Other People’s Blogs

I read a LOT of blogs written by other people. It’s kind of my version of reading short stories. I enjoy the way that people can place snippets of their lives out there for the whole world to see. I often aspire to this type of writing, but i fall woefully short in my ability to open myself like these bloggers who i’m recommending do.

I have a page on my blog which i update every so often where the blogs of those people which i most value are linked with an explanation of what their blogs are like. The link to that page is in the menu bar just under my blog heading graphic. It’s called Blogs John Recommends. You really should take a look at that page and read some (or even all) of the blogs there.

You also might notice that just to the left of that page button is one that says John’s Goodreads Book Reviews. I read a lot of books. An eclectic mix of Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Mysteries, Theology and technical books about computers, software and audio/music. I also love biographies, probably more than any other single genre. Please take a look at that page every once in a while. It has excerpts of book reviews i post on Goodreads. I was recently awarded this:

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Back to blogs (yes, i’m rambling). I am going to copy and paste the content of my Blogs John Recommends right here to make it extra easy for you to find some great stuff to read. You’ll enjoy these blogs. Really.

CarolineDuvall is written by a young woman from one of my favorite families in this world. A year or so ago she moved from Jacksonville to live on a farm in Tennessee with her aunt and her grandmother. Her adventures and encounters in becoming a farm girl are truly fun to read and she has a serious gift for writing expressively.

Life from the rear-view mirror is written by one of my oldest friends. We grew up one block apart in the same small upstate New York town and went to school together from 3rd grade until high school graduation. He sang at my wedding. His blog is written as bits of wisdom and experience based on things he has learned from his struggles in life.

Honeycomb Comforts is written by a new friend from my church.  We had a somewhat painful and emotional two-day event at our church last year to try and heal some leadership issues and some hurts in the congregation.  She impressed me with her piercing insight and discernment and she writes a great (though infrequent) blog.

PhilipYancey.com is written by author Philip Yancey. I began reading his columns in Christianity Today i think, back in the 1970’s and then his books starting in the mid-1980’s. His books tend to challenge accepted ideas and he offers educated and powerful looks into things which can actually change how you view life and circumstances. He’s written Disappointment With God, Where Is God When It Hurts, What’s So Amazing About Grace?, The Gift of Pain and many other outstanding books. His blog is just as good, though he only posts about once a month.

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What Does Following Jesus Look Like?

It’s been a while since I actually wrote a post on my blog about my thoughts on something, but it’s time. I have to admit that I am very, very perplexed when I see evangelical leaders supporting and endorsing a man who speaks constantly with hate to “others”. So, I asked myself, “What does following Jesus look like?”

It was Jesus who said in Matthew 5:43-47:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

I don’t see wiggle room in this statement by Jesus. In other places Jesus taught us to treat others the way we would like to be treated and he told us to love our neighbors, but this passage is the most direct of all those teachings. Here, he says we are to love our enemies. He even said that the world would know those who follow him by the love they show.

This is hard stuff. Loving is so much harder than hating. And why did he have to go so far and tell us to not just love the world or love our neighbors, but to actually love our enemies.

Now, you can make all kinds of arguments about which candidate for president is worse, and I can follow those arguments. I can even understand a Christian leader saying that we might have to vote for someone whose values are not those of Jesus, but that is entirely different from endorsing and supporting a candidate who blatantly stomps on the teaching of Jesus. Let’s be fair. The other candidate has serious problems and some positions which also go against Biblical principles and neither candidate has any integrity.

So what is a Christian leader to do?

I don’t think that anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus can publicly endorse and support either of these candidates. I ask myself: “Why would an Evangelical Christian leader lend his name and support to someone who so clearly is in opposition to what Jesus clearly taught?” None of the things which pop into my mind in answer to this question have anything to do with the gospel or with the kingdom of God. That alone tells me that what these Christian leaders are doing is in service to something else.

Pragmatism is not a Biblical principle

Think about that for a moment. No, REALLY. Stop and think about that statement. Pragmatism is not a Biblical principle. Nothing in scripture teaches us to do what is most practical or most useful or most pragmatic. Instead, scripture teaches that we are to do what is right. That is not the same as what is most pragmatic, and in fact, is most often the opposite of what is most pragmatic.

You may have to vote for one of them (perhaps),

but you do not have to give your name and your reputation and influence to support someone who publicly says we should not love our enemies, and furthermore that we should not love the needy, the refugee, the poor and anyone else who doesn’t fit neatly into our nice world view of what someone should be.

You see, while we were sinners, Christ died for us. There is no greater love than to lay down your life for someone. Those are words you will not hear from the platform, of either party, but Jesus said that following him would not be easy.

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Epistles of John – Week 16 – 1 John 1:1-4

This week we are looking at 1 John 1:1-4. This is the prologue/introduction of the book.

This post contains everything from week 16 of the Adult CE class at Eastside Community Church in Jacksonville, FL. This is from a series on the three Epistles of John (1 John, 2 John, 3 John) which has run weekly from January through the end of May.

We are taking a break for the summer and will pick up our study on 1 John in September. In addition to this week’s class, this post also has downloads for readings to do over the summer in preparation for our continued study in September.

Below is the Presentation. You can page forward and backwards through this while listening to the audio.

Epistles-of-John-Week-16

Here is the audio from the class. Just click on the play button.

Here are the handouts. You can download the pdf files and read them or print them out.

This handout is 1 John from the ESV.

This handout is 1 John from the NLT.

This handout is 1 John from the NIV.

This handout is 1 John from the NKJV.

This handout is 1 John from the HCSB.

Please leave me comments and feedback, especially if you have any problems.

Here are links to the previous lessons in the series on The Epistles of John.

Week 1 – Epistles of John – Introduction

Week 2 – Epistles of John – 2 John 1-3

Week 3 – Epistles of John – 2 John 4-6

Week 4 – Epistles of John – 2 John 7-8

Week 5 – Epistles of John – 2 John 7-9

Week 6 – Epistles of John – 2 John 10-13

Week 7 – Epistles of John – 3 John 1-4

Week 8 – Epistles of John – 3 John 5-8

Week 9 – Epistles of John – 3 John 9-10

Week 10 – Epistles of John – 3 John 9-10

Week 11 – Epistles of John – 3 John 9-10

Week 12 – Epistles of John – 3 John 11-15

Week 13 – Epistles of John – 1 John Introduction

Week 14 – Epistles of John – 1 John Introduction

Week 15 – Epistles of John – 1 John Introduction

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Epistles of John – Week 15 – 1 John Introduction

This week we are concluding our look at the introduction to 1 John. We are looking into the background of the book this week, specifically: the relationship of the book to the Gospel of John and the genre and style of writing used in this book.

This post contains everything from week 15 of the Adult CE class at Eastside Community Church in Jacksonville, FL. This is from a series on the three Epistles of John (1 John, 2 John, 3 John) which will run weekly through the end of May.

Below is the Presentation. You can page forward and backwards through this while listening to the audio.

Epistles-of-John-Week-15

Here is the audio from the class. Just click on the play button.

Here is the handout. You can download the pdf file and read it or print it out.

The handout is the readings to prepare for 1 John chapter 1 next week.

1 John chapter 1 Readings   

Please leave me comments and feedback, especially if you have any problems.

Here are links to the previous lessons in the series on The Epistles of John.

Week 1 – Epistles of John – Introduction

Week 2 – Epistles of John – 2 John 1-3

Week 3 – Epistles of John – 2 John 4-6

Week 4 – Epistles of John – 2 John 7-8

Week 5 – Epistles of John – 2 John 7-9

Week 6 – Epistles of John – 2 John 10-13

Week 7 – Epistles of John – 3 John 1-4

Week 8 – Epistles of John – 3 John 5-8

Week 9 – Epistles of John – 3 John 9-10

Week 10 – Epistles of John – 3 John 9-10

Week 11 – Epistles of John – 3 John 9-10

Week 12 – Epistles of John – 3 John 11-15

Week 13 – Epistles of John – 1 John Introduction

Week 14 – Epistles of John – 1 John Introduction

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Epistles of John – Week 14 – 1 John Introduction

This week we are continuing our look at 1 John. We are looking into the background of this book including: the Author, Date of Writing, the Themes and Purpose of the book, the relationship of the book to 2 & 3 John and to the Gospel of John and finally we will investigate the genre and style of writing used in this book.

This post contains everything from week 14 of the Adult CE class at Eastside Community Church in Jacksonville, FL. This is from a series on the three Epistles of John (1 John, 2 John, 3 John) which will run weekly through the end of May.

Below is the Presentation. You can page forward and backwards through this while listening to the audio.

Epistles-of-John-Week-14

Here is the audio from the class. Just click on the play button.

Here is the handout. You can download the pdf file and read it or print it out.

The handout is the readings to prepare for 1 John chapter 1 next week.

1 John chapter 1 Readings   

Please leave me comments and feedback, especially if you have any problems.

Here are links to the previous lessons in the series on The Epistles of John.

Week 1 – Epistles of John – Introduction

Week 2 – Epistles of John – 2 John 1-3

Week 3 – Epistles of John – 2 John 4-6

Week 4 – Epistles of John – 2 John 7-8

Week 5 – Epistles of John – 2 John 7-9

Week 6 – Epistles of John – 2 John 10-13

Week 7 – Epistles of John – 3 John 1-4

Week 8 – Epistles of John – 3 John 5-8

Week 9 – Epistles of John – 3 John 9-10

Week 10 – Epistles of John – 3 John 9-10

Week 11 – Epistles of John – 3 John 9-10

Week 12 – Epistles of John – 3 John 11-15

Week 13 – Epistles of John – 1 John Introduction

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