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Showing posts from December, 2010

on journaling

Why I journal 1) To have a record of God's dealings with me .  Many of these I would soon forget if I did not write them down.  This includes answered prayers, verses illumined by the Spirit from my Bible reading, or special quotations, or things people have said to me. 2) To think by writing .  Some people think to write, others like me write to think.  There's a joy to putting ideas into words, and a seriousness, too.  Albert Einstein once said, “Have the courage to take your own thoughts seriously, for they will shape you.” 3) To write out prayers to the Lord .  The Psalms are expressions of the heart written down for all time.  I too transcribe my praises, problems and petitions.  Usually they're short, but there's something about seeing a prayer written down that tells me, yes, that's what I mean.  4) To record events, significant or otherwise : family, personal, church, international, or anything I might deem significant.  Often I just write down what

job satisfaction

“I glorified you on earth by completing  the work you gave me to do.” (John 17:4) “Lord, grant us: in our work, satisfaction; in our study, wisdom; in our pleasure, gladness; and in our love, loyalty.”  (William Barclay)  Fred Smith reflected on this prayer, specifically the request about satisfaction in work:  “ In our work, satisfaction... ”  Peter Drucker told our son , “Let the task be the reward.”  He was saying money isn’t the the full reward.  It is a necessary component, but shouldn’t be the primary goal.  I played golf with a CEO who lost $80 million in a corporate debacle.  His comment to me was, “Fred, I wasn’t in it solely for the money.  When I am gone, what I contributed will live on in my industry."  What a pity it would have been if money had been the measure of his satisfaction. I asked Seth Macon, the retired Senior Vice President of Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company, what his greatest satisfaction was in his 40+year career. “The present leaders are

his kindness and covenant

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. (Isaiah 54:10) "One of the most delightful qualities of divine love is its abiding character. The pillars of the earth may be moved out of their places, but the kindness and the covenant of our merciful Jehovah never depart from His people. How happy my soul feels in a firm belief of this inspired declaration! The year is almost over, and the years of my life are growing few, but time does not change my Lord. New lamps are taking the place of the old; perpetual change is on all things, but our Lord is the same. Force over turns the hills, but no conceivable power can affect the eternal God. Nothing in the past, the present, or the future can cause Jehovah to be unkind to me. "My soul, rest in the eternal kindness of the Lord, who treats thee as one near of kin. Remember also the ev

come, let us adore him!

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.  (Luke 2:15-20 ESV)   [Above: Caravaggio's "Adoration of the Shepherds" (1609)]

new book

What a blessing to receive a copy of this new book as a gift from some very good friends! Gerry McDermott is the editor of this Oxford-published volume of essays, backed by a who's-who list of contributors: Mark Noll, Alister McGrath, Henri Blocher, John Stackhouse, Donald Bloesch, Dallas Willard, Darrell Bock, and many others.   This is an important work for such a time as this, when the word "evangelical" has come to mean practically anything and often, virtually nothing.   In the opening essay Mark Noll notes that historically there have been four ingredients to evangelical religion: the importance of conversion, the ultimate authority of the Bible, the inevitable fruit of charitable works (and often social reform), and the centrality of the Cross (substitutionary atonement). Just getting started... The Oxford Handbook of Evangelical Theology, Gerald McDermott, editor .  

another take on lausanne

Here's Carl Trueman on "A Dissenting Voice on Lausanne III " First he wonders first if such declarations makes any difference to the world at large:  Evangelicals typically make the fatal mistake of assuming that the wider world actually cares about what they think. It does not: it increasingly regards us as fringe lunatics, rather as it did in the first century.    Then he wonders if anything new or ground-breaking came out of it, especially in light of its great expense... To read some of the blogs and reports on the conference, you would think that something new and radical was being proposed.  Nothing I have seen could not have been found better expressed elsewhere by somebody else at some point in the past.  The question then becomes: did we need a gathering of thousands of church leaders (though no leader from my own church, local or otherwise, seems to have been present), at huge expense, to tell us these things? He wonders about how representative it was...

sunday quotes

  "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."   (Luke 1:31-33 ESV) "This is a wonderful promise, because it means that Jesus is just as much King now as He was when He ascended into heaven; He is ruling His people today just as much as Barack Obama or David Cameron or Vladimir Putin or any other world leader are governing, and He will continue to reign long after they are in their graves, and until He returns to establish his kingdom." (David Kingston) “If Gabriel has spoken the truth, the issue in 2010, no matter where you live on this planet, is: Will you bow before the kingship of Jesus and obey the rule of his kingdom?”  (John Piper) And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the L

redeemed for a purpose

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,  training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."  (Titus 2:11-14 ESV) In my own words: Jesus died for sin that he might destroy sin.  Or put another way: he died for my sins that he might deliver me from my sins .  To redeem is to set free from bondage in order to bring us into a glorious, life-giving relationship with God. Trust in Christ for salvation also means obedience to Christ for a new life.  This too is included in "grace".  Grace instructs us to renounce ungodliness and worldliness and lawlessness.  There is a negative aspect to it -- but for a positive