Three Nahum Sermon Notes/Outlines

What Was I Thinking?

About a hundred years ago when I attended a Southern Baptist seminary, I remember thinking, while sitting in James Nogalski’s Old Testament survey class, “What’s the deal with this judgment against Nineveh/Assyria?” Then I remembered the Jonah narrative and reckoned Nahum only made sense in light of Jonah.

I remember asking up about this in class and getting no good response from Dr. Nogalski that I can now recall. The discussion that ensued briefly among my classmates, however, I recall pretty well. Most of those who spoke up simply made the usual thoughtless remarks about all people in all places at all times owing God fealty and worship. True but not sufficient to make sense of Nahum. As if the scribes were incapable of applying their minds and making rational sense as they recorded and organized prophecies and history.

Of course the prophets and the written narratives of their work and utterances have their origins in the mind of God and have value in a standalone sense but they have been organized and exist in history and in the canon of scripture in relationship to one another. However, to leave off thought and query out of a devotionalistic failure to apply mind to the obvious relationships between concepts, events, prophetic statements found in scripture is a kind of false worship and perceptual diminution of the mind and work of God.

So, why would YHWH judge so harshly the people of Nineveh and the nation ruled from that locale any more than any other Gentile nation? Because years before, the people of Nineveh repented and turned to YHWH at the preaching of Jonah. A different relationship had been established by YHWH with the people of Nineveh through preaching of Jonah versus, say, the Cimmerians or the Ethiopians.

What is this stuff?

The first of these is obviously an introductory outline. I don’t know where the other two fell in my series. The one entitled The Problem with the Church @ Nineveh may have been a segue between my series on Jonah and that on Nahum. The third, brief note or outline? Possibly early in the series? Dunno.

About that introductory outline – I remember saying stuff like, “We’ve got a lot material to get through, so let’s get started.” Very inspirational delivery.

I haven’t line by line gone back over these notes. That said, I know everything I wrote made perfect sense to me when I wrote it and made at least okay if maybe complicated sense when I preached from it to the congregation. Whether this will make a lick of sense to anyone reading this blog or have any beneficial effect in the lives of that population, I have no idea.

Some introductory material
Relevant to a discussion of how a congregation Gentile converts to YHWH at Nineveh posed a problem to the religious establishment at Jerusalem
From the series on Nahum

Stolen Election? Probably

Joe Biden: “We have put together I think the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics.”

Nothing to See Here

The Center for Security Policy published an opinion piece the other day with which I agree – Nothing to See Here. As the United States of America goes full Zimbabwe, I take some comfort in the fact that I’m not alone in perceiving a real problem relative to mainstream media and government unwillingness to address obvious fraud, failure, and conspiracy.

Why Wouldn’t They Cheat?

This article over at Townhall posted several days ago – Why Wouldn’t They Cheat? – outlines clearly what the myriad of useful idiots on the left and their masters think of those of us who will never willingly travel with them. And, importantly, how those mistaken beliefs have driven their electron fraud strategies.

Democrat-Communist Agenda

The Democrat/Communist party has an agenda that includes:

  • Significantly reducing overall employment in order to force as many people as they can to rely upon government handouts to subsist. The Chinese Coronavirus has allowed Democrat governors to force huge numbers of citizens out of work and destroy many small businesses. They’re trying to create a need and then “meet” it. To create a problem and then “solve” it.
  • Paying those cognitively best suited for menial employment to stay home on the basis of a spurious disability in order to create a labor vacuum to draw millions of illegal aliens into this country as a means of fundamentally transforming it into the image of a third-world cesspool or, if that doesn’t take, in order to balkanize the United States of America so that some Democommunist “redeemer” type, like Obama, can preside over its dissolution.
  • While in the mean time forcing the nation to serve as a host to the parasitic “needs” of “less developed” failed nation-states.
  • Whether or not their electoral fraud scheme is ultimately successful doesn’t matter much to them because even if they fail to install their chosen dementia patient in the White House, in the eyes of several million of their useful idiots, they succeed in further dividing the nation and delegitimizing the second Trump administration and the constitutional election process.
  • Obscuring the fact that BLM/Antifa is the moral equivalent of the KKK and other exclusivist, chauvinistic groups that espouse violence to achieve their ends.

