The Pastor’s Corner is written by the pastor of Coronado Bible Church.

Celebrating the King

The piercing Judean sun radiated off the golden Ark and the glistening linen-clad priest who were carrying it. All Israel was in the procession rising slowly toward the gates of Jerusalem. The sound of their exultant shouting echoed … thundered in the rocky valleys. From her high vantage point in the house of David, Michal could see one figure “distinguishing” himself; hands raised, head bobbing above the crowd, whirling, his linen robe twisting and fluttering in a way very unbecoming for royalty. “She despised him in her heart,” says 2 Samuel 6:16.

The Ark of God entered Jerusalem and David went home to bless his house. Blessing did not wait him there … but rebuke. To Michal’s disdain, David responded, “I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.” David knew that the commoners would respect him for his devotion to the Lord, but he was willing to make himself lowly before his God. Decades ago when Israel had asked for a king, it had been a rejection of God as their King … but this attitude was never in the heart of Israel’s second ruler. David was just the happily humble escort as the True King entered Jerusalem.

The piercing Judean sun illuminated a kaleidoscope of robes and frons cast askew upon the path rising slowly toward the gates of Jerusalem. The shouts of “Hosanna to the son of David” echoed … thundered against the dressed stone walls of the Holy City. From their high position, the religious leaders despised what they saw. One head bobbing just slightly above the crowd, a dusty Nazarene jostled along on a plodding ass. When Jesus received their indignant challenge to silence the people, He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”  He had every right to the commoners’ praises … He had the right to creation’s praise. A thousand years after David’s dance, Israel’s True King and God approached Jerusalem “humble and mounted on a donkey.”

That King David would humble himself before God is noteworthy. That God would humble Himself for the sake of His creation is beyond comprehension! What do we do with that?

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5–11

 
 
 


Recognizably You

It was time (almost past time) for Sue and me to renew our passports. We decided to do our own photos and the twenty hours we put in getting it right was well worth it. That’s an exaggeration, but the fact it’s for something so important really ratcheted up the pressure.

The U.S. State Department has published helpful guidelines for what constitutes an acceptable passport photo. Here’s a partial list:

  • Have a neutral facial expression or a natural smile, with both eyes open.
  • Face the camera directly with full face in view.
  • You cannot wear glasses (some exceptions apply).
  • You cannot wear a hat or head covering (some religious exceptions apply … but it can’t obscure your face).
  • You cannot wear headphones or wireless hands-free devices. (Really? This was an issue?)
  • You can keep on your facial piercings as long as they do not hide your face

All the rules boil down to one thing … the picture you submit must be recognizably you. They want to be able to look at your picture and say, “Yep that’s you.” They don’t want a lot of visual static obscuring the real you.

Jesus had a lot to say about covering up or disguising who we really are. He called it “hypocrisy.” He called practitioners of the art “hypocrites.” The Greek word He chose referred to actors … people who assumed a character or role. Greek theater productions of the time consisted of relatively small casts with each actor playing several roles. This could be easily accomplished by using masks. An actor could simply turn around and become a different person. Did Jesus know how to choose His words or what?

Check out Matthew Chapter 6; one of Jesus’ longest discourses on hypocrisy. The problem He identified in the religious leaders of His day is that they were always cheating out. That’s another theatre term and means, “never turn your back on the audience.” Jesus repeatedly criticized the leaders for practicing their religion to “be seen by others.” Man, not God was their intended audience. They made noises that sounded like they were praising God but their goal was to be praised by others.

You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me … Matthew 15:7-8

Who’s you audience? Is the person we see on Sunday “recognizably you?”
 
 


Lovers of Light

Did you know they manufacture a flashlight that produces 160,000 lumens? It only has two drawbacks: it drains its battery in ten minutes and becomes too hot to hold in under six. Just query on the “World’s Brightest Flashlight.” You’ll get a few geek articles and a ton of advertising. It’s all the craze to see who can build the brightest flashlight.

Humanity is fascinated with light in almost any form: laser pointers, motion activated, tanning lamps, healing lamps, grow-lights, path lights, night lights … you can even buy toilet lights to help your aim at night. Or how about a pair of slippers with a pressure switch and tiny headlights. When you slip your feet in them they automatically illuminate your path while you navigate the darkness of your home. Why are we so fascinated by light? Well … light has a plethora of useful applications. Darkness can be dangerous to humans … and so darkness can also be frightening. We will gladly pay for products that overcome the inconvenience of darkness. But sometimes, light can be scarier than darkness.

My dad had a two-million candlepower spotlight for work. One night, when I was quite young, all the dogs in my town began barking. At first, we couldn’t figure out what was happening. Then we heard it … the yipping howls of coyotes floating in on the summer breeze. My dad piled us all into our pale blue Ford Fairlane and drove us to the murky edge of town. He plugged that spotlight into the cigarette lighter and danced the beam out across the stubbled fields. There were more glowing eyes reflected in that light than we could count. I shrieked and begged my dad to turn it off. Sometimes we don’t want to see what’s in the darkness.

Apply that to the spiritual realm. For all our pretending, humans do not love spiritual light the way we love physical light. Sometimes we don’t want our darkness probed. Consider what the Apostle John penned a few verses past John 3:16,

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3:19-21

Praise God that He has taken care of our darkness issues! That He … “has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14
 
 


Use Your Head

 

Johann Sebastian Bach, the German musical genius of the Baroque period was born March 31, 1685. That means he’d be 334 years old at the end of this month. That’s a long time to be popular in the music world, but listen to the Brandenburg Concertos and you’ll understand why he’s still a household name. To mark the anniversary of Bach’s birth, Google created a clever way to interact with this long-deceased musical maestro.

If you click on their home-screen doodle, it takes you to an interactive composition program. A simple interface allows you to compose a few bars of melody. Push a button marked “harmonize” and a few seconds later you get your own Bach composition. What you hear played back approximates what it would have sounded like if Bach were the composer. AI or Artificial Intelligence was used to analyze the harmonies of 307 Bach compositions. The program applies what it learned about Bach’s harmonies to your melody. Sue and I played with it for a while. Sue’s melodies actually sounded like Baroque compositions. My melodies … not even Bach could help. Mine were just ‘Broke’ compositions.

We live in amazing times. Computers can analyze mountains of data and predict outcomes with astonishing accuracy. I’ve heard there’s a program where you input some basic info about your spouse, and it will compose a personal sonnet in Shakespearian style. Another AI program downloads and analyzes chat patterns from cyberspace to bring your deceased loved one back to virtual life. You chat with the AI program and receive comments, advice and encouragement back that sound eerily personal. I think social media has gone too far.

We’re wowed by computers, but they still can’t match the human brain. One of the fastest supercomputers on the planet is the Tianhe-2 in Guangzhou, China. It can do 54 quadrillion calculations per second. The human brain clocks in at a billion-billion calculations per second. In 2014, scientists tried to match the processes that happened in one second in one percent of the human brain. It took their supercomputer 40 minutes to complete that many calculations.

Use that amazing brain God gave you to soak in and analyze His amazing Word. If Jesus is your Savior, then you also have the help of the Holy Spirit in understanding what you read. With repetition you can begin to know and even predict with accuracy what God would have you do in the life situations that confront you.

This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 9:23–24

https://www.scienceabc.com/humans/the-human-brain-vs-supercomputers-which-one-wins.html
 
 
 


Yeah Right

I cut the tape at the edges of the sturdy carton and opened the lid. Covering all the contents was a professional looking printout with just three steps for installation. Two sentences jumped off the page … “This is going to be easy! Let’s get stated.” I chuckled as my brain did a quick reality check. “Let’s see, the bracket is rated to hold a 135 pound, 90-inch TV. It will require drilling multiple holes in the cement wall … and it’s probably supposed to be level.” What joker wrote the copy for these instructions?

I lifted that first sheet out of the way and found a more reality-based set of instructions. There lay a twenty-three-page booklet with this on emblazoned on the front, GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME.” Suddenly, I decided these people were geniuses who knew very well the tendencies of their clientele. Stoke their innate confidence and then remind them of all the times they tried it without the instructions … all the times they didn’t get it right the first time. I found myself strangely motivated to read those instructions and read them carefully.

I’m thankful to my parents and God for an adept mechanical mind. But I’ve learned along the way that not every process is intuitive. I have dived into the assembly of some product without consulting the instructions and wasted valuable time and energy because of a missed step … or five.

Well it turns out that the manufacture of the TV mounts did a great job with their instruction booklet. Their guidance and clear illustrations made the job easy … and I got it right the first time. And … I got it right the second time, when I mounted the other bracket. Instructions followed are great. Instructions followed and experienced cause exponential growth in understanding.

I’ve heard it said that the word “Bible” stands for … Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. Reading it won’t guarantee that you get life right the first time. But instructions followed and experienced lead to growth. Read the word and heed the word!

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:22-15