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Showing posts from July, 2015

Over Digitalized Life

Just as an observation, even though we’re here on the Internet. Be careful of the over digitalized life. Why?In the past week, I’ve seen reports of:1. Hackers shutting down a Jeep via remote. That’s right. The nightmare of ATMOS from Dr. Who wasn’t far-fetched, after all. I went for a ride today with a church member, and the car he was driving was entirely electronic. No real key. Every thing was digital and linked. And I think someone with a bit of time and expertise could have shut the whole thing down. Consider how many more digital-linked cars are out there, and what would happen if the engine quit, right now, on every one of them? Never mind the tin-foil government concerns, like a California-mandated cap on mileage for ‘greenhouse’ purposes, the malicious baddies out there could wreak great havoc with that.2. Researchers hacked the major “smart rifle” system out there. It’s a rifle system that’s digitally linked for long-range shooting, and computes all sorts of variables. Excep…

Book: Direct Hit

Mike Hollow’s Direct Hit: The Blitz Detective is intended as the start of a series about, you guessed it, a detective working during the London Blitz of World War II. It’s a good read, probably appropriate for middle school and up because of the series nature of a personal look into the effects of war.First, Hollow gives us a look at the setting. This is more complicated than just “It’s 1940, England’s at war with the Nazis.” Hollow notes the simmering conflict with communism as well as the troubles with imperialism. The world was not as simple as “good side vs. bad side” any more then than today. Hollow captures that somewhat.Second, Hollow gives us a complication to investigating the murder. In the post-CSI era, everyone focuses strongly on “following the evidence.” Even some of my favorite novels place that concept into places like the 14th century. The “Direct Hit” of the title, though, drive this on different track. Third, Hollow gives us good characters to examine. They aren’t p…

Do Not Go Back! Hebrews 3

As we look into Hebrews 3, keep in mind that a major point of the author is the supremacy of Christ in all things. When the author draws up various quotes and references to the Old Testament, the intent is to contrast how those events and people pale in comparison to Jesus. This applies even to Moses, who is referred to positively throughout the chapter. Even his faithfulness (v. 2) is not as glorious as the faithfulness of Jesus.

The look at Moses is not just about the supremacy of Christ, but also raises the critical application question. The people who followed Moses rejected God's Word through him, and judgment fell on them for it. If that was true of those who rejected a lesser leader in Moses, what will occur for those who reject Christ?

From this, I think we can develop one part of the audience of Hebrews. Initially, we see the Gospel spread among the Jews of the Diaspora (these are the ones who have scattered from Israel at the time) with uneven after-effects. Some communiti…

Book: 40 Questions about Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

Today’s Book is brought to you by Kregel Academic and Ministry, one of my preferred publishers. Have questions about Baptism and the Lord’s Supper? Want to see the viewpoints of various Protestant groups on these two ordinances? And yes, whether or not you call them sacraments or ordinances is one of the 40 questions.40 Questions About Baptism and The Lord’s Supper is the latest entry in Kregel’s 40 Questions series. I’ve read the entries on Creation and the Law, which were both excellent. John S. Hammett authors this volume, and it’s worth noting at the outset he approaches these questions from a Baptist viewpoint.And it’s also worth noting that I approach these from a Baptist viewpoint. It is possible, then, that I will misconstrue bias as good ideas. Or that I will assume that Hammett has well-represented other views which I don’t understand.That caveat being offered, I enjoyed 40QABLS a great deal. I serve as the pastor of a Baptist church, and we observe these two ordinances, but…

Sermon Recap for July 26

The evening was business meeting, so though I talked (a lot), it’s not a sermon so it’s not here.
Morning Sermon: John 1:43-51 All of Scripture (audio)

1. Introduction
Finding out details.... 2. Primary Theological Point
          The sufficiency of Scripture: focus on 1:45 "Law and the Prophets"
3. Secondary Theological Concepts
     Salvation/Grace 4. Primary Application Point
          Cut out adding things to Scripture. 
5. Secondary Application Point
     Salvation/Grace Avoid false prophets like Armstrong or any other alleged church that adds to Scripture. 6. Conclusion
7. Call-to-Action/Invitation

Also, as an added link, here's the video of the sermon from the Senior Adult Focus on Thursday.

I'll get the music up sometime soon.

Heed Heartily: Hebrews 2

In Summary:

Hebrews 2 opens with a warning to heed well what God has said through His Son, and then goes on to point out reasons for that warning. Additionally, we see more quotations from the Psalms. The author of Hebrews is clearly well-versed in the Old Testament.

Further, we see the explanation in this chapter that Jesus was tempted through His suffering. Even though this is the case, He did not succumb to the temptation and is able, v. 18, to aid those who are tempted. I would suggest that this idea reaches into where our strongest temptations are: during suffering. Good times tempt us to laziness, but suffering tempts us to abandonment.

Yet when we look at the Cross of Jesus, we should see that God does not send us through what He’s never dealt with. That should be a sustaining thought.

In Focus:

Let’s focus, again, on the first part of the chapter. Verse 1 warns the reader to pay closer attention to what we have heard. Closer than what? Closer than the attention paid by those in the…

Book: For the Love of God’s Word

I love books on understanding God's Word better. And I usually enjoy books from Kregel Academic and Ministry. So, I am pre-biased in favor of For the Love of God's Word by Andreas Kostenberger and Richard Patterson. Throw in that this is an abridgment of their Invitation to Biblical Interpretation, which I really liked, and I must admit that it would have taken a complete hack for me to dislike this work. For what it's worth, I hope the authors don't mind that I start by saying this isn't a complete hack. In fact, it's a quite useful work for the shelf of the local pastor. While you should, if that's you, have the larger work, here's why this one is worth your shelf space as well: 1. It's only half the weight, and about an inch and a half thinner than the large volume. Having just moved, that's a bigger deal to me than it is to you. 2. The material remains solid. The Kostenberger/Patterson idea of the "hermeneutical triad" is an excell…

Sermon Recap for July 19

Well, it’s been a strange pair of days. Sorry this is late. Morning Sermon: Never Alone: John 1:35-42 (audio)Primary Application Point: No matter what you know, you can bring someone to Jesus--and He can do the rest.Evening Sermon: Painful Obedience: Joshua 5 (audio)Jesus took the pain of our obedience--we come now to memorialize it and remember the cost of sin.

God Spoke: Hebrews 1

Because I am not quite right in the head, I’m going to tackle Hebrews next. Hebrews, where there’s absolutely no way one blog post will do justice to a chapter. So, I’ll just do it and we’ll cope.

In Summary:

Hebrews begins with the clear declaration that God spoke. The first verses summarize well the rest of Hebrews 1: God has spoken, now let’s talk about what He has said.

The author of Hebrews (see the Nerds) goes on to extensively quote from the Psalms and interlaces several Psalms as a testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ. This supports the overall theme of Hebrews of Jesus as superior to all others, including both angels and King David.

The one thing lacking in this chapter? Any biographical information about the author. Unlike most of the other letters, Hebrews contains no introduction or personal greeting at the opening. The content must stand on its own for the modern reader, rather than resting on the backstory of the author.

In Focus:

Let us roll back and take a look at Hebrews 1:1-…

Sermon Recap for July 12

We had guests last night from the International Mission Board, and it was good to hear about their work. I didn't record them, not for any concerns but because I didn't want them stressed by the camera.

Morning Sermon: "Behold the Lamb: John 1:29-34" (audio)

Scripture Passage:John 1:29-34 Location:EEBCAR Date:July 12 AM Series: 1. Introduction

2. Primary Theological Point: Sin has to be taken. It cannot be simply set aside.

3. Secondary Theological Concepts      Salvation/GracePermanence: your salvation is in the power and will of God to take away sin, not
4. Primary Application Point
Come to Jesus: that's the only way for your sin to be dealt with.
5. Secondary Application Point      Salvation/GraceDeal with this: What is more important? That we declare "Behold the Lamb" or that we point out the sins that need taken away?Let our focus be in the right place: knowing that we are sinners but more importantly, knowing the Lamb has taken the sin away.

6. Conclusi…

As the World Burns: 2 Peter 3

In the Chapter:

I’ve decided this last chapter of Peter’s letter doesn’t lend itself to being broken down, so instead of the usual Summary/Focus, I’m going to give you the chapter as a whole for 2 Peter 3. There’s a lot here that seems less than practical, but I think we can shine some light into why it matters. First, though, we’ll start at the end. Peter finishes with an “Amen.” :)

Okay, there’s more to the wrap-up than just that word. The last verse, 2 Peter 3:18, is a great reminder of what is, and is not, our responsibility. We should grow in the grace and knowledge of the Savior, and to Him be the glory forever. We learn, which is followed by doing, and understand better and better our need for grace and how to spread grace. Meanwhile, He gets the glory. Not us, not our churches or organizations, but Jesus. We might be astounded what would happen if growing in grace was more of our focus than growing in number, reputation, or importance.

Prior to that we see Peter reference Paul…

Sermon Recap for July 5

Last week, VBS. This week, designated family time. Next week, guest preacher missionaries. At some point, we'll be back to evening services as normal. For now, one sermon is all I've got for you...

Text: John 1:19-28 Date & Place: EEBCAR July 5 AM (audio)

Title: Straighter Paths!
Primary Theological Point: What should we learn? Jesus reveals Himself for salvation, our job is to proclaim Him that the path is straight
Primary Practical Point: What should we do? Live and teach the way of Christ plainly.
Textual Points: Effective question from Pharisee contingent: How dare you tell us what to do if you aren't God Himself? Setting: Bethany beyond JordanEvents: Connections: Not the Christ Preach Points:
We live in the wilderness--that's where the voices cry out for the paths of the Lord, that is where people seek the truth. Church: teach the whole counsel of GodSalvation: whether straight or not, you need to respond to the call of ChristMission: Families
Take Home Action: Le…

From the Declaration of Independence

Excerpted from the Declaration of Independence. I would offer these comments:1. Note the authority appealed to by the Congress2. Note that lives and fortunes were surrendered, but honor itself was the only thing sacred. Let us be that honorable.When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That when…

Book: Do Over by @jonacuff

Today’s book is not one I received completely free, but I think it’s worth your time anyway.Adults spend the bulk of their waking hours at work. Well, most adults do. Some adults don’t have to for whatever reason. We’ll leave them out of this discussion. This about those who have work, want work, or will work. Jon Acuff’s book Do Over deals with how we approach work.First, this is primarily a book about your career. It’s not an explicitly Christian book—this is not a book about finding your vocation in life through Scripture. It is a work that approaches work through the lens of wisdom and general providence. That’s fine, it’s just worth noting.Second, Acuff’s not particularly concerned with whether or not you quit the job you have. He’s got another book about quitting your job to find the job you love. This one is about a different viewpoint: loving the job you’ve got. After all, in the current era you have to balance that need to eat with the desire to find work that seems wonderful…