Friday, November 30, 2007

Preaching...and More Preaching

Colin provides another weeks worth of preaching and preaching helps. Enjoy.

And if you have not heard Mark Driscoll should. Colin provided more links to hear this great young preacher.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Proof That Cats Are Evil

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 PM - Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 PM - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 PM - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 PM - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 PM - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 PM - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 PM - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets.

Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"Be Fools For Christ"

"Beloved teachers, be fools for Christ, and keep to the gospel. Don’t be afraid: it has life in it, and it will grow: only you bring it out, and let it grow.”

Colin is sharing a classic example of why we should preach the Gospel. I, personally, don't understand why a preacher would preach anything else. Anything else is NOT preaching.

Ezekiel 1:1-3

Last week was not a good week for me to have my normal Bible study time. But I was able to get back in the swing of things this morning. I started looking at Ezekiel 1:1-3. Ezekiel gave some really good indicators of the chronology of his prophetic visions and preaching. He was about 25 when he was taken into exile by the Babylonians along with a lot of other Israelites. This was 598 B.C. He was 30 when God called him to the ministry, which was about 594 B.C.

There are three things that God does with Ezekiel in the section. He reveals His vision, He spoke His word through him and He lays His hand upon him. Firstly, God revealed His vision to Ezekiel. We will learn later what those visions are, but God "expressly" chose Ezekiel to view these visions and gave Ezekiel the insight to understand them as much as God wanted him to understand them.

Secondly, God gave the words for Ezekiel to say or another way of saying it is that God spoke through Ezekiel. Ezekiel was in exile, a military captive and very well could be turned into a slave in the conquerors wanted. Regardless of the situation, Ezekiel was true to his calling as a priest and performed those duties to the best of his abilities given the situation he was in. He was obedient. That is all that God wants from all of us is obedient.

Thirdly, God laid His hand upon him. God gave Ezekiel the power and authority to preach the Word that was given him and reveal the meaning of the visions that were shown him. He was an instrument of God to be used during a very trying time in Jewish history.

As I have mentioned before, I am excited about this study and will continue to give you updates.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What are you called to do?

In Sunday School yesterday, I finished teaching through Matthew. The material we use lends itself to a "survey" of a book rather than an in depth Bible study. We spent 3 months in Matthew and we could have spent a year. We could have spent 3 months on the Beatitudes alone, but I will stop complaining.

Yesterday's lesson had a "on mission" theme to it with the final point of the lesson being Matthew 28:18-20 which is the Great Commission. As I was teaching and stressing a point that we need to be ready at any moment to share the Gospel, God triggered a memory. I remember my grandpa, Rev. R. W. Wooten, telling a story about disobedience. He was walking down the street and a man was walking towards him. As the man drew nearer, God impressed upon my grandpa to share the gospel with him right then. Grandpa was in a hurry and quenched the Spirit and continued on, passing the man without saying a word. As he turned the corner to walk down another street, he had only gone a few steps when he heard squealing brakes. Grandpa turned around to see what had happened. The man he was supposed to talk to, had been hit by a truck and killed while crossing the street.

My grandpa has the gift of evangelism. He never had a problem speaking to someone about salvation. That zeal intensified after that moment. He never forgot his disobedience to God. He never knew whether that man was a Christian or not, but he always felt the man wasn't because of what God wanted him to share. I used to go with my grandpa when he would visit people and I heard him share, almost every time about God's love for that person. This is a lesson we all need to hear. I don't want to bear the guilt of disobedience because I didn't share the Gospel. Obedience is what we are called to do. That obedience is in different shapes and forms. God doesn't want our sacrifices, our things, our talents, our gifts...He wants our obedience.

"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

New Library Feature

I added a new feature to the blog recently. It is a library application. I have wanted to catalog all my books at some point but didn't know how to go about it. I saw this on Adrian Warnock's sight and it looked pretty good. You can do 200 books for free, then pay a 1 year membership of at least $6 (yes, you have an option!) or a lifetime fee starting at $19 (yes, there is an option here as well). You can import lists or export your library into a CSV or tab-delimited file. Some people might find it mind numbing, but I have found it enjoyable to look at all of my books. I remember the joy of reading the Hardy Boys for the first time or the thrill of my first college history classes.

Anyways, I hope it isn't distracting from the blog.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Thanksgiving Psalm

Psalm 46

God the Refuge of His People.

For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth . A Song.

1God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
3Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.
4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
5God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
7The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
8Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
9He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
10"Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
11The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

First Cold Spell

A month ago we got about 3 inches of snow, but it melted off quickly and it has been pretty warm so far. Finally a cold front moved in last night and it snowed a little bit, but it is a lot colder. It is currently 27 with a low tonight of 11. Tomorrow, Thanksgiving, will be sunny but only about 30, then colder on Friday with more snow.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mark Driscoll on Atonement

I first heard of Mark Driscoll from Colin's blog Unashamed Workman and then I followed a link over to Adrian Warnock and he has a complete breakdown of the 11 point sermon (yes, you heard me...11 points!).

Mark spoke about the person of Jesus and his work on the cross. He said that he believed that it was important for preachers of the gospel from time to time to sit and hear the gospel.

He began in 1 Corinthians 2“... I resolved to know nothing when I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified ....” The only thing that must be preached is Jesus and him crucified. Apart from Jesus and his death, we have nothing to offer anyone.
You can finish reading the rest at Adrian's site. Enjoy.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Rounding Third and Heading for Home

Joseph Henry Nuxhall
July 30, 1928 - Nov 15 2007

As a kid growing up in west central Indiana, I used to stay up late on summer nights listening to my favorite baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds on a small transistor radio. When the Reds played on the west coast against the Giants and Dodgers, I would fall asleep with the radio under my pillow and the voices of Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall would be the last ones I heard. If I was awake at the end of a Reds win, Joe would say, "And this one belongs to the Reds." After his post-game interviews, he would end the telecast by saying, "This is the old left-hander rounding third and heading for home. Good night everybody." I heard that phrase a thousand times or more.

Today, the voice that ended many games will not be heard again. Joe died at the age of 79 after a recurring bout with lymphoma. Joe was one of the nicest men you would ever meet. He was a true gentleman who would spend time talking to a stranger as if he knew them for a long time.

How to Win Cowbell Hero

So you want to play a cowbell, eh? Watch and learn...

Sheep and Goats

I will be teaching from Matthew 25:31-46 in the Singles Sunday School class this week. This is a very familiar passage with very memorable imagery. And, if you are a fan of Keith Green's music, you have an additional appreciation for this passage.

What strikes me about this passage is how it is similar to Ezekiel 34 when God speaks out against the shepherds (kings and leaders of Israel) and how He will separate the good sheep from the bad sheep. But back to Matthew 25:32, "He will separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats." You see, these animals would graze together. The shepherd would take them out together, but when they came back, we would separate them into their own pens, the sheep to one side, the goats to the other. Sheep are more valuable to the shepherd. They provide wool for many seasons and meat. The goats provide milk and meat. It seems the main point that Jesus is wanting the disciples to understand is that the Shepherd knows His flock. He will return to judge everyone and He will know who His followers are.

How will He know? He will know their heart. If they are true followers of Christ, their heart will be right and they will want to serve Him. This heart issue should lead directly to their actions; that they will be known by their fruit. A true follower of Christ will want to share their lives with others, helping those in need and sharing the love that God imparted on them with others.

Conversely, the sheep know the voice of their shepherd and will want to be near Him. I have watched shepherds walking through fields in Scotland and Ireland and when the sheep see the shepherd, they run to him, rub against his leg and talk to him. The same should be for Christians and Jesus. We should always want to be near him, reading His word and talking to Him because He will supply all our needs.

What is the two-part reward that is reserved for the sheep? The sheep, or Christians, are blessed by God, the Father. The Greek word for "blessed" is a plural noun, so it means all the ones that God has rewarded. The second part is that we will inherit the kingdom. If we have a true salvation experience, then we are given eternal life. Inheriting the kingdom and eternal life means the same thing. But the amazing thing is that God knew man would mess things up when He created the world and He already made plans for us which included salvation through Jesus Christ and eternal life. He prepared a way for us from the foundation of the world.

The next time you have a chance, watch some sheep and think about yourself and the Good Shepherd.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Choosing a Bible College

John Brand has been posting his concerns of Christian education and what an individual should look for when shopping for a school. Instead of the school marketing itself to the student, it seems the student should be proactive and interview the college to see if the college is right for them.

Is the goal to achieve certain qualifications or degrees or is it to prepare God’s people for works of service? There is no doubt in my mind that for most institutions in UK, the former has become the overriding objective and the latter has become increasingly sidelined. With the result that we are producing expert missiologists and lousy missionaries, competent biblical textual scholars and incompetent pastors and Bible teachers, men and women conversant with every liberal theory and view but who don’t know their Bibles.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Verse of the Day

As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the Glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking. Ezekiel 1:28 NASB

I don't see visions like Ezekiel's everyday, or any day for that matter, but I do see the hand of God working in my life and the life of my family. I see God's creation everyday when I look at Pike's Peak. When I am riding my bike to work, there is one stop light I always stop at and I look to the mountains and am humbled.

When I read God's word, I am always humbled, yet not as much as I should be. I should be in awe that God's word to man is sitting in my lap. I would love to experience this sense of awe that Ezekiel experienced. I know I will one day in the future.

This would be fun!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ezekiel - Who Was He?

Well, I have started to dig into who this Ezekiel guy was. Some basics that are plain in the text is that he was a priest, son of Buzi (a priest) , which indicates he is of a priestly line. He was probably a young man when Jerusalem was taken siege and when Israel was placed in Babylonian exile (about 597 B.C.) He was married, he was about 30 when God commissioned him and his wife died while in exile. That is most of the personal info that we know of Ezekiel.

Some questions I want to seek answers to are:
Why did God choose this man?
How was his personality different from Jeremiah or Isaiah?
What were his strengths and weaknesses?

I am reading the background material of the commentaries I had mentioned in previous posts. That may take me a couple of days before I get to the actual text. Feel free to ask any questions or correct me in any way. (Lovingly, of course!)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Time to Clean House?

I could take you to Bible College lecturers who deny the reality of hell, the lostness of those who die outside of Christ, the penal substitution aspect of Christ’s death on the cross, the uniqueness of Christ as the way of salvation and much more. Why should we allow such false teachers to train our students and prepare them for Gospel ministry? If our Bible believing churches stopped sending our students to these places they would have to start putting their houses in order or close down.

John Brand is also commenting on the state of the Bible Colleges. Read on...

Friday, November 09, 2007

How to Prepare

Regarding sermon prep, I had Haddon Robinson at DTS, and his course is basically contained in his book, “Biblical Preaching.” I don’t follow his method to a T, but I do generally follow it, with many shortcuts that are necessary for ministry survival. I begin just with the old observation, interpretation, application process that we learned in Bible study methods. I try to jot down any issues that need to be resolved, to figure out why the Lord included this passage in this context, etc. I try to determine what the subject of the passage is, and what it is saying about the subject (Robinson explains this process). If I can, I take an initial stab at a main idea.

Steven Cole discusses how he prepares for a sermon.

Prayer and Preaching

Let us be preachers who do not shy away from the work involved in our ministry, but let us also be preachers who never fail to pray at every stage in the process.

Peter Mead has been offering a nice series of posts concerning preaching. It is well worth the read.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

You Know You Are In Britain When...

These are the top 10 silly laws as voted by a few thousand people in England whose names elude me.

Most ridiculous British law:

1. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament (27 percent)

2. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British monarch upside-down (seven percent)

3. In Liverpool, it is illegal for a woman to be topless except as a clerk in a tropical fish store (six percent)

4. Mince pies cannot be eaten on Christmas Day (five percent)

5. In Scotland, if someone knocks on your door and requires the use of your toilet, you must let them enter (four percent)

6. A pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants, including in a policeman's helmet (four percent)

7. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the king, and the tail of the queen (3.5 percent)

8. It is illegal to avoid telling the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing (three percent)

9. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament in a suit of armour (three percent)

10. In the city of York it is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow (two percent)

Flaming kamikaze squirrel

What a way to go...

Flaming kamikaze squirrel torches car

Ezekiel - The First Read Through

Well, I finally finished the first read through of Ezekiel. I must admit that I skimmed a couple of chapters near the end when the temple was being measured. There are some interesting items to look at. There is the water coming out from under the temple which could be a metaphor of the River of Life. There is also the interesting idea of trees on each side of the river bank that produces fruit every month and the leaves are for the healing of the nations. Then there is the whole concept of animal and grain sacrifices while Jesus is sitting on the throne.

This is a lot of cool stuff to grapple with and try to figure out. I will start reading the commentaries and studying the text and keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

More Expository Preaching

“If preaching is giving the Bible a voice, if preaching is the proclamation of God’s message, then it would seem that the expository method would be the method most commonly employed. However, this is not true.

Read further of what is being said about the need for more preaching and less social content.

Sermon Ideas and other Thoughts

I am close to finishing the first read through of Ezekiel. I have the last 8 chapters (the measurement and uses of the temple). I thought I might share a few some sermon seed ideas and other study thoughts as I go back to the beginning of this prophetic book and study it more in-depth.

Sermon Seeds:
Chapter 2 - The Prophet's Call - I think we can all relate to being called by God. Everyone who has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior has had at least one call from God. There is the call to ministry.

Chapter 3 - Ezekiel's Commission - There are the verses of feeding yourself with God's word. There is the challenge of being the watchman of Israel.

Chapter 18 - God dealing justly with individuals - God states that all souls are His. Also, He states "Repent and live."

Chapter 33 - The Duty of the Watchman

Chapter 34 - Prophecy against the Shepherds of Israel and the restoration of Israel

Study Thoughts:

What is the meaning to all the prophecies?
Which ones are fulfilled and which ones are yet to be?
Why is the temple needed in the last days (with sacrifices)? Is this literal or figurative?
Can much of this book be applied to our lives today or is it simply historical and prophetic and we can learn nothing?

I am really looking forward to this study.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Sick House

I am home this morning for a couple of hours so that Lona can do some things after taking Madeleine to school. Ian is sick and staying home from preschool, so I am watching him. He is watching various kid shows on Disney or Nickelodeon. There is only so much "Go, Diego, Go" or "Dora, the Explorer" I can take.

I am thankful for some expository preaching blogs that I have found. I hope to find a couple of more. While I am learning how to preach, it is good to read and hear other preachers. It doesn't mean I will copy any of them, but it allows me to see and understand how different people structure a sermon.

I am at the beginning of a study of Ezekiel and the sites I have found have been helpful in giving some advice concerning OT commentaries.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Reading the Bible

I came across this reminder to read the Bible, and even more so if I am going to consider myself a preacher of the Word. This is a post by John Brand at A Steward of the Secret Things.

You should read, read, read and go on reading, and you need to start doing so straight away. A daily portion for devotional meditation is important and indispensable, but a preacher or prospective preacher needs to go way beyond this. Turn off the television and spend several hours each evening with your Bible open, and make a start TODAY. Use a good sturdy Bible, probably with a hard cover, with good marginal references, and any method - marking, taking notes, circling in red ink any marginal reference that seems particularly significant - any method at all that will impress the inspired text on your memory, your imagination and your heart. Get inside the Bible and ask God to enable you to get it inside you.

The rest of the article is just as good.

Your Best Life a Game

I refuse to display the creepy grin, but here is a warning concerning the board game version of Joel Osteen's book "Your Best Life Now." No comments...just a warning. Follow the link if you dare. But I am warning you that you might barf.

3rd Ezekiel Book

I just received Ezekiel: A Commentary (Old Testament Library) by Walther Eichrodt. This is the English translation from a great series of works by German Theologians. It is by Westminster John Knox Press.

With two commentaries and a specialty book dealing with the temple, I think I am set. I haven't finished my first read through, but should finish it this week. I will try to provide highlights of this study. If anyone has any study help ideas for Ezekiel, please pass them on!