Friday, August 31, 2007

What a great reminder for us seminarians to remember that the average lay person will never find the time (which is debatable, but anyway...) to study theology in-depth. However, in this article, Collin Hansen speaks to this issue.

I think this is a very helpful read and one that everyone ought to read. I must put in my two-cents here. I am a firm believer that everyone ought - that's right, "ought" - to be studying theology - from the pastor/shepherd, to the average churchgoer. We must train our people to be students of Scripture. Everyone must be a Berean and test various teachings to see if they align with the Word of God (Acts 17:11). In order to do this, however, one must be very familiar with the Word of God. We can begin with the basic question, "Have you even read the whole Bible?" If not, then start today. Read a few chapters in the OT, and then a few in the NT, and you'll get through the whole Bible in one year. It's that simple. You must be disciplined and stay up-to-date on your reading, though.

In any case, let us read this article and take it to heart. Let us be students of the Word.
2 Timothy 2:15 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.
I don't believe this command is only for pastors and shepherds. I think they are *especially* to be characterized by diligent and laborious study, but that doesn't exclude everyone else in the church.

Read the article here and then go study!
Folks, if this doesn't encourage you, then I'm afraid you need some help spiritually...
"There is probably no passage in the Scriptures in which the doctrine of
justification is more concisely or clearly stated than in 2 Corinthians 5:21 [He
made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the
righteousness of God in Him. ]. Our sins were imputed to Christ, and his
righteousness is imputed to us. He bore our sins; we are clothed in his
righteousness...Chris bearing our sins did not make him morally a sinner...nor
does Christ's righteousness become subjectively ours, it is not the moral
quality of our souls...our sins were the judicial ground of the sufferings of
Christ, so that they were a satisfaction of justice; and his righteousness is
the judicial ground of our acceptance with God, so that our pardon is an act of
justice...It is not mere pardon, but justification alone, that gives us peace
with God!
(quoted by Charles Hodge in John Piper, Counted Righteous in Christ, 82-83).

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I tell you, reading this sad article reminded me of the tremendous treasure the Lord has given me in Elizabeth. Read this sad article on two pastors divorcing in Tampa, Florida.

They blame the divorce by saying that their lives are just going in two different directions.

It is worthwhile to read this WHOLE MSNBC article, to test and diagnose our own spiritual lives and then to get on the ground and pray that the Lord would be merciful to us in our marriages.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mighty to Save
By: Hillsong

I invite you to go to this link to watch the LIVE version of the song. However, for you less charismatic in expressing your worship, you may want to watch this link. But my preference is the first video - imagine singing this song with thousands of believers in one giant auditorium. How awesome! Get excited ... heaven will be like this! Forever!

The only request I have is that you listen to the whole song and follow along with the lyrics which I have appended here:

When everyone needs compassion,
And love that never fails,
Let mercy fall on me
When everyone needs forgiveness,
Kindness of the Saviour
The Hope of the nation


Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My god is mighty to save,
He is mighty to save
Forever author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

So take me as you find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything that i believe in
Now i surrender (and i surrender)


Shine a light in and
let the whole world see
Singing, for the glory of the risen king
Jesus, Shine a light and let the whole world see
Singing for the glory of the risen king

In Curtis C. Thomas's work, Practical Wisdom for Pastors, he gives this quote which I received elsewhere, but it greatly encouraged and challenged me this morning...
If we ever get to the point where our message is rounded off so that we avoid a particular passage, a needed subject, a pointed rebuke or biblical command for fear that we are going to offend and thereby run off a member, then we have begun to fear men rather than striving to please our Master. That’s a temptation into which Satan wants us to fall. He wants people leaving after our messages very comfortable, soothed, and feeling good about us. But sometimes, in order for us to be faithful, some people will leave the message not feeling very good about us. The truth should comfort the hurting but also unsettle the comfortable.
Blessings to you. I pray that we would all preach endeavoring to "comfort the hurting but also to unsettle the comfortable." And I think that we have more comfortable people in the pews today than ever before...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

This morning, I am more convinced than ever that God's word is faithful, true, inerrant and understandable:

Psalm 119:105-111 105 Thy word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path. 106 I have sworn, and I will confirm it, That I will keep Thy righteous ordinances. 107 I am exceedingly afflicted; Revive me, O LORD, according to Thy word. 108 O accept the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, And teach me Thine ordinances. 109 My life is continually in my hand, Yet I do not forget Thy law. 110 The wicked have laid a snare for me, Yet I have not gone astray from Thy precepts. 111 I have inherited Thy testimonies forever, For they are the joy of my heart.

Monday, August 27, 2007

According to Mike Gilbart-Smith yes! He posts a great blog here. I would like for us to read it and comment together. It is relating paedobaptism and credobaptism and he argues that those who adhere to these views have different concepts of what the church really is.

He notes that for a paedobaptist: A church is a community that includes believers and their children.

Then he notes that for a credobaptist: The church is a covenanted community of believers.

I have been thinking alot about the sad reality that so many boys in our culture are growing up without fathers. Al Mohler brought this reality to mind lately in some of his sermons. In any case, Dr. Mohler's blog is very insightful and sobering when we recognize the staggering statistics of boys that grow up in single-parent homes without a daddy. Read the article here.
Dr. Decker, NT professor at Baptist Bible Seminary and the man whom I will, Lord willing, study under for the next few years, has a wonderful website for NT students. You can check it out and glean from his plethora of wisdom and knowledge. He has recently started a "Bulletin Blog" (instead of a "Bulletin Board"). This is one site that I'll be checking regularly...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My desire is . . .

1. To exalt the grace of God.

2. To proclaim salvation alone through the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

3. To declare the sinfulness, helplessness, and hopelessness of man in a state of nature.

4. To describe, as far as I am able, the living experience of the saints of God in their trials, temptations, and sorrows--and in their consolations and blessings.

Find the source here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

A good man, Matt Weymeyer, posted these Biblical Motivations to Preach the Gospel and I so enjoyed pondering them I wanted to have them here for your enjoyment...

1. A Jealous Delight in God’s Glory (Acts 17:16-17)
2. A Heart of Compassion for Lost Souls (Matt 9:35-38)
3. A Sober Awareness of the Need for Evangelism (Rom 10:14-15)
4. A Profound Appreciation for the High Calling (2 Cor 5:18-20)
5. An Irrepressible Excitement about Your Own Salvation (Matt 9:27-31)
6. An Abiding Confidence in the Sovereignty of God (Acts 18:10)
7. A Simple Desire to Obey the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Emerging Church is so diverse and even those who would see themselves "within" the Emerging Church don't agree on a lot of stuff. I want to post a few posters that were created to represent how the "Emergent's" think. They are entitled: Emerging Church Motivational Posters for you to see and then I will comment below each one. Though they have been created and fabricated to represent these people, I still take them as examples to show the seriousness of the error within this new "movement":

If our doctrine comes merely from the imagination as this poster advocates, then where is objective and authoritative truth fit in? If my doctrine is a mere fabrication of my imagination - regardless of what the Scriptures say, I have no objectivity to stand upon. Furthermore, this is doing severe damage to one's "biblical" convictions (if you can call it that) if their belief are based upon mere "imaginations." What about dogmatic truth?

2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Ezra the scribe used the Scriptures as the basis for his doctrine:

Ezra 7:10 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.

This seems as if this is the "motto" for the Emerging Church - if you will. They want to be relevant. They want to reach culture. Now, I must preface my statements by saying that there is nothing wrong with reaching culture - in fact, we MUST do this. See Al Mohler's blog for an excellent example of how to do this in a loving, gracious and biblical way. However, if we become SO relevant that we want people to be so comfortable and NEVER be offended - then I suggest that we have done disloyalty to the Word of God.

Let us never forget that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who do not believe. If everyone readily accepts our message, then I wonder if there is NOT something wrong with that message.

1 Corinthians 1:18 18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Remember after Stephen preached in Acts 7, his hearers were completely offended by the gospel:

Acts 7:52-54 52 "Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; 53 you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it." 54 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him.

This is a wicked posterboard. It takes 1 Corinthians 10:31: "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." The Westminster Confession says: "What is man's chief end? The answer is: "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."

That is definately NOT the message across in this posterboard. What kind of people will this kind of poster attract. Furthermore, What kind of "church" (if we, once again, can call it that) would have this kind of advertisement? If man's chief end is to glorify whatever is lowbrow and to enjoy it forever, that is certainly not a true Christian's heartbeat. If one truly desires to glorify whatever is low (which is the absolute opposite of God, who is the absolute highest Supreme Being), then that is idolatry and this kind of false "glorification of what is low" will lead someone straight to hell - forever.

This is, perhaps, one of the most harmful posters that could ever be published. The so-called "Hermeneutic of Humility" is held by the Emerging Church members and they say that they are SO humble in their interpretations of Scripture that they are unworthy or unqualified to say with absolute authority and dogmatic objectivity that this is what God's Word says.

My response to that is this. Then if you can't know for sure with absolute objectivity, then no one is really saved. If we cannot really interpret the Scriptures with authority and confidence, then who really knew if Jesus died on the cross - and furthermore, if He rose from the dead? If we are just too humble to interpret the Scriptures and we have to continue saying, "I think..." "I think..." "I think..." instead of "THUS SAITH THE LORD..." then we are doing severe injustice to the Word of God.

What do these Emergent's do with:

Titus 3:8 8 This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.

The idea of confidently here is to speak something "with absolute conviction so that no one can deter your view." I sure would NOT want to sit under a pastor (much less, even walk in a church) where a message (surely not the biblical one, at that) is preached saying, "We think that you can be saved because we think that Jesus died on the cross and we think that He rose from the dead and we think that you can have eternal life -- but no one can really be sure."

What kind of hope is that? That is surely not the biblical gospel.

Finally, this poster speaks of community. The first line is not just unbiblical, it is ANTIBIBLICAL. The fact that courtesy and confessions are optional? Do these people read the Bible?

Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Acts 4:32 32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own; but all things were common property to them.

Acts 2:42-44 42 And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common;

Need I say more regarding this one?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sinclair Ferguson gives A Preacher's Decalogue over at Reformation21 online. It is very insightful and refreshing to read. Needless to say, as a preacher, it is very easy to overlook and even neglect some of these aspects in sermon preparation and in daily living.

May it be a great blessing and reminder to you as it was to me.

1. Know your Bible better. Often at the end of a Lord’s Day, or a Conference, the thought strikes me again: “If you only knew your Bible better you would have been a lot more help to the people.” I teach at a seminary whose founder stated that its goal was “to produce experts in the Bible.” Alas I was not educated in an institution that had anything remotely resembling that goal. The result? Life has been an ongoing “teach yourself while you play catch-up.” At the end of the day seminaries exist not to give authoritative line-by-line interpretations of the whole of Scripture but to provide tools to enable its graduates to do that. That is why, in many ways, it is the work we do, the conversations we have, the churches we attend, the preaching under which we sit, that make or break our ministries. This is not “do it yourself” but we ourselves need to do it.
As an observer as well as a practitioner of preaching, I am troubled and perplexed by hearing men with wonderful equipment, humanly speaking (ability to speak, charismatic personality and so on) who seem to be incapable of simply preaching the Scriptures. Somehow they have not first invaded and gripped them.
I must not be an illiterate. But I do need to be homo unius libri—a man of one Book. The widow of a dear friend once told me that her husband wore out his Bible during the last year of his life. “He devoured it like a novel” she said. Be a Bible devourer!
2. Be a man of prayer. I mean this with respect to preaching. Not only in the sense that I should pray before I begin my preparation, but in the sense that my preparation is itself a communion in prayer with God in and through his word. Whatever did the apostles mean by saying that they needed to devote themselves “to prayer and the ministry of the word”—and why that order?
My own feeling is that in the tradition of our pastoral textbooks we have over-individualized this. The apostles (one may surmise) really meant “we”—not “I, Peter” or “I, John” but “We, Peter, John, James, Thomas, Andrew . . . together.”
Is it a misreading of the situation to suspect that preachers hide the desperate need of prayer for the preaching, and their personal need? By contrast, reflect on Paul’s appeals. And remember Spurgeon’s bon mot when asked about the secret of his ministry: “My people pray for me.”
Reflecting on this reminds me of one moment in the middle of an address at a conference for pastors when the bubble above my head contained the words “You are making a complete and total hash of this,” but as my eyes then refocused on the men in front of me they seemed like thirsty souls drinking in cool refreshing water, and their eyes all seemed to be fixed on the water carrier I was holding! Then the above-the-head-bubble filled with other words: “I remember now, how I urged the congregation at home to pray for these brethren and for the ministry of the word. They have been praying.”
Alas for me if I don’t see the need for prayer or for encouraging and teaching my people to see its importance. I may do well (I have done well enough thus far, have I not?) . . . but not with eternal fruit.
3. Don’t Lose Sight of Christ. Me? Yes, me. This is an important principle in too many dimensions fully to expound here. One must suffice. Know, and therefore preach “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). That is a text far easier to preach as the first sermon in a ministry than it is to preach as the final sermon.
What do I mean? Perhaps the point can be put sharply, even provocatively in this way: Systematic Exposition did not die on the Cross for us; nor did Biblical Theology, nor even Systematic Theology or Hermeneutics, or whatever else we deem important as those who handle the exposition of Scripture. I have heard all of these in preaching . . . without a center in the person of the Lord Jesus.
Paradoxically not even the systematic preaching through one of the Gospels guarantees Christ-crucified centered preaching. Too often preaching on the Gospels takes what I whimsically think of as the “Find Waldo Approach.” The underlying question in the sermon is “Where are you to be found in this story?” (are you Martha or Mary, James and John, Peter, the grateful leper . . .?). The question “Where, Who and What is Jesus in this story? Tends to be marginalized.
The truth is it is far easier to preach about Mary, Martha, James, John, or Peter than it is about Christ. It is far easier to preach even about the darkness of sin and the human heart than to preach Christ. Plus my bookshelves are groaning with literature on Mary, Martha . . . the good life, the family life, the Spirit-filled life, the parenting life, the damaged self life . . . but most of us have only a few inches of shelf space on the person and work of Christ himself.
Am I absolutely at my best when talking about him, or about us?
4. Be deeply Trinitarian. Surely we are? At least in some of our churches not a Lord’s Day passes without the congregation confessing one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But as is commonly recognized Western Christianity has often had a special tendency to either an explicit or a pragmatic Unitarianism, be it of the Father (Liberalism, for all practical purposes), the Son (Evangelicalism, perhaps not least in its reactions against Liberalism), or the Spirit (Charismaticism with its reaction to both of the previous).
This is, doubtless, a caricature. But my concern here arises from a sense that Bible-believing preachers (as well as others) continue to think of the Trinity as the most speculative and therefore the least practical of all doctrines. After all, what can you “do” as a result of hearing preaching that emphasizes God as Trinity? Well, at least inwardly if not outwardly, fall down in prostrate worship that the God whose being is so ineffable, so incomprehensible to my mental math, seeks fellowship with us!
I sometimes wonder if it is failure here that has led to churches actually to believe it when they are told by “church analysts” and the like that “the thing your church does best is worship . . . small groups, well you need to work on that . . ..” Doesn’t that verge on blasphemy? (Verge on it? There is surely only One who can assess the quality of our worship. This approach confuses aesthetics with adoration).
John’s Gospel suggests to us that one of the deepest burdens on our Lord’s heart during his last hours with his disciples was to help them understand that God’s being as Trinity is the heart of what makes the gospel both possible and actual, and that it is knowing him as such that forms the very lifeblood of the life of faith (cf. John chapter 13-17). Read Paul with this in mind and it becomes obvious how profoundly woven into the warp and woof of his gospel his understanding of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is.
Our people need to know that, through the Spirit, their fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. Would they know that from my preaching?
5. Use your Imagination. Does this not contradict the immediately preceding observations that the truth of the Trinity should not be thought of as speculative metaphysics? No. Rather it is simply to state what the preaching masters of the centuries have either explicitly written, or at least by example, implied. All good preaching involves the use of the imagination. No great preacher has ever lacked imagination. Perhaps we might go so far as to say it is simply an exhortation to love the Lord our God with all of our . . . mind . . . and our neighbor as ourselves.
Scripture itself suggests that there are many different kinds of imagination—hence the different genre in which the word of God is expressed (poetry, historical narrative, dialogue, monologue, history, vision and so on). No two biblical authors had identical imaginations. It is doubtful if Ezekiel could have written Proverbs, for example!
What do we mean by “imagination”? Our dictionaries give a series of definitions. Common to them all seems to be the ability to “think outside of oneself,” “to be able to see or conceive the same thing in a different way.” In some definitions the ideas of the ability to contrive, exercising resourcefulness, the mind’s creative power, are among the nuanced meanings of the word.
Imagination in preaching means being able to understand the truth well enough to translate or transpose it into another kind of language or musical key in order to present the same truth in a way that enables others to see it, understand its significance, feel its power—to do so in a way that gets under the skin, breaks through the barriers, grips the mind, will and affections so that they not only understand the word used but feel their truth and power.
Luther did this by the sheer dramatic forcefulness of his speech. Whitefield did it by his use of dramatic expression (overdid it, in the view of some). Calvin—perhaps surprisingly—did it too by the extraordinarily earthed-in-Geneva-life language in which he expressed himself. So an overwhelming Luther-personality, a dramatic preacher with Whitefieldian gifts of story-telling and voice (didn’t David Garrick say he’d give anything to be able to say “Mesopotamia” the way George Whitefield did?), a deeply scholarly, retiring, reluctant preacher—all did it, albeit in very different ways. They saw and heard the word of God as it might enter the world of their hearers and convert and edify them.
What is the secret here? It is, surely, learning to preach the word to yourself, from its context into your context, to make concrete in the realities of our lives the truth that came historically to others’ lives. This is why the old masters used to speak about sermons going from their lips with power only when they had first come to their own hearts with power.
All of which leads us from the fifth commandment back to where we started. Only immersion in Scripture enables us to preach it this way. Therein lies the difference between preaching that is about the Bible and its message and preaching that seems to come right out of the Bible with a “thus says the Lord” ring of authenticity and authority.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I give you the link to check out all the pictures you would ever want to see. Matt Floreen was our photographer and he has an excellent website. You can view our pictures HERE.

Have fun! :=)

Friday, August 17, 2007

There is something about hearing a book of the Bible read in sum. Todd Bolen, who is what one of my former professors (and heroes), does it here. He memorized and recites the whole book of Ephesians for one of the classes in Israel last Spring.

Psalm 119:71-72 71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes. 72 The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Ponder that this day.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Just to remind you... He is coming quickly. Are you prepared to meet your Creator if He comes today?
Archbishop Peter Jensen of Sydney, Australia "has taken the extraordinary step of banning John Shelby Spong, a fellow member of the Anglican communion who arrives in Sydney this morning, from churches in his diocese."

The article is found in The Australian regarding this issue. Spong is a retired bishop of Newark, N.J. and is well-known in the evangelical world for denying almost every cardinal doctrine that we as evangelicals hold. You name a doctrine - he has attempted to deny it.

In one of Spong's books, Jesus for the Non-Religious, here is what it contains:

The book questions biblical references to the nature of the birth of Jesus
Christ, his ability to perform miracles and the Resurrection.

So we see that even in the Anglican church Bishop Jensen is denying some to speak to the people. How much more should we take care in proclaiming the absolute truth to our people.

Remember, Titus 1:9 (which I am becoming convinced is the theme verse for the letter):

Titus 1:9 9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

Let us be the people today that are so holding fast to the faithful word that we teach the truth and are equipped to refute those who deny it (i.e. Spong).
This excellent post encouraged me this morning...
We need not add to our salvation. Who we are in Christ is sufficient to
sustain us in and through all that life here has to offer. We are pilgrims,
strangers in a strange land. We are on journey and will soon arrive at our
destination. Let us heed Peter's words and abstain from the lustful things this
world has to offer. To entangle ourselves with such things is to slap our Lord
and savior in the face and tell Him that He is not enough. May God forbid that
we ever seek to fill ourselves with anything less than the indwelling power of
His Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Great article here in Christianity Today on the New Perspective on Paul. Also, at the end of this article is a great source for many other articles well worth a read.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

John 11:40 40 Jesus said to her [Martha], "Did I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?"
This morning I want to give you a few thoughts of mine concerning the phrase, "seeing the glory of God."

We know, first of all, that Jesus' ministry was consumed with the glory of His Father (John 17:1, 4). Jesus was actively living his life for one purpose - to honor and submit to the Father's perfect and sovereign plan. This He did with perfection.

Next, it seems as though seeing the glory of God is something that Jesus offers to Martha - if she believes - and not to everyone else (i.e. the crowds) who will witness this extraordinary miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead.

Along these lines, MacArthur notes:

It was a sovereign act of Christ, designed to glorify Himself and the
Father by putting His resurrection power on display. Consequently it would have
happened to matter how Martha had responded. But though all present would see
the miracle, only those who had faith in Christ would see the fullness of God's
Glory reflected in it (MacArthur, John 1-11, 473).

Thus it seems that seeing the glory of God is understanding what is truly going on here in this text. Sure, Jesus raises a man from the dead - a miracle which only God can do. However, the spiritual meaning, namely, that Jesus Christ is The Resurrection and The Life is something that is hidden to those who refuse to believe. But Martha has the opportunity to understand this:

Leon Morris notes:

For [Jesus] the "glory of God" was the one important thing. This means that the
real meaning of what He would do would be accessible only to faith. All who were
there, believes or not, would see the miracle. But Jesus is promising Martha a
sight of the glory. The crowed would see the miracle, but only believers would
perceive its real significance, the glory (Gospel According to John,
NICNT, 560).

I pray that we all may see the glory of God today as we walk and live
life understanding just who Jesus really is.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Who would have ever thought... MacArthur's sermons at Grace Community Church are now online. Watch them HERE.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I raed this quote this morning as our pastor was preaching from John 11 on the "Raising of Lazarus." I read this verse and - no kidding - it was as if I had never read it before. I post it here for your reading and meditation and hopefully it will stimulate your thinking. I am not ready to post my idea as to what I think it means, so I will study it and post it shortly...

John 11:39-40 39 Jesus said, "Remove the stone." Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, "Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days." 40 Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?"

What does it mean when Jesus said to Martha, "you will see the glory of God?"

Friday, August 10, 2007

5 points of inspiration from Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy:

1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God's witness to Himself.
2. Holy Scripture, being God's own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God's instruction, in all that it affirms: obeyed, as God's command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God's pledge, in all that it promises.
3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture's divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.
4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God's acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God's saving grace in individual lives.
5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible's own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Bob Kauflin has a great post today giving a testimony of a great baptism service last Sunday at Covenant Life Church.

Check out the post HERE.
This morning I had a delightful time in Jeremiah 31 being reminded not only of God's faithfulness, but also of his unconditional, unilateral and unchangeable covenant with the nation of Israel.

Jeremiah 31:35-37 35 Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: 36 "If this fixed order departs From before Me," declares the LORD, "Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever." 37 Thus says the LORD, "If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done," declares the LORD.

I firmly am convinced, most wholeheartedly, that God's covenant that He made with Abraham was not bilateral - that is, that both parties agreed to enter into the covenant. Rather, Genesis 12 is clear (at least, to me) that it was God who made the covenant with Abraham (Gen 15 even speaks of it happening while Abraham was in a deep sleep)...

Genesis 12:2-3 2 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."

Genesis 15:12-13, 18 12 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him. 13 God said to Abram, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years ... On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:

I find great hope in verses such as these for a number of reasons:

1) It reveals to me God's unchanging and unfailing faithfulness. He will never (and can never) break his promises. He is a faithful God (Deut 7:9).

2) It reveals to me God's plan is still in effect for national, ethnic, Jewish Israel. There is no way around it. I have never heard a satisfactory response by those that hold to supercessionism (that is, that the church replaced Israel and is now the new Israel) to the crystal clear passage (at least, to me) in Jeremiah 31:35ff.

3) It reveals to me God's desire for me to continue to aggressively share the gospel with everyone - including the Jewish people. For God still has a great number of these precious people who will one day acknowledge Him as Messiah.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Silva in his work, God, Language and Scripture concludes with this quote that I heartily agree with:

But I fear most of all for the future of biblical scholarship. Many are the students who have acknowledged that, if they had not been forced to take Greek and Hebrew, they would not have done so, thus missing what they now consider a foundational element in their theological education. Dropping the language requirement leads inexorably to a drain in the pool of potential scholars. Can we afford to abandon the scientific study of the Bible and leave it in the hands of those who have no regard for its authority?

I have been in contact with a friend of mine in India. He does Christian evangelism work there and is a great and passionate soldier for our Lord! His name is Raju. Believe it or not, I met him in New York City recently and he hugged me tighter than I had ever been sqeezed before in my whole life. He was literally overwhelmed and overjoyed to see Jews for Jesus on the streets.

This picture here is of Raju and his wife.

This picture is of everyone gathered for a meeting. Alot of people at this meeting huh!

Here is Raju and some in his congregation meeting together.

Here is Raju teaching one Sunday morning.

Psalm 96:1-3 Sing to the LORD a new song; Sing to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. 3 Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I was reminded this morning of the simplicity of evangelism. Of course, I recognize there are many facets to this and one must be ready and equipped to engage in theological discussions, but as far as just the sheer act of being a witness for Christ is fairly simple.

Take the conversion of Augustine. One day when traveling to his home in Milan he heard a child say "Tolle lege, tolle lege" ("Take and read!"). He opened the book that the child gave him to Romans 13:14:

Romans 13:14 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

He was converted then. May we be those who are witnesses for Christ today...even if it is merely handing the Scriptures to someone in hopes that the Holy Spirit may do His saving work.
This essay is by a guy named Jim Elliff and it's entitled, Pastors Moving To Other Churches: Why? It is excellent. Quite lengthy, but excellent. It is an excellent argument (and a right one) as to why a man should pastor a flock and live life with the sheep. He must become part of them and let them become part of him. It is about living life together and this, Elliff, argues, is one of the greatest ways in which a pastor can make a huge difference in the lives of his people. Read it HERE.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

To be a "pastor who is not willing to enter into the theological world" is an oxymoron, I believe. I feel comforted knowing that I have the president of Southern Theological Seminary on my side. Mohler notes, "Every pastor is called to be a theologian." He adds:

Nevertheless, the health of the church depends upon its pastors functioning as faithful theologians--teaching, preaching, defending, and applying the great doctrines of the faith.
This is why we need men in the pulpits to accurately and convincingly expound the Word of God. We note that in many seminaries today, the credentials of the faculty must not merely be academic, but they also must have pastoral experience. Why not take this same reasoning to the church setting? A pastor must not only have pastoral credentials, but he must also have the academic credentials necessary to expound the Word of God in a way that is theologically sound.

Mohler agrees and writes this excellent article. I'm going to read this article once a month to keep myself in check. READ THE ARTICLE HERE.

Friday, August 3, 2007

I clicked on the news and one of the top stories was Michelle Duggar and her husband who live in Little Rock, Arkansas who just had their SEVENTEENTH ("17") baby. Same marriage. Same family. Real children! Amazing. This is one family that takes Psalm 127 quite literally...

Psalm 127:3-5 3 Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. 5 How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

I knew we held to a literal interpretation of the Scriptures...but seriously, 17?!?!

AND get this, they are all home-schooled.
This post is from a NT scholar that I have been reading a lot from recently as I prepare for some exams, David Alan Black. He has written numerous works, such as, It's Still Greek To Me, Linguistics for Students of NT Greek, Rethinking NT Textual Criticism, among many others. In any rate, Dr. Black has a webpage that is superb. He has a column with his thoughts (and he puts a new one up every few days or so) that are really challenging and thought provoking. This is an example from the column.

I have a salvation prayer list. Do you? “Operation Andrew” suggests you make a list of 4 or 5 people who need salvation and pray for them daily. I might suggest that before you do this you ask God to bring certain people to your mind. Then, when He lays them upon your heart, pray for them at least once a day.

Remember: no case is impossible. In New Testament times the Gospel even penetrated the household of the Emperor himself (Phil. 4:22). God may well have a few surprises up His sleeve for you – just as He did for me when Mohammed became a new creation in an Alaba prison. Some people on your prayer list will, of course, be more ready than others. In a tiny village in Northern Ethiopia lives a woman who 3 years ago had no believer in her family. Now she is surrounded by a son and daughter who follow Jesus. I think she is not far from the kingdom. It’s good to remember that God has no favorites. He “does not show favoritism, but accepts men from every nation” (Acts 10:34).

Must you use a certain technique when praying for the lost? By no means! Simply spread your requests out before God without suggesting what He ought to do about it. Leave the means and the timing to Him. “Ask and you will receive,” said Jesus, and when we ask through Him we can be assured that our prayers will be heard and answered as the Father deems best.

I suppose that a burden for the lost is the most crucial mark of any church when we are considering the matter of evangelism. If you have really experienced the Good News of salvation you will want others to share that experience. My limited experience in foreign missions goes to support the assertion that once a church begins to pray for the lost, before long they will begin to give generously to support those in their midst who seek to go out. Such churches begin to look beyond themselves. They will be willing to neglect their own needs (our “needs” are often only our “wants,” aren’t they?) and look to far needier places to support. The fellowship in a church that genuinely loves the lost has got to be sweeter than anywhere else in town.

My friend, I cannot tell you how important it is for you to visualize the harvest field to which God has called you. Remember: the fields are white, and you’ve been drafted for the harvest. One day you and I will step out into eternity. In the meantime, what can we do for the lost?

Pray for them

Thursday, August 2, 2007

John Piper writes a short bit on his reflections regarding the collapse of the bridge in the Twin Cities. He notes that many of their workers at the church and at DesiringGod ministries cross the bridge often.

Read the excerpt HERE.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

One of the books I have been reading for pleasure lately is one by John Piper, Counted Righteous In Christ. The title caught my eye, so I opened up to see how Piper would organize the work. To my surprise, he spends most of the book arguing against a well known New Testament theologian who says that:
The doctrine of imputation is not even biblical. Still less it is 'essential' to the Gospel.
He goes on to (boldly) note:
I join the growing number of biblical theologians, evangelical and non-evangelical alike, who deny that Paul or any other New Testament author speaks of a righteousness of Christ (whatever it might include or exclude) that is imputed to believing sinners, and find instead a doctrine of God's righteousness as his salvific activity in a covenantal framework, not in terms of an imputation of Christ's righteousness in a bookkeeping framework.
Well, I disagree with Mr. Gundry very firmly because I believe that the Scriptures do, in fact, teach that believers are imputed an external righteousness. That is, our righteousness comes outside of ourselves. Specifically, I believe the righteousness with which believers are credited is that of Jesus Christ.

So in this book, Piper goes through the NT in a very detailed exegetical fashion and proves (very solidly) that this claim by Gundry is false. It is a short book, but a very important one in understanding this assault on the historic (and biblical) view of the atonement.
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