Monday, September 26, 2011

Illuminating Look Inside One Translation Decision

The Biblical World posted this absolutely fascinating clip, which features a brief edited compilation of the ESV Bible Translation committee discussing the word "slave." This is a rare an interesting treat (if you have quick eyes you can spot J.I. Packer looking sagely and aloof).

The Biblical World has a lengthy post discussing the video so I will redirect you there with a quotation from the source:

 I discovered through facebook that the BBC recently aired a program titled: When God spoke English: The making of the King James Bible. The program is part of the international celebration of the KJV’s 400th anniversary. Unfortunately, the program is not yet available in North America.Part of the program features a 5 minute clip of the ESV committee working at Tyndale House. The topic of the committee’s discussion is how to translate the word slave in the Bible. Pete Williams, warden of Tyndale House, was kind enough to direct me to a youtube clip of the committee’s discussion. It provides a brief look at how translation committees work on difficult issues. I have placed the clip below and then would like to make a few remarks in response to some of the comments made.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Public Reading of Scripture by A.W. Tozer

Til I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. --1 Timothy 4:13

Of course we of this generation cannot know by firsthand experience how the Word of God was read in other times. But it would be hard to conceive of our fathers having done a poorer job than we do when it comes to the public reading of the Scriptures. Most of us read the Scriptures so badly that a good performance draws attention by its rarity.

It could be argued that since everyone these days owns his own copy of the Scriptures, the need for the public reading of the Word is not as great as formerly. If that is true, then let us not bother to read the Scriptures at all in our churches. But if we are going to read the Word publicly, then it is incumbent upon us to read it well. A mumbled, badly articulated and unintelligent reading of the Sacred Scriptures will do more than we think to give the listeners the idea that the Word is not important....

We should by all means read it, and we should make the reading a memorable experience for those who hear. The Next Chapter After the Last, 27.

"Lord, as I read the Scriptures publicly, I am both declaring the very Word of God Himself and drawing people into an experience of worship. Help me never to take that lightly or address it carelessly. Amen."

-A.W. Tozer "Public Reading of Scripture" retrieved from

Monday, September 19, 2011

On Interpreting Scripture - Art Katz

The Bible is another kind of literature. It is utterly unique. I have been a reader all my life long, but there is nothing like the Scripture for conveying depths of meaning in so few words. The scriptures are terse, compact, and intense, and that puts a great demand upon us to draw out the meaning-which is not the least of God’s purposes for giving us the written Word. He wants us to be students of the Word; He wants us to draw out the meaning by the operation of His Spirit and by our dependency upon Him. So much, if not everything, is the issue of revelation. And revelation is the issue of Spirit. And God is not going to give revelation to arrogant personalities, to those who want knowledge only that they may flaunt it, or exhibit it, or show themselves off. The revelations of God are precious, but they are requiring. “To whom much is given, much is required.”

Who of us has not been guilty of misusing the Word of God? We can do this by not accepting the Word of God on its literal face value, but interpreting it in metaphorical and allegorical ways, which is to say spiritualizing the Word of God. There has been more damage done by this liberty than we can ever understand. Once you take that kind of liberty with the Word, of giving it your meaning because it suits your fancy, or it is in keeping with your mindset, what does that do in terms of your relationship with God Himself? “In the beginning was the Word.” God Himself is the Word, and when man exalts himself as God’s interpreter, he always stands in danger of exalting himself above the Word, which is to exalt himself above God. It is deadly. So this issue of correctly drawing out the meaning of the scriptures needs to be done with the deepest reverence for God. Nor is there a single meaning or interpretation for any one text. The Word of God is so rich that it allows for many different applications and meanings.

You can find allegorical meanings. An allegory is where something stands for something else. You take a literal word and you impart to it a spiritual or significant meaning, and there is a place for that, but not a first place. Our first responsibility is to discern God’s literal intention for that word. Allegorical interpretation must never displace the literal interpretation. For example, in the history of the Church, there has been an enormous rejection of the literal statements of God for Israel. I am persuaded that the early church fathers [and later ones!] did not want to see Israel glorified. They did not want to see a restored nation, or that it would become the locus of God’s millennial kingdom and glory, so they interpreted every such reference as to mean the Church; that Zion does not mean a particular location in Jerusalem, but only something symbolic, allegorical, and metaphorical for the Church. Now you can preach wonderful messages that way and inspire the Church, but it would be a pity that in the process of that we have the lost the literal intention of God.

