Thursday, August 23, 2012

Memory Project #2: Ephesians

Since moving 1000 miles, I have temporarily set aside the memorization of Romans [but only temporarily] and have substituted a more manageable and timely goal: Ephesians.

It is more manageable because, unlike the mammoth 433 verses/9,495 words of Romans, Paul's letter to the Saints at Ephesus is a trim 155;  3,012 words in NKJV, or 3,014 in the ESV [~2,422 in Greek].  It can be read aloud or recited in under twenty minutes.

It is more timely because I have returned to teaching and am heading up a Sr Elective Bible class on Ephesians and Ethics at Rocky Bayou Christian School here in Niceville, FL.  The whole class [16 students + me] are going to be memorizing it this year.  The sooner I get to it the better.  I'll try to provide updates as I go.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The American Bible Challenge

The Premier is tomorrow evening [GSN] - this should be interesting. [I don't have cable either, but I'm sure we'll find it online somehow.]

Book List [what I've been reading/ listening to lately]...

You are what your mind eats ...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Edgar!

He was to poetry what Norman Rockwell was to painting.  Never accused of being too edgy or avant guarde, he was a poet for the man on the street, and a Christian deep down and all the way through.  If you have never read the poems of Edgar Guest, let today, his 131st birthday, be the day you begin.  They will warm your soul and help you along in the right direction.

Lord, Make A Regular Man Out Of Me
Edgar Guest

This I would like to be- braver and bolder, 
Just a bit wiser because I am older, 
Just a bit kinder to those I may meet, 
Just a bit manlier taking defeat; 
This for the New Year my wish and my plea- 
Lord, make a regular man out of me. 

This I would like to be- just a bit finer, 
More of a smiler and less of a whiner, 
Just a bit quicker to stretch out my hand 
Helping another who's struggling to stand, 
This is my prayer for the New Year to be, 
Lord, make a regular man out of me.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Good Sermon: 3 tests ...

About a year ago, one Sunday, I was invited to preach at our church and as is my habit, chose the gospel reading from the lectionary schedule as the sermon text - which providentially happened to be Matt 20.1-16.  This is the parable of the vineyard owner... not the easiest parable to interpret. I struggled through it and think that my study was rewarded, and the sermon was a blessing.  But shortly afterward, I found the following three-fold encomium of Lewis's [and Wright's] work here and was struck by how well it sums up my goals for a sermon:

"... the combination of logic, wit, and imagination."

Now I'm not sure that I can claim to have yet successfully combined these three in any single sermon ... but it sure is something to shoot for.  Here are two others who weigh in.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Isaac "suwaching" in the Field at Evening ...

Gen 24.63:  Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide - [לָשׂוּחַ Hebrew, laasuwach (OT:7742), used only here, and supposed = laasoyim; Septuagint, hadolescheesai, to meditate, or to pray.] 

Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown comment masterfully:

"But neither of these expressions conveys the full meaning of the original. The Syriac renders it to walk; and Gesenius suggests that the original text might probably be laashuwT, to go to and fro in the field (Job 1:7; 2 Sam 24:2,8). Blunt, accepting the present as the true reading, says, 'The leading idea suggested seems to be an anxious, a reverential, a painful, a depressed state of mind; and Issac went out into the field, not directly to pray, but to give ease to a wounded spirit in solitude. What more likely than that the loss of his mother-an event that had happened not long before (Gen 23) - was the subject of his mournful mediations on this occasion. But this conjecture is reduced almost to a certainty by a few words dropped incidentally at the end of the chapter - "Isaac was comforted after his mother's death." The agreement of this later incident with what had gone before is not set forth in our version, and a scene of very touching and picturesque beauty impaired, if not destroyed' ('Undesigned Coincidences')."

Monday, August 6, 2012


"We’re not materialistic enough… I think that we’ve over-spiritualized our relationship to God. In the Scriptures, how we deal with all aspects of creation is clearly part of our relating to God. The separation of the spiritual and the material is a gross error in modern Western thought. It’s like the heresy of Gnosticism in the early church. We’re still afflicted with that dualism. In public life, we think of God like Deists do as the Great Engineer. In private life, God is warm and fuzzy. We have this schizophrenia.

We rely on God through the ministry of others. Luther said, When we pray to God, Give us this day our daily bread … He doesn’t send manna from Heaven. He raises up farmers and bakers and shopkeepers. The way God gives us our needs to us is by the vocations and hands of those people."

- Ken Myers

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Brave Chickens

Here is a great article from my friend, Dr Goetsch summarizing the dynamics of the Chick-fil-A controversy. Ironically, Boston Mayer Tom Menino apparently does not believe in giving Bostonians the freedom of choice ... regarding where to buy a breakfast sandwich and whose business to patronize and values to support.
If you're in need of a bit of clarity and definition here, perhaps you will be helped [as I was] by this reminder from my good friend Scott Cline:  Please read it carefully though - like Chesterton, he is making his point by surprise, so it might take more than one go-round to get his drift and mine [that marriage is not ours to redefine and human nature has not changed in history.]:
"I strongly support the right of homosexuals to marry each other. In fact, in many cases, their doing so may be a great act of faith. Were I a pastor, and were other factors notwithstanding, I'd gladly marry a faithful Christian man of homosexual orientation to a faithful Christian woman of homosexual orientation. I'm thankful that the US of A has never denied homosexuals the right to marry."