And so forth. All of this should be obvious to persons of even average intelligence.

Sermon Notes

Working and Coping

Since about mid-march, I’ve been working from home. There’re some pros and cons, I’ve found, associated with the arrangement. To the good it’s easy to get to the gym every morning, workout, get back to the house and ready for work on time. I’ve been doing gym workouts six or seven days a week since the gym reopened several months ago. Lunchtime bike rides are easy to manage, but usually less than four miles.

My reason for buying that grandmotherly green 2008 Prius has been mooted. I don’t have to drive anywhere, much. Still, the car’s cheap to operate and pleasant if not very interesting to drive.

Working from home becomes a grind. Very little variety relative to daily experience gets old. Going to the gym every day gets old. Riding around Burnt Down Plantation Estates gets old. Wearing a Dickie’s T-shirt, cargo shorts and Keen sandals with socks every day gets old. I have no reason to wear anything else and it would feel stupid to dress differently to stay home.

We’ve still got stuff in boxes in the spare bedroom, sunroom and garage from my mom’s estate. The clutter is annoying and renders whole portions of the house nonfunctional. We’ve rearranged things in the house to incorporate some of Mom’s furniture into our living space. Before Mom died, we’d planned to have some remodeling done, and clearing space for that’s been stuck at the partway mark for months.

Sermon Notes

While clearing out the computer hutch that’s now become Caution-Lady’s craft hutch in the spare bedroom, I found a stack of about six or seven outlines I’d written for a series of sermons I preached a few years ago.

UpdateI found the notes and they are mostly related to my series on Nahum. One’s for a sermon on Psalm 148 – it’s a Christmas message. And there’re a couple of pages of scrawled thoughts about similarities between Jesus and Jonah. Another’s a page of notes for a sermon on the nature of reality that I think’s already posted here.

This is not Hell

I think they’re from a too lengthy series on Jonah, then addressing Nahum because you can’t make sense Nahum without Jonah. All of that was to necessary to understand that Paul’s ministry is that Jonah in reverse. And here lately I think I’ve begun to understand that part of what was wrong with Jonah or Jonah’s “bad” is that he wanted the ministry of Christ – wanted to usurp the role of the Messiah.

If you pay attention while reading the Gospels or if you just read them through times enough to notice – Christ makes mention of Jonah repeatedly and also lives out some of the events of Jonah’s life. For instance, falling asleep in the boat while a storm threatens to overwhelm it and the crew, afraid, awakens Jesus and demands he does something to make it stop. Elvis Costello reckons Heaven is Hell in reverse, but he was mistaken. Theological patterns don’t always occur in binary symmetry.

I’ll see if I can get the notes scanned and posted here this weekend.

Shoulders and Lower Back

Chest, Shoulders & Triceps

Saturday was my day for heavy lifting with emphasis on chest, triceps, and shoulders. Many years ago, I damaged my shoulders bench pressing more weight than was reasonable using poor form. I’d probably been drinking or operating out of drunkard’s mindset. Anyway, to this day, I have problems with my shoulders. A couple of bicycle crashes w/in the past two years haven’t helped, either.

For about three or four months, I’ve been trying to rehabilitate my shoulders by first using machines that help out by smoothly guiding movement through a range of motion. Using very light weight to begin with, I’ve increased the number of plates I move. A couple of weeks ago, I added free weights – very light dumbells for bilateral simultaneous use either symmetrically or asymmetrically depending on what I’m trying to accomplish. I remember some exercises from paddling workshops to strengthen rotator cuffs, also some I learned during a couple of physical therapy treatments.

Back in early October, my family and I took a few days off – stayed at a hotel, went to an amusement park, etc. Prior to that short break, I’d been dumbell pressing as much as 75# in each hand. May not sound like much to you, but it took me a while to work up to that. The fitness room in the hotel where we stayed in October had dumbells weighted up to 50#. I used them because an easy workout is better than no workout. When we got home again, though, I had difficulty moving even 60# dumbells.

I still haven’t got back to where I was in terms of weight I’m able to lift under control repeatedly. Back to yesterday – again a lot of pain at one shoulder, difficulty moving the weights and maintaining control of them. I got through the workout using lighter weight on multiple stations for chest. I continued with shoulder and had no difficulty with triceps or core.

Lower Back

Yesterday was my day at the gym for legs – heavy lifting – and core. I did core with medicine ball, neck bridges, some medicine ball twitch reflex stuff for shoulders/chest. Did that also on Saturday.

While moving around a bunch of 45# plates for the leg-press carriage – re-racking them where I got them or where they’re supposed to go – I strained my lower back and oblique muscles. Felt terrible, but I was able to complete my workout. Later, I rode my bike to the worship service our family attends, and I didn’t enjoy the ride out, at all. During the service, my back hurt the entire time. Ride back to the house was okay, though.

This morning when I woke up at 4:00, as I usually do, I decided to go back to bed. Today’s the day I had planned to do heavy lifting for back and biceps. I’ll hit that tomorrow. In the mean time, I’m going to try intermittent fast until noon. Who knows, maybe I’ll go to supper. Fasting usually clears my mind and I could live off my fat for a week, if I had to, anyway. I’m up to 185# by my bathroom scale although some of that increased weight may be muscle.

Two Years

Two years without formal ministry or mission. I yammer about this and related matters as follows:

Around two years ago, I stepped away from formal Christian ministry. Ours was a micro-church and our congregation focused on exegesis of Scripture, our theology Reformed. Since that time, we’ve regularly attended worship services with first one congregation and now another, closer to where we live. Regarding congregational commitment, I’m committed to worshiping with other believers who evidence a Reformed understanding of Scripture.

The fellow who preached at the first congregation had a Reformed theology and an approach to preaching that was similar to my own –

A passage of scripture is like a room and the preacher’s job is to talk about what’s in the room and if something’s left out of that description, the job’s not done. The congregation, guided by the Holy Spirit, figures out for itself what, if anything, to do with what’s in the room. It’s a good idea, if you have the ability, to go so far as to talk about where the fabric on the drapes was sourced and about the pattern on the rug – it’s derivation and meaning. Exhaustive is good. Superficial is bad.

There might not be an obvious or attenuated application that preacher can make clear in a sermon. What matters is that the passage of Scripture is an expression of the mind of God and listening to it, reading it, getting hung up on what it’s saying is transformative to the believer. Might also be transformative to the reprobate by turning such away from the things of God.

That made for some long sermons, and the guy at the first congregation usually started his off with a 10 minute re-cap of the previous week’s sermon. That was my only complaint about his sermons. The re-cap. He and his family returned to the mission field – we never became friends, but I liked them and have prayed for them since they left.

The congregation we’ve been worshiping with the past several months has a preacher who’s also Reformed and does exegetical, to a degree, preaching. His messages tend to be heavy on application. The second guy seems like a decent sort – a normal, non-self-aggrandizing individual. What I like about his work is that he uses Scripture to interpret Scripture. His sermons start on time and end on time – I like that, too, although it’s not super important to me. Regarding sermon time – it takes however long it takes to deliver the message.

Regarding my own life sans formal ministry or mission, I’m okay with it. I never was fully convinced that I met scriptural qualifications for elder. In the grossly problematic category, I find:

  1. Do I manage my own home well? Not as well as I ought to – I procrastinate too much.
  2. Is my child an unruly heathen? Yeah, sometimes I really wonder whether the kid’s numbered among the elect. I have explained the Gospel to him and taught him to search the Scripture, to pray without ceasing and call upon the name of the Lord.
  3. Am I the husband of one wife? Dunno. About a hundred years ago, in California, I lived with a young woman for a couple of years. We were never formally married, but we lived together and expected the same level of commitment each from the other in terms of fidelity that’s expected of spouses. But we never pretended to be married. We stayed friends for a long time afterward and there’s more to the story but not for the telling here.
  4. Am I pugnacious? Sometimes I flare up and express anger in a way that could lead to fisticuffs although I have no interest in forcing submission to my will or views.

I remember when I left government work – nothing important, but work that vested me with the authority of the state in some instances – I felt naked without identification in that employment. That cloak of authority.

Leaving formal ministry was a little like that only when I did, I knew I wasn’t walking away from the faith or the obligation of service to my eternal sovereign. That said, I think I’m unlikely to formally join another congregation or to engage in a formal “ministry” w/in any such conceptual structure.

