Sunday, December 20, 2015

Friday, December 4, 2015

hezekiah's seal



Archaeologists in Israel have found a seal belonging to King Hezekiah from the 8th century BC. The inscription on the seal states - "Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, king of Judah".

"The find strengthens what we already know from the Bible about Hezekiah. It's the closest we can get to something that was actually used and held by King Hezekiah himself. This is the single greatest item I have ever found."  - Eilat Mazar, Director of Excavations, City of David site in Jerusalem

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

nt greek papyrus fragment



(Geoffrey Davis - University of Texas /Austin)

A papyrus fragment from the Gospel of John from around the 3rd century was discovered on Ebay with an opening bid of only $99! Be still my heart! Fortunately it was found before it was sold and researchers were able to study it further. It is thought to be the only known Greek New Testament papyrus fragment that comes from a scroll and not a codex. Fascinating stuff ...

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

the power of confidence





In the middle of the summer last year, at around the time of the All-Star break in July, the Kansas City Royals had a losing record and were 8 games behind the leading team in their division. It looked like they were out of it for sure - like it was just going to be another long losing season. From then on, they went on an absolute tear. They got into the playoffs, into the World Series, and one game away from winning it all. This year they picked up right where they left off, finished with the best record in the American League, and went on to win the World Series in dramatic fashion a few days ago. From July 22nd of 2014 to Nov. 1st of 2015, the Royals had a combined record of 164-94. They are the World Series Champions and the best team in baseball.

So what changed? It was the same team for the most part. What made the difference for them? In a word - Confidence. They began to trust in their abilities and believe that they really were good players on a good team. And wonder of wonders - that is exactly what they became.

It's amazing what a big difference a little thing like that can make. A little confidence and hope can go a long way. This goes for us as Christians and our lives as well. It's so easy for us to get down on ourselves all the time because of our continual failings, or due to the guilt and shame that we carry around with us.  But when we begin to see ourselves as God sees us in Christ, it can give us an entirely new and different perspective. As God's forgiven and adopted children, because of Jesus death and resurrection in our place, God now sees us as pure, holy, precious, chosen, and loved. He sees us as His own dear sons and daughters.

When we hear that good news, when we begin to believe it and trust in it, things begin to change for us. All of a sudden we're no longer so lonely or afraid. We instantly begin to feel a little stronger, a bit bolder, more confident and secure. And when we begin to realize that our relationship with God is taken care of, we are then freed up to look outside to those who are in need, to those we can love and serve in Jesus name.

When this happens - wonder of wonders - we begin to become like Jesus.

"I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."   - Philippians 1:6

Friday, October 30, 2015

mind blowing site of the day



German astronomers have released the largest image ever of the Milky Way Galaxy. The image is 46 billion pixels, made up of 268 photos, from which 50,000 new astronomical objects were discovered. Mind ... blown.

Have a look ...

http://astro.vm.rub.de/

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

happy 50th to the arch





"I sometimes think that in the west we have produced only two serious works of art: the Clovis point engineered with such obvious love by primitive man twelve thousand years ago, and that wonderful arch along the waterfront in St. Louis."  -  James Michener

h/t - travis scholl

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

one year ago




A year ago at this time I was in the Holy Land.

It's hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since our excellent adventure in the land of Israel. Who can forget what we experienced? The old port of Joppa where Jonah took off from. The narrow streets of Cana and Nazareth. The synagogue next to Peter's house in Capernaum. The boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Washing our feet in the Jordan River. The view from the top of Mt. Tabor. A salty float in the Dead Sea. The little town of Bethlehem. And of course, the center of the religious world, Jerusalem.

Our guide is over in Israel right now leading another group, and I can't get it out of my mind. I would go again in a heartbeat - there is just so much more to see and experience. I praise God for the opportunity to make the trip over with my dad right before he moved to Texas. It is a wonderful memory that we will always share. What a gift.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

st michael and all angels


 

St. Michael was a warrior
Who smote the devil's ass,
No Precious Moments figure
With arms as frail as glass.
The foe was quickly vanquished
When he unsheathed his sword
For his weapon is the Word,
The tongue of Christ, our Lord.
Who is like this son of God
Against whom demons rant?
None but Christ, his God and ours,
To whom all creatures chant:

"Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts,
"The whole earth is full of His glory."

- Chad Bird

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015

scale model of solar system



"He alone stretches out the heavens ..."  - Job 9

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

pascal's coat



(this note was found sewn into the lining of Pascal's coat - and discovered only after his death)

The year of grace 1654
Monday, 23 November, feast of Saint Clememt, pope and martyr
From about half past ten in the evening until half past midnight.
FIRE
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - not of philosophers and scholars.
Certainty, heartfelt, joy, peace.
The God of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
Thy God shall be my God.
The world forgotten - everything except God.
He can only be found by the way taught in the Gospels.
O Righteous Father, the world has not known Thee, but I have known Thee.
Joy, joy, tears of joy.
i have cut myself off from him.
They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters.
My God, wilt thou forsake me?
Let me not be cut off from Him forever.
This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.
Jesus Christ
I have cut myself off from Him, shunned Him, denied Him, crucified Him ... Let me never be cut off from Him!
He can only be kept by the way taught in the Gospels.
Sweet and total renunciation.
Total submission to Jesus Christ.
Everlasting joy in return for one day's effort on earth.
I will not forget Thy Word.
Amen

(ht - James Sire, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything At All?)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

lord to whom shall we go


"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."    - John 6

Thursday, August 6, 2015

moon transiting earth




A NASA camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite captured this view of the moon as it moved in front of the sunlit side of Earth last month. In it we see the fully illuminated “dark side” of the moon which is never able to be seen from the Earth. Stunning ...

Monday, July 27, 2015

before there was time




before there was time
there were visions in your mind
there was death in the fall of mankind
but there was life in salvation's design

before there were days
there were nights i could not see your face
but the night could not keep me from grace
when you came and took my place

so i cry holy only begotten son of god
ancient of days
holy only begotten son of god
and sing the praises
of the one who saved me
and the promises He made

before there was time
you counted the hairs on my head
you knew all the words i have said
and you purchased me back from the dead

before i was made
you searched me and knew my ways
you numbered all my days
and you set forth the steps i would take

you saved me, you raised me
you pulled me from the grave

so i cry holy only begotten son of god
ancient of days
holy only begotten son of god
and sing the praises
of the one who saved me
and the promises he made
before there was time

- caedmon's call

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

ephesians



Join us this summer at Bethany for a new series on the Book of Ephesians ....
"God's People + By Grace + In Christ".

Thursday, May 28, 2015

trinity



3 in 1 and 1 in 3 ...  the Holy and Blessed Trinity

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Monday, May 25, 2015

pentecost




I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

What does this mean?  I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

no going back (short story - 100 words or less)




There was no going back. I was high above the Atlantic in the middle of the night, hurtling inescapably to some far off place halfway around the world. Fear, anxiety, despair engulfed me like ocean waves crashing thousands of feet below. I closed my eyes, tried not to cry, and prayed for dear life. Finally, it was all over. There was daylight. The sun was shining. I was still breathing. Friendly faces were welcoming. There was no going back, but it was going to be okay. We even had a picnic on the way ... home.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

epic pic of the day



sunrise at the north pole with moon at closest point

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday, April 5, 2015

risen



"why do you seek the living among the dead? he is not here - he is risen - just like he said!"

Friday, April 3, 2015

passion



"and when they had mocked him, they stripped him ... and led him out to crucify hin."  mark 15

Thursday, April 2, 2015

garden



"when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the mount of olives." - matthew 26

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

temple



"destroy this temple and in three days i will raise it up"  - john 2

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

o jerusalem



"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. " - Matthew 23

golden gate



Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

mind-blowing graphic of the day




In a recent study for Nature, a team of scientists mapped thousands of galaxies in our immediate vicinity, and discovered that the Milky Way is part of a massive "supercluster" of galaxies named Laniakea.

This structure is much bigger than astronomers had previously realized. Laniakea contains more than 100,000 galaxies, stretches 500 million light years across, and looks something like this.


"When I look at the heavens, the work of Your hands, the moon and stars which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" - Psalm 8


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Thursday, February 5, 2015

alma mater



A great shot from above the campus of my alma mater - Concordia University, Irvine CA.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

the gospel




Who is Jesus?  What does He ask of His followers? What does it mean to be a Christian?

These are the kinds of questions people were asking in the 1st century. They are the questions people continue to ask today.

This is precisely why Mark wrote his Gospel – to answer these questions and to help second generation Christians being persecuted know how their faith began, know the truth of what they believed, and find comfort and strength in the midst of their sufferings.

Mark writes his Gospel to remind his fellow Christians that it's all true. It really happened, just as God planned, just as Jesus said, just as you have been taught. And it's not only true, it's true for you, and it's something worth living, suffering, and even dying for.

Up until the time the Gospels were written and the New Testament was completed, Christians came together to gather and worship without a complete Bible. They did not yet have the entire written Word. They relied on the oral tradition, on sermons, teachings, and stories told them by other believers to learn about Jesus.

That’s where Mark’s Gospel comes in. Mark writes his Gospel to chronicle the origin of the Christian faith. Most scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark was written somewhere around 60 AD, which puts it at about thirty years after Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Mark was not an eyewitness to Jesus, so he writes himself as a second generation Christian. But ancient sources tell us that Mark based his story on the recollections of the apostle Peter. Mark was Peter’s personal assistant, so he was familiar with the sermons and stories Peter told. And Peter was an eyewitness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Mark begins with these words - "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."

In other words, this is what its all about. This is what's important, the foundation, the standard, the primary stuff of the gospel. And its not just the first sentence, or the first chapter, but really the entire book of Mark can be seen as the "beginning of the Gospel".  For this book is only the beginning of the gospel. There is much more still to come. The end has not yet here. The story continues ... and goes on and on as the good news of Jesus is proclaimed to all nations.

"The kingdom of God is here - repent and believe the good news."

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

baptism site



Pictured above is the section of the Jordan River where nearly all tourists of the Holy Land go to visit. You can see why by the picture - it's beautiful, green, lush - a lovely section of the Jordan River. It's also touted as the place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Well ... not so much. While it is indeed a wonderful place to visit, it is definitely not the place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.

The reason? This area is in the northern part of the country just south of the Sea of Galilee, whereas the actual section of the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized would have been in the southern part of the country just north of the Dead Sea. Below is a picture of the more likely site that hardly anyone visits today. (The river used to be wider, of course, but the water upstream has been diverted over the years for irrigation and agriculture.)

So why are there two dueling sites for the Baptism of Jesus? Tourism dollars. The above site is in Israel - and the site below is in Jordan.

And now you know the rest of the story.




Friday, January 9, 2015

andromeda



A tiny version of Hubble’s panorama image of the Andromeda galaxy, two million light years away.

"The heavens declare the glory of God, the sky above proclaims His handiwork" - Psalm 19

http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/hs-2015-02-a-hires_jpg.jpg


Monday, January 5, 2015

the work of christmas begins




"when the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the king and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of christmas begins:
to find the lost, to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nation, to bring peace to the people,
to make music in the heart."

- howard thurman

Thursday, January 1, 2015

jesus name of wondrous love



Jesus! Name of wondrous love!
Name all other names above!
Unto which must every knee
Bow in deep humility.

Jesus! Name of priceless worth
To the fallen sons of earth,
For the promise that it gave—
“Jesus shall His people save.”

Jesus! Name decreed of old,
To the maiden mother told—
Kneeling in her lowly cell—
By the angel Gabriel.

Jesus! Name of mercy mild,
Given to the holy Child,
When the cup of human woe
First He tasted here below.

Jesus! Only name that’s given
Under all the mighty heaven,
Whereby man, to sin enslaved,
Bursts his fetters, and is saved.

Jesus! Name of wondrous love,
Human name of God above!
Pleading only this, we flee,
Helpless, O our God, to Thee.

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