Friday, January 30, 2009

What do you think?

"Tough faith never grows in a comfortable mind" -Larry Crabb


This week in Blogworld 1/30/09

Kevin DeYoung one of the authors of Young, Restless, and Reformed has started blogging. Check it out here. (HT: JT)

Big February sale of all Sovereign Grace books and music.

I am fairly new to the blog of Colin Adams. Apparently he has a rather good series asking 10 Questions to faithful expostiros. This edition features Ray Ortlund, Jr. Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of the page.

Bill Mounce instructs us on how to use Greek in the pulpit.

This is a really good aritcle by Jay Adams. It deals with the need for church discipline.

If only Obama sat under Piper's preaching.
(HT: Denny)

JT gives us some suggestions from Adler's classic How To Read a Book.

Preachers, read this article by Dan Phillips.

Finally: Browns announce hiring of Kokinis

I'm a big fan of holy hip hop myself. Thabiti discusses the movement:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Review of Spiritual Depression by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Author: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Pages: 300 pages

Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Price: 11.99

Genre: Christian Living

Quick Summary:

Spiritual Depression is a compilation of 21 sermons from “the Doctor”. Lloyd-Jones was an excellent physician of the body and after his calling to the ministry he became an excellent physician of the soul. Spiritual Depression comes from the heart of a pastor to his congregation.
Lloyd-Jones believes that one of the greatest hindrances to the gospel in our day is spiritually depressed Christians. In these sermons Lloyd-Jones hopes to be used by The Great Physician to do something about it.

What I Liked:

Lloyd-Jones is balanced and practical. I went through this book with a few other pastors and we benefited greatly from it. Lloyd-Jones does an excellent job of explaining the Christian life (or should I say Christian struggle) in light of Scripture. Lloyd-Jones is sympathetic throughout and yet he does not pull any punches. He allows for such things as temperament and biology but yet is not shackled by them. What refreshment from the psychobabble of our day!

What I Disliked:

The book suffers from the older writing style and does not flow as well as some of the more modern books on the topic. Because of that I fear that much of what Lloyd-Jones has to say will be lost on the more modern and casual reader. It also was not originally intended to be a book but rather sermons. It is often difficult to transfer a collection of sermons into a book—and the disunity is obvious. Because of these I would probably recommend someone that is struggling with depression to a couple other resources (see below).

Perhaps the title is a tad misleading. If you are looking for a treatise on battling depression then you are going to probably put the book down after chapter 3. A person struggling with depression would greatly benefit from this book but because of its writing style and sermonic form I have seen a few people put the book down because “it doesn’t help”. Perhaps if it were titled How to Effectively Struggle in the Christian Life then it would be more true to the overall scope of this book.

Should You Buy It?

If you are someone that is deeply struggling with depression or hope to help someone that is then perhaps Spiritual Depression is not the best book for you. It would be helpful but it has been my experience (though somewhat limited) that the folks at CCEF do a better job dealing with such issues. Buy a book by Jay Adams, Paul Tripp, David Powlison, or any other CCEF person. Yet, Lloyd-Jones book is not to be confined to obscurity. It is still a very beneficial work. Just read it alongside one of the others.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Today in Blogworld 01/23/09

Last time I mentioned Michael Mckinley's interview with Steve Timmis--author of Total Church. Part 3 is now up as is a response from Thabiti. Be sure to read both--especially Thabiti's.

There has been a myriad of articles concerning abortion and sanctity of life. I have to be honest... I am so sickened by what is going on and the legislation President Obama is passing that I can hardly stand to read the articles. Go to JT's blog...he's got a bunch does Piper.

Why did Disney dump the Narnia series? The LA Times tells the story. (HT: Tony)

Ray Ortlund, Jr. lists some of the "one-anothers" he can't find in the New Testament.

Phil Johnson has finished up his series on Clarifying Calvinism: Part 6, 7, and 8.

Dr. Mohler offers a prayer for President Obama.

Is a moros a moron? Bill Mounce corrects a common misunderstanding. Time to 'fess up preachers.

Russel Moore tells us why he hates Sanctity of Life Sunday.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hump Day Humor: Cowboy Edition

The next time they meet, Pastor Williams will remember not to imply that Rowdy’s horse is a false convert. (HT: Sacred Sandwich)
In case you are not aware this is a "knock" on the Cowboy Churches.

