As some of you remember, I’ve been blogging through lessons I learn while reading and studying the Pentateuch in Hebrew. For the ministry for people affected by developmental disabilities at my church, we adapt our children’s ministry curriculum that works through the whole Bible in three years. I try to blog about things I find in passages outside of these lessons or little nuggets that the lessons don’t cover. However, there are a lot of those, so while I’ve only written through the life of Abraham, we’ve now taught up through the passage of the Israelites through the sea of reeds. Although I have much to write to you concerning Isaac and Jacob and Joseph and Moses and Pharaoh, for now I’m going to skip ahead to where I am in Generations of Grace.Continue Reading
At this point my ongoing series of blog posts on Genesis has definitely developed a sub-series on Abraham in Genesis. We started by identifying the story of Abraham as really that of Terah’s family, with Abraham as protagonist, a story that would bring hope into a declining world. We continued by noting that both instances of Abraham’s lies about Sarah had to do with God demonstrating fulfillment of his covenant to Abraham. In particular, we are assured of God giving Abraham the promised seed (Isaac) and we see examples of God blessing those who bless Abraham and cursing those who curse him. Last week we saw that Abraham’s name was made great through a military conquest as God allowed him to deliver Lot from captivity. Indeed, Melchizedek comes out and begins to illustrate how all the nations of the world may be blessed through Abraham: later allusions to Melchizedek remind us that the coming savior from Abraham is a priest like Melchizedek. We’ll fast-forward over the birth of Isaac and his near sacrifice by his father. At this point we now land at the end of Genesis 22 after a restatement of the promise to Abraham. One promise of God has not been fulfilled in anyway: the land promise.Continue Reading
Connections are powerful things in this world. Connections bring jobs, internships, and other opportunities. Connections introduce us to new groups of friends, new career paths, new ideas, and new experiences. The power of connections is why networking is such an emphasis in the professional world, why certain fraternities remain popular in college, and why alumni networks are maintained. Connections help improve our lives.
In the spiritual world, too, “connections” have certain value. When God answers prayers of intercession, it’s almost like a “connection” has resulted in God’s blessing. For example, before his conversion, St. Augustine’s debauched lifestyle pained his mother Monica. After decades of Monica’s prayers, God answered, and through Augustine’s “connection,” God miraculously saved Augustine and called him to his service. God delights in answering the prayers of his children. Sometimes those prayers are for other people; so God delights to bless people for the sake of other people.Continue Reading
In recent years biblical theology has become increasingly popular in Christian circles. That is not to say that “the truths of the Bible” or “biblical doctrines” were unpopular and are now becoming popular, or that there has been any particular revival in the church, but rather that a certain way of doing theology is becoming more popular in pulpits, in the Christian blogosphere, and in the academy. Perhaps because of its recent growth into the limelight, many people seem confused about the definition of biblical theology, and this confusion muddies theological discussion. The cause of this is a tendency to define biblical theology in terms of its results and findings instead of its methods.Continue Reading
My fiancée and I have been enjoying a Netflix show called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. In the show, Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo helps her hapless clients figure out how to clean up their lives by getting rid of things that no longer give them joy. This system based on the idea of “sparking joy” is called KonMari. I cannot tell you why we enjoy this show so much, but were you to watch it, it would likely spark joy for you.Continue Reading
My Dear Church Small Groups, Past, Present, and Future:
You have had a larger impact on my personal development than any other institution save my family. From sometime in mid elementary school, I started attending groups of males only led by one or two leaders for discussion and relationship. You, small groups, were always a part of my church groups, and so always a part of my church life. You integrated my church life with my daily life. You helped me apply what I learned from God’s Word to all my life. In numerous ways, would not be the person I am today if not for you. Oh how I have benefitted from thee! Let me count the ways.Continue Reading
When I was growing up, my family liked to watch some of the old B Westerns. These movies–usually from the thirties and forties, starring John Wayne or Gene Autry or Roy Rodgers or others, were simple in both production and plot. Special effects were minimal. Good always trumped evil. Tropes abounded. Sometimes these movies even borrowed their plots from other B Westerns.
Once, we watched a Gene Autry movie in which a couple women from the east moved near Gene’s ranch and started herding sheep, which Gene was afraid were going to destroy the range. So he and his friends put goop on the sheep to convince the women that the sheep had hoof and mouth disease. Later, we watched a Roy Rogers movie in which a couple women from the east moved near Roy’s ranch and started herding sheep, which Roy was afraid were going to destroy their range. So what do you think they did? Roy and his friends put goop on the sheep to convince the women that the sheep had hoof and mouth disease!Continue Reading