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Sermon Recap for December 27

Morning sermon recap:Matthew 2 (Audio here)Wisdom for the next step Start with worship Follow with listening to the Word of God Do not retrace the errors of old Avoid entanglements with bloodthirsty tyrants Carry the Word into your world!Christmas Eve Service Video:

Sermon Recap for December 20

Well, we just had one sermon on Sunday. The evening, some of our choir members particiapted with the East Union Choir Special. With Music Minister Ed Skains out after his heart surgery and me in Monroe with my mother before her surgery, we trusted the choir to handle it. I’m told they did quite well.Morning Sermon: Messiah from Isaiah 9:6-7 (audio)December 20 AM: Messiah Isaiah 7:14/9:6 Text: Isaiah 9:6-7 Date & Place: December 20 AM EEBCAR Title: He Shall Reign! Primary Theological Point: What should we learn?  (BEDE)! Surely the entire divinely arranged plan of our Redeemer’s [coming] in the flesh is the reconciliation of the world—it was for this purpose that he became incarnate, for this he suffered, for this he was raised from the dead—that he might lead us, who had incurred God’s anger by sinning, back to God’s peace by his act of reconciliation.  By his deeds and his teaching he moved sinners, so that he would be killed—he who, by his bodily death, was able not only to…

Hibbard Christmas Letter 2015

Merry Christmas from the HibbardFive! We thought we’d give a nice, wordy update on the year that has passed, but it’s been a chaotic year, so we’ll hit the highlights. First, the family overall: in May, we relocated to East End, Arkansas, where Doug now serves as pastor of East End Baptist Church. That led to a series of goodbyes and hellos that are still working through our system. We continue to teach our children at home, even as Olivia has started 9th grade. She’s adjusting to the heavier workload well. Angela and Steven are working through the middle school and elementary years well. The girls are now in an American Heritage Girls troop in Benton, and Steven has moved up to the Webelos level of Cub Scouts as well as changing packs from Stuttgart. They are working together to learn piano and beginning to try out new instruments. So far, we have a bugle, a violin, and drums. It’s a bit noisy at times. We also toured the vault at the Arkansas State Capitol, and the kids got to hold…

Book: God’s Unwelcome Recovery

Another book? Yes, another book. I’m always up for reading and reviewing books. In truth, there should be more of this in the year to come than there is now, and on a more regular schedule. Today’s book comes from Monarch Books. It was provided free for review, something that has been true of book reviews for decades but apparently only becomes important when someone reviews free books for free. You never saw the New York Times have to highlight that their book reviewers got books for free…Moving on from that rant, let’s hit another rant. It’s the “Christianity (and religion) are dying….oh, wait, maybe not” rant. Instead of reading me blog the rant, though, I would encourage you read Sean Oliver-Dee’s God’s Unwelcome Recovery and see a book-length response to that claim. Here’s the long and short of it, as found in his book.First, yes, statistically speaking, there are church attendance/measurement metrics that show decline. This is only applicable, though, if we assume that churches …

Sermon Recap for December 13

Well, look who is late posting the sermon recap blog post. It's a bit underdone, like a potato that hasn't had time to finish baking. Anyway, here's Sunday morning's sermon.

Also, please keep Bro. Ed Skains, our music minister, in your prayers. He's having bypass surgery this week. 

Morning sermon was focused on Jesus as the Sacrifice for our sins. I used the text from Genesis 22 to reflect on the joy connected with knowing that God provided the sacrifice, not us. There is nothing wrong with the lighting, by the way. I did preach in the dark, with two strings of Christmas lights rolled out down the side aisles.

December 13: Myrrh, for the Sacrifice: Genesis 22 (Audio)

The NLT Illustrated Study Bible from Tyndale

Why do we need another study-format Bible? Is there really a need for a new Bible on the shelf? Honestly, these are valid questions. If you already have a half-dozen, then you probably should walk away from this post and go read one of the Bibles you already own. If you find yourself in need of a new Bible, though, let me highlight one of the newer ones on the market.

The New Living Translation (NLT) IllustratedStudy Bible is a new release from Tyndale Publishers. It’s available in hardcover, leather, imitation letter, and someday probably in digital. Mine’s a hardcover, which causes it to weigh in at about five pounds. That’s enough to hurt your foot if you’re not careful!
First, let’s take a look at the translation. The NLT was published in 1996 as an update to the Living Bible, with an effort to improve the accuracy of the translation while maintaining the easy reading style of the original. There have been some updates and revisions, including one this year (2015). Overall, the tran…

The Great Priest: from Advent 2011

“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;” Hebrews 3:1
The next gift mentioned in Matthew is called frankincense. This is where a good many of us get lost, since we do not often have much sense regarding scents.  It is obtained from balsam trees, specifically ones that are indigenous to regions of Arabia and the Horn of Africa. In ancient times, it held a great value because of the localization of the economy.
Today, though, frankincense does not seem to be that big of a deal. At this moment, I can order a pound of frankincense from Amazon.com for under twenty dollars! It does not have the intrinsic worth that gold has. One reason is this: as long as you can grow a Boswellia tree, you can make more. It’s like maple syrup: there is a specific source and varied conditions can cause a shortage, but if you can grow the tree and learn how to tap it, you can have more next year.
Why, then, is frankincense valua…

Sermon Recap for December 6

Well, this doesn't bode well for the week. I'm already 2 days behind.


Morning Sermon December 6: Frankincense: Hebrews 8 (audio)


Evening Sermon December 6: Revelation 12 (audio)

Not Subtle: Matthew 3

In Summary:

Matthew 3 opens with a look at John the Baptist, setting the stage for Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River. The bulk of the chapter covers what John was preaching and who his audience was. A few pieces of background are helpful, though, before we take that apart. First, note that there is a gap between Matthew 2 and Matthew 3 that covers at least two decades. It’s probably closer to two-and-a-half decades, but we have to take the information from Luke that places this in the fifteenth year of Tiberius to draw a clear date. (Somewhere around 26-28 AD, depending on how the calendars synchronize.)

Second, note that Matthew does not spend any time on the birth of John the Baptist. Neither is any effort expended on John’s overall lifestyle or community efforts. We get a glimpse of his diet and fashion, and we know he dwells out in the wilderness, but we know little else. Be sure, as with all parts of Biblical narrative, to separate the known from the assumed. Knowing the culture…

A place in the story: Bethlehem

I'm going to intersperse a few highlights from this book along with normal posts these next few weeks. Don't worry, the author won't mind. But if you want the whole thing, grab the book. It's not that expensive.
First Sunday: In Bethlehem While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. (Luke 2:6 NASB) Where should we begin this year's Advent observances? That is a question I have wrestled with while preparing these short devotionals. In a prior effort, I examined the gifts of Christmas (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) to look at the meaning of Christmas. This year, I want to look at the places of Christmas. Where does the story happen? There are many that matter to the story. Consider the Garden of Eden and the plains of Canaan. Think 0f Egypt, or Midian, or Jericho. Imagine the hills of Bethlehem, walked by a shepherd boy with a slingshot. Contrast those hills with the halls of Babylon, walked by the prophet Daniel, or the halls of Jerusalem, wal…

Sermon Recap for November 29

Two things: First, the buzz is back on the video. I thought I had it fixed, but apparently it’s coming from another place on the sound system. Second, I’m trying to work on the pacing back and forth, but I’m not getting anywhere. Take both ways. I can’t break the habit, but I also don’t get anywhere. I walk half a mile a sermon, and always end up in the same place.Morning Sermon: The King is Promised 2 Samuel 7 (audio)Evening Sermon: Prepare the Way of the Lord (audio)

Book: Dinosaurs: Marvels of God’s Design

Dinosaurs: Marvels of God’s Design is the latest book on my shelf that works to harmonize the fossil evidence of dinosaurs with a Creationist view of the earth and its age. The challenge for Dr. Tim Clarey is that he approaches the issue from a perspective that is outside of the normal scientific view. Given the publisher of this book is Master Books, Dr. Cleary works with the Institute for Creation Research, these presuppositions are clearly on the table. Knowing the purpose of this book, let us evaluate it from there. Clarey (who I keep mistyping as “Clearly,” and the spell-check doesn’t catch that) aims to provide the “science of the Biblical account.” The fundamental problem with this aim is found in the definition I learned of science. There is, and will be, great difficulty in finding either replicated results from Clarey’s work or other scientists from outside his circle. The trust factor is strong here, as is the confirmation or dis-confirmation bias. On to the material: we ar…