We need a cat herder in New London.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday's Ministry Musings: Shepherding for Sacrificial Purposes

I recently purchased a gem of a little book by William Still entitled The Work of the Pastor. You can buy it at Monergism for under 5 bucks. In the very beginning Still discusses the work of the pastor as shepherd:

"The pastor by definition is a shepherd, the under-shepherd of the flock of God. His primary task is to feed the flock by leading them to green pastures. He also has to care for them when they are sick or hurt, and seek them when they go astray. The importance of the pastor depends on the value of the sheep.

Pursue the pastoral metaphor a little further: Israel's sheep were reared, fed, tended, retrieved, healed and restored--for sacrifice on the altar of God. This end of all pastoral work must never be forgotten--the ultimate aim is to lead God's people to offer themselves up to Him in total devotion of worship and sacrifice.

Pastor, what is your goal? Is it that the sheep God has entrusted you with might be offered to God in sacrifice or is it so that they can fulfill your dream of being a "thriving" and "succesful" church? Is your goal to make your sheep fat, happy, and prosperous so that they can enjoy living together as sheep? Or, is your goal to make your sheep healthy, pure, and faithful so that they offer themselves as a sacrifice to the King? It's worth considering our motivation concerning the sheep we tend to.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Today in Blogworld 1/15/09

Phil Johnson hopes to Clarify Calvinism with articles at Pulpit Magazine. See Part 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. He doesn't seem to be finished so keep checking at Pulpit (or here) for more updates to this well-grounded series.

Speaking of series, McKinley continues his interview with Steve Timmis. Read Part 2, here.

Great points by Dan Phillips: Turning the tables or pulpits.

This is GREAT news. JT informs us that many of DA Carson's MP3's are availabe online for....FREE!

Perhaps I should have called this the TeamPyro edition of Today in Blogworld. Frank Turk also has some great things to say here: Assurance to All.

Colin Adams shares a helpful strategy for studying a passage of Scripture.

Wow! Thanks to my friend Garrett for this gem: American Christendom a Business.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hump Day Humor

This "Ninja" tried stealing ATM's in Palm Beach County. Too Funny!

Another example of why reading is important

I know this one's fake but it sure is funny!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The wording is mine the overall thought belongs to Ed Welch. I am currently reading his book Running Scared. In one of the chapters he talks about God being the King and God being Father. This got me to thinking:

Our Father is the King.
The King is our Father.

Each statement says something different. "Our Father is the King" is a reminder that the gentle, loving, caring Father that is full of love is also full of power--he's the king. "The King is our Father" is a reminder that the all powerful, all knowing, sovereign head also has deep love and affections for his children.

Misunderstanding either of these statements leads to many problems. To deny that our Father is the King will potentially lead us to all sorts of wrong thinking and feeling. It can lead us to fear because our Father is not big enough to take care of it. It can lead us to loose living because we have the assumption that we have our doting Father wrapped around our fingers. It can lead us to bondage and helplessness in the face of deep sin. These are only a few.

To deny that the King is our Father can also lead us to wrong thinking and feeling. We can begin to view God as a cold dictator. We know that he is big and powerful but we wonder whether he really cares for us. It can create a distance and a performance based relationship--after all what can you do to please a King?

Which side do you err on? And what are the results?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Today in Blogworld 1/12/09

What a weekend. On Thursday (my son's birthday) we noticed he was starting to get sick. By Friday we had no doubt. So, Friday night we took him to the ER because his temperature was up to 104 and he was having trouble breathing. We were sent home around 2 AM. We then went back the next day and found out he has pneumonia. But he's been doing much better since then...and he's actually playing today. Here are a few links from the last few days:

Michael Patton makes me wonder if I really do want to go to seminary.

Do you have somebody in your life that is too much? Jay Adams offers advice on what to do.

JT nicely sums up the posts on reading on Tony Reinke's blog. JT also sums up the recent Day with Don at Mars Hill Church. Be sure to check these out.

Great news: CCEF is redesigned online and now has a blog. (HT: JT)

Is Satan Pro-Man? Piper answers.

Over the next week or so Michael McKinley (from 9 Marks) will be posting interviews with Steve Timmis author of Total Church. This should be good. Check out part 1.

