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.
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
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
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:
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
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:
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:
Tuesday, May 2, 2023
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.
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