Monday, April 23, 2007

The Final Stretch

Wow! Last week just flew by. I'm sure this week will be no different. It is the end of the semester, and, as one might imagine, I've got more things to do than I have time to do them. But it is always a labor of love and I have no reason to complain. In fact, I never have a reason to complain, do I? Last night one of our elders (pastors) preached on Romans 5:1-5 on one of those bizarre things that Christians believe: We consider it joy when we go through life trials. Read that last line again. Joy...in trials. We do this, according to Paul, the author of the letter, because of what God has done, is doing, and will do. Those who have turned from their sin-lifestyle and are trusting Christ have been declared totally righteous in God's sight. How is that possible? It is because Jesus the sinless God-Man was executed on a cross in their place. As a result of this act where the holy God declares us to be righteous, we now have access to God through Jesus Christ for daily help. And this gives us a real hope for the future. Not a hope-so, but a solid steel hope that God will preserve us and bring us into his presence when we die. He will not cast us away.

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

Clarification of "Helplessness" - Thanks, Dad

This is why I'm going to enjoy blogging: If I say something misleading, one of the 4 people reading will most likely see it and point it out.

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

Why are things like this so funny?

I don't know why this stuff is so funny, but it just is. Please rebuke me if I should not laugh at things like this. I probably still will laugh at them, but I will appreciate your timely words. Click here for funny things.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Helpless

Psalm 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer"

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...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fun Easter Weekend

Lizzie and I got back last night from a lovely long Easter weekend with her family in Greenville. We ate too much, got some new duds, talked about what the Bible says about the church, and enjoyed friends and family.



We rented a car to go down there because our cars would have keeled over. Thanks Steve and Judy for being delightful hosts as always!

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Good News

Click here for an online version of an excellent gospel tract. This is the most thorough, concise presentation of the facts of the gospel I have ever seen. Some of these elements are too easily neglected in other explanations of the gospel.

Good Quote: God is in control of history

"Because God is the Lord of history, history has meaning and direction. We may not always be able to discern God's purpose in history, but that there is such a purpose is a cardinal aspect of our faith." Anthony Hoekema, The Bible and the Future.

Are you a Christian?

This is a question many Christians would never think to ask someone else. But is that a good thing? Is this question really so unkind as some may think? If it sounds so unkind to ask this question, why do Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John all talk about the difference between a true brother and a false brother (Matt. 18; 1 Cor. 5; all of Galatians; 1 Pet. 2 and 3; Rev. 1-3)? So if a professing Christian consistently does things and says things that are out of step with the characteristics of a Christian, what are we to think?


Having recently read the 18th century theological (giant) Jonathan Edwards on a similar topic, my thinking has been helped here. Check out what President Edwards says,
"I know there is a great aptness in men who suppose they have had some experience of the power of religion, to think themselves sufficient to discern and determine the state of others by a little conversation with them; and experience has taught me that this is an error. I once did not imagine that the heart of man had been so unsearchable as it is. I am less charitable, and less uncharitable than once I was." (Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God, emphasis added)


This is instructive for me because I am very quick to label an inconsistent Christian as a non-Christian. I think this is often arrogant and uncharitable on my part. Edwards seems to indicate in the context that we should truly leave to God what is his in determining someone's spiritual state. In other words, the Living God is the one who sees the heart; we do not decide on their heart. (However, as a baptist I would say much care should be taken with this sort of question in a church membership process.) Pray that I will be charitable and kind!


Any thoughts? Things to add? Am I just plain crazy?

Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads.

I am a young'n. And just like Marty McFly naively thought there would be roads in the future, I apparently think I am worthy to enter the sphere of the blog.
Nevertheless, I think what I will probably do on this blog is twofold:

1. Keep my family and/or friend(s) updated on what is going on in my corner of the Clifton Heights Neighborhood of Louisville, KY.
and

2. Occasionally write about a variety of biblical and theological things I am thinking through at any given time. These things will particularly require comments from people who can helpfully guide me towards truth, so I welcome any such comments like: "JP, you're crazy," or "John, read your Bible more." Things like that...
So here goes nothin'!