Monthly Archives: November 2013

Register for the West Coast Chinese Christian Conference

The West Coast Chinese Christian Conference is a great opportunity to reflect on Christ, be encouraged through sharing with fellow followers of Jesus and learn from great speakers and times of examining the Scriptures!

Also, if you are interested in leading Bible Study at the conference, there is a training session on December 7 in Northern California. For more information, contact info@wcccc.org

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Yosemite in summer

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.
— Psalm 100 (NASB)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Video

Melchizedek Who?

Did you know that Psalm 110 is the most quoted portion of the Hebrew Bible in the Christian Scriptures?

Melchizedek shows up in verse 4 of that Psalm. Where else does Melchizedek appear?

His story is tersely described in Genesis 14:18-20.

Not much data!

Yet, this somewhat obscure character of the Old Testament forms one of the key points in the letter to the Hebrews that emphasizes the continuity, significance and fulfillment of our Lord Jesus Christ with God’s work begun in the Old Testament.

The 1 hour video is of a lecture given by Prof. Don Carson at a Gospel Coalition conference.

As we continue to grow this website, we will, in addition to highlighting our own materials, be linking to items we find around the internet that we think maybe helpful for your study and understanding of the Scriptures.

Link

Kirsten Powers, reluctant follower of Jesus

Kirsten Powers, reluctant follower of Jesus

Here is a story that might encourage all you small group Bible study leaders out there.

Every one has a unique story about how they come to trust in Jesus. In the case of Ms. Powers,  a former political operative turned political pundit, it started with hearing some thoughtful preaching and eventually joining a Bible study. She concluded her article: The Hound of Heaven had pursued me and caught me—whether I liked it or not.

Excerpt:

I remember walking into the Bible study. I had a knot in my stomach. In my mind, only weirdoes and zealots went to Bible studies. I don’t remember what was said that day. All I know is that when I left, everything had changed. I’ll never forget standing outside that apartment on the Upper East Side and saying to myself, “It’s true. It’s completely true.” The world looked entirely different, like a veil had been lifted off it. I had not an iota of doubt. I was filled with indescribable joy.

Link

Never read (just) a Bible verse

Never read (just) a Bible verse

When it comes to understanding the Scriptures, one of the things that helps is to look at the verses before and after a verse that you are trying to figure out.

Go ahead and click the link to read the full article from Stand To Reason.

Excerpt:

This works because of a basic rule of all communication: Meaning always flows from the top down, from the larger units to the smaller units. The key to the meaning of any verse comes from the paragraph, not just from the individual words.

James, son of Alphaeus

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3d/Saint_James_the_Less_%28Menologion_of_Basil_II%29.jpg

In Mark 2:14, a tax-collector named Levi was described as the son of Alphaeus. This event is very similar to the calling of Matthew found in Matthew 9:9-13 such that we believe Matthew and Levi are the same people.

As for as James, son of Alphaeus (Mt 10:3, Mk 3:18, Lk 6:15, Acts 1:13), the only data we have on him are these four verses!

Was he the brother of Matthew?

Perhaps.

What else might we say about him?

If we apply our process of observation-interpretation-application, what do we come up with for James, son of Alphaeus?

We should understand that following Jesus is not likely to make us famous. Ultimately, our lives are not for the praise of humankind; rather, our lives are ultimately to be lived for an audience of ONE and if we are indeed good and faithful in following our Lord, we will be welcomed into His joy when we meet Him!

This series on the 12 disciples will continue bit by bit in the coming weeks. To see previous posts on this, go to the 12 Disciples tag.

In case if you wonder if anyone has ever preached about James, son of Alphaeus, Pastor John MacArthur offered these thoughts in a sermon about this little known disciple.

The deaths of the various apostles have varying degrees of historical documentation. Not surprisingly, the stores of the lesser-known apostles have less certainty in terms of documentation. Excerpt from link: Few, if any of the traditions can be proved, but for some, the circumstantial evidence appears quite strong.

In the next post, we will look at the other disciple who only appears in the lists.

Creeds and Confessions – Nicene Creed

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In the family of Christian churches, some types are not so comfortable referring to “old stuff” because they are concerned with relying on traditional things held onto by rote without understand. And there are some that are much more comfortable referring back to “old stuff” like creeds and confessions. In either case, we probably could all agree the key is to understand these things and not merely to recite them without reflection.

One of the oldest statements about what we believe is the Nicene Creed.

The short story of the Nicene Creed is that in 325 AD, the church gathered in a council in the city of Nicaea to clarify confusion regarding the divinity of Jesus. A longer version of its history can be found at Wikipedia and Theopedia and certainly one can consult church history textbooks for much more comprehensive discussions. Below is an English translation of the creed

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Image at the top is of Uppsala Cathedral in Sweden.