Noah

noahJohn Mark Hicks has just posted a two-part series on Noah — both the biblical account and the movie. Highly recommended.

Noah the Movie: Part I

Noah the Movie, Part II

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What Must Be Preserved of the Churches of Christ? (The Spirit, Part 2)

churchofchristI’m not going to attempt a complete theology of the Spirit (pneumatology, technically), nor will I endeavor to suss out just what the Spirit does and doesn’t do today. I just want to offer the barest of introductions to a healthy understanding.

First, Jesus explained the working of the Spirit in enigmatic terms –

(Joh 3:8 ESV)  8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

– which parallels –

(Isa 40:13 ESV) 13 Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? Continue reading

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The Humility Bubble Lesson

humilityThis is one of the earliest posts on the blog — so early that I posted it as a .pdf because I didn’t know how to post HTML text. It responds to some of the comments recently made, and so I thought it was time to repost it in actual HTML.

The lesson was inspired by a talk I heard Joe Beam give in which he introduced the idea of humility bubbles.

 

 The Humility Bubble Lesson

The teacher begins class with his back to the class, marking on the board. Soon, the board looks like this— Continue reading

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What Must Be Preserved of the Churches of Christ? (The Spirit, Part 1)

churchofchristIt’s easy to criticize some of the errors of the more conservative Churches of Christ. And the very natural, very human tendency is to lump all Church of Christ teachings together and reject them all.

And so, I think it’s important to occasionally step back and ask just what there is that needs preserving, indeed, that is precious not only to those of us who grew up in the Churches but to Christendom in general. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s “The Case for the Psalms” Chapters 1 & 2, Part C

caseforthepsalmsWe are considering and riffing a bit on N. T. Wright’s The Case for the Psalms: Why They Are Essential. The Psalms and Jesus Wright points out that the Psalms formed the core of the early church’s scriptural proof for Jesus as Messiah. The early gospel sermons recorded in Acts frequently cite the Psalms, because the Psalms speak so eloquently about Jesus.

The reason the Psalms do this, however, is not simply so that a few verses here and there point forward across a void to events in the life of Jesus (Psalm 2 to his baptism, Psalm 22 to his crucifixion, Psalm 47 to his ascension, Psalm 72 to his rule of justice and peace over the whole world, and so on). No: they resonate with Jesus because he was the one who stood, by divine appointment, precisely at the intersection of God’s time and ours, of God’s space and ours, and God’s matter and ours. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s “The Case for the Psalms” Chapters 1 & 2, Part B

caseforthepsalmsWe are considering and expanding a tad on N. T. Wright’s The Case for the Psalms: Why They Are Essential.

I think it’d be helpful to also reflect back on an earlier book by Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense – one of several contributions by Wright that will forever change how we read the scriptures.

This is also a very readable book, excellent for small group studies. And this is where Wright first develops the idea of reading scriptures through the lens of the merger of heaven and earth. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s “The Case for the Psalms” Chapters 1 & 2, Part A

caseforthepsalmsAt about the same time Wright released his massive Paul and the Faithfulness of God, he released a much smaller, much more accessible book, The Case for the Psalms: Why They Are Essential.

The Churches of Christ, priding themselves on being a “New Testament church,” as though there might be some other kind, have not developed a theology of the Psalms. They aren’t discussed much in our lectureships and we don’t write books about them, other than the occasional devotional piece.

We are not alone among Protestants, and Wright argues for a fresh study of the Psalms as essential. After all, the Psalms were the hymnal of Jesus and his apostles. Just as we have unconsciously memorized the hymns of our childhood, First Century Jews surely did the same regarding the Psalms. Continue reading

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Muscle & Shovel”: An Open Letter

muscleshovel[Because this is an unusually long post, I'm skipping tomorrow to allow more time for discussion.]

We are considering Michael Shank’s book Muscle and a Shovel. (And I guess I did change my mind. What can I say? But this really, really is the end.)

Dear Michael:

I think you are a well-intended, good hearted, intelligent man with a gift for narrative writing. You do an amazing job of story telling. You might not agree me, but I’m confident that your writing skills are a gift from God.

I don’t know much about your background. I know you grew up Baptist, evidently in a church with roots in the Landmark Baptist tradition, and that you were converted to an extremely conservative version of the Church of Christ. Continue reading

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Muscle & Shovel Page

muscleshovelI’ve created a Page that provides a table of contents for all the Muscle & Shovel posts, to make it convenient to read, or refer friends to, this material.

A link to the Page will remain available at top of every post among the links in the area with the black background.

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Cageless Birds: “Mount Zion”

We have come to Mount Zion
City of the Living God
Heavenly Jerusalem
By His blood we have come
Thousands of angels dance around the throne
as thousands more sing out new songs
the elders throw their crowns down
as all of Heaven sings out
Worthy is the One Lamb who has overcome
Resurrection love has raised us up again
Worthy is the One Lamb who has overcome
He has conquered death
I will follow Him!

This one has been flying across Facebook.

To my untrained ears, this one sounds suitable for congregational singing a cappella or instrumental.

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