Thursday, September 26, 2013

EDITED Thoughtful Thursday: Exposition of Scripture

After some wise counsel and prayer I've decided to red-pen this post for my benefit and yours.  The editing has happened in my heart...but wouldn't benefit you if I didn't, here it is...

I've been listening to a lot of sermons and in person...and I know what I'm looking for, and why.  Top of the list:  Exposition of Scripture.

Expository preaching involves the exposition, or comprehensive explanation, of the Scripture; that is, expository preaching presents the meaning and intent of a biblical text, providing commentary and examples to make the passage clear and understandable. The word exposition is related to the word expose — the expository preacher’s goal is simply to expose the meaning of the Bible, verse by verse. 

It is very different from topical or textual preaching.

When a pastor preaches on a topic, he must first choose the topic and then find a passage in the Bible that addresses that topic.  Generally, he refers here, there and everywhere.  None of the passages are really studied in depth but they all support the topic.  I'm not saying there is never a time for a topical sermon, but I think they should be rare.  It opens up all too many doors for pride and pet projects.  This is obviously an easier way to prepare...especially since many topical series come pre-packaged with catchy themes and such.  I find myself having to pay close attention during topical sermons because I fear the lack of study involved and find myself watching for the pitfalls that are, I feel, inevitable.  
I really shouldn't be accusing anyone of pride here.  At the most, lack of imagination.  I myself get stuck on pet projects and hot button issues...and I'm sure teaching the church must be a daunting and humbling task.  My biggest beef with topical sermons is that by not preaching through whole books there are important things that they will never get around to preaching about.

Please note: A topical message can be done well if a person chooses one passage to preach and does that expositionally. For example, the topic is the resurrection of Christ, so they might preach a thorough message on 1 Corinthians 15.
Which leads me to segue into textual sermons, where the pastor uses verses to make a point without examining the true intent of the passage.  I once heard someone say that they'd always wanted to preach a sermon on coffee...and then proceeded to abuse God's Word to make it work.  However, the ridiculous aside, this is always taking Isaiah 66 and the beginning of Timothy and using it to preach about motherhood.  Nopity, nope, nope.

I got a bit confused here.  Here's how it was explained to me...A textual message is tougher to define because it has been used in different ways in different eras, but the primary characteristic is that it takes too little a bit of scripture to look at. Typically this means he reads a few verses and then preaches a whole sermon of devotional thoughts that were prompted by those verses. In an expository sermon the preacher chooses a passage that includes a whole thought and that thought becomes the central point of the message, but in textual preaching a word or phrase becomes the focus quite apart from the bigger context of the verse that is being used.

Typically the text in the textual message is a jumping off place that suggests the things that the person wants to preach. For example, "God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" is frequently preached out of context and takes on a lot of emotional references that were not intended by the original author in the context.

Here's the problem as I see topical and textual preaching, the Bible passage is used as supporting material for the topic. In expository sermons, the Bible passage is the topic, and support materials are used to explain and clarify it.  I found this nifty quote by C. Campbell Morgan who was evidently a really amazing expositor of the Word, "The sermon is the text repeated more fully."
I think that Pastors that are dedicated to truly expositing the Word of God show that they believe the following:

1) The Bible is God’s Word.  It is pure and true and can be trusted.

"The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. Psalm 12:6

"The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous."  Psalm 19:9

"Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them."  Psalm 119:40

2) Men need God's wisdom to understand the Word.

"What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.  The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”  But we have the mind of Christ."  1 Cor. 2:12-16

3) The preacher is subject to the text, not the other way around. Scripture is the authority, and its message must be presented honestly, apart from personal bias.  He is kept honest and humble by following closely to God's Word and not his own opinions.

4) The preacher’s job is to clarify the text and cause his audience to think and change.

With those things in his mind, I think I'm more likely to find a humble shepherd.  He'll not be so interested in hearing my praise as he is hearing that I am walking away better able to understand and apply those Scriptures to my life.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Poured Out Hot Hodgepodge!

1. What's one thing that's still the same about you as when you were young?
Huh?  I'm still young!!  Hahahaha!  Sorry...couldn't resist. 

I'm still short...well, relatively speaking.

2. What's more important-history or science? Why? 
The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.  The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.  As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.  Abraham Lincoln 

3. Lima, kidney, string, garbanzo, black or pinto-your favorite bean?
Garbanzo...squashed into hummus.  A little Tahini and Cajun Spice.  Drooling.  Ooooo...that sounds good.

4. What's something people come to your town to do?
Watch the Colts or go to the Speedway.  Not me...bleck...but a lot of people do.

5. When was the last time you were in a meeting? Sum it up for us in five words or less.
Meeting with teacher for my child's academic struggles.  Five words...Tense, nervous, heartfelt, comfort, encouraged.  God is good and my kids are blessed with GREAT teachers.

6. What special event would you like a VIP pass to attend?
I'm stumped.  I'm not a big concert goer.  I like music but am working to not idolize the artist but instead the ONE who puts the lyrics into their heads and hearts.  I hate sports...pretty much of all kinds, because of said last idolize factor of ick.  I need options.  The events I can think of I am totally not interested in attending. 

7. What's one piece of advice you'd give a writer?
Write.  Then edit out about half of what you wrote.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
“If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full.”
~John Piper, "Don't Waste Your Life

“Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.”
~John Piper, "A Sweet and Bitter Providence"

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tune Tuesday: Build Your Kingdom Here!

I love the lyrics to this song. Frankly, it's the prayer of my heart. I get choked up singing it.

Lest the video surprise your minds and read up on Rend Collective's Irish heritage...
Here's the write up to help you understand their thoughts in the creative process:

Filmed on location in Ireland in Rend Collective’s unique style, this ambitious video is a carnival of color, diversity and energy. It encapsulates everything from a duo of fire-breathers to a fully uniformed military brass section, from a pair of stilt-walking jugglers to a live horse, and more. Rend Collective’s now trademark expression of joy and vitality is once again displayed with kaleidoscopic visuals while simultaneously reflecting a poignant message for the church. 

 “We wanted to communicate something of the truth that the Kingdom of God is an inclusive, welcoming and diverse community - there are no outsiders; we are the church,” says Rend Collective vocalist Chris Llewellyn. “It’s significant politically for us that the video is filmed half in the North and half in the South of Ireland, given our history of conflict. We think it’s a beautiful picture of unity.” 

Here are the lyrics:
Come set Your rule and reign 
In our hearts again 
Increase in us we pray  
Unveil why we're made  
Come set our hearts ablaze with hope  
Like wildfire in our very souls  
Holy Spirit come invade us now  
We are Your Church  
We need Your power 
In us
We seek Your kingdom first  
We hunger and we thirst  
Refuse to waste our lives 
For You're our joy and prize  
To see the captive hearts released 
The hurt, the sick, the poor at peace  
We lay down our lives for heaven's cause  
We are Your church  
We pray revive 
This earth
Build Your kingdom here  
Let the darkness fear  
Show Your mighty hand  
Heal our streets and land  
Set Your church on fire  
Win this nation back  
Change the atmosphere  
Build Your kingdom here  
We pray
Unleash Your kingdoms power  
Reaching the near and far  
No force of hell can stop  
Your beauty changing hearts  
You made us for much more than this  
Awake the kingdom seed in us 
Fill us with the strength and love of Christ  
We are Your church  
We are the hope 
On earth

Monday, September 23, 2013

Methinks Monday: The Ethonocentric Church

The archaic-sounding verb methinks, meaning it seems to me...seemed a cute way to share some serious stuff I've been pondering. A little levity with the gravity!

Methinks ethnocentrism is a word that needs added to the church's vocabulary and understanding.
I've recently learned that it is central to why "doing church another way" is such a hot spot issue;  why it causes so much tension and disharmony.   

Ethnocentrism is judging another culture solely by the values and standards of one's own culture.

For example...  It's not just that I'm comfortable with hymns or like their deep Theology, etc.  It's that they are the best way and ONLY way that music in church should be done.  This goes on and how we school our kids, dress in church, what version of the Bible we use, etc.  We can see that different churches have different ways of doing things but OUR church's way of doing it is the truly Godly and Biblical way...and may heaven help you if you disagree or find another way more effective.  We forget that the church is MUCH bigger than our little (or big) meeting place and that it is the WORLD Christ came to save.

Methinks doors of discussion can be effectively shut forever. 

As Ravi Zacharias has said for years, "Let my people THINK!"  If we have determined that certain things are bad (or not best) then we stop thinking.  Culturally different things are condemned and time is no longer spent thinking or discerning real world issues.  Well, other than to condemn them as bad and going to "hell in a hand basket."  Fear-mongering and thinking are not the same thing.  Then, quite soon, we forget we share the HOPE of the nations.  When bad things happen we have no answers other than judgement of "that's what they all deserve"...or my least favorite cop out, "God is coming back soon.  Look at those signs of evil!"  No compassion.  No grace.

Methinks we aren't just DOING church, we ARE the church. 
Because Christ makes His bride pure...and it's all the power of his blood...I'm guessing he can deal with all sorts of ethnic diversity in methods and such.  Incidentally, I think He probably enjoys the praise of His name in every way imaginable.  I'm sure it grieves Him that Satan uses such issues to divide and can so quickly induce us into being mean where we could be gracious.

Ravi's line makes me think of,  "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."  2 Chronicles 7:14. 

Methinks we need to live with revival in our hearts.

And a desire that God build His Kingdom...through us!  NOT a desire to build our Utopian fortress's walls higher...but to be IN the world, and not of it.  To GLOW IN THE DARK...not hide in Pharisaical light. We need God to move, but we also need to move!!  His Kingdom starts in our hearts...

Foreshadowing for tomorrow's Tune Tuesday... The prayer of my heart...

Oh Heavenly Father,
Build Your kingdom here 
Let the darkness fear 
Show Your mighty hand 
Heal our streets and land  
Set Your church on fire  
Win this nation back  
Change the atmosphere  
Build Your kingdom here  
We pray

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sew Saturday: hemming...

Once I get her sewing in a straight line...I'm teaching Emma to hem. Uhhh...bad enough when it's mine but this year ALL of her new pants needed 3 inches plus *sigh*

...But, Jazelle rocked it out going through the denim "like BUTTAH!" Yeah!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Finally Frugal Friday: Junk drawer!

Finally= should've done it months ago...but it's done today!
Frugal= recycle and reuse some of that old cardboard instead of fancy plastic organizer!
Friday= organized into the weekend...that's a happy!
Further Advice= Leave one compartment for those truly odd bits...don't drive yourself crazy!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thrifty Thursday!

My Mom recently gifted me with some felted wool sweaters...She KNOWS me!! So, what I couldn't squeeze into, ahem...I decided to chop up...for fun!!

First, I cut off the sleeves of this lovely wool Tommy sweater. *NOTE* save every will want them later...
Then, I fold it in half and find the center of the chest...(DON'T go lower than the armpits or your straps will look me.) Turn it inside out and sew the bottom shut with one long straight line...TWICE for strength!!
Now, use your collar trimmings to make a rose...just play with it til it looks right then sew with needle and thread (or hot glue!)...VOILA!
The leftover scraps I'm still saving...I'm think another stuffed owl!  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hummingbird Hodgepodge

1. What's the best thing about growing older?
Finally, recognizing that hard things, hard times, hard people are really God's sign of His great LOVE...He's not letting me stay the same but stretching, growing, teaching me.  Trials are the testing ground of my faith.  Hopefully, really learning that He is the only One I live to please...and that HE is more than enough!
2. When did you first feel like a grown up?
When I started paying bills...hahaha!  Teaching made me feel like a grown up, I guess...but frankly, it was SO MUCH FUN that sometimes I forgot it was my job.  No, um...what comes to mind is when I set up, cooking for me and then for us...and then for all of us!
3. Chocolate cake with white icing or white cake with chocolate icing?
White Cake with Chocolate Icing...please!
4. What's the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?
An older guy shared his umbrella with me once during a downpour while headed into the grocery store. 
5.  What's something you learned from your grandparents?
Life long love of learning. 
6. Wednesday marks a sad day in the history of planet earth-9/11...what's something you do (or can do) to bring peace to your little corner of the world?
Not run from people lashing out in their unhappiness.  Talk calmly, gently.  Listen more than I speak.  Always be kinder than I feel. 
7.  Share a favorite quote, scripture, or song containing the word peace.
My Jesus' words..."Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  John 14:27
8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I found this A MAZ ING picture of a hummingbird on pinterest and had to share!  WOW!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tune Tuesday: MY Desert Song...

I think this is best sung by The ZOE Group...HERE...I sing this on my treadmill...usually's not pretty!  But, I have a reason to sing...and I will bring praise!  In the process of trying to make this a hearable tune for ya'll I bought the CD...but still can't get ZOE version on here.  Sigh...if you must you can listen to Hillsong's version.  It's not nearly as nice though...just sayin.  If nothing these words...

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame

And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain

I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

This is my prayer in the battle
when triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I will sow

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship