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Showing posts from January, 2013

george mueller

"A human life, filled with the presence and power of God, is one of God's choicest gifts to His church and to the world. Things which are unseen and eternal seem, to the carnal man, distant and indistinct, while what is seen and temporal is vivid and real. Practically, any object in nature that can be seen or felt is thus more real and actual to most men than the Living God. Every man who walks with God, and finds Him a present Help in every time of need; who puts His promises to the practical proof and verifies them in actual experience; every believer who with the key of faith unlocks God's mysteries, and with the key of prayer unlocks God's treasuries, thus furnishes to the race a demonstration and an illustration of the fact that 'He is, and is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.'" --A. T. Pierson, on George Mueller. 

theology engaging culture

Bruce Little writes... "The world does not understand the nature of its lost ness . It knows something is wrong, but fails to comprehend the true  nature of that lost ness . Of course, on a personal level, that lost ness is only remedied in Christ, but I use the term  lost ness to speak of the philosophical and moral calamity that has come upon western cultures. "Increasingly we have witnessed the blunting of belief in God.  Even among those who claim to believe that God exists, there  is very little edge to that belief - it is weak and ineffective. This has left people without an external reference for  moral direction and without a metaphysical grounding for morality. Clearly, this is a decisive point of intersection of  theology and culture. "Here the Christian message offers the missing piece deleted by naturalism - the personal, infinite Creator God who stands  above nature and has spoken. This points first, not to a religious truth, but a truth about the n

Christianity "disinvited"

"We were not aware of Pastor Giglio's past comments at the time of his selection, and they don't reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this inaugural. Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part because of his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world. As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration's vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans."   (Addie Whisenant, the Presidential Inaugural Committee) "In other words, a Christian pastor has been effectively disinvited from delivering an inaugural prayer because he believes and teaches Christian truth."   (Albert Mohler) Excerpted from "THE GIGLIO IMBROGLIO -- The public inauguration of a new Moral McCarthyism , by  R. Albert Mohler Jr.  

God is wrathful because he is love

"I used to think that wrath was unworthy of God.  Isn't God love? Shouldn't divine love be beyond wrath? God is love, and God loves every person and every creature. That’s exactly why God is wrathful against some of them. My last resistance to the idea of God’s wrath was a casualty of the war in the former Yugoslavia, the region from which I come. According to some estimates, 200,000 people were killed and over 3,000,000 were displaced. My villages and cities were destroyed, my people shelled day in and day out, some of them brutalized beyond imagination, and I could not imagine God not being angry. Or think of Rwanda in the last decade of the past century, where 800,000 people were hacked to death in one hundred days! How did God react to the carnage? By doting on the perpetrators in a grandparently fashion? By refusing to condemn the bloodbath but instead affirming the perpetrators’ basic goodness? Wasn't God fiercely angry with them? Though I used to complain about

recent snow

not worthy

And Jacob said, "O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD who said to me, 'Return to your country and to  your kindred, that I may do you good,' I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the  faithfulness that you have shown to your servant , for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two  camps. Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me,  the mothers with the children.  But you said, 'I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea,  which cannot be numbered for multitude.'" (Genesis 32:9-12 ESV) Jacob was a conniving man, a man full of schemes and deceit. God called him in sheer undeserved grace and spared his life from  a murderous brother whom he had cheated. Ironically (and lovingly), the Lord placed him in another family where he himself became the target of hostile schemes.


But he [the older brother] was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, 'Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!' And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'" (Luke 15:28-32 ESV) Tim Keller has rightly noted that there are two lost sons in this parable, and the saddest sight is the outwardly-obedient older brother who cannot stand to see his younger brother received again by his father, presumably because he feels his inheritance may be at stake.  He is resentful for any expenditure that he himself does not receive.  Neithe


Kintsugi and kintsugori are Japanese techniques of restoring pottery and ceramic in such a way that the break and repair are seen as beautiful.   Using epoxy and gold dust (or silver dust) the fracture is repaired but not hidden.  Rather the restoration is highlighted in beauty and value.  Henri Nouwen writes, "The great mystery of God’s love is that we are not asked to live as if we are not hurting, as if we are not broken. In  fact, we are invited to recognize our brokenness as a brokenness in which we can come in touch with the unique way that  God loves us. The great invitation is to live your brokenness under the blessing. I cannot take people’s brokenness away  and people cannot take my brokenness away.  But how do you live in your brokenness? Do you live your brokenness under the  blessing or under the curse? The great call of Jesus is to put your brokenness under the blessing."   "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that th

this is just so beautiful

three questions x 2

Three questions to ask when studying a passage of Scripture: 1) What did it mean to them   at that time ? (historical, linguistic, contextual backgrounds) 2) What does it mean for all time ? (doctrine, place in the history of redemption) 3) What does it mean to us now ? (application, faith, worship, obedience, etc.) Three questions to address when preaching that passage : 1) What does it mean ? (state and explain the principle) 2) What does it look like ? (illustrate) 3) What do I do with it ? (apply)


four kinds of causes

Some atheists maintain that everything we see in the universe can be explained solely by natural causes.   Oxford mathematician John Lennox makes an important point:  "Physical laws cannot create anything. They are a description of what normally happens under certain given conditions."   In other words, what is called an explanation  may actually only be a description .  A material process may be described but not be fully explained, unless all kinds (or levels) of causation are considered.  Lennox writes,   Millennia ago Aristotle thought a great deal about these issues.  He spoke about four different “causes” that we can, perhaps, reasonably translate informally as “levels of explanation”. Thinking of the jet engine, first there is the material cause – the raw material out of which the engine is crafted; then there is the formal cause – the concept, plan, theory, and blueprint that Sir Frank Whittle conceived and to which he worked. Next there is the efficient caus

top ten +1

Here are the best books I read in 2012, being my own top-ten list (well, 11 to be exact), in no particular order... Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith , by Michael Reeves. This is fresh, devotional, easy-to- read-and-grasp, but very profound.  It will change the way you think about the Christian life. Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books , by Michael J. Kruger.  An top-notch academic work and a new landmark in understanding how we go about knowing what writings came authoritatively from God. Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books , by Tony Reinke.  This is a needed and very readable book, about... well, how to  read and what to read. The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation, by Michael Reeves. Brief but excellent introduction to the  Protestant Reformation.   Excerpt : "The Reformation was not, principally, a negative movement, about moving away from Rome; it  was a

dangerous calling

Below are some highlights from my reading in Paul Tripp's Dangerous Calling (about the dangers of being in ministry, specifically pastoral)... You are most loving, patient, kind, and gracious when you are aware that there is no truth that you could give to another that you don’t desperately need yourself. You are most humble and gentle when you think that the person you are ministering to is more like you than unlike you. I had let my ministry become something that it should never be (my identity); I looked to it to give me what it never could (my inner sense of well-being). There is a huge difference between knowledge and wisdom.  Knowledge is an accurate understanding of truth. Wisdom is understanding and living in light of how that truth applies to the situations and relationships of your daily life. Knowledge is an exercise of your brain. Wisdom is the commitment of your heart that leads to transformation of your life. Do you see yourself as a minister of grace in n