Story: The Choice

20 januari 2008

After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church’s pastor once again slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit, and gave a very brief introduction of his childhood friend. With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit to speak.

”A father, his son, and a friend of the son were sailing off the Pacific Coast,” he began, ”when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept into the ocean.”

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story.

He continued, ”Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life…to which boy he would throw the other end of the line. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. As the father yelled out, ‘I love you, son!’ he threw the line to his son’s friend. By the time he pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beyond the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered.”

By this time, the two teenagers were sitting straighter in the pew, waiting for the next words to come out of the old man’s mouth.

”The father,” he continued, ”knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son’s friend stepping into an Eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son. How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us.”

With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the church.

Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man’s side. ”That was a nice story,” politely started one of the boys, ”but I don’t think it was very realistic for a father to give up his son’s life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.”

”Well, you’ve got a point there,” the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face, and he once again looked up at the boys and said, ”It sure isn’t very realistic, is it? But I’m standing here today to tell you that THAT story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His Son for me. You see…I was the son’s friend.”

Once there were 3 trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the 1st tree said, ”Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.”Then the 2nd tree said, ”Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.

Finally the 3rd tree said, ”I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.”

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the 1st tree he said, ”This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood
to a carpenter” … and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the 2nd tree a woodsman said, ”This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard.” The 2nd tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the 3rd tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, ”I don’t need anything special from my tree so I’ll take this one,” and he cut it down.

When the 1st tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for. The 2nd tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end. The 3rd tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the 1st tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the 2nd tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn’t think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and he stood and said ”Peace” and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the 3rd tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.

The moral of this story is that when things don’t seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts.

Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don’t always know what God’s plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.

Story: The Letter

20 januari 2008

Ruth went to her mail box and there was only one letter. She picked it up and looked at it before opening, but then she looked at the envelope again. There was no stamp, no postmark, only her name and address.She read the letter:Dear Ruth:

I’m going to be in your neighborhood Saturday afternoon and I would like to visit. Love Always, Jesus

Her hands were shaking as she placed the letter on the table. ”Whywould the Lord want to visit me? I’m nobody special. I don’t have anything to offer.”

With that thought, Ruth remembered her empty kitchen cabinets. ”Oh my goodness, I really don’t have anything to offer. I’ll have to run down to the store and buy something for dinner.” She reached for her purse and counted out it’s contents. Five dollars and forty cents. ”Well, I can get some bread and cold cuts, at least.” She threw on her coat and hurried out the door.

A loaf of French bread, a half-pound of sliced turkey, and a carton of milk…leaving Ruth with grand total of twelve cents to last her until Monday. Nonetheless, she felt good as she headed home, her meager offerings tucked under her arm. ”Hey lady, can you help us, lady?”

Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans, she hadn’t even noticed two figures huddled in the alleyway. A man and a woman, both of them dressed in little more than rags. ”Look lady, I ain’t got a job, ya know, and my wife and I have been living out here on the street, and, well, now it’s getting cold and we’re getting kinda hungry and, well, if you could help us, lady, we’d really appreciate it”.

Ruth looked at them both. They were dirty, they smelled bad and frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted to. ”Sir, I’d like to help you, but I’m a poor woman myself. All I have is a few cold cuts and some bread, and I’m having an important guest for dinner tonight and I was planning on serving that to Him.”

”Yeah, well, okay lady, understand. Thanks anyway.” The man put his arm around the woman’s shoulders, turned and he headed back into the alley.

As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart. ”Sir, wait!” The couple stopped and turned as she ran down the alley after them. ”Look, why don’t you take this food. I’ll figure out something else to serve my guest.” She handed the man her grocery bag.

”Thank you lady. Thank you very much!” ”Yes, thank you!” It was the man’s wife, and Ruth could see now that she was shivering.

”You know, I’ve got another coat at home. Here, why don’t you take this one.” Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the woman’s shoulders. Then smiling, she turned and walked back to the street… without her coat and with nothing to serve her guest.”Thank you lady! Thank you very much!”

Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her front door, and worried too. The Lord was coming to visit and she didn’t have anything to offer Him. She fumbled through her purse for the door key.

But as she did, she noticed another envelope in her mailbox. ”That’s odd. The mailman doesn’t usually come twice in one day.”

She took the envelope out of the box and opened it.

Dear Ruth:

It was so good to see you again. Thank you for the lovely meal. And thank you, too, for the beautiful coat. Love Always,

Jesus

The air was still cold, but even without her coat, Ruth no longer noticed.

You’re St. Melito of Sardis!

You have a great love of history and liturgy. You’re attached to the traditions of the ancients, yet you recognize that the old world — great as it was — is passing away. You are loyal to the customs of your family, though you do not hesitate to call family members to account for their sins.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

”Analyzing the Qumran Isaiah Scroll in comparison with the Masoretic Text”. Uppsats med språklig analys av Jesajarullen från Dödahavsrullarna. 16 sid, illustrerad.
PDF: The Great Isaiah Scroll (2004)

Uppsats: Fluency Teaching

20 januari 2008

”Learning Biblical Tongues with Modern Language Techniques”. Uppsats i språkpedagogik vid Hebrew University i Jerusalem. 13 sid.

PDF: Fluency Teaching (2004)

”Biblical, archaeological and historical sources shed light upon the first known ruler of pre-Israelite Jerusalem”. Uppsats vid Hebrew University i Jerusalem. 22 sid.
PDF: The Priest-King Melchizedek (2003)

Predikan: De vise männen

20 januari 2008

Av alla personerna runt våra julkrubbor är det de vise männen som jag kan identifiera mig med mest – inte bara pga en viss aspiration att en dag bli en vis man :-), utan för att de liksom jag växte upp långt från Guds folk och först efter ett långt sökande hittade fram till Jesusbarnet…

De vise männen (2008)

Predikan på engelska – tre ting som den åldrige aposteln Johannes lärde sig under livet med Herren Jesus.

Three lessons from John (2007)

För domsbasunens gälla ljud
skall rummets murar falla.
All tid skall bli ett enda nu,
ty tidens ur skall stanna…

Den sista basunen (2007)