Showing posts from June, 2014

Final Campaign Highlights Video. We ran sound separately

Created with flickr slideshow.

Summation of Judges: What we have learned

By Bob Mendelsohn Given in Moscow, Russia 12 June 2014 For the last 11 days we have been learning from the book of Judges and today in our final chapel talk, (although I will have some final words tonight as well), we are going to draw some serious conclusions for our lives long after Campaign is over. The topics all alliterate in English: Pattern, people, provision, persistence,and prayer. Stay with me. PATTERN We saw it too many times to miss it. And we must know that if all Israel lives like we did in the Book of Judges we are in real trouble. 1)Israel does evil in the sight of the Lord 2)God gives us over to the enemy 3)We cry for help (usually) 4)God sends a deliverer to save us 5)We fall again into sin That pattern could be frustrating and make us want to give up, but it should actually inspire you in the exact opposite way. If God is interested enough in saving us, in delivering us from our sins and from our enemies, then we also ought to let Him do so. We will not necessarily be …

Samson: All’s well, but doesn’t end well (Lesson 2 of 2)

by Bob Mendelsohn Given in Moscow, Russia 11 June 2014
I really enjoy William Shakespeare, although I’m not British. He borrowed heavily from the Bible to write many of his stories, and so many of his plays ended in tragedy. One play which I liked is entitled “All’s well that ends well.” It’s the story of an orphan named Helena and her love interest named Count Bertram. Bertram is not interested in her, but by the end (Spoiler alert) she wins him to herself. The mechanism and trickery she uses is similar to Jacob and Laban, to Rachel and Leah, and to Tamar, all in the book of Genesis. Shakespeare certainly knew his Bible. In our story of the man Samson that we conclude today, we see a military conqueror who was himself conquered by his own passions and although his name means something like “Sunshine”, he ended up in complete darkness. Samson never recruited others to join him, and only once did Israel band together in this story and that was to capture and deliver him to the Philis…

Samson (Lesson 1 of 2) Strength is its own weakness

By Bob Mendelsohn Given in Moscow, Russia 10 June 2014
I remember the story of a young executive on his first day on the new job. He approached the boss’ office and knocked. “Come in, son,” the boss told him. “Sir, do you have any advise for me today?” he asked uncomfortably. “Sure, make good choices.” “Great, thanks for that, boss.” And towards the door he stepped. “Excuse me, boss, how do I make good choices?” “Experience,” boomed the boss, now writing notes on his notepad. “Great, thanks for that, boss.” And again the young executive stepped towards the door. “One more thing, boss, how do I get that experience?” The boss looked up from his paper and said, “Bad decisions.”
Today we meet another judge in the book of Judges by the name of Samson. His story is told over four chapters, 13-16. We will take two days to unpack his tale. We are introduced to the setting as is common in Judges with the words in 13.1: “Israel…evil… Philistines rules over …40 years.” Typical of the situation in the cont…

Jephthah: Man of faith and curious vows (Judges 11-12)

By Bob Mendelsohn Given in Moscow, Russia 9 June 2014
We skip a couple of the judges today and pick up another famous story in the book of Judges. There is a man you might have read about in the Bible. He is one of the people listed in Hebrews 11, and a judge and a military leader for the Jewish people in our story. His name is Jephthah. His Hebrew name is Yiftach, which means “He opens” and I believe is an acknowledgement of his opening the family line of his father Gilead and also is prophetic in that he will open a door of peace for the Jewish people in his adult life. Gilead had sex with a prostitute and although this was a dishonorable act for a Jewish man, he brought both the woman and his son into his own house. Jephthah was the first born among his other sons from his own wife. (.2) The younger sons of Gilead drove their brother Jephthah out and he became an outcast. Sounds like the story of Joseph centuries before, doesn’t it? OK, so from outside the camp of Israel, Jephthah takes…

Abimelech: Failed King, Guard your hearts

Our 8th lecture in a series on the book of Judges:

By Bob Mendelsohn Given in Moscow, Russia 8 June 2014
All around us here in Moscow are memories of times past. Look at Red Square and the Kremlin. Look at historical markers like the churches that were built as far back at the 11th century. Pushkin’s statue, Mayakovsky’s square, Yesterday we saw the statue of Peter the Great on the ship near Gorky Park. By comparison, Australia became a white man’s world in the end of the 18th century, when Captain Cook arrived into Sydney harbor. So for us, history is about 240 years old. To you in the Former Soviet Union, that’s almost modern history.
And history should inform us. Remember the great quote by George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” So that’s why we read the Bible, which itself is thick with history. That’s why we listen to older people who recount stories from their past, so that we can learn. So that we don’t have to learn the hard way. We can…

Barak: a man of faith, and under authority

By Bob Mendelsohn Given in Moscow, Russia 7 June 2014
Yeshua was met one day by a man who was a soldier, and at that, a very high-ranking soldier in the Roman army. The man told him, “ “For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”(Matthew 8.9) The centurion had approached Messiah with the wish that Yeshua would heal his servant who was unwell. Yeshua replied that he would like to come visit the centurion’s house and see to the paralyzed servant. But the Roman declined Yeshua’s wish, saying that he was unworthy of such a visit. Then he said this famous line I quoted at the beginning.
What was Yeshua’s response to this statement? He said I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.
Yes it was faith, and faith alone which the centurion demonstrated. And it’s that kind of faith that God is looking for out of each of us today and each day. On S…