Posts Tagged 'family'

Ruth: The Rest of the Story

Ruth: The Rest of the Story Sermon Audio Here

Ruth 4:9-12

Ever wonder what the point is of the “Biblical Begats”? What do all those lists of ancestors teach us? The main lesson I see in them is that God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things… and there’s always a story behind what God is doing in those lives.

Scriptural Story Shapes Us

As We Share With Our Community ~ Ruth 4:1-12

  • 1-8 Boaz negotiates on Ruth’s behalf; he is granted right of redemption for Ruth
  • 9-10 Boaz shares his commitment with the community
  • 11-12 Community blesses Boaz for his commitment
    • SO WHAT? Untold Stories don’t change anyone; there is power in shared story to change lives

As We Carry Out Our Commitment ~ Ruth 4:13-22

  • 13-16 God blesses the family; Naomi is provided for
  • 17-22 commitment has long term consequences: Boaz becomes great-grandfather of King David
    • SO WHAT? Undone Commitment is merely intention; intention alone doesn’t change anything; we must choose (again and again) to put our commitments into action

Luke 1:67-75: reference that Jesus was the answer to the promise for the House of David – which came through Ruth. Jesus is the Point of the Story of God, the reason which gives meaning to our lives. God committed Jesus for our sake; we respond to His call for God’s glory.

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Ruth: Sudden Redemption

Ruth: Sudden Redemption Sermon Audio Here

Ruth 3:7-13

Have you ever found yourself In over your head, with no idea how you’re going to get help? Ruth did, and shows us a great example of what we can do…

How Can God’s People Navigate Their Need?

Ruth Takes a Risk ~ Ruth 3:1-8

  • v1-6 summary: Naomi knows Boaz is extended family; he might be persuaded to care for Ruth
  • v7 teaching: uncovered his feet (legs);
  • Ruth puts herself in a situation to demonstrate her need
  • v8 he wakes up; legs are cold? Boaz responds to situation

Ruth Dares to Request ~ Ruth 3:9-11

  • v9 “your servant” (‘AMAH’, Jewish, instead of ‘foreigner’ 2:10);
  • ~ “spread your garment” (in 2:12 for God’s refuge);
  • ~ “kinsman-redeemer” (re: transfer of LAND, to keep in family)
  • Ruth boldly asks to be protected and cared for
  • v10/11 Boaz sees her request to be “covered” as a kindness;
  • she’s asking on behalf of Naomi as well as herself;
    Ruth’s request reflects her unselfish motives

Boaz Bargains for Ruth’s Benefit ~ Ruth 3:12-13

  • v12 Boaz knows there’s someone with a closer claim on Naomi’s husband’s land; Boaz doesn’t take advantage
  • v13 I’ll make sure you’re covered, one way or another; Boaz promises Ruth she’ll be cared for

SO WHAT? When we find ourselves in difficulty, what can we do? Like Ruth, we can take a risk by showing we’re in need. Like Ruth, we can dare to ask for help instead of trying to go it alone. And when faced with a needy situation, like Boaz, we can step up and work to find solutions… and sometimes, we ARE the solution ourselves.

Ruth: Rewarded in Refuge

Ruth: Rewarded in Refuge ~ no Sermon Audio available

Ruth 2:8-16

How is Ruth rewarded in the midst of dire circumstances? Through the actions of a kinsman-redeemer, she is supported and sustained. Learning how Ruth receives these rewards can help us be better receivers ourselves.

To Receive from a Redeemer,

Recognize His Right To Support – Ruth 2:8-11

  • summary of 1-7: introduction of Boaz, relative of Naomi’s husband – “a man of standing”
  • v8 Boaz offers protection
  • v9 Boaz offers provision
  • v10/11 When Ruth asks why, Boaz offers understanding

Believe in His Ability To Bless – Ruth 2:12-16

  • v12 Boaz offers blessing (“May the Lord…” )
  • v13 Boaz offers comfort
  • v14 Boaz offers sustenance
  • v15/16 Boaz offers a covering (for her inexperience)

The challenge when reading narrative is to assume that God is bound to do the same things for us that He has done for others in the text. Our goal: not to focus on our circumstances, which always change; rather,to focus on God’s faithfulness, which does not change.

Think of what Jesus, our Redeemer has done for us: He protects us from a lost eternity; He provides everything we need for spiritual growth; He understands our weakness and doesn’t hold it against us; He blesses us with His Word; He comforts us with the Holy Spirit; He sustains us by His loving will; and He covers us with His own blood to mark us as His own.

Ruth: Unexpected Loyalty

Ruth: Unexpected Loyalty Sermon Audio Here

Ruth 1:6-14

For the next four weeks, we’ll be looking at the small book of Ruth. What is it about this woman that still speaks to us today, especially in times of transient love and temporary relationships?

What Does It Mean To Join A Family?

Concern Is Demonstrated – Ruth 1:1-15

  • v1-5 setup of the book: Jewish family moves to Moab because of famine; all the men die, women are stuck
  • v6-9 Naomi (Mom) decides to move back to Judah, but tells her daughters-in-law to remarry locally and survive
  • v10-12 Mom insists they leave her and go back home in Moab to live
  • v11-13 Naomi points out that Jewish law will not provide for them; they need to remarry to survive
  • v14-15 Orpah agrees and leaves; Ruth will not leave Naomi.

Loyalty Is Declared – Ruth 1:16-18

  • v16 Ruth’s declaration of loyalty, part 1:
    • going: willingness to join in the unknown
    • staying: choosing to build life together
    • community: recognition of belonging together
    • faith: reverence for religious relationship
  • v17 Ruth’s declaration of loyalty, part 2:
    • death: lifelong commitment to be shown
    • covenant: inclusion of God’s standards

The close of the chapter shows Naomi changing her name to Mara, because she’s bitter about what has happened to her and her family. And yet, by her side is Ruth, willing to live out her days with the family she’s joined, in good times and in hard times. This is our call as well: to show a watching world what faithfulness and loyalty looks like.

The Gospel Challenge ~ Get Your House In Order

The Gospel Challenge ~ Get Your House In Order Sermon Audio Here


Mark 3:20-35

There is a Greek word often associated with the Gospel: kergyma – it means “to proclaim”. It has come to stand for the core or the foundation of the Gospel. This sermon begins a new series looking at the core components of the Gospel, as Jesus demonstrated in the book of Mark.

Jesus teaches the Danger and the Demand of the Gospel

The Danger: Misunderstanding of Mission
Mark 3:20-27

  • v20/21 confusion of family
  • v22/23 answer your critics
  • v24/26 look for illogic
  • v27 remind about the mission

The Demand: Membership in the Mission
Mark 3:28-35

  • v28/30 blasphemy=denial of God
  • v31/33 fitness for faith family
  • v34/35 calling eclipses connection

The Cost of the Call is Jesus First, Christ in Command. He is LORD; we don’t get to dictate terms; that’s HIS job.

Infant Baptism Scripture

baptismal font We celebrated the baptism of a beautiful little girl yesterday. I was asked by a church member for the Biblical support for this particular action, and I really enjoyed the resulting Bible study. I’m posting these verses here in case anyone else would be interested in the fruits of that request.

Matthew 28:19-20 – Jesus talks about the need to make disciples, not converts
Ephesians 6:1-4 – And here’s the reminder that children are to be included in this process of discipleship (esp. verse 4)
Acts 16:15 – Baptism applied to members of a household (you’ll note that ages are simply not mentioned)
Galatians 3:29 – Here’s the New Testament idea of the Abrahamic Covenant – note especially the last phrase, “heirs according to promise”.
Here are the references for parts of the Abrahamic covenant:
Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-7; 17:1-14 – made between God and Abraham
Genesis 26:1-5, 23-24 – includes Issac, Abraham’s son
Genesis 28:10-15; cf. 48:15-16; 50:24 – includes Jacob, Abraham’s grandson
Exodus 2:24; 6:2-8 – includes all of Israel, descendants of Abraham
Genesis 17:9-14 – signs that accompanied biblical covenant
– please notice that the sign includes children – babies are circumcised before they understand being brought under the covenant

We are not justified by the covenant of works, but by the covenant of grace. And since the covenant of grace has fulfilled the requirements of the covenant of works, a new sign to reflect the new covenant is appropriate. That sign is baptism.
Acts 8:12 – notice both men and women participate in the new sign of the new covenant
Colossians 2:11-12 – notice that baptism has REPLACED circumcision THROUGH Christ (the bridge between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace)
Galatians 3:7 – The promise that God made to Abraham in the covenant is still in effect; Christians are, by faith, still ‘children of Abraham’

Since that covenant is still working (Romans 9:8) but its sign has been changed from circumcision to baptism (Colossians 2:11-12), it is reasonable to understand that children are included in that covenant of grace (Acts 16:15). If children are included, then children are able to be baptized.

Since parental faith was exercised in the Abrahamic covenant on behalf of children (Genesis 17), it is reasonable for parental faith to apply in the new covenant, since faith by the father is counted to the children (Romans 4:11).

Consider all of the “household belief” Scriptures in the book of Acts:
Acts: 1:14; 3:4; 4:27; 5:1; 10:2; 14:13; 15:22; 21:5

I hope this blesses you as much as it blessed me!
KFJ – Ed

A New Chapter Begins…

Dear Church Family,

It is with mixed emotions that I submit my resignation as your Director of Youth and Children’s Ministries. God has led me to an opportunity to serve as the Senior Pastor of Warden Community Church in Warden, Washington. My last Sunday with you all will be the last Sunday in April, and my last day in the church office will be April 30. I will be ordained on the 15th of May at the Warden church, and begin my ministry there on May 16th.

Words are hard to come by to fully describe the joy, pleasure and blessing that serving with this wonderful church family has been for me and my family. It has been an incredible joy to help lead the Youth and Children’s Ministries here at First Presbyterian Church of Snohomish. I will truly miss the children, the teens and their families as I leave behind the challenges and joys of being a youth pastor and move into new challenges as a senior pastor.

First Presbyterian Church has been an incredible blessing to me and my family. God has used this church in our lives, and I feel especially encouraged after hearing so many of your comments to me personally whenever I preach.

I can’t begin to thank Pastors Ann and Charlie enough for their collegial spirit, leadership, love and guidance over the last four years. First Presbyterian Church is truly blessed to have them as Pastors – I pray that you will never take them for granted and will continue to lift up them both in prayer daily. In addition to our pastors, Snohomish is blessed with a wonderful group of servants who serve in so many capacities. It has been my pleasure to serve with them, to be challenged by them and to rejoice with them.

I simply cannot say “thank you” enough to you all for your love, prayers, support, encouragement and willingness to follow where God led us over the last four years. I have no doubt that God will continue to do incredible things in the lives of our children and youth. I look forward to hearing of how these students will continue to live as grace-filled people as a part of the Body of Christ.

We will continue to pray for our Snohomish church family and ask that you continue to pray for us as we all seek to honor the Lord with our lives.

In His Service,
Ed Backell

(This was the resignation letter I have just submitted to the church in Snohomish. Special thanks to Jeff Wells, whose resignation letter served as a template when I could not find the words.)

Pastor Ed Backell

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