Friday, December 30, 2011

New Class at Browns Creek Church of God!

This Sunday, January 1, I'm beginning a Sunday School class at Browns Creek Church of God!  Browns Creek is beginning a restart on New Year's Day and I will teach the class.  (Previously the congregation had one adult class; this class will be the second.)  Sunday School begins at 9:30 A.M.

We will discuss what we want to study on Sunday; I pray that God's Spirit moves in great power as we seek holiness!  I named the class, "The Truth Seekers" because that pretty much sums up my view of life.  

In the event that I accept a pastorate my father, who is leading the restart, will take over the teaching responsibilities.

Browns Creek Church of God
2550 Browns Creek Road
St. Albans, WV  25177 

From U.S. Route 60 (Coal Mountain)
Turn onto Browns Creek Road (CR-1) and drive 2.7 miles.  The church will be on your left.

From Coal River Road
Turn onto Browns Creek Road (CR-1) and drive 2.1 miles.  The church will be on your right.

GPS Coordinates to Browns Creek Church  
N 38°21.950'

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Fourth Week of Advent Season!

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25 ESV)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Asbury's Ben Witherington Has Witnessed Miracles

Recently I came across a blog by Asbury Theological Seminary Professor, Dr. Ben Witherington, debating another scholar's conclusions.  What was of serendipitous surprise to me, however, was what Witherington mentioned in the comments section after the blog entry.   He has witnessed miracles.  He had two exchanges with a skeptic concerning miracles.  Witherington wrote:
Well, I am calling your bluff. Many of us have seen real miracles-- miracles of healing, miracles of paranormal phenomena, and yes I've run into someone who was genuinely raised from the dead in Siler City North Carolina-- flat e.k.g., dead for a good while, the whole shmeer. 
I quite agree that all such claims should be carefully scrutinized and you are of course right that there are plenty of gullible people out there. This doesn't mean miracles do not happen. And here's the problem for your point of view. Jesus warned us that believing is what leads to seeing and understanding miracles, not necessarily the other way around. 
I should tell you someday about the phone call my perfectly sane neighbor received from her dead best friend, in the presence of witnesses (woman had been confirmed dead a couple of hours before the phone call in Asheboro hospital). It freaked her smooth and I had to pick up the pieces.
Happy Easter--- and raise your expectations!
After the skeptic responded, Witherington replied:
I'll not have it, and neither should you. The woman in question had her son present in the very room she had the conversation with Mrs. Albright the woman who had been dead for some time. Her son not only was there when the phone rang, his mother told him whom she was speaking to.  
It is quite impossible for friends of 40 or more years to be mistaken for someone else in a 30 minute phone conversation! And her son was 25 years of age, shy and of absolutely sound mind. I am afraid you need to be skeptical of your own skeptism-- and if you will be, you shall be a much happier man by far. 
Of course you are right that the man in Siler City did not have a resurrection body. He was like Lazarus, coming back to this body. And frankly when there is no pulse, no heartbeat, no breathing, no e.k.g, no brain waves of any kind for a long period of time--- the man is dead! Sorry-- you can't blame it on faulty equipment. 
And what exactly would you make of what I saw in a faith healing service where I watched wretchedly deformed persons miraculously healed at Tremont Temple Church in downtown Boston in the late 70s? To see legs lengthened, goiters drop off, enormous deformities healed on the spot--- even the most skeptical would have to be Scrooge indeed to deny it happened. They would have to be willfully closing their eyes! 
So you must really rethink your posture in this matter--- you do not KNOW that we live in a closed materialistic system at all. You just believe we do--- in other words this is faith postulate based on what you take to be sufficient evidence. 
In other words, your posture is no different from mine. Its just my evidence differs from yours.  
Think on these things.
Wow!  Yes, we should be cautious about believing miracle stories but this is Ben Witherington we're talking about, not some sketchy televangelist trying to separate people from their money.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Third Week of Advent Season!

Luke 1:26-38 ESV  In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,  (27)  to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary.  (28)  And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"  (29)  But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.  (30)  And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  (31)  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  (32)  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,  (33)  and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."  (34)  And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?"  (35)  And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy--the Son of God.  (36)  And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.  (37)  For nothing will be impossible with God."  (38)  And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The English Standard Version (ESV) Has Been Updated Again!

I am really behind the curve on this one!  The English Standard Bible (ESV) has been updated for a second time!  My favored translation originally was published in 2001.  I have both it and the 2007 updated edition in print Bibles.  Today I found out that the text was updated in the spring of 2011.  I downloaded the new edition (for free) to be used with the (free) program, theWord.  All is well again in my pulpit!

For a list of changes from the 2007 to 2011 edition click here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Second Week of Advent Season!

This morning I conclude my series, "The Purposes of the Church."  It is fitting that the last purpose to be examined is evangelism.  This ties in nicely with our focus on the heavenly host announcing the good news of the Messiah's birth to shepherds watching their flocks.

Luke 2:8-20 ESV  And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  (9)  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  (10)  And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  (11)  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  (12)  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."  (13)  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,  (14)  "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"  (15)  When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."  (16)  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  (17)  And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  (18)  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  (19)  But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  (20)  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Like the angels we must announce the good news to those who need it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Are We Still Going Together to Make Disciples?

I had a fascinating class at Mid-America Bible College (Now Mid-America Christian University) in Oklahoma City.  It was "Christian Worship."  My professor, Martin Shackleton, was chair of the music department at the time and taught a great class.  Our principal text was A. W. Tozer's The Knowledge of the Holy.

One day we were in for special treat; Martin's father, Frederick G. Shackleton, lectured.  The elder Shackleton taught various disciplines at different colleges throughout his career, including philosophy.  He answered to my satisfaction an age-old dilemma: If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?  Shackleton's answer: God heard it, so it made a sound!

Perhaps he is best known at large today in the Church of God (Anderson) as the writer of the song, Together We Go to Make Disciples.

Are we still doing that?  Have we ever done that?  Do we make disciples?  More than converts—disciples.  Fully matured saints who are stable.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (Ephesians 4:11-15 ESV)
Are we doing this?  Don't over-think this one.  Don't rationalize or excuse away.  Ask yourself: Are we doing this?