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Showing posts from February, 2011

Sermons February 27

Morning audio link: Galatians 2:1-3Evening audio link: Acts 15Click "Launch Jukebox" and it should play. If that's not working click here and play the ones you want to hear. "Amen" the good ones!Also, there should be a display on the right-hand side of this blog showing 3 sermons where you can play them directly from here.Morning:“Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. ” (Galatians 2:1–3, NAS) Facts:The Acts conference in Acts 15 is what Paul is referring to here.There were some basic questions that needed answered: for people forgiven by the grace of God, how much of the Law…

Completely Useless

At the moment, the oven in my house isn't working. There's power to it, the lights work, and the controls act like they're doing something.Yet when you turn it on, it does----nothing. No heat. You can't cook in it. Sure, the lights come on, the timer works, and the "preheat timer" even counts down and tells you the oven should be ready. There's not enough heat from the lights to warm your hands.Neither can I put milk in the oven to keep it cool. I can't make ice cream in it or coffee, it won't feed the cats or open the garage door. Why won't it do those things?Not because it's broken, but because it's an oven! Ovens aren't for those other tasks.So here's the deal: since the oven won't cook and it's not designed for any other purpose than the making of hot stuff, it's now completely useless.It's not beyond hope of usefulness---I'm fairly certain I know what's wrong with it and that an appliance repair per…

Feb 20 Sermons

I've got a morning outline and audio from morning and night. I am trying a new audio host, so there may be a minor glitch while I work that out. If you want to listen and can't, let me know either via email or comment, and I'll see what's wrong and try to fix it.Morning audio link here (Click the "Headphone" icon to listen)Evening audio link here (Click the "Headphone" icon to listen)(other note: if you really like it, click the "Amen" button. That will let me know you like it!)“I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ; but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.” And they were glorifying God because of me. ” (Galatians 1:22–24, NAS) I want us to look at 2 people today. The first is the Apostle Paul, so as we come to the text, let’s see what Paul’s been saying:I. Paul has described his background---a. Religiousb. Yet sinfulc. Rejecting …

You're a SINNER!

Question 24What is sin?
Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature. (1 John 3:4, Gal. 3:10,12)The above quote is from the Westminster Larger Catechism (see citation below), which is one of the standard formulations of Protestant Christianity.It's good stuff, from question 1 to question, well, I'm not even sure. I've not read the whole thing in a long time, I can't remember how many questions there are.This one, though, caught my attention and I wanted to share it.We have this habit, especially in American Christianity, to pick certain sins to dislike. There are some that get the gloss-over, some that get the "oh my" treatment, and others that we rank as, well, pretty rank.For example, we Baptists find alcohol consumption and gambling as awful, but downplay critical attitudes and pride. Methodists have rightly seen ignoring social problems as sinful, yet allow many moral issues to slide…

Changing Times

Virginia, Commonwealth of (1668), enacted:
    The 27th of August appointed for a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, to implore God’s mercy: if any person by found upon that day gaming, drinking, or working (works of necessity excepted), upon presentment by church-wardens and proof, he shall be fined one hundred pounds of tobacco.The times, they do change, don't they? After all, now possessing one hundred pounds of tobacco gets you all kinds of grief!It causes one to wonder: what aspects of life have I so adopted as true that will cause people in future times to think I was more fit for the lunatic house than real life?This is what happens to us when we so exalt a portion of life beyond its necessary value. At the time, for whatever reason, 27 August was set as a day to stop everything else. I'm sure diligent historical work could uncover the reason, but I've got stuff to do today.The point being that we need to be very careful determining not only that days are…

BookTuesday: The Global Warming Deception

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The Global-Warming Deception: How a Secret Elite Plans to Bankrupt America and Steal Your FreedomThe next installment in "BookTuesday" is Grant Jeffrey's The Global Warming Deception. Published by WaterBrook Press, and they've got some more details on the book here. Also, they sent me a free copy in exchange for the review.A few things to establish when it comes to this book: Grant Jeffery is not a science expert, he's a Scripture expert. Specifically, Biblical prophecy, but it's hard to specialize in one part of Scripture without knowing a lot of it. As such, he's not offering deep science here. The scientific analysis is adequate, but not buried in layers of jargon.That being said, I think it's one of the strengths of this book. While there are complex scientific issues at hand, Jeffrey has done a good job bringing the jargon down to an understandable level. He explains some of the science, explains why he feels certain parts matter and other parts …

