Wiser Lake Chapel Summer 2019 Lecture Series

Join us for our Summer 2019 Lecture Series: 
Reading Genesis 1 as Christian Scripture

The Chapel is presenting a four week summer lecture series by our new Pastor Nathan Chambers, who recently completed his doctorate in Old Testament through the University of Durham in England.  

See below for the schedule of lectures beginning Tuesday July 16. You can plan to attend one or as many as you are able. He will be focusing on “Reading Genesis 1 as part of the Christian Scriptures”, beginning Tuesday, July 16.  

Lectures begin at 7 PM but join us for potluck at 6:15 – bring a hot dish or side dish/dessert to share.  Childcare for those 6 and under will be provided.

Week 1 (July 16)—Contexts and Questions

We set the stage by asking about contexts and questions for reading. First, the questions we put to a text affect our reading. Consider, for example, how we might read Genesis 1 differently if our starting question is ‘How does this text form me for Christian life?’ instead of ‘How old is the world?’ Second, contexts (both the text’s and ours) influence how we read. After looking at various questions and contexts for reading Genesis 1, it is proposed that for the following three sessions, we read Genesis 1 in the context of the Christian canon, asking ‘How does this text function as Christian Scripture?’

Week 2 (July 23)—Maker of Heaven & Earth

We will begin by looking at how the Christian tradition talks about God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and God’s relationship to the world (simultaneously transcending and present to the created order). We then turn to read Genesis 1 in light of these concerns, looking at how this context focuses our attention on specific details of the text. We will especially ask, ‘Who is God according to Genesis 1?’

Week 3 (July 30)—The World as Creation

We will begin by considering some of the classic ways the Christian tradition describes the created order: contingent, dependent, and yet very good. Then we will again read Genesis 1 together in light of these classic descriptions, asking ‘How does Genesis 1 describe the world as creation?’

Week 4 (August 6)—Living as Creatures

This week, our starting point is the Christian claim that humans are made in the image of God. We then ask ‘What does it mean to live as a creature?’ With these concerns in mind, we turn to Genesis 1-3 and consider how it depicts the human condition. This leads to both reflections on our own identity as creatures and to the implications for how we should relate to other creatures, human and non-human.

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Ascension Day 2019

THE ASCENSION OF CHRIST  by Nick Laninga

Thursday May 30th marks Ascension Day the fortieth day of Easter. It would be good to reflect on the importance of this day with some appropriate text, verse and song as Christ returned to heaven. “The Day He was taken up” “And He led them as far as Bethany, and He lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven” [Luke 24: 50-51].

W.H. Griffith Thomas rightly claims that the ascension is not only a great historical fact of the New Testament, but a great factor in the life of Christ and Christians, since it marked the consummation of His redemptive work. What a fitting climax was expressed when He ascended not a single promise was unfulfilled. As J Oswald Sanders states “ He left His own in the very act of blessing. For this He had come, and blessing He departed, not as a condemning judge but as a compassionate friend and High Priest, with hands outstretched.”

Golden harps are sounding, Angel voices sing, Pearly gates are opened, Opened for the King;

Christ, the King of glory, Jesus, King of love Is gone up in triumph To His throne above.

F.R. HAVERGAL. [Author of “Take my life and let it be.”

Christ’s redemptive work is complete—the incarnation, crucifixion, and the ascension was a complete and final demonstration that His atonement had forever solved the problem of man’s sin.

If the Christ who had died had stopped at the cross, His work had been incomplete,

If the Christ that was buried had stayed in the tomb, He had only known defeat.

But the way of the cross never stops at the cross, and the way of the tomb leads on

To victorious grace in the heavenly place where the risen Lord has gone.

Poem by ANNIE JOHNSON FLINT. [Author of “He giveth more grace”]

The gift of the Holy Spirit was dependent on His glorification.”The Holy Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified,” was John’s comment on the promise of the Spirit.John7:39.

Now the comforter has come and abides with us.

The Lord ascendeth up on high, The Lord hath triumphed gloriously,

In power and might excelling; The grave and hell are captive led, Lo He returns, our glorious Head, To His eternal dwelling.

The heavens with joy receive their LORD, By saints, by angel hosts adored; O day of exultation!

O earth, adore thy glorious King! His rising, His ascension sing with grateful adoration.

Our great High Priest has gone before, Now on His church His grace to pour,

And still His love He giveth; O may our hearts to Him ascend, may all within us upward tend

To Him who ever liveth.  ARTHUR TOZER RUSSEL.

“ Why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who was taken from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven. MARANATHA !!! 

Please read song 291 in the Trinity Hymnal” SEE, THE CONQUEROR MOUNTS  INTRIUMPH”

Also read Psalm 24  And listen to the youtube song “The triumphal Ascension of Christ” the Lansing tune of Ye Gates, Lift your Heads, the Glad summons Obey. P.R.C. in America choir and sing along.

Have a blessed Ascension Day. The Laninga’s Nick & Diana

He is Eastered in Us

Hear the bells ringing
They’re singing that you can be born again
Hear the bells ringing
They’re singing Christ is risen from the dead

The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah

Hear the bells ringing
They’re singing that you can be healed right now
Hear the bells ringing, they’re singing
Christ, He will reveal it now

The angels, they all surround us
And they are ministering Jesus’ power
Quickly now, reach out and receive it
For this could be your glorious hour

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah, hallelujah

The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
Hallelujah
~Keith Green

“Let Him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-cresseted east.”
― Gerard Manley Hopkins

Too often, the bright light of Easter morning dims over time
as we return to our daily routines.
In mere days,
the humdrum replaces the extraordinary,
tragedy overcomes festivity,
darkness overwhelms dawn.

The world encourages this,
we don’t muster enough resistance.
we climb right back into the tomb of our sin,
move the huge stone securely back in place,
and lie there waiting for rot to settle in.

We are not alone. We have plenty of company with us behind the stone.

The stone is pushed aside,
the burden shouldered,
the debt completely paid.

How can we allow the light to dim?

He is risen.

We are eastered beyond imagining.

Holy Saturday

by Ben Gibson

“Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to the decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.”
– Luke 23:50-54

Do not pass Holy Saturday without a second thought.

What did Mary and the disciples feel when Jesus was on the cross? What did Joseph of Arimathea feel as he peeled the bloodied and lifeless corpse down from the tree? It could not have been deep feelings of gratitude. They were not sitting around thinking: ‘Golly, I sure feel justified now. I’m so glad Jesus just took care of my sins and such.’

Instead there was a deep and real despair, along with a re-entering into the daily routine. Joseph knew the Sabbath was about to start and he had to get Jesus down and placed in the tomb before it did or else he would be ceremonially unclean. Had he or the disciples known what was going to happen, the Resurrection on the third day would not have been nearly as glorious.

Lament and complaint to God is a needed and natural response. To simply say it will all get better is to ignore the reality of sin and pain that we know from experience are the realities we face on a daily basis.

So do not pass Holy Saturday without a second thought.

Take time to mourn. Take time to lament. Give yourself the time and space to sit in discomfort. The disciples took time to be in that space. Christ himself took time to dwell in that space. The pain and sin we face are real. Take time to let that sink in before the coming morn establishes a new reality.


Considering the Names of Jesus: Man of Sorrows

by Hosanna Lovegren

“He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.” Isaiah 53:3

A homeless Stranger amongst us came,
To this land of death and mourning;
He walked in a path of sorrow and shame
Through insult and hate and scorning,

A man of sorrows, of toil and tears,
An outcast man and lonely;
But he looked at me and through endless years,
Him must I love, him only.

+++May Whittle Moody, 1916

I came across this little poem recently while reading a book about Lilias Trotter. I tried to find it online and found that it’s really only the first verse of a hymn which was probably sung at Dwight Moody’s gatherings in the early part of the 20th century.  Lilias Trotter attended these gatherings and was deeply affected by them. It must have been songs and thoughts like these which caused her to make the unlikely decision to turn her back on an artistic career for the very long and unglamorous life that she had ministering to Muslims in Africa.   

This week we too reflect on such things and the meaning they have for us. We remember that the one who saved us and loved us once walked a lonely and excruciating road to the cross, “through insult and hate and scorning.” With loud cries and tears, he cried out to his father in heaven and his father heard him because of his “reverent submission.” He was saved out of the depths of death, and became  “the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:7-9)

Man of sorrows, what a name.

As May Moody wrote so long ago, Him must I love, him only.

Considering the Names of Jesus: Bridegroom

by Noa Lovegren

            Weddings are one of the most wonderful events. Just the idea of having two people love each other so much that they want to share life together is a wonderful thing. But just think about the event itself–the beautiful wedding dress, the lovely bride, and the dashing groom. And the delicious feast at the end. The joyful attitude of a wedding is intoxicating.

              As much fun as earthly weddings are, Jesus promises that His wedding feast will be the best. Why? For He is the Bridegroom and His Church is the bride. What is the wedding dress? The church is clothed in Christ’s righteousness. And to top it all off: this wedding feast will take place in Heaven.

             Jesus loved His church so much, He shared life with her. And he promises the wedding feast will be the best day of our lives, for there we will have no sin. In Revelation it says, “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”

            Jesus is the Bridegroom. And while we wait for His return, He gave us a love letter, His Word, that we might be reminded of Him daily. He has promised His bride (the Church) life with Him forever.  And Jesus never breaks His promises. This wedding feast will come to pass.

Considering the Names of Jesus: Shiloh

by Ben Gibson

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” Genesis 49:10

On Sunday, April 6th, 1862 the Union soldiers were still cooking their breakfasts when they heard shots in the distance. Camped out near Shiloh Meeting House, the open field was only supposed to serve as a pit stop on the trek down to the Confederate rail center in Corinth, Mississippi. However, a patrol of Union troops stumbled upon 35,000 Confederate soldiers on the outskirts of the Union camp and one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War ensued. With over 100,000 troops engaged and over 20,000 casualties by the end of the fighting, the Battle at Shiloh was the bloodiest occurrence on American soil up to that point in the country’s history.

At the center of all the fighting stood the small Shiloh Meeting House. The Messianic use of Shiloh, meaning “he to whom it belongs,” is found only once in Scripture, in Jacob’s blessing to his sons in Genesis 49. While Shiloh was also a town in Ephraim, the term is alone used with prophetic connotation by Jacob. In blessing his son Judah, Jacob declares that Judah’s tribe will hold the scepter until “he to whom it belongs” comes.

Christ, we know now, is the one to whom it belongs.

But it is not just the scepter that is Christ’s. We know from Colossians that all the world was created in and through him. Christ is Shiloh, he to whom it all belongs. I am often left wondering, however, whether Christ would still claim it? In a world where the events, such as the one at Shiloh, Tennessee, have become common place, why would a perfect God choose acknowledge ownership over such a messy reality?

In the incarnation, we are given the answer. Christ, in the incarnation, comes and shows, in taking on human flesh and human nature, in taking on our sin through his own suffering and death, that it all belongs to him.

In the incarnation, Christ claimed every moment from Jacob’s death to a spring morning in Tennessee and beyond. In the incarnation, God, in Christ, surveys all of creation and declares “…this is mine.”

Shiloh Battlefield Tennessee