Sunday, May 07, 2006

Da Vinci Code

"The Da Vinci Code is nothing less than a conscious effort to obscure the uniqueness and vitality of the Christian faith and message." ~ Darrell L. Bock

Here are the main ideas of his book "Breaking the DaVinci Code"

Who was Mary Magadalene?

Was Jesus Married?

Would being single make Jesus UnJewish?

What are the Gnostic Gospels?

How were the New Testament Gospels assembled?

What was Mary's role in the early church?


Monday, May 01, 2006

The Father's Love

Week 1 My Father
Week 2 Letter to Your Father
Week 3 The Father's Frustration
Week 4 A Father's Blessing

God is Love...he invented it.

Love cannot be forced...because of this we deal w/ broken relationships.

We Need Love...we are born to love and be loved.

We have a love deficit.

We Seek to Fill the Love Void.

Research on the Father's love:

Kids with thier father's love are...
Healthier, do better in school, are less likely to commit crimes, have fewer emotional and behavior problems...Some research attribute the father's love as the sole significant predictor of success.

The Father's Frustration & Disappointment
Messy Room

Missed commitments

Coaching School Friends
Your Future here on Earth

HOGs I'm hard on them because I'm human

Do I still Love you?

Salvation is Eternal...Ultimately I want you to go to heaven.

I'm Deeply proud of you and you have what it takes

Men rarely praise each other directly

The Wound from Wild @ Heart

Do I have what it takes?
Am I powerful?

Masculinity is Bestowed (pg 62)

Masculinity is an essence (pg 66)

Every Man carries a wound (pg 72)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

19 years old with a Rattle?

Corinthians 3:2
I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.

2 Timothy 4:3
You're going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food--catchy opinions that tickle their fancy.

Hebrews 5:11-15
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Sin of Ignorance - No intention to do wrong

Blamelessness not Sinlessness

Mature not Perfect


A tree is known by his fruit.

A person who doesn't
Look like Jesus
Smell like Jesus
Act Like Jesus...probably not a Christian.

How do you build a muscle?
Reps Repeat that stress
Fibers break down

Sunday, January 08, 2006

God Kicks Satan's Butt

“When turning to the book of Revelation from the rest of the New Testament, one feels as though he or she were entering a foreign country. Instead of narratives and letters containing plain statements of fact and imperatives, one comes to a book full of angels, trumpets, and earthquakes; of beasts, dragons and bottomless pits.”
This book is so filled with symbolism and is so obscure it is looking to the future, but uses the language and images of the 1st century and taps repeatedly from OT expressions

Citing or echoing the OT more than 250 times

Revelation is a unique blend of three kinds of literature:
apocalypse, prophecy, and epistle and the apocalypse genre no longer exists

The Revelation as Apocalypse
This is the primary form of genre, one of dozens written by Jews & Christians between 200BC and 200AD

  • Characteristics:
    Apocalyptic sections of Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, Isaiah were concerned with coming judgment and salvation but because they were born in periods of persecution and suffering, the focus was not upon God’s work within history instead they looked to God bringing a radical and violent end to history, an end that would mean triumph for the good and defeat for evil.

  • Unlike prophetic books, apocalypses were written literature from the beginning. They were not sermons written down after the fact. Rev. 1:19 – John is instructed “write, therefore, what you have seen.”

  • The content of apocalyptic literature is that of visions & dreams
  • The language is cryptic and symbolic and at times the author claims to be someone else. The images of apocalyptic are often forms of fantasy rather than that of reality. Whereas Jesus’ parables used symbols that were familiar, e.g., seeds, lost coins, grain of wheat, salt and light, Revelation’s symbols include:
    • a beast w/ 7 heads and 10 horns
    • a woman clothed with the sun
    • locusts with scorpion’s tails and human heads

One key distinction about Revelation from apocalypses, it does not claim to have been written in ancient times, nor by a different author. It claims to have been written by the apostle John, and he is writing to people whom he clearly knows. In fact he did not seal it up for a later day, but in fact, was commanded in 22:10 not to “seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near.”

The Revelation as Prophecy

One reason why John did not seal the letter for another day was the fact that, by the giving of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, John knew that the present time was already seeing the beginning of the end and the end of the beginning and the “already-not yet” of the kingdom of God had already appeared.

The apocalyptic era of writing was born in the era of the “quenched Spirit” –a/k/a the “era of silence” -- when the spirit of prophecy was no longer at work among the people. They were longing for a day when the Spirit of God would be outpoured upon the people.

John knew the Spirit was outpoured, he says in the beginning of the book that he was “in the Spirit” when he was told to write what he saw (1:3; 22:18-19) and he speaks of the book in 1:3 as “this prophecy” and says that the “testimony of Jesus” is the “spirit of prophecy” (19:10)

What makes this a unique book is its blend of apocalypse with prophecy.
It is born in persecution, speaks about the end to come, uses symbolic language, etc. but it also speaks a prophetic word to the church of his day and about how to live in the present era

The Revelation as Epistle

The whole prophecy is also cast in the form of a letter. It opens (1:4-7) and closes (22:21) in standard letter form. Accordingly, it is written as an “occasional” correspondence i.e., there are specific matters being addressed, and searching them out is key to understanding what is being said.

The use of scriptures in Revelation needs to keep in mind that keys to understanding it probably can presume that the original recipients did have access to the OT, but cannot presume access to other NT writings (Pastor Lance disagrees with this statement because the early church was skilled at copying Paul’s letters and sending them to the entire church. The same could probably be said about Matthew, Mark and Luke’s gospels.

Apocalyptic imagery is of several kinds, some are constants, like the donkey & the elephant in American political cartoons. The beast out of the sea is a standard image for a world empire, not for an individual leader. On the other hand, some images are fluid, like the lion who is also a lamb or like the woman in chapter 12 she is a positive image, but in chapter 17 she is evil.

Some have clear points of reference:

  • The 7 lampstands equal the 7 churches
  • The dragon is Satan

But other images are more general the 4 horsemen speak of conquest, war, famine & death not in any specific time or place but as the ongoing result of human fallenness as the source of the church’s suffering

When John does interpret symbols, his interpretation must override any of our interpretations, and serve as the starting point for understanding other symbols.

The whole vision is trying to say something; the details help fill out the picture for dramatic effect

John expects his readers to hear his echoes of the OT as the continuation of that story.

Apocalyptists in general and the Revelation in particular do not aim to give a chronological account of their visions. John’s larger concern is to assure that things are not as they appear. In spite of present appearances, God is in control of history and the church. And even though the church will suffer and will face death, it will be triumphant in Christ who will judge his enemies and save his people.

Clearly John is writing this while in exile for his faith to believers suffering for their faith; suffering “for their testimony” on behalf of Jesus. In his vision, John discovers that the present suffering is only the beginning of what they shall endure – and he’s not sure they are ready to face what’s coming.

Main themes:

  • The church and state are on a collision course and the initial victory will appear to go to the state.
  • The church needs to strengthen itself, confident that God will sustain them and will ultimately vindicate them.

Key terms:

  • Tribulation: what the church has to suffer and endure.
  • Wrath: what God will pour out upon the wicked.

God’s people will need to endure the one but will not receive the other.

The book unfolds like a great drama in which the earlier scenes set the stage and cast the characters, and the later scenes presuppose all the earlier scenes and must be so understood for us to be able to follow the plot.


Chapters 1-3 Set the stage and characters

  • John himself – the narrator, was exiled for his faith, and had the prophetic insight that the present persecution was only a forerunner of what was yet to be.
  • Christ – introduces via various magnificent images drawn from Daniel 10 and other sources. He holds the keys to death and Hades.
  • The Church – outside persecution threatens the churches, but internal dissension and other problems threaten them, too.

Chapters 4-5 Further help set the stage.

