Tuesday, February 27 2024

Polycarp of Smyrna

Polycarp was an early disciple of John the apostle. He served as a bishop in the church at Smyrna. He was arrested by Roman soldiers when he was well into his 80's, taken to Rome, and then martyred.

After refusing to renounce Jesus, the proconsul intended to burn the elderly Polycarp alive, but the flames would not burn his body. So an executioner was commanded to pierce him with a dagger. The circumstances surrounding his death are well documented - and worth reading.

"If we please him in this present world, we will also receive the future world. After all, he has promised us that he will raise us from the dead and that if we live worthy of him, we will also reign with him."

- Polycarp (in his epistle to the Philippians)

Polycarp, as one of John's disciples in Smyrna, would have received one of the seven letters sent by John to each of the seven churches (Rev 1:11):

"To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:

These are the words of the First and the Last, who died and returned to life.

I know your affliction and your poverty—though you are rich...

Do not fear what you are about to suffer...

Be faithful even unto death, and I will give you the crown of life...

The one who overcomes will not be harmed by the second death."

Rev 2:8-11

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Monday, February 26 2024

Expectations and God's Timing

Expectations and God's Timing by Travis M. Snow The eschatological reading of Scripture is so important if you want to avoid discouragement in this life. For example, let's take the famous line in Isaiah: "No weapon formed against you will prosper...this is the heritage of the servants of the  […]

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Sunday, February 25 2024

"You have made them to be a kingdom"

A now elderly John, who was one of Jesus' closest confidants, was serving time in the Roman penal colony of Patmos - off the coast of modern day Turkey. It is here that he receives the revelation of Jesus Christ. Most will tend to compartmentalize this prophecy. But remember, Jesus told John in  […]

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Friday, February 23 2024

"I am coming"

With so much emphasis in the modern church being placed on the concept of "kingdom now", it's helpful to recall Jesus' closing statements at the close of our "New Testament Canon". First he identifies the audience. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to give you this testimony for the  […]

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Tuesday, February 6 2024

"Sola Scriptura" - revisited

Sola scriptura (Latin for 'by scripture alone') is a fairly modern Christian theological doctrine that came out of the Reformation period. It was a response to papal athority and abuses that crept into the church through traditions. It's a doctrine that's held by most Protestant Christian  […]

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Friday, February 2 2024

"The Great Multitude"

Considering the days we live in, I can appreciate Paul's statement here. He's torn between wanting to serve the needs of the church - and dying so that he can be with the Lord. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.  […]

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Sunday, January 14 2024

Genesis and John

I've often thought that the entire gospel of the kingdom could be summed up in four chapters - Genesis 1 - 3 and John 1. John understood the importance of Genesis and the role Jesus (who was the embodiment of the Word of God) had in the beginning. Genesis and John are inseparable. For the sake of  […]

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Thursday, January 4 2024

The Great De-Churching

"America is experiencing the largest and fastest religious shift in its history—greater than the First and the Second Great Awakening and every revival in the U.S. combined. But instead of a massive shift into the church, what we’re seeing is a mass exodus." - Michael Graham An  […]

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Tuesday, January 2 2024

When God flips the switch

If you've been a Christian for some time, one thing should be pretty obvious by now. There is no one way or template God uses to shake us out of our slumber and draw us to Him.  For me, it was the words of a friend that shook my foundation as a young adult. I don't know that he was even Christian at  […]

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Sunday, December 31 2023

The "Word" of God

Gutenberg_Bible.jpg, Dec 2023

The current Bible is an important collection of Judaeo-Christian writings from approximately 40 different authors over the course of about 1500 years. I understand the desire to protect and place high value on the statements recorded by these various authors. But in doing that, we risk placing the  […]

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Tuesday, December 19 2023

"See, your Savior comes"

Savior_Comes.jpeg, Dec 2023

There's something special about Isaiah. It's unparalleled in terms of the sheer number of "kingdom statements". Behold, the LORD has proclaimed      to the ends of the earth, “Say to Daughter Zion:      See, your Savior comes! Look, His reward is with Him,      and His recompense goes  […]

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Sunday, December 17 2023

The Apostle Paul and Patriarchy

Critics have used the term misogyny to describe some of Paul's statements. The reason? Virtually all the statements in the New Testament describing women as submissive partners in marriage and subservient to male leadership within the church, come from Paul. But I want you to understand that the  […]

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Monday, December 11 2023

All Our Heroes Fall

heroes.jpg, Dec 2023

Autumn Crew has made it a habit of being timely and relevant. This is a good read. All Our Heroes Fall  […]

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Sunday, December 10 2023

Polygamy and Concubines

Moses, in Genesis, documents the institution of marriage: Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, and over all the earth itself and every creature that crawls upon it.” ... Then the LORD God  […]

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Justice and Mercy

“Here is My Servant, whom I uphold,      My Chosen One, in whom My soul delights. I will put My Spirit on Him,      and He will bring justice to the nations. He will not cry out or raise His voice,      nor make His voice heard in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break      and a smoldering  […]

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The Spirit Himself testifies

Paul said the "Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children". Jesus, through John's account, elaborates further (John 14-17) by stating that the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit about many things. Those persistent, dare I say nagging, checks in our spirit  […]

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Friday, December 1 2023

When shepherds fail to protect the flock

At that time many will fall away and will betray and hate one another, and many false prophets will arise and mislead many. Matt 24:11 When Jesus said "many false prophets will arise and mislead many", he meant "many". Not just a few. I've had to re-calibrate my caution meter  […]

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Thursday, November 30 2023

the abused

Whenever God’s people fail to speak truth, expose the deeds of darkness to light, and function as a refuge for the abused, afflicted, and needy they have not only failed you [the abused] but have failed our God as well, for they look nothing like Him. - Diane Langberg  […]

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Monday, November 27 2023

"echo chambers" and "idols"

Community is important. They are often formed around common beliefs and ideals. But sometimes these communities develop un-healthy environments that can narrow, stifle, or limit perspectives. One example of this is the echo chamber. Believe it or not, Paul had to deal with this in the first century  […]

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Saturday, November 18 2023

The Gospel of the Kingdom - Consistency Matters

The message of the kingdom has been consistent right from the beginning. We were created as physical beings with the intention that we would rule over the earth. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the  […]

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