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Showing posts from September, 2014

Sermon Recap from September 28

In all honesty, this past Sunday I did not communicate as clearly as I would have liked. I have identified at least one cause, in terms of focus, but part of why a church has a regular preaching ministry is because some sermons are not awesome. Some you get through and say, well, I think I was faithful to the message.Then you do better the next week.Sunday Morning: MalachiSept 28 AM Malachi from Doug Hibbard on Vimeo.Sunday Evening: Luke BeginsSept 28 PM from Doug Hibbard on Vimeo.

Quick Update for This Week

As much as it pains me…I will get the sermons uploaded sometime soon, once Vimeo gets them online.Otherwise, it’s finals week. If you saw the update a few days ago, you know this will be the last finals week for a while, but because of wrapping up the term, I’m laying off the blogging this week. Thanks for your patience, and I’ll be back next week!

Book: Can I Really Trust the Bible?

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Today’s book—>For those of you in Almyra, no, that is not the same Barry Cooper that we all know and love. I know how that Barry Cooper answers the titular question. He says “yes” and the moves on with the day.I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for the review.Christianity as a religious faith rises and falls on whether or not Jesus is real, and whether or not He is really risen from the dead. Given that theological assertion, though, our knowledge of Jesus rises and falls on whether or not we can trust the Bible to teach us about Jesus. If we cannot trust the Bible, then we really don’t know much about Jesus at all.Into this discussion come some really weighty books. Seriously, by the pound weighty books. And then comes Barry Cooper’s Can I Really Trust the Bible? which is a relative lightweight in the discussion. Why? Because it’s short.Not as short as a fundamentalist work would be: “Yes.” But short, nonetheless. He produces a slim 80 pages, with easily readable font,…

No Math! Deuteronomy 12

In Summary:
Briefly, Deuteronomy 12 presents the second helping of the laws of God related to public worship. The old pagan structures are to be destroyed, new worship is to be done in accordance with God’s commands.

Notice, especially, the statements about how: 1. You shall not act like this toward YHWH, your God; 2. God’s choice of worship—the place which YHWH will choose; 3. Tithes in 17-19, that were to be used for fellowship, rejoicing, and feeding the Levites.

In Focus:
I have one, clear focal point in this passage. Take a look at Deuteronomy 12:32. (For you Greek nerds, it’s 13:1 in the LXX, also in the BHS for you חֶברֶו types.)

Take a good look. Especially that last phrase: you shall not add to it or take away from it.

God is abundantly clear that His commands are to be followed, and even more clear that they are not to be added to by people.
In Practice:
What matters in practice of this?

In summary, legalism. In all sorts of forms, legalism keeps cropping up. It is the Hydra of Chri…

Wednesday Wanderings: Nehemiah September 24 2014

I have, in the past, preached through Nehemiah. Those posts are archived back in January-February of 2012, but they were when I used a different podcast host and the audios of those messages are gone. All that's left are rough outlines. If I can ever find the original audios, I'll put them on the new host where they can live forever.
Until then, it's all gone. Rather than link back to that, I'll give a rundown of the highlights of Nehemiah, along with my questions going through this again. An observation worth noting: reading back through these passages again, a little quicker this time, I see some things I saw before, and other ideas do not show up as clearly. Meanwhile, a new thought or two also comes along.
First, I would note that Nehemiah was doing fine in his life. He's cupbearer to the king, which is a pretty tough gig to get. We have overplayed that in our cultural context to be the guy who is supposed to taste the king's food and die if it's poison…

Book: Being Church, Doing Life

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<----Look! It’s a book! Well, it’s a book cover picture. But you get the point.In Being Church, Doing Life, Michael Moynagh pursues the answer to this question: what does it look like when we separate church as “worshiping community” from church as “cultural activity?” Because let’s face this up front: in many places, especially Moynagh’s United Kingdom and my United States (the Southern part!), church is endemic to culture. It’s just there. We have churches, we have churches everywhere. And there are cultural constructs connected to the idea.Yet decades of cultural evolution have resulted in a cultural church that is not quite the same as what a worshiping community would look like. So, how do we sort out the differences? By analyzing examples, primarily drawn from the UK but some from the US, Moynagh presents many non-traditional looks at worshiping community structured around the normal beats of life. These ideas are naturally inspiring, and should challenge us to think outside …

In the Synagogue: Luke 4

In Summary:
The historian-doctor continues his exploration of the life of Jesus by following the events after the baptism. Jesus goes up from the Jordan and into the wilderness. While there, He fasts and is led around in the Spirit for forty days. As those days draw to a close, the devil comes to tempt Him. This is a well-known story which covers three temptations of Jesus.

We see three primary temptations put before Him during this time. They cover major aspects of ministry: be flashy and use your power to satisfy your desires; direct worship in the wrong direction and rule wrongly over others; put God to the test and see if He really delivers. Each of these had a major significance in the life of Jesus and they also could affect the typical minister and Christian who follows after Him.

Jesus then proceeds to Nazareth, His hometown, and enters the synagogue to teach.
Here another temptation presents itself: please His religious audience by pulling punches. As He stands in front of the t…

Sermon Recap for September 21

Where we are: An Update

Back in May, I officially graduated from seminary with my Master of Divinity degree. At that point, I was torn between pursuing my Ph.D., or another advanced degree, and taking some time off from school. I realized just how much I wanted the other degree, so I decided to plunge ahead and start taking language courses in support of the Ph.D. application.Turns out, I don’t really want that degree bad enough. While I have somewhat enjoyed the idea of learning German and French, I just don’t have the energy to plunge ahead with distance learning again right now. Distance learning, you see, has its ups and downs. It’s convenient for those of us who live out from formal education spaces. Quality-wise, while you can slack through it, you get what you bring in, so wanting to learn a lot and being willing to work, makes for a positive learning situation. The downside? You have to be entirely self-motivated. If you even have class sessions, they are typically spent staring at a computer screen,…

Book: The Theology of the Westminster Standards

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Today’s book is provided by Crossway Publishers, and I received a free e-book version for the purpose of reviewing. Crossway is nice to give free content, and cheap to send digitally. I appreciate the former and understand the latter.

The Theology of the Westminster Standards, by J.V. Fesko, is a serious book. That’s the first statement I would make: you’re not in for light reading here. Additionally, you may find yourself needing to either read the actual Westminster Standards or consult your favorite Presbyterian to grapple with the content. After all, why bother with the theology of something you have never read?

Fesko’s work breaks down the collection of documents known as the Westminster Standards, which includes the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, and the Form of Church Government. The focus is on the Confession and two Catechisms.

The material is organized around the general categories of systematic theology, tracing how the Standards speak t…

Follow your heart? Deuteronomy 11

In Summary: You are welcome to check the prior Deuteronomy entries to catch up on the setting at this point. I think it would belabor the point to rehash it all, so I’ll move on.

That is, after all, what Moses is doing in this chapter. We are through with the recapitulation of the journey and have moved on to the final preparation for the journey in. Moses is giving instructions for what the people are to inside the Promised Land.

It is noteworthy that the warning is consistently about idolatry. Not specifically about the making of graven images or carved images, but about the shifting of allegiances from YHWH, Covenant God of Israel, to other gods. Even with all that God had done for the Israelites, this remained their greatest danger.

It was an even greater danger than immorality! Most of the condemnation of immorality that comes on the Israelites in the years to come stem from the blending of immorality with the worship of idols. Their pursuit of wealth to the point of injustice also…

Wednesday Wanderings: September 17

Today, let’s take a buzz through Ezra. Why?Why not?Don’t think we’re going to be rebuilding the Holy City after the dominance of the Persian Empire? You’re probably right. Are there some principles here? I think there are a few and they bear on both spiritual and political issues of our day.First, spiritually: do we take advantage of the freedom to worship that exists in our world right now? The Persians permitted a limited freedom of public worship, just as we Americans have at this point. Are we using it or avoiding it?Second, politically: Persia had a policy of returning conquered people to their homelands. Why? Because it wasn’t worth the hassle to meddle in their lives by yanking folks all over the map. Guess what, governing folks? The more you meddle, the more difficult it is to govern. Take a page from Cyrus and let it go. As long as people pay their taxes, why stress about the minutiae of their lives? Let the people live.Third, spiritually: adversity will come against your pub…

Sermon Recap for September 14

Admission time: 1. I didn't preach Sunday morning. Tim Yarbrough from the Arkansas Baptist News did. He did well. I don't have his outline. 2. I did preach Sunday night. I also taught a discipleship session beforehand. I recorded both, but I just don't like the quality of presentation. Way too much rambling from me on both, likely related to my mind not being fully on-task. Ann was on her way home, flying from Florida to Texas to Arkansas.  Therefore, I take my punt for the year and I'm not posting either video or audio from that night. Here's the outline:
Sept 14 PM Haggai
Haggai 2:4, 9: The Spirit is here, and the glory is the Lord's-- Haggai 2:21–23 (NASB95) 21  “Speak to Zerubbabel governor of Judah, saying, ‘I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. 22  ‘I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations; and I will overthrow the chariots and their riders, and the horses and their riders will go down, everyon…

In the Wilderness: Luke 3

In Summary:Luke moves the story back to John the Baptist in this chapter, working through his preaching up to his arrest by Herod the Tetrarch. This chapter shows Luke’s ongoing historical work by providing background on the life of Jesus more than details about His life. The chapter mentions Jesus by name in two verses, refers to Him clearly in about three more, and spends the rest describing surrounding situations.

The opening section of the chapter deals with John the Baptist’s preaching. It is worth noting that Luke does not refer to him, at this point, as John “the Baptist.” He is simply John. Matthew and Mark use the descriptive term of “the Baptist,” perhaps to differentiate this one from the Apostle John. Returning to Luke, notice the description of John in Luke 3:2. “The word of God came to John.” Now, take a quick gander at any of these: Jeremiah 1:2, Ezekiel 1:3, Hosea 1:1, Jonah 1:1, Malachi 1:1, Zephaniah 1:1, 1 Kings 12:22.

What do we see? “The word of God” or “The word o…

System Requirements: Deuteronomy 10

In Summary: Moses continues recapping the events at Mount Sinai that occurred with the previous generation. In this chapter, he covers the fallout from the Golden Calf incident, including explaining the rise of the Levites to service as priests and teachers.

It is is worth noting that the Levites rose to this position because of their zeal in standing for God’s requirements. When the Israelites were falling to sin at the Mountain, it was the Levites who separated from the people to stand with Moses. First they demonstrated self-control, and then a willingness to execute judgment even on their own kinsmen.

Also noted is the dispersal of the Levites among the people. It is often noted that this was so they could teach others, but I would point out the other value. Levites were not only the instructors of God’s law but had a hand in the enforcement of it. The tribe was ordained to this work because they valued obedience to God over personal loyalty. The system of Israelite governance relie…

Book: Biblical Portraits of Creation

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This week’s book is brought to you by Cross-Focused Reviews. As always, a free book was provided in exchange for the review.I was not quite certain what to expect with Biblical Portraits of Creation. On the one hand, I thought it would be a look at evidences of Creation, but on the other hand I thought I might present some internal Biblical commentary on Creation. This was definitely more of the latter.First, let us take a peek at organization. The meat of this work is twelve chapters that highlight a specific Biblical description of God’s work in Creation. These are laid out semi-sermonically, with outlines and key words, as well as fully developed explanations. A specific passage is examined by one of the two authors, either Walter Kaiser or Dorington Little, and these provide an insight into seeing God’s work in creation.Second, let us consider the underlying assumptions here. As Kaiser works through in the appendix addressing the literary form of Genesis 1-11, the assumption here …

Book: Sheerluck Holmes and the Case of the Missing Friend

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What can I say? It’s a VeggieTales Book! It’s also a bit lower on my reading level. I thought it would make a nice change of pace for my reading, and for yours. It also provides the opportunity to push back against some of the criticism that I see Bob and Larry draw from many of my fellow grumpy Baptist bloggers. We should keep in mind that they are vegetables, not theologians, and are therefore entitled to be simple and silly.

Today’s book is Sheerluck Holmes and the Case of the Missing Friend. It’s at the “I can read! Stage 1” level, meaning a target of mostly beginner readers. Let’s break down three areas:

1. Ease of reading. This is simply worded. The sentences are short. The vocabulary does not include big words like vocabulary. “Suddenly,” “beautiful,” and “policeman” appear to be the largest words I can find. The grammar is simple. So, easy to read. Great for your beginning reader.

2. Illustrations. These are full-color and accurately represent the VeggieTales characters. The c…

In the Temple: Luke 2

In Summary:Taking a fresh read at Luke 2, this stood out to me: while we frequently go here for the Christmas story, much more happens in the Temple than happens in Bethlehem. Let’s take a look at the whole chapter, then we’ll focus on the Temple.

First, we see Luke set the historical stage by giving a date reference. Do you see it? It’s in the first two verses. Just because he does not use a calendar set up like ours does not mean there’s no date here. For the typical Greco-Roman reader, historical time was framed around major events more than specific dates. After all, the Roman calendar started with an event: the founding of the city. The narrowing down within the year was not as important to Luke’s initial audience as it is for us. We have major debates over the date and season for the birth of Christ, partly because we read Luke for clues that he did not include.

Second, we see Luke move rapidly through the birth of Jesus. The Incarnation, the Word becoming flesh to dwell among us …

Sermon Wrap-Up for September 7

Good Monday to you! Yesterday saw our annual cookout for the first Sunday in September, so there is only a morning sermon for you. Next week we'll have a guest preacher in the morning service, so I cannot say if he'll allow being recorded or not, so there may just be an evening message.

Morning Sermon: Humiliation or Destruction? Daniel 4 & 5



Humiliation or Destruction? Daniel 4 and 5 from Doug Hibbard on Vimeo.

September 7 Daniel 4-5

DatePassageLocationTitleFront PorchSeptember 7 AMDaniel 4 & 5Almyra BaptistHumiliated or Destroyed?The question for us is this: will we be humiliated or destroyed?
I. (3 minutes) Front Porch: Today, we compare two kings who opposed God--and decide which king will be our example. A. We don't do kings in America--we all consider ourselves king of our own life      B. We are going to look at Daniel 4 and 5 to consider a pair of kings, choosing which one will be our example to follow      C. The question for us is this: will we be humiliated or …

In the Desert: Luke 1

In Summary: Luke’s Gospel begins with background information. Luke 1 is one of the longest chapters of the New Testament. It may be the longest, but I haven’t double-checked that against anything, so I’ll not assert it here. In this chapter, Luke establishes his purpose for writing and then moves forward to the information about the impending coming of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

This chapter touches on the experiences of Mary, Elizabeth, Zacharias, and Gabriel. Notably absent is Joseph, Mary’s betrothed husband, whose angelic visit comes in Matthew 1 (for those of you harmonizing Gospels), mentioned here only in connection to Mary. Also worth noting is the piety Luke notes in both women mentioned. Mary and Elizabeth are noted for piety, Elizabeth perhaps more even than Mary, though Mary’s commendation is from Gabriel himself. Luke renders the judgment on Elizabeth.
Further, Luke spends much of the chapter on Elizabeth, Zacharias, and John (who will be called John the Baptist). Whil…