Thursday, December 02, 2010

Okay, one last thing....

This is the first part in the 14 part series from Don Carson's "The God Who is There".
All 14 parts are now free to watch or even download from Vimeo.
I will be watching and probably downloading them all.
I recommend you do at least the former, if not the latter.
Enjoy, and peace...


The God Who Is There - Part 1. The God Who Made Everything from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Into the Hiatus

Until further notice this blog is defunct.
There may be a time where it starts up again.
But likely not for awhile.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fulfillment of a nearly forgotten promise: The Gentryman's Tale

When I changed the name of this blog from Gregology to The Gentryman's Tale, I mentioned a Canterbury Tale that I had written by the same name with the promise that one day I would post it here for your reading pleasure.  Today that promise is fulfilled in your midst.  I give you The Gentryman's Tale, written by me in the Spring of 1993.

THE GENTRYMAN'S TALE

In a far away place, not in distnace, but time
in a town called East Stroudsburg -well know for this rhyme-
In a structure called High School, where knowledge was bred
where they fought not with guns but their minds were instead
used to build up good morals and give students a guide
through a world filled with horrors on which none had relied,
studied a young student (among more in his class)
who chose not to work until the last
moment he had to spare for his work.
And this my good friends was his most hated quirk.
Others of these he had quite a few
but this one's among the highest of two.
The other strong vice which he hid in his mind
was a self-centeredness no one took to real kind.
But of this last vice I'll no longer speak
For he hid it quite well and twas balanced by peaks
of talents and ability of which few do share-
his voice was outstanding -but he took of it no care-
he sang with a heart matched by no other man
but was robbed out of Districts for twas not in the plan.
His feet brought him places of two extremes -
made him dance with great grace and make the football team.
He wrote poems and sonnets that caused women to melt
and could act on a stage better than most, he felt.
His looks were impeccable, or so he was told-
And if he was not, he knew and was bold.
His grades were top notch, had no job to be paid
which was just as well so honor role he always made.
Of his persona enough has been told,
so back to my tale before I'm too old.
A senior he ranked, in his twelfth year,
but ne'er in his schooling did his potential come fully clear.
He passed every class save for one in 8th grade
but ne'er was he pushed by himself nor his aides
to his fullest potential where all wish'd he would go
but lacked self motivation so his conscience said, "no."
His classes were fundamental with the exception of three
for two dealt with music and one, psychology.
But these are not where his vice had shown through
but twas in English it made its debut.
Since childhood he put off this day for the next
and never once learned for even now he is vexed.
A project was due in a group to be done.
A video for Canterbury of the choices was one.
So he made up a group of 5-6 friends
to produce a good show and meet all its ends.
The project, in passing, was brought up time again
but no plans were made not even where to begin.
So our student went on, (let's call him, "Craig")
and followed his routine which for weeks had him dredged.
Every night on the stage if not there, the chorus room
he and others sang, danced, to perfect the performance boom.
But his project could wait at least, so he thought,
until the last week arrived and no time could be bought.
So plans then were made for the weekend ahead
to produce a video that would keep him his head.
But on the very next day much to his surprise
came a long distance call which would seal his demise.
"Hello!" said the voice, light and so full of cheer,
"Come quick to Virginia. It's your grandparents 50th year!"
So Craig came to school to explain to his group
of his situation and departure from the troop.
They were disappointed but they understood,
for these were his friends, and his friends, they were good.
So off to Virginia Craig went with no plan
to save 200 points and his quarter grade if he can.
He thought of it little until he got home
where the thought raided his senses like fermented cologne.
He said to himself, "Oh what shall I do?
my procrastination has now done me through!"
To class the next day Craig took his excuse
and apologized for his 'put off' attitude.
Mr. Catrillo (his teacher) with a heart big as life,
a calm disposition, and impregnated wife,
gave him a chance to redeem his grade
if only his own tale could be made.
One with moral setting to be told once and again,
to teach others something, to keep them from pain.
So Craig took his chance -although not with great speed,
still put off a bit, but he finished this deed.
He wrote a tale of himself and his horrible vice.
Catrillo loved it so much that he read at least twice.
So Craig learned his lesson in a valuable way:
Never put off til tomorrow what you can do today.

- Gregory Rather Gentry  1993

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Life Together - or Maybe Not

Great article by Carl Trueman on being a proper churchman, and by implication, a proper brother/sister in Christ.

You're just going to have to go read it.



I always felt that what he describes was my greatest strength when I was a pastor. Luckily you don't have to be a pastor to do it.

How Hyper is your Calvinism?

Another golden nugget from Ray Ortlund Jr.'s blog.

Click through to be nice.


In Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism, Iain Murray draws four lessons from that conflict:
1.  “Genuine evangelical Christianity is never of an exclusive spirit.  Any view of the truth which undermines catholicity has gone astray from Scripture.”  Spurgeon regretfully disagreed with hyper-Calvinists who “made faith in election a part of saving faith and thus either denied the Christianity of all professed Christians who did not so believe or at least treated such profession with much suspicion.”
2.  Spurgeon “wanted to see both divine sovereignty and human responsibility upheld, but when it came to gospel preaching he believed that there needed to be a greater concentration upon responsibility.  The tendency of Hyper-Calvinism was to make sinners want to understand theology before they could believe in Christ.”
3.  “This controversy directs us to our need for profound humility before God.  It reminds us forcefully of questions about which we can only say, ‘Behold, God is great, and we know him not’ (Job 36:26).”  “It is to be feared that sharp contentions between Christians on these issues have too often arisen from a wrong confidence in our powers of reasoning and our assumed ability to draw logical inferences.”  Spurgeon saw “how a system which sought to attribute all to the grace of God had itself too much confidence in the powers of reason.”
4.  “The final conclusion has to be that when Calvinism ceases to be evangelistic, when it becomes more concerned with theory than with the salvation of men and women, when acceptance of doctrines seems to become more important than acceptance of Christ, then it is a system going to seed and it will invariably lose its attractive power.”
Iain H. Murray, Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism (Edinburgh, 1995), pages 110-122.  Italics added.

What surprised me in reading this is how often we lean towards Hyper-Calvinism.  I always knew that it was a danger, but I was struck, particularly in #2, by the strict angle of the lean... it's pretty acute.  It may not be a theological lean, but it sure is a practical one.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Romans 1 FTW

This is such a great post from JT.  He basically takes you through the second half of Romans one in a Q&A type format.  It really lays out the argument in completely clear terms... of course, it really is just scripture in sections, so what JT is really doing is highlighting the clarity of Paul's thinking and the direction of what he is arguing here.

I hope you'll click through and give JT the love he deserves, but in case you are anything like me, here's the post below:


What Are We Apart from Christ?
We sometimes think of the second half of the first chapter of Romans as a discourse about atheists. (And indeed, according to Romans 1 the answer to the question “Does God believe in atheists?” is “no.”)


But in reality, it’s a universal text that applies to all of us apart from Christ—what we are, what we do, and what we would do apart from God’s restraining and redeeming grace, with graphic examples to illustrate our truth-suppression and idolatrous identity.
Here’s an attempt to start to think through this sobering section of Romans.
What do all of us know?
(1) We know God himself.
(2) We know God’s decree.
(3) We know God’s judgment—that those who practice sinful things deserve death.
What is our responsibility?
We are without excuse.
How clear is the evidence for God’s knowability?
What can be known about God is plain.
Who showed us the evidence for God?
God himself has shown us what can be known about him.
What is it about God that every one of us knows?
We have clearly perceived God’s invisible attributes (= his eternal power and divine nature).
Where do we see God’s invisible attributes?
In the things that God has made.
What do we fail to do in response?
(1) We fail to honor God as God.
(2) We fail to give thanks to God.
(2) We fail to acknowledge God.
What do we do instead of honoring and thanking God?
We suppress the truth.
How?
By our unrighteousness.
What do we claim about our thinking?
We claim to be wise.
What are we in reality?
We are fools.
What happened to our minds?
We became futile in our thinking.
What happened to our hearts?
Our foolish hearts were darkened.
What is the result?
We exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling
  • mortal man
  • birds
  • animals
  • creeping things
We exchanged the truth of God for a lie.
What did we do with created things?
(1) We worshiped the creature rather than the Creator.
(2) We served the creature rather than the Creator.
What is the result of this idolatry?
God gave us up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity.
What kind of impurity?
The dishonoring of our bodies among ourselves.
How did we become entangled in dishonorable passions?
God gave us up to dishonorable passions.
Which dishonorable passions did women commit?
Women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature.
Which dishonorable passions did men commit?
The men gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
What does God do to us for failing to acknowledge him?
God gave us up to a debased mind.
To do what?
To do what ought not to be done.
What are we filled with?
All manner of
  • unrighteousness
  • evil
  • covetousness
  • malice
We are full of
  • envy
  • murder
  • strife
  • deceit
  • maliciousness
What are we?
We are
  • gossips
  • slanderers
  • haters of God
  • insolent
  • haughty
  • boastful
  • inventors of evil
  • disobedient to parents
  • foolish
  • faithless
  • heartless
  • ruthless
What do we know?
God’s decree.
What is God’s decree?
Those who practice such sinful things deserve to die.
What do we do?
(1) We do these sinful things.
(2) We give approval to those who practice these sinful things.
What does God do in response?
God reveals his wrath from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.
Is there any hope?
The gospel.
What is the gospel?
The power of God for salvation.
For who?
To everyone who believes—to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
What is revealed in the gospel?
The righteousness of God, from faith to faith.
As Habakkuk 2:4 says, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Romans 1:16-32
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.



Addendum

For those who struggle to see why Paul would use homosexuality as his prime example of idolatry, I’d recommend this sermon from John Piper. Piper’s most profound insight here is that Paul sees a “dramatization” of Christ and the Church in Christ-centered heterosexual marriage, and that he also sees a dramatization of idolatry in same-sex sexual behavior, as men and women unite with images of themselves.
The reason Paul focuses on homosexuality in these verses is because it is the most vivid dramatization in life of the profoundest connection between the disordering of heart-worship and the disordering of our sexual lives. I’ll try to say it simply, though it is weighty beyond words.
We learn from Paul in Ephesians 5:31-32 that, from the beginning, manhood and womanhood existed to represent or dramatize God’s relation to his people and then Christ’s relation to his bride, the church. In this drama, the man represents God or Christ and is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. The woman represents God’s people or the church. And sexual union in the covenant of marriage represents pure, undefiled, intense heart-worship. That is, God means for the beauty of worship to be dramatized in the right ordering of our sexual lives.
But instead, we have exchanged the glory of God for images, especially of ourselves. The beauty of heart-worship has been destroyed. Therefore, in judgment, God decrees that this disordering of our relation to him be dramatized in the disordering of our sexual relations with each other. And since the right ordering of our relationship to God in heart-worship was dramatized by heterosexual union in the covenant of marriage, the disordering of our relationship to God is dramatized by the breakdown of that heterosexual union.
Homosexuality is the most vivid form of that breakdown. God and man in covenant worship are represented by male and female in covenant sexual union. Therefore, when man turns from God to images of himself, God hands us over to what we have chosen and dramatizes it by male and female turning to images of themselves for sexual union, namely their own sex. Homosexuality is the judgment of God dramatizing the exchange of the glory of God for images of ourselves. (See the parallel uses of “exchange” in verses 25 and 26.)
Piper’s entire sermon is worth reading or listening to, especially as he gives counsel to those struggling with same-sex desire, as well as advice to parents.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Are Christian's under the Ten Commandments?

What is the believer's relationship to the Ten Commandments?
I think John Piper hits it on the head in the following video. We might say it a little different, but we mean the same thing.




I love these ask Pastor John segments. They are great. There are literally hundred of them, check them out on you tube or at desiringgod.org

We do something similar with our High School kids. They get to ask our pastor any question they want once or twice a year. I think it should happen more often with a wider audience. That Piper does this with a global audience is fantastic.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

While you're at it...

If you happen to be over at The Gospel Coalition Blog check out this post.

D.A. Carson, one of if not my favorite contemporary preacher/theologians, has put together 14 messages to introduce Christianity and the Bible; who God is and what He says.  It is geared towards seekers, but is simultaneously robust and simple enough to engage and remind seasoned Christians.

In my opinion, Carson, better than just about anybody I have heard or read not named Spurgeon - is able to speak simply and yet profoundly - he gets to the meat of things without dumbing it down, and yet makes it easily understandable for anyone who might be listening.  He is very gifted.

If you know my senior pastor and have heard him preach, you will hear some similarities in style, I think it's the Canadian backgrounds.  If you have opportunity to watch Carson, the similarities multiply.  :-)

In any case, these messages are part of Carson's book, "The God Who is There"
If you like the messages, pass them on, or buy the book to give to your seeking friends.
I think the videos are forthcoming - not sure if they will be free online or just by purchasing DVD's - but there are previews available at the title link above, and you can check out the book by clicking below.

The Evangelical Reformed Movement: A Comeback

tgcn
This is a great article about the re-emergence of Reformed Christianity, the incredible opportunity it presents to the church and some of the dangers that are lurking as well.
All in all it seems there is a hopeful future for "evangelicalism" in our country and around the world - IF we handle it well and make sure our trust is in the right place.  This is not about us - it's about our God getting the greatest possible amount of glory.

I'm not going to post the article here - go to Kevin DeYoung's blog and bookmark it or add it to your feed-reader, it's worth your daily read.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

For the fellas...

Days away now... try to focus. I will do the same.
It IS just a game... right?



Only a select few will care, but that just gave me nerd chills right there...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You Are Your Secrets

I found this post by Ray Ortlund to be right on the money: Go visit him.
But in case you won't, here is his post:


O. Hobart Mowrer, the psychologist, set himself to understand more deeply our hollowed-out emotional lives.  He noted that, commonly, when we perform a good deed, we advertise it, display it, draw attention to it, at least hint at it, hoping to collect on the emotional credit of it then and there.  But when we do something cheap, evil or stupid, we hide it, deny it, minimize it.  But the emotional discredit from that stays with us and even accumulates with each further hypocrisy.  This is how we make ourselves chronically bankrupt in conscience and heart.  Our lives are required of us, and we are found wanting.  No felt “net worth.”  Lost confidence, pizzazz.  Our positive energies are depleted by fugitive concealing and pretending.
Then Mowrer wondered, what if we reversed our strategy?  What if we spent our lives admitting our weaknesses, owning up to our failures, naming our idiot-moments, confessing our follies, errors and debts, while also hiding away from everyone’s view our smart ideas, heroic sacrifices, kind deeds, charities and virtues?  What if, instead of throwing back at the other guy his worst failure while trotting out our best moment, we put up our worst against his best?  What would happen then?  Our hearts might start filling up.
He entitled his essay “You are your secrets.”  It is in his book The New Group Therapy(New York, 1964), pages 65-71.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. . . . Your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:1, 4).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Two for the Price of One

I'm not sure when he wrote them, but Kevin DeYoung has come out with two top notch writings, one a blog post, and the other an article for Ligonier Ministries.

The first is an article that goes hard against the current American Evangelical trend against the 'institutional church' and the post modern 'revolutionaries' of emergent and 'social gospel' stripe.

A taste:

What we need are fewer revolutionaries and a few more plodding visionaries. That’s my dream for the church — a multitude of faithful, risktaking plodders. The best churches are full of gospel-saturated people holding tenaciously to a vision of godly obedience and God’s glory, and pursuing that godliness and glory with relentless, often unnoticed, plodding consistency.

He says our generation all want to be Bono, a lone, rich, social justice machine, when we really just need to be faithful everyday where God has placed us. He calls us back to the church, WHERE LIFE HAPPENS (my words, not his), instead of trying to become a rock star revolutionary.

He closes

Don’t give up on the church. The New Testament knows nothing of churchless Christianity. The invisible church is for invisible Christians. The visible church is for you and me. Put away the Che Guevara t-shirts, stop the revolution, and join the rest of the plodders. Fifty years from now you’ll be glad you did.

Read the whole thing.


The blog post is equally good, and maybe even more practical than the article. It has to do with humility, how we interact with one another, and the role that talking plays in both. It's a really great insight that as I read, brought to mind people I know who really exemplify the humility he describes and who are masterful at drawing people out in order to learn about them and love them. He has a great quote by CS Lewis to start things off:

Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call “humble” nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him.

Read the whole thing.

I have a little more to say about this one I think... not because I disagree with him at all, but there is an aspect of this that there needs to be a warning about. As with most virtues, they can be manipulated and can become a vice. Using questions to deflect the light of conversation away from yourself and shine it on others is a wonderful tool and does indeed show a very humble heart - however, if the person wielding that tool uses it to the point where he is disengaged himself and refuses to allow others in to engage him and to know and to love him, then it is not humility at all - in fact it is pride. It is a false humility that says 'you need me more than I need you.' And is nearly as bad as one who only talks about himself.

One anothering is exactly that - it requires giving and receiving. Too much of either leaves people weak and vulnerable. Love others, indeed! But you must also allow others to love you.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Truly Reformed

This is an incredible post by Ray Ortlund for everyone who claims Christ, but particularly those of the Reformed Faith.

It's one of those times when someone else clearly elucidates thoughts you have been having, and at the same time. As JT qualifies, it doesn't say everything. But it says much that must be said, and much that needs to be heard.

If you applauded for blog posts, this one would get a standing O'.

I' going to recommend that you go and read it on his blog. Swim around over there and maybe add him to your feed reader. He is usually short and poignant and is consistently worth reading. This post is longer than his usual, but it's length is proportionate to the worth of the read... go get it...

For those of you who I know will not click over, I will post the whole thing below, but you really should check our Mr. Ortlund.


I believe in the sovereignty of God, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Solas of the Reformation, I believe that grace precedes faith in regeneration. Theologically, I am Reformed. Sociologically, I am simply a Christian – or at least I want to be. The tricky thing about our hearts is that they can turn even a good thing into an engine of oppression. It happens when our theological distinctives make us aloof from other Christians. That’s when, functionally, we relocate ourselves outside the gospel and inside Galatianism.



The Judaizers in Galatia did not see their distinctive – the rite of circumcision – as problematic. They could claim biblical authority for it in Genesis 17 and the Abrahamic covenant. But their distinctive functioned as an addition to the all-sufficiency of Jesus himself. Today the flash point is not circumcision. It can be Reformed theology. But no matter how well argued our position is biblically, if it functions in our hearts as an addition to Jesus, it ends up as a form of legalistic divisiveness.

Paul answered the theological aspects of the Galatian error with solid theology. But the “whiff test” that something was wrong in those Galatian churches was more subtle than theology alone. The problem was also sociological. “They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them” (Galatians 4:17). In other words, “The legalists want to ‘disciple’ you. But really, they’re manipulating you. By emphasizing their distinctive, they want you to feel excluded so that you will conform to them.” It’s like chapter two of Tom Sawyer. Remember how Tom got the other boys to whitewash the fence for him? Mark Twain explained: “In order to make a man or boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.” Paul saw it happening in Galatia. But the gospel makes full inclusion in the church easy to attain. It re-sets everyone’s status in terms of God’s grace alone. God’s grace in Christ crucified, and nothing more. He alone makes us kosher. He himself.

The Judaizers would probably have answered at this point, “We love Jesus too. But how can you be a first-rate believer, really set apart to God, without circumcision, so plainly commanded right here in the Bible? This isn’t an add-on. It’s the full-meal deal. God says so.”

Their misuse of the Bible showed up in social dysfunction. “It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised. . . . They desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh” (Galatians 6:12-13). In other words, “When Christians, whatever the label or badge or shibboleth, start pressuring you to come into line with their distinctive, you know something’s wrong. They want to enhance their own significance by your conformity to them: ‘See? We’re better. We’re superior. People are moving our way. They are becoming like us. We’re the buzz.’” What is this, but deep emotional emptiness medicating itself by relational manipulation? This is not about Christ. This is about Self. Even Peter fell into this hypocrisy (Galatians 2:11-14). But no matter who is involved, this is not the ministry of the gospel. Even if a biblical argument can be made for a certain position, and we all want to be biblical, the proof of what’s really happening is not in the theological argumentation but in the sociological integration.

Paul had thought it through. He made a decision that the bedrock of his emotional okayness would forever lie here: “Far be it from me to boast [establish my personal significance] except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . . For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation” (Galatians 6:14-15). In other words, “Here is all I need for my deepest sense of myself: Jesus Christ crucified. His cross has deconstructed me and remade me, and I am happy. Everything else is at best secondary, possibly irrelevant, even counterproductive. Let Jesus alone stand forth in my theology, in my emotional well-being and in my relationships with other Christians!” This settledness in Paul’s heart made him a life-giving man for other people. He was a free man, setting others free (Galatians 5:1). This is the acid test of a truly Reformed ministry – that other believers need not be Reformed in order to be respected and included in our hearts.

Whatever divides us emotionally from other Bible-believing, Christ-honoring Christians is a “plus” we’re adding to the gospel. It is the Galatian impulse of self-exaltation. It can even become a club with which we bash other Christians, at least in our thoughts, to punish, to exclude and to force into line with us.

What unifies the church is the gospel. What defines the gospel is the Bible. What interprets the Bible correctly is a hermeneutic centered on Jesus Christ crucified, the all-sufficient Savior of sinners, who gives himself away on terms of radical grace to all alike. What proves that that gospel hermeneutic has captured our hearts is that we are not looking down on other believers but lifting them up, not seeing ourselves as better but grateful for their contribution to the cause, not standing aloof but embracing them freely, not wishing they would become like us but serving them in love (Galatians 5:13).

My Reformed friend, can you move among other Christian groups and really enjoy them? Do you admire them? Even if you disagree with them in some ways, do you learn from them? What is the emotional tilt of your heart – toward them or away from them? If your Reformed theology has morphed functionally into Galatian sociology, the remedy is not to abandon your Reformed theology. The remedy is to take your Reformed theology to a deeper level. Let it reduce you to Jesus only. Let it humble you. Let this gracious doctrine make you a fun person to be around. The proof that we are Reformed will be all the wonderful Christians we discover around us who are not Reformed. Amazing people. Heroic people. Blood-bought people. People with whom we are eternally one – in Christ alone.

I think he may have posted this before. I think I may have quoted him posting it before... but either way it's awesome and needs to be read probably once a month, or once a week maybe. It's that important.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Ask Paul Tripp

This is a great Q&A session with perhaps the best parenting and marriage counselor of this generation. I always find him helpful and insightful. His approach is merciful, and always encourages me to action in my own life and family. Paul Tripp is a gift. Use him liberally.

I tried to make the video fit right, but it refused... que lastima. So I altered the width of my entire blog to accommodate it... that's me - moving my world for you.
;-)

Enjoy... it's long, but worth every minute in my opinion. Take notes...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Most Popular Hits

Like most bloggers, I keep track of the hits that come in to the site. I use Sitemeter, which I like a lot. I like to see where people are coming to my blog from in the webiverse, and sitemeter has a great referral page.

If I am active in a particular week, I usually see between 30-50 unique hits, which, while always a nice surprise, is by no means a huge feat. I am humbled that anyone would be interest enough to read this blog, which is mostly a few comments on what someone else is talking about, if that, and/or fewer and fewer family updates.

So I was surprised when my sitemeter showed that this week I had 90 unique visitors to this blog.
I don't think it's the first time I've gotten that high, but the last time it was because I got a random link on an MSNBC blog (Clicked) because I posted a random you tube video. I think I got over 100 visits that time...

But anyway, I wanted to know where these hits came from. Here is the breakdown:

17 were "unknown." Which means they likely came from feed readers.
(Bloglines, google reader, etc)

48 (!) were for this post on a sermon I wrote on Proverbs 31. This is the page that consistently gets the most hits each week. Some weeks it is the only page that gets any hits. If you do a google search on "proverbs 31 sermon" that page is ranked like #3 or something. Pretty cool.

A little less inspiring, 13 of the 90 were for this post. Which is the post that gets the second most hits of all pages on this blog. It is the series of humorous promotional commercials that SNY released last year to promote the network. (Which I have re-embedded, since people looking for them were not getting to see them!)

The remaining 12 hits were from other friends blogs and from facebook, where I recently piggybacked this blog.

I have been encouraged to find that, since I posted it, so many people have seen the ending of the sermon on Proverbs 31. My encouragement is (knowing my own heart) probably at least a bit self-serving, but it's not often as a pastor that you say something potentially original about a text. I say 'potentially' because I haven't read or heard every sermon ever given on that text, nor every commentary, but as far as I know, that is an original approach to that text. And after 2000 years of preaching and commentary, things like that just don't happen very often. So I am thankful to God for the thought, and more thankful that others are seeing it and perhaps even using it in their own sermons on the text.

But those are the most popular pages so far. Strange and Cool.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

O the Guilt!

Kevin DeYoung has a great post for Christians who feel guilty a lot.

Guilt has it's place in the lives of Christians, mostly because we SIN, but as DeYoung says, "I don’t believe God redeemed us through the blood of his Son that we might feel like constant failures."

He gives 4 reasons why we DO feel that way, and some consequences...

Highly recommended read for the guilty and the ignorant alike.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

A Contemporvant Service

This from JTs blog at the gospel coalition:


"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.


There are so many obvious pokes at real people in this video that make it even funnier than it is intended to be (I think). I hope they have a sense of humor.
Beyond that however, it's kind of sad that this phenomenon is so prevalent and so popular that it can satire itself in the same way that this movie genre does and arguably do a better job...

I've never been in that church. But I know me, and I ought not ever be in that church.
But I'll post some of their you tube videos. ;-)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Make War (2 Cor. 10:3)

It's a little on the harder side of rap for my usual tastes, but I think that's appropriate for the subject matter... and I love the Piper quote...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Devotions Aren't Magic

This is a great post from the Desiring God Blog - It doesn't need my commentary.

Devotions Aren't Magic
(Author: Jon Bloom)

We know that—for the most part. But still, we can be tempted to think that if we just figure out the secret formula—the right mixture of Bible meditation and prayer—we will experience euphoric moments of rapturous communion with the Lord. And if that doesn't happen, our formula must be wrong.

The danger of this misconception is that it can produce chronic disappointment and discouragement. Cynicism sets in and we give up because devotions don't seem to work for us.

The longing for intimate communion with God is God-given. He will satisfy it fully some day. And the Spirit gives us occasional tastes. But God has other purposes for us in our daily Bible meditation and prayer. Here are a few:

Soul Exercise (1 Corinthians 9:24, Romans 15:4): We exercise our bodies to increase strength, endurance, promote general health, and keep unnecessary weight off. Devotions are like exercise for our souls. They force our attention off of self-indulgent distractions and pursuits and on to God's purposes and promises. If we neglect this exercise we will go to pot.

Soul Shaping (Romans 12:2): The body will generally take the shape of how we exercise it. Running shapes one way, weight training shapes another way. The same is true for the soul. It will conform to how we exercise (or don't exercise) it.

Bible Copiousness (Psalm 119:11, Psalm 119:97, Proverbs 23:12): A thorough, repeated, soaking in the Bible over the course of years increases our body of biblical knowledge, providing fuel for the fire of worship and increasing our ability to draw from all parts of the Bible in applying God's wisdom to life.

Fight Training (Ephesians 6:10-17): Marines undergo rigorous training in order to so ingrain their weapons knowledge that when suddenly faced with the chaos of combat they instinctively know what to do. Similarly, devotions make us more skilled warriors.

Delight Cultivation (Psalm 37:3-4, James 4:8, Psalm 130:5): When a couple falls in love there are hormonal fireworks. But in marriage they must cultivate delight in one another. It is the consistent, persistent, faithful, intentional, affectionate pursuit of one another during better and worse, richer and poorer, sickness and healthy times that cultivates a capacity for delight in each other far deeper and richer than the fireworks phase. Similarly, devotions are one of the ways we cultivate delight in God. Many days it may seem mundane. But we will be surprised at the cumulative power they have to deepen our love for and awareness of Him.

Friday, April 30, 2010

More Francis Chan for your Disillusionment

Watch with care...



That sinking feeling.. that - right there... that feeling you have?

That's called conviction.

Drink Deep.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What are you wrapped around?

This has been making the rounds and I found it challenging and refreshing.



I think our whole American Christian culture is tightly wrapped around the beam, and it's gonna take some serious prying to get us unlatched - myself included. But let's get started...

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A Great Heart

Can't get enough Spurgeon...

“A man who is to do much with men must love them and feel at home with them. An individual who has no geniality about him had better be an undertaker and bury the dead, for he will never succeed in influencing the living. . . . A man must have a great heart, if he would have a great congregation. His heart should be as capacious as those noble harbors along our coast, which contain sea-room for a fleet. When a man has a large, loving heart, men go to him as ships to a haven and feel at peace when they have anchored under the lee of his friendship. Such a man is hearty in private as well as in public; his blood is not cold and fishy but he is warm as your own fireside. No pride and selfishness chill you when you approach him; he has his doors all open to receive you, and you are home with him at once. Such men I would persuade you to be, every one of you.”

C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to my Students (Grand Rapids, 1970), page 169.


HT: Ray Ortlund

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Sunday's Coming!

Not as good as the last one, but powerful because it's true.
And tomorrow's FRIDAY! .... But Sunday's Comin...


I could watch/listen to this 100 times

and I bet I would weep each time...



Glory to God!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Quiet Fanatics

Not sure where Ray Ortlund Jr. finds these guys in order to quote them, but this one smacked me in the face today...

“It is a growing conviction of mine that no parish can fulfill its true function unless there is at the very center of its leadership life a small community of quietly fanatic, changed and truly converted Christians. The trouble with most parishes is that nobody, including the pastor, is really greatly changed. . . .

We do not want ordinary men. Ordinary men cannot win the brutally pagan life of a city like New York for Christ. We want quiet fanatics.”

John Heuss, Our Christian Vocation (Greenwish, 1955), pages 15-16.


Lord, please make me what you need me to be for your kingdom.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Great sermon... Paul Washer

I've heard of Paul Washer, but this is the first of his sermons that I have listened to from beginning to end. It's fantastic. The title of the you-tube clip is what made me listen, because looking at Paul Washer does not make me think about rap music. :-)
But I love reformed rap, and it is becoming more and more lovely to me, and Mr. Washer gives good warnings to these guys at this conference, but what he does later in the sermon shutting down carnal Christianity and after that with 1 John is worth the hour.
Dig in and be challenged and be fed.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How to Wreck Your Church in Three Weeks

The above link to the below blog post will reveal that this post has been pulled from Ray Ortlund's blog over at the Gospel Coalition. I hope it's just temporary because I found it to be one of the most timely and insightful blog posts I've read in a long time.

I'm going to post it in its entirety here, but you should check out Mr. Ortlund's blog, it's quite good.
Here's his now missing post:

How to wreck your church in three weeks

Week One: Walk into church today and think about how long you’ve been a member, how much you’ve sacrificed, how under-appreciated you are. Take note of every way you’re dissatisfied with your church now. Take note of every person who displeases you.

Meet for coffee this week with another member and “share your heart.” Discuss how your church is changing, how you are being left out. Ask your friend who else in the church has “concerns.” Agree together that you must “pray about it.”

Week Two: Send an email to a few other “concerned” members. Inform them that a groundswell of grievance is surfacing in your church. Problems have gone unaddressed for too long. Ask them to keep the matter to themselves “for the sake of the body.”

As complaints come in, form them into a petition to demand an accounting from the leaders of the church. Circulate the petition quietly. Gathering support will be easy. Even happy members can be used if you appeal to their sense of fairness – that your side deserves a hearing. Be sure to proceed in a way that conforms to your church constitution, so that your petition is procedurally correct.

Week Three: When the growing moral fervor, ill-defined but powerful, reaches critical mass, confront the elders with your demands. Inform them of all the woundedness in the church, which leaves you with no choice but to put your petition forward. Inform them that, for the sake of reconciliation, the concerns of the body must be satisfied.

Whatever happens from this point on, you have won. You have changed the subject in your church from gospel advance to your own grievances. To some degree, you will get your way. Your church will need three or four years for recovery. But at any future time, you can do it all again. It only takes three weeks.

Just one question. Even if you are being wronged, “Why not rather suffer wrong?” (1 Corinthians 6:7).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

This is Making the Rounds...

... so I thought I'd jump on the interwebs bandwagon. The message is excellent because it is true - but not true of all messages! :-)


Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.



Hit the Link in the Title for more animation from Ronnie Bruce.

For more poetry from Taylor Malin: Go Here

I could hat tip this from about 25 places, so nobody gets credit. Boast in the Lord!
;-)