The Christian Studies Blog


Ministry in the Next Generation

Posted by Dr. Allan McNicol on April 25, 2017 at 9:30 AM

I am not sure what started this but a few days ago I began to recall my first sermon. I do not remember its exact date; but almost 60 years have passed since that time.

It was a Sunday evening and I preached the sermon to a congregation of about twenty-five or thirty at my home church in Australia. Although mainly inauspicious and uneventful I do have one lasting recollection. When I came to the end of my notes and what I had prepared to say it seemed like I was only speaking for about five minutes. Anxiously I looked up at the clock on the wall. Somewhat relieved I observed that over twenty minutes had gone by since I began to speak. Thus I learned an important lesson. When you stand in the pulpit your perspective can become quite different from the rest of the congregation who are listening to what you say.

A Fork in the Road

Little did I know that what took place on that quiet evening anticipated so much of the future direction of my life.

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Topics: How To, Ministry Opportunities

Dare to know God

Posted by Dr. Daniel Napier on April 6, 2017 at 9:29 AM

Jesus redefines reality for us. God is still at work in our world, Jesus says, and he invites us to walk with God. (‘The kingdom of God is near you’ and all are invited to ‘enter into the kingdom’.) Since we’re not accustomed to seeing God all around us, it’s natural to feel a little skeptical. So I want to ask the obvious, but crucial question. How can I know God? 

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Topics: How To, Relationships

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

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