Learning and Living the God-centered life

One Biblical Doctrine at a time…

A Gift for You

Since Christmas is right around the corner I am feeling somewhat Santa-like. Therefore on Sunday night I am bringing a rather useful gift for each person that attends. Some of you might be thinking come on Bert no gimmicks please. But this is not a gimmick just to get you to leave the comfort of your homes with dinner, family and football do discuss God's word. You know I would never do that - right? Right? Hmmm....I can see this is going to be tougher than I thought.

Seriously, I have specially ordered something that I am very excited to give away to each of you. I predict that this gift may become one of your top spiritual go to resources outside of the Bible. I found it almost 2 years ago, by accident and ordered immediately for Nancy and me. This may be an overstatement but can almost guarantee that you never seen or heard of it. And yet it has received the endorsement of some of the countries leading theologians. For those coming on Sunday night it will be yours as a gift from me to you.

Election Day or Judgment Day?

I have spent some time thinking about election day next Tuesday. But as I ponder many of the things that occupy my mind the one thing that most occupies it is the judgment day. Election days will come and go but at the judgment day all things become final.

Jesus Christ, God incarnate did come to planet earth, was born of a virgin, was fully God and fully man, lived a perfect life and was sinless, died on a cross was buried and on the third day He rose from the dead. I thankfully have cast myself on the mercy and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and have received Him as LORD and savior of my life. There was nothing in me deserving of nor meriting my salvation. Since it was nothing I did but everything that He did there is no way I can boast. How can I boast about a gift that was freely given and also knowing that I had nothing to offer. If someone were to ask me how do I know these truths it would be based on God's word which through research and study I believe is:
1. Inspired
2. Infallible
3. Inerrant


Even if I had not done the research these things about the Bible remain true, whether I believe them to be or not. I have used the example before in training about gravity. You can go to the top of the Sears building in Chicago and say all day long that you don't believe in gravity. But as soon as you jump, your wrong and incorrect belief system will yield to a natural law that will overcome your belief system.

Election day is about who will be our President for the next 4 years but at the judgment day we will have our eternal destinies either secured in heaven or in hell. I have heard that one prominent theologian would argue this way with his non-believing friends and family members. He would say something to this effect "Let's say you are right and there are many ways to heaven and no hell at all. Then my believing in Christ, my way will still result in me reaching the same destination as you for eternity. However if I am right in this regard in which Jesus says in John 14:6 "I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me" and you are wrong then you will spend an eternity away from God in an eternal hell. This argument was motivated by a protect yourself from a worst case scenario. If you don't believe in Christ then hell is the non-believers only alternative, and that is worst case. (Side note: the not wanting to go to hell is not a saving affection but may be one of the ordained means that God uses to bring about salvation.)

Election day is a cause for some anxiety and worry based on the candidate of choice and future implications. But judgment day is a cause for the most critical and important thinking one can ever do because your eternity is what hangs in the balance.

Romans 3:23 says this "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Your sin and my sin have offended a holy God to the decree that if not paid for will result in our everlasting punishment. Folks you could spend 50 years building hospitals in third world countries that might save millions of lives and still go to hell. Because your works will not earn your way into heaven. We need someone to pay the full price for our sins and that person is Jesus Christ. When we cast ourselves on the mercy of Christ at the cross, trust and receive Him as Lord and Savior, then He pays the penalty of our sin (past, present and future) and breaks the power of sin in our life. At the cross of Christ there is a great exchange. All of my sin is imputed to Christ and all of Christ's righteousness is imputed to me. Just think of this transaction, He doesn't deserve my sin but takes it on and absorbs it, I don't deserve any of His righteousness but He gives it to me freely and credits to my account. So what happens when the truth of the cross is preached to men, women, boys and girls? For those who are perishing it is complete foolishness but to those who are being saved it is the power of God! (1 Corinthians 1:18)

Therefore my time, effort, attention and energy will be spent by God's grace teaching and exhorting others to keep the main thing the main thing. And that is a focus on judgment day not election day!

Devotion time in Isaiah 45-50

There is much uncertainty in our country right now. People are worried and anxious because of the upcoming election, the economy, the war on terror and many other things that can occupy the mind in these days. However God remains sovereign over all things in this world and we can rest in the fact that our God is the God, and there is no other.

My devotion time this morning was in Isaiah 45-50. It is very obvious that the "sovereignty" of God is on display in a major way in these chapters. After our tour of the Bible the next stop in our journey will be on the doctrine of God. Therefore it will be, I think, quite exciting for us as a class to see what the Bible says about the sovereignty of God. But for the sake of this email allow me to give a working definition of God's sovereignty as follows; God plans and carries out His perfect will as He alone knows is best, over all that is in heaven and earth, and He does so without failure or defeat.

Check out these verses from the reading this morning (NLT):
Isaiah 45:5-7
5 I am the Lord;
there is no other God.
I have equipped you for battle,
though you don't even know me,

6 so all the world from east to west
will know there is no other God.
I am the Lord, and there is no other.

7 I create the light and make the darkness.
I send good times and bad times.
I, the Lord, am the one who does these things. Read More...

Fighting the good Fight

In last Sunday's lesson at the end I put up the following chart:

1. GRACE comes down (from God)

2. JOY rises (in the believer as they are satisfied in God)

3. LOVE overflows (into the lives of others)

It is easy to draw a chart but to live this out is where the "rubber meets the road" in the Christian life. I am constantly reading and listening to those who have modeled godly living in their lives and ministry. In studying this week I came across notes from a Dr. John Piper lecture on "how" he fights for joy! Hopefully this will encourage you to run the race, and keep the faith as you continue fighting the good fight.

1. Meditate on the word of God both day and night – Psalm 19:8, Jeremiah 15:16, Romans 10:17, Psalm 1, Romans 15:4, John 17:17, Holiness is someone who is so satisfied in God that sin has lost its appeal to them. Ephesians 6:17

2. Memorize the Scriptures – people who have done this have the where withal to fight for the fight for joy. Pick a time of day and a place and a plan then it will happen. If you don't do it then the devil will fill your life up with good things so you never get to the best things.

3. When reading the Bible focus on the centrality of Christ. Have a goal of being able to see God when you read the Bible. Ask questions like who are you and what are you like and why are you speaking and acting this way… Reading the Bible – all authority on heaven and earth is mine, Lazarus come forth, these are things Jesus says and does. When you go to the Bible you meet a man that is self-authenticating. You need to see Jesus as glorious as your read. Read More...

Bible reading

Copied from Justin Buzzard’s blog site and thought it would be a helpful reminder for us this year.

Legalism Part 2

Our class can be summarized as follows: “Back to the basics of the Bible in such a way that Christ is demonstrated as great and glorious in each of our lives.” However as I have taught over the years, one of the dangers of intense Bible study can be legalism. We need to be on alert constantly against this very deadly disease. And the only antibiotic that can provide the cure is the cross of Christ.

Therefore, before we continue moving forward in our survey of the Bible, I am pulling our tour bus over to the next overview stop in order to look out into the valley of legalism. As many of you know that have been with us for the last 9 weeks, I have exhorted us as a class back to the Bible. In doing so I have encouraged you with a number of tools that can help in your Bible reading, Bible devotion and Bible study. But I also know that some people have processed this information through the filter of “I need to start building a task list or to do list for my spiritual life.” One of the points this past Sunday was as Americans we are hard wired to be legalists.

This Sunday instead of focusing our attention on the problem we will in fact be emphasizing the cure. Now before I give you the homework assignment let me give you a pastoral heads up. The problem that existed in the first 100 years of the church and the big problem that we face now is the same. And the name of the problem is SIN! Please don’t ignore this but seek rather to understand this from the Bible. Read carefully the apostle Paul’s conclusion about the entire human race (pagan, moral man and religious man) in Romans. Remember Romans is the most thorough epistle we have on the doctrine of salvation.
Rom. 3:10 as it is written,
“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
Rom. 3:11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;

Rom. 3:12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”


Legalism is sin rooted in pride which focuses the attention on my effort and ability in order to merit or get God’s approval. But in me there is nothing good so all I can bring to God are deeds that are in fact unrighteous. I once heard a prominent theologian proclaim “ the best work you ever do in your lifetime, needs to be bathed in repentance.” When I heard it I backed the tape up and listened again. He did not say the worst thing you will ever have done but the best thing needs to be bathed in repentance. Why is that? Because our sinful nature is so utterly sinful that it even taints the most wonderful things that we do in our kingdom work. I must admit hearing that did not help my self esteem or self concept one little bit. But isn’t that the point! If I don’t admit and deal with the problem then I will never appreciate nor apply the solution. Class we are sinners in need of a savior and that savior is Christ. Did you ever see the movie “Amazing Grace?” Well, in that movie there is a conversation between Wilbur Wilberforce and John Newton. At this point Newton is old and looks to be a bit senile. But he says to Wilberforce the following statement, “one thing that I know, I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.” Read More...

Review Sunday October 26

The teaching today was about the Christ crucified life as opposed to the me emphasized life. I will put more up later but here are the power point notes.

Sbs Class Oct26 2008
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A radical way to live!

I was reflecting on the life of Christ this morning. Check out these verses written and then let me make a quick comment. (Normally I don't make quick comments as you have probably noticed.)

Jesus speaking:
John 5:30 "I can do nothing on My own initiative As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."

John 6:38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."

John 8:28 "...So Jesus said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me."

John 12:49 "For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak."

John 14:10
"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.

OK, let me see if I really understand these verses. Jesus Christ doesn't speak, teach or do anything on His own initiative! He only does what the Father speaks, teaches and does through Him.

Hmmm...

Question - How much did I think about, speak and accomplish this week in my own initiative? Check out what the apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31 "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." Read More...

The danger of legalism

Legalism means to obey a set of rules or regulations in such a way as to seek or try to merit God’s approval. As Americans we are hard wired to be legalists. Just think for a minute at the number of roles you have acquired to date in your life.
  • son
  • daughter
  • brother
  • sister
  • aunt
  • uncle
  • friend
  • student
  • athlete
  • business owner
  • employee
  • neighbor
  • church member
I can remember growing up my mom, who I loved dearly, had a thing about grades in school. The message that came across to me was “the Brimberry’s don’t make “C’s” in school work. Well, at least they didn’t make any until little Bert showed up on the scene. Whenever I brought home an A or B the atmosphere was one of acceptance and positive affirmation. For the sake of this blog article lets call that a “STROKE.”

BUT when I brought home a C or even the dreaded D, even in my little brain I noticed my mom’s disappointment. Whenever my parents felt good about the results I accomplished then naturally I felt good about me. And whenever my parents were disappointed it always seemed to translate in me feeling bad about myself. Therefore this is how the information came into and got processed in my mind. If I wanted to feel really good about myself then I needed to be sure to meet or exceed my parents expectations. Unfortunately it seemed, the older I got the higher they raised the bar. Read More...

Devotion in Judges

There may be some of you on the 52 week Bible reading plan that is on our blog site? Devotion time this week has been in Judges 12-16. In the book of Judges one reads this phrase quite often "they did evil in the sight of the LORD." Isn't that the core problem with the heart of man? There are many verses that affirm this about man but here are several.

Genesis 6:5 - Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Jeremiah 17:9 - "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick..."

Romans 3:10 - "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
Romans 3:11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
Romans 3:12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE."

And instead of God exacting His justice by sending a lightning bolt or fire from heaven instead He provides them with a judge. And when these different judges come into power they restore peace to the region and defeat the enemies of Israel. God gives to His own people what they do not deserve, and what do we call that? We call that GRACE and define it as unmerited favor. In the book of Judges you see this continuing pattern, because of their evil the people deserve death and instead God provides to them grace upon grace.

Folks we are no different than those Israelites who were rebelling, worshiping false gods, being sinful and evil. Therefore should God exact His rightful justice on us, in which we would immediately be judged, condemned and sent to an eternal hell. But instead God sends His only begotten Son to absorb the wrath of God for you and me that He did not deserve, and in turn credits to our heavenly account the righteousness of His that we do not deserve. What? Christ gets all my sin and in turn I get all His righteousness! Sometimes in evangelical circles this is called the "great exchange." What do we call that? How about AMAZING GRACE! Read More...

Review Sunday October 19

Today was a chance for us to review again the first three principles of our Bible survey. Occasionally we will pitch a tent and camp on some material that we have previously covered. This morning I wanted to review and stress what as orthodox evangelicals we believe about the Bible.
1. It is inspired (God-breathed)
2. It is infallible (can’t fail)
3. It is inerrant (without error)


May I encourage you to review the notes from todays class. Read over and meditate on the passages listed that highlight:
  • The truthfulness of the Bible
  • The purity of the Bible
  • The power of the Bible
  • The reverence for the Bible
  • The joy of the Bible
  • The daily nourishment from the Bible

These are interesting days in which we are living. How easy it is for us to get distracted with the things of this world. Brothers and sisters keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus! Do not look to the left or to the right, grab up the word of God and allow His Spirit to transform you into the likeness of Christ. The most important thoughts you will ever think are the thoughts that you think about God. I appeal to each one of you as strongly as I know how get into His word so that His word can get into you!

Next week it’s on to principles 4-8 which have already been posted on our blog site. There will be other “pauses” along the way as we take this tour of the Bible. Hopefully when we get done you will have a good overall grasp of some of the basics from Genesis to Revelation.

Continue running the race, fighting the good fight and keeping the faith;
Sbs Class October 19 2008
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Here is the audio from today’s class, just click on this LINK and look for mp3 download October 19.


Back to God's word

In this first phase of our class we are looking closely at the Bible itself. During our last class together I mentioned the authority of the Bible for the orthodox evangelical church.
1. The Bible is inerrant
2. The Bible is infallible
3. The Bible is inspired

In the coming weeks I will be giving an overview of the entire Bible from Genesis through Revelation. Also I think it important for us to listen to solid preaching when it comes to the importance of God’s word. Nancy and I attended a conference this past April at the Cove in Asheville, NC. The speaker was Dr. John MacArthur and his commitment and message as always was in essence “get back to God’s word.” Therefore I have posted a couple of messages he has recently preached on the working of God’s word. Just click on this LINK and look for “God’s word.”

Principles #6-9 in Bible survey

Principle #6
The Old Testament consists of 39 books that were written prior to the birth of Jesus Christ.

Principle #7
The 39 books of the Old Testament are divided as follows:
The first 17 books of the Old Testament are called “historical narrative.”
The next 5 books are called poetical or books of experience
The next 17 books are called prophetical or books of prophesy

Or for those who want to be even more technical:
The first 17 books of the Old Testament are divided in the following way
The first 5 books are called the Pentateuch – Genesis-Deuteronomy
The next 12 books are a historical chronology of Israel – Joshua-Ester
The next 5 books are poetical – Psalms-Song of Solomon
The next 5 books are the major prophets – Isaiah-Daniel
The next 12 books are the minor prophets – Hosea-Malachi

So you could divide up the Old Testament:
5 – The Law
12 – The History
5 – The poetical
5 – The Major Prophets
12 – The Minor Prophets Read More...

Conference with Dr. Bruce Ware

Greetings to the “Learning and Living the God-centered Life” class from Charleston, South Carolina. Nancy and I have been here during the last week preparing for and hosting Dr. Bruce Ware and his wife Jodi. They came to East Cooper Baptist Church in which Bruce was asked to speak on the doctrine of Christ. The conference concluded last night and was a great time of learning and discussion on this vital area of Bible doctrine.

For those of you who don’t know Dr. Bruce Ware I have posted a short bio that may help bring you up to speed on his background and ministry.

Bruce Ware received a B.A. in English from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington. He later earned his M.Div. and his Th.M. from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary in Portland, Oregon, before he moved to Pasadena, California, where he completed his formal education with a Ph.D. in Philosophical Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Dr. Ware currently serves as the Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Prior to his current occupation, Bruce has held teaching positions at Bethel Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota; Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon; and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.
Books Published:
Perspectives on the Doctrine of God: 4 Views (Editor)
Broadman & Holman - 2007
Serving God with Determined Faith: Studies in the Book of Nehemiah
Lifeway Press - 2005
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance
Crossway Books - 2005
God's Greater Glory: The Exalted God of Scripture and the Christian Faith
Crossway Books - 2004
Their God is Too Small: Open Theism and the Undermining of Confidence in God
Crossway Books - 2003
God's Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism
Crossway Books - 2000
Still Sovereign: Contemporary Perspectives on Election, Foreknowledge, and Grace (Editor)
Baker Books - 2000
The Grace of God, The Bondage of the Will (Editor)
Baker Books - 1995




Review Sunday October 12

Thanks to Pastor Russ Rosser for teaching our class this past Sunday morning. Nancy and I have been blessed to know Russ and Carol since they first arrived in Charlotte. He is affectionately known to us as “Papa” Russ. Here are the notes from this past week.

Principle #4 in Bible Survey

The BIBLE can be summarized by using 5 CHRIST CENTERED DIVISIONS:

1. ANTICIPATION - If you were to read through the Old Testament over and over it would leave you with a strong impression that someone is coming. And that would in fact be correct because the Old Testament is constantly pointing to the coming of Christ.
Do you remember what Jesus explained to the two men on the road to Emmaus? Luke 24:27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. Therefore when we read the Old Testament we need to be aware that it speaks of the Jesus Himself.

2. MANIFESTATION - When we arrive at the books of Matthew-John we can see that He is here! The gospels in the New Testament record for us the birth, life, teaching, ministry, miracles, rejection, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
This means that Jesus is the unfolding or declaration of God the Father to us, to see the Son is to see the Father. Therefore as we read the Bible and pull out the truth from the text, to do so correctly means that we will see Jesus.

3. PROCLAMATION - In the book of Acts, we have the resurrected Jesus giving instructions to His disciples in Acts 1:8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” In Acts Chapter 2 the Spirit fills those at Pentecost and this begins the taking of the message to Jerusalem, Judea, Sumaria, and then to the outer most parts of the earth.

4. EXPLANATION - In the Epistles which are from Romans through Jude, you have letters written primarily to churches and individuals to address the problems and circumstances that are going on in these churches. In the epistles we get a good understanding of:
  • Who Jesus Christ is
  • What Jesus Christ did
  • How we ought to live in lieu of who He is and what He has done

5. CONSUMATION - This is the book of Revelation. What God started in Genesis He will finish in Revelation. Revelation ll:15 - Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
In Revelation we have letters from Jesus to the seven churches and His second coming which establishes the new heaven and earth.

As we progress through this tour or survey of the Bible would you take time to reflect on these principles during your study time.
In your review of Principles 1, 2 and 3 just click on this LINK.

Digging Deeper

On November 2 from 5:30-7:00 PM we are going to have a “digging deeper” session at Jack and Jeanette Bickett’s home.

The format will be to ask questions and to dialog in more detail the first 2 months of our class. In the past I have found these types of gatherings to be very effective, in order to help folks get even a better grasp on the Bible, and how to apply it in their lives.

Cross references


Here is a short training video on the importance of cross references in your Bible. If you are using a study Bible then you will notice the letters or numbers in the margin of your Bible. Even though most people know they are there, it is something that is rarely used. Again I hope these short videos will encourage you to use the tools in order to make us better students of God’s word. Just click on this LINK and look for the video titled “cross reference.”

A word of encouragement

This particular phase of our study is being called “explanation to the head.” As you remember I listed basic steps for us as we commit to getting back to a healthy reading, devotion and study time in God’s word.

Step #1 - “The preparation of the heart”
Step #2 - “The explanation to the head”
Step #3 - “The application for the feet”

Therefore in this phase of our study I will be giving a basic overview of the Bible in the format of approximately 20 different principles. Along the way I will take a couple of side trips in order to make us aware of some current issues that we are battling in the evangelical church regarding the Bible. This past Sunday we covered the first 3 principles in our overview of God’s word.

Principle #1 - The Bible is unity through incredible diversity.
Principle #2 - The Bible has a layout that is similar in both the Old and New Testaments
Principle #3 - The Bible is the authoritative word of God

It was here in Principle #3 that we took a small but very important side trip. This side trip deals primarily with the definitions of the words interpretation and meaning. Read More...

What does it mean?



We have a stop sign in our neighborhood that is fairly new. Over the years we have never had to stop at this particular intersection. And then one day the dreaded stop sign was installed. It has been interesting to watch the different attitudes of those in our neighborhood toward that stop sign. Here are three different interpretations of this stop sign from the drivers perspective.

Driver #1 - Doesn’t see the need to stop at all. The sign has been installed as an unnecessary inconvenience and therefore I don’t see a need to stop.

Driver #2 - This is what we call the “Philly Slide.” The car doesn’t but it will slow to a yield if necessary. But stopping all together is totally out of the question.

Driver #3 - An official stop to the point that the wheels come to a point of complete rest.

Is it more important how you interpret the stop sign or is it more important to know what the stop sign actually means?
If your interpretation is not consistent with the actual meaning of the stop sign according to Mr. Policeman, then you will likely receive a ticket for your bad interpretation. Do you see how an incorrect interpretation leads one to an incorrect application.
When it comes to a stop sign and Mr. Policeman your job is to be sure that your interpretation is in line with the actual meaning! Read More...

Review Sunday October 5


Today’s class went from easy to what might have seemed a little difficult. If you will review the notes in Power Point then I think it will clear up many questions. Here is a quick review of the main points from this morning’s class.

  • The Bible shows us amazing unity through incredible diversity. Just look at the number or authors, occupations, styles of writing, time of writing, and locations in which the various authors wrote the Bible.
  • The Bible has a unique format in that the Old Testament and New Testament have similar layouts.
  • The Bible must be interpreted correctly if we are going to live it out correctly.

The first two points are basic to the Bible that are helpful to know but not difficult to understand. However the third point and the following 4 words we discussed today will take some study and review.

1. Exegesis
2. Meaning
3. Interpretation
4. Application


This is a huge issue today within the evangelical church. It will be more and more important for our children and grand children, especially within our American culture.
I think we can all agree that the culture has consumed many people with an attitude of “it’s all about me.” So it is not surprising now that when people come to the Bible, you hear this kind of statement “well if it means that to you great, but this text means this to me.” In other word since the focus is me then I can read the Bible and interpret through my feelings and beliefs, or what it means to me. Folks please don’t hear this wrong, it doesn’t matter what you think it means, it only matters what God says it means! Read More...

Devotion Matthew 11:28-30

If you are following the 52 week Bible reading plan online then you encountered Matthew 11:28-30 today.

First of all there are three verbs written in the imperative mood which means the mood of command.
1. Come
2. Take
3. Learn

So what is Jesus commanding me to do?

Come to Him! When you come somewhere doesn’t that mean you leave where you are? We are commanded to come to Jesus!


Take His yoke! I sat under a Bible teacher who did some excellent research on a yoke. Here were some of his points.
  • There is alway a lead ox in the yoke
  • A yoke is made for two
  • When two animals are yoked together and you see them from the side, it looks as though there are only one pair of legs.
  • The miracle of the yoke - If one oxen can pull 2000 pounds when yoked with another oxen they can collectively pull 8-10,000 pounds.
  • If anyone tries to get between two oxen yoked together they will suffer physical harm.
Learn from Jesus - this word for “learn means to learn, be apprised, to increase one's knowledge, to be increased in knowledge. And it is from this particular word that we get the word disciple.

Disciple - this word occurs 264 times in the New Testament and means a learner, pupil, disciple. So let’s put it all together.
A disciple of Jesus is a person who is increasing in the knowledge of who He is, and also what He commands as they continue to learn and follow Him daily.
Read More...

Preview for Sunday October 5

We are going on a tour of the Bible, Lord willing, starting on Sunday. Of course as we have been doing, there will be stops along the way to look at specific verses along the way. Over the years I have studied under various excellent Bible teachers, order materials and written out many notes. This is not original with me and is at best a hybrid of how it has worked best for me. This past summer I went through an excellent overview called "Clarifying the Bible" by Mitch Maher. Some of the concepts presented will be from his overview while others will be an insert of my study through the years.

Introduction - ever since you have stepped into the "living and learning the God-centered life" you have continued to hear me exhort you back to the Bible. You may have even gone home thinking that guy is a broken record, does he have another track? Well you won't be the first person to think that or even meet with me on that issue. But I am not saying these things just to be a broken record, because through the Bible God makes Himself known to us. Buck Hatch a former teacher used to say "this Book is the closest thing that you will ever touch, hear or see of Jesus Christ this side of heaven." And if you remember right out of the gate in our study we got right to the HEART of the problem. Many people come to the Bible to get their hearts rights but we are learning that we must get our hearts right before we come to the Bible. As one theologian once said "it doesn't do us much good to tune our fiddles once the concert is over." And now with hearts prepared, let's see if we can take a tour of the Bible to get a better handle on the whole of Scripture.

I am going to introduce 20 plus points, ideas or principles in order that we may have a good overall view of the Bible. Each week I will attempt to give you as many of the principles as I think we will be able to cover in class. Are you ready? Here we go! Remember these are main points and I will only cover them in a brief manner.

Principle #1 - The Bible is the AUTHORITATIVE word of God

  • The Bible is INSPIRED (God-breathed)
  • The Bible is INFALLIBLE (can't fail)
  • The Bible is INERRANT (without error)

The Bible is Inspired:
Let's talk first about the inspiration of Scripture and what that really means. Inspiration is the act where God superintended the authors of the Bible so that they composed and recorded without error God's message to mankind in the words of the original writings. As the author wrote each of them wrote exactly what God wanted them to write.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 - "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."

Questions to ask from this verse:
1. How much of Scripture is inspired? Answer - ALL OF IT
2. For what reason? Answer - in order to teach us, reproof us, correct us, train us in righteous so that we might be adequately equipped for kingdom work!
We can say that that is the "fact" of inspiration. But there is another verse we need to consider.
Read More...

Passage lookup in multiple versions

I created another short training video on looking up passages in multiple translations. You can easily do this at www.Biblegateway.com. This video deals with the value of looking at how a word, phrase or even sentence is translated in the different Bible versions. In this particular example I am looking at the word “explained” in John 1:18. Again I hope this helps to encourage you to study and dig out these wonderful nuggets in God’s word! To see this video just click on this LINK and look for “passage lookup...”

ESV Study Bible

The ESV study Bible is not set for release until late October. However they are providing some wonderful previews as they head toward their distribution date.
Recently they put the entire book of 1 John online. If you would like to see how in depth and thorough this Bible will be then click on this LINK to preview 1 John.