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Showing posts from 2014

Expectations and Fulfillment

An important truth to remember in the coming year:You will rarely get more than you expect. Now, there are substantial exceptions that prove the rule: in marriage, you often get much more positive than you expect; acting in faith often brings more than you expect; and sometimes other folks will surprise you.But in two areas, realize that your expectations define the outcome.First, in your interactions with businesses. You know why your order is wrong 75% of the time you go to McDonald’s? There are a few possibilities. One is that your order is too complex for reasonable people, like wanting a hamburger with cheese on half and two bottom buns but no onions. Seriously? Order close to the menu, man.The second is that you are actually not ordering what you think you’re ordering. The McDouble? It’s not chicken. But the main reason? We’ve come accept, and then expect, that even though we pay for the service of getting a meal, and even though the restaurant claims to be competent to serve it…

Book: A Passion for the Fatherless

Today’s Book is brought to you by Kregel Academic.What does it mean to have a passion for the fatherless? That is the key question in Daniel Bennett’s book A Passion for the Fatherless. In the answering of this question, Bennett does not merely give the emotional side of the idea.Instead, he develops a robust theological response to the needs of orphans. Rather than simply engaging the emotional drive that “something must be done!,” this work recognizes the long-term nature of the problem. There will always be orphans in need of care. The church, both at-large and locally, should always be at the forefront of the efforts to provide that care. Yet if we are going to do so, emotion may get us started but we need a better foundation for ongoing involvement. Additionally, involving the whole body of faith will include demonstrating why it is necessary to those who are less emotionally swayed. (And these folks aren’t automatically wrong: some are more emotionally vested in widows than orph…

Sermon Recap: December 28 2014

This is our last Sermon Recap for 2014. Processing through all of them covers highlights across the entire Bible. We’ll wrap up the through the Bible reading and preaching plan in Revelation 22 on January 4, then begin our year-long look through the Gospel of Mark. Also, somehow I’ve been uploading the Videos to Youtube in a strange place. I’ll try and get that fixed soon.Sunday Morning, December 28: 2 John (Audio)December 28 AM 2 John I. Love II. Love walks in God's commandments III. Love does not walk with wickedness IV. Love walks closer with Jesus than anything, anyone else V. Love is personal Sunday Evening: Revelation 1 (audio)Revelation 1 1. Who was and is and is to come 2. No doubting His return Concluding Notes:1. I do have the rough audio of Sunday Night’s Q&A session, but I’m not sure yet that it’s useful for posting.2. I am not sure how to improve video quality with the current equipment.3. If you want to subscribe, here’s a list:A. iTunes for audio subscription link…

Christmas Eve 2014

Here is the video, all 45 minutes (or so) of it, of our Christmas Eve service. Since we use a simple video setup, you don’t quite get the effect of the light spreading with the candles at the end, but it’s a lovely view. There’s no way to capture it without assigning someone to video instead of participate, so we just take what we’ve got.Hymn numbers are from the 2008 Baptist Hymnal from Lifeway. Christmas Eve 2014 O Little Town of Bethlehem: 196 1. Shepherd Psalm 96:1-6 Splendor and Majesty Dwelling among us The Good Tiding of Salvation!O Come, All Ye Faithful: 199 2. Sustainer Psalm 96:7-13 Glory and Strength Righteous Judgment All Creation TogetherJoy to the World: 181 3. Sacrifice Luke 2:1-14 Fear Not! Peace with God Great News for ALL!Hark the Herald Angels Sing: 192 It Came upon the Midnight Clear: 188 4. Source of Joy Luke 2:15-20 The Angels Leave So we share our joy! Both pondering within and speaking outHow Great Our Joy: 202 O Come, O Come Emmanuel: 175…

16 Years

I owe you, dear readers, several things. First, a few more posts. Second, several book reviews. Third, something light and fluffy and inspirational for Christmas.Perhaps I will fulfill that debt in the next few days. Today, however, is not that day.Today, I celebrate 16 years of marriage. Whether it was pity that caused her to follow through or something else, Ann went ahead and came down that aisle and said “I do.”She knew little of the road we would walk together. Or of the challenges of being married to me and wrestling with my insecurities, idiosyncrasies, and peculiarities. Or my obsession with odd sci-fi stuff. Still, she sticks around. She pushes me when I need pushed. She hugs me when I need hugged. She makes up for my parenting deficits, my skill deficits (seriously, how bad would the budget be with me balancing it?), and is my partner in all things.16 years. It’s not quite half of her life, but I’m sure it feels like a lot longer. There are no words for the healing and resto…

In the Villages: Luke 13

In Summary:

We return to Luke’s Gospel and see familiar themes. We see another “healing on the Sabbath” controversy, this one intensified by the presence of a crowd seeking healing. There is something to the idea that we should not be angered when our worship traditions are interrupted by those seeking the healing of the Lord God Almighty. People may show up at church in the middle of our themed-out parties and need something. Let us not be so obsessed with our orders and structures that we cannot meet the obvious needs.

We also see a pair of parables that bracket the Sabbath healing. The first is about an unfruitful tree, the second provides clear illustrations of what faith is like. Taken on their own, these are good illustrations: be fruitful, be faithful. If you put them alongside the healing then you see something additional: the Kingdom of God brings life and growth wherever it goes. If there is no life, then it is not the Kingdom. The tree? If it responds, then it stays. The must…

Book: My Perfect Pantry

Today’s book is a cookbook. Why? Because I like cooking and was offered a free cookbook.Geoffrey Zakarian is one of the  typical combatants on the TV show Iron Chef America. He is also a restaurant owner and involved with a plethora of other shows. In all, he’s a busy chef.My Perfect Pantry, his current cookbook, is not meant to evoke the fancy flavors of Iron Chef, nor of the high dining in his restaurants. Instead, this is directed at the home cook, giving guidance on how to stock your pantry and spice cabinet for some amazing meals.The concept is simple: 50 foundation ingredients are listed, and then there are recipes based on 50 pantry ingredients. Zakarian then builds recipes that utilize those ingredients to make dishes that range from snacks to entrees. The foundation ingredients are spices, and while I know, and you know, that great chefs burn through spices pretty quick so they don’t get old, we keep the same tin of cloves for a long time. I’ll say this: Zakarian says to chan…

A Compendium of Last Week’s Church Blog Posts

I’ve been writing a short devotional thought on the church blog over at www.fbcalmyra.com every day. I thought I’d skip out on real content here, today, and repost all of that. I doubt I need permission, since I’m the content creator The First Monday of Advent 2014It’s so easy to celebrate Jesus on Sundays. There’s not much else going on, and we can block out the world. Monday is different. Monday puts us back to school, back to work, back to the responsibilities. What do we do? Look with me at Isaiah 40:1-11 and consider this: 1. God’s presence brings comfort, but not all comfort is what we expect. His comfort is His presence and His Word. 2. God shepherds His people, carrying the weak and guiding us along. It’s not a sit and soak life. It’s a walk of obedience. But it’s a walk in community, with the presence of the Good Shepherd. Which is so much better than the wandering alone we often try to do. Even when we have a destination. Hearken to the words of the Shepherd, and walk in His…

In Barns: Luke 12

In Summary:
Remember that Luke records substantial portions of Jesus’ teaching moments. Breaking Luke down into chapters does not isolate specific teaching concepts or even moments, so any given chapter will cover a variety of topics. Luke 12 is no different.
First, Jesus warns his disciples of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. In doing so, he highlights that hidden deeds and whispered words will not remain secret. Combining these two makes sense, as the Pharisees were experts at public righteousness. Many times it is easy to be righteous when observed, but we hide our wickedness. That is to be avoided: be the same person on display and in public.
Second, Jesus stresses the right one to fear. NASB capitalizes “One” because it refers to God. We often allow fear of everything else—I’ve seen Luke 12:5 misapplied as suggesting we fear Satan. Satan has no authority to cast into hell. That’s judgment based on God’s Word, not on anyone else.
Third, Jesus teaches that our trust is to be in him, n…

Sermon Recap for December 7

Please join me in praying for Jacque Synco. The medical people are still trying to sort out how to meet her nutritional needs.Morning Sermon: Romans 1:16-17 (audio)1. Not Ashamed: of all the things we have to be ashamed of, the Gospel is not one of them! 2. The power of the Gospel: salvation, no matter your background 3. Righteousness of God Evening Sermon: 2 Corinthians 9:6-9 (audio)Why do we give? 1. Obligation? 2. Benefit? 3. Gratitude? Concluding Notes:1. I do have the rough audio of Sunday Night’s Q&A session, but I’m not sure yet that it’s useful for posting.2. I am not sure how to improve video quality with the current equipment.3. If you want to subscribe, here’s a list:A. iTunes for audio subscription link is here.B. General Audio RSS feed for other programs is here.C. If you’re a Stitcher User, the link is hereD. For Youtube Video, subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/user/dheagle93/E. Some videos are up on Vimeo, but budget constraints have ended my posting to V…

A few additional thoughts on marriage

No, not on the current cultural revisions to marriage. Not exactly.On social media yesterday, I noticed someone critiquing a move by several ministers to refuse to sign government marriage licenses. This is not something that I have heard about until now—once again we find “leading people” are leading fewer than they think they are, and even fewer than their critics think they are—and I assumed it was a fringe, crackpot idea. Well, it’s less fringe than I expected given that a few of the names connected to it have been somewhat reasonable on other issues.Overall, here’s the summary: Christian ministers should refuse to sign government marriage licenses. Marriage is a religious affair, after all, and needs no government permission. Besides, government marriage has become something far different from Bible-based marriage.The truth of the latter two statements does not, though, require the first premise as an action. I have supported, and still consider worth pondering, a dual-structure …

Justice and Governance: Deuteronomy 17

In Summary: Justice and governance. These are the themes of Deuteronomy 17. The opening verse addresses the need for proper sacrifices but the rest of the chapter delves into the administration of justice. First, the Israelites are commanded to make a thorough investigation, but then penalties are required. The opening section deals with capital offenses.

Next, we see the idea of establishing a judicial system for those cases that are too hard to handle. Then there are rules established for the king, if the people ever have one. I still support the idea given for the king here. He was to make his own, by his own hand, copy of the Law of God. This likely would have been the book of Deuteronomy alone, but could have been the entire Pentateuch. My guess is just Deuteronomy, but further we do not see in Kings or Chronicles any evidence that the kings did this. In fact, under Joash we see the Law found as it had been missing! They apparently rarely did this. I think we’d be better off in Am…

Book: The Heretic

Look to your right! There’s a book –>Henry Vyner-Brooks’ The Heretic is a heavy duty historical novel. Based in England, 1536, The Heretic covers the lives (and deaths) of some who would reform the Church of England, some who would restore the Roman Church in England, and some who would leave the Church altogether.And if you think that’s a complicated summary, you should read the book and realize just how oversimplified I made it. This makes me of two minds about Vyner-Brooks’ work. First is the concern that it’s too complicated and too woven into the historical events to be widely read. And that is a legitimate concern. If you are not familiar, generally, with the history of England, then you will be lost from the beginning of this book. It is a different style of historical novel than I typically see. Usually, historical fiction uses the story to help inform the past, helping the reader to know what happened. Vyner-Brooks has taken a different turning in this, and you need to kno…

Joy in the Kitchen

I know this post is tagged as “cooking,” and you may be looking for a recipe. I don’t know if you’ll find one or not. It’s more of a random meander post than a recipe post. For a few moments I want to talk about cooking. Why? I love to cook. Not that I have much formal training in it: I learned in the kitchen with my mother, I learned around the camp stove and campfire in Boy Scouts, but I’ve never had a “cooking class.” Unless you count the Table for Two night at the Rockefeller Institute up on Petit Jean, where we learned how to make one dish. (Speaking of, if you’d like to sponsor a return trip…let me know. Or if you’re in PR for WRI and want to comp a blogger to participate, I’m up for that.) I’ve learned that my creative side comes through more in the kitchen than anywhere else. You see, in the kitchen, certain facts matter but they are hard to dispute. For example, chicken is either cooked or raw—once you get it past raw and into “done” where it’s unlikely anyone will get deathly i…

In Judgment: Luke 11

In Summary: First, we have Luke’s recollection of Jesus teaching the disciples to pray. This parallels the teaching in Matthew 6, and that has caused some to think this records the same event. That is an unnecessary leap: surely Jesus taught similar lessons to differing crowds—and sometimes to the same crowd! The term used here is “disciple” rather than “Twelve,” so it could have been one of many.
Second, Jesus follows this with an extended explanation of the need for persistence in prayer. He notes that his followers should keep on praying, keep on seeking, if they wish to see answers. He reins in any foolishness, though, by noting that even people know not respond to unsafe or foolish requests! If a human father knows that an undesired fish is better than a requested snake, how much more does our Heavenly Father? Even if we persist in asking, God will not give us that which is foolish. In fact, His answer, according to 11:13, is the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Third, we see the sourc…

Sermon Wrap-Up for Nov 30

Good Morning! There’s a bonus here: The Thanksgiving Sermon from Wednesday. That’s right, 3 sermons for the price of one! It’s my Cyber Monday deal for you.Wednesday Evening: On Thanksgiving (audio)Colossians 4:2-6 How are we thankful? 1. Prayer, alert for seeing the blessings of God 2. Prayer, petitioning God to empower His people 3. Conduct, being wise 4. Conduct, speaking with grace Morning Sermon: 1 Corinthians 13 (audio)1 Corinthians 13 Don't be a Noisy Christian 1. Things that cease
2. Things that abide
3. Things to avoid
4. things to pursue Love is the only one of these 3 wherein we are like God: the others bring us before Him, teach us to rely on Him. But only by loving do we do what Jesus did. Faith hope love. We cannot show love without obedience to the Lord
We cannot have hope without compassion from the Lord Evening Sermon: Acts 19:21-41 (audio)Acts 19:21-41 1. Great is our Christmas tradition! 2. Great is our shopping extravaganza! 3. Great shall be our anger …

Blogcation 2014

I’ve been sporadic, and it’s time to stop that.So, I’m declaring myself on Blogcation for the rest of this week. I will return on December 8th with sermon recaps and then should be stable going forward.Meanwhile, have a great Thanksgiving!

Sermon Wrap-Up for November 23

Well, another week, another batch of sermons. Still, in light of this blog post, that’s what I do.All of my notes were handwritten, and not on Livescribe paper, so nothing to post. Here are the video and audio links. The direct downloads are linked with the passages, and then the media players.Morning Sermon: 1 Thessalonians Morning Nov 23 Evening Sermon: Galatians 6 Evening Nov 23 Concluding Notes:1. I do have the rough audio of Sunday Night’s Q&A session, but I’m not sure yet that it’s useful for posting.2. I am not sure how to improve video quality with the current equipment.3. If you want to subscribe, here’s a list:A. iTunes for audio subscription link is here.B. General Audio RSS feed for other programs is here.C. If you’re a Stitcher User, the link is hereD. For Vimeo Video, subscribe to this channel: https://vimeo.com/channels/almyrafbcE. For Youtube Video, subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/user/dheagle93/4. Yes, I think I’m not getting a lot of plays on each service or …

Book: Preaching by Ear

Yes, I know: you preach with your mouth. You listen with your ears.<-Use your eyes, see a book about using your ears to preach with your mouth. Wait, what?Today’s book was provided by Cross-Focused Reviews. Shaun lists books, I pick one that I like and review it. No obligation, no cash, no coffee is exchanged in this case.Dave and Karen McClellan’s Preaching by Ear addresses a question many of us preachers have never thought to ask: “Why have we taken a written approach to an oral practice?”The sermon, after all, was initially an oral presentation. There is no biblical evidence that Peter, Paul, or John prepped a written document before their messages in Scripture. Further, many historical sermons, prior to the printing press, were delivered orally from the mind and heart rather than from paper. First, McClellan makes his case for the historicity of the oral sermon. He clearly demonstrates how much better we understand things by internalizing them through oral practice. Second, McC…

In Transit: Luke 10

In Summary: Luke 10 summarizes quickly: life as a disciple of Jesus cannot be focused in one place. The eyes of a disciple must look for the needs, whether they are physical, spiritual, or relational, and our behavior must work to meet those needs.

