Monthly Archives: June 2010

Memories, Recollections, and Days Gone By

We are back in the places of my childhood and years gone by in Arkansas.  It is the first time we have visited in the summer since following the call of God to the Dakotas and ministry there.  I was quickly reminded why I prefer the climate of the Dakotas to my native state.  We were greeted by triple digit heat indexes and temps above 90 for nearly every day of our visit to this point.

This afternoon we went to the wedding of one of my wife’s younger sisters.  I couldn’t help but think back to the days when I first started dating Amelia and this little girl would come running to greet me at the door with a bull rush intended to knock me backwards.  She doesn’t do that anymore of course, but we seldom continue to do the things we used to do.  Life is growth and change and rare is the time or place that we can “go back” to the way things were.

In a lot of cases, this is a good thing.  God has made us in such a way that growth is a sign of life.  Things that don’t grow; die, whether it is slow and hardly perceptible or quick and shocking, the result of both is identical.  As we grow and change, the memories of where we have been and how we have changed can prepare us for the days ahead.

Today, we passed over ground that my wife and I walked years ago as a young couple in love and eager to be married.  And we walked those grounds as a couple who is still young at heart, very much still in love, and now blessed with three children who witness that love and testify of it on a daily basis.  On this day to celebrate fathers, I am blessed indeed to walk the paths of days gone by with a mind that is able to look forward to the days yet to come that are sure to be filled with joy, growth, sorrow, and many other things that only the Lord knows for sure.

While it is good to come and remember the past, it will soon be time to go back to the fields of the present and the service that God has called us to yet again.  I am excited to go and keep making memories for future days gone by.

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Categories: family, friends, Fun, Love, Parenting, personal, summer, Thanksgiving | Leave a comment

Far from Ordinary

I grew up in a church that didn’t pay much attention to the traditional “church calendar.” The Christian inventions of Lent and so forth were far removed from my experience.  In the last few years, I have come to learn more about both the “Christian calendar” with its “feasts” and the timetable of God’s Feasts that it was designed to supplant for the most part.

Last week, there was a post over at iMonk about the current season of the church calendar.  Apparently it is referred to as “ordinary time.”  I again had one of those moments that makes the Bible simply come alive for me as I pondered and wondered anew at all of the calls in Scripture for God’s people to wake up.  If the church has long been in a habit of pushing the snooze button right when God’s timetable starts to heat up; that call makes much more sense.

Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.

-Revelation 3:2-3

There are few in the modern church who understand this admonition fully.  The book of Revelation is patterned after and alludes to the fall Feasts of the Lord from the Torah.  Verse 20 of this chapter, about the Lord standing at the door and knocking, isn’t directed as a plea to a sinner to “let Him in.”  It is a plea to those who call themselves by His name and claim to be His church to LET HIM IN.  Go read it and see.

These days are far from ordinary.  They are treacherous and wonderful at the same time.  The month of Tammuz is starting on the calendar and a day of fasting that the Jews still observe falls on the 17th of that month (corresponding to June 29th for us).  This is one of the fast days that the Lord declared of old would be changed to a day of feasting instead.

“Thus says the LORD of hosts: The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace.20“Thus says the LORD of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, even the inhabitants of many cities. 21The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the LORD and to seek the LORD of hosts; I myself am going.’ 22 Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD. 23Thus says the LORD of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'”

-Zechariah 8:19-23

This hasn’t happened yet, but it will happen one day.  This time is far from ordinary, it is one of the darkest times of the year for God’s people.

Earlier today, I preached from John 10 and the fact that we are to be a part of one flock with Israel.  As people of the same flock, we should be aware of what is going on with each other.  In a little over a month, the Jews observe their most solemn fast day, the 9th of Av.  Most Christians have little understanding of exactly what this day means, and some overlook such things as mere folly.  Others (who I would daresay are unbelievers) will chalk these kinds of things up to mere coincidence.  God doesn’t do coincidence!

Consider this history of the 9th of Av:

WHAT HAPPENED ON THE NINTH OF AV?

On Tisha B’Av, five national calamities occurred:

• During the time of Moses, Jews in the desert accepted the slanderous report of the 10 Spies, and the decree was issued forbidding them from entering the Land of Israel. (1312 BCE)

• The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar. 100,000 Jews were slaughtered and millions more exiled. (586 BCE)

• The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans, led by Titus. Some two million Jews died, and another one million were exiled. (70 CE)

• The Bar Kochba revolt was crushed by Roman Emperor Hadrian. The city of Betar — the Jews’ last stand against the Romans — was captured and liquidated. Over 100,000 Jews were slaughtered. (135 CE)

• The Temple area and its surroundings were plowed under by the Roman general Turnus Rufus. Jerusalem was rebuilt as a pagan city — renamed Aelia Capitolina — and access was forbidden to Jews.
Other grave misfortunes throughout Jewish history occurred on the Ninth of Av, including:

  1. The Spanish Inquisition culminated with the expulsion of Jews from Spain on Tisha B’Av in 1492.
  2. World War One broke out on the eve of Tisha B’Av in 1914 when Germany declared war on Russia. German resentment from the war set the stage for the Holocaust.
  3. On the eve of Tisha B’Av 1942, the mass deportation began of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka.

Far from ordinary time, these are the days of awe. Awe at what God has done and is preparing to do. This is the lead in to the fall Feasts of the Lord that herald his second coming. He fulfilled the Spring Feasts on their exact days or appointed times. He will do no less with these. I have written elsewhere about these issues and I invite you to investigate them further.

I will leave you with this admonition however.  Wake up, the time is far from ordinary.  It is God’s appointed time.

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Categories: Bible Thoughts, Christianity, church, Culture, End Times, Feasts, Hebrew, InternetMonk, Prophecy, Signs of the Times, Southern Baptist, theology | 1 Comment

Sunday Morning 6/13/10

Getting the sermon posted a little earlier this time because we are going to be heading out for a wedding this week.  There will be no sermon audio next week, but we will be back to normal on the following Sunday.  Today’s sermon is about listening to and following the Shepherd.  May God richly bless you through His Word.

Listen to the Shepherd

Sermon notes 6/13/10

John 10:1-30

  1. Knowing the Shepherd’s voice – John 10:1-6
    1. Hear His Voice – the Word of God
      1. Exodus 19:5-6 – Shema – hear and obey
        1. Many translations translate this as obey
        2. Deuteronomy 6:4 – it is translated as hear
      2. The voice of strangers – those who teach contrary to God’s Word
    2. Entering through the Gate/Door
  2. Jesus is the Door – John 10:7-10
    1. Who are the thieves and robbers? – Ezekiel 34:1-10
    2. A desire to bless – John 10:10; Ezekiel 34:11-15; 25-31
  3. The Good Shepherd
    1. The problem with hired hands
    2. Sheep from another fold – v. 16
      1. Israel is God’s original flock – Ezekiel 34:30-31
      2. The Gentiles who “hear the Shepherd” are the rest
        1. Isaiah 56:1-8
        2. Romans 15:18 – The Gentiles who hear and obey
      3. One flock – One Shepherd
    3. Join the flock – John 10:25-30
Categories: Gospel, John, Podcasts, Sermon, Sheep | 1 Comment

Friday Funnies

Well, Friday is nearly over already, but we had to go out of town, so I am getting my new weekly feature out a shade later today.  There wasn’t a whole lot that I had collected up to this point, but there has been a ton of funny stuff out there today in college football anyway.  Here we go.

First in my collection is a recent story about “warning labels” being applied to documents from early US history.  Things like the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence for instance.  The warning label reads like this:

This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today.  Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work.

This is classic silliness that I would have first suspected was satire if not for the quotes from the people at the publishing company explaining why they though this was in fact necessary to put on these works.

In the realm of other things that are funny to me, there is the recent spate of issues with both Apple and AT&T.  First there was the “network issues” at the unveiling of the new iPhone.  Then the was the massive security breach of the sort that Apple usually castigates Microsoft for and swears that it can never happen to their users.  Yes, I am laughing rather sardonically at this.

The funny stuff in college football is numerous, as I mentioned.  First, there is the slap-down that USC has been given by the NCAA.  This is another darkly funny story, but since one of the victories that USC has had to vacate came against my beloved Hogs and one of the backup quarterbacks at USC is a former Hog “troublemaker/whiner” I have some reason to chuckle.

A second issue is the apparent demise of the Big 12 conference.  It is far from a done deal, but it appears that the Texas schools will miss Arkansas after our departure from the SWC even more as their follow-up conference effort is going bust as well.

That’s enough for now I suppose.  Enjoy your weekend.

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Categories: Fun, Humor, razorbacks, Tecnology | Leave a comment

Content Matters

Contrary to much of modern thinking, content is extremely important.  This is particularly true in regard to the Gospel and the truth of God’s Word.  You might not guess this to be the case listening to many who talk about it.  This past week, I stumbled across a short story regarding Nancy Pelosi and how her faith guides her political/government work.  She is quoted as saying that public policy must be guided “in keeping with the values” of Jesus Christ, “The Word made Flesh.”

Well, this sounds pretty good to most any evangelical Christian.  Later in the story however, it seems that things go off the rails:

“And that Word,” Pelosi said, “is, we have to give voice to what that means in terms of public policy that would be in keeping with the values of the Word. The Word. Isn’t it a beautiful word when you think of it? It just covers everything. The Word.

Fill it in with anything you want. But, of course, we know it means: ‘The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us.’ And that’s the great mystery of our faith. He will come again. He will come again. So, we have to make sure we’re prepared to answer in this life, or otherwise, as to how we have measured up.” (emphasis mine)

Fill it in with anything you want?!?  Excuse me, but God doesn’t allow us to define Him for ourselves.  He goes to great pains to tell us about His character and who He is and what He is like, so that we don’t have to guess about it.  We can’t just “fill it in with anything” we like or want.  And that is the problem with much of modern society and even many who claim the name of Christ.  They have “filled it in with anything” they want to.  What results is no longer biblical Christianity, but a religion of their own design.  It violates the prime commandment of Scripture to have “no other gods before Him.”  God didn’t leave us to guess or fill in the blanks with our best ideas.  He told us what we need to know in His Word.  Yes, it is a beautiful thing.  It isn’t my truth or your truth; it is THE TRUTH.

Categories: Apologetics, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, Culture, Signs of the Times, theology, Truth | Leave a comment

Getting Defensive

I am not referring to myself in this case.  This past week, I have watched with interest as Israel has gotten roundly criticized for trying to defend itself.  There has been a ton of “ink” already expended on this issue, but I wanted to put a few thoughts out there and share some links for those who might be interested in such things.  This is another example of Israel being hounded for doing those things that any other nation in their position would be doing as well.  This embargo of Gaza is not only prudent, it may be the last line of defense they have left at this point.

When a “respected” member of the media starts sounding like the “peaceful” terrorists on board the ship that was raided, you have to conclude that sanity took the week off for some folks.  Apparently, some people can claim with a straight face that “a cache of bulletproof vests and night-vision goggles, as well as gas masks” is really humanitarian aid.  If you missed it, these are just some of the items that the Israelis found on board the lead ship from the flotilla that they intercepted.

With offers of escort for the next efforts coming from countries like Turkey and now Iran, one has to assume that this will blow up into a bigger deal at some point.  Amazingly, these nations have not learned from history as Israel has shown repeated attempts at direct conflict end badly for the aggressors (see the 6-day war for example).

But all is not lost, as someone in Israel realized that the truth encased in good satire can be a powerful thing.  So I leave you with my favorite video of the week (maybe even the year or decade)

Categories: Culture, Fun, Humor, politics, Signs of the Times, Truth | 4 Comments

Sunday Morning 6/6/10

Here is the sermon from this morning’s service.  We had a wonderful time in the Lord and it is one of those mornings when I wish I could include the singing on this audio as well.  The songs were a real blessing and the sound of everyone singing was so wonderful as well.  To listen to the sermon, just click the play button below and the notes are available below that.

Caught in the Act

Sermon notes 6/6/10

John 8:2-12

  1. The Teaching of Jesus – John 8:2
    1. It was astounding to those who listened – John 7:14-24
      1. It was thoroughly grounded in Torah – Matthew 5:17-20
      2. Practice what you preach – Matthew 23:1-3
      3. Seeking to kill Him – v. 19 – John 5:18
    2. Testing the Teaching
  2. Looking for Flaws – John 8:3-6
    1. Why ask a question with an obvious answer?
    2. Executing judgment – Capital punishment
  3. Did Jesus annul the Law in order to let the woman go?
    1. The woman was guilty – v. 4
    2. Discrediting witnesses – John 8:7, 10-11
    3. Go and sin no more – v. 11-12; Ezekiel 33:10-20
      1. Isaiah 51:4-8
      2. Christ died for the unrighteous
        1. Isaiah 53
        2. Isaiah 59:14-21
      3. Jeremiah 31:31-34
      4. Psalm 119:9-16
    4. No more witnesses – Revelation 12:7-11, 17

