Tuesday, June 30, 2009
This objection aims to dismiss your truth-claims as overrated. It's a strategy for leveling out all assertions as no more than mere personal opinions: "You say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to."
Here are some things to keep in mind.
One, stay focused on what C. S. Lewis called "mere Christianity" -- the core truths of the gospel that are super-clear in the Bible. Avoid pet doctrines and denominational nuances. Your unbelieving friend might be throwing this objection out there because you really are advocating just a personal hunch.
Two, validate the objection, then neutralize it. "Sure, there's interpretation in what I'm saying. But no one can know anything without interpreting it, without running it through the sieve of personal understanding. It's like the sunlight shining through a stained-glass window. The colors show up, but the light is still real and the sun is really out there. So okay, you're getting the gospel through me, and I'm not very good at this. Big deal. The point is, it isn't JUST my interpretation. There is truth in what I'm saying."
Three, make the truth personal, and offer it personally to your friend. "I always have to watch myself, to minimize the distortion-factor in my thinking about Christ. So, thank you for reminding me of that. But here's what I can't get away from. As I read the Bible, the reality of Christ comes storming through to me so clearly I just can't dismiss that power as an 'interpretation.' I have to deal with him, because he's dealing with me. If you'd rather keep it safe, at the level of 'interpretation,' I don't blame you. He is totally rocking my world. But here's where I come down. I'd rather have him messing with me than lose him by treating him as an abstraction. His love is the only good thing in my life I'll keep forever. Want to talk about that? Want to talk about what he can mean to you too?"
Monday, June 29, 2009
[sim’-uhl yoos’-tuhs et peck’-aw-tore]
(Latin simul, “simultaneous” + Latin justus, “righteous” + Latin et, “and” + Latin peccator, “sinner”)
At the same time righteous and a sinner. The phrase was coined by 16th century German Reformer, Martin Luther. In his Lectures on Romans, Luther put it this way, “The saints in being righteous are at the same time sinners; they are righteous because they believe in Christ whose righteousness covers them and is imputed to them, but they are sinners because they do not fulfill the Law and are not without sinful desires. They are like sick people in the care of a physician: they are really sick, but healthy only in hope and in so far as they begin to get better, or, rather: are being healed.”
Unbelief says:Some other time, but not now;Faith says:
some other place, but not here;
some other people, but not us.Anything He did anywhere else He will do here;With our
anything He did any other time He is willing to do now;
anything He ever did for other people He is willing to do for us!feet on the ground,we walk out in this fullness of the Spirit, if we will yield and obey.
and our head cool,
but with our heart ablaze with the love of God,
God wants to work through you!
The Counselor has come, and He doesn't care about the limits oflocality,The Body of Christ is bigger than all of these.
The question is:
Will you open your heart?
Saturday, June 27, 2009
The disciples ought to have recognized Jesus, they had heard His voice so often, and gazed upon that marred face so frequently, that it is amazing that they did not know Him. Yet is it not so with you also? Have you seen Jesus lately? You have been to His table--and you have not met Him there. You are in a dark trouble, and though He plainly says, "It is I--do not be afraid," yet you do not recognize Him. Alas! our eyes are blinded! We know His voice; we have looked into His face; we have leaned our head upon His bosom--and yet, though Christ is very near us, we are saying, "O that I knew where I might find Him!"
We should know Jesus, for we have the Scriptures to reflect His image. Yet how frequently we open that precious book--and have no glimpse of our Well-beloved! Dear child of God, are you in that state? Jesus walks through the glades of Scripture, and desires to commune with His people. Yet you are in the garden of Scripture--but cannot see Him, though He is always there!
Make it your prayer, "Lord, open my eyes--that I may see my Savior present with me!" It is a blessed thing to desire to see Him. But oh! it is better far to gaze upon Him! To those who seek Him--He is kind; but to those who find Him--He is precious beyond expression!
Martin Luther, quoted in Alister E. McGrath, Christian Spirituality: An Introduction, pages 158-159.
A summary of teachings that are attributed to 17th century Dutch theologian Jacob Arminius. Arminian theology took issue with the teachings of John Calvin on 5 points, articulated in the Five articles of Remonstrance of 1610. The doctrines can be summarized as universal (prevenient) grace, conditional election, unlimited atonement, resistible grace, and uncertainty of perseverance. This eventually led to the Synod of Dort of 1618-1619, which resulted in the State church upholding what later became the 5 Points of Calvinism, while condemning Arminianism. Arminian theology later received official toleration by the State and has since continued in various forms within Protestantism.
Friday, June 26, 2009
"Behold, I am making all things new." Revelation 21:5
See Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present, page xvi.
So the king is dead. What a sad end to a sad life; a pathetic end to a pathetic life (by which I mean to use pathetic in its true sense as “arousing pity and sympathy). I don’t know that I have ever seen, in one man, such a combination of self-love and self-loathing, shocking narcissism combined with equally shocking self-hatred. Truly Michael Jackson was unparalleled.
Andrew Sullivan offered a few interesting thoughts.
There are two things to say about him. He was a musical genius; and he was an abused child. By abuse, I do not mean sexual abuse; I mean he was used brutally and callously for money, and clearly imprisoned by a tyrannical father. He had no real childhood and spent much of his later life struggling to get one. He was spiritually and psychologically raped at a very early age - and never recovered. Watching him change his race, his age, and almost his gender, you saw a tortured soul seeking what the rest of us take for granted: a normal life.
But he had no compass to find one; no real friends to support and advise him; and money and fame imprisoned him in the delusions of narcissism and self-indulgence. Of course, he bears responsibility for his bizarre life. But the damage done to him by his own family and then by all those motivated more by money and power than by faith and love was irreparable in the end. He died a while ago. He remained for so long a walking human shell.
I loved his music. His young voice was almost a miracle, his poise in retrospect eery, his joy, tempered by pain, often unbearably uplifting. He made the greatest music video of all time; and he made some of the greatest records of all time. He was everything our culture worships; and yet he was obviously desperately unhappy, tortured, afraid and alone.
I grieve for him; but I also grieve for the culture that created and destroyed him. That culture is ours’ and it is a lethal and brutal one: with fame and celebrity as its core values, with money as its sole motive, it chewed this child up and spat him out.
I hope he has the peace now he never had in his life. And I pray that such genius will not be so abused again.
From beginning to end, Jackson led a tortured life and he led much of it in full view of the public. As much as he was secretive, being whisked about behind masks and tinted windows, the sheer volume of cameras and the unending interest in his life meant that his every step was recorded. We saw him change his skin color, change his face, and almost change his gender. Through it all, we gasped at his obvious self-loathing, expressed in his desire to change everything he is and was and manifested in his increasingly bizarre behavior. He was a tortured soul and I doubt we can even imagine what was going on inside that increasingly twisted heart, that increasingly conflicted mind.
Michael Jackson was in so many ways a product of this sick celebrity culture (that he helped create) that will never rest satisfied until it has both created and then destroyed the newest celebrity. We want our celebrities to start strong and finish weak, to begin with a bang and then fizzle, pop and sputter, all for our enjoyment and entertainment (Susan Boyle stands as the most recent example of this). Jackson gave us so much to talk about, so much to enjoy. More than any other celebrity he embodied the “vanities” of Ecclesiastes. He was at one time known for what he did so well and then was known for being a freak; he was at one time fantastically wealthy and then utterly broke; he was once loved and then despised. He had it all and yet, it seemed, he had nothing. All of it was meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Andrew Sullivan ended his reflection on Jackson by saying, “I hope he has the peace now he never had in his life.” I hope the same. Truly, I do. I never cared much for Michael Jackson. I listened to his music occasionally in life but, after losing my childhood collection of 45’s, I didn’t ever buy one of his songs or albums. But it was impossible to miss him completely as even decades after the peak of his fame, his face was often in the news and even a simple skim of the headlines would show that his strangeness was increasing year-by-year. Through all of this I haven’t ever hoped for much on his behalf. But I hope now that he has finally found peace. Sadly, though, his life showed no evidence that he had found the One who is peace, the one who offers true peace. And if that is the case, the true horror of it all is that Jackson will spend all of eternity in the same twisted mind that tortured him for most of the fifty years he was given here. Those fifty years seemed to drive him to the brink of utter insanity; the thought of an eternity in that state is too horrific to imagine. We may like to think that death inevitably brings peace to a tortured existence. But Scripture gives us no reason to find hope except in the One who offers hope by saying “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” May you find that rest today so you can enjoy that rest eternally.
As you shrink from the Frankenstein shock of Jackson's visage, reflect: mankind was created in God's image (Genesis 1:26-28), and still bears that image (Genesis 9:6). But in seeking to take God's place and make themselves gods (Genesis 3), our foreparents did to their whole beings what Michael Jackson did to his face: they horridly disfigured themselves and all of us, leaving a repulsive mockery of what we were meant to be.
The only solution for us is not a succession of endeavors to remake ourselves. Each attempt leaves a worse spectacle than the previous, and moves us further from what we truly need.
The only solution for us is the solution to which Michael Jackson never submitted himself, as far as is known: to be born anew, under the good hand of our Creator. We do not need new faces. We need new natures. We need the miracle of regeneration, not the tragedy of manmade makeovers.
And this can only come through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Anonymous people from at least six continents pass through these pages every day. My prayer for you, whoever you are, is that you will take your hurts and brokenness and crimes against God to the only place when you can find forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation: to the Lord Jesus Christ.
By Dan Phillips, ToRead The Rest
Thursday, June 25, 2009
C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, chapter 8.
I believe the Lord takes every one of his children to this place of bare trust in his Word. Without it, we would remain shallow. Through it, we emerge more deeply surrendered to God as God, more deeply settled and quietly certain and surprisingly satisfied.
I also believe that many of us are in that place of intense pressure right now.
God will keep us.
by Christina Hoff Sommers
A "man-cession." That's what some economists are starting to call it. Of the 5.7 million jobs Americans lost between December 2007 and May 2009, nearly 80 percent had been held by men. Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan, characterizes the recession as a "downturn" for women but a "catastrophe" for men.
Men are bearing the brunt of the current economic crisis because they predominate in manufacturing and construction, the hardest-hit sectors, which have lost more than 3 million jobs since December 2007. Women, by contrast, are a majority in recession-resistant fields such as education and health care, which gained 588,000 jobs during the same period. Rescuing hundreds of thousands of unemployed crane operators, welders, production line managers, and machine setters was never going to be easy. But the concerted opposition of several powerful women's groups has made it all but impossible. Consider what just happened with the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Last November, President-elect Obama addressed the devastation in the construction and manufacturing industries by proposing an ambitious New Deal-like program to rebuild the nation's infrastructure. He called for a two-year "shovel ready" stimulus program to modernize roads, bridges, schools, electrical grids, public transportation, and dams and made reinvigorating the hardest-hit sectors of the economy the goal of the legislation that would become the recovery act.Women's groups were appalled. Grids? Dams? Opinion pieces immediately appeared in major newspapers with titles like "Where are the New Jobs for Women?" and "The Macho Stimulus Plan."
Read The Rest
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
John R. W. Stott, What Christ Thinks of the Church, page 33.
More than 98% of supposedly natural and environmentally friendly products on US supermarket shelves are making potentially false or misleading claims, Congress has been told. And 22% of products making green claims bear an environmental badge that has no inherent meaning, said Scot Case, of the environmental consulting firm TerraChoice.
The study of nearly 4,000 consumer products found "greenwashing" in nearly every product category – from a lack of verifiable information to outright lies.
Even the experts are confused. Case, whose firm runs its own Ecologo certification programme, admitted he had bought a refrigerator only to find it failed to meet its claims of energy efficiency.
I believe that we have another case of "A sucker is born every minute"
"Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out.
Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible?
If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything — God and our friends and ourselves included — as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred."
This certainly applies in politics, doesn't it? When George W. Bush was President, he was demonized daily by those who thought virtually everything he did was utterly scandalous and terrible. And now many conservatives--including, ahem, many Christians--are returning the favor with President Obama.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I was blessed to have known Bob, and while he was not in the States very much his life had quite an impact on me. In your lifetime you can count on one hand the number of great men that have crossed your path, Bob was one of those men.
Deborah Schaeffer Middelmann, regarding her father Francis Schaeffer, quoted in Colin Duriez, Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life, page 203.
Describes the “emptying” of Christ at the incarnation. The Greek word kenoo (”to empty”) is found in Phil 2:6-11 where Christ humility is described through the incarnation. Debate exists concerning the meaning of the Kenosis. Did Christ lose divine attributes and thus “empty” himself, or did he give up rights for the independent use of his divine attributes, without actually giving them up? Most theologians would opt for the latter, believing that if Christ “lost” divine attributes he would no longer be divine; indeed, he would never have been divine in the first place considering the essential divine attribute of immutability (the inability to change in essence).
Monday, June 22, 2009
This couldn't be more wrong. The only way to stop worrying and enjoy life is by knowing and believing there is a God and that in his great mercy he sent his son Jesus to die on the cross and take your sin and give you the gift of eternal life.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Jonathan Edwards, "Heaven is a world of love," Charity and its Fruits, pages 327-328.
Saturday was a busy day, we had my daughter Jessica's Graduation open house at my sister Sally's house, in South Lyon. After a night of monster rain we had a beautiful muggy day with plenty of sunshine and a nice breeze.That's my mom who just turned 85, then Jessica and on the right is my sister Sally.
Friday, June 19, 2009
A silly scenario? Yes, of course! But lets think about this as it relates to man's condition outside of Christ. He is not vibrant and healthy; nor merely under the weather a little, and not just extremely sick about to breathe his last breath. God says that man is actually dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). The Greek word for dead here is necros, meaning dead like a corpse. There are no signs of spiritual life. It is a hopeless case.
Continue reading "No Degrees of Deadness" »
Thursday, June 18, 2009
We might try to fill the voids we so deeply feel by doing bad things or by doing good things. When we salve the ache in our hearts, which only God himself can satisfy, by doing good things, we then feel proud and think God owes us and we get angry when he doesn't fork over. When we salve the ache within by doing bad things, we feel shamed and think God despises us and slink away from him in bitterness and cynicism. But we are the ones complicating our souls.
Filling the void with anything but God is a sin. Sin can involve doing a good thing, or sin can involve doing a bad thing. But only God can comfort us. Only God can fill our souls with the magnitude of the One we long for. And he does, freely, on terms of grace. "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God." 1 Peter 3:18
To be empty and disappointed and brokenhearted does not disqualify you from God. It means God is near, if you'll have him.
Russell D. Moore on the Good Father’s Quiet Desperation
Somebody please help me. I’m really, really depressed, and I don’t know what to do. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know I was depressed until a new study came out, and I’m at high, high risk. An article by Vanderbilt and Florida State sociology professors, based on data from the National Survey of Families and Households, has concluded that parents are more susceptible to depression than non-parents.
According to the Sacramento Bee’s report, “Parents experience significantly higher levels of depression than grown-ups who don’t have children.”
I still thought I was okay, since I’m a reasonably happy man. That is, until I saw the definition of the problem. According to the Bee: “The researchers suggest that worry is a lifelong cost of having children.” And don’t think it gets better when they leave the house: “Parents of grown children (whether they live at home or have moved out) and parents without custody of minor children exhibit more signs of depression than other parents.”
To read the rest go Here
"The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self—all your wishes and precautions—to Christ."
"[The natural life] knows that if the spiritual life gets hold of it, all its self-centredness and self-will are going to be killed and it is ready to fight tooth and nail to avoid that."
C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
C. S. Lewis in Weight Of Glory
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Lord, make my life a miracle!"
Raymond C. Ortlund, Lord, Make My Life A Miracle, page 151.
C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity
Monday, June 15, 2009
This is my lovely daughter Jessica after her graduation ceremony, showing off her diploma that makes it official. Jessica is the baby of the family she has three older brothers, and is still thinking about what she wants to do in the future.
Alcohol has been the downfall of many ne’er-do-wells, but never quite like this. After a man stole Kayte Taylor’s wallet near a Santa Rosa, Calif., market on Saturday, the 28-year-old did what most women would — she grabbed a 12-pack of Miller Lite and shot-putted it at the thief.
The tasty beer missile hit its mark — knocking the man off of his getaway bike, where Kayte’s friends descended on him and retrieved the wallet. Boom goes the dynamite. It’s Miller Time.
From the SANTA ROSA PRESS DEMOCRAT:
Taking chase, Kayte reached the sidewalk to see the guy pushing and trying to mount a bicycle. It dawned on Kayte there was something useful in her hand. A 12-pack of Miller Lite — bottles. Her friends’ eyes widened as Kayte hoisted the box to shoulder height, reared back and shot-put the beer at the burglar maybe 12 feet away.
Pow. Down he went. Four women were on him like kids on a burst piñata. Kayte took back her wallet.
The police then showed up and were in a very arresty mood.
What onlookers failed to notice is that Taylor’s throw of 11 feet, 2 inches was a woman’s outdoor record for light beer (bottles). Be assured that the Chinese are assembling a women’s beer shot putting team as you read this.
When asked how she would stop the ruthless Megatron from demolishing the world, Fox first said that she would “barter with him.” She then, however, went on to say, “... and instead of the entire planet, can you just take out all of the white trash, hillbilly, anti-gay, super bible-beating people in Middle America?"
How tolerant." Like a gold ring in a pig's snout
is a beautiful woman without discretion." Proverbs 11:22 ESV
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
1. We ought to give thanks for the men and women in our lives who have taught us the Scriptures and helped us see more of God.
2. I doubt church celebrities are new.There will always be famous people in the church (even if they are only famous in our circles) and we’ll never escape the dangers of hero worship and self-exaltation.
3. God works through great men and women.
4. We should pray for “evangelical superstars.” The higher they rise, the harder they fall.
5. Learning from a great teacher does not eliminate the need to think for ourselves.
6. Remember that famous people are still people. We all have clay feet.
7. While it’s true that God blesses godly, gifted, humble servants of Christ with fruitfulness in ministry, always keep in mind that becoming a ministry “success” is a weird deal.
8. Don’t let others’ passion be a substitute for your own.
9. Even with the proliferation of blogs, twitter, and iPods, the people in your life still need real live people in their lives. The most important pastor is the one in your local church.
10. This is my final thought, and maybe sums up all the others: don’t like someone just because others do, and don’t dislike someone just because others like him. Both are dangers in a celebrity culture.
These are the main points to read the whole article go here
Its a sad Saturday in Detroit MI, as a stunned city wakes up to the reality that the Wings lost the Stanley Cup. The NHL has what it wanted all along, Sid the kid has the cup. There is no joy in Mudville (Detroit) the mighty Wings have struck out.
Friday, June 12, 2009
In an attempt to combat a severe drop in attendance every time their popular preacher goes on vacation, Marina Bay Community Church made the shocking announcement that they have cloned their longtime pastor, Rev. Spencer Klagg. To make this possible, Marina Bay enlisted the help of RevClone, a new Christian cloning facility in Southern California dedicated to multiplying the current pool of dynamic preaching celebrities.
“As a cutting-edge mega church, we’re always looking for innovative ways to grow our church, and DNA duplication just seemed like a no-brainer,” explained church spokesman and elder, Clarence Ambrose. “Statistically our lowest Sunday attendance is when Pastor Klagg is on vacation and our associate pastor, Raymond Elliot, fills in. No offense to Raymond, but the people think Pastor Klagg’s monologue jokes are just plain funnier than Raymond’s prop comedy.”
By cloning their pastor, Marina Bay hopes to fill their 3,000 seat auditorium every Sunday, whether the original Pastor Klagg is in the pulpit or not. During those times when Klagg is taking time off, his clone will perform the pastoral duties in his stead, assuring the congregation of no interruption in enjoying their pastor’s unique spiritual gifts. “Not to mention keeping the weekly offering at the same high level as the attendance,” Ambrose added.
Not all church members, however, are pleased with the cloning of Pastor Klagg. Herm Tayback, a deacon for twenty years, is a vocal critic of the RevClone project. “Am I the only one creeping out over this? Last week the pastor was performing a wedding while his clone was back home mowing his lawn. I mean, are we gaining a spare pastor or giving Mrs. Klagg another husband to take out the garbage?” Tayback also worries about possible theological ramifications. “Hey, I’ve seen those science fiction movies where the clone slowly goes insane because of a missing chromosome. What happens if Klagg’s twin loses his mind and starts preaching on sin and repentance? Good grief, we could lose half the congregation! In fact, I’ve shared these concerns with Pastor Klagg. At least I think I was talking to Pastor Klagg… Ooo, did anyone else just get a chill down their back?”
