Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 11:44 PM
Steve Camp has put up another excellent post on a Christian hope
. I found it an excellent read.
In other news, today was the first time I had ever heard anyone preach on Romans 9:1-9 and the topic of election. Props to the pastor for taking up a tough passage, though I must confess I was in disagreement with much of what he said, mostly because he tried to hang onto the "but you still have a choice" with the concept of God's election.
::sigh:: And the youth service was terrifying. Very seeker driven. On the pamphlet for fill-in-the-blank notes it looked like this:
Beyond the Yearbook: Making a name for yourself Part 3: The type of change God wants for you
What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life has gone. A new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17
**though as a side note, this verse (NLT) was read along with the NIV as more of a commentary. Props on a good usage of the NLT!**
What God wants to do to you...
Jesus replied, "You don't understand now why I am doing it; someday you will." John 13:7
______ you (save)
______ you (use)
______ you (change)
For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13
**Sadly though, a good usage of the NLT as a commentary was restricted to just the first verse**
Playing a Part in God's change process...
1. Be ______ to God's work in your life (open)
15Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a cropÂthirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown." Mark 4:15-20 (NIV)
2. Be ______ for God's work in your life (looking)
Yes, the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit that is produced. Matthew 7:20 (NLT)
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
3. Be ________in God's work in others' lives (active)
12I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. 13And here is how to measure it--the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends. John 15:12-13
10God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God's generosity can flow through you. 1 Peter 4:10
In all honesty, I was only there for the first half of the message because I as well as the rest of the summer school teachers were doing a presentation for the Korean Ministry, but I left with a rather sad heart. Pray forrevivall, not an emotional one, but one filled with faithful preaching of His Word! Pray for a boldproclamationn of the Gospel. Pray that we would not be ashamed and we would refuse to compromise to the man-centered gospel of seeker sensitive purpose driven church.
Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 2:51 PM
check it out now.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 5:00 PM
Steve Hays has an excellent post on Scripture: The Open Bible
Dustin has two good posts on spiritual warfare here
Steve Camp has a good post on the Golden Chain of Salvation
Vincent Chueng put up two very challenging posts on child discipline. Challenging not because I have a hard time believing them, but challenging because I'm currently surrounded by kids who really really need to here these words, but I am in no position of authority to be disciplining them in this manner. Spank
He has also put up an article from John Robbins at Trinity Foundation
on the Scientist as Evangelist
. While I must say I'm currently in a position that much of the rhetoric John Robbins uses against people is far too harsh, this was an excellent read.
at 12:50 AM
Alaska has been good, really busy and feeling a little rushed at times, but challenging and fulfilling. I've been having a number of excellent conversations with my kids as well as with my fellow teachers and it's really encouraging to be serving along side such a godly collection of men and women. It really reminds me of the early church in Acts where the people gathered daily for the breaking of bread and fellowshipped and no one had any needs.
I do have a major prayer request however.
The church here does a "revival" or "youth rally" every year at the end of the summer school program and I've been asked to help out. The desired theme this year is "All-in" and the desire to challenge and make believing Christians live up to their faith. A ok... Sort of.
I see that the problem is that with almost everything the push has been to do good, live out good works, and somehow we'd be blessed with that. They want to present the gospel at the beginning and then go into "living it out" at the end, but I know from speaking with my students and a fellow teacher's opinion that the kids really have no
idea what it means to be saved by faith alone. When asked how to get to heaven the answer is all across the board: Be a good Christian, do good, don't piss people off. This terrifies me. Looking at the message the order is reversed... It's for some reason Gospel and then Law... and there is no salvation in the Law! Thinking it over, I get the foreboding feeling that this is not the greatest of ideas.
I prayed about it a great deal and I talked with some of my brothers and sisters and I became convicted that I couldn't in good conscience support the "Come as you are" night. I realized that I believed that my students would only get the wrong message (legalism), that new kids would not even get the gospel at all. I also felt like the whole idea of a skit and body worship in order to draw people in so that "they remember" and are "entertained" would be essentially betraying the gospel. I don't believe that it is ever
necessary to put on a skit, a show, or a body worship in order to draw kids in. I don't believe that it is ever
necessary to cater to one's audience as opposed to the gospel. I feel like it is pulling a "bait and switch" tactic with the gospel, where we invite people in to come see a show, and then we sneak in a gospel. I am reminded of Romans 1:16-17
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith."
And I feel like the cry of the group is that "the kids need something new, they are getting jaded, they need to be reawakened" and they're searching for something new and improved to set them on fire! But God's Word is that fire! I don't know, it is a major struggle with me. I feel like I'm betraying them and all the love they're pouring into me. I feel like I'm betraying their message, they're putting so much effort into this and I decided to pull out, but I cannot in good conscience support what they're doing. Please pray for wisdom and discernment, for humbleness no matter what happens, for godly correction and repentance if I'm wrong, and for strength and faith if what I am doing is indeed in accordance to God's will.
The church doesn't have a summer bible study. Man. I wish that night could just be a bible study. I would be more than willing to pour in hour after hour for something like that, but something like a revival? ::sigh:: Please pray for wisdom in all things. I've talked with the leaders and laid out my concerns, and it sounds like we're still on good terms (and brothers), I've also talked with a number of my fellow teachers. Some of them agree with me, but have decided to stick with it in order to try to reform it from inside out, some of them aren't sure, and a large number of them disagree with me. God grant me wisdom!
Thursday, July 21, 2005 at 12:59 AM
More excellent posts that have caught my eye:
Phillip Johnson has continued his great and insightful posts. I strongly recommend checking him out.
Evangelism in critical conditionThe great evangelical disaster
Tim Challies has an excellent summary
of the first post
Steve Camp has a couple of good posts4 Spiritual FlawsJustice Sunday II
- a commentary on politics and Christianity
The Rights of a Christian
Frank Martens has a post on the value of Scripture
, which cannot be emphasized enough!
Adrian Warnock has an interview
with Nancy Pearcy
Vincent Cheung on "good works" of the wicked.
Sunday, July 17, 2005 at 8:17 PM
Hello all from Alaska!
It's been crazy
out here. I was welcomed with open arms (and an entire youthgroup of them!) and a great deal of love. Training and talking till Sunday, then the prepwork started for the kids. I'm teaching Geometry and 3rd year English (haha, Mickey teach English! what a joke!) with of course an ultimate motive to glorify God in all things. The church has opened wide it's arms to me and all the other out of state teachers they have here and I've been very well loved and cared for.
Out here it's been a week in Alaska and the first few days were simply crazy. From waking up early mornings to the late night prayer meetings and prepwork we've been challenged to really depend upon God for strength in all that we do. Praise God it rained really hard on Saturday so we "couldn't" go kayaking. I really really needed that day off =) Praise the Lord!
God is working powerfully here in Alaska and we're already seeing people opening up and being challenged. I've also have a lot of very encouraging and blessing conversations with my dear brothers in Christ Rob, Andrew (Alice's brother!) and Wesley (Ryan's brother). They have all really encouraged me and challenged me in so many different ways I feel like I've been stretched all over (in a very good way) and we've had some late nights because of it but it's been awesome. God has also placed a great burden upon a number of teachers here and challenged us to present the gospel in a very real way and challenge their kids. Seeing the tears shed for one another and students has been mind blowing. It's just been awesome and encouraging how much God is constantly at the center of our lives here (and challenging for me to keep it that way!).
Some prayer requests:
1) Praise God for a day off on Saturday. Pray for continual physical and spiritual rest in all things, even past the late nights and the early mornings. Pray for a joy even in struggle and a desire to go to the one true source of living water in all cases.
2) Praise God for a lot of excellent conversations, even among the teachers. Though there is definitely a broad range of theological backgrounds here in Alaska, there have been a lot of great conversations within the teachers (just today there were 3 extremely difficult and good questions brought up during meals and just sitting around). Pray for wisdom and discernment when talking with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We've already talked about predestination, drinking and gambling, prayer, and I'm sure there will be many questions that will come in the days to come, including many that will stretch and challenge me to think in different ways and with a greater perspective on God.
3) Praise God for my students. God has given me a very diverse group of kids from all backgrounds. One PK, one person raised in a Hindu/Christian family, one Catholic, one "lifer" (Christian as far back as he remembers), a couple who don't know/care, one who has never been in a church before. It will definitely be a challenge to present things that are applicable (and comfortable) for all the students to hear, so pray that God grants me wisdom in all that I say and do. I'm kind of confused about this one. I've also kind of lost control with regards to discipline a few times, so there are a number of delinquent kids that I don't know quite how to deal with right now.
4) Praise God for the love that has been shown here. I have been greatly blessed by all the love and service that the church here has shared with me here. it's really been mind blowing. Praise the Lord for all these blessings and pray that I would seek to be a reflection of that love and seek to bless others in all that I do.
5) Praise God for powerful times of prayer. It's been a joy to be able to pray with the same group of people 3 times a day and meals. I've been very blessed by many of the prayers and encouragements shared by my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and it's just been amazing. Pray for a continual joy in prayer and transparency in all that I do.
If there is anything I can be in prayer for all of you about, I would love to hear it and be praying for you. Thank you all for your prayers!
Thursday, July 07, 2005 at 10:04 PM
1 John 4:12
12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
I've never been this blown away before. Simply wow. So as some of you know, I'll be leaving for Alaska tomorrow for 5 weeks to teach high schoolers math and English as part of a summer program run through a church up there. Lord willing, I'll also have the opportunity to share the Gospel and share God's love with them. Well, a few of my friends at my church asked if I wanted to have dinner as sort of a send-off thing, just a chance for me to share and pray with one another. All of a sudden it's like 12 people and we all get a chance to share with one another, encourage one another, and just pray over one another. They just wanted to bless me and send me off together, which was simply amazing because most of them I knew for at most 2 summers, some of them (notably the ones that organized) just one. I was like "wow." Talk about sharing God's love. I was so blessed and so encouraged and just awed by how much they cared and wanted to pray for me. I am just so thankful that God decided to surround me with such brothers and sisters who have loved me much like Christ has, even when oftentimes I did not return the favor.
Hebrews 10:24-25 24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
at 1:25 AM
In my ever widening circle of bloggers that I follow (and some of them I've even got the chance to talk with!) Steve Camp
posted this excellent post
on the local church and seminaries. Lots of excellent stuff in there.Phil Johnson
posted an excellent post about his series of sermons
at the School of Theology about the slow downgrade of modern evangelicism.
And James Spurgeon
(what a great name!) posted an excellent and insightful commentary
on the above post.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005 at 2:59 PM
So in response to some questions about authority I wrote this
. Let me know what you think. Standard disclaimer
at 10:56 AM
Another series of excellent posts, this time about church membership and growth (and one misc one).Tim Challies
writes an excellent review
of an article
by Jim Elliff entitled "Southern Baptists - An Unregenerate Denomination" about the ideas of church growth and how an emphasis on numbers has blinded that denomination (and to a large extent, other Christian churches out there).
wrote an excellent article with many good links about "Why Join a Church
The A-Team Blog
gives the case for church membership
All of this makes me think along the same lines as Aaron Shafovaloff
in saying, "I miss Sunday School
Finally, Douglas Wilson
has a good post on "Always Thinking You're Right
" Does anyone know where his blog title is from? It's pretty cool
*Oh, as a disclaimer. Douglas Wilson, while having a lot of stuff of great value to the reader (In fact, I've just finished Back to Basics in which he gives an excellent treatment on God's sovereignty in election), has holds some positions that I very much don't agree with.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005 at 1:38 PM
Justin Taylor has an excellent post linking two some articles on the proper way to respond to an abortion argument. A good read.
Sunday, July 03, 2005 at 10:45 PM
So oftentimes I imagine my conversion experience much like Andrew and Peter, mostly because I couldn't explain it. Looking back at it, all it was was a blind commitment, a realization that something was missing and a hope (and desire) to fill it. I had always thought about it like it was essentially a "drop your nets and follow me" idea.
Well, today I was reading and I came across James White referencing in Letters to a Mormon Elder (an excellent read by the way) the fact that both Andrew and Peter were originally called in a different circumstance in John 1! His explanation with it's contrast to Matthew was that John was the first meeting, and then after a while they went back fishing, then Jesus bumped into them again and called them for the rest of their lives. This would explain how they could just drop their nets and follow Jesus, because they had already encountered Him!
I think this is a pretty interesting (and very good) explanation, though it now leaves me very much without a story to a large extent =) Awells. God will provide.
Saturday, July 02, 2005 at 11:31 PM
James 1 reads:
5If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
So today someone mentioned to me that she as well as her class was reading a book together. Since it is very rare for even one person to be reading a book on their own nowadays, I was really encouraged that a group would get together in the interests of growing spiritually to read a book together and discuss it. It was pretty cool and quite encouraging until she mentioned that they were reading Captivating
by John Eldredge. While I hadn't read the book myself I had read Wild at Heart
and in all honesty I was no where near a big fan of it. While this post isn't meant to be a critique of the books, I do believe that the readers should stay away from John Eldredge. Tim Challis has reviews on him here
. In short, I didn't agree with much of what he said theologically and felt that there was much there that he took out of context, with poor application, and the overarching message was against the grain of Scripture.
So thus the issue was, how does one respond to something like this? It is the second time I've heard of a group of people (both times girls, most likely because guys just don't read) reading a book together without someone older supervising or guiding, and both times I have had major issues with the book of choice, theological issues. Did I think it was completely worthless? Not quite, but I did feel that the value of much of the book was so overwhelmed by the falseness of the rest that there is much more value just reading Scripture independently and asking someone when one has questions. There is so much more we can learn that we never even heard of!
Well, since I was in no position of authority over these people, I merely just voiced my concerns about the books and the authors and pointed to some websites that had reviews that I agreed with and thought they might look at. I guess that's all I can do.
The response: "but the fact is.....it has helped a lot of women out there... and it has helped me"
Your will be done. Your Kingdom come.
Friday, July 01, 2005 at 12:59 PM
An essay I've written on the subject of Scripture to two Mormon missionaries who I've been talking to. Just felt like sharing it with you guys (feel free to email or leave comments). http://www.stanford.edu/~mcsheu/Scripture.doc
at 9:40 AM
Yike- so that was highly unexpected.
To sum it up, I met once again with the Mormon missionaries and they introduced Roy who wanted to sit in on the discussion. No problem of course. The discussion gets underway and I start off by asking about their doctrine of God. I read off the WCF statement about who I believed God to be and asked them why they disagreed. All of a sudden Roy steps in and says - I have a Phd and you're wrong. Well he doesn't explicitly say that, but what it boils down to over and over again is: I've done research in this, I know what I"m talking about. Many times he basically made up stuff about the codification of Scripture, Council of Nicean (sp?) and the original languages ... everytime I was like "wait a second, you got this all wrong." There was even a time when he was like "can you read Aramaic?" and I was like "umm no" and then he was like "then how do you know your translation of this passage is correct?" and I was like "well... first off, the original language was Hebrew for this passage and..." yeah it went kind of like that.
So it ended up turning into a debate, which I'm not entirely happy about, but I do realize that oftentimes in order to make a positive presentation of the gospel, one requires a negative presentation of man's sinfulness and rebellion, so I will do it, but I do see a distinct danger of making it a point to tear down instead of a point to build up. I'm a little worried about that.
Basically we covered a number of topics - who is God. Who is Christ. What is authority. Reliability of senses (I completely denied this and left him without a leg to stand on, that was actually the first time I've used Vincent Cheung's method, though I quickly got sidetracked defending Scripture). It was an interesting discussion but I had to cut it short because my sister needed a ride.
The discussions have definitely taken another turn. I've come to the realization that I need to do a lot more active reading and research. Prayers would be appreciated.
On a side note, the Westminster Confession of Faith is an excellent place to start for some basic doctrine and defining things like Trinity and depravity.
I plan on writing a very basic essay defending Scripture. Basic in the sense that it's all ground that's been tread before, but I need to put my view of it down in words to just basically hand out. Be looking for that.
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