Friday, March 21, 2008

Please Pray for My Friend's Daughter

I would like to ask for your prayers for a very good friend's daughter. This has happened suddenly and I do not have permission from him to be very specific. His teenage daughter is mentally retarded and has been confined to a wheelchair for neary all her life. This past week she caught the flu and had a hard time battling it. It caused her to have several strokes and it has left her clinically dead. She is on life support and they will reevaluate her condition on Monday and will probably let her go. This is a very difficult time for all, especially her older brother.

God bless you, my friends, and thank you for your prayers. Please lift up this precious family.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Contradictions in the Bible?

I have been engaged in quite a discussion at one of the political blogs I peruse and the topic of contradictions in the Bible came up. A fellow out there named Joe asked one commenter to address four particular contradictions and he flatly refused. After a discussion with the fellow why he refused, Joe asked if I would be amenable to discussing the contradictions and I agreed. Joe's question and my responses are cut and pasted below. How would you respond? How could I have responded better? I was painstakingly brief and may have in my attempt to use an economy of words overlooked something.


Joe--I copied these from the comment you made. That way we won't have to keep scrolling back.

1. Did Jesus baptize anyone?
John 3:22 says yes, John 4:2 says no.

2. When Jesus first gave the 12 apostles powers of healing and sent them forth, how did he tell them to dress?
Matthew 10:10 and Luke 9:3 says he told them to go barefoot and without a staff. mark 6:8-9 says he told them to wear sandals and bring nothing BUT a staff.

3. What were the names of the 12 apostles?
Of the four lists (Matt 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16 and Acts 1:13), all agree on 11 of the names. However, Matthew and Mark list the 12th apostle as Thaddeus, while Luke and Acts name Judas brother of James (a second Judas, not Iscariot).

4. How many believers were there at the time of the ascension?
Acts 1:15 says they numbered 120, but 1 Corinthians 15:6 says over 500.

My responses (I’ll try to be brief.):

1. In context, a dispute had arisen between John’s disciples and Jesus’ disciples, instigated by the Pharisees (4:1) because Jesus had baptized more than John. This would be in keeping with the gradual diminishing of John’s ministry in favor of Christ’s which John testified would happen (3:30). To reconcile 3:22 and 4:1, many commentators of 150 years ago (the contemporary commentaries I have on John do not address the apparent contradiction) agree that the baptisms of 3:22 took place not by the literal hands of Christ but by the hands of His disciples. The disciples baptized by His orders and directions (4:2) for as Matthew Henry remarks, “his disciples' baptizing was his baptizing. Holy ordinances are Christ's, though administered by weak men.”

2. One helpful way to look at the Gospels are as photo albums. They should not be expected to line up in every detail. If you and I were to take snapshots of the same event it would be from two differing perspectives. What may stand out to you may not be important to me. In many ways the Gospels are incongruous yet what is reported fits with the individual writer’s purpose. Each account stresses to take next to nothing on the journey, emphasizing the disciples’ dependence upon God for provision for the journey. Perhaps Mark made a minor adaptation that would have fit with his Roman audience’s understanding, or perhaps a different geographical setting that would have been important to Mark specifically.

3. All commentaries agree that Judas brother of James and Thaddaeus are one in the same man. I am no textual critic, but there is a variant in the Greek texts of this verse and quite possibly Thaddaeus is a corruption of Judas in the Greek. In some Greek manuscripts, Thaddaeus is actually Lebbaeus. My conjecture would be that these are nicknames, possibly of devotion or endearment, that the individual authors would have been aware of.

4. Acts 1:3 says that Christ remained on earth forty days after his resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:6 gives no specific time frame of when Christ was seen during that time but only that 500 people saw him at once. So the two events, 120 seeing Him at the ascension and 500 people seeing him at another time, are mutually exclusive.

Those are my take!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Happy with My Affliction

My good blogging friend Selah V blogged here about being content with one's affliction. After the week I had last week, I found the asking of the question, Are you happy with your affliction? almost insulting.

If I had a worst enemy, I would not wish an ear infection upon whomever that may be. It has been a nightmarish week, but a week that has reminded me of some things that I needed to be reminded of. I have been reminded of the love of the people of God.

Had I not come down with an ear infection, we would not have been the recipients of such unbelievable displays of God's tenderness and grace through His people. Two men hogtied me and took me to the ER last Sunday afternoon; many of the saints from the new church I serve called to check on us (one dear lady has called daily); one gentleman took me to the doctor on Wednesday so we would not have to get all the children out in the cold; and some have prepared meals to make it easier on my sweet wife, who has been unfalteringly sweet to me.

Honestly, we feel part of the new church. We feel like we belong. We feel like part of the family. In this way, God has moved in my heart and showed me how the people of God are supposed to care for one another. This has been a pleasant experience, though bitterly painful physically.

I also have been reminded of the unfailing goodness of God. Even in the midst of a nasty ear infection, glimpses of God's goodness shined through. When my three year old crawled in the bed with a stack of books content to lay beside me and look at them, knowing there was no way on this planet I could read them. Honeybunny Funnybunny was going to have to wait and she knew it. Or waking up and finding a picture on the nightstand, drawn lovingly by a five year old so daddy would feel better. And the get well cards--all drawn on yellow legal paper. They could have been drawn on the back of a brown grocery bag and I wouldn't have cared.

And this may sound cheesy and if so, so be it. As I lay in my bed, I could look out the window and see the steeple of the church. It was a constant source of encouragement and a reminder of God's love and the love of the people of God. It also reminded me that God's church is much more--so much more--than just a red brick building (with a white steeple).

Yes, God is good. Plus, the response and movement of the Spirit in my own soul as I preached both services today was overwhelming . I love to preach--I cannot lie. I believe God has called me and put a passion in my heart to teach and preach His word and being out of the pulpit caused a gnawing in my bones. Right now, the folks are getting Acts on Sunday morning and Genesis on Sunday evening. God has blessed and I believe He will continue. I am thankful for a responsive congregation and folks that enjoy talking about the Word.

Also, I am reminded of the unfailing love of a woman. My sweet wife has put up with a lot this past week. Second to God, I owe her an enormous debt of gratitude. Thanks, honey!

Occasionally, it takes something serious to be reminded of some key things about God. Perhaps next time I won't have to stare at the inside of my bedroom (in pain) for a week to figure those things out.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Human Again!

I want to thank everyone for their prayer support over the past several days. I woke up this morning and an odd thing had occurred--I felt HUMAN again! Yesterday was the most worrisome day of all as evidently some of the crud started to drain out of my ear. It made me dizzy and muddle-headed. I couldn't walk in a straight line, I couldn't focus, and worst of all I was beastly snippy at the children.

I am still a little stuffed up today but I believe the ear infection has dealt its worst blow as the steroids and antibiotic have knocked it for a loop instead of me. For three days I have been humming the little diddy Human Again from Disney's Beauty and the Beast (by far one of Disney's better animated creations). This song was not included in the original theatrical version (for several reasons) but in a re-release on DVD. I don't care much for the song but it accurately describes how I feel right now. After enjoying the three minute flick, take a moment and answer my questions that follow. Many, many thanks to all of you.

I have been considering my blogging out here at The RP. It is something that I have enjoyed immensely but as of late have not found any desire to write with the same tenacity that I once did. I find myself doing most of my blogging out at The RP2. However, I wanted to poll your opinion of this site, if in fact you still read out here, even though I have not posted anything beyond trivialities in quite some time. So, what do you think? Would you like to see more theology posts, family posts, homeschooling, what??? I need help in that regard and would like to hear from you, if you are so inclined and have the time. Many blessings!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I Need Prayer, Please...

This past Saturday I got up with a debilitating ear infection and there seems to be no particular end in sight. I have never felt a pain like that. It started inside my ear, worked its way toward the top of my head, down into my jaw, and further down into my throat. I was unable to preach either Sunday service.

Two sweet, sweet men from the church took me to the Emergency Room. The doctor told me my ear looked bad if I was two, even worse for being thirty-five. I got a shot with an eight foot needle and about a gallon of antibiotic. As another church member chided me, at least the tip was not square pointed. :)

It hurts to laugh, talk, smile, think, read, even to look at this monitor. My kids have been really sweet to me though. Everyone needs kids like mine.

So, all that being said, please pray for me. I need to feel better. Thanks.