Wednesday, August 31, 2005 at 9:53 PM
An email I just sent out:
Hey guys, Thank you all for your various emails and prayers. They've all been a great blessing and encouragement. I just wanted to drop off some (excellent) news regarding my mother. She had fallen and cracked (or chipped) a bone in her back, though apparently that's not as serious as I expected it to be. Praise be to God! She will be released from the hospital tomorrow with a brace on her back. I'm not sure how much she'll be able to move around, but hopes are high. She'll have to wear the brace for a couple weeks as well as go through physical therapy. But thankfully, nothing serious was harmed, and it looks like things are doing well. So thank you all once again for your prayers and emails. If you do continue to feel the burden to be praying: Praise God that things are not as bad as they first seemed. Praise God that she'll be home tomorrow. Pray that God would continue to heal her. Pray /especially/
for my witness to her and the rest of my family in these times. Pray that I would be a good obedient son, as sometimes that's hard for me =P. Pray for continued opportunities to share God's Gospel with them as well. Thank you all! Mickey
Tuesday, August 30, 2005 at 1:27 PM
More good reads
This collection is a bit more eclectic. I’ve had the blessing of stumbling across some excellent blogroll aggregators. Basically they take a whole bunch of blogs and they combine it into one list, so that whenever one of them is updated, I can view that one.Apologetics AllianceLeague of Reformed Bloggers
Those two are the ones I got most of my links from today.
Without further ado, a few good reads since I last posted.Steven Camp
has another good post on the worshipping God, and what isn’t worship
. I think it’s especially relevant and a necessary warning. (Though I don’t think I ever saw his “what is worship” post)3:17
has a good post quoting JI Packer on how we read our Bibles
has a good post on measuring success in ministry
. (HT: effective web ministry notes
gives an excellent treatment of a plain interpretation
of Genesis 1. The more I read about it, the more convinced I am that only a literal 7 day creation story holds water.Steve Hays
has a good post reflecting on Hiroshima
Vincent Cheung had a book online on Biblical Healing. I read it. It was really clear and Scriptural. I must admit that going to that book, I didn’t agree with some of what he said, but he backed it up with pretty clear exegesis. Bleh, I hate it when I’m wrong =p
Finally, God graced me with two awesome discussions on Calvinism yesterday evening. I love talking about Calvinism and the Sovereignty of God (almost as much as I love talking and reading about God). It always brings me to such great humbleness and worship. Charles Spurgeon has an amazing sermon on Calvinism. An excerpt:
I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.
I plan to post a little bit more on Calvinism in the future. So many posts to write, so little time. Actually, so much laziness.
An update on my mother: She is totally fine. She chipped a bone in her back, so in order for it to heal properly she is unable to leave the bed until they get her a brace, but everything else is fine. Thanks for all your prayers. Please continue to keep her (and me) in your prayers as you feel led to.
Praise be to the Father above!
Labels: Reading Deeply
at 12:51 PM
All the posts in this series are done. Read them here
Vision Summer School – Revival
So at VSS in Alaska this year, nearing the end of the month, the program traditionally puts on a revival (or youth rally). The next few posts will detail my reasons for requesting to be excused from the preparation (all the teachers were expected to help out and be part of it) and participation.
The big reason why I asked to be excused was because of the theme.
The theme this year was “All In” or in simpler terms, making a commitment. The leaders wanted a theme that could speak to the Alaska youth, because many of them had grown up in the church and knew Christ, but didn’t live it out. Thus they wanted a theme that would challenge the kids to make that commitment.
Now, I’m all for people living out their lives for Christ, but the big issue I had with this was as such: From my interactions with the 10th graders, and Wesley’s interactions with the 9th graders, plus passing interactions with other students there, they were right. The kids there were very churched. If you put the questions to them in the right phrasing, you got the right answer. But
if you ask the question in a different form, or rephrase the question to approach it from a different angle, the kids didn’t know what to say. One very clear example of this is that both Wesley and me asked our kids “If you died and were standing before God before the gates of Heaven, what would you tell Him if you wanted to get in?” Almost all the answers were along the lines of “I’d tell him I was a good person and did good things and was a good Christian.”
This terrified me. Yes, these kids weren’t showing the fruits of faith, but the problem wasn’t that they weren’t being challenged, but it was that their faith was dead
. (James 2) They didn’t need to be challenged, they needed to be reborn! They had no knowledge of justification by faith alone. They had a very limited knowledge of who God is. (One of the kids in my class asked who would win in a fight, Jesus or God. It took 5 minutes of them debating before one very quiet student raised her hand and was like “Jesus is God”)
I felt like to go up there and to put on skits, body worship, and testimonies (more on the structure of the revival in my next post) about going all in were merely justification by works. These kids didn’t need to be told to work harder and to live better; they needed to be told to repent.
Plus there’s the whole issue of a lack of a Gospel throughout. I brought this up, and the leadership’s response was to put a short pantomime in front that was supposed to demonstrate salvation. The rest of the evening was geared towards making that push for “all in.” To me, this served only to emphasize the problem. They were reversing the order. Throughout the Bible it is always Law and then Gospel. God commands us to live a life glorifying to Him. God provided His Son to do it because we can’t do it ourselves. To reverse the order and make the Gospel first (and I questioned whether it was even possible to make a clear Gospel presentation through a pantomime) and make the rest of the night about going “all-in” sounds eerily like what Paul rebukes in Galatians 3. They were pushing that the kids would live by the Law! But the Law brings death, and there is no salvation in the Law. One can try as hard as he wants to obey the law, but in the end, it leads to death and condemnation.
Now, I did have a lot of discussions with the leadership after my request to be excused. One of the points they brought up was that maybe I just didn’t see eye to eye with them on where the students were at, after all, they were the ones who had grown up in that area. They were the ones who taught the kids, one of them had been their youth director for years.
They thought the kids just needed to be encouraged and challenged. I thought the kids were spiritually dead.
Now, I’m not going to defend my views on that, but suffice to say that I feel that James 2 makes my point fairly clear, especially in light of their responses to our questions on the status of justification.
Even then though, the second issue I brought up was never addressed and completely ignored. What about the fact that they were moving away from the Biblical structure of Law and then Gospel? The only response was that the kids were sick of it and wouldn’t learn anything from it.
(To be continued)
Sunday, August 28, 2005 at 11:38 PM
An email I just sent out to my fellowship(s)
I have a prayer request for you guys. Yesterday around 5pm my mother was clipping branches off our tree in the backyard when she slipped and fell 10 feet to the ground and landed upon her back. 911 was called and the meds came quickly. Thankfully nothing super serious was found on the first scan (though they are doing a more detailed scan today). She did chip a few bones in her back (Praise God the spinal cord seemed intact) so she will be immobilized for 4-6 weeks. Because of this, I will not be going to Yakima on the 5th and will instead stay at home to help take care of my mother and my sister until school starts.
If you feel the burden please pray for a few things:
Praise God that she was relatively unhurt compared to what might have happened. Praise God that she still has full mobility and seems to be in stable condition. Pray that God would grant physical healing.
Praise God that He has granted me a great sense of trust and calmness amidst all this. He has reminded me time and time again that His will is sovereign, and that His name will be glorified. Pray that He would continue to sustain me in a trust in His promises.
Pray as well for the rest of my family. My brother, sister, mom, and dad (now divorced, but still concerned) are all non-believers. Pray that I would be able to be a light in the midst of what seems to them as darkness. Pray that God's Word would be proclaimed all the while (I don't know how though, but pray for opportunities).
I was reminded particularly of Isaiah 45:7
I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the LORD, who does all these things.
May we delight in the Lord, whose decrees are good, forever.
at 5:53 PM
My mother fell out of a tree while clipping branches and landed on her back. She was in a lot of pain, but it looks like nothing serious has been hurt. Please pray for her physical health and especially for the spiritual health of her as well as the rest of my family. They are all unbelievers.
Some relevant reading about healing is Vincent Cheung's Biblical Healing.
at 1:24 AM
What follows is entirely false. I post it for your edification, not because I think it's true, but because I think it poses a challenge (a fairly simple one) to modern day Christianity. I have a response for why I think the following is completely false, but I would encourage my readers to figure that out themselves because guess what? It's going to come up in one form or another.
Once again, this is all wrong. I would never actually agree to the main thesis of what I am about to write.
Thesis: Gay marriage should be allowed, legalized, and supported.
1) Because no where in the Bible is a monogamous relationship condemned. Even the texts of Romans and Leviticus all point to an underlying lust and immorality. It isn't unnatural for people who are born homosexual (and yes, people are born homosexual, science proves it) to be homosexual. Scripture only condemns what is unnatural in those passages.
2) We actually have an example of such a relationship! Examine Jonathan and David. 1 Samuel 18:1 reads "As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul." What do we see here? Jonathan loved David as his own soul! Don't we see parallels between God's original decree that two shall become one? Notice also later on in the text David makes a covenant with Jonathan! 1 Samuel 18:3 reads " Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul." A covenant! Just like marriage! Why? Because Jonathan loved David as his own soul. Aren't our marriages covenants because of love as well? Finally we see 2 Samuel 1, David's lament after the deaths of Saul and Jonathan. Verse 25-26 reads
"How the mighty have fallen
in the midst of the battle!
"Jonathan lies slain on your high places.
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
very pleasant have you been to me;
your love to me was extraordinary,
surpassing the love of women. "
David remarks on Jonathan's great love, claiming to be greater, surpassing the love of women! Jonathan loved David more then women did! Now, isn't this a monogamous homosexual relationship?
Therefore my case is made. In light of point 2, where we see David having a homosexual relationship with Jonathan, we can look at point 1 and see that the texts don't explicitly condemn homosexual relationship, but rather unnatural relationships. Jonathan and David are totally natural. Thus we should support homosexual relationships.
(Once again, I reemphasize that what I wrote is completely false)
Friday, August 26, 2005 at 11:09 PM
Today during Bible study we looked at the Binding of Isaac.
A few things jumped out at me that I wanted to share:
Genesis Ch. 22
1After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I."
This passage comes after God’s promises to Abraham, and after the establishment of the covenant of circumcision with him. All that follows is a test, used to confirm Abraham’s faith, and not, as we will see, works used to earn salvation.
2He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." 3So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac.
I thought it was simply amazing the immediate obedience that Abraham had. God commanded him to do something, and bam "so Abraham rose early in the morning...” Today in the Bible study we talked about how it was such a difficult sacrifice for Abraham and all that. Was it? I am not entirely sure. I certainly do not see it in the text, and the only possible support we may have for a concept like that was how Abraham wasn’t explicit with what he was going to do. But that may just be an indicator of his great faith. I personally just see Abraham’s great faith in this passage. God tells him to do something, and he gets up and does it, trusting all the while that God would provide.
And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you."
I must confess I'm not sure about this passage. Is Abraham lying to the young men about what he's going to do, or does he really believe that they will come again back to them? Whatever it was, I do see that Abraham sees this sacrifice as worship. Wow. Can I see a sacrifice of something of great value as worship? I know in the past it was always very painful and very difficult. God grant me the faith of Abraham!
6And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together.
I was kind of amused by this verse, it's like "So then Abraham laid the wood on Isaac his son and he took in his hand the fire and the knife... and then they went off” FAKE! Haha =)
7And Isaac said to his father Abraham, "My father!" And he said, "Here am I, my son." He said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" 8Abraham said, "God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So they went both of them together.
God will provide! I also thought it was interesting that it said that God will provide "for himself" and not “God will provide for us” even though the sacrifice was demanded of Abraham. We see in Hebrews 11 a slight picture of what this faith looked like:
17By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18of whom it was said, "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." 19He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
Abraham knew that God was going to name his offspring through Isaac, but still offered him up, trusting that God would provide, considering that God was even able to raise him from the dead!
9When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." 12He said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me."
I'm very interested by the "for now I know you fear God" section. Does it mean that God did not know that Abraham feared Him? But that would contradict God's omnipotence. Maybe it's the angel of the Lord that now knows, but then there's the "withheld your son, your only son, from me" part. I think it has to do with what James references in chapter 2:
21Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"-- and he was called a friend of God. 24You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
This is our classic "justification by works" passage, used by many, many cults who deny justification by faith alone. What do we see here? James says that Abraham was "justified by works." But notice also that it goes back to the "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness" which is very much justification by faith from Genesis 15:6! Same verse cited by Romans in case anyone was wondering.
Thus what light does James shed on God knowing that Abraham feared him? It shows that Abraham justified his faith, or he proved true his faith, in his action. He proved true his fear to God so that God now acknowledged that his faith was real and living, as opposed to a simple dead acknowledgement. Abraham's action fulfilled the Scriptures and proved true what it was saying. Abraham was tested and passed the test. Thus the passage references the fact that God now saw that Abraham proved true his faith.
Did he know that Abraham was going to do so? Was He in direct control of Abraham all the while in accordance to His sovereignty? I would say absolutely, but that’s a whole different topic. Whatever our answer to this is, it cannot be a denial of God’s omnipotence (which is Open Theism, something that we should all avoid)
13And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So Abraham called the name of that place, "The LORD will provide"; as it is said to this day, "On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.
Abraham, our dear prophet (Genesis, 20:7), was right once again. He said back in v. 8 that God would provide a sacrifice, and God does. God provides a sacrifice for Himself. I remember in Hebrew the words for “The LORD will provide” are YHWY yirah. We hear it in songs nowadays as Jehovah Jira. “God provides” for short. God provides, or literally, God will see it. How comforting!
15And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16and said, "By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice." 19So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.
Finally, we see God’s great promises of blessings in reward for obedience. Yes, that’s correct. We are justified by faith alone, but our rewards are for our works too. God blesses Abraham abundantly (stars of heaven) for what he has done in obedience. Abraham obeyed God in not withholding his son, and this results in blessings. Not for Abraham, but for his offspring. Does this sort of look like a precursor to our rewards being in heaven? Another interesting thing of note is God’s promise that “all the nations of the earth” will be blessed through Abraham’s offspring. (This is referenced in Romans as well in the salvation to the Gentiles). And these rewards are a promise, because God has sworn it upon the highest thing it is possible to swear by: Himself.
What does Abraham do in this passage? Abraham obeys God. What does this show? This shows Abraham’s holy fear of God. What does God do? God tests Abraham, and then God provides a sacrifice on behalf of Abraham. God blesses Abraham and promises that through his offspring (which will number among the stars and sands) the nations will be blessed.
Finally, one cannot read any passage of the Bible without pointing to Christ (or God) in some way shape or form. This passage is replete with such references.
I often hear that the binding of Isaac as a precursor to God's offering of Christ. They point to how God asks Abraham to provide his only son whom he loves and they say that it points to God's future sacrifice of Christ, His only son whom he loves. They also point to Isaac taking up the wood for the sacrifice representing Christ taking up his cross.
While I do agree that Christ was God's only son, whom He loves, I honestly see much more Christ in God's provision of the ram. A sacrifice is demanded of Abraham - A sacrifice is demanded of us (our very lives!). God provides a sacrifice for Abraham without prompting, to satisfy this demand - God provides a sacrifice for us without prompting, to satisfy this demand. Plus tack on all the rest of the OT law about sacrifices and how they all point to Christ (Hebrews) and it seems like a decent point that it is the ram, and not Isaac that points to Christ.
We also see Christ in Abraham’s obedience, how his obedience secured blessings, just like Christ’s perfect obedience secured eternal life.
Praise be to the Father above who has blessed us with His bountiful Word, which convicts us, condemns us, and finally points us to Christ, the eternal King, who grants us life!
Thursday, August 25, 2005 at 12:38 PM
I wonder how much people actually read some of the links I put up... well I hope you do =)
I don't know why, but for some reason child rearing and raising a Christian family has really been in what I've been reading. I think some of it is from the fact that I spent an entire month with little ones =)
Post from Girltalk
on how it is necessary to raise a child up in obedience before they can acquire knowledge.
An article from Desiring God
about having children with the family in service.
A post from Philip Johnson
quoting Charles Spurgeon on his conversion story. Wow.
A post from Jollyblogger
on apologetics method. Be sure to click and read the links that he links to. Steve Camp
quotes Spurgeon reflecting on seeker sensitivity.Tim Challies
(how come no one ever mentioned that I was mispelling his name all this time?) quotes an author bemoaning the current state of Christian affairs.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005 at 12:40 AM
Wow, that case was really weird. Some further thoughts:
The law for civil cases (one person suing another) is that it is necessary to prove more likely than not (51%). This led to an interesting circumstance as it seemed that the defense had cast a great shadow of doubt upon the argument, but it remained that the most likely cause (51%) was the defendant, thus we were compelled by law to rule against the defendant, though it was very clear that the total fault of the defendant was very minimal. If I had to apportion blame, it would be no more than 10%.
Unfortunately the law required the prosecutor only prove a few things: 1) Defendant was negligent. 2) Prosecutor suffered harm. 3) The defendant's negligence was the proximal cause (a cause that through natural or probable sequence led to the harm suffered). 1 and 2 were clear and 3 was very unclear, but since it only required 3 to be more likely than not to be true, it was proven (though not by the prosecutor, more on this later).
Thus because of the definitions set forth by the law, we found the defendant at fault (though in all honesty if it were up to me, the fault would not be that much). This led to a 24,000 settlement. A lot of money for a little bit of fault in my opinion. Thankfully they had insurance that was going to cover it. That was a load off of my back.
A note on the prosecutor: It seemed that he (being young) was unclear on how he approached the case. Point 3 could have been hammered home with two simple questions with a witness that they had already called. Then the verdict would have been clear and it could have saved the jury an extra 4 hours (we spent 5.5 hours deliberating and 1.5 hours coming up with the compensation). Most of what was established by him was eventually disregarded, because those issues were not in question. Or what was established took far to long to prove an uncontested point. Alas alas.
All in all, it was quite the experience. I have a great deal of sympathy for judges. Oftentimes it felt like we were operating on a very limited amount of information, and with a little bit more research, could have come up with much clearer conclusions. Unfortunately that was all we were given. Thankfully, we got a chance to talk to the judge afterwards, and he said he had pretried the case and come up with $25k, but the prosecutor wanted more, so they went to a jury. We came up with $24,227. Cool beans
Hopefully, justice was done. I hope and pray that God has used me (and the jury) for His purposes in setting out justice, and not injustice.
Oh, the case itself (since I'm allowed to talk about it now) was as follows:
A woman was packing in her Christmas stuff with a candle lit on the 30 of December. Some tissue paper caught on fire (it was piled up around the candle, negligence) and she threw it to the ground and put it out. Turned around and there was some more tissue paper on fire. She ran to the fire extinguisher in the hallway of the condo and all of a sudden there was a blast of heat with a large fire. She ran away. The fire set off sprinklers and the room across the hall was severely damaged by the water after being remodeled just a few months ago. Because of a lack of insurance (which was revealed to us later), the owner of the room across the hall sued for damages.
Prosecutor proved negligence, proved harm suffered, but then the connection between the negligence and the water sprinkler going off was iffy. Where did this explosion come from? The evidence seemed to point to some accelerant or vapor in the air from between the hallways, but the table with the candles (and source of the fire) was relatively undamaged compared to the living room (which was 10-15 feet away) which was ... toast. Plus the glass was blown out of the apartment across the hall and the railing blown off. Thus the connection was iffy, but it was more likely than not. Prosecutor claimed for 60 thousand, but we awarded 24,227.
Quite the interesting case. Kind of makes me want to become a lawyer (I can do better than that kid! =p). Cool beans.
