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Showing posts from January, 2012

word in common = worship in common?

John Piper, in a 2009 ETS meeting at Yale, responded to the view that because religious communities (in this case Christianity and Islam) share common language about God we therefore share a common love and worship for God. But words in common do not mean that we mean the same thing by those words.  The Jesus presented by other world religions is a different Jesus than how he is presented in the New Testament.  To the very religious people of his day (who sincerely and fervently worshiped God), Jesus made some strong distinctions...  Jesus said, “I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive  me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him” (John 5:42–43). When Jesus says, “receive him,” he means receive  him for who he really is: the divine, eternal Son of God who lays down his life for the sheep and takes it up again in three  days. If a person does not receive him in this way, that person, Jesus s

100th anniversary of Schaeffer's birth

January 30, 2012 is the centennial of the birth of Francis A. Schaeffer, a Christian and apologist who made a profound influence on my Christian life and thought.  (And still does!) See more about him at the Francis Schaeffer Foundation and the L'Abri Fellowship websites. Crossway Books is offering a number of his titles, and books about him, available for Kindle at $3.99... The Finished Work of Christ: The Truth of Romans 1-8 No Little People Death in the City Pollution and the Death of Man Truth with Love: the Apologetics of Francis Schaeffer Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life   (An excellent biography!)

the gospel prayer

Here are the four parts of "The Gospel Prayer", written by J. D. Greear: 1. "In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have done that makes You love me less." 2. "Your presence and approval are all I need for everlasting joy." 3. "As You have been to me so I will be to others." 4. "As I pray, I'll measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power by the resurrection." From Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary , by J.D. Greear

23 1/2 hours

OK, I can do this!

a wedding charge

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."  ( Galatians 5:22-23 ESV) This passage describes the working of the Holy Spirit within the life of the yielded believer.  Our own sin nature would produce in us the "deeds of the flesh" listed in the previous verses, but a different kind of fruit is produced when we walk (or, keep in step with) the Spirit.   My wife and I -- in discussing together the traits and virtues that make a marriage strong -- realized how many of the most vital ingredients of a healthy marriage are included in this list.  1)  Love.   Christian love is a commitment to seek the other person's highest good.  The greatest demonstration of this is in the life and death of Christ: "And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."  (Ephesians 5:2) Christ emptie

more marriage quotes

Here are two helpful insights on marriage from some literary sources... "I knew couples who’d been married almost forever – forty, fifty, sixty years.  Seventy-two, in one case. They’d be tending each other’s illnesses, filling in each other’s faulty memories, dealing with the money troubles or the daughter’s suicide, or the grandson’s drug addiction. And I was beginning to suspect that it made no difference whether they’d married the right person. "Finally, you’re just with who you’re with. You’ve signed on with her, put in a half century with her, grown to know her as well as you know yourself or even better, and she’s become the right person. Or the only person, might be more to the point.  "I wish someone had told me that earlier. I’d have hung on then; I swear I would.” (From "A Patchwork Planet", by Anne Tyler) -------------     "I didn't marry you because you were perfect. I didn't even marry you because I l

who could say this?

"For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father." (John 10:17-18 ESV) Amazing, amazing words!  Who in his right mind could even say such a thing?   Only the One who could do it... "I believe in the miracle which is at the foundation of the Christian Church because in that case the question does not concern merely the resurrection of a person about whom I know nothing, a mere x or y, but it concerns specifically the resurrection of Jesus; and Jesus was like no person who has ever lived. "It is unbelievable, I say, that any ordinary man should be raised from the dead, but then Jesus was no ordinary man; in His case the enormous presumption against miracle is reversed; in His case, far from its being inconceivable that He should have been

three deadliest words

martin luther king jr day

I'm reading again Martin Luther King's powerful letter, written  from the Birmingham jail in April 1963.  It never ceases to move me. He is responding to complaints by fellow clergy, saying that he should not be involved in civil rights protests and should await social changes that will come in due time... Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals. We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was "well t

new edition pilgrim's progress (crossway)

Just downloaded this  for Kindle at bargain price, though the hardback with color artwork looks good.   I was blessed by the editor C. J. Lovik's poem in the preface: The shadow of a wooden cross A rising Son displayed. In that place and on that day An ancient debt was paid. Prophetic Word merged with flesh, With love bound to a tree. There justice met with mercy For all the world to see. Divine the name of Him who hangs With emblem wounds of glory, Page of light that turned the night Into a different story. Joy was mixed with agony That day upon the tree. Reflecting on the Book of Life My Savior thought of me. Love deep and wide and full and free, Love priceless and apart, Love stained with crimson hues and tears Has entered human hearts. Look up, dear soul, and fix blind eyes Upon the Savior’s tree And you will find as others have, He makes the sightless see. An unexpected resting place Was found beneath that tree, Where all my burdens cam

brief apologetic

I appreciate Michael Patton and the guys at Credo House .  He recently posted a four-point personal apologetic for the faith here .  Worth reading. 

union with Christ by faith: like marriage

We've been studying the federal headship of Christ, and our corporate solidarity with him through faith.   I love this portion f rom On the Freedom of a Christian , by Martin Luther, published in 1520.   The third incomparable grace of faith is this, that it unites the soul to Christ, as the wife to the husband; by which mystery, as the Apostle teaches, Christ and the soul are made one flesh. Now if they are one flesh, and if a true marriage-- nay, by far the most perfect of all marriages--is accomplished between them (for human marriages are but feeble types of this one great marriage), then it follows that all they have becomes theirs in common, as well good things as evil things; so that whatsoever Christ possesses, that the believing soul may take to itself and boast of as its own, and whatever belongs to the soul, that Christ claims as his. If we compare these possessions, we shall see how inestimable is the gain. Christ is full of grace, life, and salvation; th

Shadows, DC*B + Lecrae @Passion2011

Life is full of light and shadows Oh, the joy, and oh, the sorrow Oh, the sorrow And yet will He bring dark to light And yet will He bring day from night When the shadows fall on us We will not fear We will remember When darkness falls on us We will not fear We will remember When all seems lost When we're thrown and we're tossed We'll remember the cost We're resting in the shadow of the cross With every breath I take, every heartbeat Sunrise, and the moonlight in the dark street Every glance, every dance, every note of a song All a gift undeserved that I shouldn't have known Every moment I lie, every moment I covet I'm deserving to die; I'm earning Your judgment Without the cross there's only condemnation If Jesus wasn't executed there's no celebration So, in times that are good, in times that are bad For any time I've had at all, I will be glad And I will boast in the cross, I'll boast in His name

it really is finished

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  (Colossians 1:11-14 ESV) "It was during that time that I really rediscovered functionally the NOW power of the gospel. I had been preaching the gospel  with great passion for many years. I had been preaching it with great conviction and yet it wasn’t genuinely functional  until God brought me through the crucible of pain and suffering.  I began rediscovering the reality and beauty and the  brightness of the gospel.  "Everything I needed and longed for in Christ, I already possessed. "It was during that time that God was helping me connect the dots between what I was experiencing and what Christ had al

on scientism

In communicating the gospel, we must always be aware of the assumptions / presuppositions of the ones to whom we are communicating.  Here's Greg Koukl on scientism... The term “scientism” describes the view that science is the only reliable method of knowing truth about the world. Accordingly, “Everything outside of science is a matter of mere belief and subjective opinion,” says J. P. Moreland, “of which rational assessment is impossible.”  Here is how scientism self-destructs. Imagine you wanted to collect all knowledge in a box. Let’s call it the “Truth Box.” Before any alleged truth could go into the box, it must first pass the scientific truth test (the claim of scientism). The problem is that your knowledge project could never get started because some truths need to be in the Truth Box first before science itself could begin its analysis. The truths of logic and mathematics must be in the box, for example, along with the truth of the basic reliability of our senses. Cer

8 blessings from romans 5

This week's study in gravitate was "The Blessings of Justification," from Romans 5:1-11.  Romans chapters 5-8 deal with the life we now have because of our union with Christ.  Through him, and what he has accomplished on  our behalf, we are declared righteous, and now have a new life.  “The righteous by faith shall live. ” This salvation from God  encompasses not just the past and present, but also the future... 1) Peace :  God is not against me. (5:1, 10, 11) Though we were once enemies, now God is reconciled to us through Christ ( cf 2 Cor 5:17-21).  2) Grace :  we have free access and a secure position before God (5:2a) By the work of his Son we have free, unhindered  access, and warm welcome before God.  (See also Hebrews 4:14-16 for an application of this truth.)  We have a "standing" in grace...  we are ever in the need of, and ever the recipients of, his undeserved, bountiful generosity.  I do not begin with grace and perfect  myself throug

on distraction and avoidance

Appropriate for our times... "Where shall the word be found, where will the word Resound?  Not here, there is not enough silence Not on the sea or on the islands, not On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land, For those who walk in darkness Both in the day time and in the night time The right time and the right place are not here No place of grace for those who avoid the face No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice." (T. S. Eliot, Ash Wednesday)

properly basic belief

I am coming to appreciate Alvin Plantinga's work, especially in epistemology.  

2012 certainties

Notes and quotes from David Kingston's New Year's Day sermon.  The mp3 of this message is available here . The Certainties of 2012  1. We can be certain of God’s love for us because of Jesus’ birth . (John 3:16; Phil 2:6-7) "Jesus--a simple name with so much power and meaning, but on that night so long ago, the tiny baby, wrapped by Mary in swaddling clothes, waving little arms, hungrily sucking a fist, was like any other newborn baby. He was helpless and dependent, and Mary was His hope of survival, His nourishment,  his very lifeline. God entrusted His most priceless gift to a  very human, very young, earthly mother. Why? Because God so loved--that He gave. He relinquished His hold on His Son and placed Him in fragile human arms. (Janet Oke, in "Reflections on the Christmas Story".) 2. We can be certain of God’s forgiveness because of Jesus’ death and resurrection . (2 Cor 5:21; Phil 2:8; 1 Cor 15:3-8; John 1:10-13) He was condemned that we migh

pen wallpapers

Now that it's 2012 I know you're asking, hey, where can I download some new fountain pen wallpapers?  (Aren't we all?)   To save you the hassle of searching, I've given some cool links below, and a few examples.