Posts

Showing posts from March, 2014

Book: Seeking the City

Image
If you are up for some heavy reading, I have the book for you. It’s called Seeking the City, and it’s published by Kregel Academic. Written by Chad Brand and Tom Pratt, Seeking the City is a look at economics from a Christian perspective. This is a study book, not a “let us read something fun” book.The first point to make is this praise of the book: THEY USE FOOTNOTES!!! I whine about endnotes enough that I think I should praise the right decision when it’s made.Under discussion here is how the Biblical concepts of justice and compassion work out in modern society. This is a heavily researched work, with good details.Overall, Brand & Pratt’s work is well-grounded in Scripture. They approach from a position of Biblical certainty, and are not looking at whether or not the Bible can be trusted about practical matters. The goal is see what is said about these.It does appear that Brand & Pratt come from a more politically conservative viewpoint, especially in the areas of governmen…

Sermon Wrap-up for March 30

Good morning! Here is the wrap-up from yesterday. Audio and video from both services, then the extended outline for the morning.Morning Audio: Joshua and His War Record (Direct Audio)Evening Audio: Introducing Judges (direct audio)March 30 PM: Introducing Judges from Doug Hibbard on Vimeo.Morning Outline:March 30: Joshua and His War Record1.1. Scripture introHigh points in book of Joshua1.2. IntroWe are going to take the whole life  of Joshua and the events in Israel during his life in view here1.3. PropositionLet us serve the Lord with courage and unity, showing our passion for Him1.4. That's not important right nowQuestions that can, and should, be rephrased before being answered."Are you for us, or for our enemies?""Why did you not go with us?"1.5. Surely, You Can't Be Serious1. Circumcise when and where?2. Conquer Jericho how?3. Fight for the Gibeonites?1.6. It's an Entirely Different Kind of AltarThe altar of remembranceThe testimony of history1.7.…

Book: People Pleasing Pastors

People Pleasing Pastors by Charles Stone is a book. Of course, if you read the title, then you know that. I'm sorry for repeating information. It might make you dislike this review, and I want you to like the review. Because if you like the review, you might like the blog, and if you like the blog, then you might like me, and then I'll be valid as a person. Unless, of course, there's not enough of you who like me to offset the ones who don't like me.

Then I'm in trouble.

While the above sounds a little over-the-top, People Pleasing Pastors points us to the problems of trying to lead a church while also keeping everyone happy. You look at the issues, you look at the problems, and then you make no decisions, take no action, because someone will not be pleased.

Stone's work here is excellent. He takes a hard look at why so many in the ministry are driven by approval. Then, quickly diagnoses the results of that obsession. From there, he constructs a framework of po…

Always Consequences: Numbers 35

In Summary: It seems like we will never actually get to getting into the Promised Land, doesn’t it? There are several administrative details to deal with, though, and no job is finished until the paperwork is done. This is something many of us are familiar with: waiting.
Waiting while details we think will never matter are worked out. Numbers 35 deals with one detail, the creation of cities of refuge for accidental manslaughter. Then we’ll have a chapter dealing with inheritance for a family with no sons. It seems frustrating when this happens in our lives, too. Every detail pertaining to us is handled, so why can we not move forward? Yet there is more to life than us, and sometimes that means we wait while other people’s details get worked out. I get frustrated with that, you likely get frustrated with it, but we are not walking alone. Unless, of course, we choose to walk away from everyone else. Yet often the loneliness we complain of is not because others abandoned us, but because w…

Book: A Draw of Kings

This may be a slightly different review for me. A straightforward review would be silly: this is book 3 of a trilogy. If you read books 1 and 2, you want to read it for closure. If not, you'll need to read books 1 and 2. I have reviewed those and Patrick W. Carr's style previously: A Cast of Stonesand The Hero's Lot. Spoiler on the reviews: Loved them both.


And building on that, I loved A Draw of Kings. This is modern Christian fantasy at its finest.

What happens when tradition blinds us to reality? What happens when rules overwhelm relationships?

And what happens when personal pride gets in the way of the needs of those we love dear?