Book: What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About

We’re into the Christmas gift-giving shopping season. Here’s a book for the budding Biblical student in your life. One should always be wary of someone who claims to know what another person cares about…but editors Berding and Williams have a good presentation of the methodology here. The goal is to examine what each author wrote as a body of work and analyze it. Obviously, we won’t find here that the Apostle Paul really cared about pizza, but that’s not really an area of New Testament study anyway.So what is What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About? In a nutshell, it’s a survey of the New Testament like you’d find in either an undergraduate introduction course or a deeper study at church. You have the basic breakdown of authorship, date, and location of writing for each New Testament book. These follow the conservative end of the spectrum, without dealing greatly with the extreme end of the other view—you won’t find a lot of effort to correct ideas like placing authorship of…

Gratitude

If you went into aviation, one thing you would learn to use is called an altimeter. It's the instrument that tells you how high your aircraft is--usually above sea level, but some of the really fancy ones can tell you both above the ground and above sea level. It's been a long time since I even read a basic aviation textbook, considering it made no mention of GPS and computer navigation back in those days. So I may not be exactly right.

What I do know is that you need help in keeping up with where you are while in flight. "Looks like it" is just not good enough and often leads to disaster. What does that mean for us?

Simply this: if you're flying, watch your altitude.

If you're not flying, you're good. Wait, that seems like a pointless blog post, doesn't it?

How about this instead: just as altitude checks are important for flight, gratitude checks are important for life. They keep us up from crashing, even if just barely.

And like the two forms of alt…

Sermon Recap for November 23

I know, I said these would move to Tuesday. Well, indecision is the key to flexibility. This is a different kind of week, which gives us a different kind of blog schedule.November 22 AM Sermon: Thankful for the God of the Storm: Psalm 29 (audio)Text: Psalm 29 Date & Place: Nov 22 EEBCAR Title: Thankful for the God of the Storm 1. Worship the Lord 2. The Storms come.... 3. Worship the Lord 4. The Storms rage....but God is greater November 22 PM: Psalm 30 (audio)

Book: Rediscovering Discipleship

Today’s book is brought to you by Zondervan.What does it mean to “make disciples?” That’s one of the key questions that Robby Gallaty’s book Rediscovering Discipleship seeks to answer. Further, Gallaty works to address what it looks like to actually do the work in our churches. First, let’s look at the structure of Rediscovering Discipleship. Gallaty gives us thirteen chapters, broken in two major sections. The first section, comprising seven chapters, looks at how Jesus made disciples. The second section parlays that into how we can emulate Jesus.Second, let’s look at the rightness of the overall premise. Has the Church neglected discipleship such that it needs rediscovered? Gallaty makes the case well that this is true, at least of those parts of the church in the United States of America. He’s right—both the witness of the Church in the world around us and the experience of those within the church support the lack of depth in our discipleship.Third, let’s consider his recommended s…

Wise Men: Matthew 2

In Summary:

Matthew 2 gives an extended look at the Christmas story. Sort of, that is. Jesus is already born by Matthew 2:1. We have some guesses about how much time intervened between the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the Magi in Jerusalem, but we are doing just that: guessing. It is reasonable, based on the tragedy of the later verses and the slaughter of the innocents, that it has been somewhere in the range of two years.

The Magi come to Jerusalem, find their way on to Bethlehem, and then go home. In the midst of this, they present gifts to the Child Christ and worship Him. We then see Joseph take His family and flee to Egypt, knowing the wrath of Herod was coming. This is probably the first time we truly see Joseph, Mary, and Jesus travel on their own—though our picture of the “Flight to Egypt” is still heavily Americanized. The Holy Family most likely joined with a group of travelers headed to the parts of Egypt where Jews already lived.

The chapter passes through the wicked…

Sermon Recap for November 15

Good morning! Here are yesterday’s sermons.Morning Sermon: Ruth 4 (audio)November 15 AM Ruth 4 Redemption 1. The irredeemable in us 2. The irredeemable in others Ruth is redeemed by Boaz--what does this mean? Protection, provision...but more than that, home and relationship. Survival. Deliverance from the fate of Moabites: exclusion Points: 1. You are redeemable by the power of God. No one has a higher right to redeem you than Jesus 2. Redemption is not without price---but it is without price to the redeemed! 3. Redemption results in responsibility 4. Redemption establishes one in relationship Evening Sermon: Introduction to Deuteronomy (audio)•Deuteronomy 1 opens with a reminder of Moses spreading the burden of leading the people •Recapitulation of the History of Israel thus far. •Moses’ death •Burial of Moses….somewhere on Mount Nebo •Editorial finishing of the book—not necessary for Moses to have written his own death

Limited Options: Matthew 1

In Summary:
Matthew opens his Gospel with the genealogy of Jesus. It is likely a representative genealogy, meaning that the facts are accurate but some generations may be left out or compressed. How does that happen? There is precious little difference in the words for son/descendant and father/ancestor, because culturally there is some compression on the issue. One is not just a "father's son" but also a "grandfather's grandson" but all fall under an "ancestor's descendant." The rest of this debate is better suited to the "nerd note" section.
The opening genealogy traces Abraham down to Jesus, passing through David and the deportation to Babylon. Matthew moves on to the events surrounding the birth of Jesus, though the nativity itself gets only a passing mention in Matthew 1:25. Which, by the way, is an interesting side note about Christmas chaos: there's hardly any clear Scripture about what happened that day/night. To what end d…

Book: Tough Questions about God and His Actions in the Old Testament

Full disclaimer: I received this book free from Kregel Academic in exchange for writing this review.I’ve read several other books by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., over the years. He is a go-to scholar for evangelical America on Old Testament issues. So, I was interested in his latest from Kregel Academic/Ministry, Tough Questions about God and His Actions in the Old Testament. I was hopeful that this book would become a great resource in pastoral ministry.The questions are certainly present-day questions, such as “The God of Mercy or of Ethnic Cleansing?” or “The God who Elevates Women or who Devalues Women?” These questions form the chapters, providing the framework for the book. One question/chapter was unnecessary, and that was the last on dietary laws. This question fits into the wider framework of the chapter on Grace/Law, and the space could have been used for another question or issue. One that I would have liked relates to truth, accuracy, and historical records for the Old Testament…

50 Years On…The NIV

I’ve reviewed the Zondervan NIV Study Bible in the past, and was asked to share some information on the 50th Anniversary of the NIV as a Bible Translation. For those of you who wonder, the reason it’s 50 years is that 1965 was when the plan to make the NIV was first started. It’s 2015. That makes 50.Growing up, the main Bible translation used in church was the King James Version. It flowed, it was poetic, and everybody knew it. As a young person, though, I found it hard to read. And hard, sometimes, to spell the words from it. “Divers” was “diverse” at school…so who was right? The Bible or the textbook? As a youth, I got the first Bible I remember picking out. It was an NIV Student Bible, and it had all sorts of cool notes in it. Later on, college life required the first NIV Study Bible. This was a marked improvement in depth and academic study for study notes. In the time since then, I’ve tended more toward using the NASB instead of the NIV, but the NIV is still a Bible that gets use…

Sermon Recap for November 8

Good evening!

Sunday night we did a bit of a recap of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Annual Meeting, so I'm not going to post that. Here is the morning sermon. There's no video because the SD Card literally broke in my hand when I tried to put it in the computer to upload the video.

Ruth 1 (Audio link)

Please note that if you want a built-in player, you can find one here: http://www.eebcar.com/sermons-2/

November 8 AM Ruth 1
A. Setting: Judges. Chaos. Debauchery. (300 years of up and down, back and forth)
B. Setting: Bethlehem; Moab; 
C. Famine...not known exactly when
D. Naomi--pleasant; Elimelech "My God is King;" Mahlon could be "sick...." and Chilion could be "finished; frailty"


1. Relationships more important than regulations
2. Who are your kinfolk? The Blood of Christ is the unifying factor. Not ANYTHING else.

3. A definite Scriptural narrative that attacks racism at its core
Thanks!

Sermon Recap for November 1

Morning Sermon: Romans 1:16-17 (audio)Text:  16 Οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχύνομαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον⸆, δύναμις γὰρ θεοῦ ἐστιν ⸋εἰς σωτηρίαν⸌ παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι, Ἰουδαίῳ τε °πρῶτον καὶ Ἕλληνι*. 17 δικαιοσύνη γὰρ θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ ἀποκαλύπτεται ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν, καθὼς γέγραπται·* ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ⸆ ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται*.1------------------------- 1 Eberhard Nestle and Erwin Nestle, Nestle-Aland: Novum Testamentum Graece (ed. Barbara Aland et al.; 28. revidierte Auflage.; Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012), Ro 1:16–17. Date & Place: EEBCAR AM November 1 Title: Not Ashamed Primary Theological Point: What should we learn?The grace of God is sufficient; surpassing works of righteousness or human grandeur; salvation is from grace alone.Primary Practical Point: What should we do?Receive God's grace; show it by living by faith and not attempting to make life work by works.Take Home Action: Write down this verse, nail it to your door... (ok, figuratively) and memorize it. Textual Points: Setting: let…

Know it and Do it: Deuteronomy 27

In Summary:

We will finish the Pentateuch someday in this series. We will finish the Pentateuch someday in this series. Fortunately, the Minor Prophets are shorter.

Deuteronomy 27 sits on the edge of the Promised Land with the people of Israel and Moses. The elders of the people are involved as well as Moses (Deuteronomy 27:1), reflecting the upcoming leadership transition. The commandments of God are referenced here, and then critical ones are restated.

The chapter points strongly to the idea that the Law of God needed to be known by the people. You have a command to write it on a large stone monument—and to write it “distinctly” (Deuteronomy 27:8). Then you have the plan for the people’s recitation of certain parts of the Law. This included proclaiming together that those who forsook the Law were cursed. Not just in trouble, because “cursed” carries with it the idea of divine sanction.

The Law, though, was supposed to be two things. The first is clear. We often fuss about some of the od…

Book: The Carols of Christmas

I was going to save this review until after Halloween…but since Christmas trees are for sale at Target, I might as well go ahead and review a Christmas book. Besides, it’s also a history book. So it’s all good.The Carols of Christmas adds to my shelf of “story behind the song” books, but in fairness to Andrew Gant’s hard work I’ll leave the others unnamed. I mention this just to show this isn’t my first trip into music history. Of course, one fear of digging into the stories behind the songs is that you’ll find your favorite songs are just bad underneath. Fortunately, Gant hasn’t destroyed any favorite songs. It may be that he left out some with checkered stories…but we’ll have to wait for the sequel.Instead, we have good stories behind 21 fairly well-known songs. Except for Personent Hodie, that is. The rest you’ll know. In this book, I appreciate Gant’s depth of writing and his willingness to acknowledge the differences between facts and legends. I also like that he did not stuff th…

Carrying on: Hebrews 13

In Summary:

Coming to the end of Hebrews, the final chapter is the fairly typical hodge-podge of a concluding chapter. Hebrews 13 runs along that path, ranging from practical statements about hospitality to updates on the author’s travel plans. Knowing, most likely, that people tend to remember the end of a letter (or sermon) better than the middle, Hebrews ends with rapid-fire reminders.

This includes a command to honor marriage; an enigmatic statement about ‘entertaining angels;’ a reminder that Christians are pursuing something greater than an earthly city; and a warning about strange teachings. That warning, Hebrews 13:9, rings true even today. We ought not be ‘carried away’ believing that we are strengthened by anything but grace.

Hebrews concludes with the exhortation to carry on. Most of the sentences are action-oriented, whether it is the command to “go out to Him” in v. 13 or to “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise” in v. 15, we see actions to take. The temptation many of…

Sermon Recap from October 25

Good Morning! Here is the morning sermon.October 25: John 4 (audio)That will wrap us up for John for a few months. For this Sunday, read Romans 1!

Shaken and Consumed: Hebrews 12

In Summary: Hebrews 12 opens with the best example of the “therefore principle” in the book. What is the “therefore principle?” If you find the word “therefore,” it’s “there for” a reason, so you must find out what the “therefore” is “there for.” That’s the principle. Remember that words like “therefore” are conjunctions. They function to hook up words and phrases, showing relationships. Therefore shows dependency. Frequently in Scripture, “therefore” gives you this setup: a proposition is made, claiming facts to be true. Then “therefore” is used to show an action that should follow in the lives of believers. If the preceding is true, then we should act in a certain way… That’s a lot of background for the summary part, but it’s crucial. Why? Hebrews 12 is more clearly directed toward action on the part of the readers than any portion of the book beforehand. This chapter’s therefore hinges the whole book, not just the chapter prior. The “Faith Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11 is the final…