Another reason why literal meanings have been traditionally avoided is that the implication of the literal meaning is too radical in terms of its requirement upon us. So we want to get off the hook, and one way to do that is to give the scriptures a poetic and spiritualized meaning. And so, we have to fight to restore the original intention of God for His Word. What if the word “glory” becomes for us a cliché? Better that our lips were sealed than that we should speak the word rather than cheapening it or demean it by too much and too shallow a reference. When we say we are jealous for the glory of God, we better have a sense of what that glory means, because if it has only become a cliché and a phrase, we will not be capable of the suffering that precedes it. In other words, if we allow the word to lose its real value, we have lost the only thing that would have been the incentive to suffer to have obtained it. This is the nature of truth in God, and let us be jealous to safeguard His word, both in spirit and in truth.

About Art Katz
Washington Times article on his passing.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Scripture Mementos and Fire

The Bible is filled with images of fire. A word search of terms relating to fire renders nearly 1000 entries in the concordance. From judgment fire to Holy Spirit fire, the Bible is filled with symbols of fire. A stream or river of fire flows from the throne of God (Daniel 7:10). In this same fire Jesus immerses believers (Luke 3:16). We are commanded never to quench it (1 Thessalonians 5:19: some translations read, "don't put out the Spirit's fire"). The Holy Spirit fell with tongues of fire on the believers in the book of Acts and the tongues of fire put fiery sermons on their tongues of flesh in all the languages of those present in Jerusalem (Acts 2:2-4). Even as I'm inspired and caught up in the fire and wind of the Holy Spirit, I'm tested and tried in the refiner's fire (Malachi 3:2). Our God is a consuming fire (Deut. 4:24; Heb. 12:29) and the God who answers by fire is God (1 Kings 18:24).


As I desire more of God a passion and hunger grows for a greater zeal and a greater fire for God. Those immersed in fire desire more fire. Those who are filled with fire seek a continual filling with fire. As a project, I printed out the 961 references to fire, fiery, flame, flaming, burn, burnt, burned, burning and read each one of them, highlighting those worth that I felt significant to my life: promises to keep, challenges and warnings to learn, words to inspire.

From the first reference to fire in scripture to the last, it is clear that the image is one of power and intensity. The Bible instructs us that only by passing through fire may we receive from the tree of life (Genesis 3:24) and also that the eternal, fiery wrath of God awaits those who reject the goodness and love of God in Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:8).

As I memorize verses on fire, I picked up a scripture and prayer memento. The Old Testament is filled with physical objects meant to remind the Israelites of aspects of God, aspects of Holiness and aspects of worship. They are only shadows of the reality, but they were meant to be a constant reminder. The fire was meant to always burn on the altar in reminder of the continual, consuming presence of the LORD (Lev. 6:13).

As a memento of God's refining and Holy Spirit fire, I bought a Zippo and carry it with me. Everyday I flick it, sometimes multiple times, and say a quick prayer, "Set me on fire, Lord; more fire; I want to burn for you." I quote the most recent verse on fire that I've been memorizing. Many times this action has brought me conviction of the cold condition of my own heart, of my lack of zeal, of my lack of fire for the lost, for the Spirit, for worship, for holiness. Often times it has comforted me as I realized that the trials and circumstances of life are the testing of my faith and the refining fire of God (1 Peter 1:7).

Earlier this year I wrote of my ministry work:

When men called by God sought victory and Holy fire to combat the enemy, they often found God’s refining fire purging their hearts and reducing them to their core desire for God. The work that God has called me to do here in the city of Hamtramck burdens me with the daily needs of those around me and the heartbreaking dominion of sin and false religion. A popular maxim for ministry in Detroit says, “all you can do is take a bucket of water out of the Detroit River, the rest of the river runs on.” Our ministries and methods may be defeated, but the Holy Spirit is never defeated. God is raising a Gideon’s band, which will march on in the face of the opposition, armed with humility and obedient service. But God has to reduce the army first. He trims away the fat and the flesh. He melts down the ore and pulls out the dross. Those who are fruitful he prunes. Those who are unfruitful he fertilizes. Those who remain unfruitful he cuts down. Our greatest hope and encouragement is an expectation of God’s pruning shears. His refining fire is a promise of His answer by fire.

We possess the glory of God, but we have this treasure in earthen vessels, jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:6-7). We carry the glory and the knowledge of Jesus Christ  within our hearts, but it is contained in our fleshly bodies and human frailty. It is when this vessel is broken that the “surpassing power” pours out. It is the breaking of the outer man and the release of the Spirit. When we are humbled and submitted and our foolish pride and fleshly identity is broken before God, the power and knowledge of Christ and His glory flows from our lives. He does this to display that the origin is from Him and not our own lives. Pride would claim the power and glory for ourselves. It must be broken before the power can be released from within our hearts, where Christ sits on the throne.

When Gideon defeated Midian in Judges 7:16-20, the Lord drastically cut down his army and ordered them to surprise the enemy in this weak condition. The orders were not to attack with weapons or brilliant strategy, but with a pre-emptive shout of victory: a cry of faith in the midst of fear and immense opposition. The symbol of their faith, their noisemaker and the object of their proclamation were torches contained in jars. With a shout, they broke the jars revealing the flaming torches and throwing the enemy into chaos. The enemy was routed and their camp was plundered. When these jars were broken, the fire was released. In our lives the jar of clay, the earthen vessel, our soulishness and flesh, must be broken for the fire to be released. Our personal pride, strength, independence and all other fleshly obstacles must be broken to release the powerful fire of God. In the same way, when the outer ore is purged away in the refining process the true gold is left exposed. Please pray for me as I face many daily trials, but persevere in the promise that in the breaking of my outer man, the fire of God’s glory will be released in my life. The enemy will be routed and hell will be plundered. In the light and heat of the refining fire I look forward to the fire of the Holy Spirit’s work. Let the God who answers by fire be God!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Review: An Essential Guide to Baptism in the Holy Spirit by Ron Phillips

An Essential Guide to Baptism in the Holy Spirit by Ron Phillips is book 1 in a series currently being published by Charisma House on the Foundations of the Holy Spirit. The book is a brief introduction to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and the Charismatic experience as a whole. Phillip's style is bold and clear, but at times rushed. Though only one hundred pages long, the book covers a large amount of doctrines and experiences at times only loosely connected to the central topic of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This book is not meant for skeptics, but I would guess for those who seek to understand their own experiences or are simply seeking more.

The book succeeds the greatest where it stays closest to its main topic. Though hardly a holistic introduction or apologetic to the doctrine, Phillips covers most of the main aspects of the doctrine and is careful to consider an audience not familiar with Charismatic or Pentecostal doctrine or experience. He draws from history and mainline texts to establish credibility and bring the doctrine more in the center of Christian thought and his background as a Southern Baptist pastor grounds his context. He has a talent for explaining things quickly and clearly:

the apostles in Jerusalem had heard that there were some people in Samaria who had "accepted God's message," so they (the apostles) sent Peter and John (Acts 8:14, CEV). When these two mighty apostles from Jesus's inner circle arrived, they prayed with the knowledge that the people in Samaria were already believers, that those same brothers and sisters would be given the Holy Spirit, "for as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." Then, when Peter and John laid hands on these baptized believers, "they received the Holy Spirit" (vv. 15-17). p. 20
This passage leads the reader into the argument and integrates scripture smoothly. By retelling the event in a clear summary, Phillips gives the reader the perspective of how the passage fits into his explanation without cumbersome explanations. At times, this ability is used too much, however, and the arguments feel unsupported and rushed. In addition the most important question for seekers remains unaddressed, namely, "How do I receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit." Most of those who buy this book will find this question important, but I find no specific or general answer in the pages. Phillips includes enough scriptural examples for the reader to deduce for themselves, but any introduction to the doctrine should include this major point.

Though the book does not attempt to be a thorough apologetic, Phillips makes a large amount of unsupported statements and is often incomplete in his arguments. Though I find myself agreeing with much of the book, I was often concerned by what seemed like lazy assertions and loose ends. In addition, the book trails into unnecessary territory, which is where I found myself most at odds with Phillips' doctrine:

Remember also that no matter how social values and mores may change, the Bible is clear that "no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Eph 5:5). This verse makes it clear that immorality does not steal your salvation but limits your blessings. This list is expanded in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, where it states, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers will inherit the kingdom of God." ps. 21-22
This is gross doctrinal error. According to this doctrine practicing homosexuals can continue in a homosexual lifestyle and still be saved. They will only lose blessings in the here and now. This is absolutely incorrect. At best it is a grave mistake in discourse, but at face value it is a grave mistake in doctrine. Anyone who lives a willfully sinful lifestyle, in knowledge of sin but refusing to repent, identifies themselves with sin and is neither saved nor will go to heaven. The phrase "inherit the kingdom of God" absolutely does mean salvation as well as spiritual blessing. This major doctrinal error does not in fact relate directly to the baptism of the Holy Spirit but Phillips includes it and it will completely undermine his credibility for conservative Christians.

While I found that Phillips often succeeded in a concise introduction, the book leaves much to be desired. I wish the 100 pages would have spent more time on the main points of the doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but seeing as this is the first book in a series, a more general introduction to the Charismatic experience, explaining physical manifestations etc. seemed needed. If it weren't for my doctrinal disagreement on the above point, I would have had no trouble recommending the book as a very brief and general introduction to Charismatic doctrine, but most will want a more apologetically sound study. That said, this book is short, concise and very accessible.

My thanks to Charisma House for providing this complimentary copy. I was not required to give a positive review, but an honest review. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Religion of Healing - Dr. Michael Brown

[. . . .] in a very special way, Christianity was the religion of healing.214 Beginning with the miracle stories in the Gospels that were offered as proof of the messiahship of Jesus215 and continuing on through the preaching of the apostles,216 the message was always the same: God through his Son had procured and proclaimed liberty for the captives.217 According to M. Kelsey, "the practices of healing described in the New Testament continued without interruption for the next two centuries,"218 and the apologetic testimony of Justin Martyr is typical:
For numberless demoniacs throughout the whole world, and in your city, many of our Christian men exorcizing them in the Name of Jesus Christ . . . have healed and do heal, rendering helpless and driving the possessing devils out of the men, though they could not be cured by all the other exorcists, and those who used incantations and drugs.219
Even more striking is an account from the apocryphal Acts of John, wherein the apostle reacts with shock when he hears that, out of the women in Ephesus older than sixty years.

only four [are] in good bodily health; of the rest, some are paralytic, others deaf, some arthritic and others sick with divers diseases." And John on hearing this kept silence for a long time; then he rubbed his face and said, "Oh, what slackness among the people of Ephesus! What a collapse, what weakness towards God! O devil, what a mockery tou have made all this time of the faithful at Ephesus! Jesus, who gives me grace and the gift of confidence in him, says to me now in silence, 'send for the old women who are sick, and be with them in the theatre and through me heal them; for there are some of those who come to this spectacle whom I will convert through such healings as have been beneficial.'"220
Even Augustine, who in his early writings "stated quite specifically that Christians are not to look for continuance of the healing gift," decidedly changed his views while completing his magnum opus, The City of God.221 Therefore he wrote:

Once I realized how many miracles were occurring in our own day and which were so like the miracles of old and also how wrong it would be to allow the memory of these marvels of divine power to perish from among our people. It is only two years ago that the keeping of records was begun here in Hippo, and already, at this writing, we have nearly seventy attested miracles.222

The early rabbinic writings also preserve some indirect references to the healing prowess of the early messianic Jewish223 believers, commending one Tannaitic sage who died before he was able to receive healing in the name of Jesus from the "schismatic"224 [. . .] identified as Jacob of Kefar Sama (t. Hul. 2:22-23),225 while reproving another sage who was healed by a min in Jesus' name.226 It is also possible that Rabbi Akiva's exclusion from the world to come (m. Sanh. 10:1)227 of "he who whispers over a wound and says, 'I will put none of the diseases upon you which I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord your Healer" (Exod 15:26)"228 was directed against the contemporary Jewish followers of Jesus.229 In any event, the testimony of the rabbinic sources cited here led S.T. Lachs to conclude, "In Jewish literature these disciples and those who followed them were best known through their healing activity in the name of Jesus."230

-Michael L. Brown, Israel's Divine Healer p. 64-65 (notes from pgs. 292-293)

214. See especially Kelsey, Healing and Christianity; cf. also Jakobovits, Jewish Medical Ethics, 1. As stated by Sigerist, Civilization and Disease, 140, "Medicine was faith healing in the early Christian community."
215. Cf. J.D.G. Dunn, Jesus and the Spirit (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975), 69-76; see below, ch. 5 for further discussion and bibliography.
216. Cf. the sources gathered in E. Frost, Christian Healing: A Consideration of the Place of Spiritual Healing in the Church Today in the Light of the Doctrine and Practice of the Anti-Nicene Church (London: A.R. Mowbray & Co., 1940), and more concisely, Kelsey, Healing, 104-99. Mueller states, "Not only did Jesus heal the sick and drive out demons, the early church as a while was a movement which turned its attention to the situation of the sick in a significant way" (Sickness and Healing, 182).
217. See H.C. Kee, Miracle, 146-73 for the apocalyptic significance of miracles of deliverance; see also Mueller, Sickness and Healing, 116-19; cf. below, 5.2.2, on the Jubilee pronouncement in the gospel of Luke.
218. Kelsey, Healing and Christianity, 129, n. 1.
219. Second Apology to the Roman Senate, cited in ibid., 136. Out of many similar testimonies that could be cited, see Tertullian , To Scapula 4 (in ibid., 137): "And how many men of rank (to say nothing of common people) have been delivered  from devils, and healed of diseases!"
220. Trans. by K Schaferdieck, in W. Schneemelcher, ed., New Testament Apocrypa, trans. R. McL. Wilson (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1992), 2:177. Regardless of the authenticity of this account, it does, of course, reflect the attitude that for the NT church, divine healing was thought of as an expected norm. Cf. further P.J. Achtmeier, "Jesus and the Disciples as Miracle Workers in the Apocryphal New Testament," in E.S. Fiorenza, ed., Aspects of Religious Propaganda in Judaism and Early Christianity (Notre Dame: Univ: of Notre Dame Press, 1976), 149-86.
221. See Kelsey, Healing and Christianity, 184-88
222. Augustine, City of God, 22.8, cited in Kelsey, ibid., 185. See also the important statement in Augustine's Retractions, 1.13.7 (also 1.14.15), cited in ibid., wherein he specifically revises his earlier views.
223. G. Boccaccini has recently argued that "Christianity" be recognized as a "Judaism" (see his Middle Judaism: Jewish Thought, 300 B.C.E. to 200 C.E. [Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991}, with some strictures in the foreword by J.H. Charlesworth, xviii), citing the judgement of scholars who underscore the "Jewishness" of early Christianity (see esp. 13-18; see also the challenge of G. Vermes, Jesus and the World of Judaism [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983], 87-88 for a new "Schurer-type religious history of the Jews from the Maccabees to AD 500 that fully incorporates New Testament data." For further bibliography of related works, cf. M. L. Brown, Our Hands Are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of the "Church" and the Jewish People [Shippensburg, Pa.: Destiny Image, 1992], 233-34, 237-38). Because Christianity quickly developed into a predominantly Gentile religion, at times hostile to its Jewish roots, I believe scholarly references to "Jewish Christianity" may present an unnecessary oxymoronic problem. Terms such as "Messianic Jew/ish" and "Messianic Judaism" may be more appropriate, descriptive and in fact accurate when applied to the first followers of Jesus.
224. Although dated, the standard collection of the relevant rabbinic material is R.T. Herford, Christianity in the Talmud and Midrash (London: Williams & Northgate, 1903); for more recent discussion, cf. L.H. Schiffman, Who Was a Jew? Rabbinic and Halakhic Perspectives on the Jewish-Christian Schism (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav, 1985); C.J. Setzer, Jewish Responses to Early Chrisitians: History and Polemics, 30-150 C.E. (Minneapolis: Ausburg Fortress, 1994).
225. Cf. Schiffman, Who was a Jew?, 68-71 (on the scurrilous name "Yeshu' ben Patira," see the literature cited on pp. 100-101, n.5).
226. See below, nn. 228-229; cf. also t. Hul. 2:21, cited in Schiffman, Who was a Jew?, 64: "We are not healed by them, neither healing of property nor healing of life." (According to one view, this means neither healing of animals nor healing of humans; the other view interprets the phrases in question [. . .] to refer to healing in cases where there is no mortal danger vs. healing in cases involving mortal danger; see p. 99, n. 79.) It is not clear whether miraculous healings by the minnim are included here, or whether the prohibition only countenances medical treatment by the minnim. To this day, the Orthodox rabbinic community has strongly discouraged Jews from receiving ministry from Christian "faith healers" (including Gentile Christian faith healers), seeing that faith in Jesus would be involved. Note the end of a relevant responsum of Rabbi Y.Y. Weiss: "How right were our sages in forbidding us to be cured by a cleric in an unnatural way, even in life-threatening situations. May God send a complete recovery to all the sick in Israel" (see A.Y. Finkel, The Responsa Anthology [Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1990], 178). Weiss states emphatically that the Jew "should use only qualified physicians, prayer to God, and charity," rather than utilize the services of a minister such as Rev. Tony Agapo of Manila, who, according to Rabbi Weiss's questioner, "cures all diseases and plagues and performs surgery without making incisions, just with his hands."
227. This seems to be a later addition; cf. Schiffman, Who Was a Jew?, 41-46, who identifies the core of m. Sanh. 10:1 as a pre-A.D. 70 censure primarily directed against Sadducees.
228. [. . . .]
229. [. . . .]
230. S.T. Lachs, A Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke (Hoboken/New York: Ktav/Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith, 1987), 178, on Mt 10:1, see H. Strack and P. Billerbeck, Kmentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud un Midrash. For a structural-genre analysis of the Talmudic and NT healing stories, cf. D. Noy, "The Talmudic-Midrashic 'Healing Stories' as a Narrative Genre," Koroth 9, Special Issue (1988): 124-46.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Goodness, Power and Hunger (Newsletter)

The last two months have been some of the most difficult times for me since I came to Hamtramck, but among others I hold on to Peter’s words in 1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” I have found constant joy in the promises of Christ and even in the most challenging times I am awed at the kindness and goodness of God. The revelation that changed my life as an emotionally and mentally ill freshman in college was that God actually loved me and was willing to supernaturally reveal His goodness in my life. In the last months, the revelation of His goodness and love has changed me again, opening new places of faith and power in life and ministry.

God’s goodness, His kind and merciful dedication to seek every soul with His love and power, renews my mind as I walk the streets of Hamtramck. The growing knowledge and reality of God’s heart desire to reach every lost sinner with His love and to demonstrate His goodness before a world soaked in evil changes my ability believe and hunger for God to work. God does not desire that any should perish. He desperately wants the fellowship and glory of the souls He created and bought with the precious blood of His Son. Today He is extending His mercy, grace and love to the world, displaying His goodness through the work of the Holy Spirit, the manifestation of His presence and the lives of you and me. Though judgment is being stored up for those who reject His goodness, today is the day of salvation. Today God wants to speak words of truth, love and comfort to a lost and dying world. Today God wants to bear the pain of the lost and hopeless. Today God wants to break the chains of bondage and touch the broken and the sick with His healing hands. Today God wants to show His goodness to the world because today is the day of His favor (Luke 4:19). We are the ambassadors of this reconciliation, the doorway to God’s goodness and power. When we really know and feel the blessing that is in the heart of God for the eternally important souls of this world, it becomes impossible for us to believe that He won’t use us to accomplish miracles in His name.

I have longed and hungered to stand in a place of abiding where I knew that God would use me to reach people and heal the hurt of the world in His name. In the revelation of His goodness, I know He will. Not because of my worth or my power or knowledge or skills in ministry. But because of the burden of His heart to reach every soul. And because I believe. As a lost sinner on my college campus, I believed in God, but I didn’t believe in His grace. I didn’t believe in His goodness and love. When He spoke to me and shed His love abroad in my heart, I believed. As grow in my knowledge of the Father, I grow in my faith in His goodness, kindness and His desire to bless the world with the knowledge of His love. When you believe in the goodness of God, life gains a new logic that enables you to touch the world with God’s good, perfect and pleasing will.

Read the rest of my September Newsletter here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jots and Tittles September 2011

What I Believe from onetimeblind on Vimeo.

Better Bibles Blog features an overview of Dynamic Equivalence.

The Prodigal Thought posts on some favorite books on understanding the Bible and on The Challenge of Hermeneutics.

Present Testimony Ministry posts the Best 100 Academic Christian Books.

Koinonia revisits the question Can an Individual Interpret Scripture?

The Voice of Revolution features 50 Burning Quotes.

Bible Design Blog features a number of posts featuring single column Bibles, introducing the series here.

One of the books I'm currently enjoying: