Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Privileged to Remember Them

image used under Creative Commons license,
courtesy of inciclopedia.wikia.com
Monday, we honored the veterans who sacrificed their lives on the battlefield for us.  Today, Todd Parsons talks about those who sacrificially labor in the Word.  Whether it's battling with weapons of warfare or spiritual weapons, there's always a sacrifice for the preservation of lives, freedoms, and Truth. That's our theme for the week.  The sacrifices and hearts involved 

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (KJV)  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial

image used under Creative Commons license, photo by Justo Ruiz on Flickr
Exodus 12:14 (KJV)  And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

OK.  I know I'm stretching it a bit with that verse.  The holiday, in the US, is Memorial Day, honoring military members who gave their lives to protect our country.  Scripture is talking about the original Passover becoming a consistent annual celebration.

With the original Passover, the Jews had a specific ceremony, after which they were to put the blood of the paschal lamb on their doorposts.  That would be notice to God that they were His and He wouldn't kill their firstborn.  There is a similarity to our holiday.  The military who gave their lives, did so that our firstborn (and others) be protected from an enemy.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Are One... Are One... Are One....

image used under Creative Commons license, 
photo from Tim Engleman on Flickr
If you think the title of this post is a little strange, you're probably right.  I've had a couple of relatively important things happen this week  that highlighted a spiritual reality for me.

The first was my birthday.  At 71, it's not a landmark like 18, 21, 40, 50, 75, 90 and some others might be, for various reasons.  But it's the first where I was a little more public about it on the various social media where I'm active.

The second was being almost done with our June devotional book.  There are two more days to do, proofreading, then publish so it's available for June.

Both of those took me into a spiritual meditation that I'd like to share.  The subject is displayed in today's illustration.  And, if that last sentence confuses you, we'll clarify that in a bit.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Throw The Head Over The Wall [Video]

image used under Creative Commons 
license, courtesy of Wikipedia

It's been awhile since we last posted a video.  This one is one I consider essential viewing or listening.  If the title doesn't get your attention, the content will.  I'm not going to say much, except that I consider this one of those "don't miss" messages, straight from God to the preacher, for everyone.

Consider how important Truth is.  God's law, Word, doctrine. Whatever term you want to use for it.  So much so that the enemy is going to come against it and us.  How do we then deal with the enemy?


Monday, May 19, 2014

Let The Standard Be Raised, Keep on Looking‏

Yesterday was my birthday.  Normally, Sunday would be a day of study that includes two services. And I'd be studying and creating Monday's post.  The content of the two services was there, but the blog writing got replaced by a bit of extra fellowship and celebration.  So, we offer an extra post by Todd Parsons to wonderfully fill the gap.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Witness for the Defense

image used under Creative Commons license,
courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org
Yes, I have a sense of humor.  And, if you think you recognize the hat, pipe, and magnifying glass considered symbols of the famous Sherlock Holmes, you're right.  At least those were some of the tools in Basil Rathbone's M.O. for creating his characterization of Holmes.  And it's that term that got me thinking.

A friend of mine, Shawn Mullin, mentioned M.O. in a post she published yesterday.  The first thought that came to mind was  recalling where I'd first heard that term.  Which, if memory serves, was from Jack Webb as Sgt. Joe Friday on Dragnet.  My train of thought went to Sherlock.  And then, I started thinking about the term M.O., itself.

M.O. is short for the latin phrase modus operandi, the mode or method of operation.  Perhaps more important to our discussion, today, is that it's a police or detective term.  That's especially important when we consider our study of the Bible.  If we use sources that hold minority views, then we're more likely to come to similar minority conclusions.    We'll get to that in a bit.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

First Love's Manifest; Love, Out of Me‏

image used under Creative Commons license, courtesy of en.wikipedia.org
One of the reasons I have almost weekly guest posts (along with sermon videos) is my schedule.  I'm writing devotionals and books, besides my blog posts.  Plus, I have some other things I do.  But there's a more important reason.

I'm not the "end all and be all".  If you've ever had a chance to be out in places like our illustration from the Appalachian Mountains, you get the sense of how much more there is than just yourself.  At least I do.  The resulting outlook is important. Although it's the intro to today's guest post, it's important enough to continue after the break.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Treading Not So Lightly

image used under Creative Commons license, 
photo from Jiaren Lau on Flickr
I just read one of John Maxwell's devotionals on leadership and business. The devotional was about the need to communicate vision to the team.  John made some really good points, based on the verses he used.  But the passage actually got me thinking in a totally different direction.

The passage is the beginning of Joshua 1.  It was actually verses 2 and 3.  But the first verse sets the stage.  We find out that Moses has died and God is speaking to Joshua about leading the Israelites into the Promised Land.  I can see this as an example of giving the team ( the Israelites, headed by Joshua) a vision.  But there's something else this passage demonstrates.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Encircled and Empowered by God's Love

image used under Creative Commons license,
photo by zonafeyed on pixabay

There's power in living in the things of God.  Notice that I didn't say doing or saying or thinking.  We can outwardly do things because "we're supposed to", without having any conviction about what we're doing. We can say things because we think that's what we ought to say or it's what we think others want to hear. And we can claim ideas as part of our own thought process because we believe it's how we ought to think, whether we fully agree or not.

Whether any of that has even the slightest form of "right results" or not, it's missing the one key ingredient.  We haven't really made it our own.  And that's "where the rubber meets the road".  Our Christianity comes out in the things we live in, not the things we act out.


Monday, May 5, 2014

All About Me?

image used under Creative Commons license, 
photo from bixentro on Flickr
Sometimes things come together in such a way that you wonder if they weren't planned to be together.  Even though, except for divine intervention, that's just not possible.

We've begun sharing some of our "take aways" from the Exponential conference. My particular feeling about what makes a great preacher or speaker isn't the amount of territory he can cover.  Rather, it's the ability to leave something that will last me longer than the first 30 minutes after it was said.  There was one speaker who did that particularly well.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Exponentially Reaching Out

 image is used under Creative Commons license,
courtesy of www.libertimagazine.com
In case you missed it, our May devotional is out.  Fourteen daily readings to think with God.  It's titled "Garnet's Fire" and subtitled "Aflame for God".  You can order it for your Kindle, here: http://amzn.to/1hZ5iBe.

I actually forget how I fully connected to to the Exponential conference, but I ended up watching much of the conference online.  I know, when I found out I could watch, I was attracted by being able to catch Matt Chandler, Andy Stanley, Tim Keller, and Bill Hybels (among others) in one spot.  And there were some things that got my attention. Some by names I didn't recognize but will now be looking for.  The conference was subtitled "Rethinking Evangelism" and was about reaching people with the Gospel.  I missed a couple of the early sessions, but what I did catch of the conference had some really great "take aways".  One of the first I saw was Danielle Strickland. That's her picture illustrating this post.  Let's talk some more about her, after the break.