Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Baptist Catechism (Question #5)

This is from a Baptist Catechism patterned closely after the Westminster Confession.

Question: "How do we know that the Bible is the Word of God?
Answer: "The Bible evidences itself to be God's Word by the heavenliness of its doctrine, the unity of its parts, and its power to convert sinners and to edify saints. But only the Spirit of God can make us willing to agree and submit to the Bible as the Word of God"

Speaking of states...

Here's a map of which states struggle with obesity the most. (good to see that NC isn't in the red yet...)


This is a great game

Monday, July 30, 2007

Update on Christians held hostage

Another one of the South Korean hostages has been killed according to the BBC

Mondays are for music

Mates of State...they're an incredibly talented married couple that puts on great live shows.

More Narnia

It looks like all seven books from C.S. Lewis's "The Chronicles of Narnia" are going to be made into movies.
My personal favorite was "The Horse and His Boy." Its a great story about the providence of God.

Living with purpose

"We are trying to be sure that everything that we do, everything that we say, everything that we think, and everything that we feel serves the purpose of building the kingdom of God. We have set out to win, through the power of our King, and for the glory of our King;" -R.C. Sproul

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Charles Spurgeon on the Gospel

"Avoid a sugared gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek the gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let his gospel soak into your soul." -Charles Spurgeon

John Stott on the Gospel

"The Gospel is not good advice to men but good news about Christ; not an invitation to us to do anything, but a declaration of what God has done; not a demand but an offer." (John Stott, The Message of Galatians pg. 70)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Glory of Christ

We're studying the life of Christ in chapel this year, and in preparation, I'm going to read through John Owen's book, The Glory of Christ. Here's a quote from it concerning fixing our eyes on Christ:

“In due apprehensions hereof let my soul live- in the faith hereof let me die, and let present admiration of this glory make way for the eternal enjoyment of it in its beauty and fullness” (John Owen, The Glory of Christ).

Update on Christians held hostage

The deadline for the execution of the 22 Christians in South Korea has passed. According to the BBC this morning, talks have resumed concerning their release

The point of the prophets

Upon finishing the book of Isaiah a couple of days ago, I'm reminded of my favorite seminary professor, Dr. John Saihamer. He's the one that helped me see that the Old Testament's message is the same as the New Testament's. In fact he used to call it "The Same Ole Testament." Here's what he says concerning reading the prophets:

"The prophets did not write their books to teach their readers the Sinai covenant. Their intent, like Moses’s, was to call their readers to a life of faith under the new covenant" (Isa. 7:9) (John Sailhamer, "Preaching Through the Old Testament" pg. 120).

Great expectations

Prayerfully considering this as I teach:

“You might not always get what you want, but you always get what you expect.”
Charles H. Spurgeon

The truth will set you free

I'm teaching on John 8:31-36 this Sunday, focusing on the two key terms: truth and freedom. Both terms within our culture have been saturated with false meanings. Truth is seen as being subjective, and freedom is seen as a license to do whatever we want to do. I love the way Spurgeon explains freedom from this passage:

"'The truth shall make you free.' You shall be free from your own prejudices, prides, and lusts. You shall so free from the fear of man...The truth known within your spirit shall make a free man of you. Hitherto you have been the bondsman of self. You have enquired, "What will this thing profit me?" and thus the desire of self-aggrandizement has ruled everything; but when Jesus is your Lord you shall be free from this sordid motive. "The truth shall make you free"; this is a noble saying. Oh, the liberty that comes into the soul through believing on Jesus, who is the truth! It makes life to be life indeed when this freedom is enjoyed."

The truth sets us free from the enslaving impulses of our sinful desires!

Friday, July 27, 2007

He's an animal

Norman Borlaug

Norman Borlaug is credited with saving a billion lives and most of us have never heard of him. Special thanks to TV for keeping us up to date on Lindsey Lohan's life...

