Saturday, February 28, 2009

TOP TEN REJECTED NEW BOOKS ON SPIRITUAL GROWTH

10. The Benefits of Delayed Obedience.
9. Multi-level Marketing for Apostles.
8. How to Have a Non-prophet Church.
7. Discipling for Dummies.
6. How to Fast Between Meals.
5. Deferred Tithing.
4. Living Simply For Fun and Profit.
3. Betcha Can’t Quit Gambling.
2. 101 New Christian Cliche╦Ős.

1. Sacrifice Made Easy.

The Chief Need of the Church Today

It is being said that the chief need of the Church today is to repent because of its 'lack of unity'...we would suggest that before she repents of her disunity, she must repent of her apostasy. She must repent of her perversion of, and substitutes for, 'the faith once delivered to the saints.' she must repent of setting up her own thinking and methods over against the divine revelation in Holy Scripture. Here lies the reason for her lack of spiritual power and inability to deliver a living message in the power of the Holy Ghost to a world ready to perish.

-Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Pain: God's Chisel For Sculpting Our Souls

"Why does God not root indwelling sin out of his saints in the first moment of their Christian life, as he will do the moment they die? Why, instead does he carry on their sanctification with a painful slowness, so that all their lives they are troubled by sin and never reach the perfection they desire? Why is it his custom to give them a hard passage through this world?

The answer is that he does all this for his glory - to expose to us our own weakness and impotence, so that we may learn to depend upon his grace and the limitless resources of his saving power. "We have this treasure in earthen vessels," wrote Paul, "that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us" (2 Corinthians 4:7, KJV)."

J.I. Packer, Hot Tub Religion

Have you ever thought or felt this? The idea of God carrying on our sanctification with "a painful slowness" strikes hard against our deeply rooted pride and beats into the ground the idea of some kind of quick victorious living many preachers promise. When Paul says that we have this treasure, the treasure is Christ, our salvation, we have it in an earthen vessel, or in a clay pot. I think we could better understand this if we thought of the clay pot as a styrofoam cup. Its cheap and disposable, the only value it has is whats inside it, when your through with it you throw it away. If you ever start feeling sorry for yourself just remember your the cup, and whatever your going through God is using to expose your own weakness and lack of power. God wants you to trust in him and depend on his grace not your strength.

After Midnight - Eric Clapton JJ Cale

Friday, February 27, 2009

Paradox



Motivational Posters for the Post-Evangelical Chaos

Elmore James - The Sky is Crying

Five Reasons You Need to Study Theology

by Nathan W. Bingham on February 25, 2009 · 10 comments · 744 views

Words such as theology and doctrine come with negative connotations for many Christians. This is a great tragedy, as I firmly believe every Christian needs to study theology to some degree in their Christian walk. Along with Andrew’s series on the importance of Biblical doctrine, there are many reasons why Christian’s need to study theology. In no particular order here are five reasons you need to study theology, and hopefully some of these you won’t have considered before.

  1. You’re a theologian already…
    Why do you need to study theology? Because theology isn’t something only a Professor of Theology has–we all believe something about God and therefore are theologians in our own right. However, what needs to be asked is whether what you believe is correct, and the study of theology can help answer that question.
  2. Your love for Jesus is intrinsically linked with your knowledge of His Word
    Why do you need to study theology? Because Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15) I heard someone remark that a certain Christian may not have been that great theologically, but that was okay because they really loved Jesus. However, Jesus says that if we love Him, we will obey what He commands. How can we obey Him if we don’t go to His Word to rightly know His commands?
  3. Your doctrine will determine how you live…
    Why do you need to study theology? Because what you believe (your doctrine) will determine how you live (your practice). This can be seen in everyday life. If you believe something to be poisonous, you simply won’t drink it. Similarly, your beliefs about God and His Word determine how you live day to day. For example if you believe God only speaks through His Word then you will study it diligently, however if you believe God speaks through impressions and the like, then you’ll listen for that still small voice. The aforementioned example drastically changes how a person goes about determining God’s will for their lives, and illustrates why you need to study theology.
  4. Your affections will determine what you study…
    Why do you need to study theology? Because what your affections are placed upon will determine what you spend your time studying. If your hobby is photography you will want to study the subject to know how to improve your photographs and to increase your love and appreciation for that pass-time. Likewise, if you’re a Christian and your primary affection is upon God, why would you not want to study His Word to increase your love and appreciation for Him and His gospel?
  5. Your humility depends on it…
    Why do you need to study theology? Because without studying theology it is possible that you will think too highly of yourself, and not high enough of God. It is true that knowledge puffs up (1 Corinthians 8:1), however the Scriptures rightly understood and applied, will give you, for example, the knowledge of man’s utter depravity and wretchedness before God, and also of God’s magnificence, holiness, sovereignty and grace, which can only serve to send a true convert to his knees in humility.

May God be glorified as you study theology, humbly opening His Word with the desire to know more about His special revelation to man.

CAL.VINI.ST

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Are Violent Video Games Adequatey Preparing Our Children For The Post-Apocalytic Future?


Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Children For The Apocalypse?

Theos Survey: A Case of Unintelligent Design?

Steve Fuller

Andrew Sibley has drawn attention to the recent Theos survey of the UK public’s beliefs in evolution, creationism and intelligent design. Wearing my sociologist’s hat, one overriding conclusion comes through in this survey: It was very poorly designed. Theos should get its money back from the social researchers they hired.

Theos wants to give the impression that the public holds confused views about the various positions relating to the origins of life. In fact, Theos is the one confused. Have a look at how the various positions were described and what people thought of them. I’ve collapsed the statistics because I want to focus on the exact wording:

  1. Young Earth Creationism is the idea that God created the world sometime in the last 10,000 years. Is It True or False? T = 32% F = 60%
  2. Theistic Evolution is the idea that evolution is the means that God used for the creation of all living things on earth. Is It True or False? T = 44% F = 46%
  3. Atheistic Evolution is the idea that evolution makes belief in God unnecessary and absurd. Is It True or False? T = 34% F = 57%
  4. Intelligent Design is the idea that evolution alone is not enough to explain the complex structures of some living things, so the intervention of a designer is needed at key stages. Is It True or False? T = 51% F = 40%

Some things are striking about the wording:

(a) No position explicitly denies evolution, and no position explicitly mentions Darwin. If Theos was trying to figure out how many people do and do not believe that life evolved, or how many people do and do not believe that Darwin is right, they failed to ask the right questions.

(b) This point is relevant because even position (1) as stated is compatible with God working through evolution over a short timeframe. Moreover, the spread of support suggests that people hold hybrid versions of more than one view. The only position that is incompatible with the rest is (3), which explicitly denies God.

(c) In sum, this survey does not test people’s views about evolution’s role in life’s origins but it does test God’s role. And God wins by a 2:1 margin – with or without evolutionary accompaniment.

From Uncommon Descent

Dust My Broom - Elmore James

Nothing Less Than A New world

". . . so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 5:21


In Romans 5:12-21, Paul "is not saying merely that we have life for a time, after which life ends in death; nor is he aiming to explain the fact of such death. . . . What he is saying is rather that all that we call life . . . lies under the dominion of death. . . . Death rules supreme in this world. . . ." But since the resurrection of Christ "the new aeon has become actual fact in our world. Christ stands at the frontier between the two ages, outdating the old and blazing the way for the new. . . . In the new aeon, which burst upon man with the resurrection of Christ, life has come to dominion still more mightily."

Anders Nygren, Commentary on Romans, pages 22-23.

This life we live is not life. This life is a living death. This whole world is ruins brilliantly disguised as elegance. Christ alone is life. Christ has come, bringing his life into the wreckage called us. He has opened up, even in these ruins, the frontier of a new world where grace reigns. He is not on a mission to help us improve our lives here. He is on a mission to create a new universe, where grace reigns in life. He is that massive, that majestic, that decisive, that critical and towering and triumphant.

We don't "apply this to our lives." It's too big for that. But we worship him. And we boast in the hope of living forever with him in his new death-free world of grace.

Christ is deeper still

Mel Gibson in "The Colonel" on Jimmy Kimmel

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stupid Churches, Dumb Pastors

Is this Church advertising for a Justin Timberlake concert? Did I miss Jesus command to "Bring Sexy Back?" Was that in the gospels or in the 2nd book of "Let's Be Relevant?" Maybe it was in the book of "Were Trying Hard To Be Hip, Because we are tragically lame." I wonder if the Pastor has installed a hot tub on the platform so he can bring back Celebrity Hot Tub?



How about Preach The Word?

Reformed Theology vs. Reformed Culture

I like Reformed theology. I believe it's what the Bible teaches. But I don't like Reformed culture. I don't believe it's what the Bible teaches.

Reformed theology is all about grace deciding to treat people better than they deserve, for the sheer glory of it all. Sometimes Reformed culture doesn't look like that, feel like that, taste like that. It gives people exactly what they deserve, as judged by the Reformed person. But who exalted him as judge in the first place? Our true Judge stepped down to become our Friend. That theology of grace must translate into the sociology of grace as we treat one another better than anyone deserves, for the sheer glory of it all.

"If our theology does not quicken the conscience and soften the heart, it actually hardens both; if it does not encourage the commitment of faith, it reinforces the detachment of unbelief; if it fails to promote humility, it inevitably feeds pride."

J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness, page 15.

The False Assertion that Salvation can be Lost

The claim by some that a Christian can actually lose his or her salvation is a prime example of reading Christ out of the text, because the focus becomes your own moral ability rather than Christ. Some erroneously believe that a Christian, after being saved by Christ, can make certain choices that will lead to the loss of their adoption and justification, and thus, their salvation in Christ. In other words, they must, by their own effort, or with the Spirit's help, maintain their just standing before God. With such a view, Christ is not sufficient to save completely. Such a doctrine should immediately make us think of Paul's warning in Galatians: "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" (Gal 3:3) But why is Paul so stern as to call them foolish? Because they have forgotten that Christ and Christ alone has saved them. To think that we can add to Christ's perfect work is to utterly misapprehend the Gospel at its core. For, we ask, is it Jesus or something else which is sufficient to carry you to the end? Any addition to Jesus Christ is to believe that justification is found in something else has forgotten about the centrality of Christ.

So we ask in relation to this doctrine, is it Christ who saves us, or does He merely assist us so we may save ourselves? The warning passages in Hebrews actually warn against this very error. They start by pointing out that Jesus is superior to the angels, to Moses and to the Sacrificial System. The warnings of falling away are actually warnings about going back to something inferior to Christ, like the sacrificial system which only pointed to Christ. To read that a particular sin can make us lose our salvation, is thus, to utterly forget what the context of the Text in Hebrews itself is. So the assertion that a Christian can lose salvation is the first error that we have spotted that arises because Christ was seen as the ultimate interpretive presupposition, and thus, left out of the interpretation. Some other ultimate presupposition guided our exposition.

By John Hendryx

No Preconditions

"For this implicit faith and total resignation of ourselves to the adorable Providence of God, willing nothing but what he wills, and because he wills it, is a state of mind whose excellency I cannot represent to you; it . . . makes our weakness as serviceable to us as our strength . . . . Let me, therefore, entreat you to put on this temper; to lay hold of it with all your might; to make everything you hear or see or find in yourself, the world, religion, or Providence, so many fresh occasions of committing yourself to God by a faith without any bounds, a resignation without any reserve."

William Law, Works, IX:249-250.

Elmore James - Every Day I Have The Blues

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Realizing Your Age



This is a recent picture of my four children. On the left is Jeffery my youngest son who is 21 years old. Next is Jason second oldest son who is 28 years old. The youngest and apple of her dads eye is my daughter Jessica who is 17 years old and soon to graduate from high school. On the right is my oldest son Jeremy who is 32 years old. This is making me feel really old. I turn 59 in August and have come to realize just how short life really is. The other fact that has hit me is, dealing with children's problems are a piece of cake compared to dealing with the adult problems of your own children. I am looking forward to one of the kids getting married but I'm not sure which one. I'm not close to being a grand-father but I feel like one. The preacher said "Remember also your creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, I have no pleasure in them" and then he goes on to describe the body falling apart in old age. he concludes by saying "Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man." My own personal translation of this verse is "Know who's in charge and do what he says this is what it's all about."

Kind Hearted Woman Blues - Eric Clapton

This is an old Robert Johnson song, performed by Clapton in Japan in 2003.

Talking About Idolatry in a Postmodern Age Part 4

There is another reason we need a different definition of sin for postmodern people. They are relativists, and the moment you say, “Sin is breaking God’s moral standards,” they will retort, “Well, who is to say whose moral standards are right? Everyone has different ones! What makes Christians think that theirs are the only right set of moral standards?” The usual way to respond to this is to become sidetracked from your presentation of sin and grace into an apologetic discussion about relativism. Of course, postmodern people must be strongly challenged about their mushy view of truth, but I think there is a way to move forward and actually make a credible and convicting gospel presentation before you get into the apologetic issues. I do it this way, I take a page from Kierkegaard’s The Sickness Unto Death and I define sin as building your identity—your self-worth and happiness—on anything other than God. Instead of telling them they are sinning because they are sleeping with their girlfriends or boyfriends, I tell them that they are sinning because they are looking to their careers and romances to save them, to give them everything that they should be looking for in God. This idolatry leads to drivenness, addictions, severe anxiety, obsessiveness, envy of others, and resentment.

I have found that when you describe their lives in terms of idolatry, postmodern people do not offer much resistance. They doubt there is any real alternative, but they admit sheepishly that this is what they are doing. I have also found that this makes sin more personal. Making an idol out of something means giving it the love you should be giving your Creator and Sustainer. To depict sin as not only a violation of law but also of love is more compelling. Of course a complete description of sin and grace includes recognition of our rebellion against God’s authority. But I’ve found that if people become convicted about their sin as idolatry and mis-directed love, it is easier to show them that one of the effects of sin is to put them into denial about their hostility to God. In some ways, idolatry is like addiction writ large. We are ensnared by our spiritual idols just like people are ensnared by drink and drugs. We live in denial of how much we are rebelling against God’s rule just like addicts live in denial of how much they are trampling on their families and loved ones.

Source: The Gospel Coalition by Tim Keller

Monday, February 23, 2009

You Can't Fix Stupid

After stealing surveillance cameras from a Garden grove, California business, Howard Shanholtzer ditched the white Mitsubishi pickup truck cops knew he drove and stole another vehicle, "Unfortunately for him," said Detective Paul Danielson, "the car he stole was also a white Mitsubishi pickup truck." Shanholtzer was quickly arrested.

Robert Johnson-When You Got A Good Friend

The Lord's Prayer as Answers to the Lord's Questions

From J. I. Packer's Praying the Lord's Prayer:
We need to see that the Lord's Pray is offering us model answers to the series of questions God puts to us to shape our conversation with him. Thus:

What do you take me for, and what am I to you?

Our Father in heaven.

That being so, what is it that you really want most?

The hallowing of your name; the coming of your kingdom; to see your will known and done.

So what are you asking for right now, as a means to that end?

Provision, pardon, protection.

How can you be so bold and confident in asking for these things?

Because we know you can do it, and when you do it, it will bring you glory!
By the way, Packer also writes:
Three venerable formulae together add up to Christianity: the Apostle's Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord's Prayer, summarizing respectively the Christian way of believing, behaving, and communing with God.
Toward that end he's written three short studies: Affirming the Apostle's Creed, Keeping the Ten Commandments, and Praying the Lord's Prayer. I'd highly recommend all three. You can also find these studies in one volume: Growing in Christ.

Talking About Idolatry in a Postmodern Age Part 3

The biblical teaching about idolatry is particularly helpful for evangelism in a postmodern context. The typical way that Christians define sin is to say that it is breaking God’s law. Properly explained, of course, that is a good and sufficient definition. But the law of God includes both sins of omission and of commission, and it includes the attitudes of the heart as well as behavior. Those wrong attitudes and motivations are usually inordinate desires—forms of idolatry. However, when most listeners hear us define sin as “breaking God’s law” all the emphasis in their minds falls on the negative (sins of commission) and on the external (behaviors rather than attitudes.) There are significant reasons, then, that “law-breaking” isn’t the best way to first describe sin to postmodern listeners.

I ordinarily begin speaking about sin to a young, urban, non-Christian like this:

Sin isn’t only doing bad things, it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God. Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. Sin is primarily idolatry.

Why is this a good path to take?

First, this definition of sin includes a group of people that postmodern people are acutely aware of. Postmodern people rightly believe that much harm has been done by self-righteous religious people. If we say “sin is breaking God’s law” without a great deal of further explanation, it appears that the Pharisaical people they have known are ‘in’ and most other people are ‘out.’ Pharisees, of course, are quite fastidious in their keeping of the moral law, and therefore (to the hearer) they seem to be the very essence of what a Christian should be. An emphasis on idolatry avoids this problem. As Luther points out, Pharisees, while not bowing to literal idols, were looking to themselves and their moral goodness for their justification, and therefore they were actually breaking the first commandment. Their morality was self-justifying motivation and therefore spiritually pathological. At the bottom of all their law-keeping they were actually breaking the most fundamental law of all. When we give definitions and descriptions of sin to postmodern people, we must do so in a way that not only challenges prostitutes to change but also Pharisees.

Source: The Gospel Coalition by Tim Keller

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sermon Specs



Sacredsandwich.com

Disciplined Duty vs. the Lie of Legalism

John Piper:

But the hard truth is that most Christians don’t pray very much. They pray at meals—unless they’re still stuck in the adolescent stage of calling good habits legalism. They whisper prayers before tough meetings. They say something brief as they crawl into bed. But very few set aside set times to pray alone—and fewer still think it is worth it to meet with others to pray. And we wonder why our faith is weak. And our hope is feeble. And our passion for Christ is small.

And meanwhile the devil is whispering all over this room: “The pastor is getting legalistic now. He’s starting to use guilt now. He’s getting out the law now.” To which I say, “To hell with the devil and all of his destructive lies. Be free!” Is it true that intentional, regular, disciplined, earnest, Christ-dependent, God-glorifying, joyful prayer is a duty? . . . Is it a discipline?

You can call it that.

  • It’s a duty the way it’s the duty of a scuba diver to put on his air tank before he goes underwater.
  • It’s a duty the way pilots listen to air traffic controllers.
  • It’s a duty the way soldiers in combat clean their rifles and load their guns.
  • It’s a duty the way hungry people eat food.
  • It’s a duty the way thirsty people drink water.
  • It’s a duty the way a deaf man puts in his hearing aid.
  • It’s a duty the way a diabetic takes his insulin.
  • It’s a duty the way Pooh Bear looks for honey.
  • It’s a duty the way pirates look for gold.

I hate the devil, and the way he is killing some of you by persuading you it is legalistic to be as regular in your prayers as you are in your eating and sleeping and Internet use. Do you not see what a sucker he his making out of you? He is laughing up his sleeve at how easy it is to deceive Christians about the importance of prayer.

God has given us means of grace. If we do not use them to their fullest advantage, our complaints against him will not stick. If we don’t eat, we starve. If we don’t drink, we get dehydrated. If we don’t exercise a muscle, it atrophies. If we don’t breathe, we suffocate. And just as there are physical means of life, there spiritual are means of grace. Resist the lies of the devil in 2009, and get a bigger breakthrough in prayer than you’ve ever had.


Saved

Faith in the living God and his Son Jesus Christ is always the result of the new birth, and can never exist except in the regenerate. Whoever has faith is a saved man.
Charles Spurgeon from the sermon “Faith and Regeneration”

If salvation is the implantation of a new, infinite life in the soul, it must be a work of God. Self-caused effects can never rise above the character or qualities of their cause. "Flesh gives birth to flesh but the Spirit gives birth to Spirit," Jesus told Nicodemus. This saving grace cannot be caused by the creature, it can only come from God.
John Hannah from To God be the Glory (pg. 34-5)

The inward offer is a kind of spiritual enlightenment, whereby the promises are presented to the hearts of men, as it were, by an inward word.
William Ames

Bob Dylan - Saved (Live)

Music for a Sunday morning to get up to and start celebrating!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Outside Woman Blues- Doyle Bramhall II

Talking About Idolatry in a Postmodern Age - Part 2

All those who do not at all times trust God and do not in all their works or sufferings, life and death, trust in His favor, grace and good-will, but seek His favor in other things or in themselves, do not keep this [First] Commandment, and practice real idolatry, even if they were to do the works of all the other Commandments, and in addition had all the prayers, obedience, patience, and chastity of all the saints combined. For the chief work is not present, without which all the others are nothing but mere sham, show and pretense, with nothing back of them... If we doubt or do not believe that God is gracious to us and is pleased with us, or if we presumptuously expect to please Him only through and after our works, then it is all pure deception, outwardly honoring God, but inwardly setting up self as a false [savior].... (Part X. XI) Excerpts from Martin Luther, Treatise Concerning Good Works (1520).

Here Luther says that failure to believe that God accepts us fully in Christ—and to look to something else for our salvation—is a failure to keep the first commandment; namely, having no other gods before him. To try to earn your own salvation through works-righteousness is breaking the first commandment. Then he says that we cannot truly keep any of the other laws unless we keep the first law—against idolatry and works-righteousness. Thus beneath any particular sin is this sin of rejecting Christ-salvation and indulging in self-salvation.

Source: The Gospel Coalition by Tim Keller

How Can Jesus be the Only Way to God?

Why is Jesus the only way?
Every person is separated from God by their sin and in need of forgiveness. Because God is just as well as loving, we cannot cross this gulf and have a relationship with Him (eternal life) unless the penalty for our sin is paid--eternal death. If God did not judge our sin, He would no longer be just.

