Learning and Living the God-centered life

One Biblical Doctrine at a time…

Back in the Saddle

I looked up the meaning for the idiom “back in the saddle.” It means doing something you stopped doing for a period of time. Therefore I am happy to announce that the Pastor B. blog is officially back in the saddle after a short break and ready to move into the 2010 year.

A funny thing happened on the way back from church on December 13, as the following week progressed I ran headlong right into the flu. It was quite the battle that has lasted for two weeks and culminated with a trip to doctors office this morning for more medication. Sorry that I have been out of touch, but if you came to our house you would see that the couch and I have become one. Yes, those merry sounds of hacking, coughing, sneezing, and blowing have been a constant during this Christmas season. Nancy has remained healthy but probably needs some time just to recover from taking care of me. I am not a good sick person and at one point I asked Nancy if we could get a bell so I could just ring it. I will leave you to the imagination as to how that little suggestion went over. Just to give you a visual I have included a photo that gives a summary of my past few weeks here at the house. Simply click on this LINK.

Pat, Kay, Nancy and I along with the entire leadership team are very excited about our Bible reading, study and devotion time for 2010. Pat and I are already talking about some new things to introduce our class to on Sunday that can help our progress as we learn Bible doctrine together. I want to thank the staff at Carmel for working with us so closely to make all the little things come together each Sunday. Also to a huge thanks to Rob Kelly and the young adult ministry for the smooth transition as we have been both utilizing the uptown auditorium. Read More...

Helpful tools for Website

Here are two software application tools that you will need to load on your computers as we continue into 2010. Most of you probably have them already installed but this is for those who do not.
Both of these downloads are FREE and can be used on both Windows and Mac based computers.

For a video tutorial on what is needed and how to download simply click on this LINK

Review for December 13

If you want to print out the notes from a pdf file then simply click on this LINK

Coming this Sunday

On Sunday we are going to finish our look at transcendence and immanence. Then I am planning to teach two more important words that will help give categories in relation to “Doctrine of God.”
In this short video I have included FOUR WORDS that we need to have a working relationship with in our study. In addition I have given the meaning and a challenge for us as a class in regard to how we should study.


Shoe Boxes and the Gospel

We had a great participation last night at Operation Christmas Child. This is a “shout out” to our wonderful missions leader JEANETTE BICKET! Everything was so well planned and organized that all we had to do was show up and follow the bouncing ball.

If you stop by the “LEARNING” section of our website you can check out the pictures from last night. Also your roving reporter Pastor B. was able to get some interviews with folks on the floor. You can check out the interviews by simply clicking on:
Don Lane

Steve Brown

Ann Roberts

For those that didn’t get a chance to go last night I hope at some point you can participate in this worldwide ministry. Each year there seems to be a unique story told about how a shoe box was instrumental in bringing a child or a family to Christ. Isn’t it good to know that the God we love and serve uses us in these types of ways in order that we might participate in His kingdom work.


Word studies in the Bible

One of the exciting things about Bible study is to look at various words or phrases that may catch your attention while reading. This month I have been looking at 3 specific words/phrase and want to share this with you in this email. Sometimes it is a bit like being a detective in which you are given clues and then you see where it leads. Often I find these are the kinds of things that bring me to even a greater appreciation of God and His word.

Here are the three word searches I have been working on:
1. WORSHIP - the main word that we have in the New Testament is the Greek word "proskuneo" Here is the definition according to Strong's - from 4314 and a probable derivative of 2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): — worship.

As you look in the New Testament this word appears 44 times in Matthew-Acts and in Revelation 25 times. Here is what I find interesting the apostle Paul only uses this word 1 time in his epistles. And the word is never mentioned by Peter or James. Why would the New Testament writers who are writing to help the church be all that it can be from a Christ-centered perspective be devoid of the teaching of this word? There is a good reason but it would take up more of your reading than you may have time for at the moment. My point is that in researching words there are spiritual nuggets that God is waiting to give that often manifest in "glory bumps."

2. DISCIPLE - OK, now here is an important word for the 21st Century church right? How many books, tapes, conferences and sermons have been as to the importance of the why and how of being a disciple of Christ. Well then let's do a little research on this word and see what we can discover.
The Greek word for disciple is mathetes, math-ay-tes´; from 3129; a learner, i.e. pupil: — disciple.
This word occurs 261 times in the New Testament but all of those occurrences are in Matthew-Acts. Never one time does this word appear in the 21 epistles that we have in the New Testament.
You might know that I have an opinion on this but I will leave you to the question "why do you suppose after Acts we hear no more about this word?" Read More...

Devotion time in 1 Samuel

Devotion time is so precious in that God may focus you on the whole chapter, a paragraph, a sentence or maybe even one word! In my reading this week in 1 Samuel I was drawn to a phrase that appears throughout the entire Old Testament. It reads in a number of different ways but carries the same meaning. The phrase is "I brought them up from Egypt or I brought Israel up from Egypt." (1 Samuel 8:8, 1 Samuel 10:18) Why is this so important to the nation of Israel and why is God repeating it so often? In order to understand this we need to travel back in our Bibles to Genesis 12 where God gives Abram the following promise. It reads as follows;

Gen. 12:1 ¶ Now the LORD said to Abram,
“Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
Gen. 12:2 And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
Gen. 12:3 And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

And then we see this promise made to Abraham being ratified by God in Genesis 15. When you read Genesis 15 notice the following; the promise God makes, the response that Abraham has, and then how Abraham knows God is going to do what He says. Allow me to draw you attention to two things; Genesis 15:17 as to how God sealed His promise. Second, Genesis 15:13 God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. It is critical for us to understand that when God brings His people out of Egypt, which He tells to Abraham even before it happened, this is the sign that God is faithful to His covenant with Abraham.

At some point we will discuss in full the meaning of this covenant with Abraham and what it has to do with us as Gentiles. But for this devotion just keep in mind that whenever and wherever you find the phrase "brought them out of Egypt" I want you to think back to Genesis 12 and 15 and God's covenant with Abraham. This is not a covenant that God was obligated to make with Abraham. But as we will see later in our study of the attributes of God, once God says and commits then He is bound by the very essence of His character to do it. We serve a God that always does what He says! Even though we may be faithless at times He is always faithful. So as you read through the Old Testament historical narratives that cover from Genesis-Esther. You should continue to marvel at the fact that even though the people are rebellious, and often turn their backs on God that He remains faithful to not only bring them out from Egypt but into the land of Canaan. And why? just travel back again to the covenant with Abraham and be encouraged, for what God promises He always delivers!

Operation Christmas Child

This coming Thursday night the “Living and Learning” class will be going to Operation Christmas Child to sort, assemble and help with distribution of shoe boxes worldwide. This is part of Samaritan’s Purse, which is a ministry headed by Franklin Graham. Thanks to Jeanette Bicket for her excellent leadership with all the details and the overall organization of this event for our class. For more information on this wonderful ministry that was birthed right here in Charlotte, NC simply click on this LINK. (Takes a minute or two to load)

Devotion in Genesis

Our Bible reading this week includes Genesis 44-47. This incorporates the story of Joseph but there is much for us to learn about God and us. In this section of Scripture we see one of the clearest teachings in the Bible when it comes to the harmony of God's divine sovereignty over all things and man's responsibility from his freedom of the will.

So here is how one can understand this from the story of Joseph and what happens to him via his brothers.

These are what are known as “Compatibilist” Texts
This means two things that need to be brought together in convergence.

One is the sovereign control of God, He is ordaining, He is determining, He is causing to bring about certain things but that sovereign ordination of God doesn’t cancel out human free action and responsibility.

Instead that sovereign action of God is compatible with and doesn’t happen separate from responsible human action.

So these two things are compatible – Divine Sovereignty and Free Human Responsibility

Genesis 45:4-8
You remember the story, there was seven years of plenty and seven years of famine.
So when the brothers went down to Egypt to buy food the one that they appeared before was in fact there brother Joseph.
The brothers sold Joseph as a slave hoping that he would have a painful death.
They had no idea that he was promoted, God had given him those dreams, and now he was second in command in all of Egypt.

Then in Genesis 45 Joseph decides to reveal his true identity to his brothers.
“Then Joseph said to his brothers, . . . ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.

Question – is this true?
Did his brothers sell him into Egypt?

Yes indeed they did, they plotted it and carried it out and did exactly what they wanted to do. Read More...

Quote for the day

Michael Horton writes in his book Christless Christianity the following;
My concern is that we are getting dangerously close to the place in everyday American church life where the Bible is mined for “relevant” quotes but is largely irrelevant on its own terms; God is used as a personal resource rather than known, worshiped, and trusted; Jesus Christ is a coach with a good game plan for our victory rather than a Savior who has already achieved it for us; salvation is more a matter of having our best life now than being saved from God’s judgment by God himself; and the Holy Spirit is an electrical outlet we can plug into for the power we need to be all that we can be.

Review for December 6

If you want to print out the notes from a pdf file then simply click on this LINK

A Christmas Moment

Keeping in context with some fun during the Christmas season here is one of my favorite video’s. Simply click on this LINK. Just an observation but the guy in this video reminds me of Pat Jones. His humor seems very consistent with what I see when I talk with our class leader. And I can hear Pat laughing as he watches this short video clip. Isn’t good when you can know the talents, gifts and abilities of those that you minister with especially during this time of the year?

Christmas Party 2009

Last night we had our class Christmas party. The room, decorations, ambiance all made for an evening that was elegant and restful at the most hectic time of the year. Again I want to thank Karen Sheats and the team with her that put together all the details and work for last night. The main meal consisted of lasagna, salad and rolls. And then desserts such as cheesecake, pecan pie, chocolate cake with coffee, tea and water to drink. There was great fellowship and after the meal we gathered around the piano, to sing Christmas Carols. Thanks to Nancy Brown for providing our music last night. There was only one small incident from our wonderful Christmas celebration last night. It seems that a PARTY CRASHER was spotted by our class security. This person was quickly assisted from the room and the building for further questioning. We then concluded the evening with a Christmas devotion. Last night I suggested three words to consider during this Christmas season as they relate to the most important Christmas story of all time.

The verses and devotion tonight will be summarized in the following way;
  • PLAN

Dr. Luke writes two books of the Bible for us, the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. His goal is to build a bridge between the Old and New Testament.

And the way he does it as follows:
In the gospel of Luke he builds the bridge from the OT to Jesus, this is bridge building phase 1. Whereas in the book of Acts he builds the bridge from Jesus to the apostle Paul, which is phase 2 and in doing so launches us into Romans to Revelation. But the key to understand the bridge is the PLAN, which make up our third word for this devotion. The plan Luke will teach to us in this phase 1 plan from the OT to Jesus will be “the kingdom of God.” So now lets see in our devotion how Person and Purpose fit into this plan that Luke teaches.

Read Luke 1:30-33
Luke 1:30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.
Luke 1:31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
Luke 1:32 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;
Luke 1:33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

Luke is teaching us right here that Jesus is the King Read More...

Chuch tolerance or Church discipline

This comes as a response to the reading at the beginning of the week in 1 Corinthians 5-6

One of the buzz words in the culture we live in today is that of tolerance. This teaches that everyone has the right to their own view of the truth. As long as their view doesn't violate or impose on me then we should all be able to CO-EXIST (the sign you see on the back of many cars.) Though this may be the theme of the day in our society, the apostle Paul has a bit different take when it comes to tolerance in the church. At the beginning of this week the reading assignment was 1 Corinthian 5 and 6. Every time I read Corinthians I think about the modern day church.

In 1 Corinthians 5 the apostle Paul is dealing with a situation involving a sexual relationship between a man and his stepmother. It is the church's tolerance of this sin in which they have a mock humility that has the apostle Paul so upset. Paul says though I am not with you physically I am with you in the Spirit. And then goes on to say that church discipline must be invoked and this man is to be cast out of the church. He even goes further, the apostle Paul says that they are to turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh. Why does the apostle Paul deal so strongly with this kind of sin issue? And then he tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:6. I like the way my New Living Translation reads on this "Don't you realize that if even one person is allowed to go on sinning, soon all will be affected? You might say this about 1 Corinthians 5, the apostle Paul is not tolerant of sin that isn't dealt with in the body of Christ. As a matter of fact he goes on to say what I think may surprise many Christians today. Paul tells us not to judge those outside the church because God will judge them. However, please read carefully, keep this in context but do not be ignorant of this next statement, Bert paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 5:12 "WE ARE TO JUDGE THOSE WITHIN THE CHURCH." By the way the word judge in this sentence is a verb and is the Greek word "krino."

The meaning of this word is as follows. The verb is written in the present tense which means continually and ongoing.
1) to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose
2) to approve, esteem, to prefer
3) to be of opinion, deem, think, to be of opinion
4) to determine, resolve, decree
5) to judge
a) to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong
1) to be judged, i.e. summoned to trial that one's case may be examined and judgment passed upon it
b) to pronounce judgment, to subject to censure
1) of those who act the part of judges or arbiters in matters of common life, or pass judgment on the deeds and words of others
6) to rule, govern
a) to preside over with the power of giving judicial decisions, because it was the prerogative of kings and rulers to pass judgment
7) to contend together, of warriors and combatants
a) to dispute
b) in a forensic sense
1) to go to law, have suit at law

Do you know what this was called in the early days of our church history? This is known as church discipline! And unfortunately it ranks in at least the top 3 problems today that the evangelical church faces and it may be in the top 2. I was part of an intense discussion in a seminary class in which the subject came to church discipline. The professor who was a wonderful and godly man and said that we in the American evangelical church have lost this Biblical mandate. And what he meant was we apparently have lost the ability as a church to enforce it within the evangelical culture in which we live. Read More...

"smoking" Church

In an effort to include the “Seeker-Friendly” approach to church we present the newest in the corporate strategy. This may seem a bit unconventional but just wrap your mind around how many more people can be drawn into the building. In other words growth is possible when you give people exactly what they want - right? So if you would like to view what one church is doing to bring and keep people then check out this video. Simply click on this LINK.