Resources

After our Bible study discussion last night, I decided that instead of writing a devotional post today, I would give you a few resources to check out. If you want to know more about the Bible, church history, Christian doctrine, or something similar, these are good places to start. I've kept the technical stuff off the list, so these should be accessible for everyone. Study Bibles ESV Study Bible NIV Archaeological Study Bible Commentaries Cornerstone Biblical Commentary series NIV Application Commentary series IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament -- Walton, Mathews, & Chavalas IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament -- Craig Keener Bible Dictionaries IVP Bible Dictionary se

Wrong Again?

One of my favorite Peanuts strips has Charlie Brown talking to Snoopy, who is once again seated at his trusty typewriter atop his dog house. Charlie Brown says, "I hear you're writing a book on theology. I hope you have a good title." Snoopy replies, "I have the perfect title . . . Has It Ever Occurred to You That You Might Be Wrong?" Too often, we remain firmly convinced our views are the only right ones. We generally make that assessment, not because we've done the studying and praying necessary to arrive at that conclusion, but because it's what we've heard all our lives, and so it can't possibly be wrong. Scholars have the same problem but for the opposite reason: if it's new and innovat

Dulce et Decorum Est

There's a line by the Roman poet Horace made particularly famous in a different poem by Wilfred Owen: "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori." Roughly translated, it means, "Sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country." As we observe Memorial Day, we will hear this sentiment, if not this exact phrase, repeated often. We will celebrate those who have paid the ultimate price, made the greatest display of love possible, and laid down their lives for their friends (John 15:13). It is good to remember them, to honor their service. With that said, it is also good to long for the day when we won't learn war anymore (Isaiah 2:4). We live in a vale of tears, as the saying goes, where war, violenc

Who Are You?

For her birthday this year, I bought Mom those DNA test kits for her and Dad to see where they came from. They had so much fun with them that I bought one for myself. My results came in this week, and I can now say I'm 88% of the British Isles (which surprises no one). I also seem to be 1% Jewish and 1% from all those "-stans" in central Asia (which are more surprising). The rest is a mix, but at least I know my ancestry. (I apparently get more from Mom than Dad.) It seems everyone wants to know who they are and where they came from. It's why we take ancestry DNA tests, IQ tests, you name it. We all crave knowledge about ourselves. To my thinking, there's nothing wrong with that -- as long a

Cross Purposes

It's common wisdom that "everybody's got an angle." No one seems to do things out of totally pure motives; there's always a personal agenda at stake as well. Personally I find that attitude/saying a bit cynical. Not everyone is like that, and I hope not everybody (including me) is always like that, at the very least. Nevertheless, people frequently clash because one's agenda doesn't align with the other's; they work at cross-purposes. That much certainly is universal. Intentionally or not, people work against each other -- even in churches. One group wants blue carpet, one wants red, and subtly the Blues work to tarnish the reputation of the Reds. Meanwhile the Reds are gathering strength to

Shallow Desire

I was reading the story of the woman healed from an issue of blood recently (Mark 5:21-34), and something new struck me. This woman had been been bleeding for twelve years. She had spent everything she had on physicians, but nothing helped. Finally she determined to see Jesus. "If I can only touch his clothes, just the hem of his garment, I will be healed," she said (v. 28). And so she did, and so she was. Imagine, though, if she had wanted more. Instead of grabbing his robe in a crowd, what if she had sought him out privately, spoken to him face to face for an extended amount of time? What if she had wanted as much Jesus as possible instead of just enough to get by? We all desire shallow th

Dust on the Bible

We weren't the first to do it, and we won't be the last, but when we were little, my sister and I had our first experience with singing the wrong lyrics to the song. Everyone has misheard the words to some song before, and it usually takes someone else explaining things before we can understand what the lyrics actually say. For our part, we discovered one day the song really says, "There might be a little dust on the bottle / But don't let it fool you about what's inside." David Lee Murphy came out with that song in 1995 -- and to a nine-year-old church kid, it sounded a whole lot like "There might be a little dust on the Bible." It only makes sense if you ignore the verses and sing the chor

Pray. Hard.

Today is the 2018 National Day of Prayer. The theme this year is unity, taken from Ephesians 4:3: "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." We should pray for the unity of our nation. It may be partly media hype, but our country appears to be more fragmented and divided than ever before. The left goes ever further left, the right keeps going right, and those in the middle are left wondering what just happened. Common ground is in short supply, and people prefer to talk past instead of talk to one another. We decry and vilify more than we love and compromise. Our nation needs our prayers. Based on the theme verse for today, I would also say we need to pray

The Myth of Civilian Life

Sunday, thanks to the gifted students from Campbellsville University, I got to sit back, by-and-large, and enjoy a service as an average church member. Those moments are few and far between for a minister, and it's always great to hear someone else's voice from the pulpit! In those rare times, I joke I've returned to "civilian life"; I temporarily take off the pastoral uniform and let others carry on for me. There's a problem with my analogy, though: no church member, no Christian, is ever just a "civilian." When we speak of the Church, we speak of her in two divisions. First is the Church Triumphant, the Church at Rest, that body of believers who have already died and entered the joy of the

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