Regardless of the criticism, RevClone’s head scientist Farnsworth Diddle is quite proud of his work with Marina Bay, and he envisions a wide application for this new cloning technology. “Just think… churches won’t just use Rick Warren’s teachings, now they can hire a Rick Warren clone as their pastor.” Deacon Tayback disagrees. “Don’t we have enough Rick Warren clones in churches already?”
All in all, Ambrose says Marina Bay is very pleased with the initial reaction to their new genetically-created pastor. “Attendance has never been better,” he reported happily. “But if we ever start losing folks, we’re not worried. Our contingency plan is to start cloning the congregation, too. Doesn’t science work in mysterious ways?”
From Sacred Sandwich
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Back in the 1940’s Donald Grey Barnhouse, a Presbyterian pastor, asked the question, “What would it be like if Satan took over a city?”
In his newest book, Christless Christianity, Dr. Mike Horton warns Evangelicalism in America that Barnhouse’s hypothetical scenario is quickly becoming a reality. According to Horton, the driving mantra of so many Evangelical churches today is, “do more, try harder.” Sermons are filled with seven or twelve step plans for having a happier marriage or better finances. Ironically, as a newer generation reacts against the harsh legalism of their parents, they are merely replacing it with a softer (but more sadistic) form of legalism. Famous TV preachers like Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer victoriously proclaim that they have finally realized that Christianity isn’t about following a lot of rules. But they go on to tell their audience that it is only about “Loving God and each other.” The sixteenth century Reformer, John Calvin, heard similar sentiments coming from some of his Roman Catholic brethren (who were also reacting to the harsh legalism of their upbringing) and remarked, “As if that were easier!” According to Jesus Christ, loving God and your neighbor is the essence of the whole Old Testament Law. Loving God and your neighbor is in the hardest thing that anyone could ever ask you to do!
Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took over Philadelphia, all of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. The children would say, “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am,” and the churches would be full every Sunday . . . where Christ is not preached.
To read the rest go here.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Starting a summer book reading and discussion tonight with Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. The first meeting is at the Church, 16751 Middlebelt 1 block south of 6 mile at 7pm then we move to Rotary park on 6 mile Rd. between Merriam and Farmington Roads, in Livonia. Everyone is invited, grab the book and join us.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
C. S. Lewis
If you are honest with yourself you will admit that you do not love God 100% of anything. And you defiantly don't love your neighbor as if he were yourself. This man wanted eternal life and he wanted to know what he had to do in order to get it. Jesus said here's something to do, do it and you will live. If 100% is the standard for eternal life, let me ask you, how are you doing? There isn't one human being that loves God with 100% of their heart, soul, strength and mind, let alone loving their neighbor as they love themselves.
What the law expert quoted is commonly called the Great Commandment. I know of a number of Churches whose mission statement is to live by the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. What they are doing is inviting people to join them in keeping the law perfectly, which is not possible. There is nothing you can to inherit something, you don't work for an inheritance you receive an inheritance. You will never in this life even come close to loving God with 100% of your heart, soul, strength and mind.
There is only one person who ever fulfilled the Great Commandment and loved God and his neighbor 100%, and that's Jesus. God in his great love had mercy on us and saved us. We are spiritually bankrupt and are poor and have nothing, nothing of merit, nothing to recommend ourselves to God. "But God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved." Though he was rich for your sake he became poor so that you through his poverty might become rich by believing in him and by acknowledging Lord Jesus I am nothing, be my everything and by faith his righteousness is transferred to our account. What is the mercy of God? It is God bestowing spiritual riches on spiritually bankrupt people. Do you believe that?
Monday, June 8, 2009
The poker-playing dogs, immortalized in the famous paintings by Cassius Coolidge, announced last week that they have repented of their former ways and have replaced their Friday night poker game with a Wednesday night Bible study. Laddie (left), top dog of the study group, hopes that their new painting, “Dogs Reading Scripture,” will make them role models for other dogs caught in the vicious cycle of canine gambling. Says the collie leader, “Our next goal is to stop drinking out of the toilet.”
Why is American Christianity important for the world?
The argument of the book that it is of course important for many contacts between the U.S. and the rest of the world that can be measured in terms of "influence." But it is even more important because the U.S. pioneered a pattern of "Christianity after Christendom" that has become the main pattern for Christian expression in the rest of the world. By this I mean, more lay-oriented, less tied to government, more entrepreneurial, more charismatic, and less structured.
One of the main points of the book seems to be that the American form of Christianity accounts for America’s most significant contribution to this new shape of world Christianity. Can you give us a thumbnail sketch of the way in which American Christianity developed from its European predecessors? Are there historical precursors to what happened here in the 19th century, or was it a new form altogether?
Europeans looking at the U.S. in the early 19th century knew that Christianity could not flourish because the faith had always had the support of governments in Europe (at least since the 4th century, so for 1400 years). Amazingly, however, Christianity flourished in the U.S. with no government assistance (to speak of), with bottoms-up lay initiative, and through the use of voluntary societies. The missiologist Andrew Walls has written profoundly about the huge impact of voluntary societies on world Christianity. My book is, in a sense, only an extended footnote on Walls' very important insights.
For those unfamiliar with Walls's work, where should they start?
I'd start with The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
- This past Sunday it is possible that more Christian believers attended church in China than in all of so-called "Christian Europe." Yet in 1970 there were no legally functioning churches in all of China; only in 1971 did the communist regime allow for one Protestant and one Roman Catholic Church to hold public worship services, and this was mostly a concession to visiting Europeans and African students from Tanzania and Zambia.
- This past Sunday more Anglicans attended church in each of Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda than did Anglicans in Britain and Canada and Episcopalians in the United States combined--and the number of Anglicans in church in Nigeria was several times the umber in those other African countries.
- This past Sunday more Presbyterians were at church in Ghana than in Scotland, and more were in congregations of the Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa than in the United States.
- This past Sunday the churches with the largest attendance in England and France had mostly black congregations. About half of the churchgoers in London were African or African-Caribbean. Today, the largest Christian congregation in Europe is in Kiev, and it is pastored by a Nigerian of Pentecostal background.
- This past week in Great Britain, at least fifteen thousand Christian foreign missionaries were hard at work evangelizing the locals. most of these missionaries are from Africa and Asia. [pp. 20-21]
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
You have to look at what Jesus did for you; he didn't make you pay one bit of your debt. There was a debt that had to be paid and Jesus paid it in full himself. You will never be long-suffering; you will never have a forgiving spirit unless you see Christ suffering for you. You will never be able to pay down the debt for what other people have done to you unless you see him paying the infinite debt you could never pay.
You will never be able to pay all the little debts that other people owe you unless you see the infinite debt Christ paid for you. When you understand what he has done for you, you will say to yourself when someone wrongs you, "I'm almost glad for this opportunity to finally show him how much he means to me, by forgiving this that was done to me." This will change your heart and deal with your fears.
We may think we avoid evil by fleeing the sins we perceive to be greater. But Jesus dealt harshly with such thoughts. “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” Jesus gave no quarter to sin. He knew that sin begins in the heart and it begins not with a great act of sin, but with many small acts. Surely Cain first grumbled against Abel, and then plotted against him before finally murdering him. Surely David allowed himself to think lustful thoughts and surely he went to the roof of his palace knowing what he might see. Those little sins led to breathtakingly horrifying, ungodly acts of lust and anger.
To read the rest: Challies.com
(Greek homo-, ”same” + Greek ousia, “substance” = “of the same substance” “consubstantial”)
This is the Trinitarian term that expresses a belief that Christ is of the same substance or nature as the Father. This word was central to the fourth-century debate between Athanasius and the Arians. Arius believed that Christ was of “similar substance” to the Father (homoiousios), but not of the “same substance” (homoousios). The two positions were separated by one letter in Greek, an iota. Thus the common phrase “it doesn’t make one iota of difference.” The Council of Nicea (325) believed that Christ shared in the exact same essence as the Father and therefore adopted the term homoousios to describe the relationship between the members of the Godhead. This concept was further developed by the Cappadocian fathers and further applied to all three members of the Trinity at the Council of Constantinople (381).
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
"When it comes to being accepted by God, observing the law is completely ruled out. Here Paul makes an absolute distinction between salvation by works of the law and salvation by faith in Christ. Law-keeping cannot justify anyone.
Not that there is anything wrong with the law itself, which comes from the righteous character of God. As Paul said to the Romans, "the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good" (Rom. 7:12) The problem with the law is our lawlessness! The reason we cannot be justified by the law is that we cannot keep it. Even if we could keep God's commandments outwardly, we break them inwardly. "No human deeds, however well motivated and sincerely performed, can ever achieve the kind of standing before God that results in the verdict of justification."
...we are acceptable to God - not by keeping the law ourselves, but by trusting in the only man who ever did keep it, Jesus Christ. The doctrine of justification can be stated in these general terms: we get right with God not by observing the law, but only by trusting in his Son...
There is no way to be made right with God except through faith in Christ. In Luther's words, "Now the true meaning of Christianity is this: that a man first acknowledge, through the Law, that he is a sinner, for whom it is impossible to perform any good work.... If you want to be saved, your salvation does not come by works; but God has sent His only Son into the world that we might live through Him. He was crucified and died for you and bore your sins in His own body."
- Philip Graham Ryken "Galatians: Reformed Expository Commentary - Chapter 5: The Battle for the Gospel (Galations 2:11-16) (p.63-65)
The latest increase raises federal obligations to a record $546,668 per household in 2008, according to the USA TODAY analysis. That's quadruple what the average U.S. household owes for all mortgages, car loans, credit cards and other debt combined.
Change you can count on: taxing ourselves into prosperity.
Monday, June 1, 2009
On Saturday night I went and heard the Siegal-Schwall band with my old friend Sam Lay, at The Ark in Ann Arbor MI. I was set to see them last year but the show was canceled due to Sam's heart attack. It was good to see Sam but he has definitely been slowed by the heart attack. I think Sam is the greatest Blue's drummer that ever played. The band from left to right is Corky Siegel, Sam Lay,Rollo Radford and Jim Schwall. To see more about the band visit their web site http://www.chamberblues.com/
The discoverer thinks himself a modern Luther, and of his doctrine he thinks as much as David of Goliath's sword, "There is none like it." As Martin Luther said of certain in his day, these inventors of new doctrines stare at their discoveries like a cow at a new gate, as if there were nothing else in all the world but the one thing for them to stare at.
We are all expected to go mad for their fashions, and march to their piping. To whom we give place; no, not for an hour.
Charles Spurgeon, from a message called "Ripe Fruit"
I was reminded today of John Piper's 1995 sermon, "Fasting for the Safety of the Little Ones":
This war will not be won by bullets. It will be won by brokenness and humility and sacrifice. It will be won when we identify with the children in our suffering rather than with the abortionist in his killing.Amen.
But the objections are still going to come fast and furious. If you believe that abortion is an American Holocaust, and if you would approve of taking out a Nazi executioner or Hitler himself in order to save lives, then how can you object to murdering a man who earned his living by killing fully formed babies day-in and day-out? Or to put it even more sharply: if you saw a thug about to kill a toddler, wouldn't it be justified to shoot him in order to stop the murder in progress?
Greg Koukl gives a fairly detailed answer here regarding the ethics and logic of the dilemma.
Update: Robert P. George weighs in:
Whoever murdered George Tiller has done a gravely wicked thing. The evil of this action is in no way diminished by the blood George Tiller had on his own hands. No private individual had the right to execute judgment against him. We are a nation of laws. Lawless violence breeds only more lawless violence. Rightly or wrongly, George Tilller was acquitted by a jury of his peers. "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord." For the sake of justice and right, the perpetrator of this evil deed must be prosecuted, convicted, and punished. By word and deed, let us teach that violence against abortionists is not the answer to the violence of abortion. Every human life is precious. George Tiller's life was precious. We do not teach the wrongness of taking human life by wrongfully taking a human life. Let our "weapons" in the fight to defend the lives of abortion's tiny victims, be chaste weapons of the spirit.