Friday, August 29, 2014

Recharging

It's not a coincidence that a fall-off in posting here has coincided with my wife and my youngest son's going off to college. This month, for the first time in 28 years, we don't have at least one son living at home with us. We're happy for our sons, of course, but getting used to an empty nest takes some mental and emotional adjustment. Apparently that means I don't have a lot of energy left over for blogging.

It's possible that my once again slacking off on blogging may disappoint both my regular readers, but I do plan to be back at it soon. Thanks again to both of  you for visiting.

Changing circumstances

Royce Ogle reflects on the wrong way to pray:
Often we pray for God to change our circumstances. I have done it and you have too.
Meanwhile, God might have orchestrated your circumstances so he can change you. So, instead of asking for things to change so we can be happy, maybe we should ask, "Lord help me to see how I need to change in my present circumstances."
Indeed. I recommend Royce's whole article.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Truths about the advance of the Islamic State

VotM Persecution Blog has a helpful post on five truths to keep in mind as IS advances in Iraq. I like these two the best:
2. God always finds a way to encourage, grow, and build His church. He's just looking for those willing to count the cost. . . .

5. The battle is already decided.

Have you read the Book of Revelation? We know who will ultimately win the battle—the Lord Jesus Christ. Until that day, when Jesus makes His final return to take His rightful place, you can stand with your persecuted family by choosing to fellowship with them through your prayers and actions.
Amen.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

'Broken by the process'

I don't know how to link to single entries on Dave Black's weblog, but his 8/14/14, 8:20 a.m. entry on marriage and the recent loss of his own wife is very much worth reading, even if you have to do some scrolling or searching to find it.

Leithart on Revelation 12

Peter Leithart gives a concise explanation of the symbolism and context of Revelation 12.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Contextual meaning of Genesis 1 & 2

Jim McGuiggan has a way of packing a lot of meaning into his weekly reflections. This week's essay shines light on the OT world, especially in relation to Genesis 1 & 2:
The business of the biblical witness is not to tell us about the historical, cultural, religious, political or literary climate of the day though in the process of doing what it does it reveals a lot of that.

For example, Genesis 1 & 2 sets itself against its environment in which the gods of the nations whose stories are told in the Enuma Elish or the Baal Cycle or the many myths of Sumeria and Egypt. In the Bible God as God has no mythology—he isn’t created, he doesn’t war against other gods to become the chief god nor does he die or be killed and somehow come to life again. Stories like that occur in the mythology of the polytheistic world to explain their experience with nature.
Jim's little essay is loaded with insights, and I recommend reading the whole thing.

Light on conflict in Gaza

Christians, it's good to be clear-eyed about what's going on in the world, especially when so many news organizations are not particularly helpful in that regard. Thanks to Mike Leake for pointing to this link: Nine Things You Should Know About Hamas.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mead on preaching and paradigms

Question: Could Peter Mead's essay on preaching and paradigms possibly be good enough to sustain this powerhouse opening:
When we preach, we don’t simply present a truth, make an offer, or demonstrate the relevance of an ancient text.  Every biblical passage is a heavenly assault on the unquestioned assumptions of a fallen world.
Answer: yes. I recommend reading Peter's whole article. Plus, this week's series on who is listening is also worth reading on the Biblical Preaching home page.

Leithart on wine at the boundary

Peter Leithart shares some brief, beautiful thoughts on how wine in the church breaks down the archaic distinction of sacred and profane.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Insightful expositors: Gempf & Leithart

When I first began this weblog in 2005, I frequently linked to gems of expositional treasure at NT scholar Conrad Gempf's now-defunct weblog, Not Quite Art, Not Quite Living. From what I can tell, Dr. Gempf is no longer posting daily notes for his Bible students, but today it was good to read his thoughts this month on Mark 12:28-34.

Another scholar whose biblical insights I treasure is the extraordinarily prolific Peter Leithart. One of his latest expositional posts is on the great sword in Revelation 6:4.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Preaching on tech

Preacher, it's probably good to know how to preach on technology.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Crux of the matter

This one from Jeff Weddle is worth reading: The Subtle Danger of "Living for Christ."

Friday, August 01, 2014

On 'a deceitful bow'

Peter Leithart once again offers a few brilliant expositional insights, this time on Psalm 78.

Spirit and magic

After looking at the confusion of magic and God's power in Acts 19:11-20, Matt Dabbs wonders if preachers are falling into a similar trap as the Scevason brothers:
How often do we have the same sort of magical thinking when it comes to faith…that if we say the right words or do worship just so that God will have to bless us or that we will make a great name for ourselves or that the worldly standards of success will be satisfied
It just doesn’t work that way.
No, it doesn't.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Power in preaching

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Good news, indeed

Royce Ogle: "The gospel, or 'good news,' about Christ is very, very good news because the truth about human beings without Him is so horribly bad."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Seeing connections

The book of James has been described as a "string of pearls" for containing so many disjointed little gems of biblical wisdom. But Craig Keener writes about how the book of James fits together. And in case you missed it, Dr. Keener's post on the unifying theme of Romans is even better.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Expository example

David Allen offers a short but detailed study on how to outline and preach 1 John 2:15-17 in two blog posts: Part 1 & Part 2.

Understanding Mormonism

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Burdens in discipleship

Jeff Weddle shares a few biblical thoughts on burdens.

The need to preach on body image

Darryl Dash shares a link at Christianity Today on the importance of preaching about body image.