BRANDON PAUL HANSON
Brandon is husband to Becky, father to Hadassah, Delaney, and Athanasius "Thane." He served in the U.S. Army as an infantryman for seven years, from 2001-2008. In 2004, and again in 2007, he was mobilized for overseas deployments to combat zones in Afghanistan and Kosovo. He has served in childrens and youth ministry, jail outreach, and as an officer on boards for evangelism and missions. Modern folk, Indian Pale Ales, Scotch, Cigars and good conversation are some of Brandon's favorite vices. For everything else, there's Jesus' substitutionary life, death, and ressurection for us. None of us deserve it, but we are fogiven. This is most certainly true.
I just visited a dying woman. When I arrived, she was sleeping so deeply that she had to be gently shaken awake. It took some persistence. She was quite exhausted. Dying must be hard work. As soon as she had shaken off her sleep she was bright, alert, and clear.
He looked me straight in the eye and said these words, almost in a challenging way, “I hate God. I do. I try to love and obey Him, yet whenever I’m alone, when my mind has a chance to think, it constantly and consistently points me to the fact that I am not innocent of sinning against God.
Appealing to our religion to push our political and social sensibilities is not what Jesus died for. And when we make it about that, it becomes more exclusive than the very inclusive Gospel. It sets up dividing lines that God never put there; boundaries that He sent His Son to break, walls that were torn down in the death of Christ.
The danger was not necessarily inside the city. Nor was it from an obvious source. Outside the walls of Thyatira, lay a small shrine of white stone. Neither the Imperial Cult, nor the cults of the Pantheon held great sway in Thyatira.
Pergamum was huge. Think New York. Think Las Vegas. Think of London. If the other cities had their attractions, Pergamum was the place to be just because, well… it was the place to be. They may not have been the greatest at any one thing, but they had it all.
You’ve likely seen it yourself or at least heard of it happening. I recall hearing testimony after testimony from Christians who had been convicts, gang members, drug addicts, alcoholics, perverts, deviants, anarchists, extortioners, and scam artists. And Jesus saved all of them.
When I was a young boy I was constantly trying to assert my superiority over my siblings. I had to be the best at everything, and it was easy to believe I was the best. I was the oldest of seven brothers and a sister. Naturally, I was faster, stronger, and more coordinated than the rest of them.
Many say Balaam was a prophet, but this was not so. Balaam was no prophet. At least, not a prophet of Yahweh. He was definitely a false prophet, a prophet for hire. He was a thief and a trickster who meddled with powers beyond his comprehension. For lack of a better term, he was a warlock or sorcerer.
Jesus has a mighty weapon which is the weapon of His warfare, the sword of His mouth, the very Word of God. He is coming soon and will bring one, final, holy war down upon all they who follow after the teaching of Balaam and the Nicolaitans. Will you be among the slain?
In the movie, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Jedi Master Yoda recounts the ancient Jedi teaching before a fearful Anakin, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Even in secular culture, we recognize cause-and-effect patterns which begin with something small, leading to a domino effect of increasingly more dire actions and reactions.
John begins transcribing this first letter from Jesus to the Church of Ephesus, the Ephesians, his home congregation. In this letter, out of all seven letters, is contained the highest praise and the lightest rebuke. Theirs also is the most magnificent image of the promise as they continue in faith in the finished work of Christ
My email was once hacked and read, then used to send emails to contacts in my address book. It was not done by some malicious, darknet hacker or scammer trying to rip friends and family off. It was far more innocent, at least in intention. It was done by someone close to me, someone I knew.
Finally, we draw near the end of this three-part article on Revelation 1:10-20. We have also nearly made it to the end of chapter 1 of Revelation. And we’re right back where we started: at the end of the beginning. This is not the last time we will be here.
The white hair of Jesus’ head teaches us that the Gospel is an ancient mystery. It is the foolishness of God which is wiser than the wisdom of men. And contrary to how we think of white hair today, it does not signify age in the sense of weakness, but in the sense of an ancient and formidable strength.
John had heard Jesus’ voice countless times and seen Him every day over the course of three years, and yet nothing could have prepared him for what he was about to witness. As he turns, the sight of the resurrected and exalted Christ nearly kills him.
We’re going to take a little bit of time going through John’s description of the resurrected and exalted Jesus and its significance. So we’re really just setting the scene here. John has already told us in verse nine that he is exiled on the island Patmos. He is most likely working in the Imperial mines there, day in and day out.
We can pretend that we’re not sinful all day long. But coming face to face with the thrice holy God clears things up in a hurry. Suddenly, there is no place left to hide, no way to disguise our sin, no device or scheme left to excuse us.
To see God would actually consume you in your current state. Entirely. There would be nothing left. “No one can see God and live.” This was their tradition. It was utterly impossible to see God. For if one did, they were dead. And so how can one see God and yet live? They could not conceive of a way..
What might we say is the significance of John addressing Revelation to the seven churches that are in Asia? It does two things. First, it grounds it in reality. This gives the book credibility as attested to by the naming of actual places and actual churches residing in those places.
John ends the prologue of Revelation in verse three with a three-part blessing. The blessing is proclaimed on the one who reads, those who hear, and who keep what is written. What John is writing here must be interpreted within the context of the community of faith.
It’s the First Century, the early days of the of the Post-Pentecost Church. Something is in the air. There is change on the wind. You can feel it like electricity, clinging to you, causing the hair on your arm to stand up. It has been 50-60 years since the Spirit fell on the apostles and disciples in that upper room.
It may seem like a strange place to begin: the end of the beginning. But the pattern of Revelation is one of continually circling back to the beginning, proceeding to the end, and repeating the process again from a different perspective. At the center of it all is the comforting and confident message that Jesus reigns.
So there’s this famous quote that you may have heard in one form or another around the interwebs. I think I finally found the original quote and who said it (but let me know if you think I’m mistaken): “The Christian army is the only army that shoots and buries its wounded.” -Dr. Freddie Gage
What if I told you that Paul means exactly what it sounds like he’s saying? What if I told you that Paul was in fact saying that “she” [Eve] and “they” [all women] are in fact saved through childbearing? What if I told you that it worked like a math problem?