Monthly Archives: September 2010

Running up the Score

This is a quick post, but I found this article last night and thought I would add it to my series of posts about the Bible being confirmed against the critics who say it is a bunch of stories, myths and lies.  The latest example comes from a group of scientists who have used computer modeling to show that it was indeed possible for the waters to have parted as stated in the book of Exodus when the Israelite escaped from Egypt.  Not only was it possible, it would have had to have happened in exactly the way the Bible described it with a strong east wind.  Check it out for yourself:

As the Bible story goes, Moses and the fleeing Israelites were trapped between the Pharaoh’s advancing chariots and a body of water that has been variously translated as the Red Sea or the Sea of Reeds. In a divine miracle, a mighty east wind blew all night, splitting the waters and leaving a passage of dry land with walls of water on both sides. The Israelites were able to flee to the other shore. But when the Pharaoh’s army attempted to pursue them in the morning, the waters rushed back and drowned the soldiers.

“The simulations match fairly closely with the account in Exodus,” Drews said. “The parting of the waters can be understood through fluid dynamics. The wind moves the water in a way that’s in accordance with physical laws, creating a safe passage with water on two sides and then abruptly allowing the water to rush back in.”

Chalk up another one for Scripture.  God’s Word stands the test of time and testing over and over again.

On a totally unrelated note (other than the post title), my fantasy football team racked up some huge points and ran up the score on my opponent this week.

Categories: Apologetics, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, Faith, Football, Fun, Questions, Science, Truth | 1 Comment

Sunday Morning 9/26/10

We had a great day in the house of the Lord today.  The singing was a true blessing and my heart is filled with joy as I remember the fellowship we shared after the service at our pot blessing before the business meeting and heading out to do services in two of our area nursing homes today.  It was a full day, but a very blessed one.  The sermon this morning comes from Acts chapter 24 and examines Paul’s testimony and witness before Felix.  May God richly bless you through His Word.

Trials and Tribulations in the Way

Sermon notes 9/26/10

Acts 24

  1. Flattery will get you nowhere – Acts 24:1-9
    1. High priest and elders
    2. Tertullus – the spokesman
    3. Three charges
      1. He stirs up riots – somewhat true
      2. He is a ring leader of the sect of the Nazarenes – also true
      3. He attempted to profane the Temple – false
  2. Paul’s defense
    1. No flattery – just facts
    2. Peaceful in the Temple – not trying to start a riot
    3. A member of “the Way” – the sect of the Nazarenes
      1. Calling it a sect means it is still a part of Judaism
      2. The Pharisees and Sadducees are also referred to as sects
    4. Not profaning the Temple – Paul was going to worship there
      1. He was bringing sacrifices – Acts 21:22-24, 26
      2. He was “purified” in the Temple – Acts 24:18
  3. Presenting the Gospel to a “captive” audience
    1. Felix knows about the Way
    2. Drusilla, the Jewish wife – a daughter of Herod Agrippa I
    3. Righteousness, self-control and the coming judgment
    4. Conviction of sin – Acts 24:25 – judgment of fire
Categories: Acts, Podcasts, Sermon | Leave a comment

Sunday Morning 9/19/10

We had a wonderful time in the Lord this week.  I have been blessed the last few weeks to be doing pulpit supply for another church in our area, so I have had a chance to “practice” my sermons before they are recorded for this site.  Truthfully, it doesn’t matter how much practice I get, because they are not about how well I can preach; it is about God speaking to His people, including me.  I pray that you are richly blessed through God’s Word as we are challenged together by it.  This sermon comes from Acts 20.  You can listen and follow along with the notes below.  May God bless.

Caring for the Flocks

Sermon notes 9/19/10

Acts 20

  1. Encouraging the disciples – Acts 20:1-6
    1. The disciples from Ephesus – after the riot in Acts 19
    2. Gathering the collections for Jerusalem
      1. In Macedonia – 2 Corinthians 8:1-5
      2. In Corinth – v. 2-5
      3. In Philippi – the Feast of Unleavened Bread – v. 6
  2. Tragedy in Troas
    1. The first [day] of the week
      1. Luke uses Jewish reckoning of time in Acts
        1. Sabbath to Sabbath – Acts 13:14, 43-44; 17:2; 18:4
        2. Paul’s observance of the Sabbath is well-documented
      2. This happens on the night at the end of Sabbath
    2. Havdalah and “many lamps”
      1. Rekindling of fire after the Sabbath
      2. Speaking until midnight
      3. “Lucky’s” bad luck
        1. Resurrection and havdalah
        2. Matthew 28:1
  3. Meeting with the Ephesian leaders
    1. Calls them to him at Miletus
    2. The message of repentance
      1. Paul preaches the same Gospel/Good News as Jesus
      2. The mystery of the gospel of Paul – Ephesians 1:9; 3:3-11
    3. Shepherding the flock
      1. Teaching the whole will of God
      2. Protecting against those who would distort the truth
        1. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
        2. 1 Timothy 4:1-5
      3. More blessed to give than to receive
Categories: Acts, Disciples, Gospel, Podcasts, Resurrection, Sermon, Sheep | Leave a comment

Making Time

A good name is better than fine perfume,
and the day of death better than the day of birth.

