Sunday, November 4, 2007
Also, because of the fact that "what Scripture says, God says," it seems clear that Almighty God intends to tell us something through this Bible. So here are my top 3 choices, in order, of books helping you get the "Big Picture" of Scripture:
1. According to Plan by Graeme (pronounced like Graham) Goldsworthy
2. God's Big Picture by Vaughn Roberts
3. How to Read the Bible Book by Book by Stuart and Fee (a bit different from the other two books; helpful for getting more details)
Monday, October 15, 2007
"For it is highly unfitting that the sanctuary in which [God] dwells should like a stable be crammed with filth."
With the Spirit's help, rooted in the Scriptures, let us strive towards ever-increasing Christ-likeness. In other words, don't be crammed with filth!
By the way: in case it's not clear, "Sanctuary" doesn't refer to the place where we gather on Sunday mornings. Rather, Calvin is speaking of the very throne room of God into which Christ brings us when we repent and believe in Christ. The book of Hebrews especially unpacks this.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Sunday, September 9, 2007
But this does not mean he is unknowable.
Deuteronomy 29:29 reads, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we might do all the words of this law." Among other things, Moses here tells us that we can know some things about God, just not everything. We can know God truly, but never exhaustively.
I thought of this as I read a quote from a wonderful Christian thinker of the past who spoke of the goal of the Christian when he or she sits down to study the Bible. We should "reverently embrace what it pleases God there to witness of himself." God has graciously made himself known to us in the Bible. It is not everything that might be known about him, but it is more than enough for our feeble minds! God was pleased to leave a witness of himself. We can trust this Bible to be an acurate witness. Praise him for such kindness!
More on that "wonderful Christian thinker of the past" later on...
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
He is sharp and thoughtful, and he truly desires to please the Lord. I would recommend checking it out from time to time to get your wheels turning.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
As we watch TV, search on Google, read newsmagazines, or even casually glance at billboards, let's be alert! We are surrounded by competing ideas. With the Holy Spirit's help, let's root ourselves deeply in the truth of Scripture so that we may take every thought captive to obey our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are in Nashville with Liz's parents and sister. This week is Steve and Judy's last week in Greenville. Lord willing, they will make their way to Avon, Connecticut this coming Friday to begin a new phase of ministry at Valley Community Baptist Church. Enjoy Labor Day weekend!
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Also, I just finished a very approachable, very excellent book for a class called Trusting God. Read it when you are or when you aren't. Blessings to all.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I assume that this quote summarizes the kind of ministry I will do as a preacher of the gospel.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
First, it should be simple for a Christian to answer the question "What is the gospel?" The epistles (there are about 20 in the New Testament) contain numerous references to a certain message. A careful reading of these books of the Bible will lead to the conclusion that that message is the one true, biblical gospel. This gospel is true. It is rooted in historical facts. It is supernatural. It is real and life-changing. So when Peter tells his Christian friends to be always prepared to give a reason for the hope that is in them (1 Peter 3:15) I assume that he at least is alluding to the message of the gospel. This is the good news that guilty sinners may be forgiven and made righteous before God (the one they've offended!) through the sacrificial death of God the Son. So it would seem that the New Testament assumes that Christians can easily answer the aforementioned question.
But sadly it is often not simple. Christians often are not ready with an answer. Why is this the case? Is it lack of understanding? Poor teaching? Laziness? Fear? Lack of confidence? The unpreparedness may be any of these, and this is not the place to tease out all the possibilities. It just seems to me that if I have been told the most important message ever, I'm convinced that it is true, and I've been told to spread it far and wide I should know what the message is!
What's my point? Brothers and sisters (and John): preach this good news to yourself! Know it so well that you can explain it in less than 90 seconds. Much more could be said. The preaching stops.......now!
The story: there is a large gathering of Pentecostals taking place in Louisville right now. Many of them are staying at the hotel where my Starbucks is located. I decided to ask one of these friends, who had just said that he is a preacher, how he would explain the gospel. His response was discouraging. Nothing about sin and the Savior, nothing about forgiveness, nothing about the great debt we owed God that Christ paid for his own, dying in their place. Alas, we must know and believe this message.
Monday, July 2, 2007
Mike exhorted me to work on my personal evangelism and discipleship efforts. He also helped me think through some things. For example, as a seminary student I have a quick and easy road to take conversations towards the Gospel. I had certainly attempted to use this in the past, but I realized that I have been too heavy on "periods" instead of "question marks." So instead of: "I'm training to be a preacher of the gospel" (which requires no response whatsoever), I should say, "I'm training to be a preacher of the gospel. What about you? Are you a religious person? Why do you believe that?" and so on. And the conversation could go anywhere from there. Here's the point: seize opportunities to ask "why" questions. Steer the ship towards the glory of Christ in the gospel.
Okay, off to watch an episode of Planet Earth with the one whom my soul loves...
Monday, June 18, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
"Although the annhilation of the Canaanites fills us with embarrassed horror, there is a sense in which (dare I say it?) we had better get used to it. It is of a piece with the Flood, with the destruction of several empires, with hell itself. The proper response is Luke 13:1-5: unless we repent, we shall all likewise perish" (From the entry for June 5th).
Friday, June 1, 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
What really struck me today as I read this is that Jude was not simply giving an appeal to pastors to be careful to teach the right things to their people. As far as I can tell Jude is speaking generally to all Christians. The letter is addressed simply to those who are "called" and are "beloved in God the father and kept for Jesus Christ" (v 1). So everyone claiming the name of Jesus is to contend or fight for the faith. Every Christian, from 8 to 80, is to stand boldly for truth. (But don't forget truth-speaking is always done in love, see Ephesians 4).
What does Jude mean by "the faith"? I'm not certain because I didn't spend a great deal of time on it. However, I am sure he doesn't mean by "faith" simply the kind of faith that saves us. Otherwise he wouldn't have said that he originally wanted to write to them about salvation, but is instead writing to them to contend for the faith (3a). So I think he is probably referring to the things that Christians believe broadly speaking. In other words, the phrase "the faith" alludes to the questions of theology: Who is God? What is he like? Who is Jesus?
Last thing: I think one application from this is that all Christians must know some basic theology, and they should help each other to fight for it. One simple thing to do to think about some basic theology would be to read through a "confession of faith" like the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Read an article a day and look at some of the verses. Pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you and help you believe God's Word. Or if you have more time on your hands read a book like Concise Theology by J.I. Packer or Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem. Or a good website with tons of free, helpful stuff is Monergism.com.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Now that the summer has begun I am having to fill in 20ish hours a week with something to do! When you factor in 9 hours a week for class time, and at least 10 or more for studying...that's a lot to fill in. I aspire to exercise (minimally at least) and do some pre-Fall semester studying. I also aspire to eat watermelon, corn on the cob, and ice cream. I also have high aspirations to be a luchador:
This should be a splendid summer.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
Well that's how I feel, too! I've got a good bit of reading left, 3 finals, and then I'm home free...eventually (a loose reference to Wayne Watson). I am very excited to see my lovely family next weekend, Lord willing.
Pray that I will persevere and be faithful with all that the Lord places before me these next few days.
And pray for that poor panda.
Monday, April 23, 2007
I don't know about you, but this fuels me! This gives me such confidence in a great Savior who will carry me along. Have a great week, one and all.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
In "Helplessness" I almost made it sound like we as human beings cannot know what it means to do what is right, to do what is pleasing to the Lord. That is false. We know the truth and we supress it; we know what is right and we don't do it; we know what is wrong and we do it (see the book of Romans). I think that this is at least one thing dad was pointing out to me (see his comment). Thanks, poppy.
I must add, however, that it is because of our utter depravity that the sinless Lord Jesus Christ was executed on a cross. He died in our place, bearing the wrath that we deserve. He proved his power over death and the efficacy of his death by being raised from the dead, which we just celebrated on Easter Sunday (and we honor it every Sunday when we gather with the church because Christ was raised on Sunday). The blessings of forgiveness and right standing with God are ours if and only if we repent (turn fully) of our sins and place our trust in Jesus Christ. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Friday, April 13, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Doesn't a verse like this ring with helplessness? Beginning with the very first word (in the English at least; I don't know Hebrew), the whole verse concedes inability: I can't decide on my own what is acceptable to the Lord. I wonder then what David is thinking when he calls the Lord "my rock and my redeemer." What does this mean for the New Covenant believer who is enabled by the Holy Spirit to be acceptable in the sight of the Lord because of the substitutionary death of Christ (cf. 1 Pet. 2:24)?
Does this make sense? One of you two people reading this should let me know...