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.





Historical Thinking for June 18 2024

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