The Shepherd’s Voice, the Sheep’s Life

Ezekiel 34:11-16; 1 Peter 2:21-25; John 10:11-16

There was a story I stumbled upon in a German newspaper a few weeks ago. 67 sheep died in Germany when two dogs chased them toward a freight train. The driver of the train tried to stop, but he couldn’t in time, and so the sheep were killed. The dogs belonged to neighbors. They’d escaped before and caused mischief, chasing the sheep in January. Continue reading “The Shepherd’s Voice, the Sheep’s Life”

Where’d the Theology and Philosophy Go?

Episodes 6 and 7 aren’t quite what the previous ones have been, and, we think, marvelously so. In this week’s episode we discuss physics, while next week’s covers cryptography and mathematics. Both include fun interviews with PhDs in those fields (so don’t worry, you don’t have to listen to Wade prattle on about physics or Peter regale you with mathematical formulas…we let the professionals take care of that).

But isn’t this a podcast about theology, philosophy, and history? Well, yeah, but also a whole lot more. Christ hasn’t only set us free for those disciplines, but to enjoy ALL of the world given back to us, to serve our neighbor through various vocations and fields, and to celebrate the life of the mind. That being said, keep in mind that Ben, Peter, and Wade aren’t experts in either of these disciplines, still they did manage to follow along and truly enjoyed the conversations.

Are physics and math your thing? Tune in and enjoy. Are they not your thing? Tune in and join us as we think about why we should delight even in those things that aren’t our things and give thanks for those who do explore them. And don’t worry, we’ll get back to theology and philosophy and history soon enough. In the meanwhile, we really hope you’ll join us as we let the bird fly!

Episode 6 – The Guys Get Physics

The Wounds that Cast out Doubt

As the Easter season continues, and our celebration of Christ’s resurrection and our justification with it, here’s a sermon Wade preached in 2010, back when he still used to write out manuscripts.

1 John 5:4-10; John 20:19-31
The Wounds of Jesus

The other day, I’m not sure why—I’m guessing because of the lessons he’d heard during Holy Week—Nicholas asked his mother why Jesus’ wounds hadn’t healed after the resurrection. He told her that when she went to heaven, she’d have to send some sort of message back to let him know if Jesus’ wounds had healed by now. Continue reading “The Wounds that Cast out Doubt”

Braun: Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word

We were honored to have Dr. Mark Braun as our guest on episode 5 of Let the Bird Fly!, where Dr. Braun discussed the intertestamental period, which is the topic of his book The Time Between the Testaments: Connecting Malachi to Matthew. While we certainly hope to have Dr. Braun on again in the future, we expect many of our listeners will be eager to hear more from him before we are able to do so. For those restless listeners, we offer some temporary relief from your agitation. Dr. Braun has been kind enough to share with us an essay he delivered in 2015 entitled Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word.
Continue reading “Braun: Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word”

Stepping Outside the Fortress

We no longer live in a day where the pastor is perhaps the most educated guy in the town. We no longer live in a day where the pastor is perhaps the most educated guy in the parish. We live in an age unparalleled when it comes to information, inundated with philosophies and theologies and worldviews and narratives. Rome was a hotbed of intellectual, cultural, and religious diversity in the time of the apostles, but even the Romans couldn’t imagine all we have at our fingertips today, even in rural America, through Google, YouTube, and iTunes. So what do we do?

Well, first, we grow roots. We dig into the Scriptures, especially those books which drive home the central doctrine of the Scriptures. Genesis, Isaiah, Mark, John, Romans, Galatians, and 1 Peter are great places to start. We dig into the Catechisms. We learn the questions God would have Christians ask and the answers He has given in His Words. We learn and sing good hymns, which put sound Christian doctrine to memorable melodies. We learn to appreciate the goodly and godly traditions and practices we’ve inherited; we ask the why behind them we treasure those things that have whys that have endeared them and shaped generations of the faithful. In short, we get our feet beneath us. We settle down in God’s might fortress. We become a gospel people.

But we dare not stop there, especially pastors, teachers, and lay leaders. Our study dare not end with our graduation from seminary, college, or catechism class. We need to be in the Word, but we also need to be intellectually exploring the world into which we are called to take it. We need to remember that our brothers and sisters, our people, don’t have the privilege of a life within the fortress as many of us do. Their year isn’t defined by the church year as for many called workers. Their daily bread doesn’t come through study, preaching, and teaching of Christ and Him crucified. God has sent them out, through their vocations. They are bombarded with voices, with ideas, with questions, with challenges to their faith. We need to be able to help them. We need to have answers, and pat answers and platitudes won’t do. In fact, they will do more harm than good. That will do a disservice to the Scriptures and to Christ, their heart. That will give the impression there isn’t an answer where there really might be, or that there isn’t depth where, in truth, nothing could be deeper. Moreover, if our laypeople are going to be able to engage friends and coworkers and acquaintances with the love of Christ in the various stations in which God has placed them, they need to be equipped to speak meaningful words in a thoughtful way, in love, with clarity.

There is another reason we should be willing to step outside the fortress, though. Only the gospel builds faith, but there are big questions, piercing insights, and windows into the human condition aplenty there, outside the fortress. We can understand better who we are as fallen humans and appreciate more who we are as redeemed children of God. We can learn to speak the language of the lost and understand what they’re asking, where they’re looking, and where there are openings for considerate and considered discussion. Moreover, we can have some great conversations, whether or not Jesus comes up every time, whether or not they end in a conversion, and conversation itself is a wonderful gift from God that can be good for our soul. We can be sharpened. We can be honed. We can grow in and show love without strings attached and unafraid. We can…let the bird fly, set free to listen, to talk, to care, to think in a world given back to us as gift, to appreciate what is best, to confront what is worst, to give thanks for our deliverance.

Take a listen to Episode 4 if you get a chance. Besides a lot of, well, conversation, a lot of talk about technology and some good-natured ribbing, we try to dig into the value of stepping outside the fortress and we discuss who especially should do so when, and who should maybe hunker down for a while. When you listen, don’t be shy about telling us what you think, too. We love having new voices in our conversation, from within the church and without, from all sorts of backgrounds, vocations, disciplines, with all kinds of perspective. That always makes things more fun and more fruitful. If you enjoy it, consider sharing the podcast with a friend, rating it, reviewing it, or at least tuning in again. We are digging our new venture. We hope you will, too!

The Easter Sermon of John Chrysostom (circa 400 AD)

Are there any who are devout lovers of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!

Are there any who are grateful servants?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!

Are there any weary with fasting?
Let them now receive their wages!

If any have toiled from the first hour, let them receive their due reward; If any have come after the third hour, let him with gratitude join in the Feast! And he that arrived after the sixth hour, let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss. And if any delayed until the ninth hour, let him not hesitate; but let him come too. And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour, let him not be afraid by reason of his delay. For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first. He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, as well as to him that toiled from the first.

To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows. He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor. The deed He honors and the intention He commends. Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!

First and last alike receive your reward; rich and poor, rejoice together! Sober and slothful, celebrate the day! You that have kept the fast, and you that have not, rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!

Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one. Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith. Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!

Let no one grieve at his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.

Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave.

Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it. He destroyed Hell when He descended into it. He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.

Isaiah foretold this when he said, You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below.

Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.

Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.

O death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!

Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!