Once a month in Awana at First Central Bible Church, we have a theme night. Tonight, back by popular demand, was Minion Night. Kids and leaders dressed in their finest Minion attire. Gru and the Fluffy Unicorn even made an appearance. Another fun night at FCBC, along with our usual assortment of games, songs, Bible lessons, and memory verses. A great ministry impacting the next generation.
Author Archives: wheelsms
Book Review: Evidence that Demands a Verdict: Life-Changing Truth for a Skeptical World (The Completely Updated and Expanded Classic), by Josh McDowell & Sean McDowell, Ph.D.
I was first introduced to Josh McDowell and Evidence that Demands a Verdict in the mid-70’s when I was a student at Biola University. The book was instrumental in helping me get a better grasp on the trustworthiness of Scripture. His second volume, More Evidence that Demands a Verdict added and built on that earlier foundation. Both books were instrumental in my research, writing papers, and helping answer questions in sharing my faith.
Josh McDowell has now partnered with his son, Sean, who teaches apologetics at Biola to update and expand his classic work. The updated version is close to 900 pages of valuable resources on the Bible and Jesus. Part 1 deals with evidence for the Bible. Part 2 provides evidence for Jesus. Part 3 adds evidence for the Old Testament. Part 4 contributes evidence for truth. This last section provides answers for postmodernism and skepticism. In the Appendix, the authors provide responses to the challenges of Bart Ehrman, who is one of the leading critics of Christianity today.
The book is written in outline form. Coupled with a complete table of contents, it makes it easy to find and research the specific question you want to answer regarding the reliability of the Bible or evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, to name just two of the many topics covered in the book.
The updated version is a valuable and welcome resource for serious students of Christianity. It is a welcome addition to any library.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
On Sunday, I was scheduled to preach Deuteronomy 34 at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA. It was part of our series on the life of Moses. Rather than merely talk about the death of Moses, we decided to hold a funeral service. Tylunas Funeral Home loaned us a casket for the day. In addition to the casket, we had a Jewish prayer shawl, a pair of Rainbow sandals, and a walking stick my wife brought back from New Zealand. Our elders read Scripture, an elders’ wife read Moses’ life history, and several “friends” of Moses shared their remembrance of him. I then used Deuteronomy 34 to talk about three lessons we can learn from Moses’ death. Here’s the bulletin and a couple of pictures from the day.
Deuteronomy 34 recounts the final days of Moses’ life and the unusual circumstances of his death. The chapter provides us with three key lessons along with a fitting summary and epitaph.
Moses died the way he lived (1-5). The last thing Moses did on earth was climb a mountain. The summit of Mt. Pisgah reaches a height of 4,500 feet above the Dead Sea. Not too many 120 year old men can climb a mountain almost a mile high and live to tell the story. Many of us huff and puff just going up the stairs. We take the elevator. Yet here was Moses, 120 years old, scaling the heights. Maybe climbing Mt. Pisgah was part of Moses’ bucket list.
Verse one is a fitting metaphor for Moses’ life. Moses was continually climbing. He wanted to change things for the better. He wasn’t content with his people being slaves in Egypt. He wanted to deliver them from bondage and bring them back to the Promised Land.
During his lifetime, Moses lived by the promises of God. He died believing those same promises. From the top of Mt. Pisgah, Moses could see all the land God had promised to give the people. Though Moses would not set foot in the land, he saw it as a real destination, a real possession. He was confident that God would keep his promises and bring Israel into the Promised Land.
Moses lived in God’s presence and he died in God’s presence. Moses’ last moments on earth were spent in intimate fellowship with God. At some point during the panoramic tour of the Promised Land, perhaps God said, “It’s time, Moses. Come on home.”
Moses died at the right time (5-7). My aunt, Charity, taught second grade Sunday School into her mid-80’s. She had to stop when she was losing her hearing and couldn’t hear the children say their memory verses. That wasn’t the case with Moses. For a man his age, he was unusually healthy. He had no outward signs of disease. By all normal indications of health and fitness, Moses’ death was untimely.
From our perspective, Moses died too young. He still had work to do. Israel had not yet entered the Promised Land. Moses was still needed. Yet we know that Moses died according to God’s plan. Everything ended just as God arranged it. We can take comfort in the fact that God not only knows our times, he knows the end of our times. God has arranged the details of our lives, and even the day of our death.
My mother, father, and brother are all buried in Southern California, but in three different cemeteries. When Carol and I were in Southern California three years ago, we visited each one of their graves so that I could pay my respects, and reflect on their lives. You cannot do that with Moses. He died in an unknown way and was buried in an unknown grave. Only God knows the location. That is probably a good thing, because we would have turned it into a shrine, another Mecca.
No one is indispensable (8-9). When the time of mourning was complete, the people of Israel needed to get moving again. Moses’ life may have ended, but God’s plan did not. God had promises to keep and Israel had places to go.
Moses knew he was expendable. Based on the instructions he had received, Moses knew that God’s plan would continue. So, according to Numbers 27:12-23, Moses trained his successor, Joshua.
God’s plan does not depend on anyone for all time, but for all to serve him at a certain time. God gave Moses a task to accomplish. He was faithful to carry it out.
Epitaph & legacy (10-12). Moses was unique among all the prophets of Israel. No one enjoyed a relationship with God like Moses did. He introduced a new era into the history of God’s people, the Age of the Law. As impressive as his accomplishments are, the most important thing about him was his relationship with God. He. Knew. God. And he wanted others to know him as well.
This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on October 15, 2017. It is part of a series of sermons on the life of Moses. Click on the link to download a copy of this week’s bulletin which contains an outline of the message.
Happy 31st Birthday to our son, Jonathan! You’ve grown from a cute, fun-loving little boy to a wise, talented, godly adult. Mom & I are proud of you. We’re excited to see how God will use for his kingdom purposes. May God grant you many more years to grow in your relationship with Christ and to serve him with joy. Celebrate!
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) is credited with founding the modern nursing profession. Late in life, she was asked about her life’s secret. “Well, I can only give one explanation. That is, I have kept nothing back from God.” Florence never claimed to be highly gifted. She once said, “If I could give you information of my life, it would be to show how a woman of very ordinary ability has been led by God in strange and unaccustomed paths … God has done all, and I nothing.” The key to her success was not her ability but rather her availability to God. At the age of thirty, she wrote in her diary, “I am thirty years of age, the age at which Christ began His mission. Now no more childish things, no more vain things. Now, Lord, let me think only of Thy will.”
Cited in Deuteronomy: Loving Obedience to a Loving God (Preaching the Word Commentary Series), by Ajith Fernando