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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Blessed and Holy: Understanding Them Better Through Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4 (Teach - Part 5 of 5)

INTRODUCTION

I just got off an exciting conversation with two guys, who I consider to be among the best friends that I have. They meet together with a group of guys once per month to discuss some of the more difficult and more valuable pieces of Christian writing, so I had a chance to have a phone conversation with both of them after their meeting this morning (4/19/14).  They are both pretty smart.  They gave me some sound advice.
Moses was pretty smart as well, but his father-in-law gave him some valuable smart advice: divide up this work load that you are carrying and handle only the intellectually more difficult cases yourself.  He was advising Moses to limit his personal scope.  This is certainly good advice.  But it is easy to overlook what had to come first.  Before you limit your scope, as I was advised this morning, you have to make sure the whole scope is seen and covered!  It is through seeing the whole scope and seeing our own limitations that we can best follow Jethro's advice.

Christian education as well as public education are at a dismal place right now.  Despite greater and greater dollars going into the system and some individual highlights, there is no program in education right now that is lighting up the score board except on a more local basis.  It appears too that these sometimes great efforts are also reaching a fatigue state.  Changing the curriculum every 5 years is not cutting it.  What can we do about this?

I think we need to follow Jethro's advice in a 21st century way.   So let's first figure out the B.C. advice he gave to Moses before converting it to A.D. advice to us.  First, to bridge from one to the other, you need to buttress each end of the bridge.   Let's start then with Exodus 18:

13 And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening. 14 So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?”15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws.”

17 So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. 18 Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. 19 Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. 20 And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. 21 Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.”
24 So Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. 25 And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people: rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 26 So they judged the people at all times; the hard cases they brought to Moses, but they judged every small case themselves.
27 Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went his way to his own land.


There are some critical statements in these instructions:

[I solved a major problem today through this post.  The work I did only has to wait today due to my other job and due to my needing to do some technological stuff to get my materials displayed in a more professional manner.  But this will end up being one of my best posts in terms of the common sense level.]


In Christ, 

Jon








Friday, April 18, 2014

Blessed and Holy: Understanding Them Better Through Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4 (Train - Part 4 of 5)

INTRODUCTION

At the basic level, a person needs to ask themselves: "How do I intend to accomplish this goal or by what means will I accomplish this purpose?  Today, I am addressing the training in our text.  Training consists of answering two questions: 1) "How?"  and 2) "Why?"  So what are the actions that need to be performed?  We want to learn how holiness is done or how to make something holy.  That is my primary training task for today.

But there is another part of training that goes beyond just this text.  It cuts all the way down to how we going to read or interpret this text and any other.  So what is my method?  (If you want to look at his more in-depth, simply click my communication blog link on the right side of this page.)



METHOD

So let me say a little (not a lot!) about my method of reading (a part of communication).  Let me begin by saying that my method is both cutting edge and the most common sense.  There needs to be a sense of both the edges of our world's global demands and of the core demands of small town and country life.  We need a tool that is usable by both ends of that spectrum.  I believe that the tool I use meets those demands on both ends of our world.

We today live in a world of not just European or American demands, but a world of worldwide or global demands.  We also though need to make sure we do not lose sight of our local demands either.  That must be a constant tension.  I remember this quote from real estate magazine and a discussion with a world traveler that I met in California: "He who is most at home somewhere, is most at home everywhere".   This quote captures part of the essence of my method.

In 1983, I was introduced to a method for everywhere, called the TEAR method.   Its everywhere, from the latest #s (from 2009) that I am aware of, is to 6909 languages in the world (source: SIL).  The TEAR method was designed as a universal tool to measure up to the demands of facing a multitude of languages.  In biblical studies, the demands of language are between 5 and maybe 10 languages (ex. English, Latin, Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew ...  Arabic, Akkadian, Ugaritic, etc.)  So you can see that the method that I was introduced to in 1983 had a demand load of much higher proportions - 1000xs higher at least.  The challenge and demands of more languages, I am convinced, were the mother of invention for the TEAR method.  It was designed so that a missionary (a cutting edge global messenger) could be "most at home everywhere".

In 1983, I was also introduced to a method for somewhere, called the ARCing method.  It's somewhere was going from Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew to English.  It was heavily immersed in the language of English.  The demands were essentially making sure that our English translation was a good one from these original languages.  The isolated somewhere was even more narrow than English, it was specifically American English. I think that sometimes the most elusive location is finding where in language we are "most at home somewhere".  This is tremendously demanding too, because it says that we have to narrow that somewhere down to one place and not a multitude of places.   It was designed for the demand that a preacher (a home schooled local messenger) could be "most at home somewhere".  

My method for reading the text of Scripture with the goal of it speaking to me, came full circle in late 2013 and in early 2014, so that laying out the common sense level became a real passion for me.  It also is one half of why a publisher is interested in publishing a book I hope to see published yet this year.  I think that I have found that somewhere where you and I are most at home, when it comes to language and communication. The best thing about it is that it agrees with the idea of being most at home everywhere.   In fact, I would say that both the TEAR method and the ARCing method essentially have not seen that "most at home" place as the most essential demand there is in our world right now that overnight became global.  Too often the church is trying to keep up with the world without keeping up their home.  So today you will get to see me use the most at home part of language to get at the definition and meaning of holy through Isaiah 6.

Isaiah 6

Remember he who is most at home somewhere is most at home everywhere.

Here is where I am most at home and I think you will find it is also where you are most at home.  It is the place in language you frequent the most.  That place must be our starting point before we can become most at home everywhere.  So I will be doing my best to begin from there.

Revelation 4


[this piece will have to be revisited due to Good Friday and me having a shorter day to work on things as a result.  That is my tradition and I'm sticking to it.]










In Christ,

Jon