September 29, 2010
September 29, 2010
An article this morning, focusing on the weaknesses and troubles professional football players face, grabbed my attention.
The writer described the reluctance by football players to admit their frailties. Instead, they put up a tough front. The writer, speaking about football players in general, noted, “He’s just a man, troubled and, in some respects, frail.To show weakness is antithetical.”
One player actually commented on the issue, saying, “In all my time playing and in 10 years of working with players since I retired, I can’t remember one guy, not one, who asked for help…You don’t ever want to show that chink in the armor, that you’re somehow vulnerable.”
Why is there such reluctance for them to admit weakness? One responded that perhaps it’s because “that means he’d have to admit to himself, ‘You mean I’m not tough enough to handle this?’ ”
Weakness. No one wants to appear weak or needy. The Bible, however, is clear that God actually delights in man’s weakness. Paul explained that God was in the process of teaching him to not only acknowledge his weaknesses, but to boast in them. For when Paul was weak, it made room for God’s power and strength to become visible in his life.
What about my own life? Am I feeling the need to somehow walk around like a macho football player who pretends like everything is ok? Or am I willing to admit I’m weak in so many ways, so that God can be seen as the “macho”?
Or furthermore, am I not only willing to admit weakness, but to then seek help? Am I one around whom others can feel okay with showing their own weaknesses?
September 29, 2010
There’s a very handy website to make use of. Not only does it have the entire Rahlf’s LXX with parsing help, but it has some good NT tools and some excellent Latin options as well. Make sure you check it out HERE. Oh, and while we’re on the topic, I’ve been making use of Tyndale House’s fonts. If you need a font, they probably have it. They also have the Old and New Testaments in unicode font so you can copy and past them directly into your Word document.
September 28, 2010
Let me ask you a question. If you had one chance, only one, to address a group of believers, what would you say? You will get to speak to them for about thirty minutes. After you’re finished, you will most likely never see them again. You have just this one chance to say something edifying to them. What would you say?
This is a question I’ve been contemplating throughout the week because I have been invited to speak this Sunday at Florence Avenue Baptist in Norlina. After much prayer and contemplation, I think I will speak on Philippians 2:5-11, one of my all time favorite passages. I never cease to be amazed at the humbling, self-emptying nature of God. One of the best parts of the passage is the way it seems to imply, “This is what God is like, so this is what you should be like.” Hopefully I will be able to communicate this to the congregation so that together we can not only marvel at our amazing God, but then follow his example.
So this is what I plan on speaking about. What would you choose if you had just one chance?
September 24, 2010
Christianity Today has an interesting article about the trends and attitudes towards church among some of the younger generations. They write:
The new subculture of young evangelicals—I call them “Christian hipsters”—grew up on Contemporary Christian music (CCM), Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey, flannel graphs, vacation Bible school, and hysteria about the end times. Now all of that is laughable to them, as they attempt to burn away the kitschy dross of the megachurch Christianity of their youth
The article offers some interesting observations, but I definitely think the conclusions are off-based.
September 24, 2010
“He determined the times set for [the nations of the earth] and the exact places where they should live. For God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27 NIV).
What an amazing thought! I understand this verse to being saying that God has arranged the people of the earth in a way that they would be most likely to come to know him. For some reason known only to the mind of God, this is the exact time and place appointed for each of us and for everyone with whom we come in contact. Today as I interact with others, I pray I’ll be mindful that God has appointed this time so that others may come to know him.
September 21, 2010
So, I just checked my Facebook account. There are some people (not only on Facebook, but for the sake of example Facebook makes a good test case) who you can pretty much predict what they will be talking about. What bothers me is when someone writes on their Facebook profile that Jesus is the most important part of their life, yet in their daily posts all they talk about is, say, politics and sports, politics and sports. The message that sends me is that Jesus really is not as important as these other soap-boxes. Or perhaps it communicates that they are a Christian whose real mission is to transform Washington D.C.
So what is my soap-box? Do I reflect through my words that Jesus is really the most important part of my life? Or am I sending the message that Jesus is a part of my life, but this other area is what really matters, what I’m passionate about? My prayer is that I will honestly be able to say, like the New Testament believers who were commanded not to teach in Jesus’ name, “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
September 20, 2010
On a personal level, today has been a pretty eventful day in two ways.
First, I had my first chiropractor appointment. I’ve been having pain in my left hip for several years and have just ignored it (I really do not like medical doctors). Recently, the pain began getting worse–I started feeling pain in my left knee and ankle. That was enough to convince me I should check into a chiropractor. The chiropractor in town took some x-rays this morning and determined a plan of treatment. Overall it seems pretty affordable, and after my first adjustment today I already feel noticeable improvement.
The other big happening is the situation with Louisburg’s water. Now, Louisburg has always had bad water. That should come as no surprise. After all, our water comes from the Tar river. The city water is so bad that we get repeated warnings in the mail about how many tests the water has failed each month, and that prolonged drinking of it will cause all kinds of chronic and life-threatening diseases. So we buy a quadruple filtered water for our consumption (believe it or not, walmart sells this for 37 cents a gallon. You bring the jug and fill it up yourself). Although we buy our drinking water, we still use tap water for cooking, hot drinks, showers, tooth-brushing, and whatever else. So today we used the water for each of these purposes only to discover around 3:00 this afternoon that there is an outbreak of E coli in town. The E coli is from the tap water, and they are warning everyone not to use the water for any purpose, not even for tooth-brushing. Thankfully, we are feeling alright. With Hannah-Joy being 7 months pregnant, a case of E coli would have been VERY bad.
