Tuesday, May 27, 2008
So back to what I was saying. We went to see “The Miracle Worker.” Most likely, you are familiar with the plot. It’s the story of Annie Sullivan’s struggle to teach the blind and deaf Helen Keller how to communicate. Initially Annie found it extremely difficult to teach Helen due to her wild and violent behavior. But then Annie had a revelatory moment. All of a sudden she realized: "Obedience is the gateway for knowledge to enter the mind." She understood that she needed to first teach Helen to obey before she could teach her knowledge.
At this point in the play I couldn’t help but think of my daughters, Nicole and Kristin. That’s what they are doing. They are attempting to train and discipline four little boys to obey so they can impart knowledge. And not just any knowledge, but the most important knowledge of all—the message of the gospel.
So to all moms with little children I desire to encourage you today. I want to cheer you on in your efforts to discipline and train your children to obey. It’s hard, exhausting work, I know. Just watching my daughters makes me tired. But it’s worth it. Because an obedient child is a receptive child. And with a receptive child you can teach them the good news, the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. Now that’s a goal worth striving for, don’t you agree?
"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Prov. 22.6
Click Here for the rest of Carolyn's Article
Our teaching Elder Ryan Kelly has been going through the book of Proverbs for the past several weeks, and he now is focusing on almost a mini-series of Parenting and what Proverbs says about this important issue.
Zach recommended the new Death Cab for Cutie Album, I bought the album and I gotta say Z was on the money on this one. It is a great album especially for me who likes to have music playing while I read. This album is very well put together and while a tad different than their previous album it will not disappoint!.
I just got the new Death Cab For Cutie record today and it is GREAT. These guys might be a bit more indie than some of you are used to, but once you get into their style I think it will really grow on you. These guys are have a definite "voice" that is unique and refreshing. They orchestrate great parts and the songs are quirky but very catchy
Monday, May 26, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Orlando, Florida is filled with fun and amusements, whether you go to Disney, Universal or Sea World fun is to be had. There is a new theme park though that is based on Christian themes, this theme park is called the "Holy Land Experience" and it is quite sad. It is owned by TBN which should make alarms go off and instead of Splash Mountain or getting pictures with Mickey you can see a white man in a robe with long hair, Jesus, and you can even watch him get crucified while sipping on a limeade.
Amid cell phones ringing, video cams rolling and ice cream melting under the Florida sun, a blood-spattered Jesus stumbles through the crowd on his way to Golgotha, where nasty Roman soldiers strip him, nail him to the cross and crucify him—while perspiring tourists look on in Bermuda shorts. After the resurrection sequence, visitors applaud and line up for a photo op, not with Mickey or Minnie, but a disciple or bloody-handed yet friendly centurion. Welcome to Orlando's most unusual theme park, the Holy Land Experience.
Built in 2001 at a cost of $16 million, the Holy Land Experience recreates the ancient city of Jerusalem to "take you 2,000 years back in time to the world of the Bible" where "it brings to life ancient Israel." Dominating the theme park is a towering replica of Herod's Temple, much like Cinderella's Castle just down Interstate 4. Also on display are recreations of the Qumran caves (site of the Dead Sea Scrolls), the Garden Tomb of Jesus, the Wilderness Tabernacle with an Ark of the Covenant light and sound show and a Byzantine Scriptorium where tourists learn about the history of Bible production. A gift shop sells Star of David necklaces with Christian crosses embedded in them and olive wood from the real Holy Land.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Join the revolution and refuse the seductions of the mind-numbing allure of all things digital -- at least long enough to think a great thought, hear a great lecture, enjoy a quality conversation (with a real, live face-to-face human being), listen to a great sermon, visit a museum, read a good book, or take in a beautiful sunset.
People who cannot maintain mental attention cannot know the intimacy of prayer, and God does not maintain a Facebook page. Our ability to focus attention is not just about the mind, for it is also a reflection of the soul. Our Christian discipleship demands that we give attention to our attention.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
This is one of my all-time favorite Piper quotes, one that I read as a single fella and have come to appreciate more and more as I am married and have 2 little ones. The call to being a Biblical man is not one that we can do on our own, it is one we work hard daily after and lay our heads down at night with the full realization that it was not I, but the grace of God in me working the whole time. Fellas, are we fighting for this, are we willing to put down the remote, turn off the flat-screen and fight for this?? That is why this quote is one I must think on daily;
"The call to leadership is a call to humble oneself and take the responsibility to be a servant-leader in ways that are appropriate to every different relationship with women.It is a call to risk getting egg on our faces; to pray as we have never prayed before; to be constantly in the Word; to be more given to planning, more intentional, more thoughtful, less carried along by the mood of the moment; to be disciplined and ordered in our lives; to be tenderhearted and sensitive; to take the initiative to make sure there is a time and a place to talk to her about what needs to be talked about; and to be ready to lay down our lives the way Christ did if that is necessary." (What's the Difference? Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible, pg. 38)
Click Here for More Resources for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Click Here for Blu Blu the creator of "Muto"
MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.
Props: Power of Change
Friday, May 16, 2008
ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) -- Governments have changed. War erupted and ended. Neighbors had children, and then grandchildren. But Hedviga Golik never left her tiny apartment in Croatia's capital -- until her mummified body was carried out this week, 35 years after she died.
Police said Friday that no one ever reported Golik missing and no one has come to claim her body.
Residents of her loft building in downtown Zagreb had broken into Golik's flat after deciding that the apartment should belong to them, and not to her. Startled by the remains in bed, they called police.
Forensics experts said Golik likely died in 1973, about the time a neighbor last saw her. Expert Davor Strinovic said she seemed to have died of natural causes, but "it's almost impossible to say for certain" after so much time.
Some of Golik's neighbors claimed she had talked about going abroad.
Experts said her windows had been open, likely diminishing the smell. It remained unclear who -- if anyone -- was paying her bills and who exactly owned the apartment. In the 1970s, when Golik died, apartments were state-owned.
Neighbors now argue the apartment should be divided among the remaining tenants.
The discovery of Golik's body on Tuesday prompted media debates on how it is possible for a woman to die so long ago without anyone noticing. One local journalist said it showed people were becoming more alienated.
"My dear neighbors! Please keep on being curious and a bit tiresome, as you have been so far," Merita Arslani wrote in the Jutarnji list daily.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
"Never before, perhaps, has God been so totally forgotten and lowered in our estimation. Self-esteem, self-image, self-confidence, self-this and self-that have replaced talk of God's attributes. Ironically, this has created the opposite of its intention. The more time we spend contemplating our own greatness in the mirror, the more clearly we are bound to see the warts. Without the knowledge of God in whose image we have been created, and the grace which has made us children of God, narcissism (self-love) quickly evolves into depression (self-hate)." (pg. 14-15)
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
"This is from The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World (ed. John Piper and Justin Taylor):
Justin Taylor: John, you met recently with Tony Jones, who’s the national coordinator for Emergent, and Doug Pagitt, who is also involved in the leadership of Emergent. Is there anything you can tell us about that meeting or anything that would be helpful to share about your time together with them? And how did it come about?
John Piper: Tony and Doug took the initiative to e-mail me and asked if we’d be interested in meeting with them—I think because they read the blurb on this conference and were ticked off by it!
It was a very profitable time for me. I like these guys, by the way. I like them because I think they’re both hotheads, and I think I am too. That was a personal impression. However, my root sense is that ultimately, for Tony and Doug, committed relationships trump truth. They probably would not like the word “trump” but would rather say that committed relationships are an authentic expression of the gospel, and that to ask, “What is the gospel underneath, supporting the relationships?” is a category mistake. And so I just kind of kept going back on my heels, saying I just don’t understand the way these guys think. There are profound epistemological differences—ways of processing reality—that make the conversation almost impossible, as if we were just kind of going by each other. What is the function of knowledge in transformation? What are the goals of transformation? We seem to differ so much in our worldviews and our ways of knowing that I’m not sure how profitable the conversation was or if we could ever get anywhere.
Therefore I can’t make definitive statements about what they believe about almost anything, except for a few strong statements about certain social agendas in which they would clearly come out of their chair on the hatred of human trafficking or something like that. But as far as their beliefs on certain doctrinal issues, I can’t tell, because as I pushed on them, I could tell that their attitude was: “That’s not what we do. That’s not what we do here. We don’t try to get agreement on the nature of the atonement. That is alienating to friendships to try to do that, so we don’t do that.” And because of that, I say, “Well, I don’t even know where to start with you then.” This shows how different we are, because Galatians 1:8 says, “If we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” And that’s not friendship. Paul insists on establishing the gospel, whether there is a good relationship or not. I came away from our meeting frustrated and wishing it were different but not knowing how to make it different. (The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World, pp. 154-55)
And the following is Tony Jones’s take on the same meeting as chronicled in The New Christians:
Tony Jones: When the pastor accepted my invitation to lunch, I was happy, if a bit anxious. This man is the pastor of a large Baptist church, the president of a ministry, and the author of several best-selling books. He sits atop a pyramid of conservative Reformed Christians that has been particularly critical of emergents. I sent him an e-mail after seeing the promotional material for his pastors’ conference, the language of which made it clear that the emergent church movement was one of his targets for criticism. My e-mail was an olive branch: an invitation to lunch and an assurance that we both share a commitment to proclaiming Christ.
The pastor is a gentle-looking man, but his theology is anything but gentle. He believes that God’s anger burns with holy fire against human sin. Words like wrath, hate, and blood peppered his sentences as we dined at the Olive Garden (his choice). Slight of stature, he has a piercing gaze. He brought three of his compatriots, and I brought Doug Pagitt, the pastor of Solomon’s Porch and my best friend. He carried a Bible and a notebook; Doug and I each brought books that we’d written to give as gifts.
The pastor began by admitting that he’d never heard of me before, and that he really didn’t have anything against emergent Christians per se. His beef is with Brian McLaren and Steve Chalke, both emergent authors who have questioned the version of the doctrine of the atonement that he holds dear. Early in the lunch, Doug said that he’s long respected the ministry of the pastor’s church and since we’re in the same town, perhaps we could minister in partnership with one another. “Regardless of our theological differences,” Doug said, “maybe we can find ways to work together.” But as the lunch progressed, it became clear that the pastor felt that the beginning of any partnership was necessarily agreement on a particular doctrine, the atonement, a doctrine that he equates with an understanding of the gospel. To put it conversely, if you don’t understand the atonement as he does, you do not understand the gospel. To put it even more bluntly, he said that if you reject his understanding of the gospel, you are rejecting the gospel in toto, and so, by logical extension, you are not a Christian. (To be fair, he didn’t pass the same sentence on people who have never had the gospel explained to them in this way before, only on those who hear it and outright reject it.)
I mentioned the billions and billions of people who have lived and died as faithful, albeit not Reformed, Christ followers over the past two millennia, to no avail. Doug mentioned that there are lots of things that our two churches might work together on, like fighting sex trafficking, that have nothing to do with how one sees the atonement, but the pastor didn’t budge. I mentioned that it might be arrogant and a bit deceptive to preach that one of them is the sole and exclusive means of understanding the single greatest event in the history of the cosmos: the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. “What do you tell your congregation about how Christians understood the atonement for the thousand years prior to Anselm?”
The pastor paused, looked at me, and said, “You should never preach.” He went on to state that in this confusing, relativized, and postmodern world, people need “fixed points of doctrine” around which they can orient their lives. In other words, a correct understanding of a particular doctrine is the beginning of all Christian ministry. If you don’t have that, he was saying, you don’t have anything.
Then I tried another tack in explaining emergent Christians. “For you,” I said, “it’s the fixed point of doctrine that is the litmus test of all ministry. But for us, it’s the Apostle Paul’s call to be ambassadors of reconciliation in the world. Everything we do in the emergent church is surrounded by an envelope of friendship, friendship that is based on lives of reconciliation. And it’s within that envelope that we have all sort of discussions and debates about the atonement and sex trafficking and baptism and AIDS in Africa.
“In fact,” I continued, “I’m not sure it’s even possible to be an orthodox Christian if you’re not living a life of reconciliation.” (The New Christians, pp. 76-78)"
Props: The Suburban Christians
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
(Author: John Piper)
As the carnage from Cyclone Nargis moves toward 50,000 dead and beyond, there is a way to pray and act:
1. Be softened to the pain nearby.
The Good Samaritan knew nothing of the calamities in first century Burma, but was commended by the Lord for mercies at hand (Luke 10:25-37).
2. Pray for the followers of Christ in Myanmar:
- That they would be still and know that God is God (Psalm 46:10; 100:3).
- That they would be awakened from the illusion that this life is long or sure or the main point of eternal existence (James 4:14).
- That they would be given a new vision of the supreme value of Christ who promises his followers that famine, nakedness, and death will not separate them from his love (Romans 8:35).
- That God would meet their needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus, so that they might have to give to those in need (Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 4:28).
3. Pray for the millions of unbelievers near the calamity and far from it:
- That they would see the helplessness of man before the power that rules the world and fly to Christ who alone delivers from the final cyclone of God's wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
- That they would not respond like the people in Revelation (9:20; 16:9, 11) who did not repent at the devastation but cursed God.
- That they would hear the best news in all the world—not the news of health, wealth, and prosperity in this world, but the news that Christ became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13) so that in him they can be more than conquerors in every calamity of life (Romans 8:37).
4. Pray for those of us who live in the seeming security and prosperity of America:
- That we would see what is about to break over us in due time—either collectively as God removes the hand of his providential restraint, or individually as one by one we are whisked to the hospital, then wheeled to the nursing home, and then carried to the funeral home (Hebrews 9:27).
- That millions would be made to see this and repent from the adultery of treasuring anything more than Christ (James 4:4).
5. Give money to replenish the coffers of compassion "since you also are in the body" (Hebrews 13:3).
6. Muster a team from your church, and when the doors are open, be ready to go.
This kind of going always has the promise of a special, "I will be with you to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).
Props: Desiring God
Monday, May 5, 2008
Al Mohler made an interesting remark about church reform late last night in Mark Dever's study: a young man entering a church should not expect to reform it so much by persuading the old guard, but by raising up and discipling a new generation of younger men and waiting for them to grow into positions of leadership.
Props: Church Matters
Out of all the speakers of the conference the one I was LEAST excited about was John MacArthur. I have not been a huge fan of Dr. MacArthur's, and have at times been quite critical of who he is. Do not get me wrong I think that most of his theology is solid and that he is someone I would recommend for good reformed doctrine, eschatology aside. The issue I have had with him, is the way he comes off, arrogant, rude, condescending and prideful. It is not just him that comes off this way, there are many I have viewed of his "fans" that are the same way, and graduates of his school often seem to lean on the fundamentalist side of life. In recent history many of the MacArthur army has taken aim at Mark Driscoll for his attire he has when preaching and some of the things he says. They seemed to disregard the impact Mark has had in one of the least churched cities in the U.S. and instead focus on the things the perceive as imperfections. In other words they take non-foundational issues such as dress and even evangelism styles as foundational. They also seemed to be like pitbulls ready for a fight/debate, and that gets old fast. So a lot of my beef was with the whole aura around this dude. So needless to say I was not amped for Johnny Mac's talk. God is gracious!
Dr. MacArthur spoke on the Inability of us sinners to regenerate ourselves. In other words we are totally depraved, unable to save ourselves. I was a very great talk, not because it was super theological, but because when you realize how much of a desperate state you were in and that God would save you totally it humbles you. MacArthur's talk was very straight from the Word and was very well done. Often we take for granted the "dead in trespasses" verse from Ephesians 2, and I confess do not dwell on that as much as I need. I was DEAD spiritually, not hurting, not sick, but DEAD, and dead people cannot make their heart start beating. Often we want to argue that "I chose" Christ, and that is true up to the point we realize "I chose" only after He made me alive, He gave me a new life, a new heart, new eyes to see, then yes "I chose".
This session probably impacted me the most in not so much the content although that was fantastic, but the humility. I was humbled by my own arrogant, prideful view of Dr. MacArthur and his "fans". The reality is, T4G was not an Acts 29 conference, and it did not look like one. It was more of a Southern Baptist looking conf. where many polos and dockers were in effect. The general crowd of t4G was not the kind of people I am comfortable around, or at least that was my opinion. Dr. MacArthur's session helped change that. I was humbled, and shown that these men in dockers and white tennis shoes are my brothers just as much as my friends that wear jeans and t-shirts. These men are sinners unable to save themselves, but by God's grace have been saved and made new in Christ, just like me. I am no better than these men, in fact I know my heart and fear I am far worse than any of them in that conference. I may not agree with them on certain issues, and we may not end up best buddies that will plant churches together, and that is OK! We are linked though in a way that surpasses all differences of opinion, that is we are linked by Christ and His blood!
God humbled me in many ways, and this session was a catalyst for much of that humiliation I had and I praise God for it!!
"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." Phil. 2:3
Click here for "The Sinner Neither Able Nor Willing: The Doctrine of Absolute Inability"
Friday, May 2, 2008
A year ago this past weekend my mother received the news that her breast cancer that had been in remission for the past 7 years had come back. The cancer had not just come back, but it had come back with force as more spots were found in various areas of her body from her lung to liver. When this news was delivered in many ways we as a family were swept back to 1999 and the first battle with this disease. In ’99 when my mother was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer our family fell apart, I won’t go into details but it was bad. We had no hope and the thought of losing my mom was too much for me and my father to handle.
My mother has always been the stability in our family when my dad was having hard times she was the force, a gentle force, but still a mighty force that kept my head up and loved and supported my father. My mother has always been a force for stability and strength, even though she is a quiet, humble and gentle soul (Lobo Basketball games being the exception of this demeanor). She was an elementary school teacher for the better part of 4 decades, and in fact was my wife’s 4th grade teacher. She has been such a key influence in many lives and shaping many in this community. As I already stated for my father and I she is and was a source of stability and love and encouragement. My daughter loves her nana with a jealous love as I know my son will too one day. The thought of losing her in ’99 was too much for us to handle and it truly was a hard time for our family.
A lot has changed since then. In ’07 when we received news of cancer and its’ return the response was different. There was concern, tears and sadness, but there was calmness, trust and hope. What had changed? Jesus Christ had invaded our household and became our foundation and hope. A true knowledge of who Jesus is and what He had done changed our outlook on everything. Never has that been so apparent than at lunch at TGI Friday’s when my parents told me the news of my mom’s relapse with cancer. At lunch my parents shared the news, but also shared the hope. The hope that while cancer hurts it cannot destroy, that if my mom was to die, it would just mean she would no longer see through a foggy window, she would be with Jesus! My dad stood firm, not on his own strength, but on Christ the Solid Rock, trusting in a Sovereign, Wise King! At that moment Jesus was at that table sitting with us and speaking through my parents, Praise God!
Today is my mom’s birthday, and we do realize it is something to celebrate that she is still here, that the cancer while not gone is being controlled. My mom has been a part of a women’s Bible Study at our church and has dove deep into God’s Word and trust in Him. Where will we be in 1 year, who knows, but no matter what changes come, we can trust that Jesus our Rock and Foundation, our Joy and our Hope, our Strength and Security is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Happy Birthday Mom!!! We Love You!!!!!!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
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