Drinking Deeply

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 1:45 PM

Sometimes you need that simple reminder

Acts 17:24The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

I was talking with a friend this morning and mentioned how difficult it seemed to be now that I had time on my hands. I felt... moody and lonely and all sorts of other weird emotions that I knew I had experienced before, but couldn't give name nor reason. Thinking a bit, I realized part of it was simply that I felt like I wasn't "useful" anymore. No longer was I serving in FiCS, no longer was I meeting with people on a regular basis. I felt like... a body and I was asking "what am I doing here?"

Then my friend pointed out that he had struggled with the same thing, and he really just had to remember that God didn't need him. That he wasn't saved because God needed someone with his specific skills and personality in order to further the kingdom of heaven.

I really needed that. God didn't need someone to be president of FiCS for 2005-2006. God doesn't need a math major. God doesn't need someone who loves to discuss and share and debate and think. God doesn't need me. But God saved me not because of who I was, what I had done, or even because of what I was going to become, but for His Name and by His mercy. Who was I to think that I could come to God and say, "Oh look what I've done. Look at this ministry. Look at this small group. Look at these relationships. Look, look, look" ?

To wash away the crimson stain,
grace, grace alone availeth,
Our works, alas, are all in vain
in much the best life faileth.
No man can glory in thy sight
all must alike confess thy might

and live alone by mercy
and live alone by mercy.

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Sunday, May 28, 2006 at 2:20 PM

Lord's Day 12

Q. Why is he called "Christ," meaning anointed?
A. Because he has been ordained by God the Father and has been anointed with the Holy Spirit to be our chief prophet and teacher who perfectly reveals to us the secret counsel and will of God for our redemption; our only high priest who has redeemed us by the one sacrifice of his body, and who continually pleads our cause with the Father; and our eternal king who governs us by his Word and Spirit, and who guards us and keeps us in the redemption he has won for us.

Q. But why are you called a Christian?
A. Because by faith I am a member of Christ and so I share in his anointing. I am anointed to confess his name, to present myself to him as a living sacrifice of thanks, to strive with a good conscience against sin and the devil in this life, and afterward to reign with Christ over all creation for all eternity.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 11:54 PM

Proverbs 1:Wisdom's Call(4)

Ok, this has become much more a slow walk through proverbs 1 than what I originally envisioned it to be. But that's ok, because Proverbs is God's Word too.

Next verse! Verse 9 (in context)
7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
8Hear, my son, your father's instruction,
and forsake not your mother's teaching,
9for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.
To resummarize: Wisdom and knowledge begin with the fear of the Lord. A recognition of God's perfection, holiness, justice, ability to stamp one out with a thought. A grateful dependance upon God's mercies and supplication to the King of knowledge for this knowledge. Following this, we are called to hear and obey the teaching of the Lord, especially as they come through our parents (and other authority figures). Do we obey our parents? Do we obey our church? Do we obey our small group leaders? Even when it seems inconvient?
9for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.
v. 9 gives us the promise which comes after v. 8. This is why you're encouraged to hear and obey, because the words of God, the teachings passed down by your father and mother, are a "graceful garland" and "pendants."

These laws, these commandments, they are an arrangement of intertwined material (usually flowers), they are an ornament for our necklace. (Webster) What is the verse saying? That this is where our adornment is. Of course people cannot see this in the same way that they would see a necklace, but do you know what? It doesn't matter! Because the only opinion that ever matters here is God's. And He is saying that these commands and teachings are a "graceful garland" and "pendants." This is true adornment, holy and pleasing before the eyes of God.

Men - Do you think that looking fit and muscular makes you look better and more attractive? That may be the case to the outside world, but remember the stern warning that God gives in 1 Samuel 16:7. After Samuel calls the sons of Jesse to seek one to annoint king, he sees Eliab and thinks that the Lord will surely choose him (presumably because Eliab looked like a king), but God says to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." Looking muscular and looking physically attractive may get you far in this world, but if you heart is far from God, it is completely worthless. God sees your heart, clearer than you know your own heart. He sees every sin, every thought, every flicker. And He has given us clear instructions on what is pleasing to Him, our adornment (to God) is the commands and laws of God, the teachings passed down through our parents.

I'm not saying that being physically fit (or even physically attractive) is wrong. David was "ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome" (1 Samuel 16) But neither is being attractive good in itself. Jesus "had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him" (Isaiah 53) You may spend day after day at the gym working out so that you can bench press your own weight, but how much mental training in godliness are you doing? Are you seeking to please man, to find your image in how people look at you? No, God is the one who determines what we look like. What do we look like before God?

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006 at 12:35 AM

Proverbs 1:Wisdom's Call(3)

Continuing the post on Proverbs 1:8, simply because I never actually got around to the main point of the verse:
8Hear, my son, your father's instruction,
and forsake not your mother's teaching,
What is this verse trying to teach us as people who desire insight and wisdom? As people who desire to serve God? It begins with obedience.

1) Hear! Listen to what your parents have to say to you! Listen to what they are saying because they are divinely appointed by God to raise you. Do you think your birth by them is some cosmic accident? Of course not, God is completely sovereign and has chosen them to be your parents, and you to be their son (I'm using "son" here because the text uses it, but it's certainly applicable to daughters as well). God has placed you there for a specific reason, and that is for them to raise you. When they are teaching you the decrees of God and the Law of the Lord, listen! Hear what they have to say. Especially when they are teaching you the Word of God.

2) Forsake not! It's not just an "in one ear and out the other" listening, but it's an obedient one. It's a committed one. It's a hear that has an obey right after it. Do not forsake it! Do you remember one of the 10 commandments? Exodus 20:12 was laid down by God as he brought Israel out of Egypt, and this was one of the first things that God laid down:
12"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
Of course, this honor and obedience must be done in a biblical way, and must be done in the context of Proverbs 1:7 so don't obey your parents in sinning

This obedience, this hearing, flows only from the fear of the Lord. Yet, they are still your parents, and thus you must honor them as God calls you to. Do not think that just because they're unbelievers that it lets you off the hook. On the last day you will still be called to account for how well you obeyed God's Words. Yes, He's not asking you to follow your parents into sin, but are there places where you have been disobedient when they've asked simple things of you and you refused? I'll be honest, this is one of my biggest struggles with my parents. Some of what they ask seem... useless, and they don't understand me anyway. Why should I obey them? But I am constantly reminded over and over again that I'm to honor them and listen to them (so far as what they say aren't against God). Yes, it's almost hypocritical of me to write these things, as I do not obey them myself.

We can even broaden the qualifications a bit. The verse is talking about spiritual instruction and charging us to hear, and not forsake it. Here's a question: How do we respond to the preaching of the Word? To times of Bible study? Are we eager to hear? Are we desperate not to forget the proclaimation of the Gospel? Or are we there simply for the food and friends? Are we there late because there are better things to do? No, you don't have to go to a Bible study every single night in order to be a real Christian, but do you go? Is there a desire to hear God's Word? Is there a grateful submission to those that God has placed in charge of our souls? Or do we always think that they're talking to someone else? That we've heard it all before so we don't need to hear it again? Of course not.

Wisdom continues with hearing and obedience. Manhood continues with hearing and obedience (though this verse is just as applicable to women as well). Do we hear? And do we obey?

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 8:51 PM

Proverbs 1:Wisdom's Call(2)

I was going to move on from Proverbs, but the next few verses in Proverbs 1 jumped out at me. We'll just continue on this proverbs binge. Proverbs is cool anyways.
8Hear, my son, your father's instruction,
and forsake not your mother's teaching,
1) Teaching begins at home (father's instruction and mother's teaching) and thus parents should seek to bring up their children with this wisdom and fear of the Lord. Once again, what is the book of proverbs for? It's for biblical and godly instruction. It's not for "general wisdom" for "all people." No, this is for true wisdom, which is accessible only via Jesus Christ. It is the only wisdom, through Christ our living Word. The world knows nothing of this. It is only through Scripture that we have this.

There is no neutrality with God. It is either "for" or "against." When you become parents (or as you are parents), don't fall into the secular trap that your children can make an informed decision on their own. Do not underestimate the depravity of man. It is only through faithful teaching and preaching of the Word and Wisdom of God that manhood will come about. To let the teaching of God's Wisdom go by is to give the culture and it's ruler a foothold in your children.

Teach your children what it means to be Christian. What it means to really embrace Jesus as Lord and Savior. Don't insult them by thinking they're too young to learn. Instruction begins, like for Timothy, from infancy. I'm not saying that you can force someone to believe, but do you think neglecting their spiritual instruction, even for a period of time, will help them?

2) The charge is for the son to obey the father's instruction and the mother's teaching. Raising children is a household affair. It is not the place for the father to say "I'm working to make money for you to eat, the wife will take care of the rest" nor is it the place of the mother to say "the father is supposed to lead, he'll teach the kids." Both parents must demonstrate their firm commitment to proclaiming Jesus Christ as the only Lord and Savior, revealed through the Holy Scriptures, and this begins by faithful instruction from both parents. Yes, there are areas where the parents have different roles in the upbringing of the children, but do not think instruction and spiritual teaching is one of these. This is a joint affair, and not one to be neglected.

Of course, those are all side points, and not really the main point of the verse. What is the main point of the verse?

Eh, I'm tired. Come back tomorrow. Haha.

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at 8:30 PM

Be a man (sidenote)

So one of my biggest fears have cropped up. A topic that I've started posting on has been addressed by people much smarter and better looking than me! (Ok, I actually don't know how good they look). Well, it's not like I've only been generating new material! But it was kind of interesting that these three crossed my path the last week.

Well, we'll continue posting, but here is something that will be much more worth your time than reading my blog on this topic:

Show yourself a man.

Chad's Show yourself a man.

Faith and Practice's Credibility Applied.

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at 12:07 AM

Proverbs 1:Wisdom's Call(1)

The whole "manhood" stuff has kind of inspired me to think "where else can I find insight into how to be a man of God?" While it has been fruitful to think about and meditate upon the passages that have come to mind, I must freely confess that through this process I will not grow as much as I ought. After all, I only know so much about Scripture, and what I'm doing is more recall than learning.

Take that as an encouragement for expository preaching if you will.

Proverbs 1
1The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

2To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
3to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
4to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth--
5Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
6to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.

7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Here we have it, the introduction to the whole book of Proverbs. What is the book for?

It's proverbs: sayings and thoughts written down and passed on for the encouragement of Solomon's (and presumably, future) sons. This is what they would learn from their parents as they were growing up. This is a type of the training that they would be given.

One thing to remember as we read Proverbs though. The genre is that of collections of wisdom and not necessarily divine cause-effect commands. While general trends are remarked upon, the book of proverbs in no way says that things happen that exact way every time.

It is also specifically directed towards boys to become men (though much of what it says is applicable to girls to become women), so some of what it says is very gender specific (and I think some of what it says can be taken in a gender specific way though we may not assume it... I'm thinking of the child discipline, the warnings against putting up security for a neighbor and so on).

What is it for? It's to teach. Teach wisdom. Teach instruction. Teach discernment in their dealings with others. To teach righteousness, justice, equity. Take it as a handbook of life if you will.

And it begins with v. 7)

7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.

This is pretty much the first of the "wisdom" sayings. The rest has been an introduction. And indeed it starts it off. Where does this biblical manhood training begin? It begins (as has been pointed out before) with our relationship with God. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. What is this fear? It's the same fear that knows that God is a consuming fire. That knows God's eyes are too pure to look upon evil. That knows that God has commanded everyone everywhere to repent. It's the fear that drops Isaiah to his knees. It drops Peter to Jesus' knees. It's a holiness of God. A righteousness of God. A revelation of these things to us, when we were so blind we did not even know, that is the beginning of knowledge.

And it is this thing that is the beginning of knowledge. Know this. You cannot start anywhere else. If you think you can start on the basis of your own accomplishments. On the basis of your own intellect and apart from the fear of God, you have nothing. This fear of God is the beginning of knowledge, the firstfruit. Luther loved the contrast between the law and gospel, stating repeatedly that the Law must come first, so that we might recognize our sins and come to fear the holy and righteous God, before the Gospel is able to rescue us from those sins.

Without this relationship with God, this beginning with fear, you are merely a fool, casting wisdom and discernment to the winds. Maybe you've never felt that fear. Never felt that terror that's brought you to your knees before God in repentance. What about the picture of God as our loving and compassionate father? Doesn't it say that God is love? Yes, of course it says that God is love. And for those that God loves, He is a loving and compassionate father. Does that mean God is some teddy bear now? Do we forget how he inspires awe and fear in all those around him? That he wouldn't allow Moses, one of his people, to look him in the face because Moses would die? Yes, God is a loving father, but don't make that one attribute swallow up the rest of who God is. There is a very real danger of twisting your picture of God so much that you will stunt your spiritual life. Maybe even make a shipwreck of your faith.

