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Showing posts from August, 2011

Genesis 17 Part II

I want to revisit a part of Genesis 17 that I didn't focus too hard on during the sermon. This chapter of Genesis establishes the Abrahamic Covenant symbol of circumcision. It's not exactly a comfortable topic and in the more reserved culture, you just don't dwell on that topic.Here in the internet, though, there's a little more openness. Not complete insanity. Just a little more freedom. However, if you're uncomfortable reading about circumcision and considering this, please just go on to your next blog. It won't hurt you.As someone who has read the Bible a good bit, I've long been aware of circumcision. I understood it to be the sign of the covenant with Abraham, and learned a couple of basic things that we Gentiles think were God's purpose behind instituting it. These things are:1. Circumcision was an immensely personal mark of belonging to the community of God. This is not a process that one is unaware of: you can tell it was done even if you don…

BookTuesday: Bonhoeffer

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Today for BookTuesday, I’m reviewing Eric Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonheoffer. The short title of the book is Bonhoeffer. Here’s a peek at the cover:Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, SpyAs you can see, the long title of the book is Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. This title is an attempt to summarize the book in five words. And that’s not a bad attempt. The book released in hardcover last year, which my wife graciously gave me for Father’s Day. It’s been available on Kindle since then, and is coming out in trade paperback today. (Trade paperbacks are the ones that are 5x8 or so, not the small ones on checkout racks.) Officially, I think I’m reviewing the “e-version” for Booksneeze today, because that’s what they provided for me to read. I read this in hardback first, which I paid for—this review wouldn’t be any different if I were just reviewing the one I bought.On to the book: It’s hard to review a biography without treading into dangerous ground and reviewing the …

Sermon Recap from August 28: Genesis 17 and Genesis 18

Morning Audio LinkEvening Audio LinkMorning Genesis 17Outline used:  I. Personal Obedience:      A. Not just generic ethics      B. Not done by others      C. Must be done by us II. Painful separation      A. We cannot expect everything to go well.      B. We cannot expect to hold on to everything III. Patient God      A. He has waited for us      B. He has watched while we wander      C. his patience will end someday Evening: Genesis 18 I. The Sins of Sodom A. Not overly detailed B. Their sin? Anger, rebellion, offense against marriage, God’s WordII. The Sins of America A. Read a newspaper B. Our sin? Anger, rebellion, offense against God’s WordIII. The Culprit? A. Is it the sinner? The sinner bears their own guilt B. Is it the Judge? All He does is perfect C. Is it Godly? Let’s take a look at that: 1. Where are Abraham and Sarah prior to the doom of Sodom? 2. They are in their tents. Sarah is actually laughing at God’s Word. 3. Not “funny” laughing. Derisively laughing. Mocking. 4.…

New music from @downhere

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Today I have something a little different for a review. Once before, I’ve given my opinion on a CD, back in 2009 I recommended a Christmas CD to you: How Many Kings by the band Downhere. Well, it’s time for another CD review. Why?Because Downhere has a new album out. That’s why. The new album is titled On the Altar of Love and it releases today. I pre-ordered a CD, and then was asked to do the review and had the opportunity to listen online to the whole thing. What can I say about this album? (click the link to go to Downhere’s Website so you can buy it!)First of all, let’s talk about music style. Downhere is a four-man band, with guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard. However, they also have skills with trumpets, spoons, banjos, and more…not counting the studio musicians that come in and play a bit more. One bright spot to me about Downhere in general is that a live drummer as part of the band helps with the creative process. Drum tracks just aren't as fun. Second, let's talk lyr…

Genesis 16 Revisited

Sunday night's sermon came from Genesis 16. There's the link, if you want the outline and the audio. The sermon really ended up sounding like two different sermons kind of shoe-horned together. There's a reason for that---and it's not that I'm a bad preacher. I mean, that might be true, but that's not why that happened.Genesis 16 has a couple of different storylines to address. Typically, the focus goes on Abram and Sarai's decision to "help God out" by having Abram father a child with Hagar, Sarai's handmaid. There's plenty of reason to look at this, and that's where the sermon outline went. ultimately, keep in mind that the morals and practices of the day and culture we live in do not define what is right.God defines what is right. Contemporary culture has been wrong before, but God never has. Go with the One with the perfect record.I want to, instead, take a minute to look at Sarai and Hagar's relationship. Actually, I don't…

Genesis 15 Revisited

Sunday Morning’s sermon was from Genesis 15. You can find outline and audio link here for that.Today, let’s look back at Genesis 15. The Abram/Abraham narratives of Genesis carry three repetitions of the covenant promise. It’s stated in 12, restated in 15, and restated again in 17.The purpose of stating the covenant in 12 is obvious: without the introduction of the covenant, why tell Abraham’s story? Genesis 17 restates the covenant in light of Abram and Sarai’s attempt to shortcut the plan of God in Genesis 16. It’s a reminder.Where does Genesis 15 come from?I think the first verse is a good clue. Genesis 15:1 states that “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying…”“These things” refers to the battle with King Chedarlaomer (if I write an Old Testament book, he’ll be King Cheesy) and Abram’s subsequent defeat of that king. It also refers to the snub Abram gives the king of Sodom.So, at the outset of Genesis 15, Abram has alienated the earthly kings arou…

BookTuesday: Route 66

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Today's book comes, again, from Kregel Publications. It's another free book in exchange for the review. Now that I've told you that, let's get to business.The book is titled Route 66and it's by Krish Kandiah. Below is a link on Amazon, and the title above is hyperlinked to Kregel's page. Going to Kregel will get you more information on the author, an excerpt of the book, and a chance to buy it. Going to Amazon will get you the chance to buy it from Amazon, which is something I no longer profit from, but I still link there anyway.Route 66: A Crash Course in Navigating Life with the BibleThis book is written as a guide book for understanding the Bible. It's broken down into eight chapters, with each chapter broken down into five sections. Essentially, this is designed for a group study with daily reading and weekly discussion. It's not a bad format. The sections are not too long, and the questions dig in---not too deep, but not overly shallow.The content …

August 21 PM: Genesis 16

Audio Link HereGenesis 16: No shortcuts!I. Impatience leads to bad decisions      A. Sometimes those bad decisions are made because society encourages them      B. Sometimes we do what we want no matter what society thinks      C. There are no shortcuts to developing patience II. Immorality leads to dire consequences      A. We get what we want      B. Then we don't want it anymore      C. We then respond by compounding sin      D. There are no shortcuts past God's standards and ways III. Impiety leads to foolish behavior      A. We do things that are blatantly wrong      B. We can hurt others in doing so      C. We cannot undo the promise and grace of God

August 21 AM: Genesis 15

Audio Link HereGenesis 15: Are you a Star? Read out loud: 15:5-8 I. The Covenant a. God’s promise to Abram stated b. God’s promise to Abram confirmed II. The Confirmation a. The vision at night b. The prophecy of things to come: i. Egyptian bondage ii. Sins of the Canaanites III. The Continuation: a. We are descendants innumerable: the counting of stars has frustrated mankind for all times b. We are descendants diverse: stars are varied, so are we. Some are big, small, near, far… c. We are descendants to guide: for centuries, mankind has been guided by the stars. You can tell when it is, where you are, and find a path from the stars. IV. The Conclusion: a. Are you a star by accepting the salvation that is promised to the nations through Abram? b. Are you a star by living in the fullness of joy from the promises? c. Are you a star that is lighting the way for others to find their way? d. Are you a star that shows the times: the last days, the end days?

Genesis 14 Part II Melchizedek

Sorry I didn't get this up immediately. Someday I'm quick. Other days, not so much.I want to look for a minute at Melchizedek. Not literally. There's not any pictures or representative artwork that shows us what he looked like. You're best guess is to picture a Middle-Eastern man. Probably shorter than average these days, but about right for those days.Instead, let's look at what happens here. First, remember the historical situation. Abram has fought and delivered Lot as well as others taken captive because of the rebellion of the King of Sodom against Chedarlaomer. He has now brought back the people and the goods, and he's met by the King of Sodom and the King of Salem.Abram rebuffs the King of Sodom and accepts bread and wine from the King of Salem. The King of Salem? Melchizedek is his name. He's recorded as a "priest of God Most High."And he's one of the Bible's semi-enduring mysteries. The book of Hebrews points back to him as an exa…

Genesis 14 Part 1: The Tithe

If you'd like to set off a nice, grumpy argument in the midst of a group of preachers, teachers, and mostly learned Christians, start a discussion of tithing. You'll get some remarkable responses that range from "A Christian that does not give 10% is robbing God" to "Anyone that thinks a Christian has to give anything is a grace-denying legalist."Why is there such diversity of opinion on this issue? For starters, and for a whole 'nother blog post, sometimes we're smarter than we need to be and spend too much effort overthinking things. However, that's not going to fit on this blog today.Instead, let's look at the overall idea of the tithe. First, this is the fundamental definition: a "tithe" is 10% of something. It can be 10% of anything. The generic definition does not specify the recipient of the tithe. It's a principle of giving that's found inside and outside of the Bible. J.R.R. Tolkien references a "tithe of stre…

BookTuesday: Across the Wide River

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Today’s book is Across the Wide River by Stephanie Reed. It’s published by Kregel Publications, who provided a free copy of the book in exchange for the review.
Across the Wide RiverThis book is an historical fiction title, aimed at the teenage years. It’s based on a real family in the 1800s that worked toward the abolition of slavery by guiding slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. The family was (and is) real, though this book isn’t a chronicle of their actual work. Rather, it’s a novel inspired by them and by studying the real memoirs they left behind.
The plot line of the book is simple: Lowry Rankin is growing up with a father who is an abolitionist minister. As Lowry grows, his involvement with his father’s work grows, but eventually a boy becomes a man and has to begin making his own decisions. The work portrays a glimpse into the emotional wrestling that went into those decisions, as well as the personal sacrifices involved.
Admittedly, there is little intensive actio…

Sunday August 14 Sermons

Morning Audio Link
Evening Audio Link
Morning Outline:
Genesis 14: When it's time to fight
Read aloud: Genesis 14:17-24
I. Historical Situation:
1. Lot lives near Sodom2. Abram does not (see chapter 13)3. While life is going on, there's political mischief afoot:A. Kings that had been alliedB. Some decide to rebel against Chedorlaomer (Ked-er-la-o-mer) (Or Cheddarlamer :)C. Kings don't take rebellion lightly. Chedorlaomer comes after the king of Sodom and other rebels and wins.D. The end-result? He takes hostages and plunder. E. Including Lot. II. Family back in focus:
1. It's important to see that world events affect peopleA. distract to famine, riots, whatever: B. The death of one a tragedy, the death of millions, a statistic (Stalin)2. The political mischief is happening around Abram and Lot3. Lot has been taken as one of the captivesIII. When does Abram fight?
1. He has not fought:
A. To conquer the landB. To enrich himselfC. To interfere or participate with…

A quick, political note for Gov. Perry

Gov. Perry,I thought the whole “call-to-prayer” thing last weekend was a good idea. It was nice to see a political figure admit his faith and take major public action on it.But now, not even a week later, it looks like blatant political grandstanding. It appears that you have used evangelical Christians for political purposes. And most of us are really tired of that. True, since we’re mostly pro-life, pro-freedom, and pro-religion, if you’re the other major candidate, we’ll still likely vote for you in November. Except using us makes us lukewarm.It makes us likely to vote for you but not talk a lot about you. It makes us unlikely to give money (well, I wouldn’t give any to any candidate), less likely to put signs in our yards, and not very likely to do much else.You see, as a pastor, I’m very cautious how I blend politics with what I do. I do not mention candidate names from the pulpit. I don’t even mention party names from the pulpit. I clearly preach pro-life, pro-freedom as I see i…

BookTuesday: Courageous

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Today’s book?Courageous by Randy Alcorn, based on the screenplay by Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick. Here’s the cover and Amazon.com link:Courageous: A NovelTo clarify (or unclarify): this is the novelization of the screenplay for the upcoming movie from Sherwood Pictures (Sherwood Baptist Church) that has the same name, Courageous.As such, it has a few automatic drawbacks. The author of the book, Randy Alcorn, is constrained to the vision and ideas of the screenplay. That’s not all bad, but it’s also not all good.Within those constraints, however, here's a quick rundown on the book form only. I haven't seen the movie, though I likely will. In the interest of preserving suspense, I'm going to try very hard and dodge any form of spoiler in this review. Hopefully it doesn't come out too generic!The book opens strongly, with one of the main characters returning to Albany, Georgia to work with the Dougherty County Sheriff's Department. He's immediately thrust in…

Borrowed from another blog

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There’s a whole line of etiquette related to borrowing from other blogs. It then gets even more complicated when it’s from a guest post on another blog. This came from Justin Taylor’s blog where a guy name Dane Ortlund posted it who got it from another person, credited as Z. Here’s the link, then there’s the embedded video. It’s worth the 5 minutes to watch.

Sunday Sermon Recap

Morning Audio Link HereEvening Audio Link HereMorning Outline:Genesis 12:1-13:4First: The contrast between the Babel-builders and God's promise: Babel was built on the premise of: staying together, making a great name, and reaching heaven; Abram is called to leave and trust God to do the other things... Second: continued obedience: remain where you are supposed to be Third: make the right decision in crisis Fourth: maintain your integrity: if the intent is to deceive, it's a lie: Abram is not doing right by lying in Egypt.  Beginning with obedience: Abram is commanded to leave his country, his relatives, even his father's household. Put that in your own terms: How do you respond to being pushed away from what you know? This is where Abram is. Based on what does he obey this calling? Is he given anything "up-front"? No. He receives a promise of what will come: none of these are delivered in 25 years! Think about this: 25 years before the son is born. It takes the …

Good Eats, the Space Shuttle, and Me

Sorry for the later post today. I was working on it last night and other things demanded my attention.I haven't had cable for a couple of years now, but last I did, I became a fan of the Food Network. In fact, what got me watching Food was two shows, really: Iron Chef America and Good Eats. Now, spare me the eye-roll at the unrealistic nature of Iron Chef. It's probably more real than its critics think but less real than it appears. Anyway, it's TV: entertaining and fun. Star Trek is fake, too, and I still like it. Plus, Michael Symon will always have a special place in my heart as a chef since he used halloumi in one episode.However, Good Eats was the main hook. We started watching that show when we caught a snippet one night of a disheveled looking fellow in a bathrobe muttering about breakfast. This fellow went on to look a little less disheveled and cooked pancakes. We tried the recipe, it was good, and we became Alton Brown fans. In fact, though I had loved to cook be…

Don’t be a Nimrod!

Genesis 10:8–12 (NASB95) : 8 Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, 12 and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city. A few observations here about Nimrod: 1. He was, apparently, good at certain things. Certain extra-Biblical sources put him in charge of the Tower of Babel, and the text itself gives you the idea that he was quite the city organizer. Not only that, he’s quite the hunter. The name of Nimrod is one of the first names to become “proverbial:” people use him as an example for succeeding generations. His hunting is legendary. 2. As with all legends, Nimrod’s fame exceeds his evidence. Taking Mosaic authorship for granted, Genesi…

Evening Sermon from July 31

I posted the morning sermon on Monday. Here's the evening sermon outline:Morning Audio Link HereEvening Audio Link HereTower of Babel: The Dangers of Self-ExaltationGenesis 11:4 (NASB95)4 They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”The goal of our life is God-exaltation, not self-exaltation.Let's look back right quick:Genesis 9:7 (NASB95)7 “As for you, be fruitful and multiply;Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”Mankind was supposed to filling the earth, spreading out---being obedient to that command. Instead, here's what happens: the group settles. Together. And decided to build a city to stay together, to build a tower in the midst of the city.As they build the city and the tower, the goal is stated in 3 things: 1. build for ourselves2. Make a name for ourselves3. Avoid scattering.Now, the city …

BookTuesday: It Couldn’t Just Happen

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For BookTuesday today, I’ve got a review of Lawrence Richards’ It Couldn’t Just Happen. This is actually a reprint/update of a book originally released in 1987 by Word Publishing. Today it’s released by Thomas Nelson Publishing under the Tommy Nelson Imprint.It Couldn't Just Happen: Knowing the Truth About God's Awesome CreationThis book is targeted for children to address questions about science and evolution. The title itself should be a clue about the author’s viewpoint and what conclusions are going to be offered in the book.Which is not a bad thing. After all, the target audience is not biology or chemistry researchers but it is aimed at a younger audience. The apparent goal is to show the reader why a creationist viewpoint is correct not only from the Biblical perspective but also from a scientific perspective.To accomplish this, Richards presents 16 chapters focused on basic science issues related to studying the origins of the earth, life, and humanity. He dedicates th…

Morning Sermon from July 31

Morning Audio Link HereEvening Audio Link HereI linked both audio files here, but I'm only putting the morning outline. I'll post the evening outline later, but this one was a little long!Morning outline:What needs to happen here is this: Read this passage, then think backwards through it.What do I mean?Let's look at this text: Genesis 10 is related to the study of ethnography or the study of nations.And all the nations trace back to one place here. While it is fascinating to study who went where, and what group had what land and who became the father of what nation---really, that's a rabbit we could hunt for days and days.Further, when you come to this chapter and see that there are 8 people involved in the genetic heritage of mankind and then see news and science reports that report they have traced human DNA back to a small group of individuals, well, here's a thought: there were 8 different genetic patterns on the ark that led into these groups. It's as lik…