From the Archives: Lessons from the Garden of Eden

I have been physically ill for much of this week and there hasn’t been a new post since Monday. I’ve been digging in the archives and to be honest probably don’t post “reruns” often enough. It’s been six years since this post was published. There is constant turnover online as blogs disappear and new ones are created. I certainly have many more friends and followers today than way back when. And of course some things are worth repeating. From July 2008, here is Lessons from the Garden of Eden.

 

7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.    -Gen. 2:7-9

 

Lesson 1: We are special to God. Human beings are made in God’s image and likeness (Gen 1:26-27).  What does that mean exactly?  I’m not even sure.  People will tell you what it means, but truthfully, we don’t really know for sure.  We do that no other being in creation is described this way.  Continue reading

Not What I Expected

bibleFirst, let me put in a good word for Bible Gateway. They rolled out a major site redesign earlier this year and added a ton of interactive features. You will notice the Bible Gateway Verse of the Day on the left-hand side bar and a Bible Gateway Blogger Grid badge on the right. Scripture references in my posts are linked to the Bible Gateway site, in ESV, but there are many other English versions and other languages available. I use the site every day and will continue to, don’t get the wrong idea.

I also get a plethora of email from Bible Gateway and recently decided to participate in a scripture memorization type of Bible Study. Continue reading

The Anger of Man

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak,slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. -James 1:19-20

There is such a thing as righteous indignation but that is reserved for, well, the righteous. Which is not us. I’m offering this as a timely reminder in an age when lots of people, Christians included, are carrying signs and share every waking thought on social media. We to need to be very vocal about the Gospel and keep everything else behind closed doors. Some conversations need to stay within the walls of a family’s living room or take place in the context of a Sunday School class. Some conversations need to not take place at all. What the world needs to see and hear is a group of people conforming to the image of Christ who are meek and humble in their behavior but bold with sharing the Gospel.

Jesus Practiced What He Preached

jesus_teachingJesus practiced what he preached, perhaps the greatest understatement ever made, and of course what he preached was the Gospel. “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” Mark 1:14-15 

Jesus preached the Gospel.

Let’s deconstruct that passage. Jesus said “the time is fulfilled.” His first century Jewish audience would have been familiar with the many messianic prophecies. Jesus didn’t spend a great deal of time trying to convince people he was the Messiah; by contrast he told his disciples to keep to themselves even as they began to figure it out. Without announcing that Messiah (or Christ in the Greek) was present he began his first sermon by declaring in effect “now is the appointed time, today is the day of salvation.” Continue reading

Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee

Screenshot 2014-09-01 at 10.39.20 AMThru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee is a half-hour daily radio program that takes the listener on a 5 year journey through the entire scripture. I discovered McGee more than a decade after he had passed, but through the miracle of radio broadcast his ministry lives on still. The full audio collection has been available for years on CD – or I should say many, many CD’s. The study notes and outline for the entire series makes a very large single volume.

Check this out – the entire audio series plus notes and outlines in pdf can now be purchased on a single 8GB flash drive. Click here for ordering information – the cost is a mere $35.

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Study to Show Thyself Approved

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Start Studying, from the article So You Want to Be a Pastor by Dave Bruskas of Mars Hill Church. I particularly enjoyed this take on importance of scripture, just thought I’d share. His next piece of advice is to start evangelizing. There are many pastors but evangelistic pastors are few and far between.

 

 

Opinion: Is This a Good Lie?

365 times This statement made the Facebook rounds a year or two ago and seems to be recirculating again. Have you seen this or shared it already on social media? Here’s the thing: it isn’t true. 

The born-again believer certainly has nothing to fear. If the Bible said “Do not be afraid” even once then it would be a statement of ultimate truth that we can all believe in. The ESV contains the phrase 33 times, the NIV 70 times, the most occurrences I have found in any translation. (The KJV by contrast does not contain that exact phrase even once.) Is it true that we should not be afraid? Yes. Is sharing this image a way to encourage and inspire believers? Perhaps yes. My wife thinks I’m trolling if I see this on Facebook and comment to the poster it’s not accurate.

Question: should we continue sharing this image in order to encourage one another even though it makes a false statement about the scripture? 

I believe telling lies about the truth is still lying. I don’t believe we can “rightly divide the Word of Truth” by making false statements about what it says. I’m not calling every person who has ever posed this a liar. Like so many other things people smile a little when they this image and click “share” without checking to see is the claim has any truth to or it not. I for one happen to think sharing a false statement about biblical truth is a greater offense than reposting urban legends about Coca-cola being used to clean toilets or the current president taking more vacation days than any other.