Genesis 5-6: Song of the Sword and the Grief of God

Posted by on January 27, 2013 under Front Page Posts, Sermons

song of sword

Click Here For Audio

Click Here For Audio

In Genesis 4 through 6 there is an upward crescendo of the noise of sin and a deepening of God’s grief.  The good creation of God continues to suffer the damage of sin.

The Song of the Sword

Genesis 4:23-24 is called the “Song of the Sword.”  It is a boast by Lamech, a descendent of Cain.  He is promising that he is far worse than Cain ever imagined.  The Song of the Sword is evidence of how damage has been done in creation since Cain.  Fear, hatred, vengeance, and death have become a destructive cancer.  Still, the beauty of creation is not utterly wiped out.  There is thriving, artistry, and beauty in Cain’s children.  Lamech leaves behind a double-edged legacy of violence on the one side, and beauty on the other.

In the midst of this deteriorating situation, a child is born and there is hope.  In this instance it is Seth, a child born to Eve.  Her grief and her hope are mixed.  She grieves the loss of Abel at the hands of Cain, but give thanks for the new life in Seth.

A Child of Promise

The family of Seth represents hope.  They are the hope that God will work his life-giving agenda through them and that he will renew the creation in all of its goodness.  In Genesis 5, there is a different man named Lamech.  He has a child that he names Noah, which means “Comfort.”  This name represents the hope that through this child, God will continue to empower humanity to be fruitful and multiply.

The agenda of being fruitful and multiplying prevails over the agenda of fear and violence.

Rise of the Giants

Genesis 6:1-4 is a bizarre text.  It has sparked the imagination of believers for centuries.  Entire stories have grown up out of the mention of the Sons of God and the Nephilim, or “giant ones.”  However one chooses to interpret Sons of God, daughters of men, and Nephilim, the text points to the fact that a boundary between heaven and earth has been crossed and consequences follow.  Whatever is going on exactly, God has a problem with it.  This mingling of heaven and earth is not the way it is supposed to be.

The spirit of life that comes from God is being abused.  As a result, God withdraws this spirit of life.

Grief of God

Don’t miss this text.  We too often overlook it.  God is grieved that the image of God that he placed in humanity is being replaced by the imagination to do evil.  An evil imagination is not what God intended.  God regrets what has happened and yet he doesn’t want to wipe out creation.  God is left with few options except to blot out all life.  And the one hope that he can find is Noah.  Noah found favor with God.

God is sympathetic with every parent who grieves because his or her child is not what they intended for them to be.  God is sympathetic with every spouse that grieves over a spouse who is not the person they hoped they would be.  God is sympathetic with every church leader, every teacher, ever person who grieves because the church and community is less than intended.

Our song is not a song of the sword that promises protection because of our own paranoia and pride.  Instead, we will speak word of blessing and prayers of hope that will raise up people and a generation that will find favor with God.

Genesis 3-4: Damaged Goods

Posted by on January 20, 2013 under Front Page Posts, Sermons

Click Here For Audio

Click Here For Audio

When sin appears, the good creation of God is damaged.  But before we go any farther, let us set aside incorrect notions of sin that miss the point entirely . . .

Sin is Not . . .

1. Sex – God made male and female.  His commission was to be fruitful and multiply.  Historically, sex has been identified as “the original sin,” but this does not fit with biblical teaching.  Sex is part of God’s good creation, but like many other good things in creation sin sometimes corrupts, abuses, or distorts sex.  However, this is no reason to equate sex with sin.

2. Total Depravity –  The doctrine of Total Depravity is an example of a concept taken to an extreme.  The implications of this doctrine have gone beyond what anyone involved in its origin may have ever intended.  The sad result is that too many believers feel like the natural state of humanity is depravity, and the articulation of this tends to be rather hopeless and crushing.  In the Genesis story, humanity is not depraved.  Rather, the good humans are deceived.

3. Genetic Flaw –  Although rare, there are some who might contend that sin is a type of genetic flaw in our species.  This is more than likely a scientific retelling of the doctrine of original sin, which asserts that sin is passed on from our ancestors.  Nothing at all in the text or the story affirms that genetics has anything to do with sin.

4. A Foreign Substance in Creation –  There is no substance called “sin.”  It is not a new element within creation.  Rather, sin is a warping, distorting, or damage of the good creation.