So if you're at that place where you don't even know if you actually fear God, here's a suggestion. Meditate upon God's attributes. Think about how God punishes sin and sinners. How people were struck down for some of the simplest things like touching the Ark, for not giving God all the money they promised, for making a simple calf out of gold. His righteousness and holiness and perfections. Think about these things and pray and beg that God would give you that fear, because without it all things are lost.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Men - this is where you must start. This is the entrance to all of the book of Proverbs, which is the training manual for manhood. This is where training starts, where wisdom begins. Where you will grow from boy to man.

But where must this go back to? The source of all our blessings: Christ and His death upon the cross. Upon that cross, our sins, our blindness, our hardheartedness, our foolishness, our lack of wisdom, are paid for. The wrath of God was satisfied and poured out. And by His life, that perfect and righteous life, the floodgates of God's blessings are poured out. It is in Him through which this insight, this fear, this discernment, this wisdom flows. And it is only by His free gift, not something that we can earn, will we ever grow to be men of God.

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Sunday, May 21, 2006 at 7:32 PM

Lord's Day 11

Q. Why is the Son of God called "Jesus," meaning Savior?
A. Because he saves us from our sins, and because salvation is not to be sought or found in any other.

Q. Do those who look for their salvation and security in saints, in themselves, or elsewhere really believe in the only Savior Jesus?
A. No. Although they boast of being his, by their deeds they deny the only Savior and Redeemer Jesus. Either Jesus is not a perfect Savior, or those who in true faith accept this Savior have in him all they need for their salvation.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006 at 10:54 PM

Every thought captive!

I was looking back on the passage in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, because it seemed to be a verse I used a lot and I realized something that I sort of knew but had forgotten and was reminded again. The passage in context:

2 Cor. 10
1I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ--I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!-- 2I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. 3For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

The passage that has been on my mind has been specifically v. 3-5:
3For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
I've always taken this passage to mean that I need to take every single one of my own thoughts captive to obey Christ. Every irrational and illogical argument against God, the emotional appeals, the times when I simply don't want to think about God, the times that I despair and question, those are the things I am to take captive for Christ.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think this is a wrong interpretation. The call is very clear to take every single one of our own thoughts captive, to seek God and not walk in the way of the wicked.

But, examining the context, I'm not too sure it's a complete interpretation of the passage. Paul is defending his ministry. Some had accused him of walking according to the flesh (v. 2). He needed to deal with these men. He needed to defend his ministry from these people.

What does Paul point to? He points to his divine weapons that demolish strongholds which are "arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God." Not only is Paul saying I have taken captive my own thoughts, but Paul is also clearly saying that he's taking captive other thoughts as well: tearing down strongholds and demolishing arguments. He's contrasted himself already in 1 Corinthians 2 to those who preach with sophistry and lofty speech. Paul preaches Christ, why? Because it is the power of God for those who are being saved. This is Paul's weapon, and this is what sets him apart.

Yes, Paul has sought out areas in his own life and been demolishing arguments in his head, but don't ignore the point he's making here. Not only has he been demolishing opinions raised up against God in himself, but he's also taken that to the offensive, entering synagogues and teaching and proving Christ.

When we are able to do this ourselves, then our obedience will be clear, and we will be able to recognize disobedience and punish it in a biblical and appropriate manner. Without doing this, then true and false believers would not be able to be distinguished and church discipline would be hard, if not impossible.

So here's the charge. Don't let the demolished strongholds inside yourself be the only application of the passage, but recognize the evils and lofty opinions outside. Seek them out and demolish them. Do we have an answer to the Da Vinci Code? Do we have an answer to pluralism and universalism? Do we have an answer to justification by faith and works? Do we have an answer to post-modernism and an attack on the clarity of Scripture? Yes, not every fight is worth fighting, but there are fights that must be fought. There are hills worth dying on. Do you know what they are? Or is everything the same "that works for you... but maybe not for someone else? When confronted with questions, do we scramble for answers or are we able to boldly stand upon the Word of God, defend ourselves, and go on the offensive?

No, we don't need all the answers in order to be saved. No, because of our sinful minds, we cannot know all the answers. But we do have God and His Word, and so we do have all the answers. Through Christ and His death and resurrection, we have life, we have illumination, and we have the minds of Christ. Do you know that?

