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The Wedding

This is along the lines of a personal note…

Well, today I get to dress up like a penguin and do something honorable and humbling. As I place my daughter’s hand into another man’s hand, I proclaim to those gathered and to the Father that He is Worthy of Praise and Adoration. I hope that He will be honored and glorified. Marriage is His institution, after all.

For the past few weeks many have come up and asked me how I am doing. Perhaps to encourage me to reflect; perhaps out of concern. I have been showered with many exhortations of, “Good Luck” and other well-meaning well-wishes.

I suppose some are expecting my head to pop off and roll around. It might. But, I have been ruminating and reflecting on this day for some time. I know what is to happen and while my heart breaks inside, it also celebrates the highest institution ever devised between two people. I am not sad. I am overwhelmed with the emotion of years of cultivating a little flower plant given to my wife and I almost 27 years ago – a child, a little girl. (We, who were told before we were married that we should never expect to have children, have been blessed with three.)

Now, it is time to see her off on her own journey of love and devotion, tears and laughter… Into this sanctifying event is rolled up a picture of the ultimate marriage.

I reflect upon the inspired letter of Paul to the Ephesians. In the fifth chapter, the Apostle draws a parallel between the relationship of Christ and the Church to that of a husband and a wife.

In the current political climate, it is sad that a discussion of marriage has to be qualified. But, let it be known that God only recognizes marriage as being between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman who both have a right to be joined in matrimony.

Yes, this is not a new problem. It was there in New Testament times as well. And part of Paul’s message was a calling back to those times where those individuals at Ephesus had come out of a sinful life and had become married to Christ.

Often the passage from Eph. 5:22-31 is used to teach about marriage, and well it should. But, that is not the only emphasis of the passage. Perhaps it is not the main emphasis.

There is the message of the Bridegroom and how He is Head of the Church, and how the church (the Bride) is to be subject to Christ. The action of the husband is one of sacrifice, nourishment, and cherishing. The application from this is that all other marriages should be pictures of Christ’s love for the Church and the Church as honoring Christ, which ultimately glorifies the Father.

And, while I think that I know well what this beautiful, God-ordained institution means, I can only see a glimpse of its glory. Yes, I may be unable to hold back the tears tomorrow. But, I am not sad. My daughter is now to be loved and to love in a way that exemplifies the Church.

My prayer has been and continues to be for the blessings of the Father on this holy union. I request that my brothers and sisters in Christ join with me in that prayer.

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Mind-mapping as a Study Tool

A few months ago, I read an article on how to take notes using mind-mapping tools. I have an iPad and saw several options (mind-mapping apps) and thought I would give mind-mapping for note-taking a try. But, what I wanted was a tool that would, not only be easy to use on the iPad but, also transfer “maps” to my laptop for further refinement. And, then, if needed, could be transferred back to the iPad. This proved to be a daunting task. As many of you doubtless know, all iPad apps are not what they appear to be. Some don’t do what you think they should or what you thought they promised. Some do way more. So, it is somewhat of a gamble. I like apps that offer a free version so you can try them. Then, if the free version works, you can buy the full version.

I tried several apps. One looked really slick on the iPad, but when the map made on the iPad transferred to the laptop, it was horrid! Others looked OK on the iPad and worked really well (functionally), but after transferring lost some of the look and editing ability.

There are free versions of apps for the laptop and pay versions. I ultimately settled on Mindjet’s MindManager. Plus, their iPad app is free and works very well.

Anyway, I began taking notes of sermons being preached and learned how to take notes in mind map form. It was so liberating! As you may know, all preachers do not preach in an orderly fashion. With mind-mapping tools, you can write thoughts and move them around later.

Then, it hit me. What if I could teach the inductive class using mind-mapping software? That was another challenge. But, in this week’s lesson, I think I was able to demonstrate the usefulness of mind-mapping in using the inductive method. And, ultimately, mind-mapping is inductive in nature.

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Letter of James – Segment 2

We are finishing up on Segment 2 of the letter of James (James 1:19-2:7). Here is clipping of my analytical chart. Click for the pdf of the full chart.

As always, it was work as is all good Bible Study. But, the rewards are many. It really helps me focus and highlight the things that are key…

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Letter of James – Segment 1 – Analytical Chart

We have been working from the beginning of the study of Segment 1 (James 1:1-18) on the construction and features of the Analytical Chart. The Analytical Chart is the concise representation of the things studied in a particular segment. Every time I make a chart, something previously undiscovered is either brought into focus or becomes evident. The chart can be tedious, time-consuming. But, it is most valuable. It helps sharpen the things already observed and then forces you to put them on paper in an organized fashion.

Here is a snippet of my chart. Click for the full pdf.


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New Study Begins – Letter of James

Join us in our newest study on the Letter of James.

Spiritual maturity amidst turmoil. James, the brother of our Lord, writes to encourage the brethren to consider how they look at the world around them and how they could demonstrate Christ in their daily lives.

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The Right Side of the Analytical Chart

Last night, we discussed the analytical chart for Titus Segment 3. We discussed those times on the right side of the chart. As noted before, we typically use the right side of the chart for side studies (studies on words that add to the main study). Here is the chart.

Sometimes, there are words that could be used for the main study but that don’t flow through the particular chart being made. For instance, the word, ‘hope’ is a theme that definitely runs through all of Scripture and indeed through Titus. But, it is not, to me, to be emphasized in this chart. But, it can make for an interesting side study that adds to the main study.

In this segment, hope is referred to in the context of eternal life. Certainly important, but not in the main study. So,we can add to the right side of the chart. Often, you can find another scripture that embellishes the word (Scripture is its own best commentary), in this case, hope from 1 Peter 3:15 “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; ”.

The subjects similar in scope to hope in this segment are subjection and good deeds. They are presented in the same vertical alignment on the chart. For, subjection, the scripture reference is Rom. 13:1. For good deeds the scripture reference is Matt. 25:34-40.

Also, in this segment are ‘things’. So those are presented on the right side in a different vertical alignment and a different color. There are authoritative things (2:15), trustworthy things (3:8), good and profitable things (3:8), and unprofitable and worthless things (3:9).

And, finally, in the first paragraph, there are characteristics of God and works of God. These are presented in a comparison chart format, also on the right side.

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Using a Text Flow Diagram

Last night we demonstrated the Text Flow diagram capabilities of the Sentence Diagramming Tool in Logos 3 during the lesson. A text flow diagram is a very effective way to identify verbal clauses and show their emphasis in a sentence. In this case, we diagrammed Titus 2:15-3:7.

The SD tool in Logos 3 is a bit more powerful than the one currently in Logos 4 (for the moment). The Logos team really listens to their customers and I am hopeful that they will soon fix some of the issues (they are minor, but issues nonetheless). Regardless, if you have Logos 4, you can install and use Logos 3. And, if you don’t have at least the Scholar’s package in Logos 4, which would include the SD tool, you can still purchase the SD tool for about $20. Well worth it.

Here is a pdf of what we worked on last night. SD Text Flow Titus 2-15-3-7

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