Thinking Out Loud

March 14, 2010

Random Sunday Notes

  • I’m increasingly impressed with the New Living Translation.   I often explain the relationship between the old Living Bible and the current NLT is similar to buying a house that you really like but it needs to be brought up to the standards of the building code.   So you bring in a number of contractors who fix the parts that need fixing and leave everything else that’s good.   Bringing The Living Bible up to translation status was a similar project.    Passages like Romans and Hebrews gain additional clarity, while the Olivet Discourse in John’s gospel reveals its rather stark simplicity.    I like this treatment of Ephesians 2: 8-9:

    8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

  • This morning in church we looked at this passage in I Samuel 2: 12-13a

    12 Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels who had no respect for the Lord or for their duties as priests… 22 Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle.

    It’s a reminder that today’s television evangelists who seem to have outright contempt for their followers and for God Himself, with their misuse of money and serial affairs are really nothing new.

  • Imagine you’re sitting in church and the service is nearing the end and an usher walks up to the person in the row in front of you and hands him/her an envelope and whispers, “Thanks for your offering, but we don’t want to accept this from you, even though it’s perfectly useful cash.”   That would be like something out of a weird dream, right?   But that’s what we do when people offer their [other kinds of] gifts to the church but they can’t jump through the hoops or clear the screening process.   We’re basically throwing their gift back in their faces.   The church should be a place where gifting + willingness determines ministry.

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