Saturday, April 22, 2017

8.3 Inducing Voltage

Here's the third installment of Module 8, Induction, in Navy Basic Electricity and Electronics series from the 1970s. The first two units were:

8.1 Electromagnetism
8.2 Inductors and Flux Density

1. From an earlier module, we learned that three factors were necessary to induce an EMF in a conductor:
  • a magnetic field
  • a conductor
  • relative motion between conductor and field
This leads us to Faraday's Law: "The EMF induced or generated in a conductor is directly proportional to the rate at which a conductor is cutting the magnetic lines of flux."

2. As current starts through a conductor, it generates a magnetic field, so two of the three conditions for generating an EMF are satisfied. Motion does actually take place because the lines of electric flux start at the center of the conductor and move to its outer part. As the flux moves on each half toward the outer part of the conductor, the lines are moving in opposite directions, satisfying the third condition until current is flowing through the whole wire.

In the meantime, the expansion of the current to fill the wire creates a "counter EMF" or CEMF. For a moment, the resisting EMF reduces the current briefly. The momentary CEMF is almost equal to the source voltage.

When the current is turned off, the same phenomenon occurs. The field collapses, causing relative motion. This time the generated EMF wants to keep moving in the same direction as the current was flowing.

3. If there is a conductor in another circuit, near the first one, a current will be generated in it by the first circuit. The direction of the induced current will be in the opposite direction. This is called Lenz's Law: "The direction of an induced EMF tends to set up a current whose magnetic field is the opposite of the original current."

A DC circuit will only generate current in the second circuit when it is powering up or down. An AC circuit, on the other hand, because it's value is always alternating, will constantly generate current in the second circuit.

Friday, April 21, 2017

New Testament Theology

  • preached the kingdom of God, the coming rule of God on earth as it is in heaven.
  • like John the Baptist, to prepare he urged repentance and faith in the good news (gospel) of God's coming reign.
  • God as abba
  • He saw himself as the Messiah, saw his death as salvific
  • Used "Son of Man" to refer to himself, both has a generic sense (I'm a guy) and an apocalyptic/Daniel 7 sense (I'm going to come on the clouds to judge the world).
  • Cast out demons, understood as part of the arrival of the kingdom of God.
  • Taught love of neighbor and enemy as core ethic.
  • Focused on the "lost sheep" of Israel
  • Uses language that treats the persons of the Trinity as distinct persons yet unique in association/fellowship.
  • One God, creator, for whom all things (1 Cor 8:6)
  • God is righteous (Rom). God is sovereign (Rom).
  • God should be known by the creation (Rom).
  • God predestined the plan of salvation and future election of his people.
  • In Adam all die. In Adam sin and death entered the world (Rom).
  • All sin. All under power of Sin (Rom). 
  • Flesh/spirit dualism--flesh under power of Sin, Spirit as power of freedom.
  • God offered Jesus as atoning sacrifice, for our redemption.
  • The risen Jesus is enthroned as Lord. "Jesus is Lord."
  • Understood Jesus to be the "Son of God," the king of the cosmos, the "Son of David"
  • Some indications of Jesus' pre-existence (Phil).
  • Jesus is God. (Titus)
  • Holy Spirit is essential to being a child of God. Holy Spirit is seal of God's ownership, an "earnest" of our inheritance.
  • Holy Spirit intercedes for us. (Rom)
  • We are "justified" by faith in God on the basis of the faithfulness of Jesus. We are reconciled to God.
  • We are "sanctified" by the Holy Spirit, cleansed and set apart to God.
  • We are adopted as children of God.
  • Church is built on the trunk of Israel, with Gentiles grafted in.
  • Church is temple, built on the foundation of Christ. Ephesians adds the apostles and prophets.
  • Satan opposes God's people. Later letters like Colossians and Ephesians have more on spiritual powers and battle.
  • We need to live holy and blameless lives; love fulfills the Law.
  • Unity is a core goal of the church and love is the solution to the church's disunity.
  • Lord's supper indicates unity, anticipates Lord's return to eat with us again.
  • Later letters feature cultural structures (household-Ephesians, church-1 Timothy).
  • To be absent from body is to be present with the Lord.
  • All Israel will be saved in the eschaton (Romans).
  • Christ will return and we will be caught up to participate in judgment (1 Thess).
  • We will have a resurrection body (1 Cor).
  • We will appear before judgment seat of Christ to be judged for deeds (2 Cor).
  • The creation will be redeemed (Romans).
  • All Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy).
  • Jesus is the suffering servant, with possible overtones of Isaiah 53
  • Jesus is the Son of God, most shown by Jesus on the cross.
  • Uses "Son of Man" in relation to Jesus' suffering
  • Jesus kept his messianic identity a secret while on earth.
  • Jesus is a ransom for the sins of many.
  • Israel faces great persecution, destruction of temple
  • Jesus will return on the clouds
  • Only those with ears to hear will hear.
  • Jesus is the "Son of David," the new Moses
  • Church built on the rock of Peter and his confession of Jesus as the Christ.
  • Not everyone in the church is in the church.
  • Church is an expanded Israel. Israel suffered in part for its rejection of Jesus.
  • Jesus gives the fulfilled understanding of the Law of Moses. Love fulfills the Law. We must love our enemies.
  • All nations need to hear and obey the gospel, church sent
  • Strongest imagery of hell fire and (eternal) apocalyptic judgment in the NT.
  • Emphasis on Jesus' ministry to the poor and marginalized. Jesus potentially includes everyone into the people of God.
  • Much less focus on atonement dimension of Jesus
  • All those who are lost can repent and return (Prodigal Son)
  • Everyone is my neighbor (Good Samaritan)
  • We are in the "times of the Gentiles"
  • General resurrection of everyone will take place
  • Kingdom of God will be on earth
  • Jesus enthroned as Lord, Christ, Son of God at the point of his resurrection
  • The Holy Spirit gives birth to the church and is essential to being in the church.
  • The power of the Spirit in Jesus continues into the church to today.
  • Baptism as central to inclusion in the church
Hebrews and General Epistles
  • God the creator of all things (Heb)
  • God is the giver of perfect gifts. (James)
  • Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James)
  • Jesus the sacrifice to end all sacrifices. Jesus is the great high priest. (Heb)
  • Christ is greater than the angels and the old covenant (Moses, priests, sacrifices). (Heb)
  • Devil holds the power of death. (Heb)
  • Some angels are bound awaiting final punishment. (2 Peter/Jude).
  • Humanity created to have glory and honor in the creation. (Heb)
  • Humans are created in the image of God. (James)
  • We are justified by works. (James)
  • Those who apostatize cannot find repentance. (Heb)
  • Faith is essential. (Heb)
  • World will be destroyed by fire. (2 Pet)
  • Humanity will rule with Christ. (Heb)
  • Prophecy came by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet)
  • God is love. God is light.
  • Jesus the Word who came from heaven
  • The Son and the Father are one. We see the Father through the Son. The Son speaks for the Father.
  • Jesus is the I AM.
  • Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
  • The Spirit is our advocate, who leads us into truth.
  • The importance of believing in Jesus. Jesus is the only way to the Father.
  • We all have sin. All have sinned. Those born of God shouldn't sin. (1 John)
  • If we confess sins, he will forgive. (1 John)
  • There are sins to death and sins not to death. (1 John)
  • Strong spirit/flesh dualism
  • Jesus goes to prepare a place for us.
  • There is eternal life and eternal condemnation.
  • Holy, holy, holy God
  • Jesus and God are to be worshiped.
  • Lamb of God slain
  • There will be lots of bloody wrath visited upon the earth.
  • A large host of Israel will be saved.
  • Two resurrections and a millennium
  • Hell was created for Devil and angels
  • new heaven, new earth, new Jerusalem

Thursday, April 20, 2017

An Ode to Philosophy

Where do we learn to think logically,
     And apply the criteria of truth?
Where do we hold up the mirror
     To expose our hidden assumptions?
Where do we learn about paradigms
     In science, history, religion, art?
Where do we ask about right and wrong,
     Beauty and systems of value?
Where do we unfold the assumptions
     Of politics and social structures?
Where do we reflect on the mechanisms
     Of interpretations of God and the Bible?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday Paul 3.1

I've finished a second chapter of this Paul novel now. In case I want to publish it later, I am removing chapters after I finish them and copy them into a document. So the chapter 2 posts will disappear after I get them copied.

Now on to chapter 3, which is about Paul's first missionary journey. See Acts 13.
Chapter 3
So Paul was at Antioch just a year or so after the famine, when God called Barnabas and him to go on a missionary journey. The first of several for Paul.

It was a prophetic word. It was early on a Sunday morning, just before dawn. A group of about thirty people were gathered to pray and worship at a certain point along the Orontes River, just outside the city walls of Antioch of Syria. After singing a psalm, Agabas was filled with the Holy Spirit and said, "God is setting aside Saul and Barnabas to take the good news to Cyprus, to Barnabas' own land." [1]

Barnabas was born on the island of Cyprus. However, like Paul, he also had family in Jerusalem. In fact, Jesus ate his last supper in an upper room in his sister Mary's house. The leaders of the Jerusalem church assembled in that unusually large room for worship and a love feast each week. It was the house where Peter stayed when he was in Jerusalem. This Mary was one of those who had followed Jesus to the cross and had been there when they discovered the empty tomb. [2]

Mary had several sons, the youngest of which was named John Mark. Mark was an enthusiastic and curious young man, not to mention somewhat impulsive. The night of Jesus' arrest, he didn't even take time to fully dress, but ran out with only his outer garment on. When one of the high priest's guards noticed him and grabbed his cloak, he ditched it and ran away naked. [3]

Barnabas thought the journey might help him mature. Mark was excited because he admired his uncle Barnabas, who was in charge of the mission. And he had never been to Cyprus before to visit that side of the family.

Paul--who was still going by "Saul" at that time--was not particularly impressed with Mark. What Paul needed was someone to carry stuff and run errands. But Mark came from a wealthy family that even had servants in their house. Let's just say that there weren't any callouses on his hands.

The tension between Paul and Mark seemed to grow every day. Mark did not do enough for Paul's liking. Mark did not have any common sense, at least as far as Paul was concerned. Half the tasks he did, he did wrongly.

Meanwhile, Mark was increasingly annoyed at how Paul seemed to take charge all the time. Wasn't his uncle Barnabas the leader of this mission? Why did Paul end up doing most of the talking?

And Mark was really annoyed at how chummy Paul was with the Roman governor Sergius Paulus. Their mission wasn't to spread the good news to Gentiles but to Jews, Mark thought at the time. And Paul always seemed to rub other Jews the wrong way. If he would just let Barnabas talk, Mark thought, more Jews would believe. In fact, the only reason Paul met Sergius Paulus in the first place was because Paul got thrown in jail at the accusation of provoking a riot in the local synagogue...

[1] We do not know which prophet had this word, nor do we know where all the assemblies of Antioch met. I pictured them meeting next to the river based on where some met at Philippi. See Acts 13 and 16.

[2] It seems reasonable to connect the upper room, Mary, and John Mark together, since Peter goes there in Acts 12. However, we do not know if this Mary is the wife of Clopas and mother of James and Joseph mentioned in the Gospels.

[3] It's an old suggestion that this young man was Mark. Of course we do not know for sure. In fact, the Gospel of Mark itself is technically anonymous.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Seminary PL41: Communications

This is the tenth post on church administration in my "Seminary in a Nutshell" series. In this series, I first did a section on the Person and Calling of a Minister. Now this is the forty-first post in a section on the Pastor as a Leader (see at the bottom).

The previous post looked fundraising. This post is about church communications.
1. The communications of churches have evolved as technology has evolved. At one point, communications within and outside the church simply took place by word of mouth. Congregations were relatively small by modern reckoning usually within tight knit communities, so you could get word around just by one person telling another and so on.

Most churches still have oral announcements of some sort within the context of a Sunday or other service. When I was growing up in a relatively small church, announcements were made either right before the offering or right before a special song preceding the sermon.

In my ministerial education, some professors urged that announcements be done before the service actually begins, so that the worship service could be entirely about worship and the focus on God not be interrupted. Now, many churches do not really speak announcements but have them projected in sequence on a screen prior to the service.

Be sure to recognize that in the modern casual church, families will stroll in late and many simply ignore the pre-service screen announcements. From a practical standpoint, the mid-service announcements were probably more effective as communication than either of these.

2. Most churches hand paper to each person who comes into a service. This serves at least two very important functions. First, in an age of large churches, this practice provides one-on-one contact both for newcomers and for those who might otherwise never make any personal contact with anyone else in the service. It is an opportunity for personal interaction, which is an essential element of what the church is.

What is in the "bulletin" or "worship guide" can vary. It often will contain an order of worship. [1] Sometimes it has a place for a person to take notes. These elements can be helpful for those like me who get bored easily. Fill in the blanks give people something to do and help them follow the main ideas of the sermon. In that respect, it can be a helpful tool for discipleship.

The bulletin is also a potential place to give announcements. Bulletins often remind the church of key events taking place that week as well as upcoming events. The bulletin can give key prayer requests. It can report on the finances of the church. Know that as helpful as this information is, many of us won't read the announcements in the bulletin.

Again, you may hate it, but mid-service oral announcements are going to be the most effective from a practical communications standpoint, despite the protests of purists and the "but, but, but, it should be this way" idealists. I am proof. For years I knew precious little of what was going on at my church. Was it my fault? Yes. Was the church effective at communicating with me? No. Each individual church must decide how effective of communication is effective enough. [2]

3. Churches often have "shut-ins" who are not physically able to attend church. Others are either on the road or have trouble getting out of bed on a given Sunday. Technology has increasingly made it possible for churches to extend their ministry to these individuals.

Some churches still have Sunday services at nursing homes. When it became possible to record services, many churches began making cassette tapes to distribute to its shut-ins and to people at a distance. If someone sang a special song or if there was a baptism, the cassette could be kept as a memory or keep sake.

Today, sermons--at least the audio--are usually downloadable from a website. For a while, churches were using iTunes for this service. Now, they are generally available directly from the church website. Larger churches usually video their services and can be broadcast over a local television station.

With the rise of YouTube and Vimeo, it has become increasingly easy to make all previous sermons permanently available and linked to a church website. Facebook Live is now an extremely easy way to livestream your service to those who, for whatever reason, cannot be with you during the service. 12Stone Church in Atlanta has a web version of its church with a dedicated pastor.

4. Another tool that developed over the years was the monthly newsletter. This tool could not only inform the church members of more strategic items and finances, but it became a way to keep in contact with people who were connected to the church in some broader way. For example, I received a monthly newsletter from a church in Wisconsin for years that I had never attended. This kept me informed of what was going on there. I could pray for them. I could give to their causes.

If a church has seasonal members, say individuals who come and go in the summers and winters, such a newsletter can keep these individuals up to date. In this day and age, the paper newsletter has mostly been replaced by email. A church should do its best to have the emails of all its members. Email contact once a month--not too much information but a little--can be a good tool of communication.

Visitor information should be collected in some way without being obtrusive (that is, only if the visitor wishes and gives permission). Often there is a point in the worship where visitors are asked to fill out cards in the pew. Email, phone number, address are crucial if you intend to do follow up. In that way you can at least text the visitor during the week (ask their permission). Calling on the phone is increasingly undesirable and personal visits are increasingly unheard of.

5. In this age of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, most churches will want to have them. Every church should not only have a website, but it should have a Facebook page, a Twitter handle, and an Instagram account.

As for Twitter, try to get everyone in the church with a smart phone to follow the church. Just the merest suggestion can inspire certain personalities to tweet key ideas from the sermon during or after the sermon. Someone at the church should then retweet them. This can also be a way of making prayer requests and other information known to the congregation during the week.

In the old days, there were prayer chains. If an emergency happened, so and so called so and so who called so and so. In this way, a chain of prayer went up to heaven almost instantly. Today, this can all be done almost instantly. Small groups can have GroupMe accounts so that they stay connected during the week.

A church should have both a website and a Facebook page. The Facebook page provides basic information on your church and can be used to broadcast a service live. However, official Facebook pages are not good for discussion. If a pastor or key staff member has a Facebook account, discipleship by way of discussion can continue long after Sunday morning. The church can also have one or more open Facebook groups (e.g., a high school Facebook group) to keep conversation going during the week. This is a great tool for discipleship.

Instagram is a way of recording the pictures of the congregation's life. Information can be disseminated very quickly by way of Facebook and Twitter.

I've never seen it done, but it would be interesting to experiment with Twitter as a way of letting the congregation raise questions about a sermon. A pastor of course will hardly be able to address these during the sermon. And if you livestreamed them on a screen to the side, it would distract from the sermon. But you could possibly have a Q and A after each service to discuss them, and certainly Sunday School classes could process them.

6. A church without a website these days is a church that doesn't want anyone to find them. A church website should 1) give the location of the church and contact information, 2) tell about the church--what does this church stand for? What is its ethos and identity? What is its mission and vision, 3) tell about the staff and ministries--who are the pastors, what are the various ways in which I can plug into this church, and 4) perhaps give up to date information and or ways to give.

Many churches now make it possible to give online. There is still something important about physically taking up an offering, it seems. Nevertheless, while the plate is being passed, I am getting on my smart phone to give electronically. Sometimes I will remember that I haven't given yet while I'm driving. When I reach my next destination, I sometimes take out my phone and give. Churches should also have the capability of auto-withdrawals so that church members can tithe automatically.

There are individuals who specialize in creating church websites. However, you can create one for free using and other sites.

Who should people contact in the case of an emergency? This should be known. Many churches have pastors rotate being on call. Of course in the small church, the pastor tends to be on call 24/7. The pastor needs to have a sabbath, though, when he or she just isn't available except in the direst of emergencies.

7. A church should have a good sense of who is attending. It should have the names, addresses, emails, and phone numbers of its regular attenders. Many churches used to create paper directories every few years. These are great for reminding yourself of people whose names you have forgotten.

Certainly such directories could be put online these days. The danger is of course in this age of electronic stalking, you are making the people in your church potentially available to unsavory characters. Great discretion is advised. Perhaps more private and dis-aggregated Facebook directories could be created.

8. The community should know that your church is there. If you are not engaged enough in your community for it to know you are there, something is wrong. Pastors should be involved in prayer breakfasts with other pastors. People should be involved with community events and opportunities for ministry.

In earlier days, churches did door-to-door inviting of people to church. Today, this is often seen as creepy. Nevertheless, it may still be appropriate in some places. Other churches take out billboards or take out advertisements on local television. Certainly having an attractive church campus with good signage is obvious. Many churches put out something funny on their signs to draw the eye.

But nothing communicates the loving invitation of Christ better than your people being the body of Christ in the world.

Next Week: Pastor as Leader 41: Facilities

[1] I lead a liturgical service for about ten years. At first, I printed a distinct liturgy for each week. Later on, we provided a generic liturgy but printed the specifics for each week on a single half sheet.

[2] This is a perennial observation in regard to so many things. You can say "it should be this way" until you are blue in the face. But if you can't get people to change, then you are the failure in the end for being unwilling to change yourself. As the crass saying almost goes, "You can wish in one hand and crap in the other, and I'll tell you which one you'll end up with."

Leadership in General
Strategic Planning
Church Management
Conflict Management
Church Administration

Saturday, April 15, 2017

8.2 Inductors and Flux Density

Here's the second installment of Module 8, Induction, in Navy Basic Electricity and Electronics series from the 1970s. The first unit was:

8.1 Electromagnetism

1. Flux density is the strength of a magnetic field around something, for example a coil. There are four factors that directly affect flux density and one that inversely affects it.

2. The first factor is the "permeability" or "reluctance" with which magnetic flux can pass through a material. If the core of a coil is an iron rod (more permeable), then there will be a significantly greater flux density of the magnetic field than if the core is simply air (, say with the coil wrapped around a cardboard cylinder.

The symbol for an inductor with either an iron core or an air core is as follows:

iron core conductor                            air-core conductor

3. The second factor that increases flux density is the number of turns in the coil. The more the turns, the greater the magnetic force.

4. The third is the cross-sectional area of the core. The bigger the cross-section, the greater the flux density. This is the opposite of the fifth factor, which is the length of the core. The longer the core, the less the flux density.

5. Finally, the amount of current flowing through the coil directly affects the flux density. The more the current, the greater the flux density.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday Science

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
John Donne

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Gen Eds 10c: Ancient Egypt

This is the third post in the Classical Civilizations" unit of my World History series. The first two were India and China.

This is part of my "General Education in a Nutshell" series. The series consists of ten subjects you might study in a general education or "liberal arts" core at a university or college. The first topic in the overall series was philosophy. So far in the world history section:
1. For some 3000 years, Egypt was the dominant civilization around the Mediterranean Sea. From about 3400BC until Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332BC, Egypt was unsurpassed in the Mediterranean part of the world.

The first real dynasty of Egypt took place around 3100BC under king Menes, who set up his capital in the area that would later come to be known as Memphis. However, even before him there was a northern and southern kingdom. [1] The movie The Scorpion King, although completely unhistorical, no doubt took its inspiration from a king named Scorpion who in 3200 unsuccessfully tried to conquer the northern kingdom from the south.

The oldest known hieroglyphics come from the time of Menes, and it was during this time that some of the most enduring aspects of Egyptian culture were being formed. For example, the king of Egypt (the Pharaoh) was thought to be like a god and associated with the god Horus. The yearly flooding of the Nile provided natural irrigation.

2. The five hundred years of the Old Kingdom (2686-2181BC) was the time during which the pyramids were build. These were funerary monuments for the kings of the third dynasty. The first pyramid was the "step pyramid" of Djoser, built about 2630. It was the first major stone building in the world. The Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the seven wonders of the world was build by Khufu or Cheops in Greek in the 2500s. Two more pyramids were also built.

The third and fourth dynasties were the golden age. From the fifth to the sixth dynasty, the rise of a priestly class drained the resources that before belonged to the king, and the building of pyramids became a significant economic burden.

3. The "First Intermediate Period" saw the disintegration of a united kingdom for a period of about a hundred years (2181-55BC). There were several kings one after the other until Mentuhotep, a king ruling from Thebes in the south, reunited Egypt. Thus began the eleventh dynasty and the Middle Kingdom.

4. The Middle Kingdom dates from 2055-1786BC and runs from the eleventh to the twelfth dynasty. Pyramids returned. The practice of co-regents so that a successor was in place began. The last ruler of the twelfth dynasty was the first female ruler of Egypt. This is about the time of Abraham.

5. A "Second Intermediate Period" (1786-1567BC) erupted after the end of the twelfth dynasty. Around 1650, the Hyksos invaded and ruled from the northern part of Egypt (Lower Egypt). There is no real agreement on who the Hyksos were. Some think they were Semitic. Others think they were Indo-European.

If you try to align this part of Egyptian history with Genesis, then it would seem that the Pharaoh before whom Joseph appeared as a Hyksos king. Meanwhile, the Hyksos were expelled from Egypt in 1570, and the Pharaoh who knew not Joseph may have been a New Kingdom king.

6.  The New Kingdom (1567-1085BC) began when Ahmose I reunified Egypt under an 18th dynasty. At one point the Egyptian empire stretched from Nubia in the south to the Euphrates River in the east. There were a number of powerful queen rulers during this period, including Queen Hatshepsut (1503-1482BC).

One of the most intriguing episodes during this period is the rule of Akhenaton (1379-62BC), otherwise known as Amenhotep IV. (His wife Nefertiti is also well known) He disbanded the priests of Amon-Re and instituted the worship of only one God, Aton, another sun god. He built a new capital in Middle Egypt at a place called Amarna, and the Amarna letters are a collection of letters from his reign.

Tutankhamen (1361-52BC) is well known today because this child emperor's tomb was discovered intact in 1922. He was the child of Akhenaton. Not long after their deaths, their names were expunged from all records and traditional Egyptian religion was restored. The capital returned to Thebes.

7. Many locate the time of Moses with the reign of Ramses II (1304-1237BC), and you can see the letters MSES in Ramses' name. It is interesting to wonder about the interplay of Akhenaton's henotheism and the henotheism of the Israelites. [2]

Funerary Temple of Ramses III
The 19th and 20th dynasties were the Ramesside period. All the New Kingdom rulers except Akhenaton were buried in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes. The last king of the twentieth dynasty, Ramses III, had a magnificent funerary temple.

8. A "Third Intermediate Period" (1085-664BC) followed the end of Ramses III's rule. During this period, there was no strong central king, but local rulers vied for power. Shishak, who began the 22nd dynasty around 945BC, is mentioned in the Old Testament as a king who came and plundered the Jerusalem temple built by Solomon (1 Kings 14:25).

The Assyrians came through Egypt in 671 and destroyed Memphis. Egypt became part of the Persian empire in 525BC. The Greeks took it over in 332BC and it was then ruled by the Ptolemies. Finally, the Romans took over after the death of Cleopatra in 31BC.

Next Week: History 10d. Ancient Mesopotamia

[1] The southern part of Egypt was known as Upper Egypt and the northern part Lower Egypt because the Nile is the most famous river in the world that flows from south to north. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for Egypt, mizraim, is a "dual" noun, indicating two things.

[2] Henotheism is the belief that there is only one legitimate God to worship, even though other gods may also exist. Monolatry similarly refers to the worship of only one God, even though other gods may also exist.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

16. Maneuvering Toward Power

Previous posts are at the bottom.

1. I have read two more chapters of Konrad Heiden's 1944 book, Der Fuehrer, chapters seventeen and eighteen. Rather than shape prose, let me give bullets. (Previous posts are at the bottom)

Chapter Seventeen:
  • Hitler shifted away from war speeches because he wanted to be democratically elected. He began a peace propaganda. 1931
  • Hitler: "Foreign policy is only a means to an end" (415). "The programmatical principle of our party is its position on the racial problem."
  • Hitler wanted peace among Fascists. An authoritarian tide was sweeping over Europe.
  • Herbert Hoover called for a moratorium on war repayments. Hitler predicted it would never resume.
  • Hitler met with President Hindenberg because some in the government felt that the National Socialists had to be brought on board to preserve the current state. Hindenberg thought Hitler was "no real German" and rejected him (425).
  • Still, some in the government saw Hitler as a way to stabilize the masses. "He will keep it [his oath to respect the Constitution]. He is a man of legality." (427). They wanted a "democratic dictatorship."
  • When the Chancellor, Brüning, invited Hitler to come to Berlin and reach an understanding with the government, Hitler believed "Now I have them in my pocket!" (433).
2. Chapter Eighteen
  • Hindenberg's seven year presidential term was coming to a close. Brüning did not want to have an election because he feared it would rip Germany apart. He wanted simply to unconstitutionally lengthen Hindenberg's term. Hitler wanted an election, knowing the Nazis would get more seats in Parliament.
  • Hindenberg wanted an election, and Hitler and Hindenberg entered each other's orbit. Goebbels wanted Hitler to run for president too. He couldn't make up his mind. He procrastinated a decision for a month. 
  • Finally, after Hindenberg declared, Hitler declared.
  • Hindenberg was a "junker," something like old landholders with property in Eastern Germany. It was fairly worthless land and these old aristocracy were only propped up by the government.
  • Hitler had a huge following among the masses. "Many people were puzzled by the fact that millions followed him, although almost the whole big press was grimly against him" (445).
  • Hitler lost, but he got 11.3 million votes to Hindenberg's 18.6 million. There had to be a revote. Hitler lost again, but increased. He got 13.4 million to Hindenberg's 19.3 million. In the second vote, he shifted from a negative to a positive nationalist message.
  • "The large majority of Germans were opposed to National Socialism" (450).
  • "Röhm was convinced that Germany was approaching a period of pure military rule" (450).
3. Previously on Hitler:

Monday, April 10, 2017

Monday Paul 2.8

... continued from last week
One of the most striking of the prophecies in those days was the prophecy of Agabus that there would be a famine in Judea. This prophecy came the year after Herod Agrippa I had James the son of Zebedee put to death, after which the Lord justly ended Agrippa's reign.

In the last year of his reign, Agrippa had James, the brother of John, beheaded. James had been preaching strongly at the temple that Jesus would return soon to judge the world. "No Herod was truly king," he said. The true King Jesus would come back to Jerusalem and re-establish the true kingdom of Israel.

Suffice it to say, Agrippa was not pleased when he heard such "sedition." He had James beheaded almost immediately. Imagine his surprise, then, to receive such strong voices of support from the leaders of the temple and the Sanhedrin. Herod Agrippa had done what many of them had wanted to do for over a decade.

Such leaders do not get that sort of approval often, so Agrippa proceeded next to throw Peter himself into jail. James the brother of Jesus was not in the city at that time. However, this time the Lord intervened. He enabled Peter to walk out of the prison and escape the city before Agrippa even realized he was gone.

The year was not over before Agrippa himself was dead. In a spectacle, he appeared in Caesarea along the coast in magnificent silver clothing. The reflection was so amazing that some in the crowds began to say that he was a god.

That was enough for Yahweh. Agrippa immediately began to experience sharp pains in his bowels. It was not five days before he was dead.

It was that same year that Spirit revealed to Agabus that the church at Antioch should store extra food because those in Judea would need it the following winter and spring. Sure enough, the crops of Judea were so sparse that year that fear of starvation rattled not only Jerusalem but the villages all the way north to Galilee.

Once again, Barnabas volunteered Paul to go with him to take wheat and barley for the churches of Jerusalem. He was still working to bring this Saul of Tarsus out of the shadows and into the full mission of the gospel. They both made the fifteen day journey from Antioch to Jerusalem with the help of several other young men.

The followers of the Way in Jerusalem were overjoyed. The fulfillment of the prophecy was such a powerful witness that many who had been enemies of Christ came to believe. They went from despair over James to elation at the miracles of God. Of course those on the Sanhedrin merely became more envious of James the brother of Jesus and the churches of Judea. But it would take them almost twenty more years before they found their opportunity to kill this James.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Seminary PL40: Fundraising and Capital Campaigns

This is the ninth post on church administration in my "Seminary in a Nutshell" series. In this series, I first did a section on the Person and Calling of a Minister. Now this is the fortieth post in a section on the Pastor as a Leader (see at the bottom).

The previous post looked at giving in the Bible. This post is about fundraising and capital campaigns.
1. Gary McIntosh and Charles Arn suggest that there are five reasons why people give to a church:
  • to pay the bills
  • to further missions
  • to support education
  • to help those in need
  • to build something
The oldest generation, those born before 1945, are the ones most likely to give toward paying the bills. Older congregations still often also have a strong (overseas) missions emphasis and often sponsor specific missionary families. Specific individuals and families often have a special burden for this kind of giving.

If I continue this series and do a series on mission, we can discuss this rapidly changing area of the church. Much overseas church planting is increasingly done either by those of the same ethnicity as the country of planting or by missionaries from the two-thirds world, who are now increasingly coming as missionaries to North America as well. Rapidly diminishing are the days when mission work had a not so faint overtone of unintended colonialism.

So, in the future, the second and fourth reasons for giving will likely be folded together into one bucket, something along the lines of "outreach." But of course if you are in a "missions"church, then keeping the two separate makes more sense.

2. People give for specific purposes far more than they give just to give. McIntosh and Arn suggest that giving for each bucket doesn't tend to take away too much from the giving for other buckets (207). If a person has a passion for missions, then they are going to give to missions. If you have a building fund offering, it probably isn't going to take too much away from their giving to missions.

Their point is that balancing the different kinds of giving opportunities will tend to increase the overall giving more than to diminish the giving in a particular area. Let people give in the area of their passion! Trying to move a person from their passion to another area is not likely to be fully successful. [1]

3. It is good for a church to pursue projects associated with its giving over time. If your church hasn't had a major vision project in the last 10 years, perhaps it's time to have one. It could be a project for something in the community. It could be a project overseas. It could be a project to plant a church. It could be a project to raise up ministers. It could be a building or renovation project.

Of course many churches struggle year over year simply to stay open. That's a challenge again for a series on mission. As far as finances are concerned, McIntosh and Arn suggest that "A church needs a minimum of twenty-five giving units to be financially stable and independent" (211). They define a giving unit as an individual, group, or family that gives 10% of its income to the church.

4. Building projects are probably the most notorious reason for having a "capital" campaign, a season in which you are trying to raise a large amount of money. Studies show that churches that hire a professional to lead the campaign tend to raise about 50% or more of the amount that they would raise on their own. However, a smaller church is not likely to have the resources or the desire to do this.

There are, however, firms that specialize in church fundraising of this sort: national firms, regional firms, local firms, and denominational resources (214).

McIntosh and Arn suggest that all good fundraising campaigns have the following elements (214-15):
  • participation (Give everyone something to do.)
  • clear timing (a beginning, a middle, and an end)
  • giving (everyone's gift counts)
  • information (do people know what's going on)
  • a clear goal (when will we have arrived?)
  • enthusiasm and celebration
5. A church shouldn't take on an indebtedness for such a campaign that is more than 2.5 times its normal yearly undesignated income. The first phase of a capital campaign thus might aim at raising the amount of money that gets you below that threshhold of indebtedness.

McIntosh and Arn give the following example. Say your annual undesignated income is $500,000. Then the church shouldn't borrow more than 1.25 million dollars. So if you want to enter a building project of two million dollars, you will need to raise 0.75 million ($750,000) that is not borrowed. That would make a good first phase of a building project, getting down to the amount that you need to borrow.

Over a three year period, a church can raise the amount of its yearly income over and above its normal income. Perhaps that's a good deadline for the second, middle phase of a campaign.
6. A church often has key givers who are able to contribute more to a building project. Such individuals often are more than happy to be part of such projects. If they are approached individually, they will give much more than if they are simply part of a general petition to everyone.

I heard of a building project campaign that was within a couple million of reaching its goal. The pastor, given the awkwardness, was tempted to make a generic pitch for the last two million from the pulpit. But he was strongly counseled to go personally to the homes of some key givers in the church and to challenge them.

They gave, and now when the pastor made the final push he only had to raise about 500,000, which the church easily reached. Individuals who know about such things said the church would have never reached the two million if he had only made a generic pitch from the pulpit.

7. A pastor inevitably uses up "influence capital" when she leads a capital campaign. But it is part of the responsibility of being a lead pastor. The pastor I mentioned above knew for a couple years that the church needed to build a new facility before he finally was willing to spend his influence on it. It is usually much more pleasant to focus on preaching the word. But occasionally a leader has to embody the spirit.

Next Week: Pastor as Leader 41: Communications

[1] I also take this from Terry Munday's, It's Not About the Monday: How to Tap into God-Given Generosity.

Leadership in General
Strategic Planning
Church Management
Conflict Management
Church Administration

Saturday, April 08, 2017

8.1 Electromagnetism

I've finally made it to Module 8 of the Navy Basic Electricity and Electronics series from the 1970s. The previous modules have been:

Module 8 is about Induction.

1. As we already know, whenever current runs through a conductor, it creates a magnetic field around the conductor. Magnetic lines of flux form circular patterns around the conductor. The "left-hand rule for conductors" says that if you wrap your left hand around a conductor with your thumb pointing in the direction of the current, the direction of your other fingers tells whether the lines of flux are going in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

Electricity flows from negative to positive in a conductor and a magnetic field loops from north to south around a magnet.

2. If you wind a conductor around something--say a cylinder of metal--you create a stronger magnetic field (and a definite north and south pole). Using the left hand rule, if you wrap your fingers around the cylinder in the way they are wound, your thumb will point toward the north pole of this magnet created by current.

By these observations, we are building toward understanding a new component we have not encountered yet--the inductor or "choke." It is a coil that is usually wrapped around an iron core.

3. A number of applications are mentioned in this section. The first is a "relay." A relay is used to control a high voltage circuit without being physically connected to it. A current in a low voltage circuit, when closed, causes a magnetic field to arise around a coil, which attracts a conductor on a higher voltage circuit in such a way that the other circuit closes and then current flows in it.

There are several reasons to want to energize a high voltage circuit without simply flipping a switch on it directly. One is the ability to do it by remote control. Rather than run high voltage lines from afar, you can run low voltage lines. This also increases the safety of the situation.

4. A second application is the electric bell. Coils are used such that when the circuit is closed, a magnetic field is created and an armature hammer is pulled to hit a bell. But when it is so pulled, it breaks the circuit and the magnetic field is broken. But when the field is broken, the iron connected to the armature hammer reconnects the circuit, causing the magnetic field to return and the armature hammer to hit the bell again.

This process will occur repeatedly and whatever rate you set up, calling the hammer to hit the bell repeatedly until the overall circuit is opened.

5. The two applications above used a fixed core. A solenoid relay uses a movable core. When the current is running through the coil, a magnetic field is generated which pulls the core into the coil (because the north-south pole created pulls the core into the south pole). If this core is connected to a spring, the spring can close a circuit.

This sort of solenoid relay is used to start a car. The ignition closes a low voltage circuit with the car battery, which pulls an iron core into a coil. As it moves, a spring closes a higher voltage circuit with the starter, which then starts the car.

6. Two symbols are often used in diagrams to show current flowing in or out of a conductor. A dot suggests that the current is flowing out of the conductor, like the tip of an arrow. An x suggests that current is flowing into the conductor, like the back part of an arrow.

Recipe for a Wesleyan Minister 3

Here is the final set of competencies for a Wesleyan minister. These are the professional competencies. The first two sets were:
Now professionally, a Wesleyan minister should be able to:
  1. Identify the theological foundations of worship.
  2. Know the appropriate theological and practical functions of the various elements of worship such as scripture, sacrament, prayer, preaching, music, offering, creed, drama, digital media, contemplation and response.
  3. Design creative and culturally relevant worship that is sensitive to a church’s history, theology and local community.
  4. Recognize and appreciate the various approaches to worship in the past and in other denominations and cultures today.
  5. Design a worship experience that engages people in connecting with God personally and corporately.
  6. Be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading in the planning process and during worship so the experience becomes transformative.
  7. Recruit, equip, and supervise the various members of a worship team and coordinate the related resources to foster transformative worship.
Evangelism and Mission
  1. Establish and sustain redemptive relationships which lead persons to Christ and engage them in discipleship.
  2. Demonstrate a desire and practice of prayerful dependence on God and exhibit compassion for the lost which fosters a missional climate.
  3. Articulate the biblical and theological meaning of a Christ-centered salvation/conversion.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge and awareness of one’s local cultural contexts for purposes of evangelism and mission.
  5. Utilize various methods to share the gospel personally and publicly.
  6. Lead and manage a missional culture in the local church through empowering and equipping others.
  7. Demonstrate Christ-like character and pastoral sensibilities such as prayerfulness, authenticity, compassion, humility, respect of others, an attitude of service and the ability to persevere.
  8. Demonstrate the values and traits necessary for pastoral leadership such as personal discipline, spiritual maturity, creativity, inspiration, relationship skills, conflict resolution, and team building.
  9. Demonstrate the ability to lead people to share a strategic vision with concrete goals, enabling the congregation to move forward.
  10. Demonstrate sound management practices including planning, organizing, delegating and managing oneself.
  11. Recognize, mentor, and develop leaders, while also receiving mentorship and accountability from another.
Christian Education
  1. Identify and sequence the teaching of biblical and theological knowledge for the purpose of Christian formation.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of Christian development and ability to apply pedagogical methods and delivery systems appropriate for each age.
  3. Assess potential teachers for the character and teaching ability necessary to lead others effectively in Christian formation and to personally model effective life-changing teaching ability.
  4. Recruit, equip and supervise discipleship leaders for all ages.
  5. Effectively apply biblical and theological knowledge for Christian formation across the life-span.
  6. Manage budgets, learning space, equipment and other resources for the Christian formation of the church.
  1. Preach with authenticity, self-awareness, humility and appropriate transparency.
  2. Plan sermons, sermon series, and church year preaching schedule.
  3. Engage in research for sermons that are theologically sound and address the needs of the congregation.
  4. Develop sound personal study habits for preaching.
  5. Write and deliver sermons aimed for life change, spiritual transformation and response.
  6. Develop theologically, exegetically and biblically sound sermons.
  7. Construct and deliver various sermon styles that are focused and clear.
  8. Deliver effective, articulate and engaging sermons using both verbal and non-verbal communication.
  9. Prayerfully seek and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the formation delivery of sermons.
Congregational Care and Relationships
  1. Form many and deep relationships, be a likable person, build inclusivity, sense the needs of others and create a caring environment.
  2. Perceive unhealthy conflict and broken relationships between oneself and another and between other parties and bring resolution and reconciliation where appropriate.
  3. Design, equip, empower, deploy and supervise the laity in a strategy for congregational caring.
  4. Design and maintain records of small groups, social media ministries, prayer systems, visitation and other caring interventions and use them to provide comprehensive care of people.
  5. Recall psychological and spiritual principles of human behavior, demonstrate basic counseling skills, and determine when to refer counseling to other professionals.
  6. Be visible and known within the community, cultivate relationships within the community and willing to respond to community needs where appropriate.
  7. The pastor should know the needs of the congregation, and local culture; the congregation should have the sense that the pastor truly knows them. “Congregational and Community EQ”
  8. Demonstrate broad knowledge of a particular community’s needs and visibly cultivate relationships within the community.
  9. Create a system for being aware of major life events and transitions such as marriage, birth, sickness, death, retirement,  weddings, divorces, and other mileposts and has a strategy for responding with prayer and pastoral care.
Leadership and Management
  1. Demonstrate Christ-like character and pastoral sensibilities such as prayerfulness, authenticity, compassion, humility, respect of others, an attitude of service and the ability to persevere.
  2. Demonstrate the values and traits necessary for pastoral leadership such as personal discipline, spiritual maturity, creativity, inspiration, relationship skills, conflict resolution, and team building.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to lead people to share a strategic vision with concrete goals, enabling the congregation to move forward.
  4. Demonstrate sound management practices including planning, organizing, delegating and managing oneself.
  5. Recognize, mentor, and develop leaders, while also receiving mentorship and accountability from another.

Recipe for a Wesleyan Minister 2

Now the second set of competencies for a Wesleyan minister. The first set had to do with the person of the minister and cultural/context competencies. This set has to do with what you might call "foundational" competencies.

A Wesleyan minister should be able to:
  1. Articulate an understanding of Scripture as inspired and authoritative for Christian life and faith.
  2. Demonstrate an authentic love and passion for God’s Word, reflected in one’s devotional practices and a desire to apply Scripture to one’s life.
  3. Use Scripture in teaching, preaching and pastoral ministry to facilitate the Christian transformation of others.
  4. Know biblical themes and content comprehensively, as well as the background contexts of the biblical texts.
  5. Employ sound interpretive and exegetical methods in order to use the Bible effectively in preaching, teaching and pastoral ministry.
  6. Apply Scripture appropriately to a broad range of life situations.
  1. Know the key doctrines of the church and their basis in Scripture.
  2. Identify the distinctives of Wesleyan theology and its relationship both to evangelical theology and other theological perspectives.
  3. Practice theological research, compare and contrast differing theologies, and identify cultural influences on the theologies of particular groups.
  4. Understand and respect a broad range of theological perspectives.
  5. Develop a life-long positive and humble attitude toward learning.
  6. Communicate theology in clear, understandable ways that relate to life and mission and result in Christian transformation.
  7. Discern truth from error and articulate a sound basis for one’s faith.
Church History
  1. Know the broad sweep of church history including key eras, people, movements, and major ideas/theology.
  2. Know the historical development of the canon and how the Bible has functioned in the life of the church.
  3. Know the history of the development of key Christian doctrines throughout church history.
  4. Know the history and development of the Wesleyan and Holiness movements, especially The Wesleyan Church, its key doctrines, practices and polity.
  5. Know the general history of other church traditions/denominations and respect their various doctrines and practices.
  6. Know the influence of culture on the church throughout history and how it affects a local church today.
  7. Apply relevant aspects of historical Christianity to inform pastoral ministry and the life of the church today.
Wesleyan Identity and Ethos
  1. Articulate core Wesleyan doctrines such as entire sanctification, love, prevenient grace, optimistic soteriology, free-will and their application to life and pastoral ministry.
  2. Demonstrate an ability to proactively engage culture and community with the holistic Gospel through various strategies and initiatives.
  3. Demonstrate an ability to organize and lead small group discipleship and membership classes.
  4. Articulate a sound understanding of how God changes lives to become what God has designed us to be as human beings.
  5. Articulate a sound understanding of holiness of heart and the centrality of love for God and others and how it manifests itself in life and relationships.
  6. Develop a “rule of life” for engaging various spiritual disciplines and cultivating a vibrant intimate relationship with God.
  7. Articulate scriptural and theological rationale for gender, racial, and ethnic equality.
  8. Know how to engage the local church in acts of mercy.
  9. Know how to engage the gospel as it targets the root causes of various forms of social injustice such as poverty, sex trafficking, and pornography.
  10. Demonstrate increasing maturity in one’s life and love for others, integrity, purity of heart and life.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Recipe for a Wesleyan Minister 1

Russ Gunsalus, Dave Higle, and Joel Liechty did an amazing feat. They went around the Wesleyan Church asking everyone they could find what the competencies of a minister were. What is the knowledge, what are the skills, what are the dispositions that go into training a minister?

That listening tour generated a list of some 7400 outcomes, which over time they pruned down to 91. With their permission, I'd like to share in three posts the 91 competencies of a minister. Here are the first two domains

Be able to:

The Person of a Pastor
  1. Maintain a healthy balance between ministry, family, friends and self, and holistically care for oneself and family.
  2. Exhibit Christ-like character, such as humility, transparency, authenticity, and morality, including the ability to keep confidences, foster trust, practice financial integrity, and maintain a teachable spirit.
  3. Develop a healthy and maturing walk with God, including identifying and practicing personal spiritual disciplines.
  4. Recognize and develop pastoral virtues such as relational skills, servanthood, humility, empathetic listening, discerning the needs of others, genuine love and compassion for all people, and other pastoral care skills.
  5. Demonstrate respect for the leadership of others, embrace leadership responsibility and share leadership with others.
  6. Recognize the importance of tending to the health of one’s family and marriage, their families relationship to church life and expectations.
  7. Identify differing personalities, spiritual gifts and the dynamics of basic human psychology.
  8. Interact with and relate well to others, including skills of listening and managing interpersonal conflict.
  9. Demonstrate a genuine love of others and the graces of ministry.
  10. Demonstrate a basic awareness of one’s own self, including one’s personality, strengths, and weaknesses, in relation to one’s environment.
  11. Manage oneself, including the use of time, accountability and personal support systems.
  12. Demonstrate evidence of a trajectory of lifelong learning both in areas related to ministry and in one’s knowledge of the world.
  13. Demonstrate evidence of an authentic call from God for vocational ministry and a strong sense of one’s ultimate identity grounded in Christ rather than a position or performance.
Culture and Context
  1. Demonstrate love, sensitivity and respect for the cultures of one’s church, community and other groups.
  2. Recognize key aspects of local/global culture, history, worldviews, and any other aspects of context necessary for effective pastoral ministry.
  3. Develop a method of ministry in relation to varying ministry contexts, including ministry to persons of different generations, ethnicities, genders and cultures.
  4. Ability to distinguish between genuine Christian beliefs and the various ways in which they often play out in specific cultures and contexts.
  5. Design and communicate a contextual strategy for outreach that engages the local culture and cultivates relationships with various people in the community.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Friday Science: Charges

Being Interim Dean of the (mostly) undergraduate School of Theology and Ministry has seemed a whole lot more work than it was being Dean of the Seminary. :-)

In any case, I've fallen behind on my Friday Science posts in the "Gen Eds in a Nutshell" series. Here's the last one. One realization is that I both have forgotten more and am further behind in my knowledge of electomagnetism than I thought. That post is mostly done but has been sitting incomplete since January.

So I'm trying to inch through this book, which will take about half a year. I am inching through another science book too, Adam and the Human Genome. In any case, I may give some progress reports on Fridays on things I'm reading in science. When I feel I have enough to finish the Gen Ed post on electromagnetism, I'll post it and move on.

So here's notice. I've finished the first chapter of the electromagnetism book. It was on charges and Coloumb's Law. :-)

Monday, April 03, 2017

Monday Paul 2.7

... continued from last week
It was about this time that God sent Barnabas to Tarsus to get Paul. Barnabas knew from the moment he met Paul that God was going to use him mightily to bring the gospel of King Jesus to many people. Of course at that time Barnabas was mainly thinking Jews. In the six years or so since he last saw Paul, Barnabas had moved north to Antioch, a little more than a two week journey north.

God was moving in amazing ways in Antioch. Sure, Jerusalem was still where Peter was based, the center of the movement. Everyone believed that Jesus would return to Jerusalem when he returned from the skies to fully bring the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.

From Jerusalem, the Spirit had taken the word all over the world by word of mouth. Several of the disciples had immediately spread the word in Galilee. Within three years of the resurrection there was a strong community of Jesus followers even in Damascus, as you know. Peter and the Hellenists preached all over Judea in the first decade of the Way. A follower of Jesus from Jerusalem named John had even spent some time in Samaria spreading the good news in those days.

Then it had pushed north into Syria. Now almost fifteen years after the resurrection, the house churches in Antioch were as numerous as those in Jerusalem. It was a community with believers from all over the Roman Empire and beyond. For example, Lucius was from Cyrene, and Simeon called Niger was also from North Africa. There were both rich and poor. A man named Manaen had actually grown up with Philip the tetrarch, a Herod.

There were so many prophets in the house churches at Antioch! One named Agabus was especially well-known among the followers of Jesus. Jesus had not stopped speaking to his disciples when he went to heaven. He continued to speak often to the church through prophecy. At Antioch, the prophets were just as central to the movement as the apostles were...