Posts Tagged "Christ"

It is Well With My Soul (Behind the Music)

I’ve always been touched by the story behind this song and the great strength that God gives us in times of trouble.

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Why I Believe the Bible #14 (Extra-Biblical Evidence for the Bible)

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In addition to the evidence of Jesus prophesied in the Old Testament and presented in the New Testament, there are a number of references to Jesus in other ancient literature. This is made all the more remarkable by the fact that the amount of literature from the time period following Jesus’ life. For example, it is said that all the writing of the world between 50 A.D. and 60 A.D. which are still in existence would fit on a bookshelf between bookends one foot apart. Furthermore, Jesus’ life was not spectacular that you would expect other people to write about him. He lived in a small town and ministered for only three years mostly in rural regions. Despite all this, there are ample examples of people writing about Jesus and Christianity following his death.

The following are a few examples:

  • Pliny the younger wrote to Emperor Trajan around 112 A.D. to ask about the proper test for Christians prior to their execution. Pliny was the Roman governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor. Pliny mentions the habit of Christians including on a certain day and singing hymns to Christ.
  • Julius Africanus referred to to the writing of Thallus around A.D. 52 which mention the darkness the fell over Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ death.
  • Josephus was a Jewish historian working for the Roman Empire in the first century. He mentioned Jesus a number of times.
  • Cornelius Tacitus, who lived from A.D. 64 to 116 referred to followers of Christus and their believe in the resurrection as “pernicious superstition.”
  • Lucian of Samosata, around A.D. 170, was a Greek scientist who wrote about Christians, Christ, the Crucifixion and other Martyrs. He referred to the “novel beliefs” of Christians.
  • The Jewish Talmud compiled during the late first and second centuries makes mention of Jesus hanging on the cross, Jesus and the names of 5 disciples, healings performed in the name of Jesus and scoffs at the claims of a virgin birth.
  • Cornelius Tacitus was a Roman historian who mentions Christ in his Annals written around A.D. 110.
  • Suetonius, who was the Chief Secretary to Emperor Hadrian, indentified Christ and referred to the “mischievous and novel superstition” of the resurrection.
  • The writing of Phlegan around A.D. 140 were referred to by Julius Africanus and Origen. In those writings, Phlegan referred to the earthquake and eclipse at the time of Jesus’ death as well as Jesus’ prophecies.
  • Mara Baar-Serapian was a Syrian philosopher around A.D. 70 who compared Jesus to Socrates and Plato.
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Carrying Heavy Stuff (Children’s Ministry Moment #11)

Childrens_Ministry_Moments

To me, one of the fun things about teaching large group is asking kids questions.  First of all, you get immediate feedback on whether or not what you are doing is working.  Secondly, you get to engage the kids.  However, I think the thing I like best is that you never know exactly what they are going to say.  It really keeps you on your toes.

This week, we were talking about Nehemiah and the providence and protection of God.  After laying out how God had worked through Nehemiah to do the impossible (rebuild the wall of Jerusalem in 52 days), I asked the kids what in their lives seemed like something impossible that God could help them with.

One little kindergarten aged girl raised her hand and said:

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Why I Believe the Bible #13 – (Jesus and Other Writers Confirm Scripture)

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Some Christians who do not hold a high view of scripture hold that Jesus is the Christ and at the same time proclaim that the Old Testament of the Bible is not trustworthy. These people ignore the fact that Jesus and numerous New Testament writers testify to the reliability of the Old Testament.

Jesus referred over and over and over again to the Old Testament in his teaching. He refers to the Old Testament as an authority 56 times as recorded in the New Testament. He quotes the Old Testament 81 including scriptures from 20 different books. When we look at the quotes based on the Old Testament organization of Jesus’ day, he actually quoted from all but four books. He verifies the details of scripture and reality of stories included in the Old Testament by referring to them in his teaching. Indeed Jesus emphasized the accuracy of scripture to the minutest detail:

For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. [Matthew 5:18 ESV]

Indeed, Jesus clearly had a high view of scripture and referred to the Bible in several different ways during his teaching:

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Repost: 8 Reasons to Get Involved in Children’s Ministry from Psalm 78

In Psalm 78 we read:

1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
2 I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
3 things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.

4 We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
5 He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
6 that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
7 so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
8 and that they should not be like their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God. [Psalms 78:1-8 ESV]

The first eight verses of Psalm 78 highlight the importance of passing God’s Word and the memory of His grace on from generation to generation.  While the principal place for this work is within the family structure, as made clear elsewhere in the Old Testament, modern Children’s Ministry also plays a part in the process.  A close exposition of this Psalm reveals the importance of such an exercise:

1. Children’s Ministry is of the Utmost Importance

The Psalmist calls attention to what he is about to say with the words, “Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth!”  Charles Spurgeon explains the import of this introductory phrase,

“When God gives his truth a tongue, and sends forth his messengers trained to declare his word with power, it is the least we can do to give them our ears and the earnest obedience of our hearts. Shall God speak, and his children refuse to hear? His teaching has the force of law, let us yield both ear and heart to it.”

In many churches today, Children’s Ministry is an afterthought.  Volunteers are hard to come by, and funds are not directed to Children’s Ministry.  In many churches, not all by any means, the importance of passing biblical truth to children in overlooked in favor of a mere babysitting service.

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