The Cross and the Sea 5 Smoking Firepots

The Cross and the Sea

Journey – more Christ-like God.


Humanity has grown in our understanding of how good God has always been.

If you read bible w/right eyes, you can see our understanding of God evolve.

  • Silly guesses – sea – creatures, etc.
  • Cross – set thinking straight.

Week 1: How humanity has grown in our understanding of how good God has always been. We made some silly guesses – the sea, sea creatures, etc. – But then we encountered the cross and that set our thinking straight.

No longer people – sea – cross.

Brian Zahnd – God is like Jesus. God has always been like Jesus. There has never been a time when God was not like Jesus. We have not always known what God is like – but now we do.

Reason Important : Bible – growing understanding.


outside of time/place – monster God.


Cruciform THEOLOGY – Everything else we understand about God comes under (NOT NEXT TO) Jesus on the cross.

Stops us from doing what is so common for humanity: Using the bible to make a God that reflects ourselves.

Week 2: How we can use the bible to make a God that reflects ourselves. – Angry, political – Cruciform THEOLOGY – All ideas about God come undernearth (not next to) Jesus on the cross. So when we hear opinions about the end times, God’s wrath, etc etc etc, all those opinions are counted a less true than Christ on the Cross.

The bible actually confirms this.

Hebrews 8 – Paul says when Jesus came, the old covenant (a huge portion of the OT) was rendered ‘obsolete’.

Section A Satanism & D&D


Ouija boards – Bloody Mary – D&D




Character – Warrior, Rouge, Wizard

Pieces (Lego)




Every adventure contains its own set of victory conditions. Sometimes it’s as simple as surviving the dungeon and escaping, or defeating the boss villain at the heart of the fortress of evil. Other times, you might have a specific goal to accomplish (take the evil ring and toss it in the volcano) or a specific monster to beat. If you achieve the objective, the group wins.

D&D is a cooperative game, not a competitive one. In other words, you don’t compete against the other players and you don’t win by beating them.

The common denominator in every victory is “fun.” If you and the other players have fun, everyone wins at D&D.



Born Oct 1, 1947 – Attended University of Minnesota before finding his passion as a board game designer.

He married Frankie Ann Morneau in 1984; they had one daughter, Malia, and two grandchildren.

Dave Arneson died on April 7, 2009, after battling cancer for two years. According to his daughter, Malia, “The biggest thing about my dad’s world is he wanted people to have fun in life … I think we get distracted by the everyday things you have to do in life and we forget to enjoy life and have fun.”


Born July 27, 1938 in Chicago within a few blocks of Wrigley Field. Due to Gary being violently bullied as a small boy his family moved to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Gary was a lover of games. And in 1973, founded TSR, Inc. a board game publishing company.

Gary described himself as a Christian, but for much of his life, hid his faith, citing fears that he would hurt the reputation of Christianity because of the mysterious moral panic that D&D had caused in the Christian community.

Gary later revealed that biblical stories a echoed in many D&D concepts. Many D&D spells are copies of biblical miracles. For example, almost all of Elisha’s miracles find their way into D&D, as well as the ‘tongues’ spell which lets a character understand unknown languages.

After suffering multiple strokes in 2004, Gary was diagnosed with an inoperable abdominal aortic aneurysm and died the morning of March 4, 2008, at his home in Lake Geneva at age 69.

In one of his last interviews: “I would like the world to remember me as the guy who really enjoyed playing games and sharing his knowledge and his fun pastimes with everybody else.”


Sometimes our assumptions are stupid.

Sometimes the things we used to believe are crazy and horrible.

Scary to question

Can’t live our Christian lives from a place of fear

Growing / Maturing / Learning

Hopefully I can be someone in your life who encourages the art of ‘Critical thinking’

Section B Smoking firepots

When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces… – (Genesis 15:17)


1984 light blue Volvo station wagon

Phone –


Sweet ‘Smart’ car.

Show up

Asks to drive it

What do you do? Call Police


They find it


When questioned: “I assumed it was fine b/c that nice man gave me they keys to his car.”

But he didn’t give me the money for the car!

I’ve never heard of that. That’s a great idea.

Weird b/c understand how business works

If you fail to do your part: consequences

  • Contracts
  • Forms
  • Sign when using credit card
  • Buying houses
  • Trading Horses
  • Funyons @ gas station

Two parties agree: I’ll give you twenty six dollars a year, you give me twelve issues of Horse And Hound.

It works b/c – law enforcement and justice system.

Don’t pay 4 funyons: call police


4,000 years earlier, who did you call when someone didn’t uphold their end of the deal?

Before law enforcement, insurance, car titles, wireless transfers, cashiers checks and 911 numbers – how did people ever trust each other to uphold their end of the deal?

How did business ever get done if there was no one to call?

I’ve simplified, but “covenant” Basically an oath. To do your part.


  1. Get an animal (cow, ram, goat, dove.)
  2. Chop it in half (yup)
  3. Lay out the halves forming an isle.
  4. Stand side by side & state that you’re going to uphold

(You: I will provide one 1984 light blue Volvo Station Wagon that makes an ominous rattling noise over 63mph. Roger: I will pay $1743 dollars for the privilege of owning such a majestic vehicle.)

  1. You’d walk between the animal halves and said something like “May I become like these animals if I fail to uphold my end of the covenant.”


Culture w/o law enforcement, this is what they had.

BTW: Phrase “cut a deal”

Genesis 15

God – huge promises to Abraham – tribe coming from his offspring. New kind of tribe.

Abraham: “What can you give me since I remain childless…?”

(Kicks bible into gear. God “father of a nation” – no kids for long time.)

God takes him outside – look at the stars, “so shall your offspring be” – AKA Lots of kids.

“Abraham believes the Lord and he credited it to him as righteousness.”

In ancient world: God’s were angry. This story is a God who is planning good.

God “I’m going to give you some land.”

“How can I know I’ll get this land?”

“So the LORD said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram.” – (Genesis 15:9)

Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other. (Genesis 15:10)

God doesn’t tell him. Already knows. Cutting a deal.

While setting up – sun sets – in the dark

“…a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.” – (Genesis 15:17)

God reaffirms promises & story ends.


Wait, what? That’s the end of that story? Yup.

What’s the deal with the smoking firepot? Sign of the presence of God.

So God passes through the animals alone? Yes.

But if God and Abraham are making a covenant, why doesn’t Abraham pass through the animals? Wasn’t that how you cut a deal-BOTH parties agreed to do their part? Yes. But this story, God only one.

So what’s the point? God commits to upholding both ends of the deal. Even if Abraham fails to do his part, God will still be faithful to him.

Early on – pointing to God’s faithfulness

Noahic (No-Aye-Ic) Covenant

with Noah

Not dependent on his actions

The story:

  • Starts – wicked
  • Ends Kindness not dependent

Davidic covenant

Messiah would come through his line. – Infidelity.

Preacher – two people up – “Then what makes you think God is returning for an unfaithful bride?”

“The bible?”

Book of Hosea – “God is willing to maintain a relationship even when His spouse has become a vulgar prostitute.”


Woman caught in adultery – Jesus – passes – justice – grace.

The prodigal son

Jesus dying for your sins.

His faithfulness despite our unfaithfulness is the point.

And one of the principles we see from the Old Testament is that people cannot maintain a covenant relationship with God on our own. We’re eventually unfaithful. Always.

Summary of scripture:

Despite the continued unfaithfulness of His people, the one true God remains faithful, even unto death, and rescues us all.

(Slow down)

If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is. (2 Timothy 2:13)

New birth: Receiving his faithfulness – your faithfulness.

Close communion

Returning to the feet of Jesus. Laying down our inadequacy, recieving His forgiveness.

(Pass out.)

Jesus – told us.

Tonight: Talked about God’s faithfulness despite our unfaithfulness.

There are people who are bound by their past. – Mistakes – Unfaithfulness. –

Receive his forgiveness and move on.

1 minute.

An Old ‘Invitation’ to the communion Table. – Eucharist.

This is the Table, not of the church, but of the Lord.

It is made ready for those who love Him and for those who want to love Him more.

So come,

You who have much faith and you who have little,

You who have been here often and you who have not been here long,

You who have tried to follow and you who have failed.

Come, because it is the Lord who invites you.

It is His will that those who want Him should meet Him here.

Come to the Table.

Let’s take communion together