Thursday, January 28, 2010

Notes from a Walk Through the Bible: Genesis and Exodus

This past month we began our study through the Bible starting with the Book of Genesis. I provided a handout for the book as well as a handout "Outline of Biblical History." Both handouts are provided below:

Notes from the Genesis discussion. (In Word format)

Outline of Biblical History. (In PDF format) This excellent, one page outline, is from Graeme Goldsworthy's helpful book, According to Plan.

Notes from the Exodus discussion. (In Word format)

Handout on the Tabernacle.  (In Word format)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Closer Look at the 10 Plagues of Exodus

Our Sunday Night series through the books of the Bible has yielded some helpful information in better understanding our Bibles. This past Sunday night we looked at the book of Exodus and discovered some fascinating insights about stories we have known our whole lives.

One point that was stressed about the book of Exodus was how during the time of the ten plagues, God was making a spectacle of all of the Egyptian gods through each plague. With each plague, He was showing how the Egyptian gods were powerless and that He is the one true God that they should trust in. Here are some examples of how the ten plagues showcased God's power over the Egyptian gods:

1 Nile and other waters turned to blood. The Nile-god Hapi was totally disgraced

2 Frogs. Frog-goddess , or fretility godess, Heqt (or Heket), was powerless to prevent it

Heket the Egyptian Goddess, had the head of a frog.
Heqt (or Heket) the Egyptian Goddess, had the head of a frog. 

3 Dust turned to gnats. Thoth, lord of magic, with the Egyptian magicians, was helpless to stop it

4 Gadflies over all Egypt except Goshen where Israel dwelt. No god was able to prevent it-not even Ptah, Egypt's creator of the universe.

5 Pestilence on livestock. The sacred cow-goddess Hathor nor Apis the bull could prevent this plague

6 Boils. Healer deities Thoth, Isis, and Ptah were rendered helpless.

7 Thunder and hail. Exposed the impotence of Reshpu, and Thoth, gods of rain and lightening and thunder

8 Locusts. This was a blow to protector of crops, the fertility-god Min.

9 Three days of darkness.
Ra, the preeminent sun-god, and Horus, a sun- god, disgraced

10 Death of the firstborn including Pharaoh's. Pharoah was considered by the Egyptians to be a god incarnate. Ra (Amon-Ra), sun-god represented as a ram, was unable to stop it nor to save himself.

Praise God that he has made a spectacle of all evil through the death of his son on the cross! Colossians 2:15 tells us, "He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him."

Join us again this Sunday night as we look deeper into the challenging book of Leviticus!

May God bless us with a growing passion to read His Word!

- Bro. Dave

Check out this link for more information about the 10 Plagues and the God's of Egypt.

Monday, January 25, 2010

“Him, Who?” Part 3

There is a very important application to the concept that we have been discussing in this series.  Over the past few weeks, we have seen how God is identified in Scripture by the ways in which He has worked and provided for His people.  In this series, we have focused, and will continue to do so, particularly on the statements that include the formula of "Him (God, the LORD), who…"  It would be a worthwhile exercise, and indeed has been to some degree exhausted, to list all of the names used for God in Scripture.  What makes this exercise unique, as I mentioned last week, is that it results in the ability to apply this formula to our worship and to our prayers.  We can worship the God who has healed our loved one from cancer, and we can pray to the God who has proven His ability to provide for our financial needs.  The important application, then, is to fill in some of the blanks we find in our liturgy (song texts, prayers, transition statements, Scripture readings, etc.).  These blanks come in the form of the pronoun, "He," as in, "And He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own."  So, as we study in Scripture who He is and what we call Him, we can fill that name into the blank.

This week's example comes from Genesis 15:7.  This case is a bit unusual, because it is God speaking.  He refers to Himself thusly: "I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess."  What God is doing is using this title to give comfort to Abraham, reminding him of the work the LORD has done up to this point.  He is the god who pulled Abraham away from his paganism among the Mesopotamians, causing him to be one of God's people.  Abraham's life shows evidence that it has been set apart; God has called him away from his home, without even telling him where he is to go.  He makes an important promise to Abraham, which is doubted given his bleak circumstances.  God is restoring hope and faith in Abraham by reminding him of who God is and what He has done.  In the same way, we, who are bought with the blood of Christ, who are the "called out ones" (the exact translation of the New Testament Greek word for church), are reminded when we sing, "Awake, my soul, and sing/ Of Him who died for thee/ And hail Him as thy matchless King/ Thro' all eternity," that we have been called to faith, and God has proven Himself to be faithful.