The work of the Holy Spirit

With so much confusion concerning the work of the Holy Spirit in today's church (not to mention the loose use of "the Spirit moved here or there, etc...", this is a helpful lens through which to look from Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

"The supreme test of anything that claims to be the work of the Holy Spirit is John 16:14—"He shall glorify me ("The Sovereign Spirit, pg. 106).


Owen loves pepper these days...I know it seems odd, but it brings him so much joy

Summer Reading (Part 4)

Here are the last of the books that I'm reading at present:

This is short biography of William Wilberforce who fought for years for the abolition of slavery in Britain. If you haven't seen the film "Amazing Grace", its excellent, and I highly recommend it.

I bought this book (and the one below) in part to stay culturally aware of some of the popular Christian books among college students. This guy is similar to Don Miller. So far in the book, I'm not very impressed with it. It definitely has some good points about relationship with Christ, but at times the guy sounds a little gnostic.

This book has been a great read thus far. I find it to be a good assessment of where we live, and probably true of a lot of the Bible belt: that Jesus is part of the periphery of life rather than the centrality of it.

I also bought "A Baptist Catechism." The question-answer style of catechisms are helpful in teaching and thinking through doctrine.

Best Text Messager in the World?

Working with students, I've seen some pretty fast text-messaging, but this Polish bus driver sounds pretty good

Ordering your loves

Mark Driscoll is doing a series called "Death by Ministry" and offers this great counsel to order our loves properly:

"Ministry is your fourth priority after being a Christian, husband, and father."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Future of Justification

John Piper's upcoming book...a response to N.T. Wright...(which leads me to think how miserable it would be to have my name in the subtitle of a book by some guy with a big brain showing how I'm wrong).

"You shall be My witnesses"

“There is no believer whom the Son of God does not require to be His witness. In what place, at what time, with what degree of frequency, in what manner, and to what extent, we ought to profess our faith, cannot easily be determined by a fixed rule: but we must consider the occasion, that not one of us may fail to discharge his duty at the proper time” -John Calvin

The modern church needs to hear this in more ways than one. Not only do we need to be faithful witnesses of who Jesus is, we also need to hear that the focus of our witness is not in achieving results (although it certainly seems to be in much of the modern church). There's a strong pull into the deadly trap of pragmatism. Again, Calvin's words are nice because they're reflective of Acts 1:8 which says nothing of a results-based idea of evangelism. Of course we pray for and desire results...but we can't use them as a foundation to what we do.

The work of the Holy Spirit in the Church

Here's a great quote about the importance of the Spirit's work within the life of the church:

“Apart from Him (the Spirit), not only will there be lively believers and no congregations, there will be no believers and no congregations at all” (J.I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit).

Pray for Romania trip

My father-in-law is on his way to Romania right now on a mission trip. Please pray that Christ would be exalted and that hearts would be receptive.

John Stott

John Stott, author of "The Cross of Christ" and "Basic Christianity" (and many other great books) gave his final public address this past week, and he spoke on incarnational evangelism. The thrust of his message was that the best way to share Christ with others is to be like Christ

23 Christians facing martyrdom tonight...

There are 23 Christian missionaries in South Korea facing the threats of martyrdom tonight
"Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves are in the body" (Heb. 13:2).

Summer Reading (part 3)

These two I haven't started yet, but I think they'll both be good

I've read a lot of great things about this book. Some people I really respect have say its the best book on marriage they've read...

This should be a great resource for dealing with the issue of depression.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bibline Blood

A good reminder to speak Scripture to people throughout the day:

“We might preach til our tongue rotted, til we exhaust our lungs and die- but never a soul would be converted unless the Holy Spirit uses the Word to convert that soul. So it is blessed to eat into the very heart of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language and your spirit is flavoured with the words of the Lord, so that your blood is Bibline and the very essence of the Bible flows from you” -Charles Spurgeon

Helen Roseveare

I just finished reading "Though Lions Roar: The Story of Helen Roseveare." Its a remarkable story of a missionary doctor to the Congo. One of the most impacting aspects of the book was the humility of this incredible woman. Its a good book and it doesn't take long to read...

Here's an excerpt from one of my favorite sections of the book:

"She prayed this prayer in all sincerity: "Please go on working in me until I really am transformed into the image of Your Son. Today I mean this, with ever ounce of my being, but when You start doing it, and the stirring hurts, and I feel I can't take any more, maybe I'll cry out to You to stop. Please, when that happens, don't listen to my cry to stop, but just remember my vow today to be available to You, and just go on working away at me to make me like You want me to be."

Why study theology?

A good reminder about the purpose of study:
“We need to ask ourselves: What is my ultimate aim and object in occupying my mind with these things? What do I intend to do with my knowledge about God, once I have it?…If we pursue theological knowledge for its own sake, it is bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited…[Our] supreme desire is to know and enjoy God Himself, and we should value knowledge about God simply as a means to this end…Be interested in truth and orthodoxy, in biblical teaching and theology, not as ends in themselves, but as a means to the further ends of life and godliness.” -J.I. Packer, Knowing God

Divine All-Sufficiency

This is a quote taken from David Brainerd's journal when he served as a missionary to Native Americans back in the day. He makes a great observation about his preaching to them that would be wise for us to consider today:

"The divine all-sufficiency must also necessarily be mentioned, in order to prevent their imagining that God was unhappy while alone, before the formation of His creatures” (Second Appendix to Mr. Brainerd’s Journal, in the Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2).

"I like turtles"

I love it when the lady says, "Alright...you're a great zombie..."

The Arcade Fire in an elevator

My brother-in-law told me about this video, and its pretty amazing. I especially like the fact that the drummer is just ripping a magazine on beat

Summer Reading (Part 2)

Here are some more books that I've been reading this summer

This book was one that was hard to put down. Jennifer and I both read it in one week (she basically read it in one day!) Its an incredible story of some friends who dirt bike their way 9,000 miles up through Africa.

This is a theology text from some of my professors from seminary. I'll be reading this book throughout the year, but its more of a resource than anything else. I don't know that I'd recommend it if you already possess a good systematic theology text book, but it does a better job with historical theology than most.

This is a book that came out of a "Together for the Gospel" conference. So far, its been one of my favorites this summer. I highly recommend it to those of us who preach

Another book that came out of a conference several years ago. This is a good book to understand how suffering fits into God's purposes. Its not an academic book talking about suffering from afar however, its much more personal & worshipful than a lot of discussions about this particular topic

I'm also getting ready to start today (and perhaps finish...its only 108 pgs!) a biography of a missionary to the Congo named Helen Roseveare. I'd never heard of her three weeks ago, but I saw her name as one of the keynote speakers at the Desiring God Conference and so I got a copy of her biography.

The Priority of Play

There are always lots of things to be doing...but one of the most important things for me is to protect my playtime with Owen. Here's a quote from David Livingstone, missionary to Africa:

“I often ponder my missionary career and in the consideration of my many imperfections not a single pang of regret arises in view of my conduct except I did not devote a special portion of time to play with my children. Generally, I was so exhausted by evening there was no energy for fun left. My children soon sprang up and left me conscious I had none to play with.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Modern Legalism

This is well-stated:

"Most churches today still deal in legalism. We just don't think of it that way because it is happy, it speaks of grace, and it is not explicitly condemning. But in my mind, every time churches focus primarily on How To ________ or Six Steps to a Successful _________, they are dealing in legalism, because what is legalism but a gospel of works?"-Jared @ Thinklings.org

It seems that in efforts to talk about practical living, too many have gotten away from the centrality & supremacy of Jesus Christ. A lot of churches focus most of their attention & efforts talking about periphery issues.

Summer Reading (Part 1)

The Summer is a great opportunity for me to get more reading done, since I'm a teacher. Here are some of the recommended books:

I've been reading this book for several months now. Its one of those that I don't read in order...A great book on the Biblical portrait of Christ

I ordered a bunch of Puritan books right after Christmas, and this is one that I've been reading recently. I highly recommend reading the Puritans, especially John Owen's "The Glory of Christ" and "The Mortification of Sin"

Mark Buchanan is a skilled warrior with words. This isn't my favorite of his books, but he seriously could write about anything and it would be good. If you've never read him, I recommend reading "Things Unseen"

This is an insightful book about youth culture. Its almost like he's writing from their perspective.

Pray for Turkey

The nation of Turkey elected their new prime minister earlier this week. Not much of a surprise, but the ruling Islamist AKP party won the election. Turkey is the largest unreached country in the world and this change of leadership will surely lead to other changes within the country.
"The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He will" (Prov. 21:1).
Our friend William took some great pictures of the people when he visited there last year

The purpose of the church

Sometimes its easy for people to lose sight of why we assemble together at a local church. Just a reminder that that purpose of the church is essentially to glorify God, edify the body of Christ, and to reach the lost with the message of salvation. Really, all that we do within a local church should fit under one of these purposeful umbrellas.


"The great gospel imperatives to holiness are ever rooted in indicatives of grace that are able to sustain the weight of those imperatives. The Apostles do not make the mistake that’s often made in Christian ministry. [For the Apostles] the indicatives are more powerful than the imperatives in gospel preaching. So often in our preaching our indicatives are not strong enough, great enough, holy enough, or gracious enough to sustain the power of the imperatives. And so our teaching on holiness becomes a whip or a rod to beat our people’s backs because we’ve looked at the New Testament and that’s all we ourselves have seen. We’ve seen our own failure and we’ve seen the imperatives to holiness and we’ve lost sight of the great indicatives of the gospel that sustain those imperatives. … Woven into the warp and woof of the New Testament’s exposition of what it means for us to be holy is the great groundwork that the self-existent, thrice holy, triune God has — in Himself, by Himself and for Himself — committed Himself and all three Persons of His being to bringing about the holiness of His own people. This is the Father’s purpose, the Son’s purchase and the Spirit’s ministry."
-Sinclair Ferguson

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Mighty Fortress

In the midst of reading about those who were killed in Pakistan today, the ongoing crisis in Darfur, the war in Iraq, the AIDS epidemic in Africa, the floods in England, the plane crash in Brazil, the deadly rains in China, the migrant workers lost off the coast of the Canary Islands, and all of the other daily tragic stories that come up, this Martin Luther hymn was a good reminder of who's in charge:

"And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure;
One little word will fell him."
-Martin Luther

World's tallest building in Dubai

Here's a picture of the new world's tallest building in Dubai. Its going to be finished sometime in 2008

'24' to get female president

Can't we bring back David Palmer? Who is this lady?

Mondays are for Music

Today's recommended music is Ben Kweller.
He's coming to Asheville on 8/25.

Breaking News: Internet has crashed!


This is a pretty cool little website

Naming the Presidents

This game isn't that easy...I named 33 of 43. I'm no historian, but that's not very good

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Gotta Serve Somebody

I'm teaching on Freedom in Christ next week. My friend Alex introduced me to this Bob Dylan song, and its got a lot of truth in it. Its not a question of whether we're serving or not, its a question of who we're serving:

"You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

Might be a rock'n' roll adict prancing on the stage
Might have money and drugs at your commands, women in a cage
You may be a business man or some high degree thief
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief.

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a state trooper, you might be an young turk
You may be the head of some big TV network
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
You may be living in another country under another name.

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.
[ Lyrics found on http://www.rare-lyrics.com ]

You may be a construction worker working on a home
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
You might own guns and you might even own tanks
You might be somebody's landlord you might even own banks.

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be working in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody's mistress, may be somebody's heir.

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed.

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You may call me Terry, you may call me Jimmy
You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray
You may call me anything but no matter what you say.

You're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody."

Saturday, July 21, 2007


This is a good video of quotes from Bono:

The stewardship of the mind

A good reminder to continue to love the Lord our God with all our heart, MIND, strength & soul

Stop Motion Video

Spurgeon on Providence:

“You shall not tread a step which is not
mapped out in the great chart of God's decree.

Your 'troubles' have been already weighed
for you in the scales of his love.

Your 'labour' is already set aside for you
to accomplish by the hand of his wisdom.
Remember, you are not a child of chance.
If you were, you might indeed fear.
You will go nowhere next year
except where God shall send you.” -Charles Spurgeon

“Christian! there is no sweeter pillow than providence!
And when providence seems adverse,
believe it still, and lay it under your head.
For depend upon it- there is comfort in its bosom.” -Charles Spurgeon

The "Great Sin"

I'm teaching (in part) on "pride" tomorrow. In preparation for this, I decided to read C.S. Lewis's chapter in Mere Christianity on the subject. Here are some excerpts:

“There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves…The vice I am talking of is Pride…”

“Pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.”

“He is trying to make you humble in order to make this moment possible: trying to take off a lot of silly, ugly, fancy-dress in which we have all got ourselves up and are strutting about like the little idiots we are.”

“If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realise that one is proud…If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.”

Good counsel from Augustine

"If sorrow makes us shed tears, faith in the promises of God makes us dry them"

Friday, July 20, 2007

"I know not where..."

I've been thinking a lot about a Martin Luther quote recently:
"I know not where He leads, but well do I know my Guide."

When thinking about where God will lead us in the future, this is extremely encouraging to me for obvious reasons. Along the same line as this, I've also been reading a book called, "The Jesus of Suburbia," and he offers encouragement concerning God's will as well:

"God will guide those whose hearts are open to follow. Its that simple. Be faithful in what God calls you to today, and He will lead you tomorrow...If you have a heart that is passionately trying to do God's will, He will lead you."

See Acts 16:6-10 for Paul's similar situation.

Augustine on Romans

I'm getting ready to start teaching through the book of Romans again at school this year. This will be the fourth year straight of doing this. Sometimes I wonder if in God's providence, that this is one of the main reasons He led us to Charlotte. Its been incredibly valuable to dwell upon this book during this time.

Here's Augustine's encounter with Romans:
“I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell: Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, in concupiscence. No further would I read; nor needed I: for instantly at the end of this sentence, by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away.” (Augustine, Confessions, VIII, 12)

Prince Caspian...the video game

The "gift shop Jesus" commercialization continues with Biblical action figures at Wal-Mart and this Prince Caspian video game:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Luther on Trusting God

"The Greatest insult to God, is to not believe His promises" -Martin Luther

Part of the Madden Curse?


Rugby player with tooth in his head

Only a rugby player would get a bone stuck in his head and not realize it for 3 months. "Ah...just a little blood, no big deal...I'm sure that guy's missing tooth isn't in my head." Here's the story.

Man vs. Wild would've eaten this thing

The Office

The Office is returning for the Fall, with the first 4 episodes 1 hour each.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tallest & Shortest men meet each other

The guy's name on the right is He PingPing.

Daily Tragedies

The BBC reports this morning that gunmen in Iraq killed 29 villagers. This is on the heels of yesterday's events in which 80 people were killed by a bomb in the town of Kirkuk.

It seems every morning when I wake up, there's a fresh number of people who have been killed and Hell awaits most of these people.

I have small group with a group of guys tonight, and we're studying through Ephesians. Tonight we're talking about 2:1-10. I told them it would be the best thing they've heard all summer. After reading it this morning, and thinking through the news, I'm even more convinced that its the best thing we'll hear this summer. Verse 3 says that we were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest (by rest, that means everybody...people here, people in Iraq, etc...). But then comes the Gospel in two words in verse 4, "But God!" God, rich in mercy & love extends His grace & kindness to us who have done nothing deserving of love!

May God's mercy, love, grace & kindness be upon Iraq,