Friday, November 28, 2008


I never remember Thanksgiving being a busy time in my younger years. I think each year since I was 18 has gotten busier and busier.

Tomorrow is the annual Helt Thanksgiving. I'll be heading out early to rehearse for Sunday and then back to the bread grindstone to churn out the 300 or so rolls for the family.

Euchre will commence promptly at 6 and you are cordially invited. I mean it. Everyone who reads this should come over. There'll be food, cards, football and drinks. And by drinks I mean some of my family will leave every hour or so for "fresh air."

Things to be thankful for:
1. Jesus Christ who made salvation possible
2. My family
3. Bread
4. Euchre
5. Eleanor Rigby


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

tuesday martyr: william tyndale

There are few people who have influenced the church as much as William Tyndale, and yet very few people know much about him (and a good many do not even know his name or what he did.)

(I would devote this piece to John Wycliffe, but he was not actually killed for his faith and since this is a dedication to martyrs...I have decided to leave him off. But he was the first (known) to translate the Scriptures into the language of the people in the 1300s. You can read more about him here.)

William Tyndale
worked most of his adult life at translating the Bible into English so that the people could know and read the Word of God and determine for themselves the false practices of the Roman Church. He was deemed a heretic for the crime and later killed for it.

During the years that he was working, at one point shipwrecked and losing everything, he never lost sight of his goal to translate the Scriptures into English and at one point said this: "I call God to record against the day we shall appear before our Lord Jesus, that I never altered one syllable of God's Word against my conscience, nor would do this day, if all that is in earth, whether it be honor, pleasure, or riches, might be given me."

And so, 11 years after his translation of the New Testament went into print, William Tyndale was brought out and strangled and then burnt at the stake. As he was dying he called in a loud voice "Lord, open the King of England's eyes!"

I pray that the Lord would open our eyes as well to the need of the Scriptures across the world in the native tongues of men.


Monday, November 17, 2008

the five solas series: sola scriptura

Few things mean as much to me as a passionate pursuit of the Scriptures to find out everything I can about God and how I should live. So, yesterday evening was a fun one for talk about why Scripture stands as our sole authority for rule and faith.

At the top read these to statements:
Simply put the 5 solas are this:
Scripture alone teaches that it is grace alone that saves through faith alone in Christ alone all for the glory of God alone.

These are the things that stood at the heart of the Reformation and still today stand as the rule of practice in the orthodoxy of the church. They do not represent what is necessary for individual salvation but they do stand for what is the proper means for growth and sanctification in the faith.
It is good to begin with some information on how the New Testament came about and why it is valid (if we believe the New Testament is valid, then we assume the validity of the Old Testament.)

I'd recommend going here and browsing around and searching for articles on the New Testament. Unfortunately I can't find my bookmarked pages (I think they are on a different computer).

After knowing that we can trust the reliability of the New Testament we find that it teaches that:

1. Human tradition or wisdom does not equal the Scriptures in matters of faith:
2 Corinthians 2:4-5 and 1 Thessalonians 2:13

2. Since we cannot rely on human knowledge and wisdom, we must rely on the Scripture to show us what it means to be saved:
Ephesians 2:19-20; Galatians 1:11-12; 2 Timothy 3:15-17

3. Scripture also teaches what sanctification means (and that it does not mean an adherence to the traditions of the church.)
1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15 (for a good article on these passages please check out Greg Bahnsen's article.)

4. Scripture should be used for our own protection against false teaching and as the crucial rule to determine truth:
Galatians 1:6 and Acts 17:11

5. The preaching of the Scriptures (as the point to Christ) is the ordinary means of the Holy Spirit's move to convict and save people.
Romans 10:14-17

6. In all this, however, we must remember that salvation does not lie in Scripture...but in Jesus Christ, to whom Scripture points.
John 5:39-40

So, go read your Bible and know Jesus.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

the 5 solas

Sunday night I'll begin a short series with my senior high kids on the 5 solas of the Reformation. I've been working on material for a couple of months now...but I'm still torn about the order that I should teach.

I've been going back and forth on whether to start with Sola Scriptura (scripture alone) or with Sola Gratia (grace alone). If I don't start with Scripture it won't be until the 4th week and I'm worried that it'll be a little odd.

On the other hand, I really think that Grace needs to be upfront and featured throughout the whole series. I've got a few more days to think about hopefully I'll have it figured out before the ball drops at 7pm on Sunday.

I'm also getting excited about next semester's theme: Missions and Evangelism. I've been trying to think of a better tagline because this is going to hit some really hard topics like self-righteousness, self-centeredness, and our duty to preach the Gospel.

Rock out the rest of the week,


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

tuesday martyr

This account of the start of the Moravian mission movement is found here.

I first heard of these men in the sermon 10 shekels and a shirt by Paris Reidhead. I am certain that you will likely never forget these men.

Nicolaus Ludwig Von Zinzendorf is known for the famous life-motto he chose as a young boy: "I have one passion; it is Jesus, Jesus only."

He was (born in 1700), and became the leader of The Moravian Christians-a Christian community that is best known for its unparalleled missionary zeal. In 1727, the Moravians began a prayer program called, "Hourly Intercession" in which people committed to pray for an hour in each of the 24 hours in a day. This prayer effort lasted unbroken for a hundred years. After 65 years of prayer (by 1792), the little church had sent out 300 missionaries to unreached people groups all over the world. The Moravians, designed their own logo to glorify God. It was an emblem composed of a lamb on a blood-red ground, with the resurrection cross and a banner of triumph. It had this motto; "Our Lamb has conquered, let us follow Him."

Early in Nicolaus's life, the painting of Christ (by Domenico Feti), titled "Behold the Man." changed his life. It portrays Jesus with the crown of thorns pushed into his head; blood running down his head; and a cut and bruised body. He's looking outward, as if looking at whoever is gazing into the painting. Beneath the portrait are the words; "I have done this for you; what have you done for me?" Viewing that painting Nicolaus said to himself; "I have loved Him for a long time, but I have never actually done anything for Him. From now on I will do whatever He leads me to do." For the rest of his life, those words reverberated in his zeal to follow Christ.

From the Moravian movement came two young men (the first Moravian missionaries), who heard of an island in the West Indies where an atheist slave owner had over 2000 slaves. The owner declared that no preacher would be allowed to stay on the island, or come and talk about God. Leonard Dober, a potter, and David Nitschman, a carpenter, both in their early twenties, had heard about the island; the slaves, and what the slave owner had said. So, they came up with a self-sacrificial plan to take the gospel to that island. They sold themselves as slaves to the atheist. On October 8, 1732, Moravians came to the pier in Hamburg to say goodbye to the two men. This was a permanent goodbye because Leonard and David had sold themselves into lifetime slavery to share the gospel of Christ. Families were on shore weeping because they knew they would never see the two again. This was the scene as they were drifting off and one of the missionaries raised his hand and shouted across the water the last words that were heard from the two men--words that have resounded throughout history, and on into the heavens: "May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering."

Those words became the rallying call for the Moravians where 20 out of the first 29 missionaries to follow Leonard and David, died in the first few years. "May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering."



Sunday, November 9, 2008

prayer on a sunday

Jared, at the Thinklings blog, posted today on one of the most atrocious crimes of the church that I have heard of in recent years. Young children in Nigeria are being accused of witchcraft and then being beaten, burned, mutilated and threatened until they confess to the crime.

What a terrible, terrible thing that the church in Nigeria is doing.

Next Sunday our youth group will be praying for Nigeria and a great repentance of the adulterous crimes of the church there.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Act Like Men

Sunday I preached from 1 Corinthians 16:13-14.

The sermon can be summed like this:

Act Like Men

Listen here:

Or download here.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

tuesday martyr

3 friends (found in Foxe's Book of Martyrs)

A.D. 1568, three persons were apprehended in Antwerp, named Scoblant, Hues, and Coomans. During their confinement they behaved with great fortitude and cheerfulness, confessing that the hand of God appeared in what had befallen them, and bowing down before the throne of his providence. In an epistle to some worthy Protestants, they expressed themselves in the following words: "Since it is the will of the Almighty that we should suffer for His name, and be persecuted for the sake of His Gospel, we patiently submit, and are joyful upon the occasion; though the flesh may febel against the spirit, and hearken to the council of the old serpent, yet the truths of the Gospel shall prevent such advice from being taken, and Christ shall bruise the serpent's head. We are not comfortless in confinement, for we have faith; we fear not affliction, for we have hope; and we forgive our enemies, for we have charity. Be not under apprehensions for us, we are happy in confinement through the promises of God, glory in our bonds, and exult in being thought worthy to suffer for the sake of Christ. We desire not to be released, but to be blessed with fortitude; we ask not liberty, but the power of perseverance; and wish for no change in our condition, but that which places a crown of martyrdom upon our heads."

Scoblant was first brought to his trial; when, persisting in the profession of his faith, he received sentence of death. On his return to prison, he earnestly requested the jailer not to permit any friar to come near him; saying, "They can do me no good, but may greatly disturb me. I hope my salvation is already sealed in heaven, and that the blood of Christ, in which I firmly put my trust, hath washed me from my iniquities. I am not going to throw off this mantle of clay, to be clad in robes of eternal glory, by whose celestial brightness I shall be freed from all errors. I hope I may be the last martyr to papal tyranny, and the blood already spilt found sufficient to quench the thirst of popish cruelty; that the Church of Christ may have rest here, as his servants will hereafter." On the day of execution, he took a pathetic leave of his fellow prisoners. At the stake he fervently said the Lord's Prayer, and sung the Fortieth Psalm; then commending his soul to God, he was burnt alive.

Hues, soon after died in prison; upon which occasion Coomans wrote thus to his friends: "I am now deprived of my friends and companions; Scoblant is martyred, and Hues dead, by the visitation of the Lord; yet I am not alone, I have with me the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; He is my comfort, and shall be my reward. Pray unto God to strengthen me to the end, as I expect every hour to be freed from this tenement of clay."

On his trial he freely confessed himself of the reformed religion, answered with a manly fortitude to every charge against him, and proved the Scriptural part of his answers from the Gospel. The judge told him the only alternatives were recantation or death; and concluded by saying, "Will you die for the faith you profess?" To which Coomans replied, "I am not only willing to die, but to suffer the most excruciating torments for it; after which my soul shall receive its confirmation from God Himself, in the midst of eternal glory." Being condemned, he went cheerfully to the place of execution, and died with the most manly fortitude, and Christian resignation.

May God grant us the same perseverance if we are ever imprisoned with death before us.