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Archive for October, 2011

Greetings everyone! Sorry I haven’t written on this in so long. I plan to do that on a weekly basis starting here.

The Prophet Amos was a shepherd in Tekoa when God called him to proclaim His word. Amos is called to proclaim judgement to several of Israel’s neighbors. To Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and Judah God proclaims ” For three sins of ________ (each of these places), even for four I will not turn back …”. Each of these places were taking advantage of their own people or of Israel. They looked away from God’s laws. They oppressed lots of people. I believe this shows He loves all people, not just His chosen people (ie. Israel). But even with Israel being God’s chosen people, they too have done things that would encore God’s judgement. Israel had committed idolatry, and even they were guilty of oppressing their neighbors. God takes oppression of others very seriously. He definitely comes to the aid of those who cry to Him.

In the New Testament, the letter of James asks brethren why they are trying to buddy-up (for lack of a better phrase) with those (the rich) who are trying to oppress you? That context was about not showing favoritism and putting down the poor and elevating the rich.

The book of Amos shows how seriously God takes His holiness, justice, and equality.

I’ll blog more about Amos and this theme on a later date.

Comments, questions, etc are always welcomed and encouraged.

God bless you all.

Grace and Peace.

Zack

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Greetings one and all. So sorry for the long period of time between blog posts. Just got busy doing other things I guess.

I remember learning the following worship song during chapel while studying at Harding. I don’t remember the Brother’s name, but thought he was really cool, and have never forgotten this song.

I praise You, Lord for who You are.

And all the mighty things You’ve done.

You saved my soul.

You made me whole.

I praise You, Lord.

I praise You, Lord.

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I’ll get back to the other blog series I’ve started tomorrow.

God bless you all.

Grace and Peace.

Zack

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Greetings one and all. Sorry I haven’t written about this topic in such a long time. I’m about to write the next part of The Missional Church: Church Planting And Missions In The Book of Acts.

In Acts chapter 19 Paul and this teammates move on from Corinth to Ephesus. They had left Apollos. When they got to Ephesus, Paul meets a group of disciples. Paul asks these men if they had the Holy Spirit. They were all surprised and said they had not, and in fact they had never heard of the Holy Spirit. When Paul inquired to what baptism they received, they said they had John the Baptist’s baptism. The apostle Paul tells them John the Baptist pointed toward Jesus and said He is the one they should f0llow from now on. On hearing this news, these men were baptized into Jesus.

Next, Paul goes to the Jewish Synagoge and preached about Jesus and His Kingdom. However, there were some there who rejected the message and tried to deter the hearers from Paul’s message. I’m sure there were some who believed, but Paul chose to leave there and go elsewhere. He took his followers with him and they discussed the Christian life and faith in the lecture hall at the Tyrannus school. This went on for two years. (Perhaps the first two year school like Sunset.) Because of this two year teaching everyone in the province of Asia heard God’s word.

The Lord was definitely present in Paul’s life and ministry. God moved in Paul the gift of performing miracles. So much so that hankerchiefs and aprons that had been touched by Paul were distributed to people who were sick or were demon-possessed. And those people were cured from there infirmities.

We also see a story of a man who invoked the name of the Lord to try to cast out a demon. He used the name of the Lord that Paul serves. The demon-possessed man said he knew the Lord and Paul, but didn’t know this dude who was speaking. And so he attacked him to such a level that he ran out necked and bleeding. Everyone who heard of these things was greatly afraid and had better reverence for God and His name.

After this, many people came confessing their sins. They brought books of sorcery and scrolls and burned them. The total amount of the books and scrolls that were destroyed was worth fifty thousand day’s wages. In the US that might be close or over one million dollars. That’s a lot of money. And definitely shows true repentance, turning from evil and turning to God.

And the last section, the idol worshippers of Artemis (the deity they worshipped in Ephesus) were raising chaos in the city. The silversmiths apparently make a good deal of cash from selling images dedicated to Artemis and other deities there, and Paul and his teachings were causing people not to buy things from these silversmiths. And they were getting pretty stinking mad about it. So they enticed the whole city into a riot. They even reprimanded Paul’s traveling companions as well. They brought them all into the theater. Paul wanted to talk to the crowd, but no one would let him. The whole city was in outrage and shouting. But the city clerk quieted the whole crowd and eventually sent them to their homes.

In these early days the church encountered a lot of idolatry as they preached the word. In this day and age, we don’t have statues like in the Bible days, but we still have things that we give our attention to.

We can still look to the stories in Acts that were recorded about the church and how it was started. We can still heed to what they did and learn from these words.

I’ll stop here. Thank you for your time and attention. All comments and questions are welcomed and encouraged. God bless you all. Grace and Peace.

Zack

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Greetings one and all. My apologies for not writing on this series in such a long time. I’m on it now.

In Mark chapter 4 Jesus tells His followers four parables from the shore of a lake. At the end of the chapter the author says Jesus told other parables to them also. And when Jesus and His twelve disciples were alone together, Jesus would explain the meaning of each of the parables.

