Archive for the ‘Ephesians’ Category

Only in Milan!

October 11th, 2011

There is an Italian proverb by Marco D’Oggione which says, “A man should learn to sail in all winds.”  As Marla and I walked through the Magenta neighborhood recently (likely that of Leonardo’ da Vinci), we felt the cool autumn winds and saw the bluest sky.  But, the winds of this autumn are not limited to the skies of Lombardy.

Piero e Eveline

Let me explain.  Last Sunday night, we had a couple from Zurich, Switzerland over to our apartment for a late supper (la cena).  They were originally from the lake region of northern Italy.  He was Italian, she  was of German descent.  If you notice the photo, our new friend looks like the actor George Clooney!    A Milanese stopped him to ask  if he was Clooney; he said, “No, I’m his brother.”

Giovani e Lucia

On the evening prior, we had an Italian couple in our home, Giovanni, an attorney in Milan, and his wife, Lucia.




Then, again, last night, I taught two young women from Ethiopia at the office (And, yes, I used Acts 8 to finalize my thoughts; thrilling indeed! ).   Prior to that meeting, I had spent almost an hour answering a question posed by a man from Sri Lanka.  Tomorrow, I will be teaching a young married woman named Vanessa, from Peru, South America.  In the morning, I will have met with a student from Ecuador.

The Italian language  and culture has brought all of these people together from the four winds of Earth.  This is a situation not dissimilar from that of Acts 2 and Isaiah 2 (“and many people shall come…that he may teach us his ways”).

Marla and I feel that we were placed  in Milan for this special moment in history. The breezes of these times are like currents in history.  The apostle Paul believed and taught in Ephesians 1 that  the winds of history serve to connect and affirm that God has entered history through Christ, and that history itself is not static, but dynamic for those who participate by faith.  We will close with a piece from Dante Alighieri: “Remember tonight, for it is the beginning of always.”


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


July 6th, 2008

“Awake, O sleeper,

and arise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you”

(Ephesians 5:14)

It is plain from the quotation of Ephesians 5:14 that Paul is drawing from the Old Testament theme of personal awakening, among the Lord’s people.  This theme is especially represented in Isaiah.  Isaiah 51:9 reads-“Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the days of old, the generations of long ago…” Isaiah 51:17 reads, “Wake yourself, wake yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath…” Isaiah 52:1-2 says-“Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion…Shake yourself from the dust and arise; be seated, O Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion…” Isaiah 26:19 is also to be studied in this vein-“Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.  You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!”

“Church History” speaks of “Four Great Awakenings in American History;” the essential characteristic of which is a definite rise in religious interest.

1.    1730s-40s          3.    1880-1900

2.    1800 -1830        4.    1960-1970

May your own life be awakened to the love of God in Christ and the Holy Spirit (Romans 13:11)!  Paul had much more in mind than L-dopa.

-Robert M. Housby

Pyapp and Granny

August 19th, 2007

“…knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord…”

(Ephesians 6:8)

Pyapp (pronounced rapidly: pee’-yap) and Granny were my grandfather and grandmother, respectively. Their real names were James and Apollonia. We knew them as Pyapp and Granny. When I was about four years old, Granny put coffee grinds and apple peelings in Pyapp’s empty carton of Half & Half cream. Then, we waited for him to come into the kitchen and add it to his coffee. It happened just as planned. Granny and I laughed our heads off when Pyapp got the garbage scraps instead of the cream. But, it didn’t end there. Pyapp would chase me—all the while pulling out his false teeth and making them chatter. Quite the mayhem for a four year old. I remember bringing my friends over to look at Pyapp. I’d say, “Do the teeth thing!” He’d do it, and we’d all scatter. Summers were often times for spraying Pyapp with the water hose. The chase was on. One thing is for sure, Pyapp and Granny invested in people, not things.

Are we taking time enough for people? No doubt about it, our days are filled with so many activities. We can’t do everything, but we can do something; and, what we can do, we should do; and what we should do, by the grace of God, we will do. Evaluate how your time is spent. Are you investing in people or in things? Relationships matter. Relationships should take precedence. Jesus told his disciples, “…I have called you friends…” (John 15:15).

Pyapp and Granny no longer sit under the breezes of the cottonwood tree. But, we remember what it was like when they invested their time, not in things, but in people. Ephesians 6:8 (quoted above) still applies. Let’s re-invest in the work.

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Ephesians, New Testament Tags:

Church Music: Joyful Noise Or Joyful News?

April 1st, 2007

“Make a joyful noise to the LORD”

(Psalm 100:1; compare Psalm 150)

“…but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart…”

(Ephesians 5:18-19)

The Old Testament placed emphasis on instrumental music in certain instances. The classic example of this is 1 Samuel 16:14-23, where King Saul would call for David’s lyre to soothe him from a recurrent evil spirit (depression?). The nature of the Old Testament, itself, was but a shadow of the better covenant to come under Christ (as predicted by Jeremiah, 31:31-34; Hebrews 9:1; 10:1; especially see 9:11).

But, New Testament worship would be different, as prophesied, and as implemented, under the doctrine of the apostles (Acts 2:42). In this regard, we may see a shift away from mere carnal sacrifices and offering to more spiritually based worship. For example, instead of incense—prayers; instead of animals—Jesus; instead of mechanical instruments—the heart (see Ephesians 5:19).

The kind of music that God desires today, that is, what he has ordered for church worship, is specified by Paul—“I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also” (1 Cor. 12:15).

– Robert M. Housby

A Missionary Theology for the Local Church

March 4th, 2007

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father sent me, even so I am sending you.”

(John 20:21)

“…so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God
might now be made known…”

(Ephesians 3:10)

Comeback churches and breakout churches are not satisfied with merely doing church for an hour or two a week. Do you as a member of the church see yourself as a missionary? It is easy to be missions minded (in theory), but not missional (in practice) in one’s own hometown. It is easier to send others than to realize that God wants to prepare you for greater service in the kingdom. Consider the following theological points:

A. God is a Missionary God – The Lord is a sending God.

1. He sent Noah on a mission into the new world (Gen. 8:15-19).
2. He sent Moses and Aaron (Ex. 3:9,10, 14,15; 1 Sam. 12:8).
3. He sent the prophets (Jer. 25:4).
4. He sent John the Baptist (John 1:6).
5. He sent Jesus (John 17:3, 18-25; 20:21).

B. The Church is Meant to Be a Missionary Body (Ephesians 3:10)—

A people sent to serve in the name of her Lord Jesus (Gal. 6:7,8; Matt. 25:35ff.).

To reach more for Christ should be your prayer. Do you agree?

– Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Ephesians, John, missions, New Testament, sent Tags:

Is Your Church in the Bible?

February 18th, 2007

“…the church which is his body”

(Ephesians 1:22-23)

A common mistake being made by many in the world today is the notion that no one church is any better than any other church. The yellow pages are full of Christian type organizations, usually represented as this church or that church. However, the Lord is not bound by any American marketing found in the yellow pages. And, the Lord certainly never intended for the pluralistic nonsense out there that is being touted under the banner of non-judgmental inter-faith/inter-denominationalism (Matt. 16:18).

If your church is in the Bible, it will bear the credentials of being the church that Jesus built; if not, it simply won’t. These credentials include:

1. A Scriptural approach toward establishing what is “truth” (John 17:17).
2. A Scriptural name which honors Christ as its only head (Eph. 1:22,23).
3. A Scriptural unity based upon the word of the original apostles’ (John 17:20).
4. A Scriptural church organization (Eph. 4:4-16).
5. A Scriptural plan of salvation that speaks where the Bible speaks and is silent where the Bible is silent (Acts 2:38-47).

If your church is so represented in the Scriptures, then by all means and at all times, commit yourself to this church. Don’t make excuses, don’t shirk responsibility; don’t dilly-dally, shilly-shally, or commit willy-nilly. Give the Lord your best—do what’s right, right now (1 Corinthians 15:58).

– Robert M. Housby

Did You Think to Pray?

October 29th, 2006


(Devotional in Prayer)


“…praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication…”

(Ephesians 6:18)

E.M. Bounds wrote, “Prayer links human weakness with the power of the over-coming Son” (The Possibilities of Prayer). Prayer, for the Christian, is a privilege. It is founded upon the promises and precepts of Scripture, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20). And, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). And, again, “First, of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people” (1 Timothy 2:1).

The question, “Did you think to pray?” is a humble reminder that one would pray. To be devotionally committed to God through Christ in prayer is but an excursion through this life hand in hand with one’s Creator and Redeemer. We say that it is a privilege because non-Christians, the unbaptized or nominal backslider, will not come around to such a devotional approach to life. But, to the faithful, the hour of prayer is always at hand; the act of prayer is always a blessing; and the life of prayer is always about a relationship with one’s Lord.

There may be something for which you need to pray right now. May you be informed that the God of heaven hears prayer (1 John 5:14,15).

– Robert M. Housby

The Challenge of Ephesians 5:18— “Be Filled With the Spirit”

March 12th, 2006

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in Psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ”

(Ephesians 5:18-21)

The challenge of Ephesians 5:18 is—“be filled with the Spirit…” Paul, here, uses the imperative mood (Be filled!). This is intriguing because the Ephesians were already sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13); which took place when they heard the gospel, believed the gospel, and were baptized (Eph. 1:13b; 5:26). This may account for why Christians sometimes go through periods of apathy. It very well may be that these non-productive periods of spiritual disinterest—whether regarding church attendance, daily devotionals, or, basic outreach beyond themselves—simply happens as a direct result of spiritual emptiness. We do know this, Paul firmly said, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30). If this is Paul’s negative criticism to the Ephesians, his positive direction which he desires for them is expressed in 3:16,19—“…to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God…”

Concerning the challenge of Ephesians 5:18, we may say with certainty: that God wants his people filled; that he wants them filled internally; and, that he desires this to be Spiritual in content. His challenge and your response!?

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Ephesians, New Testament, Spirit Tags:

Kill Shot (A Satanic Objective)

January 15th, 2006

“…the flaming arrows of the evil one”

(Ephesians 6:16, NEB)

While we compose this article, Leonard Elmore’s novel, Kill Shot, is being made into a major motion picture in the university town of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. As the title imports, death is a major theme of this production. But, apart from the entertainment industry, death occupies a significant place in human history. Turning the pages of the Holy Scriptures but twice, we are immediately confronted with death–death in the garden and death in the field (Romans 5:12; Genesis 4:8). Kill-shots, the Bible declares, have their origin in “evil,” and through “the evil one”(1 John 3:12).

It appears that there is Satanic objective in the universe. And, that objective is to cause man to sin; and, from this sin to bring death (James 1:15; 5:19-20). This matter of Satanic objective is a consistent theme throughout the Bible (Matthew 13:19; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:9). Luther wrote in one of his holy hymns, “For still our ancient foe Doth seek to work us woe; His craft and pow’r are great And armed with cruel hate” (A Mighty Fortress). D. Edmond Hiebert refers to Satan as, “the grand adversary of God and man” (The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, 755).

Yes, the Devil wants a kill-shot. It is for this reason that one should be concerned with the diabolical objective of the Devil. Satan seeks an opening now. His time is limited, and your time is limited. While arrows fly, take “the shield of faith” (Ephesians 6:16; 1 Peter 1:5), for he seeks a kill-shot today.

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Ephesians, evil, New Testament, Satan Tags: