July 16, 2018

Morning Bible Reading - I Peter 5:1-11

The Morning Bible Reading today is from I Peter 5:1-11. This is near the end of Peter's first letter to the church. This particular portion is addressed to the elders of a church.

July 11, 2018

Morning Bible Reading - Psalm 27

Your morning Bible reading.

 Psalm 27 today.


July 10, 2018

New Learning Course Update #3

Update 3: “Did That Take?” Education

As a teacher, among my peers, I am usually one of the first to adopt new technologies and find ways to integrate them into my teaching. In 2008, when Google Drive was still just called Google Docs, and it was still in it’s beta phase, I started using a version of Google Apps in my tech class. It was still very rudimentary, but it worked for what I was trying to accomplish in my class. I was running my tech class like it was a small business. So, I gave each of my students their own e-mail account under the domain that I had purchased, in order to use the Google Apps suite. At that same school, I worked with the administration in 2009, to introduce Google Apps to the rest of the high school, and enabled e-mail and other online functions for the remainder of the students.

Morning Bible Reading - Romans 5:1-11

Your Morning Bible Reading today is Romans 5:1-11

July 6, 2018

New Learning Course Update #1

I am currently taking a Master's course through the University of Illinois. This is an online course, and the requirements of the course involve me contributing to the "discussion" through typing my own updates and adding them to the course's page. There are seven updates that I need to compose, and I have decided to cross post those updates on this blog.

Here is the first update, in response to the instructor's update, titled Being an Educator in Interesting Times.


May 19, 2018

God's Sovereignty is Inscrutable

"God's ways are fathomless. We can't ultimately comprehend the works of God (cf. Romans 11:33-36). Hymn writer William Cowper said, 'God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.' Why does James die and Peter live? We aren't told the reasons. We know that Jesus promised James' death in Mark 10:39, but we're not told why. Surely the church was praying for James, like Peter, yet he was put to death. John, James' brother, lived to be an old man. Sometimes believers suffer terribly, and sometimes God delivers miraculously (Schreiner, 'God's Inscrutable Sovereignty'). We can't predict the ways of God.  
"Sometimes those who would be great parents can't have biological children. Sometimes those who are terrible parents keep having babies. Sometimes God answers prayers for healings, and sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer -- at least for a season (Psalm 73).  
"While such trials bring much grief and pain, we must not be angry with God. Trials are not necessarily a sign that he's displeased with us. God calls us to trust him, even when life hurts. His ways are wise, good, and just. And we must remember this: God has given us his Son. God doesn't promise to give us an explanation for everything, but he has given us the promise that changes everything: he will raise us from the dead. We will dwell with him in the new heaven and new earth, where sin and suffering can't touch us. God doesn't everything, but through Christ, God has entered into our suffering, has taken the ultimate injustice at the cross, and has risen triumphantly so that all who call out to him may have eternal life. Latch on to this reality in suffering. Glory is coming. It's not here yet, but keep looking to God in faith. He gave his Son for sinners like us, and soon all suffering will end."
~ Tony Merida, Christ Centered Exposition Commentary: Acts

March 28, 2018

Some Recent "Doodles" March 28, 2018

Here are my two "doodles" from last night. I feel like the one on the left has some deep meaning, I just don't know what it is. 

March 27th, 2018 Doodles

And here are the book marks from my "book mark spree" last week. 

March 25th, 2018 Doodles

I need to find an easy way to laminate the book marks... I think some of these might sell...

January 27, 2018

Edgewood Church - Acts 4:1-22

Last week's sermon...

(In all of our "technical difficulties" glory!)

December 29, 2017

Enjoy Your Prayer Life by Michael Reeves (Book Review)

I just finished reading Enjoy Your Prayer Life by Michael Reeves on Sunday.

I found this short little book to be powerfully convicting, but not in a way that beat me over the head or loaded on the guilt. There was definitely the sense that one's prayer life speaks volumes about their personal spiritual life, which cuts like a knife when your prayer life isn't so hot... But instead of loading on the guilt with extended stories of those prayer warriors of our faith, Michael Reeves would temper those stories with those prayer warrior's prayer foibles.

The end of this book was full of hope, found in the practical applications that the author offers. Applications that give the reader real ways to point their hearts toward joy in prayer.

I highly recommend this book.

October 7, 2017

Blind Unbelief is Sure to Err

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head. 
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face. 
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower. 
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.
William Cowper,
God Moves in a Mysterious Way

September 23, 2017

My math teacher told me the truth.

When I was in my Junior or Senior year of high school, I wasn't the best of kids. Sure, I wasn't the worst of kids, but I definitely wasn't the best... It was mostly about being mischievous, but there was a definite path that I was taking. I wasn't aware of this myself, when you are smack dab in the middle of the morality compass, it is easy to think about the fact that you really aren't all that bad.

On top of that, I knew the Word. My parents were both Christians, I went to church every Sunday, I went to a Christian School, I attended all of the revival services our church held, and I made my way to a Christian Camp in the summer. The Bible was something that I was very familiar with, but I was a hearer of the Word and not really a doer. All of this attendance was mandatory at that particular time of my life, so it was a faulty gauge for measuring my actual spirituality.

There were other things that should have made me aware of this reality, but I was self-deceived. That mischievous, rotten nature, that displayed the destructive path that I was taking, would peek out at every opportunity that it could. And the very first person that saw through all of that "required Christianity" was none other than my math teacher. He had caught me with something that had no business being in a Christian School. He pulled me out in the hall and said something to me that I have never forgotten.

It wasn't really profound or beautifully quotable, but it is the statement that I always use to mark the beginning of God's gracious work in my life. Once out in the hall, away from my peers, he simply said to me, "Matt Harmless, I don't believe that you are saved."

Of all of the things that could have been told to me, this ended up being exactly what I needed to hear. What a gracious God, to bring this analytically thinking man into my life, to brilliantly add up all of the loose ends and calculate all of the variables in my life and deduce, with the same logical mind that was teaching us mathematical proofs, that my faith added up to zero.

Those words rang in my ears for the next few years of my life. At first they seemed arrogant. "Who was he to tell me... ?" Then they were audacious and insulting, but eventually those words proved themselves to me to be true. And it was the sheer truth of those words that cut me to the heart.

It was another three or four years before I was eventually captured by God's extravagant grace, but when I tell the story of my salvation, I nearly always begin there - that moment in the hallway outside of my math class, when my math teacher figured it out and told me the truth. When I look back, I can see so clearly that those words were the first spark in the chain reaction of my own salvation.

Thank you, Mr. Cofer, for being brave enough and bold enough to tell me the truth.

September 7, 2017

An opportunity to have a positive impact on kids in our public schools...

This year I started teaching an elective centered on AVID. If I understand it correctly, this is a program that is geared toward helping those kids who are potentially college bound, but don't necessarily have all of the help and support that they might need from home. If you would like to learn more about AVID, you can check out their website, but that is not the purpose of this particular post...

I am writing this post because I believe that connected to AVID is an amazing opportunity for youth ministry minded people to be able to get into their local public schools. The opportunity comes in the form of an AVID Tutor.

Don't worry, you don't actually have to tutor the kids, they are working with each other in the tutoring process, but the AVID program has tutors available to help guide them during these times.

The amazing thing is that this is actually a paid program. I believe that it is $9.00 an hour and it is for a few hours on Tuesday and Thursday.

I am especially thinking about youth Pastors and youth workers in Danville that could give up a few hours during the day to just be around these kids and help them ... to show them the Love of Christ.

What is even better is that they encourage the church to participate in this opportunity.

Here is a copy of the letter that they are sending out to churches in our community:

If you have any questions about the program, please contact me.