Here are three suggestive descriptions, all from the gospel of Matthew, in close proximity to each other. These three, within their context, say powerful things about him. Continue reading
On Sunday, our theme will be “The Essential Church,” or more literally, the necessary church. The lesson — topical this time, gasp! — will have four points. All the verses come from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Continue reading
In the previous chapter, Jesus had sent out the Twelve on what we call the limited commission. An enduring lesson from it is that, if we feel inconvenienced or embarrassed by the gospel, we are not worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven.
John the Immerser also has great lessons that we might live worthily of the kingdom today. Continue reading
On Sundays, we have three, yup, count ’em, three Bible readings. One from the OT, one from the gospels, and one from Acts or the NT letters.
This approach allowed me to share this message last Sunday. Continue reading
This was an idea I started when looking over the topics listed for the Preacher’s Files Lectureship. I wound up going with another topic of my own suggestion (“You Can Be Sure About the Power of the Gospel“), but this still intrigues me and calls me to do something with it.
- You Can Be Sure About Salvation in Christ
- About its beginning point
- About its continuing action
- About its future reception
- About its proclamation
How would you develop these points?
Lots of people traveling this month. From SJCampos, Jorge, Paula and Daniel are out until Aug., Valeria and her two were gone last week and today. From Taubate, Humberto was sent by his commander off somewhere and his mission, or whatever they call it, keeps getting extended.
Tonight at Taubate we had a family from Rio visiting; they are vacationing up in the resort city of Campos do Jordao, Brazil’s little Switzerland, as its called, 1 1/2 hours from us here. But we’ve never been there, very expensive they say. Continue reading
The autopost through Posterous still isn’t formatting right here, so catch the post on my little spot there.
UPDATE: Posterous content got imported to Posthaven. Link has been updated. Great outline there, do check it out. Oh, hey, here’s the outline, in case the latter goes under too. Title, from Portuguese: “God the Breaker;” text, Micah 2.13.
- FUTURE. Micah’s prophecy about both God’s punishment and his rescue of his people were yet future, sign that God is sovereign, in control of history and our affairs. We speak of providence today. It’s a code word to say that God still is working, is still in charge, still moves nations and men and affairs toward the goal he has established. The book of Revelation is kin to Micah’s prophecy, painting a picture of suffering and of the need for faithfulness, a message that opens the window to what God is doing in the world, a call to faithfulness to the Lord and his work. “To be sure, my commands bring a reward for those who obey them” (Micah 2:8).
- DIVINE. The series of third-person singular verbs highlights that it was God’s action that changed the people’s situation. The phrase sometimes used in Portuguese, that a situation can change only by God himself (só Deus mesmo), seems to carry more despair than hope. But God does act, even today, in his people’s lives.
- COMPLETE. The Portuguese versions have “opens a way,” one translates the phrase as “make an opening.” These are very weak for the impact of the verb, which transmits the idea of a complete defeat for the enemy. Much like a brother in Christ who uses explosives to break boulders and rocky ground for buildings or highways. This violent action is God’s to overcome, much like the atomic bomb in WWII resulted in unconditional surrender of Japan.
- SUDDEN. Though God does not always act in sudden and quick motions, he does so here. Just as in 2 Kings 7, when, after a long period of siege, God caused the Syrian army camped around Samaria to flee, resulting in the immediate relief of the inhabitants of the city. God may, though there’s no guarantee that he will, act in our lives so suddenly and reverse our fortunes, alleviate suffering, provide solutions. We expect things to happen slowly, often expressing doubt at God’s power, like the Samaritan king’s right-hand man, “even if the Lord made it rain by opening holes in the sky, could this happen so soon?” (2 Kings 7:2).
You’re familiar with it, probably know it by heart. The Feeding of the 5000. Jesus takes pity on the multitude and blesses five loaves and two fish, making them multiply into thousands, for thousands.
Here are three lessons we may have missed from that feeding. I’m looking at Luke’s account in 9:10-17.
#1. Another’s problem is my opportunity.
The three chapters probably have a chiastic feature, where the middle element received the emphasis:
A Call to Christian Growth (chap. 1)
X Warning Against False teachers (chap. 2)
A’ Call to End-time Ethics (chap. 3) Continue reading
The Way is full of great things. Here are three. Continue reading