Friday, January 28, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fear but Don't Fear

Excellent quote from John Newton (via Justin Taylor)

The Lord bids me “fear not”—and at the same time he says, “Happy is the man who fears always.”
How to fear and not to fear at the same time is, I believe, one branch of that secret of the Lord which none can understand but by the teaching of his Spirit.
When I think of my heart, of the world of the power of darkness—what cause of continual fear! I am on an enemy’s ground, and cannot move a step but some snare is spread for my feet.
But when I think of the person, grace, power, care, and faithfulness of my Savior, why may I not say — I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord Almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.
I wish to be delivered from anxious and unbelieving fear, which weakens the hands and disquiets the heart.
I wish to increase in a humble jealousy and distrust of myself and of everything about me.
Read the rest of the blog post from Justin Taylor, where I found this quote.

Serious Malady of the Soul

I just started my next audio book from Christian Audio.  This one is The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer.  I read this book several years ago, I think that I even posted about it a few times on this blog.

Well, I was listening to it on the way home from school today and hear this wonderful tidbit:

The idea of cultivation and exercise, so dear to the saints of old, has now no place in our total religious picture. It is too slow, too common. We now demand glamour and fast flowing dramatic action. A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machineage methods to our relations with God. We read our :' chapter, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar.
The tragic results of this spirit are all about us. Shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit: these and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul.
Now, he said this several years ago, and I think that it is even worse now.  I see it at work in me, but God is changing me in this area.  After a year of increasingly less TV and increasingly more Bible study and prayer, I am beginning to see its value.  Especially as I study those men of old, those men who have promoted and lived for the gospel.  I am reminded more and more that God made me for Himself, and to live a life cultivating and exercising myself in this deep relationship with God brings me closer and closer to my purpose in life and closer and closer to Him.

Update:  Just found the entire book online for free here.

Dear Pastor...

I just read a good article titled, Dear Pastor, Do you groan when you think of me?  I found it via Tim Challies.  The first sentence of the article says this, "What does your pastor think about when he thinks about you?"

The article starts by addressing the low- or no- commitment Christians. (People who just won't commit themselves to a local church.)  This is an issue that is also weighing on my heart.  The author states,
If you attend a local church, but do not belong to a local church, then I appeal to you to determine if your current church is for you and, if so, then I appeal to you to fully commit to your church. One of the ways you can do this is by allowing them to care for you with joy.
For those who are committed he says,
Do you let your pastor care for you with joy? How do you know if he is full of joy or full of groans when he thinks about you? How about if you ask your spiritual authority how he thinks about you? This could provide you with a wonderful opportunity to serve your pastor. Imagine if your child, if you have children, came to you and asked a similar question. Imagine if your child’s desire was to bring joy to your life. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Your pastor would feel similarly if you sought to step up to that kind of personal responsibility.
These are issues that are weighing on my heart, so since there is more to the article I recommend reading the rest by clicking here.

Sit or Don't Sit

I do not sit with men of falsehood,
nor do I consort with hypocrites.
 I hate the assembly of evildoers,
and I will not sit with the wicked.

 (Psalm 26:4-5 ESV)
As you can see, I have quoted verses 4 and 5 from Psalm 26.  This Psalm was a part of the daily Bible reading plan that I am working on this year.

Here is the dilemma:  How do we mesh these verses with the concepts promoted by Christ when he reclined at tables with the "tax collectors and sinners" of his day?  Here is one example from the Gospel according to Matthew:
And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
(Matthew 9:10-11 ESV)
Obviously, from the rest of scripture, there were issues with the Pharisees; problems with their interpretation and application of scripture.  But, what is the relationship with the Psalm and Jesus's ministry?  How do they work together?  In other words, how do you sit with but not sit with?

I have my thoughts on this, but the line is still a little hazy.  What do you think?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Blank Bible Project

This sounds like a really cool idea that I may have to follow up on. It is called the Blank Bible Project. I saw this link over at

Basically, this guy took an ESV Bible, chopped off the binding, added extra blank pages between each of the pages, then with some help from Staples, he re-bound the book.  He says that the project cost him around $30 and took around 7 hours to complete.  Here is a picture of the finished product.

Check out his site and the description of the project by clicking here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God

Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of GodI just finished listening to another John Piper book.  This one was called, Think:  The life of the mind and the Love of God.  This title is very descriptive of, what I believe, is the purpose and point of this book.  In it,  Piper weaves the fabric of these two topics (knowing God and loving God) together to reveal their fundamental connectedness. In other words, you can't truly have one without the other.

Piper also does a great job in this book of revealing the nature and importance of good thinking.  He accomplishes this, not only through his own use of reason, but also through several Biblical examples of the correct use of our mental faculties and a few examples of thinking gone wrong.

