Weekly Recap: 6/28/2014

Posts on Gazing at Glory

Psalm 22: Prophecies of Jesus’ Triumphant Death

John 3:16: a Few Reflections

Coach Wooden’s Wisdom: the Difference Between Winning and Success

Prayer, Meditation, and Trials: Luther’s Instructions for Studying Theology as a Biblical Hermeneutical Method by Dr. Robert L. Plummer 

Seeing the Real World: a Review of What Is Biblical Theology? by Dr. James M. Hamilton, Jr.

Resources for Family-Friendly Media Choices

Other Blogs/Articles

The Pastor in the Digital Age: a Forum

The Hateful Practice of Redefinition – sometimes the most hateful thing we can do is be polite and pretend something is what it isn’t.

Are There Gaps in the Genealogies of Genesis?

Deals (subject to change without notice – these are beyond my control, but current at the time I am writing the post):  

Through July 8:  Theologians of the Baptist Tradition by Timothy George ($2.99) (helpful for theological and historical studies)

 

Training_Pastors_in__Cover_for_KindleTraining Pastors in the Local Church: Five Models of Theological Education (99 cents)

 

PulpitSupplyHandbookBookCoverPulpit Supply Handbook, 99 cents for Kindle (introductory price) (Paperback is $7.50 plus tax)

 

Five Thing Every Christian Needs to Grow, by R. C. Sproul, The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts is FREE in multiple electronic formats all this month, from Ligonier Ministries.

 

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Weekly Recap: 6/21/2014

Posts on Gazing at Glory

Psalm 15: God’s Standard of Perfect Character

Training Pastors in the Local Church, Part 1 of 7: Introduction
Training Pastors in the Local Church, Part 2 of 7: One-on-One Mentoring
Training Pastors in the Local Church, Part 3 of 7: Internships
Training Pastors in the Local Church, Part 4 of 7: Church-Based Seminaries
Training Pastors in the Local Church, Part 5 of 7: Partnering with Other Churches or Ministries
Training Pastors in the Local Church, Part 6 of 7: Traditional Bible Colleges and Seminaries
Training Pastors in the Local Church, Part 7 of 7: Conclusion

If you want all the articles in one place, the Kindle book version of this series is only 99 cents.  A paperback booklet is also available.  I’m glad to make this content free on the blog, but if you’d like to show a little support, please consider purchasing a paperback or Kindle version (those who purchase the paperback on Amazon can get the Kindle version for free, via the Kindle matchbook program).

Training_Pastors_in__Cover_for_KindleLinks to purchase:

Amazon Kindle eBook

Amazon (paperback)  (those who purchase the paperback via Amazon are eligible for the Kindle version for free)

CreateSpace (paperback)

 

Other Blogs/Articles (to return next week, D.V.)

Deals (subject to change without notice – these are beyond my control, but current at the time I am writing the post):  

Five Thing Every Christian Needs to Grow, by R. C. Sproul, The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts is FREE in multiple electronic formats this month, from Ligonier Ministries.

Weekly Recap: 6/14/2014

A look ahead:  Next week’s Monday-Saturday posts will be a bit different, all focusing on the theme of Training Pastors in the Local Church.

Last week’s posts on Gazing at Glory

Psalm 8 – God’s Glory in Creation

Communicating the Gospel in an Athenian Culture

Bill Nye, the Logical Fallacy Guy

Memorizing Scripture – Some Reasons & Tools to Help

Five Things Satan Loves about the Extreme 1611 KJV Only Movement

Why Switching Back to Dumb Phones Was a Smart Move for Us (Part 2 of 2)

Other Blogs/Articles

Practical Tips for Preaching a Funeral

Training Pastors in the Church

Ten Tips to Becoming a More Productive Pastor

When Our Sons Ask for Stones, Let’s Give Them Bread addresses a big issue that most of us will face in one way or another.

Four Modern Versions of the Bible That Are Ruining the Bible – this article is not what you might first think.

Deals (subject to change without notice – these are beyond my control, but current at the time I am writing the post):  

Preach: Theology Meets Practice by Mark Dever & Greg Gilbert – $2.99 (not sure how long this deal is good)

Timothy Witmer’s The Shepherd Leader at Home is only 99 cents for Kindle through June 15. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for husbands/dads.

Taste and See: an Invitation to Read the Bible (FREE for Kindle, not sure how long; sounds like it might be a good intro to Bible study)

Five Thing Every Christian Needs to Grow, by R. C. Sproul, The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts is FREE in multiple electronic formats this month, from Ligonier Ministries.

Weekly Recap: 6/7/2014

Posts on Gazing at Glory

Psalm 1

Genesis 1-11: Its Foundational Nature, Context, and Special Relevance for Israel

How to Pray Scripture

Sermon Preparation as a Team

Why I Try to Avoid Most Right-Wing Talk Radio

Why Switching Back to Dumb Phones Was a Smart Move for Us (Part 1)

Other Blogs/Articles

Should a pastor use all his vacation time every year?

The new narcotic – guard yourself against this.

How much of Scripture is inspired?

A passion for preaching: interview with Pastor Steven Lawson

Deals (subject to change without notice – these are beyond my control, but current at the time I am writing the post):  

Preach: Theology Meets Practice by Mark Dever & Greg Gilbert – $2.99 (not sure how long this deal is good)

Introducing the New Testament by Joe Blair – 99 cents (through June 10)

FREE through 6/11 – Iain Duguid on Jesus in the Old Testament

Through 6/11, WTS Books has a nice deal on a nice edition of Pilgrim’s Progress.  Highly recommended book.

Taste and See: an Invitation to Read the Bible (FREE for Kindle, not sure how long; sounds like it might be a good intro to Bible study)

Five Thing Every Christian Needs to Grow, by R. C. Sproul, The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts is FREE in multiple electronic formats this month, from Ligonier Ministries.

Why I Try to Avoid Most Right-Wing Talk Radio

Dr. Russell Moore, of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberties Commission, has a great post over at Desiring God entitled, “Too Scared to Cry: Social Media Outrage and the Gospel.”  I especially resonated with these nuggets culled from Moore’s post:

We must learn to lament, because once we no longer lament we turn instead to anger, outrage, blame, and quarrelsomeness. The louder and more frantic the anger, the more we feel as though we’re really showing conviction and grit…

The problem with carnal anger and outrage is that it is one of the easiest sins to commit, all the while convincing oneself that it’s faithfulness. After all, how many angry, divisive, perpetually outraged Christians are convinced that they are Old Testament prophets, calling down fire from heaven? …

Rage itself is no sign of authority, prophetic or otherwise…

Anger is sometimes right. God in his holiness displays wrath. But God’s anger is slow to kindle, rooted in the patience of the One who is “not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God’s anger is not a means of catharsis, and it certainly isn’t the theatrical display of a temper out of control. That’s why the Bible warns us that “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20)…

The outrage culture of today, whether broadcast across the airwaves or clicked about on social media, can make us feel better for a moment, but it cannot yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness…

While Moore’s post is mainly about social media, it immediately reminded me of talk radio.  I went through a time of listening to some conservative, right-wing talk radio.  But I could only take so much.  Anger, angst, and agitation nearly always seemed to be the results I saw in myself from listening to it.  Come to think of it, there was probably a good dose of pride thrown in there too – a superiority complex toward those on “the other side” of the issues.

Missing?  Compassion.  Lament.  Sorrow.  Humility.   Peace.  Love.  Above all, a perspective based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which transcends, trumps, and outlasts American politics, red or blue.

This is why I don’t concern myself too much with Rush, Hannity, et al.  It’s not that I have a problem with everything they’re saying.  It’s that the way they say it leaves me feeling angry, proud, and then when I think about it, kind of soiled.  (I can listen to people I totally disagree with on NPR and come away with a totally different kind of reaction.)

