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Showing posts from April, 2016

Share the Word: Deuteronomy 31

In Summary:

Moses has very little time left in the story. His story draws to an end with the close of the Pentateuch and has only three chapters left. He has led Israel out Egypt and up to the Promised Land. The story now focuses on him personally rather than the nation as a whole.

Deuteronomy 31 features the beginning of Moses’ closing words to Israel. This chapter is headed by an important distinction: these are the words of Moses to all Israel, rather than Moses speaking for the Lord. That is an important distinction, although my belief in all of the Bible as inspired by God leads me to see this still as God’s Word. Prior to this chapter, Moses has given the official terms and conditions of the covenant.

Here we see the beginning of his summary of those terms. Think of it like this: there are long, wordy terms and conditions for the software you use. I can sum it up: don’t make illegal copies of the software, don’t break it down to make your own version, don’t expect it to do more …

Sermon Recap for April 24

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Here are the sermons from this past Sunday:Morning Sermon: 1 Samuel 9 (audio)Evening Sermon on Ecclesiastes is Video only:

Clear Covenant Choices: Deuteronomy 30

In Summary:We are nearing the end of Deuteronomy. By extension, that means we are also near the end of the Pentateuch and soon to move out of the books of Moses. Deuteronomy 30 is actually the end of the covenant message from YHWH through Moses to the people. The remaining chapters are Moses’ final charge and blessing to the people and the account of his death.A belief in the inspiration of Scripture guides to me to recognize that even those chapters are part of God’s Word. If we were doing Old Testament History and Theology, though, we would cutoff God’s covenant with Israel with the end of chapter 30.What is in Deuteronomy 30? The summary of the blessings that will come from obedience, and the solemn warning that the Lord God Almighty is serious about this situation. Some of the promises here can be misapplied, as God promises a level of prosperity to the obedient Israelites, to mean that believers in Jesus will never have problems. That is unsupported in this text, as these promise…

Tools for the Trade: Paper Planners

There are two major challenges for me as I bring together the various parts of my calling and work.

The first one is finding the creative ideas necessary to develop writings, sermons, and other materials. That is a discussion for another day because it just takes more discussion. The other major challenge is practical: keeping everything organized. This is not a cry session over being too busy—every aspect of my life is related to my choices. This is simply an observation: to make life work, one needs a bit of organization.

That is not really my strong suit. If I can remember it, I do it was my organizational structure for a while. Then I worked off this plan: I showed up for work when I was told to show up for work. I did what I was told. I went home, and if I had any other energy, I did what I could remember needed to be done. Somehow, in the midst of that, I didn’t go entirely crazy. Or at least any crazier than I was before.

Now, I realize something. I’m an adult. I have a full-ti…

Book: The Other Worldview

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Worldview. It’s a term that most of us have heard by now. It is the catch-all term for how the sum of what we believe drives our response to the universe around us. Many of the books on worldview you will find suggest that worldviews are as numerous as the people who hold them—that there are millions of options for a worldview.
Peter Jones’ work The Other Worldview presents a different take on the idea. His concept is that there are not an infinite number of worldviews. Instead, he posits the existence of exactly two worldviews. These are oneism and twoism. That’s it. The former is the view of a universe that is self-existent and self-sustaining, while the latter sees the universe as requiring the existence of a transcendent, personal God to create it.
That may sound simple and you may be wondering why it takes 250 pages to say that. First, Jones works to delineate the two possibilities of worldviews. From there, he works out how twoism is supported through Christian theology. After…

Succeeding Troubles: Matthew 10

In Summary:

In Matthew 10, Jesus calls and sends out the Twelve Disciples. Take note that the various Gospels record the individual calling of most of these men, but there is a separate time where Jesus appoints them as “The Twelve.” Matthew records that they are given authority over unclean spirits and power to heal, then sent out. Nowhere do we find Jesus expressing delight that these twelve have followed Him or stating that their call was a result of their awesomeness.

God’s call is His own to issue, and His to give in grace. Being called as an apostle was nothing to brag about because it was unmerited. The same is true of all believers and the life God has called each of us into: we are here by His grace. Any awesomeness we have is a gift of His, not our own.

The calling passage includes a list of the Twelve. Peter is first, Judas is last, and Matthew is included. His personal call was in Matthew 9, but here he is placed in the Twelve.

Jesus gives the Twelve instructions for their…

Book: 40 Questions about the Historical Jesus

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Book Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book by Kregel Academic. Second Book Disclaimer: This book is written by C. Marvin Pate, Ph.D. Dr. Pate is a member of the Ouachita Baptist University Pruet School of Christian Studies Faculty. (He is the Elma Cobb Professor of Theology and Chair of the Department of Christian Theology.)Who is Jesus? What can we know about Jesus, especially if we decide to disregard the Bible as mostly religious propaganda? These were some of the questions of the various times scholarship has gone on a “quest for the historical Jesus.” Ultimately, even though the conclusions have greatly varied, these scholarly efforts have an effect throughout New Testament scholarship.Sorting through the various ideas promulgated by the “quests for the historical Jesus” throughout history requires one to read a multitude of books and primary sources. However, getting a starting point can be found in C. Marvin Pate’s 40 Questions about the Historical Jesus. This latest e…

Sermon Recap for April 17

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Another Monday, another sermon recap post…Yes, taxes come up in this sermon. No, I didn’t plan on bringing up taxes the day before American federal income tax was due. That just happened.Morning Sermon: 1 Samuel 8 (audio)Evening Sermon: Philippians (audio)

Sermon Recap for April 10

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Well, it’s taken a little longer. Sorry about that. We don’t have video from Sunday night because we held the service at Two Rivers Bridge Park. It was a great time. With a nice 20+mph wind, constant. The condenser mic on the camera would have picked up nothing but wind. So you have voice recorder from that but not much else.Morning Service: 1 Samuel 7 (audio)Evening Service: Philippians 1 (audio)

Reflecting on Seminary

Here we are again, thinking out loud. It’s been about 2 years since I wrapped up my formal education in seminary as I finished my Master of Divinity degree. Besides realizing that Dr. Buckelew, the speech professor at Ouachita, was right along in telling us all to go get an MA in Religion somewhere and then a Ph.D., what else I have learned? Oh, you want to know why Dr. Buckelew was right? A Master of Divinity (MDiv) takes about 90 hours. A Master of Arts (MA) takes 30. Then, either way you slice it, a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) takes about 60 hours. That means you can either be a master in about 90, or hold a doctorate in about 90. What did I do? Not the smart thing.That being said, I then spent several years completing what some people consider to be the required education to be a pastor. Whether or not that’s a valid view is another discussion. I did it in a variety of ways. I spent time on campus as a full-time student. I spent time taking intensive, one-week classes on campus. I …

Reflecting on Seminary

Here we are again, thinking out loud. It’s been about 2 years since I wrapped up my formal education in seminary as I finished my Master of Divinity degree. Besides realizing that Dr. Buckelew, the speech professor at Ouachita, was right along in telling us all to go get an MA in Religion somewhere and then a Ph.D., what else I have learned? Oh, you want to know why Dr. Buckelew was right? A Master of Divinity (MDiv) takes about 90 hours. A Master of Arts (MA) takes 30. Then, either way you slice it, a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) takes about 60 hours. That means you can either be a master in about 90, or hold a doctorate in about 90. What did I do? Not the smart thing.That being said, I then spent several years completing what some people consider to be the required education to be a pastor. Whether or not that’s a valid view is another discussion. I did it in a variety of ways. I spent time on campus as a full-time student. I spent time taking intensive, one-week classes on campus. I …

Miracles and More: Matthew 9

In Summary:

Picking up in Matthew 9, we see the Lord Jesus performing miracles at the front and end of the chapter. Matthew is called as an Apostle in Matthew 9:9 and even though he is the author, his story takes barely a verse. He immediately follows up the story of his own calling with reference to the multiple tax collectors and other generic “sinners” that Jesus spent time with. Whether these people came to Jesus because He called Matthew or they were already drawn to the Lord is not clear from this passage. What is clear is the compassion and grace of Jesus and His embrace of those who were outcast from society. Even for those who were outcast by their own choice.

From there, we see teaching about fasting in response to questions, and then more miracles of healing. Matthew 9:18-26 tells the story of healing two women. One a young girl, the other an adult who had suffered for as long as the young girl had been alive. The contrasts are worth noting. For example, the girl’s parents …

Book: VIP by O.S. Hawkins

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Yes, a book review. I think I remember what how to do these. And as a side note: V.I.P. from O.S. Hawkins? I’m tempted to make this whole thing acronyms and initials!As is often the case: free book in exchange for the review! No money exchanged, no influence peddled. All opinions are my own, unless my wife tells me otherwise.What does it mean to live with Vision, Integrity, and Purpose? (Other than the obvious of endorsing the Oxford Comma in the title, that is.) This little book, VIP, from O.S. Hawkins, the President of Guidestone Financial Resources, presents some of what that means. It is a little book, running about 120 pages of actual content with a footprint that’s about 5 inches by 7 inches.Boiling this book down, what you have is a Biblically-oriented personal empowerment book. Hawkins is addressing, primarily, the first leg of the leadership triangle: manage yourself. The ideas he presents are about getting vision, integrity, and purpose right in our own lives. From there, Ha…

Sermon Recap for April 3

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Good morning! Here are the sermons from this past Sunday.Morning Sermon: 1 Samuel 6 (audio)Evening Sermon: John 3:16 (audio)