Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Thoughts on Hebrews Questions from May 28


HEBREWS STUDY QUESTIONS/THOUGHTS

This past Monday, I posted questions that were discussed the day before in my Sunday School Life GroupI encourage you to ponder/think about them and jot down your thoughts before checking what “we” said.

These questions were discussed in my Life Group Sunday. Samples of the group's "answers" are posted below each question.

Keep this in mind as we go through the study: 

"Religion" is a group responsibility to Jews but an individual responsibility to Christians.

I like what the Adult Bible Fellowship Study Book dated 2002 has to say: "It is clear that while there is continuity between the revelation mediated by the prophets and that reflected and refracted in Jesus, yet there is radical discontinuity as well. Between all who came before and Jesus is an infinite difference.” - From a reply to a blog post by one of my group members.

My Life Group (Spirit Alive) spent a lot of time looking at Old Testament references this week. We finished the last three OT references in this list. That's all.
Answers in this color are from last week.
Hebrews 1

Vv 5-14
There are seven Old Testament quotes in these verses. Find them in this text—some are included in more than one verse. Look each up in context.
Hebrews verse/OT Reference
1.      Verse 5 / Psalm 2:7
2.      Verse 5 / 2 Samuel 7:14 /
3.      Verse 6 / There was significant discussion on where this is found in the OT. Various translations gave these references Deuteronomy 32:41, Psalm 89:27; Psalm 97:7
4.      Verse 7 / Psalm 104:4
5.     Verses 8 and 9/Psalm 45:6-7 & Psalm 102:35-27
6.     Verses 10 and 11/Isaiah 51:6, 34:4, and 50:9
7.     Verse 13/Psalm 110:1

How does each quote indicate that Christ is superior to angels?
Which quote is most convincing to you? Why?
Which quote is the most surprising to you? Why?

Answers to questions above

1.   Implies Jesus is God’s Son. He’s higher than the angels because God made angels and Jesus is part of the Trinity.
2.  Father/Son relationship. Jews had received no direct messages from God in over 400 years. Before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was provided to individuals for specific tasks.
3.    An old version of the Deuteronomy reference the New American Standard Bible is the best fit. No other translation the class accessed was similar. However, Psalm 97:7 did have a cross reference to Psalm 103:36 where angels are clearly identified. The Septuagint (early Greek Translation) translates Deut 32:43 as, Rejoice, ye heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him. We spent a lot of time here, trying to figure out why Deuteronomy was referenced with unsatisfactory results.
4.  Angels are often referred to as wind or spirits—as in Psalm 104:4. Angels were made to do things by GOD.
5.   Psalm 45 includes the "scepter of righteousness" as "the scepter of Your kingdom." Only kings had scepters. Scepters were indicators of acceptance of a visitor for an audience. Jesus is higher than a "companion." Is 51:6
6.   Jesus lasts for eternity. Is 50:9, everything else will wear out like a garment. Is 34:4 says "all the host of heaven will wear away."
7.   The LORD says to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet." Sit is a finished motion. OT priests stood while they worked. Christ sits at the right hand of God by invitation.
 Next Sunday, June 4, we will start Chapter 2. 

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Almanac: Pomp and Circumstance


This is NOT Part 4 of my grading series. 
It is, however, an appropriate blog for this time of year. 
We'll get back to grading next time.
I mean it.
Really.

The recording of Edward Elgar directing Pomp and Circumstance Marche No.1 is the “go to” music for just about any school graduation. I don’t know why?

The rest of this blog has nothing to do with marching. I will reference P&C again.

I started teaching high school in 1973. Protesting was a national pastime for many students. Graduation ceremonies, even high school graduation ceremonies, were targets. While many of the protests were ideological in theory, many were times for people to do things they “had the right to do”—even if they didn’t have that right.

I’m not a fan of graduation ceremonies.
I remember my 8th-grade graduation (1964) more from photographs than from RNA pathways. It’s probably because I got an award.
I remember my high school graduation (1968). I was the closer on a 5-part valedictory address.
I remember my college graduation from San Diego State (1972) in Aztec Bowl—now a parking structure—for two reasons. 
  • First, Pauline Frederick was the speaker. Her speech was anti-Vietnam War biased and did not go over well at a university in San Diego, California. 
  • Second, my wife came down to the field after the ceremony. I split as fast as I could because there was nobody between me and my car. Since cell phones were sci-fi then, she didn’t know I’d left, and I didn’t know she’d come down. Forty minutes later, my parents pulled into our driveway and asked where Leanne was. I hot-footed it back to SDSU and found her waiting on the sidewalk with a kind passerby who waited with her.

I remember the graduation ceremony for my Ph.D., only because I got to wear a snazzy outfit known as regalia.

Faculty attendance at Monte Vista High School graduations was optional in 1974, 75, and 76. We did have a nude motorcyclist speed around the track at one of those, but nothing else of consequence happened that I remember.
Then beach balls and tortillas began to fill the air during the ceremony. The administration requested that all faculty members sit with the students to, “emphasize the academic nature of the event.”
“You mean, you want us to be police,” I said.
They held to the party line.
“When you admit that we’re police, I’ll go down on the field.”

For the next 18-years stood at the top of the stairs next to what was then “the wrestling room” during graduation ceremonies. I was the “door monitor.” Students had to return the robes because the school had rented them for the occasion. My job was to keep students from entering the wrestling room with the robes on because, once inside the room, they had to throw the robe in a cardboard box and pick up their diploma. Disrobing in the room would have seriously disrupted the flow.
I enjoyed doing that for two reasons.
First, when Pat Carroll was principal, his goal was to finish the entire graduation ceremony—from the time Pomp and Circumstance ended until mortarboards were tossed—in 30-minutes.
MV averaged around 500 graduates each year.
There was an invocation, the Pledge of Allegiance, acknowledging the Honor Graduates, and a student speaker each year.
After all that, every student’s name was called over the P.A. system as they walked across their half of the stage and received their diploma from one of two dignitaries.
Two dignitaries were required because one side of the graduates entered from stage left and the other from stage right.
It was a quick-moving sight to behold.
After two 40-minute ceremonies, he managed a 35-minute one.
Those of us on “robe recovery detail” anxiously awaited his final graduation—the year he retired.
Thirty minutes and forty seconds after Pomp and Circumstance, mortarboards flew like Frisbees.
He’d done it!

The second reason I enjoyed being “door monitor” was my “position” at graduations, I got to see every graduate. I am proud to say that more than a few took photos with me.

Top Row: Ph.D. Grad. MVHS as "door monitor" in 1984 w/ Babi Scott.
Middle: Doug and me "on the field" after his graduation in 1998.
Bottom Row: Emily Marsh and Julia Wright in 1993. Bobby T at GOHS (keep reading).
Hmmm.  It doesn't look high school males were "in the mood" for photos after graduations!

I was on the field for one MVHS graduation ceremony after my “police” boycott. Because my son was a graduate, they allowed me—in my regalia—to hand him his diploma in 1998, two years after I’d left to take a faculty position at Point Loma Nazarene University.
I was on the field for two graduation ceremonies at Great Oak High. The first is the only time I broke tradition and asked if I could sit with a student for her graduation. Her name is Baharak Tavafifard. I’m working on a blog about her, so I’ll leave it with this anecdote:
As a sophomore, I asked her why she never—and I mean NEVER—displayed any outlook except positivity. She looked befuddled, but only for a moment. “Why, Dr. Downing. Being happy is a choice. I make that choice every morning when I get up.”

The second GOHS graduation was because a specific student asked me to attend. I was ready to storm the podium when one of the speakers went off-script and needed to be shut down. I took admission tickets or was part of security for the remainder of my GOHS graduations.
Graduations at PLNU were mostly painless. Once you got past the students who wanted to wait until the last minute to line-up, things went smoothly. I opted to supervise one of the first two rows because we got down to the floor of the Greek Amphitheater early and my charges had little room to do much beyond wiggle.

I attended my daughter-in-laws Ph.D. ceremony on May 20, 2017. I was hot, but they did have a huge video screen so you could see each graduate receive the diploma . . . and a VERY long repetition of Pomp and Circumstance (20+ minutes).

The next high school graduation I will attend will by my granddaughter, Hadley’s . . . 13-years from now.

