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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

This Week in History: John Wooden Wins 10th National Title

March 31st, 1975, UCLA led by legendary head coach John Wooden defeats Kentucky to wins Wooden's 10th National Championship. Wooden would then retire following the game. It is amazing as a sports fan to look back and realize the only times that Wooden failed to win the National Championship from 1964-1975 was '66 and '74. It is a feat that in all probability will never be done again. When I think of John Wooden I think of success. He worked hard, payed attention to detail, and followed his Pyramid of Success to accomplish his goals.

As I think about Christianity, I realize that we have to work hard, pay attention to the details of our life, and follow the Bible, in order to be successful in life. If we can do that then we can be more successful than John Wooden was from 1964-75, we can receive a reward that is better than a national championship. We can receive the reward of eternity in Heaven.

Are you working towards that reward?

Hebrews 11:6: But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

James 1:12: Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Titus through James

Titus through James
As we continue to look at the books of the New Testament, this week we will think about Titus through James.
Author: Paul  (1:1).
Audience:  “to Titus” (1:4).
Purpose of Book: Paul writes this letter to Titus to help and encourage him in his ministry to Crete. Paul gives him instruction such as to preach sound doctrine, and what the qualifications of elders are.

Author: Paul, and Timothy ( 1:1).
Audience: Philemon, Apphia, Archippus, and the church that met in their house. (1:2).
Purpose of Book: The purpose of this book is to write concerning Onesimus, who was a runaway slave of Philemon that had become a child of God. Paul is writing to ask them to take him back as a brother in Christ and not a slave. Paul is also making sure that he would not be punished for running away.

Author: Unknown, the only thing we do know is that it is not Paul because Paul signs his name to letters (2 Thessalonians 3:17).
Audience: Hebrews
Purpose of Book: The book of Hebrews was written to Hebrews telling the Hebrews to stop acting like Hebrews and instead to follow Christ, as his way is better than the way of the old law.

Author: James (1:1), the brother of Jesus and Elder of the church in Jerusalem.
Audience: It was written to the 12 tribes scattered abroad (1:1).
Purpose of Book: James writes this book to encourage, and instruct Christian in order that they might live their lives by faith. James is extremely practical in the way he writes his book, and many times the book is referred to as a book of Christian living.

Blog Review: Calico Joe by John Grisham

John Grisham can write in a way in which he can make me open a book and keep me from putting the book down! He didn't disappoint in his latest book Calico Joe! I opened the book one afternoon and was finished several hours later! Grisham takes the story of Ray Chapman (one of only two men to die as the result of an injury achieved during a MLB game) and Carl Mays, two men who were born in the state of Kentucky and fictionalizes it from the perspective of a young boy whose father killed another player with a beanball! This is a must read for all baseball fans, and Grisham fans! It is a great story that gives a great start to baseball in 2012.

Calico Joe by John Grisham
Published by Doubleday
Publication Date: April 10, 2012
ISBN-10: 0385536070
ISBN-13: 978-0385536073
At the request of Doubleday, an ARC TPB was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This Week in History: Einstein was Born

On March 14th, 1879, aka 133 years ago this week, Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany. Einstein was known for his brilliance. After all his brilliance gave our world contributions to science such as the theories of special and general relativity, and quantum theory. He even won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.

When we think of Albert Einstein today we think of a man who was a genius. He was smarter then anyone else in his time. In the Bible we find a individual who is said to be brilliant as  well. In 1 Kings 4 the Bible tells us that Solomon was wiser than all other men during his time. I would take an educated guess and say that behind Jesus, Solomon was the wisest man to ever walk this earth.

"And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations...And people of all nations came to hear the widom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom (1 Kings 4:29-34)."

The most interesting thing about King Solomon is with all the wisdom that God gave him, he tried to live life with worldly priorities until he realized it didn't work. In the book of Ecclesiastes Solomon tells us that life is vanity without God as its priority. He ends his book by saying "The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)." Solomon is making the point that the only thing that matters in life is whether or not you have served God.

When we think of a brilliant man we think of men like Einstein who have made wonderful contributions to our earth. However true brilliance comes from someone who recognizes the importance of following God, and then follows him! Are you following God?

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Letters to those at Thessalonica and Timothy.

As we continue to look at the books of the New Testament, this week we will ponder first and second Thessalonians, and the first and second letters to Timothy.

1 Thessalonians
Author: Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy (1:1).
Audience: “to the church of the Thessalonians” (1:).
Purpose of Book: The purpose of the first letter to those at Thessalonica is three-fold. First, Paul expresses his thankfulness to God for their faith, hope, and love. Second, Paul looks to strengthen and encourage the Thessalonians in their faith in the face of persecution. Last, Paul looks to try to supply what was lacking in the faith of some who were new converts in Thessalonica.

2 Thessalonians                                                                                                           
Author: Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy ( 1:1).
Audience: “to the church of the Thessalonians” (Ephesians 1:1).
Purpose of Book: In Paul’s second letter to those at Thessalonica he continues to encourage them and commend them on being faithful through persecution. Secondly he makes clear and gives instruction concerning judgment day. Last, he warns them of those who are walking in idleness.

1 Timothy
Author: Paul (1:1).
Audience: Timothy (1:2)
Purpose of Book: Paul writes to encourage Timothy to beware of those teaching false doctrines, to instruct Timothy in regard to the organization and work of the church, and gives instruction and encouragement to Timothy in regard to his ministry.

2 Timothy
Author: Paul (1:1).
Audience: Timothy (1:2).
Purpose of Book: Paul writes this second letter to Timothy as Paul is about to pass away. Paul encourages Timothy to come visit him soon, but also encourages him to guard and preach the true word of God that has been entrusted to him.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Galatians thru Colossians

Several weeks ago I started an article series on the books of the Bible. We took a pause from this study last week but we will continue with the next four books of the New Testament this week as we look at Galatians thru Colossians.

Author: Paul, the apostle (Galatians 1:1).
Audience: The churches in Galatia (1:2).
Purpose of Book: The purpose of the book of Galatians is to defend Paul’s apostleship that had been called into question, and then to urge those in Galatia to adhere to the word of God and not turn to a different gospel, instead to live by faith.

Author: Paul, the apostle (Ephesians 1:1).
Audience: The faithful saints in Ephesus (Ephesians 1:1).
Purpose of Book: The purpose of the book of Ephesians is to fortify and strengthen those who are already believers in Christ. Paul hits on things such as unity, the importance of the church, and Christian living.

Author: Paul, and Timothy (Philippians 1:1).
Audience: Saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi along with the elders and deacons there (Philippians 1:1).
Purpose of Book: Paul writes to acknowledge the gift that the church at Philippi had sent him, to report on his circumstances in prison, and writes to the church about the joy of being a Christian.

Author: Paul, the apostle, and Timothy (Colossians 1:1).
Audience: Saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae (Colossians 1:2).
Purpose of Book: Paul uses the book to show the sufficiency of Christ in meeting our needs, addresses several aspects of Christian living while addressing some of the false doctrines that had crept into the lives of the Christians there.