On Fridays, I will be posting some of the more interesting articles I’ve come across throughout the week to help you keep current on what’s happening in the the church, both in America and abroad. I will also posting some “fun” stories that I come across. I post these up to inform you and get you thinking, not because I endorse the content.
Unbelief is on the uptick. People who check “None” for their religious affiliation are now nearly one in five Americans (19%), the highest ever documented, according to the Pew Center for the People and the Press .
read the rest here – http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2012-07-19/no-religion-affiliation/56344976/1
2.‘Dark Knight’ Shooting: 3 Boyfriends Die Shielding Girlfriends During Aurora Massacre
In the wake of Friday’s devastating theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., President Obama remarked that it will be the “good people” — the heroes who took action — that remain in our memories long after James Holmes, the alleged gunman, has been forgotten.
And as stories from the darkened chaos begin to emerge, three among many share similar heroic stories: they all died shielding their girlfriends from bullets.
3. NCAA hands out severe punishment for Penn State
Chastising Penn State for “hero worship” and a warped athletic culture, NCAA President Mark Emmert issued a landmark ruling Monday morning, levying unprecedented penalties against the Penn State football program that will cripple its ability to remain competitive on the field for years.
Emmert banned Penn State from bowl games for four years, imposed massive scholarship reductions (a total of 40 initial scholarships lost over four years) and fined the school $60 million.
Emmert also vacated all of Penn State’s victories from 1998 through 2011, meaning former coach Joe Paterno loses 111 wins from what had been a total of 409 victories, the most all time in major college football.
This Week’s text for Sunday July 29, 2012 : Acts 24:1 – 21 “Making a Defense before the Governor”
[24:1] And after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertullus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul.  And when he had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying:
“Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your foresight, most excellent Felix, reforms are being made for this nation,  in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude.  But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly.  For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.  He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him.  By examining him yourself you will be able to find out from him about everything of which we accuse him.”
 The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all these things were so.
 And when the governor had nodded to him to speak, Paul replied:
“Knowing that for many years you have been a judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense.  You can verify that it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship in Jerusalem,  and they did not find me disputing with anyone or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues or in the city.  Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me.  But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets,  having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.  So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.  Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings.  While I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia— they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, should they have anything against me.  Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council,  other than this one thing that I cried out while standing among them: ‘It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day.’”
(Acts 24:1-21 ESV)
Today we had a full day of lectures by Dr. Oliver Wilder – Smith who is a research physician in Holland regarding Apologetics and Science / Medical issues. A deeply academic and informative discussion, I can’t help but think how important it is that God’s church stay involved in the Sciences and in the medical profession to be a Salt and Light to a profession that although in belief many believe in the Transcendent, in practice and philosophy have adopted a materialist / naturalist worldview. Last class will be tomorrow morning and then, it’s study, study, study for my written exam on Saturday.
The highlight of the day was dinner at the restaurant (see below) in Petite France with a phenomenal waiter who spoke English very well and was very accommodating! My meal was Spetzel (A German dish popular in this region in France) with a side salad. It was great to eat with new friends after a long day of intense Apologetics. French cuisine is amazing!
Looking forward to completing the class this year and heading home on the Train on Saturday afternoon!
Au Revoir! Gene
Today’s lectures focused on Biblical Authority and Legal Apologetics! The quote of the day, ” Using the Bibliographic test, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the top of the class compared to other religious writings for the number of manuscripts, and the short time period from the copy and the time written. 15,000+ Gospels with 140 years time span (plus the Church fathers verifying authorship) vs. 10 copies of Caesar’s Gallic Wars with 1,000 years time span.”
From Martin Luther – “Find God first in the Cradle (The incarnation), then on the cross (the atonement), and then in the flower (creation).
Wonderful day of class with Dr. Craig Parton leading us in Historical Apologetics, meaning – using history as an apologetic and the historical model to demonstrate the validity of the Christian faith. When speaking with folks about the existence of God, etc., Luther found it best to not begin with creation, but rather take them to the person and work of Christ, and then to other issues such as creation, the universe, etc.
This past week has been spent in lectures and discussion on 4 areas of Apologetics: Apologetics today, The Problem of Evil, Philosophical Apologetics, and World Religions. After spending the afternoon memorizing my notes and rereading some of the material, I’m taking a moment to thank the Lord for this opportunity to immerse myself in a subject matter which is surely to be applied in the weeks, months, and years to come!
In addition I thank my wife Kim for the blessing that she is to me, my family, and to the CCW family and for “holding down the fort” so that I might be better equipped as a Disciple, Husband, Father and Pastor!
Final thanks to the CCW community for their support and prayers! I can sense them from across the pond!
Last night was the culmination of Bastille Day here in France! The entire city of Strasbourg was out and about celebrating! As always, the food was wonderful, the wine amazing, and the conversation with my new friends from the Academy stimulating! We sat in Gutenburg Square (Yes – that’s the printer Gutenburg of the Gutenburg Press fame!) watching the fireworks! What a privilege to celebrate with the French people the freedoms that they enjoy as a people. Their flag flies high atop the cathedral as a symbol to the world – Vive La France! My prayer for the French nation, as well as America and the rest of the West – may The Lord bring a Modern Reformation to our lands! Let it begin in our hearts and the hearts of our loved ones!
Tomorrow! Week 2 beginning with Historical Apologetics.
View of Strasbourg on the top of the Cathedral after lunch!
Sunday July 8th, 2012
Slept in and then attended the 10:30 Communion service at St. Alban’s Anglican Church in Strasbourg. The service included a guest choir from Homerton College, Cambridge. In a word – “beautiful”. The homily given by the assistant , the Rev. Christine Bloomfield on Ezekiel 2:1 – 5 & Mark 6 was wonderfully sound and encouraging in that I was reminded that as we have so often been taught in our journey through Acts – the world does not always applaud the truth of the good news of Jesus. Our task is faithfulness to the Lord, and witness we must!
Then, I strolled around Strasbourg with camera in hand! Thought you might to look at the pic of the day! The Train Station – La Gare in French.
and inside – a beautiful structure!
“Dog Tired” after a day of pushing it hard to see as much of the city on foot as possible! A great city filled with the history of the Reformation! University of Strasbourg which John Calvin founded and Blaise Pascal taught! Great influence from Luther as well!
Reflecting on how God spoke to us at Christ Church Westshore
Questions to consider – Acts 22:22 – 29
1. What was it that sent the crowd into a rage again in 22: 22, demanding his death? Why do you think they found what Paul taught so hard to hear?
2. In vv. 24-29, the Roman authority rescued Paul for a second time, but also made a second mistake. What was it and how did Paul correct him?
3. What evidence is there in these verses to suggest that there was great significance to being a Roman citizen? What was the significance for Paul?
4. What do the events of these last two chapters tell you about the sovereign hand of God and the mission of his church?