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Showing posts from July, 2011

Genesis 10

One of the bigger challenges I have in preaching is text selection. Many good preachers will tell you the way to solve that is by simply preaching a series that goes through books of the Bible. That’s one of the ways that I try to copy good preachers so that I might be mistaken for one.The good results from preaching through a block of Scripture include, at the least, these things: 1. This helps the congregation and the pastor develop a clear understanding of what is in the Bible, a solid Biblical theology. We find ourselves looking consistently at the text; 2. This keeps the pastor from jumping about, pouncing on whatever he wants to preach; 3. The pastor can preach the hard issues without singling someone out: if this week’s text is naturally the next block in the book, then I’m not singling you out: I’m just preaching what’s right there.An additional benefit is this: not spending huge amounts of every sermon to cover background matters. The setting, style, and authorship of Biblica…

Debt-limit revisited

Dear Congress and the President:The deadline for that whole debt-limit thing? That’s this coming Tuesday. Are you going to get around to do anything? Or do you plan to sink the whole thing?You might want to take some form of action. Because historically speaking, a lot of bad stuff happens when an entire country’s economy tanks irrecoverably. And when the bad stuff happens in the country to the people, the people tend to think towards visiting unhappiness upon the government.The vast majority of us are not quite as stupid as you think, and we know that both parties are being equally troublesome. So your elephant pins or donkey t-shirts aren’t going to convince us that you are not at fault.Most likely it will be in the polls that we will deal with you and replace you with other folks. But we’ve all been reading a lot of the Founding Fathers lately, and very few of them traveled to talk to Members of Parliament or waited for a new king. They became men of action. These days, there’s ple…

Sermons from July 24

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Here are the links and info for this Sunday's Sermons. There's more text for the evening message. Someday, I'll consistently write the same amount per sermon. Not any time soon, but someday I'll take a class and learn how to preach Morning sermon link is here for Genesis 8Evening sermon link is here for Genesis 9A Biblical Response to Evil: Genesis 9:5-7A few quick observations: 1. The "eating of meat" announcement: God decrees that man can eat any animal, as long as he drains the blood. At this point, there is no distinction between clean and unclean animals. Those distinctions come only later with the Law2. The "vineyard" incident: Noah's drunkenness is a sin: losing control causes disobedience and is, in fact disobedience. However, the sinfulness of Noah does not excuse Ham and leads to the cursing of Canaan. ~~Side note: there is no Biblical or historical warrant to identify Canaan as the ancestor of any modern ethnic group. This section was…

BookMonday: True North

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I owe a myriad of apologetic statements to the Heims and to Kregel. In this modern day, there's not much of an excuse for missing a deadline, but I did. This review should have been done last week. I'm quite sorry for that. No one to blame but me, but I think I'll take it out on the cat.True North is a book by two professional counselors. Well, technically Gary Heim is a licensed psychologist and Lisa Heim is the professional counselor, but they're both mental health professionals. They are also both Christians. Sometimes, this is a hard thing to navigate. How does it work in True North?True North: Choosing God in the Frustrations of Life
It works well, to be honest. I've just finished a graduate-level Biblical Counseling class, so I've been reading a lot of counseling resources. What the Heims have put forward in this book is a fundamental, ground-level type of work. They are striving to explain the basics of why people act, think, and feel the way we do someti…

BookSpecial: The Book that Made Your World

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Today I’m posting an extra book review for the week. Partly because I’m waaaaaaaayyyyyy behind on book reviews. Today I’m looking at Vishal Mangalwadi’s The Book that Made Your World:The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization(available from Thomas Nelson Publishers, who sent me an e-copy through BookSneeze, their blog review program.)The Book that Made Your World is an interesting take from a non-Western perspective of the impact of the Bible in English not only upon the Western World but also on other parts of the developing world. This book looks at the development of various inventions, technologies and moral codes across the sweep of world history. This weep identifies ways in which a biblical worldview and a Bible-based Christianity led to the development of the modern world in ways that would not have happened had the world been dominated by other religious viewpoints.The author, who is a social activist and worker in the nation of Indi…

Genesis 6 Part 2 and Genesis 7

Ok, a day or so ago I spilled a lot of type over Genesis 6. Sorry to have been so long-winded, but I wanted to give you the best synopsis I could for the subject. Moving on, let’s hit just a couple more points:Genesis 6 speaks to the design and materials of the ark. For us detail-oriented people, there’s not much here. No “Engineering an Empire” episode for Noah with this---the assumption is a rectangular prism, because no information suggests a curve, but how do you know? We actually don’t even know the size of the cubit at this point in history---there’s solid evidence for an 18-inch one and a 22.5-inch cubit. So….the Ark was big. Probably big enough to stockpile animals and food. The size isn’t the problem with accepting an historical view of this story. Logistics may bug you, keeping the lions from eating the last gazelles might be a problem, and starting with only a few rabbits and keeping it only a few could trouble you, but….boat size isn’t one.A further comment in Genesis 6:3 …

The NFL Lockout and the Debt Ceiling

Note: I’m trying to get back to a post a day, but to get there, I’m writing a little ahead. While I’m only 24 hours ahead on this post, it’s possible that both of these issues will be resolved by the time you read this post. I still think I’m right in what I say.We’re now into the second half of the month of July. Here in Arkansas, it’s hot. Not “I need a glass of water” hot, more like “look, the asphalt is melting” hot. (Ever wonder why we still have so many dirt/gravel roads? Asphalt melts in Southern Heat!) Around here, the heat is made worse by the humidity. This isn’t the most pressure in the country right now, though. That’s reserved for two separate sets of negotiating rooms. One belongs to the National Football League and the other belongs to the US Congress. Back in March, the NFL and the NFL Players Association parted ways and the team owners decided that without a deal they liked, no football work would be done.Meanwhile, decades of increasing stupidity by the Trunks and Bu…

Genesis 6 Wrap-up Part 1

I wanted to get back in the habit of looking back at the chapters from Sunday's sermons and trying to address any unpreached situations here on the blog. So, let's take a look back at Genesis 6, shall we?Genesis 6:1-2 cause some people no end of grief in sorting out the details here. Why? Because of the phrase "sons of God" in it. There are three major views of who the "sons of God" referenced in this passage are, so let's take a look at these "sons." A word about the discussion first: the Hebrew phrase that is translated sons of God is literally sons of God (or gods: monotheistic Israel used a plural of majesty for God: He is referred to in plural terms). The difficulty stems from this: Christian theology guides us to understand that there is one "Son of God," namely the Lord Jesus Christ, and many "sons of God," all those adopted by His gracious election (John 1:12). So, to understand this we turn to other uses of the phr…

BookTuesday: Love Written in Stone

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I have to admit, this book’s been sitting on my shelf for a while, and I just haven’t gotten around to reading it. I requested it from Bethany House in the their blogger program, but then just couldn’t interest myself in it. Probably because we’re not looking at light and fluffy reading here.Love Written in Stone: Finding God's Grace in the Boundaries He SetsDr. Philip Carlson is both a pastor and medical doctor. His writing in Love Written in Stone is an attempt to take a look at what he faces in both forms of his work and compare where we as people are and what we would be if we obeyed God’s commands.A portion of his effort here seems to be dedicated to helping the reader understand why God commands what He commands in Scripture. The viewpoint is provided that many of these commands are not built out of emptiness or religious duty but are rather a reflection of God’s efforts to drive us to do what is best for us.With that in mind, Carlson walks through some basics of what is con…

Sermon from July 17

Well, there was a little glitch with recording the morning sermon. Apparently, someone (me) failed to check the batteries in the digital voice recorder. Guess what?You can’t podcast without a file. So, there’s no audio of the AM Service. For that I apologize, but there’s not much else I can do.The summary of that is this: there is one salvation now, just as there was one salvation in the time of Noah: for him, the Ark; for us, the Cross of Christ. Fortunately for us the Cross is limitless in salvation. All who will come to the Cross and to Christ will be saved. The Ark was only so big (although it was, in honesty, huge) and could only save a limited number. Now, a limited number will be saved by the Blood of Christ, but that limitation is not one of power or ability, but one of choice and election.So, saddle up, get on the boat, and grab a friend or two!And now, evening sermon:Genesis 7 Audio linkWithout over-allegorizing or turning this sermon into mush that’s not based on the Word o…

Prayer meeting

Last Friday I had the honor and pleasure of being asked to speak to a local workplace’s prayer meeting. There’s really only one thing that's more encouraging to a preacher/speaker than being asked to speak somewhere for the first time, and that’s being asked to come back and do it again! Hopefully, after they’ve run through all the other preachers in town, they’ll have me again :)I thought I’d share here what we talked about in terms of prayer. Here it is:L: Language: we often think we have to use a specialized language for prayer, but it’s really not the case. As 1 Samuel 16:7 reminds us, God looks at the heart. While I think we should speak respectfully to the Almighty God of the Universe, there’s also no reason to fancy-up our speech. He understands us.I: Inability: I have encountered many people in ministry years that worried that they weren’t praying right. Guess what? We generally aren’t praying right. However, it doesn’t matter. Romans 8:26-27 points out that when we are un…

No time like the present

It’s been a bit of a strange summer around here. I’ve been in and out, dealing with various tasks and just the general stuff of life. The end result is that I’ve gotten behind on a lot of tasks that I want to do, just because the need to do has been a little strong.Then there’s been a general struggle to just focus and get stuff done. There’s a part of me that thrives a little too much on being busy and I’m actually more able to focus when there is limited time. When school let out for the summer, a huge block of my time became free….and then my own self-discipline broke down. Which is really what it comes down to, isn’t it? Most of what troubles us starts with us. There are notable exceptions to that, but that’s really where I sit right now. I’ve got several issues spinning at once, and they come down to a lack of personal discipline.I want to note something crucial, though, that’s often left out of self-discipline discussions. This is not about control. The reality is that much of w…

Lives, fortunes, and sacred honor

It's July 4th, 2011. 235 years ago, after arguing about the details for a few days, a group of wealthy criminals agreed to sign a piece of paper. They agreed to no longer obey in anyway the rightful king and government over their land. They went from refusing to pay a few of their taxes to armed rioting to outright revolt.This group of wealthy criminals, though, aren't really remembered as that. They are remembered rather as a segment of the Founding Fathers of our nation. This was no ordinary document, either. It was the Declaration of Independence. The Second Continental Congress met, defying the order of King George III of England, and determined that it was not enough to argue over taxes. It was time to be free.The Declaration of Independence lists many of the wrongs that the people of America felt that His Majesty had inflicted upon them. Nationally, we've also paid (and somewhat continue to pay for) the things that were taken out: that the King permitted and encourag…

Genesis 4 Part 2

Genesis 4 works through the lineage of Cain after reporting his exile. Here’s a couple of thoughts about this lineage:1. The most tragic statement is Genesis 4:16 where we find “Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord.” How sad is that expression? Here we are, one generation from Eden and losing fellowship with God even further. First, the loss of the Garden of Eden, and now Cain has to move on, farther away.Notice this: the world in which Cain lives knows no prejudice, no religious quarrels, none of the things that many people would have us believe cause our problems. You do not have to look far for those who would have us imagine peace and harmony by simply growing past our prejudices and religious views. Cain, on his own, proves that point wrong. He lived near the evidence of God, he was raised to know God, he had all necessary advantages.And still he sins. Sin is not a problem stemming from lack of education or resources, from prejudices or presuppositions. It’s the condi…