Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bible Study Software, Websites, and Apps

The following is a list of helpful resources you can use to study your Bible and prepare for Sunday school or small group. We use Bible study software, websites, and apps to help us spend time diving deep into Scripture. These resources are not an end within themselves, but simply tools we can use to get to know God better through his Word. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Revelation 6:1-17 Christ Is On His Way

I've never been to war, but maybe you have or know someone who has. In the last one-hundred years, the US has experienced a lot of war. We went through WWI and WWII. Then we fought in the Korean War and Vietnam. Maybe some of you remember the Cuban Missile Crisis. More recently we’ve had roles in the Persian Gulf War. In the mid and late 90s there was the Bosnian War and Kosovo. Then everything changed for the United States on September 11th 2001.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Extra-Biblical Humility

I grew up evangelical and nearly heritage free. My church raised me to love the Bible and all its stories, but didn’t talk much about tradition, what other churches were preaching, or the historic creeds, confessions, and catechisms. I learned the Bible every week, and spent time in God’s word studying and praying on my own, but I was missing out on what my spiritual grandparents had to offer me. It wasn’t till seminary that the importance of what came before me began to sink in. That’s when I discovered a need for what I like to call extra-Biblical humility.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Revelation 3:1-6 Church of Sardis

(Temple of Artemis at Sardis)

There was a city in Asia, modern day Turkey, called Sardis. The actual city of Sardis had about 100,000 people and sat below a ridge. In times of conflict, the people of the city fled to that ridge where there was a citadel. A citadel is another name for a fortress that protects the city, but this wasn’t just any fortress. It was thought to be almost impossible to capture because it was located on steep cliffs. So when king Cyrus of Persia came to capture Sardis in 549 BC, the people thought they were safe. The Persian troops saw the citadel and did not know how to get up the cliff or capture the city. But one evening, as the story goes, one of the soldiers dropped his helmet off the side.  And instead of leaving it there, he exited the citadel and walked down a nearly invisible path. He grabbed his helmet and returned to the citadel, thus showing the Persians how to capture it.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Upward Fall Book Review

In his first book, The Upward Fall: Our Pilgrim Journey through Groaning to Glory, brand-new author Brian Myers writes about a disciple’s ever twisting path of sanctification and the final destination—glory with Christ Jesus. This is not a formal review, but an informal opportunity to share with you a book I enjoyed, and support a new author who used to pastor my home church when I was a kid. Although new to the publishing world, Brian is the son of Ruth Myers, who authored 31 Days of Praise (aff link). One look at the richly printed hardcover of this book and it’s clear Brian has a fresh kind of reading experience in mind for his audience.

From cover to cover, beginning with Rembrandt’s Storm on the Sea of Galilee, to Caravaggio’s The Conversion of St. Paul, to some family portraits and a CD with a message and music, the book is a rich experience. More than that, Brian is a wordsmith. His writing is more like poetry than prose although the book uses a narrative and explanatory approach. When I began to read his book the style reminded me of C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters. Had Lewis ever written a similar book, but with advice from one angel to another instead of one demon to another, I think it would sound a little like The Upward Fall. But due to the nature of his writing style, Brian’s work also requires complete attention, which is why on several occasions he urges, “But first, take a break…”  I should have listened because I got lost a few times due to the poetic nature of the prose. This book’s writing style is not for everyone, but it is for those who are willing to listen and experience “soul formation” through the message Brian has to give. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Luke 2:27-32 The Blessing of God

For my last year of high school I commuted to a Community College. Three times a week my brother and I woke up at 7:00am. The commute was about an hour so we left early to get to class by 9:00am. My Dad was gracious enough to get up with us and fix us breakfast. He usually made us eggs and maybe some toast or oatmeal. Before he sent us on our way he often reminded us of something. He prayed for us and reminded us to be a blessing to those around us. He encouraged us to be a blessing to those we came in contact with that day.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Matthew 1:18-25 The Gift of Christmas

Christmas can be a risky Holiday. Sometimes the season is more like a disaster than a celebration. Just ask Kevin McCallister from the movie Home Alone what he thinks of the Holidays. He’s the kid who was supposed to fly to Paris for Christmas with his family. But instead his family leaves without him and two robbers try and break in. Or if you don’t think Christmas can be risky, you could ask Buddy. In the movie Elf, Buddy is a full-sized man who discovers he’s not an elf. He realizes that none of the real elves like him and he’s not very good at being Santa’s helper. So he journeys to the land of New York City where he finds a father that also doesn’t like him. Or what about A Christmas Story and Ralphie who just wants a Red Ryder BB Gun. But everyone keeps telling him, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”