Sticks & Stones

When we were children on the playground, someone would make fun of your Mama, or make fun of the fact that your blue jeans were creased, or the fact that your jeans were a little to short. Maybe your shoes were not name brand. But after the insults, you always had the ultimate comeback. You would always say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

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Pedestals Are For Jesus, Not People

From time to time and for different reasons, we tend to place certain people on pedestals of honor. We look up to them. We elevate them to a status above that of our own. Maybe it’s because of their success. Maybe they’ve attained a certain amount of financial prosperity we admire. Sometimes we elevate individuals because of the entertainment value they bring to our lives. Still, others are placed upon pedestals because they’ve attained some prominent position in society. Some people we elevate because they possess characteristics we admire.

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Exegetical Notes: Psalm 141

A prayer of David’s asking for protection from temptation and from his enemies.

 No particular context is given, but many scholars place this within the time of Absolam’s rebellion while David was fleeing from him in the wildreness.

1 O LORD, I call upon you; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to you!

“Lord” – Heb. – “YHWH” David calls upon God by the reference of his covenant name. Insisting upon God’s covenant and love for His people as the basis of his request.

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Exegetical Notes: Psalm 32

1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

“Blessed” – literally meaning “happy”, but the word is most clearly seen as “happiness derived from a divine source”. 

The word also carries a sense of congratulations, thus the first verse has the understanding of, “Congratulations to the one whose transgression is forgiven…”

The forgiving mercy of God is certainly one of life’s greatest prizes, because it is the only sure way to happiness.

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So You’re In The Hospital (Considerations for Effective Hospital Visitation)

As a Pastor of Pastoral Care, I spend quite a few hours in the hospital. To be honest, I don’t mind this aspect of ministry. I’ve seen God do great things in and through people while they’re hospitalized. I’ve witnessed people and families rejoice over improved health and I’ve seen the devastation when health makes a turn for the worse. I’ve seen numerous instances of renewed faith as people walk through illness. I’ve see the gospel shared countless times. And on the lighter side, I’ve also seen the backside of way too many hospital gowns.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned in order to make hospital visits more effective.

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Exegetical Notes: Psalm 51:1-17

The biblical narrative for Psalm 51 can be found in 2 Samuel 11.

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

David’s plea for God to deal graciously (have mercy on me) towards him is based solely on the love and mercy of God, not upon any favorable action or attribute of David himself.

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You’re a Theologian Too!

In my first philosophy class, Dr. Wiley Richards said something to the effect of, “Everyone is a philosopher. Everyone thinks. Thus everyone is a philosopher.” Some believe theology to be an academic study better left to the seminary or trained pastor. Theology, at it’s simplest, revolves around our thoughts about God. Therefore, you’re a theologian too!

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Every Sermon Communicates Doctrine (5 Considerations for Doctrinal Preaching)

Calvin Miller once wrote, “All real preaching is doctrine.” He essentially argues that all sermons communicate doctrine, even though dogmatics may not be the desired objective of the preacher. Following Miller’s reasoning, A sermon may then communicate doctrine poorly, incorrectly, or it may communicate that doctrine is unimportant altogether, but all sermons communicate doctrine.

All sermons may communicate thoughts about doctrine, but all sermons are not doctrinal.

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