06 July 2016


After a very long day of travel yesterday, we have arrived safely in North Philly, and are staying with Aunt Lisa and Uncle Adam for a few days...the girls are all so thrilled to be back together, and it is wonderful to get to see Lisa's new house and neighborhood.  How wonderful for she and Adam to have houseguests with young children just days after moving in :)

We stopped half-way through to visit with my mom's mom and sister for a while, and that was such a gift.  Having a year pass between each time we see grandparents is just incredibly hard, and I was so thankful to have the afternoon together, catching up and being family. 

Love them.

This morning as I was homeschooling with Lily and Sofie, I handed Lily her assignment on appreciation, and realized after reading her answers that she's really excited to not be homeless, too.
We at least tried to get a picture before leaving home. I don't know why people think it's so hard to get pictures with small children :)

Very thankful for a safe trip yesterday and for this time with family as we get ready to worship and share at Seeds of Greatness Bible Church on Sunday...hope to see you there! 

Matt's "Saturday Sermon" for the week...

What is the proper Christian response to terrorism? The Old and New Testament alike can provide  instruction and counsel in answering that question. Terrorism is not something that is unique to our time in human history. Terrorism is something that Judeo-Christian history knows quite well (Jewish history even more than Christian history). Because of this, the Scriptures speak directly to times of fear in the lives of the people of God.

Isaiah 7 records one of the moments in which the people of God (Judah in particular) are deeply afraid because two neighboring countries are threatening to invade their land and destroy them. Isaiah 7:2 says, “When the house of David was told, ‘Syria is in league with Ephraim (Israel),’ the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.” The text goes on to say that God then sends Isaiah the prophet to king Ahaz, to give him a word of comfort, a stabilizing word of hope in light of the threat.

Isaiah says to Ahaz, “Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying ‘Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves .... (Is 7:4–6; emphasis added).

Then Isaiah offers Ahaz a sign to seal the promise of God’s protection.

Now at this point, I would imagine that Ahaz is expecting a sign that symbolizes great power and authority. Perhaps the sign would be a giant flaming sword, or an army of angels, or a thick bronze shield, or perhaps even chariots of fire. These signs would reassure king Ahaz that God in heaven wields all power and orchestrates the events of history and always watches out for his people.
These, however, are not the sort of signs that God gives Ahaz. Rather, the sign that God gives him is a newborn baby. Instead of offering a sign of power, God offers a sign of weakness, innocence, and newness of life. It is in these very elements that we find our instruction on the proper Christian response to terrorism.

First is weakness. This seems counterintuitive, but oftentimes God’s instructions are just that. Weakness is key in responding to terror because it is by no human might, power, or force that the root of sin that ultimately causes terror in the world will be dealt with. It is only by the power of God that the heart can be regenerated. As demonstrated through the death of Jesus himself, it is through the weaknesses of God’s people that his strength will manifest in the world.

Second is innocence. Two of the reactions that terrorism solicits is revenge and retaliation. This is response is particularly tempting with terrorism because terrorism targets innocent people and when the innocent become victims, righteous indignation can quickly translate into retaliation. Jesus has done away with eye for an eye justice. We must be disciplined and careful not to take revenge or retaliate in neither word nor deed. It’s easy to retaliate with hate-laced rhetoric, but we must be innocent by responding in love.

Third, and last, is the newness of life. As Christians, we must remember that we have the newness of life in Jesus. Paul writes, “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:3). No one can take this away. There is an eternal future beginning in the present for all who are in Christ. This must be the continual point of reference for us in facing fear and violence of the world.

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