Thought of the Day (TOTD) from the M’Cheyne One Year Bible (MOYB) reading: Goal of Creation

The goal of creation is for God to dwell with man.

We see that . . .

. . . potrayed as the original intent in Genesis 1-2

. . . described as the prophetic fulfillment of Christ in Matthew 1:22-23

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)

. . . gloriously displayed in Revelation 21:3

“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them,

“Make me know my end . . . “

4 “O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
5 Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
6 Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!

-Psalm 39:4-6

Drawn more to the ESV

For a while I’ve been contemplating switching from the NIV to the ESV for preaching and teaching.  Increasingly I’m finding their more literal rendering (chart) more satisfying to bring out the nuances of the text.

For example, while reading Mark 5 I noticed the theme of begging or entreating in vv. 10, 12, 17, and 18.  Both the NASB and the ESV use the same word consistently (NASB uses “entreat” and the ESV uses “beg”).  As a result, one can easily trace that theme.

The NIV, however, uses “beg” three times and then “plead” once.  Why?  Does this not obfuscate this thematic thread?  (Certainly, context shapes meaning and the Greek word behind “beg” can mean different things in different contexts–but because all of this occurs in the same chapter, it would seem prudent to use the same word throughout!)

By teaching from the NIV one is forced to operate on a thematic level rather than on the word level.  

I’m not trying to hate on the NIV–it has served me well and can be very helpful — in general, I appreciate how they’ve tried to make Ephesians a bit more readable.  🙂  But I just wish they were consistent in their renderings of the same words in the same pericope.

Bonus: Fascinating (at least to me 🙂 ) how much the beg motif is found in this chapter as compared to the entire book of Mark:

picture-2

Preaching Christ in the Old Testament

One of the most burning questions I have right now is this: How (if at all) ought one to preach Christ from the Old Testament?

Context

As I’ve mentioned before, in 2002 I read Bryan Chapell’s Christ-Centered Preaching and it transformed my preaching.  Suddenly it was clear that all the Scriptures were to relate to and point to Christ.  However, if I’m understanding my Old Testament profs correctly, we must treat the Old Testament texts as they stand and not infuse Christ where He is not. 

I agree that we mustn’t pull allegorical gymnastics and find Christ’s blood, for example, in the scarlet thread of Rahab.  But ought we not nonetheless point to Christ in all of our preaching–including Old Testament preaching?  What then makes our preaching distinctively Christian?

These questions have ben piqued as I’ve been enjoying the lectures by John Woodhouse on OT narrative preaching.

FWIW, my current stance on Old Testament texts that do not type Christ is to deal with the text in its literary and historical context (which doesn’t relate directly to Christ) and then shape the application/significance in distinctly Christian terms (perhaps as the secondary meaning of the text). 

This is still a work in progress of course. 🙂

Famine in the Land

In studying Genesis 12:10 the phrase, “a famine in the land” caught my attention due its importance in the book of Ruth.  A quick-and-dirty search for the Hebrew behind the phrase yields 11 hits.

Paper idea: trace the motif and importance of “a famine in the land” throughout the Old Testament.

Search of (translated to English) "famine in the land"

Search of (translated to English) "a famine in the land"

Sermon Hosting: Sermon Player vs. Sermondrop vs. Sermon Cloud

While looking for sermon hosting solutions, I came across three. Here are my initial thoughts.

Sermon Drop

Pros

  • Easy to use: good back-end interface
  • Easy to use: good front-end interface.  That is, it has a clean layout — I particularly like the big play button.

Cons

  • Free version is limited to 500MB; then oldest sermons are deleted as new ones are added.
  • Can filter, but not easily search by speaker or series
  • iTunes link does not denote that your podcast was actually submitted to the iTunes Store.  It only means that iTunes is the application which opens the feed.  In other words, I do not think Sermon Drop actually submits your feed to iTunes thereby making it findable to the rest of the world from within the iTunes Store.

Sermon Player


Pros

  • Unlimited storage
  • Robust player including Bible, multiple sharing avenues (e.g. – Facebook, MySpace, WordPress, etc.), search and search/filter functionalities
  • Extensive stats

Cons

  • Ad-supported player in free version with non-intuitive play button. That is, I fumbled around trying to find the play button–I would like a bigger and clearer button that plays the most recent sermon. In addition, in the list of sermons, one must click the speaker icon to play the sermon–and not the play icon . This doesn’t seem to be consistent nor intuitive.
  • Like Sermon Drop, iTunes link does not denote that your podcast was actually submitted to the iTunes Store.

Sermon Cloud

Pros

  • This is the first sermon hosting service that I remember.

Cons

  • Seems very similar to how it was back in the day. (Supporting this is that their last blog post was over a year ago.)
  • Free version stores sermons for 1 year before deleting. (I believe.)
  • Pop-up player (as opposed to in-line)
  • No direct iTunes link (but see comment below on the iTunes link in the other sites).
  • Cannot easily search by speaker or series

One pro for all the sites is that all of these services get your sermon and church “out there”–perhaps more than if your sermons were hosted on your own site.

One con for all three is the lack of customization available. (This is to be expected from a hosted service, but still important to note.) For example, the RSS feed is static–which means that if you ever move from that site, your RSS feed address will change. Allowing a user to specify a Feedburner feed address would be excellent and would avoid this pitfall.

Conclusion

Sermon Player has a lot of great features, but I like the layout and presentation of Sermon Drop.  At the end of the day, I think most users care more about presentation than features.  (After all, if they can’t figure out how to play a sermon, they probably won’t care about much else.)

Any of these sites would be a boon to the majority of churches.  Churches with the resources, however, may consider using a solution based on Drupal likk the Fieldfield + jQuery recipe.  Hopefully this plus the View2 Enclosure (referenced here) will made a good solution for churches looking to go this route.

Similar Articles
Sermon Podcasting Tutorial For Small Churches (and it’s free!)
Tech Tuesday: how to podcast sermon audios

Free Christmas Download from Max McLean

We listened to His Christmas Story by Max McLean on Friday night at Sr. High Bible Study. It is now available (for a limited time) as a free download.

Here is a description of it from their site:

When we hear the Christmas story what do we feel? Is it just a nice story? Well, yes. But it is also telling us that a huge event has just taken place; an event so big that it changes everything. Why? Because the infinite, eternal being who created all things decided to pay us a visit, knock on our front door, get to know us and find out about our hurts and our pains.
Feel the weight of this extraordinary event in this new 25-minute scripture CD that explores the size and magnitude of Christmas. Make this a part of your holiday celebrations.

Track Listing

1 Introduction
1 John 1:1-4

2 Scripture Passages
Isaiah 40:1-2, 11:1-4, 9:2, 6-7
John 1:1-5, 10-14
Luke 1:1-4, 1:26-38, 46-48, 2:1-20

3 Reflections

4 Scripture Passages
Luke 2:22-35
Mark 15:1-2
John 18:37
Mark 15:3-38

5 Conclusion & Final Scripture Passage
Philippians 2:1-11