Monday, December 14, 2020

Book: 40 Questions about Typology and Allegory

So, today’s book comes from Kregel Academic’s “40 Questions” series. These are some of the best introductory works in Biblical Studies and Theology as academic pursuits that you will find—I’ve yet to hit a weak point in the series, from Historical Jesus through Creation and Evolution and on to Elders and Deacons.

Today’s is 40 Questions about Typology and Allegory from Mitchell Chase. Chase’s PhD is from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he serves as an adjunct professor while also pastoring with the Kosmosdale Baptist Church.

Chase begins the work by looking at the Bible’s overall story. This use of the first 2 questions sets the understanding necessary to work through the remaining questions on typology and allegory.

After laying that baseline, the next batch of questions look into literary theory: “What is typology?” is the first, then there are more details about typology developed in that section. This is followed by a section on the historical use of typology and then the flow of the Biblical text, by sections, is examined for typological use. That concept is then repeated with Allegory, but with far fewer subsections about the definition of allegory.

Each section has discussion questions to reinforce the chapter’s points, which help this to be used for a study book either for studious adults or in the college classroom.

The main question I would raise of this book is one of need: How deep is the need for a book on Typology and Allegory? Does the wider reading audience, those not required to read this for a class, really need the book?

A look at a few representative passages might help:

Take, for example, Chase’s time spent on Song of Solomon. That’s a portion of Scripture that is often moved into allegory entirely or taken down to be exclusively about marriage, as if there are no layers of meaning. Question 36 addresses allegory in Song of Solomon, and helps to highlight how the reader can draw meaning there. It’s quite helpful—and will be for anyone trying to balance why this portion of Scripture is there!

Another example would be found in the chapter asking “How was typology practiced in the early church?” Right now, there is a lot of popular literature celebrating the early church (and there should be!) but it’s valuable to see how they understood Scripture and not read-back our own modern methods.

All in all, I’m very pleased with this entry in the 40 Questions series. It will take its place on the shelf with the set for ready reference.

A sample can be found here at the Kregel Website.

Book received from Kregel Academic in exchange for the review. Opinion is my own and also very late compared to the deadline.

Sermon Recap on December 14

Good evening! Here are the sermons from the past couple of weeks.

December 13 845:

December 13 1100:

December 6:

Full service:

December 13:

December 6:

Monday, November 30, 2020

Sermon Recaps for November

I think I’ve missed a couple of Sundays. Also, we had some fill-in video that we used for Sunday nights, so I won’t post those here, but the last three weeks of Sunday mornings are here!


Video from Facebook for November 29:

November 15:

Monday, November 2, 2020

Sermon and Service Recap for November 1

So, apparently, something has gone wrong with the YouTube linking for the “multiple locations” stream, so we don’t have a YouTube feed right now. Actually, we won’t have a YouTube feed unless we can get over 1,000 subscribers to the YouTube channel. Except it’s hard to get 1,000 subscribers without content, and we can’t get the content because we can’t stream…vicious circle there. We need 1,000 subscribers to do church live on YouTube, so we’ll have to move that to delayed.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Service/Sermon Recap for October 25 2020

Good morning!

Here are the service replays from today:

Facebook Morning:

YouTube Morning:

Facebook evening:

Wednesday Evening:

And remember the Morning Reflections:

Monday, October 19, 2020

Sermon Recap from October 18

Good evening!

Here are the service and sermon replays from Sunday, October 18.

Audio replay for sermons first:

Video (Both videos from the 9 AM Service):


Evening Service:



And just for fun, Lutheran Satire’s explanation of the Trinity:

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Look at it all: 1 Thessalonians 4

 In Summary:

Paul opens this chapter with a great word: “Additionally.” He’s linking the chapter to the one before, which is a good reminder that all of Scripture flows together, and especially one book goes as a whole book. In the modern era, we sometimes think people speak in short bursts of words, like a sentence, some spare characters, and an emoji. But down in, you don’t communicate that way: your communication is ongoing and linked to the encounters before and after it. 

Scripture is fundamentally the same: each thought links to prior communication. The linking is important and outweighs our habit of memorizing single verses wrenched from their context. You need to see the whole picture, read the whole chapter. 1 Thessalonians 4 gives some great examples of this, as Paul addresses sexual immorality, living in holiness, and the impending return of the Lord Jesus to judge the earth. Each of the principles is worth understanding, but if you, for example, take 1 Thessalonians 4:3 alone, that it is “God’s will that you keep away from sexual immorality,” you might choose to live a completely self-absorbed life, trusting that as long as you keep sexual activity within the confines of marriage, you are in “God’s will.” 

That would be like saying as long as the nails on one wall of the house hold, it’s a good house. You certainly need those nails, but you need a lot more as well!

In Focus:

Let us take 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 as our focus passage for this chapter. Here, Paul highlights that we are called not to “impurity” but to “holiness.” As you look at this, make sure you apply some important Biblical interpretative principles:

First: do not automatically apply your normal definition of a word. In this case, the word “impurity” can be a risk for us. We typically leap to “sexual impurity,” and would perhaps grab the reference to “sexual immorality” from verse 3 to make that connection. However, here is where you need to notice that it’s two different words in English because it’s two different words in Greek. Verse 3 uses the word that we get “pornography” from, a word that definitely refers to sexual activities. The word in verse 7? It has a wider range of meaning: impurity, unclean, filthy, unpruned, unpurifiable. 

You always want to check what the words really are, and if you are using a good English translation, it will use different words. It also doesn’t hurt to use a pair of translations or to grab a good study aid for the words.

Second: always check the context. Look at the whole passage: impurity here is used in a summary verse that includes sexual conduct, self-control, not taking advantage of your fellow believers, not being self-absorbed. Impurity is a whole-life issue, not just some portions. 

Third, take note of references and connections to other places. Here, an important note should be seen in verse 6: “as we also previously told and warned you.” Paul reminds them of what else he has said! Prior sermons, letters, discussions, all are important here. You don’t have access to these, but you know this much: Christian teaching was more than one note.

In Practice:

What does this look like, practically? To live in holiness rather than impurity?

First, it looks like having the right authority: Christian people answer to God, guided by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, God uses fellow believers to hold us accountable, but ultimately the Spirit of God calls us to holiness. That means no man can excuse our impurity, either, so we best not expect our smooth-talking to be worth much. Remember the first point for holiness is knowing the God you are to be like.

Second, it looks like caring for one another: looking again at the context, Paul reminds them of their responsibility for each other. All the way through to the end. The Christian life is replete with opportunities to show love to one another. We should do that.

Third, look ahead at the following verses, where Paul speaks of minding our own business, leading quiet lives, and testifying to Jesus. That’s not isolationism, but it is avoiding being unhelpful busybodies and critics. If all you’ve got is how the other people are doing it wrong, then perhaps you need to revisit this passage.

In Nerdiness: 

So, 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is the one place in Scripture with a very clear picture of living believers being “caught up” in the air to meet the Lord Jesus. From this passage, the idea of the “Rapture,” from the Latin word for “caught up,” entered Christian theology. We have other doctrines that only have one primary passage, so it is not a problem to only have one passage. It’s just important to note that if you read Revelation front to back and back to front, you may not see the idea, because while some scholars will attempt to locate the timing between moments in Revelation, the passage needed is in 1 Thessalonians.

All that to also say this: we need to be very, very careful to realize that Paul is not working out a fully-formed explanation of the end of all things here. He is focused on encouraging one another to love and good deeds in this present age. While he writes without error, that does not mean he writes with perfect clarity. So let us not be overly dogmatic with what we think he might have meant, and focus on the plainer truths: be encouraged, the Lord Jesus will not leave you abandoned.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Sermon and Service Recaps for October 4th

Good morning! Here are the service recaps for this week, with Facebook and YouTube both represented. Audio link is first:

FB Sunday AM:

YouTube Sunday AM:

YouTube Sunday PM:

Facebook Sunday PM:

Wednesday Night:

And the daily videos:

Monday, September 28, 2020

Service Recap for September 27

Good evening! Here are the service replay links for Sunday, September 27th for those who are interested!

Sunday Morning Videos:

Sunday night:

Wednesday Night:

Morning Videos:

Monday, September 21, 2020

Sermon Recap for September 20

Good evening! We had some major technical difficulties this week, so we don’t have the music part of the service, and you get the video from the second service sermon only. The audio feed still has both, so those are in the link. I’ll try starting this week to tweak the names of the sermons to make it clearer.

Morning Sermon: Acts 17

And the Morning Reflection videos from Ann and Doug:

Monday, September 14, 2020

Services Recapped for September 13

Good evening! Here are the services from Sunday, September 13:

9 AM Service:

11 AM Service:

Evening Service:

And the Morning Reflections are through this portal:

Monday, September 7, 2020

Services Recapped for September 6

Since this was a traditional three-day weekend, we didn’t do a Sunday night service. I waffled on that, because I don’t know that attendance really would have differed that much from all the other Sunday nights since COVID: folks logon if they can, don’t if they can’t. But…we’re pretty Baptist at our church, so we followed the tradition and didn’t do a Sunday night service.

Sunday morning services: (Both services are here, one is on YouTube and the other on Facebook.)

9 AM (Facebook):

11 AM (YouTube):

Wednesday Night:

And the Morning Reflection videos start here:

Have a great day!

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Service Recap for August 30

Here are the services from August 30. I know that service 1 and service 2 are supposed to be the same…the sermons never quite work out that way, though.

Morning Service 1:

Morning Service 2:

Sunday Night August 30:

Wednesday Night August 26:

And the Morning Reflection from the Well Traveled Path page. (Check out the whole catalog there!)

Monday, August 24, 2020

Services Recap for August 23

Well, I knew I was forgetting something Sunday night after everything was over. Here are the services from Sunday, August 23, 2020, at East End Baptist Church.

Remember that the Morning Reflections videos were moved to the Well Traveled Path Ministries Page on Facebook. That text is linked, and here’s Sunday’s video for those interested.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Census 2020

Just as a Public Service Announcement: go fill out your Census information if you haven't. Why?

Well, there's the future planning: Census data is used to plan roadways, schools, it even figures into the permit process for hospitals and other necessities. The government (generally) won't approve a hospital to be built where the census shows there isn't enough, fill it out for those plans

(Want to see traffic lights where there is high traffic instead of 4-Way stops? Anticipated population matters!)

There's federal budget money and state budget money that goes into the state or community based on...POPULATION. Where does that number come from? The Census. If you hide from the Census, they don't count you. Then, that funding goes elsewhere.

The big one, while some folks think it's the money, is this: while the US Constitution started off envisioning 1 Congressman for every 30,000 people, after a while the decision was made that we would have WAY too many Congressmen in that system. (Please hold your thoughts about having way too many as it is.)

Instead, there are 435 Members of Congress. They are apportioned to the States based on population: the overall population of the US goes into the math, which determines about how many people get one Representative (by the way, this trickles down to the State Legislature as well). Arkansas currently has 4 Representatives in Congress based on the 2010 Census numbers and our population.

What happens if we underreport Arkansas? That number could go down to three, with the district redrawn, and another state would pick up an additional Member of Congress.

That's not all: the States elect the President of the United States through the Electoral College. Each State gets as many Electors as they have Representatives and Senators. Again, here in Arkansas: 4 Representatives, 2 Senators. That makes for 6 Electors.

Undercount in the Census? That could go down to 5 votes for President in 2024 and 2028.

See why it matters?

And before you think ill thoughts: it's actually Constitutionally mandated: there must be an enumeration of people. It's in Article 1, Section 2.

So go here: and fill out your census. It takes less time than fixing coffee.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Service Recap for August 16 2020

Good morning! Here are the replays for yesterday’s services.

Sunday Morning:

Sunday Night:

Wednesday Night

And the Morning Reflections are here on Facebook:

Monday, August 10, 2020

Service Recap for August 9 2020

Good morning!

Here are the service from August 9th:

Remember that the Morning Reflection videos are now at The Well Traveled Path

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Peace in a time of Pandemic

This is not one of those hyper-spiritual posts, where I claim that because of Jesus I have peace even in the midst of the COVID pandemic. Truth is, that should probably be the case. After all, I’m a pastor, a “one more step and I’m done” PhD student in Christian Heritage at a seminary, a father who has kids relying on me to be calm.

And for the most part, I am holding that together. After all, Jesus does bring peace in the midst of the storms.

It’s just not as automatic as some people will make it out to sound. Especially what some folks will share on social media, where it reads more like a motivational poster than reality. You know motivational posters, right? They’re what you see in the break room at work that mention “synergy” and “integrity” to give you ideals, right before you get back out there to work in the heat and be under pressure to perform well enough to hit a computer-generated goal that completely ignores your humanity.

A substantial portion of Christian social media is faith-based motivational posters, as if posting that “I belong to Jesus, Corona won’t mess with me” will make it happen. Guess what? You’ll still get it if you are exposed to it. The Bible is Scripture, the Word of the Holy God of Creation. It’s not Hermione Granger’s Advanced Health Spellcasting for Muggles.

The truth is, getting to the peace of God in everything takes some daily discipline. It takes choosing every day to filter the news and chaos that is around you through the Word of God.

Oh, and to choose not to live in ignorance. Ignorance isn’t bliss and it isn’t peace. It’s just ignorance. If you’re coming up for air for the first time since March and wondering why people are wearing masks at the Kroger, you’ve chosen ignorance.

That’s where the peace comes in: it is a choice. There are times when the anxieties of everything around you will rise up and you need help. Make the choice to ask for help.

There are times when the chaos around you is overwhelming. Make the choice to walk away from some of it. Make the choice to invest as much time and energy in love your God and your family as you do in seeking out the latest information or gossip.


Because your mental health matters. Too many of us live as if the idea that a person is made up of three different things: a body, a soul, and a spirit, has been proven from either Scripture or science. It hasn’t. Your body affects your soul, your spirit, your mental health. And your mental health affects all the rest. If you are overstressed, your body will react. Your spiritual growth will stumble.

What do you need in this time?

You really need three things:

1. Your own spiritual and physical strength routines: daily time in the Word of God, daily time with good devotional/spiritual and personal growth reading and listening, and some form of daily exercise.

2. Your relational growth routines: you need to be with other people in whatever form you can be. Make phone calls to church members, send emails or texts to unseen friends. Make contact in some form!

3. A weekly effort to encourage someone else. Not to go find someone “in need” exactly—this isn’t about you being better than them—but to recognize everyone is in need of encouragement and finding the opportunity to do that. Maybe this week it’s that kid at the grocery store. Next week it’s the teacher getting ready for school.

Realize that many of the back-to-school events that are meant to encourage and pep-up teachers and students are at best highly modified, and most likely canceled, this year. Encourage.

Because a great way to gain peace in a time of pandemic is to pass it on to others. Not by faking it or carrying your burdens inside so that others don’t see, but by opening up and letting what peace you have pass on to others. You’ll be amazed how it magnifies.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Services Recap for August 2 2020

Good morning! Here are the service replays from yesterday:

Audios for Sermons Only:

Videos of the whole service:

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Sermon Recap for July 26

It was a sad day for us at East End Baptist, as we had a memorial service for Mrs. Carol Hudgens this afternoon. Carol was a wonderful encourager—one of those folks who saw a person (me) make a joke about cookies on Facebook and then showed up with cookies, just to brighten the day—and she will be sorely, sorely missed.

Beyond that: we have Sunday morning services. Here they are, with the 9 AM first, then the 11 AM, then the link to the audio-only for the sermons.

And this week’s Morning Reflections Videos were posted to the Well Traveled Path Ministries page (here, Like/Follow)

Monday, July 20, 2020

Services from July 19

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:

Sermon only:

9 AM Service:

11 AM Service:

Evening Service:

Morning Reflections:

Monday, July 13, 2020

Worship Services Recap for July 12

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:


Monday, July 6, 2020

July 5 Service Recap

Good morning! Here are the service recaps from last week. First we’ll see the morning services, both the 9 AM and the 11 AM, then there will be the Wednesday night service.

Have a great day!

Audio only:

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Declaration of Independence


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.

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

Monday, June 29, 2020

Services Recapped for June 28 2020

Well, another week, another batch of services put together, done well by our worship team, and then…you get me preaching. Since I am not a manuscript guy, the sermons do differ from one service to the next.

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: (or )

The video is linked on my personal YouTube Page here:

Sermons are stockpiled here:

This week I actually liked the second service sermon better, so you get the YouTube embed first.

Here’s the audio: (podcast subscription is here)

First Service from Facebook:

Monday, June 22, 2020

Service Recap for June 21

Well, another week begins. Here we are, working through the COVID and the consequences of it for churches. There are a few things present here:

1. The Facebook-based embedded video of the whole service is right here (there’s a weird hiccup at the end because the Internet at church got overwhelmed and cut out, then it just picked back up instantly):

2. Because the YouTube systems are behind in processing free videos (and we want to stick with FREE videos), this week’s service isn’t here yet, but you can check the channel at this link: and look for it. It will be titled… Sunday morning Worship, June 21.

(Maybe it’s here:

3. Here is the audio and slide combination on Faithlife:

4. Wednesday night is here:

A few other notes:

Every morning we do The Morning Reflection from our house. It’s sometimes long, sometimes short, but a prayer, a thought or two, and a reading from the Psalms as we start the day. It’s on FB on the church page and Ann and I share it (after the fact) on ours.

Have a great Monday!

Monday, June 8, 2020

Services Recapped from June 7

Well, we actually had people physically present in the building for church services for the first time since March 15. It was…strange and nice and familiar and odd all at once. It’s amazing how quickly you can form a habit.
Here are the services. First embed on the AM service is to Facebook but should work for anyone, but in case it doesn’t, we’re going to start streaming the second service onto YouTube, so that embed follows. For the incredibly bored, watch both services and compare/contrast the sermons :) I would recommend the music on the YouTube morning, because the guitar intro on the first song can be heard better.

Evening Service, Live from the Living Room:

Wednesday Night:

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Overflow with Love

We’re due for the next TTWB segment, but I wanted to hit 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 briefly and comment on the American situation.

First, the comment: it’s a mess out there. First, you have the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. (I’d use “murder” but that is a technical, legal term and it is possible that one of my three readers could be in a jury pool if the folks who pulled the trigger ever go to trial. I don’t want to contaminate the pool.) Then you have ham-fisted responses to these killings by the local authorities, essentially trying to paper over these misuses of power. Now you have protests, some of which were handled appropriately and others were mangled in the government response (see the video of authorities in Minnesota shooting tear gas or something at people ON THEIR OWN FRONT PORCH, for starters), and questions. Lots of questions.

With that in mind, believers, let’s take a look at 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13.

Verse 11 is Paul’s prayer that God would bring him back to the Thessalonians. That’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it? There is a good example to be found here: we ought to love the people we have served God with enough that we’d like to go back and see them again. There is plenty of theology and Christology to be had here, but we’ll set that aside for now.

Verse 12 is the high-point here: the prayer that our love increases and overflows for one another. Where are we on that?

Where are we within the church? With all of God’s people?

I think we need to really pray through that before we answer it.

Verse 13 wraps it back up: blameless hearts before God our Father, so that at the coming of the Lord Jesus, when we see judgment come on this world like a flood, we are ready to be in the presence of God’s holiness.

Now: what do we do?

Every action you take, every word you speak, all belong to God’s lordship and will fall under His judgment in due time.

What will you do? You do not need me or another preacher or an author or anyone else, really, to tell you what to do that you haven’t already heard: open your Bible, listen to God speak through His word, by His Spirit, and do what He said: love your neighbor as yourself.

And if you want to define “your neighbor,” simply find the people who your people have hated for 400 years. That’s who the Samaritans were to the Jews. Oh, and probably they didn’t use the term hate. Generally, they just appreciated that they were Jews and not Samaritans, and preferred to avoid them.

So….who is your neighbor?

I think you can answer that question. I think you should answer that question: too often, we want our answers spoon-fed to us, so that we can then blame the messenger for getting it wrong, or when it gets hard, we can say, “Well, that was his idea, anyway, so I’ll leave it.”

You will face the Almighty God at some point and will answer for how you have loved His people. And if you are a follower of Christ, it may be the saddest moment of  your life as your Father in Heaven asks why you never loved your own family.

I pray that we all overflow with love for our brothers and sisters.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Services Recap through May 31

Good morning! Here are the videos from our last week of services. We will be back with live, in-person morning worship on June 7 at 9 AM and 11 AM, but will also continue live-streaming the morning service.

May 24 Morning Service:

May 27 Wednesday Night:

May 31 Sunday Morning:

May 31 Sunday Evening:

And if you’re interested, the Morning Reflection:

(Follow the link there to see all of those videos.)

Monday, May 18, 2020

Worship Service Recaps for May 17

We’ve done another week of worship-via-Internet-connectivity. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for this to be over.

That covers Sunday and last Wednesday! I’m still working on better distribution for those who avoid Facebook, but you should be able to view here without a Facebook account.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Encouraged: 1 Thessalonians 3

In Summary:
Paul opens 1 Thessalonians 3 giving his side of recent events, about how he reached a point where he needed to know what was happening with in Thessalonica, so he sent Timothy to check on the believers there. Here, it is helpful to remember the chronology from Acts 17, that Paul was only in town for a few weeks before being run out by the angry mob. He then went to Berea, and then on to Athens.

I see no reason to think that the recollections Paul makes here, of sending Timothy to the Thessalonians from Athens, are from any other time frame. It is, of course, possible, but the simpler solution puts the origin point there in the narrative. Of course, one should note that everything that happened in the life of Paul or Timothy is not recorded in the text, so we cannot make it an absolute claim. But let’s let the simple be the solution.

Having pointed out his personal concern for the church, he goes on to remind them of what he had told them in person—which is noteworthy, considering how little time they had together. There is something here to be considered, briefly: if you took a 3-week slice of any of your relationships and only had that to call on, what would your relationship have? Specifically, in your Christian relationships: do you go more than 3 weeks without encouraging other believers? Pastors and teachers, if someone took a 3-week slice of your teaching, how much would it help?

On track again, we wee Paul is concerned that the Thessalonian believers have been swallowed up by temptation in the absence of encouragement and teaching, even though he had warned them about the coming affliction that both he and they would suffer. The chapter ends with a benediction-type statement, a prayer that reads very much like it should be the end of the message. Paul, however, being a Baptist preacher, still has 2 chapters left to go…

In Focus:
Put 1 Thessalonians 3:7 in your focus for the time being: Paul is encouraged by hearing how the church is responding, even as he faces distress and affliction.

What affliction? Well, since Thessalonica, where Paul was run out in a riot, he’s been run out in a riot in Berea; he’s faced the philosopher’s guild of Athens and been cold-shouldered; he’s now most likely in Corinth—where he’ll be for over a year, but not without trial and difficulty.

Yet hearing from those he loves is an encouragement. Hearing from the ones he has taught is a positive for him.

In Practice:
Well, the first thing to do “in practice” is to keep the faith with what you have been taught! Not that this means we do not grow, develop, and change, but we should separate core truth from other understandings. Knowing that Jesus really lived, really died, really rose from the grave is crucial; your understanding of how to observe the Lord’s Supper is a secondary matter and can change. The first thing we should practice is keeping the faith.

The second thing we should practice is sharing with those who have taught us how we’re doing in keeping the faith. Sometimes, it’s obvious: if you are still face-to-face (or even Internet-to-Internet) with your teachers and mentors, they should be able to see it normal life. Although it’s also valuable to communicate directly about the impact someone has had in your life, you should also be obvious with it. If you are distant—send a note, an email, a card—there are ways.

The third thing we should do is keep in touch with those we have taught: how are you encouraging those who you have taught and moved away from? That’s a challenge for me, personally, as I’m wrestling with what it means for someone who has preached and taught in several churches in the last few decades: how do I make sure to reach back and encourage? Not because those churches need me, but because I should continue to carry a burden for them. (And I do. Somebody damaged the calm of one my previous pastorates, and I think I was almost as aggravated as their current pastor)

In Nerdiness: 
I have taken the assumption that Paul writes the Thessalonians from Corinth, where Timothy was able to rejoin him after checking on the church. Other options exist—and I’m not a New Testament scholar, so you’ll have to check out some of the good resources on Thessalonians for that.

I also would note John Chrysostom’s comments on v. 3 (found in The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture): Paul notes that his sufferings are the glory of the church, because God showed His love for the Thessalonians by allowing one of His servants, Paul, to suffer on their behalf. What would become of us if we thought that way? How much does God love us that someone suffered for our faith? How much does God love others that we should suffer for them?

Monday, May 11, 2020

Sermon Recap for May 10

Well, it was COVID Sunday number 8 yesterday, so here are the video files you’ve been waiting for!

Sermon only audio:

Have a great day!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Service Recaps for May 3

Well, another day of online-only church, another batch of videos to share. We did get the audio podcast back to working, so that’s there for you who subscribe.

Morning service:

Evening Service:

Also, take time to check out the back-catalog of videos on the church Facebook page here: East End Baptist Facebook Page.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Entrusted: 1 Thessalonians 2

In Summary:

In this chapter, Paul first hearkens back to his time with the Thessalonians. It wasn’t a very long visit (see Acts 17:1-9), and there was hardly time for Paul and Silas to build up the church there. They were able to win a good number of folks to Jesus, but overall his introduction to the Thessalonians was unpleasant. It was an unpleasantness that followed him onward from Thessalonica to Berea, where he had some peace there until representatives from the former showed up and started stirring up trouble.

As he recounts his time with the Thessalonians, Paul goes into his own motivations and actions during the three weeks he was there. He notes that “we were gentle among you…” and how they labored to avoid being a burden. He notes that the conduct of the ministry group was devout, righteous, and blameless. All three of these should be evident in the life of the church, especially if we are going to make a difference in the world around us.

Paul then goes on to note how the people who persecuted he and Silas are of the same mindset not only of those who killed Jesus but also persecuted the prophets of old. This is an important, though intermittent, theme in the New Testament letters: the continuity of the revelation of God from the Prophets, such as Isaiah or Jeremiah, to the Apostles. A good image is that they are the two spotlights shining on the subject, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is picked up in our doctrines of inspiration and other understandings of how God has worked: through one light shining on Christ from before He came, one light shining on Him after.

In Focus:

Taking a deeper look at 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20, we see Paul expressing thoughts about his relationship with the Thessalonian church. He recognizes that he was not able to stay as long as he wanted while also noting that he did not leave of his own free will. He notes that they made multiple efforts to come back, but there was always some form of hindrance. Paul attributes that hindrance to the work of Satan.

Why would Paul wanting to go to Thessalonica be important enough for Satan to interrupt?

If he had gone, Paul would have been able to encourage the church. He would have been able to make certain the church fully understood the Gospel. He would have been able to help the church start spreading the Gospel. He also would have helped them see the implications of the Gospel for their every day life, including modeling it on an extended basis.

Instead, he is left with ministry at a distance, with a deputized send of Timothy (chapter 3) to help out. His encouragement must come through a letter and a friend, rather than just himself. The benefit, though, is to future generations: we have very few notes of Paul’s sermons—some are present in the book of Acts. All of them are short. His letters are extended, and he uses the extra space to fill in deeper and fuller thoughts.

In Practice:

What, though, could this possibly have to do with us?

For starters, we should long for the encouragement, teaching, and modeling of life that happens in our face-to-face relationships. If we are never with other believers for these purposes, we are missing out.

Yet we should also note that God works out the details of our lives in such ways that we do not automatically expect. God uses the difficulties of our life to amplify and expand how He uses us in the world around us. So we should seek and utilize whatever opportunities we find in front of us, even if it is not the one that we wanted.

Dig in, then, and take up that which is in front of you, be it a camera, a pencil, or a small group of people who need encouragement. Go for it. God will work out the rest of the issues.

After all, we’re entrusted with the Word of God. Let’s not sit on it.

In Nerdiness:

1. “We” is fun in this passage: it could be either an editorial “we,” where Paul is primarily referring to himself but uses “we” because it sounds better; he could also be using “we” because it’s a broad reference to his entire team traveling and sharing the Gospel. I’m inclined toward him speaking on behalf of the group.
2. Paul’s statement of laboring to not be a burden (in 2:8-9) has often been used to club ministers who are paid for serving the local church or the Church upside the head. After all, Paul “labored” so as not to be a burden. A few notes: first, if your pastor is a ‘burden,’ then something’s wrong anyway; second, Acts records Paul as being there only about 3 weeks, so he didn’t set a long-term ministry pattern; third, again, if someone is burdening you and claiming it’s ministry, there is definitely something wrong.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Book: Invitation to Educational Ministry

What does it look like to make disciples within the church? While there is a strong case to be made for the importance of one-to-one relationships that cannot be ignored, there is also a definite role for organized educational ministry within churches.

That is where today’s book, Invitation to Educational Ministry, comes in quite handy. The work is edited by George M. Hillman, Jr., and Sue G. Edwards, who assembled contributions from more than a dozen of their colleagues at Dallas Theological Seminary.

First, let’s be clear about what Invitation is. It’s a textbook. Some of you will immediately start to fade away, because in your mind “textbook” is equivalent to “boring, useless, old.” One cannot hold the editors, or Kregel Academic Publishing, responsible for your poor prior experiences with textbooks. Textbooks are simply compiled resources intended for use in teaching—and this is a book compiled to teach about teaching. And you need it in your ministry.

Because, fundamentally, organizing for educational discipleship is a wheel you do not need to spend the time re-inventing. Edwards and Hillman have shaped this book to start with the foundation of teaching—who does it, why do it, and what are basic principles, then move through the specifics of various populations and onto concepts of leading and teaching small groups.

Each chapter is put together by a contributor with experience in its specific field, such as youth or children’s ministry, or experience in senior adult work. All of the chapters provide both theory and discussion questions to help cement your understanding of the material.

For the minister already at work, trying to reshape a stalled church education program, chapter 21 turns out to be the most useful—it provides worksheets to help you walk through a process in your church.

