Monday, December 31, 2007

This Week's Top 3 NBA Teams

The top 3 teams in the NBA as 2007 comes to an end are as follows:

3. Boston Celtics--Kevin Garnett's intensity has carried the C's to the best record in the NBA. If they still have the best record after facing the top teams in the West then they might move up to 1a. However, the Pistons recent victory over the Celtics keeps them at number 2 for now. Random Fact: KG's field goal percentage last year 47.6% this year with Boston 55%.

2. San Antonio Spurs--I really don't like the Spurs and would love to drop them out of the top 5 because of their recent struggles. However, when the Spurs are healthy they are the team to beat in the West. Random Fact: Tim Duncan is the 3rd leading scorer on the Spurs. Not a bad third option.

1. Detroit Pistons--Motown has some of its mojo back as the Pistons have run off nine straight wins. If you were coaching against the Pistons who would you focus on stopping? Hamilton (18 ppg and 47% 3PT)? Billups (17.5 ppg 7.6 assists)? Prince (13.6 ppg and one of the best defenders in the league)?

Friday, December 28, 2007

How to Fight Discouragement?

John Piper offers the following helpful advice for fighting depression and discouragement:

Has the Need for Western Missionaries Ceased?

Is there really a need for Christians from the Western world to take the gospel to the two-thirds world?  Aren't there enough Christians in every geo political nation of the world to evangelize and disciple their own countrymen?  Is K.P. Yohannan correct to say that the main thing that the Western church should do is send money to support local ministries?  John Piper offers the following helpful 3-minute reflection:

Monday, December 24, 2007

Free Christmas Song Download...

Sovereign Grace Ministries is offering a free download of the song "Christ the Lord Is Born Today."  This offer is valid from now until December 31, 2007.  Click Here to take advantage of the offer.  When you check out of the store enter CHRISTTHELORD   as the promo code.  

Christ-Centered Christmas: Part 3

I recently ran across the following worshipful quote by Augustine on the Incarnation:

"Man’s Maker was made man that the Bread might be hungry, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired from the journey; that Strength might be made weak, that Life might die."  --Augustine
(HT: Justin Taylor)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christ-Centered Christmas: Part 2 (Grudem Audio)

Another great way to focus our hearts and minds on Christ during the Christmas season is to listen to others talk on the person of Christ.   Wayne Grudem has given the following audio lectures on the person of Christ:  (Click on the links to listen)

Christ-Centered Christmas

One of the most helpful ways for me to focus my heart and mind on Christ during the Christmas season is to read what others have written on the miracle of the incarnation. Below is a thoughtful reflection on the incarnation  that I recently came across written by Thomas Watson (1600-1679):

"And thus it was that when the fulness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And thus it came about that He who had created this world of ours descended into it, and made Himself one of His own earthly creatures, and lived all His appointed time on earth in all the emptiness and limitation and dependence and subjection that was involved in His great work which he had undertaken to perform for His Father. For it is wholly true and it is wholly due to Him that it should be told us concerning our Saviour that He made Himself of no reputation. The whole heavens and the whole earth had all resounded with His great reputation as soon as He had finished the formation of the heavens and the earth and all the host of them. On the seventh day of creation the Son of God ended His great work which He had created and made, and He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. And on that first Sabbath day all the morning stars sang together before Him, and all the sons of God shouted for joy in His presence. But when the predestinated time for the Son's humiliation and for our salvation came He arose and descended down from His Father's house and left all His heavenly renown and reputation behind Him. And then, as the great prologue has it, He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. How His own received Him, and what entertainment He had at their hands, we read with unspeakable shame and pain on every page of the four Gospels. At the same time all that was no surprise to Him; neither did the reception that He received on this earth take Him at all unawares. From the beginning he had foreseen it all, and had prepared Himself for it all. 'Lo, I come. In the volume of the book it is all written of Me.' He means that such things as these were written of Him: such awful things as these: 'I am a worm, and no man. I am a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn. They shoot out the lip, they shake the head.' The Son of God foresaw Himself as in a glass in that awful twenty-second Psalm. Again, this was written, and He had often read it: 'He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him.' And again, He foresaw that all this also would be written concerning Him, and He had often in anticipation read it. 'Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns and put it on His head. And they put on Him a purple robe, and bowed the knee, and said, Hail! King of the Jews. And they smote Him in His face with their hands.' Yes, indeed: the Eternal Son, the Maker of the heavens and the earth, made Himself of no reputation! And that one word, of no reputation, makes us sinful men to stop and think. For, how we all live and labour for a reputation! How we are all puffed up with our reputation when it comes to us! And how we are all cast down when our reputation departs from us." --Thomas Watson
(HT: Rebecca Stark)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Incarnation

One of the most amazing miracles in the history of the world is the fact that God the Son became a human being in the person of Jesus Christ. Ponder this helpful quote by John Frame regarding this most amazing truth:

"Have you ever considered the utter mystery surrounding the incarnation of Christ - God entering our time and space while remaining above time and space as our sovereign Lord? The eternal becomes temporal; the infinite becomes finite; the Word that created all things becomes flesh. It is beyond human comprehension.  The one who knows all things (John 16:30, 21:17) must "grow in wisdom" (Luke 2:52). The all-sufficient one (Acts 17:25) must hunger and thirst (Matt. 4:2, John 19:28). The creator of all must be homeless (Matt. 8:20). The Lord of life must suffer and die. God in the flesh must endure estrangement from God the Father (Matt. 27:46).  In Jesus (God the Son), God, who knows the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10), must watch His eternal plan unfold bit by bit, moment by moment. He grows from infancy to childhood to adulthood, responding to events as they happen. One time He rejoices; another time He weeps. From day to day, from hour to hour, the changeless God endures change. "                                --John Frame

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wayne Grudem On the Attributes of God

Below are some audio lectures by Wayne Grudem on the incommunicable attributes of God.  (For those who are wondering the incommunicable attributes of God are those that are unique to Him.)

Another Gift Idea

If you are looking for a Christmas present for someone who likes to read good books (or perhaps you are trying to figure out what to buy me for Christmas:)  ) then might I suggest N.T. Wright's masterpiece on The Resurrection of the Son of God.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Effects of a Diminished View of God's Holiness

What happens when we have an inadequate view of God's holiness?  Are there any practical effects of this doctrine? Is this just a doctrine that theologians have needlessly pontificated over? The following quote by David Wells explains some of the effects of a diminished view of God's holiness:

The loss of the traditional vision of God as holy is now manifested everywhere in the evangelical world. It is the key to understanding why sin and grace have become such empty terms. What depth or meaning, P.T. Forsyth asked, can these terms have except in relation to the holiness of God? Divorced from the holiness of God, sin is merely self-defeating behavior or a breach in etiquette. Divorced from the holiness of God, grace is merely empty rhetoric, pious window dressing for the modern technique by which sinners work out their own salvation. Divorced from the holiness of God, our gospel becomes indistinguishable from any of a host of alternative self-help doctrines. Divorced from the holiness of God, our public morality is reduced to little more than an accumulation of trade-offs between competing private interests. Divorced from the holiness of God, our worship becomes mere entertainment. The holiness of God is the [foundation of reality]. Sin is defiance of God's holiness, the Cross is the outworking and victory of God's holiness, and faith is the recognition of God's holiness. Knowing that God is holy is therefore the key to knowing life as it truly is, knowing Christ as he truly is, knowing why he came, and knowing how life will end.
--David Wells, No Place for Truth:  Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology

Friday, December 14, 2007

J.I. Packer On The Importance of Theology

J.I. Packer offers the following challenging thoughts on the importance of theology:

“Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.”
- J. I. Packer, Knowing God

(HT: Joe Thorn)

Presidential Candidates on the Issues...

For those who are wanting to know more things about the presidential candidates than whether they believe in inerrancy or not check out the following links:

Top 5 NBA Teams...

The top 5 NBA teams as of 12/14 are:

5.  Denver Nuggets--(14-8 overall 4-1 in their last five)  Iverson and Anthony are starting to click as the Nuggets have won five of six.  Random Fact:  Marcus Camby is averaging 14.8 rebounds per game.

4. Detroit Pistons--(16-7 overall 3-2 in their last five)  The Pistons just know how to win.  They are one of the least selfish teams in the league.  Random Prediction:  Look for the Pistons to hand the Celtics their first home loss of the year on Wednesday December 19.  Random Fact:  All five of the Pistons Starters average in double figures.

3. Phoenix Suns--(17-6 overall 3-2 in their last five)  The Suns lost back to back games to the teams with the worst records in the league.  They then beat the Jazz in a slugfest.  Their back to back losses may have awakened a sense of focus in a team that was on cruise control.  Random Fact: Sometimes it is just about desire the      6' 10'' Amare Stoudamire averages 8.6 rebounds per game.  As a matter of comparison 6'4'' Jason Kidd of the New Jersey Nets averages 8.7 rebounds per game.

2. San Antonio Spurs (17-5 overall 3-2 in their last five) The Spurs beat the Mavericks and the Jazz, but then lost back to back road games against the Warriors and the Lakers.  In the loss to the Lakers neither Duncan or Parker played. Random Fact: Ginobili is the teams sixth man yet he leads them in scoring with 20.5 ppg while playing under 30 minutes per game.

1. Boston Celtics--(19-2 overall 5-0 in their last five) They have played a pretty light schedule so far, but their record says it all. While I still think the Spurs would win in a best of seven the Celtics move in to first place because of the Spurs recent losses. If the big three can stay healthy they should be the number one seed in the East. Random Fact: Posey is shooting almost 50% from three point range.

All ESV Bibles 45% Off

Westminster Bookstore has reduced the price of every one of their ESV Bibles to 45% off retail! Click Here to See the Details.  This would make a great gift for Christmas.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gentleness in the Pastorate

John Frame gave a talk some time ago about the need for gentleness in the pastorate.  If you are actively involved in preaching/teaching God's word and you have a passion for truth then I want to encourage you to read this article:

Indeed, there has been among us, I think, some confusion about what to do with gentleness. Certainly the old liberal theologians distorted the concept when they used it in effect to eliminate the wrath and judgment of God from their preaching. God, they said, was so gentle, so kind, that he would never punish anyone for sinning against him. Thus they robbed God of his justice; indeed, they replaced the biblical God with a grandfatherly, lenient, and indulgent god out of their own imaginations. Together with this distortion of God was a distortion of Jesus. The liberal Jesus was a kindly soul who hugged babies and patted lambs on the head, but who had within him not a drop of righteous anger or jealousy for the truth. For the liberal, surely, such a God and such a Christ would not approve of any stern measures to preserve the holiness of his church. In liberal churches formal discipline for doctrinal matters, indeed even for moral transgressions, became a thing of the past. Evangelicals understandably reacted against that misunderstanding of the divine gentleness. They heaped ridicule and scorn upon the "gentle Jesus, meek and mild" of the liberal theologians and set forth Jesus as the risen and ascended Lord of heaven and earth, who would soon return in flaming fire to bring his terrible judgments on the earth. C. S. Lewis's Aslan was, he reminded us, not a tame lion. Christ is a "tiger." And so, we have argued, there is a place for formal discipline in the church. Sometimes pastors must be stern, strong, jealous for the righteousness of God. Many Reformed teachers today, fortified by such teaching as Abraham Kuyper's "life is religion," Van Til's apologetics of antithesis, Jay Adams' nouthetic counseling and the dominion theology of the Christian reconstruction movement, especially emphasize that Christians are not to be wimps. We are not to meekly tolerate the wickedness of our society, but we are to be a true Christian army, putting on the whole armor of God, casting down imaginations, bringing every thought captive to Christ, conquering all human enterprises in the name of King Jesus. So swings the pendulum, from walk-all-over-me liberalism to dominion militancy...(Click here to read the entire article)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

David Powlison On Suffering

I thought this quote by David Powlison taken from Suffering and the Sovereignty of God was particularly insightful:

So often the initial reaction to painful suffering is Why me? Why this? Why now? Why?...[then] He comes for you, in the flesh, in Christ, into suffering, on your behalf. He does not offer advice and perspective from afar; He steps into your significant suffering. He will see you through, and work with you the whole way.... This reality changes the questions that rise up in your heart. That inward-turning "why me?" quiets down, lifts it's eyes, and begins to look around.

You turn outward and new, wonderful questions form. Why You? Why You? Why would You enter this world of evils? Why would You go through loss, weakness, hardship, sorrow, and death? Why would You do this for me, of all people? But You did. You did this for the joy set before You. You did this for love. You did this showing the glory of God in the face of Christ. As that deeper question sinks home, you become joyously sane. The universe is no longer supremely about you. Yet you are not irrelevant. God's story makes you just the right size. Everything counts, but the scale changes to something that makes much more sense. You face hard times. But you have already received something better which can never be taken away. And that better something will continue to work out the whole journey long...

Finally, you are prepared to pose—and to mean—almost unimaginable questions: Why not me? Why not this? Why not now?

(HT: Josh Harris)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Very Helpful Pastoral Wisdom...

John Piper was recently asked how he deals with the fact that most people do not spend much time in prayer or the word. Below is his transparent and very helpful response:

I have to battle discouragement, anger, and desires to just leave and find a little group of people who are totally sold out for the Lord. But the Lord enables me—at least he has over the years I've been at Bethlehem—to see that Jesus dealt with the same issues. He had 12 guys who all forsook him at the end. My people haven't all forsaken me. One of Jesus' closest friends denied him three times. I've never been denied like that in any crisis. Judas betrayed him utterly and handed him over to death. I've never been handed over to death.

My little battles with the sins of my people, which is an echo of my own sinfulness, is nowhere near as painful as what Jesus dealt with. Therefore I think it is a rebuke to me that I have to struggle as much as I do to be merciful and patient and kind.

The Bible is filled with exhortations to us shepherds that we love the sheep and recognize that they have to be led to green pastures and still waters, and that they're going to get lost and break their legs and dirty their wool. It's our job not to get uppity or angry with our people. Instead, we are to get down with them and do everything we can over the longhaul to keep lifting them up.

We're always going to be dealing with a defiled and imperfect and immature church. I don't think it will ever change. Right up until the day people die or Jesus comes the church will always be a gathering place for sinners, and some will be soaring and some will be stumbling, crawling, or leaving. Shepherds who have to have a perfect church are just not going to survive.

In other words, I preach the gospel to myself: that I have been loved with a patience so extraordinary that for me to turn around and show patience to my people and take them wherever they are and bring them along isn't that big of a sacrifice.

To read or listen to the complete interview click here

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A Great Children's Book...

A friend of mine from Minneapolis wrote this wonderful children's book a few years ago. This would make a great Christmas present for those with kids or grandchildren. WTS is currently making the book available for 30% off. Click Here to learn more about the book.

Martin Luther's Preface to Romans

Looking for something to read on Paul that is pre-New Perspective? Consider Martin Luther's preface to Romans. The following is taken from the opening paragraph...