-Ecclesiastes 7:1

One of my favorite musicians is Rich Mullins.  I have loved his music for so long and more than that, I really love the way he spoke plain and straightforward truth without a lot of pretense.  One of my treasured CDs is a special compilation that was put together composed of unreleased tracks and excerpts from concerts.  In one of those, he is speaking about a song he wrote that speaks about death and how a reviewer criticized it as “morose.”  He went on to remind the audience that for Christians, death is not a depressing thing or a thing to dread and mentioned this Scripture from Ecclesiastes.

Today, as I have celebrated the anniversary of another year of life, I also remember that life has an allotted time here on earth.  We are not able to celebrate the day of our own death ahead of time.  It would be an odd thing indeed if we were to even try.  But by celebrating life, and the time that we are given; we acknowledge how precious each day and moment is.  In fact, it is good for us to fully engage ourselves in the moment.  We do not have any other place to be than in the moment we are living.  So many waste time by worrying about what might happen tomorrow or fretting over what did happen yesterday.  Both rob today of its time.  Today is all we are given.  This moment is all we have.  And while the spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime moments are the ones that most people chase; we experience far more of the ordinary, everyday moments that we can make the most of at all times.  Rich had something interesting to say about that as well:

It is for those every-once-in-a-while kind of moments – far more than for those once-upon-a-time ones – that we can be most thankful. It is in those moments that we find some sense of who we are. Regardless of how grand or how common the event of the moment is, in it we see ourselves at our absolute best – focused, poised and pure – no compromise, no ulterior motives, no self deception or pretense. We see what we are like when we have no point to prove or score, no bills to fit, no scrutinizing to endure… We meet again that child in us who stills loves to swim naked in the cold, quick-running waters of the now – the child in us who can feel in his skin and very bones the warmth and brilliance of the sun. In those moments there is that flash of astonishing recognition: this is not a child who is merely in us – this child is us.

As I start another year of time measured by the metric most appropriate to me personally (my birthday), I am focused on making the most of the time that I have been given.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

-Ephesians 5:15-16

Categories: devotional, Discipleship, personal, Thanksgiving | 2 Comments

Picture Perfect

I was reading some blogs and ran across an interesting question that was posed in the comments of one by the blog’s author and a frequent commenter here, Steve from theoldadam.  The question revolves around Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5 that instructs us that we are to “be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect,” which is Matthew 5:48 to be specific.  What does it mean to “be perfect?”  Is this a serious instruction for us or is it some kind of expression intended to point to our inherent imperfection in some way?

There are many who would suggest that it is the latter.  In fact, there are many who look at the entire Sermon on the Mount section of Matthew (chapters 5-7) as some kind of uberlaw that is unattainable and used to exaggerate our own sinful state.  I even found myself in this same category for many years.  I had long assumed that Jesus was “raising the bar” if you will and elevating lust to the level of adultery and hate to the level of murder.  I believed that Jesus was pointing out the utter inability of humanity to attain to God’s standard at all.  The last year or two has seen a shattering of that mode of interpretation for me.  When I saw this question about the perfection statement; it got me to thinking again.  What is Jesus trying to say? Continue reading

Categories: Bible Misunderstandings, Christianity, church, devotional, Discipleship, Faith, Freedom, Gospel, Grace, Kingdom, Law, Love, Messiah, ministry, Questions, Salvation, theology, Truth, Yeshua | 23 Comments

Sunday Morning 9/12/10

We had a wonderful time in the Lord this week.  The sermon text is from Acts 17 and 18 and covers some of Paul’s work in making disciples.  You can listen along by clicking the play button below and follow along with the notes if you like as well.  May God richly bless you through His Word.