“Leave God Out of This”

If we follow the conversation in Genesis 3, then we gain a better perspective on sin and just how damaging it is.  The serpent talks about God.  He does not talk to God or with God.  God is objectified.

Next, the boundaries that God established are restated as options.  Those boundaries are part of God’s creative genius.  When God separated things like night and day, land and sea, ocean and sky, he was creating and making the world good.  When those boundaries are crossed, damage occurs.  When eggs have been scrambled, they cannot be unscrambled.

Sin is, at a very basic level, a willfulness that causes damage to and within God’s creation.  Sin is our attempt to live in the world on our own terms rather than God’s terms.

"If you refuse to do what is right, then watch out!" - Gen. 4:7

“If you refuse to do what is right, then watch out!” – Gen. 4:7

“Sin Lies At The Door”

In Genesis 4, we are told yet more about the damaging nature of sin.  Sin’s destructive power goes beyond individual destruction, punishment, pain or judgment.  Sin attempts to dominate us.  God created humanity to have dominion over creation.  Sin is the counter to the good dominion.  Sin desires to consume us and ruin the godly dominion that shares in the creation project.

God recognizes the viral nature of sin and he warns Cain that sin is crouching at his door.  He warns Cain that if he will not exert some sort of rule over the sin, which may be nothing more than not “opening the door,” then the sin will consume him.

The sad outcome is that Cain does open the door to sin and the damage follows.  Because of Adam and Eve’s willfulness, there’s already a disruption in the relationship between God and humanity.  There is also a disruption in the relationship between male and female.  Shame enters into the equation.  The exile from the garden is the first sign of the disruption in humanity’s relationship with the rest of creation.

After Cain slays Abel, the earth is tainted by blood shed in anger.  Now the relationship between human beings is disrupted by violence and the need for justice.  Cain is concerned about retaliation.  All the world suffers due to violence and the threat of violence.

The Gospel of God’s Grace

God doesn’t back out or give up on humanity and creation.  He covers their shame (nakedness).  He covers over that which causes them to lie, to hide and feel shame.  God transforms the death-dealing situation with life-giving options.

The good news is that God believes in us.  He believes that we can overcome and do well.  If God did not believe in us, then why would he call us to do better and why would he call us to be holy?  That would be cruel if God were just saying these things when he knows it is impossible.  We certainly need God’s help, but God is still calling to us to join in the newness.

Picture4The good news is also the fact that sin cannot eliminate the goodness in creation.  It may cloud the goodness.  It may stain it or fracture it, but the goodness is still present.

We are damaged by sin, but not defined by sin.  We are called to overcome the sin.  God is empowering us to resume our rightful place in ruling over creation.  We are called to grow and mature.  We may become more like our king, Jesus Christ.



How To Read Your Bible

Posted by on January 16, 2013 under Curriculum, Resources

Follow this link to a chart of the Old Testament divided into three parts known as the Tanakh.  This is an acronym for the Torah, the Nevi’im, and the Ketuvim.  These terms translate to the teaching, the prophets, and the writings.

The middle column is an estimation of the chronology or the setting within each book.  The far right column is an approximate range of the authorship of the book.  This includes the authorship of the earliest material in the book and the latest form of editing and collecting that represents the structure of the book as we have it today.

TANAKH chart

Genesis 2 – Keepers of Paradise

Posted by on January 13, 2013 under Front Page Posts, Sermons

Click Here For Audio

Click Here For Audio

Genesis 2 and 3 go together.  Chapter 2 is the high and Chapter 3 is the low.  There are four movements across these two chapters.

  1. God creates man and places him in the garden
  2. God creates woman, thus beginning human community and the process of life – “be fruitful and multiply” is God’s agenda all through Genesis
  3. Man and woman break the boundaries of God’s world (his creation) and the relationships become distorted.  It starts to unravel
  4. There is judgment and expulsion from the garden.

Because we are so familiar with the ending, we tend to read chapter 3 into chapter 2.  We will be careful not to do that today.  Chapter 2 is important.  God’s vision of humanity living and thriving in his creation shines through the corruption of Chapter 3.  Let’s rediscover it.