So take your trusty weapon in the Gospel, in prayer, in the Word, and train it not only on yourself, demolishing arguments in your minds against God, but train it outside of yourself too trusting in not your sophistry or wisdom, but in the power of God, the cross which is foolishness to the world, but the power of God to us who are being saved. It is the power that has raised you from the dead, and it has the power to crush every lofty opinion and raise others from the dead as well.

Who will go?

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at 12:39 AM

Be a man!

1 Kings 2
1When David's time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, 2"I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, 3and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, 4that the LORD may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, 'If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'
I couldn't sleep last Saturday night because of this verse. I figured to share it and what got me all excited about it.

David is about to die. Solomon is king, having basically been handpicked by David over Adonijah. David is at the end of his life. Here was a man who killed Goliath. Served Saul, even when Saul went insane, allowed Saul to live, even after him being delivered into his hands, twice! I think many of us would take the first instance of "oh, I guess God really wants me to do that" and just done it, figuring it was God's will. No, David takes the higher path. "you shall not touch the Lord's annointed." David was a great warrior, a mighty king, a conqueror.

He was also a failure. He had committed adultery, been rebuked, and been restored. His son died because of his sin. He sinfully took a census, doubting God.

Yet through it all, God was faithful, sustaining David and teaching him of God's ways day in and day out. This is passed down so powerfully in a short yet sweet paragraph, and I just love it.
v. 2a) "I am about to go the way of all the earth."
David's fearlessness of death is evident. Yes, he didn't know the name of Christ, but he looked foward to it with eagerness (a la Hebrews 11 and 1 Peter 1). He could repeat with Paul "O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?" No, here was a man who, in spite of his sins, in spite of his failures, could delight in the Lord, trusting in Him for salvation. With a sober picture of what death held in store, he charged his son, the king:
v.2b) Be strong, and show yourself a man,
Solomon! This is your charge. I've lived my life out and this is what I want you to remember. Be strong and show yourself a man! Be a man. What does this mean? What does this look like?
v.3a) and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses,
Being a man entails obedience. Manhood isn't that tough guy who is in open rebellion to authority. In fact, being a man here is defined as complete obedience to the precepts of God. Yes, that should be obvious, and it should be obvious to any and all people and not just those aspiring to be men. But know this, that this is the first calling. One's relationship with their wife, with their children, with their friends, with their church, are all secondary to their relationship with the ruler and source of all the rest. Solomon is called to walk in the ways of the Lord. To keep all that's written in the Law. Yes, all of it. all of it.
v. 3b-4a) that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, that the LORD may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, 'If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'
Commands in the Bible are always followed by the promises of the Lord. Obey and you will be blessed. Indeed, the reward for obedience is always great. Solomon would prosper in all that he did and whatever he turned to. God would fulfil his promise to David, that he would never lack a person to rule upon the throne. What is the call? Not just an outward obedience (for that was easy), but also the inward one too, the obedience found in the mind and not just in the actions. It's easy to keep from murdering people, just don't have any weapons around when you're angry. But what does Jesus say? If you even look at a brother in anger, you're committing murder. No, God demands "faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul."

Yes, this is the charge for Solomon by David, and this is the charge for men today. We are not kings and we are not physical warriors. But we still are spiritual ones. So buckle up your armor of God. Gird up your loins. Sharpen your sword, and seek to take every thought captive.

But one thing we do have to remember. We will fail. David failed, miserably. Solomon failed. Every single person with one exception has failed this charge.

But it's that exception that makes all the difference. Do not despair, for the Lord our God is king over all. He has sent His son for us, while we were still sinners and hostile to him, so that we might now live lives that are increasingly in conformity to Him. Yes, failure will come. But the strong man has been bound, the victory won, and the promise of manhood already fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 4:35 PM

If I could change one thing about me...

The entire quarter, the fellowship has had "Chill N' Grill" nights, nights where we'd get together and put two graduating seniors on the "grill" and ask them questions.

Well, I was just thinking about how I would answer "if you could change one thing about you, what would it be?" Apart from things like "sanctified body," "knowledge with love," and "to know God," I think one of my greatest desires is to be able to sing well. I love singing hymns and songs. Be Thou My Vision, In Christ Alone, Before the Throne of God above, Come Thou Fount, are all songs that have been stuck in my head and I've trying to memorize. It all sounds ok and fine to me, but as I sing more and more, I sense this desire in myself to... just have a good voice or something. I really have no idea why. Is it a desire for recognition? I sure hope not. But what else can it be?

And how does that make me any better in any way than those who are concerned about their appearance (and not those that want to be fit, but rather those that are caught up in looking good)?

I think I'm secretly jealous of all those testimony people that have nice voices. Or of all the people that can play guitar and sing. Or simply of David Scudder.

Yeah, that's probably it.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 10:04 AM

Car rides

You know, some of the best conversations I've had have been in those long(ish) car rides. 45 minutes+. Dropping someone off at the airport. Trip down to LA. Driving up to retreat sites. They've always provided such a good (private) time to push past all the "the weather is nice" stuff and hear how people are really doing, to share prayer requests, to ask pressing questions... discussion that, for some reason or another (namely: fear, on my part), never really get brought up otherwise. There's something about a car that makes things feel secure. Something about a companionship that's found there that I haven't really found elsewhere quite so often, not even on "male bonding activities" that I like to put together.

Thank you, my dear brothers and sisters. You know who you are. Thank you for the countless rides, for giving me the opportunitiy to share in that fellowship. For being honest and allowing me to be honest. Out of the many things here at Stanford, I will say that the rides, not the destinations but the rides, have been some of the most meaningful for me.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 3:32 PM

(L)imited Atonement

Someone asked me to explain the 5 points of Calvinism today (wahoo!), and as I got to "L" - Limited Atonement they got that little look on their face that said "what? How can that possibly be biblical?" When I say that Limited Atonement basically says that "God didn't send Christ for everyone " immediately the response is, "what? I thought God loved everyone?"

My response in brief:

I guess "limited" emphasizes the wrong aspect that it's really supposed to illustrate. While I would say that God didn't send Christ to die for everyone, the point I would emphasize would not be the "scope" (how many people it's applied to), but rather the "extent" (how much it does). The point of saying that God didn't send Christ to die for everyone is to finish that statement with a positive one: Those that Christ died for are saved. Completely and irrevocably. Christ's death secures the salvation of those He died for. There isn't anything else that a person must do. The death of Christ upon the cross completely covers and removes all sin from a person and places Christ's perfect righteousness upon that person.

Thus a "Calvinist" limits Christ's death in one way (who Christ dies for), but has a much bigger picture of what Christ's death accomplishes: the salvation of each and every single one of those that God has chosen. A "synergist" removes the limit on Christ's death in one way, saying that Christ died for everyone, but places that limit on another aspect: Christ's death is only sufficient to save those who have faith (and yes, the terminology could probably be more precise) as well.

Yeah, "Limited Atonement" maybe could be replaced with "Definite Atonement" to clear up the confusion, but TUDIP doesn't quite sound so good as a TULIP =)

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at 12:09 AM

Reading Deeply

Still thinking on what to post.

Jollyblogger comments on the push toward "incarnational ministry" and how there is something missing. I agree, though I'd have to admit I never really thought about "incarnational ministry" as he's describing it.

Together for the Gospel puts out their "statement of faith." One thing did jump out at me though that I thought was interesting. Why do you think they included article 17 about the "staggering magnitude of injustice against African Americans"? While I agree that something like that is something we should be aware of, I was surpised that it was worthy of being place at the same level as things like "inspiration of Scripture", "Trinity", "Complementarianism" (and some might argue complementarianism isn't worth being put up there too, I agree in one sense but not in another).

Vincent Cheung talks about why God's sovereignty is such an important doctrine. He's working through a commentary on 1 Peter right now, each post has been well worth reading. So go back and read through them.

Paul Scott Pruett makes a compelling point about people being willing to die for a lie. Would you die for something you knew to be completely false? Laying your life down as a martyr?

An old sermon from John Piper on expository preaching. How I long for this type of preaching all over the world! If people were willing to listen to it, the revival we all pray for would already be here.
What gives preaching its seriousness is that the mantle of the preacher is soaked with the blood of Jesus and singed with fire of hell. That’s the mantle that turns mere talkers into preachers.
Reformation Theology puts up a post of "corporate confession." I thought it was really cool and this one cut me deep.
Minister: Blessed Jesus,
you offered us all your blessings when you announced…
“Blessed are the poor in spirit” —
People: but we have been rich in pride.
Minister: “Blessed are those who mourn” —
People: but we have not known much sorrow for our sin.
Minister: “Blessed are the meek” —
People: but we are a stiff-necked people.
Minister: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” —
People: but we are filled to the full with other things.
Minister: “Blessed are the merciful” —
People: but we are harsh and impatient.
Minister: “Blessed are the pure in heart” —
People: but we have impure hearts.
Minister: “Blessed are the peacemakers” —
People: but we have not sought reconciliation.
Minister: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness” —
People: but our lives do not challenge the world.
Minister: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you
and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” —
People: but we have hardly made it known that we are yours.
Minister: Your Law is holy and your benedictions are perfect,
but they are both too great for us.
You alone are blessed.
People: We plead with you to forgive our sins
and give us the blessing of your righteousness.
Douglas Wilson posts on anger, righteous anger, and controling anger. It's a little bit long, but very much worth the read.

In order to be freed from our own fits of anger and rage, we must contemplate (through faith) the greatest display of wrath in the history of the world—the cross of Jesus Christ. There, in the wrath of God, the petty wrath of all His people was crucified. The solution to our anger is not to be our lack of anger. The solution to our fits of anger is God’s wrath with that anger. The solution to our anger is His anger. "Much more then . . . we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son" (Rom. 5:9-10). So we were saved from wrath by wrath. And if we have no glimpse of true wrath, we will spend our lives face down in the puddles of our own private animosities. Dear God, deliver us! But deliverance is only through the cross. You will be delivered from anger only by seeing how angry God was with it. And that is seen through the cross.

Teampyro continues the excellent postings with a Christian response to hell. It's excellent.

An old post I'm digging up.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006 at 3:21 PM

Lord's Day 10

Q. What do you understand by the providence of God?
A. The almighty and ever present power by which God upholds heaven and earth and all creatures, and so rules them that leaves and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and unfruitful years, food and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, and everything else, come to us not by chance but from God's sustaining hand.

Q. How does the knowledge of God's creation and providence help us?
A. We can be patient when things go against us, thankful when things go well, and for the future we can have good confidence in our faithful God and Father that nothing will separate us from God's love. All creatures are so completely in God's hand that without the divine will they can neither move nor be moved.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006 at 1:04 AM

I will Glory in My Redeemer

Sorry for the lazy postings... life's been interesting the last few weeks. Maybe I'll be posting on it.

"I Will Glory in My Redeemer"

I will glory in my Redeemer,
whose priceless blood has ransomed me.
Mine was the sin that drove the bitter nails,
and hung him on that judgment tree.
I will glory in my Redeemer,
who crushed the power of sin and death.
My only Savior before the holy Judge:
The Lamb who is my righteousness,
The Lamb who is my righteousness.

I will glory in my Redeemer.
My life he bought, my love he owns.
I have no longings for another,
I’m satisfied in him alone.
I will glory in my Redeemer,
His faithfulness, my standing place.
Though foes are mighty and rush upone me,
My feet are firm, held by his grace,
My feet are firm, held by his grace.

I will glory in my Redeemer,
Who carries me on eagle’s wings.
He crowns my life with lovingkindness,
His triumph song I’ll ever sing.
I will glory in my Redeemer,
Who waits for me at gates of gold,
And when he calls me, it will be paradise,
His face forever to behold,
His face forever to behold.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006 at 9:20 PM

Luther Quote

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point. - Martin Luther

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 at 4:24 PM

Psalm 130

Psalm 130
©1997 Christopher Miner Music. Words: Martin Luther. Music: Christopher Miner.

1. From the depths of woe I raise to Thee
The voice of lamentation;
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me
And hear my supplication;
If Thou iniquities dost mark,
Our secret sins and misdeeds dark,
O who shall stand before Thee?
(Who shall stand before Thee?)
O who shall stand before Thee?
(Who shall stand before Thee?)
2. To wash away the crimson stain,
Grace, grace alone availeth;
Our works, alas! Are all in vain;
In much the best life faileth;
No man can glory in Thy sight,
All must alike confess Thy might,
And live alone by mercy
(Live alone by mercy)
And live alone by mercy
(Live alone by mercy)
3. Therefore my trust is in the Lord,
And not in mine own merit;
On Him my soul shall rest, His word
Upholds my fainting spirit;
His promised mercy is my fort,
My comfort and my sweet support;
I wait for it with patience
(Wait for it with patience)
I wait for it with patience
(Wait for it with patience)
4. What though I wait the live-long night,
And ’til the dawn appeareth,
My heart still trusteth in His might;
It doubteth not nor feareth;
Do thus, O ye of Israel’s seed,
Ye of the Spirit born indeed;
And wait ’til God appeareth
(Wait ’til God appeareth)
And wait ’til God appeareth
(Wait ’til God appeareth)
5. Though great our sins and sore our woes
His grace much more aboundeth;
His helping love no limit knows,
Our upmost need it soundeth.
Our Shepherd good and true is He,
Who will at last His Israel free
From all their sin and sorrow
(All their sin and sorrow)
From all their sin and sorrow
(All their sin and sorrow)

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at 1:03 AM

Corporate Confession


Minister: Blessed Jesus,
you offered us all your blessings when you announced…
“Blessed are the poor in spirit” —
People: but we have been rich in pride.
Minister: “Blessed are those who mourn” —
People: but we have not known much sorrow for our sin.
Minister: “Blessed are the meek” —
People: but we are a stiff-necked people.
Minister: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” —
People: but we are filled to the full with other things.
Minister: “Blessed are the merciful” —
People: but we are harsh and impatient.
Minister: “Blessed are the pure in heart” —
People: but we have impure hearts.
Minister: “Blessed are the peacemakers” —
People: but we have not sought reconciliation.
Minister: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness” —
People: but our lives do not challenge the world.
Minister: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you
and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” —
People: but we have hardly made it known that we are yours.
Minister: Your Law is holy and your benedictions are perfect,
but they are both too great for us.
You alone are blessed.
People: We plead with you to forgive our sins
and give us the blessing of your righteousness.

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Monday, May 08, 2006 at 8:38 AM

That's funny

You'd think after last year's elections, I wouldn't be surprised.

In Christ Alone-

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

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Sunday, May 07, 2006 at 6:03 PM

Lord's Day 9

Continuing my lack of personal blogging...

Q. What do you believe when you say, "I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth"?
A. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who out of nothing created heaven and earth and everything in them, who still upholds and rules them by eternal counsel and providence, is my God and Father because of Christ, God's Son. I trust God so much that I do not doubt that God will provide whatever I need for body and soul, and will turn to my good whatever adversity God sends me in this sad world. God, being almighty God, is able to do this; God, being a faithful Father, desires to do this.

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Saturday, May 06, 2006 at 10:24 AM

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou My Vision

Public Domain. Ancient Irish hymn.


1. Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;

Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art

Thou my best thought, by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.


2. Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true Word;

I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;

Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son;

Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.


3. Be Thou my battleshield, sword for my fight

Be thou my dignity, thou my delight

Thou my soul's shelter, thou my high tower

Raise thou me heavenward, O pow’r of my pow’r.


4. Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,

Thou mine inheritance, now and always:

Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,

High king of heaven, my treasure Thou art.


5. High king of heaven, my victory won,

May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s sun!

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my vision, O ruler of all.

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Friday, May 05, 2006 at 12:43 PM

Must we dig up the past?

oof

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Thursday, May 04, 2006 at 2:04 AM

Reading Deeply

I've got a whole slew of links. Here we go:

Theocentric
gives us the Good News about the wrath of God!



Daniel Phillips teaches us how to read the Bible.

Mark Dever talks about the Atonement and what to look out for in misconceptions.

Bob Kauflin rebukes me on how to be a humble critic.

Tim Challies
talks about the benefits of a catechism.

David Wayne does an accurate depiction of the social gospel and it's dangers.

Thabiti Anyabwile teaches me how to be an expository listener. This is a must read.

Brett Harris
challenges the youth of today to rethink the phrase "just not me"

Doug Eaton does 3 quotes from Paris Reidhead. Check em out. They're solid.

James Spurgeon
gives us an excellent picture of how God's acting in time fits in with God outside of time.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 8:26 PM

Prayer to Jesus?

I had firmly believed that prayer in Scripture was always addressed to the Father. The evidence to me seemed insurmountable (it is modeled by Christ, his parables always include the Father, Christ is the sole mediator. Christ and the Holy Spirit are portrayed as praying for us, but never the Father).

But I came upon this verse in Acts 6. What do you guys make of it? Does it lend support for prayer to Jesus? Of course, it's one verse, and it doesnt' really tell us much, but it'd be interesting what to make of it.

Acts 6:
59And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

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