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Tell Me What to Study

June 3, 2008

I leave after church Sunday for a week long study leave. I was going to use the time to prepare for finishing Romans in the fall, but I think I’m just about finished with all the reading for that. I’m very much enjoying reading and re-reading John and will continue to do so next week, but it feels too early to start reading commentaries since it will be a year before I preach it. So what should I study? I’m bored of studying just for the sake of self-improvement. I want to study something that will have practical implications for ministering to others. So I thought I’d ask you. What would you like your pastor to know a little more about by the end of next week? What subject could I study and turn into a Sunday school class or a small group that would interest you?

12 Comments leave one →
  1. ebenezers permalink
    June 5, 2008 10:06 pm

    I thought there would be a slew of comments about this, so I was hesitant to mention my thoughts (especially since I’m not sure if this is what you’re going for) but hey, you’re a nice guy and even if you reject my idea you’ll do it with kindness. :) So here goes…

    I’ve been thinking about the importance of having a heavenly perspective while here on earth. That being a “minister of mercy” is really, really made more difficult by my being so wrapped up in what this world offers. Not to mention that my worry and fear are seemingly impossible to squelch when I’m focused only/mainly on this life. In the sermon last Sunday, the question from Psalm 15 (and also Psalm 24) “Who shall dwell on Your holy hill?” got me thinking more about Heaven, too. So, this is my proposal: a study on Heaven the place (what it’s like, why we should be yearning for it, how it makes earth pale in comparison, etc. etc.), and then why and how to focus our hearts heavenward and have/maintain more of an eternal perspective. I suppose I feel like this has a lot of practical application in my life; changing my heart to think upon what is lasting (eternity), which will let the outpouring of my life be more like Christ — loving others better, living with abundant hope, and so forth.

    Just an idea!

  2. June 6, 2008 8:24 am

    I think it’d be great to learn more about the kingdom of God. The OT expectations/predictions of it and the NT fulfillment. What did 1st century Jews hear when Jesus proclaimed the kingdom? Along with that, how can we understand what Jesus preached in relation to what Paul preached in passages like 1 Cor 15.

  3. June 6, 2008 10:12 am

    ebenezers, that’s a great idea, but I did it already in 1998. It resulted in a sermon series on Rev 21-22 that is not all on the church website yet, but I will start posting excerpts to the blog soon.

    Jeff, I am reading NTW on Jesus and the Victory of God right now, so I will be thinking about such things.

  4. June 6, 2008 4:58 pm

    Here are my ideas:

    books of the Bible:
    More from Proverbs
    More from Revelations

    general topics:
    glory of God

    I hope you have a profitable week of study, whatever the subject is. :)

  5. egana permalink
    June 7, 2008 4:31 pm

    I think studying how the body works together, building each other, working into the community, and how we can graciously deal with the messiness of those relationship would be interesting and helpful to us, your sheep. *grin* None of us is all that thrilled by the messiness of relating with each other, and the increased difficulty of relating to all the people we are supposed to be loving and serving.

    I would love hear more on what “speaking the truth in love” can look like and achieve. Also what “turning the other cheek” can looks like. Also how to serve the poor and consider others more important than myself. These are recent areas of personal conviction I have had from the Word and your sermons.

    I often don’t want to speak for fear of the messiness that might ensue. And I don’t know how to discipline my children without feeling like am simply repaying evil for evil. And I don’t know how to serve my family, my church, my neighbors, my unbelieving extended family, and the local poor as well. I would love to see these fleshed out in a Sunday School setting. Maybe a practical “how to be DOERS and not HEARERS ONLY” or something like that.

  6. Steven Schlepphorst permalink
    June 25, 2008 7:35 pm

    Mike, you secretly love NTW, don’t you?
    I’m reading the same, when I have free moments. Did you read NTPG already? I’m curious to know what you think.

  7. June 27, 2008 2:20 pm

    No secret love here. He’s got some provocative thoughts on the kingdom, but I still don’t see what all the fuss is about. Haven’t read NTPG. I might read RSOG.

    I just can’t get into him because I reject the premise that second temple Judaism wasn’t legalistic. Pshaw. All that Sanders [questionably] demonstrated was that they weren’t Pelagians, but semi-Pelagians. So what? Semi-pelagianism is still legalism. Have you ever met a legalist who didn’t talk a good game about grace? No one comes right out and says they’re earning their salvation by the law. They all deceive themselves and others into thinking they’re doing it by grace.

    Here’s a sermon

  8. Steven permalink
    July 3, 2008 5:46 pm

    He seems to often say both “Our post-reformational, modernistic categories are quite different than Pharisees’ and different than Paul’s and we have to free ourselves to think outside of our own boxes” and “Within our own boxes, we’ve put him in the wrong box.” The first I agree with in principle, and it seems that Wright contradicts it when he goes about saying the second sort of thing. As though Wright were saying “They were core of the circle thinkers, not outer rim of the circle thinkers. We’ve got them all wrong by thinking they were left half of the circle thinkers – actually it was much more of the right half.” Well, that remains unsatisfactory.
    The Piper chapter on 1st century Judaism and specifically how Law as “ethnocentric boasting” can lead to legalism was interesting, because Piper’s thought was often “if you cash out the 1st century categories, you’ll still find legalism.” And such, “Core of the circle means sometimes you’re on the left.”

    I don’t know why we give a rip about the left or the right if that wasn’t the issue. The problem with the publican’s pharisee isn’t that his theology has a wrong place of the messiah or that he didn’t see Jesus as messiah or that he was trying to earn his salvation or not trusting grace enough: it was that he needed to be converted to God, just like Saul did. Instead of seeking God or righteousness (whatever that means), they had failed to reach the Law which they sought instead (cf. Rom9:30f). And I don’t think that fits into mere grace-understanding ethnic-boasting (as it seems Wright would have it) because they’re in rebellion against God and that’s not (first) a theological problem. And I don’t think that fits into mere legalistic salvation-earning picture either.

    And I think that – not because of 4 Ezra or whatever – because when Paul uses “righteousness,” the word seems nuanced – when talking about people – to indicate mainly their status before God (and not moral perfection).

    As an indirectly related question, do you think that Ps. 18 David had all that in mind when he wrote “righteousness”?

  9. July 4, 2008 11:55 am

    The pharisee’s problem was that he wanted to “justify himself” (Lk 10.29) and that he was confident in his own righteousness (18:9).

    I’m not sure how much David “had in mind” when he wrote Ps 18, but he certainly had it in mind in Psalm 143. For the full defense of this reading of the psalms, you need to hear the previous sermon on Ps 17. Don’t forget that David was a prophet who spoke of the resurrection of the Christ (Ac 2:30).

    My sermon on Romans 9:30 seems to be missing from the church website. I’ll link to it as soon as it is up.

  10. Bill permalink
    August 4, 2008 11:52 am

    Greetings, i “stumbled” across this blog while doing a search on 2 Cor. 4:17-18. I found the blog notes on those verses excellent. I have a question on what these various letter combinations mean; NTW, WTPG, and RSOG? My guess is authors initials? Sounds ike the type of church I would like to attend, long drive from FL though.

  11. August 4, 2008 12:06 pm

    Thanks! NTW= N.T. Wright. NTPG and RSOG are his books New Testament and the People of God and the Resurrection of the Son of God.

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