Thursday, May 26, 2011

Book Review: A Walk Through The Bible

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Leslie Newbigin’s little book A Walk Through The Bible. This very easy to read book is only 79 pages and can be purchased at The House Studio or other book distributors. I strongly recommend it. I was able to sit down and read through it so quickly that I didn't even have time to add it to my shelfari bookshelf.

This book basically sums up the entire message of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. You are swept through each book of the Bible quickly (some are just mentioned) and given the big idea of each book and how it fits into the rest of the Bible. You get to see the big picture of the Bible. Here are the 8 chapters and what books of the Bible they cover:

1. A Unique Account (Genesis)
2. Chosen By God (Genesis through Deuteronomy)
3. Judges, kings, and prophets (Joshua through 2 Chronicles)
4. Return and Renewal (Ezra through Malachi)
5. God’s Kingdom and Jesus (Gospels and Jesus’ life)
6. Sacrifice (Gospels and death, resurrection, ascension of Jesus)
7. New life, new communities (Acts through Jude)
8. Future revelation (Revelation)

Sometimes we miss the big picture because we focus in on one book or one verse. I thought this book would be excellent Sunday School/Small group material. Every Christian should know the big picture of what the Bible is all about and the story of the Israelites. Why? Because this is our story too. We have been grafted in to this God chosen people and share their history through our faith in Jesus. So, if you want an easy to read big picture of what the Bible is all about read A Walk Through The Bible.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Great Banquet; Are You Coming?

Just to let you know that all scriptures used on this blog from this point forward unless otherwise noted come from the NIV 2011 (Which is a great revision!).

Luke 14:15-24 is an interesting passage of scripture. Here Jesus tells a parable about a man throwing a huge banquet and inviting many guests who later turn the invitation down due to other important things.

Luke 14:15
After telling those gathered around the dinner table (see 14:1 for context) to invite those to dinner who cannot pay you back, one of the guests says, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” This line allows Jesus to throw out a parable about the feast in the kingdom of God.

Luke 14:16-17
A great banquet is set and guests, it seems, have already been invited. When it comes time for the banquet the host sends out his servant to announce that the banquet is ready.

Luke 14:18-20
At the time of the banquet several of the invited guests find excuses for why they cannot come to the banquet. You could argue that these guests are somewhat wealthy by what they are buying (land and oxen). One has bought land and needs to go and see it. One has bought five yoke of oxen and needs to inspect them. Another has just gotten married. They seem like legitimate excuses, right? Some scholars have said that only the last excuse is legitimate. They say no one would buy a field without first seeing it. No one would buy oxen without first trying them out. So, what’s going on here? Do the guests not want to attend the banquet? Even the marriage excuse is still just an excuse. Marriage could only exempt you from war, not dinner parties.

Luke 14:21-24
The servant returns to tell the master what has happened with his guests. In response the master opens up his fancy dinner party to those who were not originally invited. The master says, “Go out quickly and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” After hearing that there is still more room the master sends his servant out again to the “roads” and “country lanes” to compel more guests to come. A final statement from the master closes this parable, “I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.”

The idea behind this parable is that the salvation Jesus’ coming brings, along with the kingdom of God He is preaching, is a lot like the master who has thrown the great banquet. Isaiah himself describes God’s salvation as a great banquet when he says, “On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines.” (Is. 25:6)

Unfortunately the leaders of Israel who the banquet was prepared for and who were invited to the banquet have come up with excuses for why they cannot attend. They are going to miss out on God’s salvation because, you could say, they are too busy with life to notice the importance of what is taking place around them.

Ever find yourself guilty of that? Ever wonder what kind of things in our day and age keep us from attending the banquet? What kind of things today so preoccupy us that we miss getting involved in what God is up to? What kind of ministry opportunities at your local church are you turning down week after week because you are too busy with those things? Is it worth it to live in such a way? In the end will you eat at the feast in the kingdom of God or will you be too busy to attend?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Loving our enemies

Just curious as to what you think of Luke 6:27-36 in lieu of this week's events?

Luke 6:27-36 (TNIV)
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Any thoughts?