Saturday, November 29, 2008

Quote of the Day

HT: Crossroads: Where Faith and Inquiry Meet
"What I have seen in the past 10 years of traveling - performing at a church one day and a casino the next - is that a lot of people in the church want to be entertained, and people in casinos want to be ministered to. That's hard to understand, but I see a hunger in theworld that I don't see in the church." - Ricky Scaggs

Ref: billygraham.org

Friday, November 28, 2008

The errors of hyper-calvinism

I'm such a geek. I thought this was such an awesome article that I had to stop decorating my Christmas tree to read it! It details 5 types of errors held by hyper-calvinists. Very helpful and interesting, especially if your arminian friends try to intimidate your reformed beliefs by making claims that don't match what you believe. I think Mr. Johnson's "types" help to connect the dots on where arminians and hyper-calvinists tweak a bit too far one way or the other. Good stuff (via JT at Between Two Worlds.)
Primer on Hyper-Calvinism by Phil Johnson>>>

Black Friday Tradition

For the past three years, I have made a tradition out of going to my local Staples stores at 5:30am and standing line so I could take advantage of this awesome deal:

Norton Internet Security for 3 computers $68.99
-9.00 instant rebate
-40.00 easy rebate
-20.00 upgrader rebate
=free

+H&R Block TaxCut Federal/State/E-file 2008 for $49.99
-30.00 easy rebate for purchasing with Norton
=19.99

Total: $19.99 for Internet Security for 2009 for 3 computers and for e-filing my taxes. in January.

That's an awesome deal. Well, this year, I was able to take full advantage of that deal by ordering online from the comfort of home. No standing in line. Free Shipping (by Tuesday, Dec. 2nd). And I filled out 2 of the 3 rebates immediately online when checking out with just a few simple clicks.

My initial outlay is 109.98, but I'll be getting 90.00 back in rebates (which makes them almost free). If you need these for 2009, I'd recommend it to you.

Plus, you can order most of the other items featured in the flyer without a shipping charge too for Christmas gifts. (I took advantage of a couple of those too). Happy shopping :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Just for Fun on Thanksgiving





Happy Thanksgiving

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” – Psalm 100:4.



“Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.” – E.P. Powell



“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” – Psalm 103:2



“Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” – Psalm 95:2



"The children of God are expected to 'abound in thanksgiving.'" - F.F. Bruce



“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.” – Psalm 136:1



"Thanksgiving means giving thanks to the one true God." - Charles Colson



“I thank my God every time I remember you.” – Philippians 1:3



"Giving thanks is one course from which we never graduate." - Valerie Anders



“I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Corinthians 1:4

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mid Life and Advent: Reflections From a Pile of Leaves

Mid Life and Advent: Reflections From a Pile of Leaves

Two years ago, I began entering into what some call the ‘autumn of life.’ The reality of mid-life left me feeling as though I was sinking in my own pile of leaves – a series of family relationships, friendships, more than 25 years of hard work, six years of college, and yes, even ministry efforts that seemed fruitless now. All wrinkled and dry, those leaves of the past were gone and could not be put back on the trees of my life. Yet, no matter how tempting it seemed, I knew I could not sit down there in midst of the pile and examine each and every shriveled leaf, wishing it were not so. It simply was what it was: autumn. And spring time was a long way off.

That early December morning, the grace of God broke through. My autumn reality collided with Advent, which is the celebration of the coming of Jesus Christ into this world. Vulnerable and broken as my life felt, I remembered our Savior and how very much in need I was at that moment for the truth of the Word of God made flesh and how He came to dwell among us. As I read the account of the nativity in the gospels, the gentleness and pureness of the Christ’s birth was made alive to me. God’s gift came to us, wrapped in the meekest and most precious of packages we could ever receive. His one and only son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as a newborn babe, had come to me.

In that celebration of the first coming of Christ, I was reminded that our God is the Lord of new seasons and new birth. I longed for the time when even those poor, old, tattered, naked and vulnerable trees would again be made new: growing bright and adorned with new beautiful leaves, as they experienced their new seasons of life. Even more importantly, the tatters of my own broken life were being made new and covered with Christ’s own righteousness, which was better than any of the leaves sown in this world. It was when I realized that my leaves would never be sufficient and that it was Christ’s righteousness alive in me that matters, that the autumn of my life turned the corner to Advent.

Today, the seeds of a new, glorious season are being pressed into the soil of my life and the very presence of Christmas is made real every day that I remember the Truth.


by Deb Welch

(I owe Paul Tripp a debt of gratitude for the leaves metaphor here. He uses it in one of the chapters of his book, “Lost in the Middle: Mid Life and the Grace of God.”)

The Cultural Crisis Infiltrates the Church in America

Some very interesting thoughts from leaders across the spectrum of Evangelicalism:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Quote of the Day: False Choices in Contemporary Christianity

"On all sides Christians are being pressed to make false choices: doctrine or life, orthodoxy or orthopraxy, conviction or humility, faith or works."

- Micheal Horton, The White Horse Inn

A hero and a fool, a saint and a felon

This is a great reminder as I go into the final months of my role with the local WIC Committee:

"Paul calls leaders not merely to be humble and self-effacing but to be desperate and honest. It is not enough to be self-revealing, authentic, and transparent. Our calling goes far beyond that. We are called to be reluctant, limping, chief-sinner leaders, and even more, to be stories. The word that Paul uses is that a leader is to be an 'example,' but what that implies is more than a figure on a flannel board. He calls us to be a living portrayal of the very gospel we beseech others to believe. And that requires a leader to see himself as being equally prone to deceive as he is to tell the truth, to manipulate as he is to bless, to cower as he is to be bold. A leader is both a hero and a fool, a saint and a felon.

We are both and to pretend otherwise is to be disingenuous. The leader who fails to face [his or her] darkness must live with fear and hypocrisy. The result will be a defensiveness that places saving face and controlling others as higher goods than blessing others and doing good work. Clearly, the biblical model of leadership is odd, inverted, and deeply troubling. It is so troubling that most churches, seminaries, and other religious organizations would never hire a 'chief sinner.' The only one who thinks to do so is God."

Dan Allender in Leading With A Limp, p 57.

מרנא תא

“For just as spring break is a taste of summer time in the midst of the semester, so also the kingdom of God is present in the midst of history, as we taste of its blessings now, and look forward to the summer time of God’s kingdom when Christ returns, the Holy City the New Jerusalem descends, and the whole creation is restored in new heavens and the new earth. Amen, come Lord Jesus.”

- David Naugle, “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God” via Of First Importance

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Making All Things New: The Lifestyle

by David Powlison

"What was the first trumpet call of the Reformation?

It was not the authority of scripture, foundational as that is. Scripture is the very voice, face, and revelation of God. A Person presses through the pages. You learn how He thinks. How He acts. Who He is. What He's up to. But "Scripture alone" did not stand first in line.

It was not justification by faith alone, crucial as that is. We are oily-rag people. Christ is the garden of light. We are saved by His doing, His dying, His goodness. We are saved from ourselves outside of ourselves. No religious hocus-pocus. No climbing up a ladder of good works, or religious knowledge, or mystical experience. He came down, full of grace and truth, Word made flesh, Lamb of God. We receive. That's crucial. But "faith alone" wasn't actually where it all started.

It was not the priesthood of all believers, revolutionary as that is. Imagine, there aren't two classes of people, the religious people who do holy things by a special call from God, and the masses of laity toiling in the slums of secular reality. The "man of God" is not doing God's show before an audience of bystanders. We all assemble as God's people, doing the work and worshiping together, with differing gifts. The one Lord, our common King and attentive audience, powerfully enables faith and love. Yes and amen, but this radical revision of church didn't come first.

The trumpet call, Thesis Number One of Luther's Ninety-five Theses, was this:
"When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said 'Repent,' He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance."

That first of Luther's theses dismantled all the machinery of religiosity and called us back to human reality. Luther glimpsed and aimed to recover the essential inner dynamic of the Christian life. It is an ongoing change process. It involves a continual turning motion, turning toward God, and turning away from the riot of other voices, other desires, other loves. We tend to use the word repentance in its more narrow sense, for decisive moments of realization, conviction, confession, turning. But Luther uses the word in its wider, more inclusive sense. If we are living in Christ, we are living from-to.

John Calvin put it in a similar way: "This restoration does not take place in one moment or one day or one year... In order that believers may reach this goal (the shining image of God), God assigns to them a race of repentance, which they are to run throughout their lives." The entire Christian life (including the more specific moments) follows a pattern of turning from things and turning to the Lord...

Lifelong, progressive sanctification was the trumpet call back to biblical faith."

(pg. 83-84) Sex and the Supremacy of God

Veterans' Day

Veterans' Day
Via Facebook today at 4:27pm
by Mike Huckabee

Today is Veterans Day. Most people know the history of the establishment of this sacred day. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, a defeated Germany signed the armistice ending four years of a horrible war. In America we honor all veterans on this solemn day. I often think in a world of uncertainty and constant turmoil, there is one constant - the willingness of Americans in every generation to answer their nation's call to arms.

At the end of World War I President Wilson said it was "the War to end all wars." If that idealistic statement had become reality, we might call Veterans Day "Armistice Day." Unfortunately we have lived through another World War, and more conflicts than we like to remember. In 1926 Armistice Day officially received its name through a Congressional resolution. It became a holiday 12 years later by another resolution.
Veterans Day is a day to honor all of our Veterans - those living and dead. As we pause to remember those Veterans who gave their lives for the Country that we all love, let us also remember those Veterans who have served our country so valiantly. Dwight D. Eisenhower expressed it best when he said "Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die."

Our Veterans have instinctively known that, and every day of their service is a day to honor them. The men and women serving our country today in Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan understand that freedom is never free and they serve with honor and bravery, defending our right to live as a free people. We have always recognized that we have the bravest, best trained, best equipped military in the history of the world.

Let us pause to thank them for their daily sacrifice and let us also pause in prayer to remember all who have given their lives to keep us free.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Can Orthodoxy Be Missional?

Can Orthodoxy Be Missional?
by John Bombaro
Modern Reformation Magazine, September/October 2008

Intro: If you know someone heading out of seminary or a graduate school of theology eager to apply that confessional missionary zeal of their denominational fathers to a calling parish, then it's likely they will be in for a rude awakening rather than a great one.
Excerpt:
In the Old Testament, for example, the missional enterprise of God's people was carried out through doxology built in to the liturgy. Psalm 105 is one of scores of texts where the outward and mission thrust of liturgical participation is manifest.
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
Seek the Lord and his strength;seek his presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
O offspring of Abraham, his servant,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones!
In this song of praise, the imperative carries with it an indicative: "Make known his deeds among the peoples." The "deeds" that are to be made known to the Gentile nations (i.e., unbelieving peoples) are God's gracious deeds, particularly his covenant of grace established with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (vv. 8-11).

After the Election: 'Important, but not Ultimate'

excerpt from Albert Mohler, “After the Election”

"We are people that know politics is important, but not ultimate. We know that politics has its place, an urgent and important place where, in the City of Man, decisions are made that can make the difference between life and death, injustice and justice, mercy and no mercy, commonweal or common disaster.

But we also know that there is in this world at its very best only a hint of the kingdom that is to come, where God’s reign is supreme.

No government will ever be able to say, ‘Every tear has been wiped away.’ No government will ever be able to say, ‘The blind have received sight and the deaf have received hearing and the lame now walk.’That power is God’s alone.”
(emphasis mine)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Creed

By Rich Mullins

I love this song. Enjoy!

Sola Power: Reformation Theology in a Pluralistic Age

"Sola Power: Reformation Theology in a Pluralistic Age” is the focus of the third annual Christianity and Culture Conference on Jan. 9-10, 2009. Read more at ByFaith Online>>>

Here is the intro:
Energy prices and supplies have been a topic of much discussion of late, but it appears the Church may be suffering through an energy crisis of its own. One church is suggesting that the solution may be “sola power.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

Coercion or Necessity?

The Unregenerate Will: Self-Determined But Not Free by John Hendryx

Not what I used to be

by J.C. Ryle
"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without
which no man shall see the Lord." Hebrews 12:14

The regenerate man is a holy man. He endeavors . . .
to live according to God's will,
to do the things that please God,
to avoid the things that God hates.

His aim and desire is to love God with heart and soul, and
mind and strength--and to love his neighbor as himself.
His wish is to be continually looking to Christ as his Example
as well as his Savior; and to show himself Christ's friend, by
obeying whatever He commands.

No doubt he is not perfect. None will tell you that sooner
than himself. He groans under the burden of indwelling
corruption cleaving to him. He finds an evil principle within
him constantly warring against grace, and trying to draw
him away from God. Yet, in spite of all short-comings,
the average bent and bias of . . .
his ways is holy;
his doings holy;
his tastes holy
and his habits holy.

In spite of all his swerving and turning aside, like a ship
going against a contrary wind, the general course of his
life is in one direction--toward God and for God. He will
generally be able to say, with old John Newton, "I am not
what I ought to be. I am not what I want to be. I am not
what I hope to be in another world. But still, I am not what
I once used to be! By the grace of God, I am what I am!"

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Horror of Sin Against a Great and Just God

"Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake Thy
law."—Psalm 119:53.


"MY soul, feelest thou this holy shuddering at the sins of others? For otherwise thou lackest inward holiness. David's cheeks were wet with rivers of waters because of prevailing unholiness; Jeremiah desired eyes like fountains that he might lament the iniquities of Israel, and Lot was vexed with the conversation of the men of Sodom. Those upon whom the mark was set in Ezekiel's vision, were those who sighed and cried for the abominations of Jerusalem.

It cannot but grieve gracious souls to see what pains men take to go to hell. They know the evil of sin experimentally, and they are alarmed to see others flying like moths into its blaze. Sin makes the righteous shudder, because it violates a holy law, which it is to every man's highest interest to keep; it pulls down the pillars of the commonwealth.

Sin in others horrifies a believer, because it puts him in mind of the baseness of his own heart: when he sees a transgressor he cries with the saint mentioned by Bernard, "He fell to-day, and I may fall to-morrow."

Sin to a believer is horrible, because it crucified the Saviour; he sees in every iniquity the nails and spear. How can a saved soul behold that cursed kill-Christ sin without abhorrence? Say, my heart, dost thou sensibly join in all this? It is an awful thing to insult God to His face. The good God deserves better treatment, the great God claims it, the just God will have it, or repay His adversary to his face.

An awakened heart trembles at the audacity of sin, and stands alarmed at the contemplation of its punishment.

How monstrous a thing is rebellion! How direful a doom is prepared for the ungodly! My soul, never laugh at sin's fooleries, lest thou come to smile at sin itself. It is thine enemy, and thy Lord's enemy—view it with detestation, for so only canst thou evidence the possession of holiness, without which no man can see the Lord."

-- C.H Spurgeon, This Evening's Meditation

What's a True Maverick? "A Republican Without Money"

... that's just one of John McCain's schtick's from last night's SNL. Watch now:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What is the "tolerance" movement really about?

Two good posts over at Stand to Reason by Melinda:
Same Sex Marriage Isn't Tolerant, Part 2

Same Sex Marriage Isn't Tolerant, Part 1
Excerpt:
Since most homosexuals don’t want to get married or stay married, then why are homosexual activists so adamant about government recognition of same-sex marriage? Because same-sex marriage will win them what they really want—validation and normalization. In other words, the activists want same-sex marriage because they understand that government-backed same-sex marriage will validate and normalize homosexuality throughout society.