Living with Both Hands

Living with Both Hands

Matthew 22:34-40

Dr. Jim Denison

“Happy New Year.” Those words, or their equivalents, were first heard in ancient Babylon 4000 years ago. They were the first to celebrate the new year; their party lasted for eleven days, if you can imagine. Today New Year’s Day is the most universal of all holidays, transcending religions and cultures everywhere.

Black-eyed peas are considered good luck for the new year. I have no idea why—it cannot be the taste.

And making resolutions is as old as the holiday itself. The Babylonians invented this custom as well. Their most popular new year’s resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment. I’ve made the same resolution for this year myself.

According to an Internet survey, the five most popular resolutions are, in order, lose weight; stop smoking; improve relationships; make more money (which might improve relationships); and take up a new hobby (now that we have more money). I think we can do better with our lives in this new year, don’t you?


Revealing the Revelation

Revealing the Revelation

Studies in the Book of Revelation

Dr. Jim Denison

Revelation 1:1

Revelation is my favorite book of the Bible. But for most of us, it is the most confusing book of the Bible as well. My college professor simplified it greatly for me. He said the entire book can be summarized in two words: “We win.” He was right.

Unfortunately, preachers and scholars over the centuries have made Revelation much harder to understand than it really is. Entire seminary classes are devoted to applying complex methods of interpretation to Revelation. I know, because I’ve been in such classes and taught them as well.

What words come to mind today when you think of the book of Revelation? Confusing, hard to understand, debated. And more.

This study should not have confusion. Revelation was written to everyday Christians in ways they could understand and apply. It can still be understood by believers today, if we know what those first century readers knew. And so our method for interpreting the book of Revelation will be simple: to explain what the text meant to its first readers, and therefore what it means for us today.


The Super Bowl of the Soul

The Super Bowl of the Soul

Galatians 3.26-4.7

Dr. Jim Denison

Last year’s Super Bowl was watched by 127.5 million people, and the game the year before by 130,754,000. The ten most watched programs of all time are nine Super Bowls and the women’s skating final of the 1994 Winter Olympics, oddly enough. Companies will pay $2.3 million per ad for this weekend’s game.

Now, answer quickly: who won last year’s Super Bowl? Who lost? By how much?

Can you name the last ten Super Bowl Most Valuable Players? Did you know that Ottis Anderson, Mark Rypien, Larry Brown, and Desmond Howard are on the list?

Which do you remember more, the players or the commercials? If I never hear “Whassup?” again it will be too soon.

Super Bowl fame is fleeting, indeed. Our worth is not our work, no matter how visible and famous it is.

We’re exploring personal issues in light of God’s great commandments and great commission, his priorities and purpose for our lives. We began by discussing self-esteem problems and praying Jabez’s prayer of audacious blessing. Let’s continue by tackling the whole issue of worth vs. work, of finding our identity in our performance, our vocations, our work.


Welcome to the Future

Welcome to the Future

Studies in the Book of Revelation

Dr. Jim Denison

Revelation 1:1-3

John, Jesus’ beloved disciples, is the human author of this book. But this is not the Revelation of John—it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Jesus wrote a book! This is it.

John was on Patmos when he received this revelation. As he says, “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (1.9).

Here, in this cave, he saw again the Lord he had last seen 60 years earlier. Domitian, the crazed Roman emperor, is on the throne of earth; but Jesus is on the throne of heaven. He shows himself to John. And he gives him seven letters for seven churches.

We will look at Jesus’ letters to them, each one in order. But first, we need to understand the nature of these letters, and of the book which contains them.

What Revelation says about itself

It is a “revelation” (v. 1). The word means “to unveil.” It is rarely used outside the New Testament; it refers to insight into truth (Ephesians 1.17), and also to the revelation of God or Christ at the Second Coming (2 Thessalonians 1.7; 1 Peter 1.7). This word points to the fact that everything we know about God comes to us from him.


What God Looks Like

What God Looks Like

Studies in the Book of Revelation

Dr. Jim Denison

Revelation 1:4-20

John, the writer identifies himself for the second time in verse four. He addresses the revelation from Jesus to the seven churches of Asia, which at that time was Asia Minor, the western region of modern-day Turkey. The churches are named in verse 11.

“Grace to you and peace” was a common biblical greeting. “Grace” translates the typical Greek greeting; “peace” translates “shalom,” the typical Hebrew greeting. Together, they offer the reader the grace of salvation and the peace which is its result.

The God John served on Patmos was the “one who is, and who was, and who is to come”

(1:4). The Lord God makes the same claim for himself in 1:8, as does Jesus in 1:17.

Hebrews 13:8 agrees that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

This description is an extension of God’s self-designated name YHWH (generally

represented in English as Yahweh), meaning the One who is, who was, and who ever