Categories: Gospel, John, Podcasts, Sermon | Leave a comment

Sunday Morning 5/30/10

I got behind in getting this sermon posted on the site.  Here is the sermon from 5/30.  The primary sermon text comes from John 5:19-47.  Click the play button below to listen and as always the notes are included below as well.  May God richly bless you through His Word.

Working with Authority

Sermon notes 5/30/10

John 5:19-47

  1. A Declaration of Dependence – John 5:19-29
    1. Jesus doesn’t work His own way
    2. The Father’s Will – He shows the Son what He is doing
    3. Passing from death to life – v. 24
  2. Calling Forth the Witnesses – John 5:30-47
    1. The testimony of two or three witnesses
      1. Deuteronomy 17:16; 19;15; Matthew 18:16
      2. Jesus is offering testimony for His claims
    2. The Testimony of John – John 1:7, 19
    3. The Testimony of Jesus’ works – John 2:23; 10:24-25
      1. Works are not enough to prove anything – Deuteronomy 13:1-5
      2. Teaching must line up with the Word of God
    4. The Testimony of the Scriptures – John 5:39-47
      1. Search the Scriptures!
        1. This is not a derogatory comment – v. 39
        2. It is an imperative command
        3. Proving eternal life – stump the Sadducees
      2. The Glory of God – v. 41-44
      3. Following after men – v. 45
  3. Operating under authority – Believing Jesus – John 5:24
    1. John 6:29 – the Work of God
    2. Hebrews 13:15-21
Categories: Gospel, John, Podcasts, Sermon | Leave a comment

Friday Funnies

I am thinking of starting a new recurring bit here on the old blog. I like to hold on to stories that interest me to blog about when I have some free time, but I think we all need a little humor in our lives in these wild and wacky days we live in. To that end, I am going to start throwing out some stories and such that I have found during the previous week or so that amuse me. Be warned, my sense of humor can be a little warped at time and as you should already know, one person’s idea of humor can be very different from another person’s idea of humor. With those caveats, prepare to laugh.

First up is an article about unfortunate web addresses. Funny things happen in a world where punctuation isn’t allowed because of programming vagaries and web addresses are ripe for this kind of issue. My personal favorite from the article is the website for American Scrap Metal (www.angelfire.com/alt/americanscrapmetal). It is doubly funny because they didn’t get stuck with it like they would have with http://www.americanscrapmetal.com or some such.

My next offering comes from the world of politics, where people got all bent out of shape over a lady who mentioned Jesus and Christianity in an invocation at a recent meeting about the textbooks in Texas. The funny part comes from the fact that the words she used were a direct quote of former Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren (he of the removal of prayer from schools fame). You can watch the video at the other site, but the text that she used reads thusly:

“I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses. Whether we look to the first Charter of Virginia or the Charter of New England or the Charter of Massachusetts Bay or the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, the same objective is present – a Christian land governed by Christian principles. I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it: freedom of belief, of expression, of assembly, of petition, the dignity of the individual, the sanctity of the home, equal justice under law, and the reservation of powers to the people…I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country.”

She was roundly condemned by knee-jerk reactions from the anti-religious folks who had no memory of history and no idea that we have fallen so far. It is darkly funny to me (I warned you about my sense of humor already).

My last funny offering for the day comes from the world of science and could be called, “Yes, Virginia, There is No Global Warming”. This guy is actually contending that another “little ice age” could be just around the corner. If you remember, back in the 70’s or so, that was all the rage in the media before global warming became the rallying cry of the day here more recently. It got some bad with the data that they stopped calling it warming and started referring to it as “global climate change.” I think it just looks comical and it makes me smile as they show their foolishness for all to see. Bonus story in this category: the islands aren’t sinking as the sea levels rise like scientist said they would.

Happy Friday everyone and keep laughing.

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Categories: Christianity, Culture, Fun, Humor, politics, Science, Signs of the Times | Leave a comment

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