Monday, November 30, 2009

New York Magazine Profiles Tim Keller and Redeemer Presbyterian

New York Magazine has done an excellent profile on Tim Keller and his ministry in Manhatten - See Why Are So Many New Yorkers Flocking to Evangelical Christian Preacher Tim Keller? -- New York Magazine
It’s a Sunday evening at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, and the pews are full. Redeemer is a conservative Evangelical Christian congregation, but the parishioners don’t fit the easy Bible Belt stereotypes. They are a cross-section of yuppie Manhattanites—doctors, bankers, lawyers, artists, actors, and designers, some of them older, most of them in their twenties or thirties. The peppy Christian-pop anthems, performed by Broadway-caliber singers and working jazz professionals, seem to go by in double time, the faster the better to get to the main event, the weekly sermon, delivered by pastor Tim Keller.
Keller is a 59-year-old bald, large-framed man, dressed today in a blue blazer and gray slacks. For those expecting hellfire and brimstone, the first surprise is the voice. Keller doesn’t speak in theatrical, over-the-top tones but in a soft, conversational manner, as if he’s sharing a confidence with a friend. For today’s sermon on a passage from the Old Testament Book of Habakkuk, in which a minor Jewish prophet rails about the misery brought on by the Babylonians in the seventh century B.C., Keller jumps to the recession and what he sees as shameful finger-pointing by both liberals and conservatives. “The Bible doesn’t let you do that,” Keller intones from the pulpit. “The Bible is nowhere near as simplistic, dare I say it, as either the New York Times’ or The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. You can write that down. Put it on your blog, I don’t care.”

Preaching to the Choir

(Since my Pastor was preaching from Phillipians 2 on Sunday, i found this more funny than it might otherwise have been.)

Hat Tip: Thinking Out Loud

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Prayer for Grease

I think I can echo this prayer.

From: prayer from the cell: squeak! | nakedpastor

Fellowship With Immortals

Something to think about at church this morning:
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously--no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners--no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat, the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.
C.S. Lewis, "The Weight of Glory"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lethel Combination

"'Almost all our spiritual problems comes from having too dwarfed a view of God and too inflated a view of ourselves. Sin thrives by a lethal combination of pride and unbelief.'"

From: J.D. Greear at

Friday, November 27, 2009

Do We Really Know the Gospel?

Do we really know the Gospel. Here's what one pastor (Joe Coffey) said- a pastor who thought he certainly knew the Gospel after years of successful ministry.
"I suddenly realized that I had undervalued the Gospel by treating it as merely the starting point of the Christian life, instead of as the all-encompassing source of truth and grace that empowers all of the Christian life."
Read the whole story at Themelios - Issue 33-1 - How a Mega-Church is Rediscovering the Gospel

(and yeah, there is a Tim Keller connection. I thank God for his ministry!)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Announcement

It is with great joy that I announce that next June I will be a Grandfather - married to the best looking Grandmother in the world.

Congratulations to daughter Michelle and son-in-law Zane. We are so excited and blessed by this good news.


An Imperfect Preview

“The gospel creates the kind of community that is even now an imperfect preview of the kingdom’s marriage feast that awaits us. The church originates, flourishes, and fulfills its mission as that part of God’s world that has been redeemed and redefined by this strange announcement that seems foolish and powerless to the rest of the world.”

—Michael Horton, The Gospel-Driven Life (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Books, 2009), 11

Hat Tip: Of First Importance

Happy Thanksgiving

"We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds. "(Psalm 75:1)

Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.”(2 Chron. 20:21)

"Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name; the upright shall dwell in your presence. "(Psalm 140:13)

We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign." (Rev. 11:17)
Thanks be to God today for all his abundant and wonderful gifts - life, health, family, job, and most of all the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Manhatten Declaration

I endorse the Manhattan Declaration.

The document, released last Friday with signatures from a very wide range of Christian leaders of many traditions and denominations, proclaims strong ecumenical support for life, marriage and liberty, as follows:

Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family.

We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are:

  1. the sanctity of human life
  2. the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
  3. the rights of conscience and religious liberty.

Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

The entire text can be fond at the link above. Some other endorsements:

Al Mohler Why I Signed the Manhatten Declaration
Justin Taylor
Chuck Colson
First Things
National Catholic Register
Baptist Press

Facebook page is here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Remembering C.S. Lewis

Most people my age or older remember this date as the day in 1963 that President John F. Kennedy was shot. I was seven years old and in the second grade. The biggest effect on that shallow young version of me was that my Saturday morning cartoons were preempted by news coverage. But I do remember the day.

What you may not know is that another famous person died on that same day: C. S. Lewis.

As a young teenager looking for rational reasons to support my faith, I found C.S. Lewis to be the one author who truly met that need. I have read Mere Christianity and Miracles over and over again throughout my life. Those books are never old to me, but seem fresh each time I read them. Later I discovered his novels, especially Perelandria, and found a new way to expand both my imagination and my faith. Lewis' influence is today touching new generations who discover The Chronicles of Narnia through the movies. Countless Christians leaders and ordinary saints can and do attest today to the tremendous influence of Lewis on every generation since he died.

Jared at The Thinklings wrote the following tribute to Lewis, with which I heartedly agree.
C.S. Lewis's influence on modern Christianity is unmatched to this day. No other Christian has come close to rivaling his place at the summit of Christian literature. No other Christian has come close to influencing Christian thought in the 20th and 21st centuries more than he. That is why I believe Lewis has been the single most influential Christian of the 20th century. No one -- not even Billy Graham -- has left such a indelible mark on Christian culture. Graham may win the souls, but Lewis builds them up. You might not be able to get an atheist to read Graham's How to be Born Again, but I bet you could get him to read Lewis's The Abolition of Man. And he'd be better off for it.
Thank you Lord, for sending us "Jack" Lewis. He made, and is still making, a big difference.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Seeing the Glory of Jesus on a Friday Morning

This post by Justin Childers at CROSS-eyed: Seeing the Glory of Jesus on a Friday Morning was just to good to pass up!

"Nothing in all the universe is as powerful as Jesus.
Jesus is before and behind all things.
Jesus has life in Himself.
The living One died...for our sins.
Jesus rose from the dead and will never die again.
Jesus possess absolute sovereignty over all things.

'Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.'"
Amen and Amen! A good thought for any day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Extreme Makeover – Heaven Edition

Any fans of the TV show Eextreme Makover- Home Edition" out there.

Stephen Altrogge at "The Blazing Center" presents that show as a parable of heaven at Extreme Makeover – Heaven Edition

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Martin Luther's Seat of Learning

Archaeologists working in Wittenberg, Germany have discovered - "flushed out" as it were- the famous toilet of Martin Luther, according to a report at Discovery Channel :: News
German archaeologists have discovered the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation — a stone toilet on which the constipated Martin Luther wrote the Ninety-Five Theses that launched the creation of Europe's Protestant churches.

Scholars had always known that the 16th-century religious leader suffered from acute constipation and spent hours in contemplation on the toilet seat.

Glad to know we have now uncovered the birthplace of the - ahem - reformation "movement."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A New Jesus People Movement

Jesus became real to me in 1970, during the youth revival known as the "Jesus Movement." Those were exciting and heady days. Sometimes it seemed like you could just walk down the hall at many high schools and just breathe on people and they would get saved.

Ocean baptisms, giant rallies, concerts from the early days of contemporary Christian music (before the "suits" from the record companies took it over) - I saw it all. Most of the Christian leaders in American churches who are now in their 50's and even 60's got their spiritual start in the Jesus Movement of the 1970's.

This week I ran across this article by Bill Faris at JUST MY TYPE on The Genius of the Jesus People Movement
The genius of the Jesus People movement of the late 1960's and 70's was not the theological sophistication of it's adherents. It wasn't money, or programming, or a centrally-coordinated effort to impact youth culture launched by existing Christian leaders or sociological experts. I believe the genius of the Jesus People movement was the empowerment of everyday people to take the ministry of Jesus to everyday places - from school campuses to coffeehouses. From private homes to rock concerts. From streetcorners to city parks. "Jesus Freaks" were always looking for opportunities to take the gospel to the places and environments where the people of their generation lived their daily lives. The whole world was their mission field and "church" could happen anywhere, anytime.

As a veteran of that experience, I believe we who follow Christ now would do well to re-discover this way of life. It's not about trying to go back to the "old days". It's not about nostalgia or recreating a bygone era or somehow updating its symbols. But I am convinced that there is an inhertiance given by the Holy Spirit to the Church that remains available to us now -- especially to those of us who know better than to keep ministry within the walls of church buildings.
Perhaps the key to a genesis of a new "Jesus Movement" for another generation is for believers to just try taking the Gospel and the power of the Spirit outside our church walls. It happened once before, 40 years ago.

Jesus is still the same Jesus. So, why can't it happen again?

Monday, November 16, 2009

What To Glory In

"I will glory not because I am righteous but because I am redeemed; I will glory not because I am free from sins but because my sins are forgiven me. I will not glory because I have done good nor because someone has done good to me but because Christ is my advocate with the Father and because the blood of Christ has been shed for me."

(St. Ambrose of Milan, De Jacob et vita beata, ch. 6, as quoted in Examination of the Council of Trent, Part I, p. 507)

We Need to Rediscover the Gospel

Saw this great quote last week in a column by Jared Wilson at Evangel | A First Things Blog: quoting Ray Ortlund, Jr.'s "An Earnest Call For Evangelical Leaders To Recover The Gospel From Its Present Humiliation"
A wave of authentic revival sweeps over the church when three things happen together: teaching the great truths of the gospel with clarity, applying those truths to people’s lives with spiritual power, and extending that experience to large numbers of people. We evangelicals urgently need such an awakening today. We need to rediscover the gospel.
Amen to that. However, he goes on to point out what we are like without the Gospel as the center of our church experiences.
Imagine the evangelical church without the gospel. I know this makes no sense, for evangelicals are defined by the evangel. But try to imagine it for just a moment. What might our evangelicalism, without the evangel, look like? We would have to replace the centrality of the gospel with something else, naturally. So what might take the place of the gospel in our sermons and books and cassette tapes and Sunday school classes and home Bible studies and, above all, in our hearts?

A number of things, conceivably. An introspective absorption with recovery from past emotional traumas, for example. Or a passionate devotion to the pro-life cause. Or a confident manipulation of modern managerial techniques. Or a drive toward church growth and “success.” Or a deep concern for the institution of the family. Or a fascination with the more unusual gifts of the Spirit. Or a clever appeal to consumerism by offering a sort of cost-free Christianity Lite. Or a sympathetic, empathetic, thickly-honeyed cultivation of interpersonal relationships. Or a determination to take America back to its Christian roots through political power. Or a warm affirmation of self-esteem. The evangelical movement, stripped of the gospel, might fix upon any or several of such concerns to define itself and derive energy for its mission. In other words, evangelicals could marginalize or even lose the gospel and still potter on their way, perhaps even oblivious to their loss.

But not only is this conceivable, it is actually happening among us right now....
He is right. His little thought experiment accurately describes what so much of American church experience is like. We focus on so many good things while comparatively missing the ultimate thing.

We do need to rediscover the Gospel!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Needed Every Day

"Most of us have never really understood that Christianity is not a self-help religion meant to enable moral people to become more moral. We don’t need a self-help book; we need a Savior. We don’t need to get our collective act together; we need death and resurrection and the life-transforming truths of the gospel. And we don’t need them just once, at the beginning of our Christian life; we need them every moment of every day.”

- Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dennis Johnson, Counsel from the Cross (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2009), 30.

Hat Tip: Of First Importance


"...we are not justified by our works but by faith, since our fleshly weakness is an impediment to our works, but the clarity of faith which merits the forgiveness of sins overcomes the error of our works."

-St Ambrose of Milan, 4th Century AD (De Jacob et vita beata, ch. 2, as quoted in Loci Theologici, Vol. II, p. 543; also quoted in Examination of the Council of Trent, Part I, p. 508)

What? You mean Martin Luther didn't invent "Justification by Faith"? Who knew?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Let the Word Come

"Let the Word of God come; let it enter the church; let it become a consuming fire, that it may burn the hay and stubble, and consume whatever is worldly; there is heavy lead of iniquity in many; let it be molten by divine fire; let the gold and silver vessels be made better, in order that understanding and speech, refined by the heat of suffering, may begin to be more precious."

St Ambrose of Milan, (On Psalm 118, Sermon 13,)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Donkeys & Horses

“Everybody thinks himself a judge of a sermon, but nine out of ten might as well pretend to weigh the moon. I believe that, at bottom, most people think it an uncommonly easy thing to preach, and that they could do it amazingly well themselves. Every donkey thinks itself worthy to stand with the king’s horses.”

—C.H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Practical Wisdom: Or Plain Advice for Plain People (Banner of Truth, 2009) p. 15.

You may not realize it, but preaching is hard work! I do it a couple of times a year, and I almost always feel exhausted afterwards - especially when doing two services. I can't imagine how hard it is to do it week by week. Here's one donkey who knows his limits.

