Genesis 28: 10-19

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Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Proper 11A (2017)

    by Doug Bratt
    In his own inimitable and memorable style, Frederick Beuchner (Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who’s Who, Harper & Row, 1979) describes Jacob’s dream. He notes, “the words God spoke in the dream were not the chewing-out you might have expected, but something altogether different … It wasn’t Holy Hell that God gave him … but Holy Heaven, not to mention the marvelous lesson thrown in for good measure. The lesson was, needless to say, that even for a dyed-in-the-wool, double-barreled con artist like Jacob there are a few things in this world that you can’t get but only can be given, and one of these things is love in general, and another is the love of God in particular.”
  • Falling Upwards: Finding God in the Journey Down

    by Darren Cronshaw
    Richard Rohr suggests that almost all people will face, at some time in their life, at least one situation they cannot control, change or understand. Navigated successfully, this is often what helps us move on to our second half of life. Rohr invites us to welcome and celebrate the journey from the first half of life to the second half. The first half of life does tend to be driven by a desire to establish ourselves, to build our careers and/or start our families, to mortgage to buy a house. As we get older – and especially as we encounter tragedy, confusion, failure, difficult relationships or perplexing ideas – we realise our boundaries and security were not as sure as we had presumed.
  • A Staircase to Heaven

    by Richard Donovan
    E. Stanley Jones told of an insurance executive who suffered from terrible headaches. He went to a physician, who eventually referred him to a psychiatrist. He visited the psychiatrist three times a week for three and a half years. They spoke of many things, and the man received much good counsel. But his headaches remained. One day, Jones had an appointment to meet with the man. When he arrived at the man's home, the man's wife met him. She wanted a words with Jones first. She whispered, "The problem is his wrong view of religion." She went on to explain that her husband was a perfectionist. Like all perfectionists, he strove for perfection but never reached it. His sense of guilt set up a barrier between him and his wife—and between him and his God. The man was living in a hell of guilt. When Jones met with the man, he began to explain to him how God comes down the ladder through Jesus to meet us, not on the top rung, but at the bottom. He loves us even when we are sinners, and he asks only that we bring him our guilt and receive his forgiveness. The man responded, "It's too simple," but he listened. He and Jones knelt together, and Jones helped him to ask God for forgiveness. The man arose from the prayer with tears in his eyes and relief on his face. The next day, his headache was gone...
  • Running for His Life

    by Kathy Donley
    Mevan Babakar and her parents fled Iraq in the early 1990’s after Saddam Hussein’s brutal crackdown on the Kurdish population, including a gas attack on a village near their home. For five years, they moved through Turkey, Azerbaijan, Russia, and eventually to the Netherlands for a year before moving on to London. Her short life had been a series of moves to new places where she was always the foreigner. At five years old, she lived in a refugee camp in the Netherlands. That year, a Dutch man who worked in the camp bought her a bicycle. Mevan is now 29. Looking back on that incident she said, “I remember feeling so special. I remember thinking that this is such a big thing to receive, am I even worthy of this big thing? This feeling kind of became the basis of my self-worth growing up.”...
  • Rung by Rung

    by Rob Elder
    Perhaps you have heard this old story by Matt Suhey, running back for the Chicago Bears. If you have not heard of Matt Suhey, it is probably because you are much more likely to have heard of his more famous, and faster, teammate, Walter Payton, a superstar running back in the 1970s and 80s. Anyway, Matt Suhey and Walter Payton were once on a camping trip together in Alaska. Matt Suhey awoke to find Walter Payton lacing up his running shoes. “What are you doing?” asked Suhey. “There’s a bear right outside our tent, and I’m getting ready to run.” “You can’t outrun a bear!” said Suhey. Payton replied, “I don’t have to. All I have to do is outrun you!”...
  • Preaching Helps (Proper 11A)(2011)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("From Frederick Buechner's Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who's Who: '[In his dream] it wasn't Holy Hell that God gave [Jacob] but Holy Heaven, not to mention the marvelous lesson thrown in for good measure. The lesson was, needless to say, that even for a dyed-in-the-wool, double-barreled con artist like Jacob there are a few things in this world you can't get but can only be given...")
  • GODISNOWHERE

    by Jim Keat
    “I’m going to die this way. I just can’t do it.” These are Roberta’s words describing a GOD-IS-NOWHERE moment. On July 8 at a beach in Panama City, FL, Roberta, her 8 and 11 year old sons, three family members, and four other swimmers were swept away by the powerful and deceptive currents, leaving them stranded in the water and fighting for their lives for nearly 20 minutes. With water up their noses and their bodies exhausted, the tide had knocked every bit of energy they had. They didn’t know what to do and were ready to give up until beachgoers formed a stairway to heaven that changed everything. What began with just five volunteers quickly grew to over an 80 person human chain, helping to bring Roberta and her family safely to shore. Because of the courage and love of a group of strangers, Roberta can say GOD-IS-NOW-HERE.
  • Surely God Is in This Place

    by Michael Phillips
    ("One hot day in the middle of summer a lion and a boar went to a spring to drink. 'Step aside,' the boar said, 'I was here first.'...")
  • Your Spiritual Benchmark

    by Carl Wilton
    You’ve probably heard this referred to as “Jacob’s ladder,” but that’s only because of the limitations of the English language. Lots of Bible scholars think it probably should be “Jacob’s ziggurat.” It wasn’t a ladder at all, but what the archaeologists call a ziggurat: a massive stone tower, cunningly constructed with a series of ascending ramps. Ziggurats, in the great urban centers of Mesopotamia, were sacred structures: massive temples reaching up into the heavens. Climbing a ziggurat, the people believed, brought you closer to God. The book of Genesis mentions a ziggurat. It’s part of an ancient tale that precedes the story of Jacob. The Tower of Babel was a ziggurat.

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