-Mark Whitaker,  Minister of Music and Worship, Interim Minister of Students

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Elders in Church History: Notes and links from Final Discussion #3

I want to thank everyone for their willingness to come out and learn about this sometimes controversial topic. I learned a lot researching this topic and I had fun during our discussions! Our study on the book of Revelation will resume next Wednesday.

- Bro. Dave

Notes from Wednesday, January 20. In Word Doc format, here are the notes from our discussion this past Wednesday.

W.B. Jonson's chapter on Elders. A PDF file containing the entire chapter from WB Jonshon's book, "The Gospel Developed." Johnson was the 1st president of the Southern Baptist Convention and held a high view of plural elders.

History of Elders in the SBC. A PDF file that provides the text of a sermon preached by Paul Burlson who argues a strong case for the use of elders. 

Here is a link to a Baptist Press article that reported on a recent conference at New Orleans Baptist Seminary on the question of Elders in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Here is a link to an Associated Baptist Press article that shows one church's controversial vote on moving toward an elder model.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Youth Retreat and Mike Riley's Sermon

This past weekend was a monumental weekend for Bruner’s Chapel Baptist Church. I had the great pleasure of attending our Student Retreat to Gatlinburg and enjoyed hanging out with the students and workers for a weekend. Most all of the students who went made commitments to read their Bibles daily and pray for their lost friends. Mark Whitaker did an incredible job teaching our students, and all of the small groups ran incredibly well. Everyone behaved and had an extremely fun time!

On Sunday, I began to receive some phone calls telling me about the morning service. I have never heard such positive feedback for anyone’s sermon like I did for Mike Riley’s message. It was clear that Mike had addressed some issues head-on and did it in a loving way. I could not wait to get back and watch the service myself.

On Monday night, my wife Ginny and I enjoyed watching the DVD of Sunday morning’s service. We loved what we saw and heard. We were amazed at how clearly Mike communicated the current climate of our church and we were touched by his sincere love for Bruner’s Chapel Baptist Church. Though I am sure some may have been offended by what Mike had to share, one thing is clear to me - Mike is absolutely correct about his concerns for our church.

With the host of great conversations I have had with many within our congregation, it is clear that Mike is not alone in his feelings. Most all of us are tired of the apathy and complaining spirit that we have seen in our church. We are ready to move on and do what God has asked us to do! We love our church, and we love seeing it grow!

If you did not hear Mike’s message, I encourage you to watch it (below) or listen to it on our church media page. If you like what you have heard, it’s time for you to get involved with what God is doing in our church!

The Church that Left It's First Love from Bruner's Chapel Baptist Church on Vimeo.

Thank you Mike, for your courage to speak the truth in love! Thank you Mike and Amy both, for your service to our church!

May God continue to fuel the fire that is growing in our congregation!

- Bro. Dave

Monday, January 18, 2010

Him, Who? Part II

In my last article, I began a series that I will be continuing in this one on how we see in Scripture that God is to be worshiped for who He is and what He has done. This may seem obvious to some to be the case, but often the logistics of doing that are taken for granted by only answering the questions, "Who is God?" and, "What has He done?". To be sure, those are certainly a part of this question. Something most people don't give much thought to, however, is what God is called in Scripture, pertaining to who He is and what He has done. In other words, the Bible gives us examples as to how God's people have worshiped Him, specifically by certain names. It is my hope that through this series we might understand who God has proven Himself to be in Scripture, not simply for the knowledge itself, but so we can then apply these principles to the ways in which God has proved Himself to us, for the purpose of writing our own worship and/or choosing the texts of our worship in such a way that is personal and genuine.

In Genesis 14:19-20, we see the blessing of Abram by Melchizedek. The act of blessing, a concept largely forgotten in modern culture, is a petition by one party that is made to God, that He might show favor upon another party, or it is a bestowal of favor to God Himself. We use blessing so flippantly, especially in response to a person sneezing, that we forget its meaning. A blessing is always a solemn, memorable moment. Consider what it is to bestow the honor of God's favor unto someone. This is not something to be done or understood lightly. In this particular blessing, the first of two parts, God is specified by the status of "Most High." This most certainly is a reference to the authority of Elohim (God's personal name used in this blessing), because it is followed immediately with the distinction that He is Possessor and Creator of heaven and earth. The second part of the blessing is a giving of favor unto God out of gratitude for delivering Abram from his enemies. We see the watchword structure of "Him, who," in the second part of verse 20, which is the reason I wanted to point out this passage. Notice that God is not simply worshiped non-specifically in response to His deliverance, but is named as the God who delivers enemies into the hands of His people. The recitation itself of the act of God is an act of worship.

In the Christian life, we all have victories from time to time. Sometimes they occur in the sports arena, other times in the business world, and often they occur in spiritual areas. When God provides such victory, we must always be quick to bring worship to Him, who is identified as the one who brought the victory.

-Mark Whitaker, Minister of Music and Worship, Interim Minister to Students

Friday, January 15, 2010

Give to Haiti Southern Baptist Relief

If you feel compelled to give to Haiti, give to a ministry where every penny will go to those in need. The Southern Baptist global response is one of the best programs to support because no money given goes to pay for the management of the program. Most all other groups have to take a great portion of the donations to pay for the management.

Click here to donate: 

You can also give through NAMB

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jesus in Genesis

Every Sunday night we are going through a book of the Bible. As we go, we are looking at some major ways that Jesus shows up in the Old Testament book. Our study through the Bible will resume on Sunday Night, January 24. Make plans now to come and learn with us! The following are some major areas in the book of Genesis where we can clearly see Jesus:

Where does Jesus appear in Genesis?

The preexistent Christ, the living Word, was very much involved in the creation. "All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made" (John 1:3). In Genesis 3:21, God had to make a covering of skins for Adam and Eve when they sinned. Animal blood had to be shed for the covering of sins, foreshadowing that Jesus the Lamb of God would have to die for the covering of our sins. Jesus' ministry is anticipated in Genesis 3:15, suggesting that the "Seed" of the woman who will bruise the Serpent's (Satan's) head is Jesus Christ, the "Seed" of Abraham mentioned by Paul in Galatians 3:16. Melchizedek is the mysterious king-priest of Genesis 14. The Letter to the Hebrews identifies him as a type of Jesus Christ, our King and High Priest (Heb. 6:20).

The greatest revelation of Christ in Genesis is found in God's covenant with Abraham in chapters 15 and 17. The promises God made to Abraham are fulfilled in Jesus, as Paul explains in detail in Galatians. Much of the Bible is built upon the Abrahamic covenant and its flowering in Jesus Christ.

Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac at God's command bears a startling similarity to the crucial event of the New Testament. "Take … your only son Isaac, whom you love … and offer him there as a burnt offering" (22:2) reminds us of God's sacrifice of His only Son for the sins of the world. Finally, Jacob's blessing upon Judah anticipates the coming of "Shiloh," to be identified as the Messiah. "And to Him shall be the obedience of the people" (49:10).

Christ is also seen in people and events that serve as types. (A "type" is a historical fact that illustrates a spiritual truth.) Adam is "a type of Him who was to come" (Rom. 5:14). Both entered the world through a special act of God as sinless men. Adam is the head of the old creation; Christ is the Head of the new creation. Abel's acceptable offering of a blood sacrifice points to Christ, and there is a parallel in his murder by Cain. Melchizedek ("righteous king") is. "made like the Son of God" (Heb. 7:3). He is the king of Salem ("peace") who brings forth bread and wine and is the priest of the Most High God. Joseph is also a type of Christ. Joseph and Christ are both objects of special love by their fathers, both are hated by their brethren, both are rejected as rulers over their brethren, both are conspired against and sold for silver, both are condemned though innocent, and both are raised from humiliation to glory by the power of God.

May God bless us as we endeavor to learn more about the Bible.

- Bro, David Crowe

Monday, January 11, 2010

Him, Who? Part 1

As I have mentioned in a previous article, the term doxology refers to worship of God that is a response to God and is made up of God's attributes, characteristics, or behavior. Over the next few weeks, I will be writing a series of articles called "Him, Who?" The purpose of this study is to point out moments throughout Scripture where God is praised using texts that magnify His attributes. Specifically, these texts have the form of naming God, either using the pronoun, "Him," or referring to Him by name, followed by a qualitative statement.

The first example of this format is found in Genesis 9:26. It says, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem." This one is a little more hidden than some of the other texts we will be studying, but it is just as important to understand. In the Old Testament, often these texts refer, as this one does, to a certain ownership that God's people have. It associates God with a person or people that God has made a covenant with. The importance of a statement such as this is, first, that God is a god who loves, provides for, and protects individuals. Unlike the false gods of the nations, who associate themselves with things outside of humanity like geography, natural phenomenon, or political forces, such as Ra, the Egyptian god of the sun, or Molech, the god of the Ammonites, the Living God associates Himself with individual people. Secondly, He makes promises to His people, and His name is a testimony to the fact that He keeps those promises. To say that God is the God of Shem is to say that He keeps His promise to Noah to never strike down all of Noah's family. He actually says that He will not strike down the entirety of the creation again, but because of the salvation Noah's family received on the ark, the entirety of the human component of God's creation is Noah's family, and so it is a promise specific to Noah. Later, we will see that God will be called the God of the Israelites, because He promised to be their God, and that they would be His people. Lastly, God allows His name to be carried by people who are faithful to Him. We see this evident in the term we get from the book of Acts, "Christian." God has promised to always maintain a group of people that are faithful to Him, referred to throughout Scripture as a "remnant."

It is for these three reasons that we ought to worship the One True and Living God: that He loves us personally, keeps His promises, and will always keep us and never forsake us. And, by the Bible's example, we ought to point out in words that this is the case. Thanking and praising God for who He is and what He has done is the center of what we call worship.

- Mark Whitaker

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snow/Ice Advisory for Worship Services on Sunday, January 10

From looking at our parking lot, we are going to have church tomorrow. Please be cautious as you move about the parking lot and if you have any real concerns, please stay home. You can assess the situation for yourself by looking at the following photos that were taken today at 5:30PM.

Special thanks to Glen Peavler and others who have worked hard to let us have church tomorrow! 

Click on any of the following photos to enlarge them:

The Stairs in this photo are the fire escape stairs:

 The outside East stairs are dry and have salt on them:
 The back lot has the most ice with some black ice spots near the drain pipes:
 Here is a black ice patch near one of the back drain pipes:
 The side lot looks great:
 Front steps are dry and salted:


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Brit Hume, Tiger Woods, and Jesus Christ

Journalist Brit Hume isn’t backing down from his recent comments that Tiger Woods should turn to Christ for redemption and forgiveness.

As he says in the follow-up interview below, “Jesus Christ offers Tiger Woods something he badly needs.”

Last year on the Between Two World's blog, the following was mentioned about Hume and what he planned to be doing in his retirement.
Brit Hume, the Washington managing editor at Fox News and one of the best in the business, is retiring from his position. Starting in 2009 he’ll become senior political analyst and work 100 days in the year.
When public figures retire at the top of their game they often cite wanting to spend more time with their family. And that’s the case here. But Hume offers an additional reason–one rarely cited in these situations:
I certainly want to pursue my faith more ardently than I have done. I’m not claiming it’s impossible to do when you work in this business. I was kind of a nominal Christian for the longest time. When my son died (by suicide in 1998), I came to Christ in a way that was very meaningful to me. If a person is a Christian and tries to face up to the implications of what you say you believe, it’s a pretty big thing. If you do it part time, you’re not really living it.
From another interview:
And since my son died, I have been, really, I felt rescued by God and by Christ. I have an intense desire to pursue that more ardently and have it be a bigger part of my life than it has been.
When asked how that will translate, Hume responded, “It’ll translate into Bible study.”
Denny Burk also includes this quote from Hume’s interview on WTOP News radio:
Christianity is uniquely and especially about redemption and forgiveness. That is what the cornerstone of what the faith is about. Now other faiths aren’t hostile to the idea, but think of what the message of Christ and Christianity is. It is that the God of the universe sent His only begotten Son, who died a hideous death on the cross, to atone for all of our sins. And we are thereby offered through that act a new covenant in which we are offered forgiveness and redemption on a continuing basis in return for our faith in God and our continuing efforts to live the Christian life. That is a unique doctrine.

Peter Wehner also looks at the criticism Hume is receiving.
Here are some important points:
The intensity of offense taken at what Hume said is itself revealing. Perhaps it can partly be chalked up to shock; maybe Shales and Hume’s other critics are genuinely surprised to learn that those who hold the Christian faith do so because they believe the claims of Christ are true, that His story is real. But of course if Christians didn’t believe their faith were true, there would be no reason to embrace it, as the Apostle Paul himself understood. . . .
I should add that when Christopher Hitchens, whom I like and whose company I enjoy, appeared on television shows promoting his book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, he was far more critical of Christianity than Hume was of Buddhism. Yet I don’t recall the Left saying that those criticisms were inappropriate for public debate. In fact, they weren’t — and neither are Hume’s words. Furthermore, those who are unnerved by Hume’s “sectarianism” were untroubled by the aggressive atheism of Hitchens.
 HT: Justin Taylor

What are your thoughts about all of this? Add your comments below.

- Bro. Dave

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Daily Devotionals

One thing I enjoy reading alongside with my Bible each new year is a daily devotional. There are some amazing daily devotionals out there that I would recommend to anyone who is looking: Classic ones like Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon, and My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.

The following comes from a devotional that I am reading through this year: Drawing Near: Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith by John MacArthur. The following is his entry for Tuesday, January 5:

"God...has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" (Eph. 1:3, emphasis added).

It's been said that some Christians are so heavenly minded, they're no earthly good. But usually the opposite is true. Many Christians are so enamored with this present world that they no longer look forward to heaven. They have everything they want right here. The health, wealth, and prosperity doctrine has convinced them that Christians can have it all, and they pursue "the good life" with a vengeance.

Despite the prevalence of such thinking, the old Negro spiritual well says, "This world is not my home. I'm just a passin' through."

Paul reminds us of that truth in Philippians 3:20: "Our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." That's why we must set our minds on heavenly, not on earthly things (Col. 3:1- 2). Our deepest affections and highest aspirations should center there. Our actions and decisions should reflect heavenly priorities, not earthly indulgences.

Even though we live in a sin-stained world and must constantly fight against its corrupting influences, God hasn't left us stranded. He extends to us all the rights and privileges of our heavenly citizenship. Let that assurance encourage you today to live to His glory and rely on His heavenly provisions. Take care not to let impure aspirations or trivial pursuits distract you from your heavenly priorities.

Suggestions for Prayer:
  • Tell Jesus how thankful and full of praise you are because of the place He is preparing for you in heaven (John 14:1-3).
  • Pray for a greater awareness of the fleeting value of this world and the surpassing value of the world to come (1 John 2:17). 
If you would like to read Dr. MacArthur's daily devotional "Drawing Near" online, you can do so by clicking here.  

    May God bless us to grow deeper in our faith this year!

    - Bro. Dave

    Monday, January 4, 2010

    10 Common Myths about Tithing

    1) Myth - The New Testament never commands us to tithe.
    Truth - Jesus expected it (Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42) and Paul encouraged it (2 Cor 9:6, 7; 1 Cor. 16:2)

    2) Myth - Nowhere in the Bible does it say to give a 10th of my income.
    Truth  - The Hebrew word for tithe, "ma'aser" literally means "tenth" and can be correctly translated as such.  

    3) Myth - I can't afford to tithe.
    Truth - You can't afford not to tithe!

    4) Myth - Tithing will make me rich!
    Truth - Tithing may not make you rich, but it will make you blessed. (Jesus said blessed are the poor)

    5) Myth - Tithing will make me poor!
    Truth - God promises to bless the one who tithes.

    6) Myth - All tithe money goes to the pastor.
    Truth - The pastor has a set salary no matter what is gathered in an offering.

    7) Myth - The Pastor knows the tithing records.
    Truth - Not in this church, and not this pastor! (and I like it that way!)

    8) Myth - If I do not tithe, I am not sinning.
    Truth - God says you are robbing him, and that is a sin.  (Malachi 3:8)

    9) Myth - It is ok for me to tithe from my net income and not gross income.
    Truth - Your gross income is your true income.  

    10) Myth - As long as I give my 10 percent, I can do whatever I want with the other 90 percent.
    Truth - 100 percent of our money should be spent in a way that honors God.