Wednesday, September 30, 2009

can't worship?

This is excellent from Tim Hughes ...

"The church that can't worship must be entertained. And men who can't lead a church to worship must provide the entertainment." A.W. Tozer.

This is quite a challenge - especially as we all prepare to lead worship this Sunday. Are we going to pull out the classics, and try and force people into a time of worship? Are we going to rely on our own strength to make something happen? Or, are we going trust and follow God to lead us in a beautiful, deep and meaningful encounter of worship.

John 6:63
"The Spirit brings life; the flesh counts for nothing."

Perhaps the best thing we could do in terms of our preparation for leading worship is to spend some time in God's presence, seeking Him and asking that He may fill us up with the Holy Spirit and use us in power to bring glory to Him.

Let's go for it. Who wants shallow entertainment when we can give people Jesus!

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I liked the message ...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Here's the deal - racism is ugly and sinful. At the same time the false accusations of racism are reflective of the same sinfulness. I'd like to see Christians drop this rhetoric and focus on the Kingdom of God. Where injustice is found, we must confront it. But where it is not, we should not sin by calling for emotional support of worldly kingdoms.

I don't Rev. Wayne Perryman or his agenda but this speech made some sense to me.

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my daily reminder

The following is a reminder from Ray Ortlund that I need to do more to keep in front of me ...

"Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?" Proverbs 20:6, NLT

A spirit of self-assurance is a gospel-denying, self-deceiving, friendship-destroying mentality. It is natural to say to ourselves, "I'm doing my part. They should be grateful." It is supernatural to say to ourselves, "I place myself under the judgment of the Word of God. I humble myself. Even if the other person is wrong, that gives me no right to assert myself. No matter what the other person does, no matter how much I am misunderstood and misjudged, I will remain in the fear of the Lord, I will entrust myself to God." True friendship thrives when, before God, each one is more aware of his debts than his rights.

If God has given you reliable friends, and surely he has, hold them close to your heart. Each one is a rare treasure.

Monday, September 28, 2009

piper's reasons

John Piper offers seven reasons for small groups ...
  • The impulse to avoid painful growth by disappearing safely into the crowd in corporate worship is very strong.
  • The tendency toward passivity in listening to a sermon is part of our human weakness.
  • Listeners in a big group can more easily evade redemptive crises. If tears well up in your eyes in a small group, wise friends will gently find out why. But in a large gathering, you can just walk away from it.
  • Listeners in a large group tend to neglect efforts of personal application. The sermon may touch a nerve of conviction, but without someone to press in, it can easily be avoided.
  • Opportunity for questions leading to growth is missing. Sermons are not dialogue. Nor should they be. But asking questions is a key to understanding and growth. Small groups are great occasions for this.
  • Accountability for follow-through on good resolves is missing. But if someone knows what you intended to do, the resolve is stronger.
  • Prayer support for a specific need or conviction or resolve goes wanting. Oh how many blessings we do not have because we are not surrounded by a band of friends who pray for us.

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sour wine

Sour wine or wine vinegar, a common drink among the poorer classes (Ruth 2:14), was forbidden to Nazirites (Num. 6:3). The offer of ‘vinegar’ to Jesus on the cross could be understood as a compassionate gesture in Mark 15:36 and Matt. 27:48. However, Ps. 69:21 speaks of ‘poison and vinegar’ given to the suffering righteous by enemies. Both the mocking offer of vinegar in Luke 23:36 and the reference to fulfillment of Scripture in John 19:28-30 suggest this latter context. Therefore I see this as Driscoll describes.

It is a powerful help to understanding the compassion of our dear Lord and Savior.

a day in the life

This is how most of my days seem to cool ... they start off real cool but then somehow I blow it ...

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One picture with a simple question ... your response will reveal a lot about you.


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Sunday, September 27, 2009

obama care questions

ObamaI thought this online attempt to list key questions regarding President Obama's Health Care plan was interesting. Some of these strike me as not so important and some seem redundant but as I listen to pundits rail against emotionalism, distortions, etc..., it seems this is a pretty fair list to try to deal with specifics. Some of my online network friends have decried the right as being parrots or big insurance, as being racist and simply against anything from Obama, as being manipulated by the Republican Party machine, etc... Alright then, he's a few concerns, can you address these?

I'd much rather hear thoughts centered on these or other concerns than read the overwhelming number of disparaging remarks flying back and forth between the camps. It seems to me that it is the people engaged in that rhetoric that has us stuck with no forward progress.

  • The health care reform bill currently pending before the Senate Finance Committee includes over $100 billion in cuts to Medicare. The Administration promises that the cuts to Medicare will not reduce health care benefits to seniors. The head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently told senators that the cuts in the bill WILL reduce health care benefits to seniors. Why should seniors trust the Administration more than the nonpartisan C.B.O. on this point? Related Article
  • Mississippi has adopted lawsuit abuse reform (tort) in their state and has reduced their healthcare premiums by 92% in the last year due to this reform. Gov. Barbour estimates America can save almost 100-200 billion dollars a year implementing just this one reform. Other than the fact that Tort Attorneys and their groups donate heavily to the DNC and did to the Obama campaign, is there a good reason or explanation you can give the American people as to why you have put the Tort attorneys' interests ahead of the healthcare interests of the citizens of this country?
  • The Administration has repeatedly represented to the American people that the proposed health care reform plan will be deficit-neutral. Referring to the Administration's plan, the Congressional Budget Office Director recently said "We do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount." Official CBO estimates for the Administration's proposals have, in fact, indicated additional deficits of hundreds of billions of dollars over 10 years. Why should the American people trust the Administration's numbers rather than those of the C.B.O. on this point? Related Article
  • You have said you will pay for healthcare by savings through "waste and fraud". By this statement then you are indicating that if you are able to quantify the amount in order to turn it into savings, you must be able to identify where it is. If that is true, why aren't you stopping the waste and fraud now since you can identify it instead of waiting until some unknown deadline? Don't you think this would engender some trust from the American people that you are making an effort to save money or that you know how to?
  • The Administration has repeatedly claimed that its health care reform plan will not cover illegal aliens. The Congressional Research Service recently issued a report contradicting the Administration's position, stating "H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on non-citizens whether legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently participating in the Exchange." Is the Congressional Research Service in error? If so, where is the error? Related Article
  • Why won't government employees and elected officials be covered under a nationwide health care plan? Your employer, the American taxpayers, would like to drop your family's existing coverage and force you into the public option that you so energetically endorse.
  • The Administration's health care reform plan relies heavily on the idea of generating health care savings by means of increased preventative care including mammograms and colonoscopies. On this point, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently wrote "The evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall." Why should Americans trust the Administration's representations more than those of the nonpartisan C.B.O. on this point? Related Article
  • You have accused the opponents of this Healthcare plan of using "lies" and "scare tactics" and spreading "disinformation." During your speech on Sept 9, you state that "One man from Illinois lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his insurer found that he hand't reported gallstones that he didn't even know about. They delayed his treatment, AND HE DIED BECAUSE OF IT". In truth, the man, Otto Raddatz, began chemo and was preparing for a stem cell transplant. During a routine review by the insurer, it was found that he had not disclosed having gallstones and an anuerysm. Mr. Raddatz had never been told about the gallstones or been urged to treat them. His sister, appealed to the Attorney General, who reversed the decision within two weeks and Mr. Raddatz had the transplant and lived another 3 and half years. -an indication that the company's decision to rescind his treatment didn't cause his death. Mr. Raddatz didn't die from being denied treatment, but your speech stated so. How can you accuse critics of creating lies about the healthcare proposal when on several occasions your own words have been found to be untruthful?
  • The Administration argues for a government-funded health insurance plan on the grounds that more competition is necessary in order to reduce health care costs. In response to a question from CNN's Wolf Blitzer as to why the Administration's health care reform plan does not include also interstate competition as a means to reduce costs, David Axelrod responded that "[Interstate competition] is not endemic to the kind of reforms that we're proposing" At least one study has concluded that interstate competition would be likely to reduce health care costs and reduce the number of uninsured. If competition can be expected to reduce costs and increase coverage, why is interstate competition not 'endemic' to the Administration's proposed reforms? Related Article Related Article
  • You indicated in your interview with George Stephanpolus that if people did not buy insurance that they would be fined a penalty fee but you insisted that it is not a tax. However, on page 29 of the Senate bill that Mr. Stephanopoulus refers to, it states that the fee will be an "excise TAX." How do you expect Americans to believe you have a grasp and knowlege of the healthcare legislation and are able to run it, when it is apparent that you had not even read the bill? Not even 29 pages of it.
  • A hypothetical question on health care rationing states the following : "What if I want [certain] tests and what if they detect something that could save my life?" The White House response states, in relevant part : "We want reform that rewards quality of care not quantity of procedures. Having dozens of procedures doesn't necessarily make you better. In fact they can make you worse." Q: Which procedures or tests would be reduced or eliminated under the proposed health care reform plan, and what evidence is available that the quality of care would not be impaired by their reduction or elimination? Related Article
  • At one time, the Administration claimed that there are as many as 47 million uninsured Americans. More recently, the Administration has claimed that there are closer to 30 million uninsured Americans. What are the sources for these numbers, and how many of the 30 million are unable to purchase health insurance because of the cost of health care insurance? Related Article
  • On September 23, 2009, the head of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stated that, if implemented, the legislation will lead to $100 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage services. Specifically what services will be cut under your legislation?
  • At a town hall meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina on July 29 you said " I will be available to answer any question that members of Congress have. If they want to come over to the White House and go over line by line what's going on, I will be happy to do that." A month ago, Congressman Phil Roe sent you two letters asking you for a time and place to conduct this line by line review. You've not responded to him. Do you intend to honor your promise and sit down with Congressman Roe and hold a serious line by line review of proposed health care legislation or was your July 29 statement merely an insincere political gesture ?
  • During the debate on the so-called stimulus package, your estimates on future unemployment and economic recovery proved to be wildly off-base. Why should Americans now believe you that they will not be forced out of the private coverage they enjoy, as basic economics would dictate?
  • Despite your assertions that health care reform will save money, the reality is that plans proposed by Democrats would cost taxpayers between $1 trillion and $2 trillion. How does this save money and how will you pay for this?
  • If, as you claim, a government-run option is essential to maintaining honest competition in the health insurance market, why is it not also true that we need a government-run competitor in the fast food industry, neighborhood babysitting, or Major League Baseball?
  • Proponents of a government-run option, you included, claim that it will compete on a level playing field with private insurance providers. In that case, will your government-run plan operate as a for-profit model and be forced to pay all applicable state, federal, and local taxes?
  • How do you expect to meet the growing need for physicians and medical professionals if the government-run plan pays lower than market rates to physicians while forcing them to participate or lose a majority of their patients and their livelihood?
  • If the government mandates that all Americans purchase health insurance, it must also define what qualifies as health insurance. Can you provide us your definition (with details please) and explain how this definition will not limit innovation and choice in health care?
  • According to the House Democrats. plan, a family of four with an income of $88,200 (four times the federal poverty level) would qualify for health insurance subsidies. In your view, is this a subsidy for low-income Americans or an effort to use taxpayers to put more health care under the purview of the federal government?
  • The new Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research is charged with determining what treatments should be offered to patients. Do you believe that these personal medical decisions should be made by patients in consultation with their doctors, or by unaccountable bureaucrats?
  • Why are there no actively practicing physicians included in the membership of the Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research?
  • If the final reform proposal is controversial enough that it will not receive the necessary 60 votes in the Senate, Democrats have left open the possibility of using a procedural move to pass it with only 51 votes. Do you believe massive changes to such a vital area of American life should be pushed through in this manner with only 51 votes?
  • Pro-choice groups NARAL and Planned Parenthood are demanding that the healthcare reform bill cover abortion, paid for by the TAXPAYER. Will you sign a healthcare reform bill that uses taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions?
  • HR3200 requires 500 billion in cuts in Medicare and Medicaid. How can these cuts be made without limiting access to healthcare or medicines recommended by my doctor?
  • According to, Obama's budget represents 11 trillion in debt in five years and 17 trillion in 10 years. Specifics for paying for the program are outlined as: $544 billion from a new income tax surcharge on single people making $280,000 a year and households making $350,000 and above; $37 billion in other tax adjustments. About $500 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. About $200 billion from penalties paid by individuals (2.5% of income) and employers (8% of payroll) who don't obtain coverage. [Note: These penalties are not in existence now, why should the American public impose a penalty upon themselves?] How will the $500 billion in Medicare cuts affect the elderly? Shouldn't we be reducing the budget instead of inflating it?
  • In a recent New York Post column, Betsy McCaughey, a former lieutenant governor of New York and health care expert, wrote: "One troubling provision of the House bill compels seniors to submit to a counseling session every five years (and more often if they become sick or go into a nursing home) about alternatives for end-of-life care (House bill, p. 425-430). The sessions cover highly sensitive matters such as whether to receive antibiotics and 'the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration.' This mandate invites abuse, and seniors could easily be pushed to refuse care." Will you sign a healthcare reform bill that in any way promotes euthanasia.
  • According to the plan, every new insurance policy will have to comply with government mandates, and any policy changes . "altering co-pays, deductibles, or even switching coverage for this or that drug" . invalidates your previous coverage and forces you to choose a government "qualified" plan. In addition, the House plan mandates coverage for every individual. If you are self-employed or choose not buy insurance for whatever reason, the bill imposes a "healthcare tax" of 2.5% of your income. Why do you believe bureaucrats can make better decisions than me about what kind of health insurance I should have? And will you guarantee that any healthcare reform bill passed by Congress will always allow me to choose my own doctor?
  • A number of experts have opined that insured individuals will end up having their health insurance plan changed under the Administration plan as proposed. Employers pick health plans, not employees, and if the new law puts forward a cheap 'government option/public plan,' employers will dump employees into it and pocket the savings as smart business people will do when given such a choice. Do you guarantee that I get to keep the plan I have and the doctor I have? If so, how are the experts wrong?
  • Will the law require Members of Congress and federal employees to be enrolled in the "government option/public plan," and if not, why not?
  • Will seniors be guaranteed joint replacements, stents, and the chemotherapy they need, or will they be forced to accept less-costly and less-effective alternatives?
  • If seniors will be allowed the expensive but most effective treatments, how will costs be controlled?
  • Will seniors have to wait longer for their treatments than they do now?
  • Will doctors see their payment schedules drop?
  • If their payments fall and they make less money, won't there be fewer doctors practicing medicine?
  • Doesn't Canada have long lines for important surgeries? How will making our system more like Canada's not mean longer lines and longer waits here?
  • Have you read the bill well enough to be interviewed about it on the radio by a conservative talk show host? ("C'mon. Of course I haven't and of course I won't. Have you seen even one extended interview with even one Member of Congress about the specifics of the bill with even a moderately skeptical journalist?").
  • Your plan includes a reduction of $500 billion in Medicare. Why should Medicare recipients believe that $500 billion can be cut from Medicare without affecting the level of care they will receive? Has such a thing ever been accomplished previously?
  • Your plan includes savings of $500 billion in Medicare by the elimination of 'waste, fraud and abuse.' What portion of the $500 billion figure is specifically attributable to fraud? How many new federal investigators and prosecutors will need to be hired in order to investigate the doctors and hospitals accepting Medicare reimbursements? Won't this new round of investigations interfere substantially with the operations of ongoing practices and their ability to treat their patients?
  • In your speeches, you have repeatedly emphasized that you that you are there to listen, that your door is always open and that you continue to seek common ground. Which ideas, if any, have you incorporated into your health care plan in order to find common ground with Blue Dog Democrats and/or Republicans?
  • You have repeatedly accused the critics of your plan of engaging in 'lies" and 'scare tactics.' Do you believe that none of the criticisms of your plan are good faith criticisms? If any of the criticisms are good faith criticisms, which ones?
  • In earlier speeches, you promised the American people that they would be able to keep their health insurance under your plan. More recently, you have chenged the rhetoric to express only that nothing explicitly in the plan will force Americans to change their health insurance. Is it not true that, according to objective third-party analyses, millions of Americans would likely be forced to change their health insurance under your plan? Is there an objective third-party analysis showing that most Americans will continue to have the same options they have today? If so, which ones, and why are they more credible than the analyses coming to a contrary conclusion?
  • You have promised that your plan will not expand the deficit. Certain objective third-party analyses, including the official analysis of the Congressional Budget Office, have indicated that your plan will expand the deficit considerably. Which objective third-party analyses, if any, have shown that your plan will not expand the deficit, and why should those analyses be trusted instead of the official estimate of the CBO?
  • You claim that hundreds of billions of dollars of 'waste, fraud and abuse' can be cleared out of the Medicare system. Can you cite to a historical example wherein hundreds of billions of dollars of waste, fraud and abuse have ever been eliminated from a federal government program?
  • Has a cleanup of Medicare waste, fraud and abuse ever been attempted before? If so, what were the results?
  • Assuming that a crackdown on Medicare waste, fraud and abuse has been tried before and failed to generate hundreds of billions of dollars in savings, why should the American people believe that this Administration will be the first Administration to succeed where others have failed?

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seeking glory

I want to take your word and shine it all around.
But first help me to just, live it Lord.
And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown.
For my reward is giving glory to you.

~ Keith Green

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I continue to allow myself to be drawn into political bickering. I'm not sure why I choose to do that knowing (1) the fruitlessness of it and (2) that I am part of a Kingdom that far surpasses the subject of those debates.

I was reading 2 Peter 2 today and this really caught my attention, "For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved." (2 Pet 2.19). While the text is about false prophets and teachers, I cannot help but see the analogy to our politicians and certainly to some number of the Christians on both sides of the many debates they incite.

Rather than renewing ourselves in Gods truth and being transformed by it (Rom 12.2), we seem bent on trying to transform the kingdoms of this age. But this age is evil and its kingdoms established - they are not going away (well, not until Jesus returns - Maranatha!) and we are not going to be taken from them. Instead, we will live in the midst of them yet be kept from the evil one (John 17.15). And still, with that knowledge, we allow ourselves to be caught up in the wisdom of the perishing rather than that of the redeemed (1 Cor 3.18-23).

Rather than debating politics, we should be displaying the light of Christ (2 Cor 4.4). This is not to say we shouldn't influence governments but clearly many of us are so caught up in this that it appears we represent a political party rather than a completely different and more glorious Kingdom. I want to be known as one who preached Christ (1 Cor 1.23-24) and not one who posted the most political zingers on facebook.

The ruler of this world has been cast down (John 12.31) and soon he will be bound forever (Rev 20.7-10 ). Let us be found with those who persevered (Jude 1.17-25) and overcame (Rom 12.21; Gal 5.22-23).

contribution and commitment

"Always remember the distinction between contribution and commitment. Take the matter of bacon and eggs: The chicken makes a contribution – the pig makes a commitment." ~ John Mack Carter

Friday, September 25, 2009

the bible says it

I will admit it, at one point in my Christian walk I was very proud of myself because I knew that the bumper sticker, "the Bible says it, I believe it, therefore it's true" wasn't right. I would say, ""the Bible says it, therefore it's true - period". Well since then, and especially with the small group I'm in now, I have to recant on that also. I have to constantly remind the folks in the group that just because it is in the Bible doesn't make it something the Bible is teaching.

Michael Patton does a better job of clarifying that (as always). Below is his post in its entirety.

Just because the Bible says something, this does not make it true. We follow the Bible in what it teaches, but not everything it records is intended to be teaching in the proper sense. Our goal as Christians is to be good interpreters of the Bible, being able to discern when something is being taught or when something is being told.

Here are five ways that we can mistakenly believe that the Bible is teaching truth or principles when it is not.

1. Some parts of the Bible are incidental to the bigger picture, not intending to teach any principle.

Be careful that you don’t try to find a principle in every passage. Not every verse or chapter of the Bible has an “application” in the traditional sense. For example, the chronologies of Matthew and Luke are not intending to teach a principle in and of themselves. They are simply attempting to give necessary background material so that Christ as the Messiah can be substantiated.

2. You have to distinguish between prescriptive and descriptive passages.

This is related to the previous and is especially relevant to narrative books such as Acts. We must be very careful with narratives since their primary purpose is to tell a story that is relevant to the bigger picture of redemption, not to give us prescriptive commands to live by. For example, in Acts chapter 1 we are told that the Apostles “cast lots” to discover who God wanted to replace Judas among the twelve. This is not giving principles on how to elect a pastor! It is simply saying this is what happened, nothing more, nothing less.

Another example (although not narrative) appears in Paul’s second letter to Timothy. Paul tells Timothy to “bring him his cloak” (2 Tim 4:13). There is no abiding theological principle saying that Christians are to bring people coats! It is simply teaching us that Paul asked Timothy to bring him his cloak. Paul was cold! Nothing profound.

3. Different types of literature have different types of truth.

You cannot interpret a Psalm the same way you do a Proverb. And you can’t interpret a Proverb the same you you do an epistle (letter). And you can’t interpret an epistle the same way you do apocalyptic material. They all follow different rules. And the truths that they communicate will be understood according to those rules. For example, a Proverb is a general truth of wisdom that does not necessarily apply or hold in every situation. Just because the Bible has proverbs does not mean that we are to sanctify the way we interpret the proverb. In other words, just because it is in the Bible does not mean that it is a truth that does necessarily apply in every situation. Psalms are songs and need to be understood under such imagery. Epistles are letters and need to be understood under the “rules” that apply to a letter. And then there is Ecclesiastes…don’t get me started there!

4. Sometimes the author does not want you to take him literally.

Authors can exaggerate, speak candidly, be sarcastic, or be in bad moods. This will effect the way we are to interpret them. This will also effect the “truth” that they are teaching. For example, Paul says that “all Cretans are liars” (Tit. 1:12). Does this mean, since it is in the Bible, that at the time Paul wrote this every individual who lived in Crete continually lied? No. We use exaggeration as rhetoric all the time. We don’t intend people to take us literally.

Another example is in Paul’s first letter to Timothy. He says about false teachers: “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1Ti 6:3-4). The Greek word used for “nothing” is meden. It means “no thing” or “nothing.” (Wow!) Does this mean that in order to be faithful to the truthfulness of Scripture, we have to take Paul literally here? Does this mean that the false teachers did not understand what 2+2 is? Of course not. The meden is limited to what Paul is talking about. It is a rhetorical overstatement—hyperbole—that Paul uses for effect. The false teachers did not understand anything with regard to the doctrines which they were teaching.

5. Sometimes the Bible records falsehood.

I was at a website the other day that had a daily Scripture at the top of the page. This particular day it had Matt. 4:9 “All of this I will give to you if you will worship me.” Out of context, that looks fine. God will give us many blessings if we worship him. The problem is that this is a quotation from Satan when he tempted Christ! This verse is in the Bible, but it is not true. We need to be careful that we are mindful of who is talking, when, and how their words are to be understood. I hear people quoting Job’s friends all the time as evidence for certain characteristics of God. But Job’s friends are not presented in a positive light. Some of what they say is true, but much is wrong—even if it is in the Bible.

When interpreted correctly, I believe that the Bible always speaks the truth. But when interpreted incorrectly, it goes without saying that the incorrect interpretation does not represent the truth. If the Bible says it, this simply means that God wanted whatever it says to be included. We believe that the Bible is true in whatever it teaches, but whatever it says is not always meant to teach in the way we often assume. Be careful with God’s word. It is the most wonderful book in the world, but it is also the most dangerous.

he's everything

Wow! Bart has really found some nuggets of gold ... this is some good stuff from John Piper.

“Jesus Christ is not merely the means of our rescue from damnation; he is the goal of our salvation. If he is not satisfying to be with, there is no salvation.

He is not merely the rope that pulls us from the threatening waves; he is the solid beach under our feet, the air in our lungs, and the beat of our heart, and the warm sun on our skin, and the song in our ears, and the arms of our beloved.”

- John Piper, Taste and See

Thursday, September 24, 2009


“One day as I was passing into the field, this sentence fell upon my soul: ‘Thy righteousness is in heaven.’ And with the eyes of my soul I saw Jesus at the Father’s right hand. ‘There,’ I said, ‘is my righteousness!’ So that wherever I was or whatever I was doing, God could not say to me, ‘Where is your righteousness?’ For it is always right before him.

I saw that it is not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness IS Christ. Now my chains fell off indeed. My temptations fled away, and I lived sweetly at peace with God.

Now I could look from myself to him and could reckon that all my character was like the coins a rich man carries in his pocket when all his gold is safe in a trunk at home. Oh I saw that my gold was indeed in a trunk at home, in Christ my Lord. Now Christ was all: my righteousness, sanctification, redemption.”

- John Bunyan, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I struggle with those calling themselves believers, especially those not new in the faith, who challenge or are confused by the basic concepts of heaven and hell. I'm not hung up with the 'logistics', i.e., where is heaven physically or is there literally a fire burning in hell or whatever. I'm concerned with those that just don't seem to get that we are all created for eternity (Eccl 3.11). We will live forever. What that will be like and who qualifies for which kind of eternity is not unclear.

Jesus suffered and died that we may have eternal life with the knowable God (John 17.3). And this life with him is beyond our imagination (1 Cor 2.9). But note, it is for those that love him ... not for all.

There is a place for those who remain rebel sinners that Jesus calls hell and it is the opposite of the Kingdom of God (Mk 9.47-48). It is not for the righteous (Mt 25.46) but a place of eternal wrath for those that reject him (John 3.36).


Are we desparate enough to turn to Jesus? The following from Ray Ortlund ...

"And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became captain over them." 1 Samuel 22:2

David attracted desperate men, men who were passionate for change, men who longed for a better future. The empowered and the privileged did not gather to him. They had too much to lose. But the distressed, the debtors and the fed-up rallied to him. And under his leadership, this rabble launched a new era in the history of God's people.

If your heart is at rest with the state of the world, the state of the church, you have little incentive for all-out commitment to Jesus. You will probably just get in the way. But if you are in distress, if you are in debt, if you are bitter in soul, there is a mighty Captain who is not ashamed to have you in his army. He turns no one away, no one who is desperate for change on his terms.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


"God did not create in order to be loved, but rather, created out of the overflow of the perfect love that had always existed among Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who ever live in perfect and mutual relationship and delight." See DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed for the full story.

Monday, September 21, 2009

signs you may be a fundamentalist

I stole this from Virgil Vaduva ... and I'm not ashamed, does that make me a fundamentalist?


You might be a fundamentalist if...

