Several events have come up where I can see that I need to be ordained. I need to have some backing behind my name so that I can walk into a congregation or a group and they’ll know that I’m orthodox, or at least I’m backed by people that are the same kind of orthodox as they are in a few points.
As I was preparing to figure out how to make this happen, I began to look into what it means to be ordained. One aspect of it is showing that you are educated in the Word, that you know and understand the Bible in a manner that you can teach, discern, and represent Christ in a great way. Another part of that is delving into church history and tradition and understanding classical fields of study such as Ecclesiology (study of the church), Bibliology (study of the Bible) and Pneumatology (study of the Holy Spirit). Some of that sounds good to me, some of it sounds like a bunch of nonsense.
At the same time, finished the book Linchpin by Seth Godin. Near the end, he says that the main point of a resume is to show how you are just like everyone else. It’s a form of showing your achievements in a bland, lifeless, search-bot friendly manner so you can be weeded out.
This is the opposite of that. This is where I’m going to go after some heady stuff, wring out the scriptures, and look at all of the drippings. I’m putting it here because it’s easier to collect in a single place and because, someday, I might ask some guys to look at it so they may consider laying hands on me and standing behind me.
The Lord said to Moses, “Yet one plague more I will bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will drive you away completely. (Exodus 11:1, ESV)
There have been a lot of movies made about the Exodus, and they all like to focus on the 10 plagues brought upon Egypt. As I was reading through here this morning, this verse stuck out.
After everything that happens, I try to read it like I don’t know what is coming next. After each plague I think “Now, surely, Pharaoh will release the Hebrews, right‽” and then Pharaoh double crosses them. For a while you wonder if God is just enabling Pharaoh to continue in his sins, if the mercy is just too much. There is real irony here because God’s mercy brings about more suffering than if He would have just wiped out the Egyptians from the beginning. But that wouldn’t have sent the right message. The Hebrews are going to leave Egypt to follow a god that is merciful, compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love and boy will they see His patience and love as He gives the Egyptians one chance after another after another after another after another after another after another after another!
So after all of that, I think this might be the most terrifying sentence in the whole book.
One plague more I will bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will drive you away completely.
There is one more plague coming, and it is going to be so severe that Pharaoh won’t let you leave, but he will drive you away completely! This next thing that is going to happen will be so profound, so powerful, so consummate, that Pharaoh will not change his mind like he did 9 times already. You will not be allowed to leave, but driven from this land.
It’s also interesting to note, that after the proclamation of the first nine plagues, Moses tells Pharaoh such and such will happen unless you let my people go. This time it’s done. Here comes the final plague, and we’re not asking anything of you, Pharaoh. The time for entreaty is over. The God of the Hebrews is done negotiating and yielding.
The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said. (Exodus 8:18, 19 NASB)
It was when the Egyptian magicians could not imitate God that they surrendered and believed. This has a message for us too. If followers of Christ can only do the things that the magicians (people) of this world can do and nothing more there is no reason for people to surrender to our God. If we are worldly, divisive, mortal, selfish, etc. then we aren’t showing the power we have from God to live life to the fullest. There is no reason for people to believe we are any different with or without God.
Today we went to OneLife West. I’ll post more links to the sermon later. Here are my notes.
With the new year comes a new chance to get on a Bible reading plan. As a family and at the mission we are doing the Chronological reading plan according to the folks at ESVBible.org. If you have never read the Bible all of the way through, or if you’ve never had the adventure of reading it through in the order that it happened, I suggest you check this out.
I want to plug reading the Bible at the website: If you buy an ESV study bible they give you a free unlock for all of the study Bible notes online. You can also use the notes section to write your own notes and then every few months dump them to Evernote for archiving. It’s really cool to be reading the Bible and come across a digital note you made 2 years ago (and not be distracted by 1,253 other people’s notes at the same time.)
The other thing is don’t let this reading plan be an opportunity for pride or shame. If you miss a day, press on, don’t give up. If you work 5 days ahead, shut up and praise the Lord. I’m currently in the 5th year of a “through the Bible” reading plan that was only supposed to take one year!
Nothing grows you spiritually like reading the Bible deeply and responding daily.
I was able to preach this past weekend at Westminster thanks to an awful bug that Dave caught. This is the closest I’ve ever come to a Christmas message, but it’s full of stuff that I’ve been thinking about for years. Hopefully in a few days I’ll post the audio, but don’t wait! Read on!
Christmas is this week: I always love to really think deep about the events, because the events of my life have lots of detail, lots of significant moments and turning points. It’s too easy to read the first parts of Matthew and Luke and not think about the reality of the events. (more…)
This weekend I was scheduled to teach at Westminster, but the snowpocalypse was bad enough that we decided to cancel services this Sunday. Instead, we are emailing out a link to this post, so everyone can be cheered on in the safety of their own homes.
First is a note from Dave, then a video message from me:
Last Sunday, we lit the candle of Hope. The world tells us to hope in so many things, but we know that we have to look to something greater than this world in order to have true hope.
This Sunday, we won’t be physically lighting a candle, but we can still think about the Peace that God sent to this world. This past week, the world lost Nelson Mandela. He was a man who fought against inequality and struggle between races. Mandela worked every day to advance the peace that he felt all people deserved to experience. His efforts paid off for South Africa, and influenced so many in this world.
There are great people in this world whose life work is the advancement of peace. God offers us a peace that this world will never touch. Christ told us about peace in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
God offers every person a peace that remains in hard times; a peace that can’t be wiped away by struggle. It’s a peace that can’t be understood this side of eternity. We may not be able to fully understand it, but I assure you…it can be experienced!
(These are my notes for a sermon I was able to preach in October, 2013, at New Life Church of the Nazarene in Princeton, Indiana)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
16:25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
16:26 For what does it benefit a person if he gains the whole world but forfeits his life? Or what can a person give in exchange for his life?
16:27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
9:24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
2:16 yet we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
2:17 But if while seeking to be justified in Christ we ourselves have also been found to be sinners, is Christ then one who encourages sin? Absolutely not!
2:18 But if I build up again those things I once destroyed, I demonstrate that I am one who breaks God’s law.
2:19 For through the law I died to the law so that I may live to God.
2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
2:21 I do not set aside God’s grace, because if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing!
Isaiah 1 – God Hates Religion!
1:9 If the Lord who commands armies27 had not left us a few survivors,
we would have quickly become like Sodom,
we would have become like Gomorrah.
1:10 Listen to the Lord’s word,
you leaders of Sodom!
Pay attention to our God’s rebuke,
people of Gomorrah!
1:11 “Of what importance to me are your many sacrifices?”
says the Lord.
“I am stuffed with32 burnt sacrifices
of rams and the fat from steers.
The blood of bulls, lambs, and goats
I do not want.
1:12 When you enter my presence,
do you actually think I want this –
animals trampling on my courtyards?
1:13 Do not bring any more meaningless offerings;
I consider your incense detestable!
You observe new moon festivals, Sabbaths, and convocations,
but I cannot tolerate sin-stained celebrations!
1:14 I hate your new moon festivals and assemblies;
they are a burden
that I am tired of carrying.
1:15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I look the other way;
when you offer your many prayers,
I do not listen,
because your hands are covered with blood.
1:16 Wash! Cleanse yourselves!
Remove your sinful deeds
from my sight.
1:17 Learn to do what is right!
Give the oppressed reason to celebrate!
Take up the cause of the orphan!
Defend the rights of the widow!
So then they said to him, “What must we do to accomplish the deeds God requires?”
6:29 Jesus replied, “This is the deed God requires – to believe in the one whom He sent.”
- James 1
- 2 Peter 1:6
- Romans 5:3
- 2 Thessalonians 3:13
- Hebrews 10:36
- Revelation 3:11
- Married w/ 5 kids
- Lived around the world
- Live in urban Evansville
- Spiritual Life & Program Director at the Evansville Rescue Mission
Talk about inaugural events
- Landing a great job
All of these are one time events that open up a new door to do something.
They are a significant event in and of themselves, but all of them require continuous action
Matthew 16 and Luke 9 – Denying Myself is a daily activity
Activity without the inaugural event is death – Isaiah and Hebrews 11
Inaugural event opens the door to a life correctly ordered and possible
Understand the role, work, and purpose of the work God requires, and go do it.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
I was able to preach at chapel at the Evansville Rescue Mission. I talked about Noah and Genesis 5-7.
I’m going to try to go through some sections at the Mission that cover Bible stories we’ve heard in Sunday School at a rated G, coloring sheet level, but may have never gone back and read as an adult with real depth. This is what I hope is the first of this series.
(Meta: I’m also experimenting with podcast options, so give me feedback on this listening experience.)
You can also listen to it right here:
Or listen via iTunes
Notes from James 1 this morning