These are the questions that A Draw of Kings by Patrick W. Carr really wrestles with. Working through this final volume of the Staff and Sword Trilogy is like trying to close the loose ends of a thousand little threads, both in plot and philosophy.

Carr does that well, if imperfectly. I think the intricacies of the prior two threw one too many…

Proverbs 25 March 2014 by Doug

Today’s look in Proverbs is brief, and perhaps more personal than many of these posts. Looking at Proverbs 25:13, I cannot help but consider my role as a messenger for the Lord Jesus Christ.




First, am I faithful to the one who sent me? Do I bring refreshment to Him?




Second, do I faithfully relay the message or do I warp it for my own desires?




Third, do I focus more on the recipients of the message than I do on the sender? That is not to say audience awareness is unimportant—communication involves clearing the interference between sender and receiver-but is that my focus or is He my focus?




Fourth, am I satisfied if He finds me faithful or do I need to be found worthwhile by others?




Fifth, do I consider transmission of the message as the ultimate focus of my life or do I take side roads? There is a message to convey with word and deed. Does it consume me or do I stop for the scenery? I’m reminded of the Jules Verne novel Michael Strogoff, Or the Courier of the Czar, which focuses on a messa…

Book: If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis

Image
I call If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis a “semi-biography” because I cannot name a genre it truly belongs in. There’s some biographical information on Lewis as well as summaries of his literature. McGrath does some analysis of the history of Lewis’ time, and of Lewis’ effect on history. This is a book that’s hard to put in the right place on the shelf.


If I had lunch with C.S. Lewis, he’d probably be so horrified at my informal table manners that we would not get to any of the subjects in Alister McGrath’s new If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis. Then again, being deceased, Lewis may not care. As it is, we must settle for the imaginary luncheons envisioned in McGrath’s semi-biography.
I’m not sure quite what I expected here. Part of me expected If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis to be a fictionalized account of actual lunch meetings. That’s not what we have here, and I think I’m glad. That sounds like a good idea, but it would have required McGrath to reword Lewis’ actual words. Instead, If I Had …

Fools! Galatians 3

In Summary: I don’t think I can truly summarize Galatians 3. This is a chapter that begs for a sermon series on the content, and it would take a year to hit it all.

Overall, we have Paul rebuking the Galatians for going back to the law. That’s the critical point overall here: legalism, more specifically Judaizing. This was the belief that Gentiles had to become observant Jews to be good Christians, and that everyone needed to keep the Law for God to love them.
It’s a view that negates the grace of God. If the Law were enough, then there was no point in Jesus coming to die in our place. There was no point in any of it: those who wanted salvation could have simply earned it, rather than rely on the promises of God.
There is one other thing worth noting before we go “In Focus:” Galatians 3:28. Keep it in context as it addresses what there is “neither” of. This is not about the destruction of distinctions, it is about the destruction of barriers to access to God.
We now, though, move back to…

Proverbs 24 March 2014 by Doug

I see something interesting in Proverbs 24:23, although I cannot really confirm it with the experts I have available. This verse opens with the phrase “These also are the sayings of the wise.”



The primary viewpoint is that the following section, Proverbs 24:23f, is from a different source. This is because one of the major views is that Proverbs is not as unified as, say, Ecclesiastes, and has material from multiple sources with no real cohesion.


I don’t buy that theory, however well-regarded it may be. I think Proverbs presents as being compiled at the hand or command of Solomon. The final version is, for the most part, Solomonic in construction. I know Proverbs 25:1 references Hezekiah, but even this reference gives credit to Solomon as the author.


I think what we see in Proverbs 24:23 is not a simple editorial note. It is a marker of importance. Here’s what I mean:


Throughout Proverbs, you have multiple statements about “listen to your father, listen to your mother.” You have other st…

Book: Exploring Christian Theology

Image
It’s time for a scary book review. Ready? THEOLOGY! BOO! SCARY!!

That’s one of two typical responses to the word “theology” in the modern American Church. The other response is “I don’t need any theology, I just want to love Jesus and let Him love me.” Both of these responses are effectively nonsensical. Every person develops a theology. Even an atheist, who simply examines the concept of “God” (Theos) and decides “ain’t one.” You may not articulate theology, you may not use big words, but you have made mental decisions about what “God” means to you.
The question becomes what type of theology you have developed. Exploring Christian Theology, by Nathan D. Holsteen and Michael J. Svigel (primarily, with contributors,) aims to provide you the reader with a clear, practical view of Christian Theology. They base their work on a view of the Bible as inerrant, and this is simply an assumption throughout this text. This is likely because another volume in the Exploring Christian Theology series…

Sermon Wrap-up for March 23

So, I have this fear of writing “Sermon Warp-Up” and two weeks ago, I made “March” into “Mach” instead. Oops.Morning Sermon Audio is here (Direct play here)Morning Video:March 23 AM Over the Sea Deuteronomy 30:11-20 from Doug Hibbard on Vimeo.Morning Summary:March 23 AM: Over the Sea! Deuteronomy 30:11-20 Once you know, you must act: Serving others Serving the Lord Living righteousness Stop stalling Stop looking for signs Evening Sermon Audio is here (Direct play here) Evening Video: March 23 PM from Doug Hibbard on Vimeo.Evening Summary: March 23 pm Deuteronomy 22:5-12 Strange laws?  Hunting and liability laws Morning Extended Look: Chapter 1: March 23: Over the Sea!1.1. Scripture introDeuteronomy 30:11-20 These chapters contain Moses' final words. We should consider these as we move forward into life. Highway? Use the concept of a major sign telling you where to take an exit and then reminder signs on the path--mileage and motion.1.2. IntroLife and death, blessing and cursing-- …

Book: A Commentary on Judges and Ruth

Image
I have pointed you to the Kregel Exegetical Library at times in the past. Today we will revisit the series and examine the volume A Commentary on Judges and Ruth. Authored by Robert B. Chisholm, Jr., who is a professor of Old Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, this is 697 pages bound in a sturdy hardcover. It’s not much to look at, with muted colors on the cover and only black and white text throughout, but the power is in the words.

Some commentaries excel at attention-holding for casual reading. A Commentary on Judges and Ruth is not one of those commentaries. This is a text for the more serious researcher or student, teacher or preacher, rather than for the light and fluffy among us. A Commentary on Judges and Ruth takes the text of Scripture at face value. While there is some discussion of the textual critical issues, Chisholm clearly sides with the idea that we should take the Bible to be accurate and intentional in all matters. This is certainly a strength for tho…

Be the Voice

Proverbs 22:22-23 struck me this morning, and since I already had a plan for the Proverbs Blog today, you’re getting these thoughts over here. These two verses are addressed to Solomon’s sons initially, but by extension we see all Scripture as valuable for all people. So, this is valuable for you and me as well.
These two verses warn against oppressing the poor because he is poor, and not to make the afflictions of the afflicted worse. The reasoning is that God Himself will plead their cases against you, and you will not win. Let us break this down and note a few things: First, the poor man: note that poverty is not something to be mocked or oppressed. Throughout the Proverbs, we see that laziness is not to be tolerated. We see that greed or foolishness may be punished, but poverty is no crime. We have to be very cautious that we do not oppress those who are poor simply for their poverty. It is one thing to punish the guilty, but another to punish the helpless. Societally, we need to eva…

Proverbs 22 for March 2014 by Doug

DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!





TURN BACK BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!






I SMELL TROUBLE!






I HAVE A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS…






Following these lines, we see our intrepid heroes face the danger and find some way to succeed. Usually they find someone else in danger along the way, rescue them, and everyone rejoices. Sometimes, though, the only people that end up in danger are their own compatriots and the heroism is saving themselves from trouble of their own making. (Can you say “Don’t wander off, Rose?”)


Proverbs 22:3 has something to say about our behavior in light of danger signs, though, as we are warned that the prudent man will hide himself. It is the naive who go straight in and deal with negative consequences.


A few thoughts here:


First: The “naive” are not the same as the “fools” or even the “simple” who are viewed negatively in the Proverbs. This is better seen as the contrast between the experienced (or the imaginative) and the untried and inexperienced. The naivete can be overcome, and should be. The q…

Book: Exploring Grace Together

Image
I have signed on to another book review program, because I’m a little bit nuts. This one is Beyond the Page from Crossway Books. They post a list of available e-books, and I pick one. Then I read it, review it, and keep the e-book. There is no expectation that it will be a positive review, just that I won’t slander the authors. I will take this opportunity to mention that I review books for multiple companies through their freely disclosed blog reviewer programs—there is no special relationship with any of them, nor do I endorse everything from any of those companies.

Today, I want to look at a family devotional book called Exploring Grace Together. It’s by Jessica Thompson and published by Crossway Books. This is book of 40 devotionals aimed at a family audience.
The first thing I would note on Exploring Grace Together is that we are not looking at a Bible Story book. These are devotionals hinging on overall Scripture concepts rather than extracting meaning from a particular narrative. …

Drawing Lines: Numbers 34

Image
In Summary:  We are in Numbers 34, and we are looking at the division of the land among the people of Israel. They are reaching the end of the Wilderness Wanderings, and soon will move into the land.
We will revisit all of this in Deuteronomy, because that book reruns the Exodus story. And yes, I will strive to blog through that without dead-repeating everything I’ve done. But that’s a few weeks out. Here we have some place names that are clear in history, but others that are not so well known. The same is true of the people mentioned: Caleb comes up again, but Bukki son of Jogli is a one-hit wonder of Scripture.
In Focus: Take a look at the map in your Bible (or below, from Logos Bible Software). The borders limit the spread of Israel. The only one that was truly forced by a natural feature was the Western Border at the Mediterranean Sea. The others are based on the extent of the land God had promised. These borders mark the land, and the land is what God has promised the people. The ble…

Book: Ingredients for Success by Joe Slawek

Apologies for the late review on this one—my choices for an organizational system January-February were poor. I think that’s on track now, and I am working hard to catch up.When I first picked up Ingredients for Success: 10 Best Practices for Business and Life by Joseph James Slawek, I thought “Here we go again: some business guy has made a fortune, wants to sanctify it, and is going to warp Scripture for justification of his methods. Those books are too frequent, and too annoying.Fortunately, Slawek’s Ingredients is not too bad in this regard. It is true that he gathers the basic practical concepts from the parables of Matthew 25 without moving on to the Christological meaning in them. However, his work here is about business and not theology. In that vein, Slawek makes the clear admission that he went to Scripture looking for business guidance after someone challenged him about that idea. He did not make a list and go proof-text hunting, and for that he is to be commended.Ingredient…

Wednesday Wanderings: March 19

It's Wednesday, which means a hodge-podge of things going on.

First, tonight we are at the point in the Biblical story with the kids where we cover David and Bathsheba. Anybody care to deal with adultery and polygamy with a room full of kids for me? Not an easy subject. Some grasp what's happening, others do not--and some parents aren't really up for their kids learning too much at their age.

The focus is certainly on sin and repentance, forgiveness and grace, even for willful disobedience. It's just going to be a tightrope to walk.

And I wonder about the whole situation--why does David fall into this? How willing or unwilling is Bathsheba in her compliance? Is she a victim or a co-conspirator? Does David really think he'll get away with it?

Yet I look at modern politics and think: he may have simply thought no one cared enough to say anything. We certainly don't care in America about the people in power and whether or not they honor and respect folks--as long …

Proverbs 19 March 2014 by Doug

With apologies to my Biblical Interpretation professors over the years, today we’re going to stretch on the meaning for Proverbs 19:13. How so? Take a look at the verse and how it addresses relationships: sons and fathers, wives and husbands.


“A foolish son is destruction to his father, and the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping.” Proverbs 19:13 (NASU)

First, consider the obvious meaning. Do not let your children grow up foolish as far as it is in your power. Do not marry someone who is always spoiling for a good bicker. Take this as a two-way street on gender, folks, because I think this is a spot where Solomon is addressing his sons about their wives and future sons (grandsons of Solomon) who will rise to power. That is the cultural context, but the principle extends broadly.

Second, though, we are going to stretch this. Sons and fathers are a picture here of descendants and precedents. Consider the governance of America or many other nations in history: previous generations…