Sunday, September 29, 2013

THE REMNANT | Super Inc. Cinema



The Martian Manhunter and the Apostle Paul both find themselves among the last surviving members of their race. The alien's brother succeeded in his attempts in destroying all life on Mars. And, Paul's chosen people neglected to heed the bearer of their salvation. No amount of fantasy or disillusionment will ever bring back those who have fallen away, dead, lost forever.

"I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.

For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ
                                           for the sake of my brothers,
                                                                                              my kinsmen according to the flesh.


They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh is Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen."

There was a promise set in place long before Paul's time. It was a promise to his people, a promise of salvation, redemption, and reunion with God. He wishes that his brothers would be able to know this... to believe that... JESUS CHRIST IS THE ANSWER TO THE PROMISE. He would give up his own life, his own salvation, his own relationship with Christ... if only his brothers could know Him.


              "But it is not as though the word of God has failed...

It is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring..." Since the Israelites have denied the flesh of God incarnate, they renounce His promise. They cannot remain as His children.

But, those who cling to His promise can. His word in His covenant remains true.

“There is a remnant, chosen by grace…”

We are this remnant.
"What shall we say then?

Is there injustice on God's part?

                                           By no means!

... Who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, 'Why have you made me like this?'

Has the potter no right over the clay..."

Wherever we find ourselves today, we have been molded. We didn't know it. We were totally unaware. But, God has shaped us for this point in our lives and he continues to shape us.

He shaped His chosen people. He chose to shape His Royal Priesthood out of both Jews and Gentiles, men and women, slave and free.

But, this shaping comes at a cost. Franzmann says, now in Christ is "the manifestation of the righteousness of God... not merely the continuation of God's previous revelation; it is the culmination, and it brings a revolutionary change.... The old line drawn by the Law between Jew and Gentile is gone.... [Yet,] there was an Israel which could not join in the exultant joy... an Israel for whom Paul mourned.... Paul can speak of Israel as Christ spoke, in sorrow and in anguish of heart." p 164-167.

The bad eggs were thrown into the trash because of the stench of their unbelief.

We would do anything to have them back.

We would give ourselves, our lives, our souls...

But, we can't.

We can only go forward.








But, we have learned.

We have been molded.

We know the cost at stake.

And, even when we disagree... When we are at war with this new race... this Christian body that we have become a Baptized member of (not just a denomination)... We remember our molding... We remember the point of this whole thing.

Do we feel very strong?

Or, very scared?

Are we running for our lives?

Or, safe and strong on top of the world?

The answer is "Yes."

And, we have no choice but to pray.

To give ourselves into God's hands,

To cling onto Christ's pierced side,

To be molded again and again,

strengthened and formed,

taking shape.

He will not finish until He sees Himself in us.

Have faith that we will never lose sight of Him.


*** The Bible passages were from Romans 9:1-24 & 11:5-6.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Agents Under Fire --- Nihilism


video



Dr. Angus Menuge’s

Agents Under Fire:Materialism and the Rationality of Science:



“If we were to learn that

When properly understood,

No such thing as

Human rationality existed,

The bottom would drop out of our world;

And it would have vast repercussions

And the potential for outright incoherence

And nihilism…”



Them Crooked Vultures

Spinning in the Daffodils

“Once,

Out in the rain

I was able to strangle my shadow,

Then unshackle the chains.

What?

What will you do”

“Is it safe to play god in the garden

And king of the zoo?

Holes,

Well they need to be filled.

Positions available,

Yet some are quite hard to get out of



Or get in…”

Teaching Christian Apologetics from a Confessional Perspective



What are Christian Apologetics??

Ø What is an apologetic?? Where have you heard the word before???

An apologetic is a deffence of the faith... There are apologetics in the Lutheran Confessions and Plato wrote "The Apology" of Socrates on trial.

Ø “In your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense [ἀπολογίαν] to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” 1 Peter 3:15.

Ø Where are more apologetics in the Bible?

Any story in the Bible is a historical defense of God and his acts. This goes from Paul’s personal experiences all the way back to Adam’s creation and conversations with God. There are also questions posed: Who else could call the stars out by name??


