Reflexion, A Spiritual Community

Reflexion, A Spiritual Community

Christian based teaching from Chuck Smith, Jr


September 24, 2023 56 mins

The purpose of Yom Kippur was to resolve a problem

Israel was the community of God’s people living in a world of impurities
– some impurities resulted from contact with natural sources (not sinful)
• others resulted from violations of God’s religious and social laws
• these impurities affected the entire community, even God’s sanctuary and its furnishings
– every year, atonement was made for the people and the sacred...

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To fully appreciate what’s here, we need perspective

If we take an aerial view and rise high enough,
– we’ll discover in Jeremiah themes and sayings from Deuteronomy
• both use the metaphors of a circumcised heart and an iron furnace
• both lay great emphasis on God’s covenant with Israel
The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Not with our fathers did the LORD make this covenant, but with us, who are all ...

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September 10, 2023 49 mins

 There were two times in the gospels when Jesus identified precisely what had to be done in the moment
- once, when he told a wealthy man, “you lack one thing”
(the man had to liquidate all his assets and follow Jesus)
- another time he explained to Martha, “one thing is necessary”
• then he defended the one thing Mary had chosen to do
- it can be a big relief to narrow down what’s most important now to one thin...

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September 3, 2023 51 mins

The first time I visited Shiloh in Israel, I loved it

Finally I felt something extraordinary in Israel--like an energy vibrating up through the soil
- that was on the path, before we had even reached the site
• one strong appeal that Shiloh that appealed to me was that there was nothing there but bare hillsides
• but for that same reason, Shiloh was a message of doom for Jerusalem
- I knew about Shiloh from this pass...

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August 27, 2023 61 mins

 In 1989 Bob Dylan released the song “Everything Is Broken” 
 - it’s a bluesy song that I love listening to when I feel down but not out
• when something that is important to you falls apart,
◦ or a lot of unpleasant things line up in your day, this song fits your mood
◦ lots of people, in different situations can connect with these lyrics
• it sometimes seems everything, everywhere is going wrong
- this was...

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August 20, 2023 49 mins

Every year, my dad directed a summer camp in Williams, Arizona

So that was our typical family vacation
- one year, when all the campers were assembled in the chapel,
• Dad began, “There was a murder in the forest last night
◦ he paused to let that sink in
• then holding up a carving knife, he said, “This was the weapon”
◦ and “Here is the victim” – and he showed us a twig from an apple tree
- he explained tha...

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August 13, 2023 50 mins

I always been enchanted with the way this chapter opens

If you look at the text, God’s speech is arranged in a poetic format
- Hebrew poems do not look or sound like English poems
• Hebrew poetry has a different structure and rules
◦ in chapter 1, Jeremiah had expressed his thoughts in prose (the ordinary written form of essays, etc.)
◦ but God’s messages were laid out in poems
(God's speech is always in gre...

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August 6, 2023 53 mins

There are several words in the Bible we don’t understand

They pose a problem for us, because they’re common words,
- and we assume we know what they mean
• that is why we get confused when we come to them
◦ for instance: "name," "fear" ("Am I supposed to be afraid of God?"), "holy," and "sons of"
• biblical Hebrew has a small vocabulary
◦ so it has to expand the m...

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July 30, 2023 50 mins

The book of Proverbs is a collection of pithy sayings

If you read it several times, those clever lines stick in your mind
- for instance, here is one that comes to mind regarding this last week:
Iron sharpens iron,
 so a person sharpens the face of a friend (Pr. 27:17)
• you might remember, last year, Guy Gray spoke here
◦ we met up again this past week -- Gut has been my friend for fifty years
◦ I was fortu...

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July 23, 2023 51 mins

About twenty years ago, Barb attended a seminar at work

A psychologist lectured on Compassion Fatigue Syndrome
- it is a common condition among healthcare professionals
• their encounters with the suffering of others takes a toll
◦ if they are not treated yet continue to work, they can become numb
◦ they stop feeling empathy for their patients’ pain and grief
• the speaker provided the audience with a list of sym...

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July 16, 2023 46 mins

Last week, God’s question to Elijah was, “What are you doing here?”

We’ll start with that question: “What are you doing here?”
- isn’t one reason that your here is because you came to hear what I have to say?
• Okay, I feel uncomfortable when I think that or say that
◦ not only because it’s like I have to give an oral report every week
(and feel like I'll be graded on it),
◦ but because I can’t take myself t...

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July 9, 2023 53 mins

We’re going to spend time this morning with a unique person

Elijah was one of the most gifted prophets in scripture
- in fact, he became the representative of all the prophets,
• right up to and including John the Baptist, who came
in the spirit and power of Elijah (Lk. 1:17)
• Elijah will teach us a lesson on hearing the voice of God

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July 2, 2023 37 mins

We’ve come to the last chapter in Mark’s gospel

And to the enigma at the end of the book
- that’s because the story ends at Mark 16, verse 8
• you say, “Chuck! My Bible still has more verses”
◦ “Yes, I know, but read the fine print”
• the most ancient manuscripts that we have in our possession end at verse 8
◦ scholars tell us the quality of the Greek writing changes at verse 9
◦ the evidence supports the abr...

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June 25, 2023 43 mins

This story is about Christ the Victim becoming Christ the Victor

I’m going to jump right into my meditations on this chapter
My meditation: “I want Mark to use his remarkable storytelling skills to enhance the details of what is depicted here. I want him to enable us to visualize it and hear every sound. It would benefit us to begin to fathom what Jesus suffered and to feel the utter hopelessness of the cross. I feel it’s import...

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June 18, 2023 46 mins

 My first thought is that this is Jesus these religious leaders want to eliminate. He has done only good; he has opened windows to the kingdom of God; he has advocated for spiritual and humanitarian reforms; and he has healed countless people.
My second thought is the devious approach the religious teams use to eliminate him. There is something about injustice that disturbs me so intensely it keeps me awake at night. My feeling...

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June 11, 2023 59 mins

 The temple plays an important role in Jesus’ story

The one clear accusation brought against him at his trial was,
“We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands’” (Mk. 14:58).
- but they weren’t certain what that even meant
Yet even about this their testimony did not agree (Mk. 14:59)
• I tend to think, if something was sacred, it i...

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June 4, 2023 60 mins

For the last few chapters, tension has been growing

The religious establishment has taken notice of Jesus
– in this chapter, the conflict leads to a public showdown
• this began at end of chapter 11 with priests, scribes, and elders
By what authority are you doing these thing or who gave you this authority to do them? (Mk. 11:28)
◦ so the ‘And’ at beginning of chapter 12 is a continuation of that encounter
◦ the ...

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May 28, 2023 46 mins

The chapter begins with Jesus’ dramatic entrance into Jerusalem

But first, he gives instructions to two disciples regarding the colt he was going to ride
- imagine this: the disciples go find the colt and begin untying it,
• wouldn’t the bystanders assume they were stealing it
◦ so Jesus instructed them to say,

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May 21, 2023 56 mins
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When Nicodemus visited Jesus, his first words were,
Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God

Nicodemus was correct -- Jesus is a teacher
- Mark tells us teaching people Jesus' “custom” – his usual response when people showed up
• that is what we witness as we watch Jesus move through this chapter
• Jesus never ran out of things to say
◦ and every word he spoke was enlightenment
- one of his te...

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