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Showing posts from July, 2013

Book: The Gospel Call and True Conversion

A quick note: This book, The Gospel Call and True Conversion, is currently available on Kindle for $4.99. This is the second in a series of 3, and the first, The Gospel’s Power and Message, is available for $2.99.The Gospel Call and True Conversion. The title of this book alone sounds intimidating, and adding that it’s written by one of the heavyweights of American Reformed Christianity, Paul Washer, does not lessen the intimidation factor. Washer is known to be a straightforward preacher—for good or for ill.What did I find in The Gospel call and True Conversion? I found some things to like:1. Paul Washer is passionate for the truth. He wants to know the truth. He wants to proclaim the truth. He wants the truth heard. He wants you to know the truth. This is good. It is good to see someone not try to base theology on popularity or as a response to modern events, but to base it clearly on truth. 2. There is a strong emphasis on the reality that true conversion (from the title) will resu…

The Complaint Department: Numbers 11

I can’t remember the Western movie this line is from, but I once heard an actor say “Some people wouldn’t be happy if you hung them with a new rope.” Now, I can’t say that I’d be happy if you hung me with any sort of rope, but the point was more about how people just complain and complain…This is where the Israelites are in Numbers 11. They’re not happy. Why? Because all they have to eat is the miraculous bread from heaven that God has been feeding them with, and they have nothing to do but follow the obvious presence of God to the Promised Land. What God? Oh, just the one that they have recently seen bring them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and so forth…And the complaining does not stop with them. We read Moses like hagiography, and miss the second half of this chapter: Moses has his whiny moments, too. YHWH, the Covenant God of Israel, has to listen to Moses fuss about the call of God in his life. Moses fusses that he never wanted this job, and really would prefer to be left al…

This has to stop. Now.

This past weekend brought more news of so-called accidental shootings with firearms. Without researching exactly how many, I know this puts just the state of Arkansas at more than one fatality and more than 10 injuries in the past six months from unintended firearms use.People, this has to stop. Now.As a preface, though, this is not an anti-gun rant. In truth, this is an in-house rant directed at my fellow gun owners, with that fear of being hoist on my own petard later. Hoist on my own petard? You know, that’s about gunpowder, too, come to think of it.Coming back to the point at hand: those of us who own firearms, we are responsible for the usage of those firearms. You own it, you own the responsibility for it.Leave it loaded? You are responsible to keep it out of a child’s hands.Taking it to the store? Or gun show? You are responsible for making sure you don’t shoot someone there.Carrying it in the car? On your person? You are responsible for what happens with that weapon.Now, a fir…

Sermon Wrap-Up July 28 2013

Good Evening. Here are the sermons from today:Morning Audio link is hereMorning Video: Morning Outline:Farmers: Patient, Waiting, Powerless Aware of God's nearness: immanence of God Remember the prophets: suffering to prove faithfulness Merciful and compassionate: remember the character of God when you do not have a clear picture of the actions of God Application Action: Be proactively encouraging to others this week. Write down the name of one person you will encourage this week and what you will do.Evening Audio Link is hereEvening Video: Thanks!

Sermon Wrap-up for July 21

Good Evening!Here are the the sermon recaps from today. The outlines are not long, so we’ll have morning audio, video, outline and then evening audio, video, outline. Please let me know if you try to access any item and it’s not accessible.Morning Audio Link is hereMorning Video: James 5:1-6 1. Filling the calendar 2. Finding a purpose 3. Fire from on highEvening Audio is hereEvening Video: Ephesians 5:17-21 Walk wisely! Evil days ahead! Filled with what? Foolishness? Spirit? Speaking through what? Thankful submission to one another

Tools and Technology: Nozbe, Evernote, and More

Today, I want to give you a few quick suggestions for workflow tools. I do not have affiliate status with any of these companies, so there’s no benefit to me if you use these, but there may be a benefit to you.First: NOZBE. Somewhere, buried in the website, is the explanation of where the name came from. I don’t remember it at this point. This is an organizational helper app that is multi-platform (Web, PC, Android, and iStuff). I tried it out a few years ago, couldn’t quite get it to work for me, and so I canceled my paid account—right after my trial period, I believe. (Stupid tax paid.) Since then, I have come back to a free account and realize how useful this service is. If you are a user of the Getting Things Done organizational system, this is perfectly setup for it. If, like me, you aren’t into Getting Things Done, but you are into getting things done, this still works. I have customized out the available projects and contexts so that they work for me, and this is the best recur…

