Isaiah 8:11-22 & Judge Dredd

In case you haven’t watched a horrible movie in a while and are longing to waste 96 minutes of your life might I suggest the 1995 flop Judge Dredd. Thankfully Stallone has since realized that he has all the film material he will ever need within the Rambo and Rocky franchises, bring on the sequels. To save yourself the pain, Stallone plays a perfect, genetically engineered crime fighter who must combat his twin gone wrong, the ultimate criminal. Basically he shoots all the bad guys and says a bunch of corny one liners such as “I am the law! Put down your weapons and prepare to be judged.” In the end I am left with no dread for Judge Dread. Aquaman could likely beat up Judge Dredd. That is the ultimate cut down in the world of superheroes.We dread a lot of things in America:

Credit card bills
Report cards
Bank statements
Driving an unreliable car
Leaving the house to an undesirable work place
Coming home to an unhappy spouse
Giving blood

God tells Isaiah to let Him be his dread. Do we dread God? When the high Priest came before God on the Day of Atonement with the bells ringing around his ankle as signs of life I think he did so with a smattering of dread. God is not requesting that we live in a state of fear, looking around our shoulder expecting to be zapped at any moment. I think He simply wants to be taken seriously. His threats are not empty, His promises are sure, and his gospel is that precious. Do we think God corny, unthreatening, and goofy like Stallone when He threatens?

How much time do we spend worrying about:

How we might be failing God
Unconfused sin
Discovering the sin we are blind to that is still in our lives
Insincere worship
Unsanctified affections
Hardness of heart
Lack of devotion

in proportion to the stress over the credit card bill?

But the LORD of hosts, him you shall regard as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.  – Isaiah 8:13

Isaiah 6 & Seraph

Seraph was the guardian of The Oracle in the Matrix. He could pretty much beat up anybody he wanted to in one on one combat. It would be pretty safe to conclude that if someone came along that Seraph couldn’t beat up, you should run too.

The seraphim stood above God’s throne in Isaiah’s vision. They had six wings. They used two to cover their face and two to cover their feet as a position of humility before Yahweh. Seraphim means “burning ones”. So her are these angelic beings, burning ones, but when before God, they assume a position of humility and sing his praise. Angels could beat us up. If burning ones assume a position of humility and praise before the thrice holy God, shouldn’t we?

Addendum:  I ran accross this great quote from Tozer and had to share:

Yet we must not compare the being of God with any other as we just now compared the mountain with the child. We must not think of God as highest in an ascending order of beings, starting with the single cell and going on up from the fish to the bird to the animal to man to angel to cherub to God. This would be to grant God eminence, even pre-eminence, but that is not enough; we must grant Him transcendence in the fullest meaning of that word. Forever God stands apart, in light unapproachable. He is as high above an archangel as above a caterpillar, for the gulf that separates the archangel from the caterpillar is but finite, while the gulf between God and the archangel is infinite. The caterpillar and the archangel, though far removed from each other in the scale of created things, are nevertheless one in that they are alike created. They both belong in the category of that-which-is-not-God and are separated from God by infinitude itself.  – A.W. Tozer in The Knowledge of the Holy

Isaiah 5 & Missing?

You ever get that feeling that something is missing? The strongest you ever get this feeling is when you have one of those dreams where you forgot to wear you clothes to school or work. You apparently make the drive wondering, “What did I forget?”

You pack for a trip. You have double checked everything, but you still feel like something is missing. You are two hours into the trip when it hits you.

The new year seems lacking,

especially in the evenings,

weekday evenings more specifically. What could it be?

NO 24!

In Isaiah 5 GOD is upset that something is missing in HIS vineyard. There is a serious fruit shortage. That something is missing is blatantly obvious, as obvious as a drive to school in your underwear. When we finally snap out of our dream we rationalize its unreality, “there is no way I could walk out the door in my underwear, where would I put my wallet, this can’t be real.” do we fail to rationalize our spiritual state? Are we delusional? Are we running around naked acting as if we had clothes on before a holy GOD?

Isaiah 2:6-22 & The Throne

Who/what sits upon the throne of your heart?

Tommy Lee?






The American puritan Cotton Mather said that “the great design and intention of the office of a Christian preacher [is] to restore the throne and dominion of God to the souls of men.” Why do I preach? More specifically why am I going through Isaiah where the message of repentance away from idols and towards love for God is continually hammered seemingly ad nauseam?

Because God does not sit upon the thrones of our hearts.

I base my diagnosis greatly upon myself. My heart leaps after foolish things. My love, joy, peace, hope are greatly anchored in the things of this world. I need repentance. I do not think that you are unlike me. And the lost world has no other hope that to see the grotesque nature of sin in contrast to the glorious nature of Christ.

Dethrone the false kings. The battle will be fierce. They will not want to step down. They will constantly assail your heart. Allow no substitute to take you thoughts, affections, and actions.

Isaiah 1:10-20 & Dad and Christmas

How many of you have got all of your Christmas shopping done except for the hardest person…


He is the hardest person to buy for, he has everything.

Food – at least he looks like he is getting enough of that, and mom always make sure he is abundantly filled during the holiday season. Underwear – nobody wants to… nobody should they have to buy underwear for their dad. Clothes – where do you even find clothes that look like that? Do they still make them? Jewelry or a watch – no that would cost too much, dad should spend more money on you than you do on him. You know you were thinking it. It’s the only way to come out ahead during Christmas.* you have to spend less on your parents than they do on you otherwise you lose. A pocket knife – no he is getting too old to use such harmful objects.

What about God?

What could you possibly give to God? He doesn’t simply have everything. He made it. He owns it. He holds it together. All of our sacrifices and gifts are insufficient. It is not God who is lacking, we are. When a family brought a lamb to the temple they came to receive from God, not to get. God provided a means for atonement, and they needed it.

So celebrate Christmas by receiving. Come to Christ and receive the greatest gift of the gospel – Himself. Become so overwhelmed by the treasure that you receive that all else sparkles far less in the radiance of His beauty. Be so satisfied with the treasure of Jesus that you want to give, you want to imitate and be like Jesus so that others may know Him.

So what do we give God? We come pleading nothing but that which He has given us. We come to Him clinging to Jesus. We come to Him with the blood of Christ. Nothing will delight His heart more.

* In my family we all draw gifts now. We are supposed to spend $50 on each person. We make out a list and draw each other’s list. In a few years we will cease this process, all bring $50 bills and exchange them. Give that a few years and we will simply bring a gift we have bought ourselves in the name of our family to display.

Isaiah 1:2-9 & “Hear O’ Heavens”

“Hear o’ heavens”


If there is an ignored part of scripture in today’s preaching in my opinion it is the prophets. They are not positive enough for our modern society. We want something chipper, light, humorous, funny, motivational, inspiring, uplifting, encouraging – the prophets just don’t seem to do that for us. I am also convinced that if there is a message that we desperately need, if there is an area of Scripture that current American preachers need to herald to their churches – it is the message of the prophets.


Derek Webb can be one of those prophets you don’t want to hear. He sounds to “prophet” like.

I Repent by Derek Webb

I repent, I repent of my pursuit of America’s dream
I repent, I repent of living like I deserve anything
Of my house, my fence, my kids, my wife
In our suburb where we’re safe and white
I am wrong and of these things I repent

I repent, I repent of parading my liberty
I repent, I repent of paying for what I get for free
And for the way I believe that I am living right
By trading sins for others that are easier to hide
I am wrong and of these things I repent

I repent of judging by a law that even I can’t keep
Of wearing righteousness like a disguise
To see through the planks of my own eyes

I repent, I repent of trading truth for false unity
I repent, I repent of confusing peace and idolatry
By caring more of what they think than what I know of what we need
By domesticating you until you look just like me
I am wrong and of these things
I am wrong and of these things
Oh I am wrong and of these things I repent

Galatians 6:11-18 & The End

Our journey has come to an end.

In conclusion:

Does a wheel work if the hub is moved from the center to the side?
What if it is removed?

How much fun would a teeter-totter be if the fulcrum was moved from the center closer to one of the edges?
What if the fulcrum was removed altogether?

What would happen to our solar system if the sun was moved so that it is no longer in the center while everything else hypothetically remained in the same orbit?
What if our sun was removed completely?

The cross is central.

It is crucial.

It is the crux (crux and crucial are both derivatives from the Latin crux for cross).

If it is not the center our steering is out of alignment and we run into dangerous heresy. If we remove the cross from our theology the wheel does not turn at all, we cease to be Christian. We become lopsided, unbalanced, and no fun when the cross is not central. Our entire worldview as Christians hinges on the cross. If it is moved from its central position things are so radically changed that the solar system of our faith suffers violently and fatally.

I hope you have grasped this vision of the cross as we have journeyed through Galatians. I have enjoyed our trek. I thank God that He has been faithful to give us a glimpse of Christ crucified, risen, and reigning. I pray He continues to open our eyes to behold the wonder of the cross.

Galatians 6:11-18 & My House

First time: the closet smelled. The carpet was soaked. The bathroom ceiling was bubbling up. Mold had grown. Driers, flans, dehumidifiers were moved in for weeks. The house was intensely loud. Then came the day for them all to move out, but…

Second time: I flushed the toilet. Water erupted from said toilet as if I had struck oil. I grabbed the wet dry vac immediate, but alas immediately was too late. The toilet evidently was ingeniously placed right above the kitchen light fixture by an assassin plumber. The ceiling was wet and the driers, dehumidifiers, and fans came to reside in our home again. Then all was quiet. Repairs were being done. The house was quite. The ceiling was due to be painted the next day then…

Third time: I skipped church because all the plumbing in my head decided to mutiny against me. Water was shooting out my eyes in a manner to similar toilet incident mentioned above. I prepared for some much needed sleep. But a potty break was necessitated before such rest could commence. I left the restroom only to immediately turn around at the sound of running water. The toilet strikes again. I immediately grab towels, five of them, they are soon soaked. I run for the wet/dry vac only to see the kitchen light fixture dripping with water.

Despair struck my heart.

I will not glory in my house. It will fail me. Plumbing will need replacing. Paint will chip. Carpet will wear. Wood will rot. Foundations will crack.

To boast in such temporalities is to open yourself to heartache. They will all fail you.

There is only one boast worth having. Only one real foundation upon which to build you joy. Only one joy eternal. Only one glory unfading. This boast is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 6:6-10 & Peanuts

I grew up on a peanut farm. I hate peanuts.

People seem flabbergasted by this?

It begins by sowing them. I would drive a truck, with a trailer. Upon this trailer were sacks. The sacks contained peanuts. You wouldn’t want to eat these peanuts because they were coated with poison. The poison limited the number of peanuts that rodents and such might consume. Dad would drive a tractor. There would be a device that put the poison peanuts in the ground attached to said tractor. I would drive the truck to the tractor, open sacks, and fill bins on the poison peanut injector. It would be hot, lonely, dry, and boring…I hate peanuts.

Then you would water them. Peanuts are like thirsty little camels that live under the ground. Think about it, they have two humps, soak up the water, and love sandy soil. They are the camel of the plant kingdom. You would water them twice a day. There would be a big pipe out in the middle of the peanut field with wheels on it. You would move the pipes, hook up hoses, and start a pump to push water out the mighty sprinkler system. I would get up early to help my dad do this…I hate peanuts. The only reward is when a rodent would be in pipes and get shot through a sprinkler. Sometimes you would have to fish out part of him with a piece of wire.

Peanuts take approximately five months to reach maturity. This means you water and cultivate them during this long period…I hate peanuts.

Then you would harvest them. If you were unfortunate you may have to put them into potato sacks. Dirty little peanuts would be eaten by a machine that deposited them into a bin where you would manually put them into sacks. You would soon have enough dirt in your ears to pot a plant…I hate peanuts.

Most of the time I either put big blankets on top of trailers that the peanut eating machine would drop the nuts into or drove the tractor pulling the peanut eating machine. my friend Ty and I would climb on top of the mountain of peanuts, have a war throwing them at each other, and then spread the blanket over them to keep them dry and bid them adieu…I hate peanuts.

You reap what you sow

I hate peanuts. But I did love growing up on a farm. I love everything that it taught me, hard work, patience, and imagination. I would not trade it for anything. I didn’t like it when I was awakened at six in the morning. I didn’t like it when I got in late at night. But I thank GOD that I did the things I didn’t like, because I love what they birthed in me.

Galatians 5:26-6:5 & The Chronicles of M & M and Superman

You may remember a few stories (such as the ultimate poo story) about my friends from seminary Matt and Mark. These twin brothers are the extravagant rock star type personality. This means lots or personality, lots of drama. So one day we are outside the church after services with a mixed crowd. We are all making fun of one another and I think someone made a rude comment toward me that Matt found hysterical. So to add some drama he fell on his back laughing. His pants ripped approximately four inches in the act. Now a good friend would politely hint to avoid, or cushion further embarrassment. I am not a good friend. I blurted it out loudly so that all laughs would turn from me, to Matt.

Paul’s advice in this text is really hard for me to live out. How does it work?

I watched Superman Returns last night. I was let down. Superman committed fornication. How do I confront him about this? Do I just ignore the issue, this is my default mode? Privately I will tell myself how much better I am than him. I may ignore or talk to him less. This fails in two ways: 1) it makes sin to be a small ignorable matter; 2) it cranks up the pride dial on my sinful heart. Hey, this is Superman, if he could fall to temptation, so could I. I should gently seek to restore him. I think that the more I ignore this sin in others while culturing sin in my own heart, the more susceptible I will be to the very same sin, or at least sin in general. Ironically I fail to see the granddaddy of all sin, the thread that runs through all acts of iniquity, pride, is consuming my life.

“Hey ‘Supe’…I look up to you, I consider you so much better than myself in so many ways. You genuinely love and sacrifice for others. But you have really messed up. But Christ is greater that all your sin. And He is at work to make all things work out for good. You need to marry this woman. Buck up and be a dad. Tell Lois the truth. This would be true superhero conduct.”

The gospel is why these actions must be taken. We make light of the gospel when we fail to seek our brother’s restoration.