April 28, 2011
This Sunday I get the opportunity to preach on Mark 5:1-20, the story where Jesus casts a Legion of demons into pigs. I’m excited about studying this passage; to be honest, there are some things about the story I do not understand. It’s time to open my Bible and continue studying!
For those interested, the link to my sermon will be at this website (click HERE). I wish I could say this was a great message, but honestly I did not feel that great about it. My thoughts were not very organized and I left out a lot of what I planned to say. You’re welcome to listen, however, once it is posted on the church’s site.
April 24, 2011
Today we are with family celebrating my sister’s 16th birthday — her birthday fell on Easter this year. So far we have dyed eggs together, and tonight we hope to have Mexican food for dinner (Sara’s choice). We’ll stay with family for a few days before heading back home. The weather is supposed to be nice tomorrow so we may head to the beach for a few hours.
April 22, 2011
God has a way of reminding us of how frail life can be. This week, I have been reminded of this like never before.
-I guess the tornadoes were my first reminder. We lived through storms on Saturday that took the lives of 22 people. That could have been me!
-The news of little Rebekah has been another reminder. Within less than a week’s time, the Chandlers have gone from having a happy, “normal” life, to one filled with chemo, hospitals, and sorrow. That could have been my daughter!
-I got to work yesterday to discover several customers had suddenly died during the past week. One I knew very well. One of these customers I saw on a weekly basis, and we often swapped bicycling tips and stories. He was young (in his 50′s), healthy, active, but died of a massive heart attack while changing a tire. That could have been me!
Life is fragile. We are not guaranteed another day. None of us knows what tomorrow holds. I’ll never forget a conversation I overheard a couple of months ago. I heard a teenager blabbing away about how good life was, about how great it was to be young and healthy with the best years ahead. Oh yes, life was good for this teenager. And how glad they were not to be old like their 40-year-old parents. No, this teenager never planned on getting old but on being a young, healthy teenager their whole life. I wanted to grab this youth by the collar and say, “wake up!”
“All people are like grass”
April 22, 2011
Jonathan provides us with a prayer update on how Rebekah is doing. Read BEADS OF COURAGE, and keep this family in prayer.
April 21, 2011
I have completed my rough draft for the paper I’m writing on James 5:13-18, which I began work on two weeks ago — it clocked in at thirty pages and eighty-five footnotes. I learned some valuable lessons while writing this paper: commentaries were the least helpful part of the research process (they all quote each other with little or no new insights), digging into the LXX and its influence on the passage was EXTREMELY useful (no one had done this before in handling this passage), my most disappointing find in the research process was this quote by Ralph Martin in the Word commentary:
This illustration [in James] may be useful to account for the way that the procedures outlined in this section of 5:13–18 found no permanent and mandatory place in the life of the church, though the verses may be said to have limited value within the canon as throwing light on what life in a Judeo-Christian community was like. In a different culture and at a time when medical and clinical practice was different from what we know today, the principles of prayer to God for healing and recovery are illustrated and may still hold a place for the faithful Christian.
Martin concludes that “the manipulative or therapeutic uses of oil” spoken of in 5:14 carried temporary relevance, while corporate intercession still holds value.”
April 20, 2011
Where were you when the storms came on Saturday? The man filming this video lived through one of the tornadoes and caught it on tape.
I was at work when the storms came, and, surprisingly, customers were still coming by to see me during the worst part of the storm. Once things calmed down a little, HJ and I chatted on the phone and were relieved to hear we were both ok.
April 19, 2011
I want to ask you to join me in praying for the Chandler family. Jonathan is a pastor at the church I attend, and his 18 month old daughter is having blood work done at Duke Hospital. Preliminary tests are showing that their daughter might have Leukemia. Let’s pray that her blood counts will be fine, and that God would work in this family in a special way right now. If you would like to learn more about Jonathan and Lauren and their family, they both happen to be bloggers, so click HERE and HERE.
April 17, 2011
As you can see, I was pretty impressed by the architecture at LMU. Try not to get too dizzy watching the video.
April 17, 2011
Identify which of the following statements were said by Jesus in the Gospels. We’ll go over the answers at the end:
-If anyone comes to me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
-Sell everything you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven, then come, follow me.
-Before Abraham was born [hundreds and hundreds of years ago] I was already existing.
-Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life.
-Whoever wants to come after me must deny himself, pick up his cross [upon which the Romans brutally execute slaves and non-citizens], and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
-You all are from your father, the devil!
-I am the way, the truth, and the life; anyone who wants access to the Father must come through me and me alone.
-Your sins are forgiven.
-I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!
Are you ready now for the answers? All of these are genuine statements of Jesus (see Luke 14:26; 18:22; John 8:58; 6:53; Luke 9:23-24: John 8:44; 14:6; Mark 2:5; Luke 12:49).
Does this surprise you? Many people think that Jesus was simply a nice teacher who went around doing good things and helping people and offering kind advice. But the Jesus of the Bible was quite different. He was radical, and he made it extremely clear that following him was very difficult. In fact, Jesus was so radical that on numerous occasions people tried to kill him. And he often said such difficult things that almost all of his followers left him. He was not afraid to mince words. So, does your notion of Jesus correspond to the picture painted about him in the Bible? If not, perhaps its time to see what the Scriptures say about him. In your Bible, find the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, read this in whatever language you can, and then ask yourself what Jesus was like, and how your idea of him might need to change. And if you do not own a Bible and need help getting one, please let me know and I will do everything I can to help you get one.
April 16, 2011
I realized today that I am officially a nerd. Why? you ask. Because I am thoroughly enjoying — no, thoroughly loving — writing my paper this semester. I simply can’t wait for my next chance to do some more writing. Crazy, I know! Before flying last week to Germany, I told HJ: “Babe, if anything should happen to me while I’m on this trip, I want you to do something for me. Make sure this paper gets into the right hands.” She looked at me and playfully rolled her eyes. I am so excited about writing this paper that I can’t wait to spring out of bed in the wee small hours of the morning, just to get a chance to write. And I’ll be honest with you, I’ll probably be sad when I’m done writing it. Well, that might be going a little far, but you get the point.