Book: Saving Eutychus

Note 1: You-ti-kus. Probably. It’s hard to be definite, but don’t be intimidated by the name.Note 2: This book was provided by Matthias Media through Cross-Focused Reviews. It was on my “to-buy” list, but instead I scored a free one in exchange for the review.Acts 20 has an interesting story along Paul’s route back to Jerusalem. In the city of Troas, Paul preaches and preaches. And preaches. And preaches some more. Somewhere in the midst of the last night, a young man named Eutychus falls out of the window to his death. That would have been a bad night…except the Holy Spirit enabled Paul to raise Eutychus from the dead.And then go back to preaching.Saving Eutychus takes its title from this story, but this book is not about the resurrection of the dead. Neither is it a CPR manual for those we bore to death on a Sunday to Sunday basis. Instead, this is a preventative medicine book. Saving Eutychus is about keeping him from dropping dead in the first place.In all honesty, Saving Eutychus

Working through Ruth: Chapter 1

These are just the shorthand notes from where I am working through Ruth on Wednesday nights with the church. I am testing a new audio recording system for that, and if it works, I’ll post the audio. Otherwise, I’m just going to give you the notes and some commentary.Ruth 11. When? During the Judges2. Where? Moab!3. Who? Elimelch4. What? Relocation5. Why? Not for good reasons....but still within God's work6. How? Abandoning the covenant land and people.7. What next? Be cautious about leaving the place God has placed you--discern prayerfully whether or not God has you there for a specific reason, even in the midst.We must be careful: God uses even our bad decisions to His glory, but that does not mean we make those decisions just for fun. Further, be prepared for things to go even more wrong when we do that. Life working out smoothly is not always proof of obedience, neither is it proof of disobedience when things go wrong. That can be an indicator.More importantly, when you come to…

Have we never read this? Romans 14

Moving on through the whole Bible, we come to Romans 14. If we thought Romans 13 gave us trouble (check here), I wonder how many of us have actually even read Romans 14. This chapter addresses how we treat our fellow believers who understand Scripture differently than we do.Now, it is easy to see this only in terms of the specific examples Paul gives in the chapter. Most of us are not excessively concerned with meat sacrificed to idols, and few of us actually debate whether or not church should be on Sunday or Tuesday. There are those who like to bicker about celebrating Easter or Christmas, and we would do well to consider these passages when we talk about those subjects.I think, though, that we should examine these passages to grasp the principle here. The exact circumstances are fairly clear, and fairly infrequent for us today, so for what reason would the Holy Spirit inspire this passage into Scripture? There is a reason this is here for us today.The principle here is not too hard…

Sermon Wrap-Up for July 14

No, I did not reference Bastille Day in my preaching. I’m a history nerd, but that was a bit too much. I’m going to have the audio and video links for morning and evening, then the outlines.Morning Sermon Audio Link is hereMorning Sermon Video: Evening Sermon Audio Link is hereEvening Sermon Video: Morning Outline for Matthew 26:Matthew 26:26-35 The covenant of forgiveness: 1: establishes a new relationship 2: new relationship based on grace 3: recognition of the lopsided nature of the relationship 4: acceptance 5: leadership of the Lord Evening Outline for Psalm 24 Text: Psalm 24 I. Ownership II. Support III. Cleanness IV. Ascension V. The Hill of the Lord being Calvary VI. Victory VII. Celebration

Paging Wynton Marsalis: Numbers 10

Ok, so the great musician obviously was not available in the Exodus, but Numbers 10 starts off speaking of silver trumpets, so I couldn’t help but jump to an old album of Wynton Marsalis my band director had. This one, actually:which, I don’t actually have a copy of, but the two silver trumpets caught my eye way back when, and now we come to a Scripture passage about the silver trumpets.What I like about the trumpets of Numbers 10 is their use to call people to action. The people had to learn what to listen for, and by God’s grace we now live in an age with saxophones as well as trumpets, but let’s take this apart for a moment.First, the trumpets are blown to assemble the people. If both horns toot, then the whole assembly is to gather. If just one trumpet is sounded, then the leaders are to gather. That’s not too hard to figure or to hear, but what can we learn from this?How about that there were not too many “secret leadership meetings” for the Israelites during the Exodus? You’re a…

Can we skip this one? Romans 13

I’ll say it up front: I would be far happier if Romans 13 were not in the Scripture. All the other parts of Romans, all of the slightly hard to understand parts, all of the deep theological parts, all of those I am fine with. I enjoy wrestling with those, debating those, pondering those.Romans 13, on the other hand, is not hard to understand. It’s not really “deep theology” either. There’s nothing here to wrestle with. This is straightforward, no nonsense, action-oriented writing.And it is very, very difficult to take. Start with verse 1 and realize that this applies to any aspect of government that does not demand clear disobedience to God and God’s Word. Any. That traffic control sign? That excessive tax? That annoying body cavity search before flying?All of it. Why? Because governing authorities are established by God, even ones that photograph every piece of mail in the system. And those authorities are there to keep order. This is why we go ahead and get building permits and don’…

Sermon Wrap-up July 7

Note: Video boxes for morning and evening are at the end, audio links and outlines are first.Morning Audio Link is hereMorning Outline:July 7 AM FBC AlmyraText: James 4:17
Date: July 7 AM
Location: FBC AlmyraTo the one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to that one it is sin.I. Know the goodA. For the spread of the GospelB. For the strength of the churchC. For the sake of othersII. ActA. Not just thinkB. Our behavior is what we believeIII. Act without delayA. Not without considerationB. But without delayIV. Because God's people strive to avoid sinA. Not because we lack graceB. But because of the glory of God's graceEvening Audio Link is hereEvening Outline:Text: 1 Peter 2:4-10Date: June 23 12013 PMLocation: Almyra FBCCentral Idea: Being made into a peopleTheological Idea: Why the World Needs the Church1. Stumbling on Jesus2. Building Peculiar People3. Made into a People4. People who are the Light Morning Sermon Video Evening Sermon Video

Weekly News

Here are some tidbits that I found a little odd this week:1. NSA-Whistleblower Snowden is apparently in Russia, stuck like Tom Hanks in The Terminal, and trying to figure out where to go. Enter Russian spy Anna Chapman, who proposes via Twitter: “Snowden, will you marry me?”  No word on whether or not this would fix his asylum requests, but it sure does spice up the movie about this mess. Why Twitter? Well, if Snowden’s right, the governments of multiple countries are listening to your phone calls anyway…2. Egypt overthrew their government just two years ago. At the time, many people were concerned that the chaos would lead to a semi-dictatorship at the hands of a hardline Islamic group. The Morsi government, backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, sure looked like that was the case, but we sent them weapons anyway. Now, guess what? They’ve overthrown the government for being a semi-dictatorship overly controlled by a hardline Islamic group. That’s not the odd part. The odd part is this: Fo…

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776.

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,…

Knowing Who You Are

I had the honor this past week of seeing another pastor research part of his family history. I will leave most of the personal parts of his story out, because it’s not my story to tell. I’ll summarize, though, so that you know what happened. His father was also a pastor, and pastored several churches in the late 40s and 50s, before my pastor friend was born.A few years back, he set a goal of visiting all the places his father had pastored before my friend was born. Sure enough, many years back, his father pastored in Immanuel, Arkansas. Immanuel is near Almyra, and is actually in Almyra’s ZIP code with the USPS. Poor decisions in history are why Almyra was granted the Post Office and Immanuel was not, but that’s a matter for another time.It was remarkable to see how my friend took in every detail out at his father’s former ministry. Even though the building was gone, the church remains, because true churches are not about buildings. He was able to connect with a current church leader …

Book: Anselm of Canterbury

Anselm of Canterbury by Simonetta Carr (hear from her here at this link) is the latest entry in the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series. Prior entries have profiled John Calvin, Augustine of Hippo, Lady Jane Grey, and Athanasius, and more are planned. These are published by Reformation Heritage BooksI will open with this general observation: we fail to read enough biographies in our growth as Christians. I think there is a heartfelt desire to avoid the hagiographical style where our “heroes” did no wrong, and so we tend to avoid biographies in general. Alongside that, we fear elevating individuals too highly, but we would do well to remember that Anselm’s ego will not be overinflated, nor will Lady Jane Grey, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, or many others. There is no real risk here, and we are the poorer for allowing modern denominational lines to block our view of history.Now, let us move on to Anselm of Canterbury. Anselm falls into church history as a theologian of the eleventh ce…

Grace and Presence: Numbers 9

Picking up through the whole Bible, Numbers continues to belie its reputation as a dull book of just a census and presents more of the narrative during the Exodus. There is a two-part story in Numbers 9, the first regarding the Passover observance, the second demonstrating God’s approval of the Tabernacle.Let’s break it down into those two parts.First, the Passover. I think it is impossible to overstate the importance of the Passover in the Jewish Faith, and that goes all the way back to the Exodus and the night of their deliverance from slavery. You think Canada matters up north, eh? You think Fourth of July is a big deal in the USA? These days are set us up to understand how important the Passover was. Except you have to combine not only the national aspects but the religious ones. Imagine if Independence Day fell on Easter. You’re closer—but we’re not all Christians in the US. However, because it was a religious holiday, there were specific ceremonial requirements for its observanc…