Tuesday, December 24, 2019


FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL
December 21-27
Ezra & Nehemiah: Leaders in Israel


Let's be honest: Ezra is not very nice.

Neither is Nehemiah.

And yes, they're both godly people . . . 

But easy to get along with?

No -- not if you disagree with them. Not if you don't go along with them. Not if you have a different view of what God wants from us, here in Jerusalem.

With these two, in other words, it's always "my way, or the highway" -- and that's true, no matter how rich and powerful you are.

In short, they may be the leaders we need.

But why can't God give us leaders we like?

For more on this topic, go to this week's Adult Bible Study Guide.



Tuesday, December 17, 2019


FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL
December 14-20
Nehemiah 13: Dealing with Bad Decisions


Don't think of it as a "marriage."

Think of it as a "strategic alliance."

As part of "The One-Percent," after all, we don't marry for love. No, we marry for contacts. We marry for influence. We marry to seal deals and cement alliances.

And if this means marrying an "outsider," then let's be honest: it's better to marry a rich one of them than it is to marry a poor one of us.

I mean, that's just good business -- right?

And no, Nehemiah doesn't understand this . . . 

But what can he do about it?

For more on this topic, go to this week's lesson:
https://absg.adventist.org/html?code=ADLT4Q19WK12LESN

  

Tuesday, December 10, 2019


FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL
December 7-13
Nehemiah 13: Backslidden People

I agree -- in a perfect world, this wouldn't happen.

But let's be realistic: Tobias is powerful. Tobias is connected. And Tobias is more than willing to make our lives difficult.

More to the point: Tobias is here, while Nehemiah is not.

So . . . if Tobias wants to use a few rooms in the Temple for his own personal reasons, then why not "accommodate" him?

And no, I'm not saying this is ideal . . . 

But isn't it the best we can do for now?

For more on this topic, go to this week's lesson.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019


FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL
November 30 - December 6
Nehemiah 12: Worshipping the Lord

Look, I'm as happy as anyone else that the wall is finished.

And mad props to Nehemiah for making it happen -- no doubt about it.

And yes, I suppose that some kind of celebration is in order: a plaque, maybe, and a couple of speeches . . . 

But a parade?

With marching bands?

And Nehemiah as the Grand Marshal?

I'm sorry, but that just seems a little "over the top" -- especially when there's still a lot of work that needs to be done.

So why stop everything for a celebration?

Yes, why not wait until all the work is done?

For more about this week's lesson, 
go to the Adult Bible Study Guide.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019


FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL
November 23-29
Ezra 8: Trials, Tribulations, and Lists


Let me get this straight:
  • We've got priests.
  • We've got money.
  • We've even got permission from the Shah . . . 
And now you're telling me that we can't go because we don't have any Levites?

Get serious!

I mean, it's not like their job is all that important; basically, they just do stuff behind-the-scenes, i.e. cleaning and maintenance, with a little bit of music on the side.

Aside from the music, in other words, we're talking about the kind of grunt work that's easily overlooked -- the kind of grunt work that gets little recognition, and even less pay.

In short, nobody really notices the Levites when they're here.

So why is it such a big deal when they're not?

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL
November 16-22
Nehemiah 10: God and the Covenant


Look, we already gave to the temple!

I mean, we were big donors to that particular building project . . . 

And yes, it was a thrill seeing our money turn into something you could actually see! 

But now you're telling me that giving money to build the temple is not enough -- that you need money to pay for salaries, and utilities, and all the other "operating expenses" that it takes to keep the temple open?

Sorry.

Not interested.

No, we were happy to give what it took to get that temple built . . . 

But why should we give more to keep it running?


Tuesday, November 12, 2019


FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL
November 9-15
Nehemiah 9: Our Forgiving God

Sure, mistakes were made.

But why do we need to dwell on them?

I mean, this is our heritage we're talking about -- the stories we tell about the past in order to feel good about today.

So why is Nehemiah so negative?

Yes, why does Nehemiah keep going on and on in this prayer about the sins of our ancestors?

Unlike them, after all, I've never worshipped idols -- much less sacrificed my children to them . . . so why should I feel guilty about something they did -- not me!

No, the past is dead; it's dead and gone.

So why is Nehemiah digging it up again?

For more on this topic, 
go to the Adult Bible Study Guide for this week.

Monday, November 04, 2019

FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL:
November 2-8
Nehemiah 8: the Reading of the Word

It's a sad day when God's people don't read God's Word -- not the way it's meant to be read.

I mean, Ezra's from Persia.

And he's paid by the Persians.

So what has he done?

HE'S TRANSLATED THE BIBLE INTO THE LANGUAGE OF THE PERSIANS!

Yes, Ezra has translated God's Word into the language of his foreign masters -- foreign masters with foreign gods and foreign ways of thought.

And in doing this, Ezra has opened the door to compromise: to Persian words, Persian ideas, and maybe even Persian music all finding their way into our religion.

That's why I'm telling you it's a sad day -- a sad day when God's people don't read God's Word the way it is meant to be read.

I mean, Hebrew was good enough for Moses.

And if Hebrew was good enough for Moses, then it ought to be good enough for us.

For more on this topic, go to the Adult Bible Study Guide.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL
October 26 - November 1
Nehemiah 5: Violating the Spirit of the Law

So they're complaining about us to Nehemiah?

Let them.

Nehemiah's a realist, after all; he knows that he needs our support.

And yes, they'll tell him that we're taking advantage of this famine -- that people are dying so that we can get rich.

So?

Remember: Nehemiah needs us more than we need him.

And given the choice between poor people like them and rich people like us . . . 

What makes you think that Nehemiah is going to back them?

For more on this topic, go to this week's Adult Bible Study Guide.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL:
October 19-25
Facing Opposition

Don't get me wrong -- I'd like to see this wall get built as much as anyone . . . 

But you've got to admit: it's been nothing but trouble ever since Nehemiah showed up.

And no, I'm not a big fan of Sanballat and Tobias, but you can't blame them for being upset. 

I mean, Nehemiah shows up and starts changing things -- starts demanding that things get done his way . . . 

So it's only natural that local leaders are going to push back -- right?

Then too, Sanballat and Tobias were here a long time before Nehemiah ever showed up . . . and I'm guessing they're going to be here a long time after he's gone (if you know what I mean).

And again, I like what Nehemiah's doing in theory . . . 

I just don't want any trouble.

So why is Nehemiah making life difficult for the rest of us?

Friday, October 18, 2019

FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL:
October 12-18
God's Call

Thank you for appearing on our show, Nehemiah . . . and I'm sure that our viewers would like to hear more about your call.

My what?

Your call -- the way God called you to rebuild Jerusalem.

Well, I'd been talking to my brother . . . and then I prayed about it . . . and then things just sort of "happened."

And God confirmed all this with a vision?

No.

A dream?

No.

Angels . . . a voice . . . maybe even a message from one of our prophets?

None of that, no. 

But when you moved ahead in faith, then God confirmed His call by clearing away all obstacles -- right?

Yes and no. I mean, getting the Shah's permission was a miracle -- no doubt about it . . . but after that, it was just one headache after another.

So . . . how do you know that God called you to rebuild Jerusalem?

Me? I just saw a problem, and did something about it. 

That's it?

That's it. I mean, what more of a "call" do you need?

Thursday, October 10, 2019

FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL:
October 5-11
Nehemiah

Did you hear what happened to Nehemiah?

The Shah's cup-bearer? 

Not any more!

I'm not surprised -- the way he's been acting lately, you'd expect the Shah to be a little suspicious!

He was -- and when the Shah asked for an explanation, Nehemiah asked for a new job!

He's lucky he didn't get a new head!

Yeah, but Nehemiah got lucky; the Shah gave him what he wants.

Which is?

Nehemiah's in charge of rebuilding Jerusalem.

That's on the frontier, right? I can see why the Shah might go for it . . . but why's Nehemiah giving up a sweet job like cup-bearer to do something like this?

He said something about it being "an answer to prayer."

Since when does the Shah answer prayer?!?

Ever since Nehemiah started praying, I guess.

Friday, October 04, 2019

FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL:
September 28 - October 4
Making Sense of History: Zerubbabel & Ezra

Ummm . . . Isaiah?

Can we talk?

I mean, I understand just why you're excited about the exiles return to Judah; we've been waiting a long time for that kind of news. 

And I agree that God used Cyrus the Persian to make this happen -- and what's more, this isn't the first time God's worked with those those nasty, heathen, pagan Gentiles to bring blessings on His people. 

But you're on record as saying that Cyrus is God's anointed one, i.e. Cyrus is God's messiah . . . 

Excuse me?

Are we both talking about the same guy -- you know, Cyrus the Persian? Cyrus the Zoroastrian? Cyrus the nasty, heathen, pagan, Gentiles who is definitely not one of God's chosen people?

Yes, that guy!

And if you're telling me that God can use someone like that to bless His people . . . 

Then is there anyone God cannot use?

Friday, September 27, 2019

THE FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL:
September 21-27
A Community of Servants

Dear Paul:

While I appreciate your desire to help the poor in Jerusalem, I believe that some of your methods in doing this may be setting a bad example.

I refer, of course, to your statement that, when you arrive here in Corinth:
[You] will give letters of recommendation to the men [we] approve and send them them with [our] gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable for [you] to go also, they will accompany [you].
Unfortunately, your words assume that some sort of oversight is needed, i.e. that the people who give should make sure their money actually goes where you said it would.

Clearly, this is not acceptable. You are the Lord's servant, after all, and you are doing the Lord's work; that is why it is His job to hold you accountable for what happens to the money we give.

In writing what you did, in other words, you have tried to apply worldly standards of openness and accountability to something that should be a matter of faith . . . 

And I shudder to think of what might happen if your methods caught on in our church.

Sincerely yours,
Philogelos

Friday, September 20, 2019

THE FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL CLASS:
September 14-20
To Love Mercy

I know, I know . . . 

Some people are just down on their luck

I know that. 

And some people deserve my help. I know that too.


But what about those who don't?
I mean, let's be honest; some people got themselves into the mess they're in.
  • They didn't exercise and eat right -- and that's why they're sick.
  • They didn't work hard and stay in school -- and that's why they don't have a job.
  • And while everybody deserves a second chance, some of these people are on their third, fourth, fifth, or even their zillionth chance . . . and don't get me started on the ones who have just given up!
In short, I don't have a problem with generosity -- not when people deserve it.

No, what bothers me is this idea of mercy.

Monday, September 09, 2019

THE FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL CLASS:
September 7-13, 2019
Living the Advent Hope

And I saw a great crowd whom no one could number, stretched out before the throne of God. And books were opened, and judgment was set.

But even as this was happening a remnant did push their way to the front. And they did lament and complain and say unto anyone who would listen, “This is not the way it is supposed to be!”

And the Lord said, “What?”

And they did open their books, and they did unroll their charts, and they did set up their PowerPoint presentations, so that one and all might understand what should have been.

“For there should have been a Great Time of Trouble Such as Never Was Since the World Began,” they did say, being careful to capitalize properly. “And only after that should the end have come. But lo, the Great Time of Trouble did not take place as we had predicted – and that is why we were sore amazed at your return.”

And the Lord did scratch His head and say, “So what do you call the Twentieth Century?”

And they did reply and say, “What?”

“The Twentieth Century – you remember it, I’m sure. More people died of war, famine, and disease in that century than any other. In fact, more died of these things during that century than just about all the rest of history put together. And if that doesn’t count as a Great Time of Trouble, then I don’t know what does.”

And at that, the remnant did look somewhat embarassed, and its members did say, “We hope that thou dost not hold it against us, that we did not realize this was going on . . . for we did live in a place where none of these things took place, and we did miss out on the suffering of that time. In short, it would seem that this particular prophecy did not apply to us.”

“I guess not,” said the Lord. “But there is another one that does: ‘For I was hungry . . .’”


reprinted from
September 22, 2005

Thursday, September 05, 2019

THE FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL:
August 31-September 6, 2019

Nope. 

Not interested.

And yes, I've read Paul's letter -- all that stuff about collecting an offering for our poor, starving brothers and sisters back there in Palestine . . .

But unlike Paul, I've never been there; I don't know these people. And when it comes to them being our "brothers and sisters" . . . 

Well, I know what they used to say about Gentiles like me. (And even after the Jerusalem Council, I'll bet that some of them still say it!)

No, we've got enough poor of our own; we've got enough people right here in Corinth that need our help.

And sure, I can understand why Paul wants to "make nice" with those believers in Jerusalem . . . 

But why should I help?

I mean, what have people like them ever done for me? 




Friday, August 30, 2019

THE FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL:
August 24-31

You want us to help people?

What kind of help?

And what kind of people?

I mean, it's one thing to look after our own -- to help the local widows who speak our language . . . 

But ever since Pentecost, we've been asked to help more and more of those people . . . 

You know the kind of people I'm talking about: people who don't even speak our language!

And it's not like they're grateful. No, ever since they showed up, they've been fussing about who gets what . . . 

And lately, they've even been fussing over who runs things!

Mind you, I'm not prejudiced -- in fact, some of my best friends speak Greek.

But if this goes on, then they're going to take over.

Yes, you're going to see them decide where the money goes -- and who knows? You may even see them teaching, preaching, and baptizing!

Again, I'm not saying we shouldn't help those people.

I mean, helping is one thing.

But asking us to change?

Asking us to adapt? 

Asking us to give up control?

That's just wrong!

Friday, August 23, 2019

THE FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL:
August 17-23

God could learn something from the movies.

When God shows up in the movies, after all, He's got style. He's got grandeur. Yes, He shows up with thunder, lightning, and a crowd of obsequious angels all singing His praise.

Not like He does in the Gospels.

No, in the Gospels, God shows up as landless peasant from a small town in the backwoods . . .

Just the kind of person it is easy to ignore.

And if that's not bad enough, He goes on to say in Matthew 25 that the people who stand in for him are not rich, not famous, not beautiful, and not even pleasant to be around!

Instead, his proxies are losers, outcasts, and people who are down on their luck . . . for "inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

In short, God looks a lot better in the movies than He does in real life.

So what is He up to?

And how can we make Him look better?

Monday, August 12, 2019

THE FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL:,
August 10-16

Mind you, I have nothing against them myself; in fact, some of my best friends are poor . . . 

But they can be so inconsiderate.

I mean, John the Baptist has just been killed -- and obviously, we need some time to work this through.

But do we get it?

Well, we tried . . . 

But no sooner do we slip away for a little "me time," then that crowd finds us again!

No, all those people can think about is their wants, their desires, their needs!

And yes, Jesus feeds all those people in that crowd -- all 5,000 men (plus women and children).

But to my mind, the miracle here is not that he fed them.

It's the fact that he saw all those inconsiderate people . . . 

And he looked on them with compassion



Monday, August 05, 2019

THE FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL:
August 3-9, 2019


"Righteousness" is not a noun.

It's a verb.

It's not something you have, in other words, but something you do.

Read Isaiah 58, for instance, and it's clear that some people thought "righteousness" was an object -- a "thing" you gained through the appropriate rituals and sacrifices.

"If I have enough righteousness," they seemed to have thought, "then I'm okay; it's like money in the bank."

But in Isaiah 58, the prophet says our "righteousness" is a matter of how we treat other people.
Is this not the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? 
Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou sets the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine flesh? 
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward.
You can't be "righteous" on your own, in other words.

No, you need other people to do "righteousness."


Monday, July 29, 2019

THE FIVE-MINUTE SABBATH SCHOOL:
July 17-August 2

One of the most important words in Micah 6:8 is also one of the easiest to ignore.

It's the word "and."

Terrible things have been done in the name of "justice," after all -- in the name of "doing what is right."

Likewise, terrible things have been overlooked in the name of "mercy" -- in the name of "giving people another chance."

And while it's good to remember that we don't know everything, "humility" can lead to indecision and a failure to act.

That is why it's good to remember the lesson of Micah 6:8 -- the lesson that:
  • Justice must always be tempered by mercy.
  • Mercy must never come at the expense of justice.
  • And even our best attempts to "do justly" and "love mercy" will always be partial and flawed.
"He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee . . . 
But to do justly,
AND to love mercy,
AND to walk humbly with thy God."

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Women in Ministry

Substitute "ministry" for "national security community," and this article in INKSTICK says it all: "You don't get a cookie for mantoring."

Monday, May 27, 2019

The 29th Fundamental

Nominations are now open for a new Fundamental Belief of the Seventh-day Adventist Church . . .

And while satire is always welcome, please be sure to label it as such; these days, it's sometimes difficult to tell the difference between satire and a sincere expression of belief.

Life Before Portlandia

Believe it or not, Portland was not always the kind of place where you could spend ten dollars on a donut and a cup of coffee - and as proof, I'm going to be posting the occasional glimpse into LIFE BEFORE PORTLANDIA.
On today's menu: "A Day Called X." Filmed in 1957, it's a mock-documentary about the evacuation of Portland in the face of a nuclear attack . . . and crazy as this sounds, it's based on an actual Civil Defense drill that took place in 1955 (i.e. OPERATION GREENLIGHT).
Myself, I enjoy it for the reminders of what Portland looked like, back in the days when men wore hats and the only vegetarian restaurant in town was the Portland Adventist Santiarium.
(And yes, "the San" did take part in this drill.)


Oh well . . .

It's time I face facts and admit that I have absolutely nothing to say about this quarter's Sabbath School lessons.

Sorry!

So . . . I won't even try to post something about the lessons; instead, I'm going to repost the same stuff  I post for the Oregon pastor's page on Facebook.

Enjoy!

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (March 30 - April 3): the Rhythms of Life

READ: Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

These verses suggest two things about life that can make it seem "meaningless" or "empty."
  • everything changes.
  • it's often difficult to see any point or purpose to all this change.
What examples of this have you seen in your own life?

What suggestion you do find in Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 for dealing with this problem?

READ: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Not only do things change, but these verses suggest there are times when change is both good and needful.

What examples of this have you seen in your own life?

What does Ecclesiastes 3:9-15 add to this discussion - and what does it tell you about dealing with change?

Friday, March 29, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (March 23-30): "I Make All Things New"

It used to be the most dangerous place on earth.

Much like a nuclear reactor, you see, the Temple in Jerusalem was designed to keep people safe.
  • That's why it was surrounded by a fence - a fence that only authorized people could go inside.
  •  That's why inside that fence there was a building  - a building that only very authorized people could go inside.
  • And that's why inside that building there was a room: the Most Holy Place - and just like the core of a reactor, the Most Holy Place was off-limits almost all of the time to to almost everyone.
"No one can see my face and live," God said to Moses - and the design of the Temple reflected that fact.
That's what makes the New Jerusalem so different.
  • Just like the Most Holy Place, you see, the New Jerusalem is a cube.
  • Just like the Most Holy Place, the New Jerusalem shines with the Shekinah -- with the visible presence of God.
  • But unlike the Most Holy Place, the New Jerusalem is open all of the time to all of God's people!
In short, the New Jerusalem is a place where we will see God's face (Revelation 22:4) . . . 
And that raises a question:
Does He change?
Or do we?

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (March 16-22): Judgment on Babylon

It's not always easy to tell right from wrong.

Take Babylon and the New Jerusalem, for instance - two cities in the Book of Revelation that have much in common with each other.
  • Both are compared to beautiful women.
  • Both are loaded with all kinds of gold and jewels.
  • And much to the surprise of many, both have close relationships with "the kings of the earth" (cf. Revelation 21:24).
So . . . what makes one good and the other bad?
And what does this tell you about the difference between right and wrong?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (March 9-15): The Seven Last Plagues

The Seven Last Plagues?

A better name would be "The Seven Last Speed-bumps."

Nobody dies in these plagues, after all.

(Nobody except the fish.)

That's why they're best understood as warnings - as God's seven last attempts to make good and sure people know they're going the wrong way.

And the fact that nobody pays attention to these warnings?

Proof there's nothing else God can do - no matter how drastic - that would make them give up their foolishness.

In short, it's not The Seven Last Plagues we need to worry about.

No, it's the people who are willing to ignore them . . .

People like us.

That's what worries me.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Something a little different

Let's try something new this week.

Send a email to this address: oregoncoastsda+SSQ@gmail.com

And I'll send you a copy of my sermon on the three angels of Revelation 14. 

Free!


Friday, March 01, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (February 23 - March 1): Satan & His Allies

1,260 days.

42 months.

Time, times, and half-a-times.

God always saves His people . . . 

But as Revelation 13 reminds us, He doesn't always do it right away.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (February 16-22): Satan, a defeated enemy

If there's one thing you learn from Revelation 12, it's that the devil is a loser.

A sore loser, to be sure.

But still, a loser.

The chapter opens, remember, with something that's straight out of the World Wrestling Federation:
  • In this corner: a great red cannibal dragon.
  • And in the other corner: a pregnant woman giving birth.
It looks like a sure win for the dragon, in other words.
But no, the dragon loses . . . 
Just as it loses its next two matches: 
  • one with Michael and his angels,
  • and the other: a rematch with the woman.
By the time you get to end of Revelation 12, as a matter of fact, the devil has been kicked out of heaven, and left to find whatever revenge it can on this earth.
And yes, it's still dangerous.
That's because losers usually are.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (February 9-15): the Seven Trumpets

Some prayers should not be answered.

Not right away, at any rate.

Consider the prayer of Revelation 6:9-11 -- the prayer in which the martyrs tell God to hurry up with the Final Judgment. Yes, they want God to hurry up and give the bad guys a good smacking.

And no, this is not an unusual prayer; many of the Psalms say much the same thing.

But the martyrs are told to wait . . . 

And even when God answers their prayer through the Seven Trumpets, it is still only a partial answer to their prayer, with "only" one-third of Creation subject to His judgment.

To be sure, that's still a lot -- but it's not as much as the martyrs wanted.

But near the end of the Seven Trumpets, something happens that is almost unbelievable -- in fact, some experts don't believe it . . . and that's when the survivors of all these judgments "give glory to the God of heaven" (Revelation 11:13).

Unlikely?

Yes.

Impossible?

Perhaps.

But God is willing to take that risk.

Yes, He's waiting to wait -- to delay His answer to our prayers for judgment -- in the hope that some people might still be saved. 

Friday, February 08, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (February 2-8): the Sealed People of God

When the Great Tribulation begins, God has 144,000.

And when the Great Tribulation ends, God still has 144,000.

In spite of all the World, the Flesh, and the Devil can do, in other words, God has not lost a single person who trusted Him.

And if God can get all of His people through the Great Tribulation . . . 

Then we can be sure that He will get us through today.

And not just some of us.

All of us.

Friday, February 01, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (January 26 - February 1): the Seven Seals

Having read Revelation 6, now read Leviticus 26:14-26.
  • Name some of the ways these chapters are similar in their use of the number seven, and in the events described.
  • What cause is given for the events in Leviticus? What does this suggest about the cause of the events in Revelation 6?
  • What hope do you find in Leviticus 26:40-46? Where can you find a reason for similar hope in the Book of Revelation?
  • Are the events listed in Leviticus 26 meant as punishment, or as warning? What does this suggest about Revelation 6?

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (January 19-25): Worthy is the Lamb

Glory only gets you so far.

Revelation 4, after all, makes following God sound like tons o' fun. Yes, you've got thunderous noise, a dazzling light-show, and a mosh-pit down front that's used for casting crowns.

(All of which suggests that some of us are going to be a little discomfited by just how lively worship will be in heaven!)

But when it comes to making all this happen "on earth as it is in heaven"?

That's where sacrifice comes in.

That's where suffering comes in.

Yes, that's why "the Lamb who was slain" takes over in Revelation 6.

And no, there's nothing wrong with glory.

Nothing wrong with good times.

Nothing wrong with thunderous praise-services.

But it's worth remembering that God's people "follow the Lamb wherever He goes."

Not just places of glory.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (January 12-18): Jesus' Messages to the Seven Churches

Seven churches.

And not one of them you'd want to attend.

Ephesus?

A church where the potlucks begin on time and they never run out of dessert . . .

But it's also a church that's cold -- ice cold -- with no love to go around.

The rest are no better:
  • Smyrna is poor and persecuted.
  • Pergamum has been taken over by the crazies.
  • Thyratira's utterly without standards of any kind.
  • Sardis is dead.
  • Philadelphia's another Smyrna.
  • And if you like hypocrites, then you're going to love Laodecia!
In short, none of these churches are perfect -- and all would give you a good reason to stay home on Sabbath morning.
Yet Jesus still loves them.
Still works with them.
Still has plans for them.
So what does He see in these churches that we don't?
And what does He see in your church that you don't?


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Adult Sabbath School Lesson (January 5-11): Among the Lampstands

Worst.

Retirement.

Ever.

John is on the island of Patmos, remember -- sent there as punishment for his persistence in following the "superstition" of Christianity.

Having followed Jesus for 60+ years, in other words, he's now stuck in a place with no friends, no family, and nobody to look after him.

No, nobody except Jesus.

But it's there on Patmos that Jesus reveals himself to John.

And it's there on Patmos we're reminded that Jesus will be with us always, "even to the ends of the earth."

Anyplace can be a blessing, in other words.

And just like John, we can be a blessing anyplace . . . 

Even on Patmos.