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Another great idea from Peter (Gospel and Psalm for 3.12.06)

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So here we are, set-up by the covenant-keeping words of yesterday’s O.T. and Romans promises.

And in a little longer view, we’re still in the shadow of the transfiguration story (in which my brother Peter proposes a crackerjack idea). And, aren’t we also still in the shadow of the demonstration of God’s faithfulness in the Noah covenant last Sunday?

With all those wiggled into your heart, walk along with Jesus as he teaches:

Mark 8:31-38

He then began explaining things to them: “It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and after three days rise up alive.” He said this simply and clearly so they couldn’t miss it.
But Peter grabbed him in protest. Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. “Peter, get out of my way! Satan, get lost! You have no idea how God works.”
Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?
“If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I’m leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you’ll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels.”

Here’s the Psalm. I think it’s big enough to rest my heart on. I’m needing that this week:

Psalm 22:23-31

Shout Hallelujah, you God–worshipers;
give glory, you sons of Jacob;
adore him, you daughters of Israel.
He has never let you down,
never looked the other way
when you were being kicked around.
He has never wandered off to do his own thing;
he has been right there, listening.

Here in this great gathering for worship
I have discovered this praise–life.
And I’ll do what I promised right here
in front of the God–worshipers.
Down-and-outers sit at GOD’s table
and eat their fill.
Everyone on the hunt for God
is here, praising him.
“Live it up, from head to toe.
Don’t ever quit!”

From the four corners of the earth
people are coming to their senses,
are running back to GOD.
Long-lost families
are falling on their faces before him.
GOD has taken charge;
from now on he has the last word.

All the power-mongers are before him
-worshiping!
All the poor and powerless, too
-worshiping!
Along with those who never got it together
-worshiping!

Our children and their children
will get in on this
As the word is passed along
from parent to child.
Babies not yet conceived
will hear the good news–
that God does what he says.

Ahhhh.
The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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Written by Monte

March 8, 2006 at 3:20 pm

1 Peter 3:18-22 (for March 5, 2006)

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1 Peter 3:18-22

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18That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all–was put to death and then made alive–to bring us to God.

19He went and proclaimed God’s salvation to earlier generations who ended up in the prison of judgment 20because they wouldn’t listen. You know, even though God waited patiently all the days that Noah built his ship, only a few were saved then, eight to be exact–saved from the water by the water. 21The waters of baptism do that for you, not by washing away dirt from your skin but by presenting you through Jesus’ resurrection before God with a clear conscience. 22Jesus has the last word on everything and everyone, from angels to armies. He’s standing right alongside God, and what he says goes.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Written by Monte

February 27, 2006 at 9:15 pm

Amazing Falkirk Wheel replaces 11 boat-lifting locks

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OK, this is not exactly “Least, First” theme material.  But this dazzling canal lock story from Treehugger.com is too good to pass up.

Trace the traffic in the photo: Boats enter from the pool in the foreground (through the semi-circle) or the canal in the background (across the bridge), then ride the wheel—in a tray gizmo full of water—upstream or down. Yes, those tiny little windowy things way down at the bottom are the boats – pleasure barges.

Spawned by a design competition, the wheel’s balance is so perfect that it uses (with each four-minute rotation) only about as much electricity as it might take to boil a few tea-kettles.

clipped from www.treehugger.com

falkirk wheel overall photo

falkirk wheel animation
When I showed the amazing Peterborough lift lock, a commenter and Kottke both pointed out that the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland goes higher, faster. It was built as part of an attempt to regenerate canals in central Scotland, and replaces 11 locks that had fallen into disuse. It also is another example of the clever and original results that come from design competitions- it is now a serious attraction.
Like Peterborough, it relies on Archimedes principle to stay balanced; the weight of the boat displaces the same weight of water.

falkirk ring gear photo
The British government made a big investment in their canal system, (£17.5 million on the Wheel, £84.5 million on the canal revitalization). Unlike the proprietors of the Erie Canal in the States, they see that canals have a role to play in tourism and transportation.

falkirk wheel panorama photo
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Zow, that is neat.  Wanna go?

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Let’s chill. We’re both partly wrong. (Sermon of 1 Feb 09)

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In the aftermath of  World War II, many European intellectuals (later joined by Americans and many others) were forced to ask this question:  how could this have happened? This referred to two world wars, and especially the Holocaust. […] They diagnosed the sickness that had befallen Western civilization in general and “Christian” Germany in particular to be excessive confidence.

Brian McLaren in Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope

Mark 1:21-28 (NIV*)

Arguing over a sales commission (Chicago Theater Blog)

Arguing over a sales commission (Chicago Theater Blog)

21They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

Strange thing to say, isn’t it?  Rabbis certainly did have authority to teach the Scriptures. But when Jesus spoke, something else happened.

And as if to prove it:

23Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24″What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

Remember, we’re in Chapter 1 here.  Who else in the room would have even thought this? Virtually no one but Jesus himself. How shocked they must have been to hear it. What a statement!

And what a source! Jesus reacts immediately. First:

25″Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly.

Why would he shush, if it’s true? Why would an evil spirit say it, anyway? Read the rest of this entry »

Give to Caesar what’s his (readings for Sunday, Oct 19)

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The Imperial Denarius

The Roman Imperial Denarius

I hear from zealous anti-tax folks from time to time, who usually pop by to take issue with my Poverty, Government, and the Bible essay.

Some are eager to prove that government shouldn’t be involved in helping poor people—catch your breath and plunge in here—because taxation is theft because it’s taken against our will and since taxation is theft it obviously isn’t God’s plan for governments to help the poor because God would not be pleased by stealing the money it would take to do so nor by helping the poor against the will of the stingy.

Well, hokum. Read the rest of this entry »