Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Sermon Addendum for Psalm 40

 So, looking at more of the materials related to Psalm 40, here are a few thoughts:

1. Some translations take "watery" as symbolic for "desolate." CSB is one of those, where they try to translate the meaning here more than the actual terms. That's one of the challenges of translation in sections of Scripture like the Psalms: poetry does not translate literally all that well. Imagery is likely used with meaning behind it, so what do you do with that? 

2. Psalm 40:5 notes an important point about the works of God. There is always more that God has done than what we know. We should emphasize the works of God as noted in Scripture, as these are the ones we know in common and know without error. However, do not assume that the Scripturally recorded events are the only things God has ever done or is doing. We should be willing to listen and examine what is happening so that we can compare it to what we know of God and see if it is His work.

3. Note that for Psalm 40:10 to be true, that David did not conceal God's constant love in the great assembly, David had to confess his sins to the great assembly. We should take from this the need to be open about our sinful behavior and not conceal it, but also to put the focus where it belongs: the grace of God. David's focus shifts to the grace of God. Is your testimony about God or about you?

4. Notice also that David links his troubles with his iniquities. He is not disclaiming responsibility for his problems: he knows the source is judgment for his sins. You don't get out of responsibility just because you get into God's grace. You still have to wrestle with some of the consequences. Including finding some way to repair your relationships here: can you imagine how much David had to work through with his kids, his wives, with Bathsheba, and ultimately with the people of Israel? 

5. The Psalm opens with discussing singing new songs and hymns of praise. I think we lose something we do not sing--and we lose that even if other people sing on our behalf. Singing is a good thing, and it's a long-standing habit of human beings. We should find the right things to sing about. It's also easier to sing together than recite together--you'll find that the times we recite words together, usually they are more rhythmic than normal speech. Why? Closer to singing.

And no, you don't have to hit the right notes. It helps but if we could all ease up on worrying about it, we'd be better off.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Sermon Recap for September 17 2023

 Evening all!

Here is yesterday's sermon as well as the whole video of our student-led service. That project is making progress. Slowly but surely!

Audio Player:


Monday, September 11, 2023

Sermon Recap for September 10 2023

 As an aside, it is so strange to sit here in a church office on the morning of September 11. I was in a church office, a different one, that Tuesday morning. The world we have is greatly shaped by what happened 22 years ago, and even more shaped by our reactions to it. You did not get a choice about what happened that day. You have had 22 years of choices.

On to the sermon

Monday, September 4, 2023

Sermon Recap for September 3 2023

Well, here we are into September already! Seems like just yesterday it was 100 degrees...oh wait, it was. Because we live in the South. And as we all know: there are 4 seasons in the South: Almost Summer, Summer, Still Summer, Warm Christmas...September marks the transition to Still Summer.

Sermon notes: I decided a few years ago to make every September a month in the Psalms. Slowly, but surely, I'm working from the beginning of the book to the end. I'm not taking on every Psalm but am moving somewhat sequentially through the Psalter.

Friday, September 1, 2023

September 1 2023 Life Thoughts

Since this is a personal blog that, from time-to-time, I point people to and say "You can learn about me by reading over here!," perhaps it's time to do some personal life updates. Besides the obvious willingness to ignore several red squiggles produced by Grammarly, telling me that I should not punctuate the way I have nor make "time to time" into a one-word event by hyphenating, what should you know?

I started this blog a long time ago. And yes, nearly in a galaxy far, far way, because that was in Mississippi. Since then, my family has moved to Southeast Arkansas, East Arkansas, Central Arkansas, and back (again!) to Southeast Arkansas. While that's been happening, my children have gotten 15 years older, my marriage has matured by 15 years, and I've gotten...hopefully 15 years more mature.

Whether or not that's true is, of course, open for discussion. Our oldest child was 7 when I started writing. Well, actually, she was 6. She's now 22 and a college graduate. The youngest is a high school senior.

There's been a lot of change. The thing is, that's the nature of life. Life changes. You can try to minimize the change in your own life, but the world around you is going to bring that change anyway. In 2008, when I started blogging, Blackberries were the big thing in mobile technology: you could tap out emails, etc., and they were high-end. People used Palm Pilots for digital organizers, but only those with enough time and money to learn how to use a digital organizer!

Since then, the iPhone and Android-system phones have altered the mobile landscape. Laptop computers have gotten cheaper, lighter, more powerful, and we've gone from being a family with two computers--the older one for some purposes, the newer for the more important purposes--to a family where everybody's got a laptop. And we've spent less on that than we did on the last new desktop we bought, somewhere around 2008.

Even if you have managed to avoid the change in your personal life, it has swirled around you. Now your bank doesn't really need you to come in--just do it all remotely. You can come in, except for those locations that locked the doors in 2020 and now only let you use the drive-thru, as if they installed sanitizers in the tube system. (Maybe they did, I don't know!) Walmart works differently now. 

The point? Change happens. You can resist it, you can ignore it, but it happens anyway.

The real question is What are you going to do about it?

You can try to get in front of it, but sometimes you look around and realize that you guessed wrong about which way it was going--that you've been so disconnected from the world around you that you missed what changes were happening! Imagine being deeply embedded in the best way to use a Blackberry. Or how awesome you made your MySpace page :)

You can try to resist it, but there comes a time when you just have to buckle down and figure out where you are. Remember when Walmart required you to wait on the only cashier on-duty to check out? Yeah, use that progress to a self-checkout.  You'll get out of there quicker.

