Thursday, January 29, 2009


One of the best books on the subject of personal godliness is Holiness by J.C. Ryle. Here are his divisions in his 2 chapters on sanctification.

  • Sanctification is the result of a vital union with Christ.
  • Sanctification is the outcome and inseparable consequence of regeneration
  • Sanctification is the only certain evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
  • Sanctification is the only sure mark of God’s election
  • Sanctification is a thing that will always be seen.
  • Sanctification is a thing for which every believer is responsible.
  • Sanctification is that which admits of growth and degrees.
  • Sanctification is a thing which depends greatly on a diligent use of Scriptural means.
  • Sanctification does not prevent one from having a great deal of inward spiritual conflict.
  • Sanctification is a thing which cannot justify a man, yet it pleases God.
  • Sanctification is that which will be found absolutely necessary as a witness to our character in the great Day of Judgment.
  • Sanctification is absolutely necessary in order to train and prepare us for heaven.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Preaching and Pastoral Care

This article was emailed to me by a friend. It is taken from Modern Reformation magazine. I would give credit to the author if I had the source information. However, this is too good and too convicting not to share. This paragraph explores the important relationship between expository preaching and pastoral care. It is not the last word, but certainly gives food for thought.

Theological principles such as these must impact praxis at the deepest level, even right down to issues of how preachers structure their week and organize their priorities. To listen and to listen well takes time. A lot of time. This means that where preachers do not protect sermon preparation time with prosecuting zeal, the end result of the sermon will be the work of those who speak before they listen. The sermon will reveal the kind of people who think they know best before they've heard both sides of an argument-the text will be handled in ways that ignore its details and nuances and miss its structure or surprises. One of the clearest signs of a sermon not born out of sensitive listening is that the congregation actually gets more Bible, not less, as the preacher draws on a reservoir of knowledge to speak about the text, expanding it, but does not explain the text, expounding it. (It is said that Winston Churchill once remarked after a lengthy address that he hadn't had time to prepare a short talk.) It is conceivable that the preacher's approach to the sermon text will go hand in hand with the approach to other facets of the ministry. Where the sermons are under-prepared and ill-conceived, so too pastoral relationships will often be underdeveloped and stunted, because genuine listening as a moral imperative is not being adopted as intrinsic to the theological task. The minister will very likely be hurried and busy, an activist, and on the fast-track to becoming a church manager doing God's work rather than a preacher speaking God's Word.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Book Offer

WTSB's offer on Thursday - Get Outta My Face by Rick Horne - sold out in 12 hours. There were 1000 copies available at the 65% off price. However, if you still want it, it is available at their usual 30% off discount price.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Book Offer

If you work with teens in any capacity, Westminster Bookstore announces a great resource by Rick Horne. WTSB says this about the book:

Get Outta My Face: How to Reach Angry, Unmotivated Teens with Biblical Counsel is the most exciting and helpful book on that topic we've seen since Paul Tripp's Age of Opportunity. Author Rick Horne has years of experience turning around the lives of troubled teens with the gospel. We're so excited about this new resource, we're making it available at an introductory price of just $4.88. That's 65% off the list price! THIS PRICE IS ONLY GOOD UNTIL NOON EST JANUARY 24, 2009. At that time, the book will sell at our regular discount of 30% off.

Here's what Paul David Tripp has to say about it: "Rick Horne has invested in teens his whole life. He has learned that he is more like them than unlike them. From years of first hand experience, he knows how to talk with them and his is not afraid of the tough ones. What you will read here is the wisdom of a man who has experienced the courage and hope that transforming grace can give to you and that hard teenager God has chosen for you to be near. This book is a call to action with biblical perspectives and practical steps that God can use to change the teenager and you as well."

Dave Harvey, author of When Sinners Say "I Do" says: "Rick Horne knows teens the kind that won't talk and those that won't stop talking. If you have a teenager, you need this book. In fact, don't wait for the teen years! Arm yourself now with the timeless truths from this book that counsels moms and dads with gospel-hope for teenage trials."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Prayer for our President

Evangelicals were pleased with the choice and the words of Rick Warren yesterday as he gave the invocation for the inauguration (just a note: the day began with a church service, there was prayer at the beginning and the end of the ceremony. Let's not forget how unique that is). Dr. Al Mohler offers his own prayer on his blog. Read it here. Can you imagine had he been asked to give this prayer? This is a great pattern for Christians as we obey God's command to pray for our leaders.

How True, How True.

Ray Ortland posted this yesterday on his blog. Read "'One Anothers' I Can't Find in the New Testament."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Evangelism From a Different Perspective

I came across this clip the other day. This is a remarkable "testimony" from the other side of the fence. Penn poses a good question that I will paraphrase: "How much do you have to hate someone to not share the gospel?"

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Counting the Cost

Tim Challies offers this preview of a new book by Michael Haykin The Christian Lover. The excerpt from Adoniram Judson shows the danger and dedication involved in early missions. What a challenge!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mohler, Hell, and Evangelicals

I refer you to Al Mohler's blog on "The American Experience and the Death of Evangelism." During a class in Romans, specifically Romans 1, one of the students - a good church member for more than 2 decades - could not believe that God would allow those who never heard the gospel to suffer in hell. "That's not the way I think God is," was his rationale.

Mohler has hit the nail on the head. Modern evangelicals (if that term still means anything, according David Wells in The Courage to Be Protestant) struggle with this concept as pluralism creeps ever closer into our churches.

Books, Part 4

The Ligonier Blog has a list of "Ten Significant Christian Publications." I am reading the book by Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant. I guess I am less than "with it." How many of these have you read?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Recommended Reading

I have recently finished Tim Keller's book The Reason for God. You will want to read this to challenge the way you present truth to doubters, sceptics and unbelievers in general.

On Books, Part 3

My previous postings on books were inspired by this article from the online edition of the WSJ. In this piece, Karl Rove mentions that he “out-read” President Bush in 2005 by 110-95 books. It made me feel like a real sluggard. I mean, President Bush – or any modern president for that matter – does not have a load of free time on his hands, yet he managed to read 95 books in one year. I know some people who have not yet read that many in their lifetimes!

Anyway, I was challenged to diligently improve my reading habits for this year. I am already making progress. I have committed to at least 3 “read this in a year” projects and I am making my way though several books that I have wanted to read.

This post about reading caught my attention. Anything that helps me read better and more productively is most welcome. I hope that this helps you as well.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bible for Dummies

Ray Ortland posts this list of 6 things that we can do to combat the Biblical illiteracy that runs through our churches. I especially appreciate the emphasis on reading the Bible in the worship service. Years ago, a friend mentioned to me that a certain church was "liberal" because they read the Bible publicly. This illustrates how foreign the public reading of Scripture is to many people in the church.

If we are, as we claim, people of the Word, why does it not hold a more prominent place in the worship of the church? Food for thought!

Friday, January 2, 2009

On Books, Part 2

It was once thought that the computer and the internet would make books obsolete. This prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. In truth, bookselling is big business. Yes, bookstores, especially smaller ones, face stiff competition – but not from cyberspace alone. Strong competition comes from big chain stores – Barnes & Nobles, Borders, Sam’s Club, and WalMart.

Perhaps it could be argued that the computer age has helped the sale of books, not hindered. Book reviews are more accessible than any time before. There is no need to consult specialized journals or publications – just surf the web.

There was a time when people were excited that they could download books on to their computers. I have a few of these, but nothing will replace the look, feel and smell of a real live book.

When I was last in one of the big chain bookstores, there was little indication that the store was on hard times. I hope this indicates that the bookstore will not soon vanish from the landscape.