Finding God's Will

This is an excellent lecture on the topic.

From Kevin DeYoung, at NEXT.

Slow Down the Texting!

From Al Mohler:

Statistics can be used to inform or to mislead, and sometimes they can shock.  See if this statistic isn't shocking:  In the fourth quarter of 2008 American teenagers sent and received an average of 2,272 text messages per month.  That, dear friends, is nothing to LOL about.

That statistic comes from The New York Times.  In "Texting May Be Taking a Toll," reporter Katie Hafner offers a view into the lives of American teens.  They are fanatical texters.  As Hafner reports, "They do it late at night when their parents are asleep. They do it in restaurants and while crossing busy streets. They do it in the classroom with their hands behind their back. They do it so much their thumbs hurt."

Authorities now blame excessive texting for sleep deprivation, distraction in school, poor grades, and even repetitive stress injuries.  These teens are texting while they should be sleeping, and they are sleeping with the cell phone set to vibrate so that they can respond to texts from friends without waking parents.

Thirteen Acts of Soul Worship

David Clarkson continues, in his discourse on soul idolatry:
Before we come to confirm and apply this truth, it will be requisite to make a more clear discovery of this secret idolatry, the most that are guilty of it not taking notice of their guilt, because they account nothing idolatry but what is openly and outwardly so.
He then lists and describes thirteen "acts of soul worship."

1. Esteem.  That which we most highly value we make our God.
2. Mindfulness.  That which we are most mindful of we make our God.
3. Intention.  That which we [make our ultimate goal] we make our God.
4. Resolution.  That which we resolve [to pursue] we make our God.
5. Love.  That which we love [the most] we make our God.
6. Trust.  That which we most trust we make our God.
   "For confidence and dependence is an act of worship which the Lord calls for as due only to          himself."
7. Fear.  That which we most fear (respect, revere) we worship as our God.
8. Hope.  That which we make our hope we worship as God.
9. Desire.  That which we most desire we worship as our God.
10. Delight. That which we most delight and rejoice in, that we worship as God.
11. Zeal.  That for which are more zealous we worship as God.
12. Gratitude.  That to which we are most grateful, that we worship as God.
13. Care and Industry. That whom we serve we worship as God.

Who is your God?  May we be like Thomas who, when seeing Jesus, proclaimed:

"My Lord and my God."  

And my Jesus Christ receive our sole soul worship.


William Young (Author of the Shack) Tells Us What He Believes

An interview by Kendall Adams, pastor of the Burlington Baptist Church, with William P. Young of The Shack.  He discusses what he believes about the doctrines of the atonement and hell.  Worth knowing if you liked the book.

Secret and Soul Idolatry

David Clarkson writes of the "twofold worship due only to God, internal and external."

External worship is the religious activity - bowing, and I suppose singing, reciting, and whatever else goes along with a religious service.

Internal worship, as Clarkson says, is "the acts of the soul and actions answerable thereto."
When the mind is most taken up with an object, and the heart and affections most set upon it, this is soul worship, and this is due only to God.  For He being the chief good, and the last end of intelligent creatures, it is his due, proper to him alone, to be most minded and most affected; it is the hour due only to the Lord to have the first, the highest place, both in our minds and hearts and endeavors.
Therein, external idolatry is something like bowing to an idol.  But secret and soul idolatry is
when the mind and heart is set upon anything more than God; when anything is more valued, more intended; anything more trusted, more loved, or our endeavors more for any other thing than God.
Clarkson chillingly concludes:
Secret idolaters shall have no inheritance in the kingdom of God.
Every thought, attitude, word and deed is one of worship.  The worship is either true - devoted to the God of the Bible - or false - devoted to anything else.  This is paramount for all of life and specifically for counseling.  Our problems of the soul, our relationships, and our outlook are so often problems of lingering soul idolatry.


Spoiling The Blessing

My sermon from May 3rd on Genesis 12.10-20 (where Abe sells out on his wife).

Single and Fully Feminine

From Carolyn McCulley

As found on Mary Kassian's Girls Gone Wise

Christian-Secular Culture Disclaimers (Excuses)

Prodigaljohn pins us.  Funny.

HT: Rachel

Not As Obvious, Far More Pervasive, and Perhaps More Destructive Idolatry

After hearing Tim Keller's paradigm-shifting sermon at the Gospel Coalition Conference as well as reading Greg Beale's We Become What We Worship, I'm thinking a lot about idolatry.

I'm now reading David Clarkson's Soul Idolatry Excludes Men Out of Heaven  (Download it here.) and plan to blog through it slowly.

This morning's reading packed a punch.  Considering Ephesians 5.5 Clarkson pronounces that
Indeed, every reigning lust is an idol, and every person in whom it reigns is an idolater.  The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life are carnal man's trinity.
What is idolatry? Clarkson names idolatry as following: 
To give that honor and worship to the creature which is due only to God.  

To transfer that respect which is due only to God, from Him to the creature.
Next time: "twofold worship"


Home Is Where The Heart Is (Revealed)

The devil comes dressed as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11.14), but don’t go on the date ‘til you’ve considered his resume.  We all know a little of what it means to gloss up - to look our best our for certain situations.  For many settings this is completely appropriate.  You don’t dress the same for a banquet as you do for movie night at home.  Obviously. 

But our dress gets dangerous when it’s hiding something. 

Integrity is a theme of biblical proportions.  One definition of integrity is “being whole and undivided.”  Integrity isn’t measured by your best moments.  It’s measured by all your moments.  This means that the ultimate issue is the state of your heart.

Even the prophet Samuel had to be reminded of the importance of the inner heart rather than outer appearance.  When searching for the next king Samuel was greatly impressed by appearances of height and strength.  God set things straight by declaring, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Sam 16.7)

The heart is where the Lord is looking, and that’s where we ought to be focusing our attention as well.  Jesus continually dropped this reality on the church-folk of His day.  When they were uptight about His hygene before lunch, and He went after their hearts.  He insisted, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. (Matthew 15.18-19)”

Later it will come to cursing.  That’s what Jesus inevitably gives to the fakes.  He proclaims,

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. 
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23.25-28)

This hurts.  On the outside, things can look clean and white, meticulously cared for.  We’re trying so hard to make sure everyone knows we’ve been churchy.  But inside?  A tomb of filth.

So who are you, really?  How’s your heart?  Only the Lord knows that perfectly.  But there is a sign, a map, a hint, a clue. We find it in 1 Timothy, where Paul is giving Timothy the knowledge he needs to make sure he’s getting leaders of true heart.  He writes, 

Therefore an overseer must be… above reproach, the husband of one wife… He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?
Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 3.1-13)

Where does one look to check for integrity?  One key place to look is at home.  You are who you truly are at home.  The health of your heart is revealed in your closest relationships.  It’s the season for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day…so how’s your heart at home?

If there were a situation where your husband, your wife, your son, your daughter, your closest friend, could and would speak honestly, what might that testimony reveal about your heart?  Would there be found, not perfect of course, but genuine integrity?  Or does your churchy best hide a tomb? 

The Lord is looking at your heart. Jesus said this of His coming:

19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3.19-21)

A lack of integrity, a churched-up gloss betrayed by hell at home, reveals a resistance to the light.  We’ve got those deeds lurking at home – explosions of rage, passive rejection, poisonous words, horrid habits – and, we think, “we must not have those exposed!” So we will not come to the light we so desperately need.

O my friends, this heart probing is painful, but it is about love.  Our Lord graciously invites us to the light we so desperately need.

If this is speaking to you personally, Jesus invites you to come to the light.  Come to Him.  He exclaims, “I am the light of the world!” (John 14.12) He is eager to free us from our fake!  And make us free indeed (John 14.36).

How does one go about this?  I’ve three ideas:

1) Go to Jesus.  Honestly confess in detail.  Honestly repent in detail.  And put all your hope on the Gospel.  He has died as your substitute, for your cleansing, and to enable your transformation.  Be forgiven, loved, and changed!

2) Go to those you’ve sinned against.  Honestly confess in detail.  Honestly repent in detail.  Be reconciled!

3) Be accountable.  We need one another.  There are no Christians who are both maverick and thriving.  Find one trustworthy, and honestly share your struggles, inviting confrontation and encouragement in the Gospel.

It’s hard, no doubt.  But it’s time for some spring cleaning.  There corpses in the corners of hearts.  Let’s go to Jesus, the One who is looking at our hearts, and have Him turn on the light, that our hearts might beat of Him at home.



There are those who say that singleness is better, but unfortunately that is not the experience of many who have been single long-term. Tim Adeney looks at why, and what we can do to love and serve the single people in our churches.