Friday, June 27, 2008

And we're off...

We leave in about 7 hours for NOLA. Pray for the people we will meet, that we will be able to be a blessing to them, and that we would glorify God. Pray for our team - safety, strength, unity and that we would exemplify what Francis Schaeffer called "The final apologetic." (HT:Sets 'n Service via Route 5:9)

“Yet, without true Christians loving one another, Christ says the world cannot be expected to listen, even when we give proper answers. Let us be careful, indeed, to spend a lifetime studying to give honest answers. For years the orthodox, evangelical church has done this very poorly. So it is well to spend time learning to answer the questions of men who are about us. But after we have done our best to communicate to a lost world, still we must never forget that the final apologetic which Jesus gives is the observable love of true Christians for true Christians.” Francis Schaffer, The
Great Evangelical Disaster
, pgs. 164-165

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Has Jesus become a "Prophet without Honor" in America?

From Tabletalk (June 20, 2008)

Matthew 13:57-58 "'A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.' And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief."

CORAM DEO - Living before the face of God:
Western society is blessed to be steeped in the teaching of Scripture and the person and work of Christ. However, we must take care that this blessing of familiarity does not motivate contempt in us for the things of God. Even if we do not consciously disregard the Lord, failing to marvel at the Father's grace -- because we hear of it every week -- is a subtle and powerful form of contempt. Take time to meditate on the greatness of our God and His love for us.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Testimony of a Free Man

This article, titled "Bible shows the way out of sin and addiction" by John Freeman, was published earlier this year on the Philadelphia Inquirer website. (ht: Bill R.)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hope for the Fatherless

Deuteronomy 6
This article at Lifeway>>>
And a nicely written piece over at The Dawn Treader>>>

Deuteronomy 6 Love the LORD Your God
1 These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. 16 Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah. 17 Be sure to keep the commands of the LORD your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. 18 Do what is right and good in the LORD's sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers, 19 thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the LORD said.

20 In the future, when your son asks you, "What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?" 21 tell him: "We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Before our eyes the LORD sent miraculous signs and wonders—great and terrible—upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. 23 But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers. 24 The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. 25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness."



As our pastor shared this past Sunday, the reason why we don't love as we should, give as we should, pray as we should, treat one another as we should, love our children or spouses as we should, obey what God commands of us, boils down to this:

We do not fear God. We fear man more than God. We don't believe the Wrath of God and eternal damnation is real. We don't fear for the consequences of our sin against our brothers and sisters, and even more so our sin against a Holy, Just, all-powerful, majestic, all-knowing, all-seeing, LORD of the universe, Jehovah-Jireh, Jehovah-Nissi, Jehoveh-Rophe, Jehovah-M'Kaddesh, Jehovah-Sabaoth, Adonai, Elohim, El Shaddai, El Roi, Kadosh, Abhir, Kanna, Shaphat, etc.... Yes, he is our redeemer - our Gaol, but I'll admit it, confess it. I like God when He is more like a cool uncle than My Holy, Eternal Father.

My natural inclination, in the flesh, is toward fatherlessness. So today I pray for deeper knowledge of and trust in my Father in Heaven. In His sovereign grace, He has adopted me as His child, so today I pray for stronger faith in Him and all that it entails. In Jesus' Holy name.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Gospel and Discernment

Mark Dever talks about how the Gospel is the foundation of every correct doctrine and true Biblical teaching.




A few days ago, a group of us from church were discussing sharing our faith, when one of our pastors pointedly asked me "What is the Gospel?" I responded in pretty basic terms about man's sinfulness, God's Holiness, Christ's atoning sacrifice, and our response and as I got to the almost to the end.. I stopped and said something like, you know that's a bit of trick question. Because the Gospel isn't the question. The Gospel is always the basis of the answer. The Gospel is definitely about how man can be saved - from what and to what, but it also encompasses ultimately so much more. The Gospel is basis for our answers to all of life's issues. I think this video from Mark Dever is a nice complement to our discussions on this topic from the other day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

planned neglect at Challies.com

In his article called "The Priority of Practicing," Tim Challies writes about the wisdom of "planned neglect." What incredible timing! I just had to share it here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Grace and Mercy, Borderline and Boundaries

When Grace & Reality Collide: Dealing with Mental Illness
by Eva Marie Everson at crosswalk.com
Part I>>>
Part II>>>
Working with someone with mental illness is not an easy endeavor, and when we really care about them very much, the correct balance of mercy and instruction/counsel can be challenging. Wisdom and discernment can be a struggle. I found this article to be quite helpful and thought I'd share the link.

If you don't have the time to read the article, don't miss this concluding quote:
"It is difficult—very difficult—to extend proper grace and mercy to those who cannot mentally appreciate it and—in the end and most often—throw it back in your face. But as Romans 12:18 tells us: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

"If it is possible. Sometimes it’s not. These are the times I hold on to another passage of Scripture, which says: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. In these times I stand firm within my boundary lines. I say, “I love you” while at the same time adding, “but I will not allow you to abuse that love.”