In some respects, I think I’m unreachable by what passes for air-quote Christianity as so much of what that entails is irrelevant to me and my family. Sometimes I wish there was some relevance or that I had some sense of belonging in a congregational group, but I’m not willing shelve my discernment and freedom in Christ.

Long Haul MK I Float from Smooth Rapids to VFW

River turns left ahead

Note that all images and captions are aligned center in editing mode.

Last Saturday I paddled the Barren Fork/Collins River from Smooth Rapids at McMinnville to the former VFW lodge just outside McMinnville. I got to Smooth Rapids a little after 11:00, dropped off my kayak and gear, then the guy who runs the place met me at the VFW parking lot where I left the Volvo. He said they had some scheduling conflicts for shuttling that day.

Smooth Rapids McMinnville

The VFW lodge is now owned by somebody trying to run a barbecue restaurant. It didn’t look “Open” on Saturday but there were a few people around back who said they were preparing for a charity auction that night. I spoke with them because I needed change for a 20 in order pay the honor-system parking fee of five dollars.

That’s the foot brace. Underneath, you can see rudder pedal assembly. Those little pins left and right are a bear to insert while the kayak’s assembled – see my first post about this kayak. Also, note those Body Glove water shoes – they’re like buckets for bringing water into the boat.

I paddled Saturday without the rudder, leaving the pedal assembly in place but clipping in the foot-plate supplied by Long Haul. The foot plate ‘covers’ the rudder pedals. The bow gunwale halves come with a strap and clip for it pre-installed on either side. The top clip should be hung from the bow deckbar between ribs 2 and 3 during assembly. I didn’t but was able to attach it without much trouble when I deflated the sponsons some to remove the spraydeck. When I’d got underway, I found I hadn’t tightened both sides the same. You can see some slack left side in the picture, above.

By mistake I grabbed a 220 cm paddle from the paddle-bin instead of the 225 I’d planned to use. Turned out 220 cm is plenty long enough for the Long Haul Mark I. Without the spraydeck, the kayak’s gothic arch cockpit is easy to get into and out of.

Not far downriver from Smooth Rapids

Last Saturday was warmer than the previous Saturday, so I wore shorts, quick-dry undergarments and a short-sleeved shirt as well as Body Glove foot-shaped water shoes with drain holes. Those water shoes acted like little buckets and shipped a lot of water every time I got into the kayak. The week before, when it was about 10 degrees cooler, I’d worn splash pants with a pair of Chota Mukluk Light shoes, kept the spraydeck in place, and the kayak stayed very dry inside.

If you float the entire route I paddled, it’s supposed to take about four hours. I completed the section of river in about two. I paddled most of the way and felt disappointed it hadn’t taken longer. On the other hand, I wasn’t really enjoying the experience – no fault of the river or the kayak.

The temperature was warm and the skies mostly overcast, but without rain or even mist until the drive home. The river water was pretty cold and I wasn’t dressed suitably for immersion. The kayak’s Comfort Seat stayed inflated this time and was pretty comfortable. I’m undecided whether to move it forward. May leave it where it is for a while.

Lunch stop – I think I’d already eaten the Larabar by the time I got here.

My heart wasn’t really in it last weekend – I was feeling glum about the recent national election. I’m not feeling excited about it today, but I remain hopeful that recounts, independent IT data scourers and the courts will result in a Trump win.

But I say that in order to explain in part why my experience on the water last Saturday, while not crap, wasn’t a lot of fun for me and I found myself just thinking about getting to the take-out and heading back to the house.

Without the rudder, I found I had to make a lot of corrective strokes to keep the kayak pointed in the direction I was looking. It tended to driftcock or weathercock or leecock or whatever the right term is.

I leaned modestly to put the kayak on its side a bit to turn more quickly. Stability for this didn’t seem too worrisome. Feeling connected to the kayak for me was a problem relative to leaning, though. In a couple of places where the river’s elevation dropped and turned, the Mark I proved maneuverable enough to pretty easily left then right.

Although it’s natural to hook my knees up under the curled tops of the middle cockpit rib, No. 4. They’re not as good as carlings, but they’re okay. I need to better adjust the foot brace, and I do plan to move the rudder pedal assembly as close to Rib No. 3 as possible when I next assemble the boat.

There’s a narrow channel just right of that fallen tree, the Mark I turned just fine and didn’t scrape bottom.

The water was running high enough I never had to get out of the kayak to pull it through shallow water over rocks. At one point the hull scraped a rock. Later, back at the house, I noticed part of a keelstrip’s black outer coating had scraped off. The hullskin’s previous owner had applied a lot of Aqua Seal. It’s started peeling off all over the hull and looks terrible but I don’t think that’s much of a problem.

Coming out the other side of that channel mentioned in the previous caption.
Fall Colors

During my brief trip downriver, I saw several great blue herons. I saw one bird that looked like a cross between a blue jay and a woodpecker. I saw two fat groundhogs shuffling fast along the shoreline. I saw a fish surface quickly. I don’t recall whether I saw any turtles.

Pallet up in the branches of that dead tree center photo. Pretty colors, sky, trees even if the composition looks a little Gilligan’s Island.

I saw a weathered wooden pallet about halfway up in some tree branches near where the Collins River flows into the Barren Fork. Snapped a picture of that.

Short video small waterfall Barren Fork R.

At one or two points during my float, I wasn’t able to hear any man-made sounds. I let my ears find their focus listening to a small waterfall on my right. Wind sounds in the many trees’ dry leaves also accompanied my paddle’s rhythmic splash.

At the takeout I had a hard time getting my kayak on the Volvo’s roof-racks on the steepish-for-that-purpose concrete boat ramp. About halfway up the ramp is a flat spot for turn-off, but I thought it imprudent to drag the kayak that far. A fellow paddler who arrived a little after I did helped me get the boat on the racks.

Concrete ramp at VFW Lodge. If you look close, you can just see the curled part of Rib No. 4 which is useful for bracing knees against.

When I set out, I thought I would stop on the way home for a cheeseburger. I’d been wanting one of those Burger King Impossible Whoppers. I like them because I don’t feel heavy and polluted like I do after eating an ordinary fast food cheeseburger. But I didn’t stop. I’d had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a Larabar about a half hour after getting on the river. That was enough until supper. I have some work to do figuring out my caloric needs.

Keep Fighting

President Trump appears willing to exhaust every legal means to verify and count every legal ballot cast in the November 3rd national elections. This is good also for down-ticket races. It isn’t over until the verification process and legal challenges run their parallel courses or int he event the Orange Man concedes. That’s how it should be.

For the first time during my life, we’ve had an American president who puts this nation’s interests first and whose administration has consistently taken care to govern according the Constitution. I admire Trump’s courage in the face of continual negative press and the tangled difficulty involved in working in close procedural proximity to Deep State lifers.

Here’s an article I read this morning at The American Conservative – “No Surrender” by Declan Leary. I agree with most of what this guy has written there.

Reformation Day Paddle

Paddling toward Hwy 41-A

NB – photo/caption alignment is unreliable in this version of WordPress editor.

Last Saturday, 31 October 2020, I paddled my new-to-me Long Haul Mark I kayak for the first time. I put in at Estill Springs City Park – an easily accessible primitive launch site – dirt, no real ramp, park where you can. Before leaving the house, I’d already planned to put in and paddle to the right – toward the populated by lake houses banks of Tims Ford Lake and as far as the Loop. I thought the water levels at the lake would be winter-pool low, so didn’t think I’d get far if I paddled up toward the dam at Woods Reservoir.

When I got to the put in, the water level looked sufficiently high to paddle in either direction, but I carried on with my planned route. There was a headwind to paddle against in the direction I chose, but I hoped that would have the wind at my back on my return trip.

Problems

Before getting to the water, I had to solve two new problems. The Long Haul Comfort Seat in the Mark I tends to flip forward – a circumstance that cannot but cause problems when the paddler enters the cockpit. I fixed that by using a small bungie cord. See the photo, below.

This short bungie keeps the seatback from flipping forward

The second problem, and one I should have considered more fully when assembling the kayak Friday, was that I needed to move the rudder pedal assembly forward from where I originally pinned it into place in the middle of the bow keelson’s track. Mark Eckhart, in his instructional video for the MK I assembly, recommends attaching the rudder pedal assembly before the forward frame half is inserted into the hullskin. The reason for this, as I learned, is that the attachment track and the pins that secure the assembly to the track are most easily accessible while the frame half is outside the skin.

Saturday morning, before loading the kayak onto the car, I decided to move the assembly closer to Rib No. 3 because at 5’9-5’10”, my legs might not reach much further forward while underway. Thought it was better to reach the pedals even if slightly uncomfortable than to not reach them at all while on the water.

I almost didn’t get the assembly reattached. I sweated and prayed a good deal but my efforts were ultimately successful. I then adjusted the number of chainlinks for the rudder cables at the carabiner on each rudder pedal. Less annoyingly difficult than what went before.

An older problem long since solved is getting a heavy, wood-framed folding kayak onto a car’s roof rack. Ralph Hoehn suggested this to me years ago. Open the car’s front door, lift the bow end of the kayak and set it on the top of the open door. Then lift the stern end onto the car’s rear crossbar. Then the bow end onto the front crossbar. Make adjustments, secure the kayak, go. Here’s an illustration – bow end on front door, stern end on back crossbar:

Door loading/unloading trick

Immediately after I got underway, I felt the tension in the left rudder pedal give way with a sound that seemed to indicate something’d broken. I got out of the kayak at shoreline and, negotiating the spraydeck’s opening with arms, head, shoulders while using my teeth as a third hand, I counted out the cable links and re-fastened the chain to the left pedal’s carabiner. Nothing had broken, I’d just failed to make secure the connection before I left the house. Thought I had, but was mistaken. Getting that corrected was more difficult than solving my rudder assembly placement earlier in the day.

Paddling Impressions

In an online forum, I noted that I felt weak or out of shape when it came to paddling this kayak for the first time. In the last ten years or so, I haven’t paddled regularly. When my son got old enough to miss me when I was gone all day, I started cycling instead.

Part of the problem was I used an unfamiliar paddle for the first time Saturday, too. I bought a 240 cm Werner Camano paddle from Ebay early last month knowing I’d be getting Mark I.

That’s my Ebay 240 cm Werner Camano paddle

As I think back about it, I would have been better off using my old Eric Renshaw Greenland paddle or even my heavy Aqua-Bound paddle. 240 centimeters is too long for this solo kayak. 230 or 225 would be better for me. The Werner’s a nice paddle. Lightweight, strong. It’ll work for my RZ-96 or even my old Grumman canoe.

Rail bridge foreground and bridge at 41-A

It took me a while to feel like I was equal to paddling, controlling the Mark I. The kayak is 15′ 10″ in length and 28″ wide. The manufacturer’s website says the kayak weighs 69#, but I think that’s without rudder/pedals and the seat. It’s pretty heavy.

After paddling past the rail and highway bridges at 41-A, I found the robotic, ab-crunching torso rotation reliant paddling style that has always got me out and back again even when feeling so worn out that paddling felt like a clumsy, tedious slog.

I do lift weights most days a gym, but the artificial practice of strength training with machines and free weights is crap compared to using my muscles to do real work in the real world. Paddling versus weights – paddling’s better. So’s cycling.

The Long Haul I don’t paddle as fast as I did my old E-68. It’s more immediately stable than the E-68. Because I wasn’t totally comfortable with my connection to the kayak at the rudder pedals or with my knees against the gunwales and also because I wasn’t comfortable with my new paddle, I didn’t try to lean the kayak or do any braces. Maybe next time with a shorter paddle.

All in all, counting breaks for bladder relief (out of sight of any lakehouse residents) and a lunch stop, I was probably on the lake for about four hours. My paddling experience was pretty awful due to being out of shape and out of practice.

Shallow grove

I saw a grove of trees standing in shallow water with oddly shaped trunks. I saw some great blue herons, other birds I couldn’t identify, some turtles. Mossy rocks.

I paddled out to the Loop, then explored a backwater accessed through a tunnel under the highway that leads to Loop Drive, I think it’s called. I passed numerous palatial lake houses. One of them reminded me of the Apple Barn restaurant and shops in Sevierville. On the way back to the put in, I saw a bald eagle. The picture didn’t turn out very well. The bird looked alert and oriented, a beautiful creature.

Estill Springs City Park put in

By the time I got back to Estill Springs City Park I was glad to see the car again. Got some dirt or sand on my back deck – no idea how that happened.

Dirt? No idea how it got there
Inexpertly tied painter knots