Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Bible’s Purpose - Showing Grace

“The Bible’s purpose is not so much to show you how to live a good life. The Bible’s purpose is to show you how God’s grace breaks into your life against your will and saves you from the sin and brokenness otherwise you would never be able to overcome… religion is ‘if you obey, then you will be accepted’. But the Gospel is, ‘if you are absolutely accepted, and sure you’re accepted, only then will you ever begin to obey’. Those are two utterly different things. Every page of the Bible shows the difference.”
- Timothy Keller
Hat Tip: Of First Importance

Love me some Tim Keller! This is such good stuff, and I cannot wait for his new book.

The Holiest Saint is But a Justified Sinner

So J.I. Packer once noted that in I Corinthians (c. 54 AD), Paul calls himself the least of the apostles. In Ephesians (c. 61 AD) he calls himself the least of the saints. By I Timothy (c. 65 AD), he describes himself as the chief of all sinners.

Packer's conclusion: Holy people glory, not in their holiness, but in Christ's cross; for the holiest saint is never more than a justified sinner and never sees himself in any other way. (Keeping In Step With the Spirit, page 105)

Hat Tip: Church Matters: The 9Marks Blog

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Computers Got Denominations?

Some of you computer geeks will enjoy this - Best 404 Page Ever? - ChurchCrunch

Humble Hermeneutics

As important as the principles of hermeneutics as described in the post immediately below this one are, I also want to always remember the important point from this post at Peter Cockrell's Already Not Yet

“There were two exegetes who prayed as they entered the library to work on understanding a biblical text. One was a biblical scholar and the other a common lay preacher. The biblical scholar, on route to deep seclusion in the collection of recent monographs, prayed like this:

‘Lord, I thank you that I am not like other exegetes– the youth ministers, authors of popular devotional literature, mass production book publishers or even this lay preacher. I study the Scriptures for hours every day– in their original… and several other languages, not to mention my work in ancient history and historiography, literary theory, social-scientific research, the most important commentaries, the most recent monographs and dissertations, and the most scholarly periodicals!’

But the lay preacher, trying to remember how to use the complicated cataloging system to find an understandable commentary on a passage of Scripture, prayed thus,

‘God, please help me, a mere preacher, find something to help me understand Your word.’

I tell you, this person– who desperately needed it– received help from the Lord.”

–Craig G. Bartholomew and Robby Holt, “Prayer in/and the Drama of Redemption,” in Reading Luke: Interpretation, Reflection, Formation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 350.

Lord, help me to hear from You in Your Word, and not just from the scholarship of men. And thanks for the reminder that, as important as scholarship and exegetical principles are, humility and openness to the Spirit are even more important.

Basics of Biblical Interpretation

Found this great short description of Biblical hermeneutics (the science of interpreting the Bible) in the middle of an article at New Creation Person:

The top three rules of Hermeneutics (the art and science of Biblical interpretation) are: 1) Context; 2) Context; 3) Context. Before we can tell 21st century Christians how the Bible applies to them, we must first come to the best possible understanding of what the Bible meant to its original audience. If we come up with an application that would have been foreign to the original audience, there is a very strong possibility that we did not interpret the passage correctly. Once we are confident that we have come to the best possible understanding of what the text meant to its original hearers, we then need to determine the width of the chasm between us and them. In other words, what are the differences in language, time, culture, geography, setting and situation, etc. All of these must be taken into account before application can be made. Once the width of the chasm has been measured, we can then attempt to build the bridge over the chasm; what commonalities can we find between the original audience and ourselves, between our situation and theirs? Finally we can then find application for us in our time and situation.

Couldn't have said it better myself!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pro-Life Courage

I applaud the courage of the man described in this story - A pro-life Oakland pastor chooses jail over a plea bargain.

Hat Tip: Take Your Vitamin Z

Paving on the Road to....

From : - Erick’s blog - RedState

A road to financial hell paved with such good intentions! May God have mercy upon my children and future grandchildren!

As Righteous As We Ever Will be

“As we come to Christ…empty-handed, claiming no merit of our own, but clinging by faith to His blood and righteousness, we are justified. We pass immediately from a state of condemnation and spiritual death to a state of pardon, acceptance, and the sure hope of eternal life. Our sins are blotted out, and we are “clothed” with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. In our standing before God, we will never be more righteous, even in heaven, than we were the day we trusted Christ, or we are now. Obviously in our daily experience we fall far short of the perfect righteousness God requires. But because He has imputed to us the perfect righteousness of His Son, He now sees us as being just as righteous as Christ Himself.”

Jerry Bridges, The Gospel for Real Life, p. 107.
Hat Tip" Already Not Yet (The italics are mine. )

Think about it. Nothing we can do now adds a thing to what Jesus has already done. Having read the Bible this morning or not, neither having yelled at our kids or broken the speed limit or being perfect parents or citizens, neither our good works nor our bad ones make a difference to our acceptance before the mercy seat. We are either in Christ and under the mercy, or not.

When we come before Him we are either confessing and repenting from our sin or confessing and repenting of our inadequate self-righteousness, but either way we are coming through the cross. And Oh what a wonderful and gracious Cross and Savior we have to come to and through!

Monday, April 27, 2009


“We do not have to make ourselves suffer in order to merit forgiveness. We simply receive the forgiveness earned by Christ. 1 John 1:8 says that God forgives us because He is ‘just.’ That is a remarkable statement. It would be unjust of God to ever deny us forgiveness, because Jesus earned our acceptance! In religion we earn our forgiveness with our repentance, but in the gospel we just receive it.”

- Timothy Keller

Hat Tip: Of First Importance

Religion is based on "If I act right, then God will respond." In religion the imitative and control is with us. Christian spirituality is based on the Gospel - "God has acted, therefore I respond." All Gospel spirituality is response to God's gracious initiative. The initiative is always with Him.

Living at The Intersection Point

As a young man I attended several different evangelism programs - Campus Crusade, Navigators, Southern Baptist, etc. Many of them use some form of the "Bridge Illustration." A diagram of a chasm spanned by a cross is used to show that we are separated from God by sin, and that the Cross is the bridge over the chasm of sin that allows us to be reconciled to God. All of the above is true - thank God! However, it is also incomplete as a presentation of the Gospel.

The one major weakness to this illustration and metaphor is the unspoken implication that once we cross over the bridge we are done with the experience of the cross and therefore the cross is not relevant to daily Christin living.

I propose an expanded model - the Intersection Point. The cross is not just a bridge we cross over to get to salvation and to come into relationship with God. The cross is also the place we live existentially, moment by moment. The cross is the intersection point - the place where heaven meets earth and righteousness overcomes sin. The Cross of the Crucified and Resurrected One is the intersection point of reality, where righteousness overcomes sin, where the Divine is reconciled with the human, where heaven meets earth, where the future invades the present, where sin and guilt are absorbed and overcome by righteousness.

We should be constantly experiencing the great exchange - passing our guilt, shame, woundedness and hurt to Him and receiving back His grace , righteousness and healing. it’s the only place and the only way to live.

What are the practical implications for daily life?
  • The only way to God is through the Cross of Christ- It is the only bridge over the chasm of sin.
  • The Cross is not just for the penalty of sin but to also overcome the power of sin.
  • The Cross is not just a message for unbelievers but also a message for believers.
  • Jesus died once in history, but the benefit is timeless and eternal- experiential. No Mass or re-sacrifice
  • In Christ we experience a great transference, the great exchange, not just once in new birth, but moment by moment.
  • Like the Kingdom, the Cross is already but continuing and not yet.
  • The Cross is not just a bridge we cross, but a bridge we live on.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Churches for Ugly People

In light of the whole Susan Boyle thing which is all over the Internet these days, Michael Spencer at wrote Saturday about church as a place for ordinary - or even ugly -looking people. Ever notice how Christian television (yuck!), ministry convention platforms and CCM album covers are filled with hunky guys and beautiful, sexy women, but no ordinary people? Makes one wonder if we've ever read James 2:! - "My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. "

I agree, Michael! Us ordinary non -hunky people want to be accepted and used by God too!

Theology of Big Words

C. Michael Patton had a good article up this week entitled A Theology of Big Words.

Every discipline or industry has its own vocabulary of technical terms that participants know. The tech terms are useful because they are packed with meeting through education or participation in the activities of that group, and thus become short hand for easier communication. Musicians have their terms that they use among themselves with total understanding. Computer geeks talk about bytes and bandwidths, sometimes confusing the rest of us in the process. In my professional life as a CPA we talk about debits, credits, GAAP and accruals among ourselves, and the terms are packed with meaning through our educations and common usage.

So why are so many preachers afraid of teaching their congregations Bible terminology and theological technical terms and then using the terms in teachings and sermons?

Preachers and Bible teachers should not be afraid of using "big words"- especially Bible terms like propitiation, atonement, predestination, justification or sanctification. We just have to be careful to pack the words with Biblical meaning, to fully explain them, and not assume our listeners already know the terms. They must be explained so that they can then be used for cogent effective communication. We need more theological teaching, not less. But it must be more teaching that is well done by leaders with both right knowledge and good communication skills.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Luther on Bible Reading

In looking back over my blog posts the past month or so, I think that I appear to be on a Martin Luther kick. So be it. I wish the good doctor were around today to be a blogger. I'd read his web page - It certainly would not be boring!

Here's another good Luther gem.
“In truth you cannot read too much in Scriptures;and what you read you cannot read too carefully,and what you read carefully you cannot understand too well,and what you understand well you cannot teach too well,and what you teach well you cannot live too well.”

Martin Luther, WA 53, 218

Hat Tips: Joshua Harris, Eucatastrophe 101

Religious Idols

It is no secret on this blog that I am a fan of the books and ministry of Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City. I recently listened to a series of messages by Pastor Keller on Idolatry and presenting the Gospel in the current cultural environment. The series was both exciting and challenging to my past thinking. I've heard he has another book coming out on the subject of idolatry and I cannot wait to get it.

Josh Harris has summarized some of Keller's teaching on Religious Idols from a message at the Gospel Coalition as follows:
Truth can be made an idol. Are you resting in the rightness of your doctrine rather than the work of Jesus? If so, the Bible calls you a fool. In Proverbs, "the scoffer" is a person like this. The scoffer is always sure he is right, and always disrespectful, disdainful, and mocking toward his opponents. The internet breeds scoffers, because if you're a scoffer you get more traffic to your blog.

Gifts can be an idol. You can mistake spiritual gifts for spiritual fruit. Especially if you are successful in ministry, you can begin believing in justification by ministry: "I know I'm in God's will because my ministry is going well." Many of us in the Reformed world make an idol out of being a great preacher: "If I could just be a great preacher, then my life would have significance."

Morality can be a religious idol. Holiness is good, but Christians can feel like God loves them and will bless them because of their moral record.

Keller points out that all forms of idolatry are really self-salvation projects, that Christians are certainly not immune to idolatry, and that the only alternative and antidote is constant return to and focus on the Gospel of Grace.

Steve McCoy at Reformissionay has a good resource page to sample more of Keller's teaching material or you can go to his church's website.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sanctification: The Meaning of In

Martin Luther states, “We in Christ equals justification; Christ in us equals sanctification”. (Beeke, Living for God’s Glory, 202)

Hat Tip: Fundamentally Reformed

Blessed Assurance at a Funeral

My 81 year old Aunt Maxine (Dad's sister) passed away last week. At her funeral service on Saturday I had another opportunity to be thankful for the heritage of a Christian Family.

Both of my parents grew up attending rural Mississippi country Baptist churches, along with their families. One thing is sure in a church like that- everyone there may not be born again. but they sure have heard the term and have sat under some serious preaching about the cross. Aunt Maxine's memorial service featured eulogies from three Baptist preachers who have known her, each praising her for her life, example and love for Christ. One of them read from Proverbs 31 as a description of her character. But, being good Baptist preachers, they of course also called on all in attendance to get right with God and be born again before facing death.

It was a very Christian service.

The memorial ended with all singing "Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine." I can't think of a better way to end a funeral. My Dad was deeply sorrowed. Uncle Howard was in tears, deeply grieving. Yet singing that song was a good demonstration that we do "not grieve as others do who have no hope."(1 Thess. 4:13).

Thanks God for my Christian heritage, and for the privilege and responsibility to pass it on.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Devotional Performance Trap

Do you ever think God loves you more on the days when you have read the Bible and prayed in the morning? Ever refrained from praying for someone, taking an opportunity to witness, or saying an encouraging word because you are conscious of some sin or fault and feel unworthy? I can say, must say, yes to both of these questions.

Tim Chailles says we need to get off the guilt trip of The Quiet Time Performance.

If our capacity to be used by the Lord depends on our devotional consistency, what is the need for grace? Even if we have read the Bible and prayed and lived sin free for the past 24 hours, are we worthy to serve God? If our usefulness depends on grace when we are good, then why refrain from drawing on that grace when we are conscious of not being good?

Thank God for grace that is greater than all my sin!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Good Bible Translation Chart

Peter Cockrell at "Already Not Yet" posted this excellent Bible Translation Chart a few days ago.

I've always said that the NIV is right in the middle of the English translation continuum, and this chart seems to confirm that opinion. I used the NIV for almost 20 years as my major Bible Translation for both study and reading. Still like it.

However, now a days I read from the ESV on the moderate left of the chart and the NLT on the moderate right. Using the two gives a good balance.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Love and Justice Holding Hands

“Redeeming love and retributive justice joined hands, so to speak, at Calvary, for there God showed Himself to be ‘just, and the justifer of him who hath faith in Jesus’.

Do you understand this? If you do, you are now seeing to the very heart of the Christian gospel. No version of that message goes deeper than that which declares man’s root problem before God to be his sin, which evokes wrath, and God’s basic provision for man to be propitiation, which out of wrath brings peace.”

- J.I. Packer, In My Place Condemned He Stood (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2008), 41.

(I've read this book - It's a keeper!)

Hat Tip: Of First Importance

Friday, April 17, 2009

Here He Stood - Here We Stand

On April 17-18, 1521 (488 years ago today), Martin Luther stood before the Emperor at the German city of Worms and confessed "Here I Stand." Justin Taylor has a good summary at Between Two Worlds: Here He Stood including a clip from the 2009 movie Luther (a good flick - I own a copy).

The Danger of Trying Not to Sin

Here's a great Martin Luther quote:

“Whenever the devil harasses you, seek the company of men or drink more, or joke and talk nonsense, or do some other merry thing. Sometimes we must drink more, sport, recreate ourselves, and even sin a little to spite the devil, so that we leave him no place for troubling our consciences with trifles. We are conquered if we try too conscientiously not to sin at all. So when the devil says to you: do not drink, answer him: I will drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to.” -Martin Luther

Michael Spencer explains what Luther meant by this at » Blog Archive » A Luther Quote To Wake Up The Sleepers

The above quote is a good example. Luther recommending sin? Well…he doesn’t mean adultery or stealing. What Luther is talking about here is something C.S. Lewis talks about in Chapter 14 of The Screwtape Letters: the particular temptations that come to the person who is aware of his/her own righteousness. Even if it is an awareness of love, forgiveness or humility– all bring the possibility of self-centeredness and pride. But Lewis (and Luther) were especially aware of the spiritual dangers of trying to not sin. Yes…trying to not sin.

Since encouraging people to try and not sin is a major occupation of confused evangelicalism, Luther sounds strange. But it’s clear what he means: we can’t get caught in the trap of trying to generate our own righteousness, even in the name of obedience. Luther’s encouragement to sin just to spite the devil is his provocative way of suggesting a Christian TRUST CHRIST and have confidence in justification by faith. So much so, that instead of living in a state of perpetual self-examination, we live with the freedom to be less than perfect.

Once again "the IMonk" has written something really insightful. I recommend you read the whole thing.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

That "Cut Off" Feeling

Shaun Groves has an interesting and humorous way to respond to bad drivers and road rage at The NEW - Shlog.

Go ahead and try not to laugh - and maybe say "ouch" also!

Behold and Become

I like this from Peter Cockrell at "Already But Not Yet":

We become what we behold. We are to become conformed to the image of Christ, being transformed from one degree of glory to the next as we behold the glory of the Lord (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). We are to point the camera lens of our hearts toward Jesus as He is offered in the gospel, and let His glory shine in, burning His image on our souls and developing Christlikeness in our lives (Galatians 4:19; 1 John 3:2-3).

Hat Tip: Becoming what we behold « Already Not Yet

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Day Humor

The Gospel Does Something

This quote is from a post by David Wayne at JOLLYBLOGGER on preaching "practical" sermons - T. David Gordon on Moralistic vs. Christological Preaching

I agree with this in a sense, but "practical" often takes the form of a "to-do" list, a series of actions we must take to "apply" the text. The problem with this is that it seems to me to render the gospel null and void. Our response to the gospel is always that of repentance and faith, not action. We do not "do" something to apply the gospel, the gospel "does" something to us. Thus I have been very cautious in offering "to-do" lists from texts.
I love (and agree with) that thought. We do not apply the Gospel so much as the Gospel does something to us! Something to meditate on - What is the Gospel doing to me and in me today?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Luther's Advice to Preachers

"In truth you cannot read too much in Scriptures; and what you read you cannot read too carefully, and what you read carefully you cannot understand too well,and what you understand well you cannot teach too well,and what you teach well you cannot live too well."

--Martin Luther, WA 53, 218; emphasis mine.

HT: Joshua Harris and Between Two Worlds

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What Happened to the Twelve Apostles?

Cool artticle by C. Michael Patton at Parchment and Pen on "What Happened to the Twelve Apostles? How Their Deaths Evidence Easter"

Friday, April 10, 2009

Eternal Wounds

"In a meditation on the cross this morning, my good friend, Pastor Roydon Hearne, shared a thought that blew me away. He remarked on the fact that the only man-made thing on Earth that can be seen from space is the great Wall of China. He then said, “and the only man-made thing that can be seen in heaven, are the wounds of Christ.” "

Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

From: “Those wounds, yet visible above” « Already Not Yet

Fortastes & Downpayments- Part 2

This is a continuation of yesterday's post about foretastes and down payments now of what the Kingdom Age will be like as described in Revelation 21 and 22.

21:6 Quenching our thirst. Thirst in the Bible is usually a metaphor for strong desire. We think we thirst for money, power, sex, significance. But none of those satisfy, because what they are but shadows of is the need for God. Jeremiah said that the two great errors (Jer. 2:13) are to reject God who is the fountain of living water only to dig cisterns that are broken and can hold no water. That is a description of what all idolatry is.

In the Kingdom Age all that is over. We drink directly from the river of life. When we learn to do that spiritually now, we are getting a foretaste of the true refreshing water. When we pray for others to so drink, we are handing out bottle water, so to speak, from the fountains of heaven!

21:23 Everlasting light. There will be no need for sun or moon, because the Lamb will be our light. That light is manifest now when we see Him clearly, and when we see ourselves as He sees us and see others as He sees them. Learning to see with heaven's eyes is a foretaste of eternity

22:2 Healing. In the Kingdom we will be fully healed by the possession of resurrection bodies without blemish or decay. Now, every healing is but a down payment on our future bodies, a quickening of mortal flesh in anticipation of the immortal to come.

22:3 See His Face. Now we see as through a glass darkly; then face to face. But what is often overlooked is that we do see now. We get inner glimpses of who Jesus is, and every glimpse changes us.

22:5 Reigning with Him. In the fullness of the Kingdom we will reign over the new earth with Him. The promise that Adam lost through disobedience is restored through the obedience of the Second Adam. Now, we get foretastes of this as we learn to reign over our earthly lives, conquering sinful habits and destructive behaviors and bring God's order to our bodies, lives, families and spheres of influence.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Mystery of the Greatness…

“The mystery of the greatness of God is seen precisely in the fact that he can be small…Only when power is changed from the inside, and we accept Jesus and his way of life, whose whole self is there in the action of foot-washing, only then can the world be healed and the people be able to live at peace with one another.”
— Pope Benedict XVI

Hat Tip: The Anchoress

Foretastes & Down Payments

I was thinking this week about the concept of down payment on our future Kingdom inheritance: how healing is a down payment on resurrection bodies and the Holy Spirit is our deposit money on eternity.

If this is so, we should be able to see how down payments can be ours from each of the blessings of the new age of God's kingdom as described at the end of the Book of Revelation (Chpters 21 -22). I led a discussion on this topic at our Men's Bible Study Tuesday Night. Here are some of the ideas we discussed.

21:3 God dwelling with us. When the Kingdom is fully come we will experience God direct presence. Yet now, and increasingly as the birth pangs of the Kingdom increase, we experience breakthroughs of His felt and experienced presence into our lives and our worship times. Every sense of His presence is but a down payment on the ultimate tabernacling of God with us.

When we pray for someone to experience a breakthrough of the Kingdom, we are praying for God's presence to become exponentially real and immediate for them, not only for comfort but so that they will be changed to be like Jesus (1 John 3:1-3).

21:4 God wiping away our tears. In this age pain, sorrow and grief continue. We suffer, loved ones die, friends disappoint and betray, some are not healed. Yet in the midst of suffering God's comfort is ours in Christ. When we pray for someone to receive Kingdom comfort, - and every time we share the comfort we have received with someone else - every time we comfort as we have been comforted - we distribute a down payment on the day when all tears will be wiped away by the nailed scared hands of Jesus.

21:5 All things made new. The Bible is full of things being made new- new days, new songs, new springs of water, new hearts and new creations. In the seventies there was a phrase that was worn out to cliche status: Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Yet as trite as those words sound, for Christians they are really true. His mercies are new every morning, and new day is always dawning, and God is always doing a new thing.

When we pray for someone to receive a Kingdom breakthrough, we are therefore praying that they have a fresh start, a new beginning, a breaking of bondage to the past and release into God's future for them.

More on this tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Embracing Our Weakness

The "IMonk," Michael Spencer, was especially good in his post yesterday about When I Am Weak: Why we must embrace our brokenness and never be good Christians.

I highly encourage everyone to read the whole thing. I certainly couldn't say it better. Even if you do not agree with parts of what he writes, you (and I) still need a good dose of humility and reality as conveyed in this article. If you think he is off base, please read it all the way to the end before you reject it. The Martin Luther quote at the end is especially good. Luther was right - simul justus et peccator.

Go ahead, read it.

Profound Thoughts

For a while now my wife, my kids, and some of my closest friends have been pushing me to change the character of my blog to include more original writing as opposed to just harvesting quotes and links to books and other blogs that I am reading. I have been trying to move in that direction, and will continue to do so.

You know something – it is hard to write something profound and worth reading on a consistent basis. My admiration for the bloggers who do so – as well as for preachers who do so every Sunday in their sermons – is increasing daily.

Here’s my profound thoughts for the day:

1. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. How awesome (in the full meaning of that overused word) is that!
2. BTW, He loves you too!
3. God is on His throne and He is not upset, worried or nervous about what is happening in the economy, the government, the war, or anything else. The end is known and the future is secure.
4. God is active all around us, and in us, all the time, if we will just open our eyes. God is speaking all the time, if we will just open and tune our ears to His voice.

How’s that for profound?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Center Driven Life

I was walking along a beautiful beach last month, thinking and praying, when three words kept repeating in my mind. "Focused - Centered - Integrated." Here is what I think they mean, what I think the Lord was trying to say to me.

