Light of the World [Christmas Eve 2018]

At our Christmas Eve services at Eastbrook Church, we focused on Jesus as the light of the world. You can watch my message from the Christmas Eve service here. This begins a new series, “The Name Above All Names,” for us at Eastbrook on the titles of Jesus. I’m also including the text of that message below the video.

Christmas Eve 2018 – “Light of the World”

As we grow up, most of us learn the basics of life. One of those basics is that we have five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.

While there are other things we sense – pain, temperature, hunger – most of those are related to the classic five senses that we usually learn.

But there is a unique effect that sometimes occurs where the triggering of one sense leads to the involuntary triggering of another sense. One of the most well-known incidents of this was recorded in 1690 by the English philosopher John Locke who made a report about a blind man who said he experienced the color scarlet when he heard the sound of a trumpet.

That effect in which stimulation of one sense leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sense is called synesthesia.

The story of Jesus’ birth is an experience of multi-sensory stimulation causing an experience like synesthesia. As the story goes, Mary and Joseph both have angelic appearances, during a vision at daytime for Mary and during a dream at night for Joseph.

Those angelic appearances overwhelm them and are enough to help them believe that God is doing something new: God is rescuing the world from the powers of evil and sin by coming in the midst of ordinary people like them in the flesh. And all through those angelic appearances burst sights, sounds, and feelings that overload the senses with God’s purposes:Read More »

Bibliography for the Theology of Suffering and the Life of Joseph

books.jpgWhenever I study for a sermon series, I spend a lot of time far in advance of that sermon series doing research, reading books, thinking, reading articles, reflecting, reading more books, writing, and reading even more.

I usually gather all of the resources I use together into a bibliography for each series. Sometimes, I have bibliographies with sub-bibliographies because, well, that’s the sort of person that I am.

I had a lot of positive feedback on our Lenten series, “The Life of Joseph: God’s Sovereignty in Our Suffering.” I know there were many reasons for that, from the devotional written by members of our congregation at Eastbrook to the stories of God’s work in people’s lives and so much more.

Along with everything else, I also studied a lot for that series. I read a lot of old books and interacted with a lot of contemporary blogs and articles to help shape my thinking on the biblical text from Genesis and also the issues of God’s sovereignty and human suffering. With all that in mind, I thought I’d share my book list from that series. As is usually the case, I do not endorse the views of all of these books. In fact, many of them I disagree with sharply. However, the authors became meaningful conversation partners in shaping the direction and content of this series.

Life of Joseph – Bibliography

Genesis and the Biblical Story

Paul Borgman. Genesis: The Story We Haven’t Heard. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001.

John Bright. A History of Israel, 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000.

Walter Brueggemann. Genesis. Interpretation. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1982.

Gene A. Getz. Joseph: Overcoming Obstacles through Faithfulness. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996.

Henry Jackson Flanders, Jr., Robert Wilson Crapps, and David Anthony Smith. People of the Covenant: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

F. B. Meyer. Joseph: Exalted Through Trials. New York: Fleming H. Revell, n. d.

Charles R. Swindoll. Joseph: A Man of Integrity and Forgiveness. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1988.

Gerhard Von Rad. Genesis. OTL. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1961.

Bruce K. Waltke with Cathi J. Fredricks. Genesis: A Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001.Read More »