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The Seedbed Blog

The Seedbed Blog

Well-being, Community, Education

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  • Anger_177_

    Anger is tricky.

    I’ve heard many sermons throughout my life. I remember very few. I assume that it reflects upon my retention skills rather than the lack of poignancy of most preaching. Perhaps you, too, remember few of the numerous sermons you’ve heard. Yet there are those moments in time, those lines that come amid profound sermons that grab hold of you.

    God is not angry with you.

    This is one of those lines I’ll never forget. A student preacher delivered this to a gathering of eight people. All of us assembled in a small chapel, awaiting our turn to preach for a class. Students aren’t yet expected to speak with profoundness; students are expected to be students. But those poignant, simple words still ring aloud in my head: “God is not angry with me.” Those words speak peace and comfort. They are beautiful and necessary words. Yet they beg the question . . .

    Then why is God so angry?

    The Old Testament is full of instances when God grew angry at the people of Israel. Rightly so, the people of Israel were often stubborn, prone to worshiping lesser gods, lacked faith on many occasions, and frequently disobeyed God’s direct words. Their actions incited God to anger. Sin has that effect on a holy God. God gets upset when we fall prey to lies that over promise and under deliver. Good fathers don’t get angry with their children when they make mistakes; they get angry about the decisions their kids make, because fathers know the consequences of those decisions...

  • Mans_island_177_

    Michael Hawn, a professor of church music at Perkins School of Theology, uses two basic categories when speaking about music in the church: cyclical and sequential. Cyclical music is typically made up of short texts supported by a simple melody that is easy to pick up by ear, and lends itself to both repetition and innovation. A good example might be the song “Isn’t He?” Sequential music is inherently literary in its form, is teleological in its structure (the “payoff” is at the end), and is often more musically complex. An example is “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” While the songs of the church don’t always fall neatly into these two categories, they are a helpful way to think about what we sing in worship. More specifically, I find it interesting to use these two categories to consider how contemporary worship music has changed over the last several decades.

    “I Love You, Lord” was number three on CCLI’s (Christian Copyright Licensing International) “Top 25” list of the most popular contemporary worship songs in 1997. It is another great example of a cyclical song. The lyrics and the melody are clearly very simple, making it very easy to pick up. The song is seldom sung only once through, but is repeated several times, often with subtle innovations. Unlike a hymn, such as “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” the few lines are complete in themselves. While some might be tempted to immediately label a song like “I Love You, Lord” as shallow, it’s important ...

  • Wesleyan_2_177_

    The Wesleyan perspective on grace and works retains the early Reformation emphases on grace as mercy and grace as divine power while placing the accent on the latter. When one thinks of the Wesleyan understanding of God’s love, one should keep in mind both ways of describing grace. Mercy is the love of God toward the individual. It forgives, embraces and accepts (justification). Power is the love of God within the individual. It transforms and makes new (regeneration and sanctification).

    To put it in Trinitarian categories, mercy expresses the love of the Father through the Son’s atonement as a provision for sin and power expresses the love of the Father in the Spirit’s transforming and elevating presence from sinfulness to righteousness to final union. In both of these ways, then, grace fundamentally refers to the divine medicine given to cure the diseased and defective soul and elevate it beyond itself into union with the Father through the Incarnate Son in the power of the Spirit.

    So, how does this work?

    First, as synergists all Wesleyans hold that there is a dynamic cooperation between the Spirit and the individual throughout all stages of the journey toward God. We always seek to move with the rhythms of God’s grace, but we know that grace as both mercy and power precedes any human effort. The priority remains with the grace of God even in a synergistic framework. All of our cooperation, and therefore all works, flow out of the dynamic of grace as we seek to mov...

  • Catechisms_177_

    This post is a chapter from Dr. Timothy Tennent’s book, 30 Questions: A Short Catechism on the Christian Faith available for purchase from our store. This resource makes for a great teaching tool in local churches, especially for catechesis purposes. We’re featuring a chapter each week in hopes of encouraging you to pick up the book and share it with others as well.

    For many people, including Christians, the final judgment of God might appear to be incongruent with the God of grace, forgiveness, and love which we have seen so powerfully in the person and ministry of Jesus Christ. We often downplay the Scriptures about God’s judgment or relegate the topic to the God of the Old Testament. However, this is not how the Bible portrays the theme of God’s judgment. Rather, the judgment of God is the final vindication of God’s righteousness. It is a good and glorious thing, for final judgment is the time when God will set all things right. Jesus himself spoke of it quite often right in the pages of the New Testament. This final vindication involves two main things.

    First, Judgment Day will reveal and make known all sins. The secrets of everyone’s heart will be revealed. Romans 2:16 says, “This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets.” Every thought, every idle word, every deed—even deeds done in absolute secrecy—will be made known and laid bare. Jesus said in Luke 12:2–3 “there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will ...

  • Father_177_

    In the first class I took in seminary, the professor made an almost casual suggestion that remains perhaps the single most important piece of advice I received in my theological education. For every semester of seminary, he said, we should read the works of one Church Father to become grounded in the great tradition. At the time, I was a 23-year-old kid with a calling to ministry, but little else. I assumed the only text I needed in seminary was the Bible and, to that point, my theological reading had consisted of the writings of a couple of guys named Joshua. I had no idea who these Fathers were.

    Now a professor of theology myself, I have come to see that my experience as a young seminarian is anything but unique. Most Protestants I meet, whether in the classroom or in the local church, are unacquainted with the writings of the Church Fathers. Piously, we might say this ignorance stems from a sola scriptura methodological principle that remains a part of the Protestant DNA. However, the Protestants I know who are intentional about discipleship read voraciously from the best seller list of their local Christian bookstore and rarely interpret Scripture without reference to their Bible’s footnotes. It seems we read plenty of things to help us understand the meaning of Scripture. Unfortunately, however, most Protestants do not look behind the twenty-first century, much less the sixteenth, for their interpretive guides. Thankfully, I had a professor who led me elsewhere, and, ta...

  • Seedbed_logo_177_

    “I’ve got something that I want you to pray about…”

    When someone speaks these words to a friend or pastor, it’s normally out of personal need or an urgent and distressing situation. This need or situation will usually elicit a caring and loving response. If you are a pastor and you hear these words come from one of your denominational leaders, well, let’s just say that you never know what’s coming next or how it could change your life.

    Upon receiving my credentials with the Assemblies of God, my Sectional Presbyter, who is also the pastor of the church I attended, presented the opportunity for me to plant an Assembly of God church in Wilmore. As there were no traditional Pentecostal churches in Wilmore, I immediately knew that this was the right thing to do. The wheels were put in motion to begin the church, named Every Nation Assembly of God. However, this wouldn’t be an ordinary church plant.

    If Wesleyanism had a holy city, Wilmore would certainly be a candidate. Methodism is the main denomination in this area with several churches, a university, and a seminary with Methodist roots. While the Assemblies of God (and other classical Pentecostal denominations) certainly have a heritage in the Wesleyan Holiness revivals of the 18th and 19th centuries, they have never claimed to be a Wesleyan denomination. This is a mistake as Pentecostalism has much to learn, or rediscover, from its Wesleyan roots, and vice versa. The Seedbed

    While obtaining a semina...

  • 5555555555555555_177_

    The Seedbed Blog by Chase Franklin International Ministries

    On a recent Sunday morning, I was having breakfast when I turned on my t.v. to watch a well-known local church’s broadcast. As I came to the right channel, I was greeted by the image of stage lights and a multi-piece band. Instead of what would normally be an opening praise song, the band started into the Bon Jovi 80′s classic, You Give Love a Bad Name. After the initial shock wore off, I double checked the channel I was on. Sure enough, this was the church service I was looking for. As the song finished, a member of the pastoral staff came out from behind the stage. After making a somewhat crude joke about hot flashes, he announced that the morning’s message would be on arguments in marriage. The staff member exited the stage while the band started into a worship song. With the band leading the church in two worship songs, I was left asking myself, “What in the world just happened?”

    In a way, it is understandable what the church was trying to do. They wanted to get the congregation focused on the message by using a song containing the message’s theme. It is a common practice that many churches utilize today, traditional and contemporary alike. In either case, the music is tied in with the sermon topic to provide a theme for that day’s service. This method of planning worship services certainly has benefits, including the reinforcement of the sermon. However, there is an inherent danger in us...

  • Seedbed-logo1_177_

    What I Learned About the Book of Ruth from Biblical Hebrew

    During my time in seminary, I had the joy (or pain, depending on who you ask) of taking several semesters of Biblical Hebrew. As a student, I encountered many who were either genuinely scared of learning the language or didn’t see a point to it. These feelings are completely understandable. Learning a modern language (much less one that is a few thousand years old) can be a daunting task. Additionally, most pastors will dig into the Word and preach in their native language, not the original biblical languages. But, should these reasons keep someone from learning the biblical languages? Absolutely not!

    After completing my Hebrew courses, I came away with a stronger passion not just for Biblical Hebrew itself but also for what it reveals about the Old Testament, especially the book of Ruth. Ruth is both one of the easiest books to read in Hebrew and yet the most professionally written. While only four chapters long, there is so much meaning in the Hebrew that is lost in the various translations out today. Here are just a few of the smaller things I learned about Ruth from knowing Biblical Hebrew:

    1) Elimelech and Naomi’s “sojourning” in 1:1 was more than just fleeing a famine.

    The word used for “sojourn” indicates a more permanent move with an intent to assimilate into the Moabite culture.

    2.) The names of Elimelech and Naomi’s sons, Mahlon and Chilion, likely meant “Sickly” and “Weakling.”...