Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Is true Christianity collapsing in the West?

A church in Spring Lake Michigan has removed the Cross from their church building because they have come to believe that the Cross, and the teachings of Christ, are simply too divisive. They have also decided to make their church more "inclusive" to all religions and changed their name from Christ Community to C3Exchange.

This news comes on the heals of a press conference announcing another development at the Claremont School of Theology in which the Board of Trustees has voted to transform the school to a multi-faith seminary. The stated goal of the school is to “set in motion the University Project as a means to rethink classical models of theological education in an effort to promote interreligious cooperation and ethical integrity in the training of religious leaders for a variety of religious traditions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and others".

Initially The United Methodist Church, the schools affiliate denomination, moved to sanction the school. However, the sanction has since been lifted by the denomination.

Blessing and cursing

How do we treat our families during the week and before church on Sunday morning? How do we treat them at church? Are they consistent? Hang with this video, it packs a punch in the end.

James 3: A Story from Peter Ostebo on Vimeo.

... but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
- James 3:8-10 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

“Welcome and safe” by Sinclair B. Ferguson - Tolle Lege

“Can we really be righteous in God’s sight? Yes, but the truth is even more remarkable—in Jesus Christ, I am as righteous in God’s sight as Jesus Christ Himself.

How can that be? The only righteousness with which I am righteous is Jesus Christ’s righteousness.

It is as if He has said to me: ‘Here is my righteousness. Wear it; it is yours. It fits your needs perfectly and completely.’

As I stand in God’s presence and He looks at me, I hear Him say: ‘Where have I seen that righteousness before? Come near. I recognize it now. That is My Son’s righteousness you are wearing. Enter! You are welcome—and safe—here.’”

–Sinclair B. Ferguson, By Grace Alone (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2010), 59.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday music smile - 'Don't Know Why', the literal version

A charming Norah Jones sings a more literal (and humorous) version of Don't Know Why.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Backstreet Boy dropout

Burk Parson and Lou Pearlman
Ligonier Ministries just completed it's 2010 conference; keynote speakers included R. C. Sproul, John MacArthur, and Michael Horton, among others.

One of the 'others' is a man by the name of Burk Parsons. When Parsons was a teenager, he had the opportunity to become one of the Backstreet Boys, but he decided to take a pass.  About a year ago he was interviewed by Tim Challies about the whole experience and the allure of wealth and fame. It's a fascinating story. What I find most interesting is that, as a teenager, he had the wisdom to forgo the world and answer God's call on his life. Secondly, as it turns out, some of his band-mates were professing Christians who thought that they could use their platform of fame to witness for Christ. Needless to say, that plan did not work out to well.

You can read the interview here: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

On a final note,  Lou Pearlman, the impresario behind the 90's boy band phenomenon, was later convicted of various fraud charges as his entire enterprise crumbled. Here is a clip of Pearlman as he appeared on ABC's Making the Band while putting together another boy band. What a vivid reminder of Mark 8:36.

Let nothing stand between you and Christ

A true Christian will strive to do his duty in whatever station or position he finds himself, and to do it well. Whether statesman, or merchant, or banker, or lawyer, or doctor, or tradesman, or farmer, he will try to do his work so that no one can find occasion for fault in him. But he will not allow it to get between him and Christ. 

If he finds his business beginning to eat up his Sundays, his Bible-reading, his private prayer time, and to bring clouds between him and heaven, he will say, “Stand back! There is a limit. This is as far as you can go, and no further. I cannot sell my soul for position, fame, or gold.” Like Daniel, he will make time for communion with God, whatever the cost may be. He will deny himself anything rather than lose his Bible-reading and his prayers. 

In all this he will find he stands almost alone. Many will laugh at him, and tell him they get along just fine without being so strict and particular. He will not listen. He will resolutely hold the world at arms length, whatever present loss or sacrifice it may seem to entail. He will choose rather to be less rich and prosperous in this world, than not to prosper about his soul. To stand alone in this way, to run counter to the ways of others, requires immense self-denial. But this is genuine Scriptural separation.

