Friday, May 30, 2008

We made it safely to Israel and are having a wonderful time. Our first day was in London as we toured the city and went to the British Museum and saw many archaeological artifacts (yes I'm a nerd).

Our first day in Jerusalem was a New Testament day. Then our second day was an Old Testament day. Today was our Jerusalem Approaches/Mt. of Olives day.

Please continue to pray for us and we'll write more as time and opportunities allow.


Monday, May 26, 2008

You can be in prayer for me and Elizabeth over the next few weeks as we travel around the land of Israel. We'll be going to many (I mean, many) sites and reading the passages which are pertinent to each site. I've made up a note packet for her (only 150 pages) of maps of Israel, Jerusalem, site diagrams, phone numbers, relevant Scripture passages, and of course, some Hebrew words to learn (e.g. "where's the bathroom?").

Please keep us in prayer these next few weeks.

PS -- The above picture is one of my favorite Tells in Israel -- can you guess which site it is? (Hint: See Jeremiah 34:7)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Here are a few ways in which a husband can (and should!) treat his wife as his companion:

1. By being with her and involving her.

The husband must plan time to spend with her alone. He must also develop common interests with her. He must also let her know how she can help him and work alongside of him. He must call her from work. he must tell her about what he does (regularly/on a daily basis).

2. By seeking to understand her and help her.

The husband must ask what she did today and then listen to her. He must inquire as to her well-being and then pay attention. He must plan a regular time to talk about her concerns and then pray/study/and help her find solutions. He must ask her how he can pray for her. He must pray with her. he must assist her when she needs it.

3. By appreciating her.

He must thank God for her. He must think and verbalize specific qualities or deeds that he is thankful for. he must speak well of her to others. He must leave her a note of appreciation to encourage her and affirm his love and affection for her.

4. By treating her special compared to others.

He can open doors for her. He can plan dates with her. The husband must put her "needs" and desires above others' needs and desires. He must show her non-sexual (and sexual) affection. Be sexually intimate with her, focusing most on her enjoyment.

5. By revealing himself to her.

The husband must communicate his thoughts, perspectives, and goals to her. He must also let her know how she can pray for him.

Adapted from Stuart Scott, The Exemplary Husband, 63.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I am aware of the wise warnings against using words like "all," "every,"
and "always" in what I say. Absolutizing one's pronouncements is dangerous. But
I'm going to do it anyway. Here it is: It is impossible for any Christian who
spends the bulk of his evenings, month after month, week upon week, day in and
day out watching the major TV networks or contemporary videos to have a
Christian mind. This is always true of all Christians in every situation! A
biblical mental program cannot coexist with worldly programming.
From: Hughes, R. Kent. Disciplines of a Godly Man (Wheaton: IL: Crossway, 2001), 71-72.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A few things that are on my mind as of late:

First, just yesterday, from San Francisco and FOX news (see also the LA Times' article), "The California Supreme Court overturned a ban on gay marriage Thursday, calling such a ban unconstitutional and paving the way for California to become the second state where gay and lesbian residents can marry."

The justices released the 4-3 decision Thursday, saying that domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage in an opinion written by Chief Justice Ron George.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he will support the decision.

"I respect the Court's decision and as Governor, I will uphold its ruling," Schwarzenegger said in a statement. "Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling."

The cases were brought by the city of San Francisco, two dozen gay and lesbian couples, Equality California and another gay rights group in March 2004 after the court halted San Francisco's monthlong same-sex wedding march that took place at Mayor Gavin Newsom's direction.

This is not shocking to me, but it is discouraging to me. I wonder how low we can go. You talk about a patient God...

Second, I am taking a phenomenal course, The Pastor's Home. This is a double-joy because Elizabeth is with me every night for the lectures! We are having such a great time learning about: communication in the Pastor's home, the husband's role in the Pastor's home, the wife's role in the Pastor's home, finances in the Pasotor's home, etc. It's been awesome! Also, tonight is our "date night." So, yes, I get school credit for taking my bride out on a date tonight! Now that's cool

Third, I am preparing to lead an Israel trip. There are hidden motives here. The goal is to do this a number of times and eventually take church groups over there in the future. I presented this to my pastor and to the Elder board and they are all behind the idea!

At any rate, I have been going through a road atlas I have of Israel getting the routes down from every site to the next site and then to the place of lodging at night. It's just been fun! Then, I've been researching some maps from the months of living in Israel, my notes from going to all the sites, and Todd Bolen's picture CD's (as well as my pictures - which don't even measure up to Todd's!).

Alas, It's 6:36AM, I must be getting back to my Israel studies...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Godly wisdom is pure and clean. That is, it is found where the pollution and defilement of sin is absent. Listen to how the old church father, Tertullian (c. 200AD) wrote regarding this:
Be clothed with the silk of honesty, the fine linen of holiness and the
purple of chastity;
thus adorned, God will be your friend.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Since I finished my class class of my MDiv career on Wednesday, I have been able to do some pleasure reading. One book - which I used as a source for my biblical decision-making paper - which I have been reading is by Bruce Waltke entitled: Finding the Will of God: Pagan Notion? And this book is superb! In a nutshell, Waltke reveals that "finding the will of God" is a pagan notion which has a lot of pagan connotations back to the ancient world of casting lots and inquiring of some pagan "god" in order to find his "will." Regarding this, Waltke says:

In the New Testament, God never calls us to "seek His will," but rather to seek
His kingdom and do His will. We ought to stamp out of our vocabulary the
nonbiblical and misleading expression "finding God's will." Rather than talk
about "seeking the will of God," we ought to speak of following the guidance of God. This is not just semantically different, since He is
calling us to draw close to Himself and to live holy lives. God's will for us is
that we be holy; there is no mystery to His will. As for those questions about
changing jobs, getting married, going to school, and the like, finding answers
will require growing close to God (p.169).

Don't think that because it is Dr. Waltke writing this work, it is some "above-your-head" scholarly book about the nuances of Hebrew (though, of course, Waltke could do this). Rather, this is as practical as theology gets. Along these lines, Waltke insightfully reveals:

We live in a golden age for Christian publishing. Never have so many words been
written nor so many pages published on the Lord Jesus Christ. Every city in
North America seems to have a Christian bookstore, and their shelves are filled
with interesting, helpful, and profound books on the Christian life. The downside
of all this is that I think many people have shied away from Scripture itself.
There is so much out there, and much of it seems awfully interesting to
Christians, so it has become easier to read the latest popular book on God or
the church or the family than it is to read the Bible ... you must
spend time reading God's Word or you will never mature in your Christian faith
... I am simply reminding you that all of those good books will amount to very
little in your life if you do not spend time in the most important book of all,
the Holy Bible (p.63).

Finally, at the end of the book Waltke notes that all this theology that people can (and should!) learn must not be sheer "head knowledge." As he notes, "theology, what we know about God, changes our lives" (p.183). And if it doesn't, then it's a hypocritical ("non-Christian") religion. As he concludes:

Knowing God, which we inadequately refer to as "theology," designates more than
the involvement of a personality in the presence of the Lord. God is known
through doing His will. One author put it: "the knowledge of God is defined
throughout as obedience to His will. The Bible consistently demands action, not
words. God was pleased to validate His own character in the acid test of
history. He was not content with merely propositional truths about Himself

So, Christian, go and learn God's Word; study it; revel in it; bathe in it; clothe yourself with it; let it find its abode deep in your heart and soul. And then, only then, when that infallible and inerrant Word has deeply impacted your heart and life will you be being led by God!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

HT: Justin Taylor.


Monday, May 5, 2008

These are some notes I took from class last week. I thought they may be of help:

I must see the inability to sleep in the light of the sovereignty of God. Believe that these times represent opportunities from God.
a. An Opportunity for Examination
(1) Guilt? Sin? Lack of trust in God? Lack of biblical mindset?
-this is where our thoughts should go.
(2) Ps. 139:23-24 – ask God to search our hearts; know my anxious thoughts; lead me in the way everlasting.

b. An Opportunity for Meditation
(1) Ps. 119:148
(2) Ps. 16:7
(3) Ps. 77:6 – think of your favorite hymns and worship songs and sing them (to yourself! J). This is what Asaph does!! J
(4) Ps. 77:11-12
(5) Ps. 4:4

c. An Opportunity for Communication
(1) Ps. 4:1
-this person who has trouble w/ insomnia needs to call on the LORD
(2) Ps. 77:1-2
(3) Phil. 4:6-7
(a) Prayer for your own burdens
(b) Prayer for others’ burdens – gets focus off of self
-keep focus on God!! J
-the bible has a lot to say about sleep and getting good sleep

4. Summary
a. Address the possible spiritual causes of insomnia:
(1) A lifestyle of habitual worry and anxiety and not trusting God
(2) Guilt over disobedience
(3) A lack of hard work...doing all you know to do and can do to solve issues...but doing no more than that
(4) Not having a biblical mindset, a mind so saturated with Scripture that they think biblically as a lifestyle
(5) A lifestyle of discontent – with people, with circumstances, with God
b. And then, when God “keeps your eyelids open,” they can see it as an opportunity for examination, meditation, and supplication.

Blessings to you.
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