How is the Lutheran view of apologetics different than most??

Ø What is the point of many apologetics? What’s the difference between offensive and defensive apologetics??

Ø “We believe, teach, and confess that the unregenerate will of mankind is not only turned away from God, but also has become God’s enemy… Just as a dead body cannot raise itself to bodily, earthly life, so a person who by sin is spiritually dead cannot raise himself to spiritual life… ‘Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.’ It is God’s will that His Word should be heard and that a person’s ears should not be closed (Psalm 95:8). With this Word the Holy Spirit is present and opens hearts, so that people… pay attention to it and are converted only through the Holy Spirit’s grace and power, who alone does the work of converting a person.” Article II. Free Will: Affirmative Statements (646 in the Lutheran Confessions).

Ø “Though philosophy cannot grasp it, yet faith can. The authority of the word of God goes beyond the capacity of our minds.” Luther’s Against Transubstantiation

Ø “We know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.’ This ‘knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” 1 Cor. 8:1-3.

Where do you start??

Ø Is it better to prove that (1) God exists then prove that he revealed Himself in Christ or (2) that Christ exists as Lord first and then continue by explaining that he also pointed back to the Father??

Ø What are some historical arguments for Jesus Christ??

· “C.S. Lewis – Lord, Liar, or Lunatic” – In Mere Christianity

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CA5Bh8Zk0Xo

· Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ

· Josh McDowell’s The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict

Starting on page 119.

Ø What are some arguments for God??

· C.S. Lewis: Converting the imagination in Surprised by Joy & Personal Ex.

· William Lane Craig

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2HgzRMN-TM

-- The Contingency Argument

God’s the best reason for everything’s continued existence.

-- The Kalam Cosmological Argument

He’s the reason for everything’s origin.

He’s the Primary Cause or Source of existence.

-- The Design Argument

The reason that the universe’s fine-tuning.

The physicist Dr. Bloom is a good source for this one.

-- The Moral Argument

Best reason that objective morals exist

The holocaust is an example of something objectively evil.

-- The Ontological Argument

Thinking that God could exist hints at his actual existence.

Where else would we get that idea??

Descartes would agree with this (the infinite proves the finite)

How do you teach it??

Ø Know your audience.

· Discussion *** Conversation of the Classics

· Experience *** Own life and debate

· Outline *** Formal argument structure (P1, P2, C)

· Video

· Literature

Resources:

o Authors:

v Josh McDowell

v William Lane Craig

v Ravi Zacharias

v C.S. Lewis

v G.K. Chesterton

v Angus Menuge

v Lee Strobel

o Books:

v On Guard – Craig

v New Evidence that Demands a Verdict – McDowell

v God in the Dock - Lewis

v Reasonable Faith – Craig

v The Case for Christ – Strobel

v Tough-Minded Christianity – Misc.

v Agents Under Fire - Menuge

v The End of Reason – Zacharias

o Online:

v Rzim.org

v Reasonablefaith.org

v Epsociety.org


WARNING: DO NOT LET BAD THEOLOGY SLIP IN




USE DISCERNMENT.

CRITICAL THINKING IS KEY

ESPECIALLY WHEN UTILIZING CROSS-DENOMINATIONAL SOURCES.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

SUPERMEN | Super Inc. Cinema



It's pretty easy to point out the parallels to Christ found in "The Man of Steel." He's from another world, conceived in a supernatural way, sent with a purpose, carrying hope, and bearing salvation. But, the verses in the video above are not just talking about Him.

They are about us.

That opening scene--it calls out to us.

We are the ones who have been left suffering.

It has been that way ever since the fateful day of rebellion when "The beasts and birds and creeping things did not revolt against the God who made them; only man [has done this].

"Paul... ascribes to 'creation,' to man's world and all that is therein, an intense longing for the day on which the children of God will emerge from their hiddenness, their shame and suffering, and will stand revealed as what they are, as justified men who need not shrink from Him who judges the secrets of men, sons of God who see Him face to face. (Col. 3:41 John 3:2Matt. 5:8)"

The Spirit's work is to "implant in us a deep nostalgia for our true and everlasting home. He is the Spirit of Sonship, and He makes us long for the fullness of our adoption as sons, just because in Him that sonship is a foreshadowed reality."

"There was hope, hope for man's world as well as hope for man."

"Creation itself will be set free."

On the final day, we will be lifted of our curse. We will become un-plagued of sin, no longer subjects of futility.

There will be no more bondage of decay. Even Death will lose its sting.

We will remind the world of who we truly are: sons of God. 


It was in this hope that we were saved.... the hope of our eternal salvation... a hope we cannot by our own power grasp. Therefore, we wait in patience.

The Spirit helps us in our weakness even when we do not know what to say.

And, how do we react? What then shall we say to these things?

Paul exclaims, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"

We can never be separated from our final goal... the love of God in Jesus Christ.

This love, epitomized on the cross, the victory march through Hell, and the resurrection promise, is what has lifted us up. We have now become Supermen, sons of the supernatural, inheriting a kingdom that we do not deserve. But, a kingdom that is ours, paid in blood .Although we were not God's Chosen People, he has now called us as his own because of that price. Christ is still the center, the gate, the only key for our salvation... and everyone else's.

"We are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

But, what about today?

What about now?

Shouldn't this knowledge empower us?

It is not only on that final day that we become God's children. We already are. We have an inheritance bigger than we can imagine. We are loved more than we have the capacity to understand. We are more precious than anything else will ever be.

And yet, we stumble.

We fail to act.

We give in to ungodly ways.

We do not act like God is our Father.

We even encourage others to fall away.

We are no better than Adam.

Why can't we emerge from our hiddenness? Is it really that hard to strike up a conversation??

What is wrong with standing up for our beliefs? It seems as if everyone else has a right to their own opinion.

What has happened to us?!?

Why can't we remove our shame, our suffering, and stand??

This is the part of the clip that we cannot do on our own. Without the help of Christ, we will never fly. Yet, He is here with us and we still live as if our wings are clipped.

If we are truly sons of God, redeemed, and blessed... we need to start acting like it.

We need to become SUPERMEN.

Lives depend on it.


** The quotes above come from
       pages 148-151 in Martin Franzmann's Concordia Commentary: Romans.

*** Here's another devotion with Superman.

**** Remember to step it up to the plate this week.
         Pray even though you do not know how or what for.
         And, live remembering Who you live for.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Prayer Bible Study

Here's a Bible Study I had the privilege of doing this summer:

Prayer

Ø Pray

Ø Introduction: The Privilege of Prayer

Ø Ravi Zacharias’ plea for prayer:

“We must pray fervently. Pray for peace… for the sake of their children… for wisdom… for international leaders… for protection… for the message of the Gospel to shine amid the darkness and for hearts and minds to be opened to the truth… Only God is able to change this situation in the land.”

http://genesiseightseven.blogspot.com/2013/08/pray-for-egypt-ravi-zacharias.html

o What is prayer?

o Who is prayer for? Who benefits from prayer?

o How do we pray?

o What is the urgency?

Ø Francis Chan’s Crazy Love, Before the Throne (p.34-37):

“Many facets of God expand beyond our comprehension. He cannot be contained in this world, explained by our vocabulary, or grasped by our understanding...

In Revelation [4], when John recounts his experience of seeing God, it’s as though he’s scrambling for earthly words to describe the vision he was privileged to see… Using ordinary words, he does his best to describe a heavenly place and a holy God...

[In Isaiah 6 he writes:] ‘I saw the Lord seated on a throne.’ Wow. Isaiah saw that and lived? The Israelites hid themselves… They were scared they would die if they saw God… But Isaiah looked and saw God

Isaiah’s description is less detailed than John’s, but Isaiah shares more of his response to being in the throne room of God. His words reverberate in the wake of the smoky room and shaky foundation: ‘Woe is me…. I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’

… Both of these descriptions serve a purpose. John’s helps us imagine what the throne room of God looks like, while Isaiah’s reminds us what our only response to such a God should be. May Isaiah’s cry become our own. Woe is me… we are a people of unclean lips!”
http://www.crazylovebook.com/CrazyLove-ChapterSample.pdf

o Have you pictured this before? How does it hit you?

o Does this change anything? Would this affect the way you pray?

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God… we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need

Every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins… Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you…’

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence… Being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation… designated by God a high priest.”
 Hebrews 4:14-5:10.

“We have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man… When Christ appeared as a high priest… he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption…” Hebrews 8:1-2; 9:11-12.

“God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:6-7.
o What does this mean for us? Does the picture change in the throne room?

o What’s the difference now that we can not only speak with God, but are his heirs?

Ø Types of prayer:

o Lord’s Prayer

o High Priestly Prayer

o Psalms—thumb through the Psalms

o Lamentations

o Living lives of prayer


Ø C.S. Lewis’ Prayer Poem:

“Master, they say that when I seem to be in speech with you,

Since you make no replies, it’s all a dream—one talker aping two.



They are half right, but not as they imagine; rather,

I seek in myself the things I meant to say,

And lo! The wells are dry.



Then, seeing me empty you forsake the listener’s role

And through my dead lips breathe and into utterance wake

The thoughts I never knew.



And thus you neither need reply nor can;

Thus, while we seem two talking, thou are One forever,

And I no dreamer, but thy dream.”


http://genesiseightseven.blogspot.com/2012/11/prayer-by-cs-lewis_18.html


Ø The Spirit speaks for us when we have no words to say:

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26.
o What do you think?

o What… Who (for)… How… and When will you pray this month??





Tuesday, September 10, 2013

War and Grace



Luke chapter fourteen is where we find ourselves today. As the world deliberates on what it should do against a situation that never should have happened, we measure our guns and weigh the cost of war along with the cost of peace.

How are we supposed to react to something so horribly wretched??

I do not know.

War.(?)

War never changes.

That is the mantra of one of my favorite video games. It means that war is always bloody, stained, and wreaking of death. It is something that is constant, it has always been around and will always be around whether it is on the surface in the grand scheme of things like a World War or as little as the family feuds we personally tend to find ourselves in.

In Luke 14, this common element is used as an example. It is the reason why "If anyone comes to me [Christ] and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters... and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple."

Discipleship comes at a cost. "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."

In this war against sin, death, and the Devil, we may have already won. But, that does not mean that we are safe. In the deliberations of Christ, He needs to know who will follow him and who will become hindered. Who will let themselves fall into temptation and who will succeed in driving off evil.

Who will be willing to let everything else go in order to succeed in the final goal, the victory march, to clutch on the trust in God and enter eternal life with Him.

How are we supposed to react to something so horribly impossible??

By the grace of God, we are who we are

His grace towards us goes not without effect...

His grace is epitomized in the sending and sacrifice of His Son.

His grace becomes our mantra.

It is by this grace that we are given a faith to hold onto the Truth, we are delivered from our unruly ways, we are forgiven, and we are made clean.

That is why He tells us we must hate our families and hate ourselves. It is because we are wretched sinners deserving of death. It is because we distract ourselves and our families become distractions from focusing on the goal, focusing on God.

But, that is also why we must love our families. Just as God loved us, we too must love them. Just as God cares for us, we care for them. We learn from our relationships a glimpse of what God's love for us must be. We are blessed by our loved ones when they strengthen our faith, when they are there for us, when they also love us.

His grace goes not without effect.

Amen.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fall Reminder: Facebook



Like the Facebook page to get more cool articles, quotes, and updates!!!

Otherwise, you might have missed this article on newborn awareness, relationship advice (to be updated), G.K. Chesterton quotes, C.S. Lewis quotes, William Lane Craig, Ravi Zacharias, Save The Storks links, free stuff like Ashley Denton's Outdoor Leadership Journal, and more!!!



Pastor as Educator

Here are the "Educational Assumptions" on the syllabus for my education class:

1. The work of the Holy Spirit - calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies - is essential to the process of Christian education at every level.

2. Christian teaching and learning is best done in the context of community (people being and working together). Community may be enhanced or hindered by human effort. Communities have common values, stories, practices, and goals...

3. Learners are valued not only as persons who have potential to learn, but also as persons who already have significant knowledge...