If You Think A Budget Doesn’t Work, You’re Doing It Wrong

Budget

It sounds so trite, but no one gets ahead financially without a budget. It’s like a law of nature. If you are not getting control of your money, I bet you don’t have one.
I can hear the complaints going up now. “Budgets are crap. They don’t work. I tried one once and it was a disaster.’ I believe you. But the problem was with you. You did it wrong.
I’ve worked with hundreds of people. I know what I’m talking about. Most of the time, it goes something like this. One member of the family makes a budget and presents it to the family. Usually it starts with the house and car payments, then credit cards, electricity, gas, maybe gasoline, etc. At the end, after they total everything, what’s leftover goes for groceries. And it’s usually about $25 a week for a family of four.
Even though groceries were budgeted last, they go grocery shopping early in the week and spend over $100. On Friday or Saturday, they go out to eat and blow another $60 and the budget is over.
If that describes you, don’t beat yourself up. You’re in good company. It happens to most people. The problem isn’t with budgets, you’ve just done it wrong. When you do a budget the right way, it’s much easier to make it work.
First, sit down together if possible. Even if one partner does the budget, get the other person’s buy in. If a couple are not together, it won’t work. Write the budget down on paper. Write it in pencil in case you need to erase. Don’t put it in your laptop, phone or tablet. Write it out. You’re trying to master your finances not practice your typing or software skills. Besides, writing this stuff down makes it feel more real. It really does.
I created a set of forms for my wife and I to do our budget. I had two budget forms in that set. I had a basic budget form to use while we were in debt. Then I had another one for after debt. Each of them had everything on a single page. I believed then and believe now, that if I can’t do my budget on a single page, I’m not going to do it.
Note: If you want one, I’ll send you a free .pdf of the basic form. You can make as many copies as you need. Just do one of two things, either use the Contact Us button, and ask for a budget form, or send an email to me at sam@samburtonpresents.com. Make sure you include your email address.
The method to doing a budget begins with a 4-category plan. It’s that simple.
1. God. I really believe that unless we give first, before we spend, we’ll never get control of our funds. B and I are Christians. We believe that God gets the best of the first and the first of the best. We give 10%. We started with 5% because our debt load was so bad. I’ll tell that story later. If you don’t believe in God, I urge you to consider Him. Feel free to email any questions you have, and I’ll try to answer them. But, find a charity, some cause you believe in and give.
2. Food. You’ve got to eat. You’re going to eat. If you don’t you’ll starve. And if you don’t eat right you’ll be unable to function properly at work. If you’re in debt, make it a basic budget. Don’t be buying T Bones and Lobster if you owe big car payments and Credit Card companies. Make your budget more basic until you break the debt trap. I’ll share details of how we did it in a future post.
3. Household expenses. Your family, you know, spouse, children, your dog Muffin, they all like having a roof over their heads, so budget your house payment next, followed by electricity, gas and insurance. Don’t budget things like phone bill, cable, and internet at this time. They are luxuries and don’t count yet.
4. Transportation. You must get to work to earn money. You need a car. You don’t need a car payment. If you have one right now, so be it. You have to put gas and oil in it and have it insured. You don’t need a new car. I don’t care who you are, you don’t need a new car. Go ahead, argue with me, but you don’t need one.
These 4 things occupy what I call your perimeter. These things are the must haves. And they should be budgeted in this order. These are must haves. Netflix is not a must have.
If you will begin your budget with these items, in this order, you’ll be way ahead of the rest of the pack. And, like I said earlier, just contact me if you want my basic family budget form absolutely free.
You rock. You can totally win.

Cryptids – A Big Risk

Dogman

Every once in a while, we have to take a risk, a gamble in life, or we don’t make any real progress. This is one of mine. I’m going to spend some time in this space telling you some pretty weird stuff. Things that many people would choose to be quiet about. I’m not going to do it all at once, but along with more traditional stuff like my usual Bible related stories, and things like gardening and money management, I’m going to tell you about UFO’s, ghosts, dogmen, bigfoot, and more.

I know it sounds crazy, but I’m doing it because more and more people are having encounters. I hear them. And folk are scared and confused. They are often disbelieved and made fun of. I want to change all that. In fact, I want to change your mind about these things too. I’m going to tell you about several of the adventures my family has had with the unknown. I know these encounters are real. As you’ll see, most of them happened to me or my parents. I won’t try and convince you. I’m just going to tell you what happened and what I think it means. You are totally free to call me a crazy nut, but most of you know me well enough to know that I’m not lying to you.

I hear podcasts and see the folk on YouTube and I know people are scared and scarred. I want to tell you, I believe you. And I believe that what you have experienced seems so odd to you because what you have experienced is a supernatural or transdimentional event. Because of it’s nature it won’t make sense on many levels. Back when I was in High School, which wasn’t yesterday, I coined the phrase, ‘a demonic practical joke’ to explain my own interpretation of these events.

UFO encounters, hauntings, attacks by cryptid creatures, are all designed to frighten us and cause us to question truth and reality. To take our eyes off of God. And I believe that as we get closer to Christ’s return, these events will increase as part of ‘a great delusion’ that’s going to draw a great many people away from Him.

Anyway, I hope you’ll stick around and read some of my posts. I’m giving you fair warning today. I know that mixing words like Jesus, Bible, and Faith with UFO, Ghost, and Bigfoot will seem weird and contradictory, but when all is said and done, I think you’ll get it.  What I’m hoping is that those of you who have followed my podcast and preaching ministry won’t panic or worry about my orthodoxy with some of these stories. And I’m hoping that some of you who are comfortable with talk about Dogman or UFOs won’t write me off because of my faith. Stay tuned. You rock.

 

Jesus Paid It All

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You’re listening to the ReDescovering the Bible Online Radio Show with Sam Burton episode 50.

Welcome back.  For those of you tuning in for the very first time, a special welcome to you. It’s been a long time coming.  I’m Sam, I’m your host. I’m coming to you from the Camper and I’m delighted to be here.

I want to thank you for all your support the last couple months. I’m really touched by the number of you who’ve written notes of support or spoken to me about your appreciation for the podcost.  That touches me so much.  I just want to add, for those of you who don’t know, that I’ve had some health issues that have prevented me from updating, I don’t want to go into too much detail, but it was fairly serious. It’s mostly over now and I feel great. So I’m trying again.  It would really mean a great deal to me if you would continue to lift me up in your prayers.

Let’s see, where should we go to keep you updated?  First, Brittan and I are still planning to head to Scotland as soon as we’ve raised enough money. For those of you interested, as some of you have indicated, you can just log onto our website, www.risegroup.us, and go to our giving page for a link to instructions.

Ok, that should catch you up on everything, so let’s get right into today’s text. If you think way back to our last time together, we’re looking at the book of Hebrews as key to understanding the old testament. We looked at how Jesus was superior to angels, to Moses and to Aaron.  Today, we want to look and see that Jesus provides us a better covenant. And we’ll find that in Hebrews 8,9,10.

First, though, I think it’s interesting that the writer uses the Tabernacle, rather than the temple itself as the picture. Remember that while God himself gave instructions for the tabernacle, it was David who envisioned the temple and left instructions for it’s building. Then after it was destroyed by the Babylonians, the new temple was designed and build by Zerubbabel.  They were both accepted by God, but were not authorized by him. It is this temporary structure that is said to be a picture and a shadow. Solomon’s temple was extremely ornate and in second Chronicles we read how God honored this gift from David and his son.  Zerubbabel’s temple was not so lavish, yet God said that it would see God’s glory is greater ways that Solomon’s had ever seen.

Think about that, Solomon’s temple, with all it’s gold, silver, and other precious materials, had seen the glory of God in such a way that the people couldn’t for fear enter it. There was no such display at the dedication of Zerubbabel’s Temple. But God had promised a greater glory for it. The promise of Haggai 2 to be empty. That glory didn’t come when King Saul refurbished it.  There was no sign of such glory. The glory came, when into that temple was carried Jesus of Nazareth, by his mother and step father. It was this temple of Zerubbabel, where Jesus cleared the money changers, it was this temple that had His footprints throughout it. When the Hebrew writer declares the superiority of Jesus to Moses, I’m certain he had this Old Testament promise in mind.

