Saturday, April 28, 2007

Everlasting God

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
Wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
Wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
Our God You reign forever
Our Hope our strong Deliverer

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint You won't grow weary
You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God

by Lincoln Brewster

Friday, April 27, 2007

interesting diagnostics

I'm not sure how reliable these tests really are, especially since they are dependent upon the accuracy and truthfulness of the respondent; however, assuming that one knows oneself well enough and is honest enough to admit it, I suppose some of the recommended diagnostic tests can be helpful. So here goes...

INFJ or ENFJ?
Based on the Jung Qualitative analysis of my type formula, I am:

  • slightly expressed introvert
  • distinctively expressed intuitive personality
  • moderately expressed feeling personality
  • moderately expressed judging personality-->
Kiersey's Description:
Counselor Idealist (iNFj)
http://keirsey.com/personality/nfij.html

INFJ Strength of the preferences %
Introverted- 11
Intuitive- 75
Feeling- 50
Judging - 33

On the other hand, according to http://bloginality.love-productions.com/index2.php I'm an ENFJ!

"As an ENFJ, you are Extraverted, iNtuative, Feeling , and Judging.This makes your primary focus on Extraverted Feeling with Introverted Intuition.

This is defined as a NF personality, which is part of Carl Jung's Idealist (Identity Seeking) type, and more specifically the Teachers or Givers

As a weblogger, you enjoy the relationships with other bloggers because of your rich insights and people skills. Even while you enjoy journaling, you may still feel alone in your thoughts dispite the number of people linking to you."

Kiersey's Description: Teacher Idealist (eNFj)
http://keirsey.com/personality/nfej.html

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Waiting...

If Jonah was last year's archetype for the narrative called my life, then this year must be Sarah (or Rachel). Last year, over and over, was the realization that God was pursuing me and I had to stop running from his call. The Lord definitely has some kind of call on my life, bigger and different than the general call that believers receive to receive forgiveness for our sins in His name.

So, then this year, it would seem, that my proverbial pendulum has shifted to the other extreme -- trying to rush God's promises and His will. It's like I know that He wants to use me as a vessel of some sort to give birth to some type of ministry something or other that will somehow or other bring glory to Him. But instead of waiting on His timing and waiting to be fully equipped and waiting by serving where I'm planted right now, I'm like Rachel, bartering for consumation - now. Or like Sarah, I'm trying to hurry things up and find my own plan for bringing it about.

Waiting patiently and walking by faith and not by sight is really, really hard, especially when deep, deep in our hearts we long for true intimacy with Christ; when we know that He wants more from us; and when His signs and wonders are in overflowing abundance all around us in thousands of different but interconnected ways.

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34"Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?" 35 "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?" 36For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

More stuff on apologetics

Today's RZIM entitled "Three Sides to the Story" is an excellent primer, IMHO, for our continued discussions on apologetics strategies.

Also, HT: Jollyblogger for three recent articles that further help in navigating some of these worldview/apologetics questions that seem to keep resurfacing: Penal Substitution and How Paul Resolved Problems and A Gospel Response to the Media and the Virginia Tech Massacre.

Report

http://www.byfaithonline.com/partner/Article_Display_Page/0,,PTID323422|CHID664014|CIID2326076,00.html

PBs sermon - April 22nd

Click here for MP3

John 17: 1 "After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."
Amazing how Pastor Betters' sermon is so closely aligned with my posting from the night before.

He starts by recognizing and grieving for the incredible tragedy at Virginia Tech, then transitions into how the memorial invocation message illustrated the rampant Religious Pluralism that so characterizes most of our college campuses today.
He also asks 'What is the church's response?' and prays that for us to be relevant and at the same time hold up THE voice of Truth.

The overall emphasis is on the absolute necessity for our devotion to the Inerrancy of God's Word. Church unity is not the same as ecumenical watering down of the truth. That we cannot preach 'another' Gospel.

Along the lines of a completely different topic, I got to hear about where P.B. came from...
He started as Methodist Pastor back in the days of the heated debates over inerrancy. "You cannot hold to Christian truths without holding to the innerancy of scripture," he said. He confronted Dr. Robert Edgar, president of national council of churches, face to face in front of the assembly of pastors and took a stand for the Truth (and ended up leaving the denomination as a result). In addition, P.B.'s stand was not mere theory or head knowledge. He was well-known in and out of the denomination for blazing the trails of racial and ethnic diversity. I already had a pretty high regard and respect for my pastor, but knowing more about the trials and fires that he has come thru just deepens my regard and gratitude to be included in this particular body of believers..

Saturday, April 21, 2007

'Loneliness' message by Rev. Jim Weaver

Click here for the MP3 message:
Teaching about Loneliness at Heritage Presbytery Singles Group by Pastor Jim Weaver
(HT saintrav)

Rob: "Here's why.." or Chang's 'Fatal Flaw'

This is an attempt to capture my friend Rob's sentiment on the previous apologetic strategy I mentioned a few days ago. (He is not prone to blog and he is away this weekend helping with Campus Crusade in Blackburg-VA Tech).

The reason why he rejects Chang's Engaging Unbelief: A Captivating Strategy from Augustine and Aquinas is because Augustine was basically an evidentialist (arguing from historical and archaeological evidence) and Aquinas (Thomist himself) is a rationalist. Rob, who attended Westiminster for a short while, is a strict presuppositionalist and holds to the VanTillian approach. Well, as I read Chang's strategy and shared some of it with Rob, it seemed that Chang was unique in his reading of Augustine and Aquinas. Read as a literary narrative form, Augustine's argument is much less evidential and historical, while Aquinas is much less "Thomist" than traditionally declared by most philosophy scholars. Okay, so now we're interested.

Chang calls his framework "taking every thought captive" which involves three simple modes:
1. entering the challenger's story
2. retelling the challenger's story
3. and capturing that retold story within the gospel metanarrative.

The goal of his strategy is to show the tragic tension or the tragic flaw in the challenger's story, a tension that Chang (along with N.T. Wright and J. Richard Middleton) believe can only be resolved in the gospel. His approach assumes "The ability of the gospel metanarrative to take in all rival stories."

At this point Rob is uncomfortable because he does not believe that evidential or rational common ground exists to enter and retell the other's metanarrative. He still holds that only a presupposition that starts with the true nature of God and His Word is valid.

At this point I tell him that I still like Chang, because he makes a good point in that our post modern America no longer holds guaranteed judeo-Christian foundation that recognizes authority in general or especially absolute truth found in the Bible.

So, I go into this long explanation about how Aquinas specifically engages the story of the scholars who have been taken captive by the philosophical reasoning of Islamists who were well versed in Aristotelian ethics, logic, and polemics. The universities were splitting theology from the other academic departments because the theologians refused to engage the rationalists. (sound familar?) Therefore, Aquinas spent the first three chapters of the Summa Contra Gentiles proving -1 the existence of God, 2- His role in creation, and 3 - evidence of His Divine providence. All three of these chapters drew from the challenger's own pet materials and sought to build bridges based on what Aquinas perceived as common ground. After having been convinced of what we call today "General Revelation" from the first 3 chapters, Aquinas then moves the challenger into Chapter 4 - Salvation (or Special Revelation)- using scriptural references almost exclusively as his source material.

Okay, so we end the discussion with Rob being open to considering this type of strategy, but still doubtful. And I agree to delve further into the distinctions of his approach - VanTillian presuppositionalism.

BUT THEN...
This morning, I got to page 112 and Chang revealed his own tragic flaw. And for me this is sincerely a fatal flaw:
He is willing to give up "common ground" to critical territories that can never be conceded:
- Creation!
- The Fall!
- The Depravity of man!
- The Inerrancy of Scripture!
and maybe more, but I had to stop reading at that point. Ughhhhh.

I guess this is why his work has disappeared and was not widely read or accepted.
A pity really, because I thought it started fairly strong. Oh well, I guess this is a good reminder that every thought truly must be taken captive and conformed to God's infallible Word.

You were right again, Rob!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Engaging Unbelief: A Captivating Strategy from Augustine & Aquinas

I've been reading up a lot on the missional movement and find it fascinating. What is surprising to me is that no one has mentioned the book "Engaging Unbelief: A Captivating Strategy from Augustine & Aquinas" by Curtis Chang, Intervarsity Press, 2000.



Chang shows how Augustine and Aquinas both provide relevant templates for apologetics and evangelism that have tremendous application for the Christian church in the West today.

Augustine's "City of God" was written, among other things, to address the Post-Christian Society of Rome, while Aquinas' "Summa Contra Gentiles" was written to engage religious pluralism, specifically Islam just prior to the Crusades.

The conclusion includes invaluable Legacies and Lessons and the appendix is a Missions application.

