Thursday, November 30, 2006

flannelgraph jesus

This is funny stuff. Warning, if you are one of those Sunday School flannelgraph lovers, don't go here.

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warren haters

I mentioned Rick Warren haters in my last post. I won't plumb the depths of this but it's amazing the energy people put into pulling someone else down. Here the guys at Slice of Laodicea are actually going to send someone to the aids conference to get the facts. One glance at their "Purpose Driven Madness" category should give you a good idea on how unbiased their final report will be. I wonder what drives such people?

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aids conference at saddleback

For you Rick Warren haters, this will give you more fodder. Saddleback is inviting Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) to speak at a global AIDS conference the church is hosting. Obama supports abortion.

Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren, who opposes Obama's abortion views, issued a statement: "Our goal has been to put people together who normally won't even speak to each other," the Saddleback statement said. "We do not expect all participants in the summit discussion to agree with all of our evangelical beliefs. However, the HIV/AIDS pandemic cannot be fought by evangelicals alone. It will take the cooperation of all - government, business, NGOs and the church."
I like it. Obama is not preaching at Saddleback. He is not even speaking on the abortion issue. This strikes me as an excellent opportunity to make use of huge facilities such as Saddleback. The fact that they have that building is yet another debate but given that they do, I think we [the Church] ought to engage our culture and bring Christ into that.

Had the issue cited been about how this will be a worldly "love-in" without the message of hope that Christ brings to the problem of this fallen world, I would share the concern. But this is simply a "we can't have this guy because he doesn't represent all that we represent" - sorry, I can't get behind that.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

allofmp3 shutting down?

Oh oh, this is looking pretty official. If you have a balance with them you might want to use it. Russia is agreeing to shut down AllofMP3. I just picked up some Jethro Tull, Righteous Brothers, Josh Groban, and Chris Tomlin (47 songs in all) for $10. I still have $8 left to burn.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

god's people

Lk 1.17; "and he [John the Baptist] will go before him [Jesus] in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

2 Co 6.16; "For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, 'I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people'."

He 8.10; "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

1 Pe 2.10; "Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people"

Re 21.3; "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.'"

Christ saved us one-by-one but He didn't save us for one-on-one. He called us to live in community. For us to live alone or even with those that we like is no miracle. For us to commune with the Father in the company of those we are not like - that is a miracle. We reflect God's glory when we live His life as part of a body with Him functioning as the head.

We must purpose to reflect His image and to do that fully, it must be done in the context of community.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

contemplative prayer

I don't know what this movement is about and while I haven't found an "official" site to help me understand, I came across Contemplative Prayer Practices from Youth Specialties that seem to be a mix of good and bad - well mostly bad. I've listed the key points below along with a short "what does Rick think". The YS article contains links for further reading on each point.

  • Deep Breathing - oh oh; I'm all for advice like "get comfortable", "find a quiet place", etc. but this advice seems to go beyond simple help and more into something "spooky" ... don't get into it.
  • Lectio Divina - this is about sacred reading or meditation on the Word; GREAT! We could all stand to do more.
  • Ignatian Contemplative - stuff like visualizing the situation of Biblical text with you in it or take an event from your past and meditating on the actual event and then "what if" the Spirit were present; my advice, run don't walk from this one.
  • Labyrinths - this one is a journey to the center of a spiral pattern traced on the ground and journey back out again. While walking through the pathway in the labyrinth, participants are encouraged to ask God to speak to them in the walking; again, run don't walk away from this. I recommend a simple walk through your favorite garden spot.
  • Taizé - it's French - 'nough said!
  • Iona - accountability groups but with spookiness; leave it alone.
I'm bothered by this and especially since I am one of the uneducated that presumed YS was a mainstream group. Contemplative Prayer Practices is far from orthodoxy.

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be still

One hundred fifty years ago, in a far less complex society, theologian Frederick Faber wrote: There is hardly ever a complete silence in our soul. God is whispering to us well nigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the soul, or sink low, then we hear these whisperings of God. He is always whispering to us, only we do not always hear, because of the noise, hurry, and distraction which life causes as it rushes on.

Before that, David wrote, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” - Psalm 46.10

Today's sermon as NSV was a continuation of redefining our pace for hearing from God. In Dt 27.9, Moses and the priests said to Israel, "Keep silence and hear, O Israel: this day you have become the people of the Lord your God." How have we quieted our lives to have any hope of hearing from God?

We looked at several Scriptures extolling the virtue of silence. We then considered Genesis 1. Here we see that on man's first day (the seventh of creation), God commanded rest. We also took note that the "day" started in the evening. It could be understood that God intends for us to start from a place of rest.

Contrary to my natural instincts, God's sequence is slow down, pray, and then perhaps act. I typically jump into action and then perhaps pray (and that's often to minimize the damage caused by my action) - rarely do I slow down.

We closed with this consideration, the fourth of the ten commandments is to keep the Sabbath. If not consciously, certainly in practice, few of us follow that? We would never consider intentionally violating the other nine but with this one, why is it we behave as though that is not still in play? I intend to be more overt in my observance of this. I'm not completely sure what "rest" really looks like but I'm convinced it is in no way can be construed as my current practice.

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god at work

Regarding man glorifying God through his work, John Piper posits that "humans are morally self-conscious and make choices about their work on the basis of motives that may or may not honor God."

I often thought of honoring God at work as having a good work ethic and performing with joy and excellence. Piper challenges us to think beyond that. He notes that "no beaver ponders the divine pattern of order and beauty and makes a moral choice to pursue excellence because God is excellent. No beaver ever pondered the preciousness and purpose of God and decided for God's sake to make a dam for another beaver and not for himself."

True that our work should be with excellence but many animals do their "work" with excellence but sums up the important difference between us and animals in this, "the essence of our work as humans must be that it is done in conscious reliance on God's power, and in conscious quest of God's pattern of excellence, and in deliberate aim to reflect God's glory."

How aware are we of our utter dependance on God? How often do we put God's will before the question of what is best for our "business" or "industry"?

The other slant on this topic is to be a witness in the work place. Again Piper provides valuable insight, "our work is not the beautiful woman but the necklace. The beautiful woman is the Gospel." The question of our secular work is will it "increase or decrease the attractiveness of the Gospel we profess before unbelievers."

People need to know we are Christians and in the end, they need to hear a true Gospel account on which to place faith. But our manner of work can either add or detract from the appearance of that Gospel.

So now as I work, I consider my dependance on the Father, what He wants accomplished in that effort, and how will it appear to the world as they consider His truth.

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our spiritual estate

I just read the below quote from Martin Luther in his Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation (1520).
... all Christians are truly of the spiritual estate, and there is no difference among them, save of office alone.
In context, he was rejecting the notion that those with a church calling were not higher than those with a secular calling. I think most Protestants readily accept that vocation or office does not make one more or less spiritual than another in this context. I wonder why we then have so much of an issue when some, like me, argue that a woman can be equal to a man in Christ and maintain that there are role differences?

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outsourced santa

I've had a lot of home networking issues and in the process have needed tech help from various companies. I'm familiar with outsourcing but I was impressed that it seemed to be 100% from India - well, except Apple, they were proud to let me know that their help was local talent.
Outsourced Santa-Thumb

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

who to imitate?

Dan Phillips provides yet another excellent admonition over at Pyromaniacs. This one is to "Admire godly examples, past and present. Learn from them. Respect them. But don't chain yourself to them. And don't hide behind them as an excuse for not engaging the text of Scripture."

I add only two comments - first, ignore the "leaky-canon" bit and second, ask yourself to whom are you a godly example. As part of being discipled and discipling others, are you living a life that causes others to turn toward God and His Word?

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Monday, November 20, 2006

brian welch on cnn

KORN lead guitarist converted ...

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we are not terrorists

I continue to be amazed by those - especially Americans - that accuse the US of being terrorists. Here's yet another article defining the difference between US/Israeli versus Palestinian behavior.

Israel makes effort to minimize civilian casualties. Palestinians strive for civilian casualties.

These people and their sympathizers are not understandable to me. Please note, I'm not arguing here for or against the war happening there, I'm stating that I don't understand how clear minded people can confuse the nature of the combatants.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

glenn beck presents exposed

While I am convinced we can never know the complete truth regarding world politics, I believe this expose´. I am always curious why people refer to Islam as a religion of peace. I just haven't seen it.

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gaining a heart of wisdom

It's that time of year again. Tomorrow is my birthday. I will have lived 16436 days. If I live 70 years, I only have 9114 left. If I have the strength and live to 80, then 10416 are left. Either way, I've already used the larger portion of my life. I'd like to report that it was well used. While some was, much was not.

Psa 90.10; "The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span [1] is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away."

Psa 90.12; "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."

I pray that while I cannot know how many are really remaining, that I would be wise and use them well.

happy thanksgiving

Thanks1

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linerider

Vince just tipped me off to linerider - absolutely the best game going - and just in time for Christmas. Try making a loop with it.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

spiritual warefare

John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life, "The war is not primarily spatial or physical—though its successes and failures have physical effects. Therefore, the secular vocations of Christians are a war zone. There are spiritual adversaries to be defeated (that is, evil spirits and sins, not people); and there is beautiful moral high ground to be gained for the glory of God. You don’t waste you life by where you work, but how and why."

Eph 6.2; "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."

If we are to overcome in this life, we must understand that the "playing field" is in the spiritual realm. While this has physical implications, our life and our fight is spiritual. Let's not waste our lives fighting on a humanistic plane, let's win the higher goal of overcoming in the spiritual.

On a personal note, today about 100 hundred of us from NSV gathered to give turkeys and side dishes away to those less fortunate. Very cool to be able to gather with family to serve and honor our God.

Also Isaiah and I spent some time together today. We went to Bob Evans (one of our favorites). Then I took him to a Junior Music Experience to play piano - yet another superior for his collection. Then we took some pictures down by the pond behind our house and finally played some ping-pong. I love that boy.

Only bummer is that yet another Hitachi 6GB Microdrive failed. At roughly $180 a piece, this is getting out of control. I wish I knew what I was doing wrong.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

granny air bag

I think this gal's a relative of mine ...

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dumb criminal

This is why I did not choose a life of crime. I probably wouldn't be any smarter and certainly those falls would have killed me.

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gop basics

A former neighbor, Sunday School and Church mate, David Limbaugh wrote Back to GOP basics. I don't for one minute think that the US is God's vehicle for salvation to the world nor do I think that the Republican Party is His party while the Democrats are Satan's minions but ...

I am lacking one shred of evidence that the Dems uphold a single Judeo-Christian value. Instead they seem bent on destroying that base. The GOP has huge failures both morally and politically but at least they do not seem to be 100% "Christophobic".

The recent election results didn't feel good to me but I hope the GOP will take this as a signal to return to the basics and not a signal that more compromise is in order.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

tequila





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youtube video downloads

If you ever thought you needed a personal copy of some YouTube video, check this out. Everything you needed to know from TechCrunch about downloading and preserving those YouTube video files.

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technology proves calvinism

Here you go ... solid proof of the doctrine of election. It couldn't be wrong with this kind of technology behind it.

What more can be said?

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Monday, November 13, 2006

where do works fit?

“The Calvinistic proposition is that we are saved by ‘grace’ in order that we may be judged by ‘works’ ... Justification gives to me the sinner the right to serve God; sanctification imparts to sinners the heart to serve God; and judgment is according to the service rendered. It is ex gratia in order that it may be ex labore. Sinners are redeemed for service-redeemed that they may obey God with spontaneity and happiness. Will a sinner’s deeds save him? No; he must be saved in order to do. Will his ‘works’ justify him? No; he must be justified in order to have the right and the privilege to work. Will his labors sanctify him? No; he must be sanctified in order to have the heart to labor. Will his deeds be mentioned in the day of judgment? Yes, every one of them will figure in the reckoning which God will make with his soul. Are ‘good works’ necessary to salvation? Yes; by his fruits the sinner will be known and judged at the last day. He who has done little will receive little; and he who has done much will receive much; and he who has done nothing will be cast into outer darkness.” R.A. Webb - Christian Salvation: its Doctrine and Experience.

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generational curses

Ilona at Truegrit raises the question of generational curses, the "...gist of it is that the sins of the fathers get visited upon the sons, or that we are affected in future generations by the wrongs of previous generations." The biggest issue with this topic from my perspective is that this is yet another example of a lot of teaching on something that is not the "main and plain" of Scripture.

Neil Anderson is one of the more popular teachers propagating some really bad teaching on the topic. On pages 201-207 of Bondage Breakers, Anderson cites Ex 20.4-6 (Dt 5.9-10) as support for demonic activity in the life of a believer based on ancestral sin. There are other Scriptures that could be added, Ex 34.6-7 and Nu 14.17-18. But his conclusions break down on several levels.

First the context. While God's wrath is to the third and fourth generation, His mercy is visited on thousands of generations. These passages are more about God's mercy than His wrath. They also speak to His justice.

Then note who is the object of the cursing - it is on those that hate the Lord, not some innocent bystander or believer.

Then there is the literalistic difficulty of the passages. If one is three generations from someone that hated God but twenty from someone that loved God, would that person receive wrath or mercy? What if three generations away there are two people that love God but four that hate him, will the person receive wrath then? See the dilemma? An unnecessary one at that.

More importantly, the agent behind both the blessing or cursing is God. Anderson teaches that to deal with Satan he must be "bond". If God is the agent of the curse, then this will fail. If God is not the direct agent but rather employing Satan, than it is still His will and what will the "binding" action accomplish?

Scripture is replete with examples of children not paying for the sins of their fathers, David and Solomon, or conversely Hezekiah and Manasseh who was oddly followed by Josiah.

In Jn 9.3, Jesus models our proper action when confronted with this kind of question. He is more focussed on what God wants to do in the situation for His glory then whether it was the man or his parents that sinned.

And finally, Ez 18.1-5 counters this whole concept and provides a foreshadowing of Christ's work for us.

The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die. “If a man is righteous and does what is just and right ..."

Ezekiel expands on this idea in the verses that follow in much more detail, declaring that if the son of an evil man does not repeat His father's sins (which contradicts the interpretation of the "generational curses" passages that the children are destined to repeat their fathers' sins) he will not be punished, but only the father. The same goes for the corollary in which a righteous man's son commits evil. The father will be blessed, but the son will be punished. His summary is clear (Ez 18.20-21).

The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. “But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die."

To close the topic, Jesus bore our curses by being made a curse for us (Ga 3.13)! Praise God! We are new creations in Christ and He is now about reconciliation not imputation of trespasses (2 Co 5:17-19).

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morechotomy

A friend of mine asked what was the Church history of the dichotomy/trichotomy discussion. I don't know but I found this interesting.

This doctrine of a threefold constitution of man [trichotomy] being adopted by Plato, was introduced partially into the early Church, but soon came to be regarded as dangerous, if not heretical. Its being held by the Gnostics that the pneuma in man was a part of the divine essence, and incapable of sin; and by the Apollinarians that Christ had only a human soma and psuche, but not a human pneuma, the Church rejected the doctrine that the psuche and pneuma were distinct substances, since upon it those heresies were founded. In later times the Semi-Pelagians taught that the soul and body, but not the spirit in man were the subjects of original sin. All Protestants, Lutherans and Reformed, were, therefore, the more zealous in maintaining that the soul and spirit, psuche and pneuma, are one and the same substance and essence. And this, as before remarked, has been the common doctrine of the Church (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol II, p. 51, Hendrickson Publishers, 2003).
While that doesn't tell me which view is right or wrong, it does support my observations of those that tend to latch onto the trichotomy train of thought. I like this author's spin.

A question arises at this point which has engaged and divided theologians in all generations, namely, is man a dichotomous being-two parts, material and immaterial with the supposition that soul and spirit are the same-, or is he trichotomous-body, soul, and spirit? It would be readily conceded by all that, under any consideration, there is not the same breadth of distinction observable between soul and spirit as between soul and body, or spirit and body. Distinctions-far-reaching indeed-are implied between soul and spirit; yet these terms are used synonymously. Thus the controversy is between those who are impressed with the distinctions and those who are impressed with the similarities. It would be well to recognize that, when so required, the Bible assigns to these two terms a distinctive meaning and that when no specific distinction is in view the Bible uses them as interchangeable. In other words, the Bible supports both dichotomy and trichotomy. The distinction between soul and spirit is as incomprehensible as life itself, and the efforts of men to frame definitions must always be unsatisfactory. Dallas Theological Seminary. (1944; 2002). Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 101 (101:19). Dallas Theological Seminary.
Scripture distinguishes between spirit and soul where helpful and speaks of them interchangeably where that is helpful. It makes me nervous when one or the other is taught as a doctrine and then some other theology is built upon that. I've not seen that done with those of the dichotomy leaning but I've routinely seen that in the trichotomy camp.

Please don't get me wrong, one can hold to the trichotomic view of man’s constitution and be in good company with the likes of von Rudloff, Schubert, Delitzsch, Ellicott, Alford, and Heard as well as popular leaders like Andrew Murray, D. L. Moody and Scofield. My only point is to be careful where you take it and the absoluteness you place on it. Scripture is ambiguous and pitfalls surround it. We would be better suited to focus our attention on man as a whole and how we are to interact with the Living God in all that we are.

What kind of man am I? The important answer is not how many "parts" am I made of but simply whether I am a natural man or a spiritual man (1 Co 2.14-16).

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sanctified ipod

Saint-B-Mp3Marc at Purgatorio brings us this link - super cool. I have to have one.









Ibelieve

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emotions?

In my last post I risked sounding like I may have thought the inner-man was pure intellect and that emotion has no part of us. Not true. Our emotions are powerful and they also need to be reckoned with. Here's a good post by Adrian Warnock on the impact of preaching on our emotion and another about the importance of emotion itself. The key here, as with our intellect, is that we need to avoid falling victim to Satan's lies. We need to become a Spirit controlled being and continue to renew ourselves in the truth of God's Word - and this is independent of how many parts you might believe man is made of.

John Piper's philosophy of worship does a nice job of concisely articulating how our worship involves the whole of the inner-man.

  1. God-centeredness: A high priority of the vertical focus of our Sunday morning service. The ultimate aim is to so experience God that he is glorified in our affections.
  2. Expecting the powerful presence of God: We do not just direct ourselves toward him. We earnestly seek his drawing near according to the promise of James 4:8. We believe that in worship God draws near to us in power, and makes himself known and felt for our good and for the salvation of unbelievers in the midst.
  3. Bible based and Bible saturated: The content of our singing and praying and welcoming and preaching and poetry will always conform to the truth of Scripture. The content of God's Word will be woven through all we do in worship and will be the ground of all our appeal to authority.
  4. Head and heart: Worship that aims at kindling and carrying deep, strong, real emotions toward God, but does not manipulate people's emotions by failing to appeal to clear thinking about spiritual things based on shareable evidences outside ourselves.
  5. Earnestness and intensity: Avoiding a trite, flippant, superficial, frivolous atmosphere, but instead setting an example of reverence and passion and wonder.
  6. Authentic communication: The utter renunciation of all sham and deceit and hypocrisy and pretense and affectation and posturing. Not the atmosphere of artistic or oratorical performance but the atmosphere of a radically personal encounter with God truth..
  7. The manifestation of God and the common good: We expect and hope and pray (according to 1 Cor. 12:7) that our focus on the manifesting of God is good for people and that therefore a spirit of love for each other is not incompatible with, but necessary to authentic worship.
  8. Undistracting excellence: We will try to sing and play and pray and preach in such a way that people's attention will not be diverted from the substance by shoddy ministry nor by excessive finesse, elegance or refinement. Natural, undistracting excellence will let the truth and beauty of God shine through.
  9. The mingling of historic and contemporary music: And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old" (Matt. 13:52)
Let's enter into worship with our whole being (physical too) and not leave out any aspect of who we are. In true worship, we will be transformed.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

which 'chotomy am i?

Eric Russ (pastor of NSV's church plant, Mack Ave Community Church, in Detroit) gave a great message today regarding the renewal of our minds. The basis of the message was one of my favorites, Ro 12.1-2, and he did a good job of pulling in some excellent material from Rational Christian Thinking by Peterson, Sweeten, and Geverdt.

Russ used an excellent analogy regarding nature. At its very best, nature is simply nature. It brings glory to God by being nature. Man on the other hand brings glory to God by being satisfied in Him. We become transformed into His image by choosing to worship God. In that our minds are renewed and our behavior is conformed into His will - we become living sacrifices.

He then moved to how our mind works. The premise is that the mind controlled by sinful nature will respond to a situation with sin while the mind controlled by the Spirit will respond with the fruit of the Spirit. That is, no one or nothing can make us sin, we choose to sin - or not. The simple example is, "I walk into a room and tell a joke. One person is offended, another doesn't get it, another laughs, another gets embarrassed, etc.. What's the difference? The same story-teller delivering the same words in the same manner. The difference is the hearer and their belief system. What they think of the topic, what they think of the story-teller, what has happened to them earlier that day, etc.."

Here's how this looks;

A - activating event
B - belief system
C - consequential feelings
D - decisive behavior

The process is that A (an activating event) occurs. Then C, we feel something (consequential feeling) and from that, D, flows some behavior (decisive behavior). Too often we focus on controlling feelings and behavior. This is not wrong, but the real issue is B, the belief system.

Of course if man is unregenerated, then he is a slave to sin. He willfully obeys the lies of his father, Satan. The problem with the believer is that while we are made new, we still hold on to these lies in our conscious and subconscious mind. The conscious ones are usually easy (er, easier) to deal with. We try to stop killing, stealing, whatever. But the subconscious is tougher. We're often unaware and these kinds of lies are often rooted in our worth and our security.

What's the solution? Turn to Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit and then day in and day make God the center of our affection to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. An excellent study to help with this is The Search for Significance by Robert McGee. Satan's lie is basically that our worth equals our performance plus the opinions of others. God's truth on the other hand is that our worth equals what God says about us. The key with this and with any other lie is that we must recognize when our belief system is not in line with God's truth. Then, rather than focussing completely on the circumstance, our emotion, or our behavior, we need to identify the lie and replace it with God's truth - through the Spirit and His Word.

A simple test to know if you are believing a lie is to look at the emotion - is it the fruit of the Spirit?

The Search for Significance deals with four age old basic lies Satan throws our way.

Lie 1 - Those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be blamed and condemned. God's truth, 1 Jn 4.9-10, propitiation, we are deeply loved by God.
Lie 2 - I must meet certain standards to feel good about myself. God's truth, 2 Co 5.21, justification, I am completely forgiven and fully pleasing.
Lie 3 - I must be approved (accepted) be certain others to feel good about myself. God's truth, Col 1.21-22, reconciliation, I am totally accepted by God.
Lie 4 - I am what I am; I cannot change; I am hopeless. God's truth, 2 Co 5.17, regeneration, I am absolutely complete in Christ.

Now of course God still hates our sin and we must progress through sanctification but many believers never move forward because they are stuck in a lie or focussed on something other than changing their beliefs. We must replace Satan's lies with God's truth to grow in Him.

Now a funny thing happens in Charismatic circles that is less than helpful. When it comes to the nature of man, Anthropology, they really like the Trichotomy view over the Dichotomy. The issue for me is that I don't think the Bible teaches either. I think we can infer which is true (I lean to Dichotomy) but the Charismatic often doesn't really study it, he chooses it because it makes it easy to explain some odd "spiritual" behavior.

In the Trichotomy view, Ge 2.7, the Hebrew text is plural, i.e., "The Lord formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life [lives], and man became a living being. The Dichotomist would agree but point quickly that this does not say spirit separate from soul and further, would argue this is referring only to the essence of life since "living being" is the same phrase used of animals in Ge 1.21-24.

The Trichotomist's favorite verse is 1 The 5.23 because lists "body, soul and spirit." Combine that with He 4.12 where we learn that the Word pierces soul and spirit - what else is needed? The Dichotomist would reply that Paul is simply emphasizing the whole and complex nature of man rather than attempting to differentiate parts. Hebrews is saying that the Word pierces to the dividing of the soul itself and the spirit itself. The soul and spirit are laid open not that they are separated from each other.

The Trichotomist then counters with 1 Co 2.14; 3.1-4 saying that man is natural, carnal, and spiritual but the Dichotomist counters with Mt 10.28; 1 Co 5.3, and 3 Jn 2 saying that body and soul are spoken of as constituting man.

And on and on it goes. Here's an the chapter from Grudem's Sytematic Theology that I think (because I agree with the Dichotomy) is excellent.



Net - there's good argument either way. I think Scripture is stronger for the Dichotomy perspective. More important to me than that is the dangerous extrapolation made be some Charismatics and it's because they like those other conclusions that they choose Trichotomy. It is not a good way to understand the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It opens the door to Gnosticism. It doesn't solidify the need to renew our minds and often leads to putting our minds in park.

Nope - one big no vote for Charismatic Dichotomy.

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spurgeon - great but ...

Phil Johnson posts a interesting piece on Charles Spurgeon in Pyromaniacs. I'm amazed. Spurgeon was a great man. I wonder how great his impact for the Kingdom might have been had he not had such a narrow view of Scripture?

This short quote may me feel truly sorry for the man.

The Holy Ghost does not reveal anything fresh now. He brings old things to our remembrance. "He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have told you." The canon of revelation is closed; there is no more to be added. God does not give a fresh revelation, but he rivets the old one. When it has been forgotten, and laid in the dusty chamber of our memory, he fetches it out and cleans the picture, but does not paint a new one.

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memorial for soldiers

0553589083.01. Aa240 Sclzzzzzzz V56508080 Late for Veteran's Day but this from Flags of Our Fathers made me cry nonetheless ...

When you go home
Tell them for us and say
For your tomorrow
We gave our today


Thank you to all the men, women, and families that sacrificed for my freedom. Thank God that He instilled this sense of patriotism in our hearts. I pray that for me, passion for my country and for His Kingdom would increase.

My perception is that few understand a sacrificial sense of responsibility to country. Fewer understand that toward God. I find it curious since I believe both come from God. Why does He seem to instill in most less passion for Him than for our country?

television

0140094385.01.LzzzzzzzNeil Postman, in Amusing Ourselves To Death, "What is happening in America is that television is transforming all serious public business into junk ... Television disdains exposition, which is serious, sequential, rational, and complex. It offers instead a mode of discourse in which everything is accessible, simplistic, concrete, and above all, entertaining. As a result, America is the world’s first culture in jeopardy of amusing itself to death."

I like John Piper's spin on Lk 6.32-34 and Mt 5.47, "Even sinners work hard, avoid gross sin, watch TV at night, and do fun stuff on the weekend. What more are you doing than the others?"

How well are we using our lives? Have you taken a serious look at the amount of time spent watching television (or now on the internet)? How has that time benefitted others or prepared you to benefit others?

Television has definitely transformed the world but I don't think for the better. While I don't think we need to be prescriptive regarding time spent in prayer, Bible reading, meditation, etc., it seems we can prescribe how much TV should be watched - or at least provide a starting point, something like zero ...

Personally, I'm a movie watcher. While I don't try to deceive myself that this is not a "time waster", I'm convinced that at least it isn't seem addictive. Whether right or wrong, as a movie watcher, I take a moment to acknowledge that I am intentionally wasting time. Regular TV watchers tend to watch out of habit or addiction, seemingly unaware of the amount of time spent doing so.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

christian rap wars

It may not be east coast v. west coast, but in a battle reminiscent of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., John Piper makes a lame attempt to get even with John MacArthur's rap.

HT: Randy "no blog"

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

jesusland

commentary by Ben Folds ...


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funny stuff

Phil Johnson was in a hurry this week but left us with some great links ...

Woody Allen interviewing Billy Graham - part 1, part 2
Cool blending ideas
Fun with Mr. T

And on a political note, since it seems a lot of my Christian friends are getting on the global-warming band wagon while I remain on the fence, here's an alternate view. So on a serious note, I'm not sure what will convince me. I still remember the shocked looks on the faces of my European friends when I told them I haven't seen any data to support that global-warming is real. I guess I should have clarified that I haven't seen irrefutable data. As with so many issues, data is rarely clear cut and often easily manipulated by the presenter. I'll continue to sit this debate out.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

god speaks

God is personal and He wants to be intimately involved in our lives. In a recent post on prophecy and decision making, I noted that while prophecy is alive and well today, the norm for direction is not through personal prophecy but rather through the rationale thinking of a renewed mind. I quoted seven "guidelines" offered by John MacArthur to help with that process.

But the question still remains, "how do I know it is God?" To that I can only offer what I already have plus that we must live a life that is hid in Christ. As we live in Him day in and day out, moment by moment, we will hear and know His voice. Drawing on Henry Blackaby's Experiencing God, there are several ways that God might speak to us today to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.

  • The Holy Spirit
  • The Bible
  • Prayer
  • Circumstances
  • Spiritual Markers
  • The Church
We have to know ourselves. We have to know if our heart is truly after God and if our mind is truly being renewed in His Word. If yes, then based on these "indicators" plus the "7 guidelines", I think the believer can rest in peace and know that God is leading them. There is always the caution that peace cannot assure us that we are in God's will. I agree if that peace is the result of ignorance or an unregenerate heart, however, with the assumptions I made earlier, I think we can trust in our decisions and know that God will be with us - even if we are wrong.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

division for the sake of unity

John Piper's sermon, Watch Out for Those Who Lead You Away from the Truth is excellent. In it, he shows that Paul argues for unity over disagreement in Ro 14 but in Ro 16.17-20, Paul is promoting division over doctrinal issues as a way to preserve unity.

We are to rejoice in truth yet we need to distinguish between our opinion of truth and Biblical truth. In the case of the latter, we then need to appreciate that real unity only comes with upholding that truth, even if it means separating from those that disagree. In the case of the former, we must allow our love for unity to rule and prefer others over ourselves.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

giving it away

If you know me, you've heard me say it a million times, healthy things beget healthy things. Because I believe that I am becoming more and more excited to be part of what God is doing here at NorthStar Vineyard. Recently I learned 25% of the church budget is given away - whether for outreach events, missions trips, etc., it's given for needs outside of the this body. Cool!

But this Sunday I also learned that NorthStar, a community planted just 4 years ago, is now involved in its third church plant - these guys get it! While so many others are bogged down in the reason why they cannot do this kind of thing, these guys are just out there doing it.

Among other things, I think that they understand what is meant by 1 Tim 6.17-19, "As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life." I think they really believe that God is their source and that we are here to be people of generosity, giving beyond human expectations and thereby bringing God glory and sowing treasures in heaven.

I'm looking forward to what He is doing here. If you or your church is not doing this, honestly ask yourself, why? Do you really believe His Word? Perhaps you have let the cares of the world cloud your understanding and passion for His truth? If you want to break free, give something precious away. The Lord is good.

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explanations are important

In a sermon today I heard Rich Nathan say, "explanation proceeds participation".

That's great. I've worked with many small group leaders and pastors to try to help them understand this but most of them miss it. They just don't understand why people in their groups/congregations don't get on board. Every time a leader speaks is a potential teaching point. Good leaders are driven by principles. These principles are woven into every story they tell - everything is an opportunity to sow the vision.

This is such a simple thing to do that it is beyond me why so many miss it. I can only assume it is because the leader is not really "about" what they say they are "about". For example when I train small group leaders, I teach them that there is an opportunity to reinforce why we do small group every time a visitor shows up. They can describe the order of the meeting, they can talk about the purpose of the meeting, they can talk about the future multiplication of the group made possible by the adding of these new people, etc.. Yet I've been to meeting after meeting as a visitor where this didn't happen. I've been to groups for months without hearing why the group exists - it would have gone longer but my nature refuses to let the leader off the hook and I end up asking them.

My challenge to leaders is to ask themselves if they really know why they are doing the things that they are doing. If you cannot find the answer, perhaps you should stop trying to lead until you sort that out. If they do find the answer but are not actively sharing it with others, why is that? Why is it that this passion that supposedly burns within you is not flowing through to others? Why are we not as "contagious" as we would like to be? Again, if you cannot sort that out, I'd recommend you stop leading.

Clearly we do not have enough leaders but also we have too many well meaning people leading that should not be - or more precisely are leading in the wrong place. To this group that has bothered to understand that they need to be doing something I encourage you to also understand that doing the wrong thing is as bad as doing nothing - perhaps worse. Take time to find out who you are and where God wants you, and then, get after it with a vengeance.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

busy weekend

What a crazy weekend ...

Two quotes came out of what I listened to this weekend.

Christian courage is choosing to do the will of God even when it is risky and you are afraid. - Rich Nathan

When I was young, I admired intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people. - Abraham Joshua Heschel
We had a few of the neighbors over on Friday night just to hang out and then on Saturday we had one of the neighbor families over for diner. We like our neighborhood more and more - it seems we could become more than neighbors and might even become friends. This is important to us. We do not believe God has us here to take up space.

Rather than the usual outreach of simple service projects, since it was the first Saturday of the month, I went down to The Outlet for homeless. I'd love to tell you about the characters that I met there but for privacy reasons I cannot. Bottom line, this is neat way to simply go to the marginalized and share life and love with them.

I am reminded that generosity toward God and toward others is why we exist. To serve the poor, the homeless, the needy gives God glory. But there is a personal benefit, the only way to be free from the control of money and stuff, is to be generous. As the expression goes, if you want to be free from something, give it away. The cool thing about God's economy is that typically even more comes back.

This also links with kindness. I don't want to take any pleasure in the fall of another man. I've read about Ted Haggard and just now about the sentencing of Saddam Hussein. I don't even want to be a megaphone rebroadcasting the fall of others. I want to be as the writer of Hebrews who said of Abraham (who had a child through a concubine) that he didn't waver in faith and like David who greived the news of Saul's death. I want to see others as God sees them and speak of them with kindness.

I often wonder, would history record me as a kind and generos man? If not, I think I would have missed the mark.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

proverbs 31 husband

This just in from LarkNews:

Proverbs 31 husband justifies beer habit

MINOT, N.D. — Jack Crocker, a beer-loving machinist and "part-time Christian," finally agreed to read Proverbs with wife Reanna. He's glad he did.

"I'm a Proverbs 31 husband all right," says Jack, then quotes Proverbs 31:6-7: "Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more."

"That's my permission to crack open a cold one," Jack says, having a Coors after dinner.

But Reanna, a new church member, is pushing Jack hard to stop drinking. She insists he is neither "perishing" nor "in anguish." But Jack researched the Bible on the Internet and found 2 Corinthians 4:16 and 5:2 which say, "Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day," and "Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling."

"Everyone is perishing and in anguish," Jack says. "Until we're delivered from these bodies, the Bible says to drink up."

As part of the escalating family tension he created a "Proverbs 31" category on their weekly budget and listed "beer" under it. He also wants to start a Proverbs 31 Men's Group with his buddies.

"We're trying to find where the Bible talks about buffalo wings," he says.

Be sure to visit LarkNews for more.

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politiks

I will try to avoid becoming too political and I especially want to avoid any misunderstanding, I do not equate the Republican Party with Christendom nor do I think the US is God's representation here on earth. But I like this and this.
20061101-Iraq

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forzie dies

0,1445,262174,00

The sad news keeps rolling in today. Forzie, the four-legged chicken, will cluck no more ... what's worse, it was probably his extra anus that got him in the end (pun intended).

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purpose driven costume

Rick Warren-Halloween-Costume

Oh man - I missed my chance. This was a great idea ...

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women leaders in the vineyard

For me, it's a sad day. Bert Waggoner, National Director of Vineyard USA, has announced that "In response to the message of the kingdom, the leadership of the Vineyard movement will encourage, train, and empower women at all levels of leadership both local and trans-local. The movement as a whole welcomes the participation of women in leadership in all areas of ministry."

I would be happy with a period after empower women and drop the rest of the sentence. I don't believe that this announcement squares with Scripture and while many in the Vineyard leadership have thought this for a long time, I was able to live with it since the decision was left to local congregations. But this does three things:

  • it allows female leadership across local congregations which would force a local congregation to either live within that or leave the Vineyard should a female be appointed as regional or higher leader
  • the language chosen by the Board confuses empowering women with women being in authority over men. I am all for empowering women. I'm not supportive of female headship over male.
  • in the past the argument had been Scriptural. This announcement included verbiage like, "some women are called and gifted to provide leadership at both the local and trans-local levels of the church. To refuse to do this violated my convictions" which indicates perception was either higher than Scripture or used to interpret Scripture. Also, words like "they did not want to be offensive to those who believed differently". While I value the sensitivity, it doesn't show the error in the Scriptural understanding of the dissenters (like me).
Anyway, in my 20 years now with the Vineyard, through thick and thin, this is the first time I believe a policy has been generated that is contrary to Scripture and imposes itself on all within the denomination.

Oh no, that which we feared when we were young has come ... JRW always said that every denomination should plan its own demise.

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warnock on tongues

Adrian Warnock writes a post about tongues and interpretations. I like its simplicity and align to his conclusion. I particularly like the tongues plus interpretation equals prayer/praise rather than the typical Charismatic (at least older) position that tongues plus interpretation equals prophecy. As he points out, I think the 1 Corinthians tongues is God-ward as opposed to the Acts 2 tongues being man-ward.

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reftagger