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Showing posts from May, 2014

poor in spirit

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted..."  (Matthew 5:3-4 ESV) "Ultimately it is only the man who feels quite hopeless about himself who really trusts God."  (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

more on holiness

Here are my final highlights from Kevin DeYoung's T he Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness :   There is no righteousness that makes us right with God except for the righteousness of Christ. But for those who have been made right with God by grace alone through faith alone and therefore have been adopted into God’s family, many of our righteous deeds are not only not filthy in God’s eyes, they are exceedingly sweet, precious, and pleasing to him. Love does not equal unconditional affirmation. Love entails the relentless pursuit of what is for our good. When we sin, our union with Christ is not in jeopardy. But our communion is. Some Christians are prone to go on lengthy idol hunts and can’t feel good unless they feel bad about something. You have permission to see evidences of grace in your life. You are allowed (and expected) to be obedient. You will never be perfect in this life. You cannot do anything to

evolutionary hope?

If history proceeds unguided by the blind forces of time, matter and chance, and if future life will be shaped by evolutionary dynamics, then there cannot be an ultimate hope or purpose to history. One scenario of such a future is described by the Time Traveler in the latter chapters of H. G. Wells' The Time Machine ...   'I cannot convey the sense of abominable desolation that hung over the world. The red eastern sky, the northward blackness, the salt Dead Sea, the stony beach crawling with these foul, slow-stirring monsters, the uniform poisonous-looking green of the lichenous plants, the thin air that hurts one's lungs: all contributed to an appalling effect... 'So I travelled, stopping ever and again, in great strides of a thousand years or more, drawn on by the mystery of the earth's fate, watching with a strange fascination the sun grow larger and duller in the westward sky, and the life of the old earth ebb away. At last, more than thirty million years h

sunday notes

"He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance."  (Acts 28:30-31 ESV) Sermon MP3 here.  “And you will be my witnesses...  to the end of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)...  Thirty years and 1500 miles later...  “...and so we came to Rome.”  (Acts 28:14) • Do I sincerely believe that Jesus’ death for our sins and his resurrection are true historical events? • Have I been convicted of my own lostness and turned to God in faith and repentance? • Am I committed to the world-wide expansion of this good news about Jesus? • Am I submitted to, and living for, the larger and glorious Kingdom of God or for my smaller kingdom of self? • Have I quenched or grieved God’s Spirit, who desires to give me power and boldness in witness?   • Am I prepared to give a gracious defense for what I believe and why I be

pleasing God

"...walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." (Colossians 1:10 ESV) "...and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him." (1 John 3:22 ESV) This is something I've struggled with... what does it mean to please God? And, given the continued presence and taint of indwelling sin upon all my thoughts, motives, and deeds, how can I actually do anything that is acceptable to God?   This is helping bring clarity: Kevin DeYoung's The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness . (Crossway, 2012)   Here are some highlights...  It’s one thing to be humble about our piety. It’s another to think piety is impossible. The truth is God’s people can be righteous—not perfectly, but truly, and in a way that genuinely pleases God. But God does not expect our good works to be flawless

no moral relativists in reality

I'm continuing to post some highlights from the excellent book by Jerram Barrs,  Delighting in the Law of the Lord: God's Alternative to Legalism and Moralism (Crossway, 2013)... Indeed, Jesus, unlike us, preached the school of the law to those who seemed closest to God, those who already had extensive knowledge of the truth, those who valued God’s law and taught it, and those who seemed committed to living in obedience to God’s commandments. One of the great weaknesses of evangelical churches today is a serious failure to teach thoroughly the requirements of God’s law. In other words, what we need in our churches is serious exposition of the kind of righteousness that God and his laws demand. Wherever there is little serious exposition of the school of the law of God, people end up with a devalued understanding of the good news of the gospel.  The law, properly expounded, because it is so beautiful, exposes the ugliness of our sin.  We need to make sure th

big brother and SF writers

I don't usually use the term "cultural thought police", but that sure seems applicable for the following article about science fiction writers.  From  "Heinlein, Hugos, and Hogwash" ... The purpose of all this hogwash is not to aid the plight of minorities. The purpose is power. The purpose is terror. One need not ignite a suicide-bomb to enact a reign of terror. One need only have the power to hurt a man’s reputation or income, and be willing to use the power in an arbitrary, treacherous, lunatic, and cruel fashion. For this, the poisonous tongue suffices.  At one time, science fiction was an oasis of intellectual liberty, a place where no idea was sacrosanct and no idea was unwelcome...

global christianity

Philip Jenkins, the author of The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (Oxford University Press, 2011), writes about the stunning multiplication Christian churches in the global south, primarily in Africa and South America.  Jenkins is Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University.   Here are a few highlights...  In 1900, 83 percent of the world’s Christians lived in Europe and North America. In 2050, 72 percent of Christians will live in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and a sizable share of the remainder will have roots in one or more of those continents. Over the last century the center of gravity in the Christian world has shifted inexorably away from Europe, southward, to Africa and Latin America, and eastward, toward Asia. Today, the largest Christian communities on the planet are to be found in those regions. If we want to visualiz