Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Evangeliad (28:1-4)

Section 28:1-4 (corresponding to John 7:2-5)

The time of year turned to the Feast of Booths,
When Israelites, from elders to youths,
Made pilgrimage upward to Zion's slopes
And around the city made tents their homes.

Now Jesus' brothers, who had their doubts
On the way that Jesus was going about
Presenting his claims to be the Christ-king
Amid small-town, backwater happenings,

Urged him to travel on up to the feast,
Saying, "Go to Judea; there, at least,
Your disciples can see your deeds among crowds;
You can't whisper soft and be heard aloud.

If you're going to do this, do it right,
Out there in public, yes, out in the light!
If Messiah is here, God's plan unfurled,
Then surely he'd show himself to the world!"

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Photo of the Week


Magnificent, marvelous, matchless love,
Too vast and astounding to tell,
Forever existing in worlds above,
Now offered and given to all.
Oh, fountain of beauty eternal:
The Father, the Spirit, the Son,
Sufficient and endlessly generous--
Magnificent, marvelous, matchless love!
Creation is brimming with thankfulness,
The mountains, exultant they stand;
The seasons rejoice in Your faithfulness,
All life is sustained by Your hand.
You crown every meadow with color;
You paint every shade in the sky;
Each day the dawn wakes as an encore of
Magnificent, marvelous, matchless love.

- from a hymn by Matt Papa

Monday, May 29, 2023

Quote of the Week

"Nothing is more noble, nothing more venerable than fidelity. Faithfulness and truth are the most sacred excellences and endowments of the human mind."

- Cicero

Friday, May 26, 2023

A Prayer from Martin Luther

Behold, Lord,
An empty vessel that needs to be filled.
My Lord, fill it.
I am weak in faith;
Strengthen thou me.
I am cold in love;
Warm me and make me fervent
That my love may go out to my neighbor.
I do not have a strong and firm faith;
At times I doubt and am unable to trust thee altogether.
O Lord, help me.
Strengthen my faith and trust in thee.
In thee I have sealed the treasures of all I have.
I am poor;
Thou art rich and didst come to be merciful to the poor.
I am a sinner;
Thou art upright.
With me there is an abundance of sin;
In thee is the fullness of righteousness.
Therefore, I will remain with thee of who I can receive
But to whom I may not give.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Church History: The Apostolic Fathers and Apologists (2nd-3rd centuries)

Lecture Notes Outline

The Apostolic Fathers and Apologists (2nd-3rd centuries)

- The Apostolic Fathers (late 1st - mid-2nd century)
     - Clement of Rome
     - Ignatius of Antioch
     - Polycarp of Smyrna

- Rapid Christian growth in lower classes of urban areas
     - Martyrdom (“witnessing”)
     - Attractive morality   
     - Compassion in action

- The Apologists (mid-2nd - mid-3rd century)
     - Justin Martyr
     - Irenaeus of Lyons
     - Clement of Alexandria
     - Origen
     - Tertullian

- Combating early heresies:
     - Gnosticism
     - Ebionism
     - Marcionism
     - Montanism

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The Evangeliad (27:45-47)

Section 27:45-47 (corresponding to Luke 13:15-17)

But Jesus said, "You hypocrites, listen!
How can you hold such a hateful position?
For you on the Sabbath do just the same thing,
Loosing the bonds on your beasts for a drink!

Your ox and donkey you untie for water,
So why don't you pity Abraham's daughter?
Eighteen years Satan kept her in bonds,
So how can a Sabbath-day loosing be wrong?"

The leader and those on his side were ashamed,
And not an attempt at rejoinder was made.
The rest of the people marveled with joy
At what Jesus did, both with hand and with voice.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Photo of the Week

Sow righteousness for yourselves,
reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes
and showers his righteousness on you.

- Hosea 10:12

Monday, May 22, 2023

Quote of the Week

"The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good,
but that God will make us good because He loves us."

- C. S. Lewis

Friday, May 19, 2023

A Prayer from Horatius Bonar

Jesus, Sun and Shield art Thou,
Sun and Shield forever!
Never canst Thou cease to shine,
Cease to guard us, never.
Cheer our steps as on we go:
Come between us and the foe.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Church History: The Apostolic Era (1st century)

Lecture Notes Outline

From the Gospels to the Apostles’ Successors (1st century)

- Jesus & the Gospels
     - The Gospels as reliable historical documents
     - “The quest for the historical Jesus”
     - Jesus’ message: apocalyptic gospel or institutional church?
     - Assessing gnostic gospels and pseudepigrapha

- Acts & the Apostles
     - Church structure begins to develop
     - Tensions between catholicity and diversity
     - Local persecution & global expansion

- The Post-Apostolic Church
     - Major early areas of rapid Christian growth:
          - Palestine (the Patriarchate of Jerusalem)
          - Syria & upper Mesopotamia (the Patriarchate of Antioch)
          - Egypt (the Patriarchate of Alexandria)
          - Central Italy & North Africa (the Patriarchate of Rome)
          - Asia Minor (later organized under the Patriarchate of Constantinople)
     - Further development of church structure
     - The “parting of ways” between Jews and Christians
     - Persecution by the Imperial state
     - Early Christian worship & practice

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The Evangeliad (27:43-44)

Section 27:43-44 (corresponding to Luke 13:13-14)

He reached out and placed his hand on her back,
And then the synagogue audience gasped,
For her back, it straightened under his touch;
After years of pain she could fully stand up.

She lifted her arms, tears ran down her face,
And she filled the room with marvelous praise.
She thanked God for healing, for Jesus' touch,
For the joy of standing with arms lifted up.

But the synagogue leader, furious, cried,
"This man the Sabbath-day law has defied!--
That he dares to do his healings today,
When all should have set their labors away!"

The aggrieved leader then turned to address
The woman who stood there, and all the rest:
"There are six other days for work to be done,
So get healed on those days, not on this one!"

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Photo of the Week

Spring up my soul, with ardent flight,
Nor let this earth delude thy sight
With glittering trifles, vain and bright;
Wisdom divine directs thy view
To objects ever grand and new, 
To faithful pathways, good and right.

- adapted from a hymn by Philip Doddridge

Monday, May 15, 2023

Quote of the Week

"For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ, 
[and] live much in the smiles of God."

- Robert Murray M'Cheyne

Friday, May 12, 2023


The busyness of my final PhD push and marketing for my book are catching up with me again, so my apologies for the hit-and-miss nature of my blog posting lately. I've also been wrapping up a lecture course in church history which I did for my local denominational conference, so I hope to be posting those audio files to the blog in the Thursday spot going forward. If you're interested, keep an eye out for some of my podcast interviews that will be hitting the airwaves soon, from Our Urban Voices podcast and the Gospel Mobilization podcast.

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

The Evangeliad (27:40-42)

Section 27:40-42 (corresponding to Luke 13:10-12)

While in the synagogue on Sabbath-day,
Christ taught from scripture, as was his way;
There in that place stood a woman deformed,
Who had come to hear the word of the Lord.

Bent down and twisted, she could not stand straight;
A spirit of suffering ravaged her frame.
For eighteen years she had had this disease,
Years without solace or comfort or peace.

And Jesus, he saw her, bid her draw near,
Saying, "Come, woman, come, friend, come without fear--
Stand and be free from the suffering you bear;
Stand and be loosed from your burden of care."

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Photo of the Week

Pure and holy I would be,
Jesus, Savior, dwell in me,
Seal Thy image on my heart,
Make me perfect as Thou art.
Fount of mercy, life and rest,
King exalted, ever blest,
Thou, on whom I cast my care,
Hear, O hear, and grant my prayer.

- from a hymn by Fanny Crosby

Monday, May 01, 2023

Quote of the Week

"How many there are ... who imagine that because Jesus paid it all, they need pay nothing, forgetting that the prime object of their salvation was that they should follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ in bringing back a lost world to God."

- Lottie Moon, missionary