Good afternoon, Bible students! This morning my devotions were in Luke 1-2 as I focused on the four famous hymns we find there. After that, I spent about a half hour studying the original Apostles' Creed and its use of aorist and present tense participles -- a study I hope to use in my Greek 2 class this fall when we arrive at the Greek participle.
Then it was off for a run at the Tobacco Heritage Trail.
The whole time I was running I was attacked by horse flies, which was totally my fault because I forgot my bug spray (again).
The trail, by the way, is a so-called rail trail. Rail trails are multipurpose (walking, running, horseback riding) paths created from former railroad corridors and, because they are relatively flat, are a perfect way to enjoy the outdoors regardless of your level of fitness. There are more than 400 of these rail trails in the U.S. I have to give a big shout out to the city of South Boston for maintaining this trail so well. They were out there in force today. We appreciate all you do!
Lastly, this morning I began writing the first draft of the preface to my book Godworld. And yes, I always use handwriting first and then convert my notes into a Word doc.
One reason I do this is because I'm able to see corrections and have a visual record of the various creative stages of writing I go through as I produce a book. I can also write notes to myself in the margin before typing. At any rate, here's what I jotted down this morning, for what it's worth.
Recent events have reminded us that the evangelical church in America is in deep trouble. Success is now defined by growth, numbers, and size instead of by the New Testament marks of faithfulness and biblical holiness. Gatherings have become slick programs intended to boost attendance, using "whatever works." Disciples are now consumers, and pragmatism rules. Christianity is now hip. A sense of transcendence is now a thing of the past, replaced by a culture of consumerism and entertainment. The Christ-centeredness of the early church in Acts has been replaced by a dull experience of robotic activities that feed our egos and sense of self-importance. This book is designed to free us from the worship of self in order to regain a scriptural focus on the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We will make a good start by restoring the weekly practice of the Lord's Supper. Indeed, the idea of coming to the Lord's Table once a quarter or once a month is no longer tenable for me. One SBC church expresses it this way on their website:We take the Lord's Supper every Sunday in order to remember Christ's atoning death and our identity as members of one body. This is also a time for repentance and renewal.
Many of the young people I encounter in my classrooms are tired of being entertained. They want to be fed through a balance of Word and Table.
I'll stop here for now. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the church will never make a difference in the world until it becomes a Christ-centered community whose differences from the world are noticeable. And to do this, I believe that the New Testament teaching about the kingdom of God is the plumbline.
Time for chores!