The fourth study Bible that I would like to recommend to those who are endeavoring to develop into being an expositor is one that is very useful in looking at a text in a bit of a different light. The NIV Archaeological Study Bible published by Zondervan is another excellent tool for those who would be critical of the biblical text. A preacher will preach to a wide variety of people that visit the church where he will pastor. For the most part the vast majority of apostolic churches have people who attend that believe the Scriptures to be authentic, inspired, inerrant, and authoritative. But we have unbelievers who attend that do not have the same shared confidence in Scripture that we might not have and we have college students who attend schools where professors and other students can be militantly hostile against the Word of God. This Bible is very helpful in combatting some of that rhetoric.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Monday, November 09, 2015
The next study Bible on the list is the English Standard Version (ESV) published by Crossway, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois. The ESV was initially published in 2001 however the Study Bible was published in 2011. If you are a Bible reader and are familiar with other translations, it won’t take you long to realize that the ESV closely resembles the New American Standard Bible. There are not a lot of changes between to the two to the casual reader. I am certain that it you made a comparison with charts and diagrams and so forth that there would be some notable differences between the two of them. Before going further I would like to point out my usual disclaimer that just because I am a reader of this particular translation it does not mean that I can entirely endorse everything about the ESV Study Bible. I look at it as simply being another tool in the toolbox of one who desires to be serious about the exposition of Scripture in his preaching.
Thursday, November 05, 2015
Part 1—Hebrew-Greek KEY WORD Study Bible—AMG Publishers
If you would be a serious expositor of God’s Word, you are constantly on the lookout for good resources that will help you to pull all you can from the biblical text. One of tools that you need is good study Bibles. There was a time not too long ago when we would have had to say a good study Bible but as times have progressed there are many choices of study Bibles that are available for us to use. For the month of November I intend to do a review of a host of study Bibles that I have found helpful to me in the last several years. Another reason that I am going to spend November to do this would be because of Black Friday being just around the corner. If you live near a chain Christian bookstore, you can pick up many of these study Bibles very cheaply and even more so if you decide to go with hardbound instead of bonded or genuine leather.
Friday, October 30, 2015
Increasingly I am much encouraged by some of the conversations that I am having with various Pentecostal pastors around the nation. It is becoming more and more common that I am finding men who are paying the price with discipline and diligence to really dig into the Word so that their preaching has taken a different direction. This direction change is coming because of the challenges that we are facing in our culture and the deep moral depravity that is assaulting the church. We also have to contend more and more with the onward advancement of various world religions that are making inroads to the United States. Our preaching has to change to meet those challenges for we can no longer afford to simply preach to the moment so that people get out of their seats and flutter about for a little while to satisfy some shallow emotional need they need to feel better about.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
I have been revisiting some of my journal scribblings from the last four years or so and have found a variety of thoughts I had written down. Some of those scribblings had to do with little mental or spiritual stimulations that I thought I would put on this blog. This post comes about from three different entries that I have merged together. The first one was from Eugene Peterson’s very fine memoir, The Pastor and the other two were blog entries that Thom Rainer had written which dealt with pastoral ministry. Peterson’s angle was that pastors have fallen into the trap of being turned into church growth gurus and it has cost them the priority of their own spiritual life of prayer, personal Bible reading/study (you would be shocked how many pastors don’t read the Bible on a regular basis), and the practice of spiritual disciplines which include the previous two and a host of others. His fear was that pastors are being turned into executive automatons who can drive cattle about on a range but have lost the art of leading sheep through still pastures. Rainer wrote about the dilemmas pastors face in the church which contribute to great dilemmas in the soul of the pastor. The best way to describe it would be to say that the little foxes have gained an entrance and they are spoiling a harvest.
Monday, October 19, 2015
Several weeks ago I had a very thought provoking discussion with my brother about Pentecostal preaching. In 1992 my parents gave Mark a new Thompson Chain reference Bible for Christmas. It wasn’t too long after that he began to use this Bible as his primary Bible as his everyday carry. He used it for devotional matters, he used it at Texas Bible College in the classroom, and he also used it to preach. One of the other things he did with this Bible was underline every sermon he heard during a twenty-year period. After retiring this Bible in 2012, he discovered something very interesting about this Bible. He went back and looked at all of the Scriptures that he had underlined when he was listening to preachers. He noted that during that twenty-year time period that he had heard approximately 3,500 messages. This came from a variety of places. Obviously the bulk of these came from the local churches where he had attended during that twenty-year time period. There were other unique places where he had listened to preaching. He had been in multiple chapel services at TBC, he had gone to several of the larger Pentecostal churches in the Houston area, and he had been to various conferences although he had not attended as many as I have through the years.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
We have spent the last two posts speaking of what takes place with criticism in the confines of a church. The first one was what takes place in the soul of the pastor. The second was what takes place in the soul of the critic. This last post is devoted to what takes place in the church when critics began to do their work.
As a leaping off point, look to Romans 16:17-20 from the Message (as a disclaimer, I don’t use the Message as a primary source):
Romans 16:17-20 MSG One final word of counsel, friends. Keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that you learned and then use them to make trouble. Give these people a wide berth.  They have no intention of living for our Master Christ. They're only in this for what they can get out of it, and aren't above using pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.  And so while there has never been any question about your honesty in these matters--I couldn't be more proud of you!--I want you also to be smart, making sure every "good" thing is the real thing. Don't be gullible in regard to smooth-talking evil. Stay alert like this,  and before you know it the God of peace will come down on Satan with both feet, stomping him into the dirt. Enjoy the best of Jesus!
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
Monday, May 04, 2015
There will be waves of criticism that seem to come from every direction at times and then there will be periods when all seems to be at rest and you walk through life and ministry without a peep so to speak. After having been involved in ministry for almost 30 years, I have come to realize that there is a fringe that every church has that is always buzzing about something. Early in my ministry, I was very concerned about this fringe of the “mixed multitude” and what they were saying and doing. However as the years have passed, I have come to believe what the Proverbs recommends, “Answer not a folly according to his folly” (Proverbs 26:4). The best course is to leave them alone and let your only form of protest be the excellence of your work. Let your work, your life, and your ethics stand in the face of criticism.
Friday, March 06, 2015
Yesterday, I shared with you the conversation that I enjoyed with the UPCI General Superintendent, David Bernard. This blog is going to cover the gist of several conversations that I had with UPCI Assistant General Superintendent (Eastern Zone) Paul Mooney.
I have known Brother Mooney for quite a number of years. I suppose the first time I officially met him was around 2004 or so at an Alabama District Men’s Conference. Since that time he has preached at several camp meetings in Alabama in addition to a district conference. He is one of the most uniquely brilliant men I have ever met! He has a very gifted mind and you find that to be very obvious when you begin to interact with him because all of the times you spend with him there isn’t an ounce of wasted energy or time. He also serves dual role as the pastor at the historic CalvaryTabernacle in Indianapolis and as the president of Indiana Bible College. If ever there was an ardent supporter of apostolic doctrine and identity in this generation, he certainly falls into that category.
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
At our General Conference this past fall, I was shocked with surprise when my District Superintendent, Rev. Stan Davidson, notified me that my name had been nominated for the Southeastern Regional Executive Presbyter. I was even more surprised and honored to be voted into the two-year term which officially began in January. One of the first assignments that I had to fulfill in this position was to attend the Executive Board meeting in St. Louis beginning this past Monday night (3/2/15). This was followed by two days of General Board meetings all day Tuesday and Wednesday (3/3-4/15). The General Board meetings went very well with the high point being on Tuesday night when the Spirit of the Lord moved into the N. A. Urshan Board Room. A massive prayer meeting broke out among the leaders of the UPCI with the gifts of the Spirit in operation and lasting right at an hour. I believe the entire constituency of the UPCI would have been greatly encouraged to have witnessed this. There were leaders praying with and for each other and followed by some very powerful testimonies of what God is doing in our fellowship. There is a lot of momentum and unity among us. I heard several men who have been on the General Board for 30-40 years say they have never witnessed or experienced anything like this in all of their years of service.
Monday, February 02, 2015
I have a few more thoughts to add to the idea of this challenge that comes with being “apt to teach.” As I revisited this passage again in 1 Timothy 3, it is important to point out that this is the only skill or practice that Paul notes is specific to the church. He very well could and must be a teacher to his family but the overarching purpose of being apt to teach is that he provides instruction to the church. We also must give consideration to the idea that all of the character traits that Paul lists; blameless, husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, not given to wine, no striker (not violent), not greedy of filthy lucre, patient, not a brawler, covetous, ruling his own house well, having his children in subjection, not a novice, and having a good report of those that are around him; that all of these matters will have a great impact on his ability to teach. If these matters are compromised, his public ministry of teaching will be publically ignored and privately mocked and scorned. This matter of character in apostolic ministry has far more reaching boundaries than most of us who are in public ministry grasp and understand. You cannot separate your life and practice from your doctrine.
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Last year as I floundered through writing out the Pastoral Epistles in a journal with a fountain pen (all in the great hopes that my cursive handwriting would improve), I found an intriguing quality that was listed by Paul. He instructed that a man who was desired the work of a bishop (KJV), overseer and bondservant (ESV), servant (ESV), and superintendent and overseer (Amplified) be “apt to teach”. I was particularly struck by this phrase as I wrote the words from Weymouth. He translated 1 Timothy 3:2 as “with a gift for teaching” and in 2 Timothy 2:24 as “a skillful teacher.” The Amplified Bible also had a remarkable rendering also for in 1 Timothy 3:2 it is “a capable and qualified teacher” and 2 Timothy 2:24 it was “he must be a skilled and suitable teacher.”
I am certain that all students have at one point had a teacher or two or three who really stood out from the rest of the mix as someone who pushed your life in a direction of excellence. I personally have had some who did that very thing for me as I have navigated through my years of education. I have been incredibly blessed to have taken part in a wide range of education both in the classroom and clinical setting. What I have realized is that of all the teachers that I ran across there were just handful who could fall into the category of being an excellent teacher. It is apparent that Paul fell into the category of exceptional. You can see his excellence coming through in a variety of ways when you read the account in Acts and scattered throughout his epistles.
Tuesday, January 06, 2015
I am quick out of the chute this year having already finished a book in the first week of the New Year. This book is not a particularly new book with an original publishing date of 1972 but it has gone through at least thirteen printings of the original edition. Furthermore it has gone through a revision in 2005 and I have the second printing of that copy also. Last year, I wrote several lengthy posts of some personal Bible study notes as I trackedthrough Kay Arthur’s book, Lord, Is ItWarfare? Those are still available although I did not complete them because I had started writing with a fountain pen as described in the first post of this year. I do have those notes written in another journal and perhaps may need to revisit them and post the rest of them.
Spiritual warfare has always been an interest of mine and I have more than 100 books in my personal library that deals with this subject. The only subject that I have more single volumes about is holiness which logs in at more than 150 books devoted to that subject. I have discovered over the course of the years that when you read and study about personal holiness and spiritual warfare together that you will have to come to grips with the very close link between to the two. A commitment to personal holiness gives a Christian great power when he is dealing with the attack of the devil. Indeed! A real live devil who is not a concept, theme, or ideal planted in the human consciousness but an arch-angel who fell from heaven to lead a rebellion against God. Spiritual warfare operates in zones that attempts to weaken the commitments that we make toward personal holiness and when we fall in the battle, we suffer and those around us suffer.
Friday, January 02, 2015
What a horrible way to begin a New Year! I am speaking of beginning this year with an excuse. However, this may not be so much of an excuse as an explanation. As the year faded from spring to summer and then to fall and finally to the winter, I began to have inquiries as to why I had stopped blogging. In fact the last post I had put on the Barnabas Blog was way back in April when I was in the midst of the series on spiritual warfare from Kay Arthur’s study guide, Lord, Is It Warfare? So the questions that came my way were reasonable as to why I had “gone dark” on the Barnabas Blog. This is why I had nothing to post. . .
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Several years ago, my plan for preaching started making a marked change in its direction. I started working with the process of expository preaching. To this date, I have completed several long passages of Scripture in this manner. When I started this journey, I realized that my study habits would have to change and also my reading tools would have to change also. Expository preaching means that you will have to use commentaries and language helps to accomplish the task of preaching God’s Word. So I started the process of purchasing good reference books that would serve more as tools to go back to more than once. Last year it was my good fortune to become a book reviewer for Kregel Publications. They have an arm called the Academic division that supplies some very good reference material for an expositor. This volume on Judges and Ruth was sent to me by Kregel.
The most recent commentary is written by Robert B. Chisholm Jr., A Commentary on Judges and Ruth. Kregel sent me this book several months ago while I was just beginning to do an expository series on Psalms. I judged this book by Chisholm and liked it so well that I ended up purchasing Kregel’s volumes on Psalms by Allen P. Ross (the last volume is not available yet which will cover Psalms 90-150). The Ross volumes are also very good and worth the investment.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
This is Week 4, Day 3 from the devotional Lord, Is It Warfare? There is something that you will find as you develop a disciplined approach to a daily time in the Word. Your mind and spirit will be stretched by the Scripture and you will also find a rhythm that as time passes in your devotions that you refuse to allow a rushed attitude to consume your time with the Lord. (Although today’s entry is relatively short compared to some of the other ones.) Busyness and hurry are great liabilities to us as we read through the Bible. The soul is greatly fed as you work slowly through these assignments because overcoming the rush and hurry of devotion moves your thoughts into places that you would not normally be able to go. That is why I know that the messages that I preach weekly make their most impact when they are “crock-pot” fare versus quick, grab it as you can “microwave” pabulum.
-We all come from Adam no matter what evolutionists and scientists might imply. We were also created in the image of God.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
If you have not purchased your own copy of this devotional, Lord, Is It Warfare?, I want to encourage you to do so (Used books on Amazon start @ 0.42). Not only is there an opportunity to interact in a personal journal with your own notes but the guide is designed in such a way as to encourage you to mark up your Bible. Today’s entry is a little shorter than usual simply by the nature of the assignment that was given. Following are my own reflections.
-This world was not always in the condition that it is in now. It once was a perfect paradise that hosted God and His creation of Adam and Eve and the host of things that filled the world. In a single moment, the unity of God and His creation was shattered by the wily snares of the serpent. He tempted Eve and she fell to an unimaginable state.
Monday, April 21, 2014
I would like to offer a bit of explanation for my two-week layoff from writing. On early Tuesday, April 15, my mother-in-law passed on to her eternal reward. I have literally known her my entire life as my parents moved to Dothan when I was two and we started going to church here in Dothan. My father-in-law had started the church a little over a year prior to our arrival. In that little home missions setting the Lord was at work but also His grace was at work in my own life too. I married Teresa, the Patterson’s oldest daughter, in August ’86 and my life was entwined even more in the Patterson family. My mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer about four years ago and despite surgery it came back with a vengeance in January 2013. A little over two weeks ago, her condition rapidly deteriorated and she required around the clock care. I preached her funeral this past Friday and it was one of the most challenging ones that I have had to do. However, it has made heaven all the more real to me and her illness caused me to dig into the Word and really look at what it has to say about heaven and where saints go when they pass from this life. I would tell you this, I have done a great disservice to myself and to our church for not preaching more about heaven and the resurrection. I specifically did something special when I realized that her condition was not going to improve outside of a miracle, I got a leather-bound journal and started writing in it massive amounts of Scripture on what heaven was to be like. There are old hymns that have fallen out of our worship services that I wrote in that journal. Furthermore, I read sermons from the old masters of the past and found that they preached about heaven from a whole different angle than what is preached today. Suffice it to say this. . . you must make it to heaven!!!!! No matter the cost, it has to be a priority in your life.
Monday, April 07, 2014
I want to pick up with the Week 3, Day 5 portion before moving to Week 4, Day 1 for tomorrow. I got behind a bit last week but I really did not want to omit Day 5 because of some of the content that I ran across as I was journaling through it. I will not add Day 6 or Day 7 because it is primarily the summary of the previous material in the week with a host of Scriptures that are designed to bring out various descriptions of the devil. The following is pretty much the exact content of my ramblings in my journal. . . with a fountain pen J. Specifically a TWSBI 580 medium nib loaded with Pelikan 4001 Turquoise ink J.
-Note that the people who are involved in the spiritual war are saints. The devil has no need to attack those who are already in his kingdom. If you sometimes have a tendency to think that evil-doers have an easier path, the Bible very clearly articulates this in Psalm 37 and 73. Those psalms both have the same theme. . . the prosperity of the wicked. On the other hand, never think for a moment that they are never without troubles, difficulties, and huge battles with their conscience.
Friday, April 04, 2014
Starting out with a great apology, I had fully intended to work through this segment last week. I know that some of you are following along with your own copy of Lord, Is It Warfare? and your journal and you have been reading some of my thoughts in addition to what you are doing. I apologize for not getting on with this last week but I had some time pressures that sort of knocked me off of my routine. The next thing that I thought about doing was moving on to the next week in this series but there were some things in Week 3 that I felt like would be important and I did not want to omit them from the series. I will certainly do my best to get back on track in the next few days.
Beginning with Week 3, Day 4 there are a lot of recommendations concerning working through your Bible with a fair amount of passages. As I worked through some of those passages, I was troubled by them and that is the reason that I did not just skip to Week 4 because I wanted to address my own troubles in a Scriptural and honest way in the way that we often view God. Job 2 has a tendency to rattle some of our Americanized ideas about the identity of God and how He may operate in our lives. Again what follows are the exact notes that I have in my own personal journal.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
We are continuing to work through the devotional by Kay Arthur, Lord Is It Warfare? The focus is on the fact that the devil often fills the role of a roaring lion. What follows are the notes that I have written in my journal.
-Of all the names in Scripture for the devil, none is used more frequently than Satan. It is used 55 times in the OT/NT. (1 Chronicles 21:1; Job 1:6; 1:7; 1:8; 1:9; 1:12; 2:1; 2:2; 2:3; 2:4; 2:6; 2:7; Psalm 109:6; Zechariah 3:1; 3:2; Matthew 4:10; 12:26; 16:23; Mark 1:13; 3:23; 3:26; 4:15; 8:33; Luke 4:8; 10:18; 11:18; 13:16; 22:3; 22:31; John 13:27; Acts 5:3; 26:18; Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 7:5; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 11:14; 12:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Timothy 1:20; 5:15; Revelation 2:9; 2:13; 2:24; 3:9; 12:9; 20:2; 20:7.)
-Devil—DIABOLOS—Accuser, slanderer, from the verb that means to attack, to curse, to be an adversary, to resist. All of these actions are the way that he will choose to operate in our lives. Whatever is necessary to cause chaos and opposition is the goal. Thirty-five times he is called, devil, meaning “slanderer.” (Matthew 4:1; 4:5; 4:8; 4:11; 9:32; 9:33; 12:22; 13:39; 15:22; 17:18; 25:41; Mark 5:15; 5:16; 5:18; 7:26; 7:29; 7:30; Luke 4:2; 4:3; 4:5; 4:6; 4:13; 4:33; 4:35; 7:33; 8:12; 8:29; 9:42; 11:14; John 6:70; 7:20; 8:44; 13:2; Acts 10:38; 13:10; Ephesians 4:27; 6:11; l Timothy 3:6; 3:7; 2 Timothy 2:26; Hebrews 2:14; James 4:7; l Peter 5:8; l John 3:8; 3:10; Jude 10; Revelation 2:10; 12:9; 12:12; 20:2; 20:10.)
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Thanks to all who have sent e-mails and other social media messages that have encouraged me that this is helping. As always, I think that what John Wesley wrote in one of his journals more than a hundred years ago about how that spiritual growth and reading the Bible and devotional material were very closely linked. Frequently I give great consideration to the blessing that we have for being able to read especially when the statistics note that the majority of the world’s population cannot read and are illiterate. There is some benefit to writing down lists in your journal of the simple things in life that you can be thankful for. Such as being able to read, clean water, antibiotics, a functioning city sewage system, a yard that needs mowing, glasses, peanut butter, and a bag of jalapeno flavored kettle chips. Thank God that you are able to sit up and read a book late at night in a quiet den or living room on a sofa or easy chair. Gratitude flows when you start writing down your blessings! Paul encouraged us that in everything we are to give thanks (1 Thess. 5:18).
Monday, March 24, 2014
We are back in the saddle again after taking off a week from the devotional, Lord, Is It Warfare? by Kay Arthur. I would like to reflect some on the layout of the book. I have not blogged about Days 6 or 7 from Week 1 or 2 but there are some very valuable insights to be gained as you walk through the process of the book. The book is designed in such a way that it walks you through various passages of Scripture and allows you to gather insight as you work in a topical manner. I would also note that for those who are ministers or teachers of Bible study groups that I have gathered somewhat of a guess in the resources that the author uses. Two old resources used much in generations of the past before everything came to us in electronic format was Nave’s Topical Bible and the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. Orville Nave works at the Bible exactly as his text suggests, in a topical manner. The TSK is a bit different but is one of the most massive and intense cross-referencing systems of Scripture that I am personally aware of. If there is another one that is more powerful, I am not aware of it. Both of these tools are extremely helpful to one who is working in the Word.