No more ignorance

“Let us remove the ignorance and darkness that spreads like a mist over our sight, and let us get a vision of the true God.” –Clement of Alexandria (source at the end)Clement was a 2nd-3rd Century theologian and philosopher, and I'm fairly certain that his particular Alexandria was the one in Egypt. That's actually one of the hardest parts of history for me, thanks to Alexander the Great: way too many Alexandrias. And thanks to AtG's Hellenization efforts (spreading Greek language and culture) too many Philadelphias! Philadelphia meaning "City of Brotherly Love" in Koine Greek, there's dozens of those too. It's a stretch, but it seems that every major city in the Mediterranean region, except Rome and Athens, had those names at one point.Enough ranting about conquerors and such. Let's look at Clement's statement.Remove the ignorance and darkness: While originally, Clement is addressing shifting from paganism to a faith that views the One True God, …

Sermon outline February 13

Sorry for no audio. The person responsible for recording it screwed up the recording. And yes, that would be me.“For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions. But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, ” (Galatians 1:13–16, NAS)
Forgivable History:Prior beliefs: Apparently Scriptural: Paul acknowledged the Old Testament and all the Jewish LawPaul was zealous for the LawWe come from various spiritual backgrounds Non-Christian MuslimJewishAtheistBuddhistHinduCultsChristian (though sometimes just in name) CatholicMethodistsP…

The Pastor as Spiritual Trainer

I think I've mentioned before that our family owns a Nintendo Wii, and that one of our primary uses for it is for exercise. We've got a "game" entitled EA Active, which is a fitness program. It includes a virtual personal trainer.You know what a personal trainer is, right? It's a person that designs your workouts, directs your workouts, corrects when necessary and encourages when possible. In fact, often it seems that the personal trainer is the one who takes the abuse so I can get better physically. It's why I'm glad there's not a real person hearing my threats when I'm doing the lunge jumps or squat-and-holds or whatever else.Now, if I lived near a gym or fitness club, I could pay monthly for the privilege of such fun. I'd be given a regular attendance schedule, pay specific fees, and have access to the equipment necessary and the expertise I need. There would be specific times that someone with knowledge and skill would work with me, either…

To the NFL and NFLPA

On behalf of we, the football fans of the United States, I'd like to express a few quick comments to you both. This will be brief, as you need to get your tails right back in the same room, sign the piece of paper, take the off-season, and then get ready for football this fall.To the owners:1. We fans know why players are paid those insanely huge salaries: you pay them. Guess what our bosses do when personnel costs are too big a piece of the pie? They cut salaries and cut people. They act like they are in charge, because they are. They don't hire new people at twice the salary of existing people either.2. We fans know why you pay rookies so much. No, we don't. We don't actually understand why you pay an untested person so much more than experienced people. Most of you have other businesses. Do you approve that in those businesses? 3. That your revenues are so high annoys us. How much does it cost the average family to actually attend football games? How much did you ge…

Jury Duty (Again)

I just thought I'd put the warning out that I have been summoned for Jury Duty next week, for a trial that could last a month. Of course, I'm just as likely to be dismissed from the case. It's a lawsuit regarding BayerCropScience and an action they took which damaged the Arkansas Rice market a few years ago. Given my close friendship with several Arkansas Rice farmers and the fact that I have heard their side of the story and believe them, I won't exactly be impartial.Then there's the other issue I have with this case. If you're like Ann Hibbard and have never been summoned for jury duty, you haven't seen the 'Preliminary Juror Questionnaire." A letter comes along with a form, and you are told to return the form, filled out completely, or go to jail. The questions are basic: name, address, employer, whether or not you have criminal charges pending. (I thought about listing "Criminal charge for failing to return Juror Questionnaire Pending"…

Book Review: The Brotherhood

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What do you get when an author that has sold more than 60 million books decides it's time to hit the streets with a novel about police work?The Brotherhood (Precinct 11)You get Jerry B. Jenkins' new novel from Tyndale, The Brotherhood. Now, many people are familiar with Jenkins' name from his involvement with the blockbuster Left Behind series, but if that turns you against him for whatever reason, this novel may, perhaps, change your mind.The Brotherhood is a novel set with the Chicago Police Department, and it covers a few of the early years of Boone Drake's career as an officer. The book follows Drake from a rookie on the force, through personal tragedy, and onto a promotion to work with a special unit. As you read it, you'll see a man that has all he wants, and loses most of it. In the process he has to determine what goals are important and what methods are allowed to reach them. There's a bit of action, a bit of romance, and not a few moments of personal …

A Packer Fan

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So, the joke fell flat Sunday night about being a Packer fan and holding up one of J.I. Packer's books, but it's true. I am a Packer fan. Knowing God is one of the better books I've ever read. And I'm reading another one of his, entitled Growing in Christ. I came across this paragraph today as I was reading about how we face death, and how the Christian ought not to fear death:John Preston, the Puritan, knew this. When he lay dying, they asked him if he feared death, now it was so close. “No,” whispered Preston; “I shall change my place, but I shall not change my company.”I'm challenged by this. I see, looking back, that the times I am most fearless at exploring new places and things are when I am with people I know and love. If you give Ann and I the opportunity, we'll go anywhere and try nearly anything (except probably bungee jumping.)Why?Because the setting isn't important to me. The company is. We have lived in big cities, suburbs, and now a really sma…

Sermons

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There aren't sermon outlines, but there is audio. So, here you go:Morning Sermon Audio Link“For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. ” (Galatians 1:11–12, NAS) Evening Sermon Audio Link“For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.Selah. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The Lor…

No more democracy!

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““You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice; ” (Exodus 23:2, NAS) Growing up, my father was no slacker when it came to using classic parental psychology. Especially the phrase "If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?" in response to a plea of "everyone's doing it!" Then he would extol the virtues of disregarding the crowd when the crowd was, well, stupid. I think I've said before that Dad is getting smarter the older I get. I'll say it again. Here's even a case where he was presenting Scripture. He was contextualizing it and providing dynamic translation (buzz words for my seminary friends ), but still presenting God's Word to his children like a good patriarch. Dad's wisdom and the Scripture at hand both speak into some of our current problems in America. For years, we Christians have appealed to our moral values as being "…

FEAR!

There are more things, Lucilius, that frighten us than injure us, and we suffer more in imagination than in reality. —SENECA, Epistulae ad LuciliumBefore you get worried, I'm not going to give you the history details of who Lucilius was (some Roman) or even much about Seneca, so this shouldn't be excessively boring. Background on Seneca is that he was a Roman Stoic philosopher and teacher, was the tutor to Nero, and was 'forced to commit suicide' for conspiring to dispose of Nero.Let's focus on the quote instead. Is he right? I think he is. One thing that modern medical science has discovered for us is that stress is a dangerous thing. Stress will kill you, will make you old, will wear you out.To modern medicine, Seneca says "Well, yes, I told you so." He's warning Lucilius in his letter that we should be careful imagining dangers. Think about it in your own life. Is it that your job is really so terrible or that you fear losing it? I've seen some…

Why we don't evangelize anymore

In my daily Bible reading, which I'm a bit behind in, I was reading Matthew 20:1-16 today. It's the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. (Reftagger should bring up the text for you, but I'll paste it at the end for anyone that needs it.) Essentially, the parable relates that a master hired people to work in his vineyard at different times throughout the day and at the end of the day paid them all the same.As it starts with a "The kingdom of heaven is like…" statement, we've long interpreted this as a description of heaven and the idea that it doesn't matter when in life (or, essentially, how close to death) one comes to Christ for salvation, all those who accept God's grace get the same benefit.When you read the parable, though, there's a little more in it. The Lord Jesus Christ speaks of bitterness from the early-day workers that they aren't getting more perks than the late-day folks. The picture is that they're angry that a whole lif…

Unwinnable people

He [Oliver Cromwell] said: “I see there is a people risen, that I cannot win either with gifts, honors, offices or places; but all other sects and people I can.While many of us only vaguely remember all the details of Oliver Cromwell, the English Civil War, and anything else that happened in the 1600s, I saw this quote and thought it was worth bringing up anyway. Just to provide context, the mid-1600s saw a civil war in England between those loyal to the King and supporters of democracy. For a time, the rebels won and placed Oliver Cromwell as the Protector of the Realm, but they eventually were driven from power. (That's, um, so simplified it's scary. The Wikipedia article seems fair enough, and there are several books on the subject.)Cromwell intended to win loyalty and supporters the same way the monarchy had: by rewarding men with material wealth, temporal power, and fancy titles. It worked for many.Except, apparently, one group. The quote above is from George Fox, founder…

Book Review and Giveaway: Always True

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Ann and I are both reviewing the same book today, so hop over to her website to see her opinion as well. The book is Always True by James MacDonald. The book is published by Moody Publishers and is available online from various retailers.Always True: God's 5 Promises for When Life is HardMacDonald states that his purpose in writing this book is to reflect on five promises that he sees God making in Scripture to every believer no matter their age, culture, or location. This is an ambitious goal for a book, especially one of only 150 pages. How well does Dr. MacDonald achieve his goal?First of all, he provides a small amount of the background of his life that produced this book. While there are more details in his other book, Life is Hard, the short summary is enough to help the reader see that this is not the work of an academic. Instead, this is the outpouring of a life that went through darkness, frustration and even despair.This brings a basic level of credibility to the work. R…