In one of my first three years of teaching at Monte Vista, one of my students asked to talk with me. She was very nervous. I waited for her to begin.
She talked with significant emotion about how, as far as anyone knew, she was the first person in their extended family to graduate from high school.
“People are coming from Oklahoma and Arkansas. This is very important to my family. I hope I don’t mess up.”
After I choked back a tear, I assured her that she would do a fine job.
It was then that it hit me.
This graduation ceremony is the major event in this young lady’s life. No one has the right to take that away from her and her family.
That was the first year I gave “the speech” to every one of my classes on the day of the second semester final exam.

I told them about the young lady I described above. Then I added,
“For many of you, this graduation is just a bump in your educational road. You’ll graduate at least once more, and some of you will graduate two or three more times. It’s tempting to blow off this graduation ceremony.”

I paused and put on my best “serious teacher face” at this point. My students all knew that “the look” that accompanied the serious face meant they’d better not only pay attention but do what I told them to do.

“You might be planning some prank or goofy act for the ceremony. If you, or any of your friends, do that, you will ruin what might be the biggest day in someone’s life. Your fun is not important compared to being the first in a family’s entire history to graduate from high school."


To the best of my knowledge, none of my students were ever involved in any disruptive acts. I did have several thank me on their way out of class after “the speech,” because they were going to use it on people they knew were planning something.

My sincere congratulations to all those graduating this year!

Next Almanac: Part 4 of the Grading Series
This will discuss how you can grade high-level content in class.

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Hebrews Study Questions from 5/28


HEBREWS STUDY QUESTIONS

My Sunday School Life Group is studying Hebrews. Every Monday, I post questions that were discussed the day before in Sunday School. I encourage you to ponder/think about them and jot down your thoughts.

On Wednesdays, I post some of the ideas that came up in the Life Group's discussion for you to consider. 

Until we finish that study, my Expression of Faith posts—except for a couple in Advent and Lent—will be from Hebrews


Make yourself comfortable, this is most likely going to be a year-long experience.

These questions were discussed in my Life Group yesterday. Take time to reflect on them. I'll post thoughts from the class discussion on Wednesday of this week. 

Hebrews 1

Vv 5-14 (red text is our discussion from last week)
There are seven Old Testament quotes in these verses. Find them in this text—some run over more than one verse. Look each up in context.
1.      Verse 5 / Psalm 2:7
2.      Verse 5 / 2 Samuel 7:14 /
3.      Verse 6 / There was significant discussion on where this is found in the OT. Various translations gave these references Deuteronomy 32:41, Psalm 89:27; Psalm 97:7
4.      Verse 7 / Psalm 104:4
We spent at lot of time in discussion of the last three of these this week.
5.     
6.     
7.     

How does each quote indicate that Christ is superior to angels?
Which quote is most convincing to you? Why?
Which quote is the most surprising to you? Why?

Answers to questions above

1.   Implies Jesus is God’s Son. He’s higher than the angels because God made angels and Jesus is part of the Trinity.
2.  Father/Son relationship. Jews had received no direct messages from God in over 400 years. Before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was provided to individuals for specific tasks.
3.    An old version of the Deuteronomy reference the New American Standard Bible is the best fit. No other translation the class accessed was similar. However, Psalm 97:7 did have a cross reference to Psalm 103:36 where angels are clearly identified. The Septuagint (early Greek Translation) translates Deut 32:43 as, Rejoice, ye heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him. We spent a lot of time here, trying to figure out why Deuteronomy was referenced with unsatisfactory results.
4.  Angels are often referred to as wind or spirits—as in Psalm 104:4. Angels were made to do things by GOD.
5.   
6.   
7.    

If you'd like a PDF of the pages of questions in table form with room for you to write answers, email me at chuckdowning4@gmail.com/ The first set goes through Hebrews 3. You can request the remaining sets when I give them to my class. That will be in the post of questions for that week.

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My website is: www.crdowning.com


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Friday, May 26, 2017

Expression of Faith: Hebrews Ch1. Superior to Angels – Part A



Until we finish my Sunday School Life Group's study in Hebrews, Expression of Faith posts--except for a couple in Advent and Lent--will be from Hebrews. 

I post questions on Mondays that were discussed the day before in Sunday School. I encourage you to ponder/think and jot down your thoughts.

On Wednesdays, I will post some of the ideas that came up in the Life Group's discussion for you to consider. 

Most of the time--knock on wood, the Expressions post will relate to the discussion in the Life Group.

Make yourself comfortable, this is most likely going to be a year-long experience.



So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
 Hebrews 1:4

Superior to Angels – Part A

In today's society, angels are much more politically correct than Jesus was in his society. Over time, Jews had boosted the status of angels to one of prominence second only to God.

Verse 4 is a clear statement of Christ’s authority over angels.

In verses 5-14, seven components of the case for Christ’s superiority over angels are presented.
Each focuses on one specific difference between the Jews’ concept of angels—much like in today’s society—and Christ.

5. For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”?
The Father-Son relationship between God and Jesus is emphasized.

6. And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”
Angels worshiped Jesus at His birth.

7. In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.”
Angels are described as storm winds and lightning—agents of God’s purposes

8. But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. 9.You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”
The Son is on the throne. God anointed Jesus.

Next Friday we’ll finish the list.

Next Expression of Faith: Superior to Angels – Part B

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Timeless Truths: A Look into the Christian Church - Part 3


Come to the Table/Go to the World

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”  So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.” They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?” “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me.21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Matthew 14:12-26


The communion table—think of an oasis in the desert—is a welcome place—like going home.

We come to the table in response to the gracious invitation of the table’s host, the Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Our inviting Savior says, “Come.”
Come out of
  • your working world and find spiritual renewal.
  • a sinful, hating world and find a loving God.

“The more you come to rest in Him, the more fully you will enter into life.” Clement of Alexandria

2. We go from the table back into our world.
When they had sung a hymn, THEY went out to the Mount of Olives. (v. 26)
Jesus was part of THEY. He went with them.

When we go from the table, THE SAME
  • problems still are there.
  • breaking news will happen tomorrow.
  • stressful world awaits us.

BUT, we go in the power of His Spirit

3. THEY went out.

Jesus when with them.
This makes all the difference.

We come to the table and worship because
He is there.

We leave the communion table and face our world because
He is here!

Leaving the table is a statement of acceptance of His promise,
“I am with you always, even to the end . . .”

Ultimately, we all need to be alone with Jesus on a regular basis.

Thanks to Dr. Tom Goble for the primary teaching in this Timeless Truth.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Thoughts on Hebrews Questions from May 21


HEBREWS STUDY QUESTIONS/THOUGHTS

This past Monday, I posted questions that were discussed the day before in my Sunday School Life Group. I encourage you to ponder/think about them and jot down your thoughts before checking what “we” said.

These questions were discussed in my Life Group Sunday. Samples of the group's "answers" are posted below each question.

Keep this in mind as we go through the study: 

"Religion" is a group responsibility to Jews but an individual responsibility to Christians.

One new thought from last week that was posted as a blog comment. I like what the Adult Bible Fellowship Study Book dated 2002 has to say: "It is clear that while there is continuity between the revelation mediated by the prophets and that reflected and refracted in Jesus, yet there is radical discontinuity as well. Between all who came before and Jesus is an infinite difference.”


Hebrews 1

Vv 5-14
There are seven Old Testament quotes in these verses. Find them in this text—some are include more than one verse. Look each up in context.
Hebrews verse/OT Reference
1.      Verse 5 / Psalm 2:7
2.      Verse 5 / 2 Samuel 7:14 /
3.      Verse 6 / There was significant discussion on where this is found in the OT. Various translations gave these references Deuteronomy 32:41, Psalm 89:27; Psalm 97:7
4.      Verse 7 / Psalm 104:4
5.     
6.     
7.     

How does each quote indicate that Christ is superior to angels?
Which quote is most convincing to you? Why?
Which quote is the most surprising to you? Why?

Answers to questions above

1.   Implies Jesus is God’s Son. He’s higher than the angels because God made angels and Jesus is part of the Trinity.
2.  Father/Son relationship. Jews had received no direct messages from God in over 400 years. Before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was provided to individuals for specific tasks.
3.    An old version of the Deuteronomy reference the New American Standard Bible is the best fit. No other translation the class accessed was similar. However, Psalm 97:7 did have a cross reference to Psalm 103:36 where angels are clearly identified. The Septuagint (early Greek Translation) translates Deut 32:43 as, Rejoice, ye heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him. We spent a lot of time here, trying to figure out why Deuteronomy was referenced with unsatisfactory results.
4.  Angels are often referred to as wind or spirits—as in Psalm 104:4. Angels were made to do things by GOD.
5.   
6.   
7.   
8.   


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