Via breathtaking visions, set to worship & praise, the church is told that God reigns in sovereign majesty To those wondering if God is really there, he is depicted as a lion who also is a lamb who redeemed humanity thru his own suffering.

Chapters 6-7 – Begin unfolding the actual drama.

  • 3 times in the book visions are put forth in structured sets of 7 (ch. 6-7, 8-11, 15-16)
    In each case, the first 4 items go together to form one picture e.g., 6-7: the white horseman , red …black …pale
  • Then come 2 visions
    • e.g., martyrs question: “How long?”
    • Earthquake of God’s judgment: “Who can withstand?”
  • Then a 2-part interlude:
    • 144,000 revealed
    • A great multitude
  • Then 7th item is revealed

Chapters 8-11 God’s wrath: the 7 trumpets

reveal the content of God’s temporal judgments on Rome
In 11:15 the 7th concludes: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah” ch. 12-22 now go back and give more details of this whole picture

Chapter 12 is the theological key to the book --They tell of Satan’s attempt to destroy Christ and of his own defeat instead.

The threats upon the Romans DID take place over the next few hundred years.

Also, thematically we can clearly follow moral points:

o God will judge those who trample upon the poor

o Discipleship goes the way of the cross

o God promises not freedom from death and suffering but triumph through it

o Rev. brings a word of encouragement to victims of persecution

o Remember that pictures of the future are hints not specifics e.g., the threats of calamities upon the state remind believers that as God did in ancient Egypt, so to God will bring judgment upon oppressive structures.

o What will happen will happen, but it isn’t necessarily tied to specific players on the world scene today.

o While there may be 2nd level fulfillments of prophecies, we don’t have any keys with which to predict those e.g., the Antichrist figure in Rev. seems to identify w/ the Roman emperor, but in I John Antichrists meant all who teach false things about Jesus.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

It's Good to be a Wise Guy

It's Good to be a Wise Guy

Song of Solomon
Some Psalms
Lamentations ?

What is Wisdom?

The term “fool” is used 72 times in Proverbs!

Talking Point: What is a fool? Who are fools? Are you and I fools?

The term “wisdom” is used 54 times in Proverbs!

Definition: “Wisdom is the ability to make godly choices in life.”

Talking Point: Are you and I wise?

Abuse of Wisdom Literature
Don't read it in bits and pieces and miss the overall message.

Proverbs have been used to provide a basis for selfish, materialistic, shortsighted behavior just the opposite of what God intended.

Many wise sounding statements in Job are actually the false counsel of Job’s wise-sounding comforters. Their counsel was commonly in error.

Who is Wise?
Talking Point: What is something you have done that was not wise? Why should I even care if I am wise?

Some have more wisdom than others. Some have so applied themselves to the accumulation of wisdom that they may rightly be called “wise”.

Key: The first step in biblical wisdom is knowing God and committing your life to him

The wise person was highly practical, not theoretical, able to make plans, make choices and to execute them.

Teachers of Wisdom
Talking point: Why do we not teach or mentor people in the area of wisdom? Why did ancient cultures? Who’s culture is wiser… theirs or ours?

The Limits of Wisdom

  • Not all wisdom is godly or orthodox
  • Wisdom does not cover all aspects of life

Wisdom in Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs focuses mostly on practical attitudes and behavior in everyday life.

It is a collection of advisory statements designed to help a person to grow up happy, well-liked, morally upright, prosperous, and successful the kinds of attributes we parents want to see accumulated by our children.

No guarantees come with such teaching, but “What Proverbs does say is that, all things being equal, there are basic attitudes and patterns of behavior that will help a person grow into responsible adulthood”.

Talking Point: Look at Proverbs 3:21-26

  • What do you learn about your life and wisdom from this passage?
  • Based on this passage, what is something in your life you would “do differently” if it were possible?

Wisdom in Job

Mostly a dialogue between Job and his well-meaning but desperately wrong “comforters”

What happens in life does not always happen either because God desires it or because it is fair.

