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Showing posts from August, 2014

Cows or Commitment? Deuteronomy 9

In Summary: By now, you know the drill for Deuteronomy, so I’ll spare you the background data. Deuteronomy 9 gives us Moses recounting some of the sins of the people of Israel in the Exodus, especially during the time around Mount Horeb. Horeb is another name for Mount Sinai, so this is about the feasting that occurred during the time Moses received the Ten Commandments.

That aspect is brought up here, and some of the other times when the people sinned against God in their behavior. Moses is reminding the people to remember the grace they have received. After all, they have provoked YHWH to wrath many times, even within the first months of freedom from Egypt as they did at Horeb.
Why did they rebel even then? Perhaps it was because, like so many of us, the people of Israel were quick to forget. They were quick to forget the big things God had done for them, but even quicker to forget the little ones. Think about the little things: providence in sustaining creation; grace for all the lit…

Book: Dad is Fat

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One of the free books for blogging groups I have been plundering over the years expanded their offerings. I started with them to get free books with spiritual value, but then they expanded the program to offer free books from their parent company. So, Blogging for Books has more stuff from Random House. As a result, I thought I would branch out and read…a book by a comedian. For fun.What do you get when you take a comedic routine and put it in print? You get Jim Gafffigan’s Dad is Fat. Actually, you have to add in a few stories and ideas that the typical audience attention span could not hold through, so it’s a bit better than the video of live.It certainly helps to have heard a bit of Gaffigan and his delivery, because hearing this with the hesitations or filling in the facial expressions improves the funny. Some folks don’t get it. They may be too serious about parenthood, or too serious about life, and it’s just not funny. Others may be seeking a more cerebral type of humor. This i…

Four Last Words: Colossians 4

In Summary: We come to the end of Colossians, and we have barely scratched its surface. There is an abundance of useful theology in these four short chapters, but the calendar turns on, and so must we.

As is expected in Paul’s letters, this last chapter includes his personal greetings. Take note, especially, in 4:11 where Paul highlights that very few workers for the kingdom of God have come from the circumcision. This is likely a reference to those who advocated mandatory circumcision for new believers, pushing them to come to obey the Law in place of the Gospel. Legalism is a trap from which few escape with their faith intact: those who escape rule-keeping often abandon all semblance of involvement to avoid being shackled again.
Another point of interest in this chapter is 4:14 and the mention of “Luke, the beloved physician.” It is from this verse that we take the identity and profession of Luke. Archippus is apparently a leader of the church (4:17), and he needs to step up to the li…

Sermon Wrap-Up for August 24

Good morning! Here are the sermon videos and audio links from this weekend.Morning Sermon: Psalm 137August 24 AM: Psalm 1371. Live in exile? Yes, you do...consider the horror of loss, the viciousness of the World2. Will you forget what is truly home?3. A better form of revenge.Evening Sermon: Jeremiah 43August 24 PM: Jeremiah 431. Don't ask if you won't listen2. No, seriously.3. Great, now you've destroyed another kingdom.4. Seek in obedience.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/use…

Book: Blessed are the Balanced

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<---Don’t look now, but there’s another book sneaking up on us!Blessed are the Balanced is a book that should be required reading for seminary students. More clearly, the cost of a copy should be factored into the application fee and be mandatory reading before you ever take a seminary class, and then again every summer or major school break. I say this as someone who has just finished an overextended journey from first class in seminary to graduate, and had to admit that I was not emotionally and spiritually ready to jump to the next degree.If you are headed to seminary or in seminary, you need this book. If you are teaching seminary students, you need this book so that you can connect them with the needs they are ignorant of, and so that you can shape a bit of your requirements around those needs.Now that the rhetoric has passed, let’s actually examine the material. First, BatB is written by two seminary faculty members. They are acutely aware of the pitfalls that they have exper…

And we will thrive: Deuteronomy 8

In Summary: The people of Israel remain, as they have been for several chapters, loaded up and ready to enter the Promised Land. Deuteronomy contains the recounting of the covenant. A few sources I have read suggest that this is the “official” version of the covenant between Israel and YHWH, their God. The earlier books of the Pentateuch have contained narrative and statistics, primarily, or the early and scattered expression of the Law. This gains a little credence when we look at the back half of Exodus, for example, and see how much of this one-time use material: there is no need to build another Tabernacle, Ark, or Altar. The construction information is not part of God’s long-term covenant with Israel: these items serve as evidence of the heritage of the covenant.

