Showing posts from November, 2012

Book: Organic Outreach for Families

Today brings another book review from Cross Focused Reviews. The book is by Kevin G & Sherry Harney and is titled Organic Outreach for Families. Published by Zondervan Publishers, it is third in the Organic Outreach Series. The first two are Organic Outreach for Ordinary People and Organic Outreach for Churches.The fundamental principle of Organic Outreach for Families is to provide guidance for households on spreading the Gospel from home. This aim is addressed in three sections: Reaching Your Own Family; Raising Children of Light in a Dark World; Turning Your Home into a Lighthouse.These sections build nicely on one another. The first goes into defining the Gospel and providing guidance on seeing the Gospel understood among your own family. This flows well. After all, one will have a great deal of difficulty turning a home into a lighthouse if the darkness holds the home.Included in this section is a helpful chapter on sharing the Gospel with extended family. Extended family is …

Clean this place up! Leviticus 14

Leviticus has baffled for years, and I think it will continue to baffle for years to come. One benefit of its inclusion in the Christian Bible, though, is that it serves as evidence that the Word was not simply made up by people looking for an easy religion. What nut would spend two chapters going on about infectious skin diseases? Especially in a world where the habit already existed to banish lepers and leave them banished?However, that just reinforces my own personal presuppositions. I personally hold that Leviticus was written down in the time of Moses, was intended as part of the theocratic rule of Israel, and should be interpreted based on that assumption. In other words, what did a group of Late Bronze Age nomads take Leviticus 14 (link) to mean? Here are a few highlights:1. They would have understood that disease would be a lasting problem for them, no matter where they lived. Perhaps leprosy and other infectious skin diseases were actually not that prevalent for them in their…

None of My Business: Acts 18

Christianity keeps spreading throughout the Roman Empire. In the process, it begins to separate from the Judaism that it originated from. This leads to a great deal of tension between the two groups of people, especially as people leave one for the other.Meanwhile, life in Rome goes on. The Empire goes about its business, the usual business of Empires: conquest, trade, taxation, commerce, and circuses. Empires are about those items and seldom are truly concerned with religious matters. Historically speaking, religion has been co-opted by governments for their own ends, but rarely has that been good for any religious group.Paul, meanwhile, is not focused on imperial matters. He is focused, instead, on the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the pursuit of the passion, he’s gone from place to place, and now he finds himself in Corinth. Starting off, he splits time between making tents and preaching, but once his team of Silas and Timothy arrive, he focuses his whole effort on the p…

Sermon Wrap-Up November 26

Sunday, November 25 Morning Sermon (Audio Link)Luke 17:22-37 I. Thankful for the promise of the future II. Thankful for the sustaining grace of God III. Thankful for the future life IV. Thankful for deliverance in chaos Questions for kids: 1. How many people got on the ark?  2. Will Jesus come back secretly or obviously? How will we know He came back? 3. Lot's wife was turned into what? 4. Was that because she just looked or is there more? Thanksgiving Service (Audio Link) “Do I not fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:24) I. What to be thankful for? The Omnipresence of God
II. What in the world is that? Let us consult with John Wesley To shew how we are to understand this glorious truth, God is in this, and every place. The psalmist, you may remember, speaks strongly and beautifully upon it, in Psalm 139...In a word, there is no point of space, whether within or without the bounds of creation, where God is not.III. Why?       A. Connection of Omnipresence with Omnip…

You get under my skin: Leviticus 13

When you are starting a society from scratch, everything has to be dealt with. Not only must property laws and morality laws be presented, but personal protection must be addressed. Additionally, laws and practices for public health have to be put in place. After all, you are taking a diverse lot of people that have lived semi-isolated lives and now they have to live together.This is an important part of the context of Leviticus 13 (link). The people of Israel have been living in Egypt, and the truth is we do not know for certain the conditions they have lived with. We know that the conditions of their slavery were less than pleasant, but that does not clue us in for their life situation. It is also likely that the Egyptians handled enforcement of public health in their kingdom: sometimes by exile, sometimes by execution.Coming back to the text, what is present here are the instructions of how to deal with infectious skin disease in the community. While some people will find a great m…

Do you remember what happened? Me neither. Acts 17

Paul and Silas continue on their missionary journey. Acts 17 (link) has some of the most oft-preached portions of the missionary journeys:1. That Paul had a “custom” of going to the synagogue is used to encourage customary church attendance.2. The Bereans “diligent search” of the Scriptures to check on Paul’s message is a valued reminder not to trust the messenger alone, but to use the text to evaluate the message.3. The time in Athens is used to justify the study of pagan literature and as an example of preaching the Gospel in completely untouched situations.All of these are well and good. There may be some scrutiny that should be brought to bear on our interpretations of those passages, whether or not we are really seeing what is intended there. However, in general, there’s a lot of material out there about these, so we’re not going to spend much time here.Instead, let’s go just one sentence in: “Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia.” Quick, name all that you …

Book: Christmas Uncut

This book review is brought to you by Cross Focused Media. They send me a book. I read the book. I write a review. The folks at CFM do not know if I will like the book or not, and do not insist that I speak highly of the book. So, book exchanged for review and that’s it. Most of us have our own understanding of the Christmas story. Usually it is an amalgamation of both the Biblical story and various storybooks, movies, and Christmas plays. Admittedly, some of our information is warped. There are things that we honestly cannot know and other fragments of the story get filled in by guesses and historical estimation.Into this milieu is where the book Christmas Uncut by Carl Laferton comes. Here’s a look at the cover and a link for more sales info:What do we find here?1. This is a short book. 62 pages. Which is good, given the price. Also, the length makes it easy to include this book in a tight reading schedule. Obviously, brevity cuts the other direction: the detail-hungry among us will…

Oh boy. Leviticus 12

Apologies for the long silence. There are just times when the words don’t flow. And times when the words don’t flow and the next writing task is a big challenge.Working through the whole Bible, we come to one of those odd passages. Actually, one of the oddest passages outside of prophetic visions in the Old Testament. It’s Leviticus 12 (link), where the rules of purification after childbirth are given.This is an odd situation. There are a few things to hold to as we look at this:1. Do not confuse the need for “purification” with the need for “forgiveness.” While there are overlaps in the vocabulary, not everything in the Old Testament that needed purified meant that sin had occurred. This passage should not be taken to indicate that childbirth is sinful. 2. Then we get to the real touchy part of the chapter. Why in the world are the purification rites different for a son than for a daughter? Let’s break this down:A. The first option is the view that sons are more valuable than daughte…

Sermon Wrap-Up Nov 18

Audio Link HereNote: I am going to be moving to a single server for audio at the end of the month. I’ve used up my free trial year for Amazon Web Services and cannot quite make heads or tails of their billing structures. So, I’ll be using a flat-rate service instead. In preparation, I’m going to go ahead and stop posting dual links now.Luke 17:11-21United in miseryUnited in rejectionUnited in healingWill we be united in rejoicing?Application points:1. National--and our shortcomings are evident2. Church--how do we do with it?3. Personal--among our friends and family?4. Will we be right, even when all others are wrong?Questions:1. Where was Jesus traveling through in the story? Where was Jesus going to in the story?2. Was the thankful man from Galilee?3. How can you show that you are thankful?

Sermon Wrap-Up November 11 2012

Morning Audio Link Here (Alternate Here)Subject: The Reality of Life
     There is more to life than the human experience between birth and death Central Theme:     Focus point: the immediacy of choosing to believe what God has told us
Objective Statement: Every person canknow God by believing what God has said.
Rationale:     1. This not sheerly about wealth      2. This is about our attitude regarding wealth      3. This is about how we handle what God has said
     4. This is about our response to the reality of eternity

Mission Minded Munching: Leviticus 11

Just as an observation: taking a quick read at “The Gospel for Shrimp” would not hurt you going in to this chapter. Why? We’re coming strongly into the parts of Leviticus that must be considered in the context of the fullness of Scripture and not just line-by-line.That is one of the major issues facing the modern reader of Scripture: we do not read enough. Actually, it’s more that we do not comprehend in long enough blocks. Either because we learned to read so that we could answer nit-pick quiz questions or to hit page requirements, our reading abilities tend to fail us on comprehension of large blocks of text. You can see it away from Scripture in the bumper stickers that quote J.R.R. Tolkien as saying “Not all who wander are lost.” It’s an accurate quote. Usually, though, it is applied as a “Do your own thing” anthem. The whole context of Lord of the Rings? The quote applies to Aragorn, son of Arathorn. It’s attached to him when he is protecting the wide lands of the North as a Rang…