Unnoticed Connections in Scripture, Lesson 5: Numbers Continued

In this lesson, we continue exploring the significance of numbers in the Bible.  For we find specific numbers coming up over and again throughout Scripture.  For example, God commanded His people to celebrate seven festivals in the Old Covenant—four during spring and three in the autumn.  These three fall festivals all took place in the […]

Acts 2:1-21: The Real Power of Pentecost

At last, power!  A fitting display of vigor and vitality for the saving Word to sally forth into the world!  No more modesty of the Christ-child sleeping among the animals in a manure-filled stable.  Absent is the shame and humiliation of Christ’s execution by Roman overlords.  The hidden splendor of Easter Sunday morning when God […]

John: Lesson 7: Jesus Goes to “Court” (John 5:30-47)

After Jesus heals a paralyzed man on the Sabbath, others begin to oppose Him publicly.  Jesus refutes the charges of violating the Sabbath based on His identity as the faithful Son who only does what He receives from the Father.  “The Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the […]

John: Lesson 6: Opposition to Jesus becomes Public (John 5:1-29)

Up until now, Jesus has mostly been working with individuals, but in this section of the Gospel, His ministry begins to engage with larger groups, both followers and dissenters.  In John 5, Jesus begins by healing a paralyzed man on the Sabbath (5:1-9).  This event becomes a spark to ignite the public opposition against Him […]

Acts 1:12-26: The Office is Greater than the Man

Most of us don’t realize how much North Africans influenced our Christian thinking.  For instance, they became the first to worship in Latin.  So, much of western Christian thought came from them, as we in the West later adopted the Latin language. In the first three centuries, a higher percentage of Christians lived in the […]

Unnoticed Connections in Scripture: Lesson 4: Numbers

Counting in Hebrew The Hebrew language didn’t use numbers.  Instead, letters took on the task of denoting numerical values.  Like Roman numerals, each letter denotes a value (“I” = one; “V” = five; “X” = 10, and so on). To write a number, one combined different letters.  A development, which took place within the languages […]

Acts 1:6-11: Christ’s Ascension Doesn’t Mean He’s Now Trapped in Heaven

This was our pastor’s sermon for the pastoral circuit meeting (winkel)  on Tuesday, May 9, 2018.   The book of Acts tells us of the first Christians as they brought Jesus to others in their words and deeds.  The Scripture pictures for us the earliest Church, unfolding who the Church is and what she does, […]

John: Lesson 5: Jesus Points the People to His Word (John 4:27-4:54)

Recap and Intro Like Nicodemus, the woman did not get the “greater” sign (living water).  She did, however, recognize Jesus came from God by the “lesser” signs He gave her: Her lifestyle of multiple marriages and living with men outside of marriage.  The disciples now return from the village, who went there to buy food. […]

Unnoticed Connections in Scripture: Lesson 3: Blood

God’s Prohibition In the Old Covenant, God forbade His people to drink blood.  After the flood, God commanded Noah, “You must not eat meat with its life, its blood, in it” (Genesis 9:4).  Later, during Israel’s wilderness wanderings, God explained more fully why they were not to drink blood or eat meat with the blood […]

Ascension: Jesus is Gone into Heaven.  Now What?

This is our pastor’s article for the May edition of our newsletter.   This year, Ascension Day falls a May 3rd.  Such a neglected and almost-forgotten festival.  Consider how few congregations celebrate this day on Thursday, its actual day.  For Jesus going to heaven’s throne almost lacks a sense of the heroic victory of a […]