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Theology Matters – Psalm 78

Just the other day, I preached at Lighthouse Baptist Church where my father-in-law is the pastor. My family and I were planning a visit there, and he asked if I would like to preach. It’s not the best sermon I have ever preached, however, it is one that I am very passionate about, that theology matters and it begins in the home!

I hope you enjoy this and are edified by the Word of God!

PredestinedDecals by ESV Bible Nerd

My wife and I have started an Etsy Shop over at Esty.com, and it’s called PredestinedDecals by ESV Bible Nerd. There are some really fun things for sale on the shop, photos below! I hope you enjoy!

 

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This is the one I currently have on the back of my 13″ MacBook Pro.

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The mugs are filled with root beer float, and it was tasty! There are mugs for all 5 of the Solas.

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Learning Greek On My Own…

Well, it’s been a long time in the coming, but, I have, at this point, failed at self teaching myself Greek. Not because I can’t learn it, but because I have discovered that I need more accountability in actually DOING the learning. I will try again, however, I think I might audit the class at MBTS or SWBTS sometime next year.

Learning Greek On My Own

It has been a little over 2 weeks since I first posted about Going Deeper With New Testament Greek, and my soon to begin quest for learning, on my own, Greek. There are many reasons I am doing it, with two of them being becoming better at exegesis of texts and the other being to prove to myself that I can do it.

So, now that I am two-ish weeks into this, well, I’m not that far. All I have down is the Greek Alphabet, and I am ever so thankful to the “Greek Alphabet Song” that I picked up from Daily Dose of Greek. They also have a plethora of helpful videos for learning Greek, and links to many other resources.

(Click Here to see original video from source)

Now, why do I only have the Greek Alphabet down? And when I say the Greek Alphabet, just saying it. I haven’t learned the letters and how to recognize them fully yet, but, that’s a work in progress! I’m only this far because of what I like to call “life”. I am a married man with three children and a pregnant wife (due in September). I have a full time job, as well as my commitments to ministry at the church we are members of. So, I sorely miscalculated the idea that I would have a lot of time to do this (which I totally DON’T), and while I am not regretting it, I do know that I need to be more intentional with it.

I have flash cards made for the alphabet. I have a flash-card app for my iPhone that goes along with the book I’m using. And, I am really looking forward to getting on with my studies in Greek. I am also contemplating auditing a class at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (which uses the David Alan Black book as their text book, or so I’ve been told) to help with my studies.

So, from here on out, I hope to have more results to share here!

 

Soli Deo Gloria!

Going Deeper With New Testament Greek

Going Deeper With New Testament Greek, by Kostenberger, Merkle, and Plummer

Kostenberger, Andreas J., Merkle, Benjamin L., Plummer, Robert L.. Going Deeper With New Testament Greek, An Intermediate Study of the Grammar and Syntax of the New Testament. Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2016. 550pp. $49.99.

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The book Going Deeper With New Testament Greek is a book described as one to help a person already familiar with NT Greek get better. Thus, enabling them to exposit the Texts of the New Testament better through more solid exegesis and the such when preparing and delivering sermons. Well, honestly, I don’t fit that bill. Not one bit. Why? I don’t know New Testament Greek. I’m familiar with it in that the New Testament was written in Greek, but, that is all.

So, why am I writing a review on an academic text book on Greek?

I recently graduated with my Masters in Theological Studies with an emphasis on Preaching and Pastoral Ministry from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO. I did my coursework all online, with the help of some as Field Supervisors in my local area of Southwest Florida to aid me through some classes, and two of those were my Sermon Prep and Sermon Delivery practicums. My field supervisor, who is now my pastor (that is a story in and of itself), has encouraged me to learn New Testament Greek, and it is something that I am going to do, starting very soon. Now, to this book, Going Deeper.

I have looked through the book and I see many familiar terms and ideas. While I was in my preaching practicum, my field supervisor, Pastor Tim, was very helpful, and often would explain things to me from the original languages, telling me things about tenses and verbs, articles and prepositions, infinitives, and many other things, that, when he explained them to me, really did help me understand portions of the text better. However, being that I was not a student of the original languages, it was information that I unfortunately did not retain (how sometimes I wish I was pursuing my Masters of Divinity, so I would have to take two semesters of both Greek and Hebrews!).

Reading through bits and pieces of Going Deeper With New Testament Greek, I really like the layout in that it is written in the format to be used as a textbook, with 15 chapters, which could be done over the course of one or two semesters, depending on how a teacher would be doing it. However, I am going to be doing this at my own pace, and will probably do it over six months, alongside some other books that my pastor has recommended for me.

Those books are:

Learn To Read New Testament Greek, by David Alan Black (B&H Academic, 3rd Ed., March 1, 2009 )

And the accompanying workbook:

Learn To Read New Testament Greek, Workbook: Supplemental Exercises for Greek Grammar Students, by Ben Guitierrez (B&H Academic, March 1, 2009 )

Along with the “A Readers New Testament”, 3rd Ed. Greek New Testament, by Richard J. Goodrich and Albert Lukaszewski (Zondervan, November 3, 2015).

So, as I have these resources on my desk, within the next week, I am going to start my journey into learning New Testament Greek. I am excited because I have so much to learn and I want to be able to more fully understand the texts I will exposit from the pulpit, in the classrooms as I teach children, and from the couch as I lead my family in worship and the reading of God’s Word.

So, with all of that said, given all that I have done and am going to do, consider this my inaugural post in a long running, unknown number of posts, series on my journey, my adventure of learning New Testament Greek! I will try to post on this once every two weeks or so, starting after I read my first chapters and do my first lessons in my texts and workbook. I am very excited to start this journey!

My reading plan is to do each chapter every other week. I say “every other” instead of “over two weeks” because I am going to do one week’s reading and lessons in my Learn To Read books, then the next week I will read corresponding chapters/readings from Going Deeper, as I want to learn as much as I can as quickly and efficiently as I can. I may, and probably will, modify how I do all of this, and will most certainly take a break in the beginning of September, as my wife is due with our fourth child in the beginning of the month.

If anyone has any suggestions to add to me repertoire of Greek-learning resources, please leave a comment or email me at jon@esvbiblenerd.com and I will sift through everything and use what I can.

 

 

Gut Check From The Tech Booth

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A view of today’s services from the tech booth at First Baptist Church Immokalee, FL.

 

Today, as I am for most Sundays at church, I run the tech booth. Mainly, I sit and I click on the slides to change them during worship, and that’s it. Sometimes, I fiddle with the lights, and, I can’t forget, I turn on and off the worship music on the Amazon music streaming app that we have before and after the service. Simple, right?

For me, my heart is in ministry, pastoral ministry, and sometimes, I really do have a difficult time being in the tech booth, or sound booth as some call it, during the times when people respond to the message and go up for prayer or to talk to the pastor, or whatever other reason God may be calling them to go up. I want to pray and minister to them. However, while God gave me the chance to do just that today, He also reminded me that being in the tech booth, running the slides and such, is just as important. Just as the body is made of many parts that work together, so is the Body of Christ working together (1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Romans 12:4-8). He brought those Scriptures forward in my mind so that I might not sin the sin of covetousness, coveting the front line position over the support position that I currently play on Sunday mornings (Psalm 119:11).

Besides, Glory to God, I have the joy of sharing the love of Christ week after week on the front lines with the children of the church every Wednesday. And for that, I am so blessed!

Where did ESV Bible Nerd.com Come From?

While it’s not represented in the URL to my blog, someone might wonder the headline title of my blog, “ESV Bible Nerd.com” and wonder where that came from. Also, they might wonder why it’s not my URL.

The second question is more easily answered: When setting up this site, I was messing around and accidentally used www.jonwbradley.com and didn’t realize it was too late (while I thought I was using www.esvbiblenerd.com). Whoops. I have since contacted my hosting site and have www.esvbiblenerd.com as my domain! 

As for the first question, there is some back story to this. A couple months ago, I was at church looking at the various Bibles my pastor has in his collection, all of which are nice. He is definitely a collector of Bibles. And there was this one Bible he had, nice goatskin leather, English Standard Version (the Bible in question can be viewed online HERE). And, well, my wife shot down any attempt I’ve made when bringing up the Bible (I really haven’t tried in a while and no, if you’re reading this, this is NOT an attempt to get that Bible).

Well, my pastor emailed me or iMessaged me the link to the Bible (that is above) and I had it open on my computer. And my wife, in passing, made a comment that went something like this:

“Don’t tell me your looking at ESVBibleNerd.com again. You’re not getting that Bible.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, someone out there is going to construe this as my wife being mean or something. Ultimately, “ESVBibleNerd.com” is now a running joke between my wife and I, and sometimes our pastor gets involved in the hijinks of it all (he constantly plugs in reasons why I should get the Bible..birthday, graduation, etc. I’m fully expecting him to say something if/when I get ordained about how it would make a fine ordination gift or something).

So, that’s the story behind why I am going to call my blog ESV Bible Nerd.com… And, I might even get that URL someday for it…

 

 

It’s been too long….

Today, I was *reminded* that I had a blog…when I got my email about having to pay for the domain name that I use through WordPress. It has been far too long since I have posted on here.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” –1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV

I have come to realize the amount of waste in my life, and in the lives of most people I should assume, is greater than I could ever imagine. Now, I don’t mean garbage. I mean waste. Things that take up our time and pull us away from our God glorifying work. Things that are sold to us in an effort to save time, giving us more time to seek God’s glory, when in all reality, it has taken our time away from us.

Lecrae Moore, a Christian Rapper, posted this on his Facebook page:

Random thought : I bought a smart phone to give me the luxury of time saving and communication but instead I find it TAKES more time FROM me and make me a poor communicator. I rarely talk on it, I don’t text in proper English and I sometimes miss being involved with people in person because I’m occupied with all my apps. 

But at least I’m aware right? Lol
(click HERE for the post)

After I read that, while in the car on the way to pick up my kids, I had a realization that so much that we call “Christian” really isn’t truly “Christian”. It’s branded that way, with all the right words and looks. But, in all reality, it’s “entertainment” not Christian. It might be a Christian author or musician or artist, however, so much money is put into something that, short of the Lord’s divine intervention, won’t save anyone. Now, don’t get me wrong, there has been plenty of songs and books that have pointed me towards specific passages in scripture in such a light that I hadn’t realize before. When I hear that this song saved me or that book changed my life, it makes me cringe. A song cannot save you. A book(other than the Bible) cannot change your live. God does all of that, and God alone. He uses His Holy Word, the written embodiment of His Son, Jesus our Lord and Savior(John 1:1,14).

I have no doubt that songs can encourage and books cane make people see something they have looked at their entire lives in a different, beneficial way. However, when something changes in us, we need to give glory to where glory is due: To God. And only to God. “It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.”(Proverbs 25:27, ESV). We need to not seek our glory, but His. We must remember that every good gift is from above(James 1:17). It’s when we loose sight of this simple truth that we begin to commit idolatry, as if we don’t already commit it enough. Movies, technology, social networking, our phones, jobs, careers, money, anger, hatred, vengeance, laziness…I could go on and on. That short list are just some of the top things that compete all too often for my affections agains the our Jealous God(Exodus 34:14


O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.

19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
    O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
    your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
    And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
    I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

That is my prayer. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Thank you, God! Thank you!

Soli Deo Gloria

The Ministry of Showing Up

Tonight, we attended First Baptist Church Orlando and got to hear a nice expository sermon on 2 Timothy 1:15-18 about Onesiphorus and how he was very refreshing to Paul. And the main point of the sermon was of being a Ministry of Showing Up. That we need to be refreshers in the lives of others and that sometimes, all it takes is showing up. 

So, yea, that’s all for this post. Just wanted to pay my regards to FBCO and the good sermon! Soli Deo Gloria!

For Whatever Does Not Proceed From Faith…..

Romans 14:23 tells us, “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”

That’s a pretty hefty statement in my opinion. However, in the scope of eternity and throughout the Truth that is God’s word(where that statement comes from), my opinion matters not.

Here is another passage from God’s word that illustrates what Paul meant in his letter to the Romans. This passage comes from his first letter to the church in Corinth:

“10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

From everything I have read, this is a pretty easy to understand concept. However, more often than not, things are easier said than done…
As a houseparent, my ministry is all-too-often a thankless labor or love. We love what we do, we love whom we minister to, and we totally understand the lack of instant-gratification in this society that thrives on that very instant-gratification. Sometimes it is discouraging, however, I think of a memory verse from my Yokefellows class at church, 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” And I am encouraged.
I also understand the depravity of the children we serve, and that almost all of them, if they were to die right now, would go to hell. I know that we need to expect the behaviors they show, for no one seeks good…for in Romans 3, Paul quoted David as he wrote Psalm 14: “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”(Psalm 14:1-3).
However, what is so difficult for me is one resident in particular. SInce I cannot name names, we shall call her Jane. Jane is a young lady whom, when she arrived here, was very rough around the edges for a preteen. And that description, in my view, is quite a generous one, to say the least. Part of our jobs is to, as much as we feasibly can, share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with our residents, whether in action, speech, or devotions. After being in our care for many months, we were at a Sunday night service at our church. After the service, she came up to us with our pastor and informed us that she was saved and wanted to be baptized. My wife and I were happy, Praising God, however, at the same time, we were keeping a healthy amount of skepticism. Why? Because this was the third or fourth time Jane was “saved” since she came into our care.
This time was different. Many times, generally after someone makes a so-called profession of faith, I ask them about it and we go over Galatians 5:19-23, bad fruit vs. good fruit, the fruit of the Spirit. And how Jesus stated that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit in Matthew 7:15-19This time, Jane was bearing fruit. She was baptized a month or so later, and she was truly changing. She was(and still is) becoming a young woman after God. However, what is so difficult, is that she still struggle so very much with the flesh. God’s word tells us that, “I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?”(1 Corinthians 3:2-4). She still struggles so much, and sometimes causes so much frustration within me, however, I love Jane and will continue to pour into her. I must remember that whatever I do with her, I must do it out of faith. I cannot know if she is truly saved or not, however, she bears fruit in such a way that I believe she is saved by God. She’s young, both in age and in her walk with Christ, and, getting back to instant-gratification, I need to remember that sanctification is a process, not an immediate BAM! you’re done! I look back, and I see a lot of myself in how she acts. And I remember, just thinking of my testimony, “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”(Romans 8:28). 

Now, getting back to the foundations on which we build. There have been times in my ministry as a houseparent where I have been so tempted to just go through the motions, not out of faith, but out of a desire to get through the day and go to bed because I’m tired or angry or something else. However, I realize that, if I were to do that, my work would mean nothing. Not only would it mean nothing in the sense of eternity, it would be sin. I would not be working out of faith, but out of selfish desire to just get it done and have it look good on the outside. To look good to my boss. To look good to the young ladies that we minister to.

As Christians, saved by the grace of God, not by our choosing but His choosing, we must remember to do all things to the glory of God(1 Corinthians 10:31) because it requires faith to do it that way, and, we must remember, “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”(Romans 14:23). 

Now, as a prayer request to the few of you that read my blog, please continue to pray for Jane and her walk with God. Pray for wisdom, guidance and strength in making the right decisions, and encouragement and comfort as she is often persecuted by other residents for being a Christian and making those decisions which she makes.

Soli Deo Gloria

 

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