Job’s comforters believe that God always brings good to those who do good and brings suffering to those who do evil.

Job, God, and the book of Job all refute that claim.

Talking Points: Read Job 20:1-11. In what way(s) is(are) Zophar wrong? How have we been like Zophar?

Wisdom in Ecclesiastes

Do not take phrases and lines out of context

Talking Points: Read Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 and 5:18-20.

  • Should we eat, drink and party? Why? Why not?
  • Why should we do what is in 12:13-14 rather than what is in 5:18-20?

Wisdom in Song of Songs
Song of Songs is a lengthy love song, a ballad of human romance, written in the style of ancient Near Eastern lyric poetry

Solomon wrote it because it promotes the ‘wise choice’ of marital and sexual fidelity.

It is a message about passionate love between a man and a woman, specifically a husband and wife.

Realize that the Song emphasizes values uncommon today, it’s not about self-indulging but about fulfilling the needs of the other person.

Talking Point: Read Song of Songs 1:15-16 and 5:9.

  • How do guys use words (1:15-16) like this to impress a gal and get physically involved with her?
  • If you fall in love with a female, why should she believe you if you have used these types of words (1:15-16) on other females or if other guys have used them on her?
  • How would the female you like answer the questions of 5:9 based on your actions?
  • Why should you even care?
  • How would you want another guy to be treating the gal you are eventually going to marry?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sing to the Lord!

Psalms: The most read and most loved portion of the Old Testament

Psalm 5 Give Ear to my Words Oh Lord

Psalm 8 How Majestic is Your name
- Keith Green

Psalm 9 I Will Give Thanks to the Lord
- Keith Green

Psalm 23 The Lord is My Shepard
- Keith Green

Psalm 24 King of Glory - Chris Tomlin

Psalm 25 My Hope is in You
- Third Day

Psalm 36 Your Love Oh Lord
- Third Day

Psalm 42 As the Deer

Psalm 51 Create in Me a Clean Heart -
Keith Green

Psalm 112 Blessed is He Who Fears the Lord
; Who finds Delight in His Commands - 4 Him

Psalms 121 I Lift my Eyes up

Psalm 126 You have Done Great Things - Matt Redman

Psalms 136 Give Thanks to the Lord for He is Good - Chris Tomlin

How do these words to and about God operate as God’s word to us?
  • They are not propositional truths, such as we get in the Letters
  • They are not imperatives to be obeyed, such as in the Law
  • They are not narratives, such as we get in so many other places
  • How are we to use a Psalm that seems to be negative throughout and seems to express the misery of the speaker?
  • Is this something that should be used in a church service?
  • Or is it for private use only?
  • What of a psalm that tells about the history of Israel and God’s blessings on it?
  • Can an American Christian make good use of this sort of psalm?
  • Or is it reserved only for Jews?
  • What about Psalms that predict the word of the Messiah?
  • What of psalms that laud the benefits of wisdom?
  • What about the several Psalms that discuss the glory of Israel’s human kings?
Since very few people in the world now live under royalty, it seems especially difficult to make sense of the latter sort of psalm.

What does one do with the desire that Babylonian infants should be dashed against the rocks?” (137:8-9)

The Psalms as Poetry
The most important thing to remember in reading or interpreting Psalms is that they are musical poems.

Hebrew poetry was addressed to the mind through the heart.

Don’t read too much into a text by finding special meanings in specific words or phrases where the poet probably did not intend such meaning.

Ps. 19 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.”

The text has the second line repeats and reinforces the sense of the first.

‘God is revealed in his creation, especially in the heavenly bodies.’ but does so in much more beautiful and memorable language.
The lines are not trying to say 4 different things.
They are not differentiating between the heavens & the skies.

  • The psalms themselves are musical poems.
  • They appeal to the emotions.
  • They evoke feelings rather than propositional thinking.
  • They stimulate a response on the part of the individual that goes beyond mere cognitive understanding of facts.
Ps. 51:5 “And in sin my mother conceived me.”

Not a commentary on his mother’s moral life.
Not an explanation of the doctrine of original sin.
Not a belief that sex is sinful.

Rather a blurting out of his overwhelming sense of sinfulness so deep in his character, it’s as if he were made of sin.
The vocabulary of poetry is purposefully metaphorical. We need to look for the intended meanings of the metaphors

“The Lord is my shepherd"

Means God watches out for us as shepherd do sheep it’s not telling us to act like sheep.

The Psalms as Literature

The Psalms are of several different types of poetry; we may need to ask ourselves regularly, “What type of Psalm am I reading?”
Each Psalm is also characterized by its formal structure, topical categories tend to be matched by structural categories.
Each type of psalm was intended to have a given function in the life of Israel. Royal psalms were sung at the celebration of Israel’s kingship.
Some Psalms are written in a literary pattern; some phrases repeated over and over again, per refrain or acrostic psalms each one beginning with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet (e.g., Ps. 119, each 8th verse that way).
Each Psalm has its own integrity as a literary unit. They often portray a flow of thought that move from presentation, to development to conclusion some times terms used in one part of the Psalm are defined in another part of that Psalm.

Some Basic Facts on the Psalms

These were functional songs for use in worship.
They served the function of helping make connection between worshiper and God.

Some were sung by soloists, but many became as familiar Top 40 hits today.

Five Books of the Psalms

  1. 1-41
  2. 42-72
  3. 73-89
  4. 90-106
  5. 107-150
Each of the five books of Psalms concludes with a similar ending. "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen." (Ps. 41:13) "Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and amen.: (Ps. 72:19) "Praise be to the Lord forever! Amen and amen." (Ps. 89:52) Each ending was not a part of the original Psalm. They were added as the individual books were put together.

Dating the Psalms is near impossible, but unlike the prophets, the psalms do not need to be tied to immediate history to be understood again, they are emotive not propositional.

Many of the Psalms have titles associated with them. These titles were not a part of the original text. They were added at later dates to help the reader know something about the Psalm.
  • 73 David
  • 1 Moses
  • 2 Solomon
  • Several by “sons” of Asaph and of Korah “sons” mean "students of"
Collection was done after return from exile and they became the hymnal.

7 Types of Psalms

Each type of Psalm has its own organization, elements that are common to that type of Psalm. Our book points out the elements of Psalms of Lament and Thanksgiving Psalms.
  1. Laments The largest group, more than 60 some are individual laments; others are corporate express deep trust in Yahweh but also report great suffering. They are a great resource for our praying in time of our suffering. (example: Psalm 3)
  2. Thanksgiving Psalms Give thanks for things that have gone well
  3. Hymns of Praise Give praise of God’s character, God’s greatness, God’s mercy
  4. Salvation History Psalms recount history of God’s interventions with Israel, especially Exodus
  5. Psalms of Celebration and Affirmation Covenant renewal liturgies Royal psalms: celebrating God’s anointing of Kings or lamenting royal troubles Enthronement psalms: celebrating enthronement of kings may have been done annually Songs of Zion celebrating Jerusalem.
  6. Wisdom Psalms - 8 of them: operate like Proverbs
  7. Songs of Trust 10 psalms focus attention on fact that God can be trusted.
Imprecatory Psalms: To pray for evil or misfortune (Ps 69)
Psalms of judgment on foes given that we are to “be angry but sin not” (Ps. 4:4) and given that words do not do quite the damage as do swords especially when the words are verbalized when we are alone.
Imprecatory psalms recount the verbal tirades of David, while in prayer.
They redirect our anger toward God and away from other humans Imprecatory psalms harness our anger and help us express it to God by using the same sorts of obvious, purposeful exaggeration known to us from other types of psalms.
Nothing in scripture suggests that even if these judgments were carried out on enemies, that doing so would bring eternal damnation. We should honestly express our anger to God, no matter how bitterly and hatefully we feel it, and let God take care of justice against those who misuse us.

3 Basic Benefits from the Psalms
  1. As a guide to worship both by quoting from the psalms and by following the example of bold praise to God.
  2. As a model of how to relate honestly to God open expressions of joy, disappointment, anger.
  3. As an encouragement to reflect and mediate on things God has done for us. Psalms do not guarantee a pleasant life.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

God's Megaphone: Thus Says the Lord

4 Major (Longer)
Jeremiah (Lamentations?)

12 Minor (Shorter)

Written in brief period of time: 760-460 BC
(Abraham was 1800 BC)

This was a time of great upheaval in Israel, exile, unprecedented political, military, economic and social upheaval enormous level of religious unfaithfulness and disregard for the original Mosaic covenant shifts in populations and national boundaries.

Determine when and where the prophet was
  1. Israel to the north (Elijah, Elisah, Jonah, Amos, Hosea)

  2. Judah to the south (Isaiah, Micha, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Obadiah)

  3. Exile to the East

  4. Prior to exile

  5. During exile

  6. After exile (Zechariah, Haggai, Malachi)
The Nature of Prophecy
Dictionary Prophecy Definition: Foretelling or prediction of what is to come
  • Only 7% of OT prophecies regarding Jesus or the End Times
  • Hundreds of prophets spoke for God
  • Record of Prophets differs
  • Only a handful wrote or had their oracles recorded into books.
  • Difficult books to interpret.
  • They are strung together oracles
  • Beginnings and endings are not typically signaled
  • You don’t know when one ends and the next begins.
  • Historical distance makes it hard to understand some of what they say.
4 Functions of Prophecy in Israel

1) The Prophets were Covenant Enforcement Mediators
Given that the Law constituted the terms of the relationship between God and Israel, and given that the Law included blessings and curses as incentives for covenant-keeping, the prophets served as enforcers of that covenant, handing out the blessings and curses accordingly. They reminded the people of their obligations to obedience, promising blessing for obedience and warning of curses for disobedience.

6 Kinds of Blessings Promised
  1. life
  2. health
  3. prosperity
  4. agricultural abundance
  5. respect
  6. safety
10 Kinds of Curses Threatened
  1. death
  2. disease
  3. drought
  4. dearth
  5. danger
  6. destruction
  7. defeat
  8. deportation
  9. destitution
  10. disgrace
These blessings and curses were given corporately
In times of independence and prosperity they warn of impending danger
In times of exile and poverty, they promise blessing

2) The Prophets’ message was not their own, but Gods
Each prophet has a style all his own but the prophet speaks as one representing God. They were called by God to speak for God.

3) The Prophets were God’s direct representatives
The prophets were generally recognized by their societies as voices for God, and as leaders in the community they were not generally radical social reformers they were proclaimers of God’s Law and were continually calling the people to obey that Law and were the ones who handed down sentences when the people were disobedient.

4) The prophets’ message is unoriginal
The essential message of the prophet was the Law
Their wording and style might be original, but their content was not. Even the prophecies about the Messiah originate in Gen 3 and especially in Deuteronomy (God promising to raise up a leader to guide them)

They use several literary devices: 5 in particular
  1. The Lawsuit prophecy written up as a lawsuit against the people with God as the plaintiff and Israel as the defendant
  2. The Woe Oracle predictions of doom and gloom, with attendant singing of “woe is me, woe are we”
  3. The promise “salvation oracle” speaks of the future “In that day…” of radical change and blessing
  4. The prophet acts out the story: Hosea marrying a harlot or Isaiah walking around in underwear like when people are taken, deported and held in exile
  5. The messenger speech “Thus says the Lord…”
Most prophets are written like poetry which makes them more easily memorized but not as scientific and obvious in meaning.

Much of the writings of the prophets is just like the epistles: Do this Don’t do that.

The prophets see the distant future thru the lens of the present be very cautious to not over interpret what they say about today.