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Showing posts from September, 2016

consider the clouds

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples;  I will sing praises to you among the nations.   For your steadfast love is great above the heavens;  your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.   Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!  Let your glory be over all the earth!   (Psalm 108:3-5 ESV; see also Psalm 36:5; 57:10-11) I love stepping outside in the morning and looking up at the clouds in the sky. Or in the evening I'll take a walk and enjoy a beautiful sunset, with streaks and colors of light illuminating the clouds.   One thing clouds always remind me of is that God's steadfast love and faithfulness is gloriously high above me, infinitely surpassing any of my earthbound needs and concerns.  His love is greater than my sin and higher than any problem I face. His steadfast love and faithfulness is inexhaustible. We can never run out of his faithfulness nor reach the end of the love which he has toward all who are in Christ Jesus. (See Romans 8.)      Jo

on the Spirit and Word

the privilege of being the church

"To me the saddest and most grievous thing of all at the present time is the failure of Christian people to realize what the New Testament tells us about ourselves, and what it means to be members of the body of Christ.  In a world that attaches such significance to honors and glories and position, is it not amazing that we can regard our membership of the church as we do?  Many seem to regard it as almost a kind of dignity that they confer upon the church, instead of realizing that it is the highest and the most glorious privilege that anyone can ever have or know.  Others regard their membership of the church as a task and as a duty, and are rather pleased with themselves if they perform any function.  Now that betrays a complete failure to understand what it really means to be members of this body, which is the Bride of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself." ~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Life in the Spirit in Marriage, Home & Work (Baker Books, 1973) p. 196. Here is the original

unraveling strands II

Over twenty-five years ago, Carl Henry gave a lecture, first to the Baptist Union of Romania (September, 1990), and later to the Tyndale Seminary faculty (the Netherlands) and at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, entitled "Christianity and Resurgent Paganism".  As with all of his writings I am continually amazed at Henry's prescient insight into Western culture and its trajectory.  Where Henry refers to "modernism" we can easily substitute the term "post-modernism." This is the second post with a few quotes from this talk.   "Modernity, therefore, needs to be liberated not only from the shackles of unbelief, but also from its bondage to wrong beliefs.  Prominent among these beliefs is the notion that science, as mathematical physicists ideally pursue it, is the only reliable method of knowing.  Modern empiricists sponsor an ideological totalism of their own when they confer explanatory crown rights on a theory of truth that cannot decide the

the believer and good works

In Sunday's sermon we learned how we should reject moralism and embrace God's grace given to us in Jesus Christ  (Romans 2:1-11) .  In staff meeting this morning we discussed a related question -- how then do we do good works as Christians without lapsing  back into moralism? What exactly is a good work for the believer, the kind of good work God is looking for?  How do the good works  we attempt before salvation differ from the good works that God expects of the believer after salvation? I think there are at least four differences between a moralistic approach to life and the life of the Christian seeking to do  good .    1) There's a different standard .  For the believer God's word is the source book for what constitutes a good work.  Before, it  was what seemed right or good to us at the time, or what is popularly viewed as good in our culture.  Though there are many  good works from a humanitarian viewpoint, the believer increasingly views his works in t

unraveling strands

Over twenty-five years ago, Carl Henry gave a lecture, first to the Baptist Union of Romania (September, 1990), and later to the Tyndale Seminary faculty (the Netherlands) and at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, entitled "Christianity and Resurgent Paganism".  As with all of his writings I am continually amazed at Henry's prescient insight into Western culture and its trajectory.  In this post and the next I will highlight some quotes from this talk. "The unraveling strands of Western civilization are everywhere.  Not  simply at the future end of history, nor even only at the looming end of  this second Christian millennium, but already in the immediate present,  modernity is being weighed in the balances.  Dismay and distress follow  in the wake of the rebellious despiritualization of our once vibrant  civilization.  Secular hedonism has nurtured the disintegration of the  family and the desanctification of human existence.   "One clear sign of the time

of drones and mother birds

"O LORD, how manifold are your works!  In wisdom have you made them all;  the earth is full of your creatures."   (Psalm 104:24 ESV) It is exciting to see Google and Chipotle running tests in our community for using drones to deliver burritos. See Roanoke Times article here .   It is really quite a feat, and really fun that our university is on the cutting-edge.  And yet -- think about this-- it has taken us humans thousands of years to develop the technology to be able to do this. We have to produce the materials, build the drone, write the code -- probably millions of lines of code -- and utilize the skill of lots of engineers, just to deliver a burrito to one location and fly back.   But every year I notice many birds, small birds -- many smaller than most drones -- flying about finding food, collecting, taking it to the nest, feeding their young, and repeating this many hours every day for several weeks.  And then... they train their young to fly and do the

faithful love at the heart of marriage

Here are some highlights from a new book by Christopher Ash:  Married for God: Making Your Marriage the Best It Can Be (Crossway, 2016).  About halfway through and it's excellent so far... "We are male and female so that we may use our maleness and femaleness in joyful service of God in the government of his  world." "Marriage and family can easily become just a respectable form of selfishness... If we marry mainly to meet our own needs, then  our marriages will be just that: good-looking masks for selfishness. It is a short step from 'loving you' to 'loving me and  wanting you.' It is too easy for Christians to think of marriage as a discipleship-free zone. So that outside of marriage we  talk about sacrifice, taking up our cross, and so on. But inside marriage we just talk about how to communicate better, how to  be more intimate, how to have better sex, how to be happy." "The defining moment is thought to be when they are alone

not worthy to pray

"But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be  merciful to me, a sinner!'"  (Luke 18:13 ESV)  "Prayer must not be based on or depend on your personal worthiness or the quality of the prayer itself; rather, it must be  based on the unchanging truth of God’s promise. If the prayer is based on itself or on anything else besides God’s promise,  then it’s a false prayer that deceives you—even if your heart is breaking with intense devotion and you are weeping drops of  blood.  "We pray because we are unworthy to pray. Our prayers are heard precisely because we believe that we are unworthy. We  become worthy to pray when we risk everything on God’s faithfulness alone. So go ahead and feel unworthy. But know in your  heart that it’s a thousand times more important to honor God’s truthfulness. Yes, everything depends on this alone. Don’t turn  his faithful promise into a lie by your dou