Archive for June 2009

The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ

The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ is a look at the public ministry of Jesus from the viewpoint of a trial lawyer. The author, Randy Singer, is himself a trial lawyer from Atlanta, Georgia. Singer uses the first and last chapters of the book to examine the trial and execution of Jesus. He writes it as though the reader is a legal advisor in the court of Pontius Pilate. This perspective allows the reader to see the difficulty Pilate faced as he truly believed that Jesus was innocent of any real fault but lacked the courage to stand up to the Jewish leaders and the mob they led.Read more ...

Published on June 5, 2009 at 9:17 pm |

In the Company of Angels: A Call to Worship

In the Company of Angels: A Call to Worship by Caedmon's Call may be the very favorite CD of the pastoral staff of Oasis. The album is an excellent combination of time-honored texts (Isaac Watts and John Stocker), modern hymnody, contemporary praise, and contemplative reflections upon our Creator. All of these excellent texts are accompanied by Caedmon's Calls distinctive folk instrumentals and gorgeous harmonies.

At least half of these songs would be suitable for use in congregational worship, and all but a few would be appropriate for a vocal offering. Because of the simple folk style, most of the songs can be quickly and easily chorded out for guitar accompaniment. Unfortunately, there are not many musical resources (piano accompaniment, choral arrangements, etc.) available for these songs. If you find some, please let me know!Read more ...

Published on June 9, 2009 at 9:18 pm |

Give Me Your Eyes


God gave Samuel a job to do.  He was supposed to pick the new King of Israel from among the sons of Jesse.  As he began to examine each of Jesse’s sons, he decided which one he thought that God should choose.  But God warned Samuel that He looked with different eyes:  “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).  Samuel was thinking just like most of us think.  As he looked on the sons of Jesse, he saw only what was on the outside.  But like most of us, that was enough for Samuel to choose his favorite.

James talks about this type of thinking in the second chapter of his epistle.  He gives us a hypothetical scenario.  There is a gathering of believers, probably a church service.  The host of the assembly sees two men walk through the door.  One of the men is dressed in beautiful, shining garments.  He has gold rings on his fingers and is obviously someone of great importance and influence.  Then the host sees another man.  His clothes are old and somewhat shabby.  He is obviously a poor man and of little importance.  The host decides to offer the rich man a front row seat and a place of honor, but he tells the poor man to stand off to the side or sit at his feet.  James says that by doing these things the host has “made distinctions...and become [a judge] with evil thoughts” (James 2:4). Does that sound harsh?Read more ...

Published on June 13, 2009 at 9:19 pm |

Fireproof

This movie is the story of a firefighter and his wife. Their marriage is crumbling, and they are both trying to decide if they want to fight for it.  Fireproof is very professionally done, and it is an enjoyable entertainment experience-if that is what you are looking for. However, if you are open to a challenge, this story can rebuke, teach, encourage, comfort, and motivate you. It may even change your relationships forever.Read more ...

Published on June 14, 2009 at 9:20 pm |

Gregory of Nyssa (Church History Vignette 5)

Gregory of Nyssa (334-395) was a child of wealthy, honorable parents. The youngest of three brothers (Basil the Great being one of his brothers), Gregrory was somewhat frail of body but very able of mind. From a very early age he was an apt student, and he remained primarily a thinker his entire life. Gregory was a contemporary and friend of his older brother's close friend, Gregory of Nazianzen. Gregory of Nyssa was not much concerned with his physical heritage: "Blood, wealth, and splendor we should leave to the friends of the world; the Christian's lineage is his affinity with the divine, his fatherland is virtue, his freedom is the sonship of God."Read more ...

Published on June 17, 2009 at 9:21 pm |

Trust

Trust is an interesting thing. My daughter trusts me to a degree that you see in few children. When she was very little, I began at different times to place her in high places and tell her to jump down into my arms. It was amazing to see this 18-month-old fling herself off of heights as high as 10 feet up. She truly believed I would catch her. My daughter is now four. She still looks for places that she can climb up on and jump off. To this point, I have never failed her.Read more ...

Published on June 20, 2009 at 9:21 pm |

Give Me Your Eyes - Part 2

Recently we discussed James’ admonition against personal favoritism in James 2. We unpacked the hypothetical illustration of favoritism in corporate worship.  I think this is a remarkably pertinent application of James’ teaching on personal favoritism, but I do not think that it is the only application that we can draw from this passage.

James tells his readers that they are guilty of becoming "judges with evil thoughts" (v. 4b) because they have begun to judge others based on the wrong standard.  They decided that personal wealth and status was the standard by which they should judge other people.  He says to judge based on this standard is to "show partiality...[commit] sin and [become] convicted by the law as transgressors" (v. 9b).  Instead of this wicked (read: evil, satanic) standard by which they are judging people, James teaches that they should look through the eyes of love (v. 8) and mercy (v. 13) when they view other people.Read more ...

Published on June 24, 2009 at 9:23 pm |

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