Thursday, December 31, 2009


The best orphan/adoption videos

Another great outline of the Bible

If you're single, you're not busy

Edwards' resolutions and what you should do with them

Make plans and, Lord willing, they'll happen

The greatest novelist? I absolutely agree


top posts of 2009

Well, here is another year gone by. Traffic has been way up on here this past year and I thought I'd tell you what the top posts looked at were for the year.

First on the list is "sometimes i just want to go away". I thought that after 2008 this post would go back down in pageviews, (it was the last post before I flipped and went to Montana in April of '08) but it has been the top post all year long. It gets hits almost every day from people searching for the terms "i just want to go away"...hopefully it has been used by God to encourage these folks.

Next up is a post on Joseph Hart, a hymn-writer. This is from the first few months of the blog...but people are really interested in this guy.

Numero tres is from my Tuesday Martyr series (which I'm planning to revive in 2010.) The Thundering Legion commands respect for many folks.

Sitting heftily at number four is a very short post on how I look like Charles Spurgeon.

Again in my Tuesday Martyr series, John Huss is at number 5.

My post on the "prosperity Gospel" just last month is already number 6 in clicks.

In what was easily my most creative post of the season, sitting high and mighty at number 7, the story of the bat entitled "odd doings at the fbc"

No year would be complete without the unbelievably awesome rbf, holding it down at number 8.

Number 9 has to be the oddest post to make's a friday compilation titled "rubberbands are good for flipping.

Number post on whether or not there are two unforgivable sins. I edited it just now to make my own opinion more explicit and clear up some confusion that has resulted from it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Win an ESV Study Bible

More disturbing videos about Planned Parenthood

Adopting older kids

If necessary use words? I don't think so

A simple invitation

The Lord's Supper

Ever wondered what the Bible is all about?



It was officially announced on Sunday, and many of you have known for several weeks, that I have resigned from First Baptist. It is a complicated matter and I won't go into all the details, if you'd like to know more please feel free to call or email.

The heart of the matter is a disagreement about what the role of pastor is. Three texts were laid on my heart and these were the things that led to my resignation.

"Contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." - Jude 3,4

"Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ" Colossians 1:28, 2:2

"And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love." - Ephesians 4:11-16

A failure to abide by these texts has led me to leave the church. May God be merciful to us all.

In Christ,


Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Collin Hansen's top ten theology stories of 2009

Learn about the theology of adoption

Crisis pregnancy centers

Why it's difficult to evangelize America

Ryle says repentance is key

Word clouds

Making resolutions this year? Consider this


the breadth of the Gospel

For a long time I thought of the Gospel as somethng that was just big enough for me. It was something I had to suck in my gut and lurch throught the door because I was just barely going to make it.

I thought this for multiple reasons, but mainly there were (are?) two that propelled that thought. I saw my sin as immense, which it is. This I think is good. One should know the depth of the wickedness that resides within.

The second big reason was that my faith was (is?) small. I barely believe and it is evidenced by my lack of fruit and obedience.

These two reasons kept me from experiencing the fulness of the joy of God in Christ. Something has been changing within me over these years in the faith. It is my view of the immensity of the glory of God found in the grace of Christ.

You see, those two things are important...but if you focus on them more than the Gospel you will fail to experience the fulness of joy that is yours in Christ.

How can you avoid this? Give your attention and all your ambition to knowing, to the greatest extent possible, the riches and wisdom that are found in Jesus Christ. Meditate on his character, his life, his death, his lordship, his humanity. The more you know the greater he will become to you and the more you'll realize that the Gospel isn't just barely big enought for you, that you don't have to squeeze in the door.

The Gospel is the biggest meadow, the widest field, the tallest mountain, the deepest sea...the very depth of the universe. You don't need to squeeze, you can run, arms flailing, voice screaming into God's grace.


Monday, December 28, 2009


Simple prayers are good

Forget the past

Baby Jesus

Snow sticking to the shovel?

Brian Regan...



My brother sent me a link to an article about a priest in Britain who urged his congregants to shoplift if they were having trouble making it.

Seriously? This is his advice to the poor in his congregation? How about the church banding together to help those in need...?

You can read about it here.


Friday, December 25, 2009

merry christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

family worship

My pastor friend, Jeff Strickland, wrote a good exhortation for his church on worshiping together as a family. I thought that those of you with families of your own might benefit from his words.

You can view it online here.

And now, I am off to finish my day of work, then Chinese food, then Christmas Eve service, then gifting with the family. Good times.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Confessions of a Pharisaical Calvinist, part 1, 2 and part 3

Some disturbing posts on abortion, here and here

Are old people the problem in the church? Probably not...

Free Jonathan Edwards resources

This could be the worst decision of the week in football (above the terrible on-side kick by the Steelers)


the flu

I'm not sure if I had the flu or not, but I can tell you that I was incredibly sick yesterday. Puking, the runs, aching bones...the works.

In light of that, I thought I'd point you to what I learned from the flu awhile back.

This is from March of 2008.


Monday, December 21, 2009


The one thing you need to know

The beginning of the Christmas story

Matt Chandler released a short video on Sunday about his cancer

God can redeem any

Proving what can't be

Mary's virginity is essential

A joke

(HT: Challies)



My sister got married this weekend!

She is now officially a Molena instead of a Helt. Here's a picture of the couple a couple months ago. (I might have some wedding pictures someday...)

It's quite possible that this guy loves Jesus more than me, my family and all of my friends combined. Our first conversation was several hours long and consisted of him telling me all about Jesus. It was fantastic.

Congratulations, Amy and Andres!


Friday, December 18, 2009


Challies has a couple books to give away

How to destroy a church

The sweet promise of security in Christ

The marks of a Godly man

Preach the Gospel to yourself

(HT: Thinklings)


I've been meditating on this post since I saw it yesterday.

I need to watch my heart (perhaps you do to?)

(HT: Reformissionary)

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Enter for a chance to win a book a month here (HT: CB)

Win a book from Crossway

Win an ESV Study Bible

Be praying for Matt Chandler

Don't waste your cancer

Giving in December

Delight in Jesus by telling about Jesus

Stop sliding furniture

Enjoy Bobby McFerrin:
(HT: PureChurch)

Subscribe to my shared items here

encouragement from RC

I found this to be timely encouragement.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Trevin Wax is having a sweet book giveaway from Christmas

Archaeology of repentance

Luther's way to pray

Derek tells us why we should meditate on the wrath of God

Abortion and Cystic Fibrosis

Something about Mary
for the Christmas season


been reading jeremiah

I've been reluctant over the years to read Jeremiah. I tend to be melancholy and depressed, so hanging out with a guy whose message is gloomy and who feels the weight of the people of Israel has not been high on my priority list.

However, in light of recent events, I cannot help but be drawn to this great prophetic voice. I have particularly felt the weight of chapter 15:16.

Your words were found, and I ate them,
     and your words became to me a joy
     and the delight of my heart,
for I am called by your name,
     O Lord, God of hosts.

The Scriptures have become sweeter and more joyful than I have ever found them, and this during what I would have thought to be a terribly trying time. God is ever merciful with the Spirit that dwells within me.

I hope to talk about the issue at hand in the coming weeks, so that you all will know what it is that I am referring to, but I haven't yet found words for it.


Monday, December 14, 2009


Win some sweet stuff at CBN (no, not the Christian Broadcasting Network...)

Challies has quite a few good links today

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place?

And, Steve McCoy has some sweet tunes today

Stop talking sideways


advent: joy

Yesterday was the third Sunday of Advent. It's the Sunday of Joy or Gaudete, which I'm pretty sure is Latin.

The people of Israel looked forward with expectant joy for the coming savior. This is from Zechariah 9:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
   Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
   righteous and having salvation is he,
   humble and mounted on a donkey,
   on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
   and the war horse from Jerusalem;
   and the battle bow shall be cut off,
   and he shall speak peace to the nations;
   his rule shall be from sea to sea,
   and from the River to the ends of the earth.
As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
   I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
   today I declare that I will restore to you double.
For I have bent Judah as my bow;
   I have made Ephraim its arrow.
I will stir up your sons, O Zion,
   against your sons, O Greece,
   and wield you like a warrior’s sword.

Then the LORD will appear over them,
   and his arrow will go forth like lightning;
   the Lord GOD will sound the trumpet
   and will march forth in the whirlwinds of the south.
The LORD of hosts will protect them,
   and they shall devour, and tread down the sling stones,
   and they shall drink and roar as if drunk with wine,
   and be full like a bowl,
   drenched like the corners of the altar.

On that day the LORD their God will save them,
   as the flock of his people;
   for like the jewels of a crown
   they shall shine on his land.
For how great is his goodness, and how great his beauty!
   Grain shall make the young men flourish,
   and new wine the young women.

And when Christ was born we were told that it was good news of great joy! that will be for all peoples. And He will bring peace.  (Luke 2)

We rejoice today because the beginning of the joy of all peoples has begun. It began in the birth of God into humanity and will be consummated at His return when he makes war for the final time and brings peace.

Hallelujah! Rejoice!


Friday, December 11, 2009

the resuming

The situation that I was dealing with has been resolved, not in the way I had hoped, but resolved none-the-less.

Posting shall be resuming on Monday.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Due to some personal issues I will not be blogging for the next week. If you happen to know about these things I could use some advice. If you don't, just be praying that I would be humble and that God would be exalted.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

advent begins

Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

The shepherds heard the story proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of glory was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped and in the manger found Him,
As angel heralds said.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!
Here's a favorite youtube version (it's incomplete, but I still like the four voices):

Thursday, November 26, 2009


One day a year millions confess to God their thankfulness for all things earthly. Food, family, friends, cars, houses. Some of them include spiritual blessings.

It is good to be thankful for these things, but it is dangerous to do it once a year. It is dangerous to do it without also pleading with God that you would not be more content with things than you should be. If your entire thanksgiving is based on physical gifts then likely you have forgotten that his "kindness is meant to lead us to repentance."

Physical things lead to spiritual blindness. I thank God for what I have and plead with Him not to let me be entombed by it. I cry out with Pastor Larry Stutzman "if God does not love me, there is nothng in the world to be thankful for because it all comes to nothing, and that right soon."


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

talk to yourself

Here's my sermon on Psalm 42. It is adapted from Lloyd-Jones book on Spiritual Depression. You can listen below or download it here.


the rest

So, after posting the quiz we learned yesterday which ones I think are false. (Now, to be a little more clear, the least dangerous is the idea that we can bring heaven to earth. And, for the post-millenialists, I don't think you think in exactly the same way Rob Bell does, but you have a similar problem in my mind.)

I don't know if you were able to figure this out, but out of the remaining statements only one is not found explicitely in Scripture. It is the following quote from Martin Luther in Bondage of the Will:

All things take place by necessity.

He grounds it in Isaiah 46:10-11 among other places. The point is that everything that happens in the world is there for a reason. It is not unnecessary. The bird falling from the next, the hairs on the head and the great tragedy and glory of the cross. All things are necessary and all things make God look glorious.

The rest of these are straight outta the Bible:
From Proverbs 26 come these to conflicting statements. You see, it takes wisdom to apply wisdom from others:

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.

This one comes from John 1, you'll probably recognize the verse previous if you look it up:

We are born again, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

From Jude:

Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

First John 2:

This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.

Exodus 4-12 this is repeated several times and quoted in Romans 9:

I will harden Pharaoh's hearts, so that he will not let the people go.

In the end, God is sovereign. He is merciful. He is good. And He is just.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the false ones

I believe with every ounce of my being that not only are the following statements from yesterday's quiz wrong, but they are dangerously wrong. I worry about the men who say these things and even more for the people who believe that these things are true. May God be merciful and save them.
Hell is full of forgiven people God loves, whom Jesus died for. - Rob Bell

The terms forgiven, justified, glorified, saved, born again and a host of others are so interchangeable in Scripture that I find it beyond difficult to think that there are forgiven people in hell. If you are forgiven of your sins, then you are saved and if saved you are resurrected to glory. (See the end of Romans 8)
The stories of creation, Jonah and the whale, the sun standing still, Jesus virgin birth, walking on water, multiplying fish and loaves, and changing water into wine are to be understood as purely metaphorical. - Marcus Borg

I put it to you that if you begin down this path that nothing will remain believable in Scripture. Truly, if you toss the virgin birth out as metaphorical then you lose the whole essence of Christianity since you lose the divinity of Christ.
The goal of Jesus isn't to get into heaven. The goal is to get heaven here. - Rob Bell

I would disagree with Bell and the post-millenlialists that we are ultimately responsible for bringing the Kingdom here. The Kingdom is present in heaven already and will be fully revealed at the end with the new heaven and earth. We are to act like Kingdom men and women, but not with the idea that we can accomplish heavenly unity here on this broken planet.
I can't find one place in the teachings of Jesus, or the Bible for that matter, where we are to identify ourselves first and foremost as sinners. - Rob Bell

Seriously? One place? Ephesians 2? Psalm 51? Genesis 6? Romans 3? Really?
It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts. - Brian Mclaren

I quote Acts 17, "In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." To leave people in ignorance of the exclusivity of Christ is to leave them in ignorance of salvation.
Beware of the dangers of folks who masquerade as sheep, but are wolves prowling amongst the flock.


Monday, November 23, 2009


You should go here and win some sweet JC Ryle commentaries.

Grow up and be a man

This is how the health bill is going to pass

The trinity

Have you signed the Manhattan Declaration yet? I have

I enjoyed this:
(HT: Sola Panel)


which ones belong?

I used the following set of quotes to teach my youth last night. Their job was to decide if these statements were found in Scripture, were true (but not found in the Bible), or if they were false. It led to some great discussion. How well can you do?
1.Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.

2.Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.

3.Hell is full of forgiven people God loves, whom Jesus died for.

4.All things take place by necessity.

5.The stories of creation, Jonah and the whale, the sun standing still, Jesus virgin birth, walking on water, multiplying fish and loaves, and changing water into wine are to be understood as purely metaphorical.

6.We are born again, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

7.The goal of Jesus isn't to get into heaven. The goal is to get heaven here.

8.I can't find one place in the teachings of Jesus, or the Bible for that matter, where we are to identify ourselves first and foremost as sinners.

9.It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts.

10.Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

11.This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.

12.I will harden Pharaoh's hearts, so that he will not let the people go.

Well, what do you think? True, false or biblical? I'll post my thoughts throughout the week.


Friday, November 20, 2009


Free stuff here and here and here

Prison ministry more vibrant than my own

The Gospel in three words

The Manhattan Declaration

Pyro's got a series on gambling (insert betting joke here)

A little more Hebrews action


Thursday, November 19, 2009


If you have a Facebook account you can find out how you know you're a member of my youth group

Win the book Overcoming Sin and Temptation

Jesus is the Christ

Something funny

A couple good posts on Hebrews here and here

Keeping Christ centered and the danger of not keeping Him in front

Be careful how you pray

A good list of books

Screwtape Letters brought to audio:
(HT: Thinklings)


in us

Have you ever pondered this phrase "To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

Earlier in the book of Colossians (where that sentence comes from) we read that there is a "hope laid up for you in heaven" and that this is where the strength to act according to the Gospel comes from. It is a future hope in the glories of heaven.

But it is also present now. We have the hope of glory presently in our bodies. Christ is in us. We contain in our flesh some sort of manifestation of the spirit of God so that we can "fill up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions," that is, to make Christ visibly seen in the flesh through our own bodies.

This is meant to encourage each other, by visibly seeing that Christ was human, and for our own selves when we see the hope of glory springing out of us. This should propel us forward to good works. This future hope of glory is here presently abiding so that we can taste of it and be assured of its culmination.

It also means that the future hope of heaven is Christ himself. Yes, it is a physical creation and yes we will have physical bodies with which to work and enjoy it, but the main hope is that of Christ himself who is the temple and the light. And when we come into that final place of rest we will bringing with us the glory of God that was present here on earth (Revelation 21:23-25).

Praise God that He has not left us alone to hope without knowing.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Why so late you ask? Well, if I had a good reason I'd probably never have asked the question.

Book giveaway from Terry Delaney

I'm going to this because it is awesome. You should send your pastor.

This series on the woes of bad missional churching is worth the read.

JC Ryle quotes are awesome.


The first video has some odd graphics, but these are worth a listen (especially if you like Joel Osteen)


racial speciation?

Let me start by telling you that I'm not a scientist and make no claims about knowing how to "classify" species, but I take issue with the way it is apparently done.

I was point to an article this morning that stated a new species had been born in the famous Galapagos Islands, amongst the very finches that spawned Darwin's famous theory of evolution.

And, I have to tell you, I don't buy it. Now, scientifically it may very well be a separate species, but racially it is not. Right near the end of the article this statement is made "The birds might even return to the fold of their parent species, and merge with them through interbreeding." That means that they can still breed with their "former" species. Which, in my mind, means that it's no new species at all.

Think of it in human terms. For simplicity sake, let me compare the aboriginal African and myself.

They are very, very dark skinned. Nearly black. I am quite pale.
They have wide noses. Mine (although wider than some) is narrow.
They most likely have black eyes. I have blue.

And then, culturally, we are very different. Their idea of beauty is probably not my idea of beauty. Their ideas of ethics are probably different than mine. Their idea of what is good for a man to do is probably different than mine.

So, if I were to move to some remote country in Africa, the odds of me "singing their song," as it were, would be quite impossible. I'd probably not end up with a wife because of SOCIAL and VISIBLE differences (whether good or bad) would mean that I probably would not marry.

Let's say, though, that one of the ladies and I somehow end up married, and that 3 or 4 generations later all that is left of us is our great-great-great grandkids. And they marry. And they are much paler in skin, they have lighter eyes and skinny noses. Let's say I taught my children well the Biblical truth and that they are markedly different socially than the rest of the tribe because they are they only Christians.

Are they a new species?

Of course not. They are just as human as the original African and myself. They may be socially and visibly different than everything around them and still not be a separate species.

So, I don't buy it, Darwinists. No new species has been made. That is racial speciation and it will do nothing but harm our ideas of what defines humanity.


Monday, November 16, 2009


No time for a regular post today, you'll have to make do with only a list of links.

Quit it with the event=church growth

The Bible, you should read it

The title of this post is eerily similar to our current preaching series at church

If you've never seen "Who's on First?"


This'll make you smile (HT: Sarah Costa)

(HT: RO)


Saturday, November 14, 2009


The Psalms

Shout for joy

Clergy self-care, is it good?(HT: JM)

The slippery slope of allowing women to preach

Tim Keller on advancing from despair

Hip-hop with a Calvinist tint:
(HT: JT)


Friday, November 13, 2009


A chance to win some sweet commentaries from Challies and go sign up to win Unpacking Forgiveness or a Flip Camera

A book for singing the Psalms

If you can, you should go see this concert

The Gospel is for the broken

Secondhand porn

Making pastors good?

(HT: Thinklings)


Well, it's time for me to make a commitment to losing some weight and I thought that making it public would at least give me the shame factor if I don't follow through.

A couple months ago I borrowed some of the P90X dvds from a friend and lost a few pounds, but had to give them back and then went right back to the weight I was at. This last week I bought the system and it arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon.

So, here's hoping that some of the 255 lbs that I weigh will be shed in the next 3 months.


Thursday, November 12, 2009


Missionary in need

A review of the new Christmas Carol

Should we strive to get the "movers and shakers" into our congregations?

Divorce and homosexuality

Boys wearing skirts?

If you've ever wondered how to pray, the Westminster gives the answer

Bibline bloodline

I'll sing this note forever

If anyone is looking to spend some cash on me for Christmas...


do it anyway

Today, I was planning on writing a post about being disciplined in action, specifically related to evangelism but encompassing all points of the Christian life.

However, this other guy named, Jon Bloom, (who is the head honcho of Desiring God) decided to beat me to the punch. Here's a snippet:

Each struggle is an invitation by God to follow in the footsteps of his Son, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

Those who are spiritually blind only see futility in these things. But for those who have eyes to see, God has woven hope (faith in future grace) right into the futility of creation (Romans 8:20-21). Each struggle is a pointer saying, “Look! Look to the real Joy set before you!”

So when you don’t feel like doing what you know is best for you, take heart and don’t give in.

Go here and read the rest of it.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Today is Veterans Day

Win Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover

Last day to win and ESV Study Bible

Piper claims to have struck gold

Identifying idols

Sproul on obedience, sin and grace

Tim Challies wife, Aileen, finishes up her three part series on sex for women


take it easy

Taking it easy in evangelism is the theme of the times.

Slow down, develop a solid friendship so that you can open up lines of true communication.

Ease off the judgmental language of saying that someone is guilty before God.

Hell is too harsh to put into a friendly conversation.

Just talk about purpose and how God has one for you and He just loves you so much.

That's all evangelism is, right? Talking about God's love and his purpose for you?

Sorry to bust your bubble, but evangelism is much more robust than that and must necessarily have elements of God's holiness, his judgment, one's guilt, Jesus sacrifice on our behalf and his resurrection. It must also have words like repent, believe, turn away, follow and the like. It must.

You've gotta work on consistently turning conversations to the majesty of God through the love of Christ. And then, when you get into a conversation with someone who does not believe the Gospel it will be a natural outflow of conversation and not a forced evangelistic talk. You'll evangelize simply by talking normally if you work at seasoning ALL of your conversations this way.

So, don't take it easy. Work at making your speech salty because even the sweetest cake needs salt to make it taste right.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Win The Righteous Shall Live By Faith or Wait Until Then or nominate your pastor (me?) to win some books.

Compassion has a short series of questions to inform about AIDS worldwide.

What comes before?

How does the Gospel affect you?

Come to Jesus all ye...weary?

The danger of low expectations in the church.

20 years ago yesterday the Berlin Wall came down.



evangelizing jericho

Years ago I began changing my stance on evangelism. (For awhile it was nearly non-existent, thankfully a good man named Scott gave me a good chewing out to get that idea out of my head.)

But, early on in my zeal I was notoriously the arguer. I wanted to smash every single rational defense against faith. I wanted to break down the walls and I wanted to show people that the Gospel was real.

Oftentimes it would take the form of debating creation/evolution or the problem of evil. More recently it might be apparent contradictions in Scripture or the fallibility of the church.

All of those things, as good as they may be, are not evangelism. Not even close.

Think about it like this.

Your friend is like the city of Jericho. He is a fortress city with high walls and great defenses. He can withstand attack after attack on his non-faith because he has spent years stockading.

Your job isn't to pull down his walls of defense brick by brick. Your job isn't to try and smash your way inside the heart of your friend.

Your job is to trumpet the good news of the Gospel and watch those walls crumble beneath the power of the Holy Spirit.

Evangelism is not our battle to fight. It is our duty to trumpet the news of the already won war. So, the next time you find yourself trying to tear down the walls of Jericho to witness to someone take a step back and realize that's not your job. Get out your Gospel trumpet and declare the majesty of God, the culpability of man and the good news of Christ. And then let the Spirit do the battle.


Monday, November 9, 2009

links of the day

I've decided to update my blog with some good links everyday, in addition to my regular posting. This will keep the number of links on Friday down and it will give you something to read during the week. This will, for the most part, be from my Google Reader shared list, so if you already subscribe to that, this will be a repeat.

Don Carson answers the question: How can I know if God exists?

5 ways that sin is serious

Fact: Brian Regan is funny

The beauty of God's love

The good Doctor on the pride of knowledge


the majesty of God is greater

The heavens declare the glory of God.

We often think of the majesty of the stars, their magnitude and the immenseness of space. We see unbelievable pictures from the Hubble telescope and it is hard not to be awestruck.

But here's the thing. The heavens are telling of the glory of God. Not themselves.

God created the ubelievable things in the sky.Interacting Spiral Galaxies NGC 2207 and IC 2163

They aren't meant to make us say "how amazing are the stars" but "how amazing is God." They are unequal things and too often we equate them.

When you look up tonight remember that these things are to bring us into worship of the Creator, not the created.


Friday, November 6, 2009

the yankees? really?

I don't like the Yankees. Go Cubs!

And now on to more important matters.

Freebies of the week(ish):
50 chances to win at Challies
Win a Paul Washer book from Christian Book Notes
Unpacking Forgiveness is still available
Still a chance to win an ESV Study Bible

Some things to read and consider:

Prayer is Christian humility

Abortion: new healthcare plan includes it (even Planned Parenthood thinks so), The View can't decide if it is ok or not, and a former Planned Parenthood director resigns

Striving to be inadequate

The 130 million dollar church

We should simplify but never balance

To build or not to build

Help somebody this week

Fantastic deals on Piper's books for Christmas *hint*hint*

It's the International Day of Prayer on Sunday:
(HT: Persecution Blog)


Thursday, November 5, 2009


Psalm 73 tells a familiar story.

Asaph prays to God and says "my foot had almost slipped...for I envied the arrogant. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens of common man. This is what the wicked are like--always carefree, they increase in wealth."

Envy sometimes comes in mild forms. The neighbor gets a new car. A friend gets a raise. That family hasn't had to deal with a young death.

But always the end result is "Why don't I receive all the blessings that everyone else gets?" This is entitlement. This is evil and Asaph knows it...but sometimes his foot starts to slip and he sees that people who are "more wicked" than he are getting outrageous good fortune.

He goes so far to say this "Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure; in vain I have washed my hands in innocence." **

How is he able to combat such a force of pride and envy? Like this:

When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,

I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.

Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

The answer is bound up in the hope of glory through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This earth will be full of trials and tribulations but we have a better hope and an abiding one. Behold the weight of glory and envy not your neighbor.


**Despite his doubts and fears, he keeps quiet when his heart cries out with this haughty declaration saying "If I had said, "I will speak thus," I would have betrayed your children."

He knows that speaking such things without an answer would lead many to abandon the faith. So, don't let these few verses give you permission to declare all kinds of terrible things and call it "being honest" about your doubts. If you have not found the reason for your hope then it is best to confess these things to close friends and to God, not to a public audience who may be led astray without the hope of Christ.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

the prosperity "gospel"

There is absolutely no way to describe my feelings after watching this:

The Prosperity Gospel from The Global Conversation on Vimeo.

(HT: Z)

John Piper responds to the issue:
(HT: DG)

This is entitlement.
We preach it without saying it many times.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Do you deserve the computer you're using right now?

What about that cell phone you just flipped open?

And that car that you drove today, do you deserve it?

Not to mention your clothes, house and the food you ate today. Do you deserve any of it?

Really sit and ask yourself these questions. Did you feel your heart start? Did you think for just a split second "yes, I deserve to have a roof over my head"?

But, the answer is "no" you do not deserve any of it. "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought" says Paul in Romans 12. Don't be conformed to the pattern of this world. The pattern of entitlement. Instead, humble yourself in the sight of all.

Jesus Christ humbled himself to the ultimate, taking the very form of a servant and then dying a terrible death on the cross. For people who forget about him daily. For people who think they deserve that morning coffee and get frustrated when the drive-thru line just won't move fast enough.

Friends, remember that this life is not your own. Don't be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Don't let your sense of entitlement outshine the humility of the Gospel.

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality."

You are not entitled. Christ was. And he gave up everything for the sake of those who believe.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

happy reformation day!

This wouldn't be a true Calvinistic blog if I didn't say something today.

When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said "Repent", he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

Christians should be exhorted to be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, death and hell.

And thus be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations rather than through the false security of peace

(That's the first, ninety-fourth and ninety-fifth of Luther's 95 Theses. You should look them up today.)


Thursday, October 29, 2009

this one's for beth

The winner of my free book is....Alex Costa! Way to finally win one.

Lots of other free stuff this week:

Challies has a giveaway.

Win a sweet shirt from While We Sojourn. (HT: Challies)

You can win a ESV Study Bible from CJ Mahaney or girltalk or 22 Words.

Win a CD from Carolina Hope, Bryan Lopez, or get one free from Monergism. Oh, and you can download Luther's Here I Stand for free.

You should sign up over at Chris Braun's blog for a chance to win Unpacking Forgiveness. (And a flip camera.)

On to the good stuff:

Read this half-sermon on Leviticus. Seriously. Read it.

A series on sexual detoxification by Challies. Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

22 words on a dangerous trajectory.

Arminian redemption falls flat.

Pray for your community. (HT: Ed)

And, a funny video spoofing the ESV Study Bible in favor the new HCSB Study Bible:
(HT: JT)


haha...I bet you were freaking out the whole time about whether not I'd tell anyone about your "incident" on Wednesday.

mid-week giveaways

There are always several mid-week giveaways that I forget to mention here.(And, of course, you can still sign up to win a book from me!) One of them, that occurs on a nearly weekly basis, is from Crossway.

It's called Trackback Thursday and all you have to do is either blog or tweet about it or you can just leave a comment on their Facebook page.

This week you have a chance to win Unpacking Forgiveness by Christ Brauns (who is also giving away a flip camera on his blog.)

Either way, you should try and check out Crossway Books and maybe subscribe to their blog. They are a solid organization (with the likes of Justin Taylor as an editor, how could they not be?)

Happy winning.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

grieving celebrations

Today we'll be grieving the loss and celebrating the life of Flo Scott. She was a good woman.

We grieve because death is hard. It is sad to think we'll never see a person again. We sometimes grieve because we didn't say all that they meant to us. Sometimes we grieve because we think of everything else the person could have accomplished.

But, thankfully, Jesus doesn't leave us alone to grieve. He died to defeat death. That gives us great hope.

And so, we'll be sad that Flo won't ever be there to smile and shake our hands on Sundays (or give us cards) but we'll be joyous because Jesus defeated death for her. She's in paradise. She's in the very presence of God.

That is something to celebrate.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

consider Jesus

Hebrews chapter 3 starts with a very simple directive: Consider Jesus.

He is:
The Apostle and High Priest of our confession
He was faithful to the Father
Worthy of more glory than Moses
He is the great builder (and therefore, God)
He is God's Son

What are we to do with this information?

We are to exhort one another with it everyday. All the time. Without fail.

Jesus is supreme in every way and unique in every way. Consider Him. He is worthy of all glory.

I tell you this for a purpose, so that you will not be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. So that you will not have a hard, unbelieving heart. So that you won't rebel like the Israelites.

Consider Jesus, friends. He was sent by the Father on a mission (apostle) to become the mediator between God and man (high priest). He was faithful in this purpose and is worthy of more glory than any faithful man who ever lived because He is God's Son. Since God is the builder of all things and Jesus is also the builder, that means He is God.

God came to save sinners. Give him glory.

Consider Jesus.


Monday, October 26, 2009

woohoo! a free book

Comment on this post or on Facebook to get an entry.

Get a second entry for tweeting or sharing this post via Reader or Facebook. (Let me know if you do one of these things in your comment.)

I'll select a winner on Friday.

The book is Equipped for Adventure by Scott Kirby.


Friday, October 23, 2009

guitar friday

Free Stuff:
Challies has some sweet stuff from Evangelical Press

A 22 book giveaway from Devotional Christian (HT: SBC)

A book on evangelism from Z

Stuff for thinking:
The difference between pastors and professors

The truth is good for every generation (so is holiness)

The church should be like Sonic

Don't hang out with those who are exactly like you (all the time, anyway)

And this WILL make you laugh, at least once

And, my top post for the week: Bipolar Disorder

A little guitar action (you should read up about this guy at Delicious Scroll)


Thursday, October 22, 2009

great ideas

Yesterday afternoon, shortly after posting my blog, I had a stupendous idea for today's post. But, now, I can't remember it in the slightest. Not even an inkling. I hate it when that happens.

So, instead, I'm going to post something to do with forgetfulness. Because we are people and we forget. A lot. Everyday.

I've been told by some that I have a gift for memorizing Scripture. I try to take the compliment well, but usually it eats me up inside. I might be a little better at remembering things than some, but in reality the reason I remember a lot of Scripture is because I spend a lot of time there. A lot. Everyday.

I try and try to memorize and pack away passages. Sometimes I do it systematically, sometimes I do it to remember something that is important to me personally, and sometimes I do it because it is pragmatic (long passages for sermons.)

And yet, I forget things that are in the Bible all the time. A lot. Everyday.

So, my encouragement for you is not to be discouraged when someone "knows" more Scripture than you, but to become diligent about reading and memorizing Scripture. It is good for you. Make a practice of it. Team up with somebody. Make a goal and attain it. (Set the goal low at first, don't try and memorize the entire book of Hebrews...just the first four verses.) Do it a lot. Everyday.

And don't be discouraged when you forget. And don't be discouraged when you can't remmember a verse, chapter or book. And don't be discouraged if you quote something amiss or attribute it to the wrong person. It's ok. Really, it is. Instead, use those instances to press on towards a greater understanding of God through the Scriptures. Do it a lot. Everyday.

And remember why you are doing it:

Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,

I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.

I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.

You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
who wander from your commandments.

This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life.

Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.

Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.

The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.

Let my soul live and praise you,
and let your rules help me.

From Psalm 119 (which is all about God's Word...maybe you should chunk down some if it this week.)


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

new classes

I started new classes this week, which means I finished up the pathetic excuses for "classes" that I took the first half of the semester. Seriously, they were terrible classes, mostly because the professors seemed to know next to nothing about the topic and seemed to care even less if we ever cared a bit about the subject. But enough of that, this is about the NEW classes.

I started the first one on Monday: Comparative Religions. I was a bit nervous about this class. Secular, public university generally means anti-religious (or at least anti-christian) professors. In philosophy it seems that many a professor has strayed from reason-based thinking into crazy postmodern "whatever you feel is right is ok" thinking. I've taken similar classes and this has definitely been the trend.

But Monday was different. This guy was emphatic that TRUTH exists and to deny that is to be an idiot. He talked about the postmodern fallacy. He briefly mentioned that postmodernism was simply a revision of eastern thinking (and that those who seek eastern religion (Emergent theology anyone?) are going down a self-deflating road. If you have no ground to stand on, at some point you're going to fall.

Then, the professor did the unthinkable. He declared his own bias in class. And it was a pretty bold declaration (remember, this is a large public university.)

He told us that he was a Christian. A converted Mormon to be exact. He grew up in the Mormon church and left it to believe in the real (true) Christ. It was three hours into our first class and our professor just said four words that could get him fired. "I am a Christian."

From my brief conversation with him (and two other believers from the class) afterward, I think this guy is pretty solid. I'm excited for the class. It's the first time I've been excited to go to class since...Calculus? That's right. I had some enjoyable classes in college (and none of them were so terrible as the first two this semester) but I was never excited.

So, good news. Happy news. Great news. A fellow believer is teaching religion and philosophy courses. I'm definitely going to check to see if this guy is teaching anything else that will fit in my schedule.

Good day to you all.


Monday, October 19, 2009

titus 3

Last Sunday (not yesterday) I preached a sermon on Titus 3 and the importance of insisting on the Gospel to do good works.

Paul says it well in verse 8: The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.

You can listen below or click here to download the sermon.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

bipolar disorder

So, last week I mentioned that I am bipolar and since that post received so much attention I thought it would be good to follow up.

Since I read Ed Welch's book on depression and found it so helpful I decided to look up a bit more about the man. I quickly discovered that he is the author of a book that I've heard much about, When People Are Big and God Is Small and that he works for the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation. I also stumbled upon a series of three posts from his blog on bipolarism. So, without further ado, I present his three part series on the disorder:

Part 1

Part 2
Part 3


Friday, October 16, 2009

tubz rootbeer and bob dylan

Seriously, if you haven't yet bought the new Bob Dylan Christmas should be ashamed. Dylan singing in Latin? That is an unbeatable thing.

Now on to the free stuff:
Challies is giving away some sweet Desiring God stuff this week. I signed up.

There's still time to sign up to win Game Plan for Life.

Ligonier is offering a free book to anyone who gives away a subscription to Tabletalk.

In other news:

A very interesting graph of the "sins" of the US.

A very racist odd decision by a court to not marry a bi-racial couple.

Do you count all things as loss? (If you don't read Ray Ortlund's blog, you should. Almost everything he posts is worthwhile.)

Deuteronomy 29:29

Go make disciples.

But don't multitask while doing so.

My top post of the week: Depression.

I'm serious...go buy this album:


Thursday, October 15, 2009

two things you should read today

Yesterday was John Piper's 30th Anniversary as a pastor and Justin Taylor sketched a short biography of him (a long blog post.) I would encourage you to read it to see Pastor Piper not just as a great man used by God, but so that you would see what he sees: Jesus Christ in all His glory.

Also, Mark Driscoll, had the opportunity to write an article for the Washington Post. Written in response to an article by Karen Armstrong (which I can't find), it is nothing less than an outstanding proclamation of the Gospel. Read it and be encouraged and pray that many would read it and come to faith in Christ.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

i'm a calvin expert

Last night I had the great pleasure of talking with a couple from my church. They wanted to watch R.C. Sproul's 6-part series on predestination with me. Needless to say, I was stoked.

It was a great night. I spent about 5 hours with them and it was a great encouragement to me.

In that vein, I saw a little note from Rebecca about a John Calvin quiz. I took her advice (you'll need to click on her article to see the advice) and here is the result (10/10):

More about John Calvin at Calvin 500


Tuesday, October 13, 2009


This past Sunday I mentioned a book about depression that I have found immensely helpful.

If you struggle with depression (or are bipolar like myself) then you should grab a copy. Order it online. Nobody'll know you bought it.

And, almost as important, for those of you who know someone who struggles with depression, this book would be extremely helpful for you. The first three chapters alone are enough to warrant you buying the book. Dr. Welch's description of depression and his understanding of the mind will help you see your grieved friend in a much more helpful manner.

The book is called Depression: A Stubborn Darkness. It's by Edward Welch and you can pick up copies for about $10. It is definitely worth your investment.

And, if any of you do struggle with the darkness of depression, feel free to get ahold of me. Email: joehelt {at} gmail [dot] com


Friday, October 9, 2009


Well, Orlando was a good time (despite being denied entrance to the Holy Land...I feel Moses' pain.)

Here's what happening in the world of blogs:

Challies has some great resources from the Good Book Company to give away.

Terry has a financial book based on Nehemiah up for grabs.

Randy has announced his monthly giveaway: Game Plan for Life by Joe Gibbs.

And the Resurgence has a way to win a great new study pack.

Al Mohler has some good words on abortion.

And here's a video that my brother sent me this week.

(I've since found out it is fake: Snopes


Thursday, October 8, 2009

thoughts on this quote

I'd like to hear what you think of this (a statement from a scholar and Sunday school teacher):

Isn't it time to stop attempting to harmonize what's in the Bible, and allow that greatest of Biblical principles, the Golden Rule, to trump, invalidate, and expose as wrong those parts of the Bible that run counter to it? If we ask "What would Jesus do?", surely the evidence from the sayings attributed to him in the New Testament suggest that he would allow one passage to override another, just as he allowed humanitarian concerns to take priority over the command to rest on the sabbath. Shouldn't those who wish to call themselves Jesus' followers approach the Bible in the same way? (emphasis mine)


Monday, October 5, 2009

a briefing on Jesus and the hypostatic union

Hebrews 2 makes clear two things: Jesus is God and Jesus is man. He is both. And he must be both.

The hypostatic union is a fancy way of declaring those truths. The term, taken from Greek, means "personal" and the phrase means the combination of the two natures of Christ in his person.

The writer of Hebrews, in the midst of declaring the human nature of Jesus, keeps pounding home his divine nature, as well. Below I've copied the text of most of the second chapter and I've bolded the phrases that declare his divinity and italicized his humanity. Behold, the God-man:

Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,

"What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
putting everything in subjection under his feet."

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying,

"I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise."

And again,

"I will put my trust in him."

And again,

"Behold, I and the children God has given me."

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death
he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

This is our God. This is our brother. Hallelujah.