Monday, June 30, 2008

Latest Barna Research

In this compelling study, the authors outline four suggestions to Christians who want to follow up with Americans who have rejected contemporary Christianity.

What do you think, dear Reader?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vacation (No Internet) Day 3

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Play to your strengths.

Which perspective is more useful?  There are times that society demands perfoming outside our areas of skill (especially in school).  But as adults, we have far more flexibility.

Is it true that kids don't know what they'll do when they're older?  That's a common line when explaining why kids need to take classes they dislike.

I wonder...a longitudinal study tracking middle schoolers' preferences through, say, people's early 30s, might yield some interesting results.

(When I get back online, I'll return to a more typical pattern of posting.)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Vacation (No Internet) Day 2

Follow-up?  Jesus got exasperated with the lack of understanding his disciples showed sometimes.

I struggle with what to do when someone--a friend, a peer, a pupil--doesn't "get it."

In spiritual matters, how much is my responsibility and how much is the Holy Spirit's?

What is predestined and what is influenced by human effort?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Vacation (No Internet) Day 1

Oops!  I forgot to look for the next book (won't do "follow-up") OR maybe I should...what is follow up?  What do they mean?

Witness = 2 or more verifiers of truth.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Exodus 23:1-9

This passage about social justice simply reminds God's people to say and do the right thing, even when it's inconvenient or difficult or not profitable.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

1 Timothy 5:19-20

The Bible teaches clearly that more than one person must be consulted before accusing someone in charge of wrongdoing.

However, once a charge is verified, a public rebuke is recommended.

Keep this in mind as you craft a new set of discipline policies for summer school classes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Witness Humility

Yesterday, I was on the top of the world.

Today, after receiving back local final exam results, I was reminded of my weakness.

Fortunately, my colleagues and I were able to come up with a reasonable solution, but it was important that I be compared to my colleagues for a reminder that I'm not "all that."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Professional Witness

The New York State No Child Left Behind test results were published online earlier today.

I am tempted to believe that the exam was graded on an easier scale this year. However, in comparision to other schools, my grade level and school building did particularly well.

This is very encouraging.

Such a large amount of statistics make it possible to generate meaningful comparisons, and this is a form of quantitative witness.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Solomon concludes his reflection with the reminder that life is all about respecting and obeying God.

When we appear before God at the end of time for judgment, there will be no need of many witnesses.

Jesus himself will be sole witness and defense attorney.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Jesus' Betrayal

The two or three witness rule was broken when Jesus faced trials and execution.

The only thing that they could agree on was that Jesus had claimed he would destroy "this temple in three days."

This was a referral to his death and resurrection, but they twisted it into a threat against the State.

Today, not unlike 2000 years ago, false witnesses game the system.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Deuteronomy 17:6

One witness in isolation is not sufficient to prove a case.

The Bible requires at least two or three witnesses to agree to prove a case.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Last Day of School

I teach in a public school, so my responsibility is to teach state-directed content and witness with my life, not my words.

What kind of witness for Christ was I to my students this school year?

And what kind of witness will I be to my next group of students at summer school?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Living Out Witness

I work as a teacher, and our union is in the midst of a nasty debate over a proposed contract.

After some emails, a web site wiki, and direct mail were sent out with the purpose of generating a "No" vote, I replied with a different perspective.

This has generated some sincere disagreement and a couple of very negative attacks against my character.

Doing the right thing feels great!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mark 1

Mark 1 has several excellent examples of biblical witnessing.

John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus. His main focus was upon repentance.

Jesus came and recruited "fishers of men." Any influence and leadership, any witnessing, requires a two-tiered strategy of personal connections and exponential growth.

The most powerful witness is living out the mission God has given each one of us in his family.

Mine does not involve miraculous healings. My role is to shine truth on difficult situations, even when it costs me a personal price.

Monday, June 16, 2008

"Two by Two"

Jesus directs both "the Twelve" in Mark 6 and "seventy-two others" in Luke 10 to go out in pairs.

This is good advice for anyone who goes out to spread the gospel.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Philip and the Ethiopian

Acts 8:26-39 is the first passage that comes to my mind when I hear the term "witnessing."

1. An angel of the Lord prompted Philip to a particular location
2. Philip met an Ethiopian eunuch "on his way." This sounds like the kind of coincidence that the Lord arranges sometimes.
3. The eunuch was a person of faith with great influence and incomplete understanding
4. The Spirit told Philip to go to the eunuch's chariot. Key lesson: listen to the Lord's prompting
5. Philip listened
6. Philip asked the eunuch a direct question: "Do you understand?" Key lesson: ask people who appear interested in spiritual matters, "Do you understand?" and let them quide the conversation. This is the main idea of NH401.
7. The eunuch asked about a passage in Isaiah.
8. Philip told about the "good news of Jesus." Key lesson: As Christians, we should be able to start with wherever someone is spiritually and lead them to the story of Jesus.
9. The payoff: "Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?"
10. Philip saw immediate benefit to his witness. Key lesson: Listen to the Spirit's prompting, be obedient, and you'll sometimes see spectacular results.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Although I first think of sharing the gospel when I see the term "witnessing," the OT emphasizes the role of a legal witness in important social matters.

In the NT, God the Father serves as a witness to Christians. He verifies what we say about our faith and Jesus' goodness.

In a very abstract sense, witnessing is a social event which applies verification to truthful statements.

Friday, June 13, 2008

1 Peter 1:3-12

OT prophets predicted Jesus' salvation.

Salvation is the goal of faith, the goal of our souls.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hebrews 2:10-18

Jesus suffered so that he could serve as our sacrifice.

Jesus was tempted, so he understands what I go through.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

2 Timothy 2:8-13

Paul writes, in verse 10, "I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus" (NIV).

It is interesting to note that Paul is actively enduring imprisonment for the benefit of "the elect." Although God has elected in advance some people to receive his salvation, other elected Christians are active participants in this process.

Salvation is "in Christ Jesus."

As an aside, in 1 Corinthians 1:21-24 Paul acknowledges that the message of salvation through Jesus is "a stumbling block" for Jews and "foolishness" to Gentiles. Salvation is counterintuitive.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

According to verse 8, the hope of slavation is a helmet.

In verses 9-10, Paul writes, "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him" (NIV).

Monday, June 9, 2008

Luke 19:1-10

Zacchaeus personifies salvation.

Jesus says, in verses 9-10, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost" (NIV).

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Luke 1:57-80

Zechariah, husband of Elizabeth and father of John the Baptist, described salvation in two different ways.

First, in verses 69-71, salvation is a deliverance from enemies.

Second, in verses 76-77, salvation is a pathway to forgivenss of sins. This is fulfilled in the death of Jesus.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Zechariah 9:9

Salvation is personified on Palm Sunday as Jesus rides into Jerusalem on the donkey.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Lamentations 3:19-26

In times of distress, wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Isaiah 51:1-8

God's righteousness and slavation last forever.

Everything in the physical world is only temporary.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Isaiah 12:1-4

In verse one, we learn that salvation starts with God's anger. Without God's judgment, there is no need for salvation.

Isaiah goes on to explain that because forgiveness comes from God, there is no need for us to be afraid. His forgiveness is like a cool drink of water.

We are told to announce to the nations what God has done for us.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Psalm 98

The word salvation appears once in each of the first three verses of this psalm.

Verses 4-9a remind me of the way it looks and sounds and feels when a superstar is greeted entering an arena to perform.

In verse 9b, the conclusion of the psalm, we are told that the Lord "comes to judge the earth. / He will judge the world in righteousness / and the peoples with equity."

Salvation is closely related to God's judgment at the end of time.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Psalm 62

A soul finds rest in God's salvation (v. 1).

Rock = Fortress = Salvation (vv. 2 & 6).

Salvation and honor depend upon God (v. 7).

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Top Salvation Verses

Psalm 62
Psalm 98
Isaiah 12:1-4
Isaiah 51:1-8
Lamentations 3:19-26
Zechariah 9:9
Luke 1:57-80
Luke 19:1-10
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
2 Timothy 2:8-13
Hebrews 2:10-18
1 Peter 1:3-12

Since I have chosen 12 verses, this leaves me one day to study each passage. If I finish early, I will use the extra time to create an overall summary of the Bible's teaching on salvation. Otherwise, I will move on immediately to the next topic study without summary.