For a time I did find one suitable alternative: the Albert Mohler program (discontinued, though Dr. Mohler has other broadcast outlets now).  Mohler could deal with the news, tackle tough issues head on, interview interesting guests with a variety of viewpoints, handle callers, and do all this with clarity, grace, and an eternal perspective that challenged and refreshed and sought to understand things in light of Jesus and His righteousness, not our all-too often self-righteous indignation.

Weekly Recap: 5/31/2014

Posts on Gazing at Glory

Book Recommendation: Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung

In Defense of Struggling and Even Stagnant Churches

Why We Shouldn’t Refer to God as “Her” or “She” and Why We Shouldn’t Be Ashamed to Refer to God as “Him” or “He”

Why I Treat Blog Comments Like Letters to the Editor

Tweeting through Genesis 1 & 2

Other Blogs/Articles

The Blessing and Challenge of Graduation

Bryan College Is Torn: Can Darwin & Eden Coexist?

Letter to the Editor: Regarding the Petition (great letter from Bryan professor; note especially comments about academic freedom and Christian colleges)

My Vision for Christian Education

Six Lies Grads Will Be Told

Tweets: Tweeting through Genesis 3

From @dougsmith1977

May 25

the serpent was more cunning than any beast … God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said…?” Gen 3:1 NKJV

In his deceitful craftiness, Satan put a question mark where God had put a period. His strategy continues, and many fall for it.

How do we know the serpent is Satan? Scripture explains Scripture. Cf. Gen 3:1, 13 with Rev 12:9.   

Satan’s strategy: question God’s Word, contradict God’s Word, attack God’s character. It worked in the garden, it still works today.

“They were deceived, disobeyed, and were driven from that holy ground.” From ‘s song, “The Beginning,” on The Ancient Faith

May 26

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” Gen 3:9 NKJV

God seeking Adam & Eve after their rebellion is the first of many places we see God taking the initiative on behalf of sinners.  

God wasn’t asking where Adam was for the sake of information. He was giving Adam an opportunity to come clean & confess his sin.  

“The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win.”  

May 27

I will put enmity between you & the woman,& between your seed & her Seed; [He’ll] bruise your head,& [you’ll] bruise His heel. Gen 3:15 NKJV

Before pronouncing the consequences of their sin, God proclaims the gospel to Adam & Eve in the first prophecy of the God-man Savior, Jesus.

Sin’s consequences: difficulty in childbirth, relationships, & work; death of our bodies, which return to the dust.   

The curse on sin in Gen 3 accounts for all the suffering, disease, & death we have in this life. We have to wait for Rev 21 for its removal.

“No more let sin and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground! He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.”  

May 28

“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” Gen 3:20 NKJV   

Although Eve had not yet had children, God promised a Seed from her. Adam’s name for her indicated faith in the promise of God.

God sought out Adam & Eve, who tried to cover themselves and play the blame game. God promised a Savior and clothed them with animal skins.

Christ in Gen 3: seeking sinful man; promised Seed of woman; prefigured in innocent animal slain to cover Adam & Eve.   

“Nothing can for sin atone; nothing but the blood of Jesus. Naught of good that I have done – nothing but the blood of Jesus.”  

May 29

[God] “drove out the man…placed cherubim…east of the garden… a flaming sword…to guard the way to the tree of life.” Gen 3:24 NKJV

Tree of life off limits when man is banished from garden, but it is on the menu for believers in the new heavens & new earth (Rev 2:7, 22:2)

After Gen 3:24, cherubim not mentioned again till Exod 25:18. Symbolically guarding access to God on ark of the covenant, on the mercy seat.

Our access to God is through Jesus only, His blood & righteousness. Eternal life & one day tree of life, among benefits of knowing Him.

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”

Why I Treat Blog Comments Like Letters to the Editor

1. I don’t see the point of providing an unmoderated forum for discussion.  I know it doesn’t have to be completely unmoderated, but I don’t have time to watch the blog constantly, and still fulfill my other responsibilities. I do not want my blog to become a place where people can immediately spread false teaching or start flame wars.

2. I have enjoyed reading the letters to the editor section in magazines, but I don’t think that would be the case if the editor allowed any and every letter to be published.  I think blog readers deserve the same – thoughtful comments that are helpful.  I’m not anti-discussion, but I don’t think it needs to occur in real time everywhere.  With blogs, it’s probably better to have some delay so people can think about what they say before it shows up.

3. It is my blog and I don’t really get the argument that moderating or disallowing comments makes for a blog that’s less than authentic.  For folks that have the time and/or staff to babysit their blogs constantly… more power to them.  I have a family and a job, which are more important than my blog.

4.Good editors don’t mind publishing comments that challenge them or disagree with them.  But they sometimes comment back and have had time to consider their response.  Likewise, I reserve the right to publish things I agree or disagree with, and I also reserve the right to wait to publish it till I’ve had time to consider whether to try to answer the issue where we disagree (if at all; I don’t think we always have to have the last word).

5. Last but not least, the majority of comments I get are spam.  Do you really want to see those on here?  Didn’t think so; me neither.  This way I can easily weed out stuff like that, plus any other comments that I may deem unhelpful in content or in tone.

If you disagree, that’s okay.  If you want to submit a comment, that’s fine.  I have approved every decent comment I have received and will be glad to continue to do so.  Just don’t expect it immediately, as I have some other stuff to do.  Speaking of which…

Tweeting Through Genesis 1 & 2

Gen 1.1 TweetI’ve been enjoying my experiment with Twitter, tweeting some quotes from Scripture and my own meditations on the passages, sprinkled with a few insights from others.  It amazes me how much there is to think on in the Word of God, and how much there is to apply!  Here are my tweets  from @dougsmith1977 over about 5 days, from Genesis 1 & 2.

 

May 19

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Gen 1:1 NKJV #truth #thereisaGod #creation

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. Gen. 1:3 NKJV #truth #creation #creationexnihilo

And God said… and it was so… The pattern in Gen 1 shows the omnipotent power of God’s Word. #truth #creation #omnipotence

God created…God said…God made…God called…God saw…God blessed…Clearly, the activity of God is on display in Gen 1. #creation #God

“Praise ye the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation! O my soul, praise Him for He is thy health and salvation!” #praiseGod #creation

May 20

Days 1-3: Forming; Days 4-6: Filling. God’s power, wisdom & love on display in His orderly provision for animals/mankind. #creation #Genesis

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male & female He created them” (Gen 1:27, NKJV). #creation #truth

Days 3-6: “God saw that it was good.” After #creation of man: “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Gen 1:31).

2 key commands in Gen 1:28: multiply & manage (HT @davidpmurray ). NT spiritual parallel in Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20). Both/and.

“I sing the mighty power of God that made the mountains rise, that spread the flowing seas abroad and built the lofty skies.” #praiseGod

May 21

“Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Gen 2:3 NKJV

Why 7 days? Gives man a pattern/cycle for the workweek. Cf. Exod 20:11 with Gen 1:1-2:3. #creation #7days

The Bible’s bookends-Gen 1-2: Creation of a sinless world that sin would enter. Rev 21-22: Re-creation of a world that sin will never enter.

Gen 1 & 2 are complementary, not contradictory, accounts. 1 gives chronology, 2 is a closer look at Day 6. buff.ly/1mQdlXp#creation

“I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day; the moon shines forth at His command and all the stars obey.” #praiseGod #creation

May 22

“& the Lord God formed man of the dust… & breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; & man became a living being.” Gen 2:7 NKJV

Man directly created by God; did not arise from lower life forms. Body from dust of the earth, yet God gave life by His breath. #creation

Tree of life/rivers/precious stones in Gen 2; Tree of life/river/precious stones in Rev 21-22. Restoration will be #betterthanEden one day.

Command to Adam: Don’t eat of tree of knowledge of good and evil. Consequence: in the day you eat of it you shall surely die. (Gen 2:17)

“I sing the goodness of the Lord that filled the earth w/ food; He formed he creatures with His Word & then pronounced them good.” #creation

May 23

“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.'” Gen 2:18 NKJV #creation

Only time during creation week God says “not good” is when Adam is without Eve. Humanity is composed of male AND female, not male only.

Eve from Adam’s rib, not head 2 rule him, nor feet as doormat, but side 2B equal w/him, under his arm 2B protected, near heart 2B beloved.

The first anesthesiologist: God. The first anesthesia patient: Adam. And what a sight he beheld after waking up! (Gen 2:21-23) #creation

“The Christian is supposed to love his neighbor, & since his wife is his nearest neighbor, she should be his deepest love.” – Martin Luther

May 24

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Gen 2:24 #creation #marriage

Twitter as a Motivation for Meditation: an Experiment

Twitter_logo_blueI’ve had a sort of love-hate relationship with Twitter.  If you don’t happen to know what Twitter is, it’s a social media service that limits you to 140 character posts (called Tweets), to which you may attach photos, videos, or links.  As with most media, there’s a lot of stupid stuff on Twitter and plenty of places and ways to get in trouble or just waste time.

A few months back, I completely walked away from Twitter, but then came back when I decided it would be a good idea to blog weekly at capsministry.com.  I set up automatic posting from the blog to @capsministry on Twitter, and would occasionally post extra tweets, retweet other Twitter-ers (Tweeters?), or “favorite” Tweets I found helpful.

I just self-published a book, Keeping the Faith in a Christian College, and have been trying to get the word out, so I began utilizing this blog, as well as capsministry.com and its Twitter account.  It made more sense to promote my own book with my own account, so it was back to Twitter for @dougsmith1977 (my old handle was still available!).  It’s annoying for someone to merely use a media outlet to incessantly publicize a product (or at least I think so), so I thought it would be better to share Scripture, meditations on Scripture, and helpful links, in addition to occasionally engaging other users directly.

The long and short of it is, that I’ve found Twitter to have some value for reinforcing my own meditation on the Bible.  Here’s how:

1. The forced brevity of Twitter forces one to choose carefully what one posts.  Sure, you can divide a long quote into multiple tweets, but better to be short, sweet, and well-encapsulated.  Who knows, amidst all the awkward attempts, one might come up with something decently pithy and helpful.

2. The fleeting nature of Twitter suggests that one use it with some frequency.  It’s easy for a Tweet to get lost in a sea of other content; if you follow more than a handful of people and have about any responsibilities, there’s no way you can catch each tweet that the folks you follow post.  So I’m posting several times a day in hopes that someone will be edified, educated, or challenged in a helpful way by something I say.

3. Scheduling tweets is the way I maximize my use of Twitter.  I’ve been using Buffer and decided, as a general rule, I will post 5 times each day (scheduled Tweets).  I may or may not post additional Tweets or Retweets, depending on my schedule (unscheduled Tweets).  Scheduling helps me with not being tied to checking Twitter too much.  The combination of scheduling and frequency is what helps me with meditation.  I’m reading through the “Essential 100” reading plan at YouVersion (www.bible.com), and have been focusing on a chapter a day.  So far, I’ve been chewing on Genesis 1 and 2 and scheduling tweets based on them.

My general approach so far has been:

  • 6:15 a.m. Tweet:  post a verse from the passage I’m reading
  • 9:15 a.m. Tweet:  a meditation/insight from the passage or its context
  • 12:15 p.m. Tweet:  another meditation/insight
  • 3:15 p.m. Tweet:  another meditation/insight; perhaps a link to a topic related to the text
  • 9:15 p.m. Tweet:  a quote on the theme of the passage (or related theme) – so far these have been from hymns, but I might broaden out to include quotes from commentators, preachers, etc.

This approach has helped me to use Twitter in an intentional, focused way, thus far.  It has also resulted in more time thinking on the Word, and that’s definitely a good thing:

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.

Psalm 1:1-2 (NKJV)