“There and Back Again: Joy in the OT”

I recently spoke at Bethlehem College & Seminary‘s chapel on the topic, “Joy in the Old Testament.” I took for my text Ps 146 and entitled the message, “There and Back Again.” The people at the school were kind enough to post the video for those interested.

Click through for the manuscript I took into the pulpit that afternoon.

Continue reading ““There and Back Again: Joy in the OT””

Book Review: More Than Conquerors

The book of Revelation has brought the church seemingly equal parts comfort and confusion. While no single reading can bring out all the intricacies that are woven in this rich text, some writings on the book are more helpful than others.

One book has been considered by believers as particularly helpful since its publishing in 1939. More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation was written by one of the most respected Reformed commentators of a previous generation, William Hendriksen. The book seems to have been written as a part of his Doctor of Sacred Theology degree from Pike’s Peak Bible Seminary. Hendriksen finished a doctorate at Princeton before joining the faculty at Calvin Theological Seminary. When he died in 1982, he had written substantial commentaries on over half the books of the New Testament. His fascination with the book of Revelation continued throughout his life, and he gave special attention to it as part of the translating committee for the New International Version.

Hendrickson’s book was the very first manuscript published by Baker Book House. It has remained in print ever since and is a deserving of it’s 75th anniversary commemorative edition. The resetting of its text is a notable improvement from previous iterations.

Hendrickson divides the book into seven parallel sections. Throughout, he models a careful reading and attentive reading of the text. Few will follow him on each of his amillennial, modified idealistic interpretations (this is the book of Revelation, after all), but all would benefit from his labors.

D. A. Carson’s review of the book may seem dismissive (“It is now entirely eclipsed by more recent commentaries”), but Carson’s comments must be seen in light of his intended audience—pastor and scholars. G. K. Beale’s commentary on Revelation in the highly technical NIGNT series claims to be “heavily indebted to the labors of prior commentators, especially Hendriksen …. One could say that my work follows in the tradition of these commentaries” (xx).

Indeed, if a believer is looking for a reliable guide to join their own reading of the text of the Book of Revelation, I know of no better accompanist than More Than Conquerors.

Book Review: The New Pastor’s Handbook

Looking for that perfect graduation gift? If the graduate you love just completed seminary, I have great news: your searching is done.

Baker Publishing just released a new book by Jason Helopoulos entitled The New Pastor’s Handbook: Help and Encouragement for the First Years of Ministry. From the very first page, it is obvious that Helopoulos has heard a lot of tried-and-true ministry advice, and it is obvious he has paid attention.

This book’s particular strength, though, is pitching classic pastoral advice directly at the new pastor. Certainly, a newly minted MDiv graduate will have Spurgeon’s and Lloyd-Jones’ books for ministers on their shelves. But with 48 chapters in under 200 pages, Helopoulos’ book will be the one they actually read. The New Pastor’s Handbook feels a bit like a “blog you can hold.” And this fits its target demographic well.

No book can cover every topic. For example, I would have liked to have read Helopoulos’ thoughts regarding personal and corporate evangelism. But each chapter clear and candid, well-conceived and well-written. And when you pair these meditations with the outstanding bibliography, you have a wonderful resource to give to your new pastor.

This past week’s service at Bethlehem Baptist Church, downtown campus

Some of my twitter friends have asked for a copy of our service. Here’s last weekend. The songs can be heard here, and the sermon (EXCELLENT!) can be seen here.


GATHERING SONG
Glorious and Mighty

Pastoral Welcome and Announcements

ADORATION
Be Unto Your Name
Psalm 62

CONFESSION
Ps. 3:1-4 (Responsive Scriptural Reading)

Pastoral Prayer of Confession (this week adapted from language found in Prone To Wander):

O Lord,

We confess that we are needy people. Some of us are surrounded by foes that oppose us while others are surrounded by circumstances that overwhelm us. And so we are tempted to turn to many saviors, but this [evening/morning], Lord, we turn to you. We recognize that you are the only one who is able to save. When we sin, we live as though Christ never left the tomb. Too often, in the deadness of our flesh, we live as though he too is dead.

But, Lord Jesus, you are alive this [evening/morning]. By the power of your indestructible life, show mercy to your needy people. Spirit, impress upon us the reality of what we cannot see—Jesus, God’s king, has been set on God’s holy hill, bearing scars that proclaim the greatness of his sacrifice and the greatness of his love for us. In his name we pray, Amen.

Have Mercy on Me

THANKSGIVING
Isaiah 41:8-10 (Responsive Scriptural Reading)

He Will Hold Me Fast

Pastoral Prayer of Praise (extemporaneous)

Jesus I My Cross Have Taken

SERMON:
Sermon Text Reading: Psalm 3
“Salvation Belongs to the Lord” Psalm 3 (Jason Meyer)

CLOSING SONG: Made Me Glad – Miriam Webster

Newton on suffering ministers

“For the like reason He appoints his ministers to be sorely exercised, both from without and within, that they may sympathize with their flock, and know in their own hearts the deceitfulness of sin, the infirmities of the flesh, and the way in which the Lord supports and bears with all the trust Him. Therefore be not discouraged: usefulness and trials, comforts and crosses, strengths and exercise go together. But remember He has said, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee; be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.’ When you get to heaven, you will not complain of the way by which the Lord brought you.”

Looking forward to Tony Reinke’s new book on Newton. This quote is from this pdf, page 45.

How Music Can Help Words Gain Specificity

Nicholas Wolterstorff:

“The Christian liturgy is a sequence of actions: confession, proclamation of forgiveness, praise, and so forth. And works of art—passages of music, for example—can be more or less fitting to these distinct actions. What fits the action of confession well may be quite unfitting to the action of praise. Indeed, we can go farther. Many of the actions constituting the liturgy can be understood in a variety of different ways. And sometimes the music, by virtue of fitting closely one such understanding and only distantly certain others, lends specificity to the action and even to the words by which the action is accomplished.”

Art in Action, 116.

Chapel Message: Exclusivism and Genesis 18:22-33

Here’s a message that I preached at Bethlehem College and Seminary‘s chapel. I was assigned the topic of “Exclusivism” and asked to address the topic expositionally. Watch for quotes from Tim Keller and Michael Wittmer!

I chose as my text Abraham’s bartering with God for the city of Sodom in Genesis 18:22-33 (not 23, as I misspoke). Not an immediately obvious choice, but one that I found illustrative. See if you agree!

Tweets included:
Rigney tweet
Mcatee tweet