Living a good, moral life cannot save a person because good works do not pay the penalty for sin. Just as we can only pay a $50 speeding ticket with $50 (not by baking cookies for the judge or even paying $49), only death can pay the death penalty for sin. Being religious cannot save a person either, because religion does not pay the death penalty.

Fortunately, because of His love for us, God sent Jesus to die in our place to pay the death penalty we deserve for our sin. Jesus chose to do this because He loves us, and was the only one able to do this because He is fully God (He had to be infinite to pay the penalty for more than one person) and He is fully man (He had to be a sinless human to pay the penalty for a sinful human). Jesus is not only sinless, but He is 100% God and 100% man.

On the cross, God judged Jesus for our sin so that we wouldn't have to be. That's why He is the only way to God--only Jesus was willing and able to die for us to pay our death penalty, thus providing forgiveness for our sins. No one other religios leader has done this; no one else could have done this.

So now there are two options. Either a person can pay this penalty themselves--and so not be saved--or Jesus can pay it for them--and be saved. In both ways, God is just because the penalty is paid. The decision is ours to make, and all we need to do is accept God's offer of forgiveness in Jesus. Either we pay the penalty, or we trust Jesus to save us and He pays the penalty.

To summarize, we can receive forgiveness and eternal life only through Jesus because only He has taken away our sin and bridged the gulf between us and God. It took His death to pay the penalty for our sin. If there had been any other way, Jesus would not have died (Gal 2:21). Considering the sacrifice Jesus made, we should not think it is unfair that there is only one way, but we should be glad that there is any way at all.

by Matt Perman

Bob Dylan - Every Grain Of Sand - The Bootleg Series Vol. 3

Late Show Top Ten

Top Ten Things Hillary Clinton Wants To Accomplish On Her Trip Overseas

10. Exchange U.S. dollars for currency that's worth something
9. Win respect defeating Japan's top-ranked sumo wrestler
8. Shift world's perception of America from "hated" to "extremely disliked"
7. Personally thank all of her illegal campaign donors
6. Three words: stylish Indonesian pantsuits
5. Visit burial site of revered Chinese military leader, General Tso
4. Get drunk with that Japanese finance minister guy
3. Convince China to switch from lead-tainted products to mercury-tainted products
2. Catch Chinese screening of Benjamin Button entitled "The Strange Adventures of Freaky Grandpa Baby"
1. Pick up carton of duty-free smokes for Obama

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mose Allison - Your Mind Is On Vacation

I have sung this song many times. Most people to quote James Brown are just "Talking Loud and Saying Nothing".

Talking About Idolatry in a Postmodern Age

Whatever we worship we will serve, for worship and service are always inextricably bound together. We are “covenantal” beings. We enter into covenant service with whatever most captures our imagination and heart. It ensnares us. So every human personality, community, thought-form, and culture will be based on some ultimate concern or some ultimate allegiance—either to God or to some God-substitute. Individually, we will ultimately look either to God or to success, romance, family, status, popularity, beauty or something else to make us feel personally significant and secure, and to guide our choices. Culturally we will ultimately look to either God or to the free market, the state, the elites, the will of the people, science and technology, military might, human reason, racial pride, or something else to make us corporately significant and secure, and to guide our choices.

No one grasped this better than Martin Luther, who ties the Old Testament and New Testament together remarkably in his exposition of the Ten Commandments. Luther saw how the Old Testament law against idols and the New Testament emphasis on justification by faith alone are essentially the same. He said that the Ten Commandments begin with two commandments against idolatry. It is because the fundamental problem in law-breaking is always idolatry. In other words, we never break the other commandments without first breaking the law against idolatry. Luther understood that the first commandment is really all about justification by faith, and to fail to believe in justification by faith is idolatry, which is the root of all that displeases God.

by Tim Keller

Fix Your Attention On God

1-2 So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Romans 12:1-2 The Message

On The Money

"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself"
Mark Twain

"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have"
Thomas Jefferson

"In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, three or more is a congress"
John Adams

Me And My Fender Stratocaster



I own a few guitars but this is my favorite. I love playing the blues on this guitar, it sings.

Static,Not Moving, Inactive Christians

"We are unlike the Christians of New Testament times. Our approach to life is conventional and static; theirs was not. The thought of safety first was not a drag on their enterprise as it is ours. By being exuberant, unconventional and uninhibited in living by the gospel they turned their world upside down, but you could not accuse us twentieth-century Christians of doing anything like that. Why are we so different? Why, compared with them, do we appear as no more than halfway Christians? Whence comes the nervous, dithery (nervous confused condition), take no risks mood that mars so much of our discipleship? Why are we not free from fear and anxiety to allow ourselves to go full stretch in following Christ?"
J. I. Packer, Knowing God pg 269

The answer to Packer's question is that we are afraid, we are ignorant of the cross and what Jesus did, we are not confident in our relationship with God because we are trusting in ourselves, we try to avoid the implications of following Christ, we are trying to live the American dream instead of kingdom living, we think the risks of discipleship are too great and were not going to do it, and we don't want to hear it so we avoid gospel preaching and settle for "Your best life Now".

The Divine Egotist -- Is God Arrogant, Selfish, or Megalomaniacal?

Is the God of the Bible the supreme egotist? That question arises when human beings contemplate the meaning of the truth that God does everything for the sake of his own glory. Is God then a megalomaniac?

Human beings are trapped in a human frame of reference. When we think of motivation, we inevitably start with our own self-conscious knowledge of our own motivations. For a human to seek his or her own glory is narcissism in purest form. Human egotism is constantly on display. And, if we are honest, we know that we seek our own glory as a reflex.

In reality, this is the essence of sin. Our desire for glory is inherently idolatrous and selfish. Paul describes this perfectly in Romans 1:22-23: "Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things." This exchange that robs God of his glory is the very heart of sin. We want the glory that is God's alone.

When we think of God, our reflex is to think in human terms. We are trapped in the knowledge that our efforts to glorify ourselves are perverse. Yet, if we are to think rightly of God, we must think in infinitely different terms, and the only way we can do this is by the gift of revelation. God must give us even the frame of reference with which we can think of him, and he does so in his Word.

To read the rest: AlbertMohler.com

Stevie Ray Vaughn - Crossfire

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dems In Denial

Is it God's Desire for All Men to Be Saved? by John Hendryx

“…This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” - 1 Tim 2: 3, 4

If God desires that all men be saved, but does not actually save all men, some might begin to question to what extent God's desires are genuine. For Him who is omnipotent, everything He desires lies within His power to achieve. This is extremely unlike you and me. I desire my friend's salvation, but I can't make it happen. There's actually very little that I can get through my own power (but this is, of course, where prayer comes in). God, however, can infallibly get everything He desires and accomplish anything He wills, according to His good pleasure. And yet, He doesn't get what He desires. What's the problem? Does His own decretive will overrule His desire? Clearly, He desires me to be more kind and gentle toward my wife. Equally clearly He desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. So, for someone who has the power to obtain His desires, why doesn't God apparently get what He wants? If we say that His desires are subject to (and lesser than) His decretive will, then we may wonder how genuine those desires really are.

Reasoning through the above data, the synergist concludes that the doctrine of unconditional election must be wrong, since this would mean that God has predetermined to graciously save some and leave others in their sin. Instead, if God really desires that all men be saved, the only logical explanation, in their mind, is that election (and therefore God's love) is conditioned on our faith. They further reason that if God desires all mankind's salvation and He doesn't, in fact, save them, even if its within His power, then the God of the Reformers (who teach election and regeneration unto faith) is schizophrenic and proven to be false. Can God genuinely desire AND act in ways that are inharmonious with His determination? Can He desire that my friend be saved and even act in such ways that he/she could be accused of "resisting the Holy Spirit" (1) and, yet at the same time, determine not to save him/her? On a surface level, this actually would appear to be a fairly reasonable argument, but when closely scrutinized, we discover it contains a fatal flaw since it actually turns out to reveal a weakness in the system of the person who raises the issue. In thinking that they have finally defeated the Reformed doctrine of election they actually end up exposing their own Achilles' heel.

To read the rest go here

If You've Ever Wondered



This preacher must be really bad. I've sat through some bad sermons but I don't think that I would call them Hell.
HT crummychurchsigns.blogspot.com

Baby got book- The remix

Baby Got Book (Buy-Her-a-Rock Remix)

Eric Clapton - Stones In My Passway

This is from Clapton's Robert Johnson sessions.For more get Clapton's CD Me and Mr. Johnson.

Is Smoking Sinful? Tim Challies

Years ago I was standing in the foyer of the church I attended at that time and a person who was new to the church came to me and, rather quietly, asked “What do you guys believe about smoking? Is it okay to smoke in this church?” I laughed a little, not because it was a stupid question but because the church had people from such a great diversity of backgrounds. We had heaps of ex-Catholics, a core of ex-Charismatics, a few long-time Baptists and so on. I told him I had no idea what the general consensus was but that I was sure that as long as he smoked outside no one would care too much. I was reminded of this a couple of days ago when a reader of the site asked if I’ve given much thought to the subject.

I know lots of Christians who smoke and it has never really caused me to examine the idea of a conflict between that action (or addiction) and their faith. But I know that for some people this is a significant stumbling block. They feel that the action of smoking reveals something about a person’s heart or even about his spiritual state.

To read the rest click here: challies.com

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Legalists Love Rules

“Legalists love to act like God by making rules. Legalists love rules about the rules. Legalists love rules about who gets to make the rules about the rules. Legalists love rules about who gets to enforce the rules made by the people whom the rules appointed to make the rules about the rules. Legalists really love rules about who gets to interpret the rules that rule. Legalists get perfectly euphoric when they get to enact the rules by punishing people who break the rules as interpreted by those appointed by the rules. In the end, legalists want to rule through rules and wield their rules like weapons to divide the church body into bloodied parts.”

-Mark Driscoll, Vintage Church pp. 143-144

How To Be Revival-Ready

"Spiritual pride is very apt to suspect others, but a humble saint is most jealous of himself. He is as suspicious of nothing in the world as he is of his own heart. The spiritually proud person is apt to find fault with other saints . . . and to be quick to notice their deficiencies. But the eminently humble Christian has so much to do at home, and sees so much evil in his own heart, and is so concerned about it, that he is not apt to be very busy with other hearts. . . . Pure Christian humility disposes a person to take notice of everything that is good in others, and to make the most of it, and to diminish their failings, but to give his eye chiefly on those things that are bad in himself."

Jonathan Edwards, "Thoughts on the Revival," in Works, I:399-400.

Robert Johnson - Me and the Devil Blues

Love Constraining to Obedience

Love Constraining To Obedience

No strength of nature can suffice
To serve the Lord aright;
And what she has she misapplies,
For want of clearer light.

How long beneath the law I lay
In bondage and distress;
I toiled the precept to obey,
But toiled without success.

Then to abstain from outward sin
Was more than I could do;
Now, if I feel its power within,
I feel I hate it too.

Then all my servile works were done
A righteousness to raise;
Now, freely chosen in the Son,
I freely choose his ways.

“What shall I do,” was then the word,
“That I may worthier grow?”
“What shall I render to the Lord?”
Is my inquiry now.

To see the law by Christ fulfilled,
And hear his pardoning voice,
Changes a slave into a child,
And duty into choice.

(The Poems of William Cowper, p. 70)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No. 1 Persecutor Of Christians

North Korea remains No. 1 for the seventh year in a row on a list of the world's worst persecutors of Christians. The Open Doors Watch List for 2008, released Feb. 3, ranks Saudi Arabia second and Iran third, noting that both countries are controlled by Shariah or Islamic law. Afghanistan, Somalia, and the Maldives are the next three on the list, followed by Yemen, Laos, Eritrea, and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan moved up three spots in the past year, according to Open Doors, as a result of increased activity by the Taliban. Somalia and Eritrea are new among the top 10, while Bhutan and China have dropped from the top-10 ranking to numbers 11 and 12, respectively.

Definitive and Progressive Sanctification

Definitive sanctification, as defined by John Frame, is "a once-for-all event, simultaneous with effectual calling and regeneration, that transfers us from the sphere of sin to the sphere of God’s holiness, from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God." Definitive sanctification marks us out (or separates us) as God’s chosen people – His treasured and covenantal possession (Acts 20:32; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; 6:11). So too, definitive sanctification redeems (or frees) us from the dominion (or slavery) of sin by uniting us to Christ, particularly in His death, resurrection and ascension. Sanctification, in this sense, refers to a decisive and radical break with the power and pleasures of sin.

Progressive sanctification, as defined by Wayne Grudem, is "a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives." According to John Frame, "We can think of sanctification as the outworking of the new life given in regeneration." It involves the gradual, incremental and (S)piritual work of both putting to death the remains of "indwelling sin" as well as putting on the likeness of Christ.

Obama's Elf

The Lord's Work In The Lord's Way

Chapter 4 of Francis Schaeffer's No Little People is entitled "The Lord's Work in the Lord's Way." The thesis is that "The Lord's work in the Lord's way is the Lord's work in the power of the Holy Spirit and not in the power of the flesh." Schaeffer argues that "the central problem of our age" is that "the church of the Lord Jesus Chris, individually or corporately, tending to do do the Lord's work in the power of the flesh rather than of the Spirit. The central problem is always in the midst of the people of God, not in the circumstances surrounding them" (p. 66).

Let us not think that waiting on the Lord will mean getting less done. The truth is that by doing the Lord's work in the Lord's way we will accomplish more, not less. You need not fear that if you wait for God's Spirit you will not get as much done as if you charge ahead in the flesh. After all, who can do the most, you or the God of Heaven and earth?Nor should we think that our role will be passive. The moving of the Holy Spirit should not be contrasted with either proper self-fulfillment or tiredness. To the contrary, both the Scriptures and the history of the church teach that if the Holy Spirit is working, the whole man will be involved and there will be much cost to the Christian. The more the Holy Spirit works, the more Christians will be used in battle, and the more they are used, the more there will be personal cost and tiredness. It is quite the opposite of what we might first think. People often cry out for the work of the Holy Spirit and yet forget that when the Holy Spirit works, there is always tremendous cost to the people of God--weariness and tears and battles. (p. 73). Let us resolve to embrace the cost as we carry the cross.
From Between Two Worlds

Eric Clapton plays Robert Johnson's Hell Hound on my trail

Monday, February 16, 2009

Some Of The Gang From The Old Neighborhood

That's my brother Pat on the right and I'm standing next to him. We lived on Braile near Pembroke, between 7 and 8 mile, Evergreen and Lasher in Detroit. Gary standing next to me added the text to the picture.


