Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quote of the Day

J. I. Packer:
Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption.
More here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Disturb Us, O Lord

Sir Francis Drake:
Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to shore.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly to venture on wider seas where storms show Your mastery; where losing sight of land we shall find stars. We ask You to push back the horizons of our hopes; we ask You to [lead us into] a future of strength, courage, hope and love.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oh Israel, Trust in YHWH

I got one of those ESV Study Bibles for free. My old NASB has endless scratchings on nearly every page - highlighters, pens of various colors, and tons of notes in the margins. So, the first thing I did in this new Bible was read straight through the book of Psalms. I just finished. It was so refreshing.

In my Psalter journey, I underlined every time the word "trust" was used. If this is the way God has desired His people to relate to Him throughout history [Hebrews 11], I figured the OT's hymnbook was a good place to discover the nature of true faith/trust.

The word itself is used close to 50 times in Psalms. Out of its 50 uses, YHWH or YHWH's promises are generally the object or aim of the faith/trust exhibited. In fact, it is only used negatively 7-8 times [i.e. Ps 44.6: "For not in my bow do I trust"].

Thus, as Paul says that idols are not real gods in 1 Cor 8, so faith/trust in other things apart from YHWH is not really faith/trust at all. It has the appearance or the sense of faith/trust, but not the essence. Truly trusting can only be done toward one Being. Any faith/trust between humans is too mingled with our selfish ends even if it appears to be serving or sacrificial. However, believing and trusting God is the grounds for us to have a kind of sincere honesty among the people of God.

Individually and corporately walking in this faith/trust is God's desire for His people. First, vertically. And in turn, horizontally.
Those who trust in YHWH are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever [Ps 125.1].

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

hymn of the day

"It is Not Death to Die" [Henri Abraham César Malan]
It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And midst the brotherhood on high
To be at home with God

It is not death to close
The eye long-dimmed by tears
And wake in glorious repose
To spend eternal years

Sunday, October 11, 2009

James' first driving lesson

After church, we went to Chili's for lunch. James wanted to drive home. I let him steer the whole time. I just closed my eyes. He told me when to apply the brakes because his legs are short and fat. He did a good job.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

deductive eschatology

Jesus said the kingdom was here. Peter says in his Acts 2 Pentecost sermon that we are now living in the last days. There is not a lot of ambiguity here. We have been in the end times since Jesus.

I think most modern approaches to eschatology start on the wrong foot, namely, Revelation 20. I'm not seeking to be a trendy deconstructionist here, but seriously, who defines a theological position out of six verses in the Bible. The only place in the Bible that clearly talks about a "millennium" is Rev 20.1-6. Yet, from this text you can have postmillennialists, several kinds of premillennialists, and a couple kinds of amillennialists. How absurd. Of course Rev 20.1-6 matters. But state with clarity the eschatological kingdom realities replete in the gospels and in St Paul and then maybe you'll have a healthier frame of reference for interpreting John's Apocalypse.

So, because St Peter says that Jesus left us an example of suffering [1 Pe 2] and because persecution was an assumed part of most first century Christianity, I can deduce that any eschatological position that wants to avoid tough times might not be the most faithful to the flavor of biblical Christianity.

So, goodbye pretribulational premillennialism.

Furthermore, to say that the gospel will spread and spread to the point of near-global takeover is to fall off the other side of the horse. We are ambassadors who wage war [Eph 6]. We will continue to wield the sword of the Spirit until Jesus' return.

So, goodbye postmillennialism.


Our little friend, Mr Cooper.

James hanging out with Aunt Barb, supporting Let's Do Lunch.

I can't lie... I'm elated.

I feel like I'm 18 again. I'll cherish this. I might even have a cameo. Here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sara and I are ready to go.

Please go read this.

Quote of the Day

Bryan Chapell:
Because of the Gospel, my accomplishments don't distinguish me and my failures don't destroy me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

unadulterated grace

If we think we deserve grace, whatever we have in mind is not grace. If you believe that you should receive God's gracious mercy, then you un-define what grace means. The nature of grace is that it is purely unmerited and undeserved. If grace can be merited, then it is no longer grace. If grace is earned, it is not grace; it then becomes the same as that which you receive from a whore after you give her money.

If this seems too flagrant or blatant, then perhaps we are on the right track. There is no reason for grace except grace.