Friday, December 22, 2006
Christmas evening will mark 8 years after I placed my faith and trust in Jesus Christ. I am looking forward to being reminded anew and afresh of the grace of God. I am so grateful that God gave me a second chance!
For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior
that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
(my Greek knowledge being limited - please assist)
Some interesting things from verse 4 that I will share, and perhaps you will be able to direct me to other observations.
1. All the verbals in this verse are participles, and aorist.
2. Two are passive, and all three are accusative masculine plural.
3. I have personally limited my language / syntax searches to the book of Hebrews - a good idea?
What to do with this limited start?
- The verb 'fwtizw' (sorry, I don't know how to add the Greek font) only appears twice in Hebrews: 6:4 & 10:32.
- This verb 'geuomai' appears just three times: twice in this set of verses (6:4,5) and then in 2:9 as well.
fwtizw - to enlighten, in both passages seem to indicate a conversion experience.
geuomai - to taste, in both passages seem to indicate an experiential experience.
What I am trying to determine, is to answer the all-time conflict found in this passage: is this referring to a loss of salvation, etc or something else. Since I have just begun and really left you not much to work with, I would really appreciate direction.
Having said that, I will continue to wrestle through the text myself and see what I can come up with - fully dependent of course on the Holy Spirit -Who is my Helper.
side note: today was Mocah Gevalia in the pot - strong too! Since it is a chilly day, it was a good thing to warm my mitts on a mug of this joe!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Here are the titles of the 10 chapters:
- Do you thirst for God?
- Are you governed increasingly by God's Word?
- Are you more loving?
- Are you more sensitive to God's presence?
- Do you have a growing concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of others?
- Do you delight in the bride of Christ?
- Are the spiritual disciplines increasingly more important to you?
- Do you still grieve over sin?
- Are you a quick forgiver?
- Do you yearn for Heaven and to be with Jesus?
Just typing those chapter headings up - again, made me re-evaluate where I am spiritually. I guarantee that if you read this book, you will be challenged in your daily walk with Jesus. I know I was.
On another note, I am going deaf. Really. I am finding that it is getting harder and harder to hear things. I find that especially in a crowded room or a room with lots of background noise that I can barely hear at all. This really drives me (and my wife) crazy.
I was just reading Hebrews 5:11 and the author of this epistle speaks to the recipients and says, "...you have become dull of hearing..." Now, that is one type of hearing loss I want to stay away from. I always want to be sensitive to the things of Christ! Here the author states that they have much to say about Christ, but the readers just can't handle it! Oh my! May it never be said about me... about you... that we are not listening to the precious things of our Lord.
Read Hebrews 5:11 - 6:3 and study these things out to see if they are true about you.
Nothing jolts you back to reality like a good challenge from God's Word.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
A lot has happened since the last time we shared a mug o' joe together. I have seen an uncle leave this life for the next. We experienced the loss of a transmission in our 2000 Ford Windstar. My first invoice for dental improvements arrived...at the tune of $2401. I have begun, and finished perhaps 3 or 4 books. There is a light at the end of the Greek Exegesis tunnel - and it is not a train afterall.
I've just finished reading the Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell (pastor of the famed Mars Hill Bible Church located in Michigan). I must admit that I like Rob Bell's style - its fresh and personable. However, some of the things I read in his book really concerned me. I appreciate his passion for Christ-followers to be genuine and loving and unconformed to a religion. It is this passion that misdirects him into rejecting some basic tenets of following Christ; things like: the Way of salvation, the absolute authority of scripture and others. There are good things in his book as well - don't get me wrong. I greatly appreciate his 'out of the box' look at the way the 'church' is 'doing church'. We do have it wrong in some areas - and we do need to change those areas. Its just that we can't ignore the timeless truths as presented in the Bible. In the Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell has left the building of conservative Christ-following.
I spoke earlier of transmission trouble with our primary family vehicle. It just 'all of a sudden' died on the way home from church one night. It required placing a rebuilt tranny in the van - at the cost of about $1935. I just didn't have the extra lying around. This came immediately on the heels of the $2401 in dental work. (which wasn't lying around either). My wife and I have learned from long ago that God fulfills His Word as read in Matthew 6&7. We have continually seen Him provide for our necessities...and beyond. And, true to His timing, He provided miraculously again. Our church, hearing of our need, collected over $3000! God is so good. His grace has extended through His followers once again. Thank you CBC.
With the completion of the last four verses in 1 John 5, I will have translated my first book of the Bible from Greek to English. I consider this a great accomplishment - and have new found respect for any scribe of yesteryear. Thank God for my Bible software (Bibleworks 7.0) - which saves me great amounts of time in the process. And just to put your hearts at ease, I do the work first by myself - and then double check it with the software. There is no easy route to doing things correctly. I have enjoyed this semester - and it is hard to imagine not going to class on Tuesdays and Thursdays after I finish on the 14th of December. Perhaps I will continue in my translating with other books...I don't know.
Well, God bless you for reading my scattered thoughts. Post a comment and let me know what you think of what I've said. I'll be starting another pot o' joe soon, so pull up a chair, bring your favorite mug and let's examine the daily jolt.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
I have finished the book I was reading by Steve Gallagher (Intoxicated with Babylon) - this is a must read! It is so convicting - it deals with worldliness, and let me say that I have much to work on.
I am currently reading three new books:
- Confessions of a Pastor: Adventures in Dropping the Pose and Getting Real with God - (by Craig Groeschel)
- Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, but Nobody Wants to Die: or the Eschatology of Bluegrass - (by David Crowder)
- Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and its Implications - (by D.A. Carson)
On order is Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith. So, what are you reading? Care to share?
Tomorrow (Sunday, 11/19/2006) I am preaching at our church. I am speaking on Psalm 145 and the title of my message is taken from vs. 21 "My Mouth Shall Speak the Praise of the Lord". 5 main points of what we should praise God for come out of this passage (there are doubtless more that you could come up with):
- Praise God for His Greatness
- Praise God for His Goodness
- Praise God for His Governing
- Praise God for His Giving
- Praise God for His Grace
Pretty cool aliteration, eh? Come & listen, won't you? May God challenge your heart as He did mine in reference to Gratitude.
Another miscellaneous item, and then I must go. I upgraded my phone with verizon a couple of days ago. I am now the proud owner of the Motorolla Q. Let me say that it is taking some getting used to. I am still not completely comfortable with the Bluetooth, etc - and will probably be talking again with Verizon about it. But it does combine my phone and PDA all in one - which is going to be really helpful.
There really isnt much happening - outside of today is the opening day of deer season... and I am sitting in my living room! That's okay - I should be able to get out sometime. Well, its time to refill the mug of java... Gevalia's costa rica coffee today! Here's to the daily jolt we all should experience!!
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Two books I recommend reading:
1. 10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health by Dr.Whitney
2. Intoxicated with Babylon by Steve Gallagher
More to post later... until then, God bless.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Thursday, October 12, 2006
We were praying for 100 teens. Bad weather set in, we scrambled to rent a local facility due to our AWANA ministries occupying our own building, and we ended up with 44 kids! Praise the Lord! Of those 44 kids, 9 came to know the Lord as their personal Savior! That is so awesome!
I am very excited that our teens got to witness God moving among them. It was encouraging to me... and made me realize that all the work was worthwhile to see kids get saved. God is truly good all the time.
Our goal now is to follow up on all visitors and hopefully be able to disciple the new Christians. Would you pray that God would enable us to maintain these contacts? Thank you!
Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
Ephesians 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,
16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
At the cross of Christ an amazing thing happened: the barrier was broken down. What barrier is this a reference to? If you go back to vv.11ff you notice that there was a clear distinction being made of the Gentiles and the Jews. In v.14 Christ is referenced as having made both groups into one. The joining of the Gentiles and the Jews through the work on His cross.
This was radical thinking & we have lost what a jolt this must have been in Jewish society. Society was centered around the Temple in Jerusalem. It was the center of worship. Even if you lived elsewhere in Israel, and visited your synagogue regularly, you knew of the significance of the Temple. You would travel there to observe various religious activities. However, if you were Gentile, you were limited in what you could do at the Temple proper.
Read what Edersheim wrote in his book, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services - (pp.22,23):
"Court of Gentiles:
It was the rule when entering the Temple to pass in by the right, and when leaving it to go out by the left hand. The great Court of the Gentiles, which formed the lowest or outer enclosure of the Sanctuary, was paved with the finest variegated marble. According to Jewish tradition, it formed a square of 750 feet. Its name is derived from the fact that it was open to all - Jews or Gentiles - provided they observed the prescribed rules of decorum and reverence. In this court tradition places eating and sleeping apartments for the Levites, and a synagogue. But, despite pharisaic punctiliousness, the noise, especially on the eve of the Passover, must have been most disturbing. For there the oxen, sheep and doves selected as fit for sacrifices were sold as in a market; and here were those tables of the money-changers which the Lord overthrew when He drove from His Father's house them that bought and sold (Matt.21:12; John 2:14). Within a short distance, in the court, a marble screen 4 1/2 feet high, and beautifully ornamented, bore Greek and Latin inscriptions, warning Gentiles not to proceed, on pain of death."
Gentiles were not allowed the priviledge of close worship as the Jews. This all changed when Jesus died on the cross. Surely He rent the veil separating us from the Holiest of Holies, but He also made it possible for Gentiles to gain access to the Father (v.18).
Not only access, but peace as well. Peace between Gentiles and Jews - between all men and the Law - between all men and God. Every day it seems that I learn more about the precious sacrifice that Christ made on my behalf.
Will you join me today in thanksgiving because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross?
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Anyway, the booth looks really good. I was just going to make it out of 2x4's and plywood...
painting it with spray paint. However, I found some naugahide (sp?) material - kind of looks like fake leather - that I placed around the plywood, pulling it tight, making it appear to really be 'high-class'. To the sides I attached this material with furniture tacks, which gives it a classic look. The top of the 'counter' was made from some left over material I had from some bathroom work we had done. It came out pretty good! It took most of the day to finish it - so I was glad to be done & have it placed properly in the church's foyer.
We had a real breezy storm work its way through this afternoon. The wind blew harder than it has in a long while. I could watch the front move in from the west - with the wind changing directions back & forth rapidly. I turned the radio on to WRSW 107.3 fm, but nothing was happening, because they were still playing the Notre Dame v. Purdue game. Within about 1/2 hour or so, the storm blew completely over and now it is quite calm.
This coming Thursday I am having some major tooth work done. Last Thursday I had a tooth break. I don't understand the Lord's timing in all of this. My wife & I are heading to Indy on Sunday for a NANC (National Association of Nouthetic Counselors) conference on Counseling the Attributes of God. So, I guess I will just have to 'cowboy up' while in Indy and wait for Thursday's appt. The estimated cost for the work is just over $15oo... and we will see how God provides for that. All total they (the dental staff) told me that I needed an additional $1000 work done after this initial appt. I do know that this needs to be done, but wonder how God will provide. He always does - and I trust what He has disclosed in Matthew 6.
I am looking forward to the Lord's Day tomorrow... today as I worked in my garage I played 90.9 fm the whole time. It was like a 'pre-worship' day to Sunday. God is good all the time.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Matthew 19 is the passage that was referenced, specifically the section where Christ states, "...it is easier for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God..."
I was suprised at how many folks have been incorrectly taught that Christ is referencing "a gate" for camels to pass through. The false teaching refers to a small gate for camels to enter at night. This supposedly was in place so that the large gates would not have to be opened and the city be exposed to whatever evil may lay outside the gates. They were taught that the camel would have to offload whatever burdens it was carrying (the riches) and get on its knees (humility) and crawl through the gate to enter the city. While that may make for 'good preachin', it is terrible exegesis of the passage.
Context shows that Christ is pointing out to a specific young rich man that his wealth was keeping him from following Jesus. This young man ended going away grieving because he just couldnt pry his fingers off his wealth to follow Christ. The ironic thing is, and something that Jesus pointed out later in the dialogue, that by giving up everything to follow Him, you actually gain more than you could ever imagine.
The problem in today's society... and in our churches... is that we want to soften the teachings of Christ. Let me be clear - Jesus wasnt referring to a gate that made it kind of inconvenient for wealthy caravans to enter into the city. He said, referring to an actual needle's eye, that it would be easier for this large animal to squeeze through there than a rich man to enter into heaven.
Immediately the cry goes up: "...so you're saying that rich people can't get saved!!... your theology is all messed up!!..." Not so. I simply point out what Christ said, "...with men it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible..."
What are you holding onto that is keeping you from pursuing Christ passionately and wholeheartedly? Do you have a relationship with Christ? Are you serving Him?
We cannot get away from the fact that the gate to heaven is small and the pathway that gets us there is narrow... and few there be that find it. Jesus Himself said that many will cry out to Him in the day of judgment, "...Lord, Lord... did we not (serve You)?..." and He states clearly that to those people He will say, "...depart from Me, I never knew you..."
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
david is writing in psalm 9 & he praises the Lord throughout the psalm. it is at vs.9 that i want to stop though: "...the LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble..." what a verse to meditate on. will you take time to do just that... its okay, i'll wait for you.
this is a picture of the edinburgh castle in edinburgh, scotland. beautiful isn't it? do you see how they built this castle right on the edge of a mountain? can you look in the lower left hand corner and see the bus coming up the road - that should provide some ratio for you. we walked up along that road from the far side of the castle when i visited there. i can say that you would be at a tactical disadvantage to try and attack the castle coming up that mountain. it is a stronghold.
see what the LORD is for you? He's better than a thousand edinburgh castles! He is the place to go when you are oppressed by the cares of this life. He is the One to turn to when you are in times of trouble. He is your stronghold. why stay outside the boundaries of safety? turn to Christ and trust in Him - He will see you through these times of disturbance.
perhaps we'll finish up this time of meditation tomorrow with a look at vs.10. it is encouraging as well. will you read it? i hope so.
until then, keep the coffee hot and the LORD close at heart.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
- Section 1: (vv.1-2) - its what i call the 'realization' stage. the realization of oppostition & preceived abandonment. you've been there. ive been there. at times it appears that no-one understands, no-one stands alongside you, no-one comes to your aid... in fact, everyone is against you, and you are alone. perhaps its actual adversity... perhaps its perception. when you are there, it just doesn't matter. you walk with a sense of hopelessness and lonliness.
- Section 2: (vv.3-4) - its what i call the 'remembrance' stage. so many times we enter these situations with our eyes on ourselves or the circumstances. its hard to notice anything else. and then... we look up. oh yeah! God is still there! listen to how the psalmist describes the presence of God: (a) a shield around me (b) my glory (c) the one who lifts my head (d) He answered me... in the midst of the chaos - God provides steadiness. not only does He protect (shield), but He comforts (lifts my head) and He listens (He answered me). what a sweet picture of God.
- Section 3: (vv.5-6) - its what i call the 'rest' stage. when you get your eyes off of self & the circumstances that you are going through, and place them on our loving Savior... rest is sure. the psalmist states clearly that he laid down and slept, then awoke with the sure knowledge that it is the LORD that sustains him. a couple of things on this: (a) you don't sleep in the midst of chaos, unless you know its controlled chaos. the circumstances didnt change for the psalmist. he just knew, and remembered, that God was indeed still in control. (b) the rest is sure, and complete. the indication here is that the psalmist slept well because the LORD was watching over him. (c) did you notice that the word "LORD" remains in all caps? remember yesterday when i explained who that was? LORD is referring to YHWH (Yahweh) - the holiest, most sovereign name of God. in psalm 2 we are told to worship/serve Him in fear. in this passage this most awesome, mighty God is our protector, comforter and provider! isnt this encouraging?
- Section 4: (vv.7-8): its what i call the 'rejoice' stage. awakened with renewed strength, the psalmist declares the victory that would be achieved through his reliance on God. he rejoices in the fact that his salvation from the adversity is certain. the passage is concluded with the statement that all people who have the LORD as their salvation are blessed.
think of this today:
in what areas are you facing adversity?
have you looked to God and called out to Him?
have you remembered the protection and goodness of God?
will you accept the sweet rest that is offered in our LORD?
will you rejoice and tell others of this goodness?
be blessed my friends,
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
last night i spent some time in psalm 2. i was struck with these phrases from vv.11-12:
- this word 'worship' has the idea of "to work, serve", even the idea of slavery sometimes.
- the name of God in all caps, 'LORD', is the name YHWH - (Yahweh) - the unspeakable holy, sovereign, almighty name of God. it is His most holy name.
- the word 'reverance' has the idea of fear or awe, extreme fear!
how many of us think of worship as 'working' or 'serving'? our praise and worship times in church have turned into something that is all about us! we want to feel, we need something, we want music our way, we don't feel like standing or sitting for soooo long of a time. STOP!!
its not about us! our worship is part of our duty to serve YHWH! Have you forgotten Who this is? The most mighty God... The most holy One... Purity to the extreme... So far above us... One to Whom we cannot even gaze upon without our sure destruction.
and we come haphazardly into His presence... how foolish!
yes, my friend, i understand all about grace - but free grace is not cheap grace. and we would do well to have more 'reverence' (fear, awe, extreme fear) when we come before our LORD.
this was such a challenging passage to me. see, as a pastor, you would assume that i have it altogether every sunday when we worship. but i don't. last sunday was the beginning of God getting my attention that i had grown apathetic in my worship. i am calloused. i am approaching His throne haphazardly. if it were not for His grace & mercy... i would be destroyed for my arrogance.
my challenge to you is one that i challenge myself with. work to serve our LORD in awe. worship our LORD in reverence.
the rest of these two verses say some interesting things, but they must wait till another time. i hope as you read the daily jolt, that you are jolted into a sense of reverential awe concerning this holy God we serve.
Monday, August 28, 2006
this is mere minutes after hopping off the couch and hacking up a hairball... with a worm in it! that really stretched my limits of endurance. while fascinated by the worm, i knew it was a wise thing to clean up immediately and remove all traces of it before my wife got home. thank God for carpet cleaner, odor remover and hand soap.
now as for coffee... gevalia takes the cake. today is an extremely dreary day (rain intermittant & overcast). its a two pot of coffee day... and i am enjoying the mocha java tremendously. come to think of it, i think i'll have another cup...