Thursday, July 2, 2015

Got The Hotel!

Lesly found the hotel of all hotels for a steal of a deal today. We booked it earlier today. We actually stayed at this hotel back in October for a couple of nights. They were exceptional. When you can find a 5-star hotel for less than a hundred dollars, that's a steal!!!! This hotel is definitely the best and nicest one I have ever stayed at in my entire life. I'm looking forward to staying there again. Kudos to Lesly for finding that deal. I was hoping we might get a chance to stay there again. Just an FYI: Sometimes waiting until the next to last minute pays off (at least when you're looking for a hotel). That's how we got that deal at this hotel last time. We booked it the night before we left Rome to head back to Madrid.

What's Going On Today?

Lots of things to get done today like booking our hotel in Spain for the first night we are there; scheduling a maintenance request for our apartment; printing up my Complutense notes to share with my advisor next week; Skyping with a couple of the students from Uganda; meeting with a student about doctoral studies overseas; finishing up my teaching points for Sunday's message at Riva Trace; grading some assignments; responding to lots of emails; etc. Today will be a busy day. There's no question. 

One thing you can be praying for me about is I feel a cold coming on. It would be great if that would get knocked out before it even got here. I really need to be as close to a 100 percent as possible when we are overseas. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Skyping With Uganda This Morning

This morning I had the opportunity to speak with one of my students in Uganda. These students have such tender hearts. They are so very thankful for the partnership we have with the Pastor's Discipleship Network there. Africano shared with me what his group is working on this week for the hermeneutics class they're building. It thrilled me to listen to what they are learning. In addition to the class, Africano talked about what's going on in his country–theologically, spiritually, and politically. Those are not isolated frames for thinking about the "climate" of where we live. They all intersect. Recently, we've seen how they intersect here in America with one of the latest Supreme Court decisions. The Ugandans are watching America. The whole world is. Hopefully, what they'll see is Christians strengthening themselves in the Lord, being committed to his Word, and intent, with a resolve that has never been greater, on showing people (not just telling people about) the greatest and purest love of all–God's love–which is demonstrated to us now and forever by Jesus' death on the cross for the sins of the world. That's the greatest message ever told. That's the biggest news every day of the week, every year on the calendar, in every nation of the world. We let the news stations tell us what news is. We talk, blog, and worry about the moments of this world, when instead we should be living in the single most important event in human history. The biggest news last week and this week is still the news that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Let's make sure no matter what goes on in this world, we stay focused on that message and living with the single purpose of sharing it with everyone, all the time, everywhere.

Matthew, Matthew, Matthew

I've got this week to push through a number of Greek manuscripts with the Gospel of Matthew, before I head over to Spain. I'll be meeting with my major advisor while I'm over there. I'm looking forward to updating him on the path I'm moving down for this research. It should be some very interesting conversation. Here's to pushing through! One more week to get as much data together as I possibly can, then I'll print it all, and be prepared to present what I'm doing once in Spain.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Calling My Greek Students In Indy

This morning I reached out to the students who are signed up for my beginning Greek class in Indianapolis. I got in touch with a few of them today, and I'll probably connect with some more as the week moves forward. I always love to call the students before the class starts. I find that it helps ease their nerves; after all, learning another language can be intimidating. Calling them also gives me an opportunity to talk about any number of tangents that I'm famous for going on. Today, somehow, one of our conversations went to missions and how we can't wait for after we graduate to start living for the Great Commission. The Great Commission isn't something that we graduate into.

My students are often surprised to get a phone call from the professor. Truth be told, I would be as well. It's not unusual for them to think something is wrong. It's always nice to see how the call means so much to them, when they realize I'm just calling to say hey and get to know them. God used our conversations today too. There were a couple of syllabus questions, but there were a handful of life questions. God has this amazing way of using us in others' lives. A simple phone call just might not be that simple. I've found after two years now that my students remember the phone calls a lot. I wonder why that is. It's interesting though. I remember a lot of things that were covered in my favorite professor's classes. Seems like I remember those more spontaneous conversations about life and ministry more than anything else, though. God works with the content on the syllabus. But there's more to education that just creating and grading quizzes and assignments. I want the Lord to be able to use me beyond conveying the significance of tense, voice, and mood, and other grammatical features of the Greek language. Those things are important and they have their place in our class. There's no doubt (just ask previous students). But there's more. The phone call when I call my students is an introduction. It says to each student, "Your professor cares about you, and he has every intention of seeing God do big things in your life through this class. You'll get some Greek, but he'll only be satisfied if you become more like Jesus while you're getting that Greek."

Class, I'm looking forward to seeing you in Indy next month!!!! I can't wait.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Greg Harris Teaching At Grace Tomorrow Evening

One of the teachers who made a huge impact in my life and ministry is Greg Harris. His class was the first one that I took at Southeastern way back in 2002. He now teaches at TMS in Los Angeles. Tomorrow night he'll be teaching in the evening service at Grace Community Church. If you're free tomorrow night, let me encourage you to watch the live stream of the service. Starts at 9:00 EST, and you can watch it here.

Students Teaching Greek!

One of my former Greek gladiators sent me a wonderful email this morning. It meant a lot to me. Here's what he wrote:
"I must have done something right last year, because the Greek students returned for more. And this time they brought their friends (so we started back at the beginning). Every Saturday morning when we study Greek together I am reminded of my great appreciation for you and your godly influence in my life."
Thank you for encouraging me, Alex. To God be all the glory. I wish more of our students would take what they're learning with Greek and teach it in their local churches. Is there any subject one studies in seminary that they couldn't do in the churches right where they serve? I don't think so.

Here are eight recommendations I can give you if you want to teach Greek in your local church. First, open it up to anyone and everyone! Encourage pastors around the community to get involved (even the ones that aren't part of your denomination or non-denomination denomination). You know what I'm saying? Don't be cliquey.

Second, think about how you can maximize the course. Think about when the class should be offered. There might be a time or day that is better for all of the students. Consider sending out a survey and figuring out when the best options are. This might help you get a better response. Don't think exclusively about your own calendar.

Third, broadcast the class live over the Internet. You speak the most-spoken language in the world (if it's English). You might be surprised who would benefit from "sitting" in the class.

Fourth, offer the classes for free (with a small exception). Be clear about the expectations you have for the students. If you want them to memorize vocabulary and do all the translations, tell 'em so up front. In fact, give them your desired expectation for how much time outside of the class that they ought to be investing in this study. Charge them the time they invest outside the class plus prayers. If you ask me, I found the prayers to be a nice non-monetary remuneration using a spiritual commodity (don't tell my boss!).

Fifth, teach them how to do things using Greek (e.g., word study, analyze a syntactical issue, biblical and theological analyses, etc.).

Sixth, count the cost. Are you going to teach the Greek course even if there is one student? What if they all drop out or dwindle away?

Seventh, spend more time in class doing quick practices and cooperative learning!!!! Spend less time lecturing and sharing what students got for their translation exercise homework!!!!

Eighth, if you give quizzes, make sure you go over them in class and incorporate them into your teaching time.

Here's a couple of pics from Alex's class in Virginia. One thing he didn't learn from me–to write legibly on the whiteboard. I write on the whiteboard like Russell Crowe in "A Beautiful Mind." Well, not quite that bad (I hope).

Friday, June 26, 2015

ALGNT Estará Disponible En Software Bíblico Logos

El libro Aprenda a leer el griego del Nuevo Testamento estará disponible en un tremendo recurso para los estudios bíblicos, Software Bíblico Logos. Está ofrecido ya antes de su publicación y por un precio muy cómodo. Puedes leer las noticias aquí. Y aquí está su reseña: 
"Esta gramática introductoria escrita por David Alan Black es tremendamente útil y fácil de usar. Con su ayuda aprender griego es más sencillo que nunca, poniendo al alcance de cualquiera la gran bendición que supone poder interpretar el lenguaje original del Nuevo Testamento. En sus páginas se mantiene la discusión sobre la gramática lo más básica posible. Las explicaciones son simplificadas, y se incluyen los vocabularios esenciales. Tiene muchos ejercicios que están diseñados para preparar al estudiante para los cursos prácticos subsiguientes en la exégesis, mientras que el énfasis lingüístico sienta las bases para cursos posteriores en la gramática. Si quieres estudiar el Nuevo Testamento con un nuevo enfoque y profundidad, este libro te ayudará en gran manera."

ALGNT Pre-Pub On Logos Bible Software

Logos Bible Software just announced Aprenda a leer el griego del Nuevo Testamento on Logos. It's available for a special pre-pub price. If you speak Spanish, want to learn Greek, and have Logos Bible Software, you'll want to check it out. If you ask me, this is just another of the many reasons to get Logos. My own study of the Bible wouldn't be the same without my Logos library.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Teaching The Word On July 4th Weekend

I'll be speaking at Riva Trace Baptist Church on Sunday, July 5th. I'm looking forward to walking our church through a portion of the Gospel of John that is near and dear to my heart. John 1:35-42 really ministered to me last month. I've been working through different parts of the Gospel for the book I'm writing on Peter and discipleship. I've been asking the Lord for an opportunity to share what I learned, and here's the perfect opportunity. I can't wait.

That's One Beautiful Sunset!

It stormed like crazy up here this evening. We didn't get a rainbow. No reminder tonight that God will not destroy the earth again by way of flood. But we did get a beautiful reminder of his grandeur and wonderful power and creativity with this most beautiful sky. We live in a day of technology. When we want to see a sunset, many of us will Google "sunset." I'll say this: Nothing on Google, absolutely nothing, compares to being outside and seeing a sky like the one we saw tonight. It's different to look into a screen and see what was; it's better to be underneath and look up at the heavens with all of their beauty.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Rolling Discussion: What's The Number One Lesson Your Dad Taught You?

Today is Father's Day and for our "Rolling Discussion" we have the following question: "What's the number one lesson your dad taught you?"

Join the discussion below in the comments section.

A Letter For Those Who Hurt On Father's Day

I had the opportunity to call my dad earlier this morning. I can't be in North Carolina today, as much as I wish I could, but I got to speak with my dad on the phone. A few moments ago I sent him an email.
"Happy Father’s Day! I love you, man. With all my heart, I love you. Seriously, dad, it is crazy to think about, but there is no one—absolutely no one—in my life that compares to you. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Dads are special. That’s something that gets tossed around every year on Father’s Day. It’s such a generic statement though. My dad is the most special one in the world. Thanks for always being there for me. Thanks for letting me learn hard lessons. Thanks for never writing me off or anything like that. God knows I’ve done some pretty stupid stuff. You’ve been a trusted dad. There are a lot of young men in the world today that don’t have a dad, haven’t had a dad the whole time growing up. Other people in the world, my wife included, would give anything to talk to their dad one more time and just hug them as absolutely strong as they possibly could. I get to talk to my dad every single day. And you’ve been a part of my life, again, every single day. I’ve made no serious decision in my life apart from your counsel. The world would be a much better place if young men and women could have just a smidgen of the dad I have in you. I love you, and I’m so glad that you’re my dad!"
In case you didn't know, my dad is my best friend. He means more to me than words can describe. But did you notice what I said in the email to my dad? There are lots of boys and girls who don't a have "dad" in their lives. Maybe dad left, abandoning the family, and now they have this deep wound that never seems to heal. Maybe dad is sick, and the thought of next Father's Day on this Father's Day stings. Maybe dad is around, but the relationship has never been healthy. Instead of nurturing, for them Father's Day is a reminder of how they never lived up to the standard, or how dad always tore them down. For others, like my wife, dad was the best, but he is now with the Lord. I say "but," because as amazing as that truth is, it still hurts that he is not here and with us. One more day now would mean the world. Of course, for those of us who have that hope in Jesus Christ whose dads also shared that hope in Jesus Christ, the days we'll one day share with dad will be everlasting.

I loved what Dana Perino over at Fox wrote this morning:
"Daughters never want to disappoint their fathers and dads want to keep their daughters safe from evil and heartaches. But over a lifetime there will of course be disappointments, heartbreaks, angry exchanges and horrible silences. Thankfully, those things pass. And what lasts between a dad and his daughter is much more important. . . . A daughter's relationship with her father is wonderful and complicated. He's the first man they know, first they learn from, and first they want to please. Daughters never want to disappoint their fathers and dads want to keep their daughters safe from evil and heartaches."
Lesly agrees wholeheartedly. Dad is super special. Yep, there are disappointments, heartbreaks, etc. But those things pale in comparison to all the beautiful and amazing things great dads do. To concentrate on the disappointments and all those other things is to hone in on a poor stroke of Monet's brush in "Woman with a Parasol." I've said it a million times, and I'll say it a million more, Lesly's dad gave me the best example of what it looks like to live for Christ faithfully and, as a result of that commitment to the Lord, love others as more important than oneself.

There are a lot of people for whom Father's Day brings a tear, maybe a million tears. If you're one of those that experiences sadness on days like this, I want you to know that I'm praying for you.

If you're a dad, the single most important thing that you can do is draw nearer to the one who created you . . . the one who created your son or daughter. Relationships with your children are deepest when they are an extension of your walk with the Lord.

If you're someone who the idea of "dad" conjures up the most terrible feelings and most painful memories, there is a Dad who is calling to you. He is greater than the dads of the world. His love is great. He is the giver of gifts, the one who forgives, the most merciful of all, the best counselor, the best shoulder to cry on, the mightiest defender who protects his kids from harm, the teacher of the best lessons, the one who upholds not just you but also the whole world by his powerful word. Our Father is in heaven. No one has ever seen him, though we believe in him. His Son Jesus has told us all about him. In fact, the Father sent his Son, not just to tell us about him, but to give his own life to pay the price for our sins. This Father makes the most difficult decision of all–allowing his most precious, beloved, and only Son to die on the cross. Here's my Father's Day verse for you:
"God the Father treated his Son Jesus Christ as if he had committed every single sin in the history of the world, even though he had never committed a single sin. The Father did that so that he could treat those of us who believe in his Son as if we had never committed a single sin, even though we had committed them all." (2 Cor. 5:21)
And those of us who believe in his Son become his sons and daughters. You may have had the worst earthly experience, but I promise you that our Heavenly Dad does not disappoint. He will never leave or forsake you. He has shown just how deep his love is. So great is that one single demonstration of his love on the cross that it echoes all through history. Even today you can hear his "I love you" in the the message of the cross. Do you hear it? . . . "I love you."

If you're someone whose dad believed that message and they are no longer with you here, but have made the passage to the other side of eternity, stand firm in your hope in Jesus Christ. The greatest thing about heaven will not be that your earthly dad is there; the greatest thing about heaven is going to be that God is there. But it's going to be pretty great being their with the ones we loved this side of heaven. Only there, they won't be our dads. They'll be our brothers.

Happy Father's Day, Dad!