Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Creation to Christ

Have you ever wondered why the Bible starts in Genesis? Why does a reader of the Old Testament have to trudge through Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy? Why all the stories of Israel's cycle of unbelief-judgment-belief-unbelief? Why are there 39 books until you finally get to the Gospel of Matthew? If "gospel" means "good news" (which it does), why didn't God just start there? Why all the bad news first?

I think God had several reasons for this:

1. It shows us how truly sinful mankind is.
     Adam and Eve had everything going for them, and they blew it. The Israelites had God's direct revelation. God sent them prophets. And they still walked away from Him. Through their failures we see ourselves - just as sinful as they were.

2. It shows God's character.
     God's holiness is reflected in His no-tolerance policy of sin.
     God's justice is reflected in the punishment He metes out.
     God's patience is reflected in His long-suffering dealings with Israel.
     God's love is reflected in His reaching out to His people again and again.
     God's faithfulness is reflected in His fulfillment of His promises.

3. The Old Testament sets us up to understand the New Testament.
     The Messiah's arrival does not happen in a vacuum. It happens against the backdrop of a people seeking hope in a hopeless situation. And today, this is still the case. Individuals today still only come to Christ once they recognize the futility of their efforts and their need for a Savior.

So what does this mean for us as we approach the task of teaching the Bible? Of telling others about God's plan and the hope they can find? We would do well to follow God's outline. Tell the story cover to cover. Start at the beginning. Maybe don't get bogged down in too many details. However, don't forget to tell the whole story. It's the greatest one mankind has ever known.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

June 8, 2004 - interesting astronomical read

A couple of years ago, I read Eli Maor's book June 8, 2004: Venus in Transit.  

In this book Maor discusses not only a celestial phenomenon, but he also explores the history of astronomical exploration.  At 240 pages, this book is a relatively easy read, but by no means simplistic.  
If you're looking for a read for the late summer or just a book to expand your knowledge of astronomy, I recommend this book.  

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another quote from Tricia Tunstall

As stated previously, I've been reading Note by Note by Tricia Tunstall. Below is her exploration into the challenges of learning piano.

"As a student moves beyond the beginning stages, the issue of technique begins to loom large: developing proper hand a finger position, acquiring strength and independence of fingers, cultivating muscle control. An instrumentalist is an athlete. There is no way around the need for intense physical training; without it, the ability to play a Beethoven sonata is about as unlikely as the ability to pole-vault. But while pole-vaulters and soccer players and gymnasts usually practice together, a piano student practices his technical exercises alone, and it can feel like drudgery." (page 90)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Appealing to the Mind instead of the Heart

I've been reading Adler's How to Read a Book, and today I came across a quote that I think applies to how we approach the proclamation of God's truth.  While Adler is discussing propaganda - or the putting forth of ideas - I think this has also ramifications in our teaching and preaching.  Our appeal should be to the mind, not  to the heart.  

Quote (pg. 198):
"The best protection against propaganda of any sort is the recognition of it for what it is.  Only hidden and undetected oratory is really insidious.  What reaches the heart without going through the mind is likely to bounce back and put the mind out of business.  Propaganda taken in that way is like a drug you do not know you are swallowing.  The effect is mysterious; you do not know afterwards why you feel or think the way you do."

Quote from Note by Note

I am currently reading Note by Note by Tricia Tunstall. 

The following quote stood out to me:
"Piano lessons are not only about music but also about trust and confidence, chaos and order, spontaneity and discipline and patience, sometimes even about love . . . and once again, and always, about music: its beauty, its power, its capacity to convey profound emotions beyond the reach of words." (pg. 4)
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