Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sermon recap for June 25

~Here is what you'll find: after each sermon title, there's an "audio" link that allows you to play or download that sermon's audio file. Then there should be an embedded Youtube Link to the sermon.

If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/east-end-baptist-church/id387911457?mt=2 for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: http://www.eebcar.com/sermons/feed

The video is linked on the East End Baptist Church web page here: http://www.eebcar.com/sermons-2/ or on my personal Youtube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJBGluSoaJgYn6PbIklwKaw?view_as=public

Thanks!


We started Vacation Bible School Sunday night, so I went through Psalm 23 4 times with kids. It was worth it…but not filmed. I did carry a large walking staff, which I might start doing every Sunday.

Morning Sermon: Psalm 119:65-72 (audio here)



Passage: Psalm 119:65-72
Context:
Acrostic on the love of God
law: 25 times
word: 24
judgment: 23
command: 22
statute: 21
precept: 21
promise/oracle: 19
Overview:
Affliction and Restoration
Reflections:
Affliction leads us to recognize our need for
Teaching
Discernment
Instruction
Expectations:
Learn, discern, pass it on.
Ideas, judgment, practical behaviors

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

SBC17 Trip: Headed out to Phoenix!

I didn’t pre-blog the trip, or even blog and post about it while we were out. I’m always torn about how much information about being gone I should put on the Internet. I don’t have much people would like to steal, but that doesn’t mean I am going to advertise the vacant house!

Two weeks ago, we set out for Phoenix, Arizona, with our primary purpose being to help with the Pastor’s Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention. Our secondary purpose was to loot as much free stuff from the exhibitors at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting. Mainly books, of course, like the CSB Study Bibles that we got, along with free breakfast, from Lifeway on Tuesday morning.

Our first effort, though, was to make the drive from our house to Phoenix. Google Maps puts that at about 20 hours, 1300+ miles. Ann and the kids felt this made for too much driving for one day. So we split it in two, with our first stop being in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That day was basically all driving, all day. We stopped for fast food which we ate in the car and kept rocking. It seemed like it worked, but we also picked up an hour on the way. It was 6 AM when we left here, but 5 AM in New Mexico.

Note: I’ll probably never do that by choice again.

The second day, we passed into Arizona. Where we picked up another hour—leaving New Mexico at 8, it was only 7 in Arizona. Arizona, it seems, has so much daylight that they never have to save any.

When crossing Arizona, we decided that a trip through the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park (and Monument, I think) was a good idea. We have a National Park Pass, which is one of those purchases that makes sense, like zoo and museum memberships. The land was absolutely gorgeous.


There’s more, but I’ll leave you with that for now!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The End Matters: 1 Corinthians 9

In Summary:
1 Corinthians 9 opens with Paul’s defense of his income. Seriously: apparently there had been some argument that he did not deserve to be supported by the churches in his work, and much of that seems to have been coming from Corinth. He goes on to ask why other apostles were permitted to draw a salary, but the expectation was that he and Barnabas should provide for themselves. It’s a fair question, and Paul draws from both normal life and the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 25:4) to highlight that it is appropriate for those who lead the church in spiritual matters to draw their living from doing so.

Though I expect Paul would take a dim view of those who live above the ordinary soldier, shepherd, or vinedresser (9:7).

He goes on, though, to point out how he has not claimed his rights as an apostle for the sake of spreading the Gospel. He did not want the Corinthians, or anyone else, burdened by supporting them. He wanted the Gospel to be preached without charge, though he had every right to expect the Corinthians to begin covering his expenses as they continued to listen to him. (See the book of Philippians to answer whether or not Paul ever took financial/material support from a church. TL:DR: he did.)

He goes from there to point out that it was his goal to reach this end: that nothing in Paul’s life would be a barrier to anyone hearing and receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If they were Jews, he would be observant to the Law, if they were weak, and so forth. Why? That some may come to a knowledge of Christ and follow Jesus.

In Focus:
This focus brings us to the end of the chapter. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 gives us Paul’s motivation. He believed that it was important to run hard after Jesus because that was the reason he was there. He uses the illustration of the games (likely drawn from the fact that Corinth often hosted athletic competitions), where the runners focus on their purpose—but there would still be only one winner. He intended to do all he could.

After all, when we return to 1 Corinthians 9:1-2 we see (as Chrysostom points out) that it is not simply knowing Jesus that proved one was an apostle. It was the fruitful ministry resulting in the next generations of Christians. Judas, after all, was an apostle—but knowing Jesus did not benefit him well at all.

In Practice:
As we draw some practicals:

First, to the issue of paying ministers: many is the time that 1 Corinthians 9 is used to justify that a minister should be unpaid because Paul was unpaid. That misses the point of this passage entirely. Paul’s point is that he was due the pay but he willfully chose to forego it. For a practical extension: let’s suppose that I become a millionaire blogger—or even someone with a livable income from legitimate Internet work—at that point, while I could claim it was my “right” to be paid to preach, it would be prudent for me to forego the income. That would enable more ministry at the church. Until then, though, I serve as a soldier but not at my own expense. (As such, though, it is for me to be content what I get rather than pursue/demand luxurious life.)

Second, to the more important parts: the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who Paul preached about, is straightforward: there is one way, one truth, one name under heaven whereby we can be saved. If one dies apart from a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, without trusting in His death in place of your own, without trusting in the reality of His resurrection, then one will die and face the wrath of God for eternity. 

That’s a lot to wrestle with. There is no cause for anything else to be a stumbling block to belief—if it can be avoided. If you know, for example, that your opportunity is to share Jesus with someone who must kosher or halal, then don’t spend half your time on the grandeur of bacon. (Save that for Bible studies on grace later!) 

Everything we do as Christians should center on these two realities: Jesus is Lord of all and some people need to know Him. That should affect how we handle everything. Not our rights, though those do matter in other ways, not our desires, but our Lord and Savior. 

In Nerdiness:
Nerd point 1: 9:1 suggests that being an actual eyewitness to Jesus is connected to being an apostle. What does that mean for those who claim to be apostles now? 


Nerd point 2: 9:5 can be taken as evidence Paul was married. It is definitely evidence that many of the apostles, include James and Jude (brothers of Christ) and Peter (Cephas) were. 

Sermon Recap for June 18

Here is what you'll find: after each sermon title, there's an "audio" link that allows you to play or download that sermon's audio file. Then there should be an embedded Youtube Link to the sermon.

If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/east-end-baptist-church/id387911457?mt=2 for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: http://www.eebcar.com/sermons/feed

The video is linked on the East End Baptist Church web page here: http://www.eebcar.com/sermons-2/ or on my personal Youtube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJBGluSoaJgYn6PbIklwKaw?view_as=public

Thanks!


Good afternoon! Here are the sermons for the past 2 Sundays.


June 18 AM: Psalm 113 (Audio here)






Passage: Psalm 113
Context:
Psalm 113: More from the worship manual of the Old Testament
Opening of the Hallel, specifically used on Jewish higher holy days
Overview:
Reflects on the otherness of God—“Who is like the Lord our God?” Who is like YHWH? Who is like the God of Israel, who saves?
Moves from seated on high to being involved
High above all nations!
Reflections:
Praise God!
from start to finish
from one side to the other
from ALL PEOPLES
from ALL TIMES
Expectations:
  1. Surrender
  2. GET INVOLVED
    1. Seriously.
    2. I’m not asking. I’m telling.
    3. Being a follower of God means moving from where we have seen to the place where we act.
  3. Support those who are trying to get involved
  4. Reach out to those who are separated from that which is good
  5. PRAISE GOD WITH ALL OPENNESS and ALL YOUR HEART!


June 11 AM (Audio)


June 11 PM (Audio)


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Book: The Money Challenge

Today, I’d like to point you to a handy little book from Art Rainer. It’s called The Money Challenge, and it’s from B&H Books. Now, it’s a short book, so I’ll honor that with a short review.

Rainer’s basic goal is to help Christian people see the ways of God in the use of money. It’s broken into three sections: Give Generously, Save Wisely, and Live Appropriately. Rainer has found these to be a good outline of how God intends for Christians to use the money He gives them.

These are excellent principles for Christians in understanding stewardship and it’s a great introduction for those who have never examined Christian stewardship. There is not a lot of new information here for those who have learned about Christian stewardship.

However, stewardship is about tried and true principles, so the lack of new ideas is not a problem. In truth, Rainer has artfully repackaged these with a story about Annie and her learning the principles of stewardship through a 30-day money challenge.

Her challenge becomes the structure of the book and the challenge to you, the reader. It’s well-written and an easily digested book.

That’s not to say that implementation will be a cinch. In fact, that’s always the hardest part of money management. I can spout the principles well enough, but putting them into practice is the hard part.

Using Rainer’s book as a template, though, one can easily start into the behaviors that will set a long-term pattern. As is usually the case with a book like this, the principles are far easier to put not place if you aren’t years behind.

All in all, this would be an ideal group study for a church young adult group—probably even to start with older youth. And then a follow-on for so many of us in the adult range who need to get straight what matters most!

The Money Challenge is available from Lifeway and other book retailers, B&H gave me a copy exchange for the review.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Grilled Sacred Cows: 1 Corinthians 8

In Summary:
After working through the minefield that was Greco-Roman marriage and family relationships (1 Corinthians 7), Paul moves on to something even more challenging. He starts to work through a practical matter about being a Christian in a religiously pluralistic world: what about the offshoots of idolatry? Specifically, in this case, meat that had been sacrificed to idols.

Understanding this takes a bit of research into the ancient world, and even then our knowledge is a bit limited. For example, we know that Paul is talking about “meat that has been offered to idols,” as the ESV has in 1 Corinthians 8:1. What, though, does that mean? There are a couple of possibilities, and it’s necessary to touch on them here rather than write them off as belonging to the nerd domain. The first possibility is the less likely one: that meat which went all the way through ceremonies at the various temples in Corinth (and other places) would then end up resold in the marketplace for a profit. This is less likely because, generally speaking, the way most of the priests and workers in those temples ate was off the sacrifices brought in by worshipers. 

The concept that is more likely is that the meat in the marketplace was from animals which had been consecrated for sacrifice but the whole animal was not part of the ceremony. Think about it this way: Athena requires a sirloin to bless your upcoming venture. So, you take a cow to the doorway of the temple dedicated to Athena, the priest consecrates the cow, and then….well, you’re not surgically extracting the sirloin. The animal is butchered, Athena gets her steak in the matter, the worshiper may take some home, and the rump roast goes on sale at the market. Simple, right?

Except, for some (and especially those who have just abandoned Athena for Jesus), that meat is a reminder of the way their life used to be lived. It troubles their conscience because it feels a bit like they are helping with the worship of a false god. After all, the one who gave Athena a sirloin covered a large portion of his costs by selling you the pot roast for Sunday dinner. Were they enabling people to follow a religion that would send them to Hell? 

In Focus:
To clear this up, take a look at Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 8:12. Through the first 10 verses, he has made it clear that there is no power in idols and therefore no problem can arise between God and the Christian for eating good cheap beef. This verse, though, highlights where the problem arises: how is the brother in Christ treating his fellow Christians?

It is not sinful, Paul asserts, to eat food that had been offered to idols. It is sinful, Paul asserts, to wound the fellow members of the family of faith. Because to bring harm to your brethren is to sin against Christ—the two are inseparable. This is the critical truth: how Christians treat one another is how they are treating Jesus Christ the Lord.

In Practice:
Let us deal with the immediate objection of the Western mind: “What about my right?” I would point out that, first of all, you were bought by the death of the Son of God on the Cross. Your rights belong to Him. Beyond that, Paul is not saying that every action you take has to be controlled by the ideas of the most restrictive person, but something much more important: be aware that in all things you do, you are part of a body and ought not harm it.

Now, to the specific point: what about food offered to idols? Well, I don’t see much of that these days. Except, perhaps, the idols of consumerism (cheap meat at Food ’n Stuff) or the idols of environmental quackery (like ultra-grass-fed-methane-recovered-super-green beef at Complete Grains). Ever insist on one or the other? Or deride your brother or sister in Christ for their use of either? 

The practical aspect here is simple and difficult. Simple to understand but difficult to implement: know your fellow Christians, and live your life recognizing that their need to be strengthened spiritually is every bit as important as yours. Even if you are right about something, your implementation of how you are right must come back to strengthening the body as a whole.

In Nerdiness:
A few points:
1. What effect does Paul’s statement that there is “no such thing as an idol,” by which I think we can take him to mean that these idols have no powers at all, have on our view of angels/demons? Specifically, does this push back against the Miltonian view that gods and goddesses like Athena, Zeus, Artemis are representations of demons and do have power?
2. Knowledge can make arrogant (v. 1), but it is still necessary. Paul’s following arguments are based on knowledge, but it is a knowledge that acts in love.

3. This passage is often used to claim liberty to drink alcohol is irrelevant because your liberty to drink alcohol might cause someone to stumble. But the direct context is about worship/religious items. Not about behavioral issues. The alcohol argument is in Ephesians, Proverbs, and elsewhere. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Sermon Recap for June 4

Here is what you'll find: after each sermon title, there's an "audio" link that allows you to play or download that sermon's audio file. Then there should be an embedded Youtube Link to the sermon.

If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/east-end-baptist-church/id387911457?mt=2 for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: http://www.eebcar.com/sermons/feed

The video is linked on the East End Baptist Church web page here: http://www.eebcar.com/sermons-2/ or on my personal Youtube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJBGluSoaJgYn6PbIklwKaw?view_as=public

Thanks!


Please note that we’re having some trouble with the website and podcast feed. There is a built-in player here if you want to listen, and I should have the iTunes reset soon.


Sunday AM: Psalm 89 (audio)



Passage: Psalm 89
Context:
Old Testament
Overview:
Retells of the Greatness of God
Reflections:
O such strictness toward the righteous! O such abundant forgiveness toward the sinner! He finds so many different means, without himself changing, to keep the righteous in check and forgive the sinner, by usefully dividing his rich goodness.
John Chrysostom
God’s ownership of all things...
God’s bringing of order through the Holy Spirit—Spirit-indwelt believers are His hands for that//Acts 1:6-8
Expectations:
  1. Salvation—looking at the wrath of God at sinners and greatness of God, how can we neglect His salvation any longer?
  2. Embrace the power of God in your life—the Holy Spirit works through you
  3. That may be tough—growth is not an automatic thing. You have to work, discipline—just as a garden grows with work.


Sunday Evening: Micah (Audio)



Sermon and Service Recap for November 8

Looks like I forgot to post this! Thank you!