God said He was going to make a New Covenant with the Jews, and we find that New Covenant described in the book of Hebrews.  That’s one of the reasons I just can’t agree with those who are looking for God to bring about a revival of the old temple and sacrificial system. Why in the world would our God want to take the Jews to a picture of heaven, when he can take them to the real deal. A new covenant with and through His Son, Jesus.

The Crucifixion of Jesus, fulfills and nullifies all of the old Covenant. Starting with the sacrifice. The Hebrew writer says clearly in Chapter 10 verse 4, that the blood of Bulls and Goats could NEVER take away sin. Bulls and goats were a messy, gory, picture of how bad sin is. Think for a minute about the millions upon millions of animals sacrificed and whose flesh was burned on the altar. Yet their blood, even the gallons of it spilled, could NEVER cover a single sin.

Jesus blood, though, covers every sin ever committed. Do you get that? Every sin you’ve ever committed and every sin you will ever commit, was covered by His once for all sacrifice. That’s good news.  No, that’s great news.

God is never going to go back to a system that didn’t work. It was temporary. What Jesus did is forever.

So as we study the old testament, let’s look for signs of permanence. Let’s look for promises of Jesus. And when we find them, let’s celebrate.

This week is what’s called Holy Week. The last week of Jesus ministry. It began with his Triumphal Entry into the City of Jerusalem. And it Ended with His resurrection from the dead. In between we have his arrest, and his murder.  Those things are promised in the old Testament. We will see the first promise of Him in the 3rd Chapter of Genesis. And as we weep at what our sin did to Him, we celebrate His willingness to suffer it.

The book of Hebrews uses the tabernacle, not the temple, to describe how the Gospel is superior to the Old Covenant. From the sacrifice, now instead of millions of animals and gallons of blood, we have a once for all sacrifice, to the basin of washing, which had to be used over and over to cleanse the priests, to baptism which represents our cleansing, one time we have to be washed, and only once. And finally, the tearing of the temple curtain from top to bottom showing us that Jesus sacrifice is a complete one and not the way to God is open. We no longer need priests and high priests. We all have access to the Creator of the world directly through the sacrifice of Jesus.

As we read the old testament, we must look for promises of Jesus and celebrate. That’s the only way the old Testament makes sense.

Paul wrote in first Corinthians chapter 15, that if Jesus is not raised, we are of all men most miserable. But He IS raised, and that’s the best news ever heard.

That’s all I’ve got this week. Next we’ll start the old testament. Happy Easter every one.

Trust Me

Episode 47

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I’m coming to you very late, but Brittan and I are safely here in Scotland. It’s Saturday the 15th of October already. It’s raining. Brittan is at the Church practicing the keyboard and I’m home alone. The acoustics are not good in here, but that’s never stopped me before, right?

I wish I could show you how beautiful this little village of Buckie is, but, alas, we’re on audio, not video.  If you’d like to see some pictures and have not already liked our facebook page, please do so. Just search FB for Scotland Rising and hit like. It’s that simple.

I’m realizing that I have no place to properly record, so I’m going to keep our time together short for you ears’ sake, but I do want us to get together while I’m here. Once we get back to the camper, programming will return to normal, whatever normal is.

This week and next week, we’re going to remain in John’s Gospel. After that, we’ll look at the Old Testament as a whole, then we will begin our survey of the Old Testament books.

Now before we jump into John 14, I just wanted to let you know that I have run into a few listeners all the way over here.  Ok, they are people who already knew me from years ago, but still, it’s great to know we’re international. Thank you, social media.

Ok, enough already. Lets grab a glance at the first 6 verses of John chapter 14.

Joh 14:1  “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

Joh 14:2  In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

Joh 14:3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Joh 14:4  And you know the way to where I am going.”

Joh 14:5  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

Joh 14:6  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

Let me set the scene. Jesus and his disciples are in what we call, the upper room, preparing for the Passover meal. It is during this meal that they share what we refer to as ‘the last supper’. Later that night, Jesus will be arrested and the next morning, crucified. He is aware of what’s coming, but the Disciples are not, so Jesus is preparing them for a future without His physical presence.

He starts with Let not your hearts be troubled. Now I know some of you associate that phrase with a certain right wing radio host, but it didn’t start with him.

In chapter 13, Jesus has been preparing the disciples for His betrayal, arrest and execution, now He tells them not to panic. Don’t let your hearts be troubled.Relax. Trust me.

He tries to encourage them with the promise that His departure is temporary and their future is glorious.

He says heaven is real. He would have told us, if it was just a fable or fairy tale.  The thought of eternal life while hopeful, is mysterious and can make us skeptical.  We can’t see outside of these few dimensions that hold us in, so Jesus says trust me. His resurrection will establish His final authority.  As a side topic, but not to be missed, Jesus says there’s plenty of room .

Whoever you are, whatever you’ve done, there is room for you, just trust him.

One of the most important and controversial things Jesus ever said, is recorded in verse 6 as a follow up to Thomas’ question, How can we know the way?

First there is hope, “I am the way”. Thomas, you know me. Trust me. I’ll get you home. Stay close.

The controversy comes with the second statement, no one comes to the Father, except through me.  He’s made that statement, or very similar before. In chapter 8 He declares Himself to be the great I AM. In chapter 10 He declares that the other ‘saviors’ were thieves and robbers. He is the good shepherd, the door to the sheep fold. Now He is THE Only way.

Millions simply don’t like that declaration and reject it. But what if He’s telling the truth. We love His other teaching, why not trust Him with this one. After all, His way is awfully easy and attractive. Others say, ‘work’, He says, ‘Trust’. Others say, ‘earn’ He says, ‘come’. Others say, ‘do’, Jesus says, ‘done’.  Others say, ‘hope’, Jesus says, here are my scars, ‘Trust me.’

Now is the time to return to the simplicity of the Gospel.  The Bible is much simpler than we make it. Its not hard. Church sometimes makes things hard, but Jesus says, ‘Trust me.’

Hey, that’s all I got. Frankly, that’s all there is. If you’ve already trusted Him, take some time to rejoice and rest in the knowledge that He’s coming again to take you to a brand new Home. One with no mortgage or insurance premiums. His gift to You.

If you haven’t yet done so, I wish with every fibre of my being that you will do so, right now. Let go and let God.

If you’ve finally said Yes, Jesus, I trust you, let me know so I can put some material in your hands and help you find a good Church home if you don’t have one.  Email, message, or tweet me. I might be in Scotland, but I’m here for you.

Next week we’ll be in Chapter 19, “It is finished”  Until then. Be blessed and be a blessing.

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Nic At Night

Episode 45

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Once again, John tells us Nicodemus was a Pharisee.  From this we can infer that he is a well respected member of the community.

Why at night? – Down through the centuries, scholars, lay people and skeptics alike have debated why Nicodemus came to see Jesus under the cover of darkness. Many have speculated that this was because Nic was unwilling to risk being seen openly praising Jesus because of the risk to his status and reputation. While this interpretation cannot be discounted, I tend to reject it because in chapters 7 and 19, Nicodemus is overt in his support of Jesus. In my opinion, it may very well be nothing more than the Pharisee wanting some private conversation which was unlikely to happen during the daytime.

Jesus being obscure….again. – After Nicodemus pays Jesus a nice compliment, Jesus takes over the conversation.  He goes right into, ‘unless a man is born again…’  There are a few times in the Gospels where Jesus comes across like one of the old Shao Lin masters in 1970s Kung Fu movies. He makes these obscure declarations that blow up the conversation and take it in a direction He wants it to go.

In this case He says, Unless a man is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God, which naturally confuses Nicodemus. This idea of Rebirth is new. It’s not an extension of the Mosaic covenant.

Jesus clarification is just as cloudy, even 21 centuries later. He reply, Unless a man is born of the water and spirit, he cannot ender the Kingdom of God.

Jesus words born of water and Spirit…. Have thrown generations into bewilderment. Several, though not all, scholars have tried to make born of water refer to physical birth , as in the amniotic fluid that accompanies a baby during birth, while Spirit refers to rebirth.  For the life of me, I cannot see it that way. Both contextually and grammatically, both water and spirit refer to the second  or rebirth. I read this passage in multiple translations and even went back to the Greek and translated it myself.  Admittedly, my Greek skills have atrophied over the years, but fortunately, verse 5 is in rather simple Greek so it wasn’t difficult. It is clear that a natural reading suggests water and spirit and are a phrase in themselves.  There are no definite articles separating the nouns, or any other differentiators. Also,  the human birth experience called born of water does not exist in Greek literature. This is an invention of the Church to try and explain a very difficult and obscure declaration.

It is my conclusion that Jesus is foreshadowing conversion, which would not be fully understood until Pentecost.  The conversion experience, called here a birth, refers to our human response to the Gospel which is summed up in our obedience in Baptism while Spirit refers to what is unseen, the hard part, as it were, that can only be performed by the Holy Spirit. In Romans 6, Paul also uses baptism as the picture of the human response to the Gospel and describes it as death, burial and resurrection. Here Jesus is foreshadowing conversion by comparing baptism as birth rather than death.  In light of the Book of Acts, the understanding is simplified.

Jesus explanation of New Birth does not clear up Nicodemus’ confusion. The Pharisee asks, How can this be?  At first, Jesus reprimands him for his lack of understanding, then He shifts gears and makes simplifies the subject by going way back to basics. He spends the verses 11-21 by saying, it’s all about me, Nicodemus. Just like Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the wilderness (Numbers 21:9), so the Son of Man will be lifted up.  Again, this is a foreshadowing of His crucifixion, that Nicodemus would simply not understand at this time.

But He makes it a bit easier by saying He came as an expression of God’s love rather than His Judgement. He has come to bring light to the world, but in our attraction to sin, and it’s associated darkness, many will reject him. But there will be others, and revelation tells us it’s a multitude that cannot be numbered, will literally come to the light.

And with that, the story ends. Abruptly, and to some degree incomplete.

That’s because at this point in the Gospel, the whole story is not yet known. It’s not until after the resurrection that the story is complete and the pieces of the puzzle can be fit together.

We have the benefit of the Bible. We can figure these things out. Salvation requires a conversion, a new birth than can only be achieved by coming to Christ, the light of the world. He came to offer light and light in place of darkness and judgement.

You don’t have to understand all of it to get started. You can simply start with John 3:16-18

Joh 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Joh 3:17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Joh 3:18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God

Probably most of you listening, have already accepted that promise and followed him, but there might be a few who are sitting on the fence. My challenge to you today is JUMP. Take Jesus at His word and ‘Believe in Him.’

I’m going to pray for you right now.

If you took that first step into Jesus arms, well done. I’m so excited. Please let your Pastor know right away so he can guide you into your next steps. If you don’t have a good Church, email, tweet me or  use the comments feature on the website with the show notes and I’ll get back to you right away with some material and with the name of a good Church in your area.

Next week, we’re going behind the curtain of one of Jesus most remarkable miracles and what it means in a lesson called, ‘Fish Sandwiches all round, no coupon required. No limit.’

Until then, be blessed and be a blessing.

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Farewell, Dear Iris

Iris at 12
Iris at 12

Shredded hearts heal, but some take longer than others. I wrote this last week, but I’m only just now (barely) able to post it.  Still, I have to share.

Today is a sad day. On the sad-o-meter, it’s pretty much off the charts. In a little less than an hour, Brittan and I are off to the vet with Iris the Irritable Corgi on her final car ride. And my heart is breaking. Whoever said, ’tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all’, never owned a dog.

As I type this page, Iris is lying uncomfortably beside my chair, in constant pain, but not wanting to be away from us. She looks older than her 12.5 years, and because of her infirmities she acts it. Our once upon a time all-star athlete can’t even go down the three steps from our deck to the yard. Often she can’t even step over the threshold without tripping and doing painful splits across the kitchen floor.

My mind races back to better days. I smile wryly at her arrival all those years ago, when she gave us a run for our money as she bolted through the Bangor, Maine airport, when an airline employee foolishly opened her crate to take a peek at the little bi-eyed monster inside.

Iris darted out of the crate and down the corridor past the gaping airline worker and a dozen wide eyed travelers.  Had it not been for her need to take a dump, we might still be chasing her around the airport.

Iris and I got off to a rough start. She was just under a year old, and full of bad attitude. Like many Cardigan Corgis, she had a bossy streak and was a natural ankle and calf nipper. Herding is in her DNA.

She was Brittan’s dog, so I didn’t take her antipathy personally. Besides, I had my rowdy team of sleddogs outside to spend my time with.

Frankly, most people had a similar experience with our little squatty terrorist to the one I did. She was just not a friendly dog. She adored Brittan and tolerated me, but other people were a genuine nuisance to her, and she refused to hide it.

Our relationship changed a few months after her arrival, when we took her to basic obedience classes to help socialize her and hopefully earn her a Canine Good Citizen certificate.  During the first class, Brittan handled her and it was rather stressful, so beginning with lesson 2, Brittan asked me to handle the Queen of Irritability, and for some reason I agreed.

We instantly formed a teamwork bond. A switch flipped and Iris became the star of the class.  Within just a couple weeks, she was perfect at every skill. We only had to practice a few minutes a day. It turns out the little beast was a genius. She learned quickly, and would do anything for a treat.

When test day finally came, I was a nervous wreck, but Iris flew through her exam like a champ. I was so proud of her. I didn’t like her, but I was proud of her.

We thought she might have a future in competitive obedience, but we discovered that she had hip problems and would never be able to handle jumping. It was the first step in a series of steps that has led us to where we are today.

One of the worst nights of my life, was watching Iris start a fight with Lucy the Bullmastiff. This was about 4 years ago now. Both were Alpha females and disliked everything about the other, but Iris was 35 lbs of middle aged arthritis and attitude, while Lucy was 110 lbs of solid muscle.

Iris snarled and snapped at Lucy over something, and in a flash, Iris was sliced from stem to stern and Lucy was shaking her like a rag doll.

I can’t even remember how we got Iris free from Lucy’s grip, but by some act of Grace we managed it. This was late on a Saturday night and the nearest emergency vet was an hour away.  I raced through the dark streets while Brittan furiously fought to stem the flow of blood.

The vets rushed Iris into surgery, with little hope for her, while Brittan and I paced and prayed and fretted the night away.  Sometime between 2 and 3 a.m. , weak but alive, Iris was placed in our arms along with a bill roughly equivalent to the GDP of a small European country.

Like I said, that was roughly 4 years ago. Iris has not been the same since. Oh, she’s still sometimes grumpy, and gets into all kinds of trouble, but I don’t think she’s had a pain free day since.

She has extreme arthritis in her shoulder from trying to compensate for her hips and she has a permanent bladder infection. The stumpy grumpy one rarely runs these days, and when she does, she regrets it. It breaks my heart.

Iris still loves attention, and dare I say it, especially from me. She’s completely incontinent now, having multiple accidents per day. Tramadol is practically a food group and she can’t leave the deck.

On some level, we’ve known we were on borrowed time for several years. We are so blessed to have enjoyed our adventures together. Now, in 15 minutes, we go on our last one. And it feels like a sword in my stomach.

Brittan believes that God will allow our special pets to be with us in Heaven. I never have. I have never wanted to be wrong about anything so much. Farewell, Iris the Irritable, bi-eyed, bat eared, spotty, squatty Corgi. So difficult to like. So easy to love.

Herding Gluttons

GluttonEpisode 32

Titus

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I’m in the studio on Monday. Yay, I love being back on schedule.

I need a favor. Prayer Network for Scotland. If you believe in Prayer. If you believe in the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, If you are Scottish, If you love Scotland, If you are a friend of this show I would really appreciate it, if you would join our network of prayer partners. There is no catch. There is no gimmick. We are simply seeking to gather a circle of Christian Scots and Albafiles together to pray for Scotland; her Believers, her Churches, her Leaders and her needs, both physical and spiritual. Here’s how to get started. 1. Go to Points North Scotland on facebook and like the page. 2. Send me a PM, an email or comment on the show notes page and let me know you want to Pray for Scotland. Please include your email address.  I will soon announce a private Facebook group and send you a personal invitation to join.  Thanks. Also, send me any questions. I’m delighted to answer.

Ok, commercial over, let’s move on to our topic.

Titus

Titus is a little known, but obviously important protoge of Paul, much like Timothy. When I say, little known, I truly mean it. He is only mentioned 13 times in the New Testament and 8 of those are in 2 Corinthians.

We know absolutely nothing about his background. He is never mentioned by Luke in Acts. His name is a gentile one, and we have that confirmed in Galatians 2:1, which is the first time he is ever mentioned.

In that chapter, Paul mentions that Titus traveled with Paul to the council in Jerusalem that is recorded in Acts 15. I find it interesting that Luke, another Gentile companion of Paul, makes no mention of Titus in his account of the council. It’s not a big deal, but I do find it curious.

Since the first mention of Titus is in the letter to the Galatians, it indicates the Churches are familiar. Also, since the visit to Galatia is the beginning of the end of the first Journey and the beginning of the second journey, and that Titus travels to Jerusalem with Paul, I’m going to suggest, that like Timothy, he is from one of the Galatian cities.

It is very interesting to me that the trip to Jerusalem as all about stopping the Judaiser attempts to force Gentile converts to obey the law, which is the primary theme of Galatians where Titus is first called by name. Then as we read through the letter to Titus, we will discover the same topic is a major theme it Paul’s letter to his young disciple.

The letter is very similar to 1 Timothy, albeit a much shorter. After studying the book this last week, I now believe Titus was probably written about the same time as I Timothy and possibly right before. The primary reason I say that is it appears from I Timothy 1, Paul seems to be on his way FROM Macedonia and is planning to meet Timothy in Ephesus. In Titus 3, he asks Titus to come to him in Nicopolis, which is a town in Macedonia. In episode 30, I suggested Timothy was written first. Now I think Titus may be a few months earlier than I Timothy. Still, the similarity in their content is so similar that they were very likely written near the same time.

Crete is an island south and slightly east of Greece, and virtually due west of Cyprus. In today’s vernacular, the insult, “Cretan” is a derisive term with historical roots in the decadent, immoral past of Crete’s cultural. Here in Titus, Paul mentions that one of the poets of ancient Crete, called the inhabitants of the island, ‘Liars and lazy gluttons.’

If you do a little digging, you’ll discover that the poet mentioned was also a philosopher named, ‘Epimenedes’. He lived in 600 B.C.

As an aside, he is also the indirect source of the altar ‘to the unknown God’ in Athens that Paul describes in Acts 17.

By the first century A.D. Crete is home to a large Jewish population. Acts Chapter 2, says there were Jews from Crete in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost and were among those who heard the Apostles speaking in tongues and were exposed to Peter’s Gospel Sermon that day. Seeing that it was not unusual for celebrants at Pentecost to have been residing in the city since Passover, it isn’t a stretch to suggest that many of them were witnesses to the Passion and Resurrection events of that earlier holiday.

It would be my educated guess that some of them were among the 3,000 baptized on Pentecost and that they became the nucleus of the first Christian congregation when they returned home. That would make the Church on Crete one of the oldest congregations in the Roman Empire.

The only time Luke records that Paul visited there was on his journey to Rome. According to Acts chapter 27, the ship was first on one part of the island, where ‘we spent a long time’ and then left for a safe harbor along the coast to winter in. It was while sailing up the coast of Crete they encountered the storm that blew them out to sea and after two weeks hit a sand bar and shipwrecked off the coast of Malta.

I guess this would be a good time to fill in some of the blanks related to Paul’s history and imprisonments. The book of Acts ends with Paul in Prison in Rome. Most conservative scholars call this his ‘first’ imprisonment. In piecing together the timeline of his letters, it appears that Paul was released briefly and made some short trips, including the visit to Macedonia mentioned here and in I Timothy. Some ancient legends say he even traveled as far as Britain in between imprisonments. I think that would be cool, but I just don’t believe there was enough time in between for such a long journey. Anyway, sometime after AD 64 he is arrested and was executed between 65 and 67. II Timothy was written during this second imprisonment.

If you have any thoughts or questions about that, by all means email them or use the comments section of the show notes.

Based on Chapter 1 here in Titus, Paul apparently went to Crete another time, or he left Titus there during his voyage to Rome and Titus was there a VERY long time. The former idea is more likely.

Again, from chapter 1, it looks like there were several congregations on the island. Titus is going to ‘set things in order’ and appoint elders to oversee the congregations. It looks like from that, and the doctrinal challenges, in all likelihood the churches were rather loose and disorganized. Titus was tasked with fixing that. I bet that was fun….not!

Paul goes on to give the same instruction to Titus about the characteristics of Elders that he gives to Timothy. He does not, however, include anything about deacons here.

Verse 10 in chapter 1 sets the major tone for the rest of the letter. He finishes the chapter with this subject then returns to it in verse 9 of chapter 3.

Chapter two is focused on relationships with other people; older and younger, just like Paul writes in I Timothy, but then that shouldn’t be too surprising if he wrote them about the same time.

Let’s go back to chapter 1, verse 10 and look at the problems the Cretan churches were facing. Paul says the Churches are dealing with all kinds of false doctrines and money hungry preachers. The thing these rogues have in common is they all have a Jewish heritage.

One of the banes of Paul’s ministry was that group called the Judaizers who followed the Apostle from town to town, stirring up trouble trying to coerce Believers to follow the law of Moses in addition to the Gospel. Paul devotes large portions of his letters to Galatia and Philippi to them; and even alludes to them in both Ephesians and Colossians.

It appears that because of the large Jewish Population in the island and the loosely organized nature of the Churches that these false teacher are pretty much running amok. Poor Titus has the unenviable task of shutting them down.

Having been in the position of confronting false teachers myself, it’s a scary, nerve wracking, and exhausting experience. And dealing with families who have been influenced and victimized by false teaching (and just like with Crete, it always goes back to money), there can be a lot of work and healing to do.

Here in chapter 1, Paul calls it rebellious, deceitful nonsense. He also says it’s shameful and that they must be silenced.

Over in Chapter 3 he calls it, Stupid, worthless and useless.

Pay very close attention to verse 10 in chapter 3

Tit 3:10 Give at least two warnings to those who cause divisions, and then have nothing more to do with them

here in the 21st century, in our culture of ‘tolerance’, we’re not supposed to ‘judge’. Paul has no such compunction. If the teaching is false, he says, shut it down. Peter and John are going to make similar statements in their letters. Stay tuned; no spoilers today.

Doctrine is important. Eternity is at stake. There are many things that are open for discussion, but some things like the Deity of Christ, His death and resurrection, salvation by Grace through faith rather than by obedience to the Law of Moses are not among the debatable. And those who try and spread false doctrine are to be silenced, not tolerated.

In our day, it’s a risky position to take, but we absolutely must. There is a lot of goofy stuff being taught out there and not all of it is harmless. This is why it is mission critical to have strong, capable, knowledgeable, faithful leaders, who can defend the truth and train the next generation so that God’s Church is full of GRACE and TRUTH. We need both if we’re going to be a light in dark places as we await Jesus return.

And that’s all I got. Go back and read Titus as soon as you can. This tiny letter was not merely written to a young preacher 2k years ago. It’s written to you…and me.

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