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sibling Rivalry and Our Own Insuperable Finitude

excerpt from RZIM: "While it is hard to assert our egos in the midst of failure and hardship, the ugliness of our self-centeredness can be easily camouflaged in the motives and methods of our success, leaving us blind to our own insuperable finitude. When our pursuit for success is severed from a healthy sense of our chronic indebtedness, achieving success can instill in us a measure of entitlement foreign to our true identity. Such a pitfall is even more consequential in our spiritual lives since it is harder to distinguish between self-serving motives and genuine zeal for the Lord. Unlike the gaping sins of the prodigal son, the dutiful son’s alienation from the father comes neatly packaged in obedience and commitment, the very treasures we long to lay before our heavenly Father." read more here>>

Is this church?

Link >>>




... Update: No need to worry afterall>>>

The Promise-Driven Life

Excerpts from Michael S. Horton's article The Promise-Driven Life in Modern Reformation Magazine : "Christ lived the purpose-driven life so that we would inherit his righteousness through faith and be promise-driven people in a purpose-driven world."

"The fact that purposes are about law does not make them wrong. We need purposes! Nobody can live without goals. Yet purposes and goals are always something to be reached, to be achieved and be attained by us. They require tactics and strategies. All of this is fine as long as we realize that they are law, not gospel: commands and promises are both necessary, but they do different things.

"Law tells us what we should do, whether we're faced with the wrath of God (full-strength law) or by the fear of not reaching our full potential (the watered-down version). God's promise, by contrast, creates true faith, which creates true works. The church father Augustine defined sin as being "curved in" on ourselves. While imperatives (including purposes) tend by themselves to make us more "curved in" on ourselves (either self-confidence or self-despair), only God's promise can drive us out of ourselves and our own programs for acceptance before ourselves, other people, and God. While the Christian life according to scripture is purpose-directed, it is promise-driven."

"The world makes a lot of promises: "Try this .... and you'll be ...." Constantly buying into new fads or makeovers as so many fig leaves to hide the seriousness of our condition, we hand ourselves over to marketers who persuade us that we can attain salvation (and holiness), however we define that. Even the church can become a place where people get the idea that they exist merely to usher in the kingdom by serving on committees and being involved in a thousand programs. We have a lot of purposes, a lot of goals-some of them noble. Desperate to save ourselves and our kids from everything but the wrath of God, we fail to realize that, however watered down, these are all nothing but law rather than promise. Eventually, we will become burned out on good advice. What we need is good news."

Friday, June 6, 2008

What is "metrosexual" worship style?

Thanks to The Dawn Treader, I've found a new blogsite to read for a while: Stuff Christians Like
There's a new article there that had me ROFL at the illustrations. I love this because we've got folks who represent everything from "0" to all the way off the chart - "Carlos" style - at our church:
http://stufffchristianslike.blogspot.com/2008/06/score-sheet-for-metrosexual-worship.html

http://stufffchristianslike.blogspot.com/2008/06/269-understanding-how-metrosexual-your.html

Just food for thought

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pray for our NOLA Mission Trip & Visit the Blog

Mission to New Orleans; Feed the Multitudes 2008

In just three weeks, our church team will be going to New Orleans on a short-term mission project. I’m sure that you still remember seeing the newspaper pictures and television stories that showed the devastation in there in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Though New Orleans was not even the hardest hit area of the storm, the city experienced the greatest damage due to the high population and breaking of the levees. If you are interested in learning more about the damage, go to http://www.nola.com/katrina/graphics/flashflood.swf and watch video put together by the local newspaper that walks through the storm step by step. Even now, nearly three years after the storm, there are many people who still live every day in this devastation.

As a team, it will be our privilege to enter into that devastation and to help residents of New Orleans rebuild their homes and rebuild their lives. Our trip is from June 28th through July 5th and will include some small construction projects, spiritual and relational ministry at a local alcohol recovery center, and the main event on July 4th: “Feed the Multitudes.”

This means we will have the privilege of serving the people of New Orleans feeding the homeless in partnership with a local church, where they can continue to receive physical and spiritual nourishment after the holiday is over.

(A long line zigzags outside of the food tent at the annual Feed the Multitudes at LaSalle Park in Metairie on the Fourth of July of last year. The event was sponsored by a coalition of local churches, supporting churches, and sponsors.)


While we have a great team in place, we would still appreciate your prayers and will gladly keep you updated throughout the trip. Steve and Kim have set up a special blog to report on our trip.

While you wait for the updates, please pray for:
· Safety and health for all our team members.
· The many details that need to be finalized prior to our departure.
· Unity among the team.
· The churches and ministries in New Orleans with whom we will be partnering.

For the Glory of Christ.

The Gospel: Not the ABC’s, it’s A to Z

Quote from The Gospel-Centered Ministry by Tim Keller
"Isn’t that amazing? The gospel is not the ABC’s of Christianity, it’s A to Z. It’s not just the elementary and introductory truths. The gospel is what drives everything that we do. The gospel is pretty much the solution to every problem. The gospel is what every theological category should be expounding when we do our systematic theology. It should be very much a part of everything."

And I also love this quote, "If you are only getting punched in the mouth, or if you are only getting praise, you are not living the gospel life."

Monday, June 2, 2008

Today's Quote

"I would rather walk through a mile of burning brimstone every night than spend over again those midnight hours when I fought against the call of God." - Dr. Robert Bruce

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Gospel in All its Forms

An excellent article by Tim Keller that looks at the content of the pure Gospel and different approaches to sharing the Good News with others:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2008/002/9.74.html