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Of Heaven & Hell

I swear, I didn't forget about this post yesterday ... I just didn't have enough downtime to blog anything. As luck would have it, time spent at church over the weekend helped that quite a bit. Leave it to a sermon on Hell (which is already posted online) to focus the mind, but it was really one of the better sermons I've heard at Ecclesia since calling the place home. And there's some stiff competition for the title of best sermon I've heard in that time. Chris Seay had been in a series on heaven for a number of weeks this year. So it was just a matter of time before we got to hell (so to speak). In true church fashion, the air conditioning was out on Saturday night, too. But even worse than that ... no wifi!

Chris' sermon started with a lead-in from N.T. Wright and the scripture reference was from Luke 16:19-31 (both below). That helped quite a bit in sending me to my copy of Wright's commentary from Luke. But I ended up reading quite a bit more before and after that parable just for the sake of taking in a bit more. I may just riff on all of this quite a bit between now and Easter. It turns out that a few of the more archaic podcasts I spent some time with Sunday night did a pretty amazing job of connecting to this sermon in a lot of ways, so there's quite a bit of material to focus on in the next month. In particular, there's a 2009 sermon by Shane Hipps with the catchy (to me) title of "Beyond the Map." Beyond the obvious allure of cartography references, the message itself has it's own appeal. As stated before, elaboration to follow. I'll also plan on getting around to uploading that sermon in full.

Chris Seay's sermon this past weekend has a touchpoint to the latest Rob Bell "controversy", so it ought not be totally surprising that a similar theme would ring from Shane Hipps, who now pastors Rob Bell's church in Grand Rapids. Feel free to start with that link above if desired. I'll leave the ingredients on the shelf for this week and probably just pick up the theme as time permits during the week (ie - not limiting myself to Sundays ... or a belated Monday posting). Enjoy the listening if you feel compelled to do so.


Luke 16:19-31

The Rich Man and Lazarus
19-21 "There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man's table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores.

22-24 "Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, 'Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I'm in agony in this fire.'

25-26 "But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It's not like that here. Here he's consoled and you're tormented. Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.'

27-28 "The rich man said, 'Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won't end up here in this place of torment.'

29 "Abraham answered, 'They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.'

30 "'I know, Father Abraham,' he said, 'but they're not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.'

31 "Abraham replied, 'If they won't listen to Moses and the Prophets, they're not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.'"

The Week In Podcasting: For much the same overworked reasons mentioned above, it's been a slow week for taking in the podcast sermons. Heck, I couldn't even get the Greg Boyd sermon to download

» Ecclesia Houston: No Guilt in Life, No Fear in Death (Chris Seay)
» Woodland Hills Church: [Suffering] Happens (Greg Boyd)
» Mars Hill: Letters to the Seven Churches (Rob Bell)
» Northland: Reversal of Fortunes (Vernon Rainwater)

Other Stuff: Easter service for Ecclesia is moving downtown this year. To Jones Plaza, to be precise. Good news for me since I can walk over to the office afterward and get some work done. If you're like me and never know what date Easter falls on until the week before ... it's April 24th. There's only one service that weekend (11am), which means I get the rare Saturday night off. Now to spend the rest of the month figuring out what to do with all that free time.

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