First, we see the 70 sent out to preach. They are told to go to the various towns and villages on behalf of Jesus, preaching the kingdom. The instructions are useful and will be the focus for today.

Second, we see Jesus put success in perspective. It is not the spiritual power—after all, He saw Satan fall, so you seeing one demon run away pales in comparison. Rejoice in grace, not in power.

Third, we see the woes on Bethsaida, Chorazin, and Capernaum. Why? For rejecting the message, which means they rejected the Messiah. Judgment comes from that, but the Judge is not joyful in that. He is sorrowful, but His law must be fulfilled.

Fourth, we see the Good Samaritan story. This one is familiar even to many non-Bible folks, so I’ll leave you to re…

Sermon Recap for November 16 2014

Good morning, one and all!Here are the sermons from yesterday. I used handwritten notes, so I'm experimenting with how to post those. I could tape them to the screen, but you couldn't see them if I did.
Morning Sermon: Acts 4 "Prayer that Shakes the World, Compassion that Moves the Heart." (Title links to the audio file)Nov 16 AM (Preaching notes)

Evening Sermon: Acts 10 "Appearances"

 (A quick note: I managed to, apparently, stick the title slide into the point between the 2 video files for the evening sermon. I did NOT stop at the 20 minute mark, hold up a sign, and then go forward. That's just my video oops.)

Celebrating as Community: Deuteronomy 16

In Summary: Deuteronomy 16 covers the three major religious festivals of the Jews in Israel. These are the “major” festivals because, as you see in 16:16, all the men of Israel were required to appear before YHWH at the place of His choosing. More on that when we come In Focus.
Let us turn to a quirk of Deuteronomy 16. This chapter, more than many others, acknowledges that the Israelites will have a decentralized governance. Many of the segments of the Law deal with how to offer sacrifices and individual obedience to God and other sections address how the nation is to act, beyond dividing the land there is not much about how each city and town is to operate. Or about how to balance centralized worship with people living scattered.
Alongside the religious festivals, this chapter addresses local governance. The people are commanded in 16:18 to appoint judges and officers in all of their towns (literally “gates”—I would suggest that any settlement big enough for an enclosure would be in vi…

Book: The Stories We Tell

This is not what my book looks like. Mine’s a Kindle copy.The Stories We Tell by Mike Cosper is a look at how human mythology reminds us of our need for grace and redemption. Unlike a great academic treatise, though, Cosper does spend gallons of ink on obscure myths or distant stories. Instead, he goes to the American Myth Machine: TV and Movies. These are our stories, after all, truly the places where America developed a culture different from anywhere else, and then began to export it. This is a book that sit on the fence about. First of all, I am highly grateful that this is not a “see how character B is like a Bible hero” book. There are more than enough of those. Perhaps too many. Neither is Cosper trying to find Bible stories or even sermon illustrations in modern myths. The Stories We Tell is more about seeing how our culture admits its need for the grand narrative that is God’s work in the world.Cosper writes with an easy style. I found the chapters slipping away nicely instea…

In Despair: Luke 9

In Summary: Luke 9 has some familiar territory for the Bible student. Luke’s retelling of the Feeding of the 5,000 is here (9:12-17), as is the argument about who should be counted the greatest disciple (9:46-56). Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Messiah is here, echoing Matthew 16 but Luke does not record Jesus’ statement about the “rock” upon which the church would be built.

We also see the Twelve sent out, a similar story to Mark 6. They were given “power and authority” (9:1) to deal with illness and demons. Two things are worth noting here: Herod hears about it all and is perplexed, and the crowds still come looking for Jesus. We never see the Gospel writers record that the crowds came looking for the Apostles; they come for Jesus and Jesus only. No matter how much “power and authority” a disciple of Jesus has, it is only to be used to bring people to Him.

The chapter wraps with three people who apparently did not follow Jesus. They came, inquired, and the text feels like they qu…