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Showing posts from September, 2011

Genesis 1-25 Recap Part II

No, you didn't miss Part I. That will come later, hopefully Friday. However, today I'm glancing backwards at the latter half, so it seems appropriate to call it Part II. I never said I was a great writer, after all…This past Sunday night I finished preaching the first half of 50 sermons in Genesis. I'm going chapter-by-chapter, and though the first thought was to go straight through Bible, finishing sometime 13 years from now in Revelation, I'm going to take a break. I'll be more topical for a few weeks, then we'll go to Luke. After Luke, I'll finish Genesis, then back to the New Testament, then back to the Old Testament. The goal is still that, by the end of 13 years or so, I will have preached once on every chapter in the Bible. More than once on a few, but once on every one of them.Having just done Genesis 1 through Genesis 25, I've spent a good deal of time on Abraham. Not enough to be a great Abrahamic scholar, but enough to be the Almyra area expe…

OBU Blogabout: The Finale

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In finishing a month of celebrating 125 years of Ouachita Baptist University, they've asked for blog posts about What does Ouachita mean today or how has it helped you get to where you are today?That's a tough one. If you've read the prior posts in the OBU BlogAbout, both mine and others, you'll get a glimpse of how many of us have gotten where we are thanks to our alma mater. What else can be said?I've spoken of Ouachita as home, of professors that remain an inspiration, and of friends made and lost along the way. OBU has contributed to the fabric of both our state and our nation, to the heritage and culture, and to the religious tides in Baptist life. Has my OBU degree opened doors for me? I think so---but I can't guarantee that it opened doors that a UA degree wouldn't have. Have I worked my Ouachita Alumni network? Not too much, but maybe a little. I haven't been called on by our famous political alums, like Mike Huckabee or Mark Darr, for any great…

Saturday Sports Rant: Saves

This week, Mariano Rivera broke the Major League Baseball record for saves in a career. Now, you might wonder just what in the world a save is in baseball. Thinking about this record, I wonder about it as well.Now, this isn't just about my distaste for the New York Yankees. While my loathing of the Bronx Bombers would be legendary if more people knew about it and it lasted longer, this is about a stat that hovers around 50% meaningless in baseball reality.Let's look at the definition of a "save" (MLB rules on the web, section 10.19): a pitcher that did not start but finishes a game, pitches at least 1/3 of an inning (gets 1 out), and enters under one of these conditions:A lead of 3 or fewer runs The tying run is on base, at bat, or on deck He pitches at least 3 innings. So, a pitcher can come into a game after another pitcher has pitched the first eight innings, the offense has provided him a 3-run lead, and as long as he doesn't screw it up and throw a few home …

Genesis 23

Ever wonder what you can learn from Abraham buying a grave?Me too, though there were a few thoughts Sunday night. This is, to me, one of those passages of Scripture that's there more for the historical record than for any specific application. Which is worth considering for a few moments. Do you understand that sometimes, life is just, well, what it is? There are ordinary, day-to-day life events that we all go through. When you read the Bible, you see people going through extraordinary moments in their life.Consider this: Eric Metaxas' biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer is 608 pages. Eberhard Bethge's biography of the same life is over 1000 pages. Yet Pastor Bonhoeffer does not live past middle age, and even so the combined force of these 1600 pages still leaves questions unanswered, events deemed minor left out.Abraham lives more than 100 years longer than that Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His life is no less integral, in fact it's more important, yet Genesis records his story …

BookTuesday: The Faith of Leap

BookTuesday is the weekly book review feature here on the blog that will, next week, return to Tuesdays. Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve been the happy recipient of many books for review. While I’m no Tim Challies and don’t guarantee a best seller with a positive review, it’s been very nice to get to voice my opinion on various works. However, sometimes I get a book by committing to write a review and then I dread the writing.This is one of those times. On the surface, the idea of The Faith of Leap seems like a good one. Too many people who are believers in Jesus Christ in the Western World live very safe lives in their faith. We do not take risks, we do not attempt things beyond our grasp, and we just settle for the basic things that come our way.Frost and Hirsch want to push readers as people of faith to take risks. To live dangerously rather than to make the same safe decisions we’ve always made. The end-goal is one well worth the having, and if I had a book that would help churc…

Genesis 22 Extended

Sunday morning's sermon came from the story of the near-sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22. If you want the audio, it's here to hear. Here's a few additional thoughts:1. Ritual child-sacrifice was not uncommon in the Ancient Near East. It's really not uncommon in ancient cultures around the world. No matter how common of a practice it was, it's still evil. Going all the way back to the Flood: don't take the life of another. The only exception granted there is for the guilty-in-no-uncertain-terms murderer who is to be put to death for the crime. Majority opinion does not equal right behavior before God. Most of the Canaanites around Abraham would have normally practiced some form of ritual sacrifice, and the record shows that human sacrifice, while not everyday, it wouldn't have been foreign to them.What have we to do with this? Something to keep in mind is that the God of the Bible is not like most gods of human religion. Without getting too crazy into the hi…

