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Evangelism and Discipleship

The defining mission of the church is to make disciples of all the nations, initiate the new disciples into fellowship through the ordinance of baptism in the name of the Triune God and teach them to observe all that Jesus commanded the first disciples; doing so by the power of the Holy Spirit. For this reason, Matthew 28:18-20 has been called the great commission because Jesus, who has all authority in heaven and on earth (Mt 28:18) commissioned his disciples to do just that. There is an utterance of this great commission at the end of each gospel account and the beginning of Acts. (cf. Mk 16:15, Lk 24:46-48, Jn 20:21, and Acts 1:8) Why? Because evangelism and discipleship are the church’s purpose for existing. For this reason, evangelism and discipleship cannot be separated. They are wholly dependent on one another. Jesus did not commission his disciples at the beginning of his ministry, but at the conclusion, and before his ascension. However, He did send them out on practice evang…
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Suffering and Death in the ICU

Suffering: The state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.[1]Death: The end of the life of a person.[2]Intensive Care Unit: A department of a hospital in which patients who are dangerously ill are kept under constant observation.[3] I cannot continue doing what I have done for the past 21 years. My last day in the intensive care unit will be January 4, 2019. I will be transitioning to Cardiac Rehabilitation. This will be a completely different type of nursing. Cardiac Rehabilitation combines my love of aerobic exercise, knowledge of cardiology and love of people suffering with heart disease. I will be able to invest in their lives in a way that I was never able to do before.  These past 5 days are an example of what my work has been like for the past 21 years: I worked 4, 12 ½ hour shifts. I took care of 10 persons, all of whom suffered but some greater than others. A woman 10 years younger than I suffered a myocardial infarction (heart attack); a woman suffered greatly in the i…

In His Steps

Recently, I read In His Steps by Charles Monroe Sheldon. The book was first published in 1896 and has sold over 30,000,000 copies.[1] Summary of Contents The story is set in the late 1800’s in the midwest. A young man visits the community of Raymond. A community of well to do people. He came not looking for a hand-out but direction for employment and perhaps a little kindness. One morning he sits in on the service of the First Church of Raymond. After the pastor Henry Maxwell closed, the young man began to speak. The young man was troubled by hearing Christians sing, “All for Jesus, all for Jesus, All beings ransomed powers, All my thoughts, and all my doings, All my days, and all my hours.” He was troubled by what they meant, because the words did not fit their actions. He said, “It seems to me there’s an awful lot of trouble in the world that somehow wouldn’t exist of all the people who sing such songs went and lived them out.” After saying these things, he collapsed and later died…

Are Today’s Hospitals Hospitality Houses Anymore?

The Greek word philoxenia φιλονεξία literally means the love of strangers. (cf. Rom 12:13; Heb 13:2) The adjective form philoxenos φιλόξενος means to be hospitable. (cf. 1 Tm 3:2; Ti 1:8; 1 Pt 4:9) Both noun and adjective forms are a two part Greek word philos-loving and xenos-stranger.1 The NASB New Testament uses the English word hospitality three times: two of which are in Rom 12:13 and Heb 13:2 but another instance occurs in 1 Tm 5:10. In the Timothy passage hospitality is translated from the Greek verb xenodocheo ξενοδοχέω. We have already shown that xenos means stranger; however, docheo means to receive. Hospitality in 1 Tm 5:10 is the act of receiving strangers.2 Therefore; hospitality in the context of these New Testament letters is the Christian duty bound by the law of Christ (love) to feed, lodge and protect strangers.

Travel in the first century was difficult. If you were wealthy you might have animals to assist in travel but the majority had to traverse the highways and …

What is Christmas but the Incarnation; God into Human Flesh?

Do you have a favorite Bible story? Perhaps it is the birth of Jesus Christ; Luke 2:1-20 is often recited in Christian homes on Christmas Eve. However, this is not my favorite Bible story, but another Christmas passage is my favorite Bible story. My favorite Bible story is the prologue to The Gospel According to John. Did you know that John 1:1-18 is a Christmas story? It is indeed a Christmas story and a very strong Christmas story for three reasons:
In the beginning the Word was both with God and the Word was God. (1:1-5)The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (1:6-14)The man Jesus Christ is the incarnate Word. (1:15-18) To be a Christian means that you believe in the essential doctrines taught by the church and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ:
God is Trinity: There is one God who exist simultaneously in three divine persons; the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.Jesus is both fully God and fully man in one person.Jesus death on the cross was a sin sacrifice.Jesus bodily …

Plantinga, Alvin, Knowledge and Christian Belief. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2015.

Biographical Sketch of the Author Alvin Plantinga is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He has a Ph.D., from Yale University. His interest: epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion.  He has written several books on these subjects: Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism. New York Oxford University Press, 2011. Are Science and Religion Compatible? New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Warranted Christian Belief. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.1 Summary of Contents The main topic of this book is a question: Is Christian belief justifiable, reasonable and rational? He begins by professing that God is the all-powerful, all knowing, perfectly good creator of all. The argument ensues that if such a God exist he is beyond our minds to conceive. He then proceeds to say that many concede that there is such a thing as Christian belief but think that it is unjustified. He the divides the objectors into two groups: De facto …

English Bible Translations

One summer, when in grade school, my mother put me in a vacation Bible School at a United Methodist Church in Garland, Texas. Later, as a 6th grader, we went on a weekend retreat to Tyler State park for what was called confirmation. The following Sunday we were all (6th graders) formerly made members of the church. I personally had no idea what that meant. As part of our confirmation we were all given copies of the Good News Bible (GNB). This translation was completed by the American Bible Society in 1976. It is intended to express the meaning of the original text in conversational English and is said to be a good translation for those who read/speak English as a second language.1

When I was older, as a birthday present from my father he gave me an NIV Study Bible (New International Version). It was large; therefore, I felt big when carrying it to church. This translation sought to be a halfway ground between British English and American English. This translation also tries to expres…