A Review of The Doctrine of Repentance by Thomas Watson

Author: Thomas Watson

Pages: 122 pages

Publisher: Banner of Truth

Price: 6.00

Genre: Puritan Paperback/Christian Living

Quick Summary:

Repentance: One word used frequently in the Bible yet little does it touch our lips. Apparently the problem is not relegated to the 21st century in America. It must have also been a problem in Puritan England. And for the church of Puritan England Thomas Watson wrote The Doctrine of Repentance; first published in 1668. The Lord has saw fit to grace our society with this work on repentance.

As the back cover comments, “Knowing what repentance is, and actually repenting are essential to true Christianity”. Watson hopes to show us what repentance is and what it really means to repent. Watson spends the early part of this work on unmasking counterfeit repentance and displaying the nature of true repentance. The latter part of the book is Watson’s passionate plea for his readers to repent.

What I Liked:

The first half of the book really shines. In our “tolerant” world the one thing we can not bear to tolerate is the mention of sin. When someone out of such a culture comes to understand the gospel such words as repentance can still be difficult to swallow. We are often tempted to confuse feeling sorry or confession with repentance. Watson makes clear what repentance really is: “True leaving of sin is when the acts of sin cease from the infusion of a principle of grace, as the air ceases to be dark from the infusion of light”. Watson writes in a clear, practical, and yet penetrating manner.

What I Disliked:

Sometimes the lines are blurred as to who exactly Watson’s audience is. Is he speaking to an unrepentant believer or to an unrepentant unbeliever? Perhaps his exhortations would have remained the same but I found myself confused by certain parts. For instance, “Till the sinner repents, God and he cannot be friends”. (59) Is this talking about the unbeliever, if so then I whole-heartedly agree? But if this is talking about the believer it causes me to pause and consider whether Watson is really correct on this point.

The first part of the book really shines but in the second half when Watson exhorts toward repentance the motivation he uses is not necessarily grounded in the gospel. In reading The Godly Man’s Picture there were times when I thought Watson got a little off track in his understanding of the gospel, I sense the same thing in this work. But then again, it could always be me that is off track.

Should You Buy It?

I would most certainly recommend this book. Even considering the things that I dislike this work is still a very important work. If one is considering a study on repentance I would suggest adding Watson’s work to your list, but do not stop there. You also need to read How People Change by Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp. It would also serve the reader well to read an excellent work by Kerry Skinner: The Joy of Repentance

Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Monday's Ministry Musings: Could You Reach You?

"Could I now reach who I once was?"

This is the question that Zack Eswine asks in the introduction to his book Preaching to a Post-Everything World. Hiding behind a Calvinistic "only God reaches people" will not suffice. With that one rule--how would you answer that question? Would the way you preach, teach, minister reach who you once were?

Review of Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography by Iain Murray

Author: Iain Murray

Pages: 504

Publisher: Banner of Truth

Price: 21.78

Genre: Biography

Quick Summary:

Who was Jonathan Edwards? That question invites a polarity of answers. Was Jonathan Edwards a cold theologian or a man passionate about the glory of God? Was he a man that preached more on the delights of heaven or the fires of hell? A great divine or a great tragedy? Who was Jonathan Edwards?

In this biography Iain Murray exposes the reader to the real Jonathan Edwards. Murray attempts to wrestle Edwards out of the hands of the demonizing biographers of recent scholarship and reintroduce the Edwards that was actually known by his contemporaries. Murray takes us into the mind of the great divine as well as into his heart. The reader not only observes Edwards in his study but also with his child on his lap. Edwards is seen not only as one passionately pleading with sinners but also earnestly praying for his children. Murray traces the life of Jonathan Edwards from boyhood to death to legacy and shows us the many different facets of this great man of God.

What I Liked:

In the introduction Murray says that we “fail to understand Edwards aright until the record of his life begins to [kindle a fire in our souls].” Murray’s goal is not only to reintroduce Edwards to the reader but to introduce the reader to Edwards’ God. Our author succeeds. Iain Murray is one of my favorite biographers. He does a wonderful job of letting the subject speak for himself. As you turn the last page of an Iain Murray biography you cannot help but respond in worship. Not, of course, worship directed neither to Murray— nor to his subject—but worship directed to the God they both serve.

What I Disliked:

Occasionally, Murray will let Edwards off the hook a little early. In his effort to rescue Edwards from his highly critical biographers, occasionally Murray will be under critical. This is, however, the exception and not the rule. Overall, it is historically reliable.

Should You Buy It?