OBU Blog-About: Student Life

In the continuing celebration of 125 years of Ouachita Baptist University, we've got a month-long batch of blog posts going up here, there, and everywhere. It's part of the OBU Blogabout, and you can find all the links at this link.This week's task: write about memories of involvement with Student Life or Campus Organizations. OBU really has some good campus groups: there's ministry groups, social clubs (fraternities and sororities), and specialty folks (like business majors or music majors). I hope you'll check out the link above to the links out there, because there's bound to be some great memories.I, however, did not really belong to any campus life groups. Didn't pledge a social club (fraternity), wasn't heavily involved in campus BSU/BCM activities, and I really didn't get into much else. That was a choice that was more blundered into than willfully selected, but it was what it was.So, what am I going to do to fill a blog post?Tell you about t…

September 18 Sermons

Morning Link HereEvening Link HereMorning Text: Genesis 22Outline:I. It is the right of God to demand all that we have:     A. The right is His by virtue of Creation     B. The right is His by demand due to our sin     C. The right is His by nature of His promise     D. All that we have is rightfully HisII. That which is His:     A. We must not profane          1. By using for unholy actions          2. By giving to another     B. We must not keep          1. For ourselves          2. For our glory     C. We must not hoard          1. Though it is God's gift to us          2. Though the world advises that we are     D. We are sinners by nature          1. We are incapable of handling the blessings of God          2. We are incapable of giving enoughIII. But for the Ram     A. God alone can determine an acceptable sacrifice 22:2     B. God alone can provide the acceptable sacrifice 22:8, 12-14     C. God alone can supply our future need 22:20-24Evening Text is Genesis 23. Written o…

Severability

This is going to sound a bit like a rant and may really need to be edited, but you're going to get the full-force of what I have to say. Even if that includes a few errors in spelling and grammar. The big word you see as the post title is a term from contract law. It also appears in general legislation. From a legal perspective, as far as I understand (though you might check with Howell Scott) what this word means is this: some agreements and laws are setup that if part A is deemed bad, part B still applies.An example would be when Congress passes a Frankenstein law, one that has merged unrelated issues, they add a "severability" clause. That way, just because the extra paycheck for Congress gets ruled unconstitutional, the extra taxes can still stay. Or a contract will have a clause that is deemed illegal, but the rest of the contract stays in force. You could make the future interest payments on a mortgage illegal, but the severability means you still owe the principal…

BookTuesday: Tolkien

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Continuing September's BookTuesday on Thursday, today we're taking a look at another biography in Thomas Nelson Publisher's Christian Encounters Series: J.R.R. Tolkien. Here's the cover with Amazon link: J.R.R. Tolkien (Christian Encounters Series)The Christian Encounters Series is a collection of short introductory biographies covering people of literary and historic importance. Other books highlight George Washington Carver, Winston Churchill, and John Bunyan. These books are available in paperback and e-book. My copy of Tolkien is an e-book. While that seems paradoxical, since Tolkien's writing often pushed against technology, it's what I've got. Better an e-book than no book at all!However, the text should be the same whether you want to hold Mark Horne's work in your hands or on your Kindle. And this is a short review, not a debate on the merits or demerits of digital books.Horne is not a famous author, and I'm not sure if this series is ass…

Genesis 20 Continued

This past Sunday, the morning sermon was on Genesis 20. You can download it or stream it here. I won't claim that this is the best sermon you'll ever hear, but it's the best I've ever preached on Genesis 20. Of course, in 15 years of being "in the ministry" there's passage you repeat, and passages that you've only preached once…I wanted to draw out a couple of additional thoughts from this passage that I didn't preach. Here you go:1. Take a look at Genesis 20:10. This is Abimelech's response to Abraham after Abimelech finds out the truth that Sarah is not just Abraham's sister, she's also his wife. Abimelech wants to know just where in the world Abraham had been that people were that evil. Abimelech is aghast that Abraham thinks the Gerarites are that wicked.In short: Abraham rightly estimated the lack of worship of the One True God. He overestimated the outflow of that depravity, and believed the worst possible things about Abimelech …

OBU BlogAbout: Professors and Staff

In the continuing celebration of 125 years of Ouachita Baptist University, we've got a month-long batch of blog posts going up here, there, and everywhere. It's part of the OBU Blogabout, and you can find all the links at this link.This week, the goal is to post about our favorite professor, instructor, or staff member. I don't doubt that there will be a few posts about how hard it is to choose or how wonderful everyone was at Ouachita. There will be posts about great rescues or deep inspirations or lifelong friendships.What will this post be?I consider an extended gripy-blog about faculty members I didn't like or a statement or two about how I didn't really know staff members and such because I stayed holed up in my room most of the time. But you're not here to read about bad things, are you? After all, if you can't say something nice, you should say nothing at all, right? Right.So, of whom shall I speak? I was a Religion major, back before the "Schoo…

Sermons September 11

AM AudioPM AudioGenesis 20: Living Among the HeathenI. Integritya. Truth—real truthi. In businessii. In personal relationshipsb. Not shades of truthII. Just Because God protects does NOT mean He approvesa. Do not mistake opportunity for commandb. Seek the Word for your guidanceIII. We are here to bless not to add to the curse

Friday Digest

It's Friday morning, and last night two things happened.Thing 1 (with apologies to Theodore Giesel and his magical, annoying cat): President Obama made a speech to a joint session of Congress about jobs.Thing 2: The 2011 NFL season started with the Saints playing the Packers.Now, I'm writing this Thursday night after the speech and during the game, so I don't have ratings data, but I think it's a safe guess that more people are watching the game than watched the speech.I watched the speech, and I'm watching the game right now. First, let's have a little fun. Figure out whether each statement applies to the Speech or NFL game.1. Somewhere, there's a former participant that thinks he could do it better, but won't get the chance. There's also one or two that have done much worse.2. There's been plenty of applause, but you're not sure which side the clapping is for in the end.3. Finger-pointing and aggression are on obvious display.4. Every mome…

BookTuesday: The Scroll

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Note: yes, it’s Thursday. All through September, book reviews will come on Thursday. But, I’ve been titling my reviews “BookTuesday” for a while now, and want to remain consistent. Ok?Today’s book is from Waterbrook Press, a part of Multnomah Publishers. They provided a free advance copy in exchange for the review. I almost did not finish The Scroll, my book for today. To be honest, with all of the 2012 hysteria, bundled with the War on Terror and a hefty dash of natural disasters, I wasn’t very excited as the book begin to turn toward an “end-of-the-world” ending. There’s just enough of that in fiction, especially in the Christian Fiction genre. (Seriously, it’s either romantic, Amish, or Apocalyptic. Those three choices are about all I see these days.)However, I didn’t give up on the book. Why not?First of all, the writing team had me curious. I’ve seen a couple of novels written by Biblical scholars. I’ve seen a few written by scholars and authors, and the addition of a professiona…

OBU BlogAbout: Favorite Memories

This year Ouachita Baptist University celebrates its 125th anniversary. September 6, 1886 was the opening of a little college that has since played a big role in the lives of many young people.This year, as we celebrate this milestone for Ouachita, they’ve encouraged us to blog each Tuesday in September on various subjects. To start off, the alumni office has challenged us to think on our favorite Ouachita memory. Favorite Ouachita memory? How do you nail it down? For many of us, one memory includes “I met my spouse at Ouachita.” I met my wife there. Two of the deacons in the church I serve met their wives there. I know dozens of people who came to Arkadelphia single and left either with a spouse or a definite date to have one.And I would hate for anyone to think that meeting Ann Hibbard wasn’t the best thing that has happened to me, short of salvation by the Grace of God, ever. In any context or situation—whether OBU memory or favorite truth about Jacksonville High, that I didn’t mar…

Sermon for September 4th

I worked off a pretty small outline, and it was a short message. Then, for Sunday night, we had a fellowship dinner. It's been a year since Ann and I came to Almyra, and we want to say thank you to our church family. It's been a good year, and we look forward to more!Morning Audio LinkGenesis 19:27-29I. Grace of God: Lot is saved by God's grace, and it relates to God's promise to AbrahamII. Longsuffering in prayer---Connect back to Abraham's pleading in Genesis 18III. The long arm of the Lord---Isaiah 59:1, Numbers 11:23There's not audio (yet) for the evening. However, we looked at Psalm 130. If you'd like to see what got me to have us look at Psalm 130, go to this link at Beeson Divinity School. You'll need to click "Play Audio" under the video-link, and then click the play button. It's worth the 24 minutes.

If only I had known.

How many times do we start sentences that way? "If only I had known…."It's a phrase of a regret, a phrase that excuses us because of our lack of omniscience.There are certainly valid times for these if only statements. There are plenty of things in life out of our control: other drivers, foreign countries, and water quality in Almyra, Arkansas.This isn't about those things. While I am fan of a few self-help, inspirational writers, I do not buy into the idea that we can control our entire life. You can't. Sometimes, stuff happens to us that is completely beyond our control. We do have control over our reaction, but not over everything. That's another post.I'm thinking about the actions we have control over. The other morning, as I was loosening up for my morning workout, I thought about the increased energy I've lately since I've been working out five or six days a week. I thought about how much better I feel having lost 15 pounds so far. The loose…