Saturday, October 25, 2008
UPDATE: The Annual Meeting was pretty uneventful. Others have better commentaries on the meeting than I do. As for me I'd rather listen to paint dry.
Friday, October 24, 2008
How Does a Pastor Redeem the Time?: CJ interviews Jeff Purswell
Nathan White provides for us more quotes from Obadiah Sedgwick's Christ Counsel to His Languishing Church. (Man, I have got to get this book).
Timmy Brister provides the links to the Total Church Conference. (If you check these out before next week, drop me an e-mail and let me know what you think).
You can get a free copy of Sproul's Chosen By God by going here.
Are our churches filled with nominal Christians? (HT: Transforming Sermons)
What constitutes suffering for Christ? CJ and Lig Duncan Interview Piper.
Bob Kauflin tells us 10 Ways to Write Bad Worship Songs.
This Piper quote is going on my wall as soon as I get my laptop back. "If it is true, preach it with authority. If it is precious, preach it with passion." Read the rest.
You can't tell me you've never wanted to do this:
(HT: Douglas Wilson)
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Or if you don't like my offer you can go to Abraham Piper's blog and and try to win one the hard way. My way is much easier though.
Monday, October 20, 2008
The Ligonier Pastor's Conference is providing free bilingual audio. (HT: Founders)
Sad news today. Christian aid worker Gayle Williams was gunned down in Kabul. (HT: Tullian)
Folks that admire the writing of John Piper will be happy to hear of these recent DG additions. Also resources are availabe from the recent Fall Conference on Job.
Mondays with Mounce: Translating the Imperfect.
J.I. Packer is a one-point Calvinist. Before you choke on your meal read the article first. (HT: Buzzard)
I am not a fan of Howard Stern (in fact very much opposed) but this is enlightening:
Friday, October 17, 2008
Ligonier Ministries highlights some of RC Sproul's great children's books.
Michael Spencer has some funny suggestions for the newest study bible. (HT: Abraham Piper)
This Timmy Brister responds to Steve Lemke thing is getting pretty interesting.
Nathan Finn provides Abraham Booth's advice for pastoral ministry.
Great stuff from CJ Mahaney interviewing Piper: Pornography, the Hearth, and Sermon Prep.
Michael McKinley offers suggestions on Developing a God-Centered Church when Most Attendees are New Believers
Newsweek features a sad but true article: The Pornification of a Generation
I had no clue that McCain (0r at least his writers) had such a great sense of humor. This is 9 minutes long but it's pretty funny. It's good to see Senator
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Why Not Destroy the Devil Now? John Piper answers.
JT is calling his blog readers to fast for the sake of the defenseless
The blogworld seems to be pretty dead today--I guess everybody is reading their ESV Study Bible. (I'm doing sermon prep without a new Study Bible). Ray Ortlund Jr. Steve Camp. Tim Challies. Tony Reinke. And I'm sure there are many reading their ESV's today that are not blogging on it.
Admirers of Jonathan Edwards will appreciate this; in correspondence with the launch of the JE 2.0 website high-res images of Edwards manuscripts have been released. (HT: Tony)
My wife absolutely loves this skit. I also find it quite hilarious:
Monday, October 13, 2008
In his classic work on Spiritual Depression, Martin Lloyd-Jones writes, “Do not think in terms of bargains and rights in the Kingdom of God. That is absolutely fatal. There is nothing so wrong as the spirit which argues that because I do this, or because I have done that, I have the right to expect something else in return”. (129)
In this context Lloyd-Jones is addressing those that believe, “if we pray for certain things, we are bound to have them, for instance if we pray all night for revival we must have revival”. In our day the church is inundated with such philosophy. Peruse the shelves of your local Christian bookstore and you will find countless titles that promise and “If-then” fix-all in your relationship with God. And yes, those of us that are Reformed-minded are not immune to this. Who of us has not been tempted to think that if we have good doctrine and solid Bible teaching then God will honor His Word and souls will get saved?
If my previous post is read through the lens of “bargains and rights” then it will be grossly misunderstood. Reading through such a lens one would come to the conclusion that if we have biblical student ministry then we will inevitably produce solid twenty-somethings. If you read through such a lens you might get fired up by the statistics and go on a quest to make the student ministry at your church more biblical. And that would certainly be a good thing. However, this is what could happen:
- Rather than going up because you are doing things biblically, your attendance actually begins to drastically dwindle. If you are still looking through the lens of “bargains and rights” then you will quickly assume “well, that didn’t work” and will abandon the biblical approach for something else that “gets results”.
- God blesses your ministry exponentially. You observe marked spiritual growth in your teenagers. Your attendance increases. Teens are coming to know Christ. Your student ministry has become biblical. Looking through the lens of “bargains and rights” you will inevitably conclude—in a spiritual sounding way of course—that God blessed you because you followed these steps. Pride will begin creeping in as you start getting book deals and have people asking “how do you do ministry”.
How then should you read the last post and everything else that is forthcoming? Read it with a goal of faithfulness. Rather than having a “bargains and rights” mentality have an “even if you don’t” mentality. In Daniel 3 we read the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They are faced with the option of being faithful to God alone in worship and risk their lives or preserve their lives and become guilty of idolatry; they chose faithfulness. Their words in verses 16-18 is a reflection of an “even if you don’t” mentality. This is their response to King Nebuchadnezzar’s threat of throwing them in the fiery furnace:
Did you notice that? We expect that God will deliver us. We have faith that God will reward our faithfulness by a miraculous display of his power. God will protect us. And then you see the “even if not” mentality shine through. If I can be allowed to paraphrase, “King, even if God, for His good pleasure, decides not to preserve us we are still going to be faithful to Him and not you.” Regardless of results we must be faithful. What does an “even if you don’t” mentality look like? This is what could happen:
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
- Rather than going up because you are doing things biblically, your attendance actually begins to dwindle. However, because you have an “even if you don’t” mentality you press on in faithfulness to God. You may never have high attendance or have any of the typical marks of successful ministry. Your ministry may have the fruit of Isaiah (see chapter 6) instead of the fruit of Jonah. Yet, you will also get the reward of Isaiah instead of Jonah—“well done good and faithful servant”.
- God blesses your ministry exponentially. You observe marked spiritual growth in your teenagers. Your attendance increases. Teens are coming to know Christ. Your student ministry has become biblical. Because you have an “even if you don’t” mentality your “success” results not in pride but in humble awe that God would shine His mercy upon you. Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego people start asking about your God instead of about your opinion (3:28).
What will it be? Will you have an “even if you don’t” mentality or will you view ministry through the lens of “rights and bargains”?
Nikki came home quite upset. She told me the story and I responded. I called the restaurant to speak to the owner. The owner was actually the one that answered. I briefly explained what had happend (just to refresh her memory). She proceeded to imply that my wife was stupid for not knowing that red pepper are hot. I never yelled or do I think I was overly angry. However, I was very firm. The owner was still being very rude and abrasive towards my wife. (If you know my wife, then you know how out of place this is since my wife is one of the kindest most gentle women). I demanded, again I stress very firmly, that she apologize to my wife. And she actually did. It was a pretty stinky apology--she ended up shifting some of the blame to the waitress. Nonetheless, my wife said very lovingly that she forgave her. End of story.
Here is my question--and I probably left out some details that might help, so ask questions--did I do the right thing? Should I have called the owner and firmly demanded an apology? What would you have done? Be biblical.
Matt Svoboda discusses the diversity within the SBC. He suggests adopting Dr. Mohler's three-tier system. Tier one are issues that make us Christians, tier two are issues that determine where we worship, tier three are issues that we can disagree on and still worship in the same church. Really good suggestions here.
Wow! You absolutely must read this: Contextualization Gone Hog Wild. It is both painfully and humorously ironic.
Bill Mounce teaches us on the grammar of Ephesians 4:11 and winds up discussing the responsibilities of a pastor. For those of you that think your pastor should do everything read this article.
The Wall Street Journal has an article on The Mystery Worshipper. (I was in a church once that almost hired a guy like this). Jared Wilson has a great commentary on the article as well. Even if you do not read the WSJ article read Jared's.
Big game tonight for the Browns. My prediction New York Giants 106 to Cleveland 3. I know it's a long shot...but I really think Phil Dawson might be able to kick a field goal. Ok, my real prediction. I actually think the Browns can win this one. They've gotten some of their guys healthy. Donte Stallworth is probably going to be playing. (However, they will probably be without Kellen Winslow). I look for a rejuvenated Browns offense and a flat Giants team. Cleveand 27 NYG 20. But that's me speaking as a Browns fan. Realistically my first pick is probably closer.
Here is a new video from Desiring God:
Friday, October 10, 2008
Pages: 320 pages
Genre: Christian Living
Some in our church have a difficult time reading the writings of John Piper. Although Piper is worth every ounce of effort, the casual reader may appreciate reading this book by Sam Storms more. If you find yourself getting lost in the writing style of Piper then Storms will be a breath of fresh air. The key statement in Pleasures Evermore is its first: The key to holiness is falling in love. The first five chapters build the theological foundation for the practicality of the latter chapters. In this book Storms covers such weighty things as “God’s Passion for God” as well as its everyday implications on things like “Sex and Integrity”.
What I Liked:
Every page. The back cover gets it right when it calls this book, “compelling and readable”. I think I went through a couple of pens highlighting this book. In fact I am going to try to order a copy with everything underlined, to save me time from highlighting as I read and re-read this excellent work.
I get John Piper and I love John Piper. Some in my church do not; I think he can get “too technical for them”. They can get lost in some of the weighty things that Piper says about the glory of God. Not so with Sam Storms. If its possible I think Storms does a better job of describing Christian Hedonism to the everyday believer than, dare I say, Piper himself. I love the fact that I could hand this book to a farmer with an eight-grade education and he could “get it”. Yet, I could also hand this book to a life-long pastor and he would not be bored but instead would be struck by the awesomeness of God.
What I Disliked:
I can think of nothing that I disliked. There were times when God deeply convicted me and my flesh didn’t like it, but that is really it.
Should You Buy It?
Absolutely. This book is probably in my Top 10, there are few books that are as deep, transforming, and readable as this one. So, don’t question it just buy this book.
Rating: 6 out of 5
Ok, I'll do it, but only because I love you and you'd probably hear about it elsewhere.
Monergism.com is giving away 5 copies of the ESV Study Bible. Enter for a chance to win here. And don't be selfish. Either pray that I win or that if you win God will convict you to give your copy to me. I'd do the same if I were you. (Give me your copy that is).
If you lack faith, or I mean can't wait, then you can buy one here. I'm not picky I'll even take the 31.49 one.
Jared Wilson gives the other side to the Stay at Home Dad discussion. There is also a link there of to part 1, the article I am linking to is actually part 2.
I have had this book on my wishlist forever: Christ's Counsel to His Languishing Church by Obadiah Sedgwick. (This is a side note, but I bet today such a book would be entitled Christ's Counsel to the Languishing Church. What a significant difference). Nathan White provides some great quotes from that book--makes me want it more.
I really need to read this today. Clinton Arnold has an excellent article on Spiritual Dryness and the Head-Heart Disconnect.
Michael McKinley offers advice on pursuing theological development with little time.
Timmy Brister continues to respond to Steve Lemke on the TULIP.
I am not saying this is the reason not to vote for Obama (allowing the slaughter of babies would be my number one reason) but this is troubling:
Kill Sin or It Will Kill You is part one from Colossians 3:5-11. The primary question in this sermon is "what must I do to cultivate a love for Jesus?" In this sermon we deal with the issue of mortification. And as you might expect I got quite a bit of help from John Owen.
Look the Part is part two from Colossians 3:5-11. In this sermon we deal with the issue of hypocrisy. We compare life in Adam's community to life in Christ's community. Since we have been delivered out of Adam's community and transferred into the community (or kingdom rather) of Christ we need to look the part.
Could They Tell is part one from Colossians 3:12-17. The key question from this sermon is this: "If an unbeliever were to observe our interactions with fellow believers could they tell how beautiful God is?"
The Gathered Church is part two from Colossians 3:12-17. It is very important for us to be an active part of a community of believers, but what are we to do when we gather? Colossians 3:12-17 gives us some guidelines.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I'm really interested to find out the answer to this little riddle by Brian Thornton: My tee shot on hole number eleven of Little Ocmulgee Golf Course was an interesting one, to say the least. When I proceeded to hit the ball using my driver, the club made contact and the ball left the tee, but never came back down to land on the earth.
Good to see Dr. Mohler back to writing frequently. I share two posts from him today: The False Apology Syndrome and Spare the Rod?
We talked about this last night but John Piper obviously explains it better: The Godward Focus of Faithfulness.
A couple of months ago Dan Phillips wrote a really good 3 part piece on Transparency. Read part 1, 2, and 3.
Uh oh, I think the monkey's are starting to catch up to us (Also, is anything funnier than a Japanese person with a British accent):
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Dr. Mohler cites evolutionist Steve Jones as saying human evolution is over.
John Piper offers what seems to me as sound advice for talking with the depressed, doubting, skeptical, confused, and angry.
D.A. Carson recently gave a series of talks on suffering at Omaha Bible Church. Here is the audio. There is also a pastors sessions on preaching and biblical theology. (HT: Erik Raymond)
Here is an older article from Ligonier (actually written by Dr. Mohler) on Training Pastors in Church
This is why you should pray for this on the ministry. (Yes, that includes me)
I am substitute teaching right now...and the school will not allow youtube videos. So I'll try to post a clip a little later.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
-David Wells, Above All Earthly Powers, page 160
I am absolutely astonished by the claims of Steve Lemke in his "What is a Baptist" article. (A good summary of those claims can be found here.) Both Timmy Brister and James Galyon interact on the issue of Total Depravity and Age of Accountability.
The Pyro blog is idle for a month. While they are dark for the month of October their archives are not. Dan Phillips suggest his Top 18 posts.
John Samson asks, Should we use Altar Calls in our Evangelism?
I really hope this is a joke...it's either hilarius or really sad depending on its validity. Michael Patton displays pictures of church-sign war between Catholics and Presbyterians.
A great deal from Desiring God giving away cases of Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ for $1 each.
Since I took about a year off--I have some decent "older" articles to link to. I will feature a couple of these each day. I may have already linked to this one but New Attitude has a wonderful article on The Gospel and Ministry.
My wife and I went to see the movie Fireproof last night. It was phenomenal. The acting (except Kirk Cameron) was decent at best but the movie was wonderful. Here is a clip:
Monday, October 6, 2008
Pages: 242 pages
Genre: Youth/Christian Living
Do Hard Things is a book written by teens to teens. The foundational impetus for this book is that teenagers are being sold short and are selling themselves short. As a response Alex and Brett Harris have founded The Rebelution; a teenage rebellion against low expectations. This book is their “revolutionary message in its purest and most compelling form”.
The first four chapters of the book are an attempt to cause many to rethink the way the teen years a viewed. Each chapter is laying the foundation and challenging teenagers to “do hard things”. But what exactly does it mean to do hard things? The second section of the book (Chapter’s 5-9) provides a picture of “doing hard things”. The Harris brothers list five types of hard and give practical examples throughout of doing hard things in these areas. In the last section, we are given real life examples of teenagers that are part of The Rebelution. It would also be negligent to not mention the appendix: Do Hard Things, The Gospel, and You.
What I Liked:
There is much in this book to like. The writing style is very fluid and catchy. It is a very easy read but also one that has the ability to stir up your heart. The first part of the book, at least in my opinion, shines the brightest. The second and third section are necessary to help us see what The Rebelution looks like but I was sold on the first part. The Myth of Adolescence and A Better Way are two really great chapters. These teens know their culture and are impacting it in a profound way.
As a youth pastor I made an effort to get this book in the hands of every one of our teenagers. We went through this book in our Sunday School meetings and most of the students liked it, and some were excited about joining The Rebelution. This book, or at least all of the principles behind it, needs to catch on in our churches and within our youth culture.
What I Disliked:
This book will not solve all of the problems within teen culture nor is it meant to. However, there does seem to be something that is missing with this book. It pains me to say it because I expected the exact opposite, but the thing that seemed to missing was a Christ-centered, gospel-centered, appeal to rebel against low expectations. By no means is the gospel left out. The Harris brothers are always quick to point to God and many of their stories include the living out of the gospel. But there is a sense in which the gospel seems to take a back seat to social change. Would they consider someone a Rebelutionary that started a grass roots political campaign but never came to know and share in the glory of Christ? It is clear that their intent is to “do hard things for the glory of God” but does that really happen when unbelievers are merely creating social change?
Should You Buy It?
If you are an old codger that disdains and is bothered by the plight of youth culture then you need to read this book to see why teens are the way they are and what you can do about it. If you are a blissfully ignorant teenager then you need to read this book. If you work with teenagers and are beating your head against the wall this might be a good book for you. Simply put, if you have ever seen a teenager then this might be a good read for you. In my opinion this book is a seed of something really great. Be a part of it, buy the book.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Pages: 208 pages
Genre: Christian Living
A pastor friend of mine once said, “We love grace, just not free grace”. In this book Jerry Bridges displays the beauty of free grace. His fundamental cry in this book is summed up nicely on the back cover: “Funny how the exceeding riches of God’s grace seem to run out the moment we’re saved. From then on, we tend to base our relationship with Him on our performance rather than on His grace.” Throughout this book the reader is consistently brought back to the sufficiency of unadulterated grace.
Practical and theological. Simple yet profound. This book would cause the greatest scholar to pause and grounds up the meat in such a way that even the newest of babes could feast on it. Grace shines in this work by Jerry Bridges.
What I Liked:
Since reading this book I have quoted it more than any other book. It is highly readable and its principles are not difficult to remember. This book is one of those rare jewels that stick with you. At least in my life it has been something the Lord has used to consistently remind me to “preach the gospel to myself”.
Here is an example of the simple yet profound statements throughout this book: “One of the best keep secrets among Christians today is this: Jesus paid it all. I mean all. He not only purchased your forgiveness of sins and your ticket to Heaven, He purchased every blessing and every answer to prayer you will ever receive. Every one of them—no exceptions.” It’s easy to understand but it takes a lifetime to chew on the truth in that statement. This book is filled with such excellent material.
A great mark of a Christian book is that it causes a deeper love for God and throughout reading it you break out into praise and awe. One of Bridge’s goals seems to have been to overwhelm us with the greatness of God and the freeness of His grace. He succeeds.
What I Disliked:
I have to dig pretty deep to find something that I do not like about this book. Perhaps one thing I could say to give some balance is that there are some places along the way that seem to drag a little—but maybe I just hadn’t drank my Mountain Dew yet. Truthfully the only thing I dislike about this book is that I’ve finished reading it.
Should You Buy It?
You would be absolutely foolish not to buy this book. Buy it, read it, give it away and then buy another. Whether you consider yourself a scholar or a simpleton you should buy this book. This book is for every type of person because God’s grace is for every type of person. If you do not buy this book you will be in dire need for grace! (Well, even if you do buy it you still need grace, but the point stands—buy the book!).
Josh Harris has been compiling sermon notes of various preachers. It's pretty interesting especially for us preacher folk.
At the Koinonia blog they feature a Monday's with Mounce (that's Bill Mounce) column. It's always worth a read. This morning we are treated to a "look at etymologies".
Timmy Brister is responding to Steve Lemke's 4 Stream's of Calvinism. Part 1 and Part 2 have been completed.
Pulpit Magazine asks and answers the question, "Why Elder Rule?"
This is really not a video but more of a song. What happens when you combine my favorite musicians with my favorite (if that's proper to say) preacher? You get Shane and Shane with John Piper. Check it out:
Friday, October 3, 2008
Dan Edelen explains why I get nauseous every time I go to the Christian bookstore. (HT: Challies)
Did you miss the Desiring God National Conference? So did I. No fear, all of the video is now available here.
Mark Driscoll has a new online book out. He is releasing it chapter by chapter. It is called Porn-Again Christian. Chapter one has just been released.
Great article here about confronting other people.
I'll close with a sport that I absolutely have to try out: