7.31.2008

Stupid Commercial Claims, #5

"...we could save all the oil they are talking about getting off drilling if everybody was just inflating their tires."
Who said it?  Here's the video.

7.30.2008

The Elder Statesman Gives Council to Young Leaders

Mark Drisoll asked J. I. Packer for his advice for young leaders:

He emphasized the following:
1. Regeneration
2. God-centered theology
3. Godliness at home
4. The Trinity


Understanding 1 Timothy 2.12

Here's an insightful interview with New Testament scholar Andreas J. K√∂stenberger on the pivotal text regarding gender roles and the office of elder.  He says, 
Clearly, the role of women in the church is not an isolated instance but is part of a larger set of interrelated issues that will continue to engage the church for years to come. While not a first-order, salvation issue—no one is saved based on their view regarding women’s roles in the church—it is a matter of considerable practical and doctrinal consequence.

7.18.2008

My Son

My son!

I love this kid.

Optimism On Opposition


John Ortberg writes about "The Gift of Opposition":
I have given up the idea that there is an opposition-free church out there. But I have gained something else—an appreciation for the gift of opposition. When it comes, I learn something about my motives. When it comes, I get to test my courage. When it comes, the truth about my humility (or lack thereof) is revealed. When it comes, blind spots get exposed that would otherwise do damage. When it comes, I am given the opportunity to grow strong. When it comes, I discover that I am the opposition in more lives than I ever would have guessed.

How To Comfort Grieving Friends

Wise guidance from Molly Piper. This is her suffering:

A year ago I was seven months pregnant with our second child. We found out at our 18-week ultrasound, much to my delight, that this one was a girl. As the last months of pregnancy ambled on, we got more and more excited. We had done the boy thing already; we were ready for a daughter.

Everything was normal as the end of pregnancy drew near. There were no signs of a problem when I visited the doctor that final week. However, at 39 weeks and 4 days, I couldn't shake the feeling, “I haven't been feeling this baby move as much.”

We went to the hospital, not really alarmed, but concerned. When they couldn't find her heartbeat, mine beat fast enough and furiously enough for both of us, as though it were trying to live for her. Ultrasounds confirmed that our child had died.

7.17.2008

Making Money In A Slumping Economy


Karl Greenfield from portfolio.com writes,
We are a diverse, representative swath of troubled America: families struggling under debt, husbands and wives seeking reconciliation, young couples on first dates, children dragged by pious grandparents who promise them popcorn and BibleMan action figures. It is religion as escapism, criticized throughout the Bible Belt as “Christianity lite” or “prosperity gospel.” But this murmuring crowd, slouching toward a kinder, gentler salvation, is a more telling indicator of the state of our union than consumer durables purchased or capital goods ordered. Unemployment they know; they don’t need to wait for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to publish a monthly number. O, but come to Joel, lift your hands to Jesus, banish your negative thoughts, and you can find in these dark times a beacon.

If, in this country, there is great hurting, then Osteen is here to soothe that suffering. He does not wish that pain on any of us, and the sight or thought of it will bring forth from him great torrents of tears—his eyes clamped shut, his fingers pressed into narrow eye sockets, his lips pulled back over pink gums as he grimaces. The crying has become a visual touchstone of an Osteen sermon, the born-again equivalent of James Brown’s pre-encore collapse from “exhaustion.”

Joel feels our pain and has made himself wealthy (reportedly earning $13 million for his last book advance alone) and his church prosperous ($75 million and counting in annual revenue) by urging us to let go of it, to turn it over to God, to accept God’s favor so that we may be as prosperous as Joel.
Is such a thing really Christianity?  Give me this instead.

7.16.2008

And All In the Image of God

Honor and opportunity or inconvenience?

Josh Hamilton's Savior


And on this particular night, a little boy of about 9 or 10, wearing a Reds cap, handed me a pen and something to sign. Nothing unusual there, but as I was writing the boy said, "Josh, you're my savior." This stopped me. I looked at him and said, "Well, thank you. Do you know who my savior is?"

He thought for a minute. I could see the gears turning. Finally, he smiled and blurted out, "Jesus Christ." He said it like he'd just come up with the answer to a test. "That's exactly right," I said.

You see, I may not know how I got here from there, but every day I get a better understanding of why.

Read it all here.

7.15.2008

Strange Worship

But somehow biblical:
Hallelujah!  The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.
We don't sing that theme in our songs very often.  

A Prayer Answered

This is beautiful.

Now I'm praying the same idea for my children.  Don't miss the video/ commentary of the kiss.  What an example!

"Helping" "Transgender" Children

This is disgusting:
Dr. Norman Spack is the pediatric specialist behind the clinic for “transgender children,” and he is treating patients as young as 7-years-old. For younger patients who desire to be the opposite gender from that of biology, birth and Providence, Spack offers counseling and drugs that delay the onset of puberty. The drugs, he says, halt the natural flood of hormones that will make it difficult to have a sex alteration later in life, allowing children “more time to decide whether they want to make the change.”

Paul McHugh, University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, is one such critic and he hints at transcendent truth in analyzing the potential harm of such dangerous therapy and injections: “Treating these children with hormones does considerable harm and it compounds their confusion,” McHugh told FOXNews.com. “Trying to delay puberty or change someone else’s gender is a rejection of the lawfulness of nature.” Further, McHugh said “gender reassignment” for children recalls the dark ages, “when choir boys were castrated to retain their high-pitched voices…It’s barbaric.” 
I use quotes because I don't believe the above helps and I'm quite sure the two actual genders are fairly obvious.

7.10.2008

The Sufficiency of Christ

A worthy read from Reinke:
The glorious sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice is a golden theme woven by God throughout the New Testament. The list of passages rejoicing in this sufficiency—and warning us not to forget it—is a lengthy list. A small sampling of my favorite passages would include Gal. 1:6-9, 2:16, 21, 5:2-4, 6:14, 1 Cor. 2:1-2, Col. 2:5-19, 3:1-4, Heb. 7:11, 10:1-14, Rev. 5:1-14. Rather than some optional, ornate fixture hung on Christianity, understanding of the sufficiency of Christ’s work is very central to saving faith. At the most fundamental level “there is salvation in no one else” (Acts 4:12)
Christ is enough.

Being Like God

From Bruce Ware (and 1 Cor. 11.3):
It is as God-like to submit with joy and gladness to rightful authority as it is to exert wise and beneficial rightful authority.

Tyndale -Then and Now


I'm honored to have many missionaries related to me through blood and marriage.  My cousin and his family will be leaving soon to spread the gospel abroad Tyndale-style.  They recently had a delightful little boy named Tyndale.  These links from Desiring God are in their honor and for their encouragement. 

Always Singing One Note - —A Vernacular Bible

Why William Tyndale Lived and Died

Every day William Tyndale was seeing these Reformation truths more clearly ... 
William Tyndale gave us our English Bible. The sages assembled by King James ...

 Listen   |    Download
Excerpts:   Listen   |    Watch

William Tyndale: A Life Transformed by God’s Word

New Attitude 2008

William Tyndale: A Life Transformed by God’s Word from the Desiring God Christian 
Resource Library. Conference Messages and resources about The Bible.

 Listen   |    Download


Subjection to God and Subjection to the State, Part 1

I am reading a very good biography by David Daniell on William Tyndale who was 
burned at the stake for translating the New Testament from Greek into English ...

 Listen   |    Watch   |    Download

Essential Reading for Christian Youth

Thanks to the Doctrine Matters blog for this helpful list.

Get reading.

7.02.2008

The Church's Pyromania



Pyromania is “an obsessive desire to set fire to things.”  Obviously, the condition is a bit destructive.  And though you may never have considered putting a match to our building, let me propose the possibility that each one of us may have this flammable tendency when it comes to church.  I’m thinking of what the apostle James had to say (James 3.4-9):

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.

Our building is where we meet.  The church is the “we.”  The church is the people who trust in and love Jesus and meet together to worship Him.   We’ve never had any problems with regular building destruction.  But the pyromania by the people and toward the people is always lurking.  If we’re honest we have to admit that we are often inclined to “light each other up” with the words that we say about one another to one another.  Gossip – this is church’s pyromania.  And of course we never set our brothers and sister ablaze to their face – we wouldn’t want them to know the cause of the strange warmth they’re feeling around them.  We set them on fire by “mentioning,” “conversing,” or “sharing” something negative about them to someone else.

 This easiest of sins is a great and devastating evil. It kills relationships, and we’re each somewhat to blame for 1) initiating it and 2) hosting it. 

The first thing to realize is that God sees gossip as wicked. Consider these connected selections from Romans 1:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men …

21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened…

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God…

Right there in the midst of the morass of depravity and rebellion against God, just one word away from “haters of God”, is the word gossips.  Gossip is an easy sin, but it is not a small sin. What is gossip?  Try this definition on for size:

Gossip is any inappropriate sharing of information that would cast someone in a negative light.

Gossip is awful for many reasons.  Here are six: 

1. Gossip is immature.

O how the long-time church-goers can be most excellent at the eloquent BBQ-ing of their own brothers and sisters.  Those who would see themselves as theologically mature can gossip as easy as breathing.  The poison comes out unfiltered and undisciplined, with no thought to God’s direct teaching on the matter:

Ephesians 4.29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

May God enable our tongues’ discipline and maturity.

2. Gossip is selfish.

Sometimes we gossip for a sense of intimacy.  Sharing juicy details about someone else can make our conversation more interesting.  Sometimes we gossip for status.  We enjoy feeling important enough to be privy to sensitive information.  Sometimes we gossip for revenge.  We can get back at the hurt someone has caused us by slandering them to others.  Sometimes we gossip for our insecurity.  It makes us feel better about ourselves to advertise the flaws in others.  Sometimes we gossip to feel wise, when the info presented gives us opportunity for an “I told you so” moment. 

In any case, it is all about “me.”  The selfishness of gossip means two things: 1) it is unloving, and 2) it is prideful.  That’s pretty gnarly when you consider God’s Word:

Proverbs 16.Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
 be assured, he will not go unpunished.

1 John 3.14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.

3. Gossip is unfair.

When person A tells person B about person C, person C is guilty without trial.  He never has a chance to know the accusations against him, apologize for them, or explain them.  He’s just guilty.  That’s unfair.

4. Gossip is untrue.

In the same way, gossip is distinctly one-sided.  The whole story is never known.  Therefore the gossip is untrue. As the Proverb (18.17) reads, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”

5. Gossip destroys relationships.

Relationships are so important to the church.  They are our vehicles for living out the gospel and glorifying God.  Gossip sets fire to the church because it destroys relationships.  Sadly, we must realize that a lot of gossip “gets around.”  That is its nature.  People hear what you say.  And so often, when a person hears what’s gone around the horn about them, they have no opportunity to respond or apologize with out compromising others.  So the ugly awkwardness is burning away at everyone and relationships are destroyed, with no clear path towards healing.

6. Gossip is cowardly.

If we were truly mature, we would talk with the person with whom we have the problem.  Period.  As Jesus taught in Matthew 18, if you have something against someone, go to them first.  You don’t have any right to spread the news ‘till you’ve talked with the source.  But we are often too afraid to do what is right…and our own flaws are more likely to be exposed when we talk out the problem.

Lets Be Gossip Killers

Here are a few principles that can help us “live lives worthy of the gospel” in regards to gossip.

  1. If you have a problem with someone, try to overlook it and forgive.  Let’s be humble and give grace!  Consider Jesus’ humility and grace in Philippians 2 (1-11).
  2. If you need to talk about it, talk first with the one with whom you have the problem and work for reconciliation.
  3. If someone comes to you with juicy info, apply Ephesians 4.29 (below).  If the message isn’t helpful or if that person has not first spoken to the one with whom they have a problem, refuse to listen to their gossip and encourage them to do what is right.

For the glory of God and our joy, let’s put the fires out with the self-control and grace of God.

Ephesians 4.29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.