OWNit 365 July 18-23, 2016 (Week 5)

The acronym OWN stands for one daily reading from the Old Testament, and one from the Wisdom Books or New Testament. The plan is set up to balance the amount you read and to give you each day a section that is easier to understand and apply to your life. The readings are spread over six days per week, Sunday being the “catch-up” or “read-ahead” day. This plan is available through a free app on your phone, tablet, and/or computer (bible.com).

Suggested songs from the Book of Praise have been added.

If you find that there’s too much to sing, feel free to select stanzas from the psalms and hymns suggested. Also, if you find the amount of Bible reading each day too much, don’t be discouraged. You can find other reading plans at bible.com and elsewhere.

Mon 18: Exodus 9-10 & Job 41-42; Sing Psalm 90:1-4

Tues 19: Exodus 11-12 & Psalms 1-4; Sing Psalm 90:5-8

Wed 20: Exodus 13-14 & Psalms 5-7; Sing Psalm 101

Thurs 21: Exodus 15-16 & Psalms 8-9; Sing Hymn 41

Fri 22: Exodus 17-19 & Psalms 10-12; Sing Psalm 141

Sat 23: Exodus 20-22 & Psalms 13-15; Hymn 52

OWNit 365 July 11-16, 2016 (Week 4)

The acronym OWN stands for one daily reading from the Old Testament, and one from the Wisdom Books or New Testament. The plan is set up to balance the amount you read and to give you each day a section that is easier to understand and apply to your life. The readings are spread over six days per week, Sunday being the “catch-up” or “read-ahead” day. This plan is available through a free app on your phone, tablet, and/or computer (bible.com).

Suggested songs from the Book of Praise have been added.

If you find that there’s too much to sing, feel free to select stanzas from the psalms and hymns suggested. Also, if you find the amount of Bible reading each day too much, don’t be discouraged. You can find other reading plans at bible.com and elsewhere.

Mon 11: Genesis 44-45 & Job 32-33; Sing Psalm 71:1-7

Tues 12: Genesis 46-47 & Job 34; Sing Psalm 71:8-13

Wed 13: Genesis 48-49 & Job 35-36; Sing Psalm 80:1-4

Thurs 14: Genesis 50-Exodus 2 & Job 37; Sing Hymn 3

Fri 15: Exodus 3-5 & Job 38; Sing Psalm 80:5-8

Sat 16: Exodus 6-8 & Job 39-40; Hymn 29

“Taste and see that the LORD is good.”

Doing some research on Psalm 34:8-10, I came across this comment by the venerable OT commentator, Franz Delitzsch:

Tasting (γεύσασθαι, Hebr. 6:4f., 1 Pet. 2:3) stands before seeing; for spiritual experience leads to spiritual perception or knowledge, and not vice versâ. Nisi gustaveris, says Bernard, non videbis. David is desirous that others also should experience what he has experienced in order that they may come to know what he has come to know, viz., the goodness of God.

What’s really interesting is what he says in the footnote:

On account of this v. 9, Γεύσασθε καὶ ἴδετε, κ. τ. λ., Ps. 33 (34) was the Communion Psalm of the early church, Constit. Apost. viii. 13, Cyril, Catech. Myst. v. 17.

This has important implications for how the church in general and Christians in particular use and experience the sacraments. So often we flip it the other way around: we think that seeing (knowing, understanding) necessarily precedes experiencing (tasting, enjoying).

The reality is that God provides us and surrounds us with the experience of his love and goodness, long before we ‘get it.’

Published in: on July 5, 2016 at 10:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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OWNit365 July 4-9, 2016

Mon 4: Genesis 31-32 & Job 22; Sing Psalm 3

Tues 5: Genesis 33-35 & Job 23-24; Sing Psalm 12

Wed 6: Genesis 36-37 & Job 25-27; Sing Psalm 50:1-6

Thurs 7: Genesis 38-39 & Job 28-29; Sing Psalm 60

Fri 8: Genesis 40-41 & Job 30; Sing Psalm 50:7-11

Sat 9: Genesis 42-43 & Job 31; Hymn 11

OWNit365 June 27-July 2, 2016

Mon 27: Genesis 19-20 & Job 12-13; Sing Psalm 31:9-14

Tues 28: Genesis 21-23 & Job 14-15; Sing Psalm 2

Wed 29: Genesis 24 & Job 16-17; Sing Psalm 42

Thurs 30: Genesis 25-26 & Job 18-19; Sing Psalm 43

Fri 1: Genesis 27-28 & Job 20; Sing Hymn 2

Sat 2: Genesis 29-30 & Job 21; Hymn 13

OWNit365 June 20-25, 2016

Would you like a new spiritual challenge to get a head-start on this summer? How about making it your goal to read through the entire Bible in a year! The OWNit365 Whole Bible Plan offers a helping hand in attaining this goal. The acronym OWN stands for one daily reading from the Old Testament, and one from the Wisdom Books or New Testament. The plan is set up to balance the amount you read and to give you each day a section that is easier to understand and apply to your life. The readings are spread over six days per week, Sunday being the “catch-up” or “read-ahead” day. This plan is available through a free app on your phone, tablet, and/or computer (bible.com).

In case you’d also like to sing through the Book of Praise (bookofpraise.ca) in a year, approximately 30 stanzas per week, suggested songs are also included.

So, let’s get started!

Mon 20: Genesis 1-2 & Job 1-2; Sing Psalm 8

Tues 21: Genesis 3-5 & Job 3-4; Sing Psalm 1

Wed 22: Genesis 6-8 & Job 5-6; Sing Psalm 19

Thurs 23: Genesis 9-11 & Job 7-8; Sing Psalm 31:1-4

Fri 24: Genesis 12-15 & Job 9; Sing Psalm 31:5-8

Sat 25: Genesis 16-18 & Job 10-11; Hymn 27

Hughes Oliphant Old (1933-2016)

Today the church on earth has lost one of her best. Dr. Hughes Oliphant Old, minister of the Word and Sacraments, finished his earthly sojourn this morning and departed to be with his Lord at the age of 83. Old was arguably one of the most prolific and outstanding patristics and reformed liturgical scholars of our time. While he is probably best known for his prodigious 7-volume magnum opus, The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church and Worship that is Reformed According to the Scriptures, he always insisted that his less famous book, Themes and Variations for a Christian Doxology: Some Thoughts on the Theology of Worship, is seminal for understanding everything else that he has written.

His death is also a great personal loss to me. As one of my teachers, Dr. Old became a dear mentor and friend. When I was his student many years ago, he honoured me by inviting me to be his personal assistant for the duration of the course, on account of his debilitating blindness. This meant that I was privileged, among other things, to drive him around, read aloud for him, and join him for meals at his favourite local restaurants. With this privilege came the rare opportunity to have extended conversations with him.

A couple years ago, after many years of trying to get together again, he invited me to spend a week with him and his wife at his home in Vermont. They were superb and generous hosts, far beyond what I expected or deserved. We spent time editing a volume that he was working on at the time, talking about my recent dissertation, listening to the music of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck with which he was deeply fascinated and asked me to research and write about for him, and even visiting nearby Northampton, Massachusetts where Jonathan Edwards had once ministered. During his periods of rest, I had full access to his large, well-stocked library and his huge collection of musical recordings. I was again deeply impressed by his humble piety, his brilliant and encyclopaedic mind and his immense wisdom; but most of all by his deep love for the Lord God and his church.

We had planned and hoped to work on a writing and conference project together, but my wife’s cancer diagnosis several months later prevented me from following through. Since my wife’s health is more stable, I had hoped to take up contact with Dr. Old soon again to reassess our plans. God clearly had another plan in mind.

There’s no doubt in my mind that he deeply cherished his final act of public ministry last month: the baptism of his first grandchild. Now he may enjoy the reality that baptism signifies: to be alive with Christ!

Hughes Oliphant Old has fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith (2 Tim 4:7). Farewell, brother! Until we meet again.

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Published in: on May 24, 2016 at 11:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Wounded Healer

An excerpt from Wounded Healer, edited by Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, 1994, written by a cancer survivor:

Still it is next to impossible
to do this alone.
We need the loving truth of others to be well.
Inevitably when one is thrust into life,
Into crisis, into transformation
Without notice or instruction
Some come with us and are forever changed
While others watch as we are forced out to sea.
It is the power of love
that enables those who come along
and in truth,
a language of experience is unearthed
that cannot be translated
to those who stay behind.

–Mark Nepo

Published in: on July 25, 2015 at 7:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Death of Stephen

As some tall rock amidst the waves,
The fury of the tempest braves;
While the fierce billows toiling high,
Break at its foot and murm’ring die:

Thus they, who in the Lord confide,
Though foes assault on every side;
Cannot be moved or overthrown,
For Jesus makes their cause his own.

So faithful Stephen, undismayed,
The malice of the Jews surveyed;
The holy joy which filled his breast
A lustre on his face impressed.

Behold! he said, the world of light
Is opened to my strengthened sight;
My glorious Lord appears in view,
That Jesus, whom ye lately slew.

With such a friend and witness near,
No form of death could make him fear;
Calm, amidst show’rs of stones, he kneels,
And only for his murd’rers feels.

May we, by faith, perceive thee thus,
Dear Saviour, ever near to us!
This fight our peace, through life, shall keep,
And death be feared no more than sleep.

–by John Newton

Published in: on June 17, 2015 at 11:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Chiasm in Acts 6:1-7

Others have probably noticed this, but as I was working on Acts 6:1-7 last week, this chiasm jumped out at me:

A  In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.

B  So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.

C  Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them

D  and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

C1 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 

B1  They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

A1  So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Analysis:

A  Church is growing so rapidly that it experiences growing pains

B  Twelve call together all the disciples (church members) to address a pressing need

Twelve ask the disciples to choose seven Spirit-filled and wise men

So that the Twelve can give their full attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word

C1 The disciples choose seven Spirit-filled and wise men

B1 The disciples present these seven men to the apostles, who called them together, for their approval and blessing

A1 Church continues to grow and flourish

A chiasm, among other things, helps the reader to discern (consciously or subconsciously) the center of a given passage, in this case the apostolic task of prayer and the ministry of the word (D), and matters relating to or leading back to that center, in this case, the growth of Christ’s church through the agency of Spirit-filled men, the Twelve and the Seven.

Takeaway? Prayer and the ministry of the word lie at the heart of the life and ministry of the apostolic church. Pastors who believe “one holy catholic and apostolic church” (Nicene Creed) have a duty, then, to give considerable amount of time to both of these. In our rushed, busy culture, it may be necessary for us pastors remind ourselves that we have permission to spend a lot of time praying and preparing sermons. Permission, because it is our duty and holy calling.

Have you ever asked your minister whether he makes enough time, both to pray and to prepare sermons? It may lead to serious reflection on his part if he’s not doing so, or some much-needed affirmation if he is doing so, and in every case–as odd as it sounds–permission to do so.

Published in: on May 25, 2015 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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