Saturday, February 27, 2010

Avatar: Advertisement For Paganism

Mark Driscoll is a little late in the game with this, but he certainly has an interesting take on Avatar.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Flying Tomato and Judgement Day

Christianpost.com:

You might not know this, but the words “U.S.A.,” “Winter Olympics,” and “domination” have never quite worked out to be in the same sentence. For the last 50 years, we’ve picked up a few medals here and there, but generally speaking, the competition has buried us in a blizzard of skill and athleticism.

Close That was then… This is now. World, meet Lindsey Vonn, Shani Davis, and, most impressively of all, Shaun White, also called The Flying Tomato because of his red hair.

In case you missed it, The Chairman of the Snowboard flipped out the “also rode”competitors with a double McTwist 1260 (invented by him, not McDonalds) and a near perfect score of 48.4. I guess the only way to score a 50 with those judges is to leave orbit, circle the moon, and land a triple cork, all while singing “Oh Canada.”

It’s obvious to me that Shaun White goes way beyond wanting to win, because he has made his biggest competitor himself. No one wants to defeat Shaun White’s old scores more than Shaun White, and I can totally see him getting a 50 in the 2014 Olympics… can’t you?

Watching these events and awards ceremonies makes me think of the day that I hope to receive my own gold medal. It’s the day I will stand before the Judge, who will show me my own scores and, I hope, say, “Well done!”

I’m not talking about summer or winter games. I’m referring to the most important day of my life – Judgment Day:

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Read the full article here.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Archaelogist: Ancient Jerusalem Wall Confirms 1 Kings

Archaelogical finds are now confirming on almost a weekly basis what we see in the Scriptures, particularly in the OT. Here is another one from earlier this week, as reported by cbn.com:

An Israeli archaeologist said Monday an ancient wall in east Jerusalem confirms part of the Old Testament of the Bible.

Dr. Eilat Mazar said pottery shards found at the site date the walls to the 10th century B.C. That is 3,000 years ago when the Bible says Jerusalem was ruled by King Solomon.

Some archaeologists say the biblical stories of Kings David and Solomon are just a myth. But others, like Mazar, say the Old Testament account found in 1 Kings is absolutely true.

Read the full article here.

Love This Psalm

PSALM 112 (NIV)

Praise the LORD.

Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands.

2 His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.

3 Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.

4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.

5 Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.

6 Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.

7 He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

8 His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.

9 He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor.

10 The wicked man will see and be vexed, he will gnash his teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

Free Acts 29 Theology Workbook

Get it here.

What You Can Do With The Gospel

Justin Taylor:

Just a sample list from only two verses.

You can (and should):

•preach it

•hear it preached

•deliver it

•receive it

•believe it

•be saved by it

•remember it

•remind others of it

•stand in it

•hold fast to it

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.”—1 Corinthians 15:1-2

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tim Keller On the Big Issues Facing the Western Church

If you aren't reading Tim Keller these days, you need to be. I highly recommend his two most recent books, Counterfeit Gods and The Prodigal God. You can also learn from him at the Redeemer City to City blog. Here is what he has to say about the biggest issues currently facing the western church:

1. The opportunity for extensive culture-making in the U.S. In an interview, sociologist Peter Berger observed that in the U.S. evangelicals are shifting from being largely a blue-collar constituency to becoming a college educated population.

His question is--will Christians going into the arts, business, government, the media, and film a) assimilate to the existing baseline cultural narratives so they become in their views and values the same as other secular professionals and elites, or b) will they seal off and privatize their faith from their work so that, effectively, they do not do their work in any distinctive way, or c) will they do enough new Christian 'culture-making' in their fields to change things? (See http://www.virginia.edu/iasc/HHR_Archives/AfterSecularization/8.12PBerger.pdf)

2. The rise of Islam. How do Christians relate to Muslims when we live side by side in the same society? The record in places like Africa and the Middle East is not encouraging! This is more of an issue for the western church in Europe than in the U.S., but it is going to be a growing concern in America as well. How can Christians be at the very same time a) good neighbors, seeking their good whether they convert or not, and still b) attractively and effectively invite Muslims to consider the gospel?

3. The new non-western Global Christianity. The demographic center of Christian gravity has already shifted from the west to Asia, Latin America, and Africa. The rising urban churches of China may be particularly influential in the future. But the west still has the educational institutions, the money, and a great deal of power.

What should the relationship of the older western churches be to the new non-western church? How can we use our assets to serve them in ways that are not paternalistic? How can we learn from them in more than perfunctory ways?

4. The growing cultural remoteness of the gospel. The basic concepts of the gospel -- sin, guilt and accountability before God, the sacrifice of the cross, human nature, afterlife -- are becoming culturally strange in the west for the first time in 1500 years. As Lesslie Newbigin has written, it is time now to 'think like a missionary'--to formulate ways of communicating the gospel that both confront and engage our increasingly non-Christian western culture.

How do we make the gospel culturally accessible without compromising it? How can we communicate it and live it in a way that is comprehensible to people who lack the basic 'mental furniture' to even understand the essential truths of the Bible?

5. The end of prosperity? With the economic meltdown, the question is -- will housing values, endowments, profits, salaries, and investments go back to growing at the same rates as they have for the last twenty-five years, or will growth be relatively flat for many years to come? If so, how does the western church, which has become habituated to giving out of fast-increasing assets, adjust in the way it carries out ministry? For example, American ministry is now highly professionalized--church staffs are far larger than they were two generations ago, when a church of 1,000 was only expected to have, perhaps, two pastors and a couple of other part-time staff. Today such a church would have probably eight to ten full-time staff members.

Also, how should the stewardship message adjust? If discretionary assets are one-half of what they were, more risky, sacrificial giving will be necessary to do even less ministry than we have been doing.

On top of this, if we experience even one significant act of nuclear or bio-terrorism in the U.S. or Europe, we may have to throw out all the basic assumptions about social and economic progress we have been working off for the last 65 years. In the first half of the 20th century, we had two World Wars and a Depression. Is the church ready for that? How could it be? What does that mean?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Obama Makes Pro-Abortion Senate Bill Worse

Note: One way to engage in the fight for life is to support a local pro-life center. In northwest Indiana a great organization to partner with is The Women's Center of NW Indiana.

From National Right to Life:

Any member of Congress who votes for the final legislation proposed by President Obama will be voting for direct federal funding of elective abortion through Community Health Centers, and also an array of other pro-abortion federal subsidies and mandates.

The health bill passed by the Senate in December (H.R. 3590) had become, by the conclusion of the Senate amendment process, the most expansively pro-abortion bill ever brought to the floor of either house of Congress since Roe v. Wade. The Senate bill, as passed, contained seven distinct problems pertaining to abortion policies. (The bill passed earlier by the House, H.R. 3962, contained none of these pro-abortion components, thanks to adoption of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment on the House floor on November 7, 2009, by a vote of 240-194.) President Obama today proposed "a targeted set of changes to" the Senate-passed bill. None of President Obama's proposed changes diminish any of the sweeping pro-abortion problems in the Senate bill, and he actually proposes to increase the funds that would be available to directly subsidize abortion procedures (through Community Health Centers) and to subsidize private health insurance that covers abortion (through the premium-subsidy tax credits program).

If all of the President's changes were made, the resulting legislation would allow direct federal funding of abortion on demand through Community Health Centers, would institute federal subsidies for private health plans that cover abortion on demand (including some federally administered plans), and would authorize federal mandates that would require even non-subsidized private plans to cover elective abortion.

Here is one problem, offered for illustration: The Senate bill, due to a last-minute amendment, provides $7 billion for the nation's 1,250 Community Health Centers, without any restriction whatever on the use of these federal funds to pay directly for abortion on demand. (These funds are entirely untouched by the "Hyde Amendment" that currently covers Medicaid.) Obama today proposed to increase that figure to $11 billion, but without adding a prohibition on the use of the funds for abortion. (The House-passed bill would provide $12 billion, but in the House bill the funds would be covered by the Stupak-Pitts Amendment.) Two pro-abortion groups, the Reproductive Health Access Project and the Abortion Access Project, are already actively campaigning for Community Health Centers to perform elective abortions. In short, the Senate bill would allow direct federal funding of abortion on demand through Community Health Centers. A memorandum documenting this issue in further detail is posted here: http://www.nrlc.org/AHC/NRLCmemoCommHealth.pdf.


The abortion-related differences between the House-passed and Senate-passed bills are far, far greater than one would gather from reading superficial summaries such as those published repeatedly in the mainstream news media. These thumbnail sketches have tended to focus exclusively and superficially on certain provisions associated with Senator Ben Nelson. NRLC believes that the Nelson provisions are unacceptable, but the pro-abortion problems in the Senate bill go far beyond the flawed Nelson provisions. A letter from NRLC to U.S. House members, explaining the multiple pro-abortion components of the Senate-passed bill, is posted here: http://www.nrlc.org/AHC/HouseLetteronAbortionProvisions.html.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) produced a 13-page memorandum that throws the many unacceptable provisions of the Senate bill into stark relief, which is posted here: http://www.usccb.org/healthcare/life_conscience.pdf.

A substantial number of pro-life Democrats in the House, including some lawmakers whose names have not been mentioned on the various published lists, have told their constituents that they are not going to vote for the Senate-passed bill because of the abortion problems. For pro-life Democrats, President Obama's proposal only makes matters worse. The only thing that would fix the Senate bill on abortion is permanent, bill-wide language that is functionally identical to the Stupak-Pitts Amendment adopted in the House on November 7, 2009.

The Obama proposal also would force rationing of lifesaving medical treatment, a matter that will be the subject of separate comment by the National Right to Life Committee.

The Apology that Tiger Should Have Made

Mark DeMoss hits it right on the nose.

Quote of the Day

When John Wesley was asked why people seemed to be drawn to him, he answered, "Well, you see, when you set yourself on fire, people just love to come and watch you burn."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Why Expository Preaching?

Here is a good post by Mike Pohlman, mostly referring to DA Carson, on why we should preach expositionally.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Engaging the Community

I am currently reading through Colossians as part of my morning devotional time. This morning I came to this passage:

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:5-6 (ESV)

The ESV Study Bible has a note that really struck a cord with me, explaining what "seasoned with salt" means and its implication:

This statement echoes the teaching of Jesus when he called his disciples to be “the salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13). When applied to conversation, the metaphor suggests speaking in an interesting, stimulating, and wise way. Paul's comments assume that the Colossian believers are vitally involved in the local community and have ample opportunities to interact with outsiders in a way that would commend the gospel to them.

A big question for me (and maybe you?) -- am I vitally involved in my community so that I have ample opportunity to commend the gospel to outsiders? I think I need to work on this.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger

As everyone knows, Tiger Woods held a press conference this morning to address his recent issues.

Chris Brauns has some great thoughts on Wood's remorse and his professed Buddhism:

Tiger Woods today issued an unqualified apology for his infidelity. I appreciate the way Tiger took ownership and pray he will hear the invitation of the Gospel.

At the same time, Tiger’s statement raises questions about his professed Buddhism. Tiger said:

"Part of following this path for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age. People probably don’t realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist, and I actively practiced my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years. Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously I lost track of what I was taught."

Besides saying that immorality is wrong, how will Buddhism help?

Read the rest here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chris Coghlan

Here is a great story about Chris Coghlan, last year's National League Rookie of the Year as the Florida Marlin's leftfielder. Coghlan is a committed Christian and passionate about sharing his faith.

A Call to Holiness

Yesterday's post at Christians in Context: from orthodoxy to orthopraxy:

Whatever thing I have denied my selfish desires, Christ denied more to condescend in human likeness and perfect humility.

Whatever temptation I have had to overcome, Christ overcame more on my behalf that he might present a perfect substitute for me before God.

Whatever pain I have endured—whether physical or emotional—in denying the longings of my body and mind, Christ endured more under the just wrath of God on the cross in my place.

Whatever loneliness I feel (imagine: the pathetic loneliness of one who is a temple of the Holy Spirit and a child of God), Christ felt more when the Father turned his back on him because of my sin.

Christ has made a way. He has given me his Spirit. Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe.

So grow up. Be a man. After all, "you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin" (Heb. 12:4).

For a deeper treatment, read The Mortification of Sin by John Owen.

Money Can't Buy Happiness, So....

A man gives away his 3 million pound ($6 million dollars) fortune.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Marriage Resources

Following up from my message this past weekend, I thought it might be helpful to pass along some marriage resources and their main theme:

Books
Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas -- God designed to marriage to make us holy more than happy.
Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God by CJ Mahaney -- great resource for husbands to learn how to study and romance their wives.
When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey -- learning how to deal with your sin and its impact on your marriage.
This Momentary Marriage by John Piper -- marriage is designed by God and for God.
Preparing for Marriage -- great pre-marital resource or for those who didn't do pre-marital counseling.

Messages
Intimate Marriage by RC Sproul -- I think this is obvious.
John Piper's sermons on marriage -- they are all worth a listen or read.
Mark Driscoll's Peasant Princess series -- please note that this series is not for the faint of heart. Driscoll is direct and at times provocative, but has many good things to say.

The Discipline of Grace

I am a big fan of Jerry Bridges, and his book The Discipline of Grace is one of the top five books I have ever read. Tim Challies has a good post today on how he has applied the principles in the book to his life. Read it here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why Does Africa Remain Broken?

This is a difficult question, but as one who has travelled and ministered in West Africa several times, I agree with Robert Smith's assessment.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

Here's an interesting post by Mark Driscoll regarding the origination of Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pursuing Holiness

This past Saturday I had the privilege of speaking at a seminar hosted by thechristianleader.org. My topic for the day was Pursuing Holiness: The First Priority of Every Christian Leader. Here's the outline from my talk:

Why is holiness the first priority of every Christian leader?

1. Holiness is the first priority of every Christian (Hebrews 12:14, 1 Peter 1:15-16, Colossians 1:15-18).

2. Holiness builds trust within your followers.

3. God blesses obedience (Matthew 6:31-33).

In what areas do leaders struggle with a lack of personal holiness?

1. Integrity (Ephesians 4:22-25)

2. Purity (Ephesians 5:3)

3. Humility (Mark 10:32-45)

How do we grow in holiness as leaders?

1. Remember that God is always with you.

2. Focus on your heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

3. Practice Gospel-centered leadership.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It's Not Just a Guy Problem

I have posted quite a bit about the struggles men have with pornography; however, the reality is that it's just not a guy problem. We increasingly see this as a struggle for women as well. Perhaps this article will help.

The Other Side of Betrayal

Let me say first of all that I would never recommend that anyone betray another person in any way.

Yet I’ve seen how God often uses what Satan meant for harm, a betrayal, to make a relationship better on the other side.

For example, I can’t count the number of times I’ve counseled a couple through an affair. Although many times this will cause an unstable marriage to break down, often times the opposite is true. When both people are truly seeking Christ, the power of forgiveness and healing overcomes the power of the evil one.

Amy and I watched as a betrayed wife accepted her wayward husband back. Through tears she told him she was choosing to forgive him as freely as Christ had forgiven her.

Stunned, he returned a bold promise that he’d devote the rest of his life to serving Christ and serving her. So far he’s delivered on his promise. Their marriage is better today than it ever has been.

If you’ve been hurt by someone or by a church, maybe your relationship—with God’s help—can be even better on the other side. -- Craig Groeschel, Senior Pastor of Lifechurch.tv on the blog Swerve.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Super Bowl Ad Isn't Intolerant; Its Critics Are

Here is an interesting (and refreshing!) take on the Tim Tebow controversy from pro-choice columnist Sally Jenkins.

Monday, February 1, 2010

How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain

I haven't read this yet, but this book by William Struthers looks to be very interesting, and hopefully very helpful as well. You can read Al Mohler's overview of the book here.

Four Costs of Becoming a Christian

JC Ryle shares four things that a person must be willing to give up in order to become a Christian.

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About Me

I am a husband to Eva, father of 4, pastor, and most of all passionate follower of Jesus Christ. The focus of my life is to make the most of every opportunity God gives me to bring glory to Him. Outside of the time spent in my role as a pastor, I spend most of my time with my family -- a good deal of that coaching various sports teams that my children are involved with. Every fall and winter you will find me rushing to the woods of Indiana and West Virginia in search of a monster whitetail buck.