What to Do With Your “Third Week of March” – Chapter Twelve

Posted by on Apr 28, 2014 in The Story | 0 comments

When Pope John Paul died, a man named Rogers Cadenhead quickly registered the web address
www.BenedictXVI.com, thinking this might be the name chosen by the new pope. When Cardinal
Ratzinger was elected Pope, he did choose the name Pope Benedict XVI, causing some to question what
the Vatican would do to get the rights to that domain name.

Cadenhead didn’t ask the Vatican for money. Instead, in a humorous manner on his blog he suggested a
few things he would trade for:
1. Three days, two nights at the Vatican hotel.
2. One of those hats (referring to the bishop’s hat).
3. Complete absolution, no questions asked, for the third week of March 1987.1

Wonder what Rogers did the third week of March in 1987?  Me too, but does it really matter? Most of us
have at least a week for which we’d love to have total forgiveness.

We discover in The Story that David did. One day when the army is at war, David, who is the commander
of the nation’s military, neglects his duties and stays behind. He sees Bathsheba, seduces her, gets her
pregnant, murders her husband, and tries to cover up his actions by deceiving his general and soldiers.
Then he marries Bathsheba and she bears their child.

It looks as if David will get away with all of this. But he doesn’t. God sends his prophet Nathan to confront
David by telling him a story about a poor man with one lamb. David knows something about sheep
and shepherds, so he listens. Nathan says that the poor man has a rich neighbor who needs to slaughter a
lamb to feed a guest, but instead of taking one of his many sheep he steals the poor man’s one lamb.

David is incensed and says that man should be put to death. Nathan then declares, “You are the man!”
At that moment David must have wished he had bought a domain name that he could swap for absolution.
He may have wanted to make excuses. Explain things away. Blame it on Bathsheba for taking
a bath in broad daylight where he could see. But instead of making excuses, David confesses. “I have
sinned against the Lord” (2 Sam. 12:13).

And God did with David’s sin what he will do with yours and mine. He put it away (Psalm 103:12-13).
You can do what David did. Whatever your “third week of March” might be, sit down with it, yourself
and God. Confess your sin. And then let another shepherd from Bethlehem forgive it. That’s better than
any domain name you might secure.

1 http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/American_who_owns_BenedictXVI.com_wants_%22one_of_those_hats%22

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Facing Your Giants When You Feel Small – Chapter Eleven

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in The Story | 0 comments

Imagine the scene: a scrawny sixteen year old shepherd boy takes out a 9’9” tall giant with one rock and
a sling.

You may not have a gigantic giant taunting you to come out and fight. But you are probably facing a few
giants of your own. Giants like the stack of past-due bills glaring at you. Like the divorce papers waiting
on your signature. Or the depression that looms over you like the Hulk. It could be low self-esteem or
insecurity or child abuse in your past. But you have your giants. And so do I. And we would do well to
learn from David.

He could face his “giant” because he had spent time in the quiet with God. When he arrived at the place
of the standoff between the Israelites and the Philistines, he talked about God. He told Saul that “The
LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of
this Philistine” (1Sam.17:37). He did not hesitate to confront Goliath, saying he came “in the name of
the Lord of host, the God of the armies of Israel.”

David was God-focused instead of giant-focused. He mentions Goliath two times and God nine times.
He knew the giant was there and recognized his presence. But his thoughts were twice as much on God.
That focus led him to confront his giant rather than run away. For forty days Goliath continued to challenge
Israel’s army. And for forty days everyone hoped he would just go away. But giants don’t typically
go away until we face them. So David stepped into the gap and slung one well-aimed stone at him.
It helps to have someone in your corner that believes in you. David had his Jonathan. You need yours.
You need at least one person who believes in you and that also believes in God. Someone who can
encourage your faith—give you courage—when you most need it.

And you will need it. Because after you slay one giant, there will be more. You may wonder why David
picked up five stones from the river bed. Was he afraid he might miss? Not likely. He was skilled in his
use of the sling.

2 Samuel 21:18-22 hints that Goliath may have had four brothers. David was ready. He could take on
one giant. You might say knew how to get a head of his giant. And then he was ready for more.
And you can too. Just follow the shepherd from Bethlehem.

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Giving an Undistorted View of God – Chapter 10

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in The Story | 0 comments

Ever since Peter Stuyvesant visited the Palace of Versailles the world has had a distorted view of itself.
Peter was the governor of New Amsterdam—later to be renamed New York City—beginning in 1647.
He was visiting France to discuss colonial land agreements. While at Versailles he was awed by the Hall
of Mirrors.

Peter was determined to bring a similarly amazing showcase to his city. In 1651 he founded the Peter
Stuyvesant’s House of Mirrors. He charged one Dutch gulden for admission.

This house of mirrors eventually morphed into what we know as a Fun House of Mirrors seen at many
carnivals. For a few tickets the fun begins by walking into a maze of mirrors, both convex and concave.
We amuse ourselves by looking at distorted images of our figure.

Today you don’t even have to go to the carnival for this experience. A laptop with a webcam and a silly
photo feature will allow you to take a picture of yourself that you can manipulate to look odd.
It’s all fun. But sometimes distorted pictures can cause trouble. It did in Israel during the time of the
prophet Samuel. One of the major distortions was found at the Tabernacle, that portable place of praise
for God’s people.

It was parked at Shiloh and was meant to be a clear picture of God’s holiness and grace. A system of
sacrifices had been established that foreshadowed the coming sacrifice of the Messiah. Yet anything but
holiness was found there.

Eli the priest had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, who dishonored God in their treatment of the sacrifices
and also engaged in immoral sexual activity with women at the Tabernacle (1 Samuel 2:16, 22).
Because the picture of God they were giving was distorted, these two were killed in battle against the
Philistines. When news of their death reached Eli, he fell over in his chair, broke his neck, and also died.
Just like Eli and his sons we are representatives of God. We represent Jesus to others. You may have
heard it said that you may be the only Bible those around you will ever ‘read.’ The question is, “Are you
giving a clear or distorted picture of the One True God?”

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You Don’t Have to Wait to Be Accepted – Chapter Nine

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in The Story | 0 comments

Anyone with college-aged kids knows the inundating routine that is college applications. Visit
campuses. Choose a few schools to focus on. Make applications. Fill out forms. Write essays.
For anyone who hasn’t “been there, done that,” the filing of the application and financial aid forms is
nothing compared to the waiting. It’s like the first time you look at your girlfriend or boyfriend and say,
‘I love you.” You’ve made the first move. And then you wait. You wait to see if they respond in turn.
For the college applicant, the end of the waiting is signaled with a letter in the mailbox – hopefully
saying “You have been accepted.”

We all have a desire to be accepted, don’t we? In fact, that desire made it into Maslow’s well-known hierarchy
of needs. He theorized that acceptance is basic to our nature and to our psychological health.

Ruth had the same need as we do. She was a Moabite living in Bethlehem who we meet in The Story.
She ended up there with her mother-in-law Naomi when her husband died. And she found herself picking
up the leftovers after the harvest in a field owned by Boaz.

Boaz discovered she was an outsider—a Moabite—the same people who would oppress his nation for
eighteen years. You’d expect fireworks when they met. Instead, Boaz tells Ruth, “May you be richly
rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”

His acceptance of Ruth goes a step further. Ruth finds him asleep on the threshing floor and lies down at
his feet. When he awakens, Ruth asks him to “spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a
family guardian.” The word for “garment” is the same Hebrew word for “wings” in the blessing Boaz had
pronounced over Ruth. God’s acceptance came to Ruth through Boaz.

Your acceptance did too. You see, Boaz and Ruth had a son named Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of
David. In Matthew’s genealogy the lineage of Jesus is traced through David. Boaz is there too along with
his mother Rahab (Matt. 1:5). Yes, that Rahab. The prostitute that lived in Canaan and sheltered the
two spies Joshua sent into the land.

1 Story told by Randy Frazee in The Story sermon, Chapter 9.

Read The Story. Experience The Story. Used with permission © Zondervan 2010

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