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Between Castle and Cathedral

December 27th, 2011

 One day in December, while walking between the Castle and the Cathedral of Milan, we heard some very elegant electric guitar music echoing between the stone walls.  There he was sitting on the ground playing Imagine by Lennon.   Short's remembered in MilanHe played slowly with delicate finesse.   Then, while admiring his instrumental work (because the lyrics are wanting), I looked down to see he had no legs (uhm).   His gift was undoubtedly despite his severe limitations.   Again, recently, in the cavernous chambers of the Metropolitana, I heard Mozart being played by a gifted violinist.  We understand such beauty when it comes to music because of the immediate feedback.  But, sometimes in the cause of Christ there are no immediate overtures or encores.   But, we believe that one day things will resolve when the books are opened.

The great Luciano Pavorotti said, “I think a life in music is a life well spent, and this is what I have devoted my life to.”  Brooks remembered in Milan We understand that not long after the Italian tenor said those words he passed on into the great hereafter.    Someday, perhaps not long from now, we may like Pavarotti reflect back on our life and muse about what our gift has been.   And, like the music of Pavarotti, though he is gone, his music plays on.

We recently came across an anonymous line which we dedicate here and now to those of you who have left your gift between the Castle and the Cathedral of Elizabeth and Doug remembered in MilanMilan (Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 9:11).   “Some people come into our lives and quickly go.   Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts.   And we are never, ever the same”  

A Time for Faith, A Time for Us

June 4th, 2009

“If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.”

(Isaiah 7:9)

When my wife and I were married, the music by Kusic and Snyder was played.  It is the Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet. One of the phrases of this piece articulates-“A Time for Us, Someday Will Be…” This music was beyond my 21 years.  It was beautiful as haunting, but I could not fathom the emotional depths of this piece.  Now, 29 years later, I know that it was well chosen, and its depth has been felt as lived.

Today, there is a deep need among the Lord’s people in the churches of Christ to rededicate their lives.  Faith is not a mobile made in a Bible class, nor a Mobius Strip made at the university.

1.       Faith is an unseen reality of God with his people (2 Cor. 5:7).

2.       This faith has a primary focus in the Christ who always leads in triumphal procession (2 Cor. 2:14)

3.       This Christian faith results in good courage (2 Cor. 5:6,8; 1:24).

This is truly a time for faith, and a time for us! The present is indeed directed by the future.  The Lord is there (Ezek. 48:35)!

-Robert M. Housby

Providence

May 14th, 2009

(100-600 Levels)

“The heavens are the Lord’s heavens,

but the earth he has given to the children of man”

(Psalm 115:16)

On the 100 Level, providence involves-

1.    Definition

2.    Usage (Acts 24:2, from pronoias)

On the 200 Level, providence involves-

1.        A reference to God in the world (Eccl. 3:1-11)

a.   Hebrew world view believes in purpose on earth (3:1)

b.   And, transcendent purpose in heaven (3:11; Isa. 55:8-9)

2.        Christian world view unites God’s purpose in Christ (Eph. 1:10)

On the 300 Level, providence involves-

1.         A long and loud praise of God’s universal providence (Ps. 104)

2.         Psalm 104 begins and ends with a summons for the individual to participate in this providence (104:1,35).

On the 400 Level, providence involves-

1.         The comprehensive terminology of heaven (shamayim; ouranos)

2.         Our deepest reality is that we were meant for heaven-made for earth (2 Cor. 5:1-8)

On the 500 Level, providence involves-

1.         Kingdom of God in personal dailiness (Matt. 5:45; 6:25-34; 10:29-31)

2.         Kingdom of God in personal discernment of kingdom reality (Matt. 13)

On the 600 Level, providence involves-

1.         Living 100-600 level revitalization (Finding your place in His plan)

2.         Revelation 11:15!

-Robert M. Housby

Three Verbs of the Gospel

April 25th, 2009

& the powerful application of 2 Corinthians 13:5

The following outline is taken from the oral notes of  E. Ray Cox, during the series, The Time of Trouble, presented at Cape Girardeau, Missouri (April 22-26, 2009).

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith…”

(2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV)

Introduction: 2 Corinthians 13:5 is a self-test for every Christian.

This self-test is applicable to three specific verbs of the gospel-Come,

Go, or, Wait.

I. “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28-30)

II. “Go” (Matt. 28:18)

III.  “Wait” (Acts 1:4; Lk. 24:49)

Conclusion: Although 2 Corinthians 13:5 is a self-critique in general, it allows us to identify our own Christian development.  Are you coming, going or waiting?

Categories: 2 Corinthians, Bible, New Testament Tags:

The Comforter

April 2nd, 2009

“The Road goes ever on and on,

Down from the door where it began,

Now far ahead the road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

(Bilbo Baggins. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  The same poem in another version occurs in The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship)

The Spirit is called in John 14:16-“another Comforter” (ASV, 1901).  The Greek is Paraclete. The Amplified New Testament includes a parentheses in Jn. 14:16 with additional phases of meaning associated with the Greek term Paraclete-“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener and Standby) that He may remain with you forever” [emphasis mine, RMH].  So, we see that this term has a wide array of significance.

Two major concepts about the Spirit appear in John 14:16-17

1.       The Spirit’s constant presence is promised to future followers of Jesus after his death and resurrection (Jn. 16:19-22,28).

2. This Spiritual presence will be a constant communion among future believers (see esp. 14:17 and 2 Cor. 13:14).

Wherever the road leads, the Comforter will be our comfort (2 Cor.1:3,4).

-Robert M. Housby

The Gospel Must Be Accepted

February 19th, 2009

“Behold now is the favorable time; behold now is the day of salvation”

(2 Cor. 6:2)

The gospel was meant to be accepted (2 Cor. 11:4).  The gospel must be accepted because it was meant to be accepted; meant by the Lord to be received by men (Acts 11:1; 1 Thess. 2:13).  The appeal of the gospel always has urgency and expectancy within its message (2 Cor. 6:2).

1. Accepting the gospel is an individual affair.  Notice the emphasis upon “each one” in 2 Corinthians 5:10, and throughout the New Testament.  Individual responsibility is clearly meant.

2.Accepting the gospel entails ownership. Ownership also infers responsibility-a right of possession.  2 Peter 1:1,3,4,8,12, etc.  indicate ownership by verbs such as-“have obtained,” “granted to us,” and “you have.”

3. Accepting the gospel means accepting the consequences of following Christ (1 Pet. 4:12-19).

My son has a personal web site which displays the Sphinx of Egypt; the Eiffel Tower of Paris; and the Tower of Pisa.  All of these are places which he has visited in person.  They are not mere hopes nor dreams; but for him they are realities, facts, moments of his life.  Is the gospel such a reality for you?   Have you owned it yet?

Robert M. Housby

The Biblical Background of Heaven: shamayim and ouranos

June 15th, 2008

I. The Greek Classical View of Heaven (Acts 14:8-18)

A. “The word always has a double reference” (Kittel, 497).

1. Cosmological sense (starry heavens)

2. Theological view (habitation of the gods/myth)

=>”The gods have come down to us” (Acts 14:11)

B. Ouranos meant both physical and metaphysical in Greek culture, and eventually came to denote by the New Testament period a guiding principle (as astrology in the Roman World). This concept of heaven became a flurry of philosophical activity from Homer, Pythagoras, Aristotle, and Plato, and others. In fact, Plato taught that heaven (ouranos) was the starting point for absolute knowledge (Phaedrus, 247b).

II. Old Testament/shamayim

A. shamayim is identified with raqia (Gen. 1:6-8)

B. a place of fixed references (Gen. 1:14; Ps. 119:89)

C. The Bethel Story and the dwelling place of God (Gen. 28)

D. The God of heaven formula (Deut. 26:15; 32:40; Ex. 9:29,33)

E. Source of all blessing (Gen. 49:25; Deut. 33:13; 1 Ki. 8:35)

F. Especially salvation-history (Dan. 7:17)

III. New Testament/ouranos

A. Jn. 3:9-12; 6:33 Jesus’ source

B. Acts 1:9-11; 2:34 Jesus will come again

C. 2 Cor. 5:1-9 Heaven holds all to me

D. Eph. 1:3 etc. The Christian’s position

Robert M. Housby

It Is A Solemn Thing to Die and Appear Before God

January 27th, 2008

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil”

(2 Corinthians 5:10)

Paul’s universal statement of judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10)follows upon a former statement made to the Corinthians in an earlier epistle: “Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5). Here it is declared that judgment will be a disclosure of personal motives.

We are aware of the fact that even some Christians are scared to death about dying. We are also cognizant that not a few ungodly and atheistic have no fear of death (irony of ironies). If your emphasis of preaching through the years has been about the human response to the gospel—What have you done?—and, has had imbalance regarding What God has done (grace), it should not be strange that a Christian might therefore have a fear of dying. As for those who refuse to name the name of Christ, they may not have a fear of dying—but neither do they have a hope of living. See, a cow will stand in the field chewing and not have a care in the world; but, that same cow has no comprehension of hope beyond the grave either. The atheistic confidence is only confidence when he/she lowers the bar to the animal kingdom. Puny ploy it is then to take this kind of reasoning and call it academic and brilliant.

It is a solemn thing to die and appear before God (2 Corinthians 5:11-15).

Robert M. Housby

Categories: 2 Corinthians, Bible, God, judgment, New Testament Tags:

Enrich Your Life Today

April 29th, 2007

“You will be enriched in every way…”

(2 Corinthians 9:11)

Someone has said, If your joy is waning, you’re not sharing your faith. In Philemon 6, Paul urges Philemon to live what he believes—“…and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective…” If Paul, the prisoner of the State, because of Christ, could speak of joy and rejoicing from a first-century prison cell, how is it that we, who are free and materially blessed, have trouble locating joy?

Three biblical directives to enrich your life:

1. Enrichment comes by being invested in other people’s lives (2 Corinthians 9:6-15; Philemon 6,7)

2. Enrichment comes to those who can see beyond themselves and live in grace (2 Corinthians 9:8,14).

3. Enrichment comes through the gift of God, through Christ, and your confessional living of this gospel of Christ (2 Corinthians 9:13-15).

Isn’t it time for you to experience the joy of Christ? “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).

– Robert M. Housby

Get A Christian World View

December 31st, 2006

world view How one characteristically looks outward upon the universe.

“taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”

(2 Corinthians 10:5,NASB)

All people have a world view. Some have world views that are skimpy, while others have developed their world view to reflect the creator-redeemer God. It is hoped that the following seven-fold structure will be helpful in the development of your Christian World View.

1. The Lord is God (Deuteronomy 4:35)

2. Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 4:15)

3. The Bible is the word of God (Psalm 119:160)

4. The church is the people of God (Acts 11:24,26)

5. The gospel is the plan of God (Romans 1:16)

6. Heaven is the calling of God (Hebrews 3:1)

7. Faith is the expectation of God [in all particulars](Hebrews 11:6)

We stand on the verge of a New Year. Will you stand with the Lord your God—regarding Jesus, Bible, Church, Gospel, Heaven, and Faith?

– Robert M. Housby