October 29, 2011

Why is it that I wish I could do this?

[ht: the blazing center]

October 17, 2011

Theology


"Of all the sciences which stir the head and heart, theology is the fairest. It is closest to human reality and gives us the clearest view of the truth after which all science quests."
Karl Barth (God in Action)

October 15, 2011

Jesting

I occasionally read a little devotional called Days of Praise.  It is put out by the Institute for Creation Research and I think most of them are written by Henry M. Morris, a well-known creationist and Biblical scholar.

Last week I read one about joking and jesting that really caught my attention.  I believe that he shares a valid point: a point that left me thinking over the next couple of days and a point that shouldn't simply be shrugged off.  I especially found the second paragraph to be helpful, it is something that I have wondered about before, but I will let you be the judge.

It is the devotional dated October 11th, 2011.  It is titled Not Convenient.  Here is that devotional in its' entirety:


"Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks." (Ephesians 5:4) 
It seems surprising that "foolish talking" and "jesting" would be condemned as things that should "not be once named among you" (v. 3). Yet here it is, and commentators usually assume that the foolish talking and jesting so condemned really only apply to filthy talking and filthy jesting. After all, the popularity of many Christian speakers today seems to be measured by the amount of jokes and witticisms they inject into their messages. 
This is a sensitive subject, and each Christian should conscientiously decide for himself what God is saying here, through Paul. In any case, it seems significant that the only reference in the Bible to "jesting" is a warning against it. It is also significant that one can never find this element in the sermons of Christ or the letters of Paul or anywhere in the Bible. The Bible writers seem to have believed that sin and salvation were such sober, serious issues that there was nothing there to joke about. We read several times of Jesus weeping, but never of Him laughing. The Scriptures often refer to "rejoicing," but never to "having fun." 
Furthermore, Jesus warned that "every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matthew 12:36), and Paul exhorted us to "let your speech be always with grace" (Colossians 4:6). Our text says that foolish talking and jesting are "not convenient" for a Christian. Other things "not convenient" include the list of 23 sins in Romans 1:28-31, beginning with unrighteousness" and ending with "unmerciful." 
Whether or not we can justify certain "convenient" times for jesting, there is one thing we can know is always convenient--that is, "giving of thanks." HMM
What do you think?  Is it possible that our American emphasis on having a good sense of humor and knowing how to have fun has shifted into something that we actually believe is a priority?  Have we allowed our culture to alter the truth that the Bible teaches.  It is easy to see that in other cultures, but when you live and breathe within a certain culture, it only follows that identifying your own biases may not be that easy.



October 14, 2011

Today's Sermon Study Materials


  1. ESV Study Bible
  2. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary
  3. Adam Clarke's Commentary
  4. Matthew Henry's Commentary
  5. The Communicator's Bible Commentary
  6. The Layman's Bible Commentary
  7. William Barclay's Daily Bible Commentary
  8. The New International Bible Commentary
  9. www.studylight.org (several other commentaries plus the original greek words with definitions)
  10. Big Mac value meal
  11. Pandora playing Intrumental Folk Radio in the background

Let's Pray About It

Here is an interesting post from Jay Adams:

Probably said thousands of times a week by Christians around the world when facing a problem or question without a present answer. Is it the right response? 
It’s not wrong to pray about a matter, of course.  But prayer is often used as a substitute for the hard work of studying God’s Word to discover the facts needed. Prayer doesn’t automatically “work” in solving problems. Christians need to learn this fact. 
Moreover, when God has already answered a question or given directions, why should we want to shortcut the process of discovering what that answer is by simply praying about it? Should we expect God to tell us individually the answer we seek, when He has already done so in His Word? 
But there is something “mystically” special to some people about prayer. They think of prayer as more spiritual than Bible study! There’s the heart of the matter. Is it superior? Both are from God each has its place, but prayer is no substitute for hard study to find out truth. 
Indeed, here is one to think about: Why would our words (prayer) be considered superior, more spiritual, etc., to God’s Word (in Scripture)? Isn’t what He says far more important than what you have to utter?
 (via the Institute for Nouthetic Studies)

October 12, 2011

Minister of the Word of God

Pray for me as I attempt to be a true Minister of the Word of God...
It is self-evident that it is to be highly desired that a pastor (or as we should more truly say: a minister of the Word of God) should be a moral character and a religious personality; a man of good taste and training; a quick thinker and yet one who is full of due respect for the laws of sound human reason. He should be a man well-grounded in life's meaning and yet sincere in his understanding regarding the joy and sorrow of his environment, both near and far. He should be sincere in prayer, a disciplined worker, a perfectly natural, and yet a uniquely spiritually-minded man, a good parent, citizen, and patriot -- but one with wide horizons. He should be a man whose whole heart is steeped in his own times, that is, one who is sensitive to, and experiences the needs and hopes of, the times as his very own, and takes a stand regarding them, so that he can think and speak with his contemporaries as one of them. He must be capable and ready to love every human being, and be, therefore, capable and resolved to fear no man. He must be and remain free to make a decision and to hold to his choice as he pledges and gives himself without reservation in the battle for the good. 
He must have the courage to make a lone stand, but he must also possess such humility that he can take his place as a simple private among many others in the regiment of work and struggle. He must be prepared to wait patiently in quietness, as well as be prepared for the intensest activity. He must be a man of peace, as well a man of struggle, if struggle it must be. He must, by an inner necessity, be able to express equally well the fiercest seriousness, the deepest unction, as well as the most candid humor. He must be at home in the Bible and his dogmatics. He must possess an understanding of the political issues, the movies, and sport, that is, at least, to the extent of having a sympathetic understanding for them. HE must be equal to good society, and yet be a peculiarly uncitizen-like creature. His heart must be with the proletariat and just for that reason he must have none of the proletarian sentiments and prejudices. He must know the atheist and the pietist better than they know themselves. He must be a psychologist, trained either by scientific education or natural bent, and yet, on the contrary, he must not be psychological at all, but know how to comfort sympathetically and fervently, or reprimand in a simple and direct way. 
As a pastor and watchman and teacher and preacher to sick souls, he must be well acquainted with, and bring loving care to, the immediate problems within their four walls. But he must know and understand no less the larger movement of events transpiring out in the Church and the world within the framework of which the fate of the congregation is enacted. He must speak to men, but in such a way that something more is said to them than what they might just as well say to themselves. He must know how to think, speak, and act as a priest and as a prophet and as a pastor. 

~Karl Barth, from God in Action

October 11, 2011

Reunion of the Cast of the Princess Bride

Photographed Sept. 20th, 2011 in LosAngeles.  

click to enlarge
[HT: 22 Words]

You Must Be Full

You will not be able to extemporize good thinking unless you have been in the habit of thinking and feeding your mind with abundant and nourishing food. Work hard at every available moment. Store your minds very richly, and then, like merchants with crowded warehouses, you will have goods ready for your customers, and having arranged your good things upon the shelves of your mind, you will be able to hand them down at any time without the laborious process of going to market, sorting, folding, and preparing. . . .  Take it as a rule without exception, that to be able to overflow spontaneously you must be full.
~Charles Spurgeon

[HT: Justin Taylor]

October 10, 2011

Blue Like Jazz - Book Review

Last week I finished the book Blue Like Jazz- Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Donald Miller.  It was really enjoyable to read.  Donald Miller is a good writer, and he kept my attention throughout.  It was personal and real.  He was able to share some deep feelings and thoughts on various aspects of the Christian message, and it was interspersed with just the right amounts of humor to help you relax as you read the book, but at the same time not miss the points that he was trying to make.

But I may have been tainted when I read this book.  When I picked it up from the Local Library book sale I also picked up books like God in Action by Karl Barth and a commentary series by William Barclay.  I was also skimming through some books that I already had, like The Institutes on the Christian Religion by John Calvin and The Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink.  To be in the process of filling your mind with deep theological works like these and then pick up a book called Blue Like Jazz can be such a shift in gears that it makes your brain stall out.  Don't get me wrong, his writing was good and he had some deep thoughts, but the key difference is that, on the one hand we are exploring the deep thoughts about Donald Miller and on the other hand we are exploring those deep thoughts about God.  Donald Miller seems like a nice guy, but I find thoughts about God to be captivating.

I also had the repeated experience of reading something that Donald Miller would write and think to myself, "Wow.  That is so right."  But then it would be followed by an immediate, "Whoa.  That is so wrong."  That is where he hovered throughout the entire book, somewhere between those really good critiques of some of American Christianity but then having so many really incorrect conclusions to these critiques.  It was almost as if he abandoned scripture as his primary source of truth and instead relied on his own insights.

What really gets me is how many people that I've heard over time singing the praises of this book.  If you are one of those people, I would ask you why?  What was it about this book that you found to be so enlightening.  I find nothing to be as enlightening as the Bible, the one book that is living and powerful.  If you are reading other things, but they do not point you to a greater love of scripture and the God of scripture, then I would wonder at that book.


October 8, 2011

The McGurck Effect

What you hear is not always what is actually being said. Watch this short clip on The McGurck Effect.

 

 [HT: Justin Taylor]

October 5, 2011

Cats...

I am pretty sure this has happened to my sister...



(from here)

October 4, 2011

Reading Theology

I just re-started a book by Karl Barth.  I picked it up at a library sale (I think) and started it right away.  I was sidetracked by The Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink, so I put it down for awhile.  Since I am done with that now, it is time to pick it back up again. It is called God in Action: Theological Addresses .

I have to say, I am really enjoying these theological works.  I've been trying to read some other books and even some fictional stories, but I just can't get into them.  Reading theology, especially accurate and well-written theology, can be very uplifting.  It is about God.  It is about who He is.  It is about what He is like and what He does.  They remind me that He is a rock... He is my rock.

If you have never taken the time to read any theology, I would like to recommend a place to start, so that you are not overwhelmed.  The book is Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (RE: Lit) by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Bershears.  It is a really good book on doctrine that follows the story line of the Bible.  It was really easy to read, but at the same time it was chock-full of information.  There were footnotes in the hundreds.

Feeling discouraged at the state of the world today?  Get away from your TV and jump into a good solid book.

(Don't forget.  If you buy something through Amazon, use one of my links.  I will get a small portion for advertising.)

October 3, 2011

The Sovereignty of God - Book Review

The Sovereignty of God
by A.W. Pink.

You may have noticed that I have included a few quotes from this book lately.  I've really enjoyed it, but I might be a little biased because of the "fluff" that I've been reading along side this book.  I only have a couple of pages left in this book, so I thought I would go ahead and type out a short book review.  (Reviews of the "fluff" will come later.)

This book is clearly about the sovereignty of God.  From God's sovereignty in creation, administration, and the natural world, to His sovereignty in salvation.  The book seemed to start a little slow, but that was mostly because it was dealing with topics that most people wouldn't question.  When you deal with sovereignty in creation, that's simple.  Sovereignty in administration (the workings of the world), that doesn't press any buttons.  As the book progressed, it picked up steam as it inched closer and closer towards that inevitable conclusion... God is sovereign in salvation.

I picked up this book with many of those understandings and teachings already, but as I progressed through this book it built in me a love for the topic.  Pink discussed the sovereignty of God the way someone might describe a beautiful painting or the way a husband might describe the beauty of his wife.

Whether you are into old theology books or not, I highly recommend this book.

The Kindle Edition is available for only $0.99!  Click through now to get it: The Sovereignty of God  Use these links that I've provided so that I get credit!