Monday, April 28, 2008

Too Enthusiastic for Ministry

Ok, get this. I was told today that I was too enthusiastic for missions and ministry. Yes, you read it correctly, too enthusiastic. I work for a Christian non-profit and my boss called me in to talk about my vacation requests for the summer. We worked through that without too much difficulty, but he then mentioned that several people have come to him with concerns about how much I talk about my ministry opportunities and not about my job. I don't get it. My boss backed me up by saying church missions and ministry is my passion and my heart and why wouldn't I talk about it!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


My forced academic Greek studies are over (barring a complete failure of the paper). I am much relieved. I had hoped to give a week by week commentary on this blog of my journey through Philippians, but it became too intense for me to want to do that and then, when I started writing the exegesis paper, I didn't have time for anything. I turned the paper in two weeks early (because my daughter is singing at school next Monday and the prof is out the next week). But the last two weeks of class were what I would have liked the others to have been. We discussed the passages we were to translate and how we could preach that passage. It was great! I felt we wasted a lot of time in the earlier classes since we did not do this.

Oh well, now I can work on Greek studies at my own pace and presently I am working through some chapters in Matthew. Since I have mentioned I will be preaching a series out of chapter 10, I want to work on the section between the end of the Sermon on the Mount through chapter 12.

Right now, I can breathe a little easier!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Preaching and Teaching Projects

I haven't written anything this week because of a lot of things but I have thought a lot about what to post and reading other blogs. I have read more in Matthew, but nothing has pressed me to write. The earthquake in Illinois is newsworthy. The Reds beating the Cubs last night (stopping a 5 game losing streak) is not unless you are a fan of the team. Lona and I ate dinner with some friends at a German place last night. I could eat another helping of the red cabbage.

Here are some thoughts for preaching and teaching I have running through my head:

  1. Philippians - I have been working on this all semester in Greek 2
  2. Matthew - This is such an important book because of all the prophecies connecting Jesus to the OT, the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord's Prayer, etc.
  3. Life of Jacob - this would be more of a Bible study than a series of sermons
  4. Ezekiel - same thing: Bible study rather than preaching through the book
  5. James - a sermon series
These ideas are running through my mind because of the ministry opportunity that I have applied for. I guess I will wait for the Lord's leading.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tasty or Tasteless?

In my continued reading of Matthew, I read 5:13-20 yesterday and verse 13 has stuck with me (again, in a convicting way).

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men."

This a message to the disciples and how they are different from the world. We are to follow Christ's example. We are to be gentle, hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, peacemakers, pure in heart and expect to be persecuted. If we are none of these, if we have become so complacent, then we are of no use. As disciples of Christ, we are the light of the world and we are to share that light with others, but if we are tasteless, how can we do that? We can't! God cannot use us if we are scared, timid, trying to hide our light so others cannot see.

I haven't done a full exegesis of this text or even looked at the Greek yet, but I don't think I am too far off. Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts on this passage.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I Want To Be Satisfied

As I am preparing several sermons from Matthew 10, I started reading the whole book of Matthew to keep the context of what Jesus said in 10 with the rest of the book. This morning I read the first 12 verses of chapter 5. I don't want to skim through the sermon on the mount, so I am taking smaller sections at a time. I was convicted by verse 6, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."

I realized I am not satisfied and it is my own fault. I am not hungering and thirsting for God's righteousness. This is not man's righteousness (that would be an oxymoron), but ONLY the righteousness that can come from God. Sometimes my spiritual stomach growls or I feel a little parched and so I nibble at God's word or sip from His promises, but mainly, I serve myself. Eat from my own plate. Prepare my own meal...and then wonder why I am still hungry.

I need to be hungry and thirsty for the righteousness of God. I need to long for His righteousness as someone who is starving longs for a morsel of bread; as someone who hasn't drank in days longs for a sip of cool water. I need to crave the things of God, not on a monthly weekly or daily basis, but moment by moment, as if the hunger pangs will never go away. Yet if I do this, the pangs will go away. I will be satisfied with the righteousness of God. And then the next day, when I am tempted by the morsels on other tables and the hunger returns, I will run back to His table of righteousness and fulfill my cravings. Hopefully the satisfaction will linger and I won't be tempted by the other offerings. Anything else turns to worms. Only God can satisfy completely.

Father, I am hungry. I am thirsty. I have fed too long at the table of emptiness. I only crave Your righteousness. I will only be satisfied at Your table. Father forgive me. I am satisfied.

Friday, April 04, 2008

School Update

Until I posted the Getty/Townend hymn yesterday, I hadn't posted in 2 weeks. I have been preoccupied with the exegetical paper that is due for my Intermediate Greek class. It is a commentary on Philippians 4:2-9. Apparently, if I do it right, the paper should be between 30-50 pages. I will be happy with 30. I still have another paper due in my other class, so the object is to finish the Greek paper in the next 2-3 weeks so I have time to read and write a 7 page paper on Eugene Peterson's "Eat This Book."

Today, I need to go through my SS lesson that I am teaching. We have been in Genesis for 4 months now and the last two months are on the life of Joseph. Joseph tends to be one of the Bible favorites of many people. Yet, I found the life of Jacob fascinating (and his story is still woven in the life of Joseph). I think I have gained a greater appreciation for him. While I might not say Jacob if asked who my favorite Biblical character was, I would probably name him in my top 5 now. His whole life was a series of stressful episodes. But he built an altar to God "who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone."

Can I truly say that with confidence? I guess it depends on the day and the stress level, but I should ALWAYS be ready to say that God answered me in my distress and is with me at all times AND I need to take comfort in that fact.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Another Irish Hymn

Here is another great song by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. It is difficult to sing without shedding a tear.

Oh, to see the dawn of the darkest day;
Christ on the road to Calvary;
Tried by sinful men, torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

This the power of the cross;
Christ became sin for us,
Took the blame, bore the wrath.
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain written on Your face,
bearing the awesome weight of sin;
Every bitter thought, every evil deed,
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

This the power of the cross;
Christ became sin for us,
Took the blame, bore the wrath.
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Now the daylight flees, now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two, dead are raised to life,
"Finished!" the victory cry.

This the power of the cross;
Christ became sin for us,
Took the blame, bore the wrath.
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see my name written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death; life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

This the power of the cross;
Christ became sin for us,
Took the blame, bore the wrath.
We stand forgiven at the cross.