The Tiller and Keeper of the Garden

  • God forms man and he comes to life when God breathes into him
  • That creative breath is a wind – like the wind that hovered over the waters of chaos in Chapter 1
  • Life is spiritual.  It should not be reduced to DNA or 98.6 degrees and breathing.
  • It is not enough to form the man and make him into a living being.  He needs purpose.
  • Man has a place in God’s creation.  A purpose and destiny.
  • Man has a vocation – a calling.  We are co-workers with God in the care of his thriving creation
  • A vocation is more than a means to earn money.  The goal of life is not riches and success.  Those are illusions and they may deny one’s calling.

Permission, Provision, Prohibition  (Humans in Relationship with God and Creation)

  • Adam’s work is not what earns his keep.  God provides all things.  His work is his place in the creation – and it is good when he fulfills his calling
  • There are all sorts of trees in the garden.  And God provides the water.  And there’s no fear of flooding.
  • There are two special trees in the garden – Life and Knowledge of Good and Evil
  • The trees represent boundaries and trust.
    • A place in the world – the man has freedom: he may eat from any tree.  He has authority over the creatures in the garden.
    • And there are boundaries – to keep him from dying.  This is no blind command; it is a warning for his protection.  All things are permissible – but this one thing is not beneficial.

The Companion and Helper (Humans in Relationship with One Another)

  • Something is lacking.  There is something incomplete.  Man is a living being, and he has purpose, but he is unique.  He is alone.  If the garden is going to thrive then the man needs a companion.
  • The search begins – naming and defining.  Here is the power of words.
    • “She is a part of me – We are different, yet the same.”  Here is the beginning of human community.  
    • Our culture can keep telling us how different men and women are and that Men can stay on Mars and Women can stay on Venus – but God’s story says that we are made of the same stuff.  By God’s design we are meant to be a community to overcome loneliness and to work together!
    • There is no shame, nothing hidden in the first human community.  It is good.

Gender Politics

There are politics surrounding gender.  Issues of equality, women’s rights, parental rights, role of women, (role of men?), family issues.  Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus!  Cultural consensus tells us that men and women cannot understand each other.  There is tension between men and women – in the workplace, in politics, at home, and maybe even in the church.  But the story of Genesis 2 gives us a much better vision:


  • The story of Genesis 2 reveals that God’s intent was for man and woman to complete each other.
  • There may be something to the sentimental notion that woman was made from man’s side.  Not to rule over him or to be ruled by him, but to rule beside him over all the creation that he and she were created to keep.
  • God’s vision: neither gender has “more rights” than the other, neither gender is more important.  In Genesis 2, there is unity.
    • Before we jump to 1 Tim. 2:11-15, we should note that Paul is commenting on Genesis 3, not Genesis 2.  Paul is concerned with the deception and the beginning of sinful corruption.  Paul is commenting on the current situation, not the intent of God.  Paul is commenting on the conditions, not the idea.
    • Man and Woman are both necessary for God’s thriving (fruitful and multiply) agenda.
    • Both man and woman are necessary for life.  Man and Woman give life – side by side.
    • In God’s original vision there is no shame between the Man and the Woman.
    • In marriage the two become one flesh – there is unity.


  • As God’s people, we strive for God’s vision – not our preferences, not our own biases or experiences..
  • We must hold up God’s intent for man and woman.  This includes man and woman in marriage as well as man and woman in community.
    • Relationships of unity in marriage.  Recognizing the unity and oneness.
    • Relationship without shame and with integrity.  (In 1 Cor. 6:14-16, Paul references God’s idea vision in Genesis 2)

God can be trusted!

    • God has boundaries for humanity, and he has a calling for humanity and he has given much freedom and permission. 
    • God says, “Work the garden with gladness and joy  – trust me.”
    • God says, “Enjoy your community, be thankful for everything you’ve been given – trust me.”
    • God says, “Beware of trusting in your so-called knowledge, it just might deceive you – even worse it may kill you!”

Genesis 1 – Mechanics or Meaning?

Posted by on January 6, 2013 under Front Page Posts, Sermons

Click Here For Audio

Genesis comes to as more than mere facts; it is good news.  It gives us our story and reveals the truth about who we are, what we were meant to do, and how we are supposed to live with one another.  It is good news because it reveals the truth about a creator God who never stops creating and even recreates anything in his creation that is warped and damaged.

But if we are going to hear Genesis as good news, we will need to overcome the fear of Genesis being reduced to a fairy tale or myth.  When the scientific method took hold of western civilization only a few centuries ago, the anxiety that Genesis would be dismissed as pre-scientific mythology to be discarded as superstition began.  So, for the last 200 to 300 years, well-intentioned Christian believers have attempted to reinforce Genesis with scientific research.  That research may be useful and interesting.  It is a worthy study for those who seek to connect science and theology.  However, it does very little to deepen our understanding of the meaning of Genesis.

Genesis is truth.  However, the definition of truth is not science.  Truth is conveyed through many means besides science.

Genesis or Jenga

When we are anxious about defending Genesis from critics, we often get too caught up in the battle and miss out on the meaning of Genesis altogether.  We end up dancing to the tune of the critics – that is, we play their game.  And the game they choose to play is Jenga.  Do you recall this game?  You stack up wooden blocks and each team tries to pull a block out from the stack and hope the stack does not fall over.  Critics however want to find the singular block of logic that will cause the whole of Genesis and Christian faith to unravel so that we will be left on the pile of biblical rubble and forced to concede that logic compels us to accept the enlightened embrace of atheism.  Thus, in a world without religion we will all live in harmony.

That’s fine.  If the critics choose to play Jenga, then let that be their business.  I am more concerned about what we do, and it is distressing that we keep trying to force the Jenga blocks back in place by any means necessary; especially when it isn’t necessary.   Why do I say that?

  1. The fort doesn’t need to be defended from science.  Science is not the enemy of faith.  Arrogance is the enemy of faith.  (I know this because I read Genesis).  There are many scientists who also have faith and that is not only true in this day and age, but has been true historically.  Christian belief is compatible with any number of scientific disciplines (engineering, architecture, mathematics, genetics, biology, chemistry, astronomy, medicine, etc.)
  2. Why do we feel it necessary to be on the defensive?  Why do we allow ourselves to get forced into the corner and answer questions that are rarely genuine?  Often our defensiveness (or even nastiness) is used as evidence of the invalidity of Christian faith.  It is a wicked game.

Story or Science

What if we let Genesis speak to us in its own voice?  Instead of asking Genesis questions like:

  • How did God create light on the first day and the sun on the fourth?
  • Was it six literal days?
  • Where did Cain get his wife?
  • How did the dinosaurs  fit on Noah’s Ark?

Instead, what if we let Genesis teach us to ask better questions?  What if we let the story shape us and tell us who we are before deciding that on our own and standing in judgment on the story of the Genesis?  Everyone has a story after all.  Whether you tell it or not, whether you realize it or not – you have a story, and that story influences us.  If you don’t know your story, other people will try and write it for you – and you may not like their story.

Genesis is our story and it does not begin with randomness or an indifferent universe, but it begins with the intentional effort of good Creator . . .

Mechanics or Meaning

Notice that God has no interest in detailing how he crafted the universe.  There are no chemical recipes or biologist’s notes.  There is not a specs page or technical manual.

God creates with words.  By giving names and speaking things into reality, God creates.  Words still have that power.  When you and I use labels on people it can affect them.  The attitude of our conversation can influence those around us.  God speaks and he does not rest until everything is good.

Before we get caught up in the mechanics, consider what this means.  Some are amazed that God can create everything in six days.  I wonder why it took him more than six seconds.  Why does God have to rest?  Does he get worn out?  No, this is not a mechanical process.  There is no effort on God’s part.  The significance is what matters.  Here is good news.

There are six days and a day of rest because God is creating time as well as space.  And God is limiting himself to our experience of time.  He is entering into the creation.  He desires to dwell within it and be a part of it.  God is not remote and indifferent.  He is not removed from his creation, rather he joins in with the creation.  He enjoys it.  Takes pleasure from it.  He rests within it.

And God has established an order.  Again, this is not about mechanics.  That’s what the Deists thought.  They believe that God created a perfect machine that could run without God’s input.  However, God is not a mechanic.  Genesis 1 says that God declares everything good.  The order is about purpose.  Everything has meaning.

King’s Kids Family Life Groups

Posted by on January 5, 2013 under King's Kids


Join us for this time of family, food and fellowship!

Check the King’s Kids’ Calendar (at bottom of the page) for the exact dates, but we usually meet on the first Sunday night of the month.


We need hosts!  All we ask is for a welcoming place, and we take care of the rest!  Sign up today at

Family Lines — January, 2013

Posted by on January 3, 2013 under Bulletins, Front Page Announcements

Family Lines — January 6, 2013

Family Lines — January 13, 2013

Family Lines — January 20, 2013

Family Lines — January 27, 2013