This is perhaps the best biography written on Edwards—definitely so in the last 200 years. Even if you own numerous biographies of Edwards this particular work also uses material from recent studies that will not be found elsewhere. This book would be a great addition to any library.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Review of The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper

Author: John Piper

Pages: 121

Publisher: Baker

Price: 11.19

Genre: Preaching/Pastoral

Quick Summary:

What is your first thought after hearing your pastor? Pastor, what do people most remember about your sermons? Is it the sermon or the God displayed by the sermon? What Piper calls for is passionate preaching of the supremacy of God. As Piper notes, “It does not matter if surveys turn up a list of perceived needs that does not include the supreme greatness of the sovereign God of grace. That is the deepest need. Our people are starving for God.” This book hopes to inspire pastors to feed the sheep with a vision of the supremacy of God in all things.

If you have read anything by John Piper then you know his passion—the supremacy of God. In this short book Piper writes four chapters in defense of his view of preaching: The goal of preaching, the ground of preaching, the gift of preaching, and the gravity and gladness of preaching. In the final three chapters Piper offers guidance from the ministry of Jonathan Edwards: Keep God Central, Submit to Sweet Sovereignty, and Make God Supreme.

What I Liked:

When I hear John Piper preach I come away with a fresh vision and passion for God. When I read this book I come away with a fresh vision and passion for proclaiming this great God. Piper can write as a lofty theologian. Yet, he can also write as a passionate and loving grandfather. It is the latter that provides the tone for this book. This book is God-centered and practical. I am in wholehearted agreement with Bryan Chapell when he writes of Piper’s book, “The plan is too simple for a fallen world to notice and too powerful for a faithful preacher to ignore.” This book inspires me.

What I Disliked:

The truth is that Bryan Chapell is right; this book is too simple (which says more about my sinfulness than about a criticism of this book). I admire John Piper and would like to learn a great deal from him. I expected to read this book and immediately know how to preach God passionately. I expected a formula that I could easily follow that would transform my preaching. Turns out you will not find that in this book. Instead you learn this: God is most glorified in our preaching when we are most satisfied in him. Simple, yet so powerful you cannot ignore it. Passionate preaching does not come from a how-to manual. It comes from being enthralled with God. So, because I am fallen I wish it were easier.

Should You Buy It?

This book cannot be ignored. It is a must have for preacher and congregant alike.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Is Paul Defensive in 1 Corinthians 9?

As I am studying 1 Corinthians 9 I find that many believe Paul is defending his apostleship. Many believe that Paul's apostleship is being questioned in Corinth (I think I agree to an extent with this point). 1 Corinthians 9 is then read through that lens as if Paul is defending himself with all of these rhetorical questions. Each question is thought to be a jab and a defense of Paul's apostleship.

Those that have such a view often have a hard time understanding why the change of tone and the seeming change of topic only to pick it back up again in chapter 10. This has led some to question the unity of 1 Corinthians.

But, I have a few questions. What if the presupposition is wrong? What if Paul's rhetorical questions are not defensive jabs but things he expects a reserved "amen" to? What if 1 Corinthians 9 is not departing from chapter 8 and chapter 10. What if Paul is merely using all of these rhetorical questions to show himself as an example of what he has just discussed in chapter 8?

I see verse 12b as the main point of this passage, "Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ." Is this not the same thing that he is encouraging those in Corinth to do in 8:13?

Does Paul not say in verse 15 "nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision"? To me Paul is helping them see that his point is not to say, "you need to listen to me, you need to pay me better, I want a wife, and did I mention you need to pay me". All of these leads up to the climax of the passage, "I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings".

As I have read through 1 Corinthians I do not see a distrust of Paul and a deep questioning of his apostleship as the fundamental and root issue. Instead what I see is pride, disunity, a lack of love, exalting of knowledge at the expense of love, and fundamentally a lack of love and submission to Jesus. I think the main point that Paul is proclaiming to the church at Corinth is this: Jesus is enough, live your life in such a way that Christ and his gospel is the foundation for everything you do.

Having said all of I way off base with 1 Corinthians 9? How do you read it? Would you agree with what seems to be the majority that Paul is defending his rights? Do you see what I see? Or do you see something else? Help!

Today in Blogworld 01/09/08

Looks like I got my Mangini wish: Browns Introduce Mangini. I hope it was not a foolish wish.

Is Mark Dever done with his sabbatical? Here is a recent article on pastoral prayer: A Village Church with a Village God.

David, aka The Thristy Theologian, tells us the story of Thomas Chalmers' conversion.

This is a touching story: Calvin: A Brief Life. (HT: Tim Chester)

What a contrast between the story of Calvin and the horror behind this article by Dr. Mohler: A Chilling Account

Not much else out there in blogworld. I leave you with this...try not to let it get stuck in your head. Thanks to Ethan and Nick for pointing out this little gem:

Rex a Review

Author: Cathleen Lewis

Pages: 242 pages

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Price: 16.49

Genre: Biography

Quick Summary:

Rather than going into a detailed description of Rex's life watch this video it tells the story of Rex.

This book is that story.

What I Liked:

Cathleen Lewis is a great writer. She describes the events with such detail and precision that you can feel this story. Speaking of the frustration of being kept away as doctors were strolling her newborn toward ICU Lewis describes it thus: “I lunged behind the bed as they hurried past, my reflexes sharpened by a potent cocktail of anxiety and love”. Such eloquent writing is throughout the book.

Yet, Rex is not merely well written, it is also raw, gritty, and real. You can feel the mother’s heart breaking each time news is given of how difficult life is going to be for her son. I found myself sharing in the author’s anger and bewilderment at the broken school systems. This book shows raw emotion: you can sense the underlying anger at the husband that abandoned her, the constant battle of “why God”, the pride of seeing her son perform, and a deep sense of what a mother’s love really is. What a great book, I found myself not able to put it down! I hope she writes another book as Rex grows more.

What I Disliked:

Perhaps a fitting “sequel” would be a real look at Cathleen’s faith during such a time. As you read this book you sense that God is there and that her faith is real. However, it seems as if God is in the background and that her view of Him is more of a magical genie. Then you read the last chapter and realize this is not the case at all. You see that her faith is much deeper, more grounded, and quite real. I would like to read a book with God in the foreground and Rex in the background. I understand the aim of this book and it very much serves its purpose, yet, after reading that last chapter I think there is a story in here that is yet to be told.

Should You Buy It?

I most certainly would suggest it to anyone. It’s such a well put together book and a wonderful story of God’s grace, a mother’s love, and how much we really can get through. It’s a great book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Today in Blogworld 1/7/09

Colin Adams supplies a handy 10 item list of what you can pray for your pastor.

Jared from The Gospel-Driven Church shares his Calvinism that is counter-culture to Calvinism. If he's correct I think I might be counter-cultural too.

Great article from Ray Ortlund concerning the biblical illterate culture that has sprang up in the church ON OUR WATCH.

In other news my hands a freezing in my cold office.

I like this quote from Tim Keller: What is the Gospel?

This is interesting. I've never thought of this before. Jay Adams considers the doctrine of Traducianism and explains why it matters. If you are as confused by the title as I was perhaps you should check it out.

Preachers, do you ever get afraid that this is the way you come across?

Hump Day Humor: January 7

The congregation at Ridgeview Community Church was not amused when church organist Ed Hudson “Rickrolled” them.

I think my wife is a Calvinist too:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Has It Really Been a Year?

Thursday will be our son's first birthday. Hard to believe. Here is the invitation we made for his first birthday:

Click to play Isaiah's first birthday
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Make a Smilebox greeting

Precious Remedies 2.8

Remedy #8 and Devices

"By representing to the soul the outward mercies that vain men enjoy, and the outward miseries that they are freed from, whilst they have walked in the ways of sin."

In a perfect world bad things would happen to bad people and good things would happen to people that aren't quite so bad. Or at least that is the way we envision it should be. A common device that Satan uses is to point out the seemingly joyous exuberance of a man in a hellish condition whereas he makes our own personal discontentedness stick out like a sore thumb. In other words Satan confuses us into thinking that "following Christ simply doesn't work, look at the happiness of that man that does not follow Christ, what say you?" For remedies consider that:

  • No man knows how the heart of God stands by his hand.
  • There is nothing in the world that doth so provoke God to be wroth and angry, as men's taking encouragement from God's goodness and mercy to do wickedly.
  • There is no greater misery in this life, than not to be in misery; no greater affliction, than not to be afflicted.
  • That the wants of wicked men, under all their outward mercy and freedom from adversity, is far greater than all their outward enjoyments. [In other words they are never satisfied]
  • That outward things are not as they seem and are esteemed.
  • The end and the design of God in heaping up mercy upon the heads of the wicked, and in giving and quiet from those sorrows and suffering that others sigh under.
  • That God doth often most plague and punish those whom others think he doth most spare and love.
  • To dwell more upon that strict account that vain men must make for all that good that they do enjoy.

Quick Thoughts:

Brooks' point is really rather simple: Things are not as they seem. To look at the happiness of a man without Christ is to look at a mirage. Even if the Lord has given him this mercy it will soon fade. Often the happiness that is outward is only a mask for the deep pain that is inward. The man apart from Christ is never satisfied, and though he have all of this outward mercy he is still not fulfilled. Rather than focusing on the mirage of the lost man I would have rather Brooks' compared the glories of this world to the glory of heaven. Nevertheless, his points are effective.

Extracted Elixir's:

"No man knoweth either love or hatred by outward mercy or misery; for all things come alike to all, to the righteous and the unrighteous, to the good and the bad, to the clean and the unclean." (72)

"To render good for evil is divine, to render good for good is human, to render evil for evil is brutish; but to render evil for good is devilish; and from this evil deliver my soul, O God." (73)

"What is honor, and riches, and the favor of creatures, so long as I [lack] the favor of God, the pardon of my sins, an interest in Christ, and the hopes of glory! O Lord, give me these, or I die; give me these, or else I shall eternally die." (75)

Today-ish in Blogworld 1/6/09

Okay, I'm stretching the "ish" to a couple of weeks. I hope to get back to regular linkage soon. I hope you like the new Borrowed Light.

Dan Phillips introduces us to a new word: Sarkicophobia. I sounds boring, but it's really not. Be sure to read this one.

What a quote from Cornelius Plantinga. Thanks to Of First Importance for this one.

If you need a visual picture of the number of abortions since 1973 then the Mississippi Baptist Covention has supplied one: see here.

This is the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin. In honor Reformation 21 will be blogging through Calvin's Institutes. You can check out that blog here.

John Piper offers 9 Ways to Pray for your Soul.

Justin Taylor compiles suggestions on meditating on God's Word.

Is God's discipline teaching or chastisement? Mounce answers here.

And apparently this one is a good one, have yet to read it but everybody and their mom is linking to it. So, I'll just give the usual HT: to JT. Carl Trueman wonders why there are never enough parking spaces at the prostrate clinic.

This isn't a link but a final question for my football fan readers. Who do you think the Brownies will get as their GM and Head Coach? I'm pulling for Mangini as the HC.

Thanks to Brian for showing me this gem:

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday's Ministry Musings: Spurgeon and Our Need for Power from on High

“Except the Lord endow us with power from on high, our labor must be in vain, and our hopes must end in disappointment” --Charles Spurgeon

The above quote comes on the heels of Spurgeon’s humorous comment that, “I shall not attempt to teach a tiger the virtues of vegetarianism; but I shall as hopefully attempt that task as I would try to convince an unregenerate man of the truths revealed by God concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment to come”. Spurgeon, an eloquent and highly gifted minister of the gospel, understood that apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in converting souls, his ministry and labor would be in vain. He understood that our task of ministry (and here I am not speaking only of vocational ministry) is indeed impossible without being endowed with power from on high.

Spurgeon deeply believed with the Scriptures that “a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God”. Therefore, Spurgeon knew that his hope was not in “convincing” an unregenerate man of the truths revealed by God but a complete reliance upon the work of the Spirit. The only way that men will come to knowledge of truth is if God puts his Spirit within them (Ezekiel 36:27). To really understand total human depravity is to understand that apart from the work of the Spirit of God no man will come to Christ.

It saddens me when believers balk at the notion of total depravity--the doctrine that sin has affected the totality of our humanness. This doctrine affirms with Paul that without Christ “you were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). When we forget the doctrine of total depravity a happy confidence in the sovereign power of God is replaced with an idolatrous clinging to methods, programs, purpose statements, fads, and human ingenuity to spread the gospel grow churches. Unfortunately, church growth experts are not the only ones with amnesia in this area.

Those that are more theologically astute (or at least consider themselves as such) can be guilty of clinging to correct doctrine, beliefs, and "biblical practices" in the belief that such things will inevitably bring about spiritual growth. Yet, Spurgeon's quote must also sound the bell in this area, "Except the Lord endow us with power from on high, our labor must be in vain, and our hopes must end in disappointment”.

Instead of clinging to our human ingenuity let us cast ourselves wholly upon the mercy of God. Instead of clinching our hands around "correct doctrine" let us buckle our knees in prayer. If we really understand the state of fallen man and the power of the redeeming grace of the Lord then we will plead with God Almighty to send His Spirit upon us in our witness, and upon the lost and dying we are witnessing to. Our only hope is power from on high: please join in prayer with me that God might, by His grace and for His glory, send an outpouring of His Spirit upon His Bride and the broken world we live in.

Now if this truth will only go so deep in my heart that it causes action in the moments I'm caught off-guard.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Reading List for 2009

I didn't do too bad last year. I finished close to 40 books and got half-way through probably another 20. Many of these I need to still write reviews for. The format this year will be similar to last year with a few minor changes. As always this is new books come out and my desires change so does my reading plan. I ended up reading a far amount of books this year that I did not plan on, and I am certain the same thing will happen again this year.

This year's list will be broken up into six categories: Classical, Theological, Biographical, Historical, Pastoral, and Personal. This year I am going to focus on personal and biographical, hoping to read at least one book per month from each of these categories. Then I hope to read 8 books from the pastoral and classical categories. In the theological and historical category I hope to read a book every two months, or 6 books this year. That should leave me with 52 books--that would be one per week. It'd be great if I could do more...but that is my goal. Some of these books I still need to buy. Here are the books with links to purchase them if you so desire:


Anatomy of Secret Sins by Obadiah Sedgwick
Precious Thomas Brooks

The Institutes of Christian Religion by John Calvin
Christ's Counsel to His Languishing Churchby Obadiah Sedwick
Christ's Last Disclosure of Himself by William Greenhill
The True Bounds of Christian Freedom by Samuel Bolton
The Almost Christian Discovered by Matthew Mead
A Lifting up for the Downcast by William Bridge
The Christian’s Great Interest by William Guthrie


Finish: 2000 Year’s of Christ’s Power: Volume Two by NR Needham

2,000 Years of Christ's Power: Part One by N.R. Needham
The Story of Christianity Justo Gonzalez
Early Christian Doctrines J.N.D. Kelley
The Early Church by Henry Chadwick
Theology of the Reformers Timothy George


Christ Is All: The Piety of Horatius Bonar
Letters of C. H. Spurgeon
Letters of Samuel Rutherford

Memoirs of Thomas Boston
Wesley: And the Men Who Followed Iain Murray
A Scottish Christian Heritage Iain Murray
Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God by David McCasland
Samuel Rutherford by Kingsley Rendell
Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor DA Carson
God's Bestseller: William Tyndale by Brian Moynahan
A Quest for Godliness by JI Packer
George Whitfield (2 Vol.) Arnold Dallimore
Martyn Lloyd-Jones (2 Vol.) Iain Murray
John Calvin: A Heart for…. Buck Parsons (Editor)


A Jesus-Shaped Ministry by Ajihith Fernando
A Pastor’s Sketches by Ichabod Spencer
Handbook of Church Discipline by Jay Adams

The Christian Ministry by Charles Bridges
Jesus Christ: The Prince of preachers... by Mike Abendroth
Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry by Tom Ascol
The Christian Pastor's Manual by John Brown (compiler)
The Work of the Pastor William Still
The Living Church: Convictions of a Lifelong Pastor by John Stott
Preaching to a Post-Everything World by Zack Eswine
Kindled Fire by Zack Eswine
How to Help People Change by Jay Adams


Finish: When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey
True Spirituality by Francis Schaeffer

Instruments in the Redeemers Hands by Paul Tripp
Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Timothy Lane/Paul Tripp
Seeing with New Eyes by David Powlison
Wordliness by CJ Mahaney
A Quest for More by Paul Tripp
The Christian Counselor's Casebook by Jay Adams
Craftsmen by John Crotts
Running Scared Ed Welch
Speaking Truth In Love by David Powlison
Instructing a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp


Finish: Pierced for Our Transgressions by Steven Jeffery, etc.

Young, Restless, and Reformed by Colin Hansen
NT Theology by Thom Schreiner
The Courage to be Protestant by David Wells
The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark Noll
The Reason for God by Timothy Keller

Change of Plans

As you may have noticed the format here at Borrowed Light has changed. Instead of switching this blog over to Wordpress I will be staying here at Blogger. So, you can look forward to regular posting again. I hope to be more deliberate in blogging this year. We'll see.


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