Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What do you mean I’m Jewish?

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was one of the most famous preachers in England. He was a pastor in London from 1854 until he died in 1892. Spurgeon was the pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, a church some call the first modern “megachurch.” Not only did he preach several sermons per week, he also was a prolific writer. In 1865, he began editing a magazine called The Sword and the Trowel. The title of the magazine refers to the way Nehemiah instructed the people of Israel to both stand guard and work to rebuild the walls in Jerusalem. I often wondered why they chose that title, until I realized that believers are Jewish.

“Funny,” you might say, “I don’t remember being Jewish.” Well, if you are a believer you are. Romans 2:28-29 tells us, “For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.” So, believers in Christ are born again into his family, the true Israel.

“Ok, so I’m Jewish. What’s the point?” Well, like Abraham, God rescued us from idolatry (Genesis 11:27-31; Abram was Chaldean, a people known to worship a moon goddess named Sin) and made a covenant with us so that we would be his people and he would be our God. And the sign of this new covenant was circumcision of the heart instead of physical circumcision. The point of all this is that the Jewish people in the Old Testament weren’t the people of God; they were a foreshadowing of what God would do through Jesus Christ. And we have a much better covenant than the first Israel.

So now we can read the Old Testament in a new light!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Actually, The Takamine EG461SC

I posted about a guitar I was targeting last month, the Takamine EG361SC; I have since selected that guitar's sibling, the EG461SC. The 461 is made from the same materials but has quite a different (and even more attractive) shape, and produces a similar and more balanced sound.

I began to learn to play on a friend's Epiphone (thanks Jeff), and while his guitar had a decent sound, it helped me to appreciate the ease of playing a better guitar. The strings on the Epiphone were quite difficult to fret, and the difference between his guitar and my new Takamine is a welcome change.

I have been "playing" now for about two months, and I have made great strides! I have progressed far beyond what I thought possible in this time period; that being said, however, I still cannot play the silly thing well enough to play in front of an audience. I still take much too long to change between chords. But I am making progress; if it used to take me five seconds to change between chords, maybe it takes me two or three now. Hopefully I will be able to contribute with this guitar in worship before too long.

Speaking of contributing in worship, it looks like I might get to participate with a different instrument; a bass guitar. Our church recently purchased a Yamaha RBX170 electric bass because our bass player is joining the military. I have practiced a little with the new bass, and I am able to apply the very little I know about the guitar to the bass and contribute in a significant way! I am really excited to be able to play in the band! Here's a pic of the RBX170: