Saturday, April 30, 2011

Radical Change

A little Twitter wisdom from RT @DailyKeller: 
"The more you understand how your salvation isn't about your behavior, the more radically your behavior will change."
Amen!

Auctioning Eternity


 From “What About Altar Calls?” – Pure Church by Thabiti Anyabwile:

I grew up in Southern Baptist churches were altar calls were routine - people were urged to "walk the aisle" to come to Jesus.  This approach to evangelism is a relatively recent phenomena, dating to the work of Charles Finney in the early 19th century. Many Reformed churches do not use altar calls, for some reasons explained at the link above.

What do you think?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Starting Wtth "You Are Accepted"

“Only a fraction of the present body of professing Christians are solidly appropriating the justifying work of Christ in their lives. . . . In their day-to-day existence they rely on their sanctification for justification. . . . Few know enough to start each day with a thoroughgoing stand upon Luther’s platform: you are accepted, looking outward in faith and claiming the wholly alien righteousness of Christ as the only ground for acceptance, relaxing in that quality of trust which will produce increasing sanctification as faith is active in love and gratitude.

In order for a pure and lasting work of spiritual renewal to take place within the church, multitudes within it must be led to build their lives on this foundation. This means that they must be conducted into the light of a full conscious awareness of God’s holiness, the depth of their sin and the sufficiency of the atoning work of Christ for their acceptance with God, not just at the outset of their Christian lives but in every succeeding day.”
Richard F. Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life (Downers Grove, 1979), pages 101-102, italics his.

Hat Tip: Ray Ortlund and Already Not Yet

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Storms and Death... and Hope

Yesterday there was a horrible line of storms and tornadoes across the southern USA. I found out last night that a tornado touched down on the Mississippi farm where my Dad spent his childhood and youth. One of my cousins and her husband were killed when the storm destroyed their trailer.  Beverly and Mike were good people, and Christian believers. They had moved back to the family homestead to help care for our elderly Uncle Terrell, who had a heart attack two years ago and has been in poor health.

This means I will be attending a funeral this weekend. I hate funerals. I hate death. In those sentiments I am in good company, because Jesus also hated funerals. He hated them so much that he disrupted every funeral he ever attended..... with a resurrection.

As he disrupted funerals all over Galilee, one day He will disrupt death itself. I am looking forward to the final funeral disruption and our eternal resurrection.  I will see you again, Beverly!

"When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (I Cor 15:54-55 ESV)

Celebrate the Life of David Wilkerson


The Christian community mourns today the death of David Wilkerson who was Killed in a Car Crash on Wednesday. Bro. David was 79. He died at the scene, and his wife, Gwen, is hopitalized with injuries.

He was the founder, of course, of Teen Challenge Ministries, the Times Square Church in New York City, and author of The Cross and the Switchblade. According to CT Magazine:
Wilkerson has more credibility and name recognition than many other online prophets. He is the author of The Cross and the Switchblade, one of the most popular books in evangelical history. (It ranked #32 in Christianity Today's list of "Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals.") His Teen Challenge ministry is very prominent in discussions of drug treatment and social service partnerships between church and government. And Times Square Church, which he founded, reportedly draws 8,000 people weekly and is known for its many social service ministries.
Only the Lord can know how many men and women were saved from addiction and brought into the Kingdom through his life's work.  Rest in the arms of Jesus, Brother.  You done good!

Updates: David Wilkerson's last words. Some interesting Wilkerson stories at IMonk.

Neither Super Nor Natural


The excerpt below is from an interview with Francis Chan in the Christian Post discussing whether today’s church is anything like what God originally intended.
"'You go to a building, someone gives you a bulletin, you sit in a chair, you sing a few songs, a guy delivers maybe a polished message, maybe not, someone sings a solo, you go home.'

'When you read the New Testament, you see the Holy Spirit was supposed to change everything so that this gathering of people who call themselves Christians had this supernatural element about them.'

'Do you really see this supernatural power at work when the believers gather together for what we call church? Isn’t it the same Holy Spirit that’s supposed to be available to us today? Why is it so different?'

'I heard one person say the church nowadays is neither super nor natural,' he says. 'Everything is predictable and everything is expected.'

'There’s a truth to that. I feel bad about it. Being around a church culture, even leading a gathering of believers, I’ve gotten pretty good at predicting what’s going to happen in a church service. Was that the way it was supposed to happen?'

'When Jesus said this power (of the Holy Spirit) would come upon you, it really did come upon them and they were powerful beings (Jesus’ disciples). Why is it that in the church so many people are weak or defeated or we get so insecure because we look at ourselves rather than God? It doesn’t make sense.'

“…the response among His people today is: 'Hi, welcome to church. Here’s your bulletin. We’ll get you out in an hour. Come back next week.'

'I mean, really? Is that all God intended for us?'

'What would the church look like today if we really stopped taking control of it and let the Holy Spirit lead?'

'I believe this is exactly what the world needs to see.'
Hat Tip:  CHARISMATICA: Revival Renewal & Referral Blog

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Christian Urban Legends (for Preachers & Hearers)

Have you ever heard a preacher repeat one of these Preacher Urban Legends?  If you are a preacher (full or part time) have you ever told one of these stories without confirmation/
1. The “eye of the needle” refers to a gate outside Jerusalem.
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God,” says Jesus in Mark 10:25. Maybe you’ve heard of the gate in Jerusalem called the “eye of the needle.” The camel could pass through it only after stooping down and having all its baggage taken off.
The illustration is used in many sermons as an example of coming to God on our knees and without our baggage. The only problem is… there is no evidence for such a gate. The story has been around since the 15th century, but there isn’t a shred of evidence to support it.

2. The high priest tied a rope around his ankle so that others could drag him out of the Holy of Holies in case God struck him dead.
Various versions of this claim have been repeated by pastors, but it is a legend. It started in the Middle Ages and keeps getting repeated. There is no evidence for the claim in the Bible, the Apocrypha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, the Pseudepigrapha, the Talmud, Mishna or any other source. Furthermore, the thickness of the veil (three feet) would have precluded the possibility of a priest being dragged out anyway.
There are more "legends" at the link. I must confess that I have used both of these stories, but I will never do so again.  We need to practice integrity in Bible teaching and preaching, so that listeners can trust what is taught. If you hear one of these whoppers being told, please encourage the speaker to check his facts!

Hat Tip: Kingdom People

Sad...But Probably True


Hat Tip: 22 Words:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Radical Together Arrives

David Platt's new book Radical Together ( sequel to the best seller Radical) is out. Jared Wilson reviews it at Radical Together - TGC Reviews. I love this quote from the book.
"No matter what you do, even if you sell all of your possessions and move to the most dangerous country in the world for ministry’s sake, you cannot do enough to be accepted before God. And the beauty of the gospel is that you don’t have to. God so loved you that, despite your hopeless state of sin, he sent his Son—God in the flesh—to live the life you could not live. Jesus alone has kept the commands of God. He alone has been faithful enough, generous enough, and compassionate enough. Indeed, he alone has been radical enough." (23).

The Harold Camping Follies (Continued)

Based on this latest update post from Robert Godfrey, I must conclude that Mr. Harold Camping (the end of the world on May 21, 2011 billboard guy) is even more off the theological reservation than I had earlier thought. Please see The End of the World According to Harold Camping (Part 5) by W. Robert Godfrey at Ligonier Ministries Blog. I knew Camping was off in his date setting for the judgment day, as well as his wacky numerology approach to interpreting the Scriptures. However, I did not  know that he is also teaching non-evangelical things about salvation and the nature of God. Godfrey concludes:
"Camping’s presentation of God’s mercy is from beginning to end unbiblical and unchristian. He has no Trinity, no cross, no faith alone in Jesus alone, and no assurance. His vision of God and mercy is more Muslim than Christian. If Camping still believes in the Trinity, in Jesus and his cross, and in justification by faith alone, then his recent teaching shows that he is a failure as a teacher of the Gospel and his call to repentance lacks enough content for sinners to find salvation in Jesus."
I suggest that everyone should avoid Camping and his teachings like a spiritual plague!

Counterfeit Gospels

Christianity Today has posted an excerpt from Trevin Wax's new book Counterfeit Gospels.  If it is anything like his blog, it will be a great read!
A few years ago, I volunteered to be a counselor at a youth camp. During the bus ride to camp, I had a conversation with one of the other counselors. She told me the story of how she came to faith in Christ. "I grew up going to Catholic school and church," she said. "I knew who Jesus was. I had an awe and fear of God instilled in me. I believed that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world."
Then she stopped, her lip quivering, "But I never really understood that Jesus died for me." She went on to tell me about how she attended a Christian concert where she heard the message of the gospel. All of her Christian knowledge about Jesus became personal. Her heart was captured by the glorious truth that Christ died for her ….

Interestingly enough, the summer in which I listened to this woman's testimony was the summer in which I was having an epiphany that went the opposite way. Having grown up in evangelical churches all my life, I had always taken for granted the truth that Christ died for me. That truth was emphasized again and again, and it had gripped my heart long ago. What was becoming more glorious to me was the truth that Christ died for us. I was beginning to see in Scripture how Christ's death purchased his church as a bride. Furthermore, this action for us was ultimately for God and his glory ….

I'm afraid we often take the glorious for me and separate it from the for us and the for God. We shrink the gospel down until it is a message about the individual standing before God that no longer contains the gospel community at the heart of God's plan. Instead, we need to see the for me wrapped up in the for us, which is wrapped up in the for God. It all goes back to God and his glory being made manifest through the church that he has bought with the blood of his Son.

Emphasize the for me to the exclusion of everything else, and you wind up with an individualistic message about personal salvation; the church becomes an optional side effect of the gospel message. Emphasize the for us and for God aspects of the message and you never bring the good news down to the personal level; you don't challenge someone to trust in Christ …. Once you grasp all three aspects, your personal salvation story is given eternal significance because it is caught up in the great, unfolding drama dreamed up in the heart of our good and loving Creator.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Who Do You Reflect?

From Know Your Idols at The Resurgence
"In his book We Become What We Worship, G. K. Beale states the thesis of his book saying, “What people revere, they resemble, either for ruin or restoration.”
Because we are created in the image of God, everyone is always, without exception, reflecting either God or a god. If we do not reflect our Creator to our restoration then we will reflect creation to our ruin."

Bracketed By Impossibilities

"Despite our efforts to keep him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin’s womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked “No Entrance” and left through a door marked “No Exit.”

Peter Larson, quoted at DashHouse.com

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cast Off Clothes Left Behind

This is the poem engraved on the tomb of C.S. Lewis' wife, Joy Davidman Lewis.
"Here the whole world (stars, water, air
And field, and forest as they were
Reflected in a single mind)
Like cast off clothes was left behind
In ashes, yet with hope that she,
Re-born from holy poverty,
In lenten lands, hereafter may
Resume them on her Easter Day."
Because of the first Easter, all who are in Christ can look forward to our own future Easter resurrection. He is Risen - He is Risen Indeed!

Hat Tip: The Gospel-Driven Church: The Easter Day to Come

Friday, April 22, 2011

May 21: Harold Camping's Folly

Have you seen one of these billboards? There are different versions appearing throughout the USA, including a couple of them in my vicinity - I pass one going to church each Sunday.

Harold Camping of Family Radio ministries has "calculated" that the rapture will occur on May 21, 2001. He and his followers are paying for these billboards and traveling the country warning folks to get ready. Brother Camping apparently believes that Matthew 24:36 does not apply to him. He has made a career out of trying to predict the date of Christ's second coming, most notably previously predicting a return in 1994 (I certainly don't remember it happening, so I guess he was WRONG!)

