eye.

Around 6th century B.C. an occult symbol called the “evil eye” appeared in ancient Greece, accelerated throughout the world, and has persistent influence today.  

The evil eye symbolizes envy and malice. Many cultures believe it comes from coveting another person’s position or possessions. From this jealousy comes negative energy that can bring misfortune and injury to others and oneself.

I’m certain Jesus’ audience was familiar with this symbol and its significance. Jesus’ image of the unhealthy eye was also likely to bring to mind the tenth commandment:

Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. Exodus 20:17 CSB

“Coveting”  (“envy”) is aggressive and corrosive. A dictionary search pops up this maze of synonyms: 

yearn to possess or have (something), be consumed with desire for, crave, have one’s heart set on, want, wish for, long for, yearn for, dream of, aspire to, hanker for, hanker after, hunger after/for, thirst for, ache for, fancy, burn for, pant for

greedy, avaricious, acquisitive, covetous, rapacious, grasping, venal, cupidinous, materialistic, mercenary, predatory, usurious, possessive, grabbing, hoarding, Scroogelike, money-grubbing, money-grabbing, grabby, pleonectic, Mammonish, Mammonistic, eager, avid, hungry, craving, longing, yearning, hankering, thirsty, pining, enthusiastic, impatient, anxious, desirous of, dying, itching, hot, gagging

What an unsavory list! Encourage yourself to actively cultivate a healthy spiritual and scriptural eye:

… let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 CSB

Look at the life of
prolific hymn writer Fanny Crosby who suffered blindness at an early age. However, her spiritual eye was healthy. She considered the circumstances of her disability to be the avenue God used to enhance her musical gift as well as spurring her on to serve the underprivileged. 

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

A Healthy Outlook2024-03-16T12:21:18-06:00


by Sherry Sommer

When my father, a native of Shiraz, Iran,
* passed away a year ago, he left me some Persian carpets made of wool.  The carpets are beautifully and intricately designed, and each of the countless knots they’re made of is individually tied by hand. These works of art took years to create, and It’s important to be vigilant and to take care that moths don’t destroy them.  On the anniversary of my father’s birthday,  I put the carpets outside to vacuum and refresh them in the sun. Because my father loved to work and take care of things, it felt fitting to remember him in this way.  As I worked, I thought about these verses:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 NIV 

While I worked, I thought about how our possessions can be treasured but that they may decay slowly or be gone in an instant.  I saw this very graphically during the Marshall Fire in Louisville when 500 homes were burned to ashes. 

Cleaning carpets brought Jesus’ point home to me in a graphic way. We need to keep in mind that accumulating possessions comes with a price.  One reason I  enjoyed my work that sunny day was that I don’t have too many rugs to care for.  My task was manageable and was a joy, not a burden. I love how Proverbs describes “enough” as being between wealth and poverty:  

“Two things I ask of you, LORD;
    do not refuse me before I die:

 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.

 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
    and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’

Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonor the name of my God.” Proverbs 30:7-9

Jesus isn’t prescribing the amount of possessions we need. He’s not saying that we make sure to get by with the very barest minimum to live. However,  possessions do become a distraction when we have more than we can use and can take care of. They can make us forget that we can only be secure to the extent that we trust in God alone.

I love that Jesus came to provide freedom. He is using a strong warning about possessions, not because he doesn’t want us to enjoy them, but because he loves us. He knows how easily people turn away from loving God and turn instead to things for security and satisfaction. He wants to provide for us, and wants us to remember that he is completely able to do so. In fact, as much as I treasure the gifts my father gave me, my life has been shaped much more by Heavenly Father’s consistent provision. I’ve rarely ever shopped for new clothing. God has provided what I’ve needed very inexpensively or for free. I enjoy what I have because I didn’t have to slave away to pay for expensive items. I wouldn’t lose too much if it was taken away (although I would be sad)!  When I get dressed, I am reminded of God’s constant provision. 

My favorite verses in the Bible  (Matthew 11:20-30,) describe the “unforced rhythms of grace” that Jesus promises we can walk in with him:

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”  Luke 12:27-31

This is the freedom Jesus wants for us. Let’s pray that we as a body can live in this freedom. 

* Note: In 1959, the year my father immigrated from his country, Its ancient name of Persia was changed to Iran.  

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Freedom 2024-03-16T10:42:24-06:00

Matthew 6:1, Context for Matthew 6:19-24 

by Carolyn Schmitt

During our Devotional team discussion, it was agreed that the “context” for each of the scriptures in Chapter 6 referred back to
Verse 1 in various ways.  

It’s easy to say a word like “context” and have only a general idea of what it means, I have looked up the definition, both where the word originally came from and how it is used today:  The word “context” is derived from the Latin words, con which means (together) and tigere which means (to weave); so context means to weave together. 

My writing assignment was to find what connects with the verses Matthew 6:19-24, so I researched the word, “context”.  Frankly, my research was overwhelming, since words, their extended meanings and uses, change over the centuries.  

As I have pondered “context”, it seems to me that it “weaves together”  the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How questions we can ask ourselves as we study to live each day, “In the way of  Jesus, with the heart of Jesus.” 


“Be [very] careful not to do your good deeds publicly, to be seen by men; otherwise you will have no reward [prepared and awaiting you] with your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 6:1 AMP  


Each of the following sections has been well written about by one of our Devotional team members.  As you read each one, think about how it refers back to verse one and what it means in the “context” of your own life.


(Tuesday) “Do not store up for yourselves [material] treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 AMP


(Wednesday)  “The eye is the lamp of the body; so if your eye is clear ([spiritually perceptive], your whole body will be full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. But if your eye is bad [spiritually blind], your whole body will be full of darkness [devoid of God’s precepts]. So if the [very] light inside you [your inner self, your heart, your conscience] is darkness, how great and terrible is that darkness! Matthew 6: 22-23 AMP


(Thursday)  “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord]. Matthew 6:24 AMP


Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Matthew 6:1, Context for Matthew 6:19-24 2024-03-16T10:19:30-06:00

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,
“This Way from the Beginning”
at https://redcouchtheology.com/

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 Podcast2023-10-28T16:38:45-06:00

Loving Each Other

“It has also been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife is to give her a certificate of divorce’; but I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except on grounds of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who has been divorced commits adultery.” Matthew 5:31-32 NIV

But to the married [believers] I give instructions—not I, but the Lord—that the wife is not to separate from her husband, (but even if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband) and that the husband should not leave his wife. 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 NIV

I must admit that I got overwhelmed as I tried to study what scripture says about divorce and marriage from both the Old and New Testaments and from various commentaries on the subject, both historical and contemporary. So I’m going to focus on what I’ve experienced, and what I’ve learned.

I’ve had the privilege as a sound and lighting tech for many years to serve at a variety of weddings, both small and quite large — good memories for me. One definite thing was apparent in all of them: none of the couples took their vows with the idea of divorce in mind. Certainly Phil and I didn’t when we took ours.

Some of you reading this knew and will remember my husband, Phil and me as we have been part of South Fellowship for many years. We got married in 1965 because we “wanted to see each other’s face across the breakfast table for the rest of our lives”. We celebrated our 43rd anniversary three weeks before he died on April 2nd 2008.

Over the years we learned, sometimes easily, sometimes painfully, that being “in love” is very different from loving. The best description of loving is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8  FNVNT (* First Nations Version New Testament)

* Article on First Nations Version in Christianity Today “Native Christians: Indigenous Bible Version Is ‘Made By Us For Us

Love is patient and kind. Love is never jealous. It does not brag or boast. It is not puffed up or big-headed. Love does not act in shameful ways, nor does it care only about itself. It is not hot-headed, nor does it keep track of wrongs done to it. Love is not happy with lies and injustice, but truth makes its heart glad. Love keeps walking even when carrying a heavy load. Love keeps trusting, never loses hope, and stands firm in hard times. The road of love has no end.

As you pray the Lord’s prayer with us this week, think about 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 in light of: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 NIV

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Loving Each Other2023-10-29T19:14:06-06:00

The Ideal Marriage

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27 NIV

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning–the sixth day. Genesis 1:31 NIV

Jesus introduces a new topic – adultery with, “It has been said, `Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 5:31-32 NIV) Jesus goes into more detail later in the book of Matthew when He was approached by Pharisees who wished to test him.

They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator `made them male and female,’ and said, `For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Matthew 19:3-9 NIV

Once again, the Pharisees were seeking to put a fence around the law, to emphasize what was allowed and what wasn’t. But Jesus demonstrated with His answer, referring to Genesis and the first marriage (Genesis 2:18-25), that His focus was on the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of the marriage bed, and on the lifetime commitment made by a husband and a wife to each other in marriage. Jesus points the Pharisees and His listeners to the beauty and the idyllic state of the first marriage in the Garden of Eden. In this relationship before the fall, Adam and Eve were companions, there was no shame, they had complete honesty (openness) with each other and with God. Jesus wanted His hearers to recognize the ideal in marriage, the high value God places on marriage — instead of looking for the loophole that would allow a man to leave his wife for any reason imaginable.

Think about divorce in our society today. It seems that many people consider divorce an uncomplicated and valid choice over sticking with difficulties in a marriage. Jesus’ answer above leads me to believe that He valued women, valued marriage, and saw it as a lifetime commitment. Christian marriage demands mutual respect, mutual concern and a willingness to act in a self-sacrificing way by both husband and wife. Paul describes this type of marriage relationship in Ephesians 5:21-33. Consider all of these exhortations from scripture, and ask God to show you what you need to see and understand about marriage.

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

The Ideal Marriage2023-10-29T19:08:04-06:00

Speaking into the Culture

32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

In Matthew 5:31-32, Jesus briefly makes reference to his view on divorce. In two short snappy sentences, Jesus tells us that divorce is not a simple no-cost outcome that can be entered into casually. The marriage covenant is serious; so divorce is serious. So serious in fact that Jesus notes whoever divorces his wife causes her to become “a victim of adultery” (Gk. to be debauched / Hb. figuratively, to apostatize). The phrasing is interesting in Greek, Hebrew and English. In Jesus day, all of the power of divorce was with the man. He could decide on this path for almost any reason and, surprisingly to us as we usually consider the first century to be very conservative, divorce was very easy and very prevalent. In fact, as hard as it might be for us to grasp today, women were considered more like property than partners in a marriage.

Jesus speaks into this larger debate in Matthew 19:1-4. He is asked by a group called the Pharisees, whether a woman can be divorced by a man for “any and every reason”. While we might hear this as an isolated question, the first century BC was a”‘high context culture”. This means you could make a reference to the Old Testament scriptures and almost everybody listening would catch that reference. When Jesus is asked. “for any and every reason”, he is being asked to make judgment on a current debate on Deuteronomy 24:1-4. In this passage we read:

If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.

This passage was originally written as a case study on the subject of divorce. In an agrarian culture in which she would have no ability to earn her own income, a divorced woman would face a difficult choice: either to return to her fathers house (which was not always possible), or to turn to prostitution to survive. This teaching prevented that circumstance by allowing her to remarry. Unfortunately, it was taken by later generations to mean two things: first, that only a man could choose divorce, and two, it became a debate on what exactly the text meant by “something indecent about her”.

In the generation before Jesus, two rabbis dominated the teaching landscape: Hillel and Shammai both founded rabbinical schools that carried great weight, and they argued back and forth on many points in Torah. Shammai understood “anything indecent” to mean only “marital unfaithfulness”, whereas, Hillel believed the offense could be almost anything. He even mentioned that “burning a meal” could be included as a basis for divorce!! By Jesus’ day, Hillel’s opinion had become the dominant one, causing in part, the easy divorce culture of first century Judaism. By siding with Shammai, Jesus makes sure that women could not be cast aside casually. He tightens the principles around divorce and creates a better future for women, who found themselves on the margins. Noting what Paul begins to teach later Christians, we see how strict the Christian view of divorce would become — a great shift for the age.

So, how else have you seen Jesus speaking for those who found themselves on the margins?

How do you respond to Jesus’ ethics around divorce?

What questions does this teaching raise for you?

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Speaking into the Culture2023-10-30T20:37:07-06:00

Marriage and Divorce Customs

Loving, nurturing family relationships have been highly desired and sought during all human history. Divorce causes multiple reverberations throughout immediate and extended families of the divorcing parties as well as the larger community. It’s also fair to say that marital discord can have similar effects.

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
Matthew 5:31-32 ESV

What Jesus says in these verses can seem obscure. Here’s an essay explaining some Jewish customs found in first century Israel that may enhance your understanding of customs around marriage and divorce in Jesus’ time. I will highlight two customs discussed in the article which still exist in parts of the world practicing marriage norms closer to those of the First Century — different than those now held in Western Europe and the U.S.

One custom, prevalent in a little over half of today’s world and held over from earlier times, is marriage arranged by parents of both the bride and the groom. Intermediary agents are sometimes employed to ensure the best match.

To us, it might be surprising that these arranged marriages end in divorce only 4% of the time while the overall Western divorce rate has wavered between 40%-50% in the last few decades. (It might be comforting to know that surveys of committed Western Christians record divorce rates half that percentage.) Some researchers have also observed that a steady increase in cohabitation as a replacement for marriage in Western countries has led not only to a decline in marriage rates but a predictable drop in percentages of marriages ending in divorce.

Another ancient custom that carries over into some arranged marriages is that newlyweds are expected to live in such close proximity to their extended families that constant daily contact is inevitable. This extended family model is one Westerners experience far less frequently.

The U.S. has also been affected by two developments that have widened the gap between us and First Century Judaism in our attitudes about divorce: In 1937 women could file for legal divorce for the first time and in 1969 laws enabling no-fault divorce began to be instituted.

I will end this brief comparison of modern and ancient marriage and divorce customs with a final thought: It’s tempting to equate legal provisions developed by our secular government regarding marriage and divorce with what Jesus says about those subjects. While those government provisions can prove helpful in sorting out a distressed marriage, they may also lead us to discount Jesus’ teachings.

Using the Lord’s Prayer, pray for those you know who have been affected by divorce. Thank God for the godly, healthy marriages you have observed.

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.

Marriage and Divorce Customs2023-10-29T19:05:57-06:00
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