Monday, July 30, 2018

Sermon Recap for July 29 (and 22)

Good Morning!

Here is what you'll find: there is an audio player with the sermon audios built-in to it, just click to find the one you want. You'll also find the embedded Youtube videos of each sermon.

If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here:

The video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here:

Sermons are stockpiled here:


July 29 AM: (Audio)

July 29 PM: (Audio)

July 22 AM: (Audio)

July 22 PM: (Audio)

Monday, July 9, 2018

Sermon Recap for July 8

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: for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here:

The video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here:

Sermons are stockpiled here:


Audio Player:

Morning Sermon: 1 Peter 4:7-11 (download)

Evening Sermon: 1 Peter 4:1-6 (download)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

For the Fourth of July

As someone trying to grow into a historian, I’m increasingly concerned about how little we know about what has happened, and how much we “know” that isn’t true…a good starting point is to come back to original documents. So, here we are:

  The Declaration of Independence —A Transcription


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

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 whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

  He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

  He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

  He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

  He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

  He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

  He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

  He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

  He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

  He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

  He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

  He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

  He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

  He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

  For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

  For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

  For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

  For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

  For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

  For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

  For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

  For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

  For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

  He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

  He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

  He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

  He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

  He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


New York
Button Gwinnett
George Wythe
William Floyd
Lyman Hall
Richard Henry Lee
Philip Livingston
George Walton
Thomas Jefferson
Francis Lewis

Benjamin Harrison
Lewis Morris
North Carolina
Thomas Nelson, Jr.

William Hooper
Francis Lightfoot Lee
New Jersey
Joseph Hewes
Carter Braxton
Richard Stockton
John Penn

John Witherspoon

Francis Hopkinson
South Carolina
Robert Morris
John Hart
Edward Rutledge
Benjamin Rush
Abraham Clark
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Benjamin Franklin

Thomas Lynch, Jr.
John Morton
Rhode Island
Arthur Middleton
George Clymer
Stephen Hopkins

James Smith
William Ellery
George Taylor

John Hancock
James Wilson
Samuel Adams
George Ross
Roger Sherman
John Adams

Samuel Huntington
Robert Treat Paine
William Williams
Elbridge Gerry
Caesar Rodney
Oliver Wolcott

George Read

Thomas McKean
New Hampshire
Samuel Chase

Josiah Bartlett
William Paca

William Whipple
Thomas Stone

Matthew Thornton
Charles Carroll of Carrollton

The Declaration of Independence (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Bible Software, 1998).

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 8:21 AM July 4, 2018.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Thorns, Visions, Leaders, and Fellowship: 2 Corinthians 12

In Summary:
Well, we’ve reached one of the great “weird” chapters of the New Testament. 2 Corinthians 12 sees Paul speak of “a man” who was caught up to the third heaven and saw Paradise and heard “inexpressible words.” And then, Paul speaks of his thorn in the flesh, some unclear “messenger from Satan” that is there to keep him humble. It’s a perfectly clear chapter apart from that. Well, except for the identity of “the brother” that Paul sent with Titus. 2 Corinthians 12 provides fertile ground for speculation and imagination.

Which we will indulge in up to a point, but there comes a time to move from that to the more profitable exercise of exegesis: striving to understand the contents of the text. It is entirely possible to not understand a portion of a chapter and still grasp the overall meaning that God has put in the text. After all, while God requires us to have the Holy Spirit illuminate the text for us to fully understand the text, He didn’t give it to us to ponder, be confused by, and then never read. The word of God is given that we may know the Word of God in Christ Jesus.

So, we’ll put most of the speculations into the “In Nerdiness” section where it belongs and focus on the rest of the chapter.

Paul is continuing to defend his status and role as an apostle. A word might be useful here about why he needs to do this. At this point in the growth of the church, they have two primary sources for Truth in the church: the Jewish Scriptures (what we call the Old Testament) and the teaching of the Apostles who told them about Jesus. The church is not yet in possession of the New Testament (not written, mostly, yet), so what they know about Jesus comes from the Apostles, the eyewitnesses of the Risen Jesus. That makes being considered an “Apostle” a big deal because your teaching is authoritative and trusted. Paul needs to demonstrate and hold his claim to this status so that his teaching about Jesus is considered accurate. And when you look at the folks who opposed Paul: the Judaizers who wanted to add Jewish law to the Gospel; the folks in Corinth from 1 Corinthians who were sexually immoral; the people who tried to use the Gospel for profit—it’s a good thing he did! The Truth remains the same, with or without defenders, but it is far easier to know it if someone trustworthy proclaims it!

In Focus:

For a focal verse, let us move past the visions and thorns and look long and hard at 2 Corinthians 12:20. Here, Paul expresses his concern that his arrival in Corinth will find the church tied up in jealousy, temper, disputes, arrogance, and a host of ego-driven problems. Ego-centrism is diametrically opposed to the Gospel: you cannot be full of self, driven by self, and serving only yourself and also follow Jesus Christ as Lord. It just does not work—and Paul is reminding the Corinthians of this.

He wants to settle as many of their disputes with him, and by extension, with each other, before he gets there so that his time with them is a time of building up, not breaking down. He then commands them to repent of impurity, immorality, and perversion before he gets there—because they cannot be right with each other until they get right with God!

In Practice:

What does this look like for us? After all, we have the Bible so we don’t necessarily need Apostles, right? I think the argument should be made that the Apostles are the eyewitnesses of the Risen Christ, and so we do not have Apostles, whether we need them or not. (And if we needed them, God would have loopholed them so we would have them. He didn’t, so we don’t.)

The issue at stake for us is two-fold: leadership and fellowship. Leadership first: while we are not dealing with the exact same qualifications as an Apostle of the first century, those who would lead a church today should look long and hard at what Paul uses to justify himself: his sacrifice, which was real. Not some nebulous “I could have made millions as a something else” sacrifice or a “look how hard this is, somebody bring me a Fresca” type of ranting, but rather as a “How can you think I’m doing this for myself when you see how much trouble it is? If this was for me, I’d mail it in, go fishing with somebody…” He has worked and shown himself to be true.

We need to consider the same thing in our leadership: too many times, we allow a natural gifting to overwhelm our good sense or a feeling of amazement at one great moment. But the moment does not always make the man: the church must be more aware of how they invest authority in leaders and must put more effort into preparing leaders.

Second, we must consider fellowship. There can be no true fellowship in the midst of strife, jealousy, disputes, slanders, and so forth—so what do we have in our churches? There are problems among us because we are not repentant of our sins, and that drives us to lash out at others rather than fix our own hearts. Let the impurity go from each one of us, and we might be astounded what God will do with our relationships with each other.

In Nerdiness: 

As discussed above:
1. “I know a man:” almost all of the commentaries I have take this as autobiographical, and just the manner of speaking in that era. Especially when Paul goes from “knowing a man” who had these visions to he, Paul, having a thorn so that he didn’t get arrogant because of the visions. Hard to figure that he got the thorn if he didn’t have the visions, true?

2. “The third heaven:” really? We want to talk about that, too? Sure thing: it is either the “third heaven” which is above the heaven the birds fly in and the heaven the stars are in and is, therefore, Eternity-type heaven, or there are levels to eternity that we don’t understand. Dante picked that view, for both Heaven and Hell. Either way, Paul has a vision of the unseen things, and he is not permitted to talk about it.

3. Okay, he cannot talk about it—he heard “inexpressible words.” That particular phrase is sometimes used to move speaking in “tongues” into speaking in “heavenly languages” which nobody understands, but that doesn’t work, because a human is not allowed to speak those words. No, we do not know what they are…and probably will be so engaged in the presence of Jesus in eternity that we’ll forget we care.

4. The Thorn in the Flesh, a Messenger from Satan! Paul’s great problem. It’s been suggested that he has poor eyesight, that he has some other illness, or that he has a relational issue. Perhaps this is his expression of frustration, “Why, Lord, do I have to keep battling the same stupid arguments about Judaizing or legalism, over, and over, and over again?” Whatever it was, it was not going away—and Paul had to cope with that. God does not solve all of our problems. He instead provides us Himself, and that is a far better solution.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Sermon Recap for July 1

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: for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here:

The video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here:

Sermons are stockpiled here:


Sunday night is not here since it was a bit overly short. I’ll get it uploaded up some point and it will be in the Youtube Channel and Audio player feeds.

Historical Thinking for June 18 2024

 So, one of the things that has me struggling with blogging for the last, oh, 3 or 4 years is that I am supposed to be writing a dissertatio...