God bless my pastor and all the men of God who serve Him and us in this difficult way.

Hat Tip: Miscellanies.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Speaking of Christ

"When we speak of wisdom, we are speaking about Christ. When we speak about virtue, we are speaking about Christ. When we speak about justice, we are speaking about Christ. When we are speaking about truth and life and redemption, we are speaking about Christ."

-Saint Ambrose, bishop of Milan, 4th Century AD

Problems with Christian Fictions

Do you read Christian Fiction? I don't. The few titles I have sampled were low in quality and did not catch or keep my interest.

Dan Edelen at "Cerulean Sanctum" blog has listed some of The Problems with Christian Fiction I tend to avoid the genre for some of the reasons he lists. For one thing, I'm a guy!

"But what I find to be the most disheartening news comes from the A-list Christian authors of today. I can’t remember the last time I picked up a novel by a Christian author that I found worthwhile.

Now I have to qualify this comment by saying that the Christian book market is a woman’s market. One of the most damning statistics is that the vast majority of Christian men never pick up a book after they graduate from school—save for the Bible (and I can attest that a lot of them don’t pick up that book, either, if our ampant biblical ignorance is any indication). Christian women drive nearly all the sales of Christian books, including Christian fiction.

So there’s a lot of Christian chick lit out there.

Newsflash: I don’t read novels that cater exclusively to women. Christian novels aimed at women could be Pulitzer Prize-worthy and I would not know it. (So if you’re an author of Christian novels that cater primarily to women, you can take what I’m saying with a grain of salt.)"

He goes on to mention authors struggling with what it means to be a Christian, the need for a high suspension of disbelief to enjoy the story, mimicking secular trends and unreliable reader reviews. And then there is this:
"....I’m bothered by the excessive padding I read in novels. All modern novels suffer from this, but the Christian novels I’ve read of late are plagued by it. What makes this even more remarkable is that I’ve already noted that many Christian novels lack sufficient worldbuilding. If those elements are missing, what’s being padded?

Too many authors repeat elements of the story or revisit a pattern of character behavior with slight modifications. I read one novel by a Christian A-lister where the middle chapters consisted of the same two groups of people wandering around in the woods, going through the same motions, asking most of the same questions, ad infinitum. Tedious is the word that springs to mind."
Okay, all you fiction readers out there - What do you think? Is Dan right?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day Salute

Today is Veterans Day in the USA. November 11 was originally called Armistice Day, in memory of the end of World War I. It is now called Veterans Day in honor of all military veterans.

I wish to make special recognition today for and to:

1. My Dad (retired Air Force Colonel), my late Grandfather (Mississippi National Guard in WWI in France), my late Uncle Franklin (Navy Sea Bee in WWII), Uncle Charles (Air Force), Uncle Hal (Army National Guard), Brother-in-law Gary (Army), nephew Dale (82nd Airborne), and any other family members I'm forgetting.

2. All our men and women serving and protecting us on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan, and many other places around the world.

3. All current and retired American veterans.

4. The families of the victims of the Fort Hood shootings.

God bless the USA!

Monday, November 9, 2009


Love these words from The Anchoress:
“Everything” is about nothing.
Everything ended with the sacrifice of the Lamb.
All is consummated.
We are forever and always at the Last Supper, at the Crucifixion, at the Resurrection.
Time ended with the tearing of the veil and the rolling back of the stone.
The rest is illusion and catching up.
There is nothing to be afraid of."

Relevant and Accurate

Is it possible for a preacher to be both relevant and accurate? J. D. Greear wonders and comments at

I enjoy listening to the guy who is creative in how he packages and presents his messages. I also enjoy the guy who really knows how to do "exegesis," i.e., can get into a passage, walk me through it, unpack it carefully, and make me feel, when he's done, like I really understand that passage much better than I did before.

Unfortunately those two guys are rarely the same person.

Some preachers astound me with their creative ability to perceive spiritual questions people are really interested in, apply biblical principles to their lives, and package their teaching in ways that capture the attention. Often, however, I feel like they are not letting the Bible drive their content--their messages are more driven by their experiences and creative genius. I also feel like if I sat under their preaching for a while that I would not really be getting the full scope of what God has left for me to know in the Bible. And rarely do I feel like I understand passages of Scripture much better as a result of their preaching.

Other guys astound me with their ability to perceive what a text is saying and unpack it. However, quite often they bore me, and fail to make me see how a particular passage is absolutely essential for my life. They are usually only decent in application; they almost always suck in introduction and approach; they don't package in a way that captures my attention. Quite often they ramble on way too long in too many scattered directions (usually, they excuse this by saying they are just going wherever the text itself goes).

I think both elements, careful exegesis and creativity, are absolutely necessary. ...

After some further comments he concludes:

Weighting yourself too heavily toward exegesis or creativity are both lazy approaches. The first fails to connect; the second fails to be faithful to God's calling. As a teacher of God's word, I am called to do both: to be faithful and connect. I am not called to simply expound a book; I am called to expound it to people.

Sure, if I had to choose one or the other, I'd much rather choose to be faithful to the text... but I do not have to choose.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Praying for the Persecuted

Today is International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church - see

Churches across the United States and around the world are preparing to “remember those in bonds” (Hebrews 13:3) on Nov. 8, the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).

Begun in 1996, IDOP is a day for intercessory prayer and citizen action on behalf of persecuted Christian communities worldwide.

May the Lord succor, protect and deliver our persecuted brothers and sisters.

Finding the Larger Place

"Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer." (Psalm 4:1 KJV)

From a meditation on Psalm 4:1 by James Ryle at rylisms: Enlarged in Distress
It is a law in the Kingdom of Heaven -- God always enlarges us when we are in distress. Therefore, when God wants to make us larger than we have settled for being, what do you suppose He does? He introduces distress into our comfortable lives, and thereby invites us to ascend to a larger place.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “I must confess that all the grace I have got out of my comfortable and easy times and happy hours might almost lie on a penny. But the good that I have received from my sorrows and pains and griefs is altogether incalculable. What do I not owe to the hammer and the anvil, the fire and the file!”

If you are in a tight spot -- God is enlarging you my friend, and the best you can do right now is to thank Him for it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Scattered Jewels

Here are some random quotes from Counterfeit Gods. This is a great book! There are jewels like these scattered on every page.
“What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.” (page xvii)

“The gods of moralistic religions favor the successful and the overachievers. They are the ones who climb the moral ladder up to heaven. But the God of the Bible is the one who comes down into this world to accomplish a salvation and give us a grace we could never attain ourselves. He loves the unwanted, the weak and unloved.” (Page 44)

“More than other idols, personal success and achievement lead to a sense that we ourselves are god, that our security and value rest in our own wisdom, strength and performance...The false sense of security comes from deifying our achievement and expecting it to keep us safe from the troubles of life in a way that only God can.” (Page 75)

“It is the settled tendency of human societies to turn good political causes into counterfeit gods.” (Page 98)

“In any culture in which God is largely absent, sex, money and politics will fill the vacuum for different people.” (Page 107)

“What we learn here is that theology matters, that much of our addiction to power and control is due to false conceptions of God. Gods of our own making may allow us to be ‘masters of our fate.’” (page 115)

“Mature Christians are not people who have completely hit the bedrock. I do not believe that is possible in this life. Rather, they are people who know how to keep on drilling and are getting closer and closer.” (Page 176)
Ready to read the book yet?

Friday, November 6, 2009

From Intellectual Clone, To Confused Thinker, to Wise Man

“Read one thinker and you become a clone. Read two and you become confused. Read a hundred and you start to become wise.” - Tim Keller
Found this quote tucker away in a post at On Earth as it is in Heaven . I like it a lot.

I want my intellectual and spiritual influences to be broad- as broad as the grace of God, and as big in scope as the people of God. Even though I greatly admire Tim Keller, I would not want to be his clone. There is room in my sphere of influences (authors, thinkers, mentors) for men as divergent in thought, method and style as Bill Johnson and J.I Packer, John Wimber and N.T Wright, Watchman Nee and Francis Schaeffer, Mark Driscoll and Dallas Willard. What is more important is that through their influences I get closer to the only One worth completely emulating.

Guess Who?!

Cute Sinners

From: Young Adam | The Sacred Sandwich

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Keller Does Spiritual Surgery with "Counterfeit Gods"

I finally finished Tim Keller's new book Counterfeit Gods. I can accurately say that the book fulfilled all my expectations- and my expectations were high!

Tullian Tchividjian at On Earth as it is in Heaven quotes the following comments on the book from David Garner, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. I agree wholeheartedly with these comments.

"Combining biblical theology with experienced surgery on the soul over the years in modern Manhattan, Pastor Tim Keller performs an M.R.I. of our hearts and graphically exposes its results… Read this volume, but only if you dare submit your heart to the surgical probe of the Gospel… And like any good surgeon, Keller doesn’t leave us merely exposed, but compellingly points us to the cure: the One exposed, ravaged, ruined and resurrected for us. "
Read this book! It may hurt some during the spiritual surgery, but you will not regret it in the end.

Why So Wordy?

Ever wonder why Christian worship services are so "verbal"- i.e. wordy? Kevin DeYoung offers an answer at Why So Many Words in Worship?

Perhaps you’ve wondered why Christian worship is so heavy on words? Perhaps you or your church has been criticized for being too propositional, too auditory, too…wordy. Well, here are twenty-five reasons why verbal proclamation–through the reading, preaching, singing, and praying of the Bible and biblical truth–should have the preeminent place in corporate worship:

1. Faith comes by hearing (Rom. 10:14-15). We cannot call on Jesus unless we believe in him and we cannot believe in him unless we hear of him from the lips of a herald. Faith begins with words.

2. God has chosen word-gifts and word-offices to build up the church (Eph. 4:11-12).

3. God creates through his word (cf. Gen. 1; Col. 1:16). God’s work of creation is always a speech act.

4. God regenerates through his word. We are born again through the living and abiding word of God (1 Peter 1:23). And “word” here is not merely Jesus Christ, but the preaching Peter’s audience had received (v. 25)....

This is only an excerpt -more at the link.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ocean Voyage

From: cartoon: oceanic nakedpastor

Pro-life Conversion at Planned Parenthood

The story of this Pro-life Conversion at Planned Parenthood has been reverberating around the blog-o-sphere this week. This report is from Denny Burk. There is a video interview at the link.

Watching an ultrasound of an abortion changed Abby Johnson forever. She is now prolife and has quit her job as director of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas. Johnson describes her conversion this way:

“I just thought I can’t do this anymore, and it was just like a flash that hit me and I thought that’s it.”

She also says that there was pressure on her to increase revenues for Planned Parenthood by increasing the number of abortions. She explains in The Houston Chronicle:

“Definitely the most lucrative part of their business was abortions. One of the things that kept coming up was how family planning services were really dragging down the budget, and family planning services include education about contraceptives. It was a drain on the budget, but abortion services were really running up the budget and that was keeping the center afloat.”

What a story. It just goes to show that pictures do matter. It’s hard to deny the humanity of the unborn when you are staring a human in the face in an ultrasound image. Hearts and minds are won with pictures. The images are tragic, but this is a wonderful conversion.

Whenever Truth is set free, Truth wins over lies and propaganda - every time. Lord, let this happent all over our nation.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Left Behind


cartoon: oh no! left behind!! | nakedpastor

Letting the Word Act

I will preach the Word, will declare it, will write it. But I will never force or press anyone with violence, for faith can only be willingly, unconstrainedly nourished…I have done nothing; the Word everything. If I had so wished, I might have deluged Germany with blood; yea, I might have started such a game at Worms that the Emperor himself would not have been secure. I have only let the Word act.

-Martin Luther (Christian Preachers, p 56)

Hat Tip: Luther: Letting the Word Act « Unashamed Workman

A Great Disturbance...

.... in my Force - the force of my sin and idolatry! Quote below is from A Great Disturbance: repentance as a way of life « Already Not Yet
“Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, in saying ‘Repent,’ intended that the whole life of believers should be repentance.” Martin Luther, Thesis 1

According to Schaff, History of the Christian Church, VII:160, Luther was attacking the medieval notion of sacramental penitence. That kind of “repentance” could be limited to isolated outward acts, leaving the rest of our lives safe from the mega-upheaval of true repentance. Luther contended that real repentance opens us up to endless personal change, leaving nothing about us untouched.

When Luther posted his Theses, he undermined self-reinforcing Christianity, which is no Christianity, and he launched a new era of self-challenging Christianity, which is the power of the gospel.

In Karl Barth’s commentary on Romans, he entitles his section on Romans 12-15 “The Great Disturbance.”

The whole world needs gospel disturbance.
Amen to that. I need one too!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The One Necessity

“We never feel Christ to be a reality until we feel him to be a necessity.”

- Austin Phelps, quoted by Gordon Keddie in Preacher on the Run: The Message of Jonah (Hertfordshire, England: Evangelical Press, 1986), 85.

Hat Tip: The Necessity & Reality of Christ « Of First Importance