Sep 18 2014

Pastor Patrick - Never On A Sunday: A Morbid Taste for Bones – A Review

A Morbid Taste for BonesbyEllis Peters(aka Edith Pargeter)A ReviewIt has been years since I first heard of Brother Cadfael – a character on the PBS (nee BBC) TV series of the same name.  I had enjoyed the TV series; but in the middle of its Americ…

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/09/a-morbid-taste-for-bones-a-review/

Sep 18 2014

Pastor Patrick - Never On A Sunday: NIV First-Century Study Bible – A Review

NIV First-Century Study Bible



Notes By
Kent Dobson


A Review


This study Bible would attract me when seen on the shelf, but with a little bit of use, I would be less than satisfied.  Though the title makes it clear that its focus is the “first century”, the sub-title suggests that the book will “explore Scripture in its Jewish and early Christian context.”  However, I found that the focus on the notes is only on the New Testament – not the whole Bible.  
As is my practice when reviewing a new study Bible, I examine the text where I am currently studying – today this is the book of Joel in the Old Testament.  There are few notes on the text as a whole.  There is an one-page essay focusing on Joel 2:28 – but this is the only extended comment in the entire book.  There are six footnotes on a four individual versus – three of these drawn from Joel 1:6.  I see no quotes from pre-Christian authors or the early church fathers discussing the contents of the book.  Cross references are few and contained only in the six footnotes . 
Aside from the footnotes, many of the sidebars are brief (i.e. very brief) word studies.  For example, a sidebar connected with Luke 16:23 includes a 20 word comment on the meaning of “hades”. 
Study Helps found at the end of the book are a bit more helpful.  Beginning with a one page “Table of Weights and Measures”, these notes are followed with a rather complete set of Endnotes organized by Bible book and a reference number.  There is no clear way to follow an individual Endnote back to its source in the body of the book.  The Endnotes are followed by a Bibliography of source material.  Given the Endnotes and the Bibliography, this Study Bible includes better reference to the source material than most study Bibles I have reviewed.  The Endnotes and Bibliography occupy 15 pages of small-print text.  A good addition to the book.
Notes are indexed and a glossary are included.  The index is keyed by topic to the scripture reference.  The Glossary is a bit technical – probably more helpful to the college student or college educated layman.  Some of the entries are biographical, others are technical terms used to describe sections of scripture or historical documents underlying scripture’s history.  Sadly, there are no references to where these terms might be found in the body of the book.  
The best addition to the Study Helps is a lengthy and complete Concordance.  The Concordance includes brief definitions, parallel terms, and extensive references for each entry.  Though not a complete concordance (see Strong or Young for that), but it is better than that found in many books of similar size.  
The book ends with the necessary Bible maps – 14 of them.  Well-done and in color, but not particularly special.  
Is this the first Study Bible I would want to have on my shelf – NO!  Would it be a worthy edition to have as part of an extended set – MAYBE.  I would like to see more primary material from first century writers.  I have grown to appreciate the early Christian fathers – but this book does not introduce them to me.
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This review is based on a free copy of the book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/09/niv-first-century-study-bible-a-review/

Sep 18 2014

thoughtfulpastor: Denton Mystery Worship Two: The Subtle Seduction #UMC

A very lovely woman greeted me and my friend after the 9 am worship service at Denton Bible Church, located on University Drive east of TWU. She eagerly asked, “What did you think about it?” I hesitated for a moment, looking for the right words to express my heart and mind and finally said, “It…

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/09/denton-mystery-worship-two-the-subtle-seduction-umc/

Sep 18 2014

ClergySpirit: October Mercy Street: Embracing Mental Health

See the video, Embracing Mental Health with Gregg Taylor.Mercy Street Info 

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/09/october-mercy-street-embracing-mental-health/

Sep 18 2014

Disciple Dojo - JMSmith.org: Avoiding cult-like groups that use Biblical-sounding language

How can we identify such teachers or movements? There’s no cookie-cutter method for delineating between unlearned zeal and full-fledged cultishness. However, here are a few points I find helpful to keep in mind when encountering such people…

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/09/avoiding-cult-like-groups-that-use-biblical-sounding-language/

Sep 18 2014

UM & Global: Servants among the Nations: John Nuessle on Grace Upon Grace: A World Transformed by Grace

Today’s post is the latest in a series of posts that are re-examining the mission document of The United Methodist Church, Grace Upon Grace (Nashville: Graded Press, 1990). Various United Methodist mission professors and practitioners are re-examining this theological statement and how it can inform our corporate life in The United Methodist Church today. This piece is written by Rev. Dr. John Nuessle, retired from the leadership staff at the General Board of Global Ministries. Dr. Nuessle is commenting on the tenth section of the document, “A World Transformed By Grace.” Use the “Grace Upon Grace” tag to identify other posts in this series.

Servants defined as agents of God’s liberating and reconciling grace among the nations.  What a fantastic statement of Christian calling!  I could say quite a bit about what it means to be agents of liberation and reconciliation. I think, however, that the real essential genius of this passage, if not of the whole of Grace Upon Grace, is the recognition that transformed people in a transformed world are not simply a collection of nicely converted individuals, but rather our goal is to transform whole “people groups,” or in the Biblical term, “the nations.”  We are called to serve as agents of God’s liberating and reconciling grace among the nations, meaning that our call is to whole ethnic communities and affinity groups of God’s people.  All our efforts and focus as Christians should be toward offering grace to both whole people and whole nations – to all the persons in a self-identified cultural context, who thus see themselves as a unique whole.

So often our well intentioned efforts and strategies in mission and evangelism are focused on the old…and very theologically incorrect…idea of “winning them one by one.”  This style of Christian mission results either in total failure (very often), or in the creation of a strange type of Christian church in which everyone is out to get to heaven on their own good behavior, a perverse style of faith expression that is all too common in the United States.  Heaven help us if we continue to promote individualistic believers who only worship a God who is like themselves.

The call of this section of Grace Upon Grace is the same call to our mission and evangelism work that is found throughout the Scriptures.  That is, to call groups of humans into Christian community this is interconnected with all other Christian communities.  This is the New Creation Paul preaches.  This is how we relate people to their contexts and with interconnected contexts globally, a real witness to the whole Body of Christ, not a collection of body parts.

The work of the General Board of Global Ministries, in cooperation and collaboration with mission-supporting annual conferences and congregations globally, is toward development of  new faith communities – church growth if you will – and is always an effort to establish the church in a whole nation or among an entire ethnic-based contextual setting.  We have not gone forth seeking “individual converts” that would make “individualistic Christians,” a clearly un-Biblical notion.  We sought to call groups – families, villages, affinity groups, etc – into gathered Christian worshipping and serving communities of faith.  These localized communities would always be quickly interconnected with other similar bodies in nearly areas, as much as possible.  As the call of Christ in Acts 1:8, witnessing to the whole Word of God for the whole people of God, in Jerusalem (local), Judea and Samaria (nation), and to the ends of the Earth.

In all this we are servants of the community of God, known to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, whose grace is unreservedly shared with all who would be open to receive this new life.  Transformed; reconciled; leaving behind the old ways and old life of personal gain, individual seeking, and privatized faith.  We move into a bright new world of servants seeking to serve God and one another with justice, mercy, and forgiveness.

Is this an easy process?  Not on your life, new or otherwise!  It is likely the most difficult series of tasks and responsibilities we can encounter.  And this is partly because the cultural ground – the contexts of living – for all of us keeps moving and changing.  Just when we think we are on solid footing with our church plans and programs, with our strategies and methodologies, we discover that none of these any longer work.  We live in a dynamic world which requires our constant reassessment and evaluation of our life of faith and engagement in God’s Mission.

That’s why we have grace.  God loves us unconditionally, and then calls us to keep at it.  What a Mighty God We Serve!  What powerful Grace is ours, heaped Upon Grace.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/09/servants-among-the-nations-john-nuessle-on-grace-upon-grace-a-world-transformed-by-grace/

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