Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Words are better

Have you heard this one?

The Assissi quote is very popular and catchy and I do appreciate what it is trying to say... your life in all its actions should reflect Jesus in a way that as obvious as if you were speaking out loud. How very true, but please, use words. People need to hear that they are lost, they need to understand that they need a savior, they need to know that Jesus had paid the penalty already, they need to know that eternal life can be theirs and begin now by repenting and trusting in Christ alone by faith alone.
I am not sure how you can do that without WORDS.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Baptismal Motivation

The Procatechesis of Cyril of Jerusalem gives these thoughts on our motivation for baptism
Perhaps you have come for some other reason? A man may want to please a woman and may come for that reason. The same may be true of a woman. A slave may perhaps want to please his master, and a friend his friend. I take whatever is on the hook, I pull you in, you who came with an evil intention but will be saved by your hope of the good. Doubtless you did not know, did you, where you were going, and did not recognize the net in which you have been caught? You have been taught in the Church’s net!

When all is said and done it is the Lord's work even in our fumbling attempts at obedience.
The perfume of happiness is already being poured out on you,
O you who are receiving the light!
You are already gathering spiritual flowers
To plait celestial crowns
The Holy Spirit has already breathed his fragrance on you!
You have already reached the entrance hall of the royal palace!
May you soon be led in to the King!

Spiritual "Laws"

"Law" One: God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.

This comes via the All Things Church Planting blog.
Who got it from the Desiring God blog.
Who got it from the Contemporary Calvinist blog.

"Law" Two: Lots of other people thought this was "funny".
Behold! And here, here, here, and here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

"Sir, in my heart, I know I'm funny." -Lt. Hauk

Why are you clapping? I'm talking to you.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? -2 Corinthians 13:5 , Authorized Version

"Law" Three: We should all use the word "reprobate" more often than we do.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Habakkuk's Revival

We used this text during our community Good Friday service:
O LORD, I have heard the report of you,
and your work, O LORD, do I fear.
In the midst of the years revive it;
in the midst of the years make it known;
in wrath remember mercy.
God came from Teman,
and the Holy One from Mount Paran.
His splendor covered the heavens,
and the earth was full of his praise.
Habakkuk 3
In the Old Testament manifestations of God and meditations upon God were physical: Moses on the mountain, "the word of the Lord," the Exodus, the festivals, the sacrifices, Abraham's three friends, and on and on and on. These were glorious and powerful but fading and a shadow of the reality. In contrast the New Testament speaks of a glory that does not fade away because it is a "ministry of the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3
Lord, I need a miracle. I have heard the reports of your past works. Revive them again. Come down upon the mountains and cover the skies with glory so that we might praise you again.

Friday, April 10, 2009

John Owen on Good Friday

We might here look on Him as under the weight of the wrath of God and the curse of the law; taking on Himself, and on His whole soul, the utmost of evil that God had ever threatened to sin or sinners. We might look on Him in His agony and bloody sweat, in His strong cries and supplications, when He was sorrowful to the death, and began to be amazed, in apprehensions of the things that were coming on Him—of that dreadful trail which He was entering into. We might look on Him conflicting with all the powers of darkness, the rage and madness of men, suffering in His soul, His body, His name, His reputation, His goods, His life; some of these sufferings being immediate from God above, others from devils and wicked men acting according to the determinate counsel of God.
We might look on Him praying, weeping, crying out, bleeding, dying—in all things making His soul an offering for sin… But these things I shall not insist on in particular, but leave them under such a veil as may give us a prospect into them, so far as to fill our souls with holy admiration...
What shall we say to these things? That God spared not His only Son, but gave Him up unto death and all the evils included therein, for such poor, lost sinners as we were; that for our sakes the eternal Son of God should submit Himself to all the evils that our natures are liable to, and that our sins had deserved, that we might be delivered! How glorious is the Lord Christ on this account, in the eyes of believers!
from Mediations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ
John Owen (1616-1683))

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Warren on Cavuto

I saw Rick Warren on Fox Business tonight. Cavuto's intro went something like this
Who better to help with the purpose of life than the man who's Purpose Driven Life drove millions to change theirs... niether left nor right, sort of omnipresent.

In asking him what was wrong with American business, he gave all "normal" and "safe" answers. "Whispers to us in our pleasure but he shouts to us in our pain", "there's a lot of guilt being carried around", "we have been living beyond our means." But he stopped short of saying "sin." Now, I know as well as anyone that "sin" has become archaric and even quaint so using the term may have not gotten his point across, but it is at the root of all human guilt-pain-living. Isn't it?

First chapter of Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul David Tripp gives this insight:

Sin does three things to us.
  1. Rebellion: Sin causes us to do wrong.
  2. Foolishness: Sin causes us to think wrong
  3. Weakness: Sin removes our ability to do right
God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:3-8
#3 Human beings are too weak to do right even when we want to, and not even God's law can prop it up enough to make right choices because #1 Our flesh and bones are corrupt and do not seek by action the things of God but the things of the flesh and #2 Our minds have been corrupted to the point that it is rebellious and unsubmissive and hostile to God. Warren is well intentioned, but a sinful human that lives with in their means is still going to hell. No-one outside of sin-condemning flesh of the Crucified One can ever be declared or do right.

As far as I can tell Paul David Tripp has never been on Cavuto but it seems he would cut through the fog and get right to point.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Selecting Elders

Here is a quick guide on resources for selecting elders as gleaned from the internet:

9marks articles (the first one from D.A. Carson no less!):
Defining Elders
Electing Elders
Pastors' and Theologians' Forum on Selecting Elders

Matt Proctor, Top Ten Questions for Potential Elders

Bethlehem Baptist Resource Packet Materials for Selecting Elders:

And finally one last insight from my new favorite 79 year old minister/blogger/historian/Isaac Asimov fan who in his post on selecting elders also reminds us that "cows [like churches] always need milking". I am not kidding, this guy posts irregularly but is full of wisdom: read Selecting Elders

Finally... The Criterion of St. Paul:
An overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. Titus 1:7-9

Why not just ask the potential elder questions based on the above?

Patterson and SWBTS

Here are Wade Burleson's orginal posts and a robust debate as you sort through the comments here
and here.

Brother John Barcanic also had some well said insights about forwarding of questionable info (which disappeared from my email no less), and I too wonder why CT would post/publish anything without direct confirmation or sources. For full(er) disclosure here is the relevant transcript from the cited February 2009 interview with Paige Patterson

Tim Rogers [pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Indian Trail, NC] - "Have economic challenges been used as an excuse to weed out certain professors at Southwestern who hold to a particular soteriolgical viewpoint to which you disagree? Is there any truth to that rumor?"

Patterson - "I certainly hope not. I've lived my entire life as life in a goldfish bowl, and as boldly as I know how to do it. We're not certain at all that we're going to have to eliminate any professors. We've been working very very hard to cut everything else in the world so we don't have to cut professors and we don't know yet what we're going to have to do, but we're hopeful that we don't have to cut any professors. If we do, I will not use a screen to do that with. Every decision I make with regard to faculty will be made with a view to assisting the school to be the best school it can possibly can be. We have every conceivable soteriological view on the campus in terms of 5 pointer Calvinism, or 1 pointers or 2 pointers or 3 pointers or 4 pointers or 5 pointers. I will say this, Southwestern will not build a school in the future around anybody who could not look anybody in world the eyes and say "Christ died for your sins". If there is a problem there then I believe there is a problem that Southern Baptists would not want to fund, and so if that would be the case I wouldn't be hiding behind a screen of economic matters if I had to deal with that. And, God willing, if He is gracious to us and God's people continue to give then we won't have to lay off anybody else. That's what we are praying for."

The "look you in the eye and say Christ died for your sins" quote is a pretty clear rejection of limited atonement. A deal breaker for professorship?

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Gospel and Children

Our mission statement is to "Share the Gospel of Jesus Christ." When most of us think of "sharing" the gospel our minds move toward a situation where a child has raised their hand, or an adult has "walked the aisle," coming forward at an evangelistic meeting. We tend to only think in terms of situations where sharing the gospel would push for a "conversion." The gospel is more than simply the words of John 3:16 and then asking a potential believer if they now "believe." The good news of the gospel includes all aspects of God's working in His world, to save sinners, and to welcome Him into His kingdom. I found this helpful summary from Jill Nelson, at the Children's Desiring God website:

First of all, Jill Nelson, reminds us that
1. GOD is the starting point of the gospel.
2. GOD is the vehicle of the gospel.
3. GOD is the goal of the gospel.

She then outlines the implications of a full understanding of the full gospel message.
  1. God is the sovereign Creator of all things

  2. God created people for His glory

  3. God is holy and righteous

  4. Human beings are sinful

  5. God is just and is right to punish sin

  6. God is merciful. He is kind to undeserving sinners

  7. Jesus is God's holy and righteous Son

  8. God put our punishment on Jesus

  9. God offers the free gift of salvation to those who repent and believe in Jesus

  10. Those who trust in Jesus will live to please him and will receive the promise of eternal life -- Enjoying God forever in heaven

While it's not TULIP it is simple enough and gives you enough starting points to explain the good news of God. It is he who is at work in us from beginning to end.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


Wired just published an article on the Settlers of Catan. Settlers is an amazingly unpredictable and intriguing strategy board game that our family and friends can't get enough of.

Fighter Verses to Memorize for your next contest:
Isaiah 8:10 Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us.

Isaiah 36:5You say you have strategy and military strength—but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I Love Maps

Found this, which brought back memories. I loved maps as a kid. Where others would put Magic Johnson and Rick Astley on there wall I chose to cover my walls with National Geographic maps.
Not sure what to make of that, but I thought I'd get it out there.