Author Archives: Tim Archer

When God spoke to Samuel

In the bilingual group at the University Church of Christ in Abilene, we’ve started using the Narrative Lectionary to guide our preaching. This lectionary provides a text for each week, which helps those preaching guide their thoughts. This week’s text was 1 Samuel 3, when God calls to young Samuel during the night. I was preaching this Sunday, and some unusual thoughts jumped out at me as I worked with the text.

  • Eli’s physical blindness mirrored his spiritual blindness. As high priest, he led a religious system that allowed corruption and abuse to have a full-time seat at the table. Because of this, he had lost the ability to receive messages from God.
  • Eli had failed largely because he loved his sons more than he loved God. He failed to correct them. He failed to protect the people that they abused.
  • As often happens, a younger person could hear what the older person had lost the ability to hear.
  • As often happens, the younger person needed the guidance of someone with more experience in the faith in order to be able to make sense of God’s words.
  • And as often happens, the message the younger person received wasn’t a new message; the same prophecy had been proclaimed in chapter 2 in even more detail. What was significant was that God was showing how the prophetic voice was passing from one generation to another.

Those were some thoughts that struck me, though I confess that some could be because of where I find myself in my life’s journey. What thoughts strike you when reading 1 Samuel 3?

Links To Go (October 16, 2017)

Harvey Weinstein vs Billy Graham

But the Harvey Weinsteins and Bill O’Reillys of the world are reminders that women in subordinate positions to men often feel pressured into closeness, and that this pressure almost always serves male libido and ego more than it serves women. If women often do not have the professional/economic leverage to afford rare or nonexistent access to male leadership (and I think that’s often true), how much less do they have leverage to refuse a meeting or a conversation because of uncomfortable circumstances?

Technology is destroying the most important asset in your life

You can spend 80 years of a life with as much free time as you want and still not get out of it as much as someone who only lived for 40 years but managed to appropriately direct attention to the things that mattered to them. Although time is indeed limited, with attention, it can be diluted to expand beyond what most other people get out of the same quantity.

Price vs. cost

Cost is what I had to give up to get this. Cost is how much to feed it, take care of it, maintain it and troubleshoot it. Cost is my lack of focus and my cost of storage. Cost is the externalities, the effluent, the side effects.

3 Reasons to Regularly Get Others to Preach

If you feel a resistance in your heart and mind to the thought of handing the keys over for a Sunday, maybe an idol is riled up . Knock it down by stepping down from the stage for a week. Brothers, get out of the pulpit. It’s good for you. It’s good for the church.

12 Bible Study Hacks

  1. Put your Bible in an easily accessible place
  2. Set aside 15 to 30 minutes a day
  3. Join or start a Bible reading club or study group
  4. Study one book of the Bible at a time
  5. Study the Bible by topics
  6. Have a Bible encyclopedia or dictionary nearby
  7. Write your thoughts or notes in the margin of your Bible
  8. Ask what the original audience or people in the story learned
  9. Put yourself in the story
  10. Journal what you learn
  11. Apply the lesson you learn to your daily life
  12. Spend time in prayer

Texas inmates donate more than $50K to Harvey relief efforts

Inmates in Texas prisons have donated more than $50,000 to relief efforts following the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey in August.
The New York Times reported that inmates in prisons throughout Texas donated $53,863 for Harvey relief after Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials allowed them to donate funds from their commissary accounts.

Links To Go (October 6, 2017)

Understanding Worldview and the Flag

As such, to move beyond this impasse, it is necessary to step back and recognize that people attach different kinds and degrees of significances to symbols and gestures. Rather than framing this as a question of absolute right and wrong and judging the matter on the basis of our own imposed values and beliefs, we should ask one another, What do these things mean to you? How can I accommodate without causing unintended offense?

I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.

A reduction in gun deaths is most likely to come from finding smaller chances for victories and expanding those solutions as much as possible. We save lives by focusing on a range of tactics to protect the different kinds of potential victims and reforming potential killers, not from sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves.

The White Privilege of the “Lone Wolf” Shooter

What we are witnessing is the blatant fact that white privilege protects even Stephen Paddock, an alleged mass murderer, not just from being called a terrorist, but from the anger, rage, hellfire, and fury that would surely rain down if he were almost anyone other than a white man. His skin protects him. It also prevents our nation from having an honest conversation about why so many white men do what he did, and why this nation seems absolutely determined to do next to nothing about it.

Don’t Try To Be Successful, Try To Do Good Work

“If you do good work, success will follow.” That’s what I’m supposed to tell you now.
But it’s not true.
Sometimes – many times – numerical success stays elusive, no matter how hard we work, how smart we are or how much we pray.
That’s why the good work needs to be its own reward.

Are We Saved by Faith Alone?

A person is saved solely on the basis of their faith in Jesus Christ. They put their faith in Jesus Christ by penitently being baptized in water for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-7; 1 Peter 3:21). There is no contradiction there. That is exactly what the New Testament teaches from beginning to end.

Productive on six hours of sleep? You’re deluding yourself, expert says

Operating on short sleep — anything less than seven hours — impairs a host of brain and bodily functions, said Walker, who is also a professor of neuroscience and psychology. It increases your risk for heart attack, cancer and stroke, compromises your immune system and makes you emotionally irrational, less charismatic and more prone to lying.

Manu Ginobili reminds us why he is one of the greatest Spurs ever

I been asked about my legacy and I really don’t care much about the legacy. … I want to be remembered as a good person, a good dude, that I was here around in town, and fun to watch, and good to hang out with but after a few years it’s going to be forgotten. The legacy thing is very overrated.

Global Missions Experience and Harding lectures

Meeting Tony at DFW airport

At the end of September, I was privileged to accompany Tony Fernández to the Global Missions Experience, a meeting of college students hosted by Harding University at Camp Tahkodah. The following Sunday, Tony, Bill Brant, and I attended a church in Paragould, Arkansas, then we returned to Harding for their annual lectures. Let me share a few bullet points from that trip.

  • It did my spirit good to be with hundreds of college students who are interested in seeing God’s kingdom grow around the world. Their fervor, their optimism, their dreams… they lifted my spirits greatly.

    Tony and the Harding Good News Singers

  • Tony did an amazing job helping these students learn about what God has done in Cuba, how the church has grown through trials and not merely in spite of them. Over 800 people heard Tony’s message.
  • Farmer Tony Fernandez at his vegetable stand

    What may have been a highlight for me was the market Tony and I helped with. We put on our best “native” garb and manned a vegetable stand (and Internet cafe, though we had neither Internet nor coffee). The GME participants had to come buy from us with money they had been provided. We mainly spoke to them in Spanish as we bargained our way through transactions. It was a lot of fun.

  • The Pine Knot church of Christ in Paragould was founded in 1841. There is a cemetery next door which is part of the church’s grounds.
  • Bill Brant did a good job of telling the Hope for Life story and giving people a vision of what we do. And Tony preached an excellent sermon.

    Bill shares the Hope For Life story

  • My presentations at Harding were very well attended and went well. I love getting to tell people about the principles in Church Inside Out. The material in that book reflects my passions more than anything else I’ve ever written.
  • Tony got to share with people at Harding what prayer has done for the church in Cuba. Always a joy to translate for him.
  • We went to a concert by Yariel Olivera. Tony and Yariel did a duet on Guantanamera

The passing of David Cabe

I went to a funeral on Saturday. David Cabe was married to my cousin. He passed away on September 22 from complications from ALS. While there, I was keenly aware of the difference between attending the funeral of someone who successfully finished the race versus that of someone who didn’t seem to know God.

For a long time, I didn’t particularly know David. A big part of that, I guess, came from my living out of the country for 15 years. It was just the last few years that I got to know David more.

David was a regular reader of this blog and a regular commenter. He commented a few times on this site, then settled on commenting to me personally, by email. His comments were insightful, helpful, and encouraging.

David’s obituary can be seen here. He apparently wrote it himself. and included at least one joke.

He also wrote his own blog after being diagnosed with ALS. I linked to it a time or two in the Links To Go. His family compiled the blog posts and made them available online at I’d like to close this with a quote from the last post that David was working on, but never finished:

The Bible is full of imagery about finishing the race, of persevering to the end. In a letter to his protégé Timothy, the apostle Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”. As I look back at my own life, I’m painfully aware of so many missed opportunities, so many detours from the course I set out on, so many moments when my faith waivered. Knowing what I do now, I would have done so many things differently. But, like every one of us, there was no way I could have finished the race by myself. Paul, the man who wrote to Timothy that he finished the race, confessed in an earlier letter, this time to the Christians in Rome, “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing”. That described Paul; that describes me; that describes everyone.