Welcome to the P.J. (Pastor J) Sound Theology Blog

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Who Could Imagine A King

The City of Bethlehem & the  it's gates and walls of current oppression.

Well, it's Christmas Eve and I imagine that most of us are more than ready for Christmas to come. As we celebrate this blessing of a day pause to remember how God introduced himself into the world through Jesus announcement and birth. Let's look:
Matthew 1:17-25

17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged (entrusted) to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus
Looking down on current day Bethlehem 

.Who could imagine a King (Whitney Houston song) would or even could be born in such a manner? What type of God would present it's presence in such a way? Only the one and true God would and could use such circumstances to present true hope,joy,love, and faith in a world so needy. Usually I use pictures that speak to the nature of this blog but that are not specific to me. Today I have supplied personal pictures of mine from Bethelem so that we can see even today the culture, promise and pain of the place that Jesus was born. A city in bondage and turmoil with so much love and faith. Who could imagine a king to be born here. Only the one true God. Glory be to God that the best blessings come from the most unexpected places. Glory to God for what you and I are not expecting to happen this Christmas that God has already put into place.
Christmas Eve outside of the Inn/ Barn Yard where Christ was born in Bethlehem 

Merry Christmas, Be Well... Love P.J.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Let's Make A Deal, the sacrifice of being obedient!

Today in the text from Judges some amazing and unprecedented things occur. Jephthah is preparing for battle and apparently despite the fact that he is a mighty warrior, Jephthah is afraid. He is so worried about his victory in battle against the Ammonites that he goes to God asking God, let's make a deal. It is very important to note that God does not ask to make a deal, vow or sacrifice of any kind. I believe Jephthah does in the text what many of us do in life when we find ourselves in uncomfortable or dangerous situations. We approach God with a list of deals and contract negations to help us out of our current situations. For example someone might say God if you get me out of this situation then I'll never curse again, I promise! 

We'll Jephthah's deal was even more clumsy, less throughout and haphazard than most. Jephthah say's God I will offer up to you in a sacrifice the first thing to come out of my house if you give us victory. 1. God did not ask for this deal. 2. Jephthah could have vowed anything but was thinking that an animal would come out of his home not his daughter. 3 We see in this text the pain and sacrifice of being truly obedient to God by both Jephthah and his daughter.

So what we should take away is to be careful of what we promise and vow to God because God fully expects us to be obedient. Also remember that if God wants us to enter into covenant over something God will let us know. Examples of this are Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, and of course Jesus who instituted sacraments that we honor and celebrate today. Jephthah reminds us all to think before we speak, hopefully limiting the times we put our foot in our mouth. Poor Jephthah, and poor Jephthah's daughter.

Judges 11:29-40 (NIV)

29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.
32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into his hands.33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.
34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the Lordthat I cannot break.
36 “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the Lord. Do to me just as you promised, now that the Lord has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”
38 “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. 39 After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.
From this comes the Israelite tradition 40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

Dear God help us to trust in you and the gifts that you have given us, remind us to think before we speak and to hear your will in our lives. Amen.

Be Well.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

People under One God! The importance of the Shema for Christians

To hear the SHEMA sung go to click the link

Hello everyone, first I would like to apologize for my absence as New Kingdom Church endeavor's to read the Bible in 90 days the blog will become more theme centered instead of being purely devotional centered and therefore will not post daily again until after Christmas.  With that being said, starting now you can leave questions that you may have as well as a topic that you would like explained in upcoming blog post. All inquiries will be read and they will be picked at random for a response.

Today's topic is the Hebrew Scripture, or also known as the (Old Testament). We will look at the Torah and the Pentateuch, and yet still more closely the Shema. This is important especially for Christians because Christianity was birthed out of the Judaism faith and Hebrew people. (REMEMBER Jesus was not a Christian, indeed he was a Hebrew.)

Here we go on our Hebrew crash course:
* The Hebrew scripture is referred to as the Tanakh, an acronym of the first Hebrew letter of each of the Masoretic text's three traditional subdivisions. 

* The Torah  or Pentateuch refers to the first five books of the Hebrew scripture(Genesis - Deuteronomy).The word Pentateuch means five books. In Hebrew the Torah, means the instruction  and or the law.the law. Some also refer to the Pentateuch as the five books of Moses, because Moses is the main receiver of the word from God in the Torah.

* Genesis covers (the Creation, Sin, the Establishment of God's people).
   Exodus covers (Bondage, the Law and Deliverance).    
   Leviticus covers(the Priestly laws and all things that must be done in order to enable the  
   people to remain in the presence of God).
   Numbers covers (primarily numbering the military and counting the nations among tribes    
   in order to delegate work areas)
   Deuteronomy covers ( known as the second law, and covers three speeches of Moses that recover the events of the first four books and includes future instructions.

 All play a specified role in communicating the will of God for the people to the people. These books five books introduce Bible readers to God's divine will, the purpose for our creation and God's plans for us. Today's text is essential to the Jewish faith and is taken from Deuteronomy, let's look:

Deuteronomy 6New International Version (NIV)
Love the Lord Your God  6:4-9

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

The above text is part one of the Shema, this is a passage that Jesus would have recited twice daily if not more as he was a devout prayer. The Shema is a prayer that is a centerpiece of both the morning and evening Jewish worship/ prayer services. It reminds the people that God is the one and only true God."Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one",  

Many Jews consider the Shema to be the most important part of the entire worship and prayer service. Many times observant Jews recite the Shema as their last words and are often the first verses taught to youth and children to memorize. As Christians we also should take pleasure in reading and praying on these words from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 because we also serve One God, the God of Moses. This prayer is a confession of whom we believe God to be and of our faithfulness to God always.

To hear the SHEMA sung go to click the link

Be well today, Love P.J.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Purpose of Offerings

Leviticus 3 (NIV)

The Fellowship Offering

“‘If your offering is a fellowship offering, and you offer an animal from the herd, whether male or female, you are to present before the Lord an animal without defect. You are to lay your hand on the head of your offering and slaughter it at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall splash the blood against the sides of the altar. From the fellowship offering you are to bring a food offering to the Lord: the internal organs and all the fat that is connected to them, both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver, which you will remove with the kidneys. Then Aaron’s sons are to burn it on the altar on top of the burnt offering that is lying on the burning wood; it is a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.
“‘If you offer an animal from the flock as a fellowship offering to the Lord, you are to offer a male or female without defect. If you offer a lamb, you are to present it before the Lord, lay your hand on its head and slaughter it in front of the tent of meeting. Then Aaron’s sons shall splash its blood against the sides of the altar. From the fellowship offering you are to bring a food offering to the Lord: its fat, the entire fat tail cut off close to the backbone, the internal organs and all the fat that is connected to them, 10 both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver, which you will remove with the kidneys. 11 The priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering presented to the Lord.

In Hebrew scripture it would be impossible for anyone to worship the Lord in true holiness. The Bible reminds us that all people are indeed sinners and that on our own efforts, we cannot please God. However God has provided methods so that we can worship God properly.

Leviticus comes into play an important role here because for the Hebrew people that method was sacrifice. Therefore in Leviticus chapters 1-7, we see that God sets the mandate to bring five types of offerings. There is a Burnt Offering, Grain Offering, Fellowship Offering, Sin Offering,  and Guilt Offering. These offerings have also came to be known as 1) The Burnt Offering, 2)The Meal Offering, 3) The Peace Offering, 4) The Sin Offering 5) The Trespass Offering. Looking at these offerings according to the latter helps us to understand that the purpose of these 5 offerings was to make the people whole and one with God through the forgiveness of sins, trespasses and short comings bringing redemption. They would give to God parts of the animals that they killed. Sometimes they gave the whole animal. The priests burned the gift on the altar at the house of God. God accepted the animal’s death so that the Jews could worship God. The animal had suffered death so that the Jews could live as friends with God.

Does any of this sound familiar to Christians? Does Communion, the Lord's Prayer, of the roles of Jesus life and death come to mind? We must remember as Christians we are not separated from the Hebrew people of Scriptures, the Old Testament is truly part of our history and word for a reason. Christianity is indeed birthed out of the Jewish faith.

Be well today, Love P.J.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Who's Holding Your Arms?

Exodus 17: 8-16 (NIV)

The Amalekites Defeated

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua,“Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning,but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.”
15 Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. 16 He said, “Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the Lord, the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”

As we press through life's journey today. I have paused to focus on Exodus 17:8-16 as a point of reference that we can not walk our faithful journey alone. In today's text Moses is in prayer, praise, and petition of deliverance to God for the Hebrew peoples victory in battle over the Amalekite people. Scripture reminds of the physical position of Moses, standing firm and tall with his arms upward and outstretched toward God in the havens. This position is one that is widely  known to the people of God, as if you go almost in any house of worship it is common to see people in this same position reaching out to God. However Moses arm began to tire and the blessing is that Moses was not alone, the text says that Aaron and Hur were there to assist Moses and hold his arms up until the evening enabling the people of God to be delivered. 

The important things for us to gain from this scripture are:
1) We are not in this journey alone. When we get tired, distraught and began to feel that our circumstances are too much to overcome remember you are not alone. We must only identify our Hur's and Aaron's. 
2) Living for God is not about us alone but about the entire family of God. Moses was not approaching God for his own singular benefit, but on behalf on the family as a whole. When we stand in the gap we must always see the bigger picture of love for one another. 
3) Just as we need others to hold our arms, we must be there to hold the arms of others. There are times when we are Moses's reaching to God for deliverance. However we must also prepare to be someone else's Aaron when the time arrives. 

So then the ultimate question is who's holding your arms? Who's arms are you holding?  

In closing,today I am praying for the comfort, peace and strength for the families of the 6 persons whom lost their lives in yesterday's tornadoes. As well as all of our fellow Illinoisans whose homes and property were destroyed and damaged. May God be with you all, and may the Holy Spirit rest on each of you indeed I trust that God will bring you through this great tragedy. In Jesus name this is my prayer. Amen.

Be Well, Love P.J. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Blood In Blood Out

Exodus 7:14-24 The Plague of Blood

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes out to the river. Confront him on the bank of the Nile, and take in your hand the staff that was changed into a snake. 16 Then say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness. But until now you have not listened. 17 This is what the Lord says: By this you will know that I am the Lord: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. 18 The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.’”
19 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs—and they will turn to blood.’ Blood will be everywhere in Egypt, even in vessels[a] of wood and stone.”
20 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. 21 The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt.
22 But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. 23 Instead, he turned and went into his palace, and did not take even this to heart. 24 And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile to get drinking water, because they could not drink the water of the river.

Have you ever taken the time to examine what God is teaching us through the Hebrew Scriptures. Constantly God reminds us that for change, deliverance, and true freedom there must be a sacrifice of blood. In Exodus 7 we see the 1st of 10 plagues that come upon the Egyptians for enslaving God's people. After 8 more plagues the 10 plague also ends with blood and the Passover.This even rings true for Christians and the sacrifice that God delivered through God's firstborn son Jesus and his blood. God reminds us that salvation come through blood and sacrifice. Blood in, blood out. I'm just saying as the Hebrew people were saved by the blood of a lamb, so were the peopled called Christians. I know it was the blood!

Exodus 11

New International Version (NIV)

The Plague on the Firstborn

11 Now the Lord had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely.Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” (The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.)
So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt.Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.
The Lord had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.” 10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.

Be well, Love P.J.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

On the behalf of others!

Abraham Pleads for Sodom

16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.[c] 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.
27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”
“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”
29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”
He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”
30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”
He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”
He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”
32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

Sodom did not know their impending doom, nor were they wise enough to seek God or even know when they were in the presence of Angles. Abraham on the other hand teaches all of us a very important lesson on Intercessory Prayer.  In this text Abraham approaches God totally unselfishly on the behalf of the residents of Sodom. Abraham is relentless in his prayer to God for mercy on the city starting at fifty people being enough to save the city down to ten righteous people being enough to save the city. We should be as selfless as Abraham not always praying for ourselves and those we know, but seeking God on the behalf of the others that we do not know and that may not know God!

How much time do you spend in intercessory prayer for the lost and least among us in society? Today take time to pray for those who never pray at all.

Be Well, Love Pastor Sirchester.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Genesis 16

New International Version (NIV)

Hagar and Ishmael

16 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slavenamed Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years,Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”
“Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.
Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”

Today's passage of scripture detailing the drama between Hagar and Sari, reminds us the need to have patience and brings to mind the saying God may not come when you call, but God is always right on time! Every time I read this scripture I am always amazed at how easily Abram agrees to lay with Hagar as a husband and a holy man. None the less Abram does lay with Hagar (Whom did not have a choice in the matter, after all she was considered property). Hagar conceives and God is not displeased with anyone of the three, instead God blesses Hagar with Ishmael and later on blesses Abram and Sari with Issac. So it makes you wonder was this part of God's plan all along?  In just ten short verses you see polygamy, rape, slavery, abuse and ultimately forgiveness.  If God did immediately forgave Abram and Sari, how much more will God forgive us if we ask. 

However I still would suggest waiting on God and having a little more patience. Be Well, Pastor Sirchester.

Friday, November 8, 2013

What's in a birthright?

Genesis 25:27- 34

27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. 28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished.30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.
31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.
32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”
33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.
So Esau despised his birthright.

TGIF, Love P.J.