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

Subscribe to RSS Posts – http://mattdabbs.com/feed

Subscribe to RSS Comments – http://mattdabbs.com/comments/feed

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!

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?

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

If You Could Learn Sermon Prep From Any Preacher Who Would It Be?

If you could sit down with someone to glean some information on how they develop their sermons who would you pick? Feel free to name multiple people.

Confirmation

I love it when God gives you the confirmation you need. He doesn’t really confirm every detail but He gives you enough to let you know His hand is in something. Maybe it is that other person who has the same idea at the same time and everything fits right together to where your efforts in ministry are multiplied like they never have been before. Other times God gives you a sense of peace about something. Still other times it is the opposite…God really unsettles your spirit about something. You can’t assume that God is going to do it the same way twice. God works in whatever way He needs to in order to help us follow the ways of Christ. It isn’t easy. It is challenging. It is risky. It is also worth it. I love when I get a glimpse of confirmation from God, a reminder that He is right in the middle of my issues guiding, leading and blessing it all.

Last, I am not talking about superstition here…like asking for God to send you a sign and you see a billboard along the highway that has a word in it that you think is the Lord trying to speak with you. If God is that poor of a communicator we are all in trouble! I am talking about prayed out, fasted up, scripture-aligning confirmation from God that convicts you of what God wants you to do.

Psalm 37 (ESV)

Fret not yourself because of evildoers;

    be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.

12 The wicked plots against the righteous
and gnashes his teeth at him,
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose way is upright;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.

16 Better is the little that the righteous has
than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will remain forever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times;
in the days of famine they have abundance.

20 But the wicked will perish;
the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
but the righteous is generous and gives;
22 for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,
but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the Lord upholds his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.
26 He is ever lending generously,
and his children become a blessing.

27 Turn away from evil and do good;
so shall you dwell forever.
28 For the Lord loves justice;
he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land
and dwell upon it forever.

30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
his steps do not slip.

32 The wicked watches for the righteous
and seeks to put him to death.
33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power
or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.

34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
36 But he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
though I sought him, he could not be found.

37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
for there is a future for the man of peace.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.

Big News Regarding New Wineskins Online Magazine

WineskinsA few weeks ago Keith Brenton announced that he was no longer going to run New Wineskins. When that news came out there were a lot of people who wanted to see the work continue and some conversations started taking place, dreams were dreamed, plans were laid and something new is underway in regard to the future of New Wineskins. Jay Guin, Brad Palmore and myself have been discussing a resurrection and complete overhaul of the site (now called just “Wineskins”). The idea is to develop a comprehensive resource of Restoration Movement resources, discussions, connections, and so much more.

The specifics are all still being hashed out and the conversations have been extremely productive. What is most amazing to me in all of this is how some of the ideas that we are working on had been weighing on the hearts of various people before we knew how it was all going to fit together. I look forward to sharing more information with you all about what this is going to look like going forward but I do want to assure you that this is going to be a major blessing to many people. I am appreciative of Keith Brenton for handing us the keys. I am in awe of Brad Palmore’s ninja-like web skills. I am grateful for the heart for God that Jay Guin has in his helping to push this project forward. Last, I am appreciative that several people thought of me to be the editor of this new project.

Two things you can do at this point.

1 – Pray. Pray that God will guide our thoughts, our vision and our hearts to help create something that will have a monumental impact on our movement. Pray for Keith as he makes some transitions in his life. Pray that all that is done is pleasing to God and beneficial for Christian growth and unity.

2 – Get in the loop. Until the launch takes place, the main avenue for communication about what we are up to is the Wineskins facebook group. You can “Like” the page here. It already has nearly 500 likes in about a week. Very exciting stuff.

ACU Summit 2012 Videos Are Up on Youtube!

I am sure many of you will enjoy watching everyone from Randy Harris to Walter Brueggemann…Enjoy!

ACU Summit 2012 Video

Here is one to get you started, Mitch Wilburn’s “Children of the Living God”

What Every Christian Blogger Should Learn from the Miley Cyrus VMA Debacle

Stirring up controversy is a quick fix to running dry on time and talent. Don’t fall into that trap. Be patient, stay in the Word, pray continually and don’t be controversial to stir up traffic and a buzz just because you are bored or don’t have anything of depth left to say. Slug-fests attract a crowd but numbers don’t always mean a win. Someone almost always gets beat up in the process. Let your talent speak for itself and the quality of your content be what draws people back time and time again to what you write and stay away from foolish controversies.

Review of A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (BDAG) on Logos

BDAGI have owned a hard copy of A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (BDAG) for the last 8 years and it has been an invaluable resource on my shelf. There just isn’t any other lexicon out there with this amount of detail and accuracy. It has been my “go to” resource for Greek studies. I am going to talk about the hard copy and then about what Logos has done with it to take this resource to the next level. Even if you already have the hard copy, I think you will be very interested to see what they have done to make it ever better.

The hard copy retails for right at $100 on amazon. This book contains every single word used in the Greek New Testament listed and defined in alphabetical order along with a whole litany of pertinent information that will assist you in your studies, preaching, teaching, etc. Here is a list of the most common things listed under each entry.
Formal equivalent/gloss: a word it can be translated with…think of this as single word suggestions that are the English equivalents. Italic font
Extended definition: a full definition which is more explaining the concept than a word to translate it by. Bold font
Translation equivalent: often a suggested translation of a given phrase is supplied
– Multiple glosses/definitions as needed for a given word in Greek
– Every NT occurrence of that Greek word categorized under what they interpret it to be the appropriate definition, relevant extra-biblical usage of the word with a citation so you can go look that up, sometimes a Hebrew equivalent is given.

In the Logos version, you get all of the functionality that I just described in addition to some features that make BDAG a whole lot faster to use, much more user friendly and interactive with other Logos resources. Here are some of the things that I thought were extremely helpful.

Outstanding Search Capabilities
One thing that stand out about Logos’ version of BDAG is that it is way more than just a digital/pdf version of the hard copy. There are tools they have included that have increased its functionality and integrated its search features that have saved me countless hours of searching.thate that takes BDAG above and beyond just taking the print version and making it digital.

First, BDAG is fully searchable. You can type in “church” and get any time it appears in the book. But you can get more specific in your search by filtering your search to a selection of any of the following: search by formal equivalent (blood must be in the gloss), search by extended definition (blood is in the conceptual explanation) and/or translation equivalent. This makes it easier to find more common words by having more specific search options. BDAG is over 1100 pages of very small print so this comes in handy. In order to do this, you click the search button at the top of Logos, click “Entire Library” and change that to BDAG. Then click “all text” and check “search fields”. Last, click the down arrow by search fields in order to select the fields you want. It will then look like this and you can check on or off any fields you want to search within

SearchFields

Let’s say you land at “Ekklesia” it would look like this (notice the extended definition in bold, the gloss in italics)

Ekklesia

If you rollover any of the scriptures they provide you get the verse. If I rollover Acts 19:39 in definition number 1 here is the result

Ekklesia-scripturerollover

Now, let’s say you want more information on a Greek word that is in the text. You can search your other resources for that word by right clicking on it and then selecting the search option you want.

Ekklesia-lookupwordindefinition
In this instance I right clicked the word you see at the bottom left συνερχομενων and then clicked “Search all open resources” which allows me to quickly search BDAG (and in this instance the SBL Greek New Testament since that was open as well) for all other instances of that exact word. Here are the results

results

Those search results demonstrate another great feature. I had my SBL Greek New Testament open at the same time and as you can see the only time that word is used in the GNT is in 1 Cor 11:18. If you double click the word in the text and it is in its lexical form, say you clicked και or θεος it would take you straight to that entry in BDAG. Then you just use the “back” arrow at the top right of the window to get back where you were in your study.

Integration with other Greek Language products
BDAG integrates with many other Logos products. Let’s say you are reading your SBL Greek New Testament and you want to look up a word in BDAG. You just double click the word and you are on the word in the full text of BDAG. I cannot tell you how helpful that is. What is more, if you download the free Logos App you can do this on the fly away from the office. I was listening to a sermon the other day where three Greek words were mentioned in a specific verse. I got out my iphone, opened the Logos app, pulled up the verse in the Greek NT, clicked the words and had them in BDAG right in front of me. On a side note, you cannot click words that have been transliterated and get the same result. For instance, Ben Witherington almost always transliterates his Greek words so the words aren’t in a Greek font. You cannot click those and end up in BDAG as it is not integrated with transliteration.

I am still playing with the features but have really appreciated what I have found. The thing that will make this interesting to many of you is that I have found this helpful and fast enough that it has renewed the amount of time I spend in the Greek New Testament because I can get to what I need quickly and easily. I want to wrap up the review by thanking Logos for allowing me to have a copy for this review.

This can be purchased from Logos bundled with the 5 volume Hebrew/Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (HALOT) here

bdag-halot-bundle