Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Anti-Psalm 131

Here’s Anti-Psalm 131:

my heart is proud (I’m absorbed in myself),
and my eyes are haughty (I look down on other people),
and I chase after things too great and too difficult for me.
So of course I’m noisy and restless inside, it comes naturally,
like a hungry infant fussing on his mother’s lap,
like a hungry infant, I’m restless with my demands and worries.
I scatter my hopes onto anything and everybody all the time.
Contrast that with the real Psalm 131:

O Lord,
my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.


at least that's how it oughtta be...


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Haven't laughed this hard in awhile...

This is now my favorite internet movie of all time...
If you don't think its funny, don't tell me. It'll cause a rift in our relationship.
J/K (no, seriously...)

Star Wars: Retold (By Someone Who Hasn't Seen It)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A Newly Realized Argument for a Definite (Limited) Atonement

He's back, ladies and gentlemen! But don't get too excited, because who knows if or when I will ever have (or take) the time to post again?!

And aren't you glad I chose a heady theological topic for my re-entrance into the blogosphere after an absence of over 4 months? I could have eased you in with updated photos of my daughter...

Or I could have sucked you right in with cutesy pictures of our new puppy, Tobiwan Kenobi... or just Toby if you prefer...

But no... I'm coming right at you with a mind bending discussion of one of the most heated topics in Christendom... For whom, exactly, did Christ die?

Now, I'm not going to spend a lot of time rehashing all the arguments on both sides (Arminianism vs Calvinism) of the issue, I really just want to point out an argument that was new to me.

Notice I did not say new. Just new to me... The biblical arguments for a definite or limited atonement are profuse and irrefutable as far as I am concerned, but recently I heard an argument that was both simple and profound, and I heard it from a not unlikely, but unexpected source.

Awhile ago I posted on the rising of new Christian rap artist Lecrae, and in passing mentioned Shai Linne as well. Well at first I couldn't get enough of Lecrae, but Shai Linne has far surpassed him in time spent in my ear over the last few months. His blog is titled "Lyrical Theology" and it is more than fitting for what this man does on the mic...

There is one song in particular, called "Mission Accomplished" that brought out this particular argument about Limited, or Definite Atonement. The song lyrics discuss how (and then Shai Linne explicitly explains, as do the Scriptures) that the Godhead is unified, and all three persons of the Trinity have been working together from the foundation of the world in order to bring about the salvation of God's people, for His glory.

Now, it seems both sides of the argument would agree that The Father, from eternity, chooses specific individuals to save (be it conditionally or unconditionally - that's another argument), that's called election. And both sides also agree that there are specific individuals to whom the Holy Spirit actually gives the new birth, applying what Christ did on the cross (And amazingly, at the end of the day, they happen to be the same people! Go figure!). But if God is unified in His being and in His work, why would Christ's work on the cross be applied universally if what the Father did in eternity, and what the Holy Spirit does now, is limited only to specific individuals? Doesn't that put the Godhead at odds with itself? Why would the Son's work in salvation be for everyone, when the Father's and the Spirit's work in salvation is decidedly not for everyone universally?

Of course the answer is that it is not. Christ's atonement is only for those whom God has chosen from all eternity and those to whom the Holy Spirit effectually applies it in history.

OK, not exactly mind bending... and maybe not even clear. :-)

Here is the song if you want to here it for yourself:
Please disregard the images, as they do not really apply and some could be considered offensive.

Now, back into the void....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Anti-Psalm 23

David Powlison writes an inversion of the great Psalm 23 in an article @

Here is the darkest song I've ever heard:
I'm on my own.
No one looks out for me or protects me.
I experience a continual sense of need. Nothing's quite right.
I'm always restless. I'm easily frustrated and often disappointed.
It's a jungle — I feel overwhelmed. It's a desert — I'm thirsty.
My soul feels broken, twisted, and stuck. I can't fix myself.
I stumble down some dark paths.
Still, I insist: I want to do what I want, when I want, how I want.
But life's confusing. Why don't things ever really work out?
I'm haunted by emptiness and futility — shadows of death.
I fear the big hurt and final loss.
Death is waiting for me at the end of every road,
but I'd rather not think about that.
I spend my life protecting myself. Bad things can happen.
I find no lasting comfort.
I'm alone ... facing everything that could hurt me.
Are my friends really friends?
Other people use me for their own ends.
I can't trust anyone. No one has my back.
No one is really for me — except me.
And I'm so much all about ME, sometimes it's sickening.
I belong to no one except myself.
My cup is never quite full enough. I'm left empty.
Disappointment follows me all the days of my life.
Will I just be obliterated into nothingness?
Will I be alone forever, homeless, free-falling into void?
Sartre said, "Hell is other people."
I have to add, "Hell is also myself."
It's a living death,
and then I die.
What song are you singing?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

And the Winner is.....

I have been having some serious browser issues lately.

Just like everyone else, I grew up (since the internet started in the early 90's) using Internet Explorer. This was fine. I didn't know any better, didn't know any different. For many years there was nothing different. So I blithely went along with IE until I very slowly and somewhat reluctantly (I am a rare early adopter) made the switch to Firefox while in seminary, around 2003 I believe. I don't even think I had seen it until one of my roommates showed me the light.

Since then, I love Firefox. I have loved how far superior it is to IE for so long, and all the add-ons and customization. It's been a wonderful 6 years together so far, it really has.

However, lately, Firefox has been letting me down. It uses so much RAM, even for a single tab, that it will at times force me to shut it down just to clear some room for the next page. But that is not even the worst part. Now, every time I load the browser, for about 2 and a half minutes it completely hogs all CPU, virtually making the computer unusable, after which it runs normal - which is to say it slowly uses all the other resources. I have tried just about everything for these issues, even completely wiping my install and starting over with no add-ons... no dice.

I got so frustrated with Firefox that I even tried making the switch back to IE with their new piece of garbage, IE8. It started out OK, until of course it never worked. 7 out of 10 times it would simply refuse to connect to a server. Had a headache or something I guess... whatever, that got tired real quick and IE8 was kicked to the curb with its garbage predecessor.

I was so desparate, I even downloaded SAFARI, and I am an avowed MAC hater... this shows how bad things had truly gotten. But I must say that Safari, for being all Mac and crap, was not terrible. It was definitely NOT the fastest broswer, as advertised, but apart from it's poor layout, (which for mac users is probably home) it got the job done. But I just couldn't stomach using it... I barely kept lunch down installing the thing...

Enter my knight in shining armor... Goggle Chrome.

I never would have guessed it, but this has been the best upgrade I could have asked for. It runs on almost no RAM (like 30K for each instance or tab, not bad at all). It uses very little CPU, even to render heavy pages. It's fast. It is by far the best browser I have used to date. I have to give great thanks and kudos to my brother from another mother Aron for pointing me in this direction. So far it is the clear winner. All the best add-ons I would need to install on Firefox are already in Chrome without the extra weight. When you're not using it, it basically doesn't exist as far as your computer is concerned. It's been a great experience so far and I am almost completely on board the Google gravytrain. I recommend you jump on for a ride!

But now, Firefox has release 3.5 .... What to do?
I will have to download it and give it a test drive, but it will be hard pressed, even after 6 years of loving companionship, to get me to come back at this point. Hard pressed indeed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I-Pod alert: Listen to this...

I have been preaching on suffering and God's sovereignty (as an overarching theme) in that last half of Romans 8 for what seems like a year now... It's been some of the most helpful study I've done (for me, I mean) thus far in my short time in the ministry. 

But I just listened to one of if not the best sermon I've ever heard on the subject of suffering and God's sovereignty, and I wanted to share it with anyone who will hear it:

All the Good that Is Ours in Christ: Seeing God's Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do to Us

It is a sermon by Mark Talbot that was preached at the 2005 Desiring God National Conference.  Talbot is returning to the conference this year, and this sermon is being linked on a lot of reformed blogs out there.

Be warned:  This is not for the faint of heart.  It will challenge you intellectually and spiritually.  (It's also pretty long at 1:16ish) So gird up the loins of your mind and strap this one into your ipod and be stretched, and be edified.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How to Be in More Than One Place at One Time - The Phenomenon of the Sattelite Church

Mark Driscoll just posted this the other day on how amazing it will be when he is able to preach eight sermons at the same time.

I don't know how Mars Hill structures its satellite campuses. Maybe they are so blessed with good elders to lead, but none of them can teach? Maybe they have a team of counselors at each site to deal with the day to day issues of the flock? Maybe God has blessed them with so many deacons and other gifted men and women that all their "pastor" has to do is pipe his sermon in on Sunday morning/afternoon/evening and then not have anything else to do with the life of those believers...

I know that Driscoll is a gifted teacher, as is John Piper, whose church has similar satellite campuses... and I'm sure if I vetted my own emotions I would find some dark motives for why I feel this way - I am a human being after all - but something just straight up irks me about the whole satallite campus thing. I mean it REALLY bothers me.

I'm sure no small part of it is that I recently had someone leave a very strong, loving, vibrant local congregation for a 'church' ... err ... a place with no real leadership and no ordained men, that pipes a biblically deficient church service into its christian 'ghetto'.

Somehow this flies in the face of Paul going into each town and training up men to be leaders and pastors in order to lead Gods people in the way they shold go. It just doesn't seem to fit from where I sit.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe if Paul had the technological and financial means to do so he would have piped his own message into each of the churches he sweat blood to build up. And especially since he was an apostle, and inspired, perhaps all the other leaders would have preferred that. But there are serious issues that arise from 'doing church' this way. I'm sure I have not thought of all of them, but here are a few that come to mind:

1 - Pastoral care - As gifted as these men are as teachers (and believe me, I eat up their teaching for the most part), they have no other influence or engagement in the lives of their people. And without that, I'm not even sure you can call them pastors, by definition, because they aren't pastoring. They are teaching. Its great teaching, but they are not pastoring. Pastoring goes miles and miles beyond the pulpit.

2 - Cult of Personality - A lot of people will talk about this as a problem for these "mega-churches". And it is a legitimate concern. Many people will flock to the church to hear the 'famous guy' or the gifted guy, and maybe that is not the motivation you want people to have to be coming - but if they are hearing the gospel, then I'm with Paul: Who cares about the motivation as long as Christ is preached? (paraphrase) But I think an even bigger concern is what happens when John Piper goes to be with the Lord? What if Mark Driscoll has an accident (God forbid...)? It's not pleasant to think about these things, but what happens when the 'cult leader' (to be overly dramatic) isn't there anymore? Hopefully they have instilled a love for the church and a love for Gods people that is strong enough to keep them together, but again, we are dealing with human beings here...

3 - Definition of the Church - What is it? What is it meant to be? Where do we draw the line on our use of technology for the good of the church, and where the benefits may no longer outweigh the possible detriments? And on a whole different aspect, how do you grow the church? Are you actively planting new satellites? How far from 'ground zero' do you allow them to reach? And again - what happens to those far off churches after the leader is gone?

4 - Incarnational Ministry - The call for the leadership of the body of Christ is to 'be Christ' for their people. It's the same call as each church member to be Christ to one another, just with higher stakes. The pastor and elders are shouldered with divine accountablility on a mass scale. How are the 'pastors' of satellite churches able to properly incarnate Christ to their people if they rarely if ever see them, let alone actually meet them?

Those are just a few things that come to mind. I realize that I am painting with broad strokes, and admittedly do not know the details of how these particular satellite campuses are set up. I presume that both Piper and Driscoll understand what the church is and have very likely set up the necessary structure to care for the people that come to their satellite campuses. But I am also certain that there are many other churches that are doing these satellites that are not nearly as careful.

Many of these concerns would be repeated in a post about regular "mega-churches", and these satellites take those concerns up a notch further because at least Allistair Begg can actually meet, greet and get to know a few of the 5,000 people he preaches to on a given Sunday.

And that really is the big issue isn't it? The predominant metaphor in Scripture that shows God's care for His people is that of a Shepherd and His sheep. Pastors (keep saying it and you'll understand where the term comes from) are to be the 'under-shepherds' of THE Good Shepherd. We are to emulate that care. Ancient near eastern sheepherding wasn't about butchery. Yes, they had the sacrificial system, but the majority of the livestock, particularly the sheeps, were used for milk and wool. They didn't kill their sheep willy-nilly. In fact, most of the time the shepherd and the sheep had very tight knit relationships. The shepherd cared for the sheep as his own children (which brings a whole new level to the understanding of the sacrifice - and ultimately more so, Christ's sacrifice). When Jesus said "I am the door", he wasn't just being all mystical, he wasn't even talking about heaven overtly - shepherds in those days lay down at the front of their sheep pens in order to keep their sheep inside. They were the protectors, they were the shield, the literal door - and literally 'laying down their life for the sheep' each night. The relationship between the sheep and the shepherd is to be an intimiate one of care and protection and nurture. You can't do that via uplink...

Friday, June 05, 2009

Total Eclipse of the Heart... Reconsidered

If, like me, you grew up in the 80's then you know the song mentioned in the title of this post. I admit that I enjoyed this song quite a bit in those days of leg warmers, florescent colors and huge hair...

That being said, I had completely forgotten about the video... I recall having seen it numerous times when the song was popular, yet I do not remember it being so completely off the wall and nonsensical. The song may tell a story, but whatever that story may be is completely lost is the insanity that is the video, and some folks have helped to make that unequivocally clear.

Enjoy - I thought this was HILARIOUS.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Good Song, Great Message

This song is about Nick Cannon's real life experience in utero, and just how close he came to not getting out alive. Powerful stuff.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Found this Particularly Powerful

Don't read into this... my wife loves me, very much I think. If anything, it is my love (evidenced by my actions, not my words or even my emotions) that is so undeserving of her.

But what I thought was so powerful was the connection JP made between this man's struggle to find favor with his wife, and how we respond to our Lord on a daily basis. I am a pastor who spends hours and hours a day right "next to" Jesus... but like many marriages, there are lots of times we can be sitting right next to our spouses and still be miles away. Let us all recommit to responding to our Savior with love and joy every time an opportunity arises... Let's love Him more than the worlds distractions. (Our spouses too!)

SNY Commercials are Pretty Funny

The Mets cable network channel, covering all NY Sports, has released several new commercials.
I don't have cable, so I have never seen them during an actual game, but luckily there is the interwebs. These are lots of fun, the last one is undoubtedly the best.
Of course, if you don't like sports, and particularly if you don't like NY Sports, you probably won't enjoy them nearly as much as I do... but I digress...

These are all courtesy of

Mandeep and Sharvarish, the owners of the souvenir store "NY NY Sports Sports" in SNY's latest TV campaign, learn about the city's passionate rivalries from the fans that frequent their store.

"The Cable Guy"
Mandeep & Sharvarish install a new television.

"Lessons Learned"
SNY teaches Mandeep and Sharvarish valuable lessons.

A Giants fan takes care of a Jets-dressed mannequin.

"Keith Day"
A Yankees fan faces off with Keith Hernandez.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

OH BOY...... I can hear it now.... THE END IS NEAR!

In Obama's defense... (wait, did I just type that?) I'm certain he had nothing personally to do with this person painting this picture. At least as far as we know he didn't... (cue conspiratorial theme music)

So before we get on the phone to Tim LaHaye about what comes next at the end of time and whether or not we've all been 'Left Behind', that the scripture says that the Anti-Christ (big A) will set himself up as God, and declare himself to be so (2 Thess 2:3-4). You can decide whether that is a literal declaration, or the implicit declaration we all make whenever we sin and set ourselves upon God's throne and against His authority, claiming ourselves to be God...

So, while personally disgusted and angry that this painting exists, and all of the implications for the one who painted it (can't bring myself to say 'the artist'), I will hold all the dispensationalists (and sensationalists) at bay from overreacting. At least for now... (cue dramatic suspense effect)

Thanks to Aron for bringing this to my attention, and worldnet daily for bringing it to everyone's.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Sister Stephanie's Senior Recital

These will eventually be updated with the names and composers of the pieces, but I don't have them handy. Most of them are in other languages. If you can only listen to English, the last one in is the mother tongue.

We are very proud of Stephanie and are praising God for the gifts He's given her. Enjoy them with us.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lecrae's Video - Don't Waste Your Life

Great Song. Desiring God Ministries actually produced this video. Enjoy.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hide and Seek

I posted these on facebook, but not everyone who reads this is on facebook, so I wanted to post them here as well. Abby has begun a love affair with the game of Hide and Seek. Big Fun!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

6, 7, 8, 9, 10!


Where could Daddy be?

There He is!


I Got You!

She's got me...

Monday, April 06, 2009

How Can We Create Communities of Grace?

I Appreciated this post by Tim Chester over at the Mars Hill Blog today:

How can we create communities of grace? Let me suggest seven ideas:

1. Make the connections

We need to teach, speak, sing, and pray grace. But we also need to make connections for people. We can believe in justification by faith for the final day, but doubt justification by faith for the next day. On a Monday morning in the workplace we are still trying to prove ourselves, to find identity in our achievements.

2. Welcome the mess

Welcome messy people. Don’t suppress conflict. Don’t hide problems.

3. Stop pretending

Don’t hide your own problems. You’ll need to exercise some discretion: let everyone know you struggle and let some people know what you struggle with.

4. Stop performing

Don’t put on a show. Don’t push people to perform, to produce results, to get it right all the time. Give people permission to fail. We’ve realized, for example, that polished Bible studies and articulate prayers disenfranchise semi-literate people.

5. Eat and drink with broken people

Jesus eats and drinks with sinners. It’s a powerful expression of community. We think we’re enacting grace if we run projects for the poor, but we’re only halfway there. We still act from a position of superiority, proclaiming that we are able and they are unable. The dynamic is totally different when we eat together. We meet as equals, share together, affirm one another, enjoy one another.

6. Give people time to change

How long did it take for you to become perfectly like Jesus? Of course, you’re still changing. There seem to be some sins we’re prepared to work on over a lifetime, but others where we demand instant change. Why is this? The answer, of course, is that we want people to be respectable. We don’t want a messy community.

7. Focus on the heart

All too often we focus on the behaviors we would like someone to stop or start. But Jesus says our behavior comes from the heart (Mark 7:20-23). Our focus needs to be on the heart. Our job is help people find joy in Christ.

No commentary from me... Let's get to it!


Monday, March 30, 2009

Why hasn't anyone said this?

Anyone who knows me for very long, particularly between the months of March and November, will find out that I am a pretty big New York Mets fan. If you search the archives of the Gentryman's Tale, you'll find in depth off-season and pre-season posts from previous seasons that I just simply do not have the time to invest in these days... but of course that certainly does not mean I'm not paying attention.

You may have heard that the Mets are opening their new stadium this year: Citifield. Affectionately known by me as "taxpayer field" - but that's another post... the thing I want to point out seems to me to be so obvious that I am somewhat astounded that no one has picked up on it. It has to do with Jackie Robinson.

Now, if you have even a moderate interest in baseball you know that Jackie Robinson was the first black Major League Baseball player. He played for the Brooklyn Dodgers before they got shuttled off to LA LA land. Now, while I have questioned the Wilpon's (owners of the NYMets) decision to make this new stadium have so many nods to those brooklyn days, no one can really blame them for wanting to honor Jackie Robinson for his contribution to the great game of baseball and to the civil rights movement. They did so by creating the Jackie Robinson Rotunda pictured below.

It's not a great picture - but I'm not trying to show off how pretty it is...
What I want to point out is the quote that Mr. Robinson has left behind, and that the Wilpon's have decided to emblazen around the rotunda:

"A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives."

It isn't? Are you sure?

I mean... I think I understand the idea. You want your life to impact other people. Jackie Robinson's life impacted many people for the better. But would Jackie Robinson's life been less 'important' if he decided he didn't want to deal with all the harassment and abuse he took coming to the majors? Comparitively speaking it would have certainly been less impactful... but less important?

This to me seems to go against the whole idea of civil rights, doesn't it? The whole idea of human rights? Not to mention the impact on so-called reproductive rights...

I suppose it's fine if you only judge the life through the lense of history in order to determine its impact, and then quantify its importance... I mean we do that all the time - just read history books. But it seems to me that if this is what Mr. Robsinson meant, it is not how it will be read today.

I am probably being nit-picky about this; beating up a straw man perhaps... but it seems like an odd thing to put in the front door of a baseball stadium.

It's been a long day... I may just be sleepy.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Only one has satisfied justice

“There was only one, and there will not need to be another, who bore the full weight of the divine judgment upon sin and bore it so as to end it. The lost will eternally suffer in the satisfaction of justice. But they will never satisfy it. Christ satisfied justice.”

—John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1955), 77

They will never satisfy it... Christ did.         mind = blown

HT: First Importance

Friday, March 13, 2009

Calvinism: New or Old?

Mark Driscoll's blog (or is it Mars Hill's blog?...) posted these distinctions between the old 'stereotypical' Calvinist, and what is being styled by many as New Calvinism. All this out of TIME Magazine's proclamation that this "New Calvinism" is 3rd among ideas currently changing the world.

Well - here are the distinctions:
  1. Old Calvinism was fundamental or liberal and separated from or syncretized with culture. New Calvinism is missional and seeks to create and redeem culture.
  2. Old Calvinism fled from the cities. New Calvinism is flooding into cities.
  3. Old Calvinism was cessationistic and fearful of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. New Calvinism is continuationist and joyful in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
  4. Old Calvinism was fearful and suspicious of other Christians and burned bridges. New Calvinism loves all Christians and builds bridges between them.
Now, I don't know if my head has been in a fog or something... but I had heard of neo-Calvinism, but not in these terms. (Don't ask me to remember what terms...these kind of things would have kept me up at night in seminary, now not so much...) But I am out of the 'controversy' loop, and I try to stay away from internet theological flame wars these days... so who knows.

But if the above is an accurate juxtaposition, then I have a couple comments:

First of all, 1 and 4 are stereotypical nonsense. But of course, stereotypes are based in experiential and anecdotal truths, so take them for what they are. I have known incredibly culturally "relevant" (to use a post-modern buzzword), as well as incredibly gracious Calvinists in my time - and like I said, I didn't even know they were Old Calvinists... Having great doctrine can very easily lead into pride, undoubtedly, but the heart of Calvinism, correctly understood, will bring about such a profound humility that it should be impossible not to be gracious and loving towards other believers... of course, Calvinists are still sinners (just ask them!) so they fall down a lot in this area...

Now, on 2 and 3... 2 is just great. I love seeing it and am so happy about it. And it is 100% truthful. Not sure if it was purely an American phenomenon that saw the reformed church retreating into the suburbs, but it has been a real blessing to see the church slowly seeing that this is where they are most called because this is where there is most need.

3... 3 is gonna be a problem for me... but maybe simply because I need some clarification. I have always styled myself as a cessationist. But I realize there are some difficult texts in the Bible dealing with these things. I have always said that I am 95% cessationist, because I bleieve we must leave room for the Holy Spirit to do whatever He wants, and we must leave room for new revelation (or at the very least, new understanding) at the coming of Christ. That being said, I would need to know what is meant by the "presence and power of the Holy Spirit"... The Holy Spirit (HS) has always been central to Calvinism - He is the monergistic mover in salvation. It is the Spirit's work and power that not only draws a person to Christ, but sustains him in Christ, and changes him to be more like Christ. This is powerful stuff, and demands His presence... I believe it is the HS that draws us into worship before the Father on the Lord's Day. It is the HS that filters our prayers, our singing and all vertical aspects of our worship to make them pleasing to the Father, He is the medium through which the horizontal aspects of the worship edify and grow hungry believers... This is powerful stuff, and requires His presence...
So if we are talking about emphasis on the HS, I'm cool with that. The HS should get His props (though he prefers to be in the background, like a deacon, reflecting all glory to Christ). But if they mean welcoming back into the corporate worship things like Speaking in tongues and prophesy, I think I have to fold my hand. Though I wouldn't leave the table...

To use Driscoll's terms, this is a state border, not a national one. I would have no problem fellowshipping and loving up a believer who held to these things. They are so far in the periphery that they do not even enter my mind - though I suppose it might make corporate worship together kinda awkward... But it would take some serious scriptural convincing for me to embrace it fully.

So am I a New Calvinist? Maybe 3 for 4? 75% New?

Actually it's kind of silly... There is nothing new here. We've just put a nice dress on an old friend and softened up some of the rough spots. In any case - for the world to notice this movement is great, and I thank the Lord for what He is doing in His Church.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Piper on Premarital Sex... great stuff.

I wish someone had this conversation with me when I was a young man...

I also wish I was plugged in enough, or trusting enough, or maybe just straight up cared enough about Jesus Christ for a talk like this to make a difference.

This is something I have been harping on a little, and it's because I'm not sure there is a more necessary topic to be discussed with our young people today than the dangers of sexual sin... And I am not talking about unwanted pregnancy or disease - both of which are serious realities... but they are nothing... NOTHING compared to the damage done to your life through sexual sin.

We preach all day about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse to our kids - but very few people talk about the lasting effects of sex outside of marriage. Let me say loud and clear that when I was outside of Christ I did a lot of sinful things. But none of them - NONE of them has affected my life as deeply or as far reaching as the sexual sins.

I rarely ever think about the partying I used to do. I have no noticeable negative effects from the things I used to put in my body. But my sexual sin haunts me DAILY, in almost every aspect of my life... it is the easiest and most readily available tool that Satan has to use against me and he is constantly putting it to work.

Learn from me, my brothers - learn from Mr. Piper... SAVE IT.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Chillin' With the Baby... literally

My little snow angel...

at least its not yellow, right?

Friday, February 06, 2009

More Dr. Carson

Half of the stuff he teaches out of John 11 I had never heard before...

This is excellent stuff:

I'm becoming a bigger and bigger fan of D.A.C.

HT: Resurgence

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dr. Carson at Mars Hill

Awhile ago Don Carson spent a couple of days at Mars Hill church in Seattle and gave some seminars and messages.  There are five them, all which can be found at the Mars Hill Resurgence website.

I just wanted to post session 2 here for your marvel and enjoyment.  It's a sermon on Revelation chapter 12.  There is some incredible stuff here.  Carson is preaching a tremendous God, and an incredible savior.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Clowney Quote

“There is no call to the ministry that is not first a call to Christ. You dare not lift your hands to place God’s name in blessing on people until you have first clasped them in penitent petition for his saving grace. Until you have done that the issue you face is not really your call to the ministry. It is your call to Christ… Don’t seek the ministry to save your soul…A man cannot earn his salvation by preaching that salvation cannot be earned.”

(Edmund Clowney, Called to the Ministry, p 5)

HT: Unashamed Workman

The Origin of Evil

No, I'm not going to try and solve this one on my blog... but it came up in a 'conversation' with my friend (and uncle) on facebook today and I wanted to bring it here because it made me think about a Sunday School class from a few years ago when we talked about this same topic. (That and facebook only gives you a certain # of characters to comment on things) In that class a man, who has also become a dear friend, told me something I had not heard before in regards to the origin of evil... The bottom line is that it is 'extra-biblical' and so we put no confidence in it, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless, and have added what I think is a very interesting aspect to it...

That morning he said something along the lines that: When God, the perfect being, created something that was not-God, the potential for evil (or at least imperfection) came into being as a necessary consequence of creation itself.

In thinking about this again this morning, I have added: This is not to say that God was surprised by evil entering the world, but perhaps it was an acceptable consequence of achieving the greater glory He planned for Himself through His creative work. A glory that ends with the destruction of that evil by drawing His creation into Himself in His Son Jesus Christ, thereby erasing not-God aspect of creation, and therefore the necessary consequence of evil.

Now, "acceptable consequence" doesn't sound very sovereign - so feel free to insert your own phrase there, as I am having trouble coming up with one.

Anyway... feel free to continue the conversation

Friday, January 16, 2009

I Just Wanna Fly....

This is sick sick sick sick sick sick sick...

and I am sooo jealous.

HT: Molly

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mars Hill in the New York Times

JT points out that Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll were profiled recently in the New York Times.

I found the piece pretty well done... ok, maybe surprisingly well done, since it is the NYT we're talking about...

Molly Worthen did not make many attempts to judge Driscoll and his Calvinism, and did not do an awful job of explaining it. But it is the NYT, so it was not free of undermining and subtle slights. But overall I think she does a commendable job.

One thing to note that I found interesting was one rather overt jibe which ends the article and lays bare the express misunderstanding of Calvinism (read: biblical Christianity) and the doctrine of Total Depravity in particular. In closing her article, Worthen says,
Driscoll’s New Calvinism underscores a curious fact: the doctrine of total human depravity has always had a funny way of emboldening, rather than humbling, its adherents.
In context she meant this as a poke in the eye, but what she, and many others, do not get is that this should be the exact response of a proper view of Total Depravity (not to mention God's Sovereignty). Because if I am completely and utterly sinful in and of myself - and it is in Christ that I am placing my own worth and my own merit for salvation, and I am united to Him by faith - then it isn't about me. I am emboldened, I am given tremendous confidence, I am empowered exponentially due to the fact that it is not me that is at the source of that confidence, but Christ - because it is He who is being exalted. In Him we are freed from all human fear and self-deprecating (when preaching and teaching the gospel) because it is not about the man preaching, but the message being preached. And if you believe in a God who is Sovereign over every aspect of your life than there is no aspect of your life that cannot be approached in utter confidence and comfort because our God has promised that "for those who love Him, all things work together for good." Not our definition of good - but His - the only definition that matters.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Biblical Illiteracy

Ray Ortland points out some very sad poll results as shared by Al Mohler Jr. and then gives some solutions.

Here is the sadness:

"Researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli put the problem squarely: 'Americans revere the Bible--but, by and large, they don't read it. And because they don't read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.' How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it's worse than most could imagine.

Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples. According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can't name even five of the Ten Commandments. . .

According to 82 percent of Americans, 'God helps those who help themselves,' is a Bible verse. Those identified as born-again Christians did better--by one percent. A majority of adults think the Bible teaches that the most important purpose in life is taking care of one's family. . . .

A Barna poll indicated that at least 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. Another survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham. We are in big trouble."

As a pastor, this is pretty devastating.

Click through to read what Rev. Ortlund suggests we do about it.

Trueman is at it again...

If this blog is one of only 4 or 5 websites you ever look at, you probably haven't seen this before. However, if, like me, you have a reasonably long blog roll in your feed reader, than this will likely be the 4th or 5th time you've come across a link to this article.

My esteemed former professor of Church History and now Dean of Academic affairs over at WTS has hit another bombastic home run with this very timely rebuke of the 'culture-centered' movement in evangelicalism. Sadly, that 'movement' is barely discernible from the whole, as I found the article clawing at a few of my own self-justified practices as it laid waste to the growing disregard for universal and central (not to mention biblical) Truth.

Articles like this are one of the many reasons why Dr. Trueman was one of my favorite professors at WTS and continues to be one of my favorite "middle aged gits".

Enjoy, be challenged, come back and talk about it if you want.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Start it Off with a Little Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1

Don't believe me? See for yourself: