Archive for October, 2009

Give Me Confidence in You Lord

and in the desert, where you saw him carrying you along like a man carries his son. This he did everywhere you went until you came to this very place (Deut 1:31).

Father, today help me to see how you have carried me through many deserts like a father who carries his son. Give me confidence in you as I journey down this rugged road of emptiness. Give me fullness Father – like the fullness you gave to Naomi that she might once again be delightful on the earth.

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Textual Criticism in a Nutshell

I have a growing interest in the textual criticism in the New Testament, and I have hopes of pursuing this interest at the doctoral level. However, I realize that some of my readers may be unfamiliar with what exactly textual criticism is – sounds a bit scary to associate the term “criticism” with the Bible, eh?! Don’t be scared. This field of study is very important to maintaining and trusting in the reliability of the New Testament.

Michael Patton over at Parchment and Pen has written a good blog post that helps to introduce the beginner into the TC (textual criticism) world. Check out the link below to read the post which was posted using ShareThis.

Textual Criticism in a Nutshell

Enjoy! Let me know your questions and/or comments about TC. Thank you all for reading and for your support.

In Christ,

Rex

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The Real You

Recently, I joined some buddies for dinner and a movie. We are all sci-fi fans – even though to be such a fan means that one must deal with the occasional film that is drenched in cheese :). I was expecting exactly that when we decided to watch the new Bruce Willis film Surrogates (see trailer above).

The film was fast – often moving forward to advance the story without stopping to explain details. The action was fair; I for one could have used a little more action emphasizing the superhuman abilities of the surrogates – just for fun. However, it is clear that the minds behind the film wanted to keep things moving. Overall, it wasn’t too heavy on the cheese.

I would like to highlight four features that I found incredibly redemptive: 1) Willis’ desire for and commitment to his wife, 2) the exposure of our lack of integrity in the cyber-world, 3) sin is present in humanity and utterly dark when allowed to reach its full potential, and 4) there is something special about being human. It is clear from the beginning that Willis longs for the real presence of his wife in a world that has chosen to live life in a false reality where any one can be anybody (e.g., a fat, ugly guy can pose as a beautiful, blonde woman by means of his surrogate) and anybody can do anything. Morality and accountability become things of the past. For Willis to remain committed to his wife is heroic in and of itself.

Secondly, the viewer is forced to ask, “am I person of integrity when I roam the online community?” Further, “Is the cyber-world my unrestrained playground, or do my convictions and beliefs in reality extend to the virtual world?” A related concern for me as a student pastor is whether or not we are equipping our tweens and teens to “proceed with caution” during their time online. Online strangers aren’t always who they present themselves to be.

Third, our capacity for evil, if left to our own devices, is grotesque. If this isn’t clear in reality, virtual reality is the realm where we feel “safe” giving ourselves over to our desires – because after all, it’s not real right?

Lastly, there is something special about being human. Very basic and simple things often taken for granted in human experience are so vivid in the film: seeing one another, hearing one another’s voice, touching one another. There is something special – divine even – about humans in relationship with one another. During premarital counseling, Pastor Jim Riggle at Shawnee Hills Baptist Church in Jamestown, Ohio looked me straight in the eyes and urged me, “When you get in the car and realize that the gas gauge is on ‘E’ because Aimee used your car yesterday, I want you to say, ‘That’s my Aimee.'” I try to make it a habit of taking note my wife’s “That’s my Aimee” habits. These are the things I would miss so much if she were not with me. There is something indeed special about being human and being in relationship. Thank you God, and thank you that relationship both with you and with other humans is being reconciled through your Son, Jesus Christ.

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Life As A Student

From a journal entry on January 30th, 2009:

Do everything without grumbling or arguing… (Philippians 2:14)

While drinking my Starbucks this morning, I came to a conclusion: I love being a student of the word of God.  I love getting to learn Hebrew and Greek so that I am better able to understand what it is that God has communicated to us.  It excites me to see something new in the text about God or about God’s activity in history or in the spiritual life that I had never before discovered.  It thrills me to recognize grammatical patterns in the text.  I even get a high from digging through Wallace’s 33 various genitive categories!  O.k., this might be going too far.  But in all seriousness… What a joy!  What a privilege!
Then why is it that sometimes I find myself moaning and groaning about assignments, reading, parsing, vocabulary, etc.?  I am pretty certain that it is because sin still remains in me and is resistant to the transformation brought about by the Spirit working through the word of God in order to make me into a shining luminary in this present generation.  Laziness, procrastination and an onslaught of other things are found in the “tool-box” of the flesh and are used to sabotage spiritual formation.  I pray for myself and my fellow students at DTS that God would save us from the wake of grumbling and arguing that follows the path of the flesh so that we may be people whose hearts burn for the word of God.

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