Proverbial advice for New Years Eve!

and every day for that matter:

Proverbs 23:19-21 (Today’s New International Version)

19 Listen, my [children]*, and be wise,
and set your heart on the right path:

20 Do not join those who drink too much wine
or gorge themselves on meat,

21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor,
and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

Well, please consider taking heed and have a blessed and happy New Years!

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* my own arbitrary textual emendation.

Book Review on the Holy Spirit

Daniel Thompson put up a review of a book on the Holy Spirit by Professor Lois Malcom of Luther Seminary.   It looks like it is a really good book and one everyone will want to check out – it is not written from a Pentecostal perspective so you won’t have to worry about any poor exegesis or bait and switching.  It looks to be more of a biblical theology of the Holy Spirit.  Here’s an excerpt of the review:

She opens her book with these words: “Every year, when I teach the Holy Spirit course for seniors at Luther Seminary, I begin by asking these two questions: Who is the Holy Spirit? Have you experienced the Spirit in your life and in the world around you? As my students try to respond, they often draw a blank.”

I teach in a Pentecostal school, an undergraduate college. It has a long tradition as being “Pentecostal.” Yet, when I teach on the power of the Spirit, I often meet the same blank stares. We are ALL in need of learning.

Aren’t we all?   Then he observes:

One of the hang-ups younger people in Charismatic and Pentecostal circles have with “classical” Pentecostalism is speaking in tongues.  Let us dispense with this straw man argument.  Let us get to the real point: Is the Holy Spirit truly active in your life today?  This is the fundamental question for Dr. Malcolm, and this should be the fundamental question for every Trinitarian believer.  As a Pentecostal, this question should be primary in our church doctrine and practice.

Sadly, I am not too sure the Holy Spirit is terribly active in people’s lives or if they really allow him to be.  And why is this?  My guess is because of a lack of education and a fear of becoming a wierdo, as most people tend to think Pentecostals are.  Well, I mean, I know I am a wierdo, but not sure if its because of being Pentecostal or maybe I hit my head too hard once or something.  😉 

Anyways, go over and give a read and talk with Daniel about the book!

Frontiers in Missions

Nick has a post on short term missions and how he doesn’t understand why people knock short term missions.   Well, I think that short terms are going to be the wave of the future – the need for long term established missionaries is still very great – but the simple fact of the matter is that short terms are here to stay – I personally think their positives can outweigh the negatives – when done right the right way.

But what I wanted to share is some of the ways missions is chaging and has changed.  In the old days missions was primarily about going in and starting churches, bible studies and Sunday schools and so on.

Well, these things are still very much well and good but the face of missions has changed quite a bit – now it is much more about the practical side of the work.  Whereas before it was about planting church and things (it still is especially among unreached peoples) now it is more about helping out practically in places and ways that can help in sharing the gospel – such as digging wells, setting up water purification systems, teaching English as a Second Language, helping the poor start up small businesses, doing medical missions stuff and the like.

And here is the thing, many of these things can be done or begun on a short term trip.

So I say definately – if you have the opportunity go ona shot term trip – really, it will be more for you than for them in the long run, but that is okay – you help them and they help you too!

Those were just a few thoughts I had on short term missions.

T. F. Torrance on John 1:14

From his Incarnation: The Person and Life of Christ (IVP, 2008), 61:

(ii) The meaning of ‘flesh’

“The Word was made flesh’ – but what is meant by flesh? John means that the Word fully participates in human nature and existence, for he became man in becoming flesh, true man and real man.  He was so truly man in the midst of mankind that it was not easy to recognize him as other than man or to distinguish him from other men.  He came to his own and his own received him not.  He became a particular man, Jesus, who stands among other men unsurpassed but unrecognized.  That is the way he became flesh, by becoming one particular man.  And yet this is the creator of all mankind, now himself become a man.

He has a lot more to say about John 1:14, and it is heavy! You might want to get the book!  😉

my top books of 2009

since its the end of the year and we all like to and try to read as much as we can here are the one ones I read that had an impact on my in different ways.  please know too that beacause I am a pastor my reading will not be limited specifically to biblical studies or theology. 

Eugene Peterson’s Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration in Vocational Holiness (Eerdmans, 1994). 

David Alan Black’s Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek: A Survey of Basic Concepts and Applications, 2nd ed (Baker Academic, 2000). 

Howard Snyder’s The Community of the King, Revised Ed. (IVP, 2004).

Micheal Wittmer’s Heaven is a Place on Earth: Why Everything you do Matters to God (Zondervan, 2004). 

Jerry Cook and Stanley Baldwin’s Love, Forgiveness, Acceptance: Equipping the Chruch to be Truly Christian in a Non-Christian World (Regal Books, 1979) (reprinted, 2009). 

Anderw Purves’s Reconstructing Pastoral Theology: A Christological Foundation (WJK, 2004). 

T. F. Torrance’s Incarnation: The Person and Life of Christ (IVP: 2008).

Tony Merida, Faithful Preaching: Declaring Scripture with Responsibility, Passion, and Authenticity (B&H Academic, 2009).

pretty good Biblical Studies deals on CBD (updated)

Christian Book Distributers has some pretty good deals in their academic section.  Here are a few that caught my eye:

Zondervan’s 5 volume Encylopedia of the Bible recently updated by Moises Silva, originally edited by Merrill Tenney.    I have the original set and to tell you the truth, I have found it to be a surprisingly useful and beneficial resource.  Really.   It’s evn helped me gather som info I wasnt getting from the IVP Black Dictionary set.   If I can I’ll want to get the updated set and the deal at CBD at the moment is a pretty good one. 

The Ante-Nicene Fathers (10Vol).  This seems like a pretty ood deal if you are into Patristics.  And the reviews all speak positively of the set. 

The 3volume Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament – whileit may seem a bit dated, I hardly think it is not too useful and certainly something you might want to thinkabout getting, especially at te price its being offered. 

Updated: Zondervan’s 5 Volume Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, Old Testament (Zondervan, 2009) – this price looks like a steal…

Well, these were the ones that caught my eye anyways.

favorite Christmas movie meme

Nick tagged me the other day to list my favorite Chrstimas movies:

The Nativity Story  (does well to highlight the themes of Advent)

The Christmas Story (just a great all around classic)

Miracle on 34th Street (another great all around classic)

The Santa Clause Trilogy (though typical stupid Tim Allen in many ways, it’s fun for the kids).

A Christmas Carol (the classic Scrooge movie with George C. Scott).

That’s my list.  And please note “favorite” is a fairly subjective and relative term subject to change! 

Douglas Staurt on Translation Theory

From his 3rd edition Old Testament Exegesis (WJK, 2001) – (p. 103):

2.1 Translation theory

A good translation not only renders the words of the original into their best English equivalents, it also reflects the style, the spirit, and even the impact of the original whenever possibleYou are the best judge of what consitutes a faithful translation.  Your familiarity with the passage in the original, and with the audience for whom you write or preach, allows you to choose your words to maximize the accuracy of the translationRemember that accuracy does not require wooden literalism.  The words of different languages do not correspond to one another on a one-on-one basis.  It is the concepts that must correspond.  Your translation should leave the same impression with you when you read it as does the original.  A translation that meets this criterion can be considered faithful to the original. 

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Along these lines I tend to have a preference for median translations (e.g., TNIV) mainly because my personal opinion is that these translations best show the tension between sometimes having a literal translation and somtimes having a more dynamic translation all depending on the sentence or phrase being translated.   I am fine with a literal (supposed word for word) translation if it, as Stuart argues, “maximizes the accuracy of the translation.”   But it is more the dynamic translations that “leave the same impression with you when you read it as does the original.”  So I like the blend and I see it the best in a translation such as the TNIV.

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See also, Nick’s post: Hilary of Poitiers on Literal Translation.

the lure of the world

I know it is Christmas Sunday and a time for joy as we celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ into the world – however my heart remains heavy for we bear many burdens, which we try as able to lay before the Lord – and I know he does not give us more than we can bear – but every now and again, it gets tough.  

One burden I have is in more and more realizing why many who claim to be Christians just don’t or won’t “go to church” (that is, be apart of a community of faith), at least here where we are.   Among the many reasons, in our current environment I am pretty sure for many it is the lure of the world.  They want to be accepted and not rejected.  In our current situation living for the Lord comes with a very high price: rejection and persecution

Oh, this perscution is not necessarilyof the beat people up kind – we’re much too sophisticated for that anymore.  Instead, it goes between the quiet turning away from people, and the flat out mockery of one’s faith in Christ.    But really, at the heart of it, people want to be accepted and to have friends.  It is pretty isolated here and can get lonely.  Here, where we live, to be accepted and have friends and go to church (by “go to church” I mean be a part of a community of faith), that isn’t going to work!  You can’t have it both ways – so what to do?  Skip church.   Much of this could be too that people are just busy.  The work schedules are pretty crazy around here and many many low level employees work what I call “the evil shift. ”  The evil shift is from about 11am-7pm or 12noon to 8pm – this schedule makes it difficult for many to attend a service, even if they want to.  But too, I know there are many who do not work this schedule and still will not or choose not to attend a service, even if they know they should (there are five different service times people can choose from between the three different Protestant churches here – there are options).

Really, I don’t mean to be judgemental, I am not trying to come across that way – I really do care that people who call themselves Christians would find a place to belong here.   But I do happen to know there are many to are being lured away from the church by the world.  Perhaps too, it really is a relevance issue.  Perhaps the churches here have functioned and continue to function in way that is completely irrelevant to people – perhaps they just don’t see the point in going.  That very well could be the case. 

The lure of the world is a common problem and if one is not careful it can be easy to get caught up in it.   It is okay and good that people want to be  accepted and not rejected.  It is a basic human trait God put in each of us – a desire for value and significance.  But what is important to remember is that our sense of significance and acceptance needs to come from God first and foremost, and perhaps, alone.  People are too fincky and picky – we’re too sin-full, too broken by our sin, to be able to accept everyone, if anyone.  But God accepts each one of us becasue we are his creation.  He made us and to him we are significant and accepted. 

This is the accpetance we should be looking for: acceptance from God.   Where can we, or should we find that acceptance?  I would argue it should be and must be within the community of faith, the local church, who are the people of God.  As his people, he has accepted us, and so too we should accept one another.   But this may be too idealistic – it is not always reality – sometimes the most significant acts of rejection come from other Christians.   This is a real shame. 

I pray those who live where where we are, will over come the lure of the world and instead open their hearts to the love and acceptance that can only come from God and that those who are in the church will put aside their prejudices and learn to accept people just as God accepts us in Christ. 

I hope this makes some sense.