Archive for September, 2011

A Sermon from an Alumnus

by   |  09.11.11  |  Uncategorized

On occasion, we like to publish something by one of our alumni.  Here is a brief homily by Ben Fike, a 2011 MDiv graduate and now campus minister of the University Church of Christ in Abilene.  Enjoy!  And, if you have a sermon of your own that you’re particularly proud of (it’s okay to be proud in this case!), send us a link or a manuscript.  We would like to collect such things for wider circulation.

 

Further Up and Further In: Psalm 1

By Ben Fike

at 9 o’clock worship service, UCC Abilene, 8/28/2011

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Facing the Fray: A Head’s Up for Kingdom Workers

by   |  09.05.11  |  Uncategorized

Enjoy these thoughts from Kent Smith, who teaches missions (especially for North America) here at ACU.

The most vibrant, powerful and downright enjoyable people I know are those who are proactively engaged in God’s life and work. I’ve had the opportunity this summer to spend time with a number of these people across North America. But the challenges such people face often come without warning and go without telling.

And the challenges need to be told. To avoid being blindsided, I think it’s important to name the normal opposition that comes—sooner or later—to everyone engaged in significant Kingdom initiatives. If you are actively paying attention to what God is up to, and purposely joining God in that work, you can expect to be opposed.

The opposition comes in many forms. Some of the most difficult to face is internal—temptations, irrational fears and baseless bouts of depression. From long experience I know that whenever I am engaged in work that promises new Kingdom advancement, sleepless stretches in the middle of the night lie ahead. During those times I am made to witness vivid scenes of coming disaster and my inadequacy for the job.

If that were not enough, we often face daunting external opposition. People bail on us or openly resist and criticize our work. Carefully constructed plans go awry, things break without warning, even our bodies seem to betray us. At times it feels that, despite our best effort, we are accelerating away from where we hoped to go.

Though we shouldn’t be surprised by all this, it seems that often we are—and discouraged to the point of giving up. That, of course, is precisely the point of all this assault. More »

August in England

by   |  09.01.11  |  Uncategorized

Dr. Jeff W. Childers, Carmichael-Walling Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity in the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University, offers some reflections on his recent research trip to England:

August in England

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I can think of several good reasons to go to England in August:  For one thing, it is cooler. Whereas the high temperatures in Abilene, Texas during the first week of August were consistently around 106º, the same week in Oxford, England saw highs between about 70º–82º. The hills are green and there are trees. The culture is delightfully diverse, and the food equally so. Also, there is no better place to have a Will-and-Kate sighting than England.

But none of these things drew me to England this time. Instead, I was lured there by two of my favorite things: old libraries and ancient manuscripts. Surprising as it may seem, the U.K. is home to some of the world’s great collections of ancient Syriac manuscripts.

As you may recall, Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic, still in use today but flourishing especially in Christian communities in the Middle East during the 3rd–13th centuries. Many old Syriac texts survive and remain to be studied, but these days I am especially interested in the 5th-century Syriac translation of John Chrysostom’s Commentary on the Gospel of John. With the help of ACU and the Loeb Classical Foundation, I am preparing this lengthy text for publication and translating it into English in order to make it available to a wider readership. But that requires getting my hands on the manuscripts themselves—thereby explaining this year’s travels to St Catharine’s Monastery at Mt. Sinai, the Vatican Library, and now several libraries in the U.K.

Jeff at the British Library, London More »