Part 2

Yesterday I reposted a blog by Kevin DeYoung. Here’s part 2! Enjoy

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/

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Silence

Sorry for delay in posting blogs. Life is busy! I promise I’ll get back to my overview of the bible series here soon. In the meantime I hope you enjoy this blog by Kevin Deyoung. He’s probably my favorite blogger. 

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2013/10/22/how-to-be-better-bereans/

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Over view of the Bible Part 2 – The Pre-Patriarchal Period

When looking at the Bible we tend to look at it in pieces. We take a verse or a chapter and ask “how does this apply to me?” Well when reading the Old Testament answering that question can be rather difficult. The fact is, a lot of it doesn’t directly apply the way we would normally apply the NT. We have to work harder, dig deeper, and ultimately uncover the big picture plan of God. That plan was always to save a people for Himself, for His glory.

Human beings were created unique. They were created in the image of God. Church history has debated hotly on what exactly that means, but ultimately it’s agreed that we have a soul. This soul is one aspect that makes us different than the rest of God’s creation.

Adam and Eve were given a choice. Obey or disobey. Listen to the Word of God or do not listen. They willingly chose to disobey. The consequence was death; both natural and more so spiritual. In the midst of this dark day a promise arose. God promised someone to come from Eve that would bruise the head of the serpent (Gen 3:15).  Man sinned on this day, but it was God’s plan to redeem.

Fast forward a few thousand years. Man is still sinning. In fact they are sinning bad. Gen 6:5 says, that every thought and intention of their heart was only evil continually. God says that He regretted making man. It was a very evil day. So what does God decide to do? Flood the earth, start over. Yet, there was a man, Noah, who was righteous before God. In the midst of sin, hope remained. God saved Noah and his family along with many of his creatures. He gave ample opportunity for others to repent (120 years), yet no one did.

After the flood, God established a covenant with Noah that He would never again flood the earth. Not only that but the Seed that was promised to Eve continued to live on. From Noah the line of Shem was taken to be the chosen line. God wants to dwell with Man.

One of the commands that God had given to man was to be fruitful and multiply. They were to spread to all the earth and subdue it and have dominion over it. In Genesis 11 we read how man again had rebelled against what God had commanded. They were attempting to make a name for themselves by building a tower to the heavens. They were failing to spread and subdue. Even worse they weren’t making the name of God known. So God chose to confuse their language and scatter them across the globe.

Immediately after this we read how God chose a man name Abram to bless. He was to give him a land, a people, and a blessing. In the midst of the confusion of language we see God promise a way to unite all people, through Him (the seed to come). The seed to come was to come from Abram’s offspring whom God promised to be as numerous as the sand in the sea and the stars in the sky.

We’ll continue to look at what happens next in the upcoming blogs.

How do we apply this? Well

1. It’s in man’s heart to rebel against God. We see that three times in the first 11 chapters of the Bible. Am I rebelling?

2. It’s in God’s heart to save man. God continually gives grace to mankind when it is undeserved. Praise God for this.

3. God’s plan was always to redeem a people for himself from all nations of the earth. Being a gentile this especially encouraging to know.

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Overview of the Bible – Intro

Recently I started teaching a series on Thursday nights with my college group. As you guessed from the title of this blog, we are doing an overview of the bible. Not only is it an overview of the ENTIRE Bible, we are trying to do it in one school year. That’s 9 months. That’s not 9 months of meeting everyday, but of meeting 1 time a week with approximately 1 hour of teaching.  I’ve never had a more daunting task.

Some might be thinking, Why? Why do that? Why is it important? Why not just take a smaller chunk of Scripture and study it in depth? 

My reasons are numerous – 

1. How often is an overview of the entire Bible taught? More often than not, and in my own personal experience, we get tons of in depth study on smaller books of the bible (or the larger ones, less often though). Yet, we rarely see how they all fit together. I asked the college group if they’ve ever tried to put together a fairly complicated puzzle without looking at what the puzzle is supposed to look like when finished. Of course no one had because that would be extremely difficult (I supposed if you really loved puzzles you might attempt this someday). Well that’s what we tend to do with the Bible. We like to look at each individual piece with out knowing how they all fit together. 

2. If God is the Author of the entire Bible, then shouldn’t it all fit together? I’ve put this as an “if, then” statement in order to make it a question, yet I firmly believe that God IS the author of the bible. The Holy Spirit guided the hands and minds of men to record every Word that God wanted to be recorded. Therefore there is complete unity and cohesion in Scripture. This further exemplified by the lack of any apparent contradictions in Scripture (some might disagree here, but I again firmly believe that the Bible does not contradict itself).

3. We see the Cross as more beautiful and excellent when we see that it is center of all the Bible. It was God’s plan from the beginning to redeem mankind through the sacrifice of His Son.  The Old Testament, testifies of this, and the New Testament tells us how to live because of it. The Cross was not plan B. As we look through Scripture and see the unity of it, we begin to realize that there are no accidents. God is the great author of all things in the universe and everything works according to the perfect plan of His will. This is beautiful and glorious.

4. The Bible is not about us. So often we make it about us. We make Bible study about us. What can I learn from this? What can I get out of this sermon. While not all bad, because we should seek to be learning and growing in our own personal walk with Christ, we have to keep in mind that the Bible is about God. It is about God revealing Himself to us as sinful human beings. It is about Him showing us plan. This is so He receives the maximum glory. It’s about God getting the glory He deserves. That’s why we exist. Not for ourselves but for Him. Understanding the Bible as a whole should help remind us of this truth. 

5. Finally, (and I could go on), it’s to when the appetites of my fellow believer and stir in their hearts a longing for the Word of God. My goal is to give a little bit of information and to highlight the overall plan of God. I hope, and it’s been my experience, that this whet’s ones appetite and gives a taste of the what the Bible is about. When I’m hungry, and I’ve tasted something good, then I go back for seconds. 

Stay tuned for more blogs on my series on an overview of the Bible as I will try and post some of the highlights from each week on here so you can keep up with us!

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Renovations

I spent 3 months this summer helping to renovate my grandfather in laws house so my wife and I could move into it. A month or so was spent destroying things. 2 months spent rebuilding. We gutted  a few different rooms down to the studs before we could start to rebuild. 

In the midst of the hard work I was reminded of how God does a similar thing with His children. Before we could even start to destroy walls and pull out wires we had to remove all of the stuff that was inside. Sometimes God has to help us get rid of that old stuff that we have so desperately hung on too. After the sin is removed and the dirt is swept up then God can rebuild. He takes what is old and broken and makes it clean and new and working. He restores sinful heart to a new heart. A place where His spirit can dwell in peace. Sometimes the process is painful. Sometimes mistakes are made (just like in renovating a house). Yet in the end what God has planned does come to fruition. 

So let me ask you this, What is there in your heart or life that you are desperately holding on to that God might be telling you to get rid of? We need to realize that He asks us to get rid of these old things so that He can give us new habits and new thoughts. 

Thankfully God does this a lot better than we can. He removes what needs to be removed and restores what needs to be restored. We just need to be faithful to follow Him, to listen to Him, and to obey and not fight what He is doing in our lives. 

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The Certainty of Death

Death always seems to refocus life. It takes us by surprise. It saddens us. We live in a culture that does not like to think or even mention death. It’s taboo to be speak of. It’s not a dinner time conversation. Yet it’s healthy to think of. It’s important to plan ahead. It’s indeed necessary to think of.

More often than not we only think of death when it occurs. This is true of me and probably true of you as well. This is foolishness. There is nothing as certain as death. There are many uncertainties in this life, but one thing is certain; death. Why do we beat around the bush? Why do we not ask this question more often, “when I die (not if, but when), what will my legacy be? and what will happen to me after death?”

My wife’s dear grandfather passed away this past week. Provoking these questions and this blog. He was 95. As sudden as it was, and as much as it hurt to not come home to him being here (we were away on vacation), I have to say that I am so happy that He is gone. Some might think that is harsh, or not caring, or perhaps even downright mean. It’s not. Gerhard is in heaven. He is with His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I envy Gerhard. There are times that I long to be in heaven. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what was going to happen to him after he died. Do you? Have you ever, “Kneeled  and prayed in an audible voice, surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, claimed Him as Savior and Lord and asked the Holy Spirit to guide you every step of the way.”? That was what he would call on people to do. Seems like everyone I talk to remembers Gerhard saying that to them.

I was unfortunate enough to only know Him for 2 years. His mind was mostly gone as he had dementia. I never had the privilege of a conversation with him. I look forward to meeting him in heaven. I look forward to that conversation. Like Gerhard, I know where I’ll be after I die. I’m certain of it. I can say that not because I prayed a prayer when I was young, not because I go to church, not because my parents are Christians, but because as certain as death is, there is one thing more certain, that is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ took my sins. The sins of a selfish, hateful, spiteful young man and bore the wrath of God on my behalf and took punishment that I totally deserve. The punishment that I still deserve. I know I’m going to heaven because of what Jesus did on the cross.

While on earth though there is still life to live. My citizenship is heaven (phil 3), my home is there. There is still a legacy left to leave. I might not live to 95 like Gerhard. I might not have tomorrow. So how will I be remembered? What stories will people tell? What lasting impact will I have?

Gerhard was the Patriarch of a strong family of believers. He has left a multi-generational legacy that is still producing fruit. I am thankful for His influence in the life of my wife and my in-laws and hope that one day my family will think of me in the same way. In Lieu of that I leave you with the challenge of asking these questions.

What basis do I have to enter eternity in heaven? What legacy will I leave here on earth?

Here is a link to the obituary for Grandpa Olson:
http://www.mckevittpatrickfuneralhome.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=2202777&fh_id=11137#.Uhwv3ogi0_o.facebook

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Ten Things I love more than God!

I always enjoy sarcasm when it is applied properly. This video hits each and everyone of us at the core. What do we love more than God? The good Christian answer’s nothing, I love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. How do our actions back that up? I see many ways I fall short in my love for God. I’m thankful for His grace and forgiveness.

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