Expectations

Screenshot 2019-08-26 at 11.51.34 AMA friend in-real-life was listening to one of my sermons recently and had a question. He wanted to make it clear that I was not going over his head but wondered if everyone in my congregation was always able to follow. I told him that some of points in the case I was making were repeated from things we had either studied or I had preached before. I kind of figured they would remember some of it. The other thing I pointed out was that my particular audience had a lifetime of experience; some of those church members had been at that church since before I was born. I would tailor my presentation for a youth group or a congregation with many new believers. You gotta know your audience.

That conversation got me thinking. A speaker should know their audience but at the same time a church congregation, men’s meeting, conference organizers or Sunday School class should know what to expect from a speaker. Here is what to expect from me personally. Continue reading

Is the Bible Just a Book?

Is the Bible a book that can be studied like any other or is it something more than that? Is the Bible the Word of God or just the words of God? Let me suggest that a simple answer is not always possible and sometimes “both/and” is the best option.

The Bible is a collection of ancient texts. While the Bible is primarily a religious text much of it’s bulk, particularly the Old Testament, is made up of history, poetry and wisdom sayings. It presents chronicles of the kings of Israel and long lists of genealogy. The sacred texts of the Old Testament form the basis of Judaism, the monotheistic religion of ethnic Jews. Continue reading

God is Near: Spoiler Alert!

Spoiler Alert

Spoiler Alert

Earlier this week I revealed a book in the works that should roll off the press in the next 10 -12 weeks. This has been a long time coming. In January 2011 I posted Where is God? I actually thought about deleting this post before the book came out; a good poker player doesn’t show his hand. But we’re not talking about poker, we’re talking about sharing the Gospel. Continue reading

You’re Right, I Must be an Idiot

Don’t you love it when non-Christians, atheists, gay-rights activists, etc. reference the Bible and tell you that you’re reading it wrong? “Most of the Old Testament was negated and set straight by Jesus” and “You go out and stone a bunch of people, I’ll be living to please Jesus in the meantime” are on the list of things I’ve been told. I was told “the Old Testament pretty much doesn’t matter anymore” and the evidence for this claim was Jesus responding to the question about the greatest commandment. Kudos for knowing Jesus’ answer to that question; Love the Lord you God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. A second is just like it, love your neighbor as yourself. This was an example of Jesus setting things straight.

The problem is that Jesus responded by quoting the Old Testament. Continue reading

Advent

advent-wreathThe advent of anything refers to its first appearing. The season of Advent is a time of preparation, waiting for the arrival of Christmas. We celebrate the waiting (perhaps honor is a better word) by examining the Old Testament prophesies, and considering the lessons the shepherds and wise men and teach us still. Lighting the candles of the Advent wreath is a far more time honored tradition than waiting in line for Black Friday deals on Sony’s PS4. Continue reading

The Bible, Part 3

Bible, on HistoryI’m still watching the Bible on History. My simple prayer before it began was that it not be stupid. It certainly isn’t stupid; the film is well made, filmed on location and for the most part tells the Bible story. I understand that some things must be left out and others abbreviated.  I understand dramatic license when adapting a story into a screenplay. And yet with each installment I find myself wondering why deviate from scripture when there is no need? Some details we might wish for are simply not found in the text, but why change those that are? For those of us that know the biblical account the film recreates, the differences are at times pretty bold. Continue reading

When the Church Does Not Understand the Gospel

We’ve all seen the same news stories, right?  A pastor in North Carolina (Charles Worley) suggests we put all the “gays” inside an electric fence, provide food and water, and wait for them to die out.  Another pastor in Kansas sites Old Testament scripture that homosexuals should be stoned to death.  And then there’s the kid with the questionable song lyrics, but let’s leave him to his parents.  In the first place he is a minor; secondly, and more importantly, he is probably a reflection of his parents’ world view and has not yet developed his own.

The internet can give a national or even global voice to writers, preachers, etc. that are in otherwise obscure places (such as myself).  What I think we’re really dealing with in the North Carolina story is culture shock.  Fundamentalist preachers in the Carolina’s, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and so forth probably say a hundred things every week that would shock people, including Christians, from other backgrounds.  I can only imagine what would happen if journalists in New York started listening to every fundamentalist, Pentecostal, charismatic or even Southern Baptist sermon from below the Mason-Dixon line each week. Continue reading