Tuesday, March 31, 2009

And I stand corrected...

I've been thinking through this for a while and then came across the following. I was doing too much musing an not enough meditation on passages outside of the use of casting lots.

Its funny how encouraging a knock in the head by the truth of scripture can be.

Monday, March 30, 2009

J.I. Packer

Nabbed this from Between Two Worlds (see links)

I always enjoy hearing from JI Packer. Here he is speaking to new Christians. But even those long in the faith will need to hear this afresh.

JI Packer Speaks To New Christians from Mike Anderson on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

15 Delcarations of the Glory of Jesus

Page 32, Spectacular Sins

From Colossians chapter 1:

• In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (v. 14).
• He is the image of the invisible God (v. 15a).
• He is the firstborn of all creation—that is, the specially honored, first and only Son over all creation (v. 15b).
• By him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities (v. 16a).
• All things were created through him (v. 16b).
• All things were created for him (v. 16c).
• He is before all things (v. 17a).
• In him all things hold together (v. 17b).
• He is the head of the body, the church (v. 18a).
• He is the beginning (v. 18b).
• He is the firstborn from the dead (v. 18c).
• In everything he is preeminent (v. 18d).
• In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell (v. 19).
• He reconciles all things to himself, whether on earth or in heaven (v. 20a).
• He makes peace by the blood of his cross (v. 20b).

Can't help but be reminded of Jesse's song: There is None.

Spectacular Sins

I'm starting yet another book that I will finish someday.

You can read it as a pdf for free or buy it paperback for cheaper than Amazon here.

Already got a quotation that resounds with me:
"The Great Commission is not child’s play. It is costly. Very costly.
The coddled Western world will sooner or later give way to great affliction. And when it does, whose vision of God will hold? Where are Christians being prepared for great global sorrows? Where is the Christian mind and soul being prepared for the horrors to come? Christians in the West are weakened by wimpy worldviews. And wimpy worldviews make wimpy Christians. God is weightless in our lives. He is not terrifyingly magnificent. His sovereignty is secondary (at best) to his sensitivity." p.13

Even if I can't see a silver lining

I watched the short bio-flick below about Fanny Crosby this morning. She was born on today's date in 1820. After being blinded by a botched eye cure, the Lord worked together the spheres of her life to craft a heart for the poor and an extreme talent for hymn writing. She wrote more than 8000 hymns including Blessed Assurance and To God be the Glory.

The bit I thought was beautiful was when a preacher asked her if she was upset that she was never able to see. Her answer was simply, "No." And when asked why, she replied, "Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More full of grace than I of sin.

I was listening to this interview by CJ Mahaney of Sinclair Ferguson this morning.
I posted it a bit ago.

Anyway, Sinclair referenced these lines of an old John Wesley hymn:

Weary of Wandering from My God

O Jesus, full of truth and grace,
More full of grace than I of sin

How easy it is for me to think the flipside of this lyric.


“I am a servant of Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Patrick

Technically, Saint Patrick is not even a saint, as he was never canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. Additionally, Patrick was not even Irish. Rather, he was an Englishman who was a Roman citizen that spoke Latin and a bit of Welsh.

Patrick was born around 390 A.D. When he was roughly 16 years of age he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland on a ship where he was sold into slavery. He spent the next six years alone in the wilderness as a shepherd for his masters’ cattle and sheep.

Patrick was a rebellious non-Christian teenager who had come from a Christian family. His grandfather was a pastor, and his father was a deacon. However, during his extended periods of isolation without any human contact, Patrick began praying and was eventually born again into a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. Patrick endured the years of isolation in rain and snow by praying up to 100 prayers each day and another 100 each night.
In his early twenties God spoke to Patrick in a dream, telling him to flee from his master for a ship that was waiting for him. Amazingly, Patrick made the 200-mile walk without being caught or harmed to find a ship setting sail for his home, just as God had promised. The sailors were out of food for the journey, and after Patrick prayed a herd of pigs miraculously ran toward the ship, providing a bountiful feast for the long voyage home.

God Speaks to Patrick
Upon returning home, Patrick enrolled in seminary and was eventually commissioned as a pastor. Some years later God spoke to Patrick in a dream, commanding him to return to Ireland to preach the gospel and plant churches for the pagans who lived there.
The Roman Catholic Church had given up on converting such “barbarians” deemed beyond hope. The Celtic peoples, of which the Irish were part, were an illiterate bunch of drunken, fighting, perverted pagans who basically had sex with anyone and worshipped anything. They were such a violent and lawless people, numbering anywhere from 200,000 to 500,000, that they had no city centers or national government and were spread out among some 150 warring clans. Their enemies were terrified of them because they were known to show up for battles and partake in wild orgies before running into battle naked and drunk while screaming as if they were demon-possessed. One clan was so debased that it was customary for each of their new kings to copulate with a white mare as part of his inauguration.

Unique Missionary Strategy
In faith, the forty-something year-old Patrick sold all of his possessions, including the land he had inherited from his father, to fund his missionary journey to Ireland. He worked as an itinerant preacher and paid large sums of money to various tribal chiefs to ensure he could travel safely through their lands and preach the gospel. His strategy was completely unique, and he functioned like a missionary trying to relate to the Irish people and communicate the gospel in their culture by using such things as three-leaf clovers to explain the gospel. Upon entering a pagan clan, Patrick would seek to first convert the tribal leaders and other people of influence. He would then pray for the sick, cast demons out of the possessed, preach the Bible, and use both musical and visual arts to compel people to put their faith in Jesus. If enough converts were present he would build a simple church that did not resemble ornate Roman architecture, baptize the converts, and hand over the church to a convert he had trained to be the pastor so that he could move on to repeat the process with another clan.
Patrick gave his life to the people who had enslaved him until he died at 77 years of age. He had seen untold thousands of people convert as between 30-40 of the 150 tribes had become substantially Christian. He had trained 1000 pastors, planted 700 churches, and was the first noted person in history to take a strong public stand against slavery.

Roman Opposition
Curiously, Patrick’s unorthodox ministry methods, which had brought so much fruit among the Irish, also brought much opposition from the Roman Catholic Church. Because Patrick was so far removed from Roman civilization and church polity he was seen by some as an instigator of unwelcome changes. This lead to great conflicts between the Roman and Celtic Christians. The Celtic Christians had their own calendar and celebrated Easter a week earlier than their Roman counterparts. Additionally, the Roman monks shaved only the hair on the top of their head, whereas the Celtic monks shaved all of their hair except their long locks which began around the bottom of their head as a funky monk mullet. The Romans considered these and other variations by the Celtic Christian leaders to be acts of insubordination.
In the end, the Roman Church should have learned from Patrick, who is one of the greatest missionaries who has ever lived. Though Patrick’s pastors and churches looked different in method, they were very orthodox in their theology and radically committed to such things as Scripture and the Trinity. Additionally, they were some of the most gifted Christian artists the world has ever known, and their prayers and songs endure to this day around the world, including the hymns“Prayer of Saint Patrick” and the Celtic hymn “Be Thou My Vision.”

For Further Study:
At http://www.ccel.org/ there is a free copy available of Patrick’s book Confessions.

Steve Rabey’s book In the House of Memory is a good introduction to Patrick and Celtic Christianity.

Thomas Cahill’s book How the Irish Saved Civilization is a fascinating historical look at Patrick and the implications of Celtic Christianity on western history.

www.ChristianityToday.com/history is the site for Christian History and Biography magazine, which is a wonderful resource that includes an entire issue on Patrick and Celtic Christianity.

- shared from The Resurgence. Yet again.

New vs. Old Calvinism

per The Resurgence:

According to Time Magazine 'New Calvinism' is the third biggest idea that is changing the world right now.

Here are some thoughts on new versus old Calvinism.

Four Ways 'New Calvinism' is So Powerful

1. Old Calvinism was fundamental or liberal and separated from or syncretized with culture. New Calvinism is missional and seeks to create and redeem culture.

2. Old Calvinism fled from the cities. New Calvinism is flooding into cities.

3. Old Calvinism was cessationistic and fearful of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. New Calvinism is continuationist and joyful in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

4. Old Calvinism was fearful and suspicious of other Christians and burned bridges. New Calvinism loves all Christians and builds bridges between them.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Two Original Poems from reading Narnia

I dug up a couple of my poems I wrote while reading through a couple of Lewis's Narnia books. Thought I'd bring them back for a bit. Holding Fire was from end of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Untamed came from the beginning of Silver Chair. They're best paired with the particular sections of the books referenced, but could stand alone. They're a mixture of a couple of themes, and I suppose I'm still trying to figure them out.

Holding Fire Like the Night
mine assembly follows closely
my blood even closer
thy wood strangely familiar
bright tree of steel intrigued her
holding fire like the night

thy stag white as powder
leaps and strides ever faster
mine assembly falls asunder
whilst my sisters rise above them
holding fire like the night

thy wish that would be ours
finds ourn eyes wooded deeply
caught beyond this world and thine
and the heart that would be mine
holding fire like the night

opaque his lens his own shape
it seems is trapped in cube
as you feel compressed
as a diamond is beautiful

he can see her art
and marvel he may
while keeping those demons
as the Lion's mane
draws warmth from their Love

buttons and zippers
and catalog flippers
and all the lines of the cliche
lip service burn from anxious
tongues of fire

sky of blue under Aslan's
mountain lies life of good and
evil too preoccupied with themselves
to see it pass

so time will come unknown
to most the vex will resound
while father pride will wither
to be destroyed for
He is not a tame Lion.

