The Moving Word

Writer, Preacher, Historian and Bookworm

Keep on Writing for God

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J. Randal Matheny made some nice comments about me today and I greatly appreciate them. He is a dear friend and colleague.

He wrote,

About three weeks ago, columnist and former managing editor Richard Mansel wrote his 500th consecutive article here on Forthright. He’s never missed a single week. He holds a Forthright record that will likely never be beat. We’re grateful for Richard’s consistent, quality articles. We count him as a good friend and coworker in the gospel. His contributions continue to enrich our lives and we pray the Lord will increase his fruitful harvest in his upcoming change of ministry.

I’m proud of this milestone and now I press on to 520 weeks or a full 10 years of consecutive articles at Forthright Magazine. I’m thankful that they allow me to write for such a wonderful site and to share with such a great staff of writers.

Writing to the glory of God is as great an honor as exists on earth and I am deeply privileged to have the chance to serve Him in this manner. I pray my health allows me to do so for years to come. I have too much more to say. Thanks to all my readers who make it possible.

Review of “Dancing on the Head of a Pen” by Robert Benson

Robert Benson

Blogging for Books provided me a copy of “Dancing on the Head of a Pen: The Practice of a Writing Life” by Robert Benson in lieu of a review.

Benson is an experienced writer and the author of several books. This slim volume can be read in an hour or two. In it, he covers the mindset, persistence and imagination necessary to the life of a writer.

There aren’t really any new revelations here but Benson’s passion is infectious and writers can find an infusion of motivation here to help them persevere in the lonely work of writing.

His first chapter refers to writing as “the dark marks on a page,” and I really liked that imagery.

 

Irresistible Grace

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What John Calvin formalized in the sixteenth century began with the teachings of Augustine in the fourth century. Since Calvin’s day, scholars have spread the doctrine throughout most of the denominational world. Through the years they simplified their teachings into five principles, the fourth of which is called “Irresistible Grace.”

Calvinists claim that since Adam and Eve disobeyed God, we’re all born sinners and are therefore too depraved to make sound spiritual decisions. As a result, God predestined certain individuals to be saved and others to be lost and that cannot be changed. Subsequently, Christ only died for the elect who are guaranteed heaven.

Calvinism is built on faulty presuppositions and half-truths. Their teachings are taken out of context or misinterpreted with such skill that they can bewilder the inattentive Bible student. In Calvinism, each point is ultimately wrong, but possesses enough truth to be dangerous.

Read more at the “Carolina Messenger” website…

Fascinating Nugget from Scripture

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I love Bible study for many fulfilling reasons. We can find enough interesting tidbits of information to keep us busy for a lifetime. This week I found one that I wanted to share with you.

“So the Lord said, ‘If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you'” (Luke 17:6, NKJV).

A.T. Robertson points out that there are two mulberry trees in the New Testament:

“At the present time both the black mulberry (sycamine) and the white mulberry (sycamore) exist in Palestine.”

Luke is the only writer to mention both trees: Sycamine (Luke 17:6) and Sycamore (Luke 19:4).

Robertson continues:

“The distinction is not observed in the Septuagint [the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament], but it is observed in the late Greek medical writers for both trees have medicinal properties. Hence it may be assumed that Luke, as a physician, makes the distinction.”

I find that to be awesome. What about you?

Photo Credit 

Differences between Evangelism and Church Growth

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The Great Commission is given to the Lord’s Church (Matthew 28:18-19). Accordingly, all Christians share the responsibility to spread the gospel. Seeking the lost is never someone else’s job.

Evangelism is successful when prospects are located, taught and immersed into Christ (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:3-4). Church growth is when they’re added to the Lord’s Body (Acts 2:47), and become a part of a larger whole (Ephesians 2:19).

Evangelism requires planning and preparation as we fill ourselves with the Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17), humility (James 4:10) and proven strategies. Read more…

Seek and Hide

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Most of us played “Hide and Seek” as children. The person who is “it” counts while everyone else hide. When the counter finishes, they attempt to locate the hiders. As we grow older, we leave that game behind.

In Scripture, God has “Seek and Hide,” but it’s neither a game nor childish.

In 2 Kings 22, King Josiah restored allegiance to Jehovah by tearing down the idols of the previous two kings. Manasseh had been especially evil (2 Chronicles 33:1-9).

During the restoration process, the High Priest, Hilkiah, found the Torah (2 Kings 22:8-11) and they went to Huldah the prophetess to seek the guidance of the Lord (2 Kings 22:14-20). Read more…

Huldah the Prophetess

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In 2 Kings 22, King Josiah begins to reform the nation’s spiritual practices. His grandfather Manasseh and his father, Amon, were idolaters. Young Josiah saw a better way.

Hilkiah the High Priest finds the book of the Law in the temple (2 Kings 22: 8; cf. Deuteronomy 31:24-26). What a High Priest does without a knowledge of
the Torah is a complete mystery.

Shaphan the scribe reads it to Josiah and the King desires the council of God. What happens next is one of the more unusual stories of the Old Testament. Read more…

Bible and the Locked Room

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We are asked to grasp the wind.

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV).

However, we can also say that without faith it is impossible to understand God, as well. The foundation beliefs about God are accessible for all but the deeper we go, the more challenging God becomes.

Fleshly man lives in a finite world where we trust in science and the tangible. Seeing is believing in our self-absorbed age but we cannot apply that to understanding God. He is a spirit (John 4:24) and although we are made in his spiritual image (Genesis 1:26), he is absolutely nothing like us. Read more…

Philosophy of Preaching

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Preachers carry a specific mindset into the pulpit. They approach the text and the presentation based on their presuppositions coupled with their abilities and opportunities.

Faithful Bible students will allow Scripture to be their mirror and sword (James 1:23; Ephesians 6:17).

As a fulltime preacher for the past nineteen years I want to share the main points of my philosophy of preaching in hopes of helping others. Read more…

Making the Bible Smaller

Bible-study09u79The Bible is a lengthy book and there have been many efforts to reduce its size. Some cut out the verses they don’t like while others ignore huge chunks like the Old Testament. Years ago, a Reader’s Digest version only included so-called important verses.

Yet, there is a healthier way to make the Bible smaller and more manageable and it has God’s stamp of approval (Psalm 119). Deep study familiarizes us with the entirety of the Bible and in the process brings the covers closer together.

Ignorance causes us to see 66 disparate books of unrelated information. We weigh passages against each other to see which ones are important to us. It’s an ego-centric method of Bible Study rather than one that glorifies the Lord (Ephesians 3:21). Read more…

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