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DECONSTRUCTION

No emergents were killed in the making of this poster (Except a few who self-destructed)



Motivational Posters For The Post-Evangelical Chaos

Extreme Bible For Teens



Thus saith the Lord, verily, verily, help save the young people from the pollution of modern day translations by turning them to Authorized King James Bible the only bible used by the Apostle Paul!

If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day - Eric Clapton

Review: Chosen for Life by Sam Storms

Reviewed by Jeff Barrett

Clear. If one word could sum up Sam Storm’s work on the doctrine of divine election, it would be clear. Storms’ work was first published by Baker in 1987, but this revised and expanded edition published by Crossway in 2007 was my first encounter with Storms as an author.

The book begins with a brief parable about Jerry and Ed, plausibly fictitious, nineteen-year-old, identical twins with evidently identical lives until a mysterious distinction is revealed. This hypothetical relationship clearly grounds Storms’ proceeding discussion in the soil of life, and the author recalls his readers back to the story of Jerry and Ed to force an honest handling of an often theoretical topic.

Storms walks his readers thoroughly through the crucial biblical passages, devoting three chapters to the handling of Romans 9 alone. Further strengthening Chosen for Life are the two latter chapters which succinctly answer “Crucial Questions Concerning Election” as well as the appendices on problem passages in scripture, prayer and evangelism, and the justification of God’s eternal decrees. The author’s commitment to scriptural exegesis suites the humility of his language and commends his work to the mind of the reader. Those who agree – and those who are thus persuaded to agree – will be strengthened in their personal faith by confidence in God’s good sovereignty. Those who disagree will be called to pause and reflect deeply on their own grounds for confidence in God’s goodness.

From Reformation Theology

Sunday, February 15, 2009

meChurch

Divine Foreknowledge -- Quote by R.C. Sproul

God knows both the micro- and macro-dimensions of the entire universe. He numbers the very hairs of our heads. Not only does he know what we will do before we do it, but also he knows all the options we could have chosen at the moment. He knows all contingencies. Yet God’s knowledge of contingencies is not itself contingent. His foreknowledge is perfect and absolute. He is not a Great Chess Player who must wait to see what we will do, but he knows absolutely what we will do before we do it. Before a word is even formed on our lips, he knows it altogether. Thus Luther responds to Erasmus:

It is, then, fundamentally necessary and wholesome for Christians to know that God foreknows nothing contingently, but that He foresees, purpose, and does all things according to His own immutable, eternal and infallible will. This bombshell knocks “free-will” flat, and utterly shatter it; so that those who want to assert it must either deny my bombshell, or pretend not to notice it, or find some other way of dodging it…

…You insist that we would learn the immutability of God’s will, while forbidding us to know the immutability of His foreknowledge! Do you suppose that He does not will what He foreknows, or that He does not foreknow what He will? If he wills what He foreknows, His will is eternal and changeless, because His nature is so. From which it follows, by resistless logic, that all we do, however it may appear to us to be done mutably and contingently, is in reality done necessarily and immutable in respect of God’s will. For the will of God is effective and cannot be impeded, since power belongs to God’s nature; and His wisdom is such that He cannot be deceived. Since then His will is not impeded, what is done cannot but be done where, when, how, as far as, and by whom, He foresees and wills.


Quote from page 90 of Willing to Believe.by R.C. Sproul

Walkin' Thru The Park - Muddy Waters

In God's Hospital - Part 2

"In good hospitals, patients receive regular curative treatment as well as constant care, and the treatment determines in a direct way the form that the care will take. In God's hospital the course of treatment that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the permanent medical staff (if I dare so speak), are giving to each of us with a view to our final restoration to the fullness of the divine, is called sanctification. It is a process that includes on the one hand medication and diet (in the form of biblical instruction and admonition coming in various ways to the heart), and on the other hand tests and exercises (in the form of internal and external pressures, providentially ordered, to which we have to make active response). The process goes on as long as we are in this world, which is something that God decides in each case."
J.I. Packer, Rediscovering Holiness

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Lord Protect My Child - Bob Dylan

This song is an outtake from Infidels, a moving father's prayer that expresses a selfless concern for his child's future in a wicked world. While parents will always be understandably anxious about their children's future in the face of increasing global problems and crises, this song implies a strongly held faith that all will be well.

Obama - The First 100 Minutes



Only MAD magazine could capture this.

In God's Hospital

"We are all invalids in God's hospital. In moral and spiritual terms we are all sick and damaged, diseased and deformed, scared and sore, lame and lopsided, to a far, far greater extent than we realize. Under God's care we are getting better, but we are not yet well."

"Christians today can imagine themselves to be strong, healthy, and holy when, in fact, they are actually weak sick, and sinful in ways that are noticeable not just to their heavenly Father, but also to their fellow believers. Pride and complacency, however, blind us to this reality. We decline to be told when we are slipping; thinking we stand, we set ourselves up to fall, and predictably, alas, we do fall."
J.I Packer, Rediscovering Holiness

There is a lot of self deception in the body of Christ. Nobody wants to be honest about their condition, so they play the Christian game and lie to themselves and others, because the truth is to painful. The truth is that you can't fix yourself you can't heal yourself, you need help from God and others. The first step to healing is to begin to realize just how sick you are, and how desperately you need help. As Packer said we are all invalids in God's hospital some of us just don't know it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Red Wings On A Roll



Chris Draper is getting ready to shoot and score. These are great uniforms, theirs nothing like the red and white winged wheel. The Wings are on a 6 game winning streak, only 1 point behind San Jose for the lead in the Western Conference. Tonight they play at Columbus.

7 most self-delusional words from Nancy Pelosi

By Michelle Malkin • February 12, 2009 12:35 PM

Hill folks have just disseminated Nancy Pelosi’s “fact sheet” on the porkulus conference report.

I’ve uploaded the whole thing here.

The seven most self-delusional words in the document? Page 6:

“There are no earmarks or pet projects.”

What is Mercy Anyway?

The bible’s teaching on mercy is clear. Until God’s kingdom comes and everything broken is restored, there will continue to be suffering. As long as God chooses to give sinners one more opportunity to repent, the distress of living in a fallen world will continue. That is why mercy is an essential ingredient of any godly relationship. Mercy is what we have received and what we are called to give. Mercy is my commitment to live alongside you in this broken world even though I will suffer with you, for you, and because of you. I will do everything I can to relieve your distress.

Mercy means you expect suffering in your relationships and are willing to endure it.
Mercy means you are willing to live with the poor.
Mercy means you resist the temptation to favoritism.
Mercy means you are committed to persevere in hardship.
Mercy rejects a “personal happiness” agenda.
Mercy means you live with a commitment to forgive.
Mercy means you overlook minor offenses.
Mercy does not compromise what is morally right and true.
A commitment to mercy will reveal the treasures of your heart.

Pages 135-139 of Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp.

Eric Clapton - Tears In Heaven

The Politics Of Fear

My True Country

"Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same."
C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Luther On Music

“Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our thoughts, minds, hearts, and spirits…This precious gift has been given to man alone that he might thereby remind himself that God has created man for the express purpose of praising and extolling God. However, when man’s natural musical ability is whetted and polished to the extent that it becomes an art, then do we note with great surprise the great and perfect wisdom of God in music, which is, after all, His product and His gift; we marvel when we hear music in which one voice sings a simple melody, while three, four, or five other voices play and trip lustily around the voice that sings its simple melody and adorn this simple melody wonderfully with artistic musical effects, thus reminding us of a heavenly dance, where all meet in a spirit of friendliness, caress and embrace. A person who gives this some thought and yet does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God, must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs.”

J
ust another reason why I like Luther. It would have been great to have beer with him and talk about the bible. The man had a sense of humor.

Some Things Never Change

Almost 100 Years On And.....? The growth of ignorance in the Church is the logical and inevitable result of the false notion that Christianity is a life and not also a doctrine; if Christianity is not a doctrine then of course teaching is not necessary to Christianity. But whatever the causes for the growth of ignorance in the Church, the evil must be remedied. It must be remedied primarily by the renewal of Christian education in the family, but also by the use of whatever other educational agencies the Church can find. Christian education is the chief business of the hour for every earnest Christian man. Christianity cannot subsist unless men know what Christianity is...

J. Gresham Machen - Christianity & Liberalism (1923)

Need A Valentine's Day Gift?

B. B. King & Eric Clapton - The Thrill Is Gone

Your Father Knows What You Need

February 9, 2009 | By: John Piper
Jesus wants his followers to be free from worry. In Matthew 6:25-34 he gives at least seven arguments designed to take away our anxiety.

One of them lists food and drink and clothing, and then says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” (Matthew 6:32).

Do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (vv. 31-32).

Jesus must mean that God’s knowing is accompanied by his desiring to meet our need. He is emphasizing we have a Father. And this Father is better than an earthly father.

I have five children. I love to meet their needs. But my knowing falls short of God’s in at least three ways.

  • Right now I don’t know where any of them is. I could guess. They’re in their homes or at work or school, healthy and safe. But they might be lying on a sidewalk with a heart attack.
  • I don’t know what is in their heart at any given moment. I can guess from time to time. But they may be feeling some fear or hurt or anger or lust or greed or joy or hope. I can’t see their hearts.
  • I don’t know their future. Right now they may seem well and steady. But tomorrow some great sorrow may befall them.

This means I can’t be for them a very strong reason for not worrying. There are things that may be happening to them now or may happen tomorrow that I do not even know about.

But it is totally different with their Father in heaven. He knows everything about them now and tomorrow, inside and out. He sees every need.

Add to that, his huge eagerness to meet their needs (the “much more” of Matt. 6:30). Add to that his complete ability to do what he is eager to do (he feeds billions of birds hourly, Matt. 6:26).

So join me and my children in trusting the promise of Jesus to meet our needs. That’s what Jesus is calling for when he says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Small Wonders

Do you matter to God? | Vern S. Poythress

Consider. The largest object visible to the naked eye is a small patch of light in the night sky, known as the Andromeda nebula. It is actually a galaxy, quite close by as galaxies go: about 10 quintillion miles away (1 followed by 19 zeros), and something like 600 quadrillion miles across. You get the idea.

No you don't, and neither do I, because these sizes are just too large for our minds to grasp. Fortunately, courtesy of the internet, you can today enjoy photographs of such astronomical wonders.

God made it all. He made it beautiful, breathtakingly so. And He made it big. He threw out galaxies like sand, as far out as the Hubble telescope can see. Today we can contemplate the immensity of God's power in a way that people of previous centuries could not have imagined.

Does it make you feel small? You should feel small. You are smaller within the Milky Way Galaxy than a single mote of dust is in comparison to you. If there were no God, you would be lost in the cosmos.

But God is there, as the beauty and immensity of this universe testify. So now you may think, not only are you totally unimportant, but God must be ignoring you in order to take care of Andromeda.

Jesus said, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:29-31). God does not reckon importance by size. He is infinitely great, and so He is not impressed merely by physical dimensions. In His greatness He has time and energy for what is small. He has time for you. He even has time for each of the hairs on your head.

Do you want to know about God's care for your hair? Hair is made of a protein called keratin. Wikipedia explains: "Keratins have large amounts of the sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine, required for the disulfide bridges that confer additional strength and rigidity by permanent, thermally-stable crosslinking." So God has thoughtfully engineered your hair for toughness—down to the molecular level.

The most remarkable instance of God's concern for apparently small people has been around even before the dawn of modern science. God Himself came to Earth, and became man. "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). Jesus Christ came and even died because God cared. And Jesus is God. That is the most awesome of all wonders, dwarfing the Andromeda Galaxy in its splendor. God came to this galaxy, to this planet Earth, and became man. And for whom did He care? Not only the proud and mighty but lepers, lame people, infants, the blind, and a demon-possessed man so tormented that he lived naked among the tombs. After healing him, Jesus said, "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you" (Luke 8:39).

Does God care for you? Listen to His commitment to those who come to Him through Christ:

"If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (Romans 8:31-35).

So, when you look at the night sky, remember that the God who displays His majesty there has committed Himself to you.

ShamWow! Prayer Cloth

B.B. King & Jeff Beck - Key To The Highway

Are You a Sink or a Faucet Christian?

There are two kinds of Christians.

“Sink Christians” view salvation like they would a sink. The water of salvation flows into the sink so that Christians can soak up all the benefits: eternal life, assurance in the present, strength in times of trial. Those who adopt this mindset concentrate solely on what the Bible says God has done and will do for them.

“Faucet Christians” view salvation differently. They look at the world as the sink and themselves as the faucet. The blessings of salvation flow to them in order to flow through them out to the wider world. They rightly see that the Bible describes salvation as something that God not only does for them, but also through them.

- a quote from Trevin Wax's forthcoming book, Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Economic Apocalyse - The New Raw Deal

Glen Beck Interviews Thomas Woods author of "Meltdown" and Burton Folsom author of "New Deal Raw Deal. Take a few minutes and listen.

Lord We Pray

God grant that the kingdom of Jesus Christ may grow in his Church on earth, God hasten the end of the kingdoms of this world, and establish his own kingdom in power and glory!
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost Of Discipleship

When you pray that the will of God be done on earth as it is in heaven, envision conflict being resolved, marriages and families healed, truth told and people faithful to one another, initiatives that break through the vicious cycles of retaliation, and love that creates new community among people through forgiveness, reconciliation, and peacemaking.
Glen H. Stassen, Living the Sermon on the Mount

God's knigdom is not a place, but rather a relationship. It exists wherever people enthrone Jesus as Lord of their lives.
J.I. Packer, Growing In Christ

Prosperity Gospel on Skid Row

Difficulties of high-profile pastors may reorient movement—or reinforce it.
Some of the high-flying icons of the prosperity gospel—the belief that God rewards signs of faith with wealth, health, and happiness—have run into financial turbulence.Not all of their troubles can be blamed on the nation's economic crisis, say critics of the name-it-and-claim-it theology found in some charismatic churches."I believe the charismatic movement, of which I am a part, is in the midst of a dramatic overhaul," said J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine. "God is shaking us." Grady predicts the movement will look much different in a few years as it refocuses on evangelism and overcoming what he calls the distraction of "materialism, flashy self-promotion, and foolish carnality." But Scott Thumma, a Hartford Seminary sociologist who studies megachurches, is not so certain."Most clergy who preach a prosperity gospel would interpret for their congregation any conflict, scrutiny, or questioning as an attack of the Devil and proof that they are following God," he said. Among recent developments:

• In Fort Worth, Texas, a review board ruled December 7 that Kenneth Copeland Ministries' $3.6 million jet did not have tax-exempt status. The ruling came after the ministry, whose 1,500-acre campus includes a $6 million church-owned lakefront mansion, refused to release the salaries of Copeland, his wife, and others.

• In suburban Atlanta, Georgia, a sheriff's deputy served an eviction notice November 14 at Bishop Thomas Weeks III's Global Destiny Church. Court documents indicate the bishop, the ex-husband of televangelist Juanita Bynum, owed half a million dollars in back rent. The church has lost roughly half of its 3,400 members since Weeks and Bynum's 2007 fight in a hotel parking lot, in which Weeks was accused of pushing, choking, and beating his then-wife.

• In Tampa, Florida, Without Walls International Church—which once attracted 23,000 worshipers—has shrunk drastically after co-pastors Randy and Paula White announced in 2007 they were divorcing. The church faces an uncertain future after the Evangelical Christian Credit Union began foreclosure proceedings November 4 and demanded repayment of a $12 million loan on the church's property.

• In suburban Minneapolis on November 18, Living Word Christian Center pastor Mac Hammond won the first stage of a court battle with the Internal Revenue Service to keep his salary private. Yet in 2008, he was forced to put his private jet up for sale and cut Living Word's hour-long television show in half to save money amid falling contributions.

Meanwhile, Copeland and the Whites are among six televangelists whose large organizations have been targeted in a Senate Finance Committee investigation into allegations of questionable spending and lax financial accountability. All six preach some form of the prosperity gospel.

Could followers of the prosperity gospel—encouraged by pastors to "sow a seed" of faith by spending money, often in the form of a donation to the pastors' ministries—be turned off by the recent turmoil?

Craig Blomberg, author of a 2001 study of prosperity theology, said he expects the movement to "take a small hit among those who recognize that it can't deliver on what it promises."

But many followers could view the financial difficulties as consequences for sin and personal failings—from Weeks's assault conviction to the Whites' divorce—and determine to try that much harder to please God and prosper themselves, he suggested.

"Some may well interpret this as judgment on the leaders who have abused their positions or proved immoral in other respects," said Blomberg, a New Testament professor at Denver Seminary. "And many may simply assume this is the time to call others and themselves to an even truer faith so that the 'system will work' as it is supposed to in their minds."

In Grady's view, the notion that "God blesses us so we can be a blessing" is biblical. What is needed, he believes, is a shift to a more selfless movement where people "realize that God wants to bless us so that we can feed the poor, lift up the broken, and transform society. "We need that kind of prosperity," he said, "and I think that is where things are going."

From Christianity Today

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee - Key to the Highway

A Simple Explanation of Monergism

By John Hendryx

Monergism simply means that it is God who gives ears to hear and eyes to see. It is God alone who gives illumination and understanding of His word that we might believe; It is God who raises us from the dead, who circumcises the heart; unplugs our ears; It is God alone who can give us a new sense that we may, at last, have the moral capacity to behold His beauty and unsurpassed excellency. The apostle John recorded Jesus saying to Nicodemus that we naturally love darkness, hate the light and WILL NOT come into the light (John 3:19, 20). And since our hardened resistance to God is thus seated in our nature and affections, only God, by His grace, can lovingly change, overcome and disarm our rebellious disposition. The natural man, apart from the quickening work of the Holy Spirit, will not come to Christ on his own since he is at enmity with God and cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor 2:14; Rom 8:7).

Shining a light into a blind man's eyes will not enable him to see, for sight first requires healthy eyes or some restoration of his visual faculty. Likewise, reading or hearing the word of God itself cannot elicit saving faith in the reader (or hearer) unless the Spirit first "germinates" the seed of the word in the heart (1 Thess 1:5), which then infallibly gives rise to our faith and union with Christ. The problem here is not with the Word or God's Law but with man's corrupt and prideful heart. As an example of how the Spirit uses the means of the spoken word to disarm closed hearts, the Book of Acts records the work of the Holy Spirit during the preaching of the apostles and, in one instance, states that "the Lord opened her [Lydia's] heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul," (Acts 16:14). The Spirit must likewise give all His people spiritual life and understanding if their hearts are to be opened and thus respond to Christ in faith.

Definition
The Century Dictionary's definition of monergism may be helpful:

"In theology, [monergism is] the doctrine that the Holy Spirit is the only efficient agent in regeneration [the new birth] - that the human will possesses no inclination to holiness until regenerated [born again], and therefore cannot cooperate in regeneration."

Etymology
The word "monergism" consists of two main parts. The Greek prefix "mono" signifies "one", "single", or "alone" while the suffix "ergon" means "to work". Taken together it means "the work of one".

Very simply, then, monergism is the doctrine that our new birth (or "quickening") is the work of God, the Holy Spirit alone, with no contribution of man, since the natural man, of himself, has no desire for God and cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor 2:14, Rom 3:11,12; Rom 8:7; John 3:19, 20). Man remains resistant to all outward callings of the gospel until the Spirit comes to disarm us, call us inwardly and implant in us new holy affections for God. Our faith comes about only as the immediate result of the Spirit working faith in us in the hearing of the proclamation of the word. But just as God does not force us to see against our will when He gives us physical eyes, so God does not force us to believe against our will when giving us spiritual eyes. God gives the gift of sight and we willingly exercise it.

Application
Monergism strips us of all hope to ourselves, reveals our spiritual bankruptcy apart from Christ, and thus leads us to give all glory to God alone for our salvation. As long as we think we contributed something, even a little bit (like good intentions) then we still think deep down that God saves us for something good he sees in us over our neighbor. But this is clearly not the case. Only Jesus makes us to differ from anyone else. We are all sinners and can boast in nothing before God, including the desire for faith in Christ (Phil 1:29, Eph 2:8, 2 Tim 2:25). For why do we have faith and not our neighbor? Please consider that. Did we make better use of God's grace than he did? Were we smarter? More sensitive? Do some naturally love God? The answer is 'no' to all of the above. It is God's grace in Christ that makes us to differ from our neighbor and God's grace alone that gave rise to our faith, not because we were better or had more insight. No other element but Jesus mercy alone.

When the Spirit enables us to see that we fail to live up to God's holy law, man will utterly despair of himself. Then, as C.H. Spurgeon said:

"... the Holy Spirit comes and shows the sinner the cross of Christ, gives him eyes anointed with heavenly eye-salve, and says, "Look to yonder cross. That Man died to save sinners; you feel you are a sinner; He died to save you." And then the Holy Spirit enables the heart to believe, and come to Christ."

To conclude, "...no one can say, 'Jesus is Lord', except by the Holy Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12:3) . ...who is the deposit guaranteeing what is to come (2 Corinthians 5:5). Thus it should become plain to us that not everyone receives this redemptive blessing from Christ. God bestows it mercifully on whom He will according to His sovereign good pleasure (Rom 9:15-18; Eph 1:4, 5). The rest will continue in their willful rebellion, making choices according to their natural desires and thus receive the wrath of God's justice. That is why it is called "mercy" - not getting what we deserve. If God were obligated to give it to all men then, by definition, it would not longer be mercy. This should not surprise us ... what should surprise us is God's amazing love, that He would save a sinner like me at all.