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My Vacation Taught Me About Community

Live in harmony with one another.
-Romans 12:16a
I just got back from a family vacation.  We all lived in a condominium together for a week.  We had two sets of people who don't normally live together, so we had to learn to be together.
Every vacation time puts us into a different routine, in a different place sometimes with different people.  This one was just like that.  No one or no thing completely ruined it, but there were challenges and joys.
Even though it was completely predictable, I was was caught off guard once by the difficulty in choosing what to watch on television.  Four out of the five of us are first borns, who like to dictate what tv shows will be watched.
After the first disagreement, I realized that I don't need to control what we watch.  And I was immediately set free.  The next time there was an issue, we discovered the second tv and split into two groups.
You don't have to do everything together.  This is stating the obvious, but I think being able …

Tozer Quotes on Worship

The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
This is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
-Exodus 15:2

My first memory of worship was when I was a little boy, and all the people were in the sanctuary singing The Lord's Prayer.  I can still hear the roar of all the voices, in unison, singing, "For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, forever!"  There was a pipe organ that did not overpower the voices of the congregation, but seemed to guide and blend with our words, towards heaven.
Everything I have learned and everything I have seen and experienced about worship starts with that childhood memory.  Christians have been offended and put off by different styles of worship.  How we worship has been in contention for a long time.
I recently picked up a book, Tozer on Worship and Entertainment, which is a compilation of thoughts from A.W. Tozer, by James L. Snyder; published in 1997.  Around 1987, I read a simi…

Admire Your Husband and Save Your Marriage

To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.
-Ephesians 5:33

Did you know that there is no verse that says, "Wives, love your husbands"?  Most wives do love their husbands, and I would imagine, do not need to be admonished to do so.  But, husbands do need to be admonished to love their wives.

At least that's what it seems like.  Husbands need to get better at loving.  Husbands have the high calling of loving like Christ loves.

Wives seem to not need to be called to love better.  We are all called to love and to grow in loving.  Husbands get a special or particular command to love their wives.

Wives get a different command, direction or calling.  Wives need to be admonished to respect their husbands.  The wife is called out to respect or give admiration to her husband.

Many husbands, after a period of time in marriage, strangely, do not feel like spending time with their wives.  What happened?
I am reading Gary Small…

Living In God's House

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord of Armies.
I long and yearn for the courts of the Lord;
My heart and flesh cry out for the living God.

Even a sparrow finds a home,
And a swallow, a nest for herself
Where she places her young—
Near your altars, Lord of Armies,
My King and my God.
How happy are those who reside in your house,
Who praise you continually.
Selah

Happy are the people whose strength is in you,
Whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
They make it a source of springwater;
Even the autumn rain will cover it with blessings.
They go from strength to strength;
Each appears before God in Zion.

Lord God of Armies, hear my prayer;
Listen, God of Jacob.Selah
Consider our shield, God;
Look on the face of your anointed one.

Better a day in your courts than a thousand anywhere else.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than live in the tents of wicked people.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield.
The Lord grants favor …

Jesus Never Made Speeches (Learning to Teach Like Jesus, pt. 7)

After three days, they found him in the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. -Luke 2:46

Jesus never made speeches.  But when Christian leaders get up to teach, it is most always a speech they give.  We also call this a sermon, a talk, or an address.  You can actually get a doctorate in homiletics and be an expert on speechifying, in teaching the Bible.

Jesus did not teach through giving speeches, but we love to give and hear speeches, in order to teach or be taught.  If you go to almost any church, this is what we usually do.  But, it is not what Jesus did, nor what the Apostles did.

We kind of assume they did.  And we read the NT through our lense.  We impose our lifestyles, traditions and biases onto the text and see what is not there.

How would you like it if you found out that Jesus did not do sermon prep like we do and bring a sermon to people?

Some of the worst sermons you and I have ever heard were by preachers who did not prepare, b…

Everything Does Not Happen For A Reason

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified;and those he justified, he also glorified.
-Romans 8:28-30
One of the dumbest sayings is, "Everything happens for a reason".  Some people believe that they are comforted by this idea.  When disaster strikes or a loved one dies under unfortunate circumstances, they say this.
The 'reason' that I think is false and that makes the statement false is God's will.  The belief out there is that God wills tragedy: accidents, including kids being run over or even murdered.  No.  Everything does not happen for a reason.
I just finished reading a book that was mostly a beautiful story about a tragic event of a young man.  He died in a…

Using Problems To Teach (Learning to Teach Like Jesus, pt.6)

Then Jesus left there and went into the area of Judea and across the Jordan River. Again, many people came to him, and Jesus taught them as he always did.
-Mark 10:1 (ERV)

These are reflections and notes on chapter six of Harrell Horne's book on learning to teach like Jesus.  Life is filled with problems ranging from what to have for lunch, to questions about eternity.  When we face a problem, it makes us think.

Here are some problems that people had from the book of Mark, in chapters 9 and 10.  The problem is underlined.  I am using the ERV version today (Easy-To-Read version, 2006)



They asked him, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”

Jesus answered, “They are right to say that Elijah must come first. Elijah makes all things the way they should be. But why do the Scriptures say that the Son of Man will suffer much and that people will think he is worth nothing?  I tell you that Elijah has already come. And people did to him all the bad things they want…

Sky Links, 8-19-17

Cognitive Bias, Critical Thinking and Seminary Education

Dave Black posted this observation:


"Just before midnight on Friday, July 7, an Air Canada jet cleared to land on runway 28 Right at San Francisco International Airport mistakenly lined up with a parallel taxiway that was filled with 5 "heavies" full of fuel and passengers waiting for takeoff. The captain of one of those taxiing aircraft warned the tower that the approaching jet was about to land on a taxiway, and air traffic control told the plane to do a go-around, possibly averting the greatest disaster in aviation history. Earlier, the crew of the Air Canada plane had asked the tower, "We see lights on the runway there. Across the runway. Can you confirm we are cleared to land?" The SFO tower replied, "Confirmed clear to land. Runway 28 Right. There's no one on 2-8 Right but you."

How did the pilots of that Air Canada jet mistake a taxiway for a runway? The answer may be found in a condit…

Equipping The Saints

Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong.

He gave some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, for the equipping of the saints, for the work of service, and for the building up of the body of Christ.

-Ephesians 4:11-12 (CEV, MEV)
The ministry of Christ is meant to be done by the people who make up the church, who are 'the Saints'.  In Christ, we are all saints.  Get rid of the legalistic idea that you are 'no saint', because in Christ, we are all saints.  
The issue is being in Christ.  If you aren't in Christ, you simply are not a Christian, because that is what a Christian is.
Now, there has been a battle raging over ministry.  This issue was not solved during the beginning of the Reformation.  It is the church's "third rail".
In order to really come into what Paul wrote in Ephesians 4, professional ministers w…

Learning How To Teach From Jesus, part 5

“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work,” Jesus told them.
-John 4:34

Chapter 5 of Harrell Howard Horne's book, Jesus The Master Teacher, is entitled:

HIS AIMS

Harrell: A real teacher must have both strategy and tactics, that is, he must have both objectives and means for attaining them. Without strategy, tactics have no goal; without tactics, strategy has no means of attainment. What were the objectives of the Great Teacher? First, make a list of these for yourself, and then compare it with the one given below.


What were Jesus' objectives as a teacher?  What were his aims?  Did some ideas come to mind, when we read Harrell's words, above?

Teaching strategyTeaching tacticsTeaching objectives

Here is Harrell's list the 9 aims of Jesus:

To do his Father's will and work.To be accepted as Messiah.To win learners and to train them as witnesses of his.To substitute vital for formal religion.To fulfill the law in the new universal kingdom…

Learning How To Teach From Jesus, part 4

The next day, John was standing with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

The two disciples heard him say this and followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and noticed them following him, he asked them, “What are you looking for?”

They said to him, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

“Come and you’ll see,” he replied. So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon.
-John 1:34-39


Chapter 4 of Harrell's book, The Teaching Techniques of Jesus (Jesus The Master Teacher), is:

HIS POINTS OF CONTACT


Harrel:
It is essential in all effective teaching that points of contact be established between teacher and taught. By a "point of contact" in teaching we mean how minds come to meet, the common meeting places of mind with mind. Just as we "rub elbows" in the physical world, so minds have points of contact in the mental world. Usually these poi…