So, between the chiropractor and the water issue, things are pretty exciting today in Louisburg.
September 20, 2010
Fall is a great time of year. Everyone knows that fall is accompanied by cooler weather, pretty leaves, festivals, and, of course, football. I’ll be honest with you, this year I sense a noticeable difference in my attitudes towards football. Let me explain.
My wife and I do not have cable. For most of the year I do not really mind not having it. In the fall, however, I sometimes regret it because I am not able to watch the games. This has been my attitude for years, but not this year. Honestly, football is one of the last things on my mind. I think part of the biggest reason for this is that I’m really grasping how fleeting and temporary the game is. Do I really want to sit and watch a 3 hour football game (which has about 2 hours of commercials. Think about it: the actual game itself is only 60 minutes)? What else could I do with three hours. Could my wife and I spend quality time together? Could we go outside and visit with neighbors, go to the park, have friends over, be more involved with our assembly?
After the game, there are all the highlights of the games for the current week. But really, each week’s games do not matter. The games that really count are the playoffs. But the one game that really matters is the Super bowl. But if your team didn’t make it then you’re waiting for the next season. And the cycle starts all over. In the end, all the games, all the highlights, all the superbowls are forgotten and insignificant. What you are left with is the realization that what seemed so important and so exciting was really of no value. It merely robbed your time and was an insignificant distraction from what truly mattered.
I would rather devote my time and attention to things of weightier significance. I’m beginning to grasp things of eternal value, things that last forever and never fade or diminish, and honestly, football seems so petty.
So yes, I still like football. I’ll even be glad to watch a game if it afford the opportunity for some good “hangin out” time. And I’ll probably go to a superbowl party for that very reason. But just know that thrills of football seem like rags and poverty compared to the pleasure and delights of Christ. I’m not saying it’s wrong to watch the game or to have a source of entertainment, and I’m not saying the loving Christ means you can’t like football. What I am saying is that personally, in light of the fleeting and ultimately insignificant nature of the game, I find it much more rewarding to devote my time and attention to weightier matters.
September 19, 2010
These verses challenge believers to enter into the true rest offered by God through faith in Christ.
1 Therefore, we should fear, lest any of us be found lacking in faith and thereby fail to enter the promised rest. 2 For we have definitely heard the good news, just as they did. But the word they heard did them no good since it was not combined with faith. 3 For we who have believed are entering that rest, as He said,
I swore in my wrath,
They will by no means enter my rest.
Although God’s work has been completed since the world’s beginning. 4 For concerning the seventh day, He has said somewhere,
God rested on the seventh day from all his work.
5 Then again,
They will by no means enter my rest.
6 This word that some will enter rest still applies, and the former who had been preached to did not enter because of unbelief. 7 Let me reiterate this: God designated a certain day, “Today”. David continued speaking about it a long time after Moses, as has already been mentioned:
Today if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.
8 For, if the rest had been given to them by Joshua, God would not have continued speaking about the rest which was yet to come. 9 So then, there is still a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 The one who enters into His rest finds ultimate rest from his works, just as God did from his. 11 We should strive diligently, therefore, to enter into His rest so that we do not fall into the Israelite’s same pattern of disobedience. 12 For the Word of God is so alive, constantly at work, and incomparable with any sword in this world, slicing and dividing the hard to reach places such as soul and spirit, penetrating right down to the very core of one’s being, easily exposing the reflections and reasonings of the heart. 13 And nothing in all of creation can escape the Word’s illumining rays of light, but becomes naked and vulnerable before His eyes, the very one before whom we will give a final word. 14 Therefore, having such a great High Priest who has already entered heaven, let us cling tenaciously to our confession.
For comparison, the NASB reads:
1 Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.
2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said,
“AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH,
THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,”
although His works were finished from the foundation of the world.
4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”;
5 and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.”
6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience,
7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before,
“TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.”
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.
9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged word, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
And the Message reads:
1-3 For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith. If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith. Remember that God said,
Exasperated, I vowed,
“They’ll never get where they’re going,
never be able to sit down and rest.”
3-7 God made that vow, even though he’d finished his part before the foundation of the world. Somewhere it’s written, “God rested the seventh day, having completed his work,” but in this other text he says, “They’ll never be able to sit down and rest.” So this promise has not yet been fulfilled. Those earlier ones never did get to the place of rest because they were disobedient. God keeps renewing the promise and setting the date as today, just as he did in David’s psalm, centuries later than the original invitation:
Today, please listen,
don’t turn a deaf ear . . .
8-11 And so this is still a live promise. It wasn’t canceled at the time of Joshua; otherwise, God wouldn’t keep renewing the appointment for “today.” The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people. God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God. So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience.
12-13 God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.
14 Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers.