Ezekiel was so dramatic and his visions so incredible, I wonder if I would have believed him, or if I would have thought he was insane! Even though his language is more metaphorical, his message reminds me of Jeremiah: Judah and Jerusalem will be destroyed, but a remnant will be saved, and ultimately Judah’s enemies will be destroyed for what they had done. Again I see God’s sovereignty in the predictions, as He shows Ezekiel even the details of what He was about to do. After our discussion about context in class, I can see that the passages that seem to deal with eternal security (e.g., 18:24; 33:12-13, 18) are actually about whether individual Jews would live or die in the coming destruction under Babylon, in accordance with the covenant blessings and curses of Deuteronomy.
Daniel reminds me of Joseph: God caused both to rise to political power in their country of exile by giving them the ability to interpret dreams. The dramatic shift in Daniel 7 from third person to first and from narrative to prophecy jumped out at me as never before. I must admit that I gave in to reading the study Bible notes in the prophetic section! Both Ezekiel and Daniel include end times prophecies; I wonder if that relates at all to the fact that both were exiles?
(This was a seminary class assignment originally dated October 28, 2006 for Ezekiel and November 28, 2006 for Daniel. For an introduction and table of contents for this series, see New Series: Old Testament Reading Journal)
I am excited to announce that this June I will spend a week in Varna, Bulgaria for a one-week mission! Our four-person team will train a group of Campus Crusade for Christ staff members in communication skills.
As you may recall, Keynote held communication training in the city of Sofia last year. Those who attended found the sessions so helpful that they asked us to equip staff members in Varna, too. I’ll give more information on the trip in my next letter.
I thoroughly enjoyed working behind the scenes at Comm Lab. Those who attended gave us some great feedback, and that helped me write the following article which I submitted for the Keynote Connection blog.
For years, the Cru movement at Texas Tech has had an outstanding public speaker leading the staff team. But this year he was called to another ministry role, leaving Collin Arledge, Trace Hunt and Jeremy Bollens with big shoes to fill – and a mutual deeply-felt need to improve their speaking skills.
Most Cru staff members speak before groups of people fairly regularly. Teresa Freeman is no exception, and has frequent public speaking opportunities as she ministers to college faculty in North Carolina. On the side she also leads students on a high school speech team. Her desire to learn skills that would benefit both her and her students drew her to Comm Lab 2013.
There Teresa, the Texas Tech team and others learned topics ranging from philosophy of Christian communication to practical techniques for writing talks. They also practiced delivery skills in personalized small-group coaching sessions.
Learning and practicing alongside the many first-timers were returnees like singer Becky Alwin from Keynote’s Rhymz Suhreal. “I communicate a lot from the stage, and know that I can always improve as a communicator.” Becky is enthusiastic about the benefits of attending Comm Lab. “No matter what level you’re at, you’ll still be stretched and will grow. It’s a safe and encouraging environment to grow in. The teaching was challenging and rich.”
“We all communicate and these skills are invaluable,” Teresa adds. “The skills you learn here are skills you need for the rest of your life. You will use them not just for talks or speeches….you will use them in life.”
The first part of Jeremiah, with its predictions of Judah’s exile & return, sometimes seems to ping-pong between the two rather quickly. To be honest, I found the narrative portions somewhat confusing for my western mind to listen to because they are not in chronological order. I’d definitely have to spend some time with the written version before I could see the reason for putting them in that order. The main lesson I see is an insight into God’s character: although He is incredibly patient, He will punish those who continue to resist Him; but He will not completely abandon His people. Lamentations seems relatively straightforward in comparison, with its poetic expression of grief for the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem and for Jeremiah’s experience of persecution. The word pictures do a wonderful job of portraying Jeremiah’s feelings.
(This was a seminary class assignment originally dated October 18, 2006. I made minor edits before posting in this blog.For an introduction and table of contents for this series, see New Series: Old Testament Reading Journal)
The form of the book strikes me as an anthology containing “The Collected Works of Isaiah” and vignettes from his life and ministry. Parts were confusing, but other parts contain some of my favorite passages in the entire Bible. I love the wonderful, exalted view of God in chapter 6 and chapter 40 and following! I don’t know how anyone can read the last third of the book and still deny God’s foreknowledge and sovereign control of not just the broad strokes of history, but specific details regarding both good and evil!
(This was a seminary class assignment originally dated October 17, 2006. I made minor edits before posting it in this blog. For an introduction and table of contents for this series, see New Series: Old Testament Reading Journal)