Home with the Lord — Dr. James A. Barrick (1948 – 2017)

My post on ParkingSpace23’s blog this week expounds 2 Timothy 4:6-8 in regard to my brother Jim’s sudden and unexpected death on August 11. On August 15 I conducted his memorial and graveside services in Cody, WY. Jim had pastored First Baptist Church there for the past 28 years. You can access his obituary here: James A. Barrick. The picture at the right shows Jim in a boat on the Sea of Galilee in April 2015 when his church sent him and his wife Rhoda to Israel on a tour with my church, Placerita Bible Church, as thanks for 25 years of pastoral ministry at First Baptist.

The Garden Tomb became the site for a family picture–Rhoda (Jim’s wife), Jim, yours truly, and Barbara (my wife). No one can visit this site without deep contemplation of the significance of the resurrection of our Savior. Jesus went to prepare a place for us and Jim has arrived there ahead of the other three of us.

At Genesis World most of our group got to ride a camel–either to Abraham’s tent or back from his tent. Jim and Rhoda road a camel to the tent where we experienced a wonderful meal while reclining at the tables. Riding a camel certainly seemed to be quite different than driving his school bus or his old Suburban to and from Meeteetse and Cody (see the link to a newspaper article about that later on this page). But, as with everything else he did, he was game to give it a go–and enjoyed it in the process.

The last Sunday I heard my brother preach was in April 2015 at En Gedi in Israel. I’m only sorry that I didn’t get a better picture of him on that occasion. Jim loved the Lord and His Word. He believed that it was inspired and inerrant. His favorite English version was the old King James Version, which he loved for its rich literary cadences that made it easy to memorize. Our family’s pastor, Dr. John Weidenaar, who led our parents to the Lord in 1962, would be pleased to know that Jim preached the Word so faithfully.

On September 21, 2014 First Baptist Church of Cody honored Jim and Rhoda for 25 years of ministry as pastor of that church. Jim had also pastored for a year in Ennis, MT and was an associate pastor under Dr. Ralph Martin and Memorial Baptist Church in Rockford, IL for 17 years. Jim’s total pastoral ministry experience at the time the Lord called him home amounted to 46 years. Jim served faithfully and filled many roles–pastor, counselor, Christian school administrator, Christian school teacher, Christian camp director, and coach for a variety of sports. Read a local newspaper article about “Team-driving Preacher” to find out more about this remarkable man for whom God allowed me to be big brother.

Blessing–Even in Affliction

Sometimes our lives seem as fragile as a bluebell clinging to its perch on an ancient chapel’s stone wall. The prophet Jeremiah caught the deep emotional pain disobedient Jerusalem must endure as the Lord brings upon her the covenant curses as discipline. Lamentations 3:1-6 reads as follows in the ESV:

I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of his wrath;
he has driven and brought me
into darkness without any light;
surely against me he turns his hand
again and again the whole day long.
He has made my flesh and my skin waste away;
he has broken my bones;
he has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead of long ago.

As I read and meditated on this significant central chapter of the Book of Lamentations, the thought came to mind that, through Christ, the believer’s experience, even in the midst of affliction–be it discipline for disobedience or just refining fire–should be markedly different. Significantly, an interior portion of Lamentations 3 (vv. 19-33) focuses on the steadfast love and mercy of God. Thankfully, we, unlike Jeremiah’s lament on behalf of disobedient Jerusalem, might sing the following (a psalm of my own composition attempting to reflect the truths of Scripture texts reflecting similar terminology and phraseology):

I am the one who has seen blessing
even in affliction–a
he has removed his wrath and protects me with his rod.b
He has brought me out of darkness
into his glorious light;c
surely his good hand is upon me
again and again the whole day long.d
He has made my flesh dwell secure;
he has healed my bones–
and kept each one from breaking.e
The LORD surrounds me all day long
and preserves me amidst shouts of deliverance.f
He is my lamp and has turned darkness
into his marvelous light.g

Footnotes:

a Genesis 33:11; Psalms 21:3-7; 144:15; Romans 4:5-9; Ephesians 1:3

b Psalms 23:4; 85:1-3; Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9

c 2 Samuel 22:29; Job 33:28-30; Psalms 27:1; 112:4; Isaiah 9:2; 42:16; Micah 7:8-9; John 8:12; Romans 13:12; 2 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; 1 Peter 2:9

d Ezra 7:6, 9; 7:28; 8:18, 22, 31; Nehemiah 2:8, 18; Psalm 111:7; Isaiah 49:2; Matthew 8:3

e Job 19:26; Psalms 16:9; 34:19-20; 51:8; 73:26; Proverbs 3:7-8; Isaiah 58:10-11

f Deuteronomy 32:10; 33:12; Psalms 31:21; 32:7, 10; 125:2

g 2 Samuel 22:29; Job 29:3; Psalms 107:13-15; 112:4; Isaiah 9:2; 42:16; Micah 7:8; John 8:12; 12:35-36; Acts 26:17-18; Romans 13:12; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 5:7-10; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; 1 Peter 2:9

Hebrew Whiteboard Update: Psalm 104:5-8

Continuing with our analysis of Psalm 104, we soon discover that the exegetical evidence favors a change of topic at verse 6. The transition commences with mere implications–a delicate poetic transference that gradually prods the reader into a different direction. While arguments can be made to retain the topic of Creation, David takes the readers on a journey that begins with creation, but continues into a time between Creation and the present before bringing them into their own context in time. Subtle uses of both vocabulary, phraseology, and syntax make the excursion a continual delight.

Click on Hebrew Whiteboard to download Psalm 104:1-8 or any of the previous studies of Psalms 1-6 and 120-122.

My Recommendations: Book of the Week, July 23

In yet another superb ebook, Michael Vlach tackles the issues involved in determining how the New Testament writers use the Old Testament. How Does the New Testament Use the Old Testament?: A Survey of the Major Views examines seven major viewpoints. Vlach’s aim in this 78-page book is to list and explain the methodologies providing viable options to evangelicals, to identify objections and questions about each view, to provide test cases by which the differences between views might be more clearly understood, and to offer some suggestion regarding future discussion of the key issues. Every student of the Bible will find this book extremely helpful as an introduction to the topic and the issues involved.

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My Recommendations: Book of the Week, July 16

William Watson finds philo-Semitism, premillennialism, and even pretribulationism to be more prevalent before the nineteenth century than most theologians and church historians try to make us believe. Over four years of research reveals that some Westminster Assembly divines, Anglican bishops, and renowned Puritans on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean held a premillennialist viewpoint. Watson examined more than 350 primary sources, most of which have not been read (much less cited) for centuries. Holding a M.A. in European history, and a Ph.D. in seventeenth-century and eighteen-century English history (University of California, Riverside), he helped compile the English Short Title Catalogue (English works published between 1473 and 1800) that led to creation of the Eighteenth Century Collections Online. He was a Fulbright Senior Scholar to Moldova in 2004, a visiting fellow at Oxford-Brookes University in 2007, and is occasionally an adjunct instructor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dispensationalism before Darby: Seventeenth-Century and Eighteenth-Century English Apocalypticism counters the theological myth that dispensationalism and pretribulationism commenced with J. N. Darby.

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My Recommendations: Book of the Week, July 9

No greater subject for our contemplation exists aside from Jesus Christ Himself. We all need to spend significant time meditating on our Savior’s work and His role in our world, our life, and our future. John Owen’s classic, The Glory of Christ: His Office and Grace, will profoundly impact your life. It is not an easy read, because of the richness of its topic and the depths that Owen plumbs. This edition provides definitions for old English terms that have gone out of use to help the reader understand him better. Occasional boxes provide summaries and charts organizing some of the key observations. Consider just a few of the jewels to be gleaned from this superb work on Christ:

  • “The revelation made of Christ in the blessed gospel is far more excellent, more glorious, and more filled with rays of divine wisdom and goodness, that the whole creation and the just comprehension of it, if attainable, can contain or afford.”
  • “he knows not Christ, he knows not the Gospel”
  • “It is in Christ alone that we may have a clear, distinct view of the glory of God and his excellencies.”
  • “all our present glory consists in our preparation for future glory”

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My Recommendations: Book of the Week, July 2

Academics have dominated the realm of Christian theology (both systematic and biblical) for several centuries. This source for the Church’s theology has led to a degree of stagnation as well as a lack of true spiritual passion in the queen of sciences–resulting in theologically anemic churches. Great theologians like Augustine, Irenaeus, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Owen, and Jonathan Edwards (just to name a few), pastored churches. Their theology focused on the teachings of the Word of God for the people of God for living in the world. Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson’s The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision chronicles the history and issues a challenge to renew a generation of pastors as theologians–for the good of the church. Every pastor should read this book and academic institutions should take its thesis into account before hiring their next professor of theology.

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My Recommendations: Book of the Week, June 26

Pastoral leadership in corporate worship requires both passion and wisdom. John Newton was just such a pastor. He not only pastored his church through his sermons and letters, he also wrote worship-filled hymns. Beyond Amazing Grace: Timeless Pastoral Wisdom from the Letters, Hymns, and Sermons of John Newton, compiled and edited by J. Todd Murray, breathes the rarified atmosphere of the Word of God through a man of God. Newton’s pastoral example and words will rekindle spiritual fire in the reader’s own heart and life. D. A. Carson wrote of this book, it “deserves to become a classic in confessional evangelical spirituality, on par with Andrew Bonar’s Memoirs of M’Cheyne.”

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My Recommendations: Book of the Week, June 19

Seven weeks ago I recommended the Grand Canyon companion to this guide book in the True North Series. This volume takes users on a trek through the landscapes of both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks identifying evidences of the biblical flood in Noah’s time and talking about biblical creation. The four authors (John Hergenrather, Tom Vail, Mike Oard, and Dennis Bokovoy) present a creationist’s viewpoint of earth’s history. They offer travel tips, maps, details on the vast forests, grasslands, geysers, trails, flowers, hiking trails, wildlife and more–all vibrantly portrayed in many full color photos. If you visit Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons, take the opportunity to study the majesty of God’s amazing creation with this volume in hand. Families will find the guide helpful for explaining the wonders of these parks to their children.

Another companion volume in the True North Series is Your Guide to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.

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Hebrew Whiteboard Update: Psalm 104:1-4

Psalm 104 provides a break from the early psalms (Psalms 1-6) and from the Psalms of Ascents (Psalms 120-122). This psalm presents the poetic description of Creation as compared to the narrative of Genesis 1:1-2:3. An anonymous psalmist marked off this psalm’s 35 verses by means of an inclusio like that used in Psalm 103. As a psalm of praise, it exhibits hymnic participles. As Hebrew poetry the psalm displays many forms of imagery that enhance its beauty. Psalm 104 offers an interpretive challenge regarding its subject matter: does it refer only to Creation, or also to the Flood of Noah’s day? At what point in the psalm does the author move from Creation to either the Flood or to the natural processes observable at the present day? We begin with the first four verses.

Click on Hebrew Whiteboard to download Psalm 104:1-4 or any of the previous studies of Psalms 1-6 and 120-122.

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