Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Free Downloads at PuritanLibrary.com

Loads of Puritan authors' books are now available for free download at www.puritanlibrary.com
The downloads are available as PDFs, Epub, and Kindle mobi files.
Many authors available, including: Richard Sibbes, John Owen, Thomas Watson, John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, Richard Baxter, Jeremiah Burroughs, William Gurnall, and John Newton, just to name a few.

Also included are such works as The Westminster Confession of Faith.

More on Christ and Culture

Dr. David VanDrunnen's series of lectures on Christianity and Culture are now available at The Latest Post. The lecture series was sponsored by the Reformation Society of Oregon.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Gospel of John

Today I started a study of the Gospel of John, which I plan to go through on my own over the next month. I'm using the NIV, ESV, and NASB translations as well as two commentaries. This will be the fourth or fifth time that I study John, so as I go through the study this time, I plan to post on any new insights or "ah hah" moments as I go through it.

The first commentary I'm using is by R.C. Sproul and is an expositional commentary made up of 57 chapters that are based on a sermon series he taught at St. Andrews a couple of years ago. In particular, reviewers of the commentary praise Dr. Sproul's insights and exposition on passages that many find difficult and his ability to draw the reader closer to the Savior and to a greater depth of love and devotion to Him.

The second commentary I'll be using is "Jesus the Evangelist" by Rick Phillips. Rather than trying to describe what I think the book will do, here is Rev. Phillips' video introduction:


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Holy Groans

via Considerable Grace

Excellent piece from RZIM's devotional, Slice of Infinity, called Holy Groans. Profound and inspiring, the article offers many quotable sentences. Out of all of them, this one grabbed me most:
"When it comes to questions of love and suffering, the voice of the smallest, the poorest, and the most vulnerable carries an authority far beyond that of philosophical treatises or the debates of the 'experts.'"
So true, is it not?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Three 'Sticky' Things - (Kingdom Stuff)

Since it has been a long time since my last update, I'd like to share three things here that I've found particularly noteworthy and memorable (sticky) in the past few weeks.

First is "The Endless Evangelical Quest for Ultimate Transformation" a lengthy but thought-provoking article by Owen Strachan with many embedded links to additional  landmark contributions by authors such as Michael Horton, Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert. Here is a summary excerpt:
"While we hope to work with all our energy to spread the gospel and show grace to the fallen, we do so knowing that 1) we are not God and 2) we cannot altogether defeat sin and suffering. In fact, it seems like Revelation indicates that the world will get worse as time goes on rather than better (Greg Gilbert makes this point in his new book). Much as we hate this reality, much as we hate political corruption, and children suffering, and boys growing up to drop out and abuse women and children, and cataclysmic levels of human starvation, and spiritual idolatry, and the encroachment of Islam, and the breathtaking unfairness of the academic and cultural elite, and the advancement of sex trafficking, and every other ill, we are not God, we are not sovereign, and the Bible makes painfully clear that sin and wickedness and suffering on a stratospheric scale will be with us to the bitter end.

Jesus has won; Satan is defeated; victory is sure. The kingdom is advancing as the gospel is advancing (praise God!). Christians, filled with a love for the Lord and a sense for how He blesses radical faith, are attempting great things for Him. May that only continue. But we need to do so not with a naive optimism, with a worldly hope that is set, like a swelling balloon, to pop, but with a rich blend of complete trust in our Lord and Savior and full awareness of our own finitude and our world’s depravity.
“Plodding visionaries,” indeed. Full of hope; full of honesty. This is a Genesis 3 faith with an Isaiah 53 twist–and a Revelation 21 ending."
Next, is a video of Darrin Patrick (author of the book "Church Planter") interviewing Andy Crouch (author of the book "Culture Making") about the tension/distinction between dependence on God vs. being engaged culturally. http://vimeo.com/13246429



Church Planters, Cultural Engagement and Spiritual Power. from Journey-Creative on Vimeo.


Finally, this past week, I purchased and have enjoyed Robert Plant's new album, "Band of Joy". I was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by what seems to be a Christian testimony in his work. I've not yet confirmed precisely what denomination or "brand of faith" he professes, but I did read an article in which he said he attended worship services at a church. (Keep in mind, I'm a major Led Zep fan from way back, and while the new album doesn't try to be anything close to heavy metal, the music is fairly eclectic. I'd recommend sampling it, rather than buying it, unless you're a regular R.P. fan.)

