Blog Posts
Genesis Reading List
Genesis Reading List

Jeremy Erb • August 11, 2020

Many have been asking me for a list of the books I've been using to study and prepare for our series on Genesis. Be careful what you ask for!!!

I'm going to break it down into a few categories and give a recommendations for places to start. Please note, I have read all of the books that I'm listing and have found them worthwhile. This does not mean, however, that I agree with everything in them. Nor should I expect to!


How to Read Genesis

John Walton's series on "The Lost World of..." are must reads. These books approach Genesis from the hermeneutical perspective that the bible is written for us but not to us. He deals with how to read the scriptures as history, the relationship of scripture to science, and so much more.



Supernatural Realities in Genesis


Michael Heiser has written the most comprehensive and scholarly books on the supernatural realities in the Scriptures in the last 100 years. His most accessible work is called Supernatural. The more in depth work is called The Unseen Realm which I highly recommend. The follow up book is called Reversing Hermon. His recent commentary on Enoch is a unique and fascinating read. He also has a book on angels and demons if you want to dive deeper into what the bible says about divine beings.



The Bible Project partnered with Heiser to produce an excellent series of introductory videos. Check them out:


Other Excellent Resources


The following books have all been helpful to me in this study although they all don't deal specifically with Genesis. I will write a second post with the commentaries and other tools I've found useful later this week!




Read more
Son Light
Son Light

Denny Harkins • April 30, 2020

We live in the sun light of the resurrection. This light pierces the darkness and it cannot be held back.  During this season in world history, I realize, I need Jesus more than ever. I need His Body more than ever.  We were meant to be together and this separation is driving me crazy. We are socially distancing but my desire is for connected fellowship … which is just the opposite. 


We need His light to shine into all of us. Even though I hate this, God promises to use it for our Good. To make us better, more loving, more like Him. Jesus understood separation when He went to the cross and cried out “… my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? It seems, at that moment, He felt abandoned. 


We have other examples in scripture on how separation from one another was handled. When the Apostle Paul could not be with those he loved, he wrote to them.  We have many books in the New Testament of him doing just that. For instance:


... But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face,  because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy. (1 Thessalonians 2:17-20)


Paul desired to be with the church but was prevented by Satan. He had to find other ways to connect. First he wrote letters to them, and ultimately sent Timothy to take his place. 


We are being ordered by our governing authorities to remain separate, to socially isolate and stay home, but … we are not apart. We know that the Holy Spirit provides unity. When we cannot change what is ... embrace it, and ... do what we can. When life changes the way we do things ... find other ways. The Gospel is not hindered by being physically separated... as we have many other tools. Let us not complain and groan, let’s move forward with what we have. The technology of today is not letters written on parchment-scrolls hand-carried from one place to the other. In our modern world we have amazing advantages in sending digital images, writings, videos, and sound to anywhere in the modern world instantaneously. Let us use them wisely. 


Let us embrace what we have and connect, love, communicate, fellowship and worship together. Let us not grow weary in doing this as we do not know how long it will last. God is not hindered and neither are we.


Let us keep looking out for one another,


Denny

Read more
Depression - The Day After Darkness
Depression - The Day After Darkness

Denny Harkins • April 11, 2020

Saturday:


I woke up this morning thinking about how the disciples must have felt on Saturday. The day after Friday. The day Darkness took their dreams. A restless night - not much sleep. Thoughts and many hurtful exasperated prayers along the lines of "God how could this happen … why would you allow this to happen?” Anger, hope-deferred, depression. 


Yesterday you lost everything. Today it is real!


I am reminded of Joseph when his own brothers, hated him so much, sold him into slavery. As they watched Joseph being bound and taken away as property, they must have been thinking, "finally we are done with this problem. We no longer have him to deal with." 


Silence! 


Imagine the silence of the disciples in the day after. Imagine the thoughts of Jospeh the day after he was sold into slavery. Put yourselves in their place, think what you think, feel what you feel.  


Today is Saturday … but Sunday is coming.


The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)


Look out for one another,


Denny



During this time of quarantine read Genesis chapters 37 through 50. It is the story of Joseph and how God caused what was meant for evil, to be turned into good.  It is the story of how the day after darkness ultimately resulted in the rescue of God’s people. 



Read more
Darkness
Darkness

Denny Harkins • April 10, 2020

Imagine the worst day of your life … literally. 


Three years spent devoting yourself to a cause, one you truly believed was real and would fulfill all the promises you believed in. This was the person who was changing everything. You put your faith and trust in HIm. You learned to believe everything He taught you. It took time for you to see Him for who He was. As the days went by you understood that He is the promise you were exposed to growing up. You could feel the anticipation of everything coming to fruition. The tension and excitement inside was thrilling. Then it happened. 


In one day it all came crashing down. He was arrested, beaten, mocked, publicly disgraced, and tortured to death. He was dead. In His death all of your hopes died. How could you have been so wrong. 


Darkness ...


The darkness was heavy. It all seemed like a nightmare and not real. Yet it was.


We call this day Good Friday. For the disciples it was not good. They witnessed the abuse and death of their friend ... coming to believe that He was not who He said He was. The darkness was physical, emotional and spiritual. 


Sit in this moment and think about the darkest time of your life. The time when everything seemed to change for the worst. 


And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 ESV)



Today is Friday …. But Sunday is coming. 


 

Read more
Be Kind
Be Kind

Denny Harkins • April 06, 2020

How do you navigate seasons like this when the whole world seems to be going crazy, when fear is the predominate emotion for the day in our culture? How do we operate as the body of Christ in this new normal traffic pattern of life?


Be kind! It is just that simple.


Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 ESV)


Being kind is contained in what it means to love agape. “Love is … kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Kindness applies to everyone, when they deserve it and when they do not. My grandfather used to say that "courtesy is the oil of life.” Think about it. Doesn't It just make life run smoother when you are courteous? Kindness works in exactly the same way. Your life will run smoother, especially in trying times. 


As you interact with people, being motivated by the Holy Spirit, reach out in kindness. It really will change the circumstances around you. During this time of crisis, choose to be kind. In all your actions toward other people do it in a way that honors them as humans created in the image of God. Choose to be tenderhearted. Try to see things as they do. Put yourself in their place. Feel as they are feeling. Then treat them the way you would want to be treated under the circumstances. Choose to forgive. Even when people have wronged you, work on forgiving, and conduct yourself with that understanding.  This is how we love those around us. Forgiving is one of the most powerful gifts we give to others and it transforms us into the image of Christ. 


There is too much tension and stress during this time. Choose to transform it in kindness. 


In these new normal traffic patterns of life, be kind.


Looking out for one another,


Denny

Read more
The Sun Came Up
The Sun Came Up

Denny Harkins • April 01, 2020

I do the same basic things every morning: make coffee, grab my Bible (now contained in my iPad), sit in my chair that looks out toward the Estrella Mountains, read, study, and pray. Most mornings I get to watch the sun come up and sometimes it is spectacular. This morning was simply normal but the thought struck me that the sun, in fact, came up.  


In all of the end-of-the-world type of language being spread through the news, day after day in this Coronavirus season, the sun still comes up. God is not finished with us yet.  


In thinking about this I was reminded of this passage:


“… the Lord said in His heart … While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”  (Genesis 8:21-22)


This is the confidence that we have in Him: the earth remains, the end of the world is not yet, life will move forward as evidenced by the rising of the sun.


Take the time to notice the simple things in your life. Enjoy the beauty of nature. Stop, look, and take it in. Understand God is in control.


Look out for one another,


Denny 

Read more
During Coronavirus - Be Still
During Coronavirus - Be Still

Denny Harkins • March 25, 2020

I am sitting in my home office thinking, praying about all that is going on around us. It feels like being trapped in a dream state of a Twilight Zone episode. Nothing seems familiar or real. What I see and experience is fear ruling. The world around us is changing and not toward the safe place we desire it to be. This entire life continuum is surreal. Will I ever be able to wake up? I do not want to do this. I want to go back.

 

In this season of COVID-19, it is easy to conclude that: our governments, political leaders, medical establishments, and scientists, have the power to take care of all this. At least we behave as if they do. 

 

As I contemplate the Coronavirus affair, I'm not exactly sure what we are “supposed" to do but, I do have some advice … 

 

Be Still …at least for a while. 

 

I know Being Still is counterintuitive to everything that makes logical sense yet this is what God commands us to do. Be Still, continue to Be Still until this season is over. When it is over ... Be Still. 

 

As I consider these thoughts, Psalm 46 comes to mind (one of my favorites).

 

Psalm 46:1 says: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” 

 

Let me just say this … I need help, and I believe you need help as well. Where is this refuge, strength, and present help when I need it? Where is God?

 

Psalm 46:10 says: "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” 

 

I want God to shepherd the nations and the earth. I want to see it. 

 

As you read the entire 46th Psalm, the context of these above verses, nations have gone rogue against God, and the created order is bringing devastation upon its inhabitants. Sounds like what is being reported in the news as I type. Nature, in its fallen condition, is bringing devastation (Coronavirus). Nations, with their political aspirations, have gone rogue against each other (over blame and how to fix this mess).

 

God’s message to us is simple. Be still and know that I am God. We can trust Him in this as He is not blind to our plea. He is good. Being still starts with surrendering to Him because we are powerless to handle this on our own. Remember … mankind, science, medicine cannot alone resolve this. We are completely helpless and dependent on our Father. This understanding is the foundation for prayer. Part of Being Still is crying out to God.

 

Pray today, and every day, about those things burdening your heart. Pray like a small child asking a good Father, unashamedly, what you want. What is your heart's desire? Pray that desire.

 

Be Still and Pray

Read more