Posts

Showing posts from December, 2012

Christmas Eve Service

Well, this is embarrassing. I was supposed to post the Christmas Eve Service. I recorded a few of the observations, but the audio just does not add in well. So, here it is in text. Fill in your favorite versions of the songs, and Merry Christmas. Or at least Joyous Epiphany.Christmas Eve 12/24/2012Scripture Reading  1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV) Congregational Singing  O Little Town of Bethlehem -196 
Scripture Reading  Scripture: Romans 8:22-25    “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” …

Sermon Wrap-Up December 23

It’s the Sunday before Christmas! Whatever the exact date should be, this has long been the time when the churches of the Living God have celebrated the birth of the Savior. Perhaps because it aligns well with the longing for light in the darker parts of the year—though the latitudes of the early church would have been less attracted to that than many of us are. Still, more important than the timing is this: God is with us, Immanuel. So, here you go:Sermon Audio is Here (Click the link, which takes you to a post with the audio player.) John 1:14-18 //Love:  Open with Scrooge...."I wish to be left alone....." Love. Love does not leave us alone: 1. Does not leave us alone in the face of world crises 2. Does not leave us alone in the face of personal crises 3. Does not leave us alone in the face of spiritual need 4. Does not leave us alone in the face of personal action 5. Does not leave us alone in the face of church action Here’s the Video:

Merry Christmas!

I had grand intentions of getting lots of writing done this week, but it’s not happening. Honestly, it’s not happening next week either. So, over the next few days you can expect:The Christmas Eve Service outline from church, Sunday’s sermon from church, and possibly a book review that has to be done. Coming back in January, I will be back to my more frequent but still not-predictable schedule. Look for: Monday sermon postsTuesday and Thursday posts from the Through the Whole Bible Series.Wednesday or Friday will see books, including: The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek; Devotions on the Greek New Testament; Conviction to Lead; Grace by Max Lucado; Tender Warrior; a biography of J.R.R. Tolkien; and a novel that is fifth in a series but that I now want the whole series of: The Tainted Coin. That’s a medieval mystery is quite good. So, until then, Happy Christmas!

Book: Ruth: From Bitter to Sweet

Again we see a book post supported by Cross Focused Reviews and their willingness to swap a free book for a book review. Today, we take a look at John Currid’s contribution to the Welwyn Commentary Series. Ruth: From Bitter to Sweet is published by EP Books and is one of 38 books available in that series. I must admit to having no prior experience with the Welwyn Series before this book, so there is no comparing it to other volumes.From Bitter to Sweet reads easily. I would count it as a commentary for anyone willing to invest more than a cursory reading of the text. The text is broken into 13 pericopes, grouped into five thematic parts. Obviously, Ruth is not the longest book of the Bible, so one would not expect a book about Ruth to be long. From Bitter to Sweet hits just under 140 pages. Certainly part of the typical “commentary” weight is shaved off by not including the full text of the Scripture under consideration. Which is actually a reasonable idea: most people are using comme…

The Royal We: Acts 20

Moving forward into Acts 20 (link), I want to comment on something we haven’t seen since Acts 16, but is integral to the story. More than that, it’s integral to our understanding of the growth of Christianity.What is it? The use of “we” in the narration. Our tradition and scholarship points to Luke as the author of Acts, and so we gather this: when Acts refers to the events occurring with “We” that tells us that Luke is present in the situation. Some of Acts is simply history, recorded under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and likely based in eyewitness account and personal recollection. Those segments are as valuable as the others, because that “inspiration of the Holy Spirit” phrase means something: there is no one part of the Bible that is better than another part. Some might be easier to apply, but none are superior to others.Some of Acts, though, is the recollections of a person who was right there, in the midst of the action. Luke is in the middle of things. He was there when…

Monday Thoughts

Yesterday, our choir did their presentation. Since we don’t have rebroadcast rights, there’s nothing to post here. So, I’ll post you a few quick thoughts:Isaiah, speaking of Christmas. Well, specifically of Christ, but several hundred years in advance:“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: They that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined…For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: And the government shall be upon his shoulder: And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, Upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, To order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice From henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:2, 6–7, KJV) No matter the darkness, the Child is born, and for us He is all these. John, speaking after Christmas, b…

Book Review: Show Me How to Share Christ in the Workplace

Image
Today’s Book Review is presented by Kregel Publishers. They sent me a book. I read it. You decide if it’s worth more of your time.I have previously looked at R. Larry Moyer’s Show Me How to Preach Evangelistic Sermons and companion Show Me How to Illustrate Evangelistic Sermons (here). Today, we’re taking a look at another in the Show Me How…Series. It’s titled Show Me How to Share Christ in the Workplace. The book looks like this: and it’s published by Kregel Publications. (Who are fast becoming one of my favorite publishers, even if they do too short a run on a few books I liked…) It’s late on a Friday, so I will cut to the chase for you on this book: If you need an easy-to-follow guide to help you and your fellow Christians at work see more clearly how to openly spread the Gospel, pick up Share Christ in the Workplace, read it, and talk about it.Why? I. Moyer is far from condescending. Too many times I read books about evangelism from passionate preachers that could be summarize…

ICK! Leviticus 15

Note: due to author squeamishness, today’s Through the Whole Bible post will be somewhat vague and unclear. Why? It’s Leviticus 15 (link). Read through it. If the subject headers of “Instructions about Bodily Discharges” are not evidence enough, read the whole chapter. There’s plenty of icky here, not for the squeamish types.These are the passages that you need to either ask your own pastor about or pick up a good commentary on Leviticus. I will not be going into details here, except to highlight that one possible interpretation of the first half of the chapter relates the situation to venereal diseases (STDs) and would have quarantined a person from interaction in the community and stopped disease spread. That’s uncertain, but possible. The second half addresses the impurity that comes monthly for women. The major note here is that it is seen as separate from impurity that comes from sin. Those impurities are addressed elsewhere: here is simply the fact that a lady who is discharging…

Calling Your Bluff in the Buff: Acts 19

Paul and company have traveled onward. (What, you thought that if I didn’t blog it, it didn’t happen? Right…words can hurt, but reality is whatever it is, whether you say it or not.)They have traveled, whilst Apollos is in Corinth doing some teaching, over to Ephesus. Paul preaches and people come to faith in Christ. It’s a truly beautiful situation. For the first time, it seems that Paul is going to preach without the Judaizers causing problems or even without causing too much controversy with the Jews themselves. (Remember, the Judaizers were the ones who thought that being a good Christian required one to first live according to Jewish law.) He does end up leaving the synagogue and teaching in a Gentile school room, but that was going to happen: eventually, the Jews that did not want the Gospel would not want the Gentiles. Side note: a drive for “racial purity” is completely inconsistent with the Gospel: if you have the Gospel, you want all people that God has created to hear it an…

Overdue: Christmas Gifting Ideas

I have been an inconsistent blogger over the years that I have had this habit, but apparently the last three Christmas seasons I have done the same thing, and I probably shouldn’t stop now. After all, I’m a Baptist, and this is how we work: the first time we do something, it’s a novelty and very, very scary. The second time it’s a repeat and underwhelming. The third time? It’s a tradition and must therefore be done forever and ever, even past the Millennial Kingdom.After this, it will be something I have to do, even if they shut down the Internet.What is this habit? A blog post giving some suggestions on where to do some Christmas gift-giving. No, this does not have the links to my Amazon Wish Lists. Or to my Gander Mountain Wishlist, for that matter…Ann and I have, over the years, chosen to give to certain ministries, missions, or projects in lieu of some of the “giving of obligation” that happens this time of year. You know the gifts: one little trinket for this person or that perso…

Sermon Wrap-up December 9

Here are the sermon wrap-up links for December 9:Audio Link is here. (By the way, I just realized that the podcast service has not been feeding the whole sermon into iTunes. So, if you listen through iTunes and thought the conclusions were lacking….they were. Checking on that this week.)Here, again, is the video: Daniel 2:44-45: The hidden hope of faithOverall Sales Results for the Entire Holiday Shopping Season 2011:Between November 1, 2011 and December 26, 2011, Consumers spent $35.3 billion online, according to market research organization ComScore. This is 15% more than consumers spent online in the same time period in 2010. There were nine days in 2011 in which online sales were more than $1 billion, according to ComScore. Clothing chain discounts were an average of 7% higher than they were during the 2010 Christmas shopping season, according to an analyst at BMO Capital Markets. According to an ICSC-Goldman Sachs survey, 18% of gift purchases were gift cards, which is 3.4% hig…

Book: I AM…by Iain D. Campbell

Ever read a book that should have been longer? Except, then you wonder if, had it been longer, it would have been as good?That’s how I feel about I AM…Exploring the “I am” saying of John’s Gospel by Iain D. Campbell. Weighing in at only 120 pages, this volume does not belabor any of the points within. Instead, Campbell comes right to the point on the seven usages of “I AM” by Jesus as reported in the Gospel of John.In a short introduction, Campbell explains the purpose of the book. He expresses why the “I am” statements of Jesus stand out, citing the Old Testament usage of the phrase in God’s revelation at the Burning Bush. The introduction to I AM… then explains that the Gospel of John uses a specific word pattern in Greek to say those words. This discussion lacks two things that would add value: first, it lacks the actual Greek terminology. While simplifying the explanation to “what could be said with one word is said with two” may provide clarity, to extend and show the actual Gree…

Sermon Wrap-Up December 2

Here is the audio link for the sermonOutline:2 Samuel 7 The Promise of a King Hope: Knowing that the unknown will be worth living for I.  Uneasiness at Christmas Time II. Our efforts to do for God III. God's promise to do for us IV. Faith to trust that promise Questions: 1. Who wanted to build a Temple? Who will?  2. Why couldn't David build the Temple? 3. Should we build a Temple? Why not? 4. What is hope? And one last thing: the experiment in current technology: