The Christian Studies Blog


Jesus' Way Beyond Pride: Growing in Humility

Posted by Dr. Daniel Napier on November 22, 2016 at 9:30 AM

My last post examined Jesus’ teaching concerning the nature of pride from Luke 18:9-14. We’ve all heard sermons against pride and know it is something we should avoid. However, too seldom do we receive accompanying teaching for growth in humility. We know we ought to be humble. However, we might not know how to grow in humility or adequately understand what has prevented us from doing so. In this post I’ll focus on the positive or growing side of the equation.

Let’s begin with some troubleshooting at the level of thought. Two prevalent assumptions – unspoken ideas in our culture – often block us from growing in humility. Perhaps it would help to state them clearly so we can examine them. The common notion is that to be truly humble one would have to be weak and stupid. Let’s consider each of these ideas:

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Topics: How To, Teaching Moment, Scripture Passage

How to See God's Help (Luke 16)

Posted by Dr. Daniel Napier on August 2, 2016 at 9:30 AM

How do we know a blessing when we see one? What does it look like when God comes to one’s aid? These are the questions I would like to explore in this post.

Typically, we assume that a blessing is easy to spot. It’s a no-brainer. Just look at what feels good! Blessings are what happen when your boss gives you a raise, or a big return comes back on an investment. God is blessing a person when her stocks are high and his cholesterol’s low, when their childrens’ teeth come out straight, and they grow into adulthood with two well-defined eyebrows. Blessing equals comfort, ease, and social esteem. Period. Or, does it?

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Topics: How To, Scripture Passage

Learn about Ancient Roman Bath Houses

Posted by Dr. Mark Shipp on July 12, 2016 at 9:30 AM

An important and interesting event during the March 9-20, 2016 Israel archaeological study tour was restoration work on the third century A. D. Roman bath house at Tamar. Tamar is an ancient site, 40 km. southwest of the Dead Sea, on the edge of the Arabah Valley in the Negev Desert of Israel. A large fortress was located there in Roman times, part of the Roman limes, border fortresses on the edge of Arabia and the limit of Roman control in the eastern part of the empire.

An interesting, and ubiquitous, aspect of Roman culture was the construction of bath houses wherever in the empire Romans lived and congregated. The one at Tamar is relatively small, as Roman bath houses go, but had all of the architecture, layout, and amenities larger bath houses possessed. In addition, attached to the side of the bath house is a large Roman taverna, probably military quarters. This building was divided into many small rooms (Latin tabernae, meaning rude dwelling, hut, or shop), probably used as living quarters, including also a public area and a bathroom, with toilets and, in the past, flowing water. A 40 X 40 meter fortress dominated the mound less than 50 meters from the taberna and bath house.

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Topics: How To, Personal, Teaching Moment, Old Testament, Archaeology

Blessing Austin Grad and Future Servants

Posted by Neil Haney on July 7, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Photo: Chairman Jerry Christian addresses donors

Perhaps those who are most passionate about the mission of Austin Grad are those who generously support the school through their prayers, their advocacy, and the sharing of their financial resources.  They do so because they sincerely believe in our mission and want to be part of it. 

The mission of Austin Grad is familiar to most who are associated with the school.  It is especially familiar to our professors, our administration and staff and, most of all, our students.

The mission statement is:  To promote knowledge, understanding and practice of the Christian faith by equipping Christians and churches for service in the Kingdom of God. 

This mission statement, although devised by Austin Grad leaders many years ago to express the purpose of the school, is reminiscent of the passage written by the apostle, Paul in Ephesians 4: 11-12.  That passage reads:

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Topics: About Austin Grad, How To

Promoting Biblical Preaching for 35 Years

Posted by Dr. Stan Reid on June 14, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Of course preparing and preaching sermons is not the only task a preacher does in a given week. However, the one called by the church to preach for, to, and with it should carefully attend to the craft of preaching. The task inherently requires ample time to study the Christian Scripture in order to search out true, timely, and appropriate applications. I believe that preachers and churches would do well to review the wisdom of the apostles when they said, "It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables” (Act 6:2 NRS).

As one who spent 20 years preaching, I appreciate the pressure, the burden, and the joy of announcing the gospel of Jesus Christ week in and week out. Being prepared to preach something of substance to listeners with divergent needs and expectations was always challenging. The effort to see that each sermon had both a word of judgment and a word of grace takes much prayer and thought. It requires careful and regular review and evaluation to ensure that one does not get unbalanced by emphasizing one over the other.

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Topics: About Austin Grad, How To, Teaching Moment

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