Archive for category Jesus

Question on the Nature of God and Blessing or Cursing

For the last several months, our church has been holding a weekly noontime Bible study through the book of Revelation. It’s been quite enlightening, and my end-times theological cage is being rattled a little. Incidentally, the progress is being written about @ The Watchman’s Gaze if you care to follow.

But, during a recent meeting, we chased a few rabbit trails, including: Did Jesus (and by extension God) curse Israel (specifically when Jesus cursed the fig tree, or ever)? Does God curse anything? If He did before, does He still? Is God capable of cursing anything given His nature(?), or given Christ’s accomplishment on the cross(?), or are curses merely brought upon one’s self?

The discussion was obviously much more in depth than the narrowly defined questions posed above, but this is my (admittedly) slanted summary.

Thoughts? Ideas? Comments?

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View from the Cross

One of my favorite things about the church we attend is that worship in a variety of forms is not only allowed, it is encouraged.

I was/am a part of a writer’s circle which produced a devotional, Fresh Focus, the print version of which the church gave as a Christmas gift to the members a couple of Christmases ago. And there are others.

But, one of my favorite forms of worship to observe is our prophetic art team. Each Sunday, one of the artists will paint during the worship service. The results are quite remarkable. During our monthly Nights of Worship, the team will rotate through each other’s art every 10-15 minutes and add their own take to the product – they call it “art fusion.” It really is something to watch unfold. Admittedly, the sum and substance of my art education comes entirely from Iain Pears novels and my own infrequently used pencil and sketch pad.

This Sunday’s product, coinciding with a sermon and drama series entitled “The View from the Cross” (Pilate’s Wife, Three Crosses =Three Mothers, and others to come through Easter Sunday) is shown below. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but you get the idea. There are prints of the original art works available for purchase, the proceeds go to missions teams.

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Giveaway-What’s in the Bible? DVDs

VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer and Tyndale have a new project: What’s in the Bible?

As the proud parent of a 20-month old VeggieTales addict (and as a 36-year old “Silly Songs with Larry” addict myself), I can honestly say I was tremendously excited when asked to review What’s in the Bible? It’s a welcome break from the stack of books on Genesis that have been looming, awaiting their review.

What’s in the Bible? is a new DVD series from VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer designed to walk kids and families through the entire Bible. The 13 DVD-series will release beginning March 1, 2010.

I have been asked to review the first two episodes, and I have gift certificates for the first two episodes to giveaway. If you have kids, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or if you are just a kid at heart, you should enter to win these videos.

I will post my reviews on Monday, March 15, 2010.

The rules:

  1. US residents and mailing addresses only.
  2. All you have to do to enter is leave your name in the comment section below. I will post the winner on Monday, March 15, 2010 at 5:00 pm (CST). The winner will then contact me with their mailing info and I will ship the gift certificates.
  3. You can earn extra entries by linking to this contest on facebook, twitter, or in a blog post about this contest – one extra entry per link up to five. Let me know where you have linked to this contest so I can verify it and give you extra entries.

Good Luck!.

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Jesus: Creator, Created, Both or Other

We had an interesting discussion yesterday during our church’s Revelation Bible Study (we meet weekly, and it’s led by a good friend of mine who blogs about it at The Watchman’s Gaze).  I didn’t at all mean to derail the discussion, and I think I only sidetracked us for a few minutes, but I want other opinions.

Revelation 3:14 provides:

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this… (NASB)

Now, I don’t mean to call into question the divinity of Jesus, or his role as creator, but as “the Beginning of the creation of God,” was there a point in time where the manifestation of God as Jesus came into existence or did the representation of God as Jesus always exist?

Our discussion leader and our pastor (who blogs at the Monday Morning Review) were  adamant (in a very friendly and cordial way-both are experienced in indulging my quirky rabbit trails) that Jesus always was. I, with very little other support around the table (except for possibly our pastor’s wife-who doesn’t blog yet), however, continue to be nagged with the metaphysical question of Jesus as “the Beginning of the creation of God” and as “…the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation…”

I certainly do not see it as heretical to think of Jesus coming into existence in some way as other reflections of God must have, His Word for example. I think we got hung up on the word “created.” And I don’t care if we use “created” or some other word to describe it. Physicists spend an awful lot of time and energy trying to figure out the moment of creation, but I want to know your thoughts about the time before that, specifically the moment of the creator.

Thoughts? Ideas? Scriptural Authority?

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Not Exactly the Holiday Inn

My regular readers will know that I’m a fan of searching out obscure, often lost, stuff in scripture. Well, I must admit, I never thought to research the inn in Bethlehem referenced in the story of the birth of Jesus.

Now, I don’t have to. It was the subject of our pastor’s sermon Sunday morning. I guess I do if I want to figure out if he’s right, there was a little scriptural hopscotch being played to make the connections he made, but my initial reaction was, “that’s pretty cool.” And I still haven’t come up with a reason why it’s wrong, so it must be right. Right? ;)

It’s worth a read, but you won’t get the full flavor just from his post, The Inn in Bethlehem. If you have a few minutes, give the podcast (Sacrifice and Relationships) a listen, too.

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Hebrews Bible Study Week 7

The goal for this week was to cover two chapters, but we only made it through chapter 8. I suppose it was a little ambitious to try and cover chapters 8 and 9, but 9 will just have to wait until next week.

In verse 1, the author is again referencing Psalm 110, a Messianic Psalm which the author has referenced repeatedly throughout the book of Hebrews. And he or she says:

Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. Hebrews 8:1-2 (NASB)

The high priest, who is also the Messiah, has taken his place in Heaven and in the true tabernacle. This is the end of the need for sacrifices. The high priest has now entered the heavenly sanctuary and is now the mediator of a better covenant, the old now being obsolete.

So that it is clear, this is not a reference to the Abrahamic land grant covenant, but to the Mosaic covenant. Until the high priest became the mediator of the new covenant, the law was written in stone. Now the laws are in the hearts and minds of the believers.

This principle actually led to the liveliest discussion of the evening in our effort to determine when and how this imprinting upon the hearts and minds takes place. Does it occur upon becoming a believer, at baptism, during the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Without reaching definite conclusions, I think the general consensus was that (1) the Holy Spirit is the mechanism, and (2) it happens when the Holy Spirit becomes activated by faith in Jesus (which we also believed was distinct from the baptism in the Holy Spirit – which could happen simultaneously, but doesn’t always, or even usually).

We again were landed with a ministry opportunity which consumed a fair amount of the time, but the tradeoff was well worth it.

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More on Infant Death and the Afterlife

Earlier this week in What About Infants?, I directed my readers to TC’s post When Infants Die: Hell? Heaven? or Limbo?. As predicted, it generated a healthy discussion. I can’t definitively say who’s right or wrong, but I wonder if we shouldn’t be more worried about adults than the children.

Jesus said,

Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3 (NASB)

I have a strong suspicion that the children will be fine. We, on the other hand, seem to have a harder time getting it.

I think we get all worked up over sin and original sin, when our accountability begins, right and wrong, and the like. And that is the very problem.

God’s a pretty smart Dude, and when He forbade us from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, it was for our own good. He knew we would spend the rest of our lives worrying about whether we did good or evil. If not because of our own shortcomings, then because the enemy would beat us over the head with it.

And as if that wasn’t enough, now we’ve got to worry about whether our kids will be held accountable. It’s too much to worry about. And God knew it.

That’s where we go wrong, in our need (or desire) to know. We were better off before the knowledge of good and evil, innocent like a child.

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