All-in-all, Invitation to Educational Ministry fits well with the rest of Kregel’s “Invitation” series: all-encompassing works that help beginners and experienced workers grow in their understanding of a field, with plenty of guidance for further study if desired.

I received my copy of this book from Kregel Academic in exchange for the review.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

April 28, 2020

It’s April 2020, and there’s a pandemic. That’s right: in the midst of the 21st Century, there is a destructive virus that has people staying at home, glaring at each other from behind masks in public, and gutting the economy not just of one country but most of them.

A few thoughts on that situation, overall:

1. The last major global pandemic was the Spanish Flu of 1918. This hit the world while World War I was still happening, so that was an even more disastrous situation than this one. What I find interesting: we are dealing with the COVID pandemic with the exact same strategies that we had for 1918: isolation, basic hygiene, and more isolation. It’s been over 100 years and we are no further ahead in dealing with viruses. As a general curiosity: have we not invested in the necessary research or is it just impossible to deal with viruses? We’ve got medicines for all kinds of other issues…but this virus is from the same family as the common cold and we’re faced with the same measures we could take a century back. Not that I’m against hygiene: WASH YOUR HANDS!! though, shouldn’t have to be a public service message. Because we’ve also had a hundred years of government-directed, universally-mandated education, and if we’re still sneezing on each other and not washing our hands, folks, something is just not right there…

2. Globalization is a great thing, but there are definitely some safeguards needed because of the rapidity of transmission in international travel. And we should be careful of surrendering national safety to international bureaucracy: the bigger the bureaucracy, the more power it has to screw stuff up: your local city council may be inept, but they have very little power—amplify the power and ineptitude to a global scale, and you get the UN. There are always competent people somewhere in bureaucracies, though, so you have to figure out the safeguards against self-serving nonsense. This is why you have public health people at multiple levels: county, state, nation, world, all to study and also deal with findings from third-parties. Universities should be good places for research, but that era seems to have passed away.

3. The uneven distribution of COVID issues are part of why we have a state-to-state system in the US. New York has had some very bleak situations; Arkansas has not seen it as bad. Further, the population density, which affects disease vectors, is radically different in Little Rock than it is in New York City. So…the solutions for Arkansas end up looking different. You can allow some things in Arkansas that would be akin to murder if you said New York had to follow the same pathways---because many Arkansans still live in rural areas, while New Yorkers are in much more constant physical contact. Their state needs to do things differently. We still need to respect each state’s needs and be good neighbors, but we cannot copy each other’s homework here.

4. This is probably the strangest turn of events in ministry that I’ll see. Right now, we are not meeting physically, which means we’re mainly reaching those people who have technology connections. I’ve long disliked overusing technology for church, believing it disconnects those with less money to buy-in and those with fewer opportunities to learn and use technology. But here we are: reliant on it. I think this means that long-term churches are going to need to increase some of the “life skills” used in discipleship: if we are living in a digital world, then making disciples must include helping with basic connection and communication tools for living in that world. We have left people behind with the digital pivot, and that is not acceptable.

5. This will further push the economy toward gig/part-time/pay-per-activity types of work and away from both salary and hourly engagements. I think we’ll see some economic and tax structure changes because of it, and given the almost criminal disdain for people shown by both the Legislative and Executive branches of the US Government, that worries me.

That’s just some thoughts on April 28, 2020, as I start trying to process “out loud” through my keyboard.


Monday, April 27, 2020

Service Recap for April 26

Another Covid-19 Weekend, another batch of services on the web. Here are the embedded replays of the whole service for Sunday AM, PM, and Wednesday night.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Service Recap for April 19

Well, there’s always something odd happening with the sound system at church, so there’s no audio-only recording from yesterday. But we do have the videos. Here they are:

That’s Sunday morning and Sunday night.

Here’s Wednesday night:

Monday, April 13, 2020

Service and Sermon Recap for April 12

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:

Sermon only:

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Service Replays for April 5

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:

Actually, this week I goofed up the audio feed. You’ll have to grab it out of the service video. As a word of advice, we start streaming 5-10 minutes prior to service start, so I’ve got the videos programmed to start at those points. You can back them up to see the announcement scrolls.

Sunday AM Service April 5:

Sunday PM Service April 5:

Wednesday PM Service April 1:

Morning Reflections from all week:

Sermon from May 19 2024

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