Where Is All This Going?

September 26, 2014

Dealing with Tragedy

March 26, 2014

Mike Horton explains …


November 30, 2013

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_I appreciated this piece by Barnabas Piper about giving our best effort.

The importance of free speech:

We all know that obedience in the area of thanksgiving can be quite a challenge. This  couple is a wonderful example and encouragement in the face of trial:


May 24, 2013

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_Here are a few quick stops that I believe are worth your time.

Relationships are difficult. More specifically, forgiveness is difficult. Here Justin Taylor touches on the responsibility believers have toward those who have hurt them. This is well worth the time it takes to read it.

Most every believer battles depression and discouragement from time to time. Some believers are crippled by it. Here are 7 Tips from John Newton On Battling Depression.

I appreciate everything Justin Holcomb writes. Here he highlights the power of grace in the life of the believer.

Michael Horton is one of the premiere theologians of our day. His family’s roots are in Moore Oklahoma, and his brother and his family still live there. Mike grapples with the age old question of how a good God could allow this awful tragedy to take place.


February 9, 2013

Here are some links that are worth your time, even if this is Saturday.

First, here is a helpful piece about how to encourage our children to be morally pure. We have a better weapon than fear of negative consequences.

Teenagers need to know about the risks of promiscuity, as well as about the benefits that total life purity brings. But the most powerful way to impact prom-night decisions is for parents, leaders, and peers to more fully awaken teenagers to God’s Son.

Suffering is something we all go through. Some of us suffer more than others. I haven’t tracked down the background comments for this post (I’m assuming Mark Driscoll said something positive about Joel Osteen.) by Carl Trueman, but his observations from the book of Job about suffering are immensely helpful. Read and remember the next time suffering arrives in your life.

On a lighter note, here are 28 simple ideas that are borderline genius.

Here is a wonderful video from the True Woman ’12 conference. Be sure to hear Joni Eareckson Tada’s poem at the end.


January 18, 2013

I’ve been AWOL lately. Next week doesn’t look good either. In fact, the next six weeks look daunting. I’ll do my best to squeeze in what I can.

Abortion no doubt will continue to be a hot topic in this anniversary year of Roe v Wade. Here are a couple of links worth digesting. First, Randy Alcorn states that every life is important no matter how he or she was conceived. Next, Joe Carter highlights nine things people should know about Roe v. Wade.

Continuing with hot topics, it is interesting that a majority of the French seem opposed to same-sex marriage. Who would have guessed? Here is an video by an Irish organization defending man-woman marriage. I think this is the type of argument that needs to be made in our country.

The truth about God should move us to worship God. Put differently, theology should drive doxology. If it doesn’t, theology, the truth about God, needs to be understood in a more personal way. Gerrit Scott Johnson reminds us of this truth using one of our favorite hymns here at Bowman, Come Ye Sinners.

Tim Challies critiques the book The Insanity of God. As he does this he writes of God’s present day miracles. He states that God is still in the miracle working business and that the greatest miracle of all is, of course, conversion.

Finally, don’t miss this short video by Tullian. While it is directed to teachers and preachers, what it says is good for all of us.

Doug Wilson On Newtown

December 15, 2012

Here is some helpful perspective on yesterday’s tragedy from Doug Wilson:

Whenever you have to deal with something like the Connecticut shooting, something that simply crushes the heart, it is important to think carefully before speaking or writing. This is not the time to be debating gun control, drone attacks in the Middle East, and it is certainly not the time to be drawing ham-fisted comparisons to the abortion carnage. The reason for this is that the parents who are broken over this were parents who had chosen life, not parents who hadn’t. This does not mean that abortion is irrelevant to this tragedy, for it certainly is not, but we want to make sure we locate it as a clear point of gospel relevance. Otherwise we just come off as opportunists who are just looking for a chance to haul the topic of conversation over to a particular hobby horse. But in the aftermath of something sick like this, we need to reconnect with the permanent things. If we don’t point to transcendental realities in a time like this—gospel truths—then we might as well sign a peace treaty with the darkness now.

I have often said that nativity sets should include a set of Herod’s soldiers—that is as much a part of the Christmas story as the shepherds, or the star, or the wise men. These traditional figures all glorified Christ in His coming, but the reality of such bloody soldiers was the reason He came. Nothing illustrates the need for His mission to us better than that appalling loss to Ramah. An early English carol, “Unto Us is Born a Son,” has a verse that understands this juxtaposition of humility and adoration over against the haughtiness of pride and blood.

This did Herod sore affray,
And grievously bewilder
So he gave the word to slay,
And slew the little childer,
And slew the little childer.

And Rachel wept for her children, for they were no more.

Two things should stand out about this. First, while I noted that this is not the time to call out those who would use the tragedy to promote gun control—or to call them names on the Internet—we mustconfront those who would continue their lockdown policies of gospel control. And by gospel, I mean the whole counsel of God for a lost and sinful race—the restored order of things, repentance for sin, and true faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. If you want a society which refuses to name the name of Jesus, and yet is somehow free from these sorts of outrages, you want something that this sinful world cannot ever provide. We can have no salvation without a Savior. God sent a Savior to us, and we have no saviors of our own, just a lot of pretenders. His invitation to our generation is the same as it has been for every generation, and it is “come with me.” We cannot be saved unless we do.

It is not possible to build a culture around a denial of God-given standards, and then arbitrarily reintroduce those standards at your convenience, whenever you need a word like evil to describe what has just happened. Those words cannot just be whistled up. If we have banished them, and their definitions, and every possible support for them, we need to reckon with the fact that they are nowgone. Cultural unbelief, which leads inexorably to cultural nihilism and despair, is utterly incapable of responding appropriately to things like this, while remaining fully capable of creating them. In the prophetic words of C.S. Lewis, “In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

This shooting was horrendous, but far worse is the fact that our blind seers have no idea what to say about it. The horror happened, and it was immediately followed by the horror of countless individuals saying wildly inappropriate things about it. We have monsters in our midst, and vapidity in our highest council chambers, not to mention the monsters there too, and all of them want to slouch toward Bethlehem. God have mercy.

And so this leads to the second point. The reason we need to have fixed and God-given standards is not so that we might climb up some moralistic ladder, rebuilding a mythical past where these sorts of things didn’t happen to us. No, these sorts of things have always happened. We live on a screwed-up planet. We must have a God-given, fixed standard so that we may know why we need forgiveness so much. God’s law is not to pat us on the back and tell us what fine fellows we are. God’s law is given to provide a proper shape for our repentance. In moments like this, we are aghast, but our “repentance” is formless and void. We need the shape of God’s holy Word so that we know how shapeless we have become. We need the Spirit of God to move on our waters.

And here is where abortion really is relevant, along with all the other awful things we do to children. We do not need to talk about these things as political issues—however appropriate and necessary that may be in its time and place. But before we can even think about that, we need to come to grips with the fact that, at the personal level, it is plain that an aching bloodguilt rests upon our nation. I am not talking about our officials, though they are included. I am talking about the millions of us who have occasioned it, paid for it, obtained it, provided it, and funded it. According to Scripture, blood is something that returns to those who shed it. It also returns to the land where it was shed. And our vast reservoir of guilt is larger and deeper than it has ever been.

The only blood that does not return with compounded guilt is the blood of Jesus. His blood comes to us for cleansing, and not for condemnation. His blood does not return with guilt, and it is the only way that all the other guilt can be prevented from returning to us. An old gospel song points the only way to our salvation—“nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Nothing.

So we must confess that while the spirit of Christ is alive in the world, the spirit of Herod is not yet gone. And the only way to expel that kind of darkness is to boldly proclaim that Jesus came into this world precisely to destroy this kind of darkness through His death and resurrection. He was born in Bethlehem from Mary, and He was born again in Jerusalem, the first born from the dead. His grave, just like Mary, was full of grace.

This is a darkness that must be confronted, and it can only be confronted by believers who are prepared to wield the gospel—not as a sectarian talking point, but as real gospel for real sin, real balm for real pain, real light for real darkness. So go find your children, hug the little childer, thank God for the life that is in them, and teach them the Christmas story. We need it so much.


October 17, 2012

The last couple of trips in the car I’ve been listening to a White Horse Inn podcast about parenting. In the podcast Mike Horton interviews Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson about their book Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. I wish that I had had this book when we were raising our children. It is about raising children not just with the law, but also with the gospel. You can listen to the podcast here.

As many of you know, I believe all saints should be baptized, the sooner the better. What reason might one have for living in active disobedience to Jesus? Anyway, Mike Leake also grapples with the question of the timing of baptism. What does the Ethiopian eunuch’s example say to us?

Should we take the Bible literally? Well yes and no. Here is what I mean. I can be more symbolic in my interpretation than some people are comfortable with.

Just how strong is your faith God? Here is an amazing story in a secular newspaper about a pastor who met with a tragic accident and yet praises God for his grace. We all need faith like this.

“The convictions that I have about the work of God and his purposes has so captivated my life that I can’t see life any other way than that he is ordering all things for his purposes, which is what the Bible teaches us. … I lived yesterday, today, and by his grace I’ll live tomorrow with great certainty that he is ordering all things for his purposes.”

Matt Chandler reminds us that no one dies early.

Justin Taylor writes:

Jared Wilson, in Gospel Deeps, writes that “while we may not be satisfied with what God has revealed about his purposes in suffering, we cannot justifiably say he has not revealed anything about his purposes in suffering. We may not have the answer we are laboring for, but we do have a wealth of answers that lie in the same field.”

Here’s an outline of ten reasons he identifies in God’s Word:

  1. To remind us that the world is broken and groans for redemption [Rom. 8:20-23].
  2. To do justice in response to Adam’s (and our) sin.
  3. To remind us of the severity of the impact of Adam’s (and our) sin.
  4. To keep us dependent on God [Heb. 12:6-7].
  5. So that we will long more for heaven and less for the world.
  6. To make us more like Christ, the suffering servant [Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 1:5, 4:11].
  7. To awaken the lost to their need for God [Ps. 119:67, 71].
  8. To make the bliss of heaven more sweet [Rom. 8:18; 1 Pet. 4:13; Ps. 126:5; Isa. 61:3].
  9. So that Christ will get the glory in being our strength [John 9:3; 2 Cor. 4:7].
  10. And so that, thereby, others see that he is our treasure, and not ourselves [2 Cor. 4:8-9].

See Jared C. Wilson, Gospel Deeps: Reveling in the Excellencies of Jesus (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), pp. 114-120 for an elaboration of each point.