Welcome Mike!

We are excited to be joined here in Longmont by our friend Mike Payne, who is coming on staff at White Fields to serve as our Worship Pastor.

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Picking up Mike and David at the airport last night. His parents recently moved to our area as well!

Mike and his wife Marika have been serving the Lord in Hungary for many years through music, media arts, teaching and evangelism. We look forward to how his skills and leadership will be used by God at White Fields!

Marika stayed back in Hungary to be with her ailing father. Please pray for both of them.  She will join us in Colorado when the time is right.

Mike will begin leading worship for us this Sunday, July 2! If you’re in the area, come meet him and worship with us!

Carried by a Donkey

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On Sunday mornings at White Fields, I am currently teaching through the Book of Exodus. This past Sunday, we studied Exodus 13 in our study titled “A Cloud by Day and Fire by Night” (audio here).

After bringing the people of Israel out of Egypt, God established 2 annual feasts that they were to observe so they would never forget the deliverance He had worked on their behalf: the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Here the people of Israel were told that when they come into the Land of Canaan (the Promised Land) they were to sacrifice to God the first-born of both man and beast.

But wait! There are a couple problems with that…  First of all, human sacrifice was forbidden and considered an abomination. Secondly, some animals were considered “unclean” and therefore they could not be sacrificed either.

The solution?  The first-born of the humans and the first-born of the unclean animals both had to be “redeemed,” through an act of substitution. Specifically, it is mentioned that unclean animals were to be redeemed by substituting a clean animal in their place. In the text, an example is given: a donkey, as an unclean animal, could be redeemed by substituting a lamb in its place.

The donkey is a picture of me: pretty stubborn, not very cute, but worst of all: unclean by nature and condemned to death, but I have been redeemed, I have been saved by the substitutionary sacrifice on my behalf of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.

But there’s one more part to the story of the donkey:

Hundreds of years after the Passover, Zechariah the Prophet prophesied about the coming King of Zion – AKA the Messiah, that when he entered into Jerusalem, he would come on the back of donkey.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)

Why a donkey? Many people believe that in contrast to conquering warrior kings who would enter a city on the back of a horse, an animal of war, by entering Jerusalem on a donkey, the message would be that the Messiah came in peace. Indeed one of the names he is given by the Prophet Isaiah is “Prince of Peace”.

Several hundred years later, Jesus of Nazareth came to Jerusalem, and he entered the city on the back of a donkey, declaring Himself to be the Messiah – and he was received as the Messiah by the people.

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me.
Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:1-2,8-9)

Now here’s the thing: Just as Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, an unclean but redeemed creature – he still enters into the cities of this world in the same way: carried by those who are unclean, but redeemed.

Christian, you are that donkey!

The way that Jesus has chosen to enter into the cities, the homes, the workplaces of this world, is by being carried on the backs of us “donkeys”: creatures who are unclean by nature, who have been redeemed by the sacrifice of the lamb on our behalf.

Paul the Apostle reminds us that God loves to use the foolishing things of this world (see 1 Corinthians 1:26-30), and that includes us: “redeemed donkeys”.

White Fields on the Radio

Starting this week, you can hear me on the radio here on Colorado’s Front Range, on 89.7 Grace FM.

White Fields is doing a series of 1-minute devotional messages called “Word from the Field”. Our thought was that instead of just airing our sermons, we could do something a little bit unique, that would also run multiple times per day at different times. This way we can stand out from the crowd and reach people who listen to the radio at different times of the day and week.

We are also uploading these recordings to SoundCloud, so that people can keep up with them online and share them through social media. You can follow us on SoundCloud here, and below you can listen to the messages we’ve recorded so far.

When Life Gives You Lemons…

This past Sunday I taught 1 Samuel 18 at White Fields (the audio of that message can be found here).

This is the story of Saul’s jealousy towards David, which leads him to begin a campaign to hurt David in order to secure his position of power and prominence in Israel. It is a story full of themes which are all too familiar for many of us, because they are so human.

Here are a few quotes from Sunday which are worth revisiting:

One of the main principles in this story is the fact that you can’t control how people treat you, and often-times you can’t control what happens to you, but you do get to choose how you respond to those things.

Ted Engstrom illustrates this principle well:

“Cripple him, and you have a Sir Walter Scott.
Lock him in a prison cell, and you have a John Bunyan.
Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge, and you have a George Washington.
Raise him in abject poverty and you have an Abraham Lincoln.
Strike him down with infantile paralysis, and he becomes a Franklin Roosevelt.
Burn him so severely that the doctors say he’ll never walk again, and you have a Glenn Cunningham who set the world’s one-mile record in 1934.
Deafen him and you’ll have a Ludwig van Beethoven.
Have him or her born black in a society filled with racial discrimination, and you’ll have a Booker T. Washington, and a George Washington Carver
Call him a slow learner, and write him off as uneducable, and you have an Albert Einstein.”

All of these people had terrible circumstances that they didn’t get to choose, that nobody would have ever chosen! But they didn’t crumble under these circumstances; instead, they responded well – and their circumstances ended up becoming an important part of who they would become and why they would be great.

The same is true of David. Men after God’s heart aren’t made in palaces, they are made in fields on cold nights, tending the sheep alone under the stars; they are made in caves, where the Lord is your only rock and fortress.

Gene Edwards, in his classic book ‘A Tale of Three Kings: A Study in Brokenness’, writes this about David’s difficult circumstances:

David the sheepherder would have grown up to become King Saul II, except that God cut away the Saul inside David’s heart. That operation, took years and was a brutalizing experience that almost killed the patient. And what were the scalpel and tongs God used to remove that inner Saul from David’s heart?  God used the outer Saul.
King Saul sought to destroy David, but his only success was that he became the instrument of God to put to death the Saul who roamed about in the caverns of David’s own soul.

Edwards goes on to say:

God is looking at the King Saul in you.
“In me?!”
Yes, Saul is in your bloodstream, in the marrow of your bones. He makes up the very flesh and muscle of your heart. He is mixed into your soul. He inhabits the nuclei of your atoms. King Saul is one with you. You are King Saul! He breathes in the lungs and beats in the breast of all of us. There is only one way to get rid of him: he must be annihilated.

You don’t get to choose your circumstances, but you do get to choose how you respond.  When life gives you lemons… may God help us to respond well!