There are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many parallels all through this thing. I highly recommend it and hope that it will find its way to the missional reading lists or at least have some contribution to our discussions. Especially since most of the fears of addressing the Post-modern, post-christian, post-evangelical culture are connected to a loss of traditionalism. I would say that Augustine and Aquinas are pretty traditional. In any case, if people read this blog.... seriously take a look at the link to the book on Amazon. You can read 20 or 30 pages before you decide to buy it.

Caio. (I hope the aggregates and feeds on blogspot will start working again soon.)

Perfect timing, The Archaeological Bible


During lunch I stopped at the local Christian Book Store, which, by the way, typically has less to offer in the way of good scriptural reading materials than a secular Borders or Barnes and Noble Bookstore... but that is another topic.

I had a coupon for 25% off and thought I might get a good deal on something. So, I found this Archaeological Study Bible which ended up costing me almost nothing with the sale price and the coupon. I thought it looked fascinating.

An hour later, one of my co-workers (LL), who is not a Christian, but who knows that I have this blog came up and asked: "Debbie (he's the only one who ever calls me that?), I want to read the Bible, but I want something that will tell me about the history, the contexts, all of the times, and the wars that happened, not just a straight-up Bible with old language. I started reading the King James, but I just couldn't follow it. So what would you recommend?"

I opened my desk drawer and pulled out the bag with the Bible in it I had just bought and handed it to him. His jaw dropped. "Have you read it already?" he asked. "No, I just got it. But it's yours now - we can read it together if you want," I said. We both smiled for the rest of the day. How cool is that?

Biden: Well, he's got that going for him, which is nice

The senior senator from my home state, Joseph Biden, stood out yesterday as the only Democratic candidate to support the Supreme Court's ruling that the 2003 congressional ban on some late-term abortions is constitutional.

This, for good reason: Biden is "the only Democratic presidential candidate who was in the Senate in 2003 to vote in favor of the bill banning so-called partial-birth abortions." As noted by The Hill newspaper.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

So, I'm married to Christ!

Colossians 1:15-23; 2:6-15

"15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant."

Tim Lane and Paul Tripp write in Chapter 2 of our workbook, "'Certainly, the most important question for any prospective bride is, 'Who is this person that I am to marry?'" In Colossians 1 above, Paul gives us the answer - a rich description of Christ, our bridegroom.


2:6 "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."
In the Colossians 2 passage, Paul writes about the past, present, and future blessings and benefits of our union with Christ. Unlike an earthly marriage, we don't need to worry about what our bridegroom will think about us when he "really" gets to know us. He knows. He REALLY knows me - completely - and loves me anyway. (not because of what I am, but who I am in Him). Paul contrasts the description of who we are in Christ with the realistic description of who we are without Him.
1. We are guilty of sin and alienated from God.
2. We are foolish and blind
3. We are powerless and enslaved.

Our call to live in daily fellowship and friendship with Christ, to celebrate the fact that (we) have been granted a relationship with Him is driven by what HE brings to our relationship. He perfectly meets our deficits as sinners in every way:
1. Jesus is our justifier.
2. Jesus is our wisdom.
3. Jesus is our power.

So, I'm married to Christ. We're married to Christ! We're united to Him and the power of sin has been broken and our hearts are being progressively renewed! Praise Him!

Personal ministry w/ 'How People Change'

"How People Change"
For the next 14 weeks our church is offering a counseling class designed to equip us for personal counseling. The book is awesome. The workbook looks challenging and amazing. Here is a little intro given by our instructors, Bruce and Carol M:


Based on CCEF's "Changing Hearts, Changing Lives" Curriculum, this course was designed to help us deepen our understanding of how God progressively conforms us into the image of His Son, right in the middle of life's greatest challenges.


God is always at work changing us, but His goal for chang is often different from our own. We settle for being better people with better circumstances and relationships, while God will settle for nothing less than our becoming "partakers in the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).

Like everyone who has ever lived, we all need the intervention of God's grace to be what we were created to be and do what we were ordained to do.

The stated goals of our course are:


  1. to encourage us to look at ourselves in the mirror of God's Word

  2. to know and rely on Christ's Grace, and

  3. to step out into life with renewed faith and courage.

Wow! How exciting is this??!!
(I actually posted this a few days ago, but I'm re-posting tonight, because for some reason the feeds and aggregates are not picking it up. A bit frustrating, I'll admit.)

The Whole Internet, copyright 1992


I really have a hard time throwing stuff away. Yesterday I found this book in my library:

"The Whole Internet: Users Guide & Catalog" by Ed Krol.
Date Published: 1992.
LOL!
This made me laugh so hard that I knew I just had to post it. Plus, I've been helping out with our church's new website - which is just so much easier than the old Notepad htm tag typing that I had to do back then. Today is soooo much easier - and fun.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Good Shepherd

THE GOOD SHEPHERD

"As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness." - Ezekiel 34:12


In April 2004, Shrek, a Merino sheep, was discovered roaming freely on New Zealand's South Island. The 10-year-old sheep had been on its own for more than six years before being finally rounded up. Merino sheep need to be regularly shorn, and the six years of evading shearers had left Shrek with a lot of extra wool. More than 60 pounds of wool was shorn from it during 20 minutes which was broadcast on national New Zealand television. The wool was enough to make 20 large men's suits. It was auctioned off over the Internet for the benefit of Children's medical charities.

Ranch owner John Perriam said that Shrek had managed to evade capture for six years by hiding in a cave.

"We didn't know he was there," he said, adding that when he was finally spotted they did not immediately recognize him as a sheep.

The Lord knows each of us and we never escape His eye. Today in prayer, give praise to the Lord that even when we were not walking with Him, He knew where we were and came to our rescue.

"Too many leaders act as if the sheep... their people... are there for thebenefit of the shepherd, not that the shepherd has responsibility for thesheep." - Ken Blanchard

God's Word:
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch themout of my hand." - John 10:27-28


By Peter Kennedy, Devotional E-Mail (Sign up for his daily email)
DEVOTIONS IN EZEKIEL AND DANIEL
Devotional E-Mail began on April 1, 1996.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

He is risen indeed!

Jesus spoke this to His disciples just before He was crucified:

"'This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."
When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Then Jesus told them, "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.'" - Matt 26:28-32
After three days, Jesus was risen from the grave! He continued to teach them, and now they were beginning to understand:

"Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, 'This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." - Luke 24:45-48

Then He sent them:

"After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, 'Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.'" - John 20:19-21 (NIV)


Friday, April 6, 2007

Video: It's Your Blood, King Jesus

Nothing But The Blood

Your blood speaks a better word
Than all the empty claims I've heard upon this earth
Speaks righteousness for me
And stands in my defense

Jesus it's Your blood

[Chorus]
What can wash away our sins?
What can make us whole again?
Nothing but the blood
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

What can wash us pure as snow?
Welcomed as the friends of God
Nothing but Your blood
Nothing but Your blood King Jesus

Your cross testifies in grace
Tells of the Father's heart to make a way for us
Now boldly we approach
Not earthly confidence

It's only by Your blood

[Chorus]
What can wash away our sins?
What can make us whole again?
Nothing but the blood
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

What can wash us pure as snow?
Welcomed as the friends of God
Nothing but Your blood
Nothing but Your blood King Jesus

We thank You for the blood
We praise You for the blood
Nothing but Your blood
Nothing but Your blood King Jesus

Music and lyrics by Matt Redman
Listen on Youtube



Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Beautiful Day!

Free at last (the long masters degree is over). Free to enjoy creation - and walk my poor sunlight deprived poodle. Just for today though, we're going back to below freezing tomorrow. All to the Glory of God, of course!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Random updates

My last examination is finished, all papers, reports, presentations, and interviews - done! woowhoo! At this point, I almost don't care what my final grade is... yes, I said almost :).

Was thinking about how I had commented to someone about the idea that I seem to have more guy friends than girl friends. And how the ratio of girls to guys at our singles events is usually like 10 to 2 . And how my single guy friends like me, but I'm older and just we're just buddies. So, I invited some of my guy buddies to the singles lunch Sunday, thereby doubling their number to an astounding four. Cool.

To follow-up, elaborate, expound (whatever) on the whole "wait" thing: not idle waiting, of course. Just to be clear.
I still believe God wants something radical from me, but I'm accepting that it's His timing.
And in the meantime, I'm reading a book (like the Ajith article suggested).
I'm finding more ways to serve the body of Christ while waiting-even in those little ways, learning to be content in my less than desirable work situation,
and trusting that every single minute of this life is a gift from God and a picture of His continuous grace and holiness living in me through Christ.

Susan Hunt "Generation to Generation" audio

Susan Hunt's "Generation to Generation," a study from Proverbs 31, was featured on our church's radio broadcast Friday. What a surpise :) ... it begins with this passage (hello!):

Micah 6:8. "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."


Amazing! Amazing!