Archive for November, 2009

Pray for Matt Chandler

by Stephen Rodgers

I debated on whether or not I should post anything about this. After all, it felt rather biased. Matt Chandler is one of my favorite preachers outside of LBC, and to draw attention to him in this way seemed…unfair?…unbalanced?…arbitrary? After all, this isn’t my newsletter, it’s the official newsletter of Lighthouse Bible Church. Right?

Wrong.

Ultimately, this is the official newsletter of Lighthouse Bible Church…which in turn is a church of Jesus Christ. And as anyone who remembers high school algebra or college logic will tell you, if LBC owns the Beacon, and Jesus owns LBC, then by the transitive property, Jesus owns the Beacon as well. And it is His glory, and His name, and His will that this blog is ultimately concerned with, not LBC’s.

Which brings us to Matt Chandler. I don’t know the man personally. I’m sure he doesn’t know me. As far as I can tell, no one from Texas even reads this blog. But none of that matters in light of the fact that Matt Chandler is a fellow brother in Christ, a fellow servant of our Lord, and a man currently in need of prayer.

Matt had a seizure last week, fell, struck his head, and was rushed to the hospital. While there, the doctor’s discovered a mass in his brain and, to use Matt’s words, “scheduled him for a date with the neurosurgeon.”

Pray for Matt Chandler. Pray for his family, his wife Lauren, and his children. Pray for his church. And in all of that, remember that you are praying to God. A God so awesome that He knew you, me, and Matt Chandler before there was an earth. A God so loving that He sent His only Son to die on our behalf. A God so merciful that He saved us all, dragging us kicking and screaming away from damnation to eternal life. And a God so wise that no matter what happens to you, me, or Matt Chandler, His perfect will will move inexorably onward, unable to be thwarted by the confusion and tragedies of this world.

More information can be found here.

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Weekly Links (11/27/09)

by Stephen Rodgers

There are fewer links this week, (mostly because I spent Thursday with my family instead of tracking down articles), but the ones that I have for you are all quite good. I’d almost be willing to ofter you a money-back guarantee. So without further ado:

Video Ministry

by Steven Preslar

Over the past 10 years the video ministry has had the opportunity to video tape more events than I can count. There are literally boxes of video tapes that need to be converted to digital format and then cataloged and archived. Our goal is to be able to provide access to that video footage to our members in a timely fashion.

For the most part all the work for the video ministry is done behind the scenes. At the major events throughout the year you will see team members quietly manning the video cameras. The part you don’t see is the work done behind the scene by another one of the team members where the raw footage taken is then spliced together to produce a final product.

There are currently four members who serve in the ministry. We have two members dedicated to the capturing of footage (David Jung and Josh Shortman), one member, Byron Dang who is entirely dedicated to post production/editing, and another, Steven Preslar that is responsible for converting, archiving, and cataloguing.

Our hope is that we would all be faithful in using the time and talents that the LORD has given to us, to serve the body at Lighthouse Bible Church by preserving the memories and making them readily available to you, our members.

If you are interested in joining the video ministry, please speak with Steven Preslar.

Be Worthy of God?

by Pastor Patrick Cho

As you read through the New Testament, certainly you will come across some verses that are difficult to understand, particularly in the writing of Paul. (You can breathe a great big sigh of relief since this was Peter’s assessment of Paul’s writings as well [2 Pet. 3:16]!) Every once in a while, however, you come across passages in the Bible that make you do a double take and say, “What?!” 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 is one of those passages. Paul writes, “[11] For you know how, like a father with his children, [12] we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” Yes, he said “worthy of God.” The Greek word for worthy is axiōs and is derived from the idea of balancing something in a scale. But certainly Paul isn’t telling the Thessalonians that if God were on one side of a scale, they were to live as though they could balance out the other side! Who could live up to such a demand? Borrowing from the Old Testament idea of glory (Heb. kabōd; “weightiness”), no one is heavier than God!

Interestingly, the word axiōs is used throughout Scripture and is translated in a few different ways. The first (and expected) translation of the word is “worthy.” It is this sense of the word that one would typically understand the idea of worthiness. John the Baptist said that he was not worthy even of untying Jesus’ sandal (John 1:27). The prodigal son confessed that he was no longer worthy to be called a son (Luke 15:19). In the Book of Revelation, again as one would expect, the term is used to speak of God’s worthiness of worship (Rev. 4:11; cf. 5:12 where it is used of Christ).

The second translation of the word is “deserving” and it is translated thus frequently in texts dealing with deserving judgment or punishment (cf. Luke 12:48; 23:15; Acts 23:29; Rom. 1:32). In Luke 23:41, for example, the thief on the cross confesses that, unlike Christ, they were receiving what they deserved because of their deeds. It is not exclusively used in that context, though. For instance, in Luke 10:7 when Jesus is commissioning the seventy to preach about the kingdom of God, He says that the laborer is deserving, or worthy, of his wages. Paul also argues that elders are deserving of double honor (1 Tim. 5:17).

A third use of the word is where it is translated “worthy” in the sense of comparison. In Romans 8:18, Paul writes that the sufferings of this world are not “worth comparing” with the glory to come. The fourth and final way this word is translated is the way it should be understood in 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12. It is the idea of “fitness” or “appropriateness.” In 2 Thessalonians 1:3, Paul says that he should give thanks to God for the church because it would be fitting given the way they had grown in faith and love. In Matthew 3:8, John the Baptist rebukes the Pharisees and Sadducees and tells them to bear fruit in keeping with repentance (cf. Luke 3:8). The fruit would be consistent with true repentance. By the absence of fruit in the Pharisees’ lives, their lack of repentance was made evident. This was the same message of repentance that Paul preached to the Gentiles (Acts 26:20).

So, when Paul tells the Thessalonian church to live in a manner worthy of God. He is not saying that they need to balance out the scales. Praise God for that! What seems to be the best way to understand this passage is that if a person confesses that they have God in their life, there is a manner of living that is fitting with that confession. There should be a different look to that person because of the awesome fact that God is with them. This is the same idea behind Philippians 1:27 where Paul tells the church to let their manner of life be worthy of the gospel. He isn’t teaching salvation by human merit. That would go completely contradictory to his understanding that salvation is by faith alone and not by works (Eph. 2:8-9). What Paul is saying is that if a person really understands the truth of the gospel (i.e., God has opened their eyes and illumined their hearts to see) so that they are saved, there is a lifestyle that comes with that saving truth and “salvific” understanding. It affects you so that you do not continue living for the world of the things of this world.

To the people at Lighthouse, the same question should be asked of each of us: Are you walking in a manner worthy of God? Is your life fitting with the faith you profess? Are your choices in line with the truth that God has saved you by His grace? This sort of thinking and living is concomitant with Christ’s living in us (Gal. 2:20). We cannot accomplish this without His enablement. Still, we must not neglect our responsibility to walk circumspectly in this world. Paul understood this necessity to the extent that he would write it in the most provocative way: “Christian, be worthy of God.” Together, let us strive to be a church that looks different, thinks differently, speaks differently, and lives differently.

Living Theology #2 – The Canon

by Garrett Glende

Last week we looked at the doctrine of the Bible as the very word of God. As we continue to develop a systematic theology, it is important to have a proper understanding of Bibliology. Keeping along these lines, chapter three in Grudem’s book is titled “The Canon of Scripture,” and it asks what books should be included in the Bible and which should not be. Grudem simply defines the canon as “the list of all the books that belong in the Bible.” As we will see, this question is vital to the way we live our lives, as it allows us to know exactly what is from God and what is not. If we seek to walk only according God’s will as revealed through His word, then it is important that we have a source that we can trust to be fully from God. Grudem writes:

“To add or subtract from God’s words would be to prevent God’s people from obeying him fully, for commands that were subtracted would not be known to the people, and words that were added might require extra things of the people which God had not commanded.”

Although this article is not by any stretch of the imagination intended to be comprehensive (I encourage you to study more deeply on your own), it will be helpful to understand a small amount about how the Bible was put together and why some books were included or not. The beginning of the canon came with the writing of the Ten Commandments by God on Mount Sinai. The people understood that what they had was the word of God and they placed it in the ark of the covenant. Moses then added more books when he wrote the Pentateuch and placed them beside the ark, signifying their equal authority as God’s word. It is interesting that Moses would write that “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you” (Deut. 4:2), but then Joshua and kings and prophets after him would go on to write more and add it to the canon. Such perceived disobedience could only have taken place if they were completely sure that what they were writing was truly God’s word. These writings were added to one another up until around 435 B.C., signaling the end of that specific era in Jewish history. Many other writings were gathered that detail the events of the Jewish people during the intertestamental period, but these have been left out of the canon for various reasons. The famous church historian, Josephus, writes that “From Artaxerxes to our own times a complete history has been written, but has not been deemed worthy of equal credit with the earlier records.” Books that have been considered for canonicity have been disqualified either on historical or theological grounds. In addition to this evidence, none of the writings outside of today’s canon are found quoted in the New Testament.

The New Testament canon was assembled first by including the writings of the apostles, who were given the Holy Spirit to guide them. Jesus promised them this Helper in John 14:26, saying that “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Jesus’ words authenticate all that the apostles wrote, but there are still books in the New Testament that were not written by those to whom this promise was made. Mark, Luke/Acts, Hebrews, and Jude were all written by men other than the original twelve or Paul. These books came to be accepted because of their author’s intimacy with the other apostles (Mark with Peter, Luke with Paul, Jude with James). Hebrews is unique in that the original author is not known, but the sheer magnitude of high Christology it contains has led it to be included with the rest of the New Testament. Along with personal eyewitness testimony to the events recorded in the gospels, the New Testament’s authenticity as Scripture is self-attesting. Peter mentions that Paul’s letters are confusing, but that “the ignorant and unstable twist [them] to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:16). The Greek word for “Scriptures” is graphé, which is used fifty-one times in the New Testament, each time referencing the Old Testament. Therefore, Peter is placing Paul’s writing on the same level as the whole Old Testament. There have been many other documents claiming to be inspired by God, but these have not stood up to close scrutiny either theologically or historically. Thus, we can trust that God, in His faithfulness, has preserved His word for His people.

Considering that we know what we have in our Bible is trustworthy and is the completed word of God, how then should we respond? The nature of the closed canon has direct implications to our daily lives, especially in our post-modern culture where truth is relative and absolutes absolutely do not exist. If we claim to hold the 66 books of the Bible as the completed canon, then why do we often find ourselves looking elsewhere for guidance in our lives, letting outside sources change our perception of God? Does the canon change in response to new cultural standards? Many of us would affirm with our words its sufficiency for all things in life, but when placed under much pressure we fold to worldly ideals, adding them to our own new canon in a sense. We cannot canonize the cultural standards of our day because they are bound to change. Has God’s stance concerning men’s and women’s roles changed? Our society would surely say so. The same goes for homosexuality. What is acceptable today will be shunned tomorrow, but God’s word is unchanging. The canon is closed.

We see this most clearly in the legalism in our hearts. We add new laws to God’s word: thou shall not drink, thou shall not hold hands while dating, thou shall wear a tie on Sundays. Granted it’s not wrong to abstain from alcohol, not hold hands, or wear a tie every Sunday, but when we see others doing differently and immediately condemn them for their “sin” then we have added our own made up laws to Scripture, placing us right next to the Pharisees.

Instead of concocting our own personal canon, may we instead become intimate with what God has revealed to us, realizing that all of Scripture is Scripture. I, myself, have been personally challenged in my own treatment of the Old Testament. I cannot say that I have always acted as if it were part of God’s word. Of course I would affirm the truth with my lips, but never would I turn there for a morning devotional. This study has helped me to understand that I must know all of God’s word, not just the New Testament. In fact, the Old Testament contains many great and glorious truths about who God is and how He has shown grace and mercy to His people. May we all grow in our love for His word in its entirety.

Church History (In 4 Minutes)

by Stephen Rodgers

So I stumbled upon this little gem over at the Biblical Christianity blog the other day. It occurred to me that a quick survey through the song would not be a bad use of time. I hope that this proves at least entertaining, but hopefully gives you a brief look at the history of Christianity for the last 2,000 years.

And yes, I’m being somewhat lazy and mostly using Wikipedia and BibleGateway for the links. If something sparks your interest, I’m sure you could do a much deeper study. I’ve also added year markers for each verse of the song…those might be a tad rough. Also, there were a few words that either I couldn’t think of an appropriate link (left blank), or I couldn’t understand the word in question (marked by a ‘?’). If you figure any of them out, let me know!

And by the way…just because something is written on Wikipedia, doesn’t make it unbiased. *winks*

[33AD – 95AD]

Pentecost, Palestine, Barbarians, Paul Gets A Sign
Neglected Widows, Martyred Stephen, Gentile vs. Jew
New Testament, Getting Tribal, Gnostic Gospels, Holy Bible
Jamnia, Revelation, Word Of God Is True

[64AD – 380AD]

Martyrs, Diocletian, Polycarp, Domitian
Church Learns, Nero Burns, Christians Underground
Chi-Rho, Basilica, Vita Evangelica
Nicea, Who Is Jesus, Christians Start To Rebound

[387AD – 735AD]

Saint Patrick, Monestaries, Visigoths Are Pretty Scary
Pope Leo, St. Jerome, Forgetting How To Read
Mohammed Writes The Koran, Convert Or Die To Islam
Hard To Cope, Where’s The Pope, Venerable Bede

[476AD – 802AD]

Dark Ages, Knights And Pages, East And West Both Split In Stages
Monks Skulls, Cathedrals, Charlemagne Starts To Reign
Methodias, Constantinople, Peasants, Clergy, Serfs, And Nobles
Augustine, Irene, Everything Goes Byzantine

[634AD – 1346AD]

Cluny, Bubonic Plague, Vikings, Saracens Invade
William Conquers, Monks Pray, And Jerusalem Gets Sacked
Flying Buttress, Saint Claire, Celibacy, Worship Mary
Knights Templar, Stained Glass, Sultan Saladin Gets Whacked

[1135AD – 1280AD]

Mendicants, Avignon, Albertus Magnus, Genghis Khan
Aquinus, Maimonides, Gentle Francis Of Assisi
Summa De Bono, Faith And Reason, Say “God Bless You” When You’re Sneezing
Just War, Crusades Galore, But Who Are We Fighting For

[1378AD – 1648AD]

Competing Popes, Not Much Hope, Joan of Arc Makes Her Mark
John Wycliff, Thomas A Kempis, Canterbury Tales
Michelangelo, Siena, Leonardo And Vienna
Reformation, Printing Press, Gutenburg Prevails

[1484AD – 1564AD]

John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, Indulgences For The Kingly
Martin Luther Pounds The Door, “Here I Stand, I’ll Do No More

[1510AD – 1789AD]

King James Bible, John Locke, Galileo, JS Bach
Anabaptists, Guy Fawkes, Blaise Pascal, John Knox
Puritans Preach Denial, Salem Witches Go On Trial
Enlightenment and Transcendence, We Declare Our Independence

[1714AD – Present]

Whitefield Makes Us All Awakened, Pentecostals Get Us Shaken
Darwin Teaches Evolution, Marx Preaches Revolution
Jesus Freaks, Immigration, Nuclear Annilation
Overwhelmed By Information, Who Will Save This Generation?

 

Update: Apparently the video originated from here. I’ve updated a couple of the lyrics and links.

Weekly Links (11/20/09)

Alright, there was quite a LOT of good stuff this week, but I think it really fits into a few convenient categories, so hopefully you won’t be too overwhelmed…


About

The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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