Saturday, February 28, 2009

Radical Change - Hiatus

I'm thinking about going on a hiatus from blogging. This blog has been an awesome tool for helping me grow in my faith personally, but I have never quite seen it as an actual ministry. In fact, I don't even think I've got a mission statement for what this thing really is supposed to be other than a personal journey laid out before the masses.

In any case, I'm in the process of developing a personal mission statement and focusing in on specific areas of ministry where I can serve most effectively. So far, some thoughts are: ministry to the homeless thru an urban parachuarch ministry, seeing if we can get a team together to start a single/college/early career ministry at our church, and possibly joining a church planting team. I've got much more prayer, fact-finding and advice to seek out before I start to make changes, but in the meantime, I doubt that I'll have much to share on this blog.

One of the most important things that God has taught me over the past 13-14 years of being a Christian and serving Him to His glory is that my ministry efforts going forward NEED to include this principle from Ecclesiastes:
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

So that's what's going on and what I'll be praying for personally It is very important for me to no longer engage in ministry and service that does not provide this backdrop - including this blog!
Feel free to join me in prayer or email me if you have questions, concerns, or encouragement: deblw at yahoo dotcom. Thank you and God bless!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Great Gospel Links and Excerpts, Pt. 3

God Receives Me on the Footing of His Perfection by Horatius Bonar at Reformation Theology

Excerpt:


"To be entitled to use another's name when my own name is worthless, to be allowed to wear another's raiment because my own is torn and filthy, to appear before God in another's person––the person of the Beloved Son––this is the summit of all blessing. The sin-bearer and I have exchanged names, robes, and persons! I am now represented by him, my own personality having disappeared. He now appears in the presence of God for me (Hebrews 9:24). All that makes him precious and dear to the Father has been transferred to me. His excellency and glory are seen as if they were mine. I receive the love and the fellowship and the glory as if I had earned them all. So entirely one am I with the sin bearer that God treats me not merely as if I had not done the evil that I have done, but as if I had done all the good which I have not done, but which my substitute has done."

Great Gospel Links and Excerpts Pt. 2

What Adam Lacked from Tony Reinke @ Miscellanies
Excerpt:
"But this condition represents something big because it points to the one thing Adam could not possess in the Garden of Eden—certainty....

How can this be? How can a sinless man live with temporal uncertainty and a sinful man live with eternal certainty? Simple. Christ is our obedience. It was our uncertainty that was put to the test in the wilderness temptations, it was our certainty on the line when Christ was tempted in every way throughout his 33 year life. It was at every moment, in every thought, deed, and desire that our certainty was tested. Christ was without sin. He was the perfect Savior! And He could say the words that Adam never could—It is finished.

And because we are united to Christ, because he lived without sin, because he lived a life under the law to perfection, he becomes our certainty. The perfect life and death of Christ represents the completion of a perfect life—no sinful actions, no sinful thoughts, no sinful decisions. Once complete, a life of perfection brings with it perfect certainty.

Whatever spectacular dreams we entertain of Eden—and it certainly was a paradise beyond anything we can experience in this life—we possess in the gospel something foreign to Adam’s pre-fall experience. May we thank our Savior for this precious gift of eternal assurance, the one thing even a sinless and perfect garden could not promise."

Great Gospel Links and Excerpts, pt. 1

The Gospel is the Antidote to Everything from Jared @ the Thinklings

Excerpt:
"We all exhibit a multitude of symptoms for our conditions, running the gamut from self-indulgent immorality to self-satisfying morality. Opposite ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between. Whatever your symptoms, the gospel is the answer."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Men's brains, women's brains

This made me laugh out loud!! Funny stuff.



HT: Masculine vs feminine logic at greenbaggins

Prayer: A Wartime Walkie-Talkie!

An absolutely amazing sermon that is right on target with what I believe the Holy Spirit has been teaching me over the past two weeks or so. Perfect timing. Enjoy.
At Desiring God>>>

Excerpt:

"This is where I get the image that prayer is a wartime walkie-talkie, not a domestic intercom. It exists for advancing the mission, not for calling the butler to turn up the thermostat. Not that God is opposed to practical, nitty-gritty daily prayers. He simply wants all of them to relate to the mission of your life—that his name be glorified, that people live for fruitful ministry.

That’s why the first petition in the Lord’s prayer is “Hallowed be thy name,” and the second is “Bring your kingdom,” and third is “Cause your will to happen here the way the angels do it in heaven”—and only now, under this mission, comes the fourth petition “Give us this day our daily bread.”

So Jesus says that our prayers get answered in proportion to the way the word of Christ is shaping our requests according to God’s will (see 1 John 5:14), and that prayer exists for the glory of God, and that prayer is a wartime walkie-talkie, not a domestic intercom. All requests serve the mission, or the thing malfunctions in our
hand."

As a prior Signal Officer in the U.S. Army, I can totally relate to the metaphor "Wartime Walkie Talkie." Our mission was to provide the interconnectivity that enabled every echelon of the chain of command to interact and be interoperable with one another. Our mission - the people and the equipment - existed to be the backbone of communication. Without our services, the headquarters could not get its instructions out to the field and the field commanders could not make requests for support from the G-staff. Basically, entire operations would shut down if the signal link wasn't working. Some of the most important communications that we supported were the daily reports from the field up the chain. These reports seemed canned and unimportant to that private or specialist who was responsible for making them. But if the report didn't happen, the entire company would suffer.

So, this is a great illustration for me. Our local mission effectiveness comes to a standstill when our "Wartime Walkie Talkies" stop functioning or if we cease using them because we think our role is trivial or rote. I'm encouraged to keep up the daily duty!

Lots of other good stuff here too.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ministry of Reconciliation

At Possessing the Treasure>>>
"He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." (1 Peter 2:22-25 ESV)

Jesus and loneliness

At Desiring God>>>
Excerpt: "I'll bet Jesus understands loneliness far better than we might think."

Why Not "Third Brother" Journalism and Colleges?

At World Magazine (via JT at Between Two Worlds)
excerpt:
"At a third brother college students become bilingual and bicultural, able to move in both Christian and secular circles without ignoring the problems of the former or the knowledge generated in the latter, through common grace.

Third brother journalism rises out of the history lecture in chapter seven of the book of Acts: Stephen, with neither an elder brother's pridefulness nor a younger brother's sarcasm, realistically emphasizes the fallenness of his people and the holiness of God."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Of First Importance

“The first care of every Christian ought to be, to lay aside all reliance on works, and strengthen his faith alone more and more, and by it grow in the knowledge, not of works, but of Christ Jesus, who has suffered and risen again for him.”

- Martin Luther, Christian Liberty page 10.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tactics & Post-Modern vs Modern Apologetics

A short interview with Greg Koukl, author of Tactics, that I found very interesting over at Challies.com

Excerpt:

Without the work of the Spirit, no argument—no matter how persuasive—will be effective. But neither will any act of love, or any simple presentation of the Gospel. Add the Spirit, though, and the equation changes dramatically.

Here’s the key principle: Without God’s work, nothing else works. But with God’s work, many things work. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, love persuades. By the power of God, the Gospel transforms. And with Jesus at work, arguments convince.

God is happy to use each of these methods. Understanding this truth makes our job as ambassadors much easier. We can be confident that every time we engage, we have an ally. Our job is to communicate the Gospel as clearly, graciously, and persuasively as possible. God’s job is to take it from there. We may plant the seeds or water the saplings, but God causes whatever increase comes from our efforts.

We are not in this alone. Yes, each of us has an important role to play, but all the pressure is on the Lord. Sharing the Gospel is our task, but it’s God’s problem.

I like to call this principle “100% God and 100% man.” I am wholly responsible for my side of the ledger, and God is entirely responsible for His. I focus on being faithful, but I trust God to be effective. Some will respond and some will not. The results are His concern, not mine. This lifts a tremendous burden from my shoulders.

On Getting Single People Married, Fast!

At Stuff Christians Like: "Getting Single People Married as Fast as Possible" - very funny stuff.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Trivia Question

The subtitle of this work, which was written almost 150 years ago, is: "The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life". What is the title and who is the author of this still-exalted piece of pseudo-science?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Book Review: Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? Trusting God with a Hope Deferred

Just in time for Valentine's Day:

I’ll admit it. This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for a very long time. I’m just not that fond of most books written to address single Christian women. Fortunately, and much to my surprise, Carolyn McCulley has written a genre-defying contribution that is both encouraging and edifying for any woman. Read the entire Book Review at Treasures of Encouragement>>>

Wind Damage

The whipping winds from the other day, combined with super moist ground conditions, resulted in two of my trees coming right out of the ground!! Luckily, they missed my house and the neighbor's house - Yikes!



Completely crushed the adirondack chairs my Dad made a couple of summers ago!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Are apologists party crashers?

Brett at STR has posted a very good, concise article on why we should crash Darwin's birthday party tomorrow. Also, Tim Challies has written a great review on a new book by STR's president called Tactics, which looks like a good read.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending my niece's 20th birthday party. It is such a joy to see her faith, as she is a very recent convert and is really on fire for the Lord. She takes her 16 year old brother to church, but he is not really all that interested.

So last night, her birthday party took a strange twist. After a bit of celebrating, cake nibbling, and opening of presents, we double-teamed my nephew. On the surface, it might seem like a party-crusher to turn to apologetics at a family get together. However, the whole exchange was quite fruitful, I believe. He didn't run away and seemed quite encouraged overall.

Toward the end of the discussion, he mentioned how he felt that even if he did believe the spiritual things about God, he would have trouble getting past the contradiction between the bible and science (most young people accept as a bold faced fact the bible and science are not compatible). We were able to talk about that for a little while, but after two hours, I sensed we had all reached a bit of a saturation point.

So, in honor of my niece's birthday and my nephew's confusion, the Christians in my extended family are going to crash the dead man's birthday tomorrow with an discussion about creation and evolution. Now that's what I call fun!