At the end of this chapter, Jesus invites His disciples to go sailing with Him across the lake to the other side. It was night time at this point. The text says there were other people who were sailing across that lake as well. The text also states the disciples took Jesus “as He was”. Apparently He falls asleep. As they were sailing a big storm pops up out of the blue. The storm was so bad water was spilling over into the boat. At least a few of the apostles were fishermen by trade. I’m sure they were in many storms while at sea. This storm seems like it was very frightening. All of the apostles were afraid for their lives at this point. They were astonished that Jesus was still sound asleep. They had been scared for their lives and doing their best to bail the water out that was spilling into the boat. They wake up Jesus begging Him to save them, lest they drown. He gets up and bids the storm to cease, be quiet, and still. And it did. So calm, in fact, that it scared the apostles even more.

As hard as the apostles worked to help themselves, they couldn’t do it. They were all still fearful for their lives. I wonder how scared the others out on the sea that night too. Jesus calmed a major storm that no one seemed to be able to control. If Jesus could calm a storm that bad, do you think He can bring peace into the lives of those of the world? Could He bring peace to the lives of the college students on our nation’s college campuses?

I think the answer to both of those questions is a resounding “YES”.

God bless us all as we see to bring Jesus to the lives of the broken. Grace and Peace.

Zack

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Greetings everyone! I had been reading a book called Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief With Hope And Promise by Larry Barber. The book is copyrighted by Larry in 2011 and is published by Xulon Press Publishing (www.xulonpress.com). Larry is a grief counselor for a Christian ministry called Christian Works. The ministry helps children who have lost a family member. They also help couples who want to adopt a child as well.

In this book, the author tells his own (and his family’s) personal experiences in loss and grief, how they made it through it, how others are making it, and how others can too. The author tells how he is helping other people who have experienced loss and grief in their own lives. He is a liscened professional counselor and certified in counseling those who are in similar circumstances as he was.

He tells of ways those in mourning can express their grief in healthy ways. Later he tells how comforters can best help those who are experiencing grief.  No one can or should go through grief alone.

He also tells of those who mean well, but aren’t as comforting as they might think they are. Even with that, God alone gives the grace and comfort mourners need.

Eventually everyone is going to experience loss and grief. And as those who experience it, I hope they will have comforters in their lives.

Loss and grief are awful things to happen, but it is no reflection on you nor on the person who is no longer with you. The Apostle Paul told the Thessalonian brethren not to grieve as those who don’t have any hope. Notice he didn’t say not to grieve. He just meant they (and all who will grieve) can and should grieve knowing we will see our loved ones again in heaven.

No matter what, you will miss your loved ones. You’ll be sad. You’ll have thoughts and questions run through your mind at times. Hopefully there will come a time when you think of your loved one and you won’t be sad, but happy your loved one was on your life, and hope to meet him or her again.

In John’s Gospel Jesus learns one of his dear friends is sick. A few days later, He and His disciples go to see him and comfort his sisters. When they get there, the sisters tell Jesus that if He had been there, their brother wouldn’t have died. But Jesus knew what He was about to do.

When the family and friends took Jesus and His disciples to the grave side, they saw a lot of mourning and grieving. It greatly moved Jesus that He cried along with them. Then He brought His dead friend back to live.

Yes, it’s perfectly OK to grieve. I hope and pray all who mourn will look to the God of all peace and comfort to grant them peace and comfort when they miss there deceased loved ones.

This is a fantastic book. I highly recommend it to any ministers or church leaders who care for the grieving, and to the grieving themselves also.

God bless you all. Grace and Peace.

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Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief With Hope And Promise was written by Larry Barber. Copyright date is 2011 and published by Xulon Press Publishing (www.xulonpress.com).

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Our Need To Praise God.

Greetings everyone! I hope and pray all is well with all of you.

The other day I started reading a book called An Honest Cry. It is a collection of sermons on the Psalms put into book form. These sermons were collected and made into a book to honor the life, ministry, and legacy of the late Dr Prentice Meador Jr. The Psalms was one of his favorite books in the Bible.

One of the sermons in this volume was written by Dr Meador himself a few years ago. It was taken and put in this volume. I thought something he said was really interesting and wanted to share it with you.

The following was taken from the book “An Honest Cry”, edited by Bob Chisholm and Dave Bland, page 29 through 30. “… Until I read C.S. Lewis’ Reflections on the Psalms, I didn’t know anyone else felt this way. Why did God so often insist on telling us to praise Him? After all, we all know how we feel about people who demand attention, admiration, and appreciation! So if God is truly good, why would He command us to praise Him? The Psalms would seem to draw the ludicrous conclusion that numbers are important: ‘Seven times a day I praise You for Your righteous laws’ (119:164). But does God command praise for His good? Is He looking for some kind of eternal eulogy simply because He needs it? Or is praise to God for my good? Is it something I need to do to find meaning, purpose, and joy in life? Does praise to God give me the kind of satisfaction I was made to have” What do I need to learn about praise?”

I like this, because it puts a lot of things into perspective for me. God isn’t on a big ego trip or something when He wants us to praise Him. He wants us to praise Him, because it helps us to see how small we are and how big our God is. In our praise to God we see we can do nothing without Him in our lives. In our praise to God we see it’s not about us, it’s about Him.

In our praise to God, we learn perspective that sets everything in order. When we learn this perspective, we can learn to live by faith and trust in Him.

Any thoughts here? Thank you all for reading my thoughts here. God bless you all. Grace and Peace.

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An Honest Cry, edited by Bob Chisholm and Dave Bland. Copyright 2010. Published by Leafwood Publishing Company out of Abilene, TX.

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