The Creation Narrative - Genesis 1 & 2 (Part 6)

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Image & Function in Genesis 1:26-28

Another significant fact related by these verses is our creation in the image and likeness of God. We cannot here enter into all the debates about the imago Dei, but some few things should be said.

Firstly, God does not say “according to My likeness.” He says “Our likeness.” The “Let us” statement is no plural of majesty, since it appears to be ideational, and is to be understood (I believe) as a statement of plurality in the Speaker. The question arises then, in what way is God a plurality? This question is not fully answered until the NT era. Or, on the other hand, and as much OT scholarship insists, is the plurality meant to convey some sort of heavenly council scene, such as one finds in ANE accounts of the assemblies of gods? Read more about The Creation Narrative - Genesis 1 & 2 (Part 6)

The Importance of Presence in Ministry

Going Beyond Public Gatherings

God calls every believer to teach His Word to others at a grassroots level. To motivate and equip them to do this, He provides pastors. These are responsible to “hold nothing back,” devoting themselves to ministry in two venues: public gatherings and private settings (Acts 20:20). While both settings are necessary, it seems that prevailing Western models favor public gatherings over more personal settings. Perhaps this imbalance hinders our efforts to engage people in ministry.

We work hard at our public gatherings. Pulpit style. Stage lighting. Usher training. Multimedia presentations. Music of all kinds: congregational, choral, instrumental, solo, ensemble, instrumental and choral. Service orders and liturgies. Invitations (or not). Announcements. Special events. Dramatic interpretations. Guest speakers. Sound systems and auditorium acoustics. We give attention to all these things and more.

But do we give equal or adequate attention to the other important ministry setting? Do we devote ourselves to connecting with believers in personal settings to the same degree? Church ministry that occurs only (or primarily) at a central church building misses a key element of the “hold nothing back” approach that Paul emulates. Read more about The Importance of Presence in Ministry

What A Discouraged Pastor Should Do (Part 4)

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Here’s a final look at some of Paul’s exhortations to Timothy when he faced discouragement. You can read Parts 1, 2, and 3 if you haven’t already. These are all taken from 2 Timothy.

14. Continue in what you have learned. (3:10-17)

The basics don’t change just because ministry is hard. Keep going back to the Word for your own personal encouragement. It is able to give you assurance and equip you to do the work of ministry.

15. Preach the Word. (4:1-4)

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A Warning for True Believers Who Lack Faith (Part 8)

(From Maranatha Baptist Seminary Journal; used by permission. Read the entire series.)

Nature of Judgment

There are two basic views of the nature of the judgment mentioned in Hebrews 6:6–8. Some suggest that the judgment is that of eternal damnation.1 McKnight collates all the information concerning judgment from the entire books of Hebrews and concludes the following: “In light of the final sense of several of these expressions (cf. especially the harsh realities of 10:30–31, 39) and the use of imagery in Hebrews that elsewhere is used predominantly of eternal damnation, it becomes quite clear that the author has in mind an eternal sense of destruction.”2 The second possible interpretation of the judgment in Hebrews 6:6–8 is that it entails loss of God’s blessing and the onset of cursing (up to and including physical death).3 Gleason summarizes, “In light of the Old Testament blessing-curse motif, the judgment in view in Hebrews 6:7–8 is best understood as the forfeiture of blessing and the experience of temporal discipline rather than eternal destruction.”4 Read more about A Warning for True Believers Who Lack Faith (Part 8)

The Creation Narrative - Genesis 1 & 2 (Part 5)

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God Words and God’s Actions: Primary Hermeneutics

Something to notice in the creation account is the correspondence between God’s thoughts (and speech), and His actions. The one corresponds precisely with the other.* Put in the most pedestrian terms, God means what He says! This fact is exemplified in what happens on Day Three:

(God’s Words) Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree which yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so.

(God’s Actions) And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Gen.1:11-12)

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The Anatomy of a Leader's Heart, Part 2

From Voice magazine, Mar/Apr 2016. Used by permission. Read Part 1.

Our Heart’s Treasures

The second chamber of our lead­ership heart pertains to our treasures. This chamber pulsates in rhythm with the previous one, our thoughts. Jesus, in the process of sculpting the heart of His disciples, said: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34). Our hearts follow our treasures.

What exactly are treasures of the heart? A treasure is what we highly value. It is what we define as having great worth. It is what we pursue by virtue of declaration of its value. For example, what is the value of a $100 bill? The actual paper is worth pennies at best. The ultimate worth of the bill is determined by the declaration of the United State Treasury Department. Apart from their declaration, the worth of a $100 dollar bill is not worth any more than the paper upon which it is printed. Read more about The Anatomy of a Leader's Heart, Part 2

The Anatomy of a Leader's Heart, Part 1

From Voice magazine, Mar/Apr 2016. Used by permission.

All ministry leadership ultimately involves spiritual work in hearts. It is doubtful that any ministry leader in our circles would deny or challenge that biblical reality. But as I have the blessing of serving ministry leaders here and abroad, it has been my observation that the proposition of ministry leadership being ultimately a spiritual work in the heart is too often mentally affirmed but functionally denied.

The key word is process. While a semi­nary student I well remember Prof. Hendricks repeatedly stating, “Process always determines product!” As a young and immature Christian, I had little idea at that time how pregnant that statement was with implication. If the process is natural, the product will be natural. If the pro­cess is spiritual the product will be spiritual. Read more about The Anatomy of a Leader's Heart, Part 1

The Internal Evidence of the Fourth Gospel

(About this series)

CHAPTER II - THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE OF THE FOURTH GOSPEL

BY CANON G. OSBORNE TROOP, M. A., MONTREAL, CANADA

The whole Bible is stamped with the Divine “Hall-Mark”; but the Gospel according to St. John is primes inter pares. Through it, as through a transparency, we gaze entranced into the very holy of holies, where shines in unearthly glory “the great vision of the face of Christ”. Yet man’s perversity has made it the “storm center” of New Testament criticism, doubtless for the very reason that it bears such unwavering testimony both to the deity of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to His perfect humanity. The Christ of the Fourth Gospel is no unhistoric, idealized vision of the later, dreaming church, but is, as it practically claims to be, the picture drawn by “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, an eye-witness of the blood and water that flowed from His pierced side. These may appear to be mere unsupported statements, and as such will at once be dismissed by a scientific reader. Nevertheless the appeal of this article is to the instinct of the “one flock” of the “one Shepherd”. “They know His voice” … “a stranger will they not follow.” Read more about The Internal Evidence of the Fourth Gospel