W. Robert Godfrey at the Ligonier Ministries website has done us all a service by digging into and explaining the background of our misguided brother, Harold Camping. You can read it at:

The End of the World According to Harold Camping (Part 1)
The End of the World According to Harold Camping (Part 2)
The End of the World According to Harold Camping (Part 3)
The End of the World According to Harold Camping (Part 4)

The Lord could come back whenever He so chooses, although I'm pretty sure it will not be May 21, 2011 (but He is certainly free to prove me wrong!). We need to pray for these confused and deluded people when we all wake up on May 22nd.  And I hope no one ever pays any serious attention to Camping again.

Addendum:  Chaplain Mike at IMonk comments here.

Update on 4/26/11- It's worse than I thought.  See Part 5

It’s Friday . . . but Sunday's Coming!



Hat Tip:  It’s Friday . . . – Justin Taylor:

Being Normal

"I just want to be a NORMAL Christian: I want to continue to repent and believe the gospel and follow Jesus, take up my cross, deny myself, eat and drink with sinners, turn the other cheek, lose my life for Jesus' sake and the gospel, love my enemies, abide in Christ, & make disciples of Jesus who will do the same."

From: Wilderness Fandango: That about says it right there..

Me Too!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Christianity Explored

There is a new website designed for people who are not Christians, but who want to learn about the faith. Check out Christianity Explored

The site is connected to the goodbook.com website. Here's an introduction by Rico Tice from Goodbook.
I'm thrilled to announce the launch of a new website designed specifically for anyone investigating the Christian faith. After many months of hard work by the CE team and our friends at The Good Book Company, the all-new www.christianityexplored.org is now up and running.

The idea is for this site to be a welcoming, unpressured and jargon-free place for people to explore the Christian faith. It is packed with answers to tough questions as well as some wonderfully engaging real-life stories of people who have come to faith in Christ Jesus. There is an animated presentation of the gospel and some info on the Christianity Explored course as well as a powerful 'find a course' feature so that we can point people to churches local to them which are running a CE course.

I'd be be delighted if you'd have a look at the site and if you like it, forward the link on to others who you think may be interested. Why not link to it from your church website or post it on your Facebook page? The beauty is that it is suitable for anyone and everyone to visit, regardless of how they would describe themselves spiritually.

Content Rich & Compassion Saturated

A great need in all forms of Christian communication today, whether witnessing, preaching, writing, or teaching, is the ability...
"...to communicate a content-rich message in a compassion-saturated relationship. "

(Dane Ortlund, quoting Randy Newman, at Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology)
O Lord, teach us and form us to do this, to be like this, to live this!

At Our Worst & Best

“Imagine your worst moment of guilt and shame, the memory that, when you let it, haunts you and threatens to hound you to the grave. In light of that sin, we sometimes cannot imagine how God could possibly forgive. Yet it was for that moment that Christ died for you. At your worst, God gave you his best. While you were still a sinner — of the worst kind — Christ died for you (Rom. 5:8). The Passover teaches us that no debt of sin is too great to be forgiven because the precious sacrifice of Jesus pays it all.
Now imagine your best day. You’re on your winning streak, behaving well, keeping up with your spiritual disciplines, forgiving those who wrong you, helping those in need and leading non-Christians to Jesus. In light of such stellar Christian performance, we sometimes assume forgiveness, telling ourselves, ‘Of course God forgives me; I’m on his team.’ But the Passover teaches us that we don’t — and never could — deserve God’s forgiveness. Our debt of sin to him is so great that we couldn’t possibly pay God back, not with a thousand years of perfect performance (as if that were possible). On your best day, when you can most easily see yourself as God’s friend, your sin still makes you his enemy and requires Christ’s death so that you might truly become his friend despite yourself. God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
— Mike Wilkerson Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2011), 75

Hat Tip: Of First Importance

Sounds like ANOTHER book I should read!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

If Only the Lord Had a Cell Phone....

(A re-post from 2009, but worth repeating)

I put it off for a long time. For years I simply refused to get a cell phone. Why should I - no one ever calls me anyway?

Finally in 2002 I broke down and did it. I decided it would be good for safety reasons for my wife and I to be able to communicate if there was an emergency. Plus, it made things easier to call my office when on the road for business.

Once I did it I could no longer imagine life without the little contraption. It was very convenient to be able to check in at home or with the office anywhere I went. It did not take long for me to feel naked if I did not have a cell phone clipped to my belt. How could I live without it?! I have to be reachable! I have to be able to reach out and touch my loved ones! Now I am about to upgrade to a newer model. Cell phones are great - even when I don't use mine all that much.

I have often wished God had a cell phone - or email- or even a fax machine. It would be so nice to get direct messages from the Father, and have him be able to hear from me, on a constant regular basis.

Oh wait - I have prayer, I have the Bible. I have the Holy Spirit. Maybe what I HAVE is better than what I WISH for.

I wish I felt as naked without constant prayer, without Bible reading and meditation, as I do without a cell phone.

Do You Know "The -ations"?

As we approach Good Friday, I wonder how many of us know and can list the -ations of The Cross:
No, not the stations. The -ations.

Mediation -- There is a gulf between us and God, held in tension by his justified wrath owed to us for our sin. At the cross, the sinless Christ does the work of mediation both necessary and ordinarily impossible.

Condemnation -- The mediator must accept the place of the guilty in order to exchange his innocence. Therefore he goes to the cross willingly, because it is the foreordained place of condemnation where we all belong. He becomes the substitute condemned and takes on the condemnation.

Propitiation -- A blood debt is owed, legally speaking, because without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins. But we cannot make this payment because we have no currency with which to do so. We are morally bankrupt, every last one of us. So at the cross, Christ makes this payment with the riches of himself, supplying his life to take the debt upon himself and thereby satisfying the law's demands. God's wrath is thereby appeased.

Imputation -- By propitiating the debt of sin, he takes it off of the condemned onto himself as he becomes the condemned on the cross, but in doing that, he conveys his innocence to those actually guilty. He who knew no sin became sin that we might become the righteousness of God. His righteousness is imputed to us; this means that we are counted righteous despite our sin.

Expiation -- But Jesus doesn't stop there. With his life given sacrificially on the cross, he doesn't just take on our debt, he eradicates it completely. He takes it upon himself like the scapegoat to carry our sins into the void. Another way to say this is that Jesus' work on the cross doesn't just reckon us righteous, it actually makes us righteous.

Sanctification
-- An ongoing work of the Spirit, to be sure, but thanks to Christ's expiating work on the cross, we are also declared sanctified on the cross, which is to say, cleansed by his blood. (1 Corinthians 6:11)

Justification -- Nearly all of Christ's crosswork put together merits what we receive through faith: right standing before God. Because of the cross, we for whom there was no justification are now justified.

Reconciliation
-- And since we are justified before God, we are reconciled to him. The gulf is bridged, the wrath appeased, the debt canceled and cast into the void, the soul cleansed. Christ's wide-open arms at the cross reveal to us the means of the Father embracing his once-lost children. Through the cross, Christ reconciles us to God. (Colossians 1:20)

Nations
-- Who is Christ's crosswork for, exactly? (1 John 2:2)

From: The Gospel-Driven Church

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Contemplation of the Cross


Martin Luther on the True Contemplation of the Cross
"Let us meditate a moment on the passion of Christ....true contemplation is that in which the heart is crushed and the conscience smitten....You must be overwhelmed by the frightful wrath of God who so hated sin that he spared not his only begotten Son. What can the sinner expect if the beloved Son was so afflicted? It must be an inexpressible and unendurable yearning that causes God’s Son himself so to suffer. Ponder this and you will tremble, and the more you ponder, the deeper you will tremble.

The whole value of the meditation of the suffering of Christ lies in this, that man should come to the knowledge of himself and sink and tremble. If you are so hardened that you do not tremble, then you have reason to tremble. Pray to God that he may soften your heart and make fruitful your mediation upon the suffering of Christ, for we ourselves are incapable of proper reflection unless God instill it."
Hat Tip:- Desiring God

CRUX SOLA EST NOSTRIA THEOLOGICA!
 

Monday, April 18, 2011

How to Be "the Right Kind of Christian"

Love this quote.  This cannot be said to often!
I’ve known a lot of Christians in my life. I’ve known them to pursue many different courses. Sadly, I’ve known too many who diverged from the narrow way.

I’ve known Christians who went seeking for spiritual gifts, but they lost their focus on Jesus and fell into error.

I’ve known Christians who went seeking for spiritual experiences, but they failed to test their experiences against the Scriptures and drifted away from truth.

I’ve known Christians who went seeking for spiritual authority, but they thought too much of themselves and became prideful and unteachable.

I’ve known Christians who went seeking for spiritual service, but in their busyness, they forgot whom they were serving, and their actions went for nothing.

On the other hand…

I’ve known Christians who went seeking for Jesus above all, and they not only found Him in abundance, but they received spiritual gifts, experiences, authority, and direction for service.

If Jesus is our all, He is faithful to make all of what is His ours.
From Christians I Have Known–And How to Be the Right Kind | Cerulean Sanctum by Dan Edelen

Right on, Dan, right on!

Bunnies and Eggs

Have you always wondered - Since When Did Bunnies Have Eggs?:
"How in the world did the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, the most sacred and central event in Christianity, come to be represented by a fluffy bunny who mysteriously has colored eggs and gives out cheap candy to kids?
Some historical background at The Resurgence

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Tragedy of a Self-Centered Life

This post by Joe Thorn on The Tragedy of a Self-Centered Life is worth quoting in full. Think on it and let its message burn in your soul, for it will bring you freedom.
A self-centered life is not just one in which we simply put ourselves first, but one in which God is eclipsed by our own stardom. When we see ourselves as the main character in our story, the great protagonist in our decades-long drama, we are at best relegating God to a supporting role whose influence is minimal. We have taught, and been taught, that everyone is special and unique. After all, there is only one me, and this is my life.

The reality is that our lives aren’t even about us. God is both the author and the central character of our story, for our stories are but a part of his. As Christians we do not live or work for ourselves, or for any other person in this world. We have been created, and put where we are, for the glory of the One who made us in his image, redeemed us from sin through his Son, united us as one family in his church, and through the church sends us into the world to make disciples of all people. Yes, there is only one me, but I exist for Another. I am the supporting cast member in the divine drama. I am an individual, but I am not only an individual. As a human being I am a part of the world, and bear God’s image as well as the mark of sin with everyone else. As a Christian I am a part of the body of Christ, and have been adopted with everyone else who has been born of God. I am one, but I am not alone.

The tragedy of a self-centered life is that in centering on ourselves we ultimately wind up alone; isolated from others and God. Even if we have many possession, friends, and prestige, by exalting ourselves to the highest point possible we have no one else to look to for help, because we allow for no peers. No one is beside us for genuine fellowship. Even worse, there is no God above us in whom we find our redemption, purpose, and identity.
Your life, my life, is not about us. We are written and told into His story, Only there is true redemption, purpose and identity.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Weather Drama

It's been a tough week for weather where I live.  On Monday we had a brief storm with high winds. Look at what fell in my driveway, just missing my car.



Then on Friday we had a line of storms come through with several tornadoes. The video below was shot just a few miles from my office.