You can flow with it, mindfully. Which takes time and effort. But it's worth it. The effort will keep you connected to the people and life around you, rather than having you isolated. You're not meant to live isolated.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Historical Thinking: August 31 2023

Thursday's post series is going to develop into one I'm going to call "Historical Thinking." Why? Because I'm a historian. Not in my spare time, but my academic training runs on two tracks: theology/ministry and history.

And since I spend most of my time, and most of this blog, on theology, I thought I'd bring a bit of history into the mix. Some of the time I'll focus just on the facts of a situation. Other times, I want to talk about methods and analysis and how we learn from history.

Meanwhile, let's start with reasons. Why do this?

First, there are a lot of appeals to history in our modern culture. How many times have we heard someone raise "Be on the right side of history?" when trying to make a moral point? Or how many social media posts allege that Joe Biden is "the worst president in history?" or that Donald Trump was "the worst president in history?" (As if Martin van Buren had never been born, honestly, people...) If we're going to appeal to history, we need to understand it.

Second, much of what we have learned about history is a bit oversimplified--by the way, the YouTube channel for "History Oversimplified" is hilarious. But we tend to sacrifice facts in favor of a narrative that fits our mood.

Third, history is fun. We just forget that sometimes :)

That's what I've got on this. Feel free to shoot me history questions or opinions...I'll be glad to argue about anything :)

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Book Advice

 Typically, Wednesdays are going to be posts highlighting a book recommendation or a specific book review, since do still occasionally get a free book that I need to review. Once upon a time I was much more involved in book reviewing and such, but as blogging as somewhat ebbed in the wider world and in my own time, that's kind of slid away. There are still a few options for books, but small readership blogs aren't quite as connected to them.

Today, though, I've mainly got some book advice, though it comes partly from the reviewer idea. One of the good things about the book review programs I used to do was that I read books outside of my normal batch of authors. The review programs put out a list of available books and, since it was free, I would grab an author I hadn't heard of or chase an interest that was a bit on the side.

For example, it was through book reviews that I first read Andy Andrews,  who remains one of my favorite inspiration-type authors. I've also picked up books on arts and corners of history and theology that I would not have taken time to read.

So the "book advice" I have today is simple: find a way that encourages you to read beyond your normal paths. Yes, you can and should read what you enjoy. And if you are reading theology, it is legitimate to filter bad theologians.

But you would do well to let other trustworthy people advise and develop your reading choices some of the time. One option is looking into book club and reading club groups. Another is something like Intervarsity Press's Book Drop program. I don't know if other publishers have similar programs, but check out your favorite ones.

And churches? This is something we should undertake: nudge people to read widely and encourage and enable the habit.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Sermon Addendum for August 27 2023


So, following up on the sermon from Sunday, a few notes:

First, on the practice of preaching: I spent longer on the intro story than is normal for me. That's just a different approach for me. It worked alright, though I know it threw a bit of a curve to people used to my normal rhythm. And that you sat that, waiting for us to get to the text. Also...it's always been annoying to me when preachers take too long to get to the text. And now I see why some preachers do it :)

Second, again on the practice of preaching: it's generally better to be sure the technology works if you're going to use it. There are a couple of points in here where I thought the screen was going to have information...and then it didn't. Don't rely on digitals that are not reliable. Even if you were the guy who installed them and got them working in the first place!

Third, as we worked through Hebrews 10, there's a reference to the people accepting the confiscation of their goods with joy. And then we had a moment of awkwardness after I raised the question of how we would respond if news came down that Christian people's personal property was going to be confiscated...nothing like awkward silence and murmuring in the midst of a sermon. 

That does need some development, though, about the example of people in Scripture. We should remember that the text often records the final status of affairs, not the process it took to get there. For example, in this case, it probably was not instant. It's hard to react to anything challenging with joy at the moment. It likely took time.

Second, we need to think about the reality that people referenced in Scripture are all normal people. The recipients of Hebrews? Normal people, who had rights and expectations and worked hard for their normal life, just like we do these days. They didn't get up one day and think, "Sure, this will be easy." 

We need to remember that it was hard for them, and it will be hard for us.

The solution is the same as it was 2,000 years ago: faith in Christ and support from one another. That is one place that we have to work on ourselves: the support for one another. We usually want to solve the problem before we help the person--"Okay, we need to figure out why this happened..." before we "let's get you a nap, a snack, and some time to process."

We can do both. We need to do both.

Oh---and realize: if persecution like property seizures or mass arrests hit Christians in America, it's no different than what our brothers and sisters in Christ have experience around the world for 2000 years. We have had a blessed three centuries of peace in this nation. We haven't used it like we should--we've become wealthy and comfortable rather than evangelistic and fruit-filled with things like love, joy, peace, and patience (Galatians 5:22-23). We had better use our blessings for what God intended them for, lest we spend our time and energy chasing blessing instead of chasing faithfulness.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Sermon Recap for August 27 2023

 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: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DougHibbardPodcast
Audible Link is coming soon! Search "Doug Hibbard" to see if it's there yet
The video is linked on my personal YouTube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/user/dheagle93
Sermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/Sermons

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Sermon Addendum for August 22 2023

Following up on yesterday's sermon, it's important for us to understand how much had changed in Israel leading into the time of Haggai. These were not simple times in Haggai 2, because the people of Israel were not really in a place to do what their ancestors had done: most of the people gathered for the dedication of the new Temple were born after the original had been destroyed. Many had come back from Babylon, where their songs had been much more akin to Psalm 137 than Psalm 24.

Additionally, it is worth remembering that we often see the past in what I've heard called "rosy retrospection." That is, we look back and think things were far better than they were: we remember the good parts, but one can turn the pages back to the end of 2 Kings and know that things in Jerusalem were not good at all when the Exile came. One can, and should, weep over the loss of good things from the past, but be careful to remember all the aspects of the past and do not weep for that which was wrong. We can, in our day, rightly weep that the time has gone in which you could leave your doors unlocked or when firearms at school were probably squirrel guns left in the truck in the parking lot. These losses are tragic.

It is not tragic, however, to have lost racial segregation or to have empowered women to flee abusive marriages--both of which are changes in law and social habits that started in the late 20th century as the sad changes happened. Be careful not to weep over things which are not worthy of it. The Israelites would have been right to weep over losing the Temple, but they should also have remembered it was their own idolatry that brought the Exile and destruction in the first place.

Further, looking ahead, we do have to separate what was the clear work of God in bringing the Messiah from what is our responsibility. God brought the greater glory to the Second Temple through bringing Jesus. We will not see the Messiah come back quite the same way, so this batch of events and promises is more about helping us see how God has worked in the past and draw hope and inspiration, rather than a template going forward.

Because God does continue to work, even in the days when it looks like there is very little left to work with.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Sermon Recap for August 20 2023

 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: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DougHibbardPodcast
Audible Link is coming soon! Search "Doug Hibbard" to see if it's there yet
The video is linked on my personal YouTube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/user/dheagle93
Sermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/Sermons

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Sermon Addendum August 15 2023

This past Sunday, we looked at three of the times that God led people across a body of water that would have been an obstacle. The main passage was Joshua 3 as they crossed the Jordan River coming into the Promised Land, but the other examples were Exodus 14 and 2 Kings 2. The first is the well-known crossing of the Red Sea and the second is Elijah and Elisha's crossing of the Jordan before Elijah's passing.

The primary aim was to raise our awareness that God does not always work exactly the same way, but He does always retain and demonstrate the same character. God does not change who He is, even as how He works adjusts in various times. For example, the ways in which God worked through faithful people to part waters was different in each story--each event was unique, though all three showed God is bigger than the obstacles in front of you. And bigger than the chaos.

What else can we gather from this? A few quick points:

  1. There are always obstacles. There are always challenges. Giving up is not the option that you think it is--notice what happens if you do not follow through from where you were stuck: the Egyptians get you. The Promised Land remains unentered. You never see the chariots of fire and glimpse the spiritual reality behind normal vision.
  2. Obeying God will bring you to those obstacles. We need to get over our mindset that obedience is always easy, that God will smooth the path before we get to the hurdles. We will encounter resistance and then we will have to come back to faith and obedience again.
  3. There are always next steps to take after the big ones. And those can be just as challenging.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Sermon Recap for August 13 2023

 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: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DougHibbardPodcast
Audible Link is coming soon! Search "Doug Hibbard" to see if it's there yet
The video is linked on my personal YouTube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/user/dheagle93
Sermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/Sermons

Here is this week's video from Mt. Olive as well as last week's presentation from Brian Baldwin from Hope City in Jacksonville.

Monday, July 31, 2023

Sermon Recap for July 31 2023

 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: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DougHibbardPodcast
Audible Link is coming soon! Search "Doug Hibbard" to see if it's there yet
The video is linked on my personal YouTube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/user/dheagle93
Sermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/Sermons

Monday, July 24, 2023

Sermon Recap from July 23 2023

 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: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DougHibbardPodcast
Audible Link is coming soon! Search "Doug Hibbard" to see if it's there yet
The video is linked on my personal YouTube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/user/dheagle93
Sermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/Sermons

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Sermon Recap from July 16th

Well, times are interesting around here--and that's not always a positive statement--so I'm a bit late. Also, last week was Praiseworks Arkansas, so I did not post the sermon from last week, either.

This means this is a link-heavy, video-embed-filled post!

First, the audio player, where you can choose which week you'd like to hear.

Then, videos!

July 16th sermon

Then, July 9th sermon

And now, as a bonus, from OBU, the Joyworks/Praiseworks Finale Concert!

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Sermon Addendum: Wrapping up the Flood

 As we finish off the Flood narratives, there are a few additional thoughts on the entire story that I think fit this category of “sermon addendum.”

First, we should note that the whole of the Flood situation arises because of God pouring out His judgment on the Earth. Sin has negative consequences and the accumulation of it gets worse and worse. That includes what we may believe is a disproportionate response, but is honestly as fair as it can be. We usually underestimate the impact of our choices—we downplay the good we do, but we also tend to substantially truncate the side-effects of the bad things we do. It is not really for us to minimize our own sins.

Second, we should notice that “Noah finding favor in the eyes of the Lord” does not equate to him being sinless. It just means he met with God’s grace in the situation. God does not require perfection to save you—salvation is a display of His grace. 

This is not to say that somewhere, somehow, perfection is not required. For lack of any better understanding, we see perfection in Jesus and that is how we are saved. His perfection, not ours.

Third, catch that the story is told with some repetitions: chapter 6 has Noah gathering 2 of every kind of animal and chapter 7 has 2 of the unclean and 7 of the clean. A reasonable understanding of this would suggest that Noah is bringing a breeding pair of all animals for survival and then additional animals for food and sacrifice. 

Fourth, one thing that is a bit questionable here: how does Noah know what is clean and what isn’t? The delineations between clean and unclean animals has NOT been given in Scripture. We do not get that information. There are suggestions that Noah knows this by received tradition, potentially dating back to Adam.

However, we do not know. It is here that I should perhaps remind you that, while we can try to fill in the gaps with what we imagine, that gap-filling is not the same as revealed truth. Even if you know the culture, know the Scripture, you do not know what exactly happened. That’s important to separate out. And remember: neither does your favorite Bible teacher or preacher know. I know you grew up hearing the story of Noah and this interaction with the world around him or that interaction, but we have only a few New Testament references to Noah and should be careful reading our current idea of “preacher of righteousness” back on to him. Hebrews suggests that the condemnation came from seeing Noah obey and choosing to reject God more than rejecting a tent-meeting style sermon series.

Fifth, there is always a debate about what animals were on the Ark, what animals were not. It is useful to remember that “kind” is not equivalent to “species,” for we are dealing with conversational vocabulary rather than scientific vocabulary. Something we should all realize is that, in post-Space Race America, we all have a basic science education well beyond what was once considered normal. So we tend to think in different categories than much of history has. 

Those are some of the post-sermon thoughts now that we are post-Flood.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

July 4

  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. 1998. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 3:50 PM July 3, 2023.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Sermon Addendum for June 26 2023

 This week’s sermon was a bit shortened because we also had the reminder and rehearsal of God’s work as we celebrated the Lord’s Supper. So, today we will have a brief thought or two about both parts of Sunday’s proclamation.

The first: I drew the sermon out of Isaiah 55. Since it was a “one-off” sermon, not really starting a series or continuing one in Isaiah, I did not do any background on the authorship or context of Isaiah. Also, the background on Isaiah takes a bit of time, which was another reason not to broach it on a Sunday morning. Isaiah has complications and I’m not even going there here and now.

The main part I want to highlight is that Isaiah 55 comes from the latter part of Isaiah, which has a markedly different tone than the earlier parts. Isaiah 6, for all its glory as the “call of Isaiah,” still has a very bleak feel. As one gets into the back parts of the book, however, Isaiah speaks more and more of restoration for the righteous. Especially for those who repent and seek that restoration. Isaiah 55 is no exception to this: there is a call-out that one should seek God while He may be found. 

From this, we should not take that there are times where God is missing or absent. Rather, see the idea as God declaring there will be a time when access is closed. The general idea is that God will, at some point, be present to execute judgment and seeking His mercy should be a priority.

I think there is something applicable here for the church: we want people to seek God’s mercy. That may require a modicum of expounding upon impending judgment, but the primary thing we long for people to do is find mercy. So let us proclaim His mercy.

The other time of our service was directed to the observation of the Lord’s Supper. Now, whole books are written about the theology of the Lord’s Supper, proper ways to observe the Eucharist, relevant paths to celebrate Communion—all of which weigh on the subject matter. 

You don’t need to stare at this screen long enough to sort through those. Instead, I would encourage you to focus on a couple of salient points:

1. I do not think we capture the meaning of the Lord’s Supper right when it’s a tagged-on ending to a service nor when we just sit in straight rows and our participation is simply to wait until we’re handed a disposable cup and a styrofoam-tasting wafer. There is a participation that we’re missing when we treat Holy Communion like getting a hot dog from a vendor at the ballpark.

2. The reminder that we are responsible for the sacrifice of Jesus—it is for us that His body was torn, that His blood was poured out—goes alongside the reminder that we are also the beneficiaries of that same sacrifice. One does not need to theologize this into weird pretzels. One can simply be very grateful, humbled, honored, and encouraged all at the same time.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Sermon Recap for June 25

 Because of unsafe road and weather conditions, we did not have services on June 18, 2023. So, here is the sermon from June 25!

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Sermon Addendum for June 12: More on Genesis 6

 June 12th’s sermon was on Genesis 6, which meant we took a speed past Genesis 5. I also did not delve too deeply into the background questions of identity for the “sons of God” and “daughters of men” or the Nephilim. Except to point out that the Nephilim were *not* rock monsters. Sorry Russell Crowe.

Now, one reason to have left these issues aside is that they are not settled and definite issues. That is, there are debates among people who take the Bible seriously about what is really going on with the best way to translate and understand what we find in the text.

As an aside: you will find two basic groups of Biblical scholars: those who take the task of Biblical scholarship seriously and those who do not. Those who do not may not take the Bible part seriously—doubting that the Bible has any divine advantage in its existence—or they may not take the scholarship part seriously—never really studying or asking questions, just buying into the easiest understanding they can find. Those who take Biblical scholarship seriously do so by recognizing the Bible is God’s word to humanity and doing the work to understand what is present there. Those folks occasionally come to different conclusions, and that’s when I have learned to be less agitated about which conclusion a preacher has come to.

So, let’s take the first question: “sons of God” and “daughters of men.” The LES Septuagint cuts straight through it and takes “sons of God” as angels and “daughters of men” to be any human females. The other major view is that “sons of God” refers to the God-honoring offspring of Seth and the “daughters of men” refers to the less worshipful offspring of Cain, taking the idea that the two lines of descent had been separated between those who follow the LORD and those who did not. Then, the two lines mingled, and all of mankind turned to wickedness.

Now, which is the better one? In favor of the former view, the phrase “sons of God” only occurs elsewhere in the Old Testament in reference to angelic beings. In favor of the latter view, there is no indication anywhere else in the text of Scripture that it is possible for angelic beings to procreate with human beings—and the one passage that might touch on the idea would be understood to be against it. (Matthew 22:30)

These arguments then go on in a loop, with proponents of each view assuring you that the loop stops with them. This is why I did not bother with it in the sermon: there are scholars of both conclusions I respect. And the end result is irrelevant to the Christian life: God promises at the end of the Flood narrative not to destroy the world that way again, and I doubt any of us would show more love, joy, faith, or patience because that might be angel next door than we will because we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. If you would do more for an angel than you would for God…there’s a problem.

Now, on to the Nephilim: how you take the Nephilim may depend slightly on how you resolve the earlier dilemma: some who hold to the angelic beings mingled with human beings will say the Nephilim are the offspring of that union. I’d note you still have to deal with v. 4’s “and also after this” if you take this view: after what? The Flood? Nobody is supposed to make it there that is not on the boat.

The other way to take the Nephilim is the idea of “mighty ones,” that the point Moses is making is to anchor some of the legends of “old times” into the era around the Flood. This is my preferred understanding, but I have not studied it well enough to make a solid statement. 

And again—how does resolving this impact the life of a believer? It really does not. You can love your neighbor as yourself without worrying whether he’s a Nephilim. It won’t matter. So you can have a good discussion over it, you can ask questions, you can leave it open…some issues are just not going to finalize, and being okay with that is good.

When I hit matters like this, I try to leave them out of the sermon, usually striving to focus on what we *do* know, and then what we follow that up with in action.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Sermon Recap for June 11 2023

 Good morning! Here are the digital forms of the sermon from yesterday.

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: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DougHibbardPodcast
Audible Link is coming soon! Search "Doug Hibbard" to see if it's there yet
The video is linked on my personal YouTube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/user/dheagle93
Sermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/Sermons

We are in Genesis, and I did not spend all day trying to prove the Flood or anything of that sort. Honestly, if you are looking for those proofs, the Sunday morning sermon of a church is not the time to find them. That's for Bible study times or (at our church!) a great question to ask on a Wednesday night. Or a question I'm glad to talk about one-on-one or in a small group. Because I think those answers are important, but trying to provide them on Sunday morning can get a bit laborious for folks who don't really want to go there. And the sermon is usually intended to be more motivational and inspirational than it is informational. 

That's actually one of the things I've long had to work on: I'd be glad to do informational for days on end. But eventually the congregation needs to go home :)

All that to say, feel free to bring the questions. I am a fan of honest questions being dealt with as plainly as we can. God is not afraid of you and your questions.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Sermon Recap for June 4

 Good evening! Running late this week with civic responsibilities...here's the sermon recap from Sunday, June 4th!

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Sermon Recap for May 28 2023

 It's Tuesday, so we're going to hit two birds with one stone and have both the sermon recap and the sermon addendum post put together. One thing I am considering is that, since we only do one sermon per Sunday around here, doing that on a regular basis anyway.

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: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DougHibbardPodcast
Audible Link is coming soon! Search "Doug Hibbard" to see if it's there yet
The video is linked on my personal YouTube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/user/dheagle93
Sermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/Sermons

Now, on to the "addendum" portion:

Genesis 4 picks up the story of the first family in Creation: Adam and Eve and the birth of their first child, Cain. His birth gets a verse. Abel, his younger brother, gets a verse. 

And that leaves a decently large number of gaps in the story. First, of course, we can see that years pass by that are summarized simply by the statement that "Abel took care of flocks, Cain cultivated the ground." How many years? We don't know. Most likely less than 130, because Genesis 5:3 tells us that Seth is born when Adam's at 130.

How did they learn these skills? Did they have other options? Does the typical depiction of raw cavemen developing agriculture fit here? Or did Adam and Eve leave the orchard with more knowledge and skill and it was easier to develop life?

I think we do them a disservice to make them low-intelligence, barely-human individuals. Keep in mind, childbirth is not an easy thing to deal with--even in modern day, women still die from complications of childbirth (and more in the US than almost any other 'developed' nation, which we should see as shameful because it is; no reason for a woman to be 10 times more likely to die from medical pregnancy complications in the US than in New Zealand), but Eve has both Cain and Abel and hardly anything is said about challenges from this. 

That's not an ignorant first couple, folks. We do them a disservice when we wholesale copy the evolutionary mindset onto the first chapters of Genesis and make Adam and Eve and their immediate descendants barely competent with life.

Onward we go: there is an interesting fill-in from the LXX (Greek translations of the Hebrew Scriptures) in Genesis 4:8, because the available Hebrew text does not have what Cain said. It just kind of hangs there...Cain said to Abel his brother... and then nothing. 

We will jump ahead to address a wrong-headed nonsense that shows up from time-to-time: there is just no justification to think the "Mark of Cain" (Genesis 4:15 references the Lord putting a special mark on Cain) has any connection to a racial or ethnic concept. This also comes up later, after the Flood, with Ham and Canaan. It is an abhorrent twisting of the Word of God to justify racial hatred. Don't do it. And it does NOT matter which of your theological heroes said, he was wrong.

Moving on: we wrap the chapter with Cain's descendants, including the infamous Lamech who threatens extra vengeance for something as simple as a wound. You also get the implication that many of those who started or popularized various skills are in Cain's descendants. This is another space where we are short on information: obviously, Cain has a wife. Who is she? From whence did she come? The logical answer is...his sister. We're not fond of that answer, but it is difficult to find a better one.

The chapter closes on a somewhat higher note, as Seth is born, seen by Eve as the replacement for Abel. Seth's line begins, and "at that time, men began to call on the name of the Lord."

That's a good step. Probably, one could craft a whole sermon on that idea but I didn't :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Sermon Addendum for Genesis 2 and 3

 Picking back up on the "Sermon Addendum" idea, which is to share with you here some of the ideas and points that end up edited between sermon preparation and sermon delivery, let's look at a couple of ideas on Genesis 2 and Genesis 3.

First, Genesis 2 provides a slightly different view on the Creation narrative. It is neither corrective of the Genesis 1 account nor is it a "different Creation." Rather, it looks more relationally at the development of Creation. This is also evidenced by the use of "Lord God," which uses the Divine Name of God that is considered "personal" to the Israelites. 

Second, the NET translation uses "orchard" where many of us are used to the word "Garden." This fits well, as we're mainly focused on trees here and the connotation of "garden," especially in the English-speaking world, is more about neat rows of veggies and flowers. So you have trees. Lots of trees.

Worth noting as well is that "Work" is not bad in the Garden/Orchard. We need to remember that as we fuss about work--we don't like work because the Fall wrecked it.

There are also some things that we just do not know about Genesis 2 and 3:

We do not know how long Adam and Eve are in the Garden/Orchard. It's just not in the text. So be careful with the view that it was instant or that it took millennia. We just do not know.

We also do not know what life is like outside of the Garden. We expect it is still some form of peaceful and proper relation of all things, but there is no information.

Chapter 3 gives us a variety of questions about talking snakes and other things that stand out, but the big question remains: what is it to follow Jesus?

The other big question that arises: Where was the Garden/Orchard? We don't know. I personally think it did not survive the Flood and that we will not encounter it again.

Those are the short notes. Maybe I'll share more of the longer ones later!

Monday, May 22, 2023

Sermon Recap for May 14 and 21

 Well, here we are at the end of some of the most chaotic weeks we've had since moving to Crossett--and anyone who has moved knows that moving weeks are always chaotic. We got Olivia finished with her 4 years at Ouachita, Angela finished with her first year, Steven done with his junior year of high school...and that involved moving both girls home and then working out the storing and sorting of their stuff. Some goes back to OBU in the fall, some goes with Olivia wherever she ends up launching adult life.

All that to say: wow. Tired and blessed really do go together.

Anyway, here's the May 14 Sermon:

And the podcast player:

Now, as to May 21st? Well...there's a button push on the live stream app to mute the sound. You should NOT push this button. I, however, pushed the button. If you'd like to see the service but not hear it, head over to the church's Facebook page! 

Monday, May 8, 2023

Book: Three in One


Picture of Book Cover
And we're back to BOOKS! Look, one of my great pleasures with writing is that it drives me to read more. I think my mental push on my doctoral process sputtered when it stopped being focused on me reading and learning and shifted to...something else. I'd far rather read, interpret, explain things than do just about anything else in the academic world. Anyway...on to this week's book!

Three in One: Analogies for the Trinity by William David Spencer is from Kregel Academic Publishers. A softcover, it weighs in at 216 pages counting the appendices and excluding the indices. Black and white printing throughout, this is a text-priority book, not one filled with pictures or diagrams. 

Overall, the thrust in Three in One is to look at how Christians communicate the truth of the Trinity. While Spencer is not out to prove the Trinity, he does open the book with background on this theological point. After all, why examine analogies for the Trinity if there isn't one?

That particular detail addressed--and it is illustrative, if not comprehensive--Spencer moves on to define the intentions of this work. The goals here are to express if it is appropriate to use language to explain the Trinity and, if so, what to say. One can easily assume his point will be that language is appropriate, otherwise, it's a pamphlet, not a book.

The next steps taken are to examine various analogies and explanations of the Trinity. Spencer takes the time to explain them well, then goes forward to show the shortcomings in many analogies but also notes how they still help us see and understand God better. 

Overall, I find his conclusions helpful about the use of language to explain the realities of God. Further, his summaries of various well-known analogies for the Trinity are easy to grasp. 

The subtitle of "Analogies for the Trinity" may be a bit off, as it is really more of an examination of the use of analogy than it is suggested analogies. Still, that's minor quibbling. I found Spencer's work to be helpful in expressing the inexpressible truth. 

And, of course, he references this: 

Sermon Recap for May 7 2023

 Yesterday, we had our normal services at Mt. Olive Baptist and we also hosted the local school district's baccalaureate service. The Rev. Jamie Staley, DMin, of First Baptist, Crossett, preached that service. It was a good message that, because I wasn't thinking, didn't get videoed. So you'll have to take my word for it. He brought a great message on Joshua 4, reminding us to remember the past, live in the present, and hope in the future.

Now, our other sermon was just me. Fortunately, someone else is responsible to video those, so here we go:

And the audio-only:

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Sermon Addendum for April 30

 This past Sunday's sermon was on Genesis 1:26-28. (See here) Since we only have a few weeks that we're spending in Genesis, I bypassed looking at each of the days separately after Day One. Let's look at each day here.

First, of course, is Day One: God creates light, separates it from darkness, and names both the day and the night. He sees the light as "good," something which pleases Him and is the result that He intended. Further, the idea that "God saw that the light was good" should be understood in the idea that "God saw to it that the light was good" or "saw it to completion." We should not think God wasn't sure how the Light was going to turn out.

Next, we see Day Two: The Expanse between the waters, the "waters above" and the "waters below." This, well, we are not entirely sure how to picture this work. Part of that is because we are not entirely sure where the "waters" came from--they are there in verse 2 for the Spirit of God to be hovering over. What we see here is the result of a separation, where the sky is made between water above us and water below us. There is also some question about how this informs the Flood in Genesis 6-9, so it may be that we cannot fully picture it because the world was fundamentally changed in the Deluge. God is bringing about an orderly Creation. You can't have the Sun until you have a sky for it to shine in, after all.

Then, Day Three brings us the establishment of dry land and the growth of plants. Here we would do well to again remember: God is above and beyond and outside of His creation. This was and is an important reminder when many would find deity in the trees and plants and never look up--God created all of these. Further, they were part of the work of the same God. 

Day Four establishes the Sun, Moon, and stars. These are given to mark days, years, and seasons--those great astronomical calendars of the ancient civilizations? Those were societies using the signs in the heavens exactly as God intended humanity to use those signs! Now, worshiping the signs rather than the Sign-maker is a problem called idolatry, and that's a place we still tend to go wrong.

We come to Day Five and get fish and birds, so all you outdoorsy folks are now two-thirds of the way to happy: there's ducks to hunt and fish to catch. The deer come on Day Six. We see God creating the large spaces for the living things to dwell in, then the living things that dwell in them.

The capstone is Day Six, where the animals and the humans are created. There is a separation in those two, and the creation of people was the focus of the sermon so we'll leave that aside.

Day Seven will feature in a future sermon, but it is important to note that there are not six days of creation. There are seven. We ought not pull the Lord ceasing from His creating away as if it is not part of the action.

Now, one can easily get out into the weeds with some of the varied understandings of this passage: are the days symbolic? 24-hour? How does the latter work with no Sun until Day Four? How does the former work with the phrasing of "evening and morning"? 

Both sides of that argument miss that the main point here is that God has worked in Creation in ways that were unique to the descriptions of how the world had come to be used by other nations at the time. The focus here is on the fact that God did it--and did it ALL. Nothing is beyond His scope or concern.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Sermon Recap for April 30 2023

 Here are the sermons for the past couple of weeks!


And a link to where the Ann and Doug morning videos are:

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Sermon Addendum for April 16 2023 Genesis 1

 I'm going to bring back a blog feature that I was doing, oh, a decade ago...If you don't know it, most preachers and teachers of the Bible usually generate far more information than fits in the short time allotted to their presentation. For example, if I put in everything I found in a passage--background, connections to other parts of Scripture, inspiration thoughts--I would likely preach for more than an hour or two. 

Which, while I know most church folks will act like this is okay, it is not okay. The mind can only absorb what the other end can endure, and pews are far more comfortable if you lay out on them and nap than if you're sitting on them. Plus, there's long enough between breakfast and lunch.

Which means: let's put it here. This will still not be everything additional, but just a few thoughts that sit in the background.

First of all, this is creation narrative. And I've written about Genesis 1 more than once here on the blog, just look for the Genesis tag. It's important because it is the background on which the rest of the Scripture unfolds. Even Revelation: there is no part of the story of God working that does not unfold inside the world created in Genesis 1. 

That ought to spur us to care about what we see here.

Second is the idea that this is creation narrative given in a specific context. That context is what we tend to call the Ancient Near East (ANE) in the middle of the second millennium BC. The points of emphasis will answer questions that would be asked in that time frame. The information will be accessible to people in that era--the finer details that we can see with an electron microscope or the Hubble Telescope will not be addressed. 

So there is more present in the story about the work of God Almighty in contrast with the creation stories of other nations--especially Egypt!--than we might look for in our modern era. It's a bigger deal that God overcame chaos in creation, because in some ANE stories, chaos is part of the creating act. Not so in the Bible: Chaos is overcome in the; Wisdom (see Proverbs) is involved.

Third, we have to admit there are parts of our scientific understanding of reading God's general revelation (the remains of that which He has created) that are not mentioned nor easily subsumed into the account of creation in Genesis 1. This rolls back into the second point: context of the original audience.

What do we do with that?

Depends on how trustworthy you think the Almighty God of the universe is. There's trusting Him to say what He meant to say in the text, and there's thinking we should correct Him. I'd recommend the former.

Finally, note that this passage can be seen as somewhat poetic. It doesn't quite rhyme, but it's more of a narrative with some features of poetry. That affects how we should understand it to a certain extent, but does not mean we dismiss what is plainly stated.

And that's the Sermon Addendum for April 16 2023 :)

Monday, April 17, 2023

Sermon Recap: April 16 2023

 Well, it's been a while since I put the sermons on the blog. They do still live on in the podcast repeaters and the YouTube channel. However, since I'm starting a series in Genesis, I thought I would restart the blog postings.

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: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DougHibbardPodcast
Audible Link is coming soon! Search "Doug Hibbard" to see if it's there yet (I know it's available on Amazon Music!)
The video is linked on my personal YouTube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/user/dheagle93
Sermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/Sermons

You'll noticed on the video that we moved the pulpit off the platform and put it where the first pew used to be...there was just too much physical distance between me and the congregation. The Worship Team still plays from up on the platform because I have not gotten around to redoing all the wiring (and probably won't!) but I needed to be less "on-high and distant" while preaching.


Monday, February 13, 2023

Sermon Recap for February 12 2023

 Well, the writing rhythms haven't really been working for me, so I'm still trying to tinker with my daily/weekly habits to get it working right.

Meanwhile, I've been preaching through Revelation 2 and 3. Here are the two most recent videos and the embedded audio player!

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

MOBC23 Bible Reading Matthew 3

 In today’s reading, Matthew 3:13-4:17, Jesus goes to John for baptism and then on to the wilderness where He is tempted. There are really a couple of things going on here that we should look at, and while they seem disconnected, there is a relationship.

First, the baptism of Jesus occurs. This is seen by most of us as the start of His public ministry time--before this, He has perhaps done a bit of teaching but when it comes to thinking of the work He does in the Gospels, it all really starts here.

Moreover, this is one of the passages in Scripture from which we really get the idea of God’s eternal existence in Trinity, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While this is not a doctrine that can easily be explained and must instead be held in faith, it is also easily gotten, well, wrong. It usually drifts into modalism where the idea is that God is sometimes Father, then Son, and now Spirit. But the Baptism Narrative disproves that, as all Three are present at the Baptism: the Father speaks from Heaven, the Spirit descends, and the Son is standing right there.

In all, we’re better off trusting by faith, as the church long has, that God is Trinity. One of the earliest explanations (translated, not by me) puts it this way:   

That we worship one God in trinity and the trinity in unity,

   neither blending their persons

   nor dividing their essence.

