His Judgment Cometh…

… and that right soon! 

I watched The Shawshank Redemption the other day (I’ve seen it before), and this was a line from a sewing hanging on the wall in the Warden’s office. 

It is true. 

We talk about tensions in the Bible and I know many tend to shy away about talking too much about the coming judgment of God on this world and I realize that Christians are not under condemnation (Romans 8:1) – yet, there is that reality. 

He Judgment cometh… and that right soon!

Are we aware of this?

Do we live our lives in light of it? 

This is not to say we have to live in fear or trepidation but yet maybe we do.  Afterall, is not the key to knowing God, the fear of the Lord? 

I know we talk about fear in this respect as being more of a reverence kind of fear, but sometimes I wonder.  When you were growing up did Mom ever say to you?

Just wait til your Father gets home!

Yeah, it’s struck fear in you didn’t it?  Well, our father in heaven, while loving and kind and benevolent, is also Judge of all the Earth and he is coming home soon. 

I think having a tiny bit of that kind of fear is not unhealthy – it keeps us walking that straight line.  I mean, do you want to have to explain yourself to God on Judgment day? (Christians have judgment day too, see 1 Cor 3)  All of us will, and I am sure not too many of us are looking forward to that. 

His Judgment cometh… and that right soon!

BibleWorks 9 is officially out!

From the website:

  BibleWorks 9!
 
Now available! This brand-new version comes with even more to help you focus on the text.

What’s New?

Four Columns

You’ll immediately notice the addition of another column to the main window. With two columns devoted to Analysis content you can customize it to view your favorite two resources simultaneously.

The BibleWorks Manuscript Project  

This first installation of the BibleWorks Manuscript Project includes new transcriptions and complete image sets of Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, Bezae, Washingtonianus, Boernerianus, and GA1141 (over 7.5 GB!!). Manuscripts are fully searchable, and morphological tagging is partially complete (free updates are coming!).

The Moody Atlas of the Bible

BibleWorks comes with the full Moody Atlas. Its 118 masterful maps in high-resolution and dozens of photos can be easily inspected and copied to your presentations. No unlock required!

The CNTTS NT Critical Apparatus  

The full New Testament Critical Apparatus from the Center for New Testament Textual Studies is now available for PCs! This exhaustive apparatus covers the entire New Testament. The BibleWorks version has been enhanced to show a matrix of Aland categories and time period for the mss for each reading. The apparatus tracks and updates as the mouse moves over the text in the BibleWorks main window. No unlock required!

ESV Study Bible  

A must-have resource for all users! BibleWorks already comes with the ESV, but for only $20 all notes, articles, images, and maps from the ESV Study Bible are included. We took particular care to present high-resolution versions of all images and maps. The notes track and display in the main window next to any Bible version of your choice. Unlock required.

 
…and there’s much, much more!
 click here for more details and video demonstrations of BibleWorks 9.
 
Pricing

$359 Full Version  
$159 Upgrade from BW8 Free shipping in the U.S.!
$199 Upgrade from BW7  
$20 ESV Study Bible (highly recommended!)  
 
 
Order here today: store.bibleworks.com

———————-

If you are a pastor and blogger, you may be able to request a review copy!  Just be sure to review it… (like someone I know who got a review copy and failed to follow through).

quote of the day: on the purpose of the church

comes from Dave Black’s blog where he wrote the following on June 29th:

9:32 AMMuch is being written these days about the purpose of the church. Some (like Eric Carpenter) argue that the purpose of the church is to glorify God through mutual edification. I do not disagree with this perspective. But it seems to me that the emphasis in Reformed circles on the glory of God is rather nebulous. In my opinion, this definition is neither missiologically broad enough nor theologically deep enough.

As I understand Scripture, the church is to carry out the Missio Dei of the Triune God at both the micro (individual salvation) and macro (societal) levels, with a view to redemption, reconciliation, and social transformation. I recognize that many Christians today are starving for genuine koinonia and deeper relationships within the Body of Christ. Yet Jesus Christ defines His followers as those whom He has sent forth into the world. Thus, while it is good and proper to unpack the theological and ecclesiological significance of such texts as 1 Cor. 14:26, which speak of mutual edification as a goal whenever the church gathers, I think it is neither scriptural nor helpful to reduce our definition of “church” to the gathering. The ecclesiological challenge must drive us closer and closer to our original mission, not further away from it. An outward focus is critical, not optional.

The Book of Acts consistently emphasizes “missional hermeneutics,” and is clear that the Gospel is the Holy Spirit’s instrument for the formation of faithful witnessing communities that enjoy corporate life both together and scattered in the world. This same Spirit now works through believers to enable them to be Christ’s witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. To be sure, “church” is broader than the missional church. But the focus of God is the world, not the church. Thus, while calls for mutual edification are valid (and sorely needed), it does not help to make the overcorrection of emphasizing corporate discipleship at the expense of Trinitarian mission.

The only way Christ is presently incarnated to a lost world is through believers as they carry on His presence, His Word, and His works to a new generation. We are no longer citizens of this world but Christ’s ambassadors, sent to this world from another kingdom, operating in His authority and power. If we’re rightly connected to the Head in this way, it would be hard to imagine making the focus of the church the gathering rather than the going.

 I thought these were some good thoughts and wanted to pass them along.  My two passions in the Christian life tend to be the Bible and Cross-cultural mission so I appreciate such comments.

Book Review: The New How To Study Your Bible

It’s with thanks to Harvest House Publishers for the opportunity to do a review of a book that taught me how to study the Bible inductively,  The New How to Study Your Bible Exp Upd edition (Harvest House, 2010).

Some probably think I’ve gone off the deep end about all this Inductive Bible Study stuff, and if so, you’d be exactly right.  I mean if it is good enough for Eugene Peterson, it’s good enough for me.  He learned from one of the primary teachers and developers of the Inductive Method, the late Robert Traina.   My guess is that Kay Arthur developed the method specific to Precept Ministries by putting things together from Guys like Irving Jenson and Robert Traina and others to form her own style that has ended up helping thousands around the world learn to study the Bible for themselves.

There are a lot of good ways to approach study of the Bible but I happen to agree with the folks at Precept Ministries that one of, if not the most effective way to do this, is through the Inductive Method.  Why?  Because it forces one to really slow down and look at what the Scriptures say.  This happens when observing and asking a lot of questions of the text.  It encourages one to read and read and read the text over and over so allowing a person to see stuff he or she might not have seen.  The key factor about it all is that inductive study

draws you into personal interaction with the Scripture and thus with the God of the Scriptures so that your beliefs [and understanding] are based on a prayerful understanding and legitimate interpretation of Scripture – truth that transforms you when you live by it (11).

This is a very good and useful book that I think even many pastors should consider at least looking through because until one has really sat down on done a bit of study using the inductive method,  it is nearly impossible to understand why it is an important means of learning the Bible and growing spiritually.

The book is broken down in five parts and has an accompanying workbook (The New How to Study Your Bible Workbook: Discover the Life-Changing Approach to God’s Word) that puts the parts to practice in a short inductive study of the book of Colossians, and parts of other types of literature from the Old Teastament: Exodus, Psalms, Jeremiah, Amos).

Part one talks about observation, learning to observe the text to see what it says byfollowing the rules of context, getting the big picture (key words lead to the subject which leads to the theme of the text under observation), and focusing in on the details (marking key words, phrases, ideas etc).

Part two deals with interpretation by learning how to search
for the meaning of the text being studied through basic word studies, letting Scripture interpret Scripture, understanding when one thing represents another (parables and symbols, etc), and so on.

Part three focuses in on application which has to do with learning to understand how to apply the text one’s own life or even the life of various communities of faith.  Application asks “How does this passage or text apply to me or to us?” “What truths are to be embraced, believed, or to order our lives by?” “What changes should we make in our lives or in our belief?”

Part four focuses on organization where one can learn outlining and also something unique to Precept Ministries called “structuring” (*) which is a way of analyzing the thought stricture of a passage, chapter, or in some cases a whole book or letter such as Jude (the workbook has the structure of all of Jude)(also this is a new part of the book update).  Additionally, this chapter deals with doing topical and character studies following the inductive method.

Finally, part five Is all appendices with special studies in reviewing the inductive process, using word study tools, doing “at a glance charts” and “observation worksheets” and recommended study helps.

The workbook deals with learning the basic approach to studying different genre such as the history, letters, and prophetic literature. There is also a full study of the book of Colossians.

This is a conservative Evangelical approach to Bible study though I am sure all you liberals out there could easily find ways to adapt the inductive process in your on study of the Bible! lol!   This book encourages historical-grammatical approach to interpretation.  This is not a bad approach in and of itself per se, I am just noting these things for those who may be in the “need to know” with these kinds of things.

I can’t recommend this resource to people or to many of my fellow pastors enough.  The inductive process should and simply must be the foundation for all teaching and preaching done in the church. It simply must.

Try it, you’ll like it!

Blessings.

(*) Precept developed “structuring” following the approch of Robertson McQuilkin in his book Understanding and Applying the Bible Revised and Expanded(Moody Publishers; Rev Exp edition, 2009) – another must have book to assist in basic Bible study.

Intermittent blogging

Is just how things are going to be for me for a while. Truth be told we are in a tough spot right now. I applied for a CPE spot here in AZ and due to a very unfortunate miscommunication I lost that position. We could have been secure for a year as we find a way forward. It was a big hit in the gut and I felt short changed and could not protest. It’s a tough place to be right now homeless and no work yet and trying to keep things stable for our children and so on. People being very kind and offering to pray something even better will come along is hard to hear right now (not anything wrong with it, just a dim light in a dark tunnel). we do need all the encouragement we can get. Any prayer
support offered will be appreciated.

NIV 2011 Banned? (via Apprentice2Jesus)

I thought this was a joke at first…. the lunacy is astounding really…

This resolution came forward at their current meeting: 5:14 p.m. — In a surprising and dramatic move moments ago, messengers voted first to consider a resolution highly critical of the TNIV 2011 and then passed the resolution nearly unanimously. The resolution came from the floor — introduced by messenger Tim Overton — and not from the Resolutions Committee. Overturn’s appeal for messengers to consider the resolution passed by at least a 2-to- … Read More

via Apprentice2Jesus

really great book sale!

WTS Bookstore has a great sale going on right now with the New Studies in Biblical Theology series – I am telling these are good books!  Get them, read then, learn biblical theology from them. 

Now, probably, like most commentary sets, it’s generally not a good idea to buy the whole set as all too often there is more than one dud in the set (not necessarily a reflection on the scholarship or abilities of the author per se) so you may want to be selective to the ones that interest you and build on it from there. 

What are they? Well, basically they are fairly easy to read monographs that deal with a particular theme or motif or thought of a particular writer found in Scripture and then presents the biblical theology of the motif such as missions, pastoral leadership, poverty and riches, atonement, original sin, race, holiness (a, b), the temple, creation and evil in job and so on.  It’s really good stuff and very helpful for pastors and teachers of the Word. 

So what is the deal?  Well, you get 40% off a single volume, 50% off 5 or more volumes and a whopping 52% off the whole set, if you decide to just go all out!  I think that can be a pretty good deal and that you should think hard about taking up the offer.  Do yourself a favor and DO NOT IGNORE THIS SALE.  This will be good reading! 

And, if you wouldn’t mind using the links here on this post – it’s be helpful for me so I can also take advantage of the offer given I had a few of these and had to throw some of them away due to a bad mold problem we had when we were up at the Grand Canyon.  So if you wouldn’t mind…  I’d appreciate it.  🙂

Blessings,

on knowing God’s will

I have to admit that all too often my own personal theology can be in flux. One area that I have been think about lately is with regard to God’s will. We all want to know what God’s will is for our lives and usually we want to his specific will for us with regard to things like what kind of job or career we should be in, who to marry, where to live and go to church and so on.  I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with that as I too have had and do have similar longings, questions and desires.

What has been on my mind lately however is that I think if we push too hard for knowing God’s specific will for our lives, we may end up not getting too far, and may, in fact, become in danger of trying to manipulate God or be in danger of treating seeking God’s will like some act of divination.

The reason I say this is because I am not entirely certain the Lord necessarily always has a specific will for us in these things. I think he leaves a lot of this up to us to make our own choices but within the bounds of what we do know to be his revealed will as seen in Scripture.

I am thinking at the moment that instead of the Lord having a specific will for us as to what to do with out lives in regard to work, or where to live and who to marry and so on, instead he leaves a lot of that up to us but expects us to make these decisions based on what we know to be true and right as he has directed us through Scripture.  (I just said that already…)

In other words, you have the freedom to choose.

BUT, within that freedom to choose, we are to be responsible in making that choice and then his will becomes for us live out our lives in accordance to Scripture.  In wahtever context we find ourselves, love God, love people, be obedient to Him, live in righteousness and peace with others as much as possible, share the gospel (in word and in deed) and so on.  So, if I were to choose to become a teacher, God’s will for me then becomes that I teach well, encourage the students, don’t exasperate them, be true to the subject matter and so on.

This is not to say God goes not have specific will for us but to say I do not know how often or how well that will is carried out or brought to fruition, sometimes others our we ourselves can get in the way.  There is a job we have applied for. We feel this job will be a good fit for us and would allow us to live out and carry out God’s will as revealed in much of Scripture, especially with regard to
fulfilling the great commission.  Now is this God’s will for us?  Maybe, maybe not.  If they hire someone else does that mean it wasn’t the Lord’s will?  Maybe, maybe not.  All too often it seems people make their own decisions anymore and the hiring process can be so subjective anymore.  These things can sometimes be hard to discern.

All this to say I think the Lord puts desires in our hearts and encourages us to follow those desires, but how this is played out and in what context it happens, may be up to us (such as if we teach at one place or another, etc) – but once we make that choice, his will then is for us to be faithful to him and to the work we do in righteousness and truth. 

Let me know what you think.

on the issue of cursing

On Dave Black’s website his wife Becky put up an article on the issue of Christians and cursing.  Then Andy Bowden responded (mostly just adding on to Becky’s comments).  You can seem them here:

Friday June 3rd 5:22 PM Andrew Bowden responds to Becky’s essay on cursing. Excellent insights, Andy. Thank you for sharing them with us. 

If it is fine, I wanted to pitch into the conversation as well, not repeating what they said (I hope) but adding on, from the issue of cursing as profanity.

Generally speaking, I tend to see the primary problem of cursing as that of anger (either momentary anger or the indication of something deeper going on).

Generally speaking, (always problems when speaking of generalities – so I have my little weird thing I say “typically usually mainly in most cases though not always, typically usually mainly… this is often when I want to make an assertion that is not always true as though it is) when a person is cursing, or cussing… it is out of anger or angry frustration.

Cursing is the symptom while anger is the reason for the cursing, while some other thing(s) is/are the reason for the anger.  The cursing/cussing person is an angry person or a person dealing with anger issues.   Have I said angry enough?  Well you get the picture then because cursing is like that, it gets repeated or is every other word and the more angry a person is the more often it occurs.  Well, at least, I haven’t ever come across nice cursing/cussing, and I don’t know too many people who use profanity and aren’t angry people or aren’t dealing with some level of anger.

So, when confronting someone who is cursing or whose speech is laced with profanity, it is perfectly legitimate to ask them why they are so angry.  That would be getting to the heart of the issue.

So, then the question might become, is it wrong to be angry?  Well, no, not usually.  It is part of being human, and there are all too often perfectly legitimate reasons for being angry.  But even in our anger we are not to sin and are to maintain self-control, nor should we allow that anger to gain control over us or our hearts. It’s even okay to be angry at God – more of us probably need to get out to some lone field somewhere and have a cuss out session with God so we can get it out on the table and begin to resolve the problem…. (read more of the Psalms for examples of this) (don’t worry, God won’t be offended, he wants you to deal with it.  It’s just that most of us don’t want to or we are too fearful we might offend God, though that can be pretty hard to do sometimes).

So, I see the cursing person as one who is battling an anger problem and has or is on the verge of losing self-control.   Anger indicates to us something is in need of our dire attention.

What to do then?  Well we need to accept the fact that we might be dealing with an anger problem and get help.  We can usually try to overcome it on our own but often anger is a bigger problem than we are and we often need help from others to identify the root of what has caused the anger (i.e., unmet needs, unresolved grief, loss of a job or income or relationship, etc, loss of control over some thing, unfulfilled dreams or expectations, etc), so we can begin to confront that issue and begin to move forward and be free from anger.

That’s how I see it.