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.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

ode to buffalo

OK, so it's not an ode. It's a list, but "list to buffalo" just doesn't have much of a ring to it.

Ray and Barb definitely showed me a good chunk of the town in the 22.5 hours I was here. Here are the places that I've been:

Mighty Taco...good, cheap Mexican-like food. Think Taco Bell but tastier and cheaper.

Kenmore United Methodist Church...this is where my youth group will be doing a short mission trip this spring.

Anchor Bar...the home of the original "Buffalo wing." They were delicious.

Niagra Falls...complete with a Cave of the Winds drenching. Definitely an amazing place.

And the last place we ate was called Anderson's I think. I had a "beef on weck" which is apparently just as native as wings. I give it a hearty thumbs up.

So hats off to the McCabe's. They were excellent hosts.

One more trip and this guys travels are done. Hallelujah!


Friday, October 2, 2009

we have another winner (and some links)

Sorry I didn't get the review of City Signals up this week. The good news is that I only have two more trips and then I'll be back to my regular schedule.

And the winner is: Albert (AJ) Tsai - the infamous Pie Guy.

Here are some other places you can get free stuff this week:
A book on starting an adoption ministry at your church
Challies'll have something cool

Is sex education a good idea? (Really, a post about teaching moralism.)

My friend, Kelly, is in Bolivia learning the language and teaching folks about Jesus. You should pray for her and the people she's ministering to.

The coolest thing you will ever do with a fungus.

Are you saying what you mean?

And here's a sampling of Mark Talbot's thoughts on Calvin and suffering: