When God Takes a Faithful Servant Suddenly and Unexpectedly

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Pastor Jim Barrick (Feb. 9, 1948 – Aug. 11, 2017)

As my wife and I were boarding our flight from Gatwick Airport in London my cell phone buzzed. It was not a good time to answer it and I knew if it were important, the call would be repeated when we landed in California. Sure enough, as soon as our plane touched down in Los Angeles I turned on my phone and the call came immediately. The news rocked me—my brother Jim had died at home in his sleep—suddenly and unexpectedly. Memories flooded my mind as I expressed to his wife my sorrow for his family.… Continue reading

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Observing Natural Revelation—Thinking about Creation

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For the past ten years I have been involved in teaching on rafting trips through the Grand Canyon. The subject matter consists of Genesis 1–11 regarding creation and the Noahic flood. With each trip I exhort the participants to be observant—to look at everything they see, to consider what they can learn about their Creator. The book of Job provides one of the texts I use for this exhortation: Job 12:7–10.

Wisdom and the Deep Things of God

Just before Job launches a three-chapter discourse (Job 12–14), Zophar speaks briefly (Job 11) of wisdom and the deep things of God (Job 11:7–9).… Continue reading

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Implications or Applications?: Preaching Biblical Narratives

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Some preachers produce abundant applications (or, implications?) for their congregations from biblical narratives, whether they are Old Testament historical narratives like Judges 4 or New Testament Gospel narratives like Mark 3. Other preachers insist they should offer only theological and practical implications. Still others refuse to recognize any implications or applications from Scripture narratives. They declare, “Biblical narrative is only descriptive, not prescriptive.” Which practice is best? Which practice is legitimate and in keeping with sound biblical interpretation?

New Testament Teaching

No matter what the topic, one should always begin with the Scriptures themselves. What does the Word of God teach?… Continue reading

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“Song of the Bow”: A Biblical Meditation for Memorial Day

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Each Memorial Day our nation takes time to formally recognize the ultimate sacrifice of our servicemen and servicewomen who died in battle. In 1868, a few years after the Civil War, General John A. Logan called for a nationwide day to remember fallen soldiers of that conflict. He selected May 30 as the day to decorate the graves of those soldiers who died in defense of their nation. No particular battle had taken place on that day during the war. The observance became know as Decoration Day. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield (later to become President), spoke at Arlington National Cemetery.… Continue reading

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How much seminary training does a missionary need?

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An old pastors’ adage says, “Those who can’t, go; those who can’t go, teach”—the shortened aphorism for “Those who can’t preach, go to the mission field; those who can’t go to the mission field, teach.” Whoever created this useless and unbiblical proverb deserves appointment as minister of sanitation over church restrooms. This adage contradicts the following truths:

  1. Every man going to the mission field must be able to preach the Word.
  2. No one should go to the mission field as their second or third option for ministry.
  3. Every man who / must be able to preach the Word.
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