I am fighting the desire to blog about several different aspects of this book.  I want to do that, but I am more interested in persuading you to pick up a copy of this book and reading it for yourself.  Of course, this first time through the book, I experienced it via a Christian Audio, audio book.  I also received this as a Christmas present, so now I am even more persuaded that this is a book that I need to plow through again, one page at a time.  The truth is, it really made me think.

The audio talent for the audio book also did an exceptional job. He brought the words to life in such a great way.  I always enjoy the audio books, they bring things out that I might have missed by only reading through the book.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Sovereignty of God in Evangelism and Prayer

Just watched this video from a blog called Finger Toe that is absolutely worth 8 minutes of your life.  If you need to, save it for Super Bowl Sunday and watch it instead of the commercials.  (Notice the new "watch later" button at the bottom of the video?)

He mentions a book titled Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer.  I read this little book a couple of years ago (during a summer vacation) and highly recommend it to anyone who has questions regarding God's sovereignty.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

stop working for -- start working out

"Faith in Jesus Christ is when you stop working for your salvation and start working out your salvation."

What do I mean by this?

True faith in Jesus Christ is a faith in a person. I am trusting that all of the details of my salvation are taken care of in Him. Every prayer that needs to be prayed, every attitude that needs to be right, every thought that needs to be subdued, every motive that needs to be corrected... Everything was done in Him. Every ceremonial obedience, every bit of adherence to the Law of God, every ounce of Love for God, the sum of the love for our neighbors was accomplished in Christ. He did it ALL.

So, in faith, I stop working for it. I stop working to be righteous. I stop working to be accepted by God. No longer do I do anything because I believe that God will look more favorably on me because of these actions. My one, and I mean ONE, hope is that God the righteous and good judge of the universe will look upon Jesus Christ as my very own righteousness!

Now I begin to work!

I work now, not for these things, but because of these things. I work, not for what I will get, but for what I have already received. I work, not because of debt alone, but because of a debt of gratitude. I am eternally thankful.  The more I trust that he did everything and that I did nothing for my salvation, the more I want to do.

So, I plead with you today to abandon being good for goodness' sake.  Give it up.  You can't be.  Stop working for your salvation, put your faith in Jesus Christ and start working out your salvation.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Forgotten Books :: Free Books

I just found a site called Forgotten Books that has several free ebooks (pdf format) available for download. I wouldn't have taken the time to mention this, but I thought I would browse the site and found a collection of John Calvin's Commentaries!

I just downloaded one of these copies to take a look at it, and it wasn't horrible. Their free books are not in high quality, so it looks more like a copied version of an actual page out of a book. Personally this didn't bother me, but the book wasn't searchable which would make finding things a little more difficult. But I guess if you know what you are looking for it wouldn't be that big of a problem. Besides, since when did the idea of a searchable book become essential?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Godliness vs. Irreverent, Silly Myths

Totally worth 4 minutes and 17 seconds of your life.

If you have ever wondered what I am striving for at Edgewood Baptist Church, this is the direction I am headed, though not nearly as eloquently as this guy.  I especially like his statement, "I am not against topical preaching, as long as it is exegetically done."  Good stuff!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Future Personal Reunion

In the face of loss... sometimes I feel at a loss for words to bring the encouragement that I long to give.  I want to find the right words to lift them up and to lighten the burden.  I know that no words of mine will bring the correct consolation, but God's words are alive and powerful.  They are words of life, so I attempt to share those words.

One passage, in particular, that has brought comfort to me and I hope will bring comfort to others is found in the Old Testament in the book of II Samuel.  It is the account of King David and the loss of an infant child.  While the baby was still alive David is fasting and praying.  He seems so distraught that his servants are afraid to tell him that the baby has died.  When David sees them whispering, he figures it out and asks them.  Once they confirm this, here is what we read:
Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” 
(2 Samuel 12:20-23 ESV)
That last sentence has brought great comfort to many who have lost children over the years.  "I shall go to him, but he will not return to me."  I love what the ESV Study Bible adds at this point.
Some interpreters understand David to be saying simply that he, like the child, will someday die.  But "shall go to him" seems to indicate the expectation of future personal reunion.
I completely believe that is what David had in mind, "... the expectation of future personal reunion."  It reminds me of another passage where Paul tells us that we are going to catch up to those who have gone before us.
For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 
(1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 ESV)
Jesus also refers to death as being asleep or at rest.  One day we will wake together in glory.  We will know and be known.  So, as Paul commands, I seek to encourage those who are hurting with these words and ideas.  We will be together again.  It is a future personal reunion.  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What I wouldn't give for a couple of students like this...

Doodling in Math Class...

It looks like this is actually a whole set of math-related videos.

Update: Here is a site that has the rest of them... Vi Hart Math.

[HT: iLearn Technology]

The Legacy of the King James Bible

The Legacy of the King James Bible: Celebrating 400 Years of the Most Influential English TranslationI have loved my NIV Study Bible for many years, and I am growing to love my ESV Study Bible. But the Bible that God spoke to me first from was my Scofield King James Bible.

I just watched a video that was good for me to watch. It was an interview between Justin Taylor and the author of a book titled The Legacy of the King James Bible. I am posting it here because I believe that it might be good for you to watch it as well. Especially now, as we near the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

Justin Taylor Interview: Leland Ryken, "The History of the King James Bible" from Crossway on Vimeo.

[HT: Justin Taylor]

A helpful flowchart to help you decide whether to forward that email

Whose feelings would I hurt if I forwarded this to them.


Sent to you by Mr. Harmless via Google Reader:



Things you can do from here:


Saturday, January 8, 2011

ESV Study Bible in a Year (Jan 8)

Today's passage: Psalm 7, Genesis 8:1-9, I Chronicles 8, and Luke 4:1-44. You can read or listen to these passages by clicking here.

The verse I underlined today was from the Psalm. Verse 11 says, "God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day."

I also found the Luke passage very interesting. It is Luke's account of the very beginning of Jesus' ministry. Jesus goes to a synagogue near his home and reads from a passage of Isaiah. After he reads it says that, "the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him." He confronts them in their unbelief (because they knew he was Joseph's son) and then they try to kill him.

I mean, can you imagine someone in your church confronting the congregation to such an extent that the result was the congregation rising up and trying to throw the speaker off of a cliff?

Anyway, what did you read today? Are you trying to read through the Bible in a year?

Is your Faith still in Kindergarten?

If so... It might be time to move on.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Kimyal Bible

Here is a convicting and encouraging video that I found over at Randy Alcorn's blog of the Kimyal tribe receiving the Bible in their own language.  If you don't watch any other video that I have posted on this site, watch this one.

Here is the Pastor's prayer upon receiving the New Testament: (as quoted from Alcorn's Blog)
The month that you had set, the day that you had set, has come to pass today. Oh my Father, my Father, the Promise that you gave Simeon that he would see Jesus Christ and hold Him in his arms before he died. I also have been waiting under that same promise, O God. You looked at all the different languages and chose which ones will be put into Your Word. You thought that we should see Your Word in our language. Today, the day you had chosen for this to be fulfilled, has come to pass. You have placed it here in our land. And for all this, O God, I give You praise.
There is some deep theology there for a man who has to gain all of his knowledge of the Lord through a Bible that wasn't even in his own language.

I've gotta try this!

Saw this over at Abraham Piper's blog.  He wants someone to try this and let him know how it goes.  I think I am going to have to be the one.  Especially now that I am "dieting"...

What is really going on with Benny Hinn...

[HT: 22 Words]

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Reason for God DVD: Session 1

The Reason for God: Conversations on Faith and Life
Image via
I recently purchase The Reason for God DVD series by Timothy Keller for use at my church.  If you are not familiar with the book and the DVD click here.

I was interested in showing these sessions and working through the accompanying discussions because I believe that this is an area of great importance when it comes to sharing the gospel.  As Christians, we need to be able to handle... in a reasonable way... doubts and questions.

This past Sunday we watched the first session.  In this session the doubts related to science and the Bible were discussed.  Topics such as whether or not the Bible is simply myth and the idea that science has disproved the Bible.  I find these interesting because, in one version or another, many of the people that I meet outside of church consider these reasonable thoughts.  Embedded in these thoughts is the additional idea that it is OK to believe the Bible, even if it is just myth.  This idea is even supported by one of the members of the discussion group on the DVD.

After we watched the first session, we tackled the first two discussion questions from the guide that comes with the DVD.  I think it went well.  It even prompted some good discussion in our group.

I am hoping and praying for two results from watching these sessions.  First I am hoping that these will help to equip us as we encounter these questions.  Second, and this one might seem a little strange, but I hope that these sessions will build a compassion for those who have these questions and doubts.  Many Christians that I have met have a prideful attitude about their Biblical perspective.  This isn't only wrong, it is counterproductive.  People aren't going to listen to a know-it-all.  There needs to be a humility in what we know.  This can be seen on the DVD at the very end of the first session when one of the people asks the question of Timothy Keller whether or not he would consider changing his beliefs.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Persevering Preacher

First day back to school.  The break is over and the bubbling over pot that is my life just got put back on the burner of life.  By the time I was on my way home from school I was starting to feel overwhelmed with thoughts of all of the things that I need to deal with each week.  From Sermons and Sunday School to lesson plans and struggling students... and this doesn't include family life, basketball games with my son, working on the house, trying to lose weight because my cholesterol is killing me.  I don't have time for everything.

I needed some encouragement, I needed a "word", don't ask me how, but I found this.  Exactly what I needed.