Tuesday, October 30, 2007

romans 5

On Sunday night we discussed Romans 5 at Senior High youth. It was a good discussion with lots of questions asked and most of them answered.

Chapter 5 begins to unpack more fully the idea that we are sinners by virtue of being human, while the first few chapters focus on individual sins as the guilty vice which damns us, this chapter focuses on the absoluteness of the fall and reinforces the idea that we are born evil. Psalm 51:5 is the greatest of examples. "In sin did my mother conceive me."

Truly this puts a great urgency on the Gospel being told to the countless millions who don't know Christ. A great burden is placed on anyone who understands that all people who have ever been born, just by being conceived (which should convince all Christians not to support abortion..God thinks of us as humans at the point of conception (sperm hitting the egg) and not at a later point).

The great truth and joy comes only in Christ, the second Adam, who redeems us and gives us a new birth. Again, we are counted righteous in an instant and continue in that righteousness forever, having been born of the Spirit and washed in Jesus blood. The Gospel comes no sweeter than this.


Friday, October 26, 2007

reformation day

So, because October 31 falls on a Wednesday and my church has many meetings on Wednesdays, we thought it prudent to watch the movie Luther instead of our regular meetings. I could get into all the details of reasons, but that would probably bore you. Instead, I offer this...

Ligonier Ministries is offering the Reformation Study Bible for $15.17 (get it? the year of the 95 theses) on October 31 (the day they were nailed up). But only for that day, and it is a significant sale.

I happen to own a copy...and despite the Presbyterian overtones, it is quite good and Sproul does a nice job in his notes. So, go buy it...but only on the 31st.

[HT]:Shepherds Scrapbook

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I listened to a great sermon by Mark Driscoll on the freedom of Christians and the duty to keep a brother from stumbling. He does a great job of drawing the line between freedom in Christ and obedience in all circumstances. He also stresses how we are all free and strong and we are also all weak and in need of someone else to keep us from stumbling.
Give it a listen here.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

piper on sin

here's an article on Christianity Today...(DOT COM!!!!!...oh, man. I still crack up when i picture Driscoll's face yelling about the Rabbi...click here to know what I'm talking about)

It was written by John Piper to address sexual sin, but the concept of guilt is easily applied to all sin. I think it is a great read on the absolute righteousness imputed to us on the cross by Jesus being crucified. It is an encouraging article and Piper hits a nerve that, I'm sure for many of us, is tingling from ignoring it for so long.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Commnion with the Triune God

If you get the chance, pick up Communion with the Triune God by John Owen. (edited by Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor). It just came out from Crossway.

The book is weighty and moving. Owen splits up the Trinity and talks about how to commune with each person. (I found it to be highly educational on for my theology on the Trinity. It was great to have someone expound on the many aspects of each person so fully and with such care.) The purpose of the book is best summed up by this quote:

"both he that writes, and they that read the words of his mercy, may have such a taste of his sweetness and excellencies therein, as to be stirred up to a further longing after the fullness of his salvation and the eternal fruition of him in glory." (pg 94)

This was my first big book by Owen (I've only read a few bits and pieces). The updated language by Kapic and Taylor was a huge help. I easily got into a rhythm while reading it because I wasn't bothered by hard to decipher language.

Speaking of the editors, Kapic did a great job in the introduction. I could see that section becoming a small tract on its own. For someone, like me, who is only somewhat familiar with Owen, it was a good min-biography and a great detailing of the work at hand.

One of the best features of the book is the outline, which is over 30 pages long. I had my doubts at first...30 page outline?!? But it really did come in handy. I found myself glancing back to it many times to find the flow of Owen's thought.

My very brief thoughts on the substance of the book:

His chapters on the Father were good for me. I often think of Jesus as the love of God, when it was the Father who "predestined us in love."

During his talk on Christ, I couldn't help but be brought back to the Derek Webb song "Lover." "I am my beloved, and my beloved is mine." The greatness of Christ, the fullness of His grace was made clear.

The efficacy of the Holy Spirit because he comes with the authority of the Father and the Son was made real to me. The last quote on here really stopped me and made me think.

Here's some quotes that hit me:

not "holding immediate communion with the Father in love...makes us go heavily, when we might rejoice; and to be weak, where we might be strong in the Lord." (pg 123)

"This is the first act of communion, as to the personal grace
of Christ. Christ makes himself over to the soul, to be his, as to all the
love, care, and tenderness of a husband; and the soul gives up itself
wholly unto the Lord Christ, to be his, as to all loving, tender obedience.
And herein is the main of Christ’s and the saints’ espousals. This,
in the prophet, is set out under a parable of himself and a harlot: “You
shall abide for me,” says he unto her, “you shall not be for another, and
I will be for you” (Hos. 3:3)—“Poor harlot,” says the Lord Christ, “I
have bought you unto myself with the price of mine own blood; and now, this is that which we will consent unto—I will be for you, and you
shall be for me, and not for another.” (pg 156)

"Our universal obedience and good works are indispensably necessary,
from the sovereign appointment and will of God; Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost." (pg 304)

"The conversion of others. “Having your conversation honest among
the Gentiles; that, wherein they speak against you as evildoers, they
may, by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the
day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:12; Matt. 5:16). Even revilers, persecutors,
evil-speakers have been overcome by the constant holy walking of professors;
and when their day of visitation has come, have glorified God
on that account (1 Pet. 3:1–2)." (pg 308)

"Hence is the sin against the Holy Ghost (what it is I do not now
dispute) unpardonable, and has that adjunct of rebellion put upon it
that no other sin has—namely, because he comes not, he acts not, in his
own name only, though in his own also, but in the name and authority
of the Father and Son, from and by whom he is sent; and therefore, to
sin against him is to sin against all the authority of God, all the love of
the Trinity, and the utmost condescension of each person to the work
of our salvation." (pg 363)



I read a post today by Tullian Tchividjian. He talks about whether or not it is important to pinpoint the exact moment of salvation.

I've wrestled with this for several years. Some have told me that I was saved much earlier, at the age of 5 or 6. Others have referred to my baptism as the age and time (which I just found the date of in a Bible: 4/20/97...I was baptized at Faith Outreach Center...and I don't remember it at all...real meaningful).

I refer to my salvation as a time during the summer of 2003. I don't know a date. I don't know much of anything, just that my life drastically changed, inwardly. I became a new person.

I've thought the same thing as Pastor Tchividjian when he writes

It frustrated me not knowing for sure whether my relationship with God began when I was five and “prayed the prayer” or when I was twenty-one and my life clearly changed. Did I become a Christian when I was five and then simply rebelled until I was twenty-one, at which point I rededicated my life to God? Or did I become a Christian for the first time at twenty-one? I didn’t know, and it really bothered me. I wanted to pinpoint the time and place.

So, if any of you have struggled...I side with Tullian and Arnie...the end is what matters most.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

romans 4

It has been a crazy week. We are having a completely new Bible school concept at church. It is for the entire family, not just the kids. It seems to be doing quite well.

Sunday, we went over the end of Romans 3 and most of Romans 4. What a great couple of paragraphs. Paul stresses the absolute gift of salvation. That grace is bestowed on the believing aside from anything that they have done or will do. It is given in love from God to justify us while we are sinners.

A great confidence should well up when we hear this. This means that any of us can be saved. Any of us can be brought up out of the bondage of this world. And any of us who do believe will not be counted worthless once we have been gifted with grace. We will remain now matter our actions.

I'm sure some will be grumbling at this point. Paul will answer the grumblings in couple of chapters...how this grace given does not mean we can continue sinning. Indeed, we should be more righteous than the Pharisees. However, it is of utmost importance to know the greatness of grace in our salvation. It gives us solid rock to stand on, Jesus Christ. Without this grace, faith falters on the sand of good works.


Monday, October 8, 2007

the basics...

my buddy matt and I were talking about the basics of the faith tonight. The conversation came when we were posed with the idea that the Christian faith is not based on facts in the uttermost sense. That, without the facts of the faith, someone could still be saved. (This is a very dumbed down version of the actual question, but it gets to the heart f it.)

Here is what I think, regarding the bare faith of Christianity. I will give a metaphor and a short fictional story to show my ideas.

The first is the story. Suppose a man named Abihu meets a man named John. They meet randomly as John is on his way to another place in the jungle. John is a Christian and desires that Abihu also believe so that Abihu might know the glory of God and joy of salvation. Abihu hears the following version of the Gospel in the 2 minutes that John is in contact with him. "Jesus was a man, who was also God. He came to this earth and had a ministry of several years. He performed many miracles. He was anointed with precious perfume. He died taking on the sins of the world. He rose again and spent 40 days more on the earth. He then ascended into heaven. If you believe in your heart that Jesus rose from the dead and confess with your mouth that He is Lord, you will be saved from the judgment of the most Holy God."

Abihu hears this and in his heart, believes. He leaves the brief encounter rejoicing. He goes back to his tribe, being the only one who has ever met a Christian. He tells them all of this news that he has heard. He preaches it faithfully for 30 years. All of his tribe also believe.

Thirty years later, another man, Tim, who is also a Christian, comes to the tribe of Abihu to tell them the good news of Christ. Much to his surprise, Abihu and the tribe already profess faith in Jesus, despite this tribe never having been ministered to by a missionary. Tim asks how they know of Jesus and Abihu tells him of the brief encounter with John.

Tim stays with the tribe and continues to teach them the faith, entrusted to the saints. Surprisingly, the tribe accepts, with little hesitation, all that Tim tells them. They readily acknowledge that Jesus was born of a virgin. They see how the Trinity must be. They find much comfort in the joys and sufferings of the folks in the Bible.
This story illustrates, to me, the basic faith of Christianity. It is true, that all one must do to be saved is acknowledge Jesus as Lord and recognize Him to have been resurrected. The key to the story is that 30 years later, all the other doctrines of the faith are brought in, and because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in the hearts of the tribe of Abihu, they readily agree to the other doctrines of the faith. So too, we must readily accept the doctrines of the faith if we believe. It is true that they are not utterly necessary but if we believe we will want to know deeper the fullness of the Gospel. We will want to understand more and more the joy of our salvation. Our desire will not be to stagnate and be satisfied with the absolute minimum of faith.
The metaphor (I might have used the wrong word...analogy? simile? i never know...)

Suppose one is learning to drive. That person is told "This is the gas. This is the brake. This is the steering wheel. The gas moves you forward. The brake makes you stop. The steering wheel makes you turn."

That is, essentially, what driving is. Three things. But isn't there more? What of shifting to a different gear? Driving in the rain? In the dark? Why use turn signals?

Even though this person might be able to "drive" they will not be very successful if the driving gets difficult. If, however, they are taught the full measure of driving...they will have much greater success. (It is true that they may not...which is true of faith as well. Some may know all that Christianity entails, but not believe.)

Thoughts back?


don't waste it...

I finally have a computer that has Windows XP which allows me to have the sweet application...iTunes.

I'm a Mac lover, so this is huge. (if any rich folk out there wanna buy me a computer, make it a MacBook Pro)

One of the first things I did when I got iTunes was sign up for a bunch of video and audio podcasts. They are great. I get to hear Piper answer questions, MacArthur answer questions. I get to hear stuff from the Resurgence. I love them.

There is one, though, that is most powerful. The "Don't Waste Your Life" videos. If you are a Christian and you have itunes (or some other video podcast downloader) then sign up for them here: DWYL vodcast

"There are three types of Christians. There are the goers. The senders. And the disobedient."...ugh. that hit me hard.

Let us go and let us send that the world might know and be saved.


Saturday, October 6, 2007

derek webb

Derek Webb (yeah...that Derek Webb) was hanging out with a friend of a friend and recorded a message for my bud, Matt Henning. It's only 15 seconds because it was on a cell.
Check it out


Thursday, October 4, 2007


From the pen of A.W. Pink:

Sometimes the wind blows so softly it scarcely rustles a leaf; at other times it blows so loudly that its roar can be heard for miles. So it is in the matter of the new birth; with some the Holy Spirit deals so gently that His work is imperceptible to human onlookers; with others His action is so powerful, radical, revolutionary, that His operations are patent to many.

He takes this statement by reading from John 3:8. It is true, isn't it? My salvation was a nearly imperceptible change (except for the radical shift in my theology). I acted much the same. Few of my outward actions differed (although, now...slowly...I am becoming more Christlike).

I have known others who are so radically lifted that it is impossible not to notice. My Bible study leader in college was one of them (I wasn't there for his conversion...but the stories I have heard are quite remarkable). Instantly he became ignited by the Spirit and desired to 'reap the harvest'.

It is good for me to think about the differences in conversions. I often think that all people should come to faith like I did...but, the Spirit is sovereign in how the non-believers is 'pricked'.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007


I have spent a good amount of time talking about preaching the Gospel in social justice and apart from social justice. That, in the end, the Gospel of Christ is of the utmost importance and the betterment of the world is a secondary. That does not mean that we should not strive to better the lives of those around us, to rescue the poor and downtrodden.

Now, I think, in order to preach the Gospel at all times by proclaiming the good news of Christ, we must be fully aware of the great grace we have received. If we are to ever be able to properly tell of the faith and hope we have, then we must be fully enthralled by the greatness and glory of our great Savior. We must become enraptured in his love.

We does this by proclaiming the Gospel to each other before we ever go proclaim it to others. We must, each day and each hour, tell each other and remind ourselves of the great Gospel which we have received so that we don't forget it. So that we continue to be in love with Him. So that we abide each day in His grace.

If we do this, I agree with John Piper in his book Desiring God then we will be like the Macedonians who, although they were poor, gave with great joy out of the love that was in their hearts that the Gospel of Christ be made known to all and that those in need within the bounds of the church would be provided for.

May we, as brothers and sisters, take time to remind each other of the greatness of our Gospel, lest we forget it and not fulfill our great commission. We cannot do it without first knowing it and being fully engulfed in it. We may try and at times God may grant us the ability to succeed but it will be weak compared to what can be accomplished by the overflow of our hearts to the hopeless world.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007


On the old truth blog there is a post about the idea of 'non-essentials' in the Christian faith.
It is true that there is no need of knowing every doctrine in order to be saved but it something else entirely to say that, once having been saved, we should not seek to know the fullness of God.

The fullness of God is found in the doctrines of the faith. Salvations through faith, propitiatory atonement, the trinity, what defines an elder, male and female complementarity.

Each day we should strive to know more of God so that we can be more like God. The law (doctrine) is not what saves us but it is what directs us to Christlikeness. That is why I fight for doctrine and will continue to do so. It is essential to the fullness of the believer.


Monday, October 1, 2007

the gospel

Timothy Keller lays down what a Christ-centered sermon looks like. We all must apply this, even those outside the pulpit. This is how we turn ordinary things into the extraordinary Christ. We do it by showing the inadequacy of whatever it is and the sufficiency of Jesus.
Take some time to read more of Keller's stuff. He works with Driscoll, after all.