Go and Make Disciples

Sermon notes 9/12/10

Acts 17:1-18:23

  1. Thessalonica and Berea – a contrasted response – Acts 17:1-15
    1. Jews – more converts in Berea
      1. Those who study the Scriptures
      2. John 5:37-40
    2. Background information from 1 and 2 Thessalonians
      1. 1 Thessalonians 2:2-4; 13-20
      2. 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5 – to Athens
  2. Contextualizing the Gospel with the wisdom of the world
    1. Paul and the Greek philosophers – Acts 17:16-34
    2. Using the wisdom of this world fails
      1. Babbler – an insult of Paul’s use of philosophy
      2. A sound foundation – God the Creator (Romans 1:18-23)
      3. Using philosophy falls short
      4. Unable to bridge the gap – 1 Corinthians 1:17-25
  3. Making tents and disciples in Corinth – Acts 18:1-23
    1. The false charge – Acts 18:13; (Acts 21:20-21; 24)
      1. Paul doesn’t get to defend himself here; see Acts 25:8
      2. Sosthenes – 1 Corinthians 1:1
    2. Paul’s vow – Acts 18:18-23
      1. Probably a Nazirite vow – see Acts 21:23-24
Categories: Acts, Disciples, Podcasts, Sermon | 2 Comments

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year Part Two

This post is a little more serious in nature, and in the spirit of blogging, part two is above part one.  This post has nothing to do with football, but everything to do with this “time of the year.”  It is Rosh Hashana, the head of the year.  You have probably seen it on your calendar and never paid it much attention, which is a shame.  I preached a sermon about it this past Sunday and I invite you check that out if you want some more details about it.

I was more fascinated by a blog I read today from FFOZ about this holiday.  It is a perspective that I hadn’t given much thought lately.  The fact is that our way of dating things (any calendar) is very much an arbitrary thing.  For instance, this day is believed to be the anniversary of the creation of Man from a Jewish point of view and this marks year 5771 since the creation of the world on that calendar.  This day is also commemorated with the blowing of trumpets or shofarim.  I am looking forward to celebrating with our own church family as I try again to blow the 100 blasts laid out for the celebration on my own shofar, including the final triumphant blast of the “last trump,” a term which most Christians will no doubt recognized from the NT.

Putting some of that aside, we all like the idea of new beginnings or getting a fresh start.  I still remember a line from the movie Forrest Gump uttered by one of the hookers who came to Lt. Dan’s apartment on New Year’s Eve:

Don’t you just love New Year’s?
You can start all over.
Everybody gets a second chance.

We all recognize that life is full of new beginnings, but sometimes we limit ourselves to those that are arbitrarily chosen for us.  Life is cyclical and some of those cycles create their own set of new beginnings because in a cycle an ending of one means the beginning of another.  Certainly God works with us in this manner more often than we realize.  We frequently cover the same ground while learning new things from the journey.  Scripture is like that and the Torah reading cycle highlights this pattern.  I have spent a couple of years now working through the reading cycle systematically, if still imperfectly, and have been amazed at all that God has shown me during that time.

Back to an earlier point, and one that is made in the post by FFOZ, we all mark time from significant events in our own lives.  I celebrate my birthday (there is another one just around the corner) along with the birthdays of my wife, children, family and loved ones (one of those was just this past day in fact).  We mark the passage of time since these events first occurred.  We have the occasional need to place a marker in time at a significant event of other kinds as well (like the stone that Samuel placed in 1 Samuel 7:12, marking a literal place in space and time).  For me this is the most wonderful time of the year, it is a time of renewal and beginnings.

L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu [May you be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for a good year.]

Categories: Christianity, Culture, Discipleship, Feasts, Hebrew | Leave a comment

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year Part One

I am going to do two posts tonight that are completely different, so take your pick or read them both.  This one is about football.  Tonight we had our fantasy football draft for a league comprised of folks from here in people in the DBC (Dakota Baptist Convention) here in North Dakota.  I have played in fantasy football leagues several times before over the last 10 years or so.  I even won a public league two years ago on Yahoo against a bunch of strangers I had never met.  Which brings me to this; this is the first time I have played in a league where I knew any of the other managers.  It is also my first time to be the “commissioner” of a league as well.  This will probably make for a very interesting football season.

I generally like fantasy football, but I find that it messes with the way I watch the games.  I always find it weird to be less concerned with how my favorite NFL team (the Cowboys) is doing and more concerned with seeing “my players” scoring points (even against the Cowboys).  I am determined not to go overboard with this and just have fun.  And I look on the bright side, at least the “trash-talking” will be clean.  I like my team, although I made a couple of dumb mistakes with WR’s.  I can fix it via the waiver wire most likely, so everything is good so far.  It’s football time.

Categories: adventures in the cold, Culture, Football, friends, Fun, Humor, personal, Southern Baptist | Leave a comment

Simple Idolatry?

There was a story that caught my eye a few days ago, but I held back on commenting about it right away.  Let me make one thing very clear.  I am not writing this as a Catholic bashing thing.  There are certainly no monopolies on this type of behavior among professing Christians exclusive to a particular denomination.

With the down economy, it seems some are turning to “house-selling kits” that are a little unorthodox(pardon the pun).  After reading the story, it is clear that this isn’t just a “Catholic” thing.  As a matter of fact, the priest that they interviewed actually called the whole thing superstitious himself.  I think the real problem is that a lot of those who profess Christ are so used to looking for God in all the wrong places that they have forgotten the right place to look.  We have made idols out of so many things.  I will never forget this display that left a nonbeliever leveling accusations of idolatry for instance.

The original article is terrible by the way.  The writer conflates the practice of Hindu home consecration rituals with the Jewish custom of putting a mezuzah on the doorpost (even while correctly stating that its presence is to be a reminder of God, not a source of blessing).

More illustrative however,  is the rather similar ritual that the writer mentions from Buddhism that attempts to “protect a house from foreclosure.”  Buddha has no more pull than St. Joseph and both of these rituals are ultimately looking in the wrong place.  The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob doesn’t “do business” with people like all the other false gods of man’s design.  If you want to know how he feels about using an idol, even if it is intended to be used in “his name,” I suggest you check out Exodus 32.  It isn’t pretty.  Those who would follow Jesus must flee from idolatry, in all of its forms.

Categories: Christianity, Culture, Faith, Roman Catholic, Signs of the Times | 2 Comments

Sunday Morning 9/5/10

We had a wonderful service this week.  I preached about the Feast of Trumpets because we are planning to hold a celebration later this week and I wanted to run a refresher for everyone regarding this day.  The sermon notes are pretty detailed for this one and I used a powerpoint during the service as well.  You can check out the powerpoint if you want by clicking on the link below and follow along with the notes as well.  Listen to the sermon by clicking on the play button below.  May God richly bless you through His Word

Sermon 9-5-10 Yom Teruah overview

The Feast of Yom Teruah

Sermon notes 9/5/10

  1. These are the Lord’s feasts – Lev. 23:1-2
    1. The spring feasts are prophetic of Christ’s first coming
      1. They were fulfilled on the exact days that the feasts occurred.
    2. The fall feasts are prophetic for Christ’s second coming
    3. We are looking at Yom Teruah
  2. There are several idioms for Yom Teruah in Scripture (Num 29:1 for this name) (slides 4-6)

    Yom – Day ; Teruah – acclamation of joy or a battle-cry; especially clangor of trumpets, blow an alarm; rejoicing, shouting

    1. The Day of the Awakening Blast
    2. The time of Jacob’s trouble”
    3. Yom HaDin (Day of Judgment/The Opening of the Books/Opening of the Gates)
    4. Yom HaKeseh (The Hidden Day)
    5. Ha Kiddushin/Nesuin (Wedding of the Messiah)
    6. Ha Melech (Coronation of the Messiah)
  3. Yom Teruah is spelled out in Leviticus 23:23,24
    1. It is a memorial – zaw-kar’ – means to mark (so as to be recognized) i.e. to remember; to mention; be mindful
      1. If the Lord has no remembrance of a person or nation they have been rejected by Him
        1. Luke 13:27, Matthew 7:23, Matthew 25:41-46, Mark 8:38, Luke 9:26
      2. We want to be remembered by the Lord
        1. Numbers 10:9, Malachi 3:16-18
      3. The trumpet of the Lord – 1 Cor. 14:8, Ps. 47:5, 1 Thes. 4:16, Zech. 9:14, Ps. 89:15
      4. Zephaniah 1:14-16
  4. The Day of the Awakening Blast
    1. Daniel 12:2 and Isaiah 26:19 show that this is not just a NT idea (resurrection)
      1. 1 Thessalonians 4:-13-18
      2. Notice the Feast of Trumpets images (shout, trumpet)
  5. The Hidden Day
    1. This feast is the only one celebrated at the first of the month
      1. It is kept as one long day and is the Hidden Day because no one knows the day or the hour when it will start. It is symbolically hidden even from Satan so that he would not be 100% aware of its arrival, but God has shown it to us. 1 Corinthians 2:8-10
      2. We are to be awake and alert (the Last Trump explanation)
        1. 1 Corinthians 15:51-53
    2. We are not supposed to be in the dark about it. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5)
      1. He comes as a thief (Rev. 3:1-3)
        1. This is to the dead church
        2. Revelation 3:17,18 and 16:15
        3. The Thief in the night is a term for the High Priest
        4. Matthew 25:8-13
      2. We are supposed to be watching
        1. Luke 12:37-46 – The good servant is watching and the evil servant isn’t.
        2. Matthew 16:3 – Jesus tells them they should know the signs of the times
        3. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5
        4. Ezekiel 33:2-7
        5. Jeremiah 6:10-19
        6. Isaiah 58:1
Categories: Feasts, Podcasts, Sermon | 1 Comment

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