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Archive for August, 2011

Some To Check Out.

I found a campus ministry website that I have subscribed to. Check it out! The website is faithoncampus.com. If that’s not correct, try faithoncampus.org. Very good advice on the blog spot. I love reading this guy’s ideas on campus ministry. Very good and very insightful.

I love Tim Spivey’s blog timspivey.com. i think he’s changed his blog to newvintageleadership.com. Very insightful also. He’s a great innovator, thinker, and leader in the church.

I’ll get back to blogging on a more regular schedule this week.

God bless you all. Grace and Peace.

Zack

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Greetings one and all! I apologize for the little blog vacation. I didn’t mean to do that. My bad. I promise not do that again.

This post is a bit of a confession for me. I have a big tendency to be a fair weather fan. Fair weather fans are irritating to me. So this shows I am a bit hypocritical. A case in point: in past years the Texas Rangers baseball team was terrible. They would be out of playoff contention pretty early. When the Rangers were decidedly out of playoff possibilities I would switch my primary fan allegiance from the Rangers to the Boston Red Sox. Mind you I wouldn’t stop cheering for the Rangers, but I cheered more for the Red Sox in those cases. When the Rangers would play the Red Sox I would cheer for the Red Sox. And if the Yankees played a team from the American League West division, I would cheer the AL West team to win, because I have a very intense dislike for the Yankees, and typically the Red Sox and the Yankees fought for the American League East division title. I’m almost ashamed I have done that in the past.

I’ve also been a fair weather fan when it comes to college football too. And the NFL also. This is something I am ashamed of and trying to change that.

Jesus doesn’t want fair weather followers. In each of the Gospels, Jesus teaches 100% commitment to following Him. He taught parables that said a builder needs to count the cost before he starts building a tower, lest he be humiliated for starting and not being able to finish. Or a king needs to consider how many soldiers he and if that number is enough to win against a king who has twice as many soldiers.

A story of Jesus that really sticks out to me is when He taught of people who put their hands to the plow and turns back is not fit for the Kingdom of God. Jesus wants committed followers. When we follow Him, He wants us to stay with Him to the very end. Those who stay faithful will be rewarded for their faithfulness with a home in heaven. Fair weather followers will be punished and turned away.

I don’t want to be a fair weather fan nor a fair weather follower either. I want to be loyal and true, right up to the very end.

I hope and pray this makes since. Any and all comments, further thoughts, questions, etc are always welcomed and encouraged.

Thank you for reading my thoughts today. God bless you all. Grace and Peace.

Zack

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Love

Greetings everyone! I was doing some reading yesterday and wanted to quote something from that reading. This is from a book called The Love Of Christ In The Local Congregation by Larry Deason.

“Love is patient and so kind; love never boils with jealousy; it never boasts, is never puffed with pride; it does not act with rudeness, or insist upon its rights. It never gets provoked; it never harbors evil thoughts; is never glad when wrong is done, but always when truth prevails; it bears up under anything, it exercises faith in everything, it keeps hope in everything, it gives us power to endure everything. Love never fails” (personal rendering of 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 by Charles B. Williams in The New Testament in the Language of the People {Bostin: Bruce Humphries, Inc., 1937}0.

“Reading familiar biblical passages from different translations can be a refreshing and enlightening exercise. People tend to become apathetic and indifferent toward the familiar, the habitual, and the commonplace. This principle is no less valid in the case of the teacher who is trying to communicate spiritual truth than it is in the case of the homemaker who is always searching for a new tuna recipe. Both occupations face the challenge of stirring up slumbering taste buds by seeking out fresh approaches to the familiar. Yet, it is one of the deepest paradoxes of the kingdom of God that the simplest truths are also the most profound, that the most familiar and ordinary elements are the most glorious. The incarnation of Christ teaches us nothing if it does not teach us this” (pp 55-56).

I thought this was so profound and very cool 🙂 I have a few different Bible translations (NIV, NASB, ESV, HCSB, NLT, and the Message). Every now and then I’ll read some Bible verses out of different translations. And i like to take different translations to church or Bible studies.

It definitely is a change of pace and can breath new life into the Bible to read it from different vantage points, so to speak.

A few questions:

How many different translations do you have? Have you read the Bible from different translations before? If you have, what was your experience like?

Thank you all for your thoughts on this. And thank you for your attention for these few minutes. God bless. Grace and Peace.

Zack

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Greetings one and all! This new blog series is something i thought about the past few days. I wanted to take the miracle narratives in Mark’s Gospel and hope to stimulate thinking about how to minister on our college campuses and in our neighborhoods. For fantastic Bible study materials using the Gospel of Mark see “The Mark Study” on a website called http://knowtruth.com.

In Mark 2:1-12 we read how Jesus is teaching in someone’s home. A group of guys hear that Jesus is in their city and they decide to carry their crippled friend and beg Jesus to heal him. They arrive at the house and find the place is packed. There was not even a square inch to squeeze  another body inside the house. So the guys clime a ladder with their friend. Once everyone is on top of the house they dig a hole through the roof (i wonder how the owner of the house who hosted the event felt about this) and lowered their friend down right in front of Jesus.

This amazes Jesus that these men loved their friend so much they would bring him to Him. Jesus is so impressed He forgives their crippled friend of all of his sins. While physical needs are important, Jesus has a bigger view of life. He knows our greatest needs are spiritual in nature. He knows our greatest need is to be forgiven of our sins, to find salvation, to be assured we will go to heaven when we die.

I imagine this man’s friends were a little dismayed Jesus forgave his sins. The reason for that is stated in the above paragraph. When Jesus forgave the man’s sins, there were some Pharisees there and they got mad. “Who does this guy think He is? Only God can forgive sins!”, they must have thought. Jesus knew what these men thought and gave them proof He could forgive sins. He gave the man physical healing as well.

Who knows if this man and his family had gone to any doctors to heal his legs or not. In any case, Jesus can do what even the best doctors can’t: He brings ultimate and complete physical healing in the body, soul, mind, and spirit.

There are two things I want to point out here.

First, this story is a great example of what I’ve heard called holistic ministry. We need to meet people’s physical needs before we can meet their spiritual needs. When we do this, we earn the right to be heard. We open the door to talk about spiritual things.

Second, there are people all around us who are in physical need and/or spiritually crippled like the man in Mark 2 was. This story offers them hope. Now i don’t believe we can physically touch people and bring them physical healing any more, but we can meet their needs in other ways in a physical since. In time we can teach them about the Jesus who can save their souls now and give them a new body in heaven.

And spiritually as well. We can teach them about the Jesus who can bring them to wholly complete spiritual health. He is the only one who can give us life that is truely life.

I hope and pray this makes since and is helpful. To read really good Bible study materials using Mark’s Gospel please see http://knowtruth.com and click on The Mark Study.

As always your thoughts, comments, questions, etc are welcomed and encouraged.

God bless you all. Grace and Peace.

Zack

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Greetings one and all! So sorry for the lack of blogging last week. I have a few blog post ideas, so hopefully the blog will be more full this week.

This post brings us to Acts 17. Paul, Silas, and Timothy travel to three cities: Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens.

While they were in Thessalonica, Paul went to the synagogue as he usually did. There he debated with them using the scriptures, he proved to them Jesus was (and is) the Messiah, that He died, was buried, and He rose from the dead. He told them “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ” (v 3 b). There were some Jews, Greeks, and “not a few prominent Greek women” (v 4) became followers of Jesus that day (vv 1-4).

But when the Jewish leaders found out about all of this they went out looking for Paul and Silas. When they didn’t find them they arrested the brethren they were staying with. They forced those brethren to post bond and released them (vv 5-8).

On a side note, Paul would later write two letters to the brethren in Thessalonica, called First and Second Thessalonians.

In verses 10 through 15 Paul, Silas, and Timothy traveled to Berea. The brethren send them there under the cover of darkness (v 10 a). When they arrived there they went to the Jewish synagogue to preach to the Jews. The Bereans studied the scriptures well as Paul spoke to them. They wouldn’t blindly accept any teaching they could see for themselves. This sets a great example for us to study the scriptures for ourselves and not just accept what we are told. Many Jews and Greeks put Jesus on in baptism there too.

But the Jews in Thessalonica found out Paul was in Berea and went there too. They angered the crowds so much the Berean brethren quickly got Paul on a ship sailing to Athens. While Paul was sailing to Athens, Silas and Timothy stayed behind in Berea. Before Paul left he asked for Silas and Timothy to go join him at their first opportunity.

Verses 16 through 33 talk about Athens. While Paul was there waiting for his comrades he was terribly disturbed by all of the idols he saw there. Paul would hold meetings with some in the Jewish synagogue, and in the marketplace everyday and talk with whomever would listen. He met a lot of interested people who wanted to talk with him about Jesus. A lot of them thought Paul was advocating a new god. A lot of the Athenians as well as foreign people there liked to gather and talk about the newest and latest ideas. One day while Paul was in the Areopagus, he stood up and said he had been observing the citizens of Athens for some time and he observed they were a very religious society. He saw a lot of idols around the city. They seemed to have every idol represented in their city. And just in case they missed one, they one dedicated to the Unknown God. Paul was quick to spot that one, and told them about the God they didn’t know, and that He longed to know them. He is the God who made everything and everyone on earth.

He told them the one true God can’t be contained in iron or clay. Since He made us, He wants us to honor Him. His Son came to die for all of mankind, and He is alive again longing to bring His faithful ones back home with Him.

When Paul told them about the resurrection, some were interested and some just jeered him. Some wanted to hear more. After this, Paul left the council. Some became believers in the Lord, including a member of the Areopagus, and several other people.

I have been told his is parallel to campus ministry. In any case we can treat our own cities, neighborhoods, and everywhere we go as a mission field. Our brethren in Acts took Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:18-20 to heart. As we go we are to be making disciples.

I will write more about the missional church in Acts in later dates.

I hope and pray you all find this interesting and helpful. Please send me your comments, thoughts, questions, or whatever you would like to ask or say. They are always welcomed and encouraged. God bless you all. Grace and Peace.

Zack

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Greetings everyone! I something yesterday and today from a fellow blogger and friend Tim Spivey. I just started reading his new blog newvintageleadership.com. His blog posts yesterday and today focused on church planting.

I especially enjoyed his post yesterday. It was about whether a church wants to grow or no, and what impact desiring or not desiring to grow plays in our churches.

Please check out Tim’s blogs at timspivey.com and newvintageleadership.com and read his thoughts. He’s one of the best preachers and writers out there.

God bless you all. Grace and Peace.

Zack

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