Email Subscribers & WordPress Followers – Please Update Your Subscription to mattdabbs.com

Just a quick reminder that my blog has moved over to http://mattdabbs.com. People keep subscribing to this site but this site will no longer be updated or posted to. When you have a moment please update your email, rss, and wordpress subscriptions via these links to continue to get all of the future posts and content here at Kingdom Living. Also, thanks to all of you for taking the time to read and follow this blog. I can’t believe it has been going for over 7 years now!

New blog URL – http://mattdabbs.com

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To anyone else who is reading this, head on over to the new and improved site. I look forward to discussing things with all of you over there!

Kingdom Living Has Moved – mattdabbs.com

It is official, this blog has moved to mattdabbs.com. Thanks to Brad Palmore for all of his help with this transition. I look forward to seeing you all over at the new site. All of the posts, comments, media, small group lessons, etc have all been transferred over. I can’t wait to pick up the conversation there! Thank you all for making this blog a very special place to me. It has sharpened me and my ministry in more ways than I can count and I hope it has done similar things for you.

God bless,

Matt

Update on the Wineskins.org Transformation

Wineskins1Time for an update on what is happening with long-time Restoration Movement resource Wineskins.org. For those of you who haven’t ever heard of it, Wineskins was started by a group of people that included Rubel Shelly and Steve Diggs. At that time it was called Image. Its name was changed to Wineskins and later to New Wineskins. Over the years it has been edited by Mike CopeGreg Taylor and most recently by Keith Brenton and has been one of the most significant voices in Restoration theology on the web. Keith has graciously allowed us to take the site and rework it into an updated format that we believe will continue to serve as a much needed voice within the Restoration Movement. We are appreciative of all those who have put in time, attention, heart, soul and so much more into the site over the years. We are standing on the shoulders of giants! Here is what Rubel Shelly had to say about the re-launch,

“I’m thrilled that “New Wineskins” is in such capable hands! I wish you the best in continuing to urge believers to a bold and responsible faith that is willing to take risks for the sake of the kingdom. In times this challenging, God is calling leaders with bright minds, innovative spirits, and courageous hearts to model and share the truth.”

A few months ago I was asked to take over the duties of editor and have been working with Jay Guin and Brad Palmore to do a complete revamp of the site. I have been amazingly blessed to work with these two men and have been amazed by their heart for God, abilities and insights. In order to update everyone on what is happening with the site we started a Wineskins Facebook page. If you are on Facebook I would encourage you to “Like” that page to continue getting updates on this. The support we have received has been overwhelming. In just 3 weeks over 1250 people have “liked” the page. What is more, we started a fundraising campaign to raise money to meet the future needs of the site and have already raised nearly $2000 of our $5000 goal. If you would like to contribute to this effort you can donate here. 100% of donations will go directly to the re-launch and you can get some perks with various donation amounts, explained in the donate link. These two signs of support remind us of the significant role Wineskins has played in the lives of many Christians over the years.

So what is going to be different about Wineskins? First, we have been recruiting some of the best talent out there to be featured authors, whose blogs will be hosted via Wineskins.org to help make Wineskins an amazing resource. Here are the bloggers we have on board that have been announced to this point (more on the way!)

Bobby Valentine
Sean Palmer

Jonathan Storment
Paula Harrington
Patrick Mead
Josh Graves
Matt Dabbs
Jay Guin
Brad Palmore

We will continue with monthly themed article on relevant doctrinal issues, ministry and congregational challenges, etc. This is also about forming a safe and loving community where we can discuss what is going on in Christianity, be supported by other Christians and grow in our knowledge, love and ministry. In addition to all of that we are going to continue to produce and make available some great resources for churches and Christians to use to encourage spiritual transformation. If any of this excites you please “Like” the facebook page and keep up to date with all of the latest news and updates on Wineskins!

Use of Original Languages in Preaching and Teaching

IMG_0670It is a huge blessing to be able to study the Bible in its original languages. There are connections you can make that aren’t always as obvious in English translations. There is a temptation to take the results of studying the original languages dump it all into a class or sermon. There are a lot of reasons that is tempting. Some are harmless reasons but others are harmful. It is easy to assume that everyone finds interesting the same things we do. They may not. It is also easy to assume that digging deeper requires increased complexity. It doesn’t. An effective preacher will have discretion on which things support and clarify the point and which things are distractions that muddy the water. I appreciate the preacher who uses the result of studying the original languages sparingly but effectively. It takes a lot of wisdom to know when it is beneficial for the congregation and when it actually detracts.

In Brian Chapell’s book Christ-Centered Preaching (one of the best books on preaching I have ever read) he writes,

“Preaching should never be an excuse to display our erudition at the expense of convincing listeners that they can never really understand what Scripture says because they read only English. We are obligated to explain exegetical insights in such a way that they make the meaning of a text more obvious, not more remote.” – Christ-Centered Preaching, 124

There are two things I really like about Chapell’s statement. The first is that he uses “erudition” and “exegetical” in a statement about making things easy to understand. The second and more important point he makes is that everything that is communicated in preaching should be aimed at increasing the listeners’ understanding of Scripture. It is not about sounding clever. It is not about being funny for humor’s sake. It is making Scripture accessible, understandable, relevant and applicable.

Questions
For those of you who preach and teach, do you make use of the original languages in your study and your preaching/teaching? If so, how often do you do it and how do you determine what to include and what to leave out?

Rastafarian Samson?

bible-samsonIf you watched the Bible miniseries on the History Channel one of the things you probably noticed was their depiction of Samson as being Black and having dreadlocks. What is interesting about that is that the Rastafari movement makes connection with the Nazirite vow that Samson lived under. Some have even postulated that Samson had dreadlocks based on Judges 16:13,

13 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.”

believing his “locks” were dreadlocks. I found that interesting and it sheds some light on why the Bible miniseries took the direction they did. Most likely Samson had seven braids of hair, not actual dreadlocks and since he was from the tribe of Dan, I am guessing he was ethnically Jewish as well.

New Developments With Wineskins

As many of you have already heard New Wineskins is undergoing a major transition. There are a few things that I want to make you aware of, especially for those of you who aren’t following these developments on facebook.

Monthly Themes
The monthly themes Wineskins has been known for in the past will continue. Each month a relevant theme will be chosen and articles submitted for publication. There are a few goals with this. We hope to put some of the best minds out there lending their voice to the conversation on some of the most important topics of the day. Often, many people are asking the same question. We hope to put our finger on those things and lend a biblical voice of hope to help inform our ecclesiology, missiology, and theology. This will be a place for loving and respectful dialog on these topics as we hope that many people will read them and engage in conversation on how these things play out in various contexts.

Featured Authors
One of the biggest changes to the site is the addition of Featured Authors. We are going to be hosting some of brightest and best voices from within the Restoration Movement. There are so many great voices out there that there is no way we can accommodate all of them but we have recruited the help of some great people. A few of them have already been named: Bobby Valentine, Patrick Mead and Paula Harrington. More will be named in the near future. These bloggers will be hosted through the wineskins site. Our goal is to create a place on the web where you can go and find as much quality content as possible within the Restoration Movement. One way that is going to happen is through the combination of past New Wineskins articles/archive and the addition of all the past posts of all the Featured Authors we host along with the new content they produce.

More Features On the Way
There are more features we are going to incorporate that I will let you all in on soon. Brad Palmore is still working through a lot of this on the tech/web development side of this and the creative process continues. I will keep you all up to speed as the information becomes public. These additional features will provide some phenomenal resources for you all to tap into on the site, develop community, create a lot of quality conversation and disseminate information that is helpful to the edification and expansion of the kingdom.

Also, we are doing a book giveaway on the Wineskins Facebook page here if you comment on this post before 8pm tonight.

Financial Support
We have started to raise funds in order to pay for the initial launch and upkeep of the site. You can find out more about that and/or donate by clicking the picture below.

Wineskins

Jackie Robinson, Empathy and Shattering Stereotypes

42-HankAaronMissy and I watched the movie 42 last week. As you probably already know, Jackie Robinson was the first Black player in Major League Baseball. As you might guess, it wasn’t a smooth transition and Robinson endured a lot of hate and persecution along the way.

This movie could be a case study in how to shatter stereotypes. When a stereotype is first challenged, people typically cling to it more tightly than before and defend it even more vigorously. You see this in the movie as the insults start to fly, the boo’s of the crowd and very public curses and excoriation from opposing managers. The question at that point is whether the stereotype will hold true or be proven false. In other words, if Jackie Robinson reacts harshly (even if justified) it feeds the stereotype and the stereotype continues.

There was a defining scene in the movie when the opposing team’s manager is yelling crude remarks at Robinson while he is at bat. Robinson gets so mad that he walks off the field, away from the public eye, into the tunnel and repeatedly hits his bat against the wall. As he slumps to the floor of the tunnel, the tears and sobs begin. It was the moment everything changed. Aaron had made a choice and he was reaping the terrible but temporary consequences of his wise and humbling decision. Instead of retaliating with what would have been justifiable anger, he swallowed his pride and his anger for a bigger purpose.

Here is why that is important. If just once Robinson shouts back…just one violent reaction and the whole thing is blown. Once he acts violently, even justifiably, he fits the stereotype. When that happens, the stereotype is allowed to continue…even increase. But, if Robinson is respectful. If he is kind. If he ignores it and plays the game the best he can, like the bat he beat against the wall, the power of the stereotype is shattered.

Once he endures and doesn’t retaliate, Robinson becomes the victim which then allows the crowd to see him as something deeper than a victim…they start to see him as human. The insults no longer make sense. The booing just doesn’t seem to fit, much less feel right. People start seeing the injustice for what it really is and they became empathetic. Empathy has a way of shattering stereotypes because it is hard to hold empathy and a competing stereotype in your head and in your heart at the same time. One has to go. Thanks to Jackie Robinson for keeping his integrity, doing the tough thing, and helping to change a nation.

If you haven’t seen the movie, you should watch it. I also want to point you to two posts that you should read that are related to this. The first is by Jonathan Storment: Good and Evil: Let the Blames Begin. The second is by Richard Beck: Theology and Peace: Why Scapegoating is Like Axe Body Spray.

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