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Showing posts from February, 2010

on leadership, parenting and mentoring

Found some good reading this week online. First two articles on NT church leadership: "It is the view of the writers of the NT that Jew and Gentile united in Christ is the people of God, the royal priesthood, the chosen portion of God, and it is the job of all of us, all of us, to be a light to the nations, to be winsome so we might win some for Christ, to be priests offering this world and all that is in it back to God for as the psalmist says--- 'the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof.' With the call to come to Christ comes a call to ministry, and it does not come to just some of us. It comes with the territory." From "Neither Clergy, Nor Laity" by Ben Witherington III . "It is clear from Paul’s letter to Titus that the church was not to be a chaotic mass of people without guidance or leadership." Reid Monaghan on elders, deacons and members. On parenting: "Why are kids leaving the church? The answer lies in paren


Michael Patton does a good job on explaining, and drawing logical conclusions, about the differences between egalitarianism and complementarianism in gender: " what complementarianism is really all about " ... You see, when people are truly committed and consistent egalitarians, they have to defend their denial of essential differences. In doing so, they will advocate a education system in the home, church, and society which neutralizes any assumption of differences between the sexes. In doing so, men will not be trained to be “men” since there is really no such thing. Women will not be encouraged to be “women” since there is no such thing. The assumption of differences becomes a way to oppress society and marginalize, in their estimation, one sex for the benefit of the other. Once we neutralize these differences, we will have neutered society and the family due to a denial of God’s design in favor of some misguided attempt to promote a form of equality that is neither possi

on religious freedom

Here's an excellent point made by George Weigel in "The erosion of religious freedom "... Religious freedom, rightly understood, cannot be reduced to freedom of worship. Religious freedom includes the right to preach and evangelize, to make religiously informed moral arguments in the public square, and to conduct the affairs of one's religious community without undue interference from the state. If religious freedom only involves the freedom to worship, then, as noted above, there is "religious freedom" in Saudi Arabia, where Bibles and evangelism are forbidden but expatriate Filipino laborers can attend Mass in the U.S. embassy compound in Riyadh.

a method of reading + prayer

This has been helpful in my bible reading: Tim Keller writes about fellowship with God through Bible reading and meditation... what he calls a "middle" practice between reading and prayer... Method in Prayer : Below we outline a simple way of 'fellowship with God'. Rather than simply studying our Bibles and praying in a merely cognitive way, our 4-fold outline included the discipline of a 'middle' practice ("meditation") between Bible reading and prayer as well as the expectation of a final practice ("contemplation") that is the fruit of all we do. The method: Reading (Listening) - Slow, gentle reading of Scripture repeatedly, looking for things not seen, appreciated, or enjoyed before. Listening for God's voice and stopping to taste the truth as it goes by. Write down main things learned. Meditation (Reflecting) - Take each and think out: "How can this lead me 1) to adore God ? 2) to confess sin? 3) to petition for grace ?

the shepherd's rod

Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. (Psalm 33:18-19 ESV) There's an unusual parallelism here: "those who fear him" are equated with "those who hope in his steadfast love." We don't normally associate fear with hope and love. The context is deliverance from the fear of Israel's enemies, but the principle is the same: the fear of the Lord frees us from all other fears. For example, when we revere Christ as the resurrected Lord, the One who will also raise our bodies, then we will be delivered from the fear of death. In this way fear and hope are united. It is our humble reverence toward the Lord that sets us free, and we must see the goodness of being submitted to God. We must see God's love behind all of his commandments. William Still calls this "the gracious domination of the fear of God": &quo

on delays

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, "Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him. " So Aaron said to them, "Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me." So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!" When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made proclamation and said, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD." (Exodus 32:1-5 ESV) Many of us don't wait very well. I don't. Just this last week there were

on glory

I finished a group study with some friends on Jonathan Edwards' treatise, "Concerning The End For Which God Created The World." This is a treatise on the glory of God -- why and how his glory is the ultimate (and final) purpose for our creation. You can read it online here . Page references below are to the Yale edition. Some quotes to ponder: And 'tis farther to be considered that the thing which God aimed at in the creation of the world, as the end which he had ultimately in view, was that communication of himself, which he intended throughout all eternity. And if we attend to the nature and circumstances of this eternal emanation of divine good, it will more clearly show how in making this his end, God testifies a supreme respect to himself, and makes himself his end. There are many reasons to think that what God has in view, in an increasing communication of himself throughout eternity, is an increasing knowledge of God, love to him, and joy in him. And &

what made Judas tick?

Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, " What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?" And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. ( Matthew 26:14-16 ESV ) Judas is an enigma, and many have sought to understand why a disciple so close to Jesus would so decisively betray him. (Peter denied knowing Jesus, but Judas actively betrayed him.) What motivated him? We see it in this one phrase, "what will you give me...?" John noted (John 12:6) that Judas was in charge of, and would skim from, the disciples treasury. It seems so crass, so low, that for money -- 30 pieces of silver to be exact -- someone who had followed Jesus intensively for three years would just chuck it all and sell a friend to the authorities. He just cashed out his investment of time and relationship with the Lord, turned it into cold cash, and became a turncoat. When he re


Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, "Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand." So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword. (Exodus 17:8-13 ESV) It was not long after Israel's miraculous deliverance from slavery in Egypt, that another opponent swoops down on them. The Amalekites are determined to exterminate the vulnerable Isrealites before they can go anywhere. Dur

with staff in hand

In my daily Bible reading I was struck with the way the first Passover was observed, and what became the pattern to be followed: "In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD's Passover." (Exodus 12:11 ESV) Normally, it's not a good thing to eat in haste (we always tell our kids). We expect our dinner guests to remove coats and hats. Not here. Here there is an urgency, a crisis, a need to leave one dominion and hasten quickly to another. I came across this statement by Lloyd-Jones on his sermon series from the book of Acts, where he is describing the early church... Christians have the same hope set before them. They say, "We are but strangers and pilgrims in this world. We used to think we had settled down in it, and we tried our best to do so, and we thought of nothing but this life and this world." No longer. Christians are people wh