Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Reforming

From a discussion board to my blog:

The Reformers (e.g. Luther, Calvin, etc) looked to the Scriptures and saw that the way the church was practicing, living, worshiping was bent not to the Scriptures, but to culture and tradition. And sometimes even contrary to the Scriptures. They revolutionized, by the power of the Word, the Church in Europe. They reformed the Christian life in view of sacred Scriptures instead of accepted tradition and philosophy. The interesting part is that God has been doing this throughout the history of the world. No less in our day.

We must see what the Scriptures say about wealth and consumption. It is almost universally guaranteed that it will be in conflict with where the world stands. The end goal of Corporate American, wealth, prosperity. The end goal of the American Dream, self improvement through material things, unlimited consumption. What are we willing to give up to gain these things? Our family, born and unborn. Our spouses, if they somehow disrupt our personal self-actualization. Our souls, if it means wealth and prosperity. This is no different from the Enemy's schemes throughout history. Its just on a wider scale. No longer are only the kings of the society rich, these snares are available to everyone.

Here's the deal. Christ's life and death was for the Glory of the God of creation. Our lives are for the same. This is important: Our joy is tied directly to God's glory. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied with him. When Christ is our highest love and source of satifaction we are no longer consumers, but servants. Because he is. When we find our wealth in his grace, we're no longer proud. Because He is our righteousness. We have to, hear this, have to lift up Jesus as the most satisfying source of joy because that's how we're made. Sin will work its way into our lives by lying to us. It says things like: If you just had this, worked this job, made a bigger impact, drove this car, then finally you'll be happier. You deserve to be happy.

The truth is that we deserve hell, the tomb is empty and by the grace that is the gospel we get Jesus. Love, generosity, servanthood, satisfaction, deep joy is found nowhere else. This is worship.

Its why we're here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A note from Owen

From the Mortification of Sin in Believers:

Of Romans 8.12-13: So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

John Owen ~
"The certainty of the coherence and connection that is between the things spoken of; as we say to a sick man, 'If you will take such a potion, or use such a remedy, you will be well.' The thing we solely intend to express is the certainty of the connection that is between the potion or remedy and health. And this is the use of it here. The certain connection that is between the mortifying of the deeds of the body and living is intimated in this conditional particle."

Reminds me of the words of our Savior:

Matthew 18.9: And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

Sermons for Today

In a series on worship based on the book of Revelation:

Revelation 2-3, The Revelation of Jesus' Church - Driscoll

Revelation 4, Jesus' Throne - Driscoll

Revelation 5:1-14, The Revelation of Jesus as Lion & Lamb - Driscoll

Ten Servants

Thought this post was great from Between Two Worlds blog:

From philosophy professor James Spiegel:

1. Augustine (5th century): Remember that you are a citizen of another kingdom.
2. Martin Luther (16th century): Expect politicians to be corrupt.
3. Thomas Aquinas (13th century): God has made himself known in nature.
4. John Calvin (16th century): God is sovereign over all, including our suffering.
5. Jonathan Edwards (18th century): God is beautiful, and all beauty is divine.
6. Thomas a’Kempis (15th century): Practice self-denial with a passion.
7. John Wesley (18th century): Be disciplined and make the best use of your time.
8. Fyodor Dostoevsky (19th century): God’s grace can reach anyone.
9. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (20th century): Beware of cheap grace.
10. Alvin Plantinga (21st century): Moral virtue is crucial for intellectual health.

Read the whole post for his explanation of each point.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If God knows, why pray?

From the previously mentioned site de jour, Dr. Don Carson:

This was helpful for me this morning; hope it is for both of you readers as well.

Redeem that cold, grey cube of yours

Here's some ammo: Devotional Christian

While the name may not be the pinnacle of creativity, it is a site that gathers together daily devotionals from Spurgeon, Tozer, Graham among many others. It also has a daily verse from the ESV, so we know they've at least got something right. Lastly, what I've been watching for the past 20 minutes are youtube vids that pop on the site itself (you don't get linked to, which is nice. The vids are from Desiring God, Billy Graham and the Gospel Coalition's ministries.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

To strangle three poisonous serpents

Just doing some reading about a man I've been wanting to read for some time.

John Owens:

Owen was by common consent the weightiest Puritan theologian, and many would bracket him with Jonathan Edwards as one of the greatest Reformed theologians of all time. Born in 1616, he entered Queen's College, Oxford, at the age of twelve and secured his M.A. in 1635, when he was nineteen. In his early twenties, conviction of sin threw him into such turmoil that for three months he could scarcely utter a coherent word on anything; but slowly he learned to trust Christ, and so found peace. In 1637 he became a pastor; in the 1640s he was chaplain to Oliver Cromwell, and in 1651 he was made Dean of Christ Church, Oxford's largest college. In 1652 he was given the additional post of Vice-Chancellor of the University, which he then reorganized with conspicuous success. After 1660 he led the Independents through the bitter years of persecution till his death in 1683. (by J.I. Packer)

On Owen's grave, he had written in Latin amongst other points:

"In polemical theology, with more than herculean strength, he strangled three poisonous serpents, the Arminian, the Socinian, and the Roman.

In practical theology, he laid out before others the whole of the activity of the Holy Spirit, which he had first experienced in his own heart, according to the rule of the Word. And, leaving other things aside, he cultivated, and realised in practice, the blissful communion with God of which he wrote; a traveller on earth who grasped God like one in heaven.

In casuistry, he was valued as an oracle to be consulted on every complex matter."


In polemics, meaning controversial theology, he battled three poisonous serpents, one of which was the Arminian. It reminds me of something Sinclair Ferguson said about Owen's works knocking the head of the Armenian. Sounds interesting enough. Guess I'll start with Mortification of Sin.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Don't need no Bunny.

Believe it or not, I woke up Easter morning and found that my Lord has given me in addition to ,and even by way of, his Son and the following:

Maria and Turner*

*Not pictured: Baby #2

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Two Solemn Days

Maundy Thursday:
He Made Purification of Sins. Hebrews 1:1-4
a message from Piper 1996

Good Friday:
The Day of Atonement. Leviticus 16
a message from Driscoll 2008

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Bent, Broken and Perfect

If you have four minutes, it will be more than worth it to hear from Matt Chandler of The Village Church. Indeed it is true, for our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Scripture I read this morning reminded me of the title: Hebrews 10:14 - For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Mandolin Aspirations

They're percusive.
They're meolodic.
And they're tiny.

Every now and then I get aspirations to try and wrangle a mandolin. One day I may even have the time to do it.

But until then, I'll just sit back and watch this guy who has a slight lead.

mandolin pic by MandolinCafe via Flickr

Monday, April 06, 2009

Look at all those guitar straps...

Niles + unlimited source of cash + a soft conscience for excess =

Think Grand Jury of Joy

If I were summoned to give evidence of God's grace, lovingkindness, justice, patience, one in a long list of exhibits surely would be Beulah.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Atheists Miss the Joy

If you look at sunsets and sunrises without knowing that God is painting them then and there, you will miss the point. Sunsets and sunrises do not just happen. God does them.

You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy. (Psalms 65:8)

What are they so happy about?

Psalm 19 gives the answer. They are happy because they are showing the glory of God. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (v. 1).

How happy is the rising sun to display the glory of God? Answer: “In them [the heavens] God has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy” (Psalm 19:4-5).

A bridegroom beaming, and an Eric Liddell feeling God’s pleasure when he runs. Sunrises and sunsets are like that. [Liddell has been quoted, "I believe that God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. When I run it is in His pleasure."]

They bid us join their joy in putting God on display in the world.

HT: Desiring God Blog entry by John Piper
Picture from Flikr: Eric Wylie

Thursday, April 02, 2009

In the Church, you're not the Burger King

"In a business the customer is always...(waiting for congregation to answer, they say "right") right. In the church the customer is always...(waiting again, the congregations says "wrong" as he finishes)... evil, sinful. The customer doesn't always get what they want. You don't get what you want, right? You come to church, you get what you need."

Driscoll in a sermon on 1 Timothy.

And I would add that what we need is a little sacrifice, rebuking, repentance, humility.

Jesus didn't come to be served but to serve. What makes us better than him?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Snipers and A-Bombs

So, I'm on the "Diversity Advancement Commitee" at work.

I haven't quite made up my mind yet a proper response and reaction to the worldview that this particular workplace philosophy promotes. But maybe I can use this post to think through some of it tenents. The following is from Diversity, Inc's website, one of the leading organizations for promoting Diversity in the workplace. They have the ear of some of the biggest companies in the US, and here's what they have to say about diversity:

We believe that all people are created equally, and therefore, talent is distributed equally as well.

We are a people obsessed with race, and it potentially skews our perception of people.

Equal rights should be afforded to all people regardless of race, sexual orientation, age, culture, etc.

The political issues at stake get a bit complex. These include Affirmative action, equal rights for GLBT individuals, and relgious contensions.

I can make a case for equality of all humans, for we're all made in the image of the living God(Gen 1.26); that those in the employ of the another should be treated fairly and justly, for we have a master that treats us so (Col 4.1); that our experience is important and unique to us and should be used to benefit others (2 Cor 1.3-4).
I suppose my current stance is to be a sniper instead of an atom bomb. There are too many B-52 flying around ready to drop bombs that the sight of "liberals" or the like. And normally Diversity gets lumped in with "the liberal agenda".

My problem with the bomb droppers is an extreme lack of grace. And the willingness and pleasure thats taken in the explosion. Should not grace flow from one that understands the gospel? Instead of a massive explosion that isn't very discriminating, we are called to be a sniper with discearnment as to who we chose to shoot if we need to shoot at all (figuratively speaking, of course). To the extent that we don't, we portray a God that drops bombs instead of a shepherd that guards his flock with a sling and some rocks.

It's true that the Enemy is prowling around in this world, and believe it or not, in the workplace. To the extent that the Diversity worldview matches that of the Scriptures, I'll praise God's grace; to the extent that God's truth comes under attack I'll not drop the religious bomb, but rather I'll gracefully engage people and mercilessly snipe the real Enemy.