Monday, August 17, 2015
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
A few years ago, I was challenged and moved by the idea of "Biblical Theology". I've done some reading in Systematic Theology books and enjoy their focused perspectives on major subjects and themes in the bible, covered exhaustively, subject by subject, books like Wayne Grudem's excellent "Systematic Theology". Those books are great, informative and necessary. But, I wanted to know more about how the books of the Bible fit together, how the overall story is told. That's a field of study known as "Biblical Theology".
I came across Graeme Goldsworthy's "According to Plan", an
Ultimately, I was led to Vaughn Robert's overview of
Goldsworthy's overview, "God's Big Picture", an easy read and eminently accessible. I have others, but this is the one book that explains it all in a brief and concise manner.
It's a great look at Biblical Theology and an essential if you're one of those that has ever wondered about the differences between covenantal theology and dispensational theology. It doesn't directly address either, but it lays a good foundation for both perspectives.
Furthermore, if you've ever wondered why Ruth, Esther or Jonah are in the Bible (not to mention Philemon), and what they have to do with the big picture, this is a great place to get started.
We're going to read the book together, one chapter each
week, starting Sept 7. We're calling the program "The Next Chapter". Each Monday, I'll post a short overview of the current chapter and we can comment, question or simply read along to our heart's desire.
If you want to join us, just pick up the book and read the forward and first chapter prior to Sep 7. You can find it on Amazon (Kindle and hard copy), CBD (e-book and hard copy) or at the WBF Bookstore.
I hope and pray the subject matter blesses you as much as it has me. If you get a chance, drop me a note at email@example.com or message me on fb to let me know you're coming along.
The next chapter is #1!
Posted by John Kuvakas at 6:09 PM
Thursday, July 30, 2015
A small group of us have been reading through the Bible using the Chronological Reading Plan. An email goes out each morning, showing the passages to be read for that day. Frequently, one of us will weigh in with a comment or two. Here are a few observations from today's readings, Isaiah 40-43.
Like Abraham, who was wandering through life when God chose him to demonstrate to the world that He can transform and redeem anyone He desires, regardless of his estate in life, God chose us (John 15:16). Like Abraham, we are totally incapable of saving ourselves. Furthermore, just like Abraham, once chosen, we continue to stumble, incapable of sustaining, on our own, neither our eternal status nor holiness .
Praise God, He is faithful, powerful and true. Praise God, He was patient with His chosen people 3,000 years ago...just as He is patient with us today (2 Pet 3:9).
If we fail to see ourselves in the story of Abraham and the Jews, we will fail to understand the magnitude of His grace.
Posted by John Kuvakas at 9:21 AM
Saturday, July 11, 2015
Jonah pops up in this particular position in the timeline of Israel for a reason. For most of 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles, we watch as Israel embarks on a long, persistent slide away from God with Judah following not too far behind. It seems each succeeding king, even the godly ones, slip further away from the Father. In 2 Kings 14:25, we are introduced to Jonah as a prophet of God.
He fills another role, as well. Jonah is a little snapshot of where the two kingdoms are in their relationship with God, namely; full of themselves, openly rebellious toward Him but still being used and refined by Him for His purposes.Jonah was probably written early in the eighth century BC during the reign of Jereboam II. By then, The Assyrians, who had a history of viciously attacking Israel, were weakening. Nineveh, situated in what is now Northern Iraq, was the home of the Assyrian king and was a huge city that was still an acute danger to Israel.
When God sends Jonah to Nineveh to prophesy over
the city, Jonah is understandably annoyed and runs in the opposite direction. After all, the Ninevites were the enemy, and a particularly nasty one at that. Why would Jonah want to see them redeemed by God? Wouldn't it be better just to let them be judged and eliminated?On the way to Tarshish, a large port in Spain, the familiar story about Jonah being swallowed by the whale ensues. What few people notice, however, is that, due to Jonah's insistence that he is the cause of their predicament and their subsequent throwing of Jonah overboard, the sailors on the boat are delivered and begin worshiping God. I like to think of Jonah as a reluctant evangelist.For sure, Jonah ends up in Nineveh, in spite of his attempt to escape. He prophesies to the city and the city repents, avoiding destruction, more converts due to Jonah's reluctant preaching!All this actually makes Jonah mad. That's where the book ends, Nineveh is saved and Jonah is upset, a rather unusual ending to an amazing story.
- First, God is clearly the God of land and sea, the God of Jew and Gentile.
- Second, while our own heart motivation can have a huge impact on our relationship with our Father, God can still use us for His sovereign plans...in spite of us rather than because of us.
- Third, those who seem to be our enemies need to hear the gospel. God wants us to witness to them, not defeat them. The greatest victory will come when they turn to God and become our brothers, not when we vanquish them.
- Fourth, God is far more gracious than we sometimes think. Jonah earned nothing but wrath and judgment for refusing to do what God called him to do. Yet, God saved him from the whale, used him to preach His word, provided shade for him and told him the truth about himself.
- Fifth, ironically, Jonah accuses God of being gracious and merciful toward the Ninevites without fully realizing or appreciating the he, himself, is a beneficiary of that same grace. God could have judged him and punished him. God chose, instead to use him, in spite of his shortcomingsGod can do the same with us, use us in spite of our shortcomings. Furthermore, God loved Jonah...and the Ninevites, a sobering reminder to the Body of Christ as much of the world seems to be turning into the enemy. Perhaps they are actually "fields white unto harvest." We should be careful to avoid Jonah's mindset and mistake. We should be eager to see the Ninevites of our time come to repentance.
Posted by John Kuvakas at 9:37 AM
Sunday, June 7, 2015
I shared a poem in this morning's service, dedicated to graduates on behalf of their parents and loved ones who raised them. It was written by Mark DeYmaz of Little Rock Arkansas and provided to us by Robin Ariola. Here's the text;
Posted by John Kuvakas at 3:48 PM