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Showing posts from September, 2010

Book Review: Saint Francis by Robert West

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Book Review: Saint Francis by Robert West: Thomas Nelson Christian Encounters Series(I really need to be more creative in my book review titles, don't I?)Saint Francis (Christian Encounters Series)I've had Saint Francis for more than a month now and haven't gotten around to writing the review. Sorry about that, folks, but it's been a little hectic. Plus, I had a few reviews with timetables, so those got advanced on the calendar. This little book seems to be quite well written. Robert West writes with an engaging tone, drawing the reader into the story of the life of St. Francis. The book is, obviously at 230 pages including footnotes, too short to give every detail of that life. One of the features of this book is that West offers the miraculous events in Francis's life without commentary. Rather than analyze whether or not a vision was real or imagined, the event is recorded as factual, with the reader left to make his own decision about the veracity of the events…

Stewards and Kings

“Thine office is not ended, do now thine office...” Aragorn to Faramir, J.R.R. Tolkien's Return of the King.I'll try to summarize, very briefly, for those of you who haven't read or don't remember reading The Lord of the Rings. Aragorn and Faramir are two of the major characters. Faramir is from the family of the Stewards of the City, while Aragorn is from the long-lost line of Kings of the City. What's been happening for many years is that the City has been ruled by the Stewards, because the last king they knew of had ridden off to battle and never returned. He left no heir, and the people didn't realize there was another family line that could take the kingship. So, they simply let the Stewards rule the city “in the name of the King.” This went on for quite some time. The Stewards passed on their office from father to son, and ruled as if a king, but never sat on the king's throne, and always claimed to seek the returning of the kings.Now, there was a lit…

The occasionally posted link list

I realize that my posting is a little sporadic these days, which is partially driven by a lack of internet connection at the office and adapting to new responsibilities.  Then there's the Bart Barber hypothesis, which will be linked to in this post, that perhaps blogging isn't the most important thing in ministry.However, I do want to throw a few links out there for you, because if you need good blog content daily, there are people that can provide it:(These are in no particular order)1.  Michael Hyatt's blog: He's the top dog at Thomas Nelson Publishers, and I get free books from his company, but he doesn't have any idea that I (or my blog) exist.  So, this is a legitimate endorsement.  He's got a lot of good posts on leadership and reading, with a good habit of linking to great resources.  He does, occasionally, give away books he likes. Try not to enter those if I'm after the same book ;) (just kidding.)2.  Joel Miller's blog: Miller works at Thomas …

Went out from us….

Warning Concerning Antichrists18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.1 John 2:18-20 (ESV) A few thoughts here:1.  "Antichrist" means, simply put, "opposed to Christ."  We're not specifically talking about "The ANTICHRIST!" here, rather those who are opposed to the Lord Jesus Christ.  That being said:A.  The opposition is not, necessarily, violent.  It's just opposition.  It may not even be antagonistic.B.  The opposition is not all that obvious, either.  John highlights that it took the departure of those who were anti-Christ to make plain their position.2. Those who we…

September 19 Sermons

Text: John 1:6-8; 19-23: Audio Link hereTheme: Picking a preacherDate: September 19 2010 AMLocation: FBC AlmyraThese verses are like John the Apostle's endorsement of John the BaptistAlmost like he's recommending to a pastor search committeeHe's giving reasons why John the Baptist is worth listening toHowever, realize this:John only presents JTB in a minor way compared to the Lord Jesus ChristThe first step in picking a preacher:KNOW the Basics of the Gospel yourself\Worlds of trouble can be avoided if we, as individuals, will:Eliminate our own Biblical IlliteracyWork to help eliminate Biblical Illiteracy in our churchesNote that the world doesn't need this: the world needs the Gospel, not a comprehensive systematic theology.If we as listeners do not understand the Gospel, we will struggle greatly to find preachers and teachersSo, what makes JTB an eligible preacher?It is not that he:Was a successful businessmanHad an eminently suitable wifeWas highly educatedHad a gre…

A few more words on Sermons

After yesterday's long commentary about preaching, I thought I'd add a few more thoughts:1.  Length: guess what?  Most of us are not good enough preachers to preach an hour.  And if you look back at yesterday, and avoid those pitfalls, guess what?  Your preaching will be shorter too.  Preach as long as necessary to make the appropriate point, but, and this feeds into the next comment: keep the point calm enough.2.  Points: The Gospel should come out in every sermon.  Other things and parts of theology do NOT have to.  In fact, if you're going to preach everything this sermon, what will you preach next time?  Don't neglect the leadership of the Spirit of God, but don't kid yourself, or overestimate your importance: while some may never hear you again, is your theological viewpoint on economics what they need?  Or do they need to hear that Christ Jesus lived, died, and rose according to God's plan for their, and your, redemption.  Further:3.  Expository preachers…

Thoughts about preaching 9/15/2010

I'm slowly, very slowly, reading through Eric Metaxas's biography of Dietrich Bonheoffer.  Why slowly?  A couple of reasons: 1.  I know how it will end, but, I'd really like to hope if I put off reading it, the end will change.  It's a vain hope, but still.  2.  There's some weighty stuff here, and I think that, while America is not headed down an identical road to the Weimar Republic, I think many of the religious and theological issues are similar.  As such, I want to learn and know more, much more.  So, I read slowly.  3.  I have a decent amount of other responsibility, and much of it requires reading, study, and writing.  So, that comes first.Anyway, I'm kind of stuck on a quote from Bonhoeffer that is cited in the book, so much so that I added it to my daily list and am probably going to print it out, laminate it, and stick it to the pulpit at church just to make sure no one forgets it:The Church has only one pulpit, and from that pulpit, faith in God will…

Sunday Sermons from September 12

Text: Psalm 119:9-16 BethTheme: purityDate: Sept 12 2010 PMLocation: FBC AlmyraWhat is the key to purity?We live in an impure world, just as the Psalmist didThe questions are the same:How about personal purity?How about business purity?How about purity of worship?The answer is the same:It's not by hiding ourselves completely and becoming an impenetrable holy huddle, rather it is by:By living according to the Word of God:In our personal lifeIn our family lifeIn our business lifeIn our church lifeIn our national lifeBy teaching according to the Word of God:We cannot fail to teach our children about God's WordWe cannot fail to teach ourselves more about God's WordWe cannot fail to teach in our church about God's WordRealize: it's not hypocrisy if your every endeavor is to get it right and you fall short. It's hypocrisy if you have no intention of following it!We must, with a loving heart, reach out to win the world for ChristThen, as we grow disciples, we will see…

Book Review: Outlive Your Life

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Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A DifferenceOk, I've got one last Booksneeze review to hit you with this week, and then the book reviews will settle down a bit.  I've got schoolwork to do, so I won't be taking on quite as many, although I do have St. Francis left to handle.On to the book:  First of all, if you're familiar with Max Lucado and his style of writing, you'll find nothing all that different here.  If this is your first pick up of one his books, this is typical of his style.  You've got various illustrations, some from Scripture narrative and some from people's life narratives.  These are backed up with explanations of the principles that are illustrated.  I find this an excellent teaching technique.  I can see this as being effective when he preaches, though I've never heard him preach or teach.  I can easily see sitting by the fireplace, listening to a patient tutor trying to explain, just one more time, what he's trying to say.…

Freedom of Speech, Religion, and Stupidity

Remarkably, we're having to have this blog post today, because this should be self-evident after years and years of dealing with varying degrees of stupid in America.  Yet, somehow, we still feel the need to have uproars over everything.  Here's a summary statement, and then we'll go from there:The freedom we have in America, freedom of religion and freedom of speech especially, includes the freedom to do and say things that are patently offensive, morally repugnant (if not illegal), completely disagreeable, and inherently stupid.That means that if Muslims would like to build a mosque and community center at the edge of Ground Zero in Manhattan, whether it's insensitive or not, they have the to do so, because it's their property.  That means if this pastor in Florida wants to burn Qurans, Talmuds, NIV Bibles, or copies of my book (once it's written), he can.Look, we've had court cases determine it is legal to burn American Flags.  We've had court cases …

Book Review: The Butterfly Effect

Since I started doing book reviews through Booksneeze, Thomas Nelson Publishing's free books for blog reviews program, I've read some books I would have never considered reading, and I've come to like some authors I've never heard of, or would have never heard of.
Some of which I really like.  One of those is Andy Andrews.  What was then the Thomas Nelson Publishers Book Review Bloggers program (and is now Booksneeze, a little icky sounding but easier to type!) offered his book The Noticer and I requested it, read it, and loved it.  Since then, I've read his books The Traveler's Gift, The Lost Choice, and Island of Saints. (I then posted a review when that was re-released as The Heart Mender).
I've given each of those books as gifts to others, including last year's graduates at the church I was pastoring.  My hope is they'll grasp the idea behind The Traveler's Gift and take ownership of their lives and change the world.  The Lost Choice was gi…

Book Review: Permission to Speak Freely

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Well, a few months ago a commented here about my tendency to take stuff just because it was free, and I said I would try and not do it so much.Well, I've slipped a little on that.  The end result being that I've got two book reviews for Thomas Nelson Publishers/Booksneeze that are due today.  Typically, there aren't due dates, but special books and book releases come along, and those have due dates. Then, of course, I just moved.  In fact, I only found one of the books due for review today.  Fortunately, I read it before the move.  This is not that review though.This is a review for this book:  Anne Jackson's Permission to Speak Freely.  Cover image, with handy Amazon link if you want to buy it:  (yep, that is an affiliate link.  If you click that link, buy the book, you will generate the first money I have ever made blogging.  I'll get like 5 cents for sharing my 2 cents worth, which is a 3 cent profit!)Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confessio…

Prepared for the days….the OBU Blogabout

I nearly forgot that I was committed to something on this blog today.  What is that something, if you may ask?It was to say a little about where I went to college.  You see, today is Founders' Day for Ouachita Baptist University, where I went, and graduated from, about 10 years ago.So, what should I say about Ouachita?  Well, first of all: "Wash-it-aw," ok? Not "O-u-a-cheet-ah" or any other strange pronunciation.  Got it?  Good.  There's a few other observation to make, so I'll compile them as a list:1.  There is another school that claims to be "OBU" and it's in Oklahoma.  However, the internet directs www.obu.edu to Ouachita.  As clearly as the ending to Miracle on 34th Street, where the Post Office clearly identifies Santa Claus, so the Internet identifies OBU as a school located in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.  The other is clearly OKBU.2.  One of the best things about being an OBU Alum in Arkansas is that we wear Purple and Gold and shout &…

Sunday September 5 Sermon Outlines

For those of you who have tried to read through my sermon outlines before and been frustrated by the audio player, I'm going to try something else.  There will be a direct link to the audio file that you can click to open in your browser or right-click it and download it.  Audio link here for Sunday Morning Sermon here:  http://www.fileden.com/files/2010/8/17/2944457/John%20c1v1%20pt%201%20Sept%205%20AM.mp3Sunday Morning Outline:Text: John 1:1Theme: BeginningsDate: September 5 2010 AMLocation: FBC Almyra, ARBook Title: The Gospel According to John:Notice that a man is explaining, but the Gospel is a static idea. The idea in the titling (yes, added later) is that this John's viewpoint on the unchanging Gospel.I. John: tradition establishes John the Apostle as the author. There is no sound reason to abandon that tradition. We'll see continuing evidences as we work through John in coming weeks.In the beginningIn his first phrase, John uses a phrase that will gain the attentio…

2 Peter 3:3-6

3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.2 Peter 3:3-6 (ESV)Ok, we recently took a look at verses 1 and 2, and now let's go on to these 4.  Here we see a few things to be aware of:1.  Scoffers will come and scoff.  NASB has mockers and mock, but either way it's the same basic meaning: people will come and say mean things.  In fact, they'll say mean things with the explicit intention of hurting your feelings.  Guess what?  You will not stop them, and you should expect them.  These folks ar…

2 Peter 3:1-2

The Day of the Lord Will Come3:1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles,2 Peter 3:1-2 (ESV)Ok, I'm back.  Hopefully for good.  I've got some book reviews to drop on you in the next few weeks, and I feel like you should get some more original content and not just book commercials.  I'll try to get a post updating you on life here in a day or two, but for now, I wanted to share a few thoughts from the above verses in 2 Peter.Peter here shares that he's writing to stir up his audience.  He wants them not just to learn, not just to sit and listen, but to respond.  Now, to be stirred up can be good and it can be, well, not-so-good.  Consider this:1.  Stirred up hornets: not-so-good.  They are agitated and vicious.  I'm sure Peter sometimes stirred …