Superior to Angels… and to Wikipedia

While preparing for last Wednesday’s Bible study in Hebrews, I decided to explore some of the quotes from the Old Testament the author used in making the point that Jesus is superior to angels. Admittedly, in some of them it’s hard to see how the author got the point he was making, so I decided to do a little research on the internet.

A lengthy article in Wikipedia entitled “Old Testament prophecies quoted in the New Testament” began with, “According to modern scholars, there are no Old Testament prophecies about Jesus.” It then ended with the following statement.

“What is the rationale for distorting the scriptures so flagrantly? Well, the answer, of course, is obvious: the gospel writers were desperate to prove that their man Jesus was the Messiah who had been promised in the Old Testament. Since there really were no prophecies of a virgin-born, crucified, resurrected Messiah in the Old Testament, they had to twist and distort to give the appearance that Jesus was the long-awaited one.”

Obviously the author and/or revisers of the article swam in the swamp of liberal theology, and not the unpolluted waters of conservative biblical scholarship. Another website stated that scholars have found over 300 prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament. I really don’t know how many there are, but the problem in discerning them comes from the dual nature of most prophetic statements.

When writing the Psalms, David was primarily expressing the joys and trials of the life he had been given by God. Included in his writings and songs, however, were promises concerning not only the sons who would follow him on the throne, but, perhaps not even fully understood by him, the Son of David who would reign forever.

Likewise, the prophets delivered messages that were contemporary in nature, and were primarily related to the impending judgment and restoration of the nation through which God would bring the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It’s doubtful that even they understood all the implications and veiled prophetic statements they were delivering.

The writer of Hebrews helps us understand all this by making it clear that the prophets spoke in many portions and in many ways to the fathers. Those piecemeal prophetic statements were then all brought together, and made sense, when God spoke His final word to us through His Son.

Obviously, Wikipedia is not the final word.

God Bless, Rick

From Mumbai or Macedonia?

I’ve been invited to come to India and be the main speaker at a Pastor’s Conference! Here’s the email I received.

My Beloved Pastor Rick Wenneborg,

Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have gone through your website and I am blessed through your site and I am an ambassador of Christ. We are praying for you and our churches are praying all your family and your church. We are going to arrange Pastors conference and Revival Outreach Meetings in Month of March 2nd to March 10th-2020. We would like to invite you as Guest main speaker of our all Meetings. Please come to India to preach the word of God and please encourage all our pastors and to share gospel to unbelievers. Please give my regards to your family. I would like to hear from you as soon.

Yours in Christ, Pastor John Prasad

I have to admit my ego was stroked. Our website is being read in India, and they want me to come speak! I have preached in Mexico and Jamaica when there, but I’ve always thought it’s better to support someone who knows the Lord, the Word, and the culture, than for me to go to a foreign country as a guest speaker. So I quickly decided I would simply thank him for his invitation, and encourage him to use whatever he found helpful from our website. Then I decided to see if I could find anything about him on the internet. There were over a million and a half results, and the first one was a video entitled,“John Prasad AGCM FRAUD.”

The video was produced by a man who took his family to India to work in Prasad’s orphanage. He said after being there a short time they noticed that many of the “orphans” were going home to their parents at night, and that Prasad could not be trusted. A pastor from London disagreed, emphatically stating that Prasad was not a fraud. He had gone there in 2010 and had participated in a very successful outreach. Then I found copies of letters sent to others that were just like the one I had received.

It would appear that Prasad is trolling for pastors to come to India, and making sure they have successful meetings. In turn they become enthusiastic supporters of his ministry, and expand his “global outreach.”

Obviously an email from a man India is nothing like the vision Paul had of a man from Macedonia saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

God Bless, Rick

Inspirational Dumpster Calendars

I realize that the word “spiritual” means different things to different people. We’ve all heard or read of someone declaring they are not religious, but are spiritual. They generally mean they have given up on organized religion, and are simply spiritual, whatever that might mean. Now I’ve been forced to re-think the word “inspirational.”

For years we’ve purchased inspirational wall calendars. They generally included a beautiful picture of nature and a Biblical quote. Last year’s calendar included quotes such as, “And blessed be His glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory”, and “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.”

The calendars were beautiful, but the price and the minimum number we had to purchase kept going up. We stopped purchasing pocket calendars years ago because few people use them any more, and I did end up throwing away a number of wall calendars last year, but there still seems to be a place for a beautiful calendar on most walls. And it’s good to have the name of the church and phone numbers readily available.

While trying to justify the cost, I received a welcomed offer in the mail. A company I had not used before had inspirational calendars available for a very good price, and we only had to order 50. I jumped at it.

When they arrived I was really excited, but my excitement died when I read the first quote. It was from Benjamin Franklin! The quote wasn’t horrible, and was even inspirational. “Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” It’s not far from, “Do not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself,” and “You are the light of the world.”

But then I read another. “If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.” That is horrible! And it’s a far cry from, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and way is broad that leads to destruction.”

Those calendars went into the dumpster, and the company graciously agreed to send us replacements, free of charge, that actually have Scripture on them. I just hope the pictures are good.

God Bless, Rick

A New Season of Study

The lazy days of summer are now behind us. At least they are if you had any. For some reason life doesn’t seem to have the seasonal slow-downs it once had. Even though the kids aren’t in school, activities abound and calendars remain full. In fact, sometimes life is crazier when the kids aren’t in school.

As a church family we have always tried to find a balance between too much and too little. And as the early church continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer, we try to offer enough to follow their example year round. It takes a serious weather event to keep us from gathering together on Sunday morning.

We do, however, slow down during the summer months. Our regular Sunday evening activities are put on hold, and our Bible study groups take a break. It gives those leading, as well as those who attend, a chance to enjoy other activities for the summer. It also gives everyone the opportunity to look forward to a new season of study.

As we begin that new season, I want everyone to prayerfully consider taking advantage of what we offer. If you are not currently involved in a Sunday School class, now is a great time to begin. Jeni is offering a new class for ladies that will meet in the library, and both Chris and Jack have excellent adult classes. Chris is currently looking at the Beatitudes, and Jack is finishing up the last book of the Old Testament. Those who wish to discuss the morning sermon, or other topics of concern, are invited to meet with me in the auditorium.

On Sunday nights the adults who aren’t leading in youth activities are encouraged to join me in a study on the life of Joseph. On Wednesday nights all adults are invited to meet at 6:30 to explore what the book of Hebrews has to say about Jesus. And on Thursday nights men are invited to meet together at 7:00 to learn what Paul told the Galatians about living in freedom.

I don’t expect you to be here every time the church doors are open, but I do want you to at least think about coming when they are.

God Bless, Rick