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Showing posts from April, 2013

What are you worth? Leviticus 27

We come to the end of Leviticus. It’s taken a long time, both because there are some dragging parts and because I’ve been a bit slack in writing about it. However, here we are. Leviticus ends with this verse:These are the commandments which the Lord (Yahweh) commanded Moses for the sons of Israel at Mount Sinai. (NASB with clarification added)That’s the summary of the whole book: God’s commands. This last chapter can be a bit troubling, though, as we look at how it applies. Take a look at the easy part first, though:The closing verses, 30-33, are the easiest to grab hold of: when it came time to set apart the tithe of the land, there was to be no picking and choosing of what was tithed. For example, when going through the herd to tithe, every tenth sheep was to be given as holy to Yahweh. This is the one case in the Law of the Old Testament where bad, diseased, or good animals are all acceptable: the giving of tithes. Likewise, you get the idea that the grains and fruits offered in th…

Sermon Wrap-up for April 21

(Someday, I’m going to miss correcting the title and this will go out as the SErmon Warp-up like I type it every single week.)Morning Sermon:Audio LinkVideo: Outline:April 21 AM Psalm 3: It's getting bad out Purpose: Uplift through faith; challenge to rest in faith; invite to participate in the faith I. Background for David:      A. On the throne      B. Absalom's Revolt (2 Samuel 16) The Psalm in Three Parts: I. The Problems:      A. Many Enemies      B. Mocking of the Faith      C. Practical Outworkings:           1. Personal: family, employment, life/health           2. National: security, leadership, morality (Absalom w/concubines) Then a moment to think about how bad it is and how much worse it can get II. The Prayers:      A. A declaration of trust: A shield about me      B. A declaration of hope: The lifter of my head      C. A declaration of faith: God answered-- Then, a moment to think about how faith helps III. The Peace:      A. Not ignorance of the odds: note v. 6  …

Book: John Newton

Today’s Book Review is brought to you by Cross-Focused Media. Bitesize Biographies is a series from EP Books. The goal is to provide a quickly readable introduction to the life of an individual, sort of as an appetizer to digging in to deeper studies on the individual. I have previously looked at Renee of France in this series.Today, we look at John Newton. Newton’s story is vaguely familiar to many of you, especially after the recent film Amazing Grace. Newton started life as a sailor, became a slave trader, and then became a committed Christian who wrote such songs as Amazing Grace. He further went on to play a supporting role to William Wilberforce who helped end the slave trade in the British Empire.It light of that, there have been a good many biographies of Newton in recent years. The question ahead of us is, does John Crotts’ Bitesize Biography of John Newton stand out as worth grabbing? What makes this John Newton worth grabbing?First, there is the length: John Newton weighs i…

Wrong People, Right God: Romans 3

One thing that is over-abundant in our society is people who can point out ways in which people fail to live up to what they claim God holds as a standard. Whether you take hate groups masquerading as churches, destructive predators masquerading as pastors, or the cowards who enable the above groups, all around us are people who create a massive public relations problem for God.We see this in history: there are a good many moments when we as Christians have not upheld the best of what the Bible teaches. There were many centuries of using the power of the state to enforce religious conformity. That should have been, should always be, a matter of individual conscience and not law. I would prefer that everyone worship the same God as I do, in the same way that I do. I think that I am right in how I understand the Bible and why I do what I do.However, you should only be in danger of a rousing debate over coffee and pie with me for that. I believe eternity hangs in the balance of what one …

Walking in His Way: Leviticus 26

I am hesitant to post this for today. In light of the bombing in Boston yesterday, I expect that anyone reading this may misinterpret it in a couple of ways. The first way is that I am trying to capitalize on human suffering, which I certainly am not. One thing I have found as a series-type preacher is that current events weave their way into the story and cannot always be run away from. So, I will go ahead and engage the passage and the situation.The second misinterpretation will develop as we go through this. I hope you see it, and do not jump onto that train. It goes only in circles.Leviticus 26 is our passage for today. This is, in a way, the closing argument of the Levitical Law. There is one chapter left in the book, and it reads more like an appendix of details. This one summarizes why the Law matters and the consequences for violating that Law.The consequences are dire: defeat by enemies; climate change; crop failures; wild beasts that kill cattle and children; destruction to …

Book: A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr

I have another book to point you to, and you can also see a review of this over at Ann Hibbard’s Blog. It’s a book that was provided by BethanyHouse Publishers in exchange for this review. Well, they didn’t ask for this exact review, but you know what I mean.A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr is a fantasy fiction novel that opens The Staff and the Sword Trilogy. Carr is a first-time novelist, which explains why you haven’t heard of him before this year. Unless you follow Christian Fiction, where he won a contest for A Cast of Stones a few years ago that is likely behind its recent publication.Overall, A Cast of Stones introduces us to the Kingdom of Illustra. This kingdom is somewhat medieval in its general setting and is a place where, if not magic, at least some supernatural is considered a normal part of life. There are other kingdoms on the map outside of Illustra, but they are not primarily involved in A Cast of Stones.The action begins in a remote village of Illustra and throug…

Sermon Wrap-Up from April 14

Here are the Sermon Links from April 14:Morning Audio LinkMorning Video Embed: Morning Outline:April 14 Lord's Supper: Joshua 5:10-12I. Before the BattleII. After the ConsecrationIII. Before the CommandsIV. After the ProvisionV. Before the Settling-InWhere are you? 1. There are battles ahead of us:     A. Against sin within us     B. With temptations outside of us     C. For the souls of humanity--to present the Gospel clearly to all2. Have you stood publicly for Christ?     A. Do you think Baptism is harder than circumcision?     B. When is a convenient time? RIGHT NOW.3. Wondering what God is commanding you to do?     A. The Word is the starting point     B. Do what is clear: be in the Word, honor the Lord, remember His sacrifice4. Has God provided?     A. We remember more than manna     B. We remember the blood5. Are you ready to live in obedience in the God's grace?     A. Then we move forward by remembering     B. Then we commit and doEvening Audio LinkEvening Video Embed: …

Book: Angelguard by Ian Acheson

I’m going to start this book review with a disclaimer. Here it is: novels are for entertainment and thought-provocation. Bibles are for theology. Why the disclaimer? Because books like Angelguard are good reads and can provoke a few deep thoughts, but the answer to the theology questions raised need to come from the text of Scripture itself. I do not expect a novel to have a theology perfectly in line with mine, especially on sub-matters like angels and demons. So, don’t go all regulative principle on novels or elevate them above Holy Writ. Take it for what it is: reading material.On to the book: Angelguard by Ian Acheson (name links to author’s webpage) is a foray into the Christian fiction subgenre of supernatural fiction. That means that the author is portraying not only human actions but suggesting spiritual forces at work behind those actions and portraying those as well. It is a subgenre that I have not read much in lately, but do remember reading some of the groundbreaking mode…

Who goes first? Romans 2

Carrying on into Romans, we find both comfort and consternation, peace and problems, doom and delight. The chapter is the transition between Paul explaining in Romans 1 why the Gentiles are in need of a savior and headed to the next chapter where he explains why the Jews need a savior. Romans 2 gives us some helpful ideas to work with as we look at the need for salvation and the way to be saved.1. Salvation is not about human judgment. This one has probably been an issue since the first apostolic sermon: Christians proclaim that some people are going to Hell. It is not, however, that Christians are deciding who is going and who is not going. The Word of God says plainly that every person violates God’s Law and, on top of that, knows it (or at least ought to know it). Romans 2 points out that no person has the right to judge another, because all are sinners. Someone proclaiming the Gospel is not judging any more than those legal notices in the paper are foreclosing on mortgages: the fa…

Take a Year Off! Leviticus 25

At this present moment, according to my employee statement, I have exactly enough money saved in my retirement account to go four months without working. After that, I’ve got nothing. It’s all gone in less than half a year. So, you can imagine, I’m not particularly convinced that I could take off every seventh year for the rest of my life.However, when you take a look in Leviticus 25, that is precisely the command of God for the people of Israel. They are to work for six years, then let the fields, cattle, and vines have a year off. Alongside this, of course, there would be a substantial amount of rest for the people, their servants, and those unfortunate to have been slaves in Israel at the time. The people were not even to go out and glean what grew wild that year—it was to sit, be food for the cattle and wild animals. That was it: no agricultural work was to be done. (Now, keep in mind, the original economic pattern for Israel was agriculture-focused. Everybody farmed or supported …

Sermon Wrap-Up for April 7

I have two weeks of sermons for you. I need to do some video/audio editing on last night’s, so that’s not here but will be added later if I can get it smoothed out.March 31 Early Morning Service:Audio Link
Video Embed
Outline:Luke 24:12 What are you waiting for? RUN! I. Abandonment for Jesus II. Public demonstration of abandonment for Jesus III. Private growth of devotion and understanding March 31 Morning Service Audio LinkVideo: The freeze frame looks like a fish story: “It was THIS BIG!” Outline: Luke 24:1-11A Blessed NonsenseI. Remember His Words     A. In the dark times     B. In the confusing timesII. Do not seek life in the dead     A. Dead world     B. Dead traditions     C. Dead pursuitsIII. Pass it on     A. To those you know     B. To those who need to knowIV. Be prepared to be called....crazy.April 7 AMAudio LinkVideo: Why are we here?I. Gathered togetherII. Choosing who to honorIII. Missing the point1. Politics2. Economics3. Social4. EmotionalIV. Fulfilling Love's Great …

Resource Review: The Singing Grammarian

Yikes. What a title: The Singing Grammarian. Here’s a quick look at the “cover art” even though this is a digital product: This is produced by Kregel’s Academic and Ministry publishing group, and they provided me with a copy in exchange for the review. They did not insist that I say nice things, just that I say things. So: Things.Good things:1. Cost: this product is available through Christian Book Distributors (the picture is linked) and at the time of this review costs less than $20. For that, you get 19 videos that run through the grammar concepts for first year Greek. That is an excellent value.2. Concepts: the concepts are titled rather than keyed to a specific grammar textbook. This is helpful: when you’re on Subjunctive, just take the track for it. This will work with you whether you’re learning Nouns first or Verbs first. It can even work if you’re going old school and doing 8-declension methods.3. Correct: this should be stated: the Greek is right, based on the textbooks avai…