~ J.C. Ryle

How Creation Speaks and Ministers – Justin Taylor

How Creation Speaks and Ministers – Justin Taylor: "Someone put together some visuals with the background as John Piper’s 1987 sermon on The Pleasure of God in Creation from Psalm 104:31.

In that sermon Piper gives five reasons why God rejoices in the works of creation:

1. God rejoices in his works because his works are an expression of his glory.

2. God rejoices in the works of creation because they praise him.

3. God rejoices in the works of creation because they reveal his incomparable wisdom.

4. God rejoices in the works of creation because they reveal his incomparable power.

5. God rejoices in the works of creation because they point us beyond themselves to God himself.

Here’s a clip:"

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday music smile

This is an excellent song about the grace and mercy we find in Christ. A surprisingly good song.

Tell me I’m forgiven and loved
‘Cause I hear it from the street corner priests
On how God is love and how man can be clean
But my joy has been on holiday
And my peace has almost passed away
Tell me I’m forgiven and free

O I tried and tried to rectify my hopeless situation
But I bought the lie I still have work to do
Now I’m working nine to five like I can earn my own salvation
But there is no condemnation in You

O whisper to me now that it’s for real
‘Cause in the silence of these walls righteousness lost its appeal
Dirty deeds have done me in
O but that can’t stop the faithful friend
Giving mercy once again as You heal
Here it is I’m feeling it


O He died, He died to rectify my hopeless situation
And His blood commands my guilt to leave
Now on Calvary I stand
Empty pockets, open hands
O there is no condemnation for me


Child, you’re forgiven and loved
Child, you’re forgiven and loved
Child, you’re forgiven
And child, you are loved
Child, you’re forgiven and loved


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Narnia trailer due for Thursday release

It's official, the new trailer for Voyage of the Dawn Treader will be released on the Internet this Thursday at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time. You will be able to view it here and at

UPDATE: It's here!!

The intercession of a Mighty Friend

This is the life, history and experience of every true Christian: Though he falls, he rises again; though he is cast down, he is not destroyed. He goes on from one position to another, like the moon upon a stormy night, plunging from one cloud into another, yet by-and-by shining out again and walking in brightness. 

What is the secret of it all? It is the continual intercession of a mighty Friend at the right hand of God—a Friend who never slumbers and never sleeps—a Friend who cares for the believer, morning, noon, and night. The intercession of Christ is the secret of the perseverance of the Christian.

~ J.C. Ryle

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday music smile - Vintage Al Green

Thought I would repost one of my favorite Al Green performances. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mining the depth of Scripture

“Search the Scriptures.”
- John 5:39

The Greek word here rendered search signifies a strict, close, diligent, curious search, such as men make when they are seeking gold, or hunters when they are in earnest after game. We must not rest content with having given a superficial reading to a chapter or two, but with the candle of the Spirit we must deliberately seek out the hidden meaning of the word. Holy Scripture requires searching-much of it can only be learned by careful study.

There is milk for babes, but also meat for strong men. The rabbis wisely say that a mountain of matter hangs upon every word, yea, upon every title of Scripture. Tertullian exclaims, “I adore the fulness of the Scriptures.” No man who merely skims the book of God can profit thereby; we must dig and mine until we obtain the hid treasure. The door of the word only opens to the key of diligence. The Scriptures claim searching. They are the writings of God, bearing the divine stamp and imprimatur- who shall dare to treat them with levity? He who despises them despises the God who wrote them. God forbid that any of us should leave our Bibles to become swift witnesses against us in the great day of account.

The word of God will repay searching. God does not bid us sift a mountain of chaff with here and there a grain of wheat in it, but the Bible is winnowed corn-we have but to open the granary door and find it. Scripture grows upon the student. It is full of surprises. Under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, to the searching eye it glows with splendour of revelation, like a vast temple paved with wrought gold, and roofed with rubies, emeralds, and all manner of gems. No merchandise like the merchandise of Scripture truth.

Lastly, the Scriptures reveal Jesus: “They are they which testify of me.” No more powerful motive can be urged upon Bible readers than this: he who finds Jesus finds life, heaven, all things. Happy he who, searching his Bible, discovers his Saviour.
- Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Help for memorizing Scripture

When I think of all the commercial and sitcom jingles bouncing around in my head from childhood, it makes me cringe. Completely useless information taking up limited brain space that I didn't even try to memorize. To this day I find myself humming a tune or reciting the words from a song I heard thirty years ago that I didn't even like. Why is that?

Fast forward to today; when I try to memorize Scripture, the task often seems daunting. To that end, Seeds Family Worship has made it their goal to make Scripture memorization easier by paring Bible verses with memorable tunes. After all, didn't Martin Luther say that music is the handmaiden of theology (or something to that effect, I can't remember).

Take a look and a listen to the following three videos and you'll see what I mean. Then you can click on the link below for details on how to order, and get a discount code, at Justin Taylor's blog. For those of you who are parents just think, you can brand your kids brain with Scripture for life instead of some silly jingle for sugarless gum.

Scripture Set to Song: 20% Off CDs and Free Videos :: Justin Taylor

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Jesus receives the most vile of sinners

“Behold, I am vile.”- Job 40:4

One cheering word, poor lost sinner, for thee! You think you must not come to God because you are vile. Now, there is not a saint living on earth but has been made to feel that he is vile. If Job, and Isaiah, and Paul were all obliged to say “I am vile,” oh, poor sinner, wilt thou be ashamed to join in the same confession? If divine grace does not eradicate all sin from the believer, how dost thou hope to do it thyself? and if God loves his people while they are yet vile, dost thou think thy vileness will prevent his loving thee? Believe on Jesus, thou outcast of the world’s society! Jesus calls thee, and such as thou art.

“Not the righteous, not the righteous;
Sinners, Jesus came to call.”

Even now say, “Thou hast died for sinners; I am a sinner, Lord Jesus, sprinkle thy blood on me;” if thou wilt confess thy sin thou shalt find pardon. If, now, with all thy heart, thou wilt say, “I am vile, wash me,” thou shalt be washed now. If the Holy Spirit shall enable thee from thy heart to cry

“Just as I am, without one plea
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidd’st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come!”

thou shalt rise from reading this morning’s portion with all thy sins pardoned; and though thou didst wake this morning with every sin that man hath ever committed on thy head, thou shalt rest to-night accepted in the Beloved; though once degraded with the rags of sin, thou shalt be adorned with a robe of righteousness, and appear white as the angels are. For “now,” mark it, “Now is the accepted time.” If thou “believest on him who justifieth the ungodly thou art saved.” Oh! may the Holy Spirit give thee saving faith in him who receives the vilest.

- Charles Spurgeon

Is Theology useless?

“Theology is an excuse for grown men to spend their lives trying to convince themselves, and others, that ridiculous fairy tales are true... Theology is drivel.”
- Terry Sanderson - President, National Secular Society
I recently read this article by Al Mohler in which he chronicles the modern secular mindset regarding theology. As you can already surmise, the modern intellectual regards theology as a body of useless knowledge that contributes nothing to society. The study of theology is, in their view, a fool's errand and a waste of time. Of course this should not come as any surprise, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 :

"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.'
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe."

So what's the surprise here? Am I shocked that a leading secularist believes that theology is a completely useless body of knowledge? No, that doesn't shock me. What does shock me is how many professing Christians don't care about theology or doctrine. Functionally, many professing Christians have the same mindset of the modern secularist. They give little thought to the subject and spend precious little time in Scripture.

Theology is the study of God, who He is and has revealed Himself to be. Although He has revealed Himself in creation, His primary revelation comes through Scripture. We are admonished in Scripture to pursue this knowledge:

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. - 2 Peter 3:17,18

This pursuit should not be burdensome to the Christian, it should be a joy. We see this in Scripture, the saints of God considered it a great joy and privilege to know God. In fact, it was their greatest joy and their greatest privilege. I pray that the same be might said about us.

I end with these two videos on the importance of theology and the joy of studying Scripture. from Covenant Life Church on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

“Preach to yourself” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones :: Tolle Lege

“Preach to yourself” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones :: Tolle Lege

“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc.

Somebody is talking. Who is talking? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul?’ he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: ‘Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you.’…

The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down’– what business have you to be disquieted?

You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God’– instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do.

Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: ‘I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God.’”