Church History, Lesson 3: The Normalization of Church Practices

Anointing Oil

Bringing Gentiles into the Church   Recap and Introduction Last week, we followed the Church as she spread to Samaria during Jewish persecution.  Christians fled proclaiming Jesus as the world’s Savior from sin and the Deliverer of eternal life.  The Church’s first pastors, the Apostles, however, did not flee with the others (Acts 8:1). So, […]

The Apocrypha, Lesson 11: 1-2 Maccabees

11, Timline Leading Up to the Maccabees

Introduction 1 Maccabees describes the attempts at Hellenization by the Seleucid ruler, Antiochus IV Epiphanes (1:1-2:70), moving on to cover the exploits of Judas Maccabeus (3:1-9:22) and his brothers Jonathan (9:23-12:53) and Simon (13:1-16:24).  Judas and his brothers battle to remove the Greek influence from Israel. The book was written after 134 BC since the […]

Church History, Lesson 2: The Holy Spirit Descends on All in the New Covenant

Pentecost and the Holy Spirit Descending

Faithful and Fervent   Pentecost Day: The Speaking in “Tongues” Old-Covenant Pentecost: In the Old Covenant, Pentecost was one of three feasts God required Israelite men to travel to the Temple and celebrate (Deuteronomy 16:16).  Pentecost was a harvest festival celebrated 50 days after Passover.  God’s people set apart the first loaves of bread from […]

The Apocrypha, Lesson 10: Tobit, Pt. 3

We finished with Tobias sending Azariah (the angel Raphael) to retrieve the 30 years’ worth of wages.  After the 14-day wedding celebration, Tobias and Azariah plan to head home.  We now get a snapshot of what is taking place Tobit and Anna.   Tobias and Azariah Return Home 10:1 Meanwhile, day by day, Tobit kept […]

1 Corinthians 1:18-25: The Foolishness of the Cross

Foolishness of the Cross(2)

In all your days, did someone come to you and make this case?  “Tell me, if God is almighty, can He create a stone too heavy for Him to carry?”  Hmm, such a smug, rebellious question!  At last, the creature gives the Creator His comeuppance, outwitting Him in our cleverness.  So we think.  No, this […]

The Apocrypha, Lesson 9: Tobit, Pt. 2

Tobias and Sarah are Married

Last week, we learned of Tobit, who became blind from bird droppings.  After remembering he had saved about 30 years’ worth of wages, he sends his son, Tobias, to retrieve his wealth.  So Tobias readies himself for the journey.   The Introduction to Some New Characters Today, some new characters will come our way. Gabael: […]

Genesis 50:15-21: God Working Through All for the Good

Joseph and his brothers first meet in Egypt

How hard to forgive someone who hurts you!  A co-worker takes credit for your work, and now you are the lazy one.  A bully intimidates you, for not all bullies die away after grade school.  Your sister talks your aging mother into giving her a family heirloom, which she promised to you a decade before.  […]

The Apocrypha, Lesson 8: Tobit, Pt. 1

Tobias Leaving His Mother and Father

Introduction Though Tobit includes historical reality in its background setting, it is not history but a religious novel to teach the faithful.  Like Judith, this book contains information known not to be true, drawing the hearer to focus on the religious content, not the historical facts.  For example, the sequence of Assyrian kings is incomplete […]

Church History, Lesson 1: The New Covenant Begins

Jesus on the Cross and the Lords Supper Host (610x351)

This is a new study series, which begins with Jesus establishing the New Covenant and finishing (we hope) with the Church recognizing and listing the texts of both the Old- and New-Testament Scriptures in 397 AD. Jesus Establishes What Is to Take Place in His Church   The New Covenant Ready to go to the cross, […]

The Comfort in our Grief

This is our pastor’s article for the July-August edition of our congregational newsletter.   The Apostle Paul directs us not to be unaware about those who left this life trusting in God.  Why?  “So you will not grieve like others, as those without hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).  So we are reminded, once more, of this […]