BETA

Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women

Archive for June, 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

CONSIDER THIS FRESH PRESENTATION OF THE GOSPEL:+

SINS PRESENCE:  The need for Good News (e.g. the Gospel) assumes a bad situation: Sin has entered each of our lives: John 8:7 – [Religious leaders] kept at [Jesus], badgering him. He straightened up and said, The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone."  (In presenting this truth, read the entire passage of John 8:1-11).  Romans 3:23b – We’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us.  (See Rom. 11:32; Gal. 3:22; 1 Jn. 1:8-10)

SINS POWER:  Sin is a power that controls us and shapes our destinies:  Romans 6:22 – The charge [is] that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin  (Rom. 3:9b) But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 

  We are helpless by ourselves to overcome its grip on our lives: Romans 7:21 24 – So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (See Psa. 40:12; Isa. 6:5; Rom. 7:15, 17-19)

SINS PENALTY:  We are doomed to eternal death:  Romans 5:12 – Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death.  Romans 6:23a – You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we’re infirst sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death.  (See Ezek. 18:20; Jms. 1:15; Rev. 20:14)

GODS INTERVENTION:  God has mediated on our behalf through Jesus who has come to seek us out so that we may respond to Gods grace:  Luke 15:1-10 Jesus account of the shepherd rescuing the one lost sheep. Luke 19:10 – For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."  (See Ezek. 34:16; Lk. 5:31; Rom. 5:6)

GODS GRACE:  Jesus overcame sins power, offering us forgiveness:  John 1:14 – The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  Romans 6:14 – For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. Mark 2:5 – When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, Son, your sins are forgiven."  (See Rom. 6:18,22; 8:2-4; Gal. 5:1; 1 Tim. 1:14-16)

After presenting the above truths, ask:

  • Do you understand what we have just read?
  • Do you have any questions?
  • Would you like to be forgiven of your sins and know that you have eternal life? If he answers yes, ask:
  • Would you join me in reading Revelation 3:20? Read and explain the verse. 
  • Are you ready now to turn from your sin, receive Christ as your Savior, and follow him as your Lord?  If he says yes, lead him in a simple prayer of repentance, inviting Christ to enter his life.

Read and explain his assurance of salvation from I John 5:11,12.

+ Adapted from Holeman Bible Dictionary, Copyright 1991 Holman Bible Publishers ++All Scripture is taken from The Message

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

RESOURCES FOR BIBLE STUDY, ONE BYTE AT A TIME+

RESOURCES FOR BIBLE STUDY, ONE BYTE AT A TIME+

Internet Resources for Bible Study

www.bible.org

The NET Bible, a public domain translation with numerous footnotes

  Hundreds of essays on biblical and theological topics

www.crosswalk.com

22 Bible versions

Interlinear and parallel bible functions

Public domain commentaries, dictionaries, and reference works

Greek and Hebrew tools

Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

Creeds, confessions, and catechisms

www.biblegateway.com

16 Bible versions, including NIV, NIV-UK, and Amplified

Parallel Bible function

IVP New Testament commentaries

  Numerous foreign language versions

www.bible-history.com

  Numerous resources and links to pictures, maps, timelines, and historical information

www.ccel.org

  An extensive collection of classic Christian literature

www.holylandphotos.org

Photos of biblical sites in the Middle East

www.studylight.org

32 bible versions

Parallel bible function

Public domain dictionaries, commentaries and reference works

  Greek and Hebrew tools

www.unboundbible.org

9 bible versions plus Greek and Hebrew texts

Parallel bible function

Greek and Hebrew tools

Some public domain commentaries and dictionaries

  Numerous foreign language versions

Software Packages

Software

System

Characteristics

BibleWorks

www.bibleworks.com

PC

Excellent for working with original languages

Extensive collection of versions (including Greek and Hebrew, foreign language versions)

Some important reference works

Not expandable

E-Sword

www.e-sword.net

PC

Simple user interface, powerful search engine

Many resources available for download, free

Bibles, dictionaries, commentaries, maps

Multi-language including Greek, Latin, Slavic & Asian languages

Gramcord for Windows

AcCordance

www.gramcord.org

PC

Mac

Excellent for working with original languages; many versions and reference works

Many add-ons available

Logos library System

www.logos.com

PC

Premier expandable library program with enormous add-on capabilities

Olive Tree

www.olivetree.com

Palm

PocketPC

Best PDA bible program available

Greek, Hebrew, Strongs Concordance, many languages and versions

Support for Gramcord

PC Study Bible

www.biblesoft.com

PC

Many bible versions and reference works, some commentaries

Greek edition (capable of lemma search) available with reference tools

Some add-on capabilities

QuickVerse

www.parsonschurch.com

PC

Good basic program with many versions and reference works, some commentaries

Some add-on capabilities, including Greek edition with reference tools

Wordsearch

www.wordsearchbible.com

PC

Compatible with add-ons from many other programs

Hundreds of add-ons available

Zondervan Bible Study Library

www.zondervan.com

PC

Mac

A library of reference works centered around the NIV Study Bible

Many versions including Greek and Hebrew Bibles

Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary and NIV Compact Dictionary of the Bible

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

SHOE LEATHER OBSERVATIONS OF MODERN LIFE+

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.


We laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.  We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life.  We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.  We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

 

 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? (Matt. 16:26 NIV)

 


We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.  We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

This should be your ambition: to live a quiet life St. Paul (I Thes. 4:11a NLT)

 


These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom

 

"Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12:15b)

 

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.  Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent. Remember, to say, I love you to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

 

 Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantlyThe best of the three is love St. Paul  (I Cor. 13:13b Msg)

 

+ Adapted from George Carlin

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

THE ONE THING (Part #2)

THE ONE THING (Part #2)

The Lord said to her, Martha, dear friend, you are so upset over all these details! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it–and I won’t take it away from her!"  (Lk. 10:41b, 42 Living) The Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says, Only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it. (Isa. 30:15 NLT)

A couple of days ago I had coffee with an old warrior in the faith who is heavily involved in helping men and women in their walk with God. As we chatted, I sensed a weariness bordering on staleness. It was as if the thing he loved the most, helping people toward Christ, was slowly draining the vitality and life from his bones.

The over sensitive conscience can easily be exploited by a false feeling of guilt, and an unrealistic standard of ministry performance. This responsive conscience can become unduly burdened with a sense of obligation to fix everyone and everything. Left unchecked, the pressure of these forces upon our lives can and will stifle the Spirit of God from freely flowing through us in order to renew and empower us as His instruments. In time we can easily feel manipulated and exploited by people, and by forces outside our control. Increasingly, we may experience a sense of resentment, a paralyzing feeling of disconnectedness, isolation, fragmentation, loneliness and anger.  In time we will become depressed, lose heart, and grow cynical. And probably we will withdraw from a life of fruitful ministry. 

The tempering and balancing factor in our lives must be the sweet pursuit of knowing the Master.  In fact, it must possess us. It must intoxicate us. It must become our magnificent obsession. At the center of truly knowing Him, of developing intimacy with Him is learning to listen to the voice of God in an atmosphere of unrushed solitude, only made possible by creating space in our lives from the noise and pressure of the world and ministry. The fundamental nature of the ministry must be born out of the One Thing, rather than the One Thing being relegated to a supplementary place of relevance to our busyness and ministry.

We in the Western world tend to be highly cognitive, systematic, and rationalistic in our thinking and in our approach to spiritual formation/growth. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with these patterns of thought. But when they are out of balance in relationship to the contemplative life, they rob us from experiencing a deeper level of intimacy with Jesus. It is important.  Noit is imperative that we learn the delicate balance between the cognitive processes of the mind, and the sensitive response of the heart to the Spirits prompting. I am suggesting to you that there is a Spirit guided intimacy a mystical intimacy if you please, with Him that He desires for us, but we must put ourselves in a position where He can lead us into that experience with Him. (Jn. 16:13)  Information based as we are, we run the risk of gathering too much information/knowledge and thereby choking out the Spirit and the quiet voice of GodChoking out the sweetness of His healing and loving touch that needs to reach us at our very core. There are times, I have discovered when He gently impresses upon me to put the Book awayturn off the light, and be still before Him. (Psa. 46:10).  Perhaps just listenand wait. Or simply allow Him to love me. Or engage my heart in worship.

The other morning after a period of time meditating on chapter 27 of Matthew, (which is about Jesus at the cross) I sensed the Spirit of God prompting me to stop. Close the Book. Turn out the light and go over to my easy chair. To be still in order to allow the Holy Spirit to guide me to enter into experiencing and understanding in a measure – the agony of the cross.  The intensity of that experience is cheapened by even attempting to share it. But it was intense in its pain, as somehow He allowed me to enter into the heart of God and the agony of His Son at the cross.

QUESTION:  Are you allowing the ministry and other distractions to slowly deplete you, or are you balancing lifes demands with adequate time alone with God?