The Navigator: 11.18.21

**The above question from Luke 17 has been a “family verse” for the Watts home for many years.  We’ve talked about it as a family a number of times. As I consider the “other nine” lepers Jesus healed that day, I don’t know that they intentionally didn’t thank him (they were ecstatic from being healed).  I think they just forgot.  May we always be humbly mindful of Jesus’ mercy and love that he lavishes on us not just the fourth Thursday in November, but every day of our lives. nw

 

This week’s tip:  Slowing your roll with the Bible

As I finished journeying through the book of Daniel yesterday evening I found myself quite pensive.  What an adventure.  Below is what I posted this morning on social media.  As you disciple your class in regard to reading, studying and applying the scriptures, perhaps this will provide some perspective.  nw

I’ve read through the Bible numerous times and have always enjoyed reading through the book of Daniel.

But, there’s something about going verse-by-verse, slowly.  It’s like being on a road-trip you’ve been on numerous times, but this time stopping at every intersection, historical marker, and place of interest.  (I know that sounds like a horrible analogy. But, you get the picture.)

All of a sudden, although you’ve driven the route more times than you can count, you notice things you’ve never before seen.  And then those points of interest draw you in to discover the events that made them “points of interest.”

Since I began teaching expositionally (verse by verse) a few years ago on Wed. evenings, we’ve mined the treasures of, in addition to Daniel, each of the twelve minor prophets, John, Galatians, James, and Revelation.

I guess I’m sharing this to ask you to consider finding a book of the Bible – any book – and join its adventure into discovery.  Don’t get in a hurry (when teaching the gospel of John, we spent seven weeks in chapter one, alone.)  Find yourself a solid Study Bible.  Then, just soak it up, one passage at a time. 

Rather than feel as though you’re frantically trying to meet a deadline for how long it should take to finish reading, “slow your roll,” and stroll through “the countryside of the Kingdom.”  Stop often along the way to think deeply. (I’m reading the Bible through again during my daily devotions.  It took me a year and a half just to finish the Old Testament.)

Back to Daniel….

In his book, The Gospel According to Daniel, Bryan Chappell describes the life of Daniel as “a long obedience in the same direction.”

And, finally, you’ll be blessed by this comment on Daniel by the beloved teacher, Chuck Swindoll:

“From Daniel’s life and writings we learn that a person of integrity is a powerful instrument in the hand of God.  A life of integrity may lead us into a lion’s den of misunderstanding and ridicule.  But there’s nothing like the freedom and power that God gives those who are determined to do what is right (according to God’s definition of “right”), no matter what the cost.”

Love to you all, Nick

***For further perspective, see my blog, “Don’t Read the Bible Through in a Year,” here.

 

Equipping ourselves to be able to engage in intelligent conversation where the Christian faith is concerned.

“[Historically],There is a strong consensus today among scholars that Jesus thought of himself as an exorcist, a miracle-worker and God’s eschatological agent. Many likewise maintain that he was convinced he would die an imminent and violent death and subsequently would be vindicated by God…Graham Twelftree, perhaps the leading authority on the miracles and exorcisms of Jesus, has argued in several works that the evidence that Jesus was a miracle-worker is so strong that it is one of the best attested historical facts about Jesus.”  – Mike Licona, Ph.D., one of my professors

Indeed, even the Babylonian Talmud accuses Jesus of sorcery.  In short, the Jews were impotent to explain away Jesus’ miracles, so – as the writers of the gospels record – they simply attributed his power to Satan.

 

62-YARD FIELD GOALS & GOD

This is was too good not to share.  If you watched the end of Tech’s game this past Saturday against Iowa State you were, like me, certain the game was about to go into overtime.  But Tech’s kicker, Jonathan Garibay, knew better.  KCBD’s Pete Christy tweeted what Garibay posted after he made the record-breaking field goal, winning the game for the Red Raiders.

 

THIS RENDITION of AMAZING GRACE is PRETTY AMAZING

The man starts out slow but things get exciting beginning at the 1:24 mark culminating in him kicking the chair out from under him at the 2:00 mark.

Enjoy.

HOLIDAY SCHEDULE & UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Offices will be closed Wednesday, 11/22 at noon through Friday, 11/24.
  • 11/28 – Lottie Moon Offering emphasis
  • 12/5 – Silent Communion; 4-6pm
  • 12/8 – Children’s Ministry Family Night
  • 12/12 – Christmas Sing-along with the SonShiner Choir; 5pm

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK:

“How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none. God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which He must work. Only to know that is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves.” – A.W. Tozer

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” — Leo Tolstoy

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

A guy said to his buddy:  “My wife thinks I put football before marriage, even though we just celebrated our third season together.”

And, in light of the Thanksgiving holiday…

 

SOUL FOOD:  The Worship Wars

I have no clue why this post of mine was shared from my Facebook page almost 50 times.  Apparently, the topic still strikes a nerve.  The “war” has been raging for a while.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

The Navigator: 11.11.21

Today, 11/11, is Veterans Day.  I met one of BHBC’s veterans this morning for coffee.  Find a veteran today and thank them for defending our freedom – freedom we far too often take for granted.

 

SUNDAY, 11/14

Guest preacher:  Jim Brown

Early service only:  A special “thank you” and prayer time for Tom (and Diane) Heath.  Tom begins his pastorate at FBC, Meadow, on Sunday, 11/21.

 

This week’s tip:  Prayer

**Please see this week’s Soul Food blog below.

 

IS JESUS “WOKE?”

In mainstream vernacular, “woke” basically means “be alert to, and aware of, injustices.”  But, since the chaos of 2020, the word has developed a much wider – and subjective – meaning.

Below is a post of mine from this past week in response to a Texas politician’s claim that “if Jesus were here today he would be woke.”

Sixty-year-old Democratic candidate for Texas lieutenant governor, Matthew Dowd, made national news yesterday when he tweeted that Jesus would be accused of being woke today (see his tweet below).

Dowd’s tweet was precipitated by Democrat strategist, James Carville, blaming “stupid wokeness” for his party’s surprising election defeat in Virginia last week.

Wow. Where do I even begin?

First, I would tell Dowd to change churches if that’s what he got out of the sermon.

Second, I would invite Dowd to do something he’s clearly never done: open his Bible and read the four biographies of Jesus.

In all four accounts, rather than enjoying increasing acceptance (from being woke), Jesus is the target of escalating hatred, vitriol, and disgust. Why is that?

Because Jesus said things – a lot of things – the ancient woke crowd found offensive, bigoted and intolerant.

For example, Jesus said his design for marriage is between a man and a woman. His own conception demonstrated that life begins at conception.  And he warned everyone of an eternity of torment in a devil’s hell if they did not confess him as God and Savior.

Does Jesus still sound “woke” to you, Mr. Dowd?

Mike Yaconelli used to say, “Everyone wants a ‘nice Jesus.’”

But Rome didn’t crucify people for being “nice.” (Or, in Dowd’s words, “treating everyone with respect and dignity.”)

Jesus didn’t merely treat people with respect and dignity.  He loved them (and us) as his priceless treasure.

However,…

Jesus was dangerous. He was fearless. He didn’t bow to the woke mob.  He didn’t shrink from the truth. He did not (could not) tolerate sin.

And they killed him for it.

In short, Dowd reduces Jesus to his own biased, subjective definition of “human decency and dignity.”  In other words, Dowd reduces Jesus to “a Jesus created in the image of Dowd.”

Dowd wants a Jesus who has no demands on his life, or disagreements with his opinions.

The Bible tells of no such Jesus.

nw

 

What follows is an excerpt by Peter Williams, Ph.D., Cambridge, from his book, ‘Can We Trust the Gospels?’ 

Are the New Testament Gospels (biographies of Jesus) manufactured legends and fake news?

No. Not even nearly.

There is much I could offer here. But allow me to offer insight from a professor describing himself as “agnostic with atheistic leanings.”

Bart Ehrman is a New Testament scholar – who does not believe Jesus is who he said he is. But even Ehrman writes,

“The oldest and best resources we have for knowledge about the life of Jesus…are the four Gospels of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.”

Ehrman continues,

“This is simply not the view of Christian historians…; it is the view of all serious historians of antiquity of every kind, from committed Christians to hardcore atheists.”

Further, it is rarely appreciated that for us to have four gospels is remarkable. That is an abundance of material to have about any individual of that period. In fact, even though Jesus was on the periphery of the Roman Empire, we have as many early sources about his life and teaching as we have about activities and conversations of Tiberius, emperor during Jesus’ public activities.

 

IS CHRISTIANITY THE FOOL’S RELIGION?

I drove by a storefront recently with a sign outside that took a cheap shot at Christians, insinuating we aren’t thinkers, gullible enough to believe just about anything.

I sat in a seminar once listening to Yale Law School grad – and former ardent atheist – Lee Strobel. It was years ago. I had never heard of him before.

He looked at us all intently and said with a confidence I rarely see from Christians,

“Christianity is an intelligent, defensible faith.”

Strobel confessed,

“To continue in atheism, I’d need to believe nothing produces everything, non-life produces life, randomness produces fine-tuning, chaos produces information, unconsciousness produces consciousness, and non-reason produces reason.  I just didn’t have that much faith.”

Houston Baptist University New Testament professor, Jeremiah Johnston, created what he calls the Christian Thinkers Society. The slogan is: “Teaching thinkers to be Christians, and Christians to be thinkers.”

Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to “examine the faith.”  Christ encourages one and all to put him under a microscope. Study him.  Analyze his claims. Try to explain away his miracles and resurrection. He’s not afraid.  Rather, he’s quite confident you will discover that he  is exactly who he claimed to be.

Think deeply, nw

 

QUOTE(s) of the WEEK

“The day will come when He will cleanse the earth from the Serpent’s slimy trail.” – Charles Spurgeon

Read the media and you’ll know (sort of) what’s happening in the world. Read the Bible and you’ll know why.

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

Police came to my house last night and told me my dogs were chasing people on bikes.

My dogs don’t even have bikes.

Actual signs:

  • On an electrician’s truck:  Let us remove your shorts.
  • On an optometrist’s office:  If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.
  • On a fence:  Salesmen welcome!  Dog food is expensive.
  • At a car dealership:  The best way to get back on your feet – miss a car payment.
  • Outside a muffler shop:  No appointment necessary.  We heard you coming.

 

SOUL FOOD: A Prayer

Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick