Month: September 2012

The Beauty of an Alaskan Bay

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Photo from Summer, 2003

“Oceans Will Part”

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Are you looking for the works of God all around you?  Eyes blinded by the darkness all around us have a tendency to overlook the splendor of the mighty works of the Lord as He glorifies His name in all the earth!  Lift your eyes and behold the wonders of the Almighty God and give Him the praise He deserves!

The Law Is Good, The Gospel Is Glorious

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September 23, 2012

The Law Is Good, The Gospel Is Glorious

1 Timothy 1:8-11

(Click on the sermon title)

Just over a year…

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Just over one year ago, I started this blog with a broad idea of what it would be like.  So far, that idea has morphed a few times and will probably continue to do so in the months ahead.

Articles have been few as I learn how and what to write about.  The big response of the year came to thoughts and considerations about the marriage amendment in North Carolina.

Videos continue to be a source of fun for me.  I love music of all types and have posted a wide variety, many of which still get weekly hits as people discover them and come to the blogsite to view them.

Pictures I have taken and posted are more for my own enjoyment than anything else since there are so many millions of photographs online.  The biggest surprise of the year is the consistent interest in an aerial shot I took of the Whitsunday Islands.  Yesterday, almost a year after first posting it, more people viewed it than on any other day all year.  I was mystified by this sudden surge of activity…then I saw that Bing had featured a picture of Whitsunday Island as its cover page and then a quick search popped my photo up as the first on their list!  Go figure!  Another steady stream of visitors come to see the picture I took of the Mosaic of Jesus at Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

Anyway, it has been a fun venture and I look forward to adding more content, writing more articles, taking more pictures and posting more videos in the coming year.  There will also be two added features–a daily devotional article and a link to the sermon I preached the previous Sunday.  As often as possible the devotional will be tied to the sermon, written by a good friend of mine, Mike Edwards who is crafting the sermon materials into prose for daily consumption!

So thanks for coming!  I hope to make the site worth your while as you come back several times a week.

Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

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In 1946, a young Bedouin shepherd boy stumbled upon a small cave filled with pottery jars containing old scrolls.  What he found has been noted as one of the greatest archaelogical finds in history–the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered containing early copies of various Hebrew Bible texts which match much later manuscripts and validate the accuracy of the current texts upon which our Old Testament is based.

Over 972 scrolls were found in this process.  On a visit to the site in 2007, I was amazed at the remote desert location but came to understand how the scrolls could have survived all those centuries due to the dry climate and sandy, rocky landscape surrounding the caves.

Fascination with a Fragment

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The major news networks all went out of their way to feature a story about a recently surfaced papyrus fragment that suggests that Jesus had a wife. You are kidding, right?

Nothing in the Bible supports that and for centuries only an occasional eccentric might take such a claim seriously!  Yet this small fragment, believed to date back to the fourth century, is written in Coptic on papyrus, and provides the basis for this supposedly dramatic revelation that just maybe Jesus was married.  All of this furor is suggested by a six word phrase, “Jesus said to them: “My wife….”  But even the professor who brought this fragment forward warns the public that this little find does not prove anything–only that it contributes to an interesting bit of speculation that such a thing might have been an idea held by a few people in the early churches.  Since when does that qualify as a major news story?

Obviously people like stories that challenge traditional biblical accounts.  Dan Brown made a mint a few years ago when he wrote The DaVinci Code, trying also to suggest that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and bore children.  Great fiction, but hardly a newsworthy theory!  Occasionally other little fragments of ancient texts show up offering even more creative insights into the life and character of Jesus.

But what amazes me is the public interest in such media revelations!  Rather than accepting the wealth of evidence contradicting such a revelation, they seem more interested in discrediting ancient biblical manuscripts and supplanting them with rare remnants of other extant documents.  They gladly and curiously embrace the validity of the exception while dismissing the preponderance of manuscripts supporting the biblical text that has survived through the ages.  Thousands upon thousands of manuscripts have survived which bear witness to the fact that what we have today in our modern Bibles corresponds with them, not the occasional random surfacing of a novel idea on an extremely rare fragment.

The issue, then, is not really the available evidence.  The issue is whether the media and “modern scholars” can continue to find new ways to cast doubt upon the reliability of Scripture.  Not one article in the recent accounts dares to mention how many thousands of old manuscripts and pieces of old texts support the text of the Bible we have today. Nor do they take note of how many spurious documents were composed and rejected by the early church as false representations and fictional accounts of the life of Jesus.  Of course, as we should expect, some of the fraudulent accounts may have survived, but the overwhelming evidence of the manuscripts and scripture fragments validates the earliest accounts about Jesus as preserved in the Bible.  And the early church and honest historical efforts recognize and treat silly stories as they deserve–to be viewed as interesting efforts by some among the ancients to try to shape Jesus according to their own imagination, just the way so many have done in our day!

So here’s an idea!  Let’s trust God’s Word to get it right and let the evidence speak for itself!  Then instead of weighing the many texts by the rare, we can stand confidently on what the record shows–that we have a trustworthy record of the life and times of Jesus Christ in the gospels that bear witness to His matchless name!

If I am richly loved…

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Sunday morning, this song preceded the sermon.  What a game-changer to know that we are richly loved by the Eternal King!

Listen to this great song by the Wright Family and be blessed!

If I am richly loved…

So many of our questions and doubts fade away in the light of God’s perfect love for us in Christ!

A celebration in the water

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On Sunday afternoon, August 26, hundreds of folks from Providence gathered at New Life Camp for a picnic followed by a time of baptism in the pool there.  It was perfect blend of fellowship and celebration on a gorgeous afternoon.  Hope you enjoy this brief recap of the afternoon!

“Come to Me” by Jenn Johnson

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A new generation of worshipers can teach the old one much about passion in how we approach the Lord.  Although the form and the context of this video may be different from yours, and though the worship movement it represents may not always be lined up theologically in all ways with ours, the message and the model of this song should stir up something in us to go after our worship holding nothing back.  Listen, watch, reflect and come worship the King of Glory!