Jul 01

Who is Jesus?

Jesus is the Creator

How do you begin a story with no beginning?

Matthew and Luke begin with the supernatural birth.

Mark begins with the preaching of John the Baptist.

John’s Gospel begins at the ultimate beginning.

His first words “In the beginning” jolt us to Genesis.  Jesus was the uncreated Creator God.  When time began, he was already there. (John 1:1-4)

Jesus reaches out to people and divides humanity

Jesus not only created all things but he also reaches out to his marred and rejecting creation.  He is also the point where humanity divides.  Some people believe that he is who claims to be and others do not.  Some receive him and some reject him.  This emerges as a major theme for John.  Jesus divides the human race. (John 1:5; 1:9-13; 3:26)

God became human and revealed divinity to humanity

Jesus is God and he is truly human.  Jesus became flesh and lived with us.  In the language of John’s first readers, Jesus tabernacled with people.   This would have immediately reminded them about the tent with the presence of God before Solomon’s temple.

John also tells his readers that Jesus was real.  John saw him.  (John 1:14; 1 John 1:1-4)

Moses and Elijah were two heroes of faith who wanted to experience the presence of God.  They were each given a partial, incomplete experience of God’s presence.  However, at the Transfiguration they were face to face with Jesus.  They wanted to experience the presence of God. They did on that mountain. (1 Kings 19:1-18; Exodus 33; Matthew 17:1-9)

Who is Jesus?

John used various stories and figures to develop his picture of Jesus. His used the seven “I am” statements:

I am the Bread of Life- 6:35, 48 also 6:41, 51

I am the Light of the World- 8:12, 9:5

I am the Door of the sheep- 10:7, 9

I am the Good Shepherd- 10:11, 14

I am the Resurrection and the Life- 11:25

I am the Way, the Truth and the Life- 14:6

I am the True Vine- 15:1 also 15:5

He also used words that will occur regularly to point to the uniqueness of Jesus life.

life 1:4

light 1:4

witness 1:7

true 1:9

world 1:10

glory, truth 1:14

John wanted his readers to know Jesus and to believe. (John 20:30-31)

Questions for consideration:

Serving God can be exhausting. Those in exhausting ministry know they need the presence of God. Have you ever really wanted to have the empowering presence of God as you face your world? Do we already have that presence?

What do you think it would have been like to be with Jesus when lived and taught two thousand years ago?

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Jun 27

Links to begin the week

Link to a previous post on my blog

Everyone needs a three-part personal strategy to fight poverty

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

The Largest Religious Group in Each County

The second-largest religion in each state

When a Million Gather on The Mall Next Month

The Libraries, Studies, and Writing Rooms of 15 Famous Men

J.R.R. Tolkien, Using a Tape Recorder for the First Time, Reads from The Hobbit for 30 Minutes (1952)

Seven Biblical Truths That Can Bring Us Great Happiness

4 Reasons We Must Not Disregard God’s Word

5 Reasons We Should Take Comfort In God’s Word

5 key findings about global restrictions on religion

Discontentment Says Something about You, Not Your Circumstances

4 Ways the Modern Church Looks Nothing Like the Early Church

Jerry Bridge’s Seven Standout Spiritual Lessons

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

I did not a new book this week.

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Jun 20

Links to begin the week

Link to a previous post on my blog

There are different pilgrimages of faith

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

Can We Still Weep Together After Orlando?

My Neighbors Ate My Dog, and I am Sad

Why Is Life So Much Harder for Some People Than Others?

10 Things You Should Know about the Presence of God

How Fast Does a Christian Grow?

7 Crossway Books By Women So Far In 2016

What the Hook-up Culture Has Done to Women

This rapper might be America’s next evangelical leader

The Bible Is Not a Database: 
A Very Brief Reflection On Biblical Interpretation 
In The Digital Age

Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East?

The end of Christianity in the Middle East could mean the demise of Arab secularism

Where in the world is the worst place to be a Christian?

As an Arab, the Middle East’s reaction to Orlando left me speechless…

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

Paula Huston. Season of Mystery. rereading. Many of us should be reading or rereading this book.

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Jun 16

How to forge a document and prove that Jesus was married

This article is the account of a forgery and how it got big headlines.

However, when the headlines settled, a slow, thoughtful investigation revealed what was behind the supposed ancient document.

The results will not be widely known and many people will continue to quote the original theology-changing discovery of Jesus’ wife.

It’s a good read

Bob

Jun 12

Links to begin the week

Link to a previous post on my blog

What should we do with the rest of our lives?

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

Tozer vs Lewis: What’s The Most Important Thing About Us?

One Facebook, Two Worlds, Three Problems

J. I. Packer On Something More Important Than Knowing God

The Weight Of Glory: C. S. Lewis’s Remarkable (And Surprising) Sermon

Imagine If Ebooks Came First

Politics aren’t Worth Your Friendships

12 Principles for Disagreeing with Other Christians

5 Ways Christians Can Respond to the Orlando Shooting

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

Jonathan Andrews. Indentity Crisis: Religious Registration in the Middle East

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Jun 08

The latest edition of Western Seminary’s magazine is available

Western Seminary, where I am the Library Director, publishes a magazine twice per year.

The current issue is about how to better understand and teach the Scriptures.

There are articles by my colleagues about Bible study tools, the Bible and the arts, and how to strengthen your personal faith in a deepening relationship with God’s word.

There is also a challenging article about biblical illiteracy among Christians.

Please read this important and challenging issue

Bob

 

Jun 06

Links to begin the week

Link to a previous post on my blog

What does the amount of time you spend worrying say about your faith in God?

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically

10 Things You Should Know about the Resurrection

Killing babies no different from abortion, experts say

The Transgender Conversation You Need to Have With Your Family

Eating Locusts Will Be (Benedict) Optional

Who really helps the needy? Pew study shows us, and so does the Orlando Sentinel

Catholic or Protestant? The Story Of Contarini and the Reformation 

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

I did not start any new books this week.

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May 30

Links to begin the week

Link to a previous post on my blog

People of faith are united with Jesus in his mission

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

Do Biological Facts No Longer Matter?

10 Things You Should Know about Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Decapitated Churches in China’s Christian Heartland

Is pornography a public health crisis?

You are never without work (A Biblical Reflection on Unemployment)

13, right now. This is what it’s like to grow up in the age of likes, lols and longing

Singleness Does Not Have to Equal Loneliness

How to Glorify God by Being a Generalist

Is having a loving family an unfair advantage?

We Are Not Entitled to the World’s Respect

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

Michaerl Horton. Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story

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May 27

No matter how bad it gets, Jesus does not give up on us

Three stories

One day when Jesus was walking with His disciples. He told them three stories.

People whose sins were public and branding were also listening to Jesus. Might his words give some hope to them?

The religious leaders criticized Jesus for being near being whose sins were so offensive to them.

Jesus wanted his disciples, these people, and the religious leaders to know how God felt and acted toward those who wanted to change their lives and leave their bad choices behind.

He told them about a sheep, a coin, and a son.

The final journey to the cross

They were walking toward Jerusalem. It was final walk toward the crucifixion.

The religious leaders had made their decision. His Messianic signs were miracles done in league with Satan.

The crowds had faded. He expected too much from them.

He was focused on preparing the disciples for his departure and their role in his new church.

If you have failed God or you think he has failed you

The three stories focus on how God who seeks those who are separated from him.

Even though 99 were safe, the shepherd seeks the one who got lost. The woman wanted the lost coin in addition to the ones that were where they should be.

The father isn’t just waiting. He is looking and looking intently enough that he saw his lost son when he was still far away. (Luke 15:1-32)

Repentance is always an option

About 700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah told his listeners that no matter how bad things were they could always return to God. The invitation was always there. (Isaiah 1:18-20)

Jesus spoke in that tradition. God was always looking, not waiting.

The father was looking not waiting

No excuses were needed for acceptance

Jesus came to seek and to save

The older brother was disappointed that the rebellious one who left the father was getting off too easily.

The Father would have none of this.

There were consequences. The inheritance belonged to the brother who stayed but the brother who returned was celebrated.

The returning brother would not remain a slave. He was a brother.

Questions for consideration:

Have you ever hidden from God? Why did you believe that God would not accept you?

Have you ever been the older brother worrying that someone was getting off too easy?

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May 23

Links to begin the week

Link to a previous post on my blog

People of faith are a remnant, not the majority

Links to things I’ve read recently

You should not assume that I agree with everything said in these articles but I did find them thought provoking.

The Lord’s Prayer (Extended Version)

Ten Things I Learned at Church on Sunday

The Truth about Grief: What I wish I had known when I started my grief journey

Why You Can Still Bet Your Life on Christ

A Subjective Definition of “Death” Would Unleash Great Evil

Does Islam Inevitably Lead to Violence?

Is Your Pastor Happy To See You?

Ehrman–Licona Dialogue on the Historical Reliability of the New Testament.

This a long academic debate on the New Testament. It will take some time but you will get a good flavor of the discussion between those who believe and those who doubt the reliability of the Bible.

Links to books I’ve recently started

I usually have about 15 books going at once. These are ones that I have started in the last week. I often reread books that I find enlightening. I obviously don’t agree with every statement in these books. Often, I find books written by those without any Christian faith to be very stimulating as they are addressing issues that are faced by all people.

John Piper. A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness

Anders Erissson and Robert Pool. Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

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