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Showing posts from August, 2012

Being a BasketCase: Acts 9

When a person comes to faith in Christ, change happens that is both instant and incremental. For example, based in 2 Corinthians 5:17, the old person that was dead in sin is gone and the new person is present. Spiritual new birth is akin to physical birth: one moment you’re not born, the next you are born.So there is an instantaneous component to Christian salvation. It is often the case that this moment rights many of the wrongs in person’s life. In salvation, the lost are found by God and the Holy Spirit indwells new believers. In that moment, the pieces are put in place that provide the spiritual resources for a new Christian to grow into a mature disciple of Jesus. Often, that is where old hatreds and addictions melt away—for coming to the Cross we often see first our own need for grace and then the provision of grace not only for ourselves but for others. When we see the cost of our sin, it is hard to hold hatreds in our heart that Jesus died to redeem.However, salvation does not…

Book: The Mormonizing of America

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I received an email a few weeks ago asking if I would like to review a new book out titled The Mormonizing of America. I had a few reservations about it, but knowing that the current political campaign would feature a Mormon, it seemed like a good idea.Of course, one can hardly doubt that this book would not be coming out, now, if it were not for that same campaign. Be that as it may, this subject is timely. Whether or not this book is timely is what we need to consider. And we’ll give author Stephen Mansfield a pass on making a verb from a noun in “Mormonizing.” There’s grammar police out there who will get him for that.The first real memory of Mormonism I have is the commercials that formerly aired during The A-Team and other great television classics. Their commercials were positive, family-friendly, and perfectly suited to good guys who could save the day without actually shooting the bad guys. Later on, I learned a little more about the religious beliefs of the Mormons. That requ…

Pancakes? Leviticus 2

The book of Leviticus really does get better, but these opening chapters are tough. Leviticus 2 (link) continues in what we would typically call the “ceremonial” laws of the Old Testament. These addressed the proper ways of worship for Old Testament Israel. For a Christian, there is instruction in the nature of God and His holiness and righteousness here, but we do not find these laws to be binding. Neither should we over-stretch our efforts to see Jesus in all of Scripture to make the Grain Offerings all about Him.We understand, through the ideas of New Testament Theology, that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus fulfilled the purposes of the offerings and sacrifices of the Old Testament. One might even stretch Jesus’ statement that He is the Bread of Life (John 6:35) and connect it to the grain offerings. I think that’s a bit of a stretch, but if your favorite preacher likes it, then stick with it.What do we gather from here? Other than the idea that grain offered in a pan wa…

One-Chapter Wonder: Acts 8

Blogger note: I had, and have, high hopes to write for this blog every day. I have yet to attain to those hopes. As the old saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.” Also, if at first you don’t succeed, try again. Then, if you still don’t succeed, redefine your goals. So, I’m redefining my goals. I intend to give you at least 3 good posts a week here, with 2 definitely in the Through the Whole Bible series, 1 probably from that series, and 1 post that is just the sermon recap from the preceding Sunday. Sorry to any of you whose hopes are dashed by this reduction.The Book of Acts has the chapter breaks in some strange spots. Acts 8 (link) starts with 3 verses that really feel like they should be in Acts 7, but they start off this chapter. We see the remnant of the narrative of Stephen’s story, as devout men bury him and weep over his death. Meanwhile, foreshadowing hits as we see a man named Saul agreeing greatly with the execution and turning the executio…

Sermon Wrap-Up: August 26

Apologies for the lateness of the post. The day has not been what I planned on it being.Morning sermon audio is here (alternate link)Evening sermon audio is here (alternate link)We did continue with our livestreaming efforts. As of right now, we’re not set up for a video archive. It’s only available when it runs. We’re looking at costs for improving, but we’re not sure what the best option is yet.Morning outline is non-existent. Luke 8:40-56 was the textEvening outline:Corporate Worship: Psalm 100 A. Noisy B. Service-oriented C. Known, not unknown D. Separated from ordinary life E. Thankfulness Individual Purity: 1 Peter 1:13-16 A. Prepare: fill it up B. Fix: focus, stay on target      1. Hope      2. Grace           Drawn from the Word of God C. Be unconformed. D. Be holy

Book: Should Christians be Environmentalists?

Kregel Publishers provided this book free in exchange for the review.Dan Story released this book earlier in 2012, back in February, in an attempt to address what he sees as a gap between Christian behavior and good stewardship of the world God has created. In it, he addresses the need for environmental action, a Biblical basis for environmental action, and some suggested steps of action for churches and Christians to be involved in environmental action.His suggested steps of action are excellent. The idea of a local church being involved, perhaps as the community centerpoint, in developing programs that protect creation is a good thing. This is a popular and passionate subject and provides an excellent way to both address the need to be good stewards of what God has given us and reach the lost. In former times, churches often connected with communities through school activities and such, but that door is often closing from both sides. Creation care is a good stepping stone in its pla…

Light me up! Leviticus 1

Getting back into the Old Testament today as we go through the whole Bible, we are looking at Leviticus 1 (link). Leviticus is one of those books in the Bible that many of us know is there, but we only go to it at great need. Then, our great need is usually to find a single verse to quote to support our view on a moral issue. While the bulk of Leviticus does relate to the moral and spiritual laws given to Israel and so contains those instructions, it is still necessary to grasp the fullness of the context of the book.Leviticus begins, then, with the most important phrase for understanding the text. Then the Lord (Yahweh) called to Moses and spoke to him. (Leviticus 1:1) That’s it. The entire understanding of the book of Leviticus hinges on that phrase. Why?Well, let’s look at the rest of the chapter. As we go through the remains of the chapter, we see the instructions given on how to offer burnt offerings. There are specific details about how to arrange the animal on the fire, how to …

Remember being Aliens! Acts 7

Acts 6 (link) saw the institution of deacons into the church. It concluded with one of the deacons being arrested for performing signs and wonders among the people. After his arrest, he is brought before the Council for trial.That trial is the center point of Acts 7 (link). The high priest asks Steven about the truth of the charges laid against him. Steven responds by reciting the history of the people of Israel. He provides a summary of the redemptive work that God has done for the people.He gives it alongside the history of the people of Israel’s consistent turn from God to idols. This would not be an advisable strategy in court, but it is the direction Steven takes here. The end-result is his execution at the hands of an angry mob. Why? Because his hearers do not want to be reminded of the truth about themselves and their heritage. They do not want to remember the time when their ancestors were aliens (Acts 7:6) nor the carrying of idols alongside the Ark of the Covenant and the Ta…

Sermon Wrap-Up August 19

Here are the sermon audios from this past Sunday:Morning Audio (Alternate Link)Evening Audio (Alternate Link)Additionally, we are experimenting with live video streaming of the worship services on Sundays. The link is on Ustream. That’s out of necessity: it’s the only place I could find that would setup a free stream. Please, keep in mind that any advertisements on the stream or Ustream’s website are their responsibility and should not be seen as an endorsement by the myself or the church. The channel is here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/fbc-almyra You should not have to “register” or anything else. I will be working on whether or not a recording feature is available.Below is the code that will should let you watch the livestream:
Live Video app for Facebook by UstreamMorning Outline: Luke 8:26-39I. The story II. The situation III. The solution How do we handle those who have been marginalized? Do we understand that the Gospel is the solution to societal problems? Are we chainin…

Trouble at the Tables: Acts 6

Trouble comes from two basic places: inside and outside. That seems like an obvious statement right? If not, let’s consider it:Your car works fine. Then, one day it does not. Either something broke internally or some external force, like a freight train, smacked it. Either way, it was working fine until either internal wear brought it down or external forces destroyed.The same thing is evident in your body. You go to bed, fine, and wake up and cannot move your arm. Perhaps the ligaments snapped in the night, and perhaps it was gnawed off by a tiger. Either way, either internal disruption or external destruction put a hold on your jazz marimba career.The difference between the internal and the external forces is that you can often see the external problems coming. The internal ones tend to pop up from less expected directions. Healthy people die from heart attacks while smokers live without lung cancer; alcoholics die from simple falls while vegans die of liver disease. All of these ev…

Not about the Money, Honey: Acts 5

Acts 4 wrapped up with a touching story of how Barnabas sold a parcel of land and laid the proceeds at the feet of the Apostles. We assume that his gift was given so that the church could use it however was deemed necessary. It was also known among the people what he had done—otherwise Luke could not report it, could he?On the heels of the accolades that Barnabas likely received, others followed suit. The story continues in Acts 5 (link) with a couple that follows partly in his footsteps. Ananias and Sapphira also sell a piece of land and donate the money to the church.Except they do not donate all the money. They keep part of the money to themselves. The end result? Peter confronts them and they are both struck dead by the power of God. This is a somewhat terrifying story.Especially when it’s misapplied. Most frequently, this passage gets taken apart and used over and over to insist on bigger financial contributions to a church or ministry. The preacher or speaker is using the text a…

Busted! Acts 4

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What would you expect if you raised a lame man in the midst of a crowd of people? Most likely, you’d expect what Peter and John have at the end of Acts 3, which is a nice big crowd listening to what they have to say. A group of people wondering at the source of the power that has been demonstrated. A crowd willing to consider those claims you have to present.You probably do not expect this: Or, at the very least, the Second Temple Judaism form of it. But that’s what Peter and John get in Acts 4 (link) as we go through the whole Bible. The authorities lay hands on them and lead them away to put them in prison overnight. The next day, they are questioned, threatened, and released. In the midst of all this, though, they confront the religious leaders and speak the truth about Jesus to these leaders. Keep in mind, these are many of the same religious powers-that-be who turned Jesus over to the Romans for crucifixion. It’s a hostile crowd to start with, and Peter pointing to these elders th…

Sermon Wrap-up August 14th

Morning Audio link is here (Alternate here)Evening Audio Link is here (Alternate here)If you’d like to subscribe to the sermon audio, click here.If you want the sermon audio as an iTunes podcast, click here.Morning Outline:One of those days...
Ever have "one of those days?"
Luke 8:22-25 It is clear from Scripture that we have been told by the Lord Jesus Christ what to do:      A. Repent of sin; turn in faith; be born again!
B. Live in holiness; seek and know sound doctrine; personally be devoted Christ
C. Be in unity within the church; defend the church from untruth; strengthen fellow believers
D. Go through life telling people about Jesus and building those that come into disciples
E. Along the way, do not neglect the needs of the family: your family, the Christian family, the                          human family
These items are not options nor suggestions, they are plain instructions from the Lord Jesus Christ in His Word. They are as binding upon us as the instruction of Christ…

Don’t Move Yet! Exodus 40

Ever been ready to go but not sure if you should? Ever been ready to go, loaded up, and have no idea where to go? Imagine if it was not just you on the move, but somewhere between quite a few and generally a lot of Israelites fleeing from the Pharaohnic Armies of Egypt?Then you would grasp the spot Moses finds himself in during Exodus 40 (link). The Tabernacle is done. The Ark is done. Aaron is dressed and anointed, and the priests are ready. Now, what do we do with all of this stuff? Do we stay here at the foot of the mountain or go elsewhere? Where do we go when we leave?As we look at this, what we see is that all of the trappings and external service can only go so far. The Israelites have constructed all of those things here. They can gather for worship. They can identify their religious leaders. They even have the Urim and Thummin and the ephod to help them make decisions.The people have the laws to guide their behavior. They have a history and a heritage to bind their culture to…

Sermon Wrap-Up July 29 and Aug 5

In my younger days, computers were simpler and I knew more of what I was doing with them. Somehow, I have lost that mojo and last week’s sermon wrap-up disappeared.July 29 Morning Audio (alternate)July 29 Evening Audio(alternate)August 5 Morning Audio (alternate)August 5 Evening Audio (alternate)July 29 Evening Outline:Note: Much of the general idea of this series is drawn from J. Scott Duvall's Experiencing God's Story of Life and Hope. I would recommend you grab a copy.Galatians 4:4-6 as an example to express the presence of the Trinity, The Baptism of Jesus is also a time that we see all three persons of the Trinity shown in Scripture: Matthew 3:13-17What defines this doctrine?#1: Triune Nature: Three persons of God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit (minor summaries follow)     A. God the Father: command, direct, send     B. God the Son: redeem and perfect     C. God the Holy Spirit: inspire and illuminate#2: Divinity of all three#3: Only one God (monotheistic)It is worth noting th…