Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of His Servant?

Poems

To Play or Not to Play?

Did you know that there is a Theology of Play?  Just ask Jürgen Moltmann.

Now – closer to our times, there is a very important volume on this topic published recently by evangelical Christians.  It is called The Image of God in the Human Body: Essays on Christianity and Sports and you can have it for a mere $149.95 [though it seems to be out of stock on Amazon].

If you play with that kind of money, buy yourself one and then grab an extra copy and send it to me!  🙂

If you don’t play with that kind of money, you can start with this article by Erik Thoennes from Biola University.  Or you may want to listen to the Theology Refresh podcast from Desiring God.

As a ‘player’ [I play soccer almost weekly and I used to play many sports in my youth :)] I am very much interested in this subject and I plan to read some more.  I hope these readings will help me have a healthy/biblical view about this important topic.

I do know that God made Leviathan “to play [some translations ‘sport’] with,” but other than that I have my doubts about play in a Christian context.  What bothers me the most is that Jesus seems to have never played, at least in his last three years of life.  I can see, however, how this is a very special case.

But, did the disciples play?  Did my ‘heroes,’ the Puritans, play?  Hmm…I don’t see much play there either!?

I will have to ponder more on this.  Meanwhile, these resources should help to get us started.  If play is a big part of your life [well, it should not be a BIG part of anyone’s life; I am pretty sure about that] you will benefit if you have a clearer biblical/theological understanding of this.

Now I have to get back to work, lest my friends and family think that all I do is play!  🙂

P.S. I haven’t written much on this blog for quite some time.  Can you guess why?  Yes, you are right, no time for play! 😦

P.S. 2.  If you are one of our students taking Intensive Greek right now, please get back to your studies! I am pretty sure there is no time for you to play! Unless, of course, Greek is child’s play for you!?  🙂


Posting a Sermon

I am trying to see if I can post an audio sermon.

Here it is: Psalm 15 – The Genius of the Reformation

I hope it works!


Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi (1075-1141) – Bekhol-libbi

Judah Halevi (also Yehuda HaleviHebrewיהודה הלויArabicيهوذا هاليفي; c. 1075–1141) was a Spanish Jewish physician, poet and philosopher. He was born in Spain, either in Toledo or Tudela,[1]in 1075[2] or 1086, and died shortly after arriving in Palestine in 1141. Halevi is considered one of the greatest Hebrew poets, celebrated both for his religious and secular poems, many of which appear in present-day liturgy. His greatest philosophical work was The Kuzari. [from Wikipedia]

Here is a great Jewish song (translation only in Romanian) from Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi: With All My Heart.  You can listen to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsGxLKBXAZE and also read the English translation.

It sounds to me like many English worship songs in our churches, so I do not see why it could not be adapted!?

Bekhol-libbi emet, uvkhol meodi

Din toată inima, o, Adevăr, și cu întreaga mea vârtute

ahavtikha, uvigluiy vesodi.

Te-am iubit, pe față și în taină.

Șemakh negdi, veekh elekh levadi?

Numele Tău e înaintea mea, și unde mă voi duce singur?

Vehu dodi, veekh eșev yehidi?

El e-al meu iubit: cum să rămân stingher?

Vehu neri, veekh yidakh meori?

El e lumina mea: cum mi se va usca făclia?

veekh ețan, vehu mișan beyadi?

Sau cum voi șovăi, când El îmi întărește mâna?

Heqilluni metim: lo yadeu ki

Defăimătorii mei zac morți: n-au știut

qeloni al-kevod șimkha kevodi! 

c-a mea ocară-i perlă pentru mine în cununa Ta?

Maqom chayyay, avarekhekha vechayyay

Temeiul vieții mele, bine te voi cuvânta în viața mea

vezimrati azamerkha beodi.

și Ție-Ți voi cânta cât eu voi fi.


This Coming Year… Eat Your Salad (A Brief Hebrew Lesson)

My kids actually like some vegetables…so I do not have to force feed them greens! 🙂

Due to my increasing pants size (ok – I still wear 34, but it seems that the pants are no longer a normal fit :() I am planning to eat mostly salads in the evening. Perhaps a brief Hebrew lesson and song (see below) should help me (and maybe you) with this resolution…and maybe my lovely wife will either stop cooking her delicious (but quiet rich) desserts, or I will have the wisdom and self-control to eat dessert only for lunch!?

Well – here is the brief Hebrew lesson on salads (from our friends at Learn Hebrew Online):

The one dish you find in almost every Israeli meal is the Israeli Salad (sometimes named “Arabic Salad”). This is a basic salad made of tomatoes and cucumbers thinly sliced and freshly seasoned. We may put it in pita bread, next to an omelet or simply as a meal by itself joined by a piece of bread and some cottage cheese.

Hungry? Well, today you’ll learn how to prepare an Israeli salad as well as the names of the ingredients in the Hebrew language, Don’t forget to cut it קָטָן קָטָן (to small pieces) and invite your family and friends!

Hebrew Words

סָלָט

Transcription: salat

Part of Speech: Noun, masculine

Literal Meaning: salad

Transcription: yerakot

Part of Speech: Noun, masculine, plural

Literal Meaning: vegetables

קָצוּץ

Transcription: katsuts

Part of Speech: adjective, masculine

Literal Meaning: chopped, thinly sliced

Israeli Salad Recipe
Ingredients:

Tomato (f) Agvanya עַגְבָנִיָּה
Cucumber(m) melafefon מְלָפְפוֹן
Onion (m) batsal בָּצָל
Parsley (f) petrozilya פֶּטְרוֹזִילְיָה
Olive Oil (m) shemen zayit שֶׁמֶן זַיִת
Lemon (m) limon לִימוֹן
Salt & pepper (m&m) melax vepilpel מֶלַח וּפִלְפֵּל
Preparation:
1. Slice and dice 2 tomatoes, 1 cucumber and 1 small onion.
2. Combine the veggies in a salad bowl.
3. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp of lemon juice, some salt and pepper and 2 tbsp of chopped parsley.
4. Mix, serve and enjoy!

Note:
You may add any other kind of vegetables, fresh leaves (like mint, oregano, or basil), garlic, or olives.

Salad Song
Lyric: Ayin Hillel
Music: Dafna Eilat מילים: ע. הלל
לחן: דפנה אילת

All of our family
Eat salad properly
But I love the most
To eat salad a lot. Etsleinu kol hamishpaxa
Oxlim salat kahalaxa
Aval ani yoter mikol
Salat ohev lizlol. אֶצְלֵנוּ כָּל הַמִּשְׁפָּחָה
אוֹכְלִים סָלָט כַּהֲלָכָה
אֲבָל אֲנִי יוֹתֵר מִכָּל
סָלָט אוֹהֵב לִזְלֹל.
You can listen to Dalia Friedland sing this song here .

Maybe my wife will read this post and I will eat an Israeli salad tonight! 🙂


Saint John Chrysostom (Golden Mouth) on Family and Love

I know this will be controversial (old fashioned etc.), but I am posting it for two reasons.  First, it is relevant to my class on OT Backgrounds because it provides us with an early understanding of the roles of the husband and wife in a Christian family (and I assume they were fairly similar in an OT family).  And second, it describes very well the importance of dependence for love.

Here is the text from Chrysostom (On Living Simply):

In a family the husband needs the wife to prepare his food; to make, mend, and wash his clothes; to fetch water; and to keep the rooms and furniture in the house clean.  The wife needs the husband to till the soil, to build and repair the house, and to earn money to buy the goods they need.

God has put into a man’s heart the capacity to love his wife, and into a woman’s heart the capacity to love her husband.  But their mutual dependence makes them love each other out of necessity also.

At times love within the heart may not be sufficient to maintain the bond of marriage.  But love which comes from material necessity will give that bond the strength it needs to endure times of difficulty.

The same is true for society as a whole.  God has put into every person’s heart the capacity to love his neighbors.  But that love is immeasurably strengthened by their dependence on one another’s skills.


Preaching Psalm 3

I just posted some notes and the message of Psalm 3.

It can be found here.

As always – I am frustrated that I did not have time to prepare better. However, I did learn a lot.
Hopefully – so did my congregation! 🙂


On Dating Biblical Books

I am very much interested in the dating of Biblical books, especially as it pertains to Ecclesiastes and Job.

Usually  – they are both dated late (especially Ecclesiastes).   Of course – there are some scholars that date Ecclesiastes early – in the monarchic period.  Two of these are Dan Fredericks (more recently in his commentary on Ecclesiastes) and Ian Young.

The debate on dating biblical texts is fairly intense. For some relevant links to this debate and also links to some useful articles on dating, see the latest post from Robert Holmstedt.

As you can see, the debate is fairly intense between Ron Hendel and Young, Rezetko etc. .

JoAnn Hacket, Phil David, Lemche, Tania Notarius, Lenzi, George Athas and even Bill Schniedewind pitched in (see the comments on Hendel’s response).  This is certainly getting interesting.

I still think that we need to be humbler in the dating of some (most?) books…because in my opinion “we are working with no data” – to steal a quote from Thomas Lambddin (admittedly – I have no idea in what context he used it :().


Some Guidelines for Theological Engagement

This is a brief note to point out a few great articles by Tim Keller on theological engagement.

The first one is entitled Gospel Polemics.

The second one gives Three Rules for Polemics.

And the last one gives some very good guidelines from the the 17th century Scottish divine George Gillespie on how to Be Winsome and Persuasive .

I find all that I read very useful for any kind (not only theological) of debates and discussions.
ENJOY!


A New Blog: Preaching the Psalms

By God’s grace I am planning to preach from the Psalter (selected psalms) for the next few months (years?).

In connection with this I opened a new blog: Preaching the Psalms where I plan to post my notes and (hopefully) audio sermons.

These days I am preaching at Wangsung English Ministry . Feel free to visit us! 🙂

Please visit my blog and leave your comments and suggestions. If you have some links to great messages on the Psalter, please let me know. I especially like the sermons of Dick Lucas (St Helen’s) at this point.

I hope and pray that my notes will be useful to English speaking workers who do not have access to the resources I have.


Persecuted Christians

Open Doors has just posted the World Watch List.  Much prayer is needed especially for North Korea, Iran, etc.

You can see the World Watch List  here .

Here is some more information from the Open Doors website:

Each year Open Doors releases the World Watch List, a detailed analysis of Christian persecution worldwide. In this free resource, countries are evaluated and ranked according to the severity of persecution that occurred in the past year.

We offer the World Watch List free as part of our mission at Open Doors to inform and inspire others with the message of the persecuted. Join the cause of the persecuted and share the World Watch List with your friends and family.