Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Jesus Discovery?

James Tabor, the controversial archaeologist who produced the "Lost Tomb of Jesus" a few years ago is back in the news again. Tabor has just released his findings from a robotic excavation of a tomb in East Talpiot, Jerusalem.

This tomb is thought to predate the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. It was first studied in 1981 but was then sealed under a condominium. However, a newer excavation using robots has revealed a four-line Greek inscription and a controversial image (a Christian fish symbol? a nephesh tomb marker?).

Tabor suggests these inscriptions teach us about early Christian views of the resurrection, and that Jesus' body was initially buried at the Holy Sepulchre site, but was later relocated to the Talpiot tomb. The full findings are in a newly released book The Jesus Discovery by Tabor and Jacobovici. It has already skyrocketed to #1 in all of its categories at Amazon and has an overall rank of #174.

Obviously, Tabor's thesis contradicts the biblical record (Matt. 28:5-8; Mark 16:2-8; Lk. 24:1-8; Jn. 20:1-10) and attacks the gospel itself (1 Cor. 15:12-19). But it is also shoddy archaeology, plain and simple. Tabor has a knack for the sensational (and the lucrative?) that led one scholar to remark archaeology has been “hijacked in the service of non-scientific interests.” The excavation on this tomb is noteworthy, but any conclusions by Tabor must be taken with more than a grain of salt - more like a heaping spoonful.

For updates to this developing story, check out the Bibleplaces Blog by Todd Bolen, former archaeology professor at the Master's College IBEX campus in Israel.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The final week leading up to Christ's death and resurrection is known as His "Passion Week" because of the intense suffering our Lord experienced. It's almost unthinkable how much our Lord packed into one week -- from His symbolic anointing by Mary, to His triumphal entry, to His cleansing of the temple, to His controversial "woes," to His Olivet Discourse on the second coming, to His Last Supper. Through it all, the Son of Man stayed focused on His mission and "loved us to the uttermost" (John 13:1).

We must not forget that Jesus' death and resurrection were real events that took place in space and time. This is not the stuff of fairy tales. You can hop on a jet today, and in less than 24 hours, see the very place where Jesus died and rose again. The traditional site of Golgotha and the Empty tomb is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. To learn more about this famous church, I encourage you to watch this 3-D video.

All I remember from visiting the tomb years ago was the smell of incense; the dark, cold, maze-like stone interior; the somber Catholic and Orthodox priests; and the crowds of tourists. Hardly edifying.

But this video peels back the layers of the church and explains how it inherited its puzzle-like design. After watching the first couple minutes on the present day church, I encourage you to see the church at the height of the Byzantine Period (6:30 into the video). It must have been quite a spectacle.

Then travel back further in time and witness how Rome tried to erase all memory of Jesus by building a pagan shrine to Jupiter over the empty tomb (9:00 into the video). How ironic. Jupiter has now been relegated to books on Roman mythology and the name of a planet 400 million miles away. Meanwhile, the gospel of Jesus is spreading like wildfire and changing the lives of people around the world. We serve a risen Savior. He lives!

HT: Chris McKinney

Sunday, February 26, 2012

An inspiring story of love

Today we studied fifteen Marks of True Love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Praise God that He has shown us unconditional love, and now calls us to love one another!

One of the most stunning examples of love I've seen took place at a softball game in the Pacific Northwest. Here's the full story...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Resolved Conference 2012

Did you know that one of the best Bible Conferences in the world happens right in our backyard?

This June, you can join over 3,000 college students and young adults for “Resolved” at the Palm Springs Convention Center to enjoy three days of incredible worship and great preaching. Speakers include John MacArthur, C.J. Mahaney, Al Mohler, Steve Lawson, Rick Holland, and more. Click here for full details:

The early bird discount is $150 and ends on Feb. 29. I know things are tight, but this is money well spent if there’s any way you can make it. And for those of us in the high or low desert, it’s close enough that you don’t have to pay any airfare or hotel costs. You’ll simply never find a better deal.

Here are a couple of my favorite videos from past years...

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Since I'm preaching on spiritual gifts right now, I figured it wouldn't hurt to take one of those spiritual gift tests. Here are the results:

Much to my relief, it says I'm gifted as a pastor. (Not sure what I would've done if I'd scored low in that area!) Not surprisingly, the areas of teaching and administration were also high.

Now, bear in mind, these tests are not fool-proof. And they're certainly not biblically required. The Holy Spirit was doing just fine for almost two-thousand years before these tests came along. If you take one, you'll notice that they are more a survey of what you enjoy doing and perceive about your own abilities. They can't factor in the essential role of others in the Body of Christ to affirm your gifts.

Nevertheless, the questions are interesting, and the results can be surprisingly accurate. If you've never done a spiritual gifts analysis, it may be one helpful way to "think with sober judgment" (Rom. 12:3) about your gifts. The one I did was through

Which 2-3 gift(s) do you think you're strongest in? Did the survey confirm this, or reveal anything new? Any areas you need to grow in?

New Blog

Today I'm closing up shop and launching a new blog called Pinch of Clay. You can visit it by clicking here . Please stop by and...