Another twister did great damage near the campus of Mississippi College, my Alma Mater. I am thankful to God for his protection and care during these storms - and hope the weather drama is over for a while!  Prayers for those who were injured and for those whose homes and businesses were damaged.

Fire Your Gun!

“Many Christians treat the Bible like a gun collector.  Holding it studying it & admiring it but never going to war & firing it”

      -From Mark Driscoll’s Twitter Feed

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gutsy Guilt

Do you have "gutsy guilt"?  Here's John Piper's comments on the text of Micah 7:8-9:
To the fallen saint, who knows the darkness is self-inflicted and feels the futility of looking for hope from a frowning Judge, the Bible gives a shocking example of gutsy guilt. It pictures God’s failed prophet beneath a righteous frown, bearing his chastisement with broken-hearted boldness. "Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light." This is courageous contrition. Gutsy guilt. The saint has fallen. The darkness of God’s indignation is on him. He does not blow it off, but waits. And he throws in the face of his accuser the confidence that his indignant Judge will plead his cause and execute justice for (not against) him. This is the application of justification to the fallen saint. Broken-hearted, gutsy guilt.
Lord, give me courageous contrition and gutsy guilt!

From:  Learn the Secret of Gutsy Guilt - Desiring God

Redeeming the Past

More powerful writing from Unconditional? by Brian Zahnd
"For redemption to be complete and honestly give us a hopeful future, it must be able to address and in some way redeem the past. Through the act of forgiveness the past is not forgotten, but by faith in God's redemptive work it comes to be viewed in a new way. The injustice is to be remembered, but it is not allowed to poison the present and dictate the future.  Forgiveness, when done as an expression of faith in God, allows us to have a new and redemptive perspective on the past."  - page 82
--------------------
"...What are you waiting for?  Are you waiting to get even? A chance for payback? An opportunity to exact your revenge?  If so, you have no future.

You may get even, you may even achieve payback, you may gain your revenge, but you will stay forever chained to the injustice done to you. You are in danger of forming your identity around your injustice in such a way that it forever shapes your future."  - page 83 (italics in the original)

Claire’s Prayers

Some beautiful thoughts from Anthony Russo on the heartfelt prayers of an elderly Alzheimer's patient - Claire’s Prayers | SBC Voices:
...There in the silence of a room full of people Claire prayed as though only Jesus could hear her. Said with a slow and careful reverence, we all heard the same childlike words of faith God was hearing,
Dear Jesus, Thank you for being my Savior. You are my Savior and I love you. Thank you for my husband and our church and our pastor. I love you Jesus. You are my Savior.
If ever I sat in a holy moment, it was that one. Claire’s once agile mind, now racked with all the altering cruelties the disease could press upon it, could not be diminished in expressing the deepest loyalties of her heart. The atheist Richard Dawkins himself would have been converted if he heard her tender sincerity.
Alzheimer’s is not the only illness inside Claire. While it is attacking her mind another is attacking her body. How much longer she has is known only by her Savior. Even so, the very thing that has made Christianity unique everywhere it has been proclaimed is no less true for Claire: Resurrection. The “living hope” as Peter calls it; just as the Lord Jesus Christ defeated the damning effects of sin and triumphed over the hopeless grave, so now we who hope in Him need no longer despair that which comes to us all.
Someday, because of Jesus Christ, Claire will have vitality in mind and body like she’s never had on earth. A glorified, sinless vitality. Eternal life. And when that day comes she will look at her Lord and say with perfect clarity, “Dear Jesus, Thank you for being my Savior. You are my Savior and I love you.”
Amen, Sister Clarie, Amen!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Most Engaging Facebook Page In the World Is....


The Bible - the most engaging Facebook page in the world from UBS - United Bible Societies on Vimeo.

The Struggle to Rest

“The fight is not the oppressive struggle to earn God’s final rest, but the satisfying struggle to rest in the peace that Jesus freely gives.…Don’t think of striving to get his favor. Think of striving with the favor of his help.”

— John Piper What Jesus Demands of the World
(Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2006), 184-185


Hat Tip: Of First Importance:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What You Think About God....

...matters more than most people imagine.


DugDownDeep_Carnahan.mov from Covenant Life Church on Vimeo.

Hat Tip:  A Place For The God-Hungry
   

Hope is Grounded in Forgiveness

"Our happiness lies in hope.  If we can approach the future with hope, we can be happy.  This is because hope is the prevailing attitude that the pain and disappointments of the past do not have to be endlessly repeated. Hope dares to imagine the future as a legitimate alternative to the vicious repetitions of the past.  But the refusal to forgive is a toxic memory that endlessly pulls the painful past into the present.  The toxic memory of the unforgiven past poisons the present and contaminates the future."

Unconditional: The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness, by Brian Zahnd, Page 71

It Matters

"...American evangelicals must curb the decline of doctrinal concern in our midst and recapture the teaching responsibility of the church. Doctrine without piety is dead, but piety without doctrine is immature at best, and inauthentic at worst. Faithful Christians are always concerned with the development of true Christian piety and discipleship in believers. Yet, as John A. Broadus commented over a century ago, doctrinal truth is “the lifeblood of piety.”

Those who call for a “doctrineless Christianity” misunderstand–or misrepresent–both doctrine and Christianity. Pragmatism and program concerns dominate the lives of many Christians and their congregations. The low state of doctrinal understanding among so many evangelicals is evidence of a profound failure of both nerve and conviction. Both must be recovered if there is to be anything even remotely evangelical about the evangelicalism of the future."

Dr. Albert Mohler on Why Doctrine Matters

Hat Tip: Rick Ianniello

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nothing In My Hands

“Preaching the gospel to ourselves every day addresses both the self-righteous Pharisee and the guilt-laden sinner that dwell in our hearts. Since the gospel is only for sinners, preaching it to ourselves every day reminds us that we are indeed sinners in need of God’s grace. It causes us to say to God, in the words of an old hymn, ‘Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.’”

— Jerry Bridges,The Disciple of Grace: God's Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness(Colorado Springs, Co.: NavPress, 1994), 26

Hat Tip: Of First Importance

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Creedo

Interesting article on the history of The Apostles’ Creed at The Resurgence:
The Apostles’ Creed is the oldest and most popular creed of the church, and has greatly influenced the other creeds and confessions written throughout church history. The Apostles’ Creed is not a direct production of the apostles themselves, but is meant to be understood as a summary of apostolic teaching.
The Apostles’ Creed we have today is not the Creed in its original form. The shorter and older form was known as the Old Roman Creed. It was constructed in Greek around 140 AD and in Latin around 390 AD. The present form of the Apostles’ Creed, which is both longer and more recent, was probably not compiled until the middle of the 5th century, but the message of the two Creeds is basically the same. Initially, the Old Roman Creed was a baptismal confession made by converts at their baptism. In that regard, the Creed served an important need in the early church.
Oh, and the words of the ancient creed are:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
I believe, Lord, I believe! (Creedo is Latin for "I Believe")

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Deep Things Reviewed

The Good Book Blog has a short but good review by Rob Price of one of my favorite recent books, The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything by Fred Sanders.
Fred Sanders is passionate about the doctrine of the Trinity. The problem is, we evangelicals typically are not. We know that God is eternally Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe it. But we don’t often know what to do with it. Ours is what Sanders calls a “tacit” or implicit trinitarianism. So one of Sanders’s basic tactics to get us passionate about the doctrine of the Trinity is to show us how it “changes everything”—everything that we are passionate about....

...If you’ve never realized the trinitarian dimensions of the gospel, the life of Jesus, the reading of Scripture, or the practice of prayer, or if you want to be more evangelical, more biblical, in your walk with the Lord, I highly recommend Sanders’s book, at once learned and worshipful, systematic and practical, simple and profound,
I finished reading this book in February, and highly recommend it!
     

Removing the Bullet of Bitterness

In Unconditional, Brian Zahnd retells the story of Pope John Paul II forgiving the man who shot him in St. Peter's Square.  The doctors removed the bullet from the pope's body, but the pope himself removed the bullet of bitterness from his heart by forgiving Ali Agca the attempted assassin.
In his hatred, Ali Agca fired bullets of hate into the body of John Paul II, and though the  bullets almost took the pope's life the hate never touched his soul.  John Paul II responded with whispered words of love and forgiveness - words that lodged in the soul of Ali Agca.  Those words seem to have transformed this troubled man.  They certainly caused multitudes around the world to ponder the possibilities of forgiveness. (page 56)
Then, on page 64 Zahnd applies that story to the rest of us:
"The only way to remove the deadly bullet from our heart is through forgiveness.  This is how you prevent yourself from becoming a victim twice over - first a victim of injustice, then as a victim of systemic bitterness...

...When you are the recipient of hate, there is always the danger that you will allow yourself to be defined and deformed by that hate. The only way of exorcising the demon of hate is through the purgative of forgiveness.  Allowing forgiveness to purge the unforgiveness in our hearts is what enables us to move beyond injustice and not be chained to it for life."

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Current Reading List - April 2011

Kings Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus, By Timothy Keller

A study of the life of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, based on Keller's preaching to his New York City congregation of post-modern recovering pagans and evangelicals returning from the wilderness. He unites the themes of the message of the Kingdom of God and the Cross, hence the title.

One of his best - and with Keller that is saying a lot.


Unconditional?: The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness, by Brian Zahnd

Deeply moving and challenging treatment of Jesus' command for us to forgive those who wrong us, and his example in doing so himself from the cross. The book would be worth it just for the stories and quotes from Corrrie Ten Boom, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Nelson Mandela, and others who have demonstrated the power of forgiveness and the freedom it can bring.


 
Citizen Soldiers: The Us Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, by Stephen Ambrose.

Ambrose describes what it was like for the American privates, sergeants and lieutenants fighting the Germans in Europe, using lots of quotes from the "citizen soldiers" themselves. Another great book from the biographer of Eisenhower, and one of the greatest historians of World War II.

 
Jonathan Edwards: Americas Evangelical, by Phiulip F. Gura

Interesting and well written biography of the late puritan period revivalist, theologian and philosopher, widely considered one of the greatest minds in American history. Edwards' works are increasingly influential in today's "young, restless and reformed" movement, so he is more relevant than ever.

Are You Just A Christian, Or Are You Christian?

What - you didn't think there was a difference?
"You can become a Christian in a moment. But to become Christian is another matter. In our evangelical churches we are very adept at teaching people how to become a Christian - how to receive the forgiveness available in Christ. We have not been nearly so adept at teaching people how to become Christian - how to become Christlike in a way that helps flood a world hell-bent on vengeance with the grace of forgiveness. But as your read the New Testament, you will find that Christ and his apostles place far more emphasis on becoming Christian than on becoming a Christian.

I fear we have contented ourselves with the self-congratulation of becoming a Christian, when the call of discipleship is to become Christian, to become Christ-like, to become imitators of Christ in a fallen world where true imitation of Christ is radically counter-cultural and deeply counterintuitive."

From Brian Zahand, Unconditional?: The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness, page56-57

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Forgive Because Forgiven

More from Brian Zahand's Unconditional:
"...when Jesus calls us to extend forgiveness in a radical way, we are not expected to do so through gritted teeth, but out of our own experience of being forgiven. Jesus and the apostles seem to believe that being a recipient of the infinite love of God should create within the forgiven sinner a wellspring of infinite capacity to forgive. We forgive out of our experience of being forgiven.  We love infinitely out of the reality of being infinitely loved.  We love with the love of God and forgive with the forgiveness we have received. We turn the other cheek because Jesus prayed from the cross, 'Father, forgive them.'  And the forgiven them turns out to be us.  Jesus only calls us to give what we have received - unbounded forgiveness."
From Brian Zahand, Unconditional?: The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness, page 29

Costly Forgiveness

"Christian forgiveness is not a cheap denial of the reality of evil or the trite sloganeering of 'forgive and forget.'  That may suffice for minor personal affronts, but it is hollow and even insulting when applied to crimes like murder, rape, and genocide. No, Christian forgiveness is not cheap.  Rather, it is costly because it flows from the cross - the place where injustice and forgiveness meet in violent collision.  Christian forgiveness does not call us to forget.  Christian forgiveness allows us to remember but calls us to end the cycle of revenge."

Brian Zahand, Unconditional?: The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness, pages 11-12
I cannot speak highly enough about this book. Last weekend I found it on the shelf of our local Borders Books, started reading while drinking my caramel mocha, and have been totally hooked ever since.

Expect a lot more comments and quotes from this book over the next few days. Get it. Read it. Do it!
 

Do You Suffer From ACCUS?

No, this is not just another "disease of the week."  It is a dangerous spiritual disease that many Christian leaders suffer from.To find out if you have it, read Do You Suffer From Acute Church Center of the Universe Syndrome?
ACCUS is no laughing matter. It is the exact opposite of what Jesus tells us to do in Matthew 28:19. It is sin. It is born from the desire in us to be great, to be conquerors of our domain. It is the result of our quest for some sort of celebrity. Being passionate about your ministry should translate immediately into being passionate for the community you are based in.
Clinical trials have not yielded a definitive cure for ACCUS but scientists think it might have something to do with acting like Jesus. Turns out, He was the center of the universe and He did everything to not act like it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

You Already Are


Today I found some more great writing by Tullian Tchividjian  on the subject of Our New And Exalted Identity in Christ:
While the world constantly tempts us to locate our identity in something or someone smaller than Jesus, the gospel liberates us by revealing that our true identity is locked in Christ. Our connection in and with Christ is the truest definition of who we are....

...The gospel frees us from this pressure to perform, this slavish demand to “become.” The gospel liberatingly declares that in Christ “we already are.” If you’re a Christian, here’s the good news: Who you really are has nothing to do with you—how much you can accomplish, who you can become, your behavior (good or bad), your strengths, your weaknesses, your sordid past, your family background, your education, your looks, and so on.

Your identity is firmly anchored in Christ’s accomplishment, not yours; his strength, not yours; his performance, not yours; his victory, not yours. Your identity is steadfastly established in his substitutionary life and death, not your sin.

You’re free!

Now you can spend your life giving up your place for others instead of guarding it from others—because your identity is in Christ, not your place.

Now you can spend your life going to the back instead of getting to the front—because your identity is in Christ, not your position.

Now you can spend your life giving, not taking—because your identity is in Christ, not your possessions.
  If you are not reading his blog on a regular basis, why not?  Always some good Gospel stuff there!

Revelation of Me

Last week I fasted one day. Nothing spectacular, just skipping two meals.  I was miserable!

I had a headache. My stomach was growling. The work day was going so slow.  I was grumpy. I was irritable. Once again I thought, as I do every time I fast: "I hate fasting, because fasting makes me grumpy."

Then I had a revelation.

Fasting does not make me grumpy - Fasting reveals that I AM grumpy! Fasting uncovers the real me, the irritable grumpy true me, the essential me when un-medicated by food.  Fasting uncovers my mask of niceness, my facade of self-control. Inside, under that facade, I am a selfish mess!

I so need Jesus!  Maybe you do too.
  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Very Worst Missionary? I Think Not!

Want to read some spiritual writing with a very unique style that will make you laugh, while sometimes hitting you in the gut through the humor? If so, then check out Jamie the Very Worst Missionary. I love the title! If I was a missionary I'd steal it from her. Jamie and her husband are missionaries in Costa Rica. Here's a sample of her stuff:
“Sometimes”, I say to God, ”I just want it to be how it was. Ya know?”
And God says, gently, as always, “Oh, Baby Girl… You’ve got it all wrong.
And then He reminds me of what I already know, which is that I have been Restored… and that Restoration is for the broken.
In my foolishness, I plead to God to take away the broken parts, make it like it was, like none of this ever happened. But it seems, in my haste to forget life’s biggest challenges, I would erase all of the best parts of the story. Because where I see a heart, broken and aching for the poor, He sees a heart, salvaged from materialism, and Restored to a better condition. And where I see a marriage, broken by every kind of selfishness, He sees a couple, raised from the brink of death, and Restored to a better place. And where I see all the scars left by living a dirty, messed up life, He sees that what was once broken is now made whole. Our scars are simply evidence of what has been Restored. They get to tell the Story of where our lives have been touched by God.
Why would you erase”, He asks me, “all the best parts of the Story?
“I don't know. I just wanted it to be how it was.”
Ah, but when you tell the Story how it is…. we’re Both in it.
And then I feel silly that after all these years with God by my side, I'm still getting it all wrong.
I don't know, Jamie, I think you are getting a lot of it right.
  

A Prayer for Enemies

The prayer below was composed during World War II in the Dachau prison camp by Nikolai Velimirovic, a Serbian Orthodox bishop who had been betrayed by friends and arrested for his anti-Nazi activities in Yougoslavia.
"Bless my enemies, O Lord.  Even I bless them and do not curse them. Enemies have driven me into your embrace more than friends have.  Friends have bound me to earth; enemies have loosed me from earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world.

Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world.

Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath your tabernacle, where neither friends not enemies can slay my soul.

Bless my enemies, O Lord.  Even I bless and do not curse them...
(Quoted in Unconditional?: The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness bu Brian Zahnd, page 42)

Let me repeat: This was written in Dachau concentration camp!  This is only part of the prayer; there are longer quotes in the book referenced above (which I will be talking about more in future posts). This is a man who understood the meaning of the words in Lord's Prayer.- "forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors."  (Matthew 6:12 ESV)

Can any of us claim to have more of an excuse for not forgiving than this man?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Free Downloads of "The Hiding Place"

This month's free download on christianaudio is Corrie ten Boom's The Hiding Place narrated by Bernadette Dunne . Here's the summary of the book from Amazon.
Corrie ten Boom was a woman admired the world over for her courage, her forgiveness, and her memorable faith. In World War II, she and her family risked their lives to help Jews escape the Nazis, and their reward was a trip to Hitler's concentration camps. But she survived and was released--as a result of a clerical error--and now shares the story of how faith triumphs over evil. For thirty-five years Corrie's dramatic life story, full of timeless virtues, has prepared readers to face their own futures with faith, relying on God's love to overcome, heal, and restore. Now releasing in a thirty-fifth anniversary edition for a new generation of readers, The Hiding Place tells the riveting story of how a middle-aged Dutch watchmaker became a heroine of the Resistance, a survivor of Hitler's death camps, and one of the most remarkable evangelists of the twentieth century.
I got to hear Corrie ten Boom speak while I was in college back in 1975 - Amazing story from an amazing woman. If you have never heard or read this classic story of sacrifice and forgiveness, please download it and listen.

The Highest Dignity of Man is To Glory in God

“What is true glory and what makes a man great?

‘In this,’ says the Prophet, ‘let him that glories, glory that he understands and knows that I am the Lord’ (Jer. 9:24).

This constitutes the highest dignity of man, this is his glory and greatness: truly to know what is great and to cleave to it, and to seek after glory from the Lord of glory. The Apostle tells us: ‘He that glories may glory in the Lord,’ saying: ‘Christ was made for us wisdom of God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption; that, as it is written: he that glories may glory in the Lord’ (1 Cor. 1:30-31).

Now, this is the perfect and consummate glory in God: not to exult in one’s own righteousness, but, recognizing oneself as lacking true righteousness, to be justified by faith in Christ alone.”

- Basil the Great, 330-379

Hat Tip: True Glory : Kingdom People:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

"To Our Muslim Friends: Everything You Need To Know About Terry Jones"

  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Baptists
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Pentecostals
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Charismatics
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Episcopalians
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Roman Catholics
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Quakers
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Methodists
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Calvinists
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Puritans
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Anglicans
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Free Methodists
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Lutherans
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Anabaptists
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Mennonites
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Wesleyans
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Presbyterians
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for non-denominational Christians
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Amish
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Greek Orthodox Church
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Shakers
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Christian & Missionary Alliance
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Salvation Army
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Mormons
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Brethren in Christ
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Evangelical Free Church
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Pentecostal Holiness Church
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Southern Baptist Convention
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Apostolic Church
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Christian Reformed Church
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Church of God in Christ
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Assemblies of God
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Reformed Church of America
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Calvary Chapel Movement
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Church of the Nazarene
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Harvest Bible Fellowship
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Seventh Day Adventists
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the United Pentecostal Church
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the United Methodist Church
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the United Church of Canada
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Willow Creek Association
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Sovereign Grace Ministries
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Samaritan’s Purse
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Wycliffe Bible Translators
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for World Vision
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Compassion International
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Youth With A Mission
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Campus Crusade for Christ
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Youth for Christ
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Christian broadcasters
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Christian bookstores
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Christian musicians
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Christian bloggers
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Christian schools
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Christian universities
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for me.
Get the picture?
…And ditto Fred Phelps…Why do the smallest voices get the greatest media attention?
Copied from Paul at  Thinking Out Loud - And oh boy do I agree with this one!

The Dump-Truck of Merit



This post at "Ordinary Pastor" hits me hard - and if you are honest it will probably hit you too. Go ahead, if you dare, and read Backing up the Dump-Truck of Merit .

Friday, April 1, 2011

Want to Transform Your Bible Reading?

The excerpts below are from a piece at The Resurgence by Dane Ortlund on how to Transform Your Bible Reading:
A biblical theology lens trains us to place any given passage in the sweep of the single story. This way of reading the Bible gladly acknowledges the various genres in Scripture—narrative, poetry, prophecy, letters. Yet while the Bible is not uniform, it is unified.
Biblical theology reads the Bible as an unfolding drama, taking place in real-world time and space, that culminates in a man named Jesus—who himself said that “everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms”—shorthand for the whole Old Testament—“must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44)....

....A biblical theology approach takes the Bible on its own terms—namely, that “all the promises of God find their ‘Yes’ in Jesus” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Result: transforming reading.
Biblical theology invites you to read the Bible by plotting any passage in the overarching narrative that culminates in Christ. The Bible is not mainly commands with stories of grace sprinkled in. It is mainly a story of grace with commands sprinkled in....

...Imagine jumping into the middle of a novel, reading a sentence, and trying to understand all that the sentence means without placing it in the sweep of the novel as a whole. That would confuse the reader, obscure the meaning, and insult the author.
The Bible is God’s autobiographical account of his personal rescue mission to restore a lost world through his Son. Every verse contributes to that message.
The Bible is not a pep talk. It is good news.
You can read it all at the link above. Good Stuff!

Correction:  In the first draft of this post I had attributed the article to Mark Driscoll instead of Dane Ortlund. I have corrected that error above. Both good guys, but want to give proper attribution and credit where credit is due!

Three Years and Counting...

Today is the third anniversary of "The Journeyman's Files."  Here's a link to my very first post. 1,921 blog posts and counting! Was there any significance to any of them?  That is in His hands.

Thanks to everyone who has come along with me on this journey. And now, on to the future!