Monday, April 28, 2008

Pray for me

Please pray for me.
I am going to our District's Youth Pastor Mentoring Retreat today.
Tomorrow my dad is having prostate cancer surgery.
Wednesday we are going a concert of prayer - at youth group - with the whole Church.
Sunday - I'm preaching and leading worship at the new church plant in Webster City (and I'll be doing that the following week).
Pray for my wife - she has our kids and more to deal with (and she is amazing).


Ephesians 4 - more thoughts...

Every commentator will tell you that chatpers 1-3 are theology and chapters 4-6 are the practical side of that. In chapters 4-6, the word "walk" keeps occuring - marking off sections, I believe. 4:1; 4:17; 5:1; 5:8; 5:15; Then note that in chapter 6:10-11 - we have the word "Finally" - and then the word "stand firm" - which definitely is another physical body word.

I say all that because I think it points to 4:1-16 being it's own section - and if it is, I think the one command - "To walk in a manner worthy of our calling" is the main idea. I guess I'm saying I like my outline more and more. I'm so frustrated because I can't find an outline like mine - but I don't think I'm crazy. I'm either on to something or on something.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ephesians 4:1-16

When I outline a passage (I'll be preaching on this one), I try to do it so that it follows the author's thought process. I rarely find commentators or preachers that do that. The following is my attempt at a Thought Outline of Ephesians 4:1-16. These are not clever titles or even complete thoughts - but I think it's pretty stinking close. Possibly the first three sub points under the first heading should be made into 4 or 5 points. I realize very few care - but - I'm hoping for some feedback.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

What is the (thought) OUTLINE of Ephesians 4 (esp versese 1-16)?

What is the (thought) OUTLINE of Ephesians 4 (esp versese 1-16)?

It's amazing how poorly people outline - or how good they are at coming up with some sort of thematic outline - but one that does not let the text speak for itself. I'm sure I'm old and crazy and too narrow-minded - but... in a bit of searching online, I have found nothing close to an outline of Ephesians 4 that represents Paul's flow of thought.

I'm focusing on Eph 4:1-16. I can say that the main point is NOT UNITY. Unity takes up the most space, but it is not the main point (or if it is, it certainly is called something else first).

It seems that verse 3 is one of the subpoints of verse 1 (walk in a manner worthyof the calling you received). I realize few people take time to read my blog - and fewer still will have time to give me some good answers - but maybe someone will get where I'm going. Anyone? Anyone?

I suppose I could rant about "Thematic" expository preaching. So often the theme seems to take away from the text. I know - it's taught as the way to do it (and no - I haven't had a preaching class and I don't even know what it's really called). It frustrates me.

I guess I'm hoping someone out there will see Ephesians 4 as I do (which I hope is what Paul was aiming at in his writing).

I'm done ranting - for now. I'll try to post my outline soon.

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Worst Time Of The Year - For Sports

I dread spring when it comes to watching sports. Football is done. College basketball is done. I don't have cable so I can't see soccer. The NBA has just about lost me. Baseball never had me. I listen to talk radio a lot - but at this time of the year - there's nothing. NASCAR bores me. Hockey's so-so. Honestly - I get more excited about watching golf than any other spring sport.

The Good News: The Minnesota Vikings are undefeated right now - tied for first place in the NFC North and in the playoff hunt. Go Vikings!


What is the "unity in the faith"?

Ephesians 4 speaks of the unity of the Spirit in verse 3; unity in (or "of" - ESV) the faith in verse 13. What is "unity in the faith"? What does it look like practically? What doesn't it mean - and why?

I'm going to be preaching on Ephesians 4 in Webster City - May 4 and 11. I'm sure I'll have some other questions about Ephesians 4.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Creation and Science - Genesis 1 - Dr. John H. Walton - WOW

Through Google Alerts I get updates on my favorite professor ever (Dr. John Walton – Old Testament professor in the Wheaton Ph. D program; formerly of Moody). I found a lecture (his voice with his PowerPoint) that he gave on Genesis 1-2 and creation. I had the privilege of eating breakfast with him every day for about 2 years in college. My love for God’s Word was brought to new heights (it had already been elevated just by being at Moody, but Dr. Walton is a man of the text – not of trends or presuppositions). A friend of mine who I believe is currently in the Ph. D program at Wheaton told me that Dr. Walton is ranked in the top ten in the world when it comes to Old Testament scholars. I say all this hoping you’ll at least listen to the first 15 to 20 minutes of the lecture – I believe it’s about an hour. It’s amazing and will really make you think. One of the many things I adore about Dr. Walton – he teaches 6th grade Sunday School – to help him continually work at communicating to young people. He’s a stud (in a very OT professor type way).

A simple summary (very poor summary) – Israelite and ANE (Ancient Near East) literature focused on function, not on form or scientific theory. He looks at the text (he’s very Bible driven – and as intellectually honest as anyone I’ve ever met) and takes you places you may not want to go – but it’s very well done. So the 6 days of creation are not trying to teach about how long days were or how things were done scientifically, but were really there to show that God put in place time, weather, and vegetation (which are as important as just about anything for anyone living in the ANE). I’m blown away – don’t know what to think. For some reason, the little box I’ve put God in doesn’t really dig a potential change in my worldview. He’s not liberal by any means, but it’s definitely a different approach (different than any theory you’ve heard). This is not a very good summary – but listen and give the man a chance.

I should mention that my approach to OT (and even NT) hermeneutics is radically shaped by Dr. Walton. His OT Survey book is the best out there. His commentary on Genesis is superb.

Hope you’ll check it out.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

What a mess...

I am getting more into Facebook - what a tool for myself personally, and also for ministry. I've been very saddened to read some students' facebook pages (mostly students who were on the fringe that we've lost). I wish I knew all the reasons we lost them. High school is a mess!!! I don't envy high school believers.

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Great Links - Cool Stuff - Personal Radio Station

I don't keep up on cool internet stuff enough. A recent EFCA Today magazine article mentioned some cool sites. Here are some of the ones I really liked.

Pandora Radio - Listen to Free Internet Radio, Find New Music - choose your artists; it will play just one or a mix; it will also play similar artists; you can say if you like a song or not; you can share your personal radio station with friends; I dig it, actually - and I almost never listen to music (does that make me a bad Christian).

RELEVANT MAGAZINE :: Covering God, Life and Progressive Culture - some pretty fascinating stuff - it makes you think - and you may disagree often

ZIPskinny - Demographics and Census info - type in your zipcode and find out a bunch of demographic info.

If you have great websites that you like - I would LOVE to be told about them.

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Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why do bad things happen to good people? This is the age old question. I am not going to do much to answer it (sorry). I was working on some stuff for Junior High Youth Group and was looking for some stories and came across a message board with this response to the question (this post is mostly because of the quote below - not really to answer the question):

yes bad things happen for a reason
god ignores our plees for help
and our good deeds
then when hes watching us do bad things
You are attacked by a giraffe with rabies

That last line makes me laugh hard.

The start of a simple answer: We have the question backwards. We should ask - "Why do good things happen to us (we aren't as good as we think we are - or so Scripture says)?"

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