• think the earth is 6,000 years old
• think Democrats are bad people
• think environmentalists worship the earth
• think God spoke in Elizabethan English
• think everyone except your group/denomination are heretics
• think the Bible teaches capital punishment
• think the Bible teaches the right to bear arms
• think the "Left Behind Series" is serious Bible study
• think America was/is a Christian nation
• expect to disappear in a rapture any day now
• think most poor people are lazy
• ...James Dobson is your hero
• ...the only books you've read on opposing viewpoints are written by authors you agree with
• think allowing homosexuals to marry will end civilization as we know it
• think evolution is a plot from the devil
• think "narrow path" is synonymous with "narrow mind"
• think "the simplicity that is in Christ" means that all of the themes in Scripture can be understood by Forrest Gump
• don't know how to explain the director of The Passion of the Christ being drunk and getting arrested
•'re afraid to buy sparkling cider because it looks like wine
• can't admit that the water Jesus turned into wine might have been alcoholic, and that people might have gotten intoxicated from drinking it
• think most natural disasters are a judgment from god
• don't know how Christianity survived so long without your denomination
• think the main point of higher education's is to convince you the bible is wrong
• think that only Christians can glorify god
• divide everything into two categories: "Christian" and "secular"
• ...four letter words make you more uncomfortable than malicious intent
• think that a one-world currency will lead to the rapture, but you still try to convince everyone to stay away from a one world currency
• think the gospel hasn't been preached unless an altar call was issued
• think all Catholics are hell-bound
• think two homosexuals living in a committed caring relationship are more sinful than jailing people indefinitely without charges or a trial or bombing the hell out of villages.
• think promiscuous homosexuals are ruining the world, but will cut off your right arm to keep them from being able to commit to each other and be monogamous
• actually think it's a GOOD thing that your pastor is uneducated
• think if you don't have your morning devotions, you're day will inevitably be bad
• think Jesus was white, and have never considered that he may have more closely resembled the look of what you consider to be "a terrorist"
•'ll take a bumbling Christian for president any day over someone more qualified
•'re pretty sure the four spiritual laws are in the Bible
• are afraid of science, especially biologists and geneticists
• are also afraid of gay people, pro-choice people, Arabs, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, anybody wearing a head scarf, anyone with a red dot or an ash spot on their forehead, blacks who live in the ghetto, immigrants, illegal aliens, Mexicans (by which you mean anyone who speaks Spanish no matter where they are from), liberals, ...
• must keep your children away from all of the above
• ..."Christian values" means anti-abortion and anti-homosexuality. Period. It does not mean dignity, health care, job training, racial reconciliation, relief of poverty, justice, or mercy.
• believe God would be pleased if Israel were to nuke all her neighbors
• ...when someone asks you how you are, you reply "blessed"
•'re afraid to use the word "lucky" because it comes from "Lucifer"
• ...You are sure Jesus is coming in 1980...1988...2000...2008...2012
• think the world council of churches got together with the UN & invented global warming
• ...on Halloween, you turn out all the lights and pray for the heathen neighborhood children
• think "Leave it to Beaver" and "The Andy Griffith Show" depict real life in America in the 1950s
• think, "smile, Jesus loves you,” is a valid cure for depression
• think that "pray for your leaders" means to pray that they become republican
• repeat and believe without question every story you hear about a miracle happening in your church, but you have never seen one...even though you've been attending and involved for 20 years
• think that every man of faith down through the centuries would have loved to have had the opportunity you have to be a part of your denomination
• actually believe the FAA doesn't allow both a pilot and a co-pilot to be Christians in case the rapture happens
• tithe 10% of your income to your church, but look the other way every time you see a beggar
• have perfected the art of gossiping through prayer requests
• have at some point owned an "in case of rapture..." bumper sticker, and you don't feel like the biggest moron in the world
• ...your definition of how long a "generation" is keeps changing
• ...too many sixes in a number makes you nervous
• don't understand why everyone can't see the truths in the bible as clearly as you can
• use the phrases "Lord Jesus" and "Lord God" in your prayers like they're commas and the word "just" in replace of "um"
• don't think Obama is the anti-Christ, but you think he's a great example of how the anti-Christ will deceive the masses and rise to power so quickly
• ...your pastor wears mainly Hawaiian shirts in the pulpit, but your church is nowhere near Hawaii
• regularly feel guilty about not having Christian bumper stickers on your car
• believe that most people who have left your church have walked away from god, whether they are going to another church or not
• ...stories about “disappearing hitchhikers” make you cry instead of laugh
• pastor has told your church about a team of scientists drilling into the earth in Siberia who drilled so far that they heard the screams of what sounded like "millions of people" suffering. This story sounds reasonable to you.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009


“By becoming a Christian, I belong to God and I belong to my brothers and sisters. It is not that I belong to God and then make a decision to join a local church. My being in Christ means being in Christ with those others who are in Christ. This is my identity. This is our identity. . . . If the church is the body of Christ, then we should not live as disembodied Christians.”

- Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Total Church


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Saturday, September 19, 2009


By RC Sproul ...

By grace, God offers the righteousness of Christ to all who put their trust in Him. For all who believe, all who have faith in Him, the merit of Christ is reckoned to their account.

Does this exclude good works in the life of the believer? By no means. Our justification is always unto good works. Though no merit ever proceeds from our works, either those done before our conversion or those done afterward, good works are a necessary fruit of true faith.

"Necessary fruit?" Yes, necessary. Good works are not necessary for us to earn our justification. They are never the ground of our justification. They are necessary in a more restricted sense. They are necessary corollaries to true faith. If a person claims to have faith yet brings forth no fruit of obedience whatsoever, it is proof positive that the claim to faith is a false claim. True faith inevitably and necessarily bears fruit. The absence of fruit indicates the absence of faith.

We are not justified by the fruit of our faith. We are justified by the fruit of Christ's merit. We receive His merit only by faith, but it is only by true faith that we receive His merit. And all true faith yields true fruit.

Coram Deo: Prayerfully examine your faith and spiritual fruit.

Galatians 5:22-25: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."


Oh, The Temptation.

Friday, September 18, 2009

in honor

In honor of the Jewish New Year ... the red, bold text is the key word emphasized by the speaker ...

I should buy two tickets for her concert?--meaning:, "After what she did to me?"
I should buy two tickets for her concert?--meaning: "What, you're giving me a lesson in ethics?"
I should buy two tickets for her concert?--meaning: I wouldn't go even if she were giving out free passes!
I should buy two tickets for her concert?--meaning: I'm having enough trouble deciding whether it's worth one.
I should buy two tickets for her concert?--She should be giving out free passes, or the hall will be empty.
I should buy two tickets for her concert?--Did she buy tickets to our daughter's recital?
I should buy two tickets for her concert?--You mean, they call what she does a "concert"?

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

a worldly kingdom

Mike Clawson thinks we need healthcare reform. I agree with him. However, we disagree partly on why we need reform and we disagree almost completely on the solution. Clawson thinks Obama's plan does not go "nearly far enough". In addition, Clawson is among many Christians on that side of the issue who use Christian buzz phrases to support why the government should do more, e.g., "do unto the least of these" (Mt 25.31ff).

I like Hannah Taylor's response:

Completely can't agree with you on this point. Sorry.

1) People dying is *not* a moral issue. Everybody, save Enoch and Elijah, that has lived has died or will die until Christ's return. People being *killed* is a moral issue; people allowing others to die out of a lack of love for their neighbors (like the rich man with Lazarus) is a moral issue.
2) The government is not meant to police all moral issues. The government obviously cannot make me love the Lord with all my heart, for instance. Romans 13 indicates that the Lord uses government to "praise the good" and as "an avenger" to "bring wrath upon the one who practices evil." Trying to use the government to fix all the wrongs in the world is not only futile but idolatry, attempting to replace the One we should truly have our hope in with His creation.
3) Finally, Christians should want to "do something"; the poor will always be with us, and we should care for them. You'd rather pay taxes than contribute directly?

I fail to see the support for Christians trying to implement the Kingdom through worldly governments.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

missing mac ads

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The Church and Social Action: Food for Thought

The below is copied in it's entirety from Pete Cockrell. I find it timely given the current push from liberal believers to confuse the message of the Gospel.

From Missions Mandate; a rather excellent site dedicated to world mission.

The relationship between the church and social action can be a complicated issue. Recently, three people have provided their perspectives on this issue that would be helpful in establishing a biblical philosophy.

Mark Snoeberger, Professor of Systematic Theology at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, in his series on the reasons for the continued existence of fundamentalism, provides clarification regarding the belief that the church has no social mandate.
Individual Christians can be neighborly and be involved in social action, but ...

the institutional church must resist adopting a programmatic social agenda as an end. The church has no responsibility to rescue babies from abortion (though its members may do so), no responsibility to build hospitals (though its members may do so), no responsibility to provide medical or dental services (though doctors and dentists within its membership may do so), etc…
In view of the extraordinary pressure exerted by culture for the church to become a social organization, it behooves us who are in church leadership to regularly remind the church that their responsibility to “those without” is not to transform their culture, but to evangelize them. May God help us to that end.

Mark Dever
, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C., did a recent workshop at the Sovereign Grace Pastor’s conference on “The Pastor and the Community: 35 somewhat overlapping statements as a pastor to pastors concerning the topic of the congregation’s responsibility for its wider community.” To give you a taste of what is included, here’s a few of the statements:

“We should have more passion for and compassion for God than for people”
“The Gospel’s main thrust is not the renewal of the fallen structures of this world, but rather the creation of a new community composed of those purchased by the blood of the Lamb”
“Scripture gives us no hope that society will be broadly and permanently transformed by the preaching of the Gospel.”
“Individual conversions can have profound effects for good on people, not only in eternity, but in this life, too.”
“We should have a desire to see non-Christians know the common blessings of God’s kindness in providence (e.g., food, water, family relations, jobs, good government, justice).”
“We should never mistake social action or mercy ministries (e.g., caring for the poor, soup kitchens, etc.) for evangelism (though it may be a means to it).”
“We must ask ourselves and others whether or not we are more excited by and about the Gospel, or other, secondary issues, and if others perceive this in our ministry”
“We must beware the popular “share the Gospel, and if necessary use words” mindset.”

Matt Harmon, Associate Professor of New Testament Studies at Grace Theological Seminary, recently taught a 2-day course on the Kingdom of God and Social Justice, concluding the class by stating “Ten Theses for Further Discussion” that he shared in a 2 part series on his blog.
All ten theses are helpful starting points for discussion, but I think one that is often overlooked is:

We must recognize that evangelical engagement with these issues will take different forms within different political, cultural and social contexts. While it is increasingly popular to champion individuals like Abraham Kuyper and the goal of transforming culture, large numbers of believers simply do not have that option available.
Believers in the Middle East and parts of Asia (just to name a few) have little or no access to the various institutions of a culture to effect transformation. Believers in the United States, by contrast, often do. Thus a one size fits all approach to this issue simply cannot and does not work.

Read the ten items - Part 1 and Part 2 – as well as this follow-up post by Harmon on the topic “Should Evangelicals Use the Term Social Justice?“, which includes this example of the immense breadth in the use of the term “social justice”.

Update: Patrick Schreiner, seminary student at Southern BTS, posted a helpful quote on the topic of “social justice” from Marvin Olasky.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

pick two

Chris Lyons writes regarding economic choices involved in the health care debate ...

[W]hen President Obama gets up and promises that he will 1) Improve the quality of healthcare for those who already have insurance; 2) Lower its costs; and 3) Increase the supply (by insuring everyone), he is making the economic equivalent promise of repealing the laws of gravity. In this case, when he makes such promises, he is either a fool or (as the lone voice of reason cried out during his speech) a liar.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

global warming

Remember before the healthcare crisis the big issue from the left was global warming ... well, just to remind ourselves, all that we were told about that didn't quite measure up ... I suspect the same regarding healthcare ...

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

pastoral perspective

John Piper's excellent pastoral perspective on the "sin and the sinner" ... specifically homosexuality ...

[We] say what the world, by and large, will not believe, namely, that it is possible to describe homosexual behavior as sinful, perverse, abnormal, and destructive to persons and culture while at the same time being willing to lay down our lives in love for homosexual persons. In fact, we say something even more radical and unbelievable to the world, namely, that you must believe homosexual behavior is sin and harmful in order to love homosexual persons. Because God tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:6, “[Love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” If you deny the truth that homosexual behavior is sin, but instead approve of it or rejoice in it, what you bring to the homosexual person will not be love—no matter how affirming, kind, or tolerant. Our aim is the biblical combination of conviction God’s truth and compassion for God’s creation.

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

more on health care

Yep ... even children are against health care ...

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amillennialism justified

I know this isn't good logic but sometimes I feel more right about a conclusion if I feel believe I'm in the company of others that I respect. I found the below by Jason Robertson regarding amillennialism and felt somehow comforted ... I didn't realize there were that many ammillennialists out there. The below is from Robertson.

What Amillennialism Is Not:
  • It does not deny the existence of a "millennium."
  • It is not a product of either a particular Protestant denomination or a product of Roman Catholicism.
  • It does not require one to be a pedobaptist or immersionist.
  • It does not require one to be a Calvinist or Arminian
  • It does not require one to be a Covenant theologian or anti-covenant theologian.
  • It is not liberalism.
  • It is not as divided as Premillennialism.
  • It does not symbolize everything in the Bible.
  • It does not have a non-literal understanding of the Bible.
  • It is not the materialistic view of the millennium as held by all Premillennialists.
  • It does not hold to a literal "golden age" on earth like the many Postmillennialists.
  • It is not "replacement theology."
  • It is not anti-semetic.
What Amillennialism Is:
  • It follows a “grammatical-historical” literal interpretation of the Scriptures.
  • It looks at the Bible as a unit which contains no contradictions.
  • It believes there is no “gap” in Daniel’s prophecy of Seventy Weeks, but that it was fulfilled with the desolation of the Temple and destruction of Jerusalem by Titus and the Roman army in 70 A.D. (as the Tribulation judgment against non-believing Israel).
  • It agrees with evangelical preterism that the prophecies concerning the nation Israel have been historically fulfilled, for the most part, and all remaining prophecies concerning Israel will be fulfilled in the church which has always been the “Israel of God.” (Eph. 1:23; Galatians 6:6)
  • It believes explicitly in the millennium of Revelation 20.
  • It interprets the one thousand year period mentioned only in Rev. 20 as a complete period of time, the length of which is only known by God. (Such symbolism is hermeneutically consistent with Psalm 50:10 and 1Chron. 16:15).
  • It believes the millennial kingdom of Christ began with His incarnation and will consummate at His Second Coming.
  • It could better be called a “Realized Millennium.”
  • It believes that the millennium is the literally the spiritual reign of Christ on earth in the kingdom of His church and in the saints in heaven.
  • It believes entrance to the on-going millennium is gained solely through the new birth, and that John refers to this as the first resurrection in Revelation 20:6 (supported by Eph. 2:1,5,6 and Colossians 2:13 and 3:1.)
  • It believes that every person who is born again immediately becomes a child of the King and immediately begins an eternal reign with that King, and that the present phase of that reign is a mere foretaste of what lies beyond the Second Coming.
  • It believes that Satan has only such power as God permits and must bow to the authority of the Gospel as a bound and defeated foe because of the Cross, unable to stop the spread of the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the world (Revelation 20:3).
  • It believes that although he cannot prevail against the Church, Satan still goes about as a roaring lion tempting, defying, deceiving, until Christ shall put him down finally at His Second Coming.
  • It believes that good and evil will exist side by side until the harvest, which Jesus said will be the end of the world (Matt. 13:39).
  • It believes that Satan will be allowed to mount one final climactic antichrist rebellion and apostasy just before the Second Coming (Revelation 16:14; 20:7,8).
  • It believes in only one first resurrection and only one last trump.
  • It believes the Second Coming of Christ to be a literal, visible, bodily coming.
  • It believes that at the Second Coming all the saints, living and dead, will be raptured to meet the Lord in the air, given new spiritual bodies, and then escort their King to the earth.
  • It believes that the millennium will end with the Second Coming of Christ followed by the judgments of the living and the dead, saved and lost (Matt. 13:24-30; 47-53) and the creation of a new heaven and earth.
  • It views the Second Coming as the consummation of the Redemption story prior to everlasting glory on the New Earth.
History of Amillennialism:

Dr. John Walvoord, a dispensational premillennialist, admitted, “Reformed eschatology has been predominantly amillennial. Most if not all of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation were amillennial in their eschatology, following the teachings of Augustine.” (Bibliotheca Sacra, Jan.-Mar., 1951)

Dr. Louis Berkof said, “The name is indeed new, but the view to which it is applied is as old as Christianity.” Since the second century it has “been the view most widely accepted, is the only view that is either expressed or implied in the great historical Confessions of the Church, and has always been the prevalent view in Reformed circles.” (Systematic Theology, p. 708)

Just to name a few Amillenarians and a couple of the many like-minded Postmillers:

Jay Adams
Oswald Allis
Augustine of Hippo
Richard Barcellos
Herman Bavinck
G. K. Beale
Louis Berkhof
G. C. Berkouwer
James P. Boyce
John Calvin
B. H. Carroll
Everett I Carver
Adam Clark
William Cox
John L. Dagg
Mark Dever
J. Ligon Duncan III
David Engelsma
Eusebius of Caesarea
Sinclair Ferguson
John Frame
Richard Gaffin, Jr.
William Grier
Henry Halley
Floyd Hamilton
Hank Hanegraaff
William Hendriksen
Charles Hill
Herschel Hobbs
Anthony Hoekema
Michael Horton
Lee Irons
Dennis Johnson
Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Tim Keller
Simon Kistemaker
Meredith Kline
Abraham Kuyper
Martin Luther
C. J. Mahaney
William Masselink
Phillip Mauro
Edward McDowell
Leon Morris
Edgar Mullins
George L. Murray
Iain Murray
John Murray
J. I. Packer
Albertus Pieters
A. W. Pink
Vern S. Poythress
Richard Pratt
Robert S. Rayburn
Herman Ridderbos
Kim Riddlebarger
Jason E. Robertson
O. Palmer Robertson
William Rutgers
L. R. Shelton
Sam Storms
Robert Strimple
Augustus H. Strong
Ray Summers
Cornelius Van Til
Cornelis Venema
Geerhardus Vos
Samuel Waldron
Bruce Waltke
B. B. Warfield
James White
Knox White
Martin Wyngaarden
E. J. Young
Huldrych Zwingli

Council of Ephesus, 431
Confession of the Evangelical Free Church of Geneva, 1848
The Westminster Confession of Faith, 1647
The London Baptist Confession, 1689
The New Hampshire Baptist Confession, 1833
Confession of the Free-Will Baptist, 1834
The Augsburg Confession

And I'll add the ever popular blogger Justin Taylor.
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a postmodern watershed

Here's how a watershed point works. It starts with a subtle and even arguable difference ... and in this case, some good counter balance to some of the error on the other side. But, as the case continues to slide down the slippery slope, it stops being a counterbalance to adjust to the correct middle ground, it becomes error equal or greater that which it was intended to address.

In the Shaping of Things to Come, p49-50, authors Frost and Hirsch see everyone as equally fallen and therefore emphasize our common journey rather than our need for conversion. I get that. But then Pip Piper (Emerging Churches, p131) takes it a step further with, "Evangelism or mission for me is no longer persuading people to believe what I believe. ... It is more about shared experiences and encounters. It is about walking the journey of life and faith together, each distinct to his or her own tradition and culture but with the possibility of encountering God and truth from one another."

Dave Tomlinson continues the slide in The Post Evangelical, p138, with; "The world is not a place where Christians are over there on the right and non-Christians are on the left, with evangelism being the task of moving people from one side to the other." Huh?

And then bottom is hit with Steve Chalke in The Lost Message of Jesus, pp147-152, explaining that Jesus wasn't telling Nicodemus (John 3.1-21) to make a reversal, He was telling Nicodemus to continue on the journey he was already on. The important thing to Chalke is that we are heading in Jesus' direction.

As the kid's today say, "Fail".

more challies

Wow! Tim Challies continues a great series of posts over at Ligonier Blog.

Study the excerpts from the apostle Paul that accompany this reading. Does this sound like a man who believed the law of God has no place in the Christian life? Read Paul's writings carefully and you will find a man whose heart longed for the law of God as much as David's.

The law drives us to the gospel. The gospel saves us from the curse of the law, but in turn directs us back to the law to search its spirit. The law of God is still a lamp to our feet. Without it we stumble and trip and grope in darkness.

For the Christian, the greatest benefit of the law of God is its revelatory character. The law reveals to us the Lawgiver. It teaches us what is pleasing in His sight. We need to seek the law of God--to pant after it--and to delight in it. Anything less is an offense against the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Coram Deo: Pray this prayer: "Thank You for Your law, which is a lamp to my feet. Give me a heart that longs for and delights in Your law."

Romans 7:8: "But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead."

Romans 7:12: "Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good."

Romans 7:22: "For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man."


At the time of this post, >200,000 people watched this.

And <50,000 watched the rebuttal created by the same people.

I think that fact speaks in part about the people buying what the government is selling ... not enough thinking and/or penetration of the detail.

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Friday, September 04, 2009

our great pursuit

Great post by R.C. Sproul by Tim Challies.

Albert Einstein was once asked by a student, "Dr. Einstein, how many feet are there in a mile?" To the utter astonishment of the student, Einstein replied, "I don't know."

The student was sure the great professor was joking. Surely Einstein would know a simple fact that every schoolchild is required to memorize. But Einstein wasn't joking. When the student pressed for an explanation of this gap in Einstein's knowledge, he declared, "I make it a rule not to clutter my mind with simple information that I can find in a book in five minutes." Einstein was not interested in trivial data. His passion was to explore the deep things of the universe. His passion for mathematical and physical truth made him a pivotal fixture in modern world history.

We are called to similar passion, a passion to know God. A thirst for the knowledge of God should drive us to drink deeply at the fountain of Scripture. We are equipped with more than enough unholy passions. Our appetite for lesser things at times threatens to consume us. Yet few of us are in danger of being consumed by a passion for God. The Scripture says of Jesus that zeal for His Father's house consumed Him. In His humanity, Jesus was a man of passion. He was neither hostile nor indifferent toward the knowledge of His Father. He was a man driven in His pursuit of God.

Coram Deo: Are you driven by an undying passion in your pursuit for God? If not, ask Him to rekindle your desire.

Psalm 42:2: "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?"

Psalm 143:6: "I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land."

Isaiah 55:1: "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, buy wine and milk without money and without price."

healthcare truth

I still wonder what Obamacare is intended to resolve and why so many, especially Christians, have jumped on that bandwagon. Bottom line, I don't know what the truth is regarding the so called crisis. I read this today and since it matches my bias, I'm going with it.

Nearly nine out of 10 Americans say they have coverage -- and large majorities of them are happy with it. Of the 46 million uninsured, 9.7 million are not U.S. citizens; 17.6 million have annual incomes of more than $50,000; and 14 million already qualify for Medicaid or other programs. That leaves less than five million people truly uncovered out of a population of 307 million.

This health care "crisis" feels not unlike the global warming crisis. Yes there are real issues out there and yes it's clear the body of Christ is not behaving as such. But I fail to see how government is the solution and I fail to see the issue as portrayed by those trying to sway me.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


“Humility agrees and is glad that everything we have is a free gift of God, and that this severs the root of boasting in our distinctives. Whatever talents, whatever intelligence, what ever skills, whatever gifts, whatever looks, whatever pedigree, whatever possessions, whatever wit, whatever influence you have, put away all pride because it is a gift, and put away all despair because it is a gift from God.”

- John Piper, Greatness, Humility, Servanthood


Tuesday, September 01, 2009


I like Phil Wyman's perspective on the health care debate.

I am not sure if the current bill offers more problems than answers, but I want the debate to continue in order to find out. Unfortunately most of the voices I am hearing now are demonizing the other side - from the highest positions on down there are clowns to the left, and jokers to the right. So here I am, stuck in the middle. Anyone else out there stuck in the middle with me?

Mike Clawson sees conservatives demonizing while I see this as true on both sides and so I'm not sure what the value of mentioning that is. And Mike frustrated me a bit by providing what I see as far too simplistic sound bites rather handling the real issues. In his defense, this was a short facebook blurb ... he wrote that he "is confused by the conservative mindset. So when we are starting unprovoked wars or denying civil liberties, the government can do no wrong, and to suggest otherwise is unpatriotic? But when we are trying to make health care accessible for millions of the least of these, the government is an inefficient bureaucracy that can do nothing right?"

In contrast, Kent Leslie tries to identify the issues. He, like I, see that it is not really about Obamacare per sé. That is:

The healthcare debate in the United States comes from two debates that conservatives and progressives are having with one another:

- Is healthcare a right?
- Is it best provided by the government?

There are exceptions, but primarily conservatives say no to both, and progressives say yes to both.

Then after a long civics lesson and a very polite smack-down directed at both sides, he makes this outstanding conclusion:

Healthcare is the responsibility of every follower of Christ Jesus. If everyone isn’t receiving it, we need to change things so that they can. Whether it’s a right or not is moot. Whether we should handle it directly, or indirectly through our government, is I think determined by matters of practicality—if you can do it yourself more practically than the government can, by all means do it. Otherwise I believe the practical thing involves voting in a plan that will help rich and poor alike, employed and unemployed alike. I don’t care if you call it socialism. I call it Christian.

For me personally, I think there is a better way than a government solution but in the end, it should be clear that the Christians of this great country are not following the same Spirit. Our focus is on how the other guy's plan won't work and neither side seems willing to lay down their agenda to follow God ... people are hurting and we aren't healing.

As Jeff Goins puts it, "I think that we Christians in America have all sold ourselves short by aligning ourselves with the political left or right." We need to align with the Kingdom of God ...

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direction setting



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gorilla collins

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religions that lead to god

Hey - a good one from DJP ...

Do all religions lead to God? ...

In this sermon, Reymond revisited the verse that featured very conspicuously in how the Lord saved me: John 14:6.

Reymond stressed Jesus' exact words: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Other religions will bring you to God. ... Every practitioner of every religion created by man and/or demon will, by that religion, be brought to God.

But none of those religions will bring us to God as "Father"!

They will bring us to God as Judge. They would bring you and me, clothed in the unspeakably filthy rags of our human works (Isaiah 64:6), without excuse, hopeless, guilty and doomed (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:36; Acts 17:31; Romans 1:20, 32; 2:16; Revelation 20:11-15), falling continually and infinitely short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

The only way to God as Father is through the Lord Jesus Christ. Born again by the sovereign grace of God (John 1:12-13), adopted as sons of God through Christ (Ephesians 1:7), blessed with the spirit of adoption whereby we can cry out "Abba! Father" (Romans 8:15), which the Spirit of God's own Son in our hearts (Galatians 4:6).

All religions lead to God — for damning judgment.

Only through Jesus Christ can we approach God as Father.

In the comments DS nicely adds reference to John 8.39-44.

more piper homosexuality

I need to stop beating this drum but as I read Ray Ortlund's post this morning I was once again reminded of the foolish reactions I've seen on the internet to John Piper's comment regarding the Minneapolis tornado and homosexuality. First here's Ortlund's post ...

The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.” Luke 18:11-12

What was wrong with the Pharisee?

There was a lot right with him. He really didn’t do those bad things. He really did those good things. And he gave glory to God for it all: "God, I thank you . . . ."

So, what was wrong with him? Just this. He sincerely believed he was “not like other men.”

Thank God I’m not like that Pharisee!

I appreciate Ortlund's self-directed sarcasm.

The connection to Piper? Well some see Piper as being the Pharisee and pointing out the error in others. I think that is their guilt speaking rather than sound analysis.

Let's see what Piper said.

Let me venture an interpretation of this Providence with some biblical warrant.

Sounds like, "this may not be reason but it could be." And it sounds like, "I don't want to just pull this out of the air, there may be some, although not conclusive, Biblical support." Why are the antagonists reading this otherwise? I can only assume because of the pharisaical junk in their hearts.

In the end Piper concludes:

The tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin. Turn from the promotion of behaviors that lead to destruction. ... Rejoice in the pardon of the cross of Christ and its power to transform left and right wing sinners.

First, the warning is to them and us. Yet the antagonists only see him railing against others. Interesting. Second, the antagonists find the behavior by God inconsistent with God. Oddly it is fully consistent with the Bible (just may be misapplied). So I find it revealing that these folks have invented a god not of the Bible. Finally, because these folks are bent on affirming sin rather than repenting from it, the interpret every call to repent as fear mongering. They then struggle with Piper's concept of God. Again reinforcing their invention of a god other than that of the Bible. In Piper's clarification, he acknowledges a God who is in control of all things and who uses all things to his glory. Piper references a post he made some time ago regarding his bout with cancer. In that he wrote that it was ...

... a gentle but firm warning to me and all of us: Turn from every approval of sin in your life. Turn from the justification and promotion of any behaviors in your life that lead to destruction. Reaffirm the great biblical heritage of allegiance to the truth and authority of Scripture. Turn back from your inveterate bent to distort the grace of God into sensuality. Rejoice in the pardon of the cross of Christ and its power to transform you and all other sinners.

Piper's thoughts seem very consistent with Luke 13.4-5. He is clearly not looking at the fault in others but is taking everything as God pointing to our need to repent and to follow him ... in all things. Now you may disagree with Piper's view on the sovereignty of God and you may disagree with his analysis of the tornado event relating to the ELCA. But please, get off the high horse of saying he is a fear monger and that he serves some distorted version of God.