Monday, May 26, 2008
The subject of 'building,' Hebrew BNH, is central to OT and NT theology. For example, God build the garden in which man dwelt in innocence and Solomon's attempts to build such a garden were crowned with vanity (Ecclesiastes). The addition of children in the OT is classed "building up,' in such notable passages as Sarah's plea to Abraham and Psalm127. Building in post-exilic Israel is the predominant theme of the book of Nehemiah and Haggai.The anchor of the NT church is stated by Jesus in Matthew 16:17-19. Although it is hardly likely that the OT audience of Jesus fully understood what this meant, the audience of the book of Matthew, the NT church, certainly would have understood the reference. The power and the responsibility to build the church resides in her Lord. Paul resounds the same theme in 1 Cor 3:5-16 (dealing specifically with the local church) and Ephesians 4:11-16 (dealing ambiguously with the universal church and the local church).The modern church growth movement, which is still very much alive despite the despite of the post-modern emergent movement, needs to take care that it does not remove the responsibility from the Lord of the church and turn to the gurus of the world for the power to build the church.At heart, the failure of local churches to grow, in any sense of the term, has led pastoral leaders to seek answers from the world, albeit with a veneer of Christianity. If the local assembly, the real church, uses the power of the risen Christ and His Word, their growth will be undeniable evidence that "building" is a biblical principle that deserves more genuine biblical attention that it receives.Pastor SmithSunday, May 25
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Psalm 127 – A Song of Ascents of Solomon“Houses, Cities, Workers, and Kids”“There is a ‘kind’ of house that, when it is built, looks sturdy and steady and serene. There is a ‘kind’ of city that looks safe and secure and insurmountable. And there is a ‘kind’ worker that gets up early, works late, and makes anxious plans so that he might sleep more peacefully. However, built houses and safe cites and ‘working hard f0r the money’ [to quote Donna Summer] are only vain, vaporous, and vanishing unless the LORD builds the house, watches over the city, and gives sleep to the worker. There is a kind of child that the LORD builds who, rather than shaming their parents, are an inheritance from the LORD. They are like fruit. They are like arrows from the LORD provideding protection from the enemy. The more of them the merrier and the fuller our nursery. The Jewish children of Psalm 127 partially fulfill the promise made by the LORD to Abraham to make of him a great nation. More importantly, these children point to a future reality when strangers from every tribe and tongue and nation will become the adopted children of promise ‘in Christ.’” Doc 5/21/08
Monday, May 19, 2008
The goodness of the LORD is never so evident as when we are are alienated from all that is comfortable and comforting in this world. Greetings to our loved ones at Grace. We have made the move down to Winston-Salem and are enjoying our new surrounding and making new friends. but, all in all, we continue as aliens in a friendly, but unfamiliar environment.Our apartment is nice, two rooms (a kitchen/dining room and master bedroom upstairs and two rooms and a full bath downstairs), right across from the campus, and partially furnished ... er, we have a fold up table and a futon mattress. We're planning on getting furniture as we go, but right now we are living like pilgrims and/or newly married college students; and we like it. With high-speed internet (no TV) a stove and fridge, we have all the mod-cons we need!It will be some time before we settle into a church home. We've started traveling on weekends to speak. Yesterday we were 3 1/2 hours north on the Virginia/West Virginia border in Covington, VA at New Hope Baptist Church. wonderful folk, good services, a magnificent Sunday meal prepared by Mrs. Miller, a German lady who used to run her own restaurant with German food. beef, pork, brats, 7 side dishes, three desserts and several pounds later I staggered to the pastor's home to sleep before the evening service. The drive was through the beautiful Allegheny mountains both ways. I hope to do a lot of weekend travel for the school as time and health permit.Spending a lot to time in admin. work and prep for a PhD class coming up the week of August 2-6. Only three students so the time should be very profitable. I'm scheduled to represent the school at the GARBC conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, so I should meet some of my former BBC compatriots around the booths. Lots to talk about :-) We love you guys, miss you more each weekend, and could not have make the move down here without the magnificent love gift that you gave us. After I found out how to silence the chimes (no one needs to be that aware of the time) we are enjoying the pendulum clock in our kitchen/dining room. We miss the grandkids something terrible.Pastor Smith
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Psalm 126 – A Song of Ascents“I’m living in a dream that’s coming true”Celine Dion, from “I’m Loving Every Moment With You”v. 1 “When” the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion” [“When the LORD returned the returning of Zion”] is an “allusion” to Jewish captives returning to Judah in or around 536 B.C. Cyrus, king of Persia, is the instrument; however it is the covenant keeping LORD [YHWH] who restored their fortunes. The joy is so overpowering that they ask themselves if it could be real. Are they dreaming? vv. 2-3 “Then” There was laughter. There were shouts of joy and gladness and affirmations from even the nations that the LORD had done great things for them.v. 4 “Restore” [v. 1] “Turn our captivity.” The Psalmist is waiting for the full return from Babylon of the captives back to Judah not only under Cyrus but under Darius and Xerxes. Albert Barnes [1798-1870] writes, “As those streams when dried up by the summer heat are swelled by autumnal and winter rains, so let the streams of the returning people, which seem now to be diminished, be . . . kept full like swollen streams.”vv. 5-6 “More” The backbreaking and painstaking toil and burden of planting seed on ground you’ve plowed, planting and seeing no results will be repaid harvest. So the bondage of captivity will “more” than be repaid with a harvest of captives going home. The temporal captivity and return of God’s people looks forward to our Jesus who finally and fully “led captivity captive” [Ephesians 4.8].
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
I noticed, as I was reading II Corinthians 6.16-18 this morning, that on either side of the command to “go out from their midst and be separate” from darkness are the pleasures or benefits that will induce the people of God to separate from that darkness – namely that God will dwell and walk among them, that He will be their God, and that we will be the sons and daughters of our God and Father [Matthew 6.9].My prayer is that I will see and savor Jesus, my superior satisfaction at God’s right hand. These intoxications don't leave you with a hangover the next morning. Edwards puts it this way: “To be happy to all eternity is better than all other good; and to be miserable forever under the wrath of God is worse than all other evil.”Looking forward to prayer meeting and maybe some Armetta's later on!