Focused: My focus should be Jesus and His Kingdom. I must know David's "one thing" (to behold the beauty of the Lord-Psalm 27:4) and Paul's "one thing" (to press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus - Phil 3:13-14). Together these two goals are really only one thing; a life focused on knowing and loving God
Centered: All of my life (inner and outer, private and public) should be directed from the center, from my one focus. It is all to easy to be influenced and directed by surrounding stimuli and distractions rather than from the inner direction from my core values and the Spirit of God. I do not believe that life can be lived alone and withdrawn; the outer world must be engaged, challenged, confronted and penetrated. But it must be done from and out of a strong center with one Focus. A strong journey inward must direct the journey outward.

A centered person is also someone who is a peace, not fearful in the storms. Jesus slept in the boat during the storm because He was centered in the Father.

Integrated: All of my life should be integrated with my center and focus. My heart can be so divided; fragmented like a multi-colored kaleidoscope. If a double minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8), how much more so a man of many conflicted and divergent parts. I find that my life sometimes seem divided into separate parts - home, church, work, private time - that are not integrated as one consistent life. My constant prayer is and must be from Psalm 86:11 - " unite my heart to fear your name."

Father, I pray for a renewed God-ward focus, a centered personality, and an integrated life to glorify Christ always and in everything.


Scripture for E-Mail, Blogs, Twitter and Facebook (Josh Harris)

Joshua Harris has some paraphrased Scriptures for those of us who blog, twitter or e-mail at Scripture for E-Mail, Blogs, Twitter and Facebook (Josh Harris)

Psalm 141:3

Set a guard, O Lord, over my keyboard; keep watch over the door of my send button!

James 1:19

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to read, slow to reply all, slow to click send.

Proverbs 10:19

When blogging is abundant, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his keyboard is prudent.

Proverbs 12:18

There is one whose comments on blogs are like sword thrusts, but the comments of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 14:7

Don't follow the Twitter feed of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.

Proverbs 12:23

A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the Twitter feed of fools proclaims folly.

Proverbs 13:20

Whoever "friends" the wise becomes wise, but the Facebook-friend of fools will suffer harm.
Words of wisdom from the Books of Wisdom.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Drive-Through Church?

It's Everywhere!

I'm finding Kingdom Theology and the "now but not yet" concept everywhere now a days. Here's an excerpt from Kevin DeYoung at DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed: A Sermon on the Kingdom of God (Revelation 11:15-19)

I want you to picture a couple of diagrams in your head. I know, it would better if you could see, but just imagine. This was the Jewish mindset. You have two ages: this age and the age to come. This age is present and evil; the age to come is the age in the future where the Messiah reigns and his enemies are destroyed and there is peace and righteousness. They saw this age going in a straight line, then the Messiah, then off into the age to come. But that’s not how Jesus explained things which is part of the reason why they didn’t like him as their Messiah. For the Jesus, and the rest of the New Testament, the two ages work like this. You have this age, then overlapping it is the age to come. When Messiah came he announced the in-breaking of the age to come which was realized in principle. This in-breaking is called the kingdom of God. With the coming of Christ and especially his death and resurrection, the present evil age has become in principle the age to come. But it’s not a clean break from one to the other. They overlap such that this age is growing into what it is in principle. And when the ideal announced by Christ which broke in during his life becomes the reality, then the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.

Here’s an analogy. It’s not a perfect analogy. So don’t press it too far. But it’s kind of like election day and inauguration day. In this country the president is elected on the first Tuesday in November, but his presidency doesn’t officially begin until January 20. He’s won. His opponent has been defeated. It’s all in the papers and on the internet. The whole country preparing for the transition. The winner starts forming his cabinet and putting together his administration. The new era has begun, but on the other hand it hasn’t. See, in one sense, we live in the time between the election and inauguration. Christ has defeated sin and Satan and death. It is appropriate to talk about Christ as the King. The news is all over the place. And we are supposed to make sure everyone hears about this news. But opposition to King is still strong, and in some ways, growing stronger all time. He is the already, but not yet King. And it will be this way until his enemies are thoroughly defeated and his reign fully in place.

This already and not yet is really important. It’s how the kingdom works and how your salvation works. What’s true on a macro level is true on a micro level too. Your life is not a straight line with a clean break between old man and new man, or non-Christian and Christian. It doesn’t work like that–unconverted, selfish, prideful, boom, in Christ, now I’m completely holy. What happens is that you have your life outside of Christ then you are converted, regenerated, justified, adopted, all of that and now you are positionally in Christ. But who you in actuality is not yet that Christlike. Which is why New Testament ethics are based on who you are in Christ. Be who you are. Work out your salvation. Make your calling and election sure. In other words, grow into in reality who Christ has made you to be positionally.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Skilful Use of Scalpels

From Why Johnny Can't Preach by T. David Gordon:

I believe the preaching in many churches is so poorly done that it is not, effectively, preaching...If the patients of a given hospital's surgeons continue to die, we could, I suppose, abandon the scalpel. We might also consider employing it more skillfully.

My this: Show me a church where the preaching is good, and the church is still moribund. I've never seen such a church. The moribund churches I've seen have been malpreached to death.

Hat Tip: DashHouse: "My challenge is this..."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Blogger's Prayer

Oh Lord...

This cyberspace world is so big
and my little blog voice is so small.

Help me to navigate this ocean with wisdom
and to speak into it with grace.

May my blogging words be seasoned and gracious
and never spoken in anger or haste.

May those who read my musings be blessed
and aided to see and know you more clearly.

This journey is long, a marathon not a sprint.
One to be run with patience and faithfulness
more than sprints of passion.

Help me so that when the race is over,
I can win the laurel wreath of a faithful runner

Amen - The Journeyman

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I Recommend ... The Jollyblogger

For several months I have been amazed at the high quality writing and blogging being done by David Wayne, aka the Jolly Blogger.

David is a Presbyterian pastor in Maryland. A few months ago he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. During his treatment and struggles with his health he has continued to blog with sensitivity, wisdom and deep insight into God's grace in suffering. I believe very firmly in healing, but also recognize that in the "now but not yet" of the Kingdom not everyone will be healed this side of Christ's return. And whether ultimately healed or not, there are lessons to be learned during times of suffering. As David has said: "God has done things through my cancer that nothing else ever has or could. " Recent reports are that he is doing better. I will continue to pray for his complete recovery.

I liked his blog before the cancer diagnoses, and highly recommend the Jollyblogger's site and writings to my readers.

(John Schroeder at Blogotional wrote a fine tribute to David Wayne at Blogotional: Best Blogging!)

"Twitter Church"

Yes, I know that the Tominthebox News Network is a spoof/satire website, However this story about a guy starting a church that meets only via "Twitter" - - Twitter Church - is funny because it seems almost believable. If you don't know what Twitter is click here.

Someone in the next few years will probably try this (God help us!), and it will probably be in California (are you listening, Duke?)!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Another Trip Around the Sun

One year ago today I started this blogging journey. It just happened by an accident of timing to be on April Fools Day, and I hope there was no cosmic significance to that date! Now, to borrow Jimmy Buffet's phrase, it has been another trip around the sun. This year has been a fun experience, sometimes irritating when I could not think of anything to say, but in general a fulfilling journey. I am especially glad for the new friends I have made along the way. And that's no April fool!

Here's a link to my first post where I stated what I hoped to accomplish as "The Journeyman." I'm not tired of it yet, and hope to get a few more trips around the sun before my time as a blogger comes to an end.

Thanks to my readers who have walked with me on this journey. I hope you will stay with me for another year - and get something helpful from reading my humble blog. God bless you all.

Renewing Every Dimension of Life with the Gospel

“The Christian life is a process of renewing every dimension of our lives —spiritual, psychological, corporate, social — by living out the ramifications of the gospel. The gospel is to be applied to every area of thinking, feeling, relating and behaving.”

- Timothy Keller, Paul’s Letter to the Galatians: Living in Line with the Gospel (Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2003), 53.

Hat Tip: Of First Importance