Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Answers To Difficult Issues - part 2
Here is an excellent primer concerning evidences in fossils for evolution. Watch it here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I knew it was worth it to study Japanese...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Invasion
This new song by Trip Lee swept me up into the Holy Spirit! I encourage you to listen to it (the lyrics are below) and then read why he wrote it.


Creation’s groaning, lost their hope and feel they always closed in
Lots to cope with, on the ropes, wish they was in the open
This broken world is so dim, our souls are searching, groping
For one with hope to hold us close, and set goodness in motion
I remember growing up in Dallas, I thought me and my close kin
Was more than straight, our folks was great, not broke that paper flowed in
Not boasting man, just saying in my brain I didn’t know then
That all went wrong, and it just can’t go right like a broke pen
My mind was blind and cloaked in, but then that foolishness departed
I saw this thing’s an ocean, and we just tryna swim real far but
But can’t nobody float when we ain’t got boats or no fins
We need a hero to go in, cause our solutions don’t win
Education can’t fix it, more dough just leads to more sin
Medicine is temporary, government seems so thin
With all these weighty problems, that ain’t shrinking they just growing
Who’s adequate to save us, how about He knew no sin?

Like a G5 yeah you rushed to rescue me
Took a cross in exchange for a throne to save me
You began the work and I know you’ll finish
And make all things right when you come back
Cause you’re my hero, you already saved the day
Cause you’re my hero, and I know you’re coming back for me

Verse 2:
Follow the steps bro, Adam sinned now we all dead so
We gotta sentence on our head like death row, everything is wrecked
All creation is a mess bro,
In the fullness of time, in steps the hero no red cloak, He’s Jesus
No flashing lights, glitz n glam, and no cameras
He came to serve needy folks, and point them to the answer
You see Him healing, feeding folks, and telling them the standard
Our most basic need is to be ransomed by Jesus
It has first place, yeah we separated in the worst ways
Even physically peep how the earth quakes
Separated socially, murder and the worst rapes
Even separated from ourselves, we in the worst state
It’s so major, that’s the reason that we need a Savior
Cause the root of needs is separation from Creator
Jesus came humbly to restore us to our maker
And later He’ll restore all that He made bruh, He’s Jesus

Verse 3:
God is not pleased man, it’s clear that His standards missed
The world is running rampant with, sin it’s an abandonment
Man is feeling stranded, feeling hopeless since his banishment
God is angry at the distortion and the mismanagement
Evil is at work, but don’t be thinking He can’t handle it
He promised He would do away with all of it, dismantle it
He’s put up with this damage in His world, but He’s promised us
That He’ll destroy all His enemies and then He’ll walk with us
New Heaven, new Earth that’s where all His sheep dwell
Cause Jesus succeeded in every part of life that we failed
Died the death we couldn’t die, paid our price with 3 nails
Began the work He promised, in the end we all will be well
Already beat our enemies and when His Kingdom’s realized
All those who oppose Him will see Jesus with some real eyes
Deliverance is offered us, the hero He is urging us
Salvation is exclusive to His people who have turned to trust

Tell us a little bit about this song and why you wrote it.

Well, this song is actually a response to another song entitled, “Invade.” Invade is a song that laments about the brokenness of our world and cries out for someone to save the day. It relates with the cry in all of our hearts for things to be better, and asks the question, “Who will save us?” And that particular song ends without any solution to the problem. I’ve found that people are always looking for someone or something new who can save the day, but they are always let down, because fallen solutions can not fix fallen problems. They just make a bigger mess. “The Invasion” points to the truth that the Hero already came, He already saved the day, and He is returning to make all things new.

I wrote this song because most people don’t associate the brokenness in our world with our separation from God. I wanted people to know that our world is fallen, wicked, and chaotic and all of this chaos comes from our separation from God. But that God sent His Son, the Hero, to reconcile us to Himself. And along with that reconciliation we get to benefit from His glorious work on the cross. We not only get to be reconciled to God in this life, but we look forward to an eternity with God. I wanted people to know that God is going to finally destroy His enemies and make all things new. My prayer is that it really connects with people and points to Jesus as the Hero.

Read the whole interview here with my friend, Justin Taylor.
Is Being Missional Enough?

John Piper writes:

Suppose there were two luxury liners on the sea, and both began to sink at the same time, with huge numbers of people on board who did not know how to swim. And suppose you were in charge of a team of ten rescuers in two large boats.

You arrive on the scene of the first sinking ship and find yourself surrounded by hundreds of screaming people, some going down before your eyes, some fighting over scraps of debris, others ready to jump into the water from the sinking ship. Several hundred yards farther away the very same thing is happening to the people on the other ship.

Your heart breaks for the dying people. You long to save as many as you can, so you cry out to your two crews to give every ounce of energy to pull as many as possible from the water. Spare no pain! Spare no effort!

There are five rescuers in both boats and they are working with all their might. They are saving many. Then someone cries out from the other ship, “Come help us!" What would love do?

I cannot think of any reason that love would leave its labor and go, if, in fact, it is fully engaged saving people right where it is. Love puts no higher value on distant souls than on nearer souls.

In fact, love might well reason that in the time it would take to row across the several hundred yards, a net loss of total souls saved would result.

It might also reason that the energy of the rescuers would be depleted; which would possibly result in a smaller number of individuals being saved.

Not only that, it may be that from experience you know that the people on that other boat were probably all drunk at this time in the evening and would be less likely to respond to your saving efforts.

So love, by itself, may very well refuse to leave its present rescue operation. It may stay at its present work in order to save as many individuals as possible.

The point of the illustration (as artificial and imperfect as it is, since the manpower of the church is NOT fully engaged!) is simply to suggest that love alone (from our limited human perspective, which usually tends to be quite man-centered), may not conceive the missionary task the way God does.

God may have in mind that the goal of the rescue operation should be a gathering of saved sinners from every people in the world (from both luxury liners), even if some of the successful rescuers must leave a fruitful reached (or semi-reached) people in order to labor in a (possibly less fruitful) unreached people.

The conclusion I have come to through the biblical investigation recorded in this paper is that some agency or group in every church and denomination should see as its unique and primary goal

  • NOT merely to win as many souls or plant as many obedient churches as possible cross-culturally,
  • BUT to win souls and plant obedient churches in as many unreached peoples as possible.
Read the whole paper entitled: Unreached Peoples, the Unique and Primary Goal of Missions

Monday, June 21, 2010

12 Arguments Evolutionists Should Avoid

AIG: For years, we’ve maintained a list of arguments creationists should avoid. There are enough good arguments for biblical accuracy and a young earth that dubious claims can safely be discarded. Now we want to address a similar topic: arguments evolutionists should avoid. These worn-out tropes have not only passed their expiration date, but they never should have been made to begin with.

1. Evolution is a fact.
2. Only the uneducated reject evolution

3. Overwhelming evidence in all fields of science supports evolution

4. Doubting evolution is like doubting gravity

5. Doubting evolution is like believing the earth is flat

6. It’s here, so it must have evolved

7. Natural selection is evolution

8. Common design means common ancestry

9. Sedimentary layers show millions of years of geological activity

10. Mutations drive evolution

11. The Scopes trial
12. Science vs. Religion

See how these are fleshed out.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Surprisingly Good Stuff

I've been really enjoying the live streaming coming from the Ligonier National Conference. I encourage you to tune in to the remaining messages. Over the years I have noticed that many conferences are just repetitions of truths we already know. While this is important for review and growth in the fundamentals, it is refreshing to see these speakers attack issues that many Christians wonder about and either never ask or or never find a good answer to.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Radical Difference between Atheism & Theism

Does human life have more value than animal life or plant life? If you think so, why? I encourage you to listen to R.C. Sproul speak about the radical difference between atheism and theism. His message is called, "Only Two Worldviews".

Also, watch the live webcast of Ligonier's National Conference here on June 17.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Cannon of the New Testament: Why Can't We Add on to It?

One reason the Bible is so important for Christians is because it is our sole means of clearly knowing God, including his plans and ways. In this book alone (with over 40 authors from all walks of life and written over thousands of years), God speaks clearly and definitively into actual lives and historical events until he fulfills all prophecy through his Son, Jesus Christ. Only Jesus can and has fulfilled the hopes of all the other Scriptures, of all the other prophets, and of all the previous types in Scripture. To the true student of the Bible, it is utter amazing.

But how do we know Scripture/ authoritative revelation ended with the apostles? Is there any reason to reject what Muhammad said or what Joseph Smith said, for example? How about if a Christian suddenly "heard a voice from God". Should it become Scripture? Here are some clues that I laid out recently for a couple friends:

Hi Guys,

I was thinking more about our discussion on how Jesus has wrapped up/fulfilled Scripture. (Name) pointed out the verse at the end of the book of Revelation (Rev. 22:18), which I do think carries great weight in the discussion. Though this verse is mainly discussing the actual book of Revelation, it seems, especially considering the contents of the book, that it should be a verse that applies to all revelation in the future. The other main verse I thought was Hebrews 1:1-2.

Hebrews 1:1: Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
Hebrews 1:2: but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

The last days of authoritative prophecy/ Scripture is wrapped up by what Jesus Christ and his chosen apostles said and did - Those who were with Jesus personally and were called to give His message to the world (Matt. 28:18-20) and promised that they would recall what was said, by the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). Paul (as he mentioned himself) was one "abnormally born", having received a revelation personally from Jesus after he had already returned to heaven. We are not to trust Joseph Smith or any other one-person revelation (ie. Muhammad) because they do not fit in with Jesus being the summation of all of Scripture, and because they do not bear the weight of historical scrutiny. They are individuals who rely completely on their own private revelation. Paul, on the other hand, met with the other disciples and they gave him "the right hand of fellowship" (Gal. 2:9). If anyone doubted his revelations, there were self-checks built in by the writings and authority of the other apostles.

Jesus validates the entire O.T. as being the Word of God, (Mt. 23:35 & Luke 24:44). We have clear testimony throughout Scripture and through general acceptance to know what Scripture is and what it contains. (Ex. Paul reaffirms Peter and Peter reaffirms Paul's writing as "Scripture" -2 Peter 3:16) Anything outside of this becomes a heresy.

God wants us to have confidence in his Word, the Bible.
What Rules To Have?
Whether we like it or not, we all live by rules. Spoken or unspoken, there are certain ways that we are expected to live or not live. Some rules are too strict and some are too soft. Where do you find the balance? Here is one of the best lists of rules I've found in helping guide my family into ways of peace, kindness and goodness. By God's grace Maki and I hope to show love and give stability to our kids in multiple ways. Having clear rules like this (administered with love and grace) is one way to do just that.

Gregg Harris' 21 Rules of This House
1. We obey God.
2. We love, honor and pray for one another.
3. We tell the truth.
4. We consider one another’s interests ahead of our own.
5. We speak quietly and respectfully with one another.
6. We do not hurt one another with unkind words or deeds.
7. When someone needs correction, we correct him in love.
8. When someone is sorry, we forgive him.
9. When someone is sad, we comfort him.
10. When someone is happy, we rejoice with him.
11. When we have something nice to share, we share it.
12. When we have work to do, we do it without complaining.
13. We take good care of everything that God has given us.
14. We do not create unnecessary work for others.
15. When we open something, we close it.
16. When we take something out, we put it away.
17. When we turn something on, we turn it off.
18. When we make a mess, we clean it up.
19. When we do not know what to do, we ask.
20. When we go out, we act just as if we were in this house.
21. When we disobey or forget any of the 21 Rules of This House, we accept
the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Counterfeit Reality - Part 1

Here is the next part in the video series "Demolishing Strongholds", the series for young people on worldview that I mentioned awhile ago. Check it out.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Does Bilingualism Cause Language Delay?

Great post here for those of us trying to raise bilingual children.

Friday, June 04, 2010

A Missionary's Perspective: Spiritual Parenting
From a fellow missionary in Japan:

We long to share the gospel and see Japanese live in it. Honestly, I don't like to wait. The microwave has to be one of the all time greatest inventions - need dinner - just nuke it in 3 minutes or less! Try translating this over to faith though and you run into problems. Instant faith doesn't seem to be in God's equation for salvation. At times, if your like me, the question becomes, "Is it worth it?" "Is it worth the years and years of struggle needed to see the ONE come to faith?" This isn't just a question we think in our heads, but one we feel in the depths of our spirits. The answer is of course- "Yes!" God attaches numerous blessings, though sometimes hidden, in the years of waiting and struggling. Let me give you just 3 to think about.

1) God uses this time to purify our motivation and love for the individual.
What will our response be when we realize the person we are sharing Christ with isn't moving as fast towards faith as we would like? Through waiting God points out to me where my actions are and are not motivated by love. As Paul tells us "Love is patient, " so isn't not being patient, not loving? So our love for the person is being tested and refined, tested and refined until we come to a place where we begin to not only the message of Christ but our very lives with the person. "But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Have so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us." 1 Thess. 2:7-8

2) God uses this time to prepare a foundation that the person will need after they believe in order to sustain that belief. Instant faith often equals instant falling away, whereas faith that has taken years to develop will also carry with it years of Bible discussions, life lessons, questions and doubts concerning the person of Christ answered, love from a believing friend, people praying, ect, ect. Unlike the seed on the rocky places that dies when the sun scorches it, a person who takes time to come to faith will usually be the seed that has fallen on the good soil and will reproduce their faith. Jesus becomes more than a one time event - He becomes a person that they have grown to know and because of this their transition into a life of faith is more natural. And because they have taken time to consider a life of faith they have anticipated and found Christ sufficient to handle the struggles faith may present in their personal life and relationships. As a result, their walk is stable.

3) God uses this time to maximize and protect His glory. There is a lot of praise and thanksgiving when someone comes to faith regardless of the timing, but this is magnified when years are added to the process. All the heartache, fear, doubts, prayers, struggles before the person believes will turn into joy to God on this side of faith. And when salvation takes years it is far easier to see what is always true - that their salvation wasn't due "so and so's" sermon or "so and so's" Bible study but because God in His goodness combined the efforts of many to produce His desired result. Man's pride is taken out of the picture and God's glory is preserved.

I'm sure there are many more reasons than this to trust God with the process - with the years it may take. The struggle may not be easy, but it is worth it!

- Like my friend, I encourage you also to keep investing your life with love into others. MW