Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fabulous February Features

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Here are my most popular posts in the month of February followed by my most popular posts in the entire history of this blog. From this point on, only posts with triple-digit page views will make it to my all-time list.


February Posts

Feb 6, 2013
Feb 13, 2013
Feb 7, 2013

All-Time Posts

Dec 20, 2012, 2 comments

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I Need A Man!

"Won't you take-it-easy? I need your help. Today I had the chance of a lifetime, but first, I need a man."
"Get off me!" 
But the servant said, “I’ve just thought of something! There is a man of God who lives here in this town. He is held in high honor by all the people because everything he says comes true. Let’s go find him. Perhaps he can tell us which way to go.”  1 Samuel 9.6 NLT

The Quote

Ignacio launches his hair-brained idea to become a famous luchador by stalking Esqueleto, the one who stole The Lord's Chips. Once he baited his trap, Ignacio pounced on Esqueleto (alternatively known as Esteven). As they struggled with each other, Ignacio implored Esteven for his help, only to be turned down.

The Scripture

ContextThe first mention of King Saul in the Bible was actually a very positive one. He was on a mission to please his father, when it was suggested that he see the man of God. At first, Saul resisted the suggestion on the grounds that he had nothing to give to Samuel (the man of God) which may be seen as a sign of humility and respect for the godly man. After a while, he relents and seeks counsel.

A Godly Man

English: Amasias was the king of Judah, the so...
English: Amasias was the king of Judah, the son and successor of Joash. Русский: Амасия — царь Иудеи (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Scripture is littered with godly men and women. These are people who step up in response to God's goodness and lead lives of faith according to His word. Samuel is clearly presented in scripture as one of these men.

While there are a lot of men who are fantastic examples of faith, there are surprisingly few men who are literally called "men of God" in scripture. There are up to twelve individuals who are called men of god (see Man of God for references):

  • Moses
  • The Angel who announced Samson's birth
  • The man who chastised the priest Eli
  • Samuel
  • David
  • Shemaiah
  • Man from Judah who cried out against King Jeroboam
  • Elijah
  • Man who prophesies to King Ahab
  • Elisha
  • Hanan, son of Igdaliah
  • Man who prophesied to King Amaziah
Even more surprising are the anonymous men who show up in this list. They rub shoulders with the likes of Moses, David and Elijah! Scripture does not necessarily assign a name to them, but they certainly have a high honor in being called Men of God. 

The Application

We all could use more men of god in our lives. A wise brother could help when we are faced with important decisions. Just as Saul sought the counsel of Samuel, so should we seek the counsel of a godly man.

Ignacio saw someone and recognized Esteven's talents ("tall and fast like a gazelle") and knew that they would benefit him. In the same way, we should take note of those godly men and strive to incorporate their wisdom into our lives.

But it doesn't stop there, you could be that godly man in someone else's life journey. Be aware of those who may look to you for guidance, and be ready to be that man for their sake.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Blouse Rippers

"You remember that time when they were chanting my name and I used my strength to rip my blouse?" --Nacho  

"Ya, and I saw them knock you unconscious, OK?" --Esqueleto

Pride goes before destruction,
and haughtiness before a fall. 
Proverbs 16.18 NLT

The Quote

Nacho reflects on his first wrestling match while cleaning up in the bathroom. He relives the glory of fame until Esqueleto bursts his bubble with the truth--they lost the wrestling match.

The Scripture

English: Scroll of the Book of Proverbs
English: Scroll of the Book of Proverbs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Proverbs are a fascinating collection of Hebrew wisdom. Just about every ancient culture collected them. Certainly every culture has a set of sayings that try to make meaning out of life or prescribe the best practices in which to partake. For instance, An apple a day keeps the doctor away. You see, we have proverbs too!

This particular proverb probably falls in the most popular 2% of all scripture. People who don't know a thing about the Bible can be heard reciting, Pride goes before a fall! with no problem. It is probably so popular because it describes a scene that plays out (perhaps literally) in every single human being's life at one point or another. 

The Application

Clearly, this litle saying is meant to prevent a catastrophe from occurring. The writer wants to keep his audience from feeling the sting of embarrassment and in order to accomplish this, he recommends that the reader be humble.

Paul echoes this sentiment in 1 Corinthians 10.12: If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. (NLT) This is something important for all believers to remember. It is easy to get a "holier than thou" attitude when we are able to attend every meeting but others can't or won't for some reason. It's easy to look down on others when we feel we're riding high and others may not be at that point yet. The Bible tends to frown on this kind of behavior.

Be careful when you start feeling good about where you are, because if you're not careful, you may get knocked unconscious.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Flying Fish (Tweeting about Jonah)

#BTSermon is still alive

I hope you have not forgotten about the #BTSermon hashtag on Twitter where anyone who attends a meeting at Bible Truth Chapel can tweet out quotes, notes or thoughts on the message as it is being delivered. If you have forgotten about it, let this post serve as your reminder.

Last Sunday's Notes

I said that in order to share this. I took notes on the first half of Dr. Humphreys' series. He will be in town next week to finish up. Unfortunately, I will be out of town then so I will have to wait for the recording.

Bible notes from Dr. David Humphries on Jonah entitled: What God Does for Us.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Good Toast

"Mmm... Good toast."

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
James 1.17 NLT

The Quote

Ignacio and Encarnacion share an intimite moment in Encarnacion's quarters over some audibly delicious toast. They both agree that the snack was, "good." See a small clip below:

The Scripture

This passage echoes The Lord Jesus' words about asking and receiving in Luke 11.9-13, where He compares the ultimate heavenly Father to fallen human fathers. In the end, the goodness of God wins out. We ask for His blessings with joy, we place ourselves under His providence with confidence. We can do both these things because we know Him to be good.

I always think of Randy Stonehill's "Father of Lights" when I read this verse. 

Notice the context of the verse in James. We have some things listed there that do not invoke happy feelings. In fact, some of these events are downright difficult. So even through trial and tough times, we know that God ultimately wants to improve our station. He does so through the precious blood of Jesus, which ultimately achieves its purpose. 

The Application

I know it is Valentine's Day. I think it is important to look at all the little blessings that your loved one gives you and cherish them. Sometimes it's not about the big things, it's about that time you had some toast. Those consistent little acts of love build up over time. They've been granted to you, so don't take them for granted.

That's one way to reconcile these good and perfect gifts that the Father of Lights pours on us. We enjoy the blessings and the trials because we have fellowship with the Father. All we care about is that unbroken fellowship and being conformed into His image.

In other words: 

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The F Word

Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea.
Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


What did you think the F-word was?

The Pope Resigned

By now, everyone knows that Ratzinger has resigned from his post as the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. The news came as a shock since we have not seen a Pontiff willingly give up the post in something like six centuries.

A friend of mine sent me an email detailing an experience he had with a friend at work which resulted directly from this news. The friend somehow received a copy of a newspaper which was edited by an Evangelical--Anti-Catholic--Christian.

In the margins of the newspaper, the individual rehashed all of the tired, old, outdated accusations against the Catholic Church, including the assertion that we should not call any man Father. Below is the text of the email during which my friend goes on a rant against this kind of rationale:

[On] the exhortation in Matthew 23: 9 to call no man "father."  This was written over the picture of the pope in the newspaper.  I have always found this one of the clumsiest kinds of anti-Catholic disputation.  If taken literally, as many fundamentalist evangelicals do, then not even biological fathers should be called by that name.  Of course, in practice, no evangelical refrains from calling their male parent father.  In addition, numerous times in the NT (after the time of Jesus' putative injunction) men are referred to as "father" or "fathers".  (Any keyword search of an online Bible will give you the examples I have in mind.)  In particular, Paul refers to himself as a "father" in the gospel of Jesus Christ to his followers and disciples (1 Cor. 4: 14-15).  Thus, the apostolic testimony (not limited to Paul in the Bible!) is that a minister of God's word is a spiritual father.  Needless to say, the early Christians understood this and called their teachers "fathers," i.e., as in "Church Fathers".

A strict reading of the section of Matthew 23 that says call no man father also says to call no man teacher.  The Latin for teacher is doctor.  So we should not call anyone "Dr."  if we're saying priests can't be called fathers!  Just as in the case of the word father, however, a quick electronic search of any online Bible will show that the word teacher, teachers, or teaching were used often by Jesus, the Apostles, and the early Christians.  Was Jesus Himself not called "Rabbi" (i.e.,  teacher) by the Jews and His followers?   If so, then one can fairly accuse Jesus of hypocrisy.  But of course Jesus wasn't speaking literally or against titles in Matthew 23.  Instead, Jesus is referring to those who would use titles to promote themselves above God.  In effect, Jesus is warning against something that Paul would later warn against and that is the "personality cult" so common then and today.  How many cult leaders past and present don't like to be called "father" or "teacher"?  (BTW: All these men and cults come from the evangelical branch of the Protestant Reformation! ) 
I cringe every time I hear some misinformed evangelical resort to Matthew 23: 9 to try to challenge Catholic authority.  This is a classic example of poor proof-texting and exegesis   Jesus didn't have in mind modern rabbis or priests when He spoke these injunctions.  Rather, He had more timeless concerns about hypocritical religious leaders in mind. Certainly, someone has to correct this polemical misreading of Jesus in Matthew 23 for the sake of both charity and spiritual and intellectual integrity.

The Application

Let us be careful when speaking out against others. Not everything in scripture is meant to be taken at face value. Sometimes, there is meaning behind those things that we read.
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Get Married Instead

"They tried to convert each other, but they got married instead. Then they die." 

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.  

Ephesians 4.1-6 NLT

The Quote

Our hero, Ignacio, shares an intimate moment with sister Incarnacion over toast. During this intimate moment, he tells the story of how his Lutheran Missionary Father & Catholic Nun Mother met & fell in love--through evangelism. He also reveals that he is an orphan by virtue of their untimely deaths.

The Scripture

This is the quintessential passage in the epistles for Christian unity. It echos the Lord Jesus' fervent prayer that his followers would be one as he & Father God were one. All Christians have some things that unify & bind them together. There are things that must be believed in order to be considered Christian. Conversely, there are beliefs that have no place in Christendom (how about, denial of Christ's divinity? Or adding secret publications to the Bible?). Once dialog begins on these topics, we will find that there are less things that separate the denominations than we originally thought.

Granted, there are a lot of differences. Real. Theological. Liturgical. Ecclesiastical. Practical differences that prevent us from forsaking the denominational structure & forming one ecumenical church. However, most rational people can admit that these issues tend to center on fringe topics that shouldn't be used as litmus tests for acceptance into the body of Christ or acknowledgement of the faithful as brothers & sisters in the family of God.

The Application

Ignacio's parents did not respect the validity of each other's conversion to Christ. It appears that they set out not to convert people to Christ, but to gain converts to their own faith tradition. However, once they grew closer to one another & developed a relationship, they realized that they would not be unequally yoked as a married couple. They developed a love for one another.

This month is regarded by the world as a time to reflect on & display your love. As Christians, love should be ferocious every moment of every day because of who we represent. However, we tend to fall flat on our face when it comes to loving our own family in Christ. I was recently at a meeting that pointed out how outrageous it was that people in a certain location had to drive an hour & a half to attend a "New Testament Patterned Assembly" as if no other Church got the memo that the New Testament was important. It did not strike me as a loving statement. Let's not get so hung up on fringe issues that we miss the fact that we seek converts to Christ, not to our own church.

Remember that Christ is our only true love. He is the one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.  

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hot & Bothered

It's this kind of thing that makes me mad.

Take my temp, 'cuz I am HOT

Oh yes. I am hot. I've been hot for several days. If you follow me on any social network, you may have seen my posts of rage at this situation. It is embarrassing for all Christians everywhere. It cannot be glossed over or rationalized any more.

Over the weekend an atrocity was committed & publicized. You can read about the Pastor who refused to tip on Mashable. Never mind the butchering of the Old Testament tithe found in Micah 3.10, she was just plain rude. It's one thing to reduce a standard 18% tip due to service deficiencies. But to write a note to the server explaining that there is no tip on her payment? And to invoke God as your reason? Wow.

Now let me tell you what's really bothering me

This has been a pet-peeve of mine for a while now. Where do we get off as Christians? How dare we worship the Lord, give a 10% tithe & listen to sermons then run out into the world & terrorize the restaurant industry?

The worst part about this story is the comment section beneath it. Go ahead, I dare you to read it. Comments like, I worked as a waitress and Sunday was the worst day of the week, dominate the board. Christians were the worst customers. Some key adjectives were rude, miserly & demanding. This saddens me. It's a poor testimony--especially since all this behavior goes on after we say grace.

I've seen some reprehensible activity around the restaurant table. But I think the worst thing I've ever seen are those Million Dollar Bill Tracts. Now that's attractive. Instead of a tip, let's care for their souls. Let's tell them to be warm & filled & comforted but not give them any of the material things they need to survive. Does that sound biblical? It should, because it's a biblical example of what not to do. It is neither seasoned with grace nor influenced by love.

Let's be conscious of the way people perceive us. Fer them, that perception is reality.

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Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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