Fettered and Freed

Here's a link to a blog entry from Piper that was a big help for me this morning:

2 Stages of God’s Care for Us: Fettered and Freed

In this age, God rescues his people from some harm. Not all harm. That’s comforting to know, because otherwise we might conclude from our harm that he has forgotten us or rejected us.

So be encouraged by the simple reminder that in Acts 16:19-24 Paul and Silas were not delivered, but in verses 25-26 they were.

First, no deliverance:

“They seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace.” (v. 19)
“The magistrates tore the garments off them.” (v. 22)
They “inflicted many blows upon them.” (v. 23)
The jailer “fastened their feet in the stocks.” (v. 24)
But then deliverance:

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God...and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. (v. 25-26)

God could have stepped in sooner. He didn’t. He has his reasons. He loves Paul and Silas.

Question for you: If you plot your life along this continuum, where are you? Are you in the stripped and beaten stage, or the unshackled, door-flung-open stage?

Both are God’s stages of care for you.

If you are in the fettered stage, don’t despair. Sing. Freedom is on the way. It is only a matter of time. Even if it comes through death.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Every Theologian has a Catchphrase

As the Lord uses these men to build my faith, I've noticed a good bit of them have a notable catchphrase. Here's a few:

You're welcome...
- Mark Driscoll

Are you trackin' with that?
- Matt Chandler

- John Piper

- C.S. Lewis

You guys...
- Skip MacMillan

Do you see?
- Don Carson

Monday, March 09, 2009

American Nonsense and the Scandalous Suffering of Christ

"May God rescue us all from this self-consumed, victorious-living American nonsense. That God is like a pagan god that gives us everything we want and gets us around everything we don't. May God rescue us from this false, silly, pagan christian american ideology that when we suffer, we have a right to do evil. May God allow us not to waste any of our suffering. May he allow us in his grace to use all of it as Jesus did, to not waste a breath, to not waste a word, to not waste a moment, to not waste an opportunity, to do good, to love, to serve, so that others may come to meet this amazing God who suffered the worse injustice and does so in love. And even while having a heart attack and dying is crying out for forgiveness and love and mercy on his murderers.

There's no one like Jesus."

From Mark Driscoll's latest sermon on the book of Peter. This week dealing with Submission to Ungodly Authority.

Enjoy the beautiful letdown.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Superman Needs Slimfast

I learned on my lunch break that Superman's weight on Krypton was 3,300 pounds. Its a proven fact by a very comically-inclined physicist from the University of Minnesota in his book, The Physics of Superheroes. Here's the excerpt from his book I read.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

$1 Trillion in Cash, Please...

Ever wonder what $1 Trillion in cash looks like? With all the talk about the stimulus bill, this guy uses Google Sketchup to give a bit of perspective. Thanks to J.Taylor for a nifty link.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Calvin's Kin

This morning's listening were three lectures/discussions by Collin Hanson entitled Calvin's Kin. If you've never heard of the guy, he wrote Young, Restless and Reformed.

The conference is the Magnifiying God Conference highlighting the 500th birthday of Calvin. Spoiler alert: Lots of Jonathan Edwards content as well. Its an interesting perspective on the emergence and resonance of the Reformed tradition with young adults.

You can listen to the three talks here:

Calvin's Kin: Why They're Multiplying

Calvin's Kin: What They're Facing

Calvin's Kin: Where They're Headed

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Son of Fergus

I'd like to commend to both of you reading this an interview of Sinclair Ferguson by CJ Mahaney that I come back to every now and again.

To me Dr. Ferguson is a booming Scottish voice of wisdom and knowledge that always puts the beauty of Christ that much further in my heart by God's grace. It's a sweeping interview that covers many different topics. Each equally edifying.


The problem is wanting to be rich

Thoughts and highlights from desiringGod's Ask Pastor John

To the rich I say, do not trust in your riches, but be rich in good deeds.
1 Timothy 6:18

Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
1 Timothy 6:9


I was going to write more about this, but what I'm taking away is: Don't desire to be rich. The goal of success is not the same as desire to be rich. It will come down to how I deal with such success. What is my treasure? Make it Jesus and avoid the snare that comes with a prestigious logo on it.

Give the above a listen, it's worth it.