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Showing posts from June, 2011

Genesis 4 Part 1

Sunday's sermon was on Genesis 4:1-8, addressing lessons we can learn from Cain and Abel about lifetime worship. Here is the first installment of "Left-Out Sermon Stuff":1. Jokes. I struggle with this because the place I want to be liked is in public speaking. One way to do this is through humor. The struggle is two-fold: the first fold is that I'm not really that funny when scripted and the other fold is that, well, I don't want humor (or the lack of it) to distract too much from the message.So, I tend to leave out what I think are great jokes from the sermon. I hear these, read these, and come up with these in some various form. I may have gotten it elsewhere, I may have it in my head---if you wrote it I promise I'm not copying it to steal it!Joke 1: Why didn't Cain's sacrifice please God? He simply wasn't Abel.Joke 2: A man goes to the zoo and sees the majestic silverback gorilla. The man sees that the gorilla is reading not one but two books. …

June 26 Sermons

Morning Audio link.Evening Audio link.Morning Sermon Outline:Genesis 4Cain and Abel: Baptist Brethren in Worship 1. Brought to the LORD: Worship must have a proper focus. 2. Brought together: they are sacrificing together: you see this because Cain knows Abel's sacrifice was accepted 3. Brought to reality: Hebrews 11:4 tells us that Abel is there with faith. The point? Abel's sacrifice is not better because of what it was but because of the heart of the sacrificer. 4. Brought to decision: Cain is not left to figure out what he should do or if he should do rather it is shown him 5. Brought to accountability: Cain returns before the Lord and is asked "Where is your brother?" 6. Brought to exposure: Like Isaiah in Isaiah 6, the presence of the Lord brings knowledge of sinfulness 7. Brought to grace: Cain is granted grace by God. He is given the opportunity to live and know God's grace And so for us: 1. Brought to the Lord: what is our focus in worship? in c…

Genesis 3 Part II

Finishing up with Genesis 3, let’s look at two more major issues:1. The nature of the punishments of mankind:A. The punishment of woman. This takes two aspects. The first is increased pain in childbearing. There’s more to this than just labor pains. It’s actually a reference to both labor and parenting. The punishment is that bringing children into the world will bring pain. I think the presence of death and the compounding of evil brings this pain. What do mothers fear most? Losing their children.The second is the wreckage of smooth relationships between man and woman. That’s the essence of “your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.” It is reflected any time a man attempts to rule or a woman attempts to control. It’s reflected when she nags or he avoids. This is a big part of our problem.B. The punishment of man. Pointless work is what faces humanity after Genesis 3. The ground will not do like it ought. The earth does not function as it should.Important to cons…

SBC Look-back Part 3

You might be getting bored with this look at the Southern Baptist Convention. I can’t say as I’d blame you for that. I’m hoping this will be the wrap-up.Before I hit the last two resolutions I want to comment on, here’s the info on officer elections. These officers have no “power” or “authority” but they do have a level of influence. The SBC Constitution and By-Laws allow for the President of the SBC to be re-elected once, and it’s traditional that if he wants that re-election, he gets it. That’s dependent on not doing something colossally stupid, of course, but Bryant Wright of course has done nothing of the sort. So, it was expected that he would be re-elected. One individual felt that we needed a different president and chose to nominate himself. Generally, that goes badly, even if you would have been a good nominee if someone else said it. He lost.Fred Luter, a pastor in New Orleans was elected First Vice President and Eric Thomas of Virginia was elected Second Vice President. Lut…

Genesis 3 Part 1

This past Sunday I preached Genesis 3, so I want to work through a few things not mentioned Sunday morning. The main focus of the sermon was on recognizing that God has really spoken and therefore we must obey.Here’s the first installment on Genesis 3:1. This passage is why we conceive of Satan as a serpent. There is nothing to indicate that the snake was truly a willing participant in the situation, but that’s just the way it goes. As to the question of why there’s even a snake in the garden in the first place? Here’s my take: God had created the angels before mankind, possibly in a time best viewed as “pre-creation.” In that time, Satan rebelled and fell. It’s also possible that this went on during the initial six days of Creation or even (and this seems pretty good to me) the fall of Satan came in the time after the first week and before Genesis 3. After all, why do we assume man immediately sinned?So, the snake has come in because ultimately God was well aware when He created that…

Southern Baptist Convention Lookback Part 2

One of the annual aspects of the Southern Baptist Convention is the report of the Resolutions Committee. This report is presented to express the opinion of the Convention on various issues. Important to remember, though, is that resolutions of the SBC have no real power. They are statements of current opinion.Typically, there are some no-brainer resolutions. One of these is always a resolution expressing appreciation to the host city and the volunteers that made the convention meeting happen. Unless a city rioted and tried to use the National Guard to keep us out, we’d express appreciation in a resolution. Unfortunately, too many convention attendees think that resolution covers the 15% that the waitress should have gotten. That’s, however, another story.Then there are resolutions on religious issues. This year there were a couple of those. One of them related to the recent book by Rob Bell entitled Love Wins. This book, along with a few other writings and preachers, casts doubt towar…

Genesis 2 Part 2

One of the questions that often arises out of the opening of Genesis is this:Where was the Garden of Eden?This is not a bad question, but is unanswerable on a modern globe. Why?We lack some key pieces of information. There are 4 rivers mentioned in Genesis 2:10-14. These are The Pishon, the Gihon, the Tigris, and the Euphrates. Some have looked for an area that is bordered by four rivers, given that we have a modern Tigris and a modern Euphrates River.There are a couple of issues here. The first is that the Pishon and the Gihon have not been accurately identified with modern rivers. The Gihon is said to flow around the land of Cush, but there are several ancient areas with similar-sounding names to Cush. Likewise, the land of Havilah is not clear.The other issue is that many people seek a place bordered by these rivers, but the text does not demand bordered. In fact, the text states that there was one river flowing out of Eden, watering the garden, then dividing into four rivers. So, …

BookTuesday: The Alarmists

The AlarmistsToday’s review book was provided by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review. No cash changed hands, they just sent me a book. Here’s a link to their own info page about the book, where you can get an excerpt and some author data.
What happens when you take a military unit charged with investigating “unexplained phenomena” and add a skeptical sociologist? For that matter, where do you find a skeptical sociologist? The Alarmist by Don Hoesel is concerned with the former and not the latter of those questions. He has set the table with a group called the NIIU, a group of active-duty Army officers and specialists that investigate odd things around the world.
One thing that they’ve noticed is an increase of work lately, and so the boss, Colonel Jameson Richards, contracts with sociologist Brent Michaels to try and determine what’s going on behind the scenes. The book takes place against the backdrop of the coming 2012 hysteria and in the midst of the current destab…

Genesis 2 Part 1

Sorry I didn’t get these up last week. I’m going to do the best I can to catch up with further explanations on Genesis 2 and 3 this week, so that I can get back on cycle with the sermon preached that Sunday.Genesis 2:1-3 really concludes the narrative from Genesis 1. Something to keep in mind is that the Bible was not inspired into chapters and verses. While I would argue that the Scripture is inspired in all words, the chapter numbers and verses were added later, so don’t make a major deal about what falls in what chapter. Genesis is a whole unit, the chapters are there to help locate portions of that unit.Back on task, Genesis 2:1-3 finishes the seven days of Creation. There are whole books dedicated to sorting through how those seven days sort out and line up with what we find throughout general revelation. General revelation? That’s what you can see in nature. It’s a complement to special revelation, which is the Word of God in Scripture.Day Seven becomes the origin of the Sabbath…

SBC Look-back part 1

I didn't actually attend the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention this year, as it was in Phoenix, Arizona, and I just didn't have the time, money, or inclination to make the trip. I did watch most of the sessions via the webcast. Here’s a few observations:1. This was the first year with no night sessions. This sounded like a good idea, but it does conflict with the logic behind moving the meeting all over the US. The moving meetings are designed to make it possible for more people to be involved from time to time. By not having anything at night, even local folks could not participate if they couldn’t get time off of work. So, there was a motion asking that future conventions restore at least one evening session.2. This ties into something from this year that was good: every year, several times a year, both the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board hold appointment services for new missionaries serving with them. This year, both IMB and…

Sermon: June 19 Genesis 3

Audio link is hereHere's the basic outline:Has God really said?Point one: the nature of revelation: God has spoken. This is the Word of God. He has spoken, and we need to acknowledge that fact.This is the essence of temptation: to look at the situation and wonder if what God said applies.We must determine that if God has spoken, we will obey---For example:If God has really said: "Fathers do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."  (Eph 6:4)
Then what should we do? What should the focus be?
If God has really said: "If anyone's name was not written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." (Rev 20:15) What should we be about as God's people? After all, has He not also said "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations?"We must obey that which He has said.

June 12 Sermon

Morning Sermon Audio LinkThere’s not much in terms of outline this week. The focus was on Genesis 2. We looked at the original Creation. In that Creation mankind still needed:Work: if work was part of original creation, then we should not expect that redemption removes the need for work. There’s always work to be done as we serve the Lord God.Companionship: “it is not good for man to be alone.” We cannot function alone. We must have other people. This is one way in which it is mankind that is created in the image of God and not simply a man. God is self-sufficient and needs no other. We, on the other hand, are not.Obedience: There is no time that mankind is not subject to the command of God. The interesting point is that originally, there was one command: leave this tree alone. Now, how many laws does it take to direct the affairs of men?Evening services were consumed by Rec Camp. About 20-25 kids and the chance to share Jesus with them. Good times.

Write it out

“Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. ” (Deuteronomy 17:18, NASB95)This verse drew my attention this morning. First of all, there's the obvious question of how America would be different if you made every elected federal official write out a copy of the Constitution (with Amendments) before they were allowed to do anything. That would shake a few up on all sides of politics. And if you made the IRS Commissioner hand-copy the Tax Code before enforcing it, it would never get enforced!Yet modern American is neither modern Israel, restored Israel, or Biblical Israel. So, what do we make of a verse like this?1. The first thought is still a valid one. The idea presented is that the king should not rule without knowing the foundational law of the land. In Israel's case that law was the Pentateuch (whatever you think of modern Israel, that was then, now is …

More on Genesis 1 (Part 2)

Note: in an effort to be brief enough in preaching, there are parts of chapters that will be glossed over. I intend to visit those parts on the blog. These thoughts are not always fully developed, since the main effort is developing the sermon. Feel free to interact.VI. Fruitful and multiply: it is good to have children and grow in family: guess what, folks? There is a Biblical reason to have children. If this was a command in original creation, there's not much reason to think we shouldn't consider it now. There is a responsibility to care and provide that you cannot ignore, but there is nothing ungodly about those who are able choosing to have 5, 10, however many children. It's time we stop mocking these folks. And don't give me the "overpopulation" argument, either---you look at population density in this country and that argument doesn't wash. You look at the age shift in this country and realize this: another 20 years and we'll be in a big mess. …

More on Genesis 1 (Part 1)

This past Sunday, I preached on Genesis 1. There's a slight problem with trying to preach whole Biblical chapters, though. One runs into absorption issues: "The mind can only absorb as much as the other end can endure." In that vein, there's much that got left behind in the sermon prep process. Here are the points, mostly underdeveloped, that I didn't bring up.First of all, I didn't give most of the background on Genesis, delve into authorship and all of those details. I would love to discuss those details, but it takes a while. Generally speaking, Genesis is understood as having been written down by Moses. He possibly worked from existing sources and edited them, and it's possible a later editor dealt with his work, but in all we understand the Holy Spirit to have guided and protected that process.Second, I didn't crash into all the proofs and debates regarding Creation, Evolution, and the spectrum of opinions between views. I hold to a young-earth c…

June 5 Sermons

AM Audio LinkPM Audio LinkGenesis 1 (AM outline)A few brief observations:1. In the beginning: At the start of human history, not the beginning of God's. We accept by faith that God was just, well, always there.2. Orderly creation: This is no chaotic accident3. State and restate: verse 1 gives the overview, the rest of the chapter expands, then chapter 2 expands detailsII. The grandeur of the Word of God: what He speaks happensWhat is this? Who among us carries this sort of power? That we speak and it happens? Not even the Centurion of Matthew 8 had the authority to create his own soldiers. Only to order soldiers that already existed. We can speak over whatever we want to speak over, but it will not make it happen. We are not that amazing, we are not that powerful.Yet dealing with a Deity of that type of power should intimidate us a bit. Well, a lot. Does it? If it does not, we have misunderstood this next point:III. The goodness of the Work of God: what He does is good. We need to…

How's the garden?

I was asked the other day how our gardening project was going. The answer will probably not surprise some of you…It's a mess. Between apparently not planting some seeds deep enough and all the standing water, I have plants growing in places they ought not be growing. The week we were gone, grass and weeds sprouted, grew, and multiplied. So, I look out and see corn, grass, and various stuff.The truth is that inexperience led to inadequate preparation and now I've got a 40 foot long, 12 foot wide plot of chaos in my yard. The corn is sprouting tassels, the watermelon, cantaloupes, and what I think are bell peppers are flowering, and I assume the carrots are forming. Except it's not well-maintained, and it's going to be hard to harvest.Add in that any water I put on the garden is going to divide between what I want and what I don't want, I'm not fertilizing for just that same reason, and I can't quite get in there to attempt to fix any issues, and it's bec…

Perspectives

One thing that I've realized about myself and that I see often in our churches is that we base a lot of our decisions on pre-built categories. Somewhere in the past a framework was laid down in our thinking and now everything has to fit within that framework. It's much like our homes, where we tend to have a place for everything and do not like for items to be out of the place.We don't really like those preferences and structures to be challenged, though, do we? Except sometimes we need to rethink our original assumption. I had two different ideas about how to illustrate this, but I'm going with a video clip from the TV show Scrubs. Here it is:Now, obviously, we're dealing with absurdity. One keeps pancakes in the fridge drawer, not in the cabinet drawer, but do you see the assumption? Carla expects that the apartment follows everyone else's logic: silverware goes in this drawer. Yet her husband thinks differently: his focus is the pancake. To over-analyze this…