Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tired of Thinking

For many folks, a conclusion is simply the place where they got tired of thinking.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Fellowship Restored

In the event that you’re only reading one side of this discussion, you should know that Mr. Mattes has received my letter of apology and has graciously forgiven me for my sinful response to his post. You can read his response here. I believe this restores our fellowship. Praise the Lord. I’m glad that’s over.

I pray that the discussions can continue in a spirit of gracious brotherhood, with cool heads, and warm hearts. We should be able to discuss things that are important to us without lopping one another’s heads off as we go. We are Christians after all. And when we do over react, as I did, we should have the humility to react in the way that Christ reacted when he was misunderstood and mistreated.

Thank you, Mr. Mattes, for your graciousness towards me. And thank you to Jesus for truly being Lord of lords and King of kings. To him belongs the glory. Amen.

Letter of apology to Mr. Mattes

This letter has already been sent to, and has been graciously been accepted by Mr. Mattes. He has give me permission to post it here. I have also made appropriate edits on my "Clearing Things Up" post.

Dear Mr. Mattes,

This morning I spent considerable time trying to figure out what caused you to be so incensed about my letter to your pastor. So I went back over my letter to your pastor and discovered a few things that alarmed me and for which I need to apologize to you for and ask your forgiveness:

First, I had no intention of trying to be anonymous or deceptive in writing to your pastor. I assumed that my e-mail signature had been automatically affixed to the letter to him. When I re-read it this morning and found that only my name was included; not my church or blog address—which is my normal signature—I could see how it appeared that I was trying to be sneaky or at least deceptive. I know as well as the next guy that my name could be googled and my “cover” blown, but never-the-less I apologize for making it appear that I was trying to be deceptive. Please forgive me.

Second, as an example of not thinking very carefully about the ramifications of what you are doing, I wrote my letter and subsequent post without thinking about how it would affect my friend and pastor Douglas Wilson. Pastor Wilson did not know about my letter until it had already been sent and posted. Not only did he not know about it but he certainly did not ask me to get involved in the discussion at all. He had the situation well in hand until I got all fired up and stuck my nose into it and now without me, he’s still doing very well. I have already apologized to him for making his life a little bit rougher and now I apologize to you for causing you to think my involvement was some sort of conspiracy or gang attack against you or your “side.” I did not have that in mind at all when I wrote, nor do I have it in mind now. Please forgive me for leading you in the wrong direction and for leading you to think worse of Pastor Wilson than you ought.

Third, I spent 4 years in the Navy and saw many instances of officers and senior enlisted men bullying junior enlisted men in the same way you described in your recounting of the incident with the enlisted man you were trying to help. I automatically connected my experience in the Navy with your actions and jumped to a different conclusion than the one you were trying to make. After reading the explanation of your first post—the one with brackets—I can see that I misunderstood your situation. Upon reflection, I can see that my conclusion makes no sense in the overall context of what you were trying to do with Louisiana Presbytery. I was wrong. Please forgive me.

Fourth, there has been some discussion about whether I said anything about going after you with the Air Force or the Pentagon. I don’t remember saying or writing anything about that. I don’t think that ever entered my mind. If, I did say anything like that you need to know that I had and have no intention of doing anything with regard to your job. That would be worse than reprehensible. Also, if I did say anything like that (in the heat of the battle, such as it was), I apologize and ask you to please forgive me.

One more thing on this point, when I wrote the letter to your pastor I did not ask him to remove you from office, only that he look into your behavior on the web, and if it turned out that you were in sin that you be rebuked.

Finally, I think most of this could have been avoided if I had called you on the phone and discussed it with you before I had written anything. Most of the concerns expressed in my letter, many of which I still have, could have been expressed better had I simply given you a call or written you a private letter. So, brother, I apologize for discussing this on the web at all and especially for not talking to you before my opinion of what you were trying to do went public (or to your pastor for that matter). Please forgive me.

If you can think of anything else I might need to ask your forgiveness for, I’d be happy to consider it and if I agree with you, to humbly ask. My guess is that unless we get this whole thing patched up, God will make us spend eternity next door to each other. I wouldn’t mind, if we were buds, but as it stands now, it wouldn’t be a very fun thing.

I pray that your ministry both in the Air Force and in your church would flourish with all the grace that is be supplied by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am your humbled brother in Christ,

Mike Lawyer

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Study questions for Exodus 18

Study Questions for Exodus 18

What is the context?

Vss. 1-9

v. 1—Who was Jethro?
What is a priest of Midan? Israel is friendly to those non-Israelites who are friendly to them. Num. 10:29-31; Jud. 1:16, 4:11; cf. Num 25:17-18
What made him want to come to Moses in the wilderness?
How did he hear all this news?

v. 2—who was Jethro to Moses?
Who was Zipporah?
When did Moses send her home? What was going on when he sent her home?

v. 3, 4—Who went home with her?
What were their names? Why were they named that? First time younger son is named.

v. 5—Where was Moses camped at this time?
How far from Jethro must they have been?

v. 6, 7—What happened when Jethro let Moses know he was on his way? Notice that Moses is humble toward Jethro. He holds nothing back in his greeting of Jethro.
No mention here of the family. Num. 12:1 not certain that the Cushite woman is Zipporah.

v. 8, 9—What kinds of things did the two men talk about?
What was Jethro’s response to all the things that had happened to Moses and the Israelites?

Vss. 10-12

v. 10—What did Jethro say as he rejoiced?
What word did he use for Lord?

v. 11—What made Jethro think God was above all the other gods? Psa 145:4-7
See the different translations.

v. 12—Besides writing a new song, what did Jethro do when he heard about the wonderful things God had done for the people?
Was he supposed to be bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices? Burnt offerings symbolize complete and total dedication to the God of the sacrifice. Bringing sacrifices is not the same thing as offering sacrifices.
Who else came to eat with him?
Is there any significance to Aaron’s coming for dinner?

Vss. 13-23

v. 13—What happened the next day?
What was Moses doing with the people? Teaching and judging.
For how long did he judge between the people?

v. 14—What was Jethro’s response when he saw what was going on?

v. 15, 16—Why was Moses doing what he was doing?
Why did the people come to Moses?

v. 17, 18—Why did Jethro think this was a problem?

v. 19, 20—What is Moses supposed to do? Teach literally is “warn 2 Chron 19:10. Show is literally to “make them to know.” The Hebrew idiom that views life as a journey along a path or road.

v. 21-23—What was Moses supposed to do after he taught the people the basics of God’s laws and statutes?
What were the qualifications supposed to be? Why those? Fear God Psa 111:10; pro. 8:13; Psa 147:11. Trustworthy men, dishonest gain (won’t take bribes) Psa 119:36; Isa 56:11.
How many people were they to oversee?
How was their oversight to relate to Moses oversight?
Why did Jethro think this arrangement would help Moses?
What did Jethro think God would think of this arrangement?

Vss. 24-27

v. 24-26—What did Moses do in response to Jethro’s idea? Listened and did. Deut 1:9, 13

v. 27—Why don’t we hear much about or from Jethro after this?

The first government of Israel was suggested by a non-Jew.