Thought I'd share the poem from which the lyrics come here from one of my favorite songs on the new album (it's the last song, which appears just after he sings "I heard the voice of Jesus say, Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down"-- facinating stuff):
Once in Persia reigned a king
Who upon his signet ring
Graved a maxim true and wise
Which if held before his eyes

Gave him counsel at a glance
Fit for every change and chance
Solemn words, and these are they
"Even this shall pass away"

Trains of camels through the sand
Brought him gems of Samarcand
Fleets of galleys through the seas
Brought him pearls to match with these

But he counted not his gain
Treasures of the mine or main
"What is wealth?" The king would say
"Even this shall pass away"

'Mid the revels of his court
At the zenith of his sport
When the palms of all his guests
Burned with clapping at his jests

He, amid his figs and wine
Cried, "Oh, loving friends of mine
Pleasures come but not to stay
Even this shall pass away"

Lady, fairest ever seen
Was the bride he crowned his queen
Pillowed on his marriage bed
Softly to his soul he said

"Though no bridegroom ever pressed
Fairer bosom to his breast
Mortal flesh must come to clay
Even this shall pass away"

Fighting on a furious field
Once a javelin pierced his shield
Soldiers, with a loud lament
Bore him bleeding to his tent

Groaning from his tortured side
"Pain is hard to bear," he cried
"But with patience, day by day
Even this shall pass away"

Towering in the public square
Twenty cubits in the air
Rose his statue, carved in stone
Then the king, disguised, unknown

Stood before his sculptured name
Musing meekly, "What is fame?
Fame is but a slow decay
Even this shall pass away"

Struck with palsy, sore and old
Waiting at the Gates of Gold
Said he with his dying breath
"Life is done, but what is death?"

Then, then in answer to the king
Fell a sunbeam on his ring
Showing by a heavenly ray
Even this shall pass away.
That's it for now.... Have a great Friday!

Ending the "Tech-Fast" (overdue update)

Not that anyone reads my blog anymore at this point, but just in case...
I've been offline for a hyatis, sort of. Started a new job -- actually a whole new career, really. It's a two-year training process with on the job training and progressively increasing responsibility. I'm extremely impressed with the professionalism of the staff working on this program, as well as the level of detail and thoroughness that has obviously been put into the certification process we are all going thru. It is exciting and just a tad overwhelming.

During the past month I've not only been away from my blog and most of my social networking activities, but I've also not even had a work computer until just a couple of days ago. You could say that I've been taking somewhat of a "Tech-Fast."

That said, I've decided to post next on Three "Sticky" Things -- content on the web or in media that have stood out to me over the past two weeks or so.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

On the “take two verses and call me in the morning” approach

Dr. Mike Emlet of CCEF has written a three-part blog series on how not to use "Bible Bandaids" when interacting with our Saint-Sufferer-Sinner friends. After all, as 'reformed' Christians we rightly  consider ourselves simultaneously Saint and Sinner (Simul Justus et Peccator). Dr. Emlet insightfully adds Sufferer to our identity, which greatly aids the hypothetical conversation that he shares in post #3.
Here are links to the posts:
And here are a few excerpts:

"If you tend to view the Bible as a sourcebook for timeless principles in living, you might turn to 1 Cor. 6:18—“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” . . . Or, if you tend to mine the pages of Scripture for examples to follow or avoid you might think of Samson and way in which his heart was led astray by Delilah (Judges 16). Or, if you tend to view the Bible in systematic theological categories, you might engage your student in a discussion of how a holy life is a necessary outgrowth of justification (e.g. James 2:17). Any of these uses of Scripture might be beneficial to your teen, and none are wrong in and of themselves. But something is missing. Or better, someone is missing: the person of Jesus Christ!"
". . . each person—including Joel—is wrestling in some way with two problems. The first is the problem of identity and purpose: who am I and what in the world should I be doing? (This corresponds to God’s address to us as saints.) The second is the problem of evil: evil from outside ourselves (which corresponds to our experience as sufferers) and evil from within ourselves (which corresponds to our experience as sinners.)"
". . . by approaching people as saints, sufferers, and sinners, we are better prepared to bring the riches of Scripture to bear on the realities of life. No more Bible bandaids "
(His posts were adapted from the book: CrossTalk: Where Life & Scripture Meet, New Growth Press, 2009 -- It's going on my "Want To Read" list, right away! )

Friday, September 3, 2010

Loving Our Neighbor, A Heartless Idea?

from Christ is Deeper Still:

In Intellectuals, page 31, Paul Johnson wrote of the poet Shelley, “He burned with a fierce love but it was an abstract flame and the poor mortals who came near it were often scorched. He put ideas before people and his life is a testament to how heartless ideas can be.” It is not enough for (evangelists) to burn with a fierce love. We must burn with a fierce love for Christ the crucified Friend of sinners and for the sinners right there before us who need that Friend. Ideas about Christ can even be heartless. But Christ crucified befriends sinners, and they feel it.

Calvin comments on Galatians 3:1, “Let those who want to discharge the ministry of the gospel aright learn not only to speak and declaim but also to penetrate into consciences, so that men may see Christ crucified and that his blood may flow.” Christ’s blood flowing into the human conscience, setting people free

Sharing the gospel.