       For the person of the Father is a distinct person,

       the person of the Son is another,

       and that of the Holy Spirit still another.

       But the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one,

       their glory equal, their majesty coeternal.

So, clear as mud? Good. Not everything is explainable, no matter our desire. The main point here is that Jesus went to John for baptism, and from this we take that we should be baptized as well, because if Jesus said it was part of His obedience, how much more might it be part of ours? Not necessary for salvation--after all, the One who needed no salvation was baptized--but part of walking righteousness.

The second part of this passage gives us the temptations placed before Jesus. We would do well to notice how He is tempted, how He withstands the temptations, and then to remember that it is very unlikely that this was the last time Jesus was tempted by sin. After all, we are not only tempted three times in a row then left alone, are we? And if Jesus is our Savior, Lord, and example to follow...

As you look at the three expressed temptations, also note that later on during His ministry, Jesus does multiply food--to serve others. He does walk right through an angry crowd that wanted to stone Him--protected because it was not yet His time. He consistently draws worship away from earthly things--what do you think cleansing the Temple partly included?

We see that not only does Jesus reject the temptations (not The Temptations, He probably likes Motown) in one setting--He shows that He could have done each of these things. Sometimes, we prepare ourselves to reject temptations that will be out of our power--what good is it that I say I would reject misusing great political power? I’ll never be elected President to have any! Be ready to face temptations that you will actually face.

After all, Jesus faced temptations that He could have done but rejected them. That is what He has strengthened you to do--if you will trust in Him.

(Above quote is from the Athanasian Creed)

Best explanation of the Trinity you'll find? This video: 

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

MOBC23 New Testament Reading: Day 2

 Matthew 2:13-3:12 is today’s reading. It picks up with the Christmas narrative and shows Joseph, Mary, and Jesus fleeing from Herod into Egypt. Why Egypt?

This is fun, because there is both an eminently practical answer to that question and a spiritual answer. Practically, there had been a Jewish community in Egypt since at least the time of the prophet Jeremiah, so about 6 centuries at the time of Jesus’ birth. Egypt was a different Roman governing unit, so Herod could not just send his guys down to kill the baby. Roman senior leaders tended to help each other out, but you couldn’t just send armed troops into each other’s territory, and if you wanted a baby dead you would have to seriously explain the situation. Egypt, then, is practical and safe.

There was another reason, though. Hosea 11:1 refers to God summoning His Son out of Egypt. The Israelites would have long associated that to their own Exodus and deliverance, but Matthew connects it to Lord Jesus being brought back into Israel after the family’s flight to Egypt. This is often how God works: we see practical, He is working out promises.

Then we see the great tragedy of Christmas, the slaughter of the baby boys of Bethlehem. Some would minimize it, noting that Bethlehem did not have that many babies since it was a small town. Certainly the traditional image of 1,000s is overstated, but how many does it take? One child is one child too many--let us never underplay a tragedy because, since it didn’t impact us, it was too small.

Joseph, Mary, and Jesus then return to Israel and move to Nazareth. Here, Jesus would have been to grow up in the family business of construction/carpentry/stonework. It’s very likely Joseph work with all these materials, not just one or the other.

There’s a story here about how our culture affects our understanding: we mainly get the ‘carpenter’ image from the Reformation Era when Martin Luther, in the midst of a German forest, translated the word in Greek that usually means “builder.” What did they build with in Germany? Wood. So...that influenced his translation.

The rest of the section picks up John the Baptist as he declares his message of repentance. I’d lean hard on Matthew 3:8 and remember that we should bear fruit that shows repentance. That does not negate salvation by grace through faith. It just involves faith that results in action.

Monday, January 2, 2023

MOBC New Testament 2023

Welcome to the Mt. Olive Baptist Church New Testament Read-through for 2023! 

Our read-through-the-New Testament plan starts here: Matthew 1:1-2:12

And some thoughts:

Good morning and Happy New Year! We are starting off 2023 with the goal of reading through the New Testament and Proverbs this year.

We’re going to start by tackling the Gospel of Matthew. If you have a study Bible, you can look at the information about authorship and audience for the Gospel’s original intention. For our purposes, we will stick with the tradition that Matthew was written by Matthew the Apostle, also known as Levi. He was called by Jesus from his work as a tax collector (Matthew 9 includes this event) and church tradition suggests to us that he was killed for his faith in Jesus.

He starts with the genealogy of Jesus, tracing the heritage of the Messiah back from Abraham down. That gives the placement of the Incarnation in the overall context of God’s work in the life of the world through the people of Israel. It also establishes Jesus’ lineage as heir to the throne of David.

These kinds of things are often considered less important by those of us who live in democratic nations, but for the 1st Century, this was a big deal. Further, the connections are noted throughout the changes in Israel’s life. Special note should be taken of the women mentioned explicitly in the life of Jesus. None of them matched the “ideal” of the era--and likely would never be featured as “ideal” Biblical women by some even today.

The passage does not stop with the genealogy, though, but goes on to record one of the two birth narratives of Jesus. Matthew gives us the story of the angel appearing to Joseph and the visit of the Magi, two subjects well worth your further reading.

To summarize it all, briefly, though, is this: the birth records show Jesus as the King of Israel, the Virgin Birth shows Jesus as fully human, and the visit of the Magi reminds us that He is with not only Israel but all humanity.

As Matthew 1:23 reminds us: He is called Emmanuel, which means “God with us.”

Sermon Addendum for Psalm 40

 So, looking at more of the materials related to Psalm 40, here are a few thoughts: 1. Some translations take "watery" as symbolic...