As another entry in my Biblical survey posts, I thought it might be a revealing study to consider the first occurrence of key words in the Bible.

A few notes:
I’m using ESV
No proper names, (except Satan, I guess)
Yes, I know there are translations issues.
Nine times I list out word pairs (like Joy and Joyful, Praise and Praising) in different passages.
About half of them are found in Genesis.

One result of this study is that I’m (once again) very grateful to be a New Testament/ New Covenant Follower of God.

The following shows the first occurrences of each word – in Biblical order:

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:4
And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.

Genesis 2:3
So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Genesis 2:4
The Creation of Man and Woman
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

Genesis 2:9
And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:17
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Genesis 3:6 – So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Genesis 4:1
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.”

Genesis 4:7
If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

Genesis 6:18
But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

Genesis 9:2
The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered.

Genesis 12:2
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.

Genesis 14:13
Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner. These were allies of Abram.

Genesis 15:1
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”

Genesis 15:14
But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.

From God’s Covenant with Abram
Genesis 15:15
As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age.

Genesis 16:5
And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!”

Genesis 18:23
Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?

Genesis 18:25
Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”

Genesis 19:16
But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.

Genesis 20:3
But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.”

Genesis 20:7
Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”

Genesis 20:7
Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”
(So both Prayer and Prophet are first found in Genesis 20:7)

Genesis 21:23
Now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my descendants or with my posterity, but as I have dealt kindly with you, so you will deal with me and with the land where you have sojourned.”

Genesis 22:2
He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

Genesis 24:50
Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, “The thing has come from the LORD; we cannot speak to you bad or good.

Genesis 25:21
And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

Genesis 29:35
And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.

Genesis 31:54
and Jacob offered a sacrifice in the hill country and called his kinsmen to eat bread. They ate bread and spent the night in the hill country.

Genesis 42:16
Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, while you remain confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you. Or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies.”

Genesis 43:14
May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”

Genesis 49:18
I wait for your salvation, O LORD.

Exodus 15:11
“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?

Exodus 33:19
And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.

Leviticus 17:7
So they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to goat demons, after whom they whore. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.

Leviticus 19:4
Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the LORD your God.

Amen (this one is especially dark)
Numbers 5:22
May this water that brings the curse pass into your bowels and make your womb swell and your thigh fall away.’ And the woman shall say, ‘Amen, Amen.’

Numbers 11:23
And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”

Numbers 12:7
Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house.

Deuteronomy 4:6 – Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’

Deuteronomy 11:22
For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving the Lord your God, walking in all his ways, and holding fast to him,

Deuteronomy 12:7
And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.

Deuteronomy 16:15 – For seven days you shall keep the feast to the LORD your God at the place that the LORD will choose, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.

Deuteronomy 32:2
May my teaching drop as the rain,
my speech distill as the dew,
like gentle rain upon the tender grass,
and like showers upon the herb.

Judges 19:3
Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back. He had with him his servant and a couple of donkeys. And she brought him into her father’s house. And when the girl’s father saw him, he came with joy to meet him.

Ruth 1:12
Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons,

Temple (place of worship)
1 Samuel 1:9
After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord.

2 Samuel 22:3
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence.

2 Kings 25:25
But in the seventh month, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, of the royal family, came with ten men and struck down Gedaliah and put him to death along with the Jews and the Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah.

1 Chronicles 21:1
Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel.

1 Chronicles 23:30
And they were to stand every morning, thanking and praising the Lord, and likewise at evening

Esther 2:17
the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

Psalm 65:3
When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.

Proverbs 25:15
With patience a ruler may be persuaded,
and a soft tongue will break a bone.

Disciple(s) – This is the only time it’s in the old testament
Isaiah 8:16
Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples


Here are seven words that are not found in the Old Testament

Matthew 4:1
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Matthew 4:23
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.

Kingdom of God
Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 10:1
And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.

Matthew 16:18
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

John 1:41
He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).

Acts 4:24
And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them,

In contrast with the first Amen, the very last Amen in the Bible (the last word of the Bible) is much more joyful.

Revelation 22:21
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Any other words I should add to the list?

In case you’re curious, here is a list of other posts on my blogs which show a whole category of items from the Bible.

Here is the complete (I think) list of Biblical Surveys (everything I could find in the Bible of a certain kind) in my blogs:
Read the rest of this entry »

There are two kinds of people who make me nervous when they say “I don’t believe in luck”:

(1) Those who have been very successful – because I fear that they think they should get all the credit, and

(2) Those who have experienced significant hardship or tragedy – because I fear they think it’s all their fault.

As we’ve progressed through the challenges brought to us by Covid 19, I’ve noticed a pattern. Perhaps you’ve seen it too: predictions that many things will no longer exist in our American (and to some degree global) culture even after this pandemic is gone.

I was curious as to how widespread this phenomenon is, so I did some research (read: Google searches) and learned that , as it turns out, many aspects of our culture are going the way of the Dodo and leaving our shared experience forever. Many wide and varied, and sometimes surprising things.

Would you like to see the list and the articles to back each vanishing item on it? I’ve broken it down into five groupings. I hope you find this helpful.

Just so you don’t find this too depressing, I’m ending it with a more cheerful grouping of items.

I think you’ll notice that in many cases the authors aren’t completely certain that these things are going away. But since the experts have done so well in predicting how things would go in these past four months, I think you can take all this to the bank.

The General List

What Might Be Gone Documentation
Globalization The Post-Coronavirus World May Be The End Of Globalization
The Communion Cup Will the Coronavirus Be the End of the Communion Cup?
The Middle Class The Coronavirus Pandemic Could Be The End Of The Middle Class
The Salad Bar Could COVID-19 be the end of the salad bar?
Auctions Will COVID-19 be the end of the auctioneer’s chant
The High Five Has the coronavirus ruined the high-five?
College The End of College as We Knew It?
The Grass Roots Football Game Football and coronavirus: ‘This could be the end of the grassroots game’
Overtourism Could Covid-19 be the end of overtourism?
Alt-Weeklies Coronavirus Could Be the End of Alt-Weeklies
Seal Slaughter This Could Be the End of Canada’s Bloody Seal Slaughter
Retail Fitting Rooms Coronavirus could be the end of retail fitting rooms
Paper Money Will coronavirus be the end of paper money?
Trump Two Reasons Coronavirus Will Be The End Of Trump
Bullfighting The Final Olé – why COVID-19 could be the end of bullfighting in Spain
Shopping Malls Will coronavirus be the end of the shopping mall as we know it?
Free Delivery Coronavirus will be the end of free delivery, research shows
Luxury Retail Will COVID-19 Be the End of Luxury Retail?
Buffets Will the Coronavirus be the End of Buffets in the Hudson Valley?
Handshakes ‘I Don’t Think We Should Ever Shake Hands Again.’ Dr. Fauci Says
The Global Citizen Will Covid-19 be the end of the global citizen?
International Travel Coronavirus might be the end of international travel as we know it
Neoliberal Era Coronavirus Spells the End of the Neoliberal Era
Your Favorite Arcade The Pandemic Could Be the End of Your Favorite Arcade.
Bon Jovi’s Tour Bon Jovi: ‘This could be the end of touring’ due to COVID-19
Democratic Capitalism Will the Coronavirus Crisis Be the End of Democratic Capitalism?
The Fashion Mag Will COVID-19 Be The End Of The Fashion Mag?
Your Marriage Why Covid-19 May Be the End of Your Marriage
The Restaurant Industry This should be the end of the restaurant industry as we know it

Business Related

Read the rest of this entry »

Jamsco Rule 89: The person who is the most sensitive on a certain subject should not be in charge of making corporate decisions about that subject.


Let’s try a mental experiment where instead of avoiding getting the Covid virus, you’re actually trying to contract it. Like, what if you’re told that you have a rich uncle that says (because he’s, you know, crazy) if someone in the family is clinically diagnosed with the Virus, he will give that person a million dollars. You know that if you catch it, you have less than a 1 in 20 chance of dying from it, so you decide to go for it. You now want to catch Covid 19.

But how?*

Well, first you stop washing your hands, and you start touching your face. Like all the time. Then you leave your home. Obviously without any mask. But then what?

You remember reading this article that states that it’s possible to catch the virus from a stranger even while taking a walk (or biking or jogging) out in the great out of doors. And you say triumphantly, “Aha!” and choose that method.

But … then the math starts to get you down. Let’s say you live in my state, Minnesota, which currently has 1242 confirmed cases. And it has a total of 5.6 million people. That means only one in 4500 people actually have the sickness. And about half of them (675) have recovered. And those who are still sick with it aren’t out jogging.

But (you think optimistically) we keep hearing (accurately) that there are many people out there who have it in their system and are contagious but aren’t showing symptoms. Maybe, you guess, there are as many as ten time as many contagious people, some of whom might be out for a walk right now!

That lowers the odds to about 1 in 450. You’re standing outside and you think – that guy that just walked by at the park (not one with a mask, obviously!) there’s really less than a 0.2 percent chance that he has it. This makes you downhearted. But you start to follow him anyway, still trying to be glass-half-full about it.

As you walk, you check back in with the article and see that you have to be within 5 meters of him (in his “slipstream”) to have any chance of catching it. And you can only be directly behind him, because ‘diagonally’ the opportunity to catch the sickness from him is measurably less.

So you estimate the distance of 4.5 meters (you’re more of an Imperial system guy yourself) and then try to get that close to him without making him nervous. It’s really quite close. He keeps looking back at you. Maybe he thinks your about to mug him. But you smile and he eventually does his best to ignore you.

So far so good. If he’s one of the 1 in 450 you’re on your way!

But then you check back in with the article and it says you will only catch it if you’re in his slipstream AND the person coughs or sneezes. And you remember – the fact that this guy is out here almost certainly means he’s not symptomatic. If he was, he probably wouldn’t be exercising.

But still, maybe he’ll cough or sneeze eventually, right? You wait. He doesn’t. You follow him for several minutes.  Did he just cough? No, he’s just chuckling at something from the podcast he’s listening to.

And then … finally … he does cough! Kind of. Slightly. But into the crook of his arm! The odds that he just created a “cloud of droplets” that you might be able to harvest from his slipstream comes close to approaching nill!

“It’s hopeless!” you decide as you stop and walk home deflated. I’m never going to get Covid like this!

You decide your only recourse is to go lick the shelves in your grocery store’s empty toilet paper aisle.


My point is, you can give yourself permission to go for a walk.

* I did my best to not make any major errors here, but the odds that there are none in this thought experiment also comes close to approaching null.


Earlier this year, the pastor in charge of small groups at our church, Pastor Sam, asked several of us to present our thoughts about a set of texts that he suggested – in under five minutes – in a small group leaders meeting.

When I got this request, my mind went pretty quickly to a memory from work. An executive VP, in preparation for a large group meeting, asked several people to present “three-minute drill” talks, and I remembered how one wise lady had handled the time-limited challenge – by writing a poem. So I thought, well, that’s what I’ll have to do then. One big difference, during the big meeting, the EVP put up a countdown timer with an oddly distracting and fairly loud alarm that went off if the speaker went over the time limit. Pastor Sam didn’t do that.

The passage I chose was Matthew 7:13-14, and it is this.
Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

And these were Pastor Sam’s questions to consider:
• What is destruction?
• What is life?
• Explain “easy.”
• Explain “hard.”
• How is Jesus central to all these dynamics?
• What potential do small groups have to foster life and not destruction?

Here is my poem. I’m finally getting around to posting it, and I think it applies well to these times. The form is the same used by Pastor John for his advent poems, which my daughter Adelyn says is iambic octameter.

Thoughts On Matthew 7:13-14

Yes, enter by the narrow gate,
Commands our Christ, so it’s the fate
Of those who follow Him to go
This way, against the ebb and flow.

For many go another way.
It’s hard, we hear, so why obey?
His reason told: it leads to Life.
Not fear, not death, not curse, not strife.
Destruction is a fright’ning word.
It means disease that can’t be cured.
It means a death forever felt.
To many will its curse be dealt.
There’s one who wants its death for you.
He sings against the good and true.
The Prince of Darkness points to wrong,
And calls it good. Resist his song.

But life here means to be with God.
Not under His just, chastening rod.
But in His loving, strong embrace
And under His bright shining face.

So: what is meant by easy? All
our undirected minds will fall
In line and follow our own way.
We’re gone tomorrow, here today.
It’s easier to hate, ignore,
Or scorn the One you should adore.

And what is meant by hard? This way
Will mean we choose to trust, obey.
And that’s not what we tend to do.
We still don’t want to follow through
And follow the creator who,
Yes, by the way, created you.
We walk a different path away
So we won’t have to trust, obey.

And how is Jesus central to
all these dynamics? Sam*, don’t you
already know the answer? He,
the human in the trinity,
This Jesus made this blessed gate
And laid a path, clear, level, straight.

And if it’s hard to walk God’s will,
It was for Him much harder still.
He didn’t cross the easy gate.
He stepped out in the face of hate
And walked a cruel, horrid path.
He felt God’s full, just, potent wrath.
So what else can we do but choose
His road, t’ward life we cannot lose.
If Satan wants dark death for all,
There’s joy for those who heed Christ’s call.
He’s stronger than the Prince of Pain.
So choose the path of hope and gain.

And what about that group you’re in?
You all will lean t’ward ease and sin,
Forget God’s plan to cure and bless-
This we will surely do, unless
We enter by the narrow gate.
And not just pass, then sit and wait.
You aren’t in a one act play.
No. Choose this hard gate ev’ry day
And every minute, every hour.
And not by your mere human power,
But by the strength that He gives you.
Thus choose the hard way found by few.

Our one-another goal: Exhort.
And not just: “Hey, hold down the fort.”
Say more: in trust and joy, step out
In faith, walk straight, not roundabout.
Step t’ward each other, and with them
Then side by side thus walk t’ward Him.
Step down the path He walked for you.
He made it well, it’s straight and true.
Again today, choose joy, don’t wait.
Yes, enter by the narrow gate.

* Or, if you like, ‘Saint.’

Sometimes the hardest part of doing a task is the making the decision to do it.

Jason DeRouchie, who has, for several years, been a Professor of the Old Testament at Bethlehem College and Seminary is moving, and as of this month, he’ll be on staff at Midwestern Seminary.


Also for the last several years, he’s been the primary teacher for one of the adult Sunday School classes at Bethlehem. And since the beginning of his tenure there, I’ve been collecting quotes from his teaching times.

So to commemorate his departure (we’re sad to see him go), I’m posting them here.

There were so many, that I had to split them into two posts. Here’s the second (and last) set. (Click here for the first set.)

Funny Quotes From Jason DeRouchie
(To the Joint Heirs Sunday School Class)
Part 2 – The Last 28

1. At one point God called him to lay on his side naked for forty days. I hope he doesn’t ever call me to do that.
2. Isaiah said, “Here I am, send me” and we stop there and ask, “Who wants to be a missionary?”
3. My students ask: How can I experience affection for God while I’m translating Hebrew. ‘There are emotions being felt, but they aren’t affection.’
4. The Minor Prophets are some of the least known figures in all of the scripture. Part of the reason is it’s not too thrilling reading: “You’re a sinner and judgment is coming.” Great!
5. Boaz says to Ruth “I’m an old man, and there’s these handsome sleek bobsled racers that you could go after.”
6. Amos was told to name his second daughter “No Compassion.” This doesn’t nurture a loving feeling of oneself. Who are you going out with this weekend? No Compassion!
7. Some people are called to ministry in Hawaii. They can’t really have a complete understanding of the Bible, can they? Christian hedonism could not have been birthed outside of Minneapolis.
8. [Regarding the woman in Proverbs 31] She did what was necessary for the benefit of the family, but she did not necessarily have ongoing concurrent business in real estate, farming, tanning and textiles.
9. I always get leery of Bible math.
10. There are no right answers, wrong answers; I’m going to try to guide you in the way you should go.
11. Don’t trust in horiots. Horiots? Horses and chariots.
12. Most of the time we get to the end of Kings and we say, “All right! Chronicles! Nine chapters of genealogies! So devotionally edifying!”
13. Please open your Bibles to Zephaniah, second book of the Minor Prophets. No, sorry, tenth book of the Minor Prophets. No, Ninth book. It’s in the Minor Prophets!
14. Look down at the footnote: Footnote 1. “The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain”. Great! That gives DeRouchie the idea that I can tell you what I think.
15. Let’s go to Deuteronomy 26. Everything goes back to Deuteronomy, doesn’t it?
16. Valentine’s Day rarely lands on a Sunday and when it does, it’s the only time I’m emboldened to print my handouts on pink paper. So, for the love of my wife I give you this.
17. But somebody asked ME the question, so I get to answer it.
18. Adam gets down to naming all the animals, but that doesn’t mean he has to distinguish between boxer and dalmatian.
19. I’ve got my calendar – I’ve figured out the whole schedule. Today, we can get through just verse one … and smile.
20. Look at that! Two verses! It’s only seven minutes ‘till! We’re flying!
21. Hopefully I’m here next year. Same bat-time, same bat-channel.
22. I don’t know if my wife heard me. This morning I was down in my study when I found this and was like “Whoo!” But I was so excited I found it and then … [to Teresa] Did you hear it? No, Okay. I was nervous because it was so quiet.
23. [At the end of class] Where is the attendance sheet? Ah yes, there it is. Half of you did not come today!
24. “Was it not you who cut Rahab into pieces and pierced the dragon?” That sounds good. That’s not very Anne of Green Gables. That’s more Lord of the Rings-ish.
25. Yesterday was a big day from my sons. They finally got their brother to say he’d vote for the Vikings. Because last week he so disappointed in the last play of the game.
26. Football is one of the gifts of God in our world.
27. I will remind you, my wife reminded me… that Derouchie can get to talking. So don’t be afraid to raise your hand and I will pause, if I am able, to call on you.
28. And finally this morning I found satisfaction in my interpretation of this passage, and God in his kindness, delayed this presentation until now.

Don’t say, “It can’t be A, it’s B!” when it might be both.

Jason DeRouchie, who has, for several years, been a Professor of the Old Testament at Bethlehem College and Seminary is moving, and as of this month, he’ll be on staff at Midwestern Seminary.


Also for the last several years, he’s been the primary teacher for one of the adult Sunday School classes at Bethlehem. And since the beginning of his tenure there, I’ve been collecting quotes from his teaching times.

So to commemorate his departure (we’re sad to see him go), I’m posting them here.

There are actually so many, that I’ll be posting them in two different posts.

Funny Quotes From Jason DeRouchie
(To the Joint Heirs Sunday School Class)
Part 1 – The First 30

1. We just got our kids Bibles. It was hard for me to buy them Bibles without footnotes. But they had really cool covers and that’s what they wanted. But you should get Bibles with footnotes!
2. The judges weren’t doing their jobs, so God had to send in the Special Ops, called the prophets.
3. [Regarding Acts 3:18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets …] What does he mean by “all?” I think he means “all.”
4. [Regarding Isaiah’s son] It’s an interesting name: “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz! Let’s go play kickball!”
5. Snakes! My wife hates snakes. She hates two things – tornados and snakes. And that has colored and created stories in our marriage. Specific stories.
6. [Regarding Isaiah 53:12] So when I got here I was scratching my head and all of a sudden, I saw that all the commentators were scratching their heads.
7. The Devil’s weapons – they might be squirt guns, but they look very real.
8. [When a colleague asked him to speak on missions from Creation to Consummation in 30 minutes] My daughter Ruthie said ‘Oh, Dad, he said thirty minutes, but you know he’s going to give you forty.” I texted this to him. He said, “Your daughter knows me too well. Yes, you have forty minutes.” I took 51.
9. Not that I have any experience with this at all, but the miracle of childbirth, which I witnessed three times…. Well, one of them I was a little out of it. One of us needed to deliver a baby, the other needed orange juice – my wife likes to bring this up – anyway, moving beyond that: Seeing this amazing endurance and then amazing joy.
10. I have students now that weren’t born when I got married.
11. The task for Biblical interpretation is not for wimps.
12. Before she moved out to go to college, our daughter Mary Jane was always the first person to get to the mailbox. By the time she got in the house, she was finished with thoroughgoing genre analysis.
13. [Regarding O.T. book titles] In almost all the old testament books, Yahweh is the main character in the book, but we can’t call every book Yahweh, Yahweh, Yahweh.
14. [Regarding 1 and 2 Samuel] Ultimately, I think it would have been better to call them “Dave”, First and Second Dave.
15. In 1993 I put a ring on my fiancé’s finger and left for 4 ½ months. Yes, I was a charmer.
16. [After a question] So what you can do is look in my book and find a footnote that I put in – that answers that question, which actually points you to an article I wrote.
17. [Regarding the phrase, ‘Love Me’] I’ve never said that. I’ve expressed thankfulness that she loves me. I’ve made the declaration that she loves me. But I’ve never looked at her and said, “Woman, love me!”
18. I don’t remember … X and Y … is X on the side or on the bottom. The bottom? Okay, thank you.
19. I tried to make copies for you, but it didn’t work, so I have some nice green paper for you.
20. God says, “Woe.” This isn’t “Whoah” like the Fonz. This is “Woe” like a curse.
21. Some of you were involved with helping my family. My Saturn had died, but now it’s resurrected.
22. They didn’t like Jeremiah, they preferred to kick him in the teeth and throw him in pits.
23. When I hear this about Jehoshaphat, I think, “Is he such a dork?”
24. I thought about bringing a picture of what I looked like seven years ago. Much less gray, that’s for certain.
25. Yesterday I pounded and sawed, building bunk beds and now my hands hurt because . . . I’m just used to typing.
26. I ask you to raise your hand if you have a question. Anyone who’s been in a class with me knows I can get on a roll. Harness me! Pull me back!
27. Me and Moses . . . I talk to him once in a while. “What were you saying here?”
28. And then that purity and blemishness … blemishlessness . . . lack of blemish. . .
29. Day 6 is cool not just because we are there but because the Moose is there. I love the Moose.
30. Now there are four oracles and I wanted to go through and discuss all of them, but then I remembered that you’re all supposed to go home this afternoon.

Click here to see the second set of quotes from Jason.

I’m glad you’re here. Please take a look around.

And while you’re here – can I suggest looking at two other things I’ve worked on?

1. I’ve been posting a series of stories for parents to read to their kids (and to themselves) which illustrate allegories found in the Bible.

2. We have six Fighter Verse Song CDs (for Bible Verse Memorization). Please take a look here:

(or go straight to the Amazon page.)


Five and a half years ago an incident occurred. Pastor Jason Meyer (the man who replaced John Piper as lead preaching pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church) told us about it (in two different sermons): he and Pastor John, on a missions trip, had faced down some eagles who were diving at them and others while they were eating lunch. So when he picked up a rock to throw at them, Pastor John told him he’d pay money if he actually hit one. I’m not going to tell you now the rest of the story, because I deemed that this story should have an ode or a ballad written about it, so this heroic story could be handed down through the generations into legend. This I have done.

Now Pastor Jason wasn’t very forthcoming with details about the incident (perhaps out of modesty?), so I had to fill in some of the particulars as best I could. He humbly made light of what had happened, telling it as a humorous anecdote, but I dare to suggest that it was more … dramatic. This poem uses the story telling technique and poetic style of Pastor Piper’s advent poems.

In his description of the event, Pastor Jason “speculated that the story could grow over time.” I can confirm: It has grown. But the way this poem presents the throw of the stone, the results of the stone’s throw, as well as the resolution of the wager, including what Pastor John wrote about this resolution (a poem within this poem, if you will), is really, actually, factually true.

I’m posting it today on the seven year anniversary of the day that Pastor Jason took over as lead pastor.

The Piper and The Meyer
A Legendary Epic Ballad by Scott Jamison

~~~ The Place of The Danger ~~~
Consider now this thrilling scene:
An outdoor café, valley green.
The luncheon had been pleasant, ‘till
They heard the screeches, harsh and shrill.

The men cried out, the children screamed,
The once bright sun no longer gleamed,
Blacked out by circling eagles high,
And here and there some dropping nigh,
Too close with threats of fearful death
From sharpened talons, flaming breath.*
Folks threw themselves, in great fear, flat,
For who could stand upright to that?

Yea, some fell down, but not The Two.
The Two stood tall, strong, brave and true.
They did what all good
heroes would.
The Piper and The Meyer stood.

They waved, they yelled defiant words
Exclaimed against the evil birds.
The thwarted eagles turned away,
Away from all their erstwhile prey.

“Now run!” The Two exclaimed to all,
“And if you can’t, then walk, or crawl.
To safety we must all now flee.
A home or store’s where we must be!”
(For there was still a strong concern
The dreaded raptors would return.
Reorganized they might come back
And, more determined, re-attack.)

And flee all did, from old to youth.
They knew The Two now spoke the truth.
They ran t’ward shelter, home and booth.
(Too bad that none there were named Ruth.)

And back they came, the eagles now,
Far sooner than they’d feared. So how
Could fleers hope to get away?
All hope was lost, as was the day.

But as the eagles, down, they went,
The Piper saw The Meyer bent
To pick up hard, round, solid rock,
Much like a shepherd for his flock.
The Piper saw The Meyer’s plan.
He smiled at his Succession Man
And inspiration to invoke
The Piper to The Meyer spoke:

~~~ The Words of The Piper ~~~
“Yea, hurl the stone, it is God’s will
(Both ‘perfect’ and ‘prescriptive’ will.)
I say again, it is God’s will
For you to use your throwing skill
To save the fleeing innocent,
(But still depraved – that’s what I meant
Of course they are not without sin.)”
(Thus context won the day again.)

(There was no time, the Piper knew
To more completely walk them through
The full Five Points* or to discuss
How God e’er works his will through us.)

(Or how through good deeds we don’t earn
Salvation, but let’s now return
To this dark tale of fear and dread.)
He, pointing to Lead Eagle, said,

“Yes, hurl the stone, and bring it down
For all our good and God’s renown.
A dollar I’ll pay if you do.
Nay, ten … times ten! So throw it true!
Don’t waste your … eagle! Here’s a chance
To highlight God’s preeminence.
And show this: God is sovereign o’er
These birds of prey who bring us war.
Desiring God’s good words – “Well done!”
Throw! Let the day for Him be won.”

Though sharp beaks might have pierced them through.
The Two stood tall, strong, brave and true.
They did what all good
pastors would.
The Piper and The Meyer stood.

~~~ The Acts of The Meyer ~~~

The Meyer gave a knowing nod.
He needed now no further prod.
And then he like young David stood,
Faced his Goliath, out for blood.
As always, his two eyes were shown,
Two ditches***, so he fell in none.
Intent on striking eagle’s bone
And knowing he was not alone,
For God is always on the throne,
And with The Piper near, not prone
The Meyer, with a mighty groan,
He raised up his Redemption Stone.

The stone, released. The stone, it flies!
And flies! It flies and flies and flies!
And lo, it did not take two tries!
Lead Eagle’s hit between the eyes!
It falls, to other eagles’ cries.

Though flesh wounds they both might accrue,
The Two stood tall, strong, brave and true.
They did what all good
shepherds would.
The Piper and The Meyer stood.

~~~ The Ends of The Matter ~~~
The other eagles flew away.
They knew that they had lost the day.
They knew the Lord was not with them.
They flew from Thrower, fell and grim.
They rue the day. The day, they rue.
Why did they test The Two so true?
And there were other stones, they knew,
So, each to his own home they flew.
Our mighty haven’t fallen yet,
So yes, the eagles feel regret.

Don’t doubt The Piper’s debt was paid.
It took a bit, but it was paid!
(Though for a time it was mislaid.)
He sent The Marshal in his stead
and, to The Meyer, paying, said,
(More accur’tely, The Piper wrote-
He put his thoughts down in a note.
He wrote this poem which I now quote:)
“Consider pledge or flying stone.
Consider vow or diving bird.
Let it be marked, let it be known:
John Piper keeps his every word.”****
(Were nobler couplets ever heard?)

What we have heard, so have we seen,
This outdoor café, valley green.
Far countries and near nations spanned
– Oh, let the reader understand –
The danger fields aren’t all unmanned.
They know this, th’eagles from that land:
With one sure voice and one sure hand
As God from the beginning planned,
And always at the Lord’s command,
The Piper and the Meyer stand.

* The author has determined that they weren’t literally fire-breathing eagles.
** of Calvinism
*** Pastor Meyer often uses a ‘two ditches’ metaphor in his sermons
**** “Payment Poem” writing credit: John Piper, Author

I’ve started posting a series of stories for parents to read to their children highlighting the love of God. Please go take a look.

And if you’d like to see my other Attempts at humor, please click here.

Photo from

Is this song a little cheesy? It is!

There is a difference between the statement “I’m glad you did that” and “I respect you more because you did that.”

Sometimes it’s very pleasurable to go from Bad to Normal

… when giving advice.


Seven Additional Thoughts:

– I’m not a hundred percent serious about this. Maybe 75 percent?

– Any grid which generalizes everything down to four situation is going to have counter-exceptions. In this case, so many counter-exceptions.

– Anyone giving advice will have more success if the advice has been asked for. This is certainly the case here.

– Certainly the advice given doesn’t apply to all men or all women.

– Other words considered (in place of avert): discourage, prevent, deter, avoid. None are perfect.

– I am aware that some people don’t feel there is a need to avert lust. This grid would still be true.

– I am aware the some people don’t feel it’s a woman’s responsibility to avert lust. This grid would still be generally true.

– Obviously, giving advice is only one step.

Your Thoughts?

I don’t go to church regularly (or read the Bible, or pray) so it will make me a better (more spiritual, more Godly, more living-in-line-with-the-Gospel) Christian than other people. I do these things so it will make me a better Christian than I would be otherwise.

It’s been a long time, (perhaps a decade) since I’ve tasted alcohol. And it’s possible that tomorrow I’ll be in a situation where I decide it’s a wise choice to drink something with alcohol in it, but this, I’m guessing, is quite unlikely.

This is not because I think it’s a sin, so this is another issue where I don’t encourage people to be like me. But I do have reasons for not drinking that are less morality-based. Here are eight. I should say that there are a few that I’m not proud of, like the first one.

  1. It doesn’t taste good to me.

This one falls under the “I’m a big baby” category. People talk about acquired tastes about many things, but I’ve never acquired a taste for anything and that includes wine, champagne, and beer. And from the expressions on people faces when I see them drink harder liquors, I’m pretty sure I would dislike them even more.

  1. I’m a volumes guy.

I see people on TV pouring themselves a glass of whiskey and it’s always very small and I ask – what’s the point of that? If I want to drink something, I want to be able to safely drink a lot. When I drink liquids I want to quench my thirst, not sip.

  1. It’s expensive.

Even if you buy the big cheap bottles, pretty much any kind of alcohol is the most expensive way to get fluids into your body. Why would I spent five dollars at a restaurant to get one glass of wine when a (to my mind) much better tasting bottomless Cherry Pepsi is $2.50? (And ice water is free!)

  1. It’s possible I’m a lightweight.

The last time I drank, I had a glass and a half of wine (or less). I felt it. I think I got a little dizzy. I don’t want to pursue that.

  1. The Bible

There is a fair amount in Scripture that warns against over-drinking. Choosing to completely abstain make this a total non-issue.

  1. Everyone should have something

I think there is some wisdom in having something you totally forgo.

  1. Holding down one end of the spectrum

If there are people in the world (or at any given adult gathering) who drink too much, it seems like there should be someone who doesn’t drink at all, perhaps to help other people who don’t want to drink feel more comfortable. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

  1. Minding my words.

My whole life I have done my best to attempt (with an imperfect success rate, as some of you can attest) to keep myself from saying stupid things. It is my guess that my stupid-things-said-by-me to things-said-by-me ratio would increase exponentially (yes, I’m mixing my math metaphors) if I drank alcohol. I fear this. I fear this to the degree that I have difficulty understanding why other people don’t fear this.

Those are my reasons. I hope they make sense, and maybe these thoughts help you understand others you know who are like me.


Here is my post linking to all the posts in this “Why I do/don’t do this” series of posts.

To write a good story, it’s often helpful or necessary to describe what’s in the mind of a character. An author can do this with perfect certainty. A journalist can’t. Any time a news story makes assumptions about what is in the mind of one of the people in their narrative it is deceptive journalism. Beware.

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September 2020