Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Praise The Lord!

I have been living with pain in my right hip for almost a year and a half now. It had been getting progressively worse until I started physical therapy and seeing a Doctor of Osteopathy. These seem to have helped a bit over the last 2-3 months. I have seen 5 doctors and been more frustrated with this than anything I have had to go through in my entire life. Last Saturday I found a sample of something my mom used to use, it is called Biofreeze and we put it on my hip and it seemed to relieve the pain a bit. Lisa called a chiropractor here, my mom used to get it from her chiropractor, and we found one who was not open on Saturdays, apparently the phone number was his cell, but he agreed to go to his office and sell us a tube. I found this odd but chalked it up to "southern hospitality" and we drove over to his office about a mile from our new home. The doctor pulled into the lot next to us just minutes after we arrived. He got out of the car, looked at me reclined in the passenger seat, and said "You're in pain aren't you?" I said yes and he told me to get out of the car. We went into his office and he did some "voodoo" magic that consisted of my putting my right hand on different muscles and seeing if I could resist his pushing down my left arm, him mumbling to himself, getting out a cylindrical steel instrument that seemed to work on the same principal as a retractable pen, thumping me on the hip with it 3 or 4 times and then telling me to walk. I was dumbfounded, I could walk upright, without my cane and, most importantly, without pain!

It did not last long but I went back today for an appointment, he adjusted me, thumped me on the hip again with his cylindrical miracle instrument and I was pain free. I have to say I will be going back to this worker of God's true healing power until I am completely well, which he says will happen. He said his wife had the same thing, they are both chiropractors, for eight years before he ran across and article in a journal that introduced him to this wonder tool. All I can say is I was pretty sure we moved to Mississippi because I am called to preach the gospel, but I am absolutely sure I ended up at RTS because this 68 year old, semi-retired chiropractor happened to providentially practice a mile from the seminary. Praise the Lord for sure!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Welcome To Jackson Mississippi!

My wife and I were on our way home from opening our account at a local Credit Union when we were inexplicably diverted from our road. So we turned around and went down to 80 and made our way to a street that would put us straight into the seminary grounds. As we were driving we noticed several police going in a couple of different directions after a police car passed us on our right while heading east on 80. The police car that passed us on 80 did not have its lights on, which did not strike us as unusual until this evening. After that car had passed us we saw at least 25 police cars with lights flashing, sirens going, and driving as fast as they could. When we made it back to the seminary we found out that a Jackson police officer had been shot less than a mile from the seminary by two men who had robbed a title office. As we sat here this evening discussing the day's events it occurred to me that the police car that passed us did not have its lights on and was driven by and African-American man without a hat, don't ask me why I noticed this I don't know, so I concluded it was one of the alleged perps, always wanted to say that, who had taken the downed officers car and made his way down to where we were and just a bit further south before he was apprehended. My wife was shocked at the realization. All my Greek prof could say was "Welcome to Jackson!" He also mentioned he had lived in California, Boston, Louisville, England, and Mississippi and by far Mississippi was the most foreign. More foreign than England!!! Yes indeed, welcome to Jackson Mississippi.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Must We Know The Original Languages?

This question comes up time and time again in conversations I have had with various people. I think if you are going to pastor a church, it is non-negotiable. You will be the final word on the Word Of God for many, many people and if you cannot give a definitive answer you should not be in that position.

Let me give an example. We will look at Deuteronomy 24:5 in two of the more popular translations of the day.
First the NIV:
5 If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.

Now the ESV:
5 “When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.

Look at the italicized part of both translations. Which one is it? Is the man supposed to make his wife happy or make himself happy? Now I know this does not impinge on any essential doctrines but still, if a congregant wants an answer and you can't provide one you will be doing those you are to shepherd a disservice.

Oh, you want to know which one is right? Ok, in this case the NIV happens to have it right. Now don't throw out your Reformation Study Bible and go out and purchase a Ryrie Study Bible, this is an exception rather than the rule. It appears the ESV just brought over an old error from the RSV. You will find the ESV right much more often than the NIV.

This is just the first of hopefully many lessons from "Things I Learned In Seminary." Hope this helps.

In Christ

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I Meant No Offense

So today we received a nice letter from First Pres. the church we attended last Sunday. It was very nice and Ligon Duncan even put a personal note in at the end, if I remember correctly he said something about reading the blog post. I have never written about someone and had them read it, so now I had to scramble to the computer to remember what I said. Okay, I know I would not say more but I almost feel obligated now, the sermon was very good. It was on Psalm 92, and there was plenty of application, it just, in my opinion, was not overtly a historical-redemptive sermon, the kind I have become used to from my pastors from Iowa and St. Louis. Boy do I feel like I am trying to take my foot out of my mouth. I guess this does give me and opportunity to lay out the diagnostic I use one more time.

It is three parts:

1) Is Jesus mentioned? Don't laugh you could listen to Joel Osteen for months and never hear the Lord mentioned once.

2) If He is mentioned, is He the subject of the verbs? Is He doing the acting or is He being acted upon? Does He drive the verbs?

3) If He is mentioned and is the subject of the verbs, what are those verbs? Is Jesus making you happy? Making you healthy? Making you wealthy? Or is He living a righteous life we can never live, suffering on the cross to pay for our sins and rising from the dead on the third day assuring us of eternal life?*

That's it, if the sermon you are listening to passes this little diagnostic you most definitely are listening to a Christ-centered, cross-focused sermon.

*Of course this time the attention garnered by this post makes it appear this is my diagnostic. I have posted this many times previously and this is the first time I did not give proper credit. This is a diagnostic developed by Todd Wilken and can again be heard on the Issues etc. radio show.