Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reading the Bible

It is that time of year again when we begin to look ahead at goals for the coming year. Scripture reading should naturally be part of this. Crossway offers 10 different plans for reading through the Bible in one year. Check them out here.

Why should a believer invest time reading the Bible? The Bible itself provides answers to that question:

  • The Bible is the means through which one finds salvation. See Ps. 19:7; Jn. 5:39; Rom. 10:17; 2 Tim. 3:15; 1 Pt. 1:23.
  • The Bible forms the material from which we are to have a “ready answer.” 1Pt. 3:15
  • The Bible is the means of our growth in grace. 1 Pt. 2:2
  • The Bible equips us for the ministry to which we have been called. 2 Tim. 3:16
  • The Bible is a means for our sanctification and walk in holiness. Ps. 119:11; cf. Heb. 5:11-14

Health Benefits of Coffee - WSJ

Once again, we caffeine hounds are vindicated by a reputable news source. Naysayers, take note.

Happy New Year and please enjoy another cuppa joe!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Beagle

I missed this yesterday, but on Dec. 27, 1831, Charles Darwin set sail on The Beagle on a trip that would revolutionize how people think about the origins of life. Much has been said about the controversy between evolution and creationism, and the larger issues of naturalism vs. theism.

It goes without saying that there has been an explosion of technological advancement in the ensuing 178 years since Darwin stepped onto The Beagle. But technology aside, have we really "evolved" as a "species?" Consider:

  • It is difficult to speak about morality because many question the validity of a shared morality. To some, morality is a social construct.

  • We have the technology to prolong life, yet question whether or not we should do so.

  • We can perform surgery in utero while arguing that the fetus isn't a person until it is viable ex utero.

Is it really "change we can believe in?"

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Day After Christmas

Tim Challies says what many Christians hesitate to express. This is a great post worth reading.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another Book List

Tony Reinke shares his recommended list for Christmas gifts.

One More Woe

As if the Anglican Church and its American sister the Episcopal Church do not have enough controversy, this story was reported by the Associated Press. In regards to the Ten Commandments, I am reminded of the song by Queen: Another One Bites the Dust.

British priest: Shoplifting by poor can be OK - News National & World -, The Vindicator

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas in 7 Minutes

In lieu of a family Christmas letter, I want to share this clip. It says it all.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

John Flavel - "Abundant Encouragement Against Deadness of Spirit in Prayer"

Thou complainest thy heart is dead, wandering and contracted in duty: O, but remember Christ's blood speaks when thou canst not; it can plead for thee when thou art not able to speak a word for thyself. :Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?" Cant. 3:6. The prayers of Christians often go up before God sullied with their offensive corruptions; but remember, Christ "perfumes them with myrrh," by his intercession he gives them a sweet perfume.
The Fountain of Life by John Flavel (1628-1691)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Book Lists

Here are a few "best books of 2009" list from various blogs. Instead of getting permission to list them, I will post the links. If you are a bibliophile, you may want to check them out.

From Keith Mathison of Ligonier Ministries.
Sam Storm's list via Justin Taylor.
Andy Naselli's list of books on Job.
Thabiti Anyabile's list of favorites (who suffers for the kingdom at 1st Baptist Church of Grand Cayman).
This is beyond comment.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Blog

I have begun a new blog for the Rescue Mission. It is called City Lights. I would love to have your input.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

John Owen on Tiger Woods?

This is the sore travail they are exercised with all their days: - If they accomplish their designs they are more wicked and hellish than before; and if they do not, they are filled with vexation and discontentment. This is the portion of them whom know not the Lord nor the power of his grace. Envy not their condition. Notwithstanding their outward, glittering show, their hearts are full of anxiety, trouble, and sorrow.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Excellence in Worship

More from J. P Moreland:

I live about twelve miles from Disneyland, and I have a season pass that entitles me to visit the park several times each year. Disneyland is no mere theme park. Compared to other parks of amusement, Disney land is just different. From the restaurants and shrubbery to the Indiana Jones ride, the par k exudes excellence. For example, Disneyland employs one crew to do nothing but change light bulbs throughout the park year-round. The crew has a catalogue listing the life expectancy of the thousands of light bulbs in the park, and they make sure to change each and every bulb at 80 percent life expectancy so no one ever sees a burned-out bulb! I have been to Disneyland about one hundred times and have never, ever seen a burned-out bulb.

If Disney can impart this sort of spirit of excellence to its bulb changers, we Christians can afford to do no less when it comes to worshipping the living God. We need to increase our expectations of excellence when it comes to corporate and private worship. And if we do, the proper cultivation of the mind will be a crucial dimension of our excellence in worship. Loving and worshipping God includes the total personality, including the mind. We worship God with our minds when we struggle to read something so we can love and serve Him better, when we understand the contents of the hymns we sing, when we activate our minds and make them ready to hear before given something to which to respond in the worship service. Without the bulb changers, Disneyland would be just another amusement park. Without an intellectual component, worship becomes a less than total expression of adoration to a God who deserves a lot more effort than Disney insists on at its park.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Enough Said

This comes from J.P. Moreland in Love Your God with all Your Mind. That this also speaks of many Christians is cause for alarm:

Our society has replaced heroes with celebrities, the quest for well-informed character with the search for a flat stomach, substance and depth with image and personality. In the political process, the make-up man is more important than the speech writer, and we approach the voting booth, not on the basis of a well-developed philosophy of what the state should be, but with a heart full of images, emotions, and slogans all packed into thirty-second sound bites. The mind-numbing, irrational tripe that fills TV talk shows is digested by millions of bored, lonely Americans hungry for that sort of stuff. What is going on here? What has happened to us?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Time Management from John Owen

Men have not leisure to glorify God and save their own souls. it is certain that God gives us time enough for all that he requires of us in any kind in this world. no duties need to jostle on another, I mean constantly. Especial occasions must be determined accordingly unto especial circumstances. but if in anything we take more upon us than we have time well to perform it in, without robbing God of that which is due to him and our souls, this God calls not unto, this he blesseth us not in.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thank God for Evolution?

A friend recently loaned me a book by Michael Dowd titled Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Evolution Will Transform Your Life and Our World. The endorsement on the cover reads, “The science vs. religion debate is over.”

Admittedly, I have not read the entire book. My interest waned early into the text. What I have read left me with several impressions:

Dowd’s book claims to find a middle ground where both religion and evolution are seen to contribute to our understanding of origins. However, one does not need to read very far to see that this is a patronizing look at religious belief while praising the intellectual superiority of those who have articulated scientific truth (read: evolution). In explaining the focus of Part 1, Dowd observes that in this section, “we shall consider what evolution is, what it is not, and why human societies require a mythic and meaningful context…We cannot thrive without myth – that is, without meaningful stories that freely use poetry and metaphor to communicate what we individually and collectively experience to be true” (italics mine). Note that there are things we collectively “experience to be true.” Certainly, religious experience could not actually be true!

Skillfully, Dowd praises the “science” of evolution while relegating religion to an evolutionary need to find meaning in life. Religion is a satisfying way of quenching an instinctive need for meaning. The door is left open that, with some evolutionary good fortune, we will grow out of this.

As Christians, we anchor our faith, not in a need to define meaningful existence, but in a God who is Creator and Redeemer. This God has revealed Himself in an inspired book, the Bible.

A system that omits a Creator from the equation can in no way be compatible with the belief of God as Creator. Dowd’s attempt to straddle the fence adds little to the continuing controversy.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Words are wonderful things. They are not actually concrete things, they are symbols. They are expressions of thoughts and emotions. You can never know the depths of another’s thoughts without words.

Words are powerful. They encourage and destroy; they can mobilize an army or calm a riot. In 1095, the First Crusade was launched by Pope Urban II’s rousing sermon condemning Moslem control of Jerusalem. The world was set on a course of global war when Adolf Hitler became Reich’s Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and moved a nation with his rhetoric.

Words sometimes become toys or tools in our hands. By the art of “spinning” words, we can make something horribly ugly sound desirable. Who would not prefer to “go home to be with the Lord” over being “dead?” And while any sane person opposes abortion, who would disagree with the “right to choose?”

Christianity is inexorably bound up in words. Words are our tools of trade in that:

  • They are the “stuff” of revelation. God has disclosed His power and Godhead in creation, but He has definitively spoken to us in His Word, the Bible. Without the inspired words of Scripture, we would have no knowledge of the saving goodness of God.
  • They are the means of gospel communication. It has been said that of all the world’s religions, Christianity is unique in that it has been spread through preaching, through the use of words. God has chosen to speak at in different times and in various ways through human instrumentality.

Of course, the ultimate expression of God the Father is Jesus Christ. Heb. 1: 1-2 says that in these last days, God has spoken to us in His Son (or, literally “in a Son-kind-of way”). John calls Jesus “the Word” in the 1st chapter of his gospel. As the Word, He is the concrete expression of the Father. John says that the Son “declares” (or “exegetes”) the Father.

In this season, we remember the Word who was made flesh and dwelt among us. The eternal Logos or Word dropped into human history through the virgin’s womb to dwell among us, not apart from us, not above us. This He did to show us God’s glory; a glory filled with grace and truth.