Howard Hendricks

Dr. Howard Hendricks, known to most people simply as “Prof,” died on Wednesday, Feb. 20.  He taught at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) for nearly 60 years.

Howard Hendricks was one of the many reasons why I attended DTS. In addition to being blessed through his traveling preaching and writing ministries, I had the opportunity to meet with Prof at the old Harley Hotel. During that conversation he strongly encouraged me to go to seminary. After that point we kept in touch through email and then had many personal interactions when I got to Dallas. I loved the times we ate breakfast together at La Madeline’s, met in his office, heard him teach on bible study methods and hermeneutics in class, and interacted with him on seminary retreats. Like many others I was truly blessed by his gifts in the area of discipleship. Even after graduation, he continued to bless my life as I used his book, Living by the Book, to teach bible study methods. He was one of a kind and I am so grateful for how God used him in my life and the lives of countless others. I am sure that God is now rewarding him generously for his faithful service. He is will be greatly missed.

Howard Hendricks had a lasting impact on my life. First, he taught my father when he was a student at DTS, and then I was able to take Hendricks’ bible study methods class when I attended DTS so I benefited from his teaching beginning when I was a young child. His enthusiasm for the bible and teaching, famously and frequently summarized as “It is a sin to bore people with the bible,” was infectious. He and his wife, Jeanne, were also wonderful about meeting with and encouraging students on ministry, marriage and family life issues. I regularly teach from Living By the Book, and so his legacy continues here at Calvary. He was a treasure and servant of the Gospel. On a personal note, he and Jeanne passed along their old kitchen table to our family. As I grew up, that blue table was the centerpiece of our family’s life, made possible in part by the Hendricks’ generosity.

This tribute video was made for his retirement from teaching in 2010.

More information about Dr. Hendricks can be found on the DTS website.

Jonah and Anger with God

undividedToday we talked about being angry with God and the fact that anger with God can lead one of two directions.  Either we try to find a way out of the disappointment and pain of anger and stifle our emotions until we become apathetic towards God.   Or we use the passion of anger to engage even more fully with God and stay engaged with Him until he shows himself to be who he is – the God of all blessing.

Anger as a fork in the road can be seen not only in 2 Samuel 6, but even more vividly in Jonah 4.  The chapter begins with Jonah expressing his anger with the Lord at what God was doing in Nineveh.  God replies to Jonah, “Have you any right to be angry?”  Interestingly, God does not punish Jonah for his anger.  Instead he tries to use Jonah’s anger to engage with him.  He causes a vine to grow over Jonah, kills the vine and blazes down heat on Jonah’s head.  Again God asks Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?”  Jonah brazenly replies, “I do.  I am angry enough to die.”  Again, God does not strike Jonah dead for his anger but uses it to engage him by saying, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow.  It sprang up overnight and died overnight.  But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well.  Should I not be concerned about this great city?”

And that’s it.  Those are the closing verses of the book of Jonah.  It is where our account of the story ends.  God was trying to use Jonah’s anger to open his eyes to see that what Jonah viewed as disappointment was actually a huge blessing.  If Jonah could see that, he would have worshipped God.  But did he?  Or did Jonah’s anger cause him to disengage from God so that he didn’t have to deal with a God who didn’t do every thing the way that Jonah wanted done?  We don’t know.  The text never says.

Instead the Bible leaves the question hanging and by doing so poses a question for each of us:  What will we do with our anger with God when he does not do things the way we want them done?  Will we allow our anger to push us away from God until we sink into a state of apathy and resistance towards God?  Or will we continue to engage with God until we end up worshipping him as passionately as we were angry with him?