March 31, 2010
On my bike ride I got to the top of a small mountain and it started snowing/sleeting. I waited about 5 minutes and it passed. Then, when I got to the valley, it rained for about 5 minutes and passed. The weather has been like this each day here, and I think it might be the norm. So, if it’s raining, wait and it’ll be sunny. If it’s sunny, wait and it’ll be rainy.
March 31, 2010
On day two, we awoke, not to rain, but to snow. Needless to say, I was nervous to drive on the left side of the road for the first time in snow. But it worked out ok; we turned a bend in the road and saw this castle, cashel, the castle of kings.
March 23, 2010
Augustine raises some interesting points in his On Baptism against the Donatists. I want to share with you his thoughts on 1 Corinthians 2:14, which says,
“The natural man does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, for they are spiritually discerned.”
Commenting on this, Augustine reminds us that,
“[Paul] was speaking of men whom he himself shows to have been baptized. For he says to them, ‘Was Paul crucified for you, or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?’ These men had the sacrament of baptism; and yet, inasmuch as their wisdom was of the flesh, what could they believe about God otherwise than according to the perception of the flesh…To such he says, ‘I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for to this point you were not able to bear it, neither yet are you now able. For you are yet carnal’” (emphasis added).
Augustine’s remarks are important because they remind us of the context of Paul’s statements. Paul was speaking to beleivers when he talked about the natural man not recieving the things of the Spirit. This verse, however, is often used as a proof-text in heated discussions. I think we would do well to remember the context and the issues Paul was raising as he wrote these words.
March 22, 2010
I tend to be stingy by nature. Therefore, I find Scripture’s repeated teaching about giving a challenge.
After all, don’t words like,
“Give to everyone who asks of you… do not demand it back” (LK 6:30)
“If you lend from those you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?” (LK 6:34)
“The Righteous are always generous and lend freely” (Ps 37:26)
Need to be rationalized and stipulated?
I mean, after all, if I really gave to everyone that asked, I would give to a lot of unworthy causes. And what about all those drunks that would just take the money and by booze? And if I gave to everyone that asked, then I would be poor!
Well, the same one who said to give to everyone also said, “Blessed are you who are poor” (Lk 6:20). I think that if we really followed Jesus’ teaching about money, there would be no such thing as a rich Christian.
One of my biggest struggles about giving, as I mentioned earlier, is the tendency to over-rationalize. I’ll want to give, but then I’ll examine the situation, and find all the reasons why I should not give to it. For example, hypothetical situation: A divorced, middle aged woman lives at home with her 22 year old son, his girlfriend, and 3 dogs. She is unable to pay for her electric bill this month. Should I consider helping out? Well, I want to, but she shouldn’t let her son’s girlfriend live at home. In fact, she should make him get a place of his own, or at least help out with the utilities. And she could get rid of her dogs and eliminate that expense.
And so, I’ve reasoned my way out of possibly helping with that situation. I use this example for one reason: I’m convinced that if we look at any situation where there’s a financial need, we can always find a reason not to give. Someone can always be handling their money better, or eliminating expenses, or getting a second job. Why should I help out in light of their negligence?
I think that is Jesus’ whole point. We should give to the unlovely and unworthy and undeserving. When we do so, Jesus says, “Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6: 35-36).
March 22, 2010
Well, I have not been able to keep up with the blogging these past few weeks like I want to. Things have been very busy for me, as I’m sure they have been for you as well. There’s been a lot I’ve wanted to write about, but have not had the time so far. On top of the regular busyness, I’ve been preparing for the 10 day trip to Ireland (we fly out this Sunday). I’ll be missing a week of classes, and I don’t plan on bringing any school work, so I’ve been trying to get a week ahead. That is not an easy task when midterms are breathing down your neck.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to do any blogging while I’m in Ireland, but I hope to post pictures. I think most of the homes we’ll be staying in have internet, so we’ll see what happens.
March 17, 2010
Here’s some pics from last weekend with family:
Sunday morning breakfast: my first ever moments holding Samuel. We bonded instantly, brought together by our mutual love for coffee.
Samuel thinks that part of the coffee experience is not only the taste, but also the warmth upon the gums
The guys just hanging out
And Hannah-Joy patiently waited for her turn
All the kids wearing our pj’s mom made us for Christmas
Kim on the piano and Sean on the fiddle playing “As the Deer,” and we all joined in.
Then, Kim and Sean and Sam spent the night with us last night in Louisburg (as family members, not couch-surfers). This is a picture of breakfast this morning, moments before the pumpkin-pancakes and venison-sausage were devoured.
We are thankful for some great time with the Mulfords and will miss them sorely when the head back next week to California!
March 13, 2010
This week I turned 26. Of all the ways friends and loved ones celebrated, a personalized card from my Aunt and Uncle and cousins in Fairfax was one of the most thoughtful. Each one signed a card and wrote a personalized note.
“Happy birthday Andrew! I can’t believe how old you are! Hope this year is the best yet!”
“Happy birthday Andrew! You might be getting older, but I’ll always remember you as the young, fun-loving teenager I grew up with! I hope you get everything you want for your birthday!”
I think this is one of those cards I’ll be saving.
March 13, 2010
I’m looking forward to an action packed weeked. Today (Saturday) I’ll work my usual 7-7. After work, we’ll drive to Elizabeth city to see Kim and Sean (sister and brother in law from California), my new nephew Samuel (4 months old, son of Kim and Sean; I’ve never met him yet), we’ll visit with my newly engaged sister Rebecca and fiance Brandon. Then We’ll leave at 5:30 Monday morning so that I can make it back to class. Needless to say, I wouldn’t expect any blogging this weekend.
March 13, 2010
Do you believe that demonic activity is a real issue in our day?
I’ve been contemplating this issue lately. Some friends of ours in Louisburg believe that they’ve been dealing with a “territorial spirit.” Sometimes, when they leave a light off in a certain room of the house and then return to the room, they discover that the light has been turned back on. They will notice furniture in slightly different positions than it should be. Now they even think they hear noises, and really have a sense of fear. They have asked my wife to come and pray over the house.
Now, these friends are not wierd people. They go to a large Baptist church in Raleigh, and are wonderful believers. But I ask, “Is this what we should think of in regards to demonic activity?”
I turn to Scripture and find a very different picture. We see Paul teaching in 2 Corinthians that unforgiveness gives the devil a foothold; jealousy and selfish ambition are demonic (Ja 3) and idolatry (1 Cor 9) the realm of demons.
I can’t help but think that we would benefit from remembering as much. What a sham, to call the abnormal flicker of lights and the scooting of furniture “satan’s realm,” while calling some lies “white,” and treating gossip as small talk, and our grossest, darkest sins only vices or mistakes.
But that’s just the thing about devouring lions–they don’t let the prey know they’re being stalked, they work in secret, not drawing attention. They only roar mid-pounce, once it’s too late for escape.
Oh, that we would stop being duped by smoke screens, but would rather tremble at those seemingly innocent temptations.
March 10, 2010
I encountered these words this morning, as I began reading Mark’s gospel. This verse caught my attention for several reason. The word “straight” comes from the same word as “immediately,” one of Mark’s favorites. Thinking perhaps this was no coincidence, I opened Hendrickson’s commentary to check it out.
Hendrickson informs us that Mark’s quote is the exact same as in Matthew and Luke (p. 35). This is strange in light of the fact that neither the LXX nor the Hebrew render the verse this way. How, then, did the gospel writers come up with this particular quote and which writer borrowed from the others?
Hendrickson’s solution is fascinating:
“Matthew, the former publican, had made his own paraphrase of Old Testament passages fulfilled in the New, and that, together with other notes, this material had been distributed widely before any of our four gospels had been written” (p. 35).
This seems like some far-fetched speculation. Elsewhere Hendrickson hesitantly suggests that Mark was the first gospel written, followed by Matthew and then Luke (p. 14). What Hendrickson, then, is arguing is that Mathew paraphrased prophetic OT passages. Mark then borrowed these when he wrote his gospel, and then at a later time Mathew used his own paraphrases for his gospel.
What evidence does Hendrickson refer to for support of this theory? None–only speculation.