People get all bent out of shape about supposed discoveries like the manuscript that claimed Jesus had a wife. Or they get excited about the latest discovery of Noah’s ark. (Poor Noah must have built a dozen of them.) I didn’t even bother to read beyond the Twitter headline about the wife claim. You can pretty well be sure that if a major media outlet touts it, it’s wrong. Scripture is complete in itself, and our faith ought not to be shaken by such news. Nor should our faith rest in said archaeological confirmations. Or in the Shroud. If the words of Scripture do not convince, no material evidence will either.
• For those who like to keep up with us, our latest ministry report is now online in PDF format. This time, I did a little Zingers feature, one-liners on things happening around here and in the work.
• Brad Cobb sent out the following email. which I’ve slightly edited for length.
Michael Shank is not preaching full-time, and is looking for secular work so that he doesn’t have to move his family. Ordering some of his book, Muscle and a Shovel, now would be a good time, for his benefit. The congregation here ordered another hundred a few weeks ago, and they’re already gone. We’re considering placing an order for another 200 this week (and we’re a congregation of 75 people).
Last week, a Christian in the next town over confided in one of the members that he was struggling with his attitude and anger and in doubting his faith. This member gave him a copy of Muscle and a Shovel. Yesterday, the man called our member, thanking her for the book, said his faith has been incredibly strengthened because of it, and that because of reading just the first half of the book (he’s not done yet), he conducted the first Bible study he’s ever conducted with three other people.
If you can help out Mike (and trust me, it will help you also), please order his book from www.MichaelShankMinistries.com.
I’ve not read the book, but I hear good things about it.
• After the first presidential debate on Wednesday, several saints on Facebook made comments that called attention to Jesus’ discussions with the religious leaders of his day, an attempt to redirect attention from politics to spiritual matters. I liked that. It seemed effective for me, so I hope it was for others as well.
• I like devotional thoughts (and write them, too) and follow not a few brethren’s writings. On occasion I read outside the brotherhood, too, like this one, on BibleGateway.com, about the integrity of the gospels, taken from the Case for Christ Study Bible by Lee Strobel. Seems to me to be quite a challenge to talk about apologetics in a devotional format, but maybe it works for those who already believe. Reinforcement.
• While not a devotional per se, Hugh Fulford’s News and Views this week featured “God’s Meta-Narrative.” Any time someone’s helps us see the big picture, it’s a good thing. The trees make up the forest.
• I’m not a huge user of Skype, but Thursday I had four different conversations on that service, three in English, one in Portuguese; two of the former with family members. I don’t keep it hooked up, but if you need to talk, send me an email and I’ll turn it on, if I can. My dad never liked talking on the telephone, so I guess I come by avoidance of Skype honestly. Though I know what a blessing it is, too.
• I have returned to my office, though hours are flexible. I like flexible. In most things, anyway. In others, I like the comfortable routine. In still others, I appreciate the constant truths and laws of God. If the force of gravity fluctuated every day, chaos would result. If the sun came up some days but not others, it would wreak havoc. If the righteousness and justice of God were a sliding scale, man would be lost without knowing what to do.
Elihu was right, in principle, that God is “firm in his intent” (Job 36.5 NET). The Lord’s precepts are “are reliable. They are forever firm” (Psalm 111.7b-8a). In John’s majestic picture of the Savior on a white horse, his name is “Faithful” and “True.” Because we know “he is faithful and righteous,” we can be assured that he will not change the rules, but will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, if we confess our wrongs (1 John 1.7). That’s something we can bank on.