Looks like bloggers are back to work this morning; as soon as I looked at my Google Reader I noticed 28 new posts. It being New Year's Eve, I thought it wise to point you to a couple articles on the New Year. Matt Harmon points us to Jonathan Edwards Resolutions; which are always good to read this time of year. It is especially important that we remember Edwards' beginning statement: "Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat him, by his grace, to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ's sake." I reminded our youth on Sunday that even if we make our New Year's resolution something to the effect of "determining to know nothing in 2008 but Jesus Christ and Him crucified", we will fail by January 2nd or 3rd. Therefore we must live under and preach the gospel to ourselves daily.
Many people use this time of year to reflect upon the past year, and sometimes their entire lives. John Piper considers it a yearly dress rehearsal for meeting Jesus. Therefore, this time of year can serve to awaken us to a realization of another year passed and another moment closer to meeting the Lord. Pyromaniacs use the last words of Benazir Bhutto to remind us of the frailty of life. How ironic that her last words were "Long live Bhutto". As this year draws to an end we must remember that the only way to accurately proclaim "Long live..." is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Last night Tim Challies summarized the Reality Check Conference. He concluded his blogging on sessions 6 and 7.
Timmy Brister concluded his 2007 Year in Review with post 10-6 and 5-1. One of these posts that particularly caught my interest was On Hitting Homiletical Homeruns. The conversation was also carried over at Said at Southern, here. The discussion is over plagiarism in the pulpit. The discussion began when James Merritt suggested going to his website and preaching his sermon instead of spending so much time putting together their own. This is not an uncommon thing. I frequently get fliers in the mail encouraging me to stop preparing sermons and do what really matters (and apparently what I should really want to do)--spend time with our youth. I wonder if this might be an unbiblical practice on top of another (shout out to Garrett). I wonder if we had a plurality of elders maybe a teaching pastor could spend time on sermon prep and the other elders could do some of those other things. Maybe the pastor was not meant to be the lone ranger and having to rip sermons off the internet because he spent 30 hours this week at the hospital and in counseling.
The 9 Marks newsletter has been posted online. This newsletter focuses on Corporate Prayer and will be worthy of checking out.
John Piper points us to Clyde Kilby's 10 Resolutions for Mental Health.
Lastly, the Irish Calvinist draws our attention to a video posted on James White's site. It compares Joel Osteen, The Secret, and Stuart Smalley. It would be humorous if Osteen did not boast 20,000+ deceived members. The reason I am so strongly opposed to Osteen is because he is a false prophet that deceives many. He preaches a half (maybe quarter) truth that is divorced from the bloody Cross of the Gospel. The problem is not that God doesn't want to bless us. The problem is that the blessing is not in material things it is in God Himself, and it comes through the Cross. Not only the Cross of Christ but also ours (Matthew 10:38). Here is the video: