November 6, 2013

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_Why does it seem that God allows us to sin? Here is the Westminster Confession’s (5.5) answer:

The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave, for a season, His own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends. 

Put differently, God allows us to sin so that we might grow. Phil Ryken helpfully discusses this area of providence.

Is all sin created equal? I often hear that it is. All sin equally sends us to hell but all sin is not equal in gravity. Tim Challies discusses the issue.

Are you a Bible teacher? Do you use texts from both the Old and New Testament to talk about Christ? Trevin Wax encourages his viewers to be distinctly Christian. This is important encouragement for Christian teachers.


October 16, 2013

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_Want to grow spiritually? Erik Raymond offers three tips.

It won’t surprise you that children of same sex couples don’t fare as well as children with opposite sex mom and dads. This article leaves many questions, however it does further the conversation. It will be interesting to digest the data over the years as this phenomenon becomes more studied.

Do you ever wonder what all the fuss over the debt ceiling is all about? Joe Carter sorts through the issue in a helpful way.

In a style reminiscent of “The Screwtape Letters,” John Knight in The Subtle Art of Destroying Humans highlights the strategies of the pro-abortion mindset. Think tissue not babies.

Eric Simmons piece, I Hate Porn, highlights the temporal and eternal impacts of porn. I’ve said this many times, but parents must guard the gate. Porn is a drug that the human spirit is often predisposed to. Lifelong addiction can start at a very young age. The destruction caused by porn is incalculable.

Stand to Reason reviews O’Reilly’s book “Killing Jesus: A History.” The review is rather positive except for its criticism of the way O’Reilly refers to some of the gospel accounts as myths.

Finally, “Help for Women Under Stress” by Randy and Nanci Alcorn is free today only for Kindle. My guess is that it is probably a pretty good book. I appreciate Randy Alcorn.


September 9, 2013

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_The subject of biblical preaching is Christ and him crucified.  Yet, much “preaching” today isn’t about Jesus, it is about 10 Steps to a Happy Life. I believe these “How To” sermons do more harm than good. Jared Wilson articulates this truth.

Want to know more about sanctification? Here is a link to a free ebook in both formats that is a library full of helpful information about growing in obedience.

Should the United States Attack Syria? is a thoughtful, non-polemical discussion about whether or not our nation should attack Syria.

Go outside, even if it is smokey. Get up and get going. It is good for you. Really.

Tomorrow, those of us who lug around iOS devices will be one more step towards obsolescence. As rumor has it, there will be two new iPhones on the Apple menu. Here is a fun take on the 5C.


May 25, 2013

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_Tim Keller touches on some faults that we often deal with in the lives of others. I think this might be helpful. I’m good at picking out the faults of others; I’m not so good at discerning my own.

These “small faults” mean that large swaths of the Christian population have little influence on others for Christ. While our faults always seem small to us due to the natural self-justification of the heart, you can be sure they don’t look so small to others.

Eric Raymond uses First Peter to discuss what God sees as valuable in a woman.

This is too funny:


December 10, 2012

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_It is no secret that my family and I really appreciate Duck Dynasty (You can watch episodes online. Don’t miss “I’m Dreaming of a Red Neck Christmas.” I’m tracking with Jase on this show.). It is the polar opposite of a show like Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I realize that my affection for the show says volumes about my own oddness and propensities. Here is an article articulating why America needs Duck Dynasty.

Tullian continues to flesh out the essence of sanctification. Once again, I encourage you to think through what he is saying.

Barnabas Piper discusses The tension of “God is good” and “It shouldn’t be this way.” This short article is very helpful.

This will only appeal to geeks like me …

Mark Galli in his review of DeYoung’s The Hole in Our Holiness writes:

The older I’ve grown, the more I realize how layered and subtle is my sin; the more spiritually mature I am, the more I realize, along with Jeremiah, how desperately wicked my heart is. In that sense, as I run the last laps of life, I’m much less impressed with my outward progress, and more aware than ever of my sin, and more and more in a constant state of repentance. Others compliment me on my “progress”—I no longer have a temper, I’m more considerate of my wife, more compassionate toward others, and so on and so forth. But they cannot see my heart, and if they did, they’d run in fear, repelled by the cauldron evil that remains. Perhaps I’ve simply failed in the pursuit of holiness. Or maybe the pursuit of holiness is not so much a striving to adopt a life of habitual virtue but learning how to live a life of constant repentance.

His Solution:

I believe that a conscious and purposeful pursuit of holiness is about the worst way to go about it. I cannot think of a person I know or a historical figure who has aspired to holiness without suffering from spiritual pride. This has certainly been the case in my own spiritual journey. The times I have deliberately tried to become godly are when I have become most like the devil—irritable, judgmental, arrogant, and prideful to start with. The paradox is when I stop trying to be holy, and simply repent as the sinner I am, I become more patient, kind, and loving.

What do you think?

I appreciate Doug Wilson’s inimitable attempt to synthesize the different views on sanctification.

Thinking About Sanctification

November 30, 2012 are some posts about sanctification. If you are like me, sanctification is one of the most difficult areas in the Christian life. This is true simply because the process of sanctification is so frustrating. So, if you are game, here is some stuff to think about.

First, here is a short, helpful article by Stephen Altrogge. If you only read one article, read this.

Second, here is a helpful, thorough critique of Tullian Tchividjian’s Jesus + Nothing = Everything. Working through this article helps one understand the nuances of the sanctification debate. I sent a copy of this to my Kindle for later rumination.

Finally, John Gerstner weighs in on the topic. Gerstner is always worth wrestling with.


November 19, 2012

Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving week as you connect with your dear loved ones.

For me personally, sanctification remains one of the most difficult issues in my life. I find it difficult to experience it to the degree I’d like, and I find if difficult to structure a full-blown theology of sanctification. Keeping in mind my handicap in this area, I’d like to recommend two helpful articles about the Christian’s continuing sin. Tullian grapples with the question as to whether Christians are in some sense still totally depraved. Ed Welch delineates what the victorious Christian life really looks like.

Tyndale House wins mandate court battle. Hopefully, we’ll see more of this.

Judge temporarily exempts the Christian book publisher from the HHS contraceptive mandate, allowing it to operate its business according to its beliefs.

The question of what to do with political Israel is a tricky question. I believe that the church has been grafted into Israel and that the blessing of Abraham belongs to those in Christ, Gal 3:14. That said, political Israel is often a beacon of light in the dark Muslim/Arab world. Doug Wilson empathizes with Israel’s plight and mission as he balances his theology with Israel’s situation.


September 14, 2012

If you have hung around me for any length of time, you’ve heard me say, “I don’t know.” There is always far more that we don’t know than what we do know. Anyway, Jared Wilson affirms that it is good for pastors to say, “I don’t know.” “I don’t know” that I agree with his reason #3.

Joe Thorne gives 8 Rules for Growing in Godliness. Succinct (the halmark of Joe Thorne) and helpful.

We probably don’t believe that the Lord is lenient. But he is. This is a helpful reminder. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. Praise him!

Stephen Altrogge encourages believers to not be so authentic. What he means is that rather than focusing on our continuing battle with sin, we should remind each other of who we are in Christ.

I’ve added a video to the homepage of our church website. It gets at the heart of the message of salvation.


September 7, 2012

Why do people miss church on Sunday? We all remember Family Feud, don’t we? This was once a Family Feud question. This article reveals the answers and then discusses each response. Perhaps we simply need to be reminded of Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some …”

Along the same lines, it seems that many church goers are unaware of the thing called church membership. Doug keeps encouraging me to address the situation. The issue does need to be addressed.

This short article appeared several days ago now. It is about 1 Corinthians 16:13, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” Because we are often weak, we need this encouragement to be strong. If we have a strong God, then we should be strong people.

Finally, here is an interesting infographic about how we waste time at work. Did you know the average person checks his or her email 36 times an hour? Then, of course, one has to refocus.