Tuesday, June 30, 2009
by my friend Eric Schumacher
Are you really amazed by the good news? How do you think about your "little sins"?
"Wesley pictures himself as one who is not simply a sinner, but one who is chasing Christ in order to kill him and torture him. How is it that Christ could die for such a person?
And that is exactly the point that Paul is driving at in Romans 5:6-11. In verse 5, Paul has mentioned the love of God that has been poured out into our hearts. And where is this love grounded and where is it seen? In Christ’s death.
And when did Christ die for us? “While we were still weak.” And what does Paul mean by “weak”? He is referring to our moral condition. He says that “at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”
On rare occasions, scarcely, someone will die in the place of a righteous person (one’s whose life is outwardly morally upright) or for a good person (someone who does good). But such is scarce.
God’s love—which Wesley calls “amazing love”—is seen in this, “that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In verse ten, Paul says that this happened “while we were enemies.”
Friend, do you believe this morning that you are one “who caused his pain, who him to death pursued”? Do you believe that you are “weak,” “ungodly,” a “sinner,” and an “enemy of God”? If you do not believe yourself to be such, then you cannot possibly believe that Jesus Christ died for you—because that is who this passage says that Christ died for!"
Monday, June 29, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
"TV consumes more and more time for those who get used to watching it. You start to feel like it belongs. You wonder how you could get along without it. I am jealous for my evenings. There are so many things in life I want to accomplish. I simply could not do what I do if I watched television. So we have never had a TV in 40 years of marriage (except in Germany, to help learn the language)."
I have to agree with Piper here. With the internet, I don't even really need a T.V. for language study either. My wife and I watch movies that are recommended to us by trusted sources about once a month. This seems to be enough for us.
Read the rest of Piper's article here.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Taken from a book (which can be read online here) from Mark Driscoll:
"Your children and your wife are your first ministry. You must begin at home. Then you can work out from your home to invite strangers in to see the difference Jesus makes in the life of a man, his wife, and their children. Isaiah 8:18 says, "Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion." Isaiah rightly understood that in dark days, it is men who love God, love their wives, and raise their children with wisdom, grace, and joy who shine forth like the first rays of dawn.
More than bigger governments, bigger schools, more free school lunches, more child therapists, more child medications, more daycares, more prisons, and more birth control, we need more godly men who raise their sons to be godly men who raise their sons to be godly men who raise their sons to be godly men (Ps. 78:5-8)."
Monday, June 22, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
My friend Justin Taylor has a great post about the sacrifices and joys of fatherhood. Before this Father's Day (this Sunday), I pray that you would truly thank God for your father; and if you had a "not-so-good" father, that you would be brought to deep thankfulness over our true heavenly Father, who has paid every price to love us and never leave us.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
"I am concerned for the poor, but more for you. I know not what Christ will say to you in the great day... I fear there are many who may know well that they are not Christians because they do not love to give. To give largely and liberally, not grudgingly at all, requires a new heart. An old heart would rather part with its life-blood than its money. Oh my friends! Enjoy your money; make the most of it; give none away; enjoy it quickly for I can tell you, you will beggars throughout eternity."
- Robert Murray M'Cheyne (Scottish pastor, died at the age of 29.)
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Owen Strachan has a great review of Russell Moore's, Adopted For Life. He writes:
The text itself is full of passion, biblical theology, and humor. It is not a straight theology of adoption, a personal reflection on adoption, or a handbook on the rudiments of the adoption process. It is a mixture of all three. As a result, the text simultaneously teaches, edifies, provokes, and moves the reader. Though a text that purports to cover adoption, it ends up covering much more, and stands in my mind as something of a mini-biblical theology of salvation.Further on:
I cannot commend the book highly enough. In the face of numerous heartbreaking miscarriages, Moore and his wife Maria traveled to Russia to adopt two boys some years ago, the story that provides the backbone of the text. After beginning with this personal touch, Moore proceeds to cover theological and practical aspects of adoption in midrash-like chapters that set the matter in cosmic perspective. Adopted for Life is a good title, though The Drama of Adoption might also have captured the spirit of the text.
Many Christians are catching a heart for adoption. This is a most welcome trend. I am quite sure that those who are on the fence about adoption will, after reading this powerful book, find themselves irresistibly drawn to contributing to the cause in some way. The image painted by Moore of his first visit to the Russian orphanage where his sons lay in darkness and filth is indelibly printed in my mind. It will be in yours, too, and with the rest of the book, it will drive you to pray and to work to contribute to the culture of gospel-centered adoption as an application of the theological doctrine.
In orphanages across the world, children languish, unwanted, unnoticed, unheard. Their lives have no purpose or beauty. Most of them will suffer through childhood and go on to an early death, fizzling out like comets in a sky that nobody sees. It is my hope and prayer that the book will go far and wide, spreading a culture of adoption in Christian churches, causing families to abandon ordinary, easy, low-cost, low-reward Christianity and drive them instead to take on the challenge of adoption. Whether fertile or infertile, rich or poor, all who live wisely and generously can in some way participate in this outworking of biblical theology.(HT:Z)
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
For some reason I get hooked into talking with angry atheists. I don't know what it is... maybe it is just that I see so many holes in their argument, or maybe it is because I just really want them to lay down their pride and come to the Savior. I guess it is a combination of both. Allow me to let you in on a brief episode of one conversation. I hope it will benefit you.
I am getting a little tired of your pride, but I guess that is to be expected - you did once claim to be all-knowing. (The quote was, "I KNOW God does not exist.")
Let me help you see where you are going off-
First, the Old Testament has never approved of people doing the things you mentioned. David and Solomon had concubines, but God's law had always said that people should not multiply wives. Slavery was never allowed in the way that we understand the term today. "Slaves" were indentured servants that were to be treated fairly and provided for with care and respect - even foreigners. In fact, when Saul, in a tirade killed some of the slaves (the Gibeonites), God got very angry and punished him directly for it. The back drop is Genesis 1:27 - people are made in the image of God, and therefore people (yes YOU) have EXTREME value. We can see that in America's founding documents even today. We are given "unalienable rights". That is the foundation for the western society that you enjoy today.
Of course genocide is the big one that many people bring up. However, people were never condoned to kill a whole nation of people, only God Himself, who had made these people, and who had sole rights as their creator, had the right to wipe them out - and he did it through the his chosen people, the Isrealites. Life is a gift, not something we deserve. Eventually God takes back every earthly life he gives because of our own sin. All sin deserves the death penalty, because we are offending an infinitely good and perfect God. When and where and how people die are God's to decide, not us.
Going back to the law, even killing ONE man (or baby - in or out of the womb) was to be punished by death! These were GOD'S creatures, not man's. Man (of course that includes women) is made in the image of God, and therefore were to be highly respected and cared for. Men never have the right to kill anyone for any reason. This is the teaching of the New Testament. I am very sad for our "consensus" today, that doesn't respect the life of babies. It is much worse than slavery ever was. It is a brutal slaughter of millions.
Jesus said, "You have heard it said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, 'love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,"
Now you said you have read the New Testament, but it isn't clear from what you are saying here. The N.T. has a higher morality than is around anywhere today. Why are we de-evolving as time goes on? Why are we going further from the highest morality we have yet to see? Jesus said, "Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you." He said to forgive, even if someone sins against you 77 times! I don't see that anywhere today. The basic consensus is to divorce as soon as you "don't feel the flame anymore." I see retaliation and revenge against other (as long as it is within the law) to be the norm. So the consensus approach is not working, and it surely is not getting better or more homogenous as time goes on. There is more conflict and strife and wars and death in the last century than all the others combined! Things are definitely not getting better.
Finally, consensus approaches are what leads to the majority persecuting the minority. Because there is no outside moral standard, morality becomes completely relative - only based on the majority. There is no right and wrong, truly. It is just what the majority (in this case) of Americans think. That is scary.
Now what are the basic "facts" I do not accept? I haven't heard one. And please don't make judgments on my hold on reality. Soon I am going to have to ask you why I could trust judgment of any kind coming from a completely irrational chance assemblage of molecules. I wouldn't expect any rationality to come through complete chance and time. I would never expect to read Shakespeare after throwing thousands of letters into the air or after having monkeys type on a computer for millions of years. The probability of ANY rational thing happening in the universe is 0, and yet we go ahead and trust these brains of ours like they actually can make sense of reality! Not only do we HAVE reality, but we can understand it correctly?
Don't you realize how much faith you have in the impossible? It is much bigger leap than I am taking. I think it comes down to this: You don't WANT to believe in God. Just like Dawkins and Hitchens, you have been turned off by the church. That is the reason you are fighting so hard against truth. But listen - God loves you - and he is not to be defined by a church or by sinful men. He defines himself in the Bible - his own inspired Word. I encourage you to go there and seek Him.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Today I was listening to a message about parenting from Pastor Rod Plummer at Jesus Lifehouse Church in Tokyo (One of the fastest growing churches in Japan). I was really enjoying his positive (as usual), upbeat, joyful message when he said something that made me stop and think a little more deeply.
Basically Rod said, "We are not going to be a church that gives deep messages."
According to him, most Christians are not living out what they already know, and so to pile up more head knowledge would only lead to pride, not to joyful obedience and love.
That made me stop and think about a few things:
1. Knowledge has a tendency to puff up one's pride. (1 Cor. 8:1)
2. However, God inspired hard texts - even Peter thought so.
(2 Peter 3:15-16)
3. God wants us to know his Word well.
4. Knowing God more can lead to loving God more.
5. Without truth, we cannot truly love.
After praying about this, I thought about John Piper's message entitled, "Why God Inspired Hard Texts?" This helped me gain a good perspective on whether one should be deep or simple:
"That God is love unleashes the impulse of simplicity, and that God is God unleashes the impulse of complexity.
That God is love unleashes the impulse of accessibility, and that God is God unleashes the impulse of profundity.
That God is love encourages a focus on the basics, and that God is God encourages a focus on comprehensiveness. One says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31). The other says, "I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27).
That God is love impels us to be sure that the truth gets to all people, and that God is God impels us to be sure that what gets to all people is the truth.
That God is love unleashes the impulse toward fellowship, and that God is God unleashes the impulse toward scholarship.
That God is love tends to create extroverts and evangelists, and that God is God tends to create introverts and mystics.
That God is love helps foster a folk ethos, and that God is God helps foster fine ethos. One ethos revels in the intimacy of God and sings softly...
And the other ethos revels in the transcendent majesty of God and sings with profound exultation."
Read the whole thing here. If you don't have much time, at least read the conclusion. It is well worth your time.
R.C. Sproul, from this month's Tabletalk magazine, writes:
"I have never met an Arminian who would answer the question that I’ve just posed by saying, 'Oh, the reason I’m a believer is because I’m better than my neighbor.' They would be loath to say that. However, though they reject this implication, the logic of semi-Pelagianism requires this conclusion. If indeed in the final analysis the reason I’m a Christian and someone else is not is that I made the proper response to God’s offer of salvation while somebody else rejected it, then by resistless logic I have indeed made the good response, and my neighbor has made the bad response.
What Reformed theology teaches is that it is true the believer makes the right response and the non-believer makes the wrong response. But the reason the believer makes the good response is because God in His sovereign election changes the disposition of the heart of the elect to effect a good response. I can take no credit for the response that I made for Christ. God not only initiated my salvation, He not only sowed the seed, but He made sure that that seed germinated in my heart by regenerating me by the power of the Holy Ghost."
Personally, I praise God for his sovereign mercy and grace that overcame my wicked rebellion!
Read the whole thing here.
I would be interested in your thoughts and/or questions.
Saturday, June 06, 2009
In his book, "Crazy Love", (which I am thoroughly enjoying) Francis Chan writes:
"Suppose you are an extra in an upcoming movie. You will probably scrutinize that one scene where hundreds of people are milling around just waiting for that two-fifths of a second when you can see the back of your head. Maybe your mom and your closest friend get excited about the two-fifths of a second with you... maybe. But no one else will realize it is you. Even if you tell them, they won't care.
Let's take it a step further. What if you rent out the theater opening night and invite all of your friends and family to come and see the new movie about you? People will say, "You're an idiot! How could you think this movie is about you?"
Many Christians are even more delusional than the person I've been describing. So many of us think and live like the movie of life is all about us."
What is life about? What is all of history about? Obviously it is about God and his epic story of salvation in Christ Jesus. Chan goes on to say:
"We have our two-fifths of a second to live. I don't know about you, but I want my two-fifths to be about making much of God. 1 Corinthians 1:31 says, "So whether you eat or whether you drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." That is what each of our two-fifths of a second is all about."
*Learn more about this book here.
*Check out the next post for a related video.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Monday, June 01, 2009
From The Collapse of Evolution by Scott Huse. Huse list 24 contrasts between the Bible and evolutionary thinking to show how theistic evolution is Biblically impossible. Here are just ten of them:
1. Bible: God spoke all of creation into existence (Gen. 1)
Evolution: Natural chance processes can account for the existence of all things.
2. Bible: World created in six regular days. (Gen. 1)
Evolution: World evolved over eons.
3. Bible: Creation is completed. (Gen. 2:3)
Evolution: New life forms are still emerging.
4. Bible: Ocean before land (Gen. 1:2)
Evolution: Land before oceans.
5. Bible: Light for the Earth before the sun (Gen. 1:3-19)
Evolution: Sun was the only light for the Earth
6. Bible: First life is on land (Gen 1:11)
Evolution: Marine organisms evolved first.
7. Bible: Earth before sun and stars (Gen. 1:14-19)
Evolution: Sun and stars before Earth.
8. Bible: Atmosphere between two hydrospheres (Gen. 1:7)
Evolution: Continguous atmosphere and hydrosphere.
9. Bible: Fixed and distinct kinds. (Gen. 1:11, 12, 21,24, 25; 1 Cor. 15:38-39)
Evolution: Life forms in a continual state of flux.
10. Bible: Man's sin the cause of death (Rom. 8:20-22)
Evolution: Struggle and death existent long before the evolution of man.