I will note this: I have read this idea hinted at in a source or two, but I can’t put my hand on those sources right now. I think there are some issues with it, but it’s a moderately workable concept.
Alongside the heritag…

Book: A Christian Survival Guide

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Look! A book that shows a guy with sense enough to kick off his shoes, but not take off his jacket while nearly drowning!---->Today’s Book is brought to you by Kregel Publishers. It was provided to me in exchange for this review. Ed Cyzewski’s A Christian Survival Guide is an entry in what I would call “minimalistic Christianity.” It is part of an overall trend to boil down the Christian faith to its bare bones, in hopes of helping Christians and would-be Christians avoid wasting time on silly debates or dying on hills that aren’t worth dying on.Cyzewski’s aim, then, admirable. His writing is focused on maximizing Jesus. As far it goes, though, that’s the strength of this book. His aim is worthy, but his execution raises several concerns.How so? Cyzewski takes a middle-of-the-road approach to nearly every debatable issue that he raises. Is there a Hell or not? Well, he’s not sure, so he points out that we should lead with the Good News of Jesus and not make such a big deal of it…be…

Three Things to Do: Colossians 3

In Summary: How far removed from modern day life is Colossae? Not very far. Taking a look at Colossians 3 reveals that Paul was addressing problems that are just similar to our modern day, but are the same. Let us consider what we see brought up here: selfish behavior like impurity and greed; community-destroying behavior like wrath, malice, and abusive speech; culturally destructive behavior like lying, prejudices, and racism. That’s just verses 5-11!

Paul explains to the Colossians how the Gospel addresses all of these issues. While his explanation pushes against all of these as symptomatic of the problem, he opens the chapter with the cure for the root problem.
That cure is what we frequently call the Gospel, or at least the final portion of the Gospel. Jesus, Eternal Son of God, co-equal with the other two members of the Trinity, emptied Himself (Philippians 2) and died on a cross to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). He rose on the third day, according to the Scriptu…

Sermon Wrap-up for August 17

Good afternoon! Apparently, Vimeo's been running slowly and it took all night to get everything uploaded. I'm not sure why. Here are the sermons from Sunday, August 17, 2014, at Almyra Baptist Church.

Morning Sermon: Jeremiah 21


Jeremiah 21 August 17 AM



There comes a time when we must choose to walk away or die:
EmotionallyPhysicallySpiritually
Let go of our: TraditionsOrganizationsLeadership structures

Are we committed to our habits or to our obedience?
What becomes of us when we are more concerned with our homes and land then we are with doing what is right before a Holy God?



Evening Sermon: Proverbs 17
Proverbs 17 August 17 PM

1. Wisdom and joy are inseparable
2. Joy strengthens life
3. Note:
A. 15: right judgment, not emotion or politickingB. 14: avoiding trouble is wiseC. 4: Who do we listen to?D. 3: Tests of the heart come, and they are not always easyE. 1: Better simplicity without conflict



Concluding Notes: 1. I do have the rough audio of Sunday Night’s Q&A session, but I’…

Book: 1 Samuel for You

Look deeper: Deuteronomy 7

In Summary: Deuteronomy 7 seems a far cry from today’s headlines. Turn on the news and you’ll see religious warfare in Iraq, with minority religions being systematically attacked by those who wish them dead. You’ll see racial strife, mixed with class warfare and a dozen other social problems, exploding on the streets of Missouri. Yes, the one in the United States. You’ll see warfare in Israel and Gaza (or maybe it’s a cease fire, giving Hamas time to restructure and attack again). You’ll see kids heading back to school, or not, dealing with increasing security and rules.

In it all, God’s instructions for the possession of the land of Canaan in the fifteenth century BC seem a little out of touch. The most simplistic view of this passage, in fact, would be horrendous to apply in our modern era. One might read this and see the conquest as a template for our time, that people should take up arms and establish a “righteous nation” again on the Earth, eliminating those who disagree. Reading …