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Showing posts from May, 2015

Books: The Hawk and the Dove Trilogy

Well, here we are in the midst of moving chaos and I nearly forgot to write up this review for you of The Hawk and the Dove Trilogy by Penelope Wilcox. Kregel, who provided the copy, is so well-organized that I got (and read) these a month before the due date. These are available in a variety of formats, including a few third-party sources for an old single binding of all three volumes all the way through the e-book versions. I have a copy of each of the three books, though I’m going to reference them together.


Here are the three titles:

The Hawk and the Dove. This is the first book in the series, and introduces us to our main characters. We are introduced to the fourteenth-century world of the monastery and Father Peregrine. It’s a good read, and easily digested as a novel. One then comes back, though, and sees the beauty of the story of grace built in.





Book two, as you can see, is called The Wounds of God. This continues the saga of Father Peregrine and the monastery. This …

Sermon Recap for May 24

Counting down, 1 more Sunday to go in Almyra. I will dearly miss being here. I also look forward to the challenges ahead.

It is somewhat appropriate that this sermon was focused on the Holy Spirit. One of my challenges in recent months has been remembering that I'm easily replaceable, but the Holy Spirit is not. As a pastor, I am both important AND disposable in the grand scheme of things.

Here's the sermon:

May 24, 2015 John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15 (audio link)


I. On our own or in His power?

II. Not to draw attention to Himself....testify to Christ!

III. Righteous judgment comes via the Spirit.

IV. Sin, which the world denies, is still a problem. And there will be judgment

V. Christian maturity takes time--you are not instantly mature and wise

VI. The ongoing relationship with God is required for our growth. Through the Spirit we draw near.

VII. The Spirit does not draw us to Himself but to Christ!


Memorial Day 2015

We’ve reached Memorial Day weekend for 2015. While Memorial Day has only been a holiday for about half the history of this country, looking back we’ve had men and women dying for our freedom for 240 years at this point. (Lexington and Concord were in April, 1775.)What is Memorial Day about? It is, quite frankly, about the dead. Not about the living—those who served and returned are our focus on Veteran’s Day. Those who are serving are the focus of Armed Forces Day.Today is about those who never returned. The genesis of Memorial Day truly connects to that, as it started with Decoration Day in the cemeteries of the war dead after the Civil War. The graves of both sides were respected (in most cases) and this gave rise to a day honoring those who died for the freedoms of this nation.The resulting day has also become symbolic of many other things, but we should keep sight of this reality:We are not free in this country by accident nor simply by luck. Neither are we free from future threat…

A few thoughts on James 5

Last night for our Wednesday Bible Study at Almyra Baptist, we looked at James 5:16-18 and talked a bit about prayer and how our relationships affect our prayer lives. Here are some thoughts from that discussion:

First, James speaks of our need to "confess our sins to one another." For us to do this within the body of Christ, the Church, we need to address issues about confession.

We need to be confession accepting. What does that mean? It means that we are willing to listen and a trustworthy receptacle for confessions. How do you respond when someone presents you with their struggles?Do you take it seriously? Just because it is not your load does not make it a lightweight issue. If we shame one another over sharing struggles and sins, then we are not really strengthening the family of faith through confession.That is NOT a call to gloss over sin, though. Sin is sin, and confession of sin together should involve spurring each other to repentance. Do you take confession in con…

Books: The Knight of Eldaran Series

You may recall that I review a book called The Traitor’s Heir. You may not. It’s here if you’re interested. I commented in that review that I looked forward to finishing the series, as The Traitor’s Heir was the first book of a trilogy. Further, in knowing that she was writing a trilogy, author Anna Thayer did not feel a compulsion to wrap up any loose ends in concluding the first book. It just left you hanging…And so I waited patiently for books two and three. These are titled The King’s Hand and The Broken Blade, respectively. Worth noting is that these books absolutely depend on each other. Think “trilogy” like Lord of the Rings, not Star Wars. You can catch up if you just jump into The Empire Strikes Back, but you’re dead lost if you start off on The Two Towers. Likewise here, don’t start on The King’s Hand unless you want to take a fantasy series and make it a mystery as well. I will address the collection and not each volume. Why? Because if you enjoy the first, you’ll want to r…

Trouble's Coming: 1 Peter 4

In Summary:

Peter continues with his direct style in 1 Peter 4. I’ve found that it’s actually hard to preach some of these verses, because there is nothing else to say about them. Take 1 Peter 4:9 as an example. Go on, read it. Now, try to figure a way to expound on that for half an hour.

It’s not easy. In fact, it can be done in a few short sentences: be hospitable, welcoming, not dwelling on the faults or problems of others, to the family of faith. And do it without whining about it. End of story. Get to work.

The rest of the chapter may need a bit more explanation, like how “love covers a multitude of sins” but that our own love doesn’t cover enough. It takes the love of Christ, acted on at the Cross.

Further, Peter is straightforward that the Christian is not to live according to the moral foundations (or lack thereof) common to pagans. He is not one for nuance or sensitivity here. Perhaps his own experience showed that some weaknesses should be addressed by challenging them, not cod…

Sermon Recap for May 17

It's hard to preach when there's potluck food aroma wafting down the hallway!


Morning Sermon: Luke 24/Acts 1 (direct audio link)


Evening Sermon: Revelation 4 (direct audio link)
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 here
D. 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 hits on each blog, but in total it’s a decent reach. A social media expert might suggest changes, but this is free-to-cheap, where I have to live right now.
5. Each blog has a “Follow” button and a “Subscribe via Email” option

6. Follow on Facebook: Doug’s Page or the First Baptis…

Who we are more than what we do: 1 Peter 3

In Summary:

This chapter of 1 Peter opens with a controversial idea, follows it up with a controversial idea, and then finishes with some controversy about Noah and baptism. It’s almost like the author did not have a major problem pushing controversy into the situation! Of course, based on what we know of Peter, I doubt that anyone is surprised by this.

1 Peter 3 works its way through several of the practical concepts of obedience for the Christian life. He starts with instructions about living at home, because life begins where you live. Which sounds cliche, and is, but it’s also true. If you are not demonstrating your beliefs at home, then you are most likely not doing them any justice in the wider world.

From there, Peter goes on to express how our expression of faith should look in life generally lived. He addresses the issue of doing good, even in a pagan world. This occupies vv. 13-14, that no one should cause difficulties for those who are doing right, but even if they do, then so…

Sermon Recap for May 10

Good Monday! Here is yesterday’s sermon. Also note the information posted in “Moving.” I will be exploring how to make the technology fit with the needs in my new place of service.John 15:12-17 was the morning message passage. The audio is here.

Moving

If you are in the small town of Almyra and haven’t heard yet, either directly from us or through the grapevine, then you’ll learn it here like the wider world. We would like to have told everyone face-to-face, but there’s no chance we’d have gotten to everybody before the rumor mill got the word out. So, here is what we announced this morning in church:After a substantial amount of prayerful consideration, I have accepted the responsibility of pastor for the East End Baptist Church. It has been a joyous opportunity these past years to serve Almyra Baptist Church as pastor, and our affection and appreciation for this body of believers is beyond measure.We will continue here in Almyra through May 31 and then will have a blitz week of packing and moving to our new field of work. I would say more about this, but it would either sound self-serving or whiny—after all, this has been a process where anywhere along we could have said “no.” Admittedly, my theology holds that this is a necessary…

Never Weed-eat what you can Round-up

We were cleaning up the backyard today. After two months of it being swampland, it was time! One task tackled was weed-eating along the fence line. While I was power slashing a row of grass, I wondered why I was doing that instead of just spraying Round-up along the fence. After all, one of my yard work mottoes is “Never weed-eat what you can round-up!”Round-up, for those who don’t know, is a broad spectrum herbicide. It kills plants. It kills grass, weeds, anything with leaves basically. It’s a lot easier to spray Round-up into the areas that you cannot get a mower than it is to cut it with a string trimmer.The problem is, Round-Up works. It works indiscriminately. It will kill all the green stuff, whether you like it or not—a little drift, and that batch of strawberry plants are as dead as the weeds! So you have to be careful with it.And then I started thinking—because I’m always on the lookout for things I can use to illustrate sermons. Here are a few observations:1. Some issues in…

Book: Interpreting the Prophetic Books

Interpreting the Prophetic Books by Gary V. Smith. Interpreting the Prophetic Books is the next volume in the Kregel Exegetical Handbooks series. Prior volumes in this series have addressed the Psalms, the Pentateuch, and the Historical Books. There is also a series from Kregel Academic with a volume for the various divisions of the New Testament. Weighing in at only 214 pages, this is not an in-depth look at the Prophets of the Old Testament. Instead, this cuts across the swath of the Latter Prophets as a whole, providing short introductions to each book and then placing them in context. The traditional (or conservative, if you like,) date and setting for each book are utilized. This does not bother me at all, but if you are looking for authorship and date discussions, you’ll need to look elsewhere. The primary benefit of Smith’s work is found in tracing the primary themes of the prophets. He does this by explaining the differing sub-genres of prophecy first and providing examples. F…

Book: The Bible in Pop Culture

The Bible in Pop Culture by Kevin Harvey I had high hopes for The Bible in Pop Culture. After all, finding hidden gems of Scriptural truth in some current media would be a great tool—plus it would provide some guidance about what to spend my personal media consumption budget on. And with some shows and songs truly falling into that “hidden gem” category, surely I’ve missed some and will find them here. Unfortunately, I found the overall work uneven in regards to its goal. First, on the “pop culture” front, there are some difficulties. For example, while I love Joss Whedon’s Firefly (and the reference to Firefly in a description of this book is why I snagged it,) a show that failed after 13 episodes…in 2002...might not be truly part of “pop culture” over a decade later. True, there’s always a hardcore Browncoat fandom—but to count Firefly as current seems a bit off. As does using it to exemplify that Hollywood is willing to allow portrayal of not-fruitcake-Christians like Shepherd Bo…