This letter is truly the most important piece in the New Testament. It is purest Gospel. It is well worth a Christian's while not only to memorize it word for word but also to occupy himself with it daily, as though it were the daily bread of the soul. It is impossible to read or to meditate on this letter too much or too well. The more one deals with it, the more precious it becomes and the better it tastes. Therefore I want to carry out my service and, with this preface, provide an introduction to the letter, insofar as God gives me the ability, so that every one can gain the fullest possible understanding of it. Up to now it has been darkened by glosses [explanatory notes and comments which accompany a text] and by many a useless comment, but it is in itself a bright light, almost bright enough to illumine the entire Scripture...(Click Here to continue reading)

Responses to Mitt Romney's Speech...

For those who are interested to see how people have been responding to Romney's speech check out the following links that Justin Taylor has highlighted:

Neuhaus on Romney's Speech (click here for a direct link to the article)

Hart on Romney's Speech (click here for a direct link to the article)

Hansen and Grudem on Romney's Speech (click here for a direct link to the article to Hansen's Response or Click Here for Wayne Grudem's Response)

Alex Chediak has also posted a response to Romney's Speech and it can be read by clicking here

Friday, December 7, 2007

Mike Huckabee: Gaining Momentum

Two recent articles reflect on Huckabee's continued surge in the preliminary polls:

1) Huckabee Rises to Second in GOP Race

2) Huckabee doubles up rivals in new Iowa poll

D.A. Carson Audio Lectures on Missions

Missions as the Triumph of the Lamb
(HT: Between Two Worlds)

Mark Driscoll on Women's Ministry

What does an outspoken Complementarian like Mark Driscoll think about the role of women in ministry in the context of the local church? His response may surprise some of you...

Krister Stendahl: The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West

Stendahl's article on the Introspective Conscience of the West contains some of the key ideas, in seminal form, that have been developed by the New Perspective. Click here to read the article

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Piper on Christians and Politics

John Piper was recently asked how Christians can have a positive influence on American politics. Below is his response:

Within churches, Christian organizations, and across the media, God can raise up spokesmen who--from a prophetic, radical, and biblical standpoint--can lay hold of that which is only seen in part by Republicans, Democrats, and Independants. They can then gather those biblical components together into a whole and, leaving party distinctives aside, exalt that...(click here to continue reading or listen to the interview)

Mitt Romney Speech on Faith in America

For those of you who are interested you can watch the speech on Faith in America that Mitt Romney gave in College Station, Texas on December 6, 2007:

(HT: Justin Taylor)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Thinking About Changing Churches?

Mark Dever suggests the following helpful questions to ask and attitudes to cultivate before you leave a Church. (These are taken from his book What Is A Healthy Church).

Quick Tips:If You’re Thinking about Leaving a Church . . .
Before You Decide to Leave

1. Pray.

2. Let your current pastor know about your thinking before you move to another church or make your decision to relocate to another city. Ask for his counsel.

3. Weigh your motives. Is your desire to leave because of sinful, personal conflict or disappointment? If it’s because of doctrinal reasons, are these doctrinal issues significant?

4. Do everything within your power to reconcile any broken relationships.

5. Be sure to consider all the “evidences of grace” you’ve seen in the church’s life—places where God’s work is evident. If you cannot see any evidences of God’s grace, you might want to examine your own heart once more (Matt. 7:3–5).

6. Be humble. Recognize you don’t have all the facts and assess people and circumstances charitably (give them the benefit of the doubt).

If You Go
1. Don’t divide the body.

2. Take the utmost care not to sow discontent even among your closest friends. Remember, you don’t want anything to hinder their growth in grace in this church. Deny any desire to gossip (sometimes referred to as “venting” or “saying how you feel”).

3. Pray for and bless the congregation and its leadership. Look for ways of doing this practically.

4. If there has been hurt, then forgive—even as you have been forgiven.

(HT: Justin Taylor)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Bible: Giuliani, Romney, and Huckabee

One of the interesting questions asked during the YouTube debates was whether or not the candidates believed every word of the Bible. I do not think that belief in inerrancy should be one of the major qualifications for the next President of the United States, however, it is interesting to see how the candidates handled the question. Especially in the modern political scene where religion is often (and primarily) used as a playing card to foster "conservative" support. I appreciated Huckabee's forthrightness and clarity in addressing the questioin. Watch the video and share your thoughts in the comment section.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Jonathan Edwards on The Excellency of Christ

"Would you have a Savior that has given some great and extraordinary testimony of mercy and love to sinners, by something that he has done, as well as by what he says? And can you think or conceive of greater things than Christ has done? Was it not a great thing for him, who was God, to take upon him human nature: to be not only God, but man thenceforward to all eternity? But would you look upon suffering for sinners to be a yet greater testimony of love to sinners, than merely doing, though it be ever so extraordinary a thing that he has done? And would you desire that a Savior should suffer more than Christ has suffered for sinners? What is there wanting, or what would you add if you could, to make him more fit to be your Savior?"
--Jonathan Edwards

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Modern Threats to the Church

D.A. Carson was recently asked what threats the Church is facing today. Below is his three minute response...

Note: Any videos recommended at the end of this video are done so by YouTube. In light of this, I do not recommend that you click on any of them.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Great Christmas Gift!

A great gift to give to people this Christmas is Valley of Vision You can purchase it for 36% off at WTS

Who Hardened Pharaoh's Heart?

G.K. Beale has written the following helpful article dealing with the hardening of Pharaoh's heart. In the article he seeks to understand how Paul is using the example of Pharaoh in Romans 9. In specific Beale's aim in this article is to help answer the following four questions (Click Here to read the article) :

(1) Who is the ultimate cause of Pharaoh's hardening?

(2) If the hardening is at all associated with God, is it an unconditional or conditional judgment with respect to Pharaoh's sin?

(3) When Paul refutes the idea that God is unjust (v 14) in rejecting Esau rather than Jacob before they were born (vv 10-13), does he give an understandable explanation for this refutation (Gk. "gar," v 17), or does he merely refute the idea without offering any rationale in defense of God's rejection?

(4) Does the hardening involve God's dealing with certain individuals or nations only on the plane of history or does it have reference to a general principle concerning God's eternal rejection of man from

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Using Sports as a Means for Discipling the Next Generation

C.J. Mahaney was recently asked how he seeks to build godly masculinity into his teenage son. He gave the following very helpful response:

What immediately comes to mind is that I’m trying to build into him an appreciation for, and cultivation of, humility and servanthood. I want that to define true masculinity for him. I believe this is true greatness in the eyes of God. This is not true greatness in the eyes of this world and therefore there is much discussion about what the world honors and celebrates, and what God honors and celebrates, and what I as a father honor and celebrate.

For example, Chad just finished soccer season. My emphasis with him in preparation before a game, my observation of Chad during a game, my evaluation of Chad after a game is (I hope) theologically informed. My accent is not on skill. I don’t want anyone to misunderstand. I obviously believe there is a place for the development of skill. But my accent is upon character. Therefore the goals scored by my son are not the category that is preeminent in either my preparation, observation or evaluation. You will not find me assigning undue importance or celebrating goals scored and leaving the impression this is preeminent.

Actually, the highlight for me this year came in their semi-final game when I guess one of the referees did not show up and the particular young man who was assigned to mark [guard] Chad was twice his size! He did mark Chad. He actually mugged Chad! And because the referee was following the action he wasn’t always able to perceive it. Chad ended up bloody mouth, bloody nose, and a number of other things happened in the game. But Chad never retaliated. Actually we celebrated that on the way home. His blood was on his shirt. I said, “This is great, son! You bring your dad joy. There is a tear in your dad’s eye. That’s outstanding. Blood on your jersey! Blood in your mouth! Blood in your nose!” During the game I had a parent approach me about whether I was going to intervene at some point. Even other parents wanted to intervene.

I told Chad the way he demonstrated self-control is an evidence of God’s grace in his life. And that brings your dad more joy than any victory or any goal.

As a forward, if Chad scores a goal, the celebration is not about his scoring a goal. It’s about expressing appreciation for his team, those who play defense (who normally are not appreciated) and those who, through their passing, made it possible for him to be positioned. So we are going to do what I call a “divine reversal.” In our culture it would be the individual who scored that attention would be directed. By God’s grace I want to reverse that process and honor those who made it possible for him to do that. If Chad knocks someone down and picks them up, that he did not complain about any call by the referee, that’s what I’ll celebrate afterwards. After the game these are what I want to draw attention to and celebrate.

That kind of discernment we want to be imparting as we watch sports. Our kids are always studying us. If you are watching the football team of your choice, the world, culture, and announcers are not theologically informed and will not be drawing attention to these things.

For example, let’s say a particular receiver for the Dallas Cowboys (to choose some random player) or a particular special team player makes a tackle. Whenever there is some expression of self-glorification (this would apply to the Redskins as well), we want to humbly criticize that and not identify with it. And whenever there is an expression of humility, we want to draw our child’s attention to that. So many of these moments are teaching moments, and if we are not poised and prepared and theologically informed, countless teaching moments will pass that could have been seized to make a difference in the lives of our children.

(HT: Shepherd's Blog via JT)

Top 5 NBA Teams....

I don't know what to think about this, but the most viewed post on my blog in its seven month history is the post on my NBA predictions. In light of this, I have decided to post once again on the NBA. Anyways, enough about my rationale. This weeks top 5 NBA teams are as follows:

5. Utah Jazz--(4-1 in their last five and 11-5 overall). With recent victories over New Orleans and Detroit the Jazz are starting to show that last season was no fluke. Ronnie Brewer is having a fantastic 2nd year in the league. Jerry Sloan has done another great job of coaching by getting Kirilenko more involved in the Jazz's offense. This definitely helps them on the floor, but more importantly deals with what could have been (and still might become) a locker room nightmare.

4. Phoenix Suns--(3-2 in their last five and 11-4 overall). Steve Nash is playing out of his mind. He is shooting better than 55% from the field scoring almost 20 points per game and averaging almost 11 assists per contest. Don't be surprised if Nash wins his fourth straight, I mean his 3rd MVP.

3. Boston Celtics--(3-2 in their last five and 11-2 overall) I still think the Celtics are the team to beat in the East. But Orlando's recent victory over them and the lack of production from the bench puts the Celtics in at #3.

2. Orlando Magic--(4-1 in their last five and 14-3 overall). Dwight Howard's numbers on the year: 23.5 points 14.5 rebounds 2.7 blocks 61.2 fg %

1. San Antonio Spurs--(4-1 in their last five and 13-3 overall) Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker are showing everyone in the league why they are still the team to beat. Not to mention the fact that Brent Barry is shooting over 50% from 3-point range. They may not end up with the best record in the league, but this team was built for the playoffs.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

From My Reading Part 2

Here are a few more quotes from "The Excellency of Christ":

Quote #4
"And has not Christ been made low enough for you? and has he not suffered enough? Would you not only have him possess experience of the afflictions you now suffer, but also of that amazing wrath that you fear hereafter, that he may know how to pity those that are in danger, and afraid of it? This Christ has had experience of, which experience gave him a greater sense of it, a thousand times, than you have, or any man living has. Would you have your Savior to be one who is near to God, that so his mediation might be prevalent with him? And can you desire him to be nearer to God than Christ is, who is his only-begotten Son, of the same essence with the Father? And would you not only have him near to God, but also near to you, that you may have free access to him? And would you have him nearer to you than to be in the same nature, united to you by a spiritual union, so close as to be fitly represented by the union of the wife to the husband, of the branch to the vine, of the member to the head; yea, so as to be one spirit? For so he will be united to you, if you accept of him."

Quote #5
"Would you have a Savior that has given some great and extraordinary testimony of mercy and love to sinners, by something that he has done, as well as by what he says? And can you think or conceive of greater things than Christ has done? Was it not a great thing for him, who was God, to take upon him human nature: to be not only God, but man thenceforward to all eternity? But would you look upon suffering for sinners to be a yet greater testimony of love to sinners, than merely doing, though it be ever so extraordinary a thing that he has done? And would you desire that a Savior should suffer more than Christ has suffered for sinners? What is there wanting, or what would you add if you could, to make him more fit to be your Savior?"

Quote #6
"Would you choose for a friend a person of great dignity? It is a thing taking with men to have those for their friends who are much above them; because they look upon themselves honored by the friendship of such. Thus, how taking would it be with an inferior maid to be the object of the dear love of some great and excellent prince. But Christ is infinitely above you, and above all the princes of the earth; for he is the King of kings. So honorable a person as this offers himself to you, in the nearest and dearest friendship."

Quote #7
"We are to consider, that though Christ is greatly exalted, yet he is exalted, not as a private person for himself only, but as his people's head; he is exalted in their name, and upon their account, as the first fruits, and as representing the whole harvest. He is not exalted that he may be at a greater distance from them, but that they may be exalted with him. The exaltation and honor of the head is not to make a greater distance between the head and the members, but the members have the same relation and union with the head they had before, and are honored with the head; and instead of the distance being greater, the union shall be nearer and more perfect. When believers get to heaven, Christ will conform them to himself, as he is set down in his Father's throne, so they shall sit down with him on his throne, and shall in their measure be made like him."

From My Reading...

I recently re-read one of my favorite sermons by Jonathan Edwards entitled "The Excellency of Christ." For those of you who have not read much of Edwards this is a great place to start. Edwards builds his entire premise on the fact that Jesus is referred to in Revelation 5:5-6 as both the LION of the tribe of Judah and the LAMB that had been slain. He seeks to demonstrate, in a most worshipful way, from this example that "there is a conjunction of such excellencies in Christ, as, in our manner of conceiving, are very diverse one from another." In other words, Edwards explores such things as how "infinite majesty" and "transcendent meekness" come together in Jesus Christ. Below are some of the quotes that I found extremely helpful:

Quote #1
"Such a conjunction of infinite highness and low condescension, in the same person, is admirable. We see, by manifold instances, what a tendency a high station has in men, to make them to be of a quite contrary disposition. If one worm be a little exalted above another, by having more dust, or a bigger dunghill, how much does he make of himself! What a distance does he keep from those that are below him! And a little condescension is what he expects should be made much of, and greatly acknowledged. Christ condescends to wash our feet; but how would great men, (or rather the bigger worms,) account themselves debased by acts of far less condescension!"

Quote #2
"The strict justice of God, and even his revenging justice, and that against the sins of men, never was so gloriously manifested. as in Christ. He manifested an infinite regard to the attribute of God's justice, in that, when he had a mind to save sinners, he was willing to undergo such extreme sufferings, rather than that their salvation should be to the injury of the honor of that attribute. And as he is the Judge of the world, he doth himself exercise strict justice, he will not clear the guilty, nor at all acquit the wicked in judgment. Yet how wonderfully is infinite mercy towards sinners displayed in him! And what glorious and ineffable grace and love have been and are exercised by him, towards sinful men! Though he be the just Judge of a sinful world, yet he is also the Savior of the world. Though he be a consuming fire to sin, yet he is the light and life of sinners."

Quote #3
"What is there that you can desire should be in a Savior, that is not in Christ? Or, wherein should you desire a Savior should be otherwise than Christ is? What excellency is there wanting? What is there that is great or good; what is there that is venerable or winning; what is there that is adorable or endearing; or, what can you think of that would be encouraging, which is not to be found in the person of