Sunday, August 31, 2008


When entering the Room of Grace, one not only must believe he is accepted, but that so are those other weird, flawed, goofy, and imperfect people. Great, now what am I supposed to do with my criticism?


Grace is the face that love wears, when it meets imperfection. ~ Joseph R. Cooke

what is wrong with people

Former DNC chair Don Fowler and Democrat Rep. John Spratt on Huricanne Gustav ...

The hurricane’s going to hit New Orleans about the time they start. [Chuckle] The timing is — at least it appears now that it’ll be there Monday. That just demonstrates that God’s on our side. [Laughter] … Everything’s cool.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Christians should be the world's best environmentalists, but we need to begin with the right assumptions which are based on a right theology. ~ David Wayne (here, here)

democrats v. republicans ... on climate change

Climate change

Democrats: We must end the tyranny of oil in our time. This immediate danger is eclipsed only by the longer-term threat from climate change, which will lead to devastating weather patterns, terrible storms, drought, conflict, and famine. That means people competing for food and water in the next fifty years in the very places that have known horrific violence in the last fifty: Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. That could also mean destructive storms on our shores, and the disappearance of our coastline. We understand that climate change is not just an economic issue or an environmental concern-this is a national security crisis. …

Global climate change is the planet's greatest threat, and our response will determine the very future of life on this earth. Despite the efforts of our current Administration to deny the science of climate change and the need to act, we still believe that America can be earth's best hope, not its greatest impediment. We will implement a market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary to avoid catastrophic change and we will set interim targets along the way to ensure that we meet our goal. We will invest in advanced energy technologies, to build the clean energy economy and create millions of new, good, 'Green Collar' American jobs. Because the environment is a truly global concern, the U.S. must be a leader in combating climate change around the world, including exporting climate-friendly technologies to developing countries. We will use innovative measures to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of buildings, including establishing a grant program for early adopters and providing incentives for energy conservation. We will encourage local initiatives, sustainable communities, personal responsibility, and environmental stewardship and education nationwide.

Republicans: The same human economic activity that has brought freedom and opportunity to billions has also increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Increased atmospheric carbon has a warming effect on the earth. While the scope and long-term consequences of this warming effect are the subject of ongoing scientific research, we believe the United States should take measured and reasonable steps today. Those steps, if consistent with our global competitiveness, will also be good for our "national security, our energy independence, and our economy.

As part of a global climate change strategy, Republicans support technology-driven, market-based solutions that will decrease emissions, reduce excess greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, increase energy efficiency, mitigate the impact of climate change where it occurs, and maximize any ancillary benefits climate change might offer for the economy.…

Republicans caution against the doomsday climate change scenarios peddled by the aficionados of centralized command-and-control government. We can--and should--address global warming without succumbing to the no-growth radicalism that treats climate questions as dogma rather than as situations to be managed responsibly.

A robust economy will be essential to dealing with climate change, and we will insist on reasonable policies that do not force Americans to sacrifice their way of life or trim their hopes and dreams for their children. This perspective serves not only the people of the United States but also the world's poorest peoples, who would suffer terribly if climate change is severe--just as they would if the world economy itself were to be crippled. We must not allow either outcome.

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ultimate goals

God's ultimate goal is maturing us into who he says we are, and then releasing us into the dreams he designed for us before the world began (Ro 8.28; 1 Pet 1.3-5).

Friday, August 29, 2008

defined by the flesh

I am not who I used to be, not because of what I do or what someone thinks about me, but because of what Jesus did 2000 years ago. I will not be defined by my flesh. I am not a physical being having a spiritual experience; I am a spiritual being having a physical experience. The cross will have its way in me and I'm resting in that. I am the righteousness of Christ. ~ Jamie Weeks


Moral striving to become godly only keeps us slaves to sin.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.
~ Gal 5.1-4

living for god

Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven't stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you'll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. ~ Col 1.9-12 (MSG)

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. ~ Ro 12.1-2 (MSG)

And now I have it all—and keep getting more! The gifts you sent with Epaphroditus were more than enough, like a sweet-smelling sacrifice roasting on the altar, filling the air with fragrance, pleasing God no end. You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes. ~ Phil 4.18 (MSG)

One final word, friends. We ask you—urge is more like it—that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance. You know the guidelines we laid out for you from the Master Jesus. God wants you to live a pure life. ~ 1 The 4.1 (MSG)

Entry to grace never comes through the motive of pleasing God. It only comes from the motive of trusting God. Once we trust Him, by grace we can live for Him, and in doing so we please Him. Pleasing God is not our motive, it is the fruit of godliness which comes from the motive of trusting God.

democrats v. republicans ... africa


Democrats: U.S. engagement with Africa should reflect its vital significance to the U.S. as well as its emerging role in the global economy. We recognize Africa's promise as a trade and investment partner and the importance of policies which can contribute to sustainable economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation. We are committed to bringing the full weight of American leadership to bear in unlocking the spirit of entrepreneurship and economic independence that is sweeping across markets of Africa.

We believe that sustainable economic growth and development will mitigate and even help to reverse such chronic and debilitating challenges as poverty, hunger, conflict and HIV/AIDS. We are committed to bringing the full weight of American leadership to bear to work in partnership with Africa to confront these crises. We will work with the United Nations and Africa's regional organizations to prevent and resolve conflict and to build the capacity of Africa's weak and failing states. We must respond effectively when there is a humanitarian crisis-particularly at this moment in Sudan where genocide persists in Darfur and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is threatened.

Many African countries have embraced democratization and economic liberalization. We will help strengthen Africa's democratic development and respect for human rights, while encouraging political and economic reforms that result in improved transparency and accountability. We will defend democracy and stand up for rule of law when it is under assault, such as in Zimbabwe.

Republicans: The great promise of Africa has been dimmed by disease, hunger, and violence. Republicans have faced up to each of those challenges because, in addition to humanitarian concerns, the U.S. has important security interests in the stability and progress of African nations. The devastating toll of HIV/AIDS threatens to destabilize entire societies through large numbers of orphaned youths. In response, the U.S. has become the unrivaled leader in fighting the diseases that are the scourge of much of the continent. Republican-sponsored legislation has brought jobs and investment to sub-Saharan Africa. To continue that progress, we advocate continued expansion of trade with African nations.

Genocide must end. The horrendous suffering of the people in the Darfur region of Sudan, as well as less publicized human tragedies elsewhere, calls for a far more energetic and determined response from Africa's elected leaders. The United States stands ready to assist them with material, transportation, and humanitarian supplies. We will continue America's diplomatic efforts to secure a comprehensive and humane settlement for the people of the southern and western Sudan.

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another home run

Yet another home run for John McCain (at least for now ... perhaps there's dirt somewhere but ...).

John McCain Selects Alaska Governor Sarah Palin As Vice Presidential Running Mate

ARLINGTON, VA -- U.S. Senator John McCain today announced that he has selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate and to serve as his vice president.

Governor Palin is a tough executive who has demonstrated during her time in office that she is ready to be president. She has brought Republicans and Democrats together within her Administration and has a record of delivering on the change and reform that we need in Washington.

Governor Palin has challenged the influence of the big oil companies while fighting for the development of new energy resources. She leads a state that matters to every one of us -- Alaska has significant energy resources and she has been a leader in the fight to make America energy independent.

In Alaska, Governor Palin challenged a corrupt system and passed a landmark ethics reform bill. She has actually used her veto and cut budgetary spending. She put a stop to the "bridge to nowhere" that would have cost taxpayers $400 million dollars.

As the head of Alaska's National Guard and as the mother of a soldier herself, Governor Palin understands what it takes to lead our nation and she understands the importance of supporting our troops.

Governor Palin has the record of reform and bipartisanship that others can only speak of. Her experience in shaking up the status quo is exactly what is needed in Washington today.

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pets in hell

I only post this because I have a group of friends who seem bent on convincing me that animals have souls and will go to heaven. I struggle with nearly every part of that string of words but for fun ...

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

democrats v. republicans ... on abortion

Comparing platforms ...


Democrats: "The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right."

"The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to comprehensive affordable family planning services and age-appropriate sex education, which empower people to make informed choices and live healthy lives. We also recognize that such health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions."

"The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman's decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre- and post-natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs."

Republicans: "Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity and dignity of innocent human life."

"We have made progress. The Supreme Court had upheld prohibitions against the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion, the Born Alive Infants Protection Act has become law, and states are now permitted to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We invite all persons of good will, whether across the political aisle or within our party, to work together to reduce the incidence of abortion; to protect girls from exploitation and statutory rape through a parental notification requirement; and to oppose sex selection abortions. We all have a moral obligation to assist, not to penalize, women struggling with the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them alternatives, including crisis pregnancy centers, and we take pride in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives."

Internationally, the GOP "asserts the rights of families in all international programs and will not fund organizations involved in abortion. We reject any treaty or agreement that would violate those values. That includes the UN convention on women's rights … and the UN convention on the rights of the child."

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marriage counseling not

David Wayne reminds us that there is really no such thing as marriage counseling, it's discipleship counseling. We cannot say, "I'm a bad husband" without really saying, I'm a bad disciple." He rightly reminds us that as Christians we aren't to treat our enemies as poorly as many of us treat our spouses. I encourage you to read his post.

on indicatives and imperatives

I've quoted Sinclair Ferguson regarding the need for proper weighting and sequencing of indicatives v. imperatives and Don Williams' great point that "in true Kingdom preaching, the imperative always follows the indicative." But Peter Cockrell posts a more comprehensive piece regarding that importance - become who you are!

Imperative - “Indicating authority or command; urgent, necessary” (Webster’s). An imperative is a statement of what one must do.

Indicative - “Designating that mood of a verb used to express an act” (Webster’s). An indicative explains what is true. It is not a command but expresses the rationale behind the command.

the gifts ... again? still?

In the never ending back and forth regarding the continuance and nature of the gifts of the Spirit, here is a great quote from A.W. Tozer.

For a generation certain evangelical teachers have told us that the gifts of the Spirit ceased at the death of the apostles or at the completion of the New Testament. This, of course, is a doctrine without a syllable of Biblical authority back of it. The result of this erroneous teaching is that spiritually gifted persons are ominously few among us. This frightening hour calls aloud for men with the gift of prophetic insight. Instead we have men who conduct surveys, polls and panel discussions. We need men with the gift of knowledge. In their place we have men with scholarship---nothing more. Thus, we may be preparing ourselves for the tragic hour when God may set us aside as so-called evangelicals and raise up another movement to keep New Testament Christianity alive in the earth.

The truth of the matter is that the Scriptures plainly imply the imperative of possessing the gifts of the Spirit. But I must also add a word of caution. The various spiritual gifts are not equally valuable, as Paul so carefully explains. Certain brethren have magnified one gift out of seventeen out of all proportion. Among these brethren there have been and are many godly souls, but the general moral results of this teaching have nevertheless not been good. In practice it has resulted in much shameless exhibitionism, a tendency to depend upon experiences instead of upon Christ and often a lack of ability to distinguish the works of the flesh from the operations of the Spirit. Those who deny that the gifts are for us today and those who insist upon making a hobby of one gift are both wrong, and we are all suffering the consequences of their error.

I like it because while affirming my understanding of Scripture in regard to the gifts, he also rightly warns against common error within the continuationist camp. I think Dan Edelen has done a nice job recently with some good advice to Charismatics (part 1, part 2, final thoughts).

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Monday, August 25, 2008

all sins equal?

I like this by Michael Patton (1) because I agree with his analysis that not all sins are equal and (2) I found the discussion around adultery interesting (and true) in the wake of many discerning Christians trying to make more out of Todd Bentley's failures than Scripture does.

Friday, August 22, 2008

mission v. church

Mission [is] understood primarily as being derived from the very nature of God. It [is] thus put in the context of the doctrine of the trinity…The classical doctrine of the missio Dei as God the Father sending the Son, and God the Father and the Son sending the Spirit [expands] to include yet another “movement’: Father, Son and Holy Spirit sending the church into the world…mission is not primarily an activity of the church, it is an attribute of God. God is a missionary God. Mission is thereby seen as a movement from God into the world; the church is viewed as an instrument for that mission. There is a church because there is a mission, not visa versa. ~ David Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission


Thursday, August 21, 2008

no theocracy here

John Mark Reynolds writes a great piece No Theocracy Here: Saddleback Does What American Christians Have Always Done.

The thin slice of religious people in America who are theocrats have long viewed Warren as an enemy. The Civil Forum confirmed their worst fears. Warren held a civil conversation with people whom he is not in agreement. He was polite to the “enemy” and yet he has not yet been smitten with boils or some other sign of displeasure.


The more things stay the same, the more the new atheists pretend there is something dangerous and different happening. As a tiny minority this is the only way they can force the majority to strip the public square of any affirmation of our religious character as a nation.


The good news is that all of us can relax. Both Obama and McCain are mainstream American politicians. Our constitution is not in peril and neither is the historic relationship between church and state. Lincoln’s Union was not theocratic from any sane perspective despite the involvement of religious leaders like Beecher. A nation governed by Rick Warren’s two friends, Senator Obama or McCain, will not be either.

The rest.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

fruit of godliness

Pleasing God is not a means to our personal godliness, it is the fruit of our godliness for it is the fruit of trust. We will never please God through our efforts to become godly. Rather, we will only please God - and become godly - when we trust God. ~ Thrall, McNicol, and Lynch; TrueFaced

See also:

  • Genesis 4.4-5; the issue wasn't Cain's offering, it was the motive within him.
  • 1 Samuel 13.5-15; He 3.18-19; 4.2; King Saul struggled with trust. He thought sacrifice would please God but God preferred obedience as evidence of trust.

what rick thinks

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He didn't say but I imagine Rick Warren would have given himself a "B" for his work in the Saddleback Summit with McCain and Obama. I give him an "A". Well done from my perspective.

Here's a brief interview with Warren on how he thinks he did.

How would you size up the Saddleback Civil Forum in light of the goals you'd laid out for it going in?

It accomplished what I wanted to accomplish, and that's two or three different things. First and foremost, I wanted to raise the visibility of the church being at the table in civil discussions. The faithful have a voice as much as the faithless have a voice….This is America, we believe in democracy, and nobody should be left out and nobody should be excluded.

And the second thing I'm trying to do is create a new model for civil discourse--we have to restore civility to our civilization. Our nation seems to be getting more and more rude, more and more polarized, and I wanted to point out that you can disagree without demonizing people, without dissing them and caricaturing them and treating them like they’re the enemy. They happen to be Americans.

I've been in a lot of nations around the world where I've seen political division turn into hatred because there was so much caricaturizing and demonizing of the opposition that it turned into hatred and soon that turns into genocide. And I just don't want to go down that path here in America, and we’ve seen a lot of that that with talk shows and the partisan politics--we're more divided than we’ve ever been….

The rest ...

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train song

Josh Garrels Train Song ... wow!

Train Song

Shame on you, shame on me
Lord He took all that shame and pain, and set men free
And I've got that fire on the mountain
Fire in my soul
It's been a long time coming, long time
And I'm ready to go
I'm stepping out the door
Doing what feels right
Following my Lord, through the darkest night
And when the path gets narrow
I'll follow Him
And when the world comes down, around
I'll be with Him
He said, sing it on the mountain
Or in the valley low
He's my God, and He never let me go
He said, sing it on the mountain
Or fight in the valley low
Every man's going to see, and everyone will know
That peace runs deep in Him
I said peace runs deep in Him
Peace runs deep in Him.

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how about that holy spirit

Chris Larson posted this simple piece on the work of the Holy Spirit.

In the beginning
  • Active and present at creation, hovering over the unordered conditions (Gen. 1:2)
In the Old Testament
  • The origin of supernatural abilities (Gen. 41:38)
  • The giver of artistic skill (Ex. 31:2-5)
  • The source of power and strength (Judg. 3:9, 10)
  • The inspiration of prophecy (1 Sam. 19:20, 23)
  • The equipper of God's messenger (Mic. 3:8)
In the Old Testament prophecy
  • The cleansing of the heart for holy living (Ezek. 36:25-29)
In salvation
  • Regenerates the believer (Titus 3:5)
  • Indwells the believer (Rom. 8:9-11)
  • Sanctifies the believer (2 Thess. 2:13)
In the New Testament
  • Declares the truth about Christ (John 16:13, 14)
  • Endows with power for gospel proclamation (Acts 1:8)
  • Pours out God's love in the heart (Rom. 5:5)
  • Makes intercession (Rom. 8:26)
  • Imparts gifts of ministry (1 Cor. 12:4-11)
  • Enables the fruit of holy living (Gal. 5:22, 23)
  • Strengthens the inner being (Eph. 3:16)
In the written Word
  • Inspired the writing of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21)
Anything missing?

trusting is pleasing

2781622612 99824Fae2DTo trust God is to please Him. If our motive it to please Him, we will never please Him enough and we not learn to trust Him either. Trying to please leads to striving. It leans on our own effort and ability. But in trusting God we learn that He is pleased with us. That then results in right values and actions. Pleasing God is a by-product of trusting Him.

The path of being motivated by pleasing God is a trap. It is fundamentally defined by more right behavior plus less wrong behavior equals godliness.

As the authors of TrueFaced put it:

It disregards the godliness - righteousness - that God has already placed in us, at infinite cost, and will sabotage our journey. Once we choose the path of pleasing God, the bondage of performance persistently badgers us. Our determination to please God traps us in a formula that affixes our masks so tightly that we'll need jackhammers to get them off!

Galatians 2:16-18, The Message

We Jews know that we have no advantage of birth over "non-Jewish sinners." We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. How do we know? We tried it—and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen! Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement, we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good.

Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect? (No great surprise, right?) And are you ready to make the accusation that since people like me, who go through Christ in order to get things right with God, aren't perfectly virtuous, Christ must therefore be an accessory to sin? The accusation is frivolous. If I was "trying to be good," I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan.

rick warren evil ... and more

Bob Hyatt already exposed him [sarcasm] as a cheat while many others have found him to be a crook, a heretic, the antichrist, etc.. People simply love to hate Rick Warren. Rephrase - "Christians" simply love to find error in others. They remind me of the first servant in Mt 18.21ff who failed to allow the forgiveness offered him to effect a change in his heart and in turn effect a change in his relationship with others. In the end it wasn't his debt that condemned him, it was his failure to change, i.e., repent not only of a sin but to turn his entire worldview around.

Todd Rhoades provides a brief summary of the nonsense that I also observe on the internet. Warren's theology aside, what is it about Christians that cause them to feel a need to expose everything, to make up stuff, to be glad that they (think they) caught someone, etc.? The answer; these "reporters" are like the first servant in Matthew.

I've seen the same thing with Todd Bentley and the Lakeland stuff. Bentley has wrong doctrine and even wrong (certainly questionable) practice and suspicious motive. But how can there be so much judgement on his motives? How can there be so much to report, i.e., how is it some bloggers find fodder nearly daily? I may be wrong but those that do seem to be glad about the announcement of Bentley's martial failure. They not only seem glad but anxious to find more "dirt" around it, e.g., was the emotional affair more than that? Frankly, how many men would be honest enough to admit to even that much sin in their lives? Few. Net - I don't think Bentley and the Lakeland activity was correct and I am saddened by the huge numbers that were taken in with it. On the other hand, I'm more saddened by the huge numbers and the aggressiveness of those that were against it.

Speaking out is one thing. Ranting is another. Coincidently, Tony Foeller posted A Dicipleship Lesson from Harrison Ford. I love the conclusion. This wrong behavior is what I see in the critics referenced above. There is a necessary and right way to expose error. Sadly this is often not the case in the Christian community.

I was watching Harrison Ford in the movie “Clear and Present Danger” recently. Toward the end of the movie his character, Jack Ryan, was duking it out with a bad guy. The bad guy had a gun while Ford’s character was unarmed. As I’m watching I think to myself, “Why doesn’t he just take out that laser-pistol-thingy or the whip he used in his other movies?”

The answer is obvious: the character Jack Ryan can’t use the weapon that Han Solo used in “Star Wars”. Nor can he use the weapon that Indy wielded in the “Raiders of The Lost Ark” movies. That’s just silly.

So here’s the lesson. A believer can no more fight with the weapons of this world (his/her former way of life) than Jack Ryan can fight with Han Solo’s or Indiana Jones’ weapons. It’s just silly….preposterous!

Believers are to think, act, behave, react, and engage their culture very differently than non-believers. We can’t do it now the way we might have done it then. Before I knew The Lord I would fly off the handle, yell, scream, and throw a tantrum to get my point across. But now that I’m His disciple I am learning that I need to be meek (have power that’s under control), sympathetic, empathetic, compassionate, and merciful.

According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, I’m new. Old things have passed away and all things have become new. My battle is not with flesh and blood (i.e. people are not my enemy). Sin is my enemy. I couldn’t fight sin with the “weapons” of my old lifestyle. But now that I’m a new creation in Him, I have new weapons that are more than adequate for the job. Get it?

While it might have been cool to see Jack Ryan fight with a laser-pistol thingy or a whip, it would have been completely out of character. And a believer can’t fight with the world’s weapons if he/she wants to display the character of Christ.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

more politics

2779529254 30E2620B6CIn case you are one of the two or three that missed this ...

Rick Warren: "When does a baby in the womb receive full human rights'... "
Obama: "... whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity ... is above my pay grade."

From First Things:
  • Dr. Hymie Gordon (Mayo Clinic): “By all criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.”
  • Dr. Micheline Matthews-Roth (Harvard University Medical School): “It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception.”
  • Dr. Alfred Bongioanni (University of Pennsylvania): “I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception.”
  • Dr. Jerome LeJeune, “the Father of Modern Genetics” (University of Descartes, Paris): “To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion . . . it is plain experimental evidence.”
From me - when God says so - conception.

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i'm out of sync

I know I'm out of sync with a group or a viewpoint when I see something that is supposed to be a positive but I take as more negative reinforcement.

PS - The Matthew 25 Network should not be confused with Matthew 25 Ministries. The latter helps the world's needy while the former supports public officials who in their view support social change (hmmm).


And speaking of politics, I heard these today:

"Everybody is starting to whisper that if Obama has any prayer of winning, he has to choose Hillary. And if he chooses Hillary, he's going to have to have somebody taste his food and start his car for him every day."

"John McCain is considering Mickey (or is it Andy) Rooney as his running mate ... all in an effort to make him appear younger."

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church exposed

Here's some really good investigative reporting ... seriously, although a spoof, it was all too real.


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Sunday, August 17, 2008


Our message this morning a la Matt Massey.
  • In Jesus, change is immediate and positionally complete, i.e., justification.
  • The experience of change is a process, i.e., sanctification.
  • This process is beautiful, fantastic, and miserable.
  • True change requires change ... duh ... true internal change effects an external change which in turn bears fruit consistent with the internal (new) nature.

rick warren exposed

Leave it to Bob Hyatt to find the real problem with Rick Warren. With all of the scrutiny and accusations, it's surprising no one else spotted it but then Bob has always had a keen eye and perceptive spirit. Here it is, Rick Warren caught cheating!

luther on grace and works

Grace cannot stand it when we want to give something to God or establish merit or pay him with our works. This is the greatest of blasphemies and idolatries and is nothing less than the denial and even ridicule of God. ~ Martin Luther, Luther’s Works


to please or to trust

All of us face significant choices nearly every day. We may not always realize we are making them or the enormity of the effect the choice will have on the balance of our life but we make them nonetheless. One such choice that is made on-going is choosing between the motives of pleasing God or to trusting God. Choosing our motives wisely is like a watershed point, a seemingly small difference at the point of the choice but one that places the end results greatly apart. Motives are important because they drive values which in turn drive action.

Motive => Values => Actions

Motives result in motion.

The following is from TrueFaced. Please buy a copy for yourself and for a friend.

As we are walking down life's road, we arrive at a tall pole with signs pointing in two different directions. The marker leading to the left simply says Pleasing God. The one leading to the right reads Trusting God. It's hard to choose one over the other, because both roads have a good feel to them. We discover there is no third road and it becomes obvious that we will not be able to jump back and forth between the paths. We must choose one. Only one. It will now indelibly mark the way we live.

Pleasing God and Trusting God represent the primary and ultimate motives of our hearts, the inner drives or desires that cause us to act in a certain way. These motives, in turn, produce multiple actions ... both [are] admirable, but since I can have only one primary motive, I ask myself, "Which of these motives best reflects the relationship I want to have with God?"

... I choose the path marked Pleasing God. The Trusting God path just seems too ... passive. I want a fully alive experience with God. The Pleasing God path seems like the best way there. I think, All right then, my mind's made up. I am determined to please God. I so long for him to be happy with me. I'll discipline myself to achieve this life goal. I know I can do it. Yes, I will do it this time. I will please him and he will be pleased with me. So we set off with confidence. We are immediately comforted to see that this path is well travelled.

In time I come to a door with a sign that reads Striving to Be all God Wants Me to Be. These words reflect the values that flow out of the motive of Pleasing God, and they describe how we believe we should act. Since my motive is a determination to please God, I will value being all God wants me to be. So, I open the door by turning the knob of Effort. The motive of Pleasing God has now produced the value of Striving to Be All God Wants Me to Be. As I enter this enormous room, a hostess with a beautiful smile greets me and says in an almost too polite tone, "Welcome to The Room of Good Intentions."

... "Well, thanks," I answer. "I think I've found my home. How are you?"

The hostess pauses for a moment and then reaches into her purse to pull out a mask bearing a guarded expression and a thin smile. She puts it on and answers, "Fine. Just fine. And you?"

The entire room gets suddenly quiet, awaiting my answer. "Well, umm, thanks for asking. I'm kind of struggling with some things right now, some areas that don't seem to be in keeping with who I know I'm supposed to be. I'm not really sure I'm doing well on a lot of --" The hostess cuts me off, putting her finger to her lips and handing me a similar mask. I'm not quite sure what to do. I don't really want to put it on, but others in the room are smiling and motioning for me to do so, I want so much to be accepted here that I slowly put it on.

And now everything feels different. I am quickly overcome with the realization that less self-revelation would be a smart game plan here. I realize that no one in this room wants to hear about my struggles, pain, or doubt. If I want to be welcome here, I'd better keep my cards closer to my vest and give the appearance of sufficiency. So I slowly and carefully say the words, "Actually, I'm fine. I'm doing just fine. Thanks." Satisfied, everyone in the room turns back to their conversations.

... everyone in The Room of Good Intentions has the value of Striving to Be All God Wants Them to Be. They are sincerely determined to be godly. Their value produces actions that are best summarized by an enormous banner on the back wall that reads, Working on My Sin to Achieve an Intimate Relationship with God. They have made their goal to be godly, and they fully expect the same of everyone else in the room.

... I think, Sounds a lot like, "Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy." Yep. I'm in the right place. The people here have sincerity, perseverance, courage, diligence, full-hearted fervency, a desire to please God, and a sold-out determination to pursue excellence. Yes, this is the place I've been looking for. Oh, I'm going to make him so happy. One day soon, we will be close. I just know it!

yet, as weeks turn into months, I can't help noticing that many people in this room sound a bit cynical and look pretty tired. Many of them seem alone. And if I catch them when they think no one is looking, I see incredible pain on their faces. Quite a few seem superficial -- guarded. After a while I realize that my thinking has begun shifting too. I no longer feel as comfortable or relaxed here. I have this nagging anxiety that if I don't keep behaving well -- if I don't control my sin enough --- I'll be on the outs with everyone in the room. And with God!

So, I start investing more effort into sinning less, and I feel better ... for a while. But the more time I spend in the Room of Good Intentions, the more disappointment I feel. Despite all my striving, all my efforts, I keep sinning. In fact, some days I'm fixated simply on trying not to sin. I seem to never be able to get around to doing things to please God. It takes all my energy to avoid doing those things that displease him! Other days I can't seem to do enough. I never get through my list of things to work on. It feels like I am making every effort to please a God who never seems pleased enough! I carry an overwhelming sense of guilt because I have to hide my sin -- from everyone in the room and from God. Gradually, almost imperceptibly, the road of Pleasing God has turned into What Must I Do to Keep God Pleased with Me?

After some time, the story teller decides to retrace his steps and go back to the fork in the road.

The road of Trusting God sure sounds a lot less heroic than the other. A bit ethereal and vague. And it appears to give me nothing to do other than, well ... trust. All I ever heard in the Room of Good Intentions was that I have to "sell out, care more, get on fire, buck up, shape up, and tighten up." This road doesn't seem to give me any of that. ...

So, I begin walking on life's path with the motive of Trusting God. This road is definitely less worn than the other one. ... I walk on looking for that second door. Eventually, I spot it, and as I approach it I read the words on the sign above it: Living Out of Who God Says I Am. I tilt my head to the side, thinking the phrase might make more sense if I do. Those are certainly some words, one right after another. What in the world do they mean? It can't mean what I think it means! When do I get to do something here? Where's the part where I get to prove my sincerity? Where are my guidelines? When do I get to give God my best? I shake my head and stoop down to read what it says on the doorknob ... Humility.

Suddenly everything snaps into focus. I've tried so hard, I've supplied all the self-effort the other room demanded, yet received nothing but insecurity and duplicity. I've run out of answers, run out of breath, run out of ability, and so I cry out, God, if anything good is to come out of this whole deal, you will have to do it. I've tried. I can't. I'm so tired. Please God, you will have to give me the life I am dreaming of. I can't keep doing this anymore. I'm losing confidence that this life in you is even possible. Help me. You must make it happen or I am doomed. With those words I turn the doorknob.

As I step aside, another hostess immediately approaches. She smile kindly and, with a voice that is at once knowing and reassuring, says softly, "Welcome to The Room of Grace." I answer tentatively, "Thank ... you."

She presses, "How are you?" The room grows quiet.

Well, I've been here before and so, not to be duped twice, I answer, "I'm fine. Pretty fine ... Who wants to know?" And the room stays quiet. Gun-shy from the first room, I interpret their silence as judgment, and so I yell out, "All right, listen! I'm not fine. I haven't been fine for a long time. I'm tired. I feel guilty, lonely, and depressed. I'm sad most of the time and I can't make my life work. And if any of you knew half my daily thoughts, you'd want me out of your little club. So there, I'm doing not fine! Thanks for asking!"

I reach for the doorknob to leave and hear a voice from far back in the crowd. "That's it? That's all you've got? I'll take your confusion, guilt, and bad thoughts, and I'll raise you compulsive sin and chronic lower back pain! Oh, and I'm in debt up to my ears, and I wouldn't know classical music from a show tune if it jumped up and bit me. You better have more than that puny list if you want to play in my league!"

The greeter smiles and nudges me to say, "I think he means you're welcome here." Emboldened, I smile, and call back, "Do you struggle with forgetting birthdays?" He walks right up to me all the way from the back, puts his hands on my shoulders and say, "Birthdays? I can't remember my own!" Everyone in the room laughs the warm laughter of understanding, and I am ushered into the fold of a sweet family of kind and painfully real people. There is not a mask to be seen anywhere.

As I walk further into the room, I notice a huge banner on the back wall. This one reads: Standing with God, with My Sin in Front of Me, Working on It Together. I think, Wait, this can't be right. How can this be? It sounds presumptuous, careless. Imagining God with his arm around me as we view my sin together? Come on! Surely they've written it down wrong. I've always been told that my sin is still a barrier between God and me. If It could be true that God actually stands with me, in front of my in, well, that would change everything. If it were true, God has never moved away from me no matter what I've done! Oh my gosh, I'd have to rethink everything.

Despite my doubts, I can't help but notice that in this room, The Room of Grace, everyone seems vitally alive. The people are obviously imperfect, full of compromise and struggle, but they're authentic enough to talk about it and ask for help. Many have a level of integrity, maturity, love, laughter, freedom, and vitality that I don't recall seeing in the people in the other room.

new identity

Can't you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do—submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life! ~ Galatians 6.15 MSG

Pleasing is not a means to our personal godliness, it is the fruit of our godliness for it is the fruit of trust. We will never please God through our efforts to become godly. Rather, we will only please God - and become godly - when we trust God." ~ Thrall, McNicol, Lynch; TrueFaced


“Repentance has nothing to do with what man has done. Rather it is man’s coming undone in respect to all human righteousness, followed by his going outside himself in faith to Christ alone for salvation.” ~ C. John Miller, Repentance and 21st Century Man


Saturday, August 16, 2008


While must have the proper heart regenerated by the Holy Spirit, our actions or better yet, the resulting fruit, are the tell.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? ~ Mt 7.15-16

"What I said on Sunday wasn't nearly as important as what I did." ~ Erwin McManus, An Unstoppable Force

Directionally, I like what McManus wrote but it's still a bit short, it is ultimately about the fruit borne from right living motivated by a right heart.


"We are "saints, not saved sinners who should now 'buck-up and be better'." ~ Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, John Lynch; TrueFaced

love is not enough

Faith comes by hearing the clear message of the Gospel. Jared Wilson writes:

The danger within the new church movements, even as we seek to be the gospel in healing, comforting, clothing, and feeding, is that we practically confuse our good works for the gospel of Christ's good work. ...

If we divorce the sharp edge of the gospel -- the scandalous message of sin and grace -- from our missional efforts (or whatever you want to call them) we are not glorifying God at all. We are glorifying our own compassion.

Similarly, Bob Spencer responds to the all to common message these days of "Christianity has nothing to do with words, but with deeds." That is, the Church should be positioned as a community of love practicing fellowship, forgiveness and unconditional love. Nice sounding but insufficient. Spencer rightly observes the following:

1) This is not the Biblical pattern. In the Biblical sequence, vividly described in Colossians 1, community is the "fruit" that followed from the hearing and believing of a message. That message was brought to them by Epaphras, who, by speaking the message of the gospel, ministered Christ to them. He was a "faithful minister of Christ Jesus" precisely because he faithfully spoke the message of the gospel to the Colossians.

2) The suggestion is that people today are drastically different than people in Paul’s day, and therefore different methods must be used. Back then, the ears were "the organ of decision." Now, the eyes are. Therefore, the NT pattern is no longer relevant. I’m just not willing to go there. I’m not willing to displace the message upon which depends, according to the New Testament, our very destiny, replacing that message with, ummm, my demonstrably inferior acts of love and good deeds.

3) According to this fellow's suggested pattern, our community of love is simply so attractive that people will choose us over other possible communities. Shall they join, say, the community of the Mormons, the community of the Buddhists, or the community of the Christians? Is our love as a community really so impressive? Mormons, for example, can make a very loving community.

4) One cannot help but notice that to join a community, even to join a community of loving Christians, is not the same thing as to hear and believe the message of the Gospel. It is simply to join a community. That is why, in my church-community and yours as well, I’ll bet, are numerous unbelievers. Membership in a "community," no matter how wonderfully loving, is not salvation. Believing the message of the gospel is.

5) We come very close to making an idol out of our good deeds and acts of love (or out of our wonderful "community"). I have found this to be a common mistake among us. But our good deeds and acts of love are not the gospel. They almost never, if ever, even come close to embodying the message of the gospel. The only act of love that did so was the act of Jesus described, for example, in Philippians 2. To displace the good news of that act of love with the demonstration of our own community of love in its stead is an act of idolatry.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

perfect preacher?

Peter Cockrell posted this with an exclamation mark in the title. I opted for a question mark. Either way, the list is interesting. I don't know much about some of these guys but I value what I know about many of them. If you were added to this list, what would the characteristic be?

I love this. Colin Adams has a great list of things to work toward as a preacher.

…the exegetical carefulness of Don Carson
…the expositional clarity of John Stott
…the assiduous attention to context of Dick Lucas
…the cross-referencing knowledge of John MacArthur
…the ‘outlining’ skills of Warren Wiersbe
…the doctrinal precision of RC Sproul
…the bible-critiquing-culture abilities of Al Mohler
…the delivery of James Montgomery Boice
…the vocabulary of R Kent Hughes
…the simple yet powerful illustrations of CH Spurgeon
…the winsome yet pointed humor of Alistair Begg
…the applicational focus of CJ Mahaney
…the apologetical ’side-bars’ of Tim Keller
…the sheer Scriptural coverage of Mark Dever
…the heart for the lost of George Whitefield
…the compassion for the flock of Charles Simeon
…the unbridled passion for God of John Piper
…the gravity of Doctor Martyn Lloyd Jones

Justin Childers adds…

…the CROSS-centeredness of the apostle Paul

I would add… the systematic logic of Wayne Grudem and the continuationist sanity of Sam Storms.

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go wayne grudem

Ok, ok ... I'm busted ... I'm a Wayne Grudem fan. I don't know these guys but I relate to them ...

Why this man is thematic, he’s charismatic, he’s systematic,
Why he’s Wayne Grudem! (Wayne Grudem)
He did not author Scripture but provides a clearer picture - Oh Yeah!
(Keep reading whoa keep reading)
Wayne may not be Jesus but he writes mean exegesis- Oh Yeah!
(I’ll buy a copy, I’ll kill to buy a copy)
You put it on the flo-or and it props open your door,
Or if you need to sit- you can climb on top of it - With Wayne Grudem
Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go
Go Wayne Grudem with your intellectual writing style,
(Wayne Grudem go Wayne Grudem)
Go Wayne Grudem you make ha-rd doctrines less of a trial
(Wayne Grudem go Wayne Grudem)
You are extreme, but God’s supreme, oh Wayne Grudem
Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go
(There are) many heresies which we-e now clearly see- Oh yeah!
(oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Despite him being bald, hundred-thousand copies sold - Oh yeah!
(oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
His six appendice-es leave you praying on your knees.
Although he’s not inerrant he’s a heresy deterrent - Wayne Grudem
Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go
Go Wayne Grudem with your intellectual writing style,
(Wayne Grudem go Wayne Grudem)
Go Wayne Grudem you make ha-rd doctrines less of a trial
(Wayne Grudem go Wayne Grudem)
You are extreme, but God’s supreme, oh Wayne Grudem
Go Wayne Grudem with your intellectual writing style,
(Wayne Grudem go Wayne Grudem)
Go Wayne Grudem you make ha-rd doctrines less of a trial
(Wayne Grudem go Wayne Grudem)
You are extreme, but God’s supreme, oh Wayne Grudem
Grudem, grudem, grudem, grudem
Grudem, grudem, grudem, grudem yeah!

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leonard ravenhill

I recently tumbled onto these quotes of Leonard Ravenhill. I remember reading his stuff via Keith Green "back in the day". I forgot how feisty he was ... but accurate nonetheless.

  • [Concerning one of the new "movements" in the church that was causing a stir among Christians:] "There's also a stir when the circus comes to town."
  • [Concerning the fixation that today's church has with numbers, with growth at any price:] "The church has paid a terrible price for statistics!"
  • "Either the Bible is absolute or obsolete, which is it?"
  • "There's only two kinds of people in the world: those dead to sin and those dead in sin."
  • "If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified."
  • "The Church used to be a lifeboat rescuing the perishing. Now she is a cruise ship recruiting the promising."
  • "A popular evangelist reaches your emotions. A true prophet reaches your conscience."
  • "Your doctrine can be as straight as a gun barrel…and just as empty!"
  • "You can have all of your doctrines right, yet still not have the presence of God."

not to be outdone ...

John McCain, not wanting to be out done by Barack Obama, takes a look at pro-abortion running mate ... urgh.

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piper on lakeland

As usual, John Piper can be counted on for sober-minded, God-glorifying counsel. Here he speaks on the recent developments regarding Todd Bentley and the Lakeland revival. I like his thinking. My personal note before quoting Piper, I saw many issues with the goings on down there and would never have recommended to someone to participate. At the same time, I saw a lot of sin in the hearts of those criticizing it and seemingly rejoicing in Bentley's failure. I also know two people who received what seemed to be real healing while down there. How real, I don't know. From what they told me, God-like healing. Could God have done that without them going, sure. Did they pick-up some junk while there, possible. If their experience is real, does it validate the Lakeland Revival, no. Now here's Piper.

Lee Grady, the editor of Charisma, one of the main charismatic magazines, has written a lament and critique of the Lakeland “revival” which is now in a tailspin over the leaders announced separation from his wife. Grady’s summons to pray for the church and and our nation is right, and among his commendable questions and observations are these:

"Many of us would rather watch a noisy demonstration of miracles, signs and wonders than have a quiet Bible study. Yet we are faced today with the sad reality that our untempered zeal is a sign of immaturity. Our adolescent craving for the wild and crazy makes us do stupid things. It’s way past time for us to grow up."

"True revival will be accompanied by brokenness, humility, reverence and repentance—not the arrogance, showmanship and empty hype that often was on display in Lakeland."

"A prominent Pentecostal evangelist called me this week after Bentley’s news hit the fan. He said to me: “I’m now convinced that a large segment of the charismatic church will follow the anti-Christ when he shows up because they have no discernment.” Ouch. Hopefully we’ll learn our lesson this time and apply the necessary caution when an imposter shows up."

Charismatics will not be the only ones who follow the Antichrist when he rises. So will the mass of those who today in thousands of evangelical churches belittle the truth of biblical doctrine as God’s agent to set us free (John 8:32).

Discernment is not created in God’s people by brokenness, humility, reverence, and repentance. It is created by biblical truth and the application of truth by the power of the Holy Spirit to our hearts and minds. When that happens, then the brokenness, humility, reverence, and repentance will have the strong fiber of the full counsel of God in them. They will be profoundly Christian and not merely religious and emotional and psychological.

The common denominator of those who follow the Antichrist will not be “charismatic” it will be, as Paul says, “they refused to love the truth.”

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

Our test for every Lakeland that comes along should first be doctrinal and expositional. Is this awakening carried along by a “love for the truth” and a passion to hear the whole counsel of God proclaimed?

study notes

I can really identify with Gorden Cheng's nervousness in regard to the ESV Study Bible. It's not about the ESV part, it's about study Bibles in general, or better said, how many people choose to use them.

Interest because, well, it’s interesting. Nervousness because Study Bibles, no matter how terrific they are, are the bane of every Bible study leader’s life. When you ask “What does the text say?” there will always, always, be the one nerdy member of the group who says “Well, it says here in the explanatory notes that...” The faint thumping sound you hear next is me hitting myself upside of the head prior to saying “Yes, that’s great and thank you but WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY?!?!?” Veins bulging on neck. Eyes popping out of head. My Bible studies, at least, can be intense affairs.

And I’m afraid that I feel even more irritated when the explanatory notes have got it right. Because it robs me of one of the many reasons for telling people to ignore them and READ THE BIBLE PRAYERFULLY FOR THEMSELVES. YES I’M SHOUTING. SORRY ABOUT THAT. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

I cannot tell you the countless times in small group that this has happened to me. It makes me want to pull my hair out.


i don't like mccain but ...

Contrary to popular belief, not all evangelicals love everything about everyone labeling themselves Republican. For me, I find little to like about John McCain. On the other hand, Life with Obama (or death as it were) is not something I can get my mind wrapped around.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

warren's the man

I don't know why I posted this ... probably just to poke at some of my friends. I still need healing I guess.

1101080818 400
Full story.

death by love

Now this, Death By Love, by Mark Driscoll has my attention.

what god demands

Our message to the world must emphasize that God is real, and that he will not be trifled with. He is the almighty, majestic Lord of heaven and earth, and he demands our most passionate love and obedience. ~ John Frame, The Doctrine of God


is this the future?

Wow - consistent with my thoughts earlier, here's a great cartoon by Nakedpastor.

Faithful 3

killing me softly

I always like new (ok even old) talent. Here's a new guy, Josh Garrels, that I thoroughly enjoy. I'll probably post another video of his but right now I am particularly moved by this one - Killing Me Softly.

Strumming my pain with his fingers,
Singing my life with his words,
Killing me softly with his song,
Killing me softly with his song,
Telling my whole life with his words,
Killing me softly with his song ...

I heard he sang a good song, I heard he had a style.
And so I came to see him to listen for a while.
And there he was this young boy, a stranger to my eyes.

I felt all flushed with fever, embarrassed by the crowd,
I felt he found my letters and read each one out loud.
I prayed that he would finish but he just kept right on ...

He sang as if he knew me in all my dark despair.
And then he looked right through me as if I wasn't there.
But he just came to singing, singing clear and strong.

I'm sure this isn't what Lori Lieberman had in mind when she wrote this poem about Don McLean but I see God in this. That is, the words begged the thought, "am I allowing God to kill me?" Am I really dying to myself? I want my life to be an open book. I want God to read and then to re-write every page. But yet I know I do not live that day in and day out.

God loves a broken and contrite heart. He brings healing and life only when we reach this point yet so often I pretend that I am a closed book or reserve certain chapters. Lord come look right through me into my deepest, darkest places. Break me and heal me. Take all of me and mold me into your image.

small groups and small churches

From Randy Noblog ... when small groups are not the answer.


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Sunday, August 10, 2008

olympic standings

Beijing2008 LogoI don't know why I care and especially this year with my political opinion of China, my distaste for athletes playing for countries that I still cannot see their relationship with, and some of the athletes being over-paid professionals - but that aside, here are the rankings. I took me some time to find a simple table so I thought I'd share it here.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

favre and osteen teamup

In what would be an unprecedented move, Joel Osteen revealed Friday that his team at Lakewood Church has submitted serious offers to the New York Jets in an effort to acquire Brett Favre.

Read the rest ...

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Friday, August 08, 2008

reformed rap

Tony Reinke just posted regarding the work of Curtis Allen. If you are reformed and like rap - this is for you. If not, move on.

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our objective

The more I study this New Testament, and live this Christian life, the more convinced I am, indeed the more certain I am, that our fundamental difficulty, our fundamental lack, is a lack of love of God; it is not our knowledge so much that is defective, [although that has become increasingly so], it is our love of God and our greatest object and endeavor should be to know Him better and to love Him more truly. ~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Fight of Faith


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

heavenly matchmaker

The Spirit, we might say, is the matchmaker, the celestial marriage broker, whose role it is to bring us and Christ together and ensure that we stay together.

As the second Paraclete, the Spirit leads us constantly to the original Paraclete, who himself draws near through the second Paraclete’s coming to us (John 14:8). Thus, by enabling us to discern the first Paraclete, and by moving us to stretch out our hands to him as he comes from his throne to meet us, the Holy Spirit glorifies Christ, according to Christ’s own word. ~ J.I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit


human needs and our response

John Piper posts today 5 Kinds of Need. I've copied it below and highlighted the bottom line. Great advice for Christendom today. Many are pursuing justice but not motivated properly by a passion for Christ. When we honor others, we honor Him. We honor the Creator of both us and those that we honor.

Many today have the misguided idea that caring for creation and for others is about "love", ushering in the Kingdom, etc.. No, while those are elements it is really about reflecting the glory of God which here includes justice, mercy, etc.. Anyway, I'll let Piper speak ...

In addition to the all-important need for faith and forgiveness and personal holiness, there are other needs that Isaiah—and Jesus—are passionately concerned about.

Here are 5 kinds of human need mentioned in Isaiah 58.

1) The need for freedom from bondage and oppression. Four times in Isaiah verse 6 and once in verse 9 he hits on this.
  • Isaiah 58:6 - "Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?"
  • Isaiah 58:9 - "...take away the yoke from your midst..."
2) The need for food.
  • Isaiah 58:7 - "Is it not to share your bread with the hungry..."
3) The need for housing.
  • Isaiah 58:7 - "...and bring the homeless poor into your house..."
4) The need for clothing.
  • Isaiah 58:7 - "...when you see the naked, to cover him..."
5) The need for respect.
  • Isaiah 58:9 - "...if you take away...the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness." In other words, stop accusing unjustly, belittling, and exploiting.
Isaiah preaches justice to the people of God, and Jesus displays justice to the people of God. And not only does he display the justice he expects, he suffers to cleanse and empower us, so our piety will produce a passion for social justice and practical mercy.

If it doesn't, our piety is empty.

And if it does—if our devotion to Christ produces a passion for freeing the oppressed and feeding the hungry and housing the homeless and clothing the naked and putting away belittling talk and demeaning gestures—then we will break forth like the dawn.

Monday, August 04, 2008


Well it's about time, bullet resistant bras are now available ...

Carmen Kibat, a policewoman in Hamburg who tested the new underwear, said: "These can save someone's life so it's not a laughing matter." She organised "Action Brassiere" across Germany, getting hundreds of policewomen to try the bras out in the line of duty.

Full Story


Thomas Smith posted this great piece on amplifiers and how they distort our definition of success. I've copied it in below.

Webster's define amplify in the following way:

Main Entry: am·pli·fy
Pronunciation: -"fI
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): -fied; -fy·ing
Etymology: Middle English amplifien, from Middle French amplifier, from Latin amplificare, from amplus
Date: 15th century
transitive senses
1 : to expand (as a statement) by the use of detail or illustration or by closer analysis
2 a : to make larger or greater (as in amount, importance, or intensity) : INCREASE b : to increase the strength or amount of; especially : to make louder c : to cause (a gene or DNA sequence) to undergo amplification

As I said yesterday - we went to a Switchfoot concert on Saturday and they had a lot of amplifiers there, expanding the decibels to almost unbearable levels. My ears finally stopped ringing on Tuesday evening. For two and a half days I walked with a distinct high-pitched noise in my ears this predicament made it difficult for me to be as sensitive as normal to sounds around me.

The amplifier brought some pleasure to me whilst at the concert, but distorted my hearing for 2 days. I want to contend that when we use the amplifier in other areas of life (church growth, money making, influence, popularity) we can fall into the same trap. We may experience a temporarily exciting sensation, and then be scarred after that. It scares me to think of going to a concert like Saturday for weeks on end - I fear i will loose my hearing. Some of us have been exposed for too long to the effects of amplifiers in our life, it's time to sensitize our hearing again. Our Leader is known to be a Whisperer; our culture is known to propagate through amplifiers. What do you think?

now or later

Is it "pie in the sky when I die" or "meat on the plate while I wait"? The conversation (to be kind) continues in the blogsphere regarding whether the Kingdom is some future hope or present reality. The Emergent constantly kicks against the phrase "when I die and go to heaven", etc.. With that as background, I like how Amy Hall framed this quote of John Piper in response to being "so heavenly minded you're no earthly good."

So don't make the mistake of thinking that future-oriented, future-sustained joy limits present usefulness. It doesn't limit it. It liberates it. If your future is glorious and sure (which it is in Christ!), you don't live for money or power or fame. You don't have to grasp and snatch and chase pleasures that are slipping through your aging fingers. You are free to live for others now. You are free to be another kind of person than the kind that lives for this world. If your hope is glorious and sure, you will seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these other basic things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33). Your love will be genuine. It will be radical, risk-taking, sacrificial because of the joy set before you. ~ John Piper

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changeless lover

Not only when thou wast born into the world did Christ love thee, but his delights were with the sons of men before there were any sons of men. Often did he think of them; from everlasting to everlasting he had set his affections upon them. I am sure he would not have loved me so long if he had had not been a changeless Lover. If he could grow weary of me he would have been tired of me long before now. If he had not loved me with a love as deep as life and as strong as death, he would have turned from me long ago. Oh, joy above all joys, to know that I am his everlasting and inalienable inheritance, given to him by his Father. ~ Charles Spurgeon


true happiness

The true Christian is the only happy man, because his conscience is at peace. That mysterious witness for God, which is so mercifully placed within us, is fully satisfied and at rest. It sees in the blood of Christ a complete cleansing away of all its guilt. It sees in the priesthood and mediation of Christ a complete answer to all its fears. It sees that through the sacrifice and death of Christ, God can now be just, and the justifier of the ungodly. It no longer bites and stings, and makes its possessor afraid of himself. The Lord Jesus Christ has amply met all its requirements. Conscience is no longer the enemy of the true Christian, but his friend and advisor. Therefore he is happy. ~ J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion


paul's thorn

While rather long, I align with Sam Storms' teaching from 2 Cor 12.7-10 in regard to the nature of "Paul's thorn". I post it here in its entirety.

Paul's Thorn in the Flesh
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

As noted in the previous meditation, there are four broad categories in which most of the interpretations of Paul's thorn have fallen. We now turn our attention to the two most popular (and likely) views.

Many take the view of Chrysostom, a famous preacher of the fourth century. He was the first to suggest that the thorn is simply a reference to all the enemies of the gospel who opposed and persecuted Paul during his evangelistic and theological labors. Alexander the coppersmith and Hymenaeus and Philetus are among the first who come to mind (see, 2 Tim. 2:17; 4:14). Taking the term "Satan" in its Hebraic sense of "adversary," "thorn in the flesh" would be a collective and figurative expression for all of Paul's opponents: those who contended with him and fought against him, those who cast him into prison, those who beat him, who led him away to death, etc. In effect, the "thorn" is a collective reference to all those who were responsible for the sufferings he described in 2 Corinthians 11:23-33. R. V. G. Tasker takes this view and explains:

"As there is nothing which tends to elate a Christian evangelist so much as the enjoyment of spiritual experience, and as there is nothing so calculated to deflate the spiritual pride which may follow them as the opposition he encounters while preaching the word, it is not unlikely that Chrysostom's interpretation is nearer the truth than any other" (176).

Appeal is often made to 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 where Paul's opponents are described as the "servants" (lit., "ministers") of Satan, who is himself "an angel of light" (but note that in 12:7 the word is "messenger", not "servant"). We are also reminded that in the LXX this word "thorn" is twice used metaphorically of one's enemies (Num. 33:55; Ezek. 28:24). Thus, on this view when Paul speaks of his "thorn" he means something similar to our modern idiom, "a pain in the neck".

If this is the correct interpretation, the word "flesh" would then be a figurative expression referring neither primarily to his physical body nor to his fallen nature but simply to himself, to who he is and what he does as a minister of the gospel, to his whole earthly existence (i.e., "these enemies are a constant source of pain and inconvenience to me; they are an irritating thorn in my side," or something similar).

A related view is that of Paul Barnett who contends that the thorn refers not so much to Paul's enemies in general but to the Judaizing, anti-Paul movement which was so obviously present and active in Corinth. Craig Keener also believes this view to be the likely one: "It is not difficult to envision ‘an angel of Satan' stirring crowds to persecute Paul; it is also possible that the opposition includes the agents of Satan against whom Paul has been railing (11:13-15)" (240).

Others have rejected this suggestion (rightly so, in my opinion), contending that it is unlikely Paul would have said that God gave him something as evil as the Judaizing movement. Furthermore, it seems reasonable to conclude that the thorn was given to Paul immediately subsequent to the heavenly rapture. The latter occurred in 41-42 a.d., but Paul did not enter Corinth and encounter opposition there until some eight to nine years later.

There are other insurmountable problems with this interpretation.

(1) The singular "a messenger of Satan" of v. 7 and the singular "it" or even "he" of v. 8 is hardly a clear and unmistakable way to refer to an entire group of people. If Paul had his opponents in mind, he chose an especially obscure way to make his point.

(2) Paul has already said in 2 Corinthians 4:7-15; 6:9-10; and 11:23-28 that opposition and persecution are normal for every person in ministry. No servant of Christ is exempt from such resistance. Yet, Paul describes his thorn as something uniquely his, given to him for a particular reason subsequent to a truly singular event. Is it likely that Paul would have prayed to be delivered from an experience which was the common and expected lot of all who shared his faith? I don't think so.

(3) Most decisive against this view is that the fact that Paul says he received the thorn "fourteen years ago" (12:2). Since we know that 2 Corinthians was written in either late a.d. 55 or early 56, Paul could have received his thorn no earlier than a.d. 41-42 (at which time he would have been in his native Syria-Cilicia [Gal. 1:18,21; 2:1; Acts 9:29-30; 11:25]), a full eight years after his conversion to Christ (assuming, as most scholars do, that Paul was converted in @ 33 a.d.). Yet we know from Acts 9:23-30 and elsewhere that Paul encountered Satanically inspired opposition to his ministry from the moment of his conversion.

(4) Finally, as Ralph Martin puts it, "would the apostle pray to be spared persecution? This is doubtful, since persecution was the fuel on which Paul seemed to thrive. The more he was persecuted, the more he seemed determined to press the claims of his apostolate" (415). And Paul knew better than anyone (cf. 2 Cor. 2:12-17) that the success of the gospel was not in his power to control, but rested with the providential oversight of God.

On the other hand, Paul does solicit prayers for protection from those who are his enemies (see Rom. 15:30-31; 2 Thess. 3:1-2 (cf. 2 Tim. 3:10-11; 4:16-18). Perhaps we should understand this to mean that whereas Paul anticipated persecution everywhere he went and knew that it was an inescapable part of his calling, he asked others to pray that this opposition not result in the silencing of his voice or perhaps the loss of life.

One more comment is in order. My sense is that the primary reason many have embraced this view is that they are uncomfortable with the idea that God would afflict any of his children (and certainly not an obedient and faithful apostle like Paul) with a disease and then decline to answer their prayer for healing. They also struggle with the notion that disease or a lingering and painful physical malady of any sort can have a redemptive or sanctifying purpose in God's economy.

But we must not allow a theological presupposition to dictate what the biblical text can or cannot mean. The data in the text itself must determine the most likely interpretation. And when all is said and done, I'm persuaded that the "thorn" is a reference to some form of physical affliction.

A few have argued that it was a speech impediment, possibly a severe stutter (10:10; 11:6). But Paul readily denies dependence on rhetorical eloquence. Furthermore, if Paul stuttered or had a more severe form of speech impediment, it was most likely something he had from childhood, at least. Yet, he says here that the thorn came in response to his heavenly experience only fourteen years earlier.

Other suggestions offered down through the centuries include epilepsy, malaria, gallstones, kidney stones, gout, deafness, dental infection, rheumatism, earaches, headaches, sciatica, arthritis, and leprosy (has anything been left out?!).

Many have adopted the view that Paul suffered from a severe case of ophthalmia or conjunctivitis. In Galatians 4:13-15 he said,

"You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. What then has become of the blessing you felt? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me."

Evidently Paul suffered from a painful eye affliction that was especially humiliating, because loathsome and repulsive to others. Although the statement in v. 15 may only be figurative, emphasizing the sacrificial love the Galatians had for Paul, it is just as likely an indication that this distressing illness from which he suffered was related to his eyes. We should also note that Paul closes his letter to the Galatians by saying, "See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand" (6:11), a statement consistent with his suffering some sort of ophthalmic disorder.

Could it be that Paul contracted this eye affliction as a direct result of the visionary experience itself? In other words, the brightness(?) of the experience, the impact of what he "saw," damaged his eyes. Some argue that he suffered from something similar to solar retinitis, an affliction caused by staring improperly at an eclipse.

There is another interpretation of Paul's thorn that I mention here only to show the extremes to which some people will go in their attempt to make the text say what they want it so say. Charles Capps, in his booklet Paul's Thorn in the Flesh (Dallas: Word of Faith, 1983), offers a totally fanciful interpretation of the purpose of the thorn.

According to Capps, when Paul says "to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations," he is referring "to the fact that if it had not been for the messenger of Satan assigned against Paul to stir up trouble, to cause him problems everywhere he preached, Paul's revelations would have been exalted till they would have influenced the whole nation. But he was not able to preach them freely, for Satan hindered him on every hand." (14).

But note that it was Paul who was inclined to self-exaltation, not his "revelations." Perhaps what Capps means is that Paul would himself have been exalted above measure in the sense that everyone would have listened to his gospel and would have accepted it as true, had not Satan prevented it from happening. But this is in conflict with the fact that this "revelation" Paul received was never intended to be proclaimed to others. He heard "things that cannot be told, which man may not utter" (v. 4).

It would seem that in his attempt to evade the force of this passage, Capps has turned it upside down. In other words, Capps argues that Paul's thorn in the flesh was not a good thing to keep him from doing a bad thing (namely, be puffed up in pride), but a bad thing to keep him from doing a good thing (namely, proclaim the "revelations" he received in Paradise). Of course, in saying the thorn was a good thing I'm not suggesting it was inherently good, but only that it was designed by God to accomplish something beneficial in Paul's spiritual growth.

In conclusion, many have noted (and I agree) that there was great pastoral wisdom in Paul's decision not to identify the thorn in the flesh. If he had been any more specific as to its nature, those who themselves never suffered from the same affliction could easily conclude that the passage has no bearing on their lives. But in leaving the door open, so to speak, concerning the nature of the thorn, each of us is able to identify with Paul's struggle and to learn and grow from the way in which he yielded to the sovereignty and sufficiency of divine grace. And to that we now turn our attention.