Monday, August 22, 2005 at 9:27 PM
1Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
So I've been selected to be part of a jury. Since it's still going on I can't really talk about it, but I just wanted to drop a note before I forgot. It truly is a pleasure and a blessing to be part of the judicial system and it's cool just seeing how it works. I must admit it seems to take forever, but I think about what I would want to happen if I were someone who was on trial and I think I would fight tooth and claw for a fair and impartial jury. It's also a little bit of a scary feeling to know that I'm part of God's justice system! Coram Deo indeed!
A note on the proceedings:
Proverbs 18:17 comes into mind a lot:
17The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him.
So often I find myself being swayed by rhetoric and verbal side stepping it's hard to focus upon the logic and actual argument at times.
I also just finished going through a couple minor prophets. All about establishing justice and seeking righteousness and not being impartial. Plus judgment. Scary stuff (but awesome at the same time, knowing that we have a just God, one that will repay everyone for all that they've done, that there is no unfairness or impartiality).
Reading: Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Finally, pictures from Alaska are up
. I miss Alaska dearly (and I'm still trying to gather my thoughts to reflect on the rest of it). The kids are soooo cute!
This one always has a special place in my heart =p (I think because she was nice to me, instead of running away in terror like many of the other ones =p)
Sunday, August 21, 2005 at 9:41 PM
More good reads as of late:
At the Howling Coyote
, he recently posted about children learning catechisms at a very young age, and gave the example of his son
who is two
. I hope one day to be able to raise children with great spiritual maturity at a young age. (me with maturity them at young age)
Another article about the necessity of preaching
Gospel as Law
and Grace instead of just all grace.
there is another post on preaching and the necessity of preaching the truth
, and the whole truth without clouding issues.
Over at The Dickens Family
, there was an insightful post reflecting on one's journey to Calvinism
An interesting article from World Magazine
about having a ministry evangelism
At Coffee Swirls, the author just finished a series on Church Growth... The Biblical Way. A hearty amen!Intro
:Reliance on the Holy Spirit
:Worship the Benefactor
:Preach the Gospel
:Offer Something Greater than What You Have to Give
These were excellent.
Finally, over at Crystal's Blog
she is discussing Biblical Womanhood and is currently reading "Be Fruitful and Multiply." Some of the views proposed are against what cultural norms are, but I haven't made a decision on if I agree or not (though I suspect I agree much more than I disagree on some points).
Mmm, so much good posts, so little time.
Thursday, August 18, 2005 at 4:13 PM
All the posts in this series are done. Read them here
Another thing that came up at VSS was prayer. There were a couple people there that prayed for everything. And I mean everything. Prayer constantly offered for bumps and bruises, for school, homework, job. Not just "major" things, but everything. This amazed me. I don't know. I always thought to myself that I didn't want to waste time on "worthless" prayers. But thinking about it, I cannot think of a single verse in the Bible which commands us not to pray. There are verses that speak out against praying to impress people, or praying to impress God, but I can't think of anything anywhere that would speak out against offering up prayer. In fact, all the verses I can think of are all about "pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances"
But yet there is something that holds me back. There is something inside of me that is saying "oh I don't want to waste God's time with such tiny things" when I know (and can prove) that I should be thanking God for everything
constantly humbling myself instead of believing that I can do anything.
It is in and through God that I can do anything.
Because of this, I should be praying for anything and everything, because nothing occurs apart from God's will! Who am I to think that I can handle this exam, this problem set, this quiz on my own? Who am I to think that I can handle anything on my own?
But yet I see within me my sinful nature, seeking always to put "me" first and to trust in "my" abilities. ::sigh:: I need the power to pray, not only for the big things, but for the little ones too.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
13Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.[b] 17Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
James 4 (Though here the context is a little different)
You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
::sigh:: Prayer is such a mountain moving thing. It's invoking the name of the Almighty and Awesome! Most powerful! How can I continue to have such a hard heart to such a great gift? But yet I do.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005 at 7:46 PM
Ironically enough, this post crossed my path:Theology for 4-7 year olds
at 3:52 PM
So I guess since it's been sent out on the email lists I can talk about it now.
These past few days huge things have been happening at my church at Stanford. The pastor of FiCS (the fellowship it sponsors at Stanford) has been let go. No notice. No information. He heard from someone outside of the church 1 week after the fact, after he had preached another sermon for their youth group too! There was no reason given. I don't know what to say. I thought that these things did not happen to churches that preached God's Word. God will grow His people and His church right? How can a church be kicking out one of their teachers on the street
? He was in charge of three ministries for 2 and a half years!
This was a man that I have had the pleasure to grow with and be discipled by and he is someone who has made mistakes but is of the desire to uphold God's Word at all costs. And his heart has been for the kids, even volunteering to take care of FiCS at no cost to the church to help them grow. I simply do not understand.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't hero worship, but merely a deep sadness that a church could fall into such a destructive practice. How will any pastor want to work for a church that can just drop them like that?
Please be praying for me. I am confused, but I do trust in God who has forordained all and is every moment bringing about His glory in all that occurs. I am the president of FiCS and am at a loss how the fellowship should respond. If it were just me, I would simply send a scorching email to the elders, but I am now a representative of a fellowship. Pray for wisdom and guidance as I step into the next year with great fear and trembling at the difficulties that will happen in my fellowship. Pray for my church KCPC. Sin covers every one of us and we all
need a savior. Praise God that my pastor has found a job (on very short notice!) with a Christian school. Praise God for what He is doing, the trials He is putting us through, the joys and the sorrows. Praise God for being God.
1 Peter 4
12Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
at 12:15 PM
Over at the A-Team blog there is an excellent post
about building the body of Christ.
Adrian Warnock has some sermon notes on seeking and finding God's will.
Over at 9Marks (just found today) there is an excellent post
on what keeps a church healthy. Be sure to click on each of the points outlined! (I am still reading through these)
I'm planning on posting my thoughts on the "revival" that AKOMC hosted while I was there. Still organizing.
Monday, August 15, 2005 at 2:04 PM
All the posts in this series are done. Read them here
OH boo. Firefox died on me as I was doing my final spell check for my post on disciplining children.
Well to reiterate: Being in Alaska and being surrounded by tiny terrors (preschool/kindergarten) has really challenged me to think about how I would go about raising kids. I'm not saying that I'm ready (not by a long shot!), or that I want to (seeing as I'm part of the Bachelors till Rapture club, which is doubly hard because I don't really believe in rapture), but just it's something I figure I'd think about (and is a little bit of a lighter topic from the summer school). Hey, who knows, maybe someday I'll be raising a kid and I'll look back on this and be like "wow, praise be to God you were completely wrong!" or maybe even "hey, cool. Go God and giving me insight at such a young age. Its surprising that anything useful came out of that period 10 years ago."
Basically I would like to respond to one specific view that I see being espoused. I am not going to say that my personal views are better and should be followed completely (seeing as I am just as knowledgeable as the 20 year old next door who's closest interaction to kids has been chasing them out of his driveway while he shoots hoops), but it is currently what I've been convinced of and I'd like to share it.
The view I'm responding to is that of with regarding to child discipline, some believe that kids are still too young and it isn't worth the effort to try to talk to them, they won't get anything out of it. Plus it is easier for them to learn from the world on their own. Thus child discipline should start later at the age of ____. This last line is rarely included but it is the likely conclusion of the statements.
Personally I'm convinced that this isn't entirely correct. While it may be true that children at a very young age have extremely short attention spans, I don't believe that they retain absolutely nothing. Just last week I taught a 3 year-old how to wipe his rear after going number 2. Yesterday he was screaming for his mom from the bathroom and when I checked on him he asked if I could wipe his butt for him. I told him that I taught him already, did he want me to help him and he was like "oh, ok, I can do it."
Thus since I am unconvinced by the Bible that children have an "age of accountability" (only necessary reason) I believe that cross-centered discipline cannot start too early. As soon as they start sinning and are capable of understanding what someone says, they need
to learn the Gospel, for without it they will surely perish. I believe that while it may take many, many repetitions before they understand, it is necessary to explain to them each and every time they harm someone, they destroy something, they disobey, that they are sinners just like everyone else, and God hates
sin and will punish it with death. But God, in His great love, sent His Son in our stead so that we now can live in His grace. Yes, some of the words are difficult, but with a great deal of patience (a lot more than I have), it is possible to explain it so that they have understanding (and it is up to God to place that understanding in their heart so that it's convicting).
Finally, with regards to a belief that a child can learn from the world on it's own, I ask when the world was ever
suitable to teach someone anything. Stove = hot = pain yes, but without the explanation that it is God's temple we are harming when we burn ourselves (and not just ourselves) does it become good or bad. I am of the firm belief that we need to preach to everyone.
That means expounding upon the Word of God and sharing God's mind with those around us.
6Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
4"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.[a] 5You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
10"And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you--with great and good cities that you did not build, 11and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant--and when you eat and are full, 12then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. 14You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you, 15for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God, lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.
16"You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. 17You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you. 18And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers 19by thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the LORD has promised.
20"When your son asks you in time to come, 'What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?' 21then you shall say to your son, 'We were Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22And the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. 24And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. 25And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.'
Now, what to do about disobedient children? I personally cannot get away from the strength of the passages in Proverbs.
He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.
The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.
I cannot get away from the fact that these verses seem to teach that parents should corporally discipline their children, and there does not seem to be a situation where grace is extended in this area, in fact it seems that grace is specifically not extended in this area so that grace might be extended in eternity (Prov. 23:13-14). These passages all seem to point to the fact that corporal punishment should be part of a Cross-centered family. Now, how does corporal punishment point to the cross? My best guess is that it is part of the life giving rebuke/training that we must all receive as children of God.
To sum it all up: I believe that discipline should start soon, and start early. Not only discipline, but Gospel preaching (which is the most important). If a child does come before the Lord with respect, we can't just yell at him or her and tell them to stand up straight and do this and do that, to clasp their hands and close their eyes, but it is necessary to explain why, to explain that we are coming into the presence of God and He commands worship and demands respect. We can illustrate from Scripture how other's have responded to God's presence (Isaiah and Peter come to mind) and use that as a model for us, all the while saying that it's sinful to not give God the worship He deserves (and also extending the hand of grace).
On a side note, I believe this shouldn't be restricted to an individual message all the time, but rather is something that all should hear, even the person worshipping boldly in the front row. Yes, we're all sick and in need of a savior.
This discipline should be enforced with a rod anytime the child refuses to obey. Disobedience to parents was punishable by death in the OT and is deserving of death in God's eyes (with few obvious exceptions).
Just my current opinions. I'm sure they'll change a great deal, (and I'd like to hear other people's comments). Some articles that have helped me shape these opinions:
Vincent Cheung quotes a book about Immediate Obedience
John Piper and his collection of sermons on the Christian family. This one in particular spoke to me.
Some godly women talk about raising God-fearing children. (I would hope my wife would be like this one day!)
at 8:54 AM
No spam, I promise.
Saturday, August 13, 2005 at 12:22 AM
Ok, so there's a lot I am thinking over. Please pray for wisdom and discernment for me.
Some reading while you wait:
Vincent Cheung has an excellent post
on the Nobel Bereans.
Tim Challis has two posts about engaging the culture and movies that I agree with wholeheartedly. I also think they can apply to music as well. Click here
Jollyblogger has a few excellent posts: Finding the Will of God
and Reading the book of Revelation
, as well as a good post on labels
(specifically Calvinist and Arminian)
Another plug for the ESV Bible: ESV reading statistics
from Adrian Warnock. Update: Apparently he didn't use the right edition, so the numbers are revised a bit here
And Alex Chediak is writing a book called Five Paths to the Love of Your Life.
It looks very interesting and I've already ordered a copy.
Labels: Reading Deeply
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