Going to Seminary is expensive. On top of that, finding a scholarship can be really difficult. That’s why I was excited to find this website today. Logos Bible Software is giving away a $1,000.00 scholarship and a digital theological library, and all I had to do to apply was watch a short video and answer a few questions! It took less than 15 minutes.
What is best of all is that if you’re in seminary and apply for the scholarship, and put my name as the person who referred you, if you win the scholarship, so do I! We could both get a $1,000.00 scholarship and digital theological library. So, do us both a favor and go apply for the today.
Great post from last June (2011) on the CNN Belief Blog:
by John Blake, CNN
“Scripture tells you that all things shall pass,” a choked-up Ditka said after leading his team to only five wins during the previous season. “This, too, shall pass.”
Ditka fumbled his biblical citation, though. The phrase “This, too, shall pass” doesn’t appear in the Bible. Ditka was quoting a phantom scripture that sounds like it belongs in the Bible, but look closer and it’s not there.
Ditka’s biblical blunder is as common as preachers delivering long-winded public prayers. The Bible may be the most revered book in America, but it’s also one of the most misquoted. Politicians, motivational speakers, coaches - all types of people - quote passages that actually have no place in the Bible, religious scholars say.
REGENERATION: Special act of God in which the recipient is passive. God alone awakens the person spiritually through the power of His Holy Spirit. Both the OT and NT also speak of the renewing of the individual. In a technical sense the act of regeneration takes place at the moment of conversion as the individual is spiritually awakened.
The term “regeneration” is the Greek word palingenesia (used only in Matt. 19:28 of creation and Titus 3:5). The Titus text refers to the regeneration of the individual, “He saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (HCSB). The Bible expresses the concept in numerous places with other terms like born again, renewed, remade, and born of God. For instance, in John 3:3–8 Jesus tells Nicodemus that in order to enter the kingdom of God, he must be born again. This thought is echoed in 1 Pet. 1:23, “Since you have been born again—not of perishable seed but of imperishable—through the living and enduring word of God.” The Bible clearly teaches that man must undergo a spiritual re-creation in order to have a relationship with God or enter His kingdom.
Paul provides further explanation in Eph. 2:1: “You were dead in your trespasses and sins.” Clearly Paul does not mean physical death but instead is referring to man’s spiritual state. Sin has left man dead spiritually, unable to respond to God. However, regeneration reawakens or resurrects man’s spiritual capacity so that he can have relationship with God. Paul explained in Eph. 2:4–5, “Because of His great love that He had for us, [God] made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses” (HCSB). Regeneration gives man the ability to commune with God, thus making man “a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17).
This same idea is expressed in the OT. For example, God told Israel in Ezek. 36:26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (NASB). This need for a new heart was expressed by the psalmist: “God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10 HCSB). Jeremiah 31:31–34 also speaks of God establishing a new covenant where His law will be written on men’s hearts. These verses clearly speak of a change in man’s heart resulting in an improved response to God and His will, which is reflective of the NT concept of regeneration.
Several church traditions, like the Roman Catholic, have associated the regenerative act with the baptism. However, the Bible clearly teaches that baptism is a testimony that regeneration has taken place and not a means to attain it. The Bible is clear that regeneration is brought about by the Holy Spirit alone (Titus 3:5; 1 Cor. 2:6–16).
Regeneration is the catalyst that allows the Christian to interact with his creator. It is the beginning step of an eternal walk with God. Regeneration allows the individual to have a relationship with God and thus stands at the beginning of the Christian life.
Brand, C., Draper, C., England, A., Bond, S., Clendenen, E. R., Butler, T. C., & Latta, B. (2003). Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (1371–1372). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
Some of you may have little or no experience with what I mean by preaching. What I mean by preaching is expository exultation.
Preaching Is Expository
Expository means that preaching aims to exposit, or explain and apply, the meaning of the Bible. The reason for this is that the Bible is God’s word, inspired, infallible, profitable—all 66 books of it.
The preacher’s job is to minimize his own opinions and deliver the truth of God. Every sermon should explain the Bible and then apply it to people’s lives.
The preacher should do that in a way that enables you to see that the points he is making actually come from the Bible. If you can’t see that they come from the Bible, your faith will end up resting on a man and not on God’s word.
Power. Power to change. Power to start anew. Everyone is looking for power. Political campaigns point to the power of people. Advertising agencies exploit the power of appetite.
But Churches have something different and better. Something seemingly implausible. Something that comes in a demonstration of the Spirit and of power. Churches have the Gospel.
Though we live in the world, we must not wage war as the world does, or fight with its weapons. On the contrary, we have divine power to demolish strongholds. To redeem sinners. To create life. To transform and remake the universe. Talk about power.
Witness the underestimated Gospel.
From David Murray:
1. Cramming: Squeezing all you have ever studied about the Bible over the years into 30 minutes.
2. Skimming: Taking too many verses and simply skimming over the surface of the text, teaching nothing that someone with average intelligence would not have derived from the text themselves.
3. Floating: The preacher says many things that relate to the text, floating or hovering above the text, but fails to show how they are anchored in the text.
4. Proof-texting: Including lots and lots of texts from all over the Bible, and sometimes diverting hearers by expounding the proof texts as much as the sermon text.
5. Quoting: Too many quotes from commentators, theologians, and other preachers from the past and the present.
6. Lecturing: It’s difficult to define the difference between preaching and lecturing, but you know it when you see it/hear it. It’s about passion, eye-contact, persuasion, urgency, etc.
7. Assuming: Our own over-familiarity with the text results in us assuming that our hearers know the background of the text, the meaning of basic key words and concepts, etc. May also result in Mach 7 preaching speeds. And don’t assume your hearers are all converted either.
8. Confusing: Hearers are left confused usually because of a lack of structure or too complicated a structure (main points, sub-points, etc.); or sometimes there is a good structure, but it’s not sufficiently highlighted and emphasized so that hearers know where they’ve been, where they are, and where they are going.
9. Spraying: Lots and lots of data, but no single dominant thought; it’s the difference between a shotgun and a rifle.
10. Complicating: Instead of explaining the text, a preacher can actually make it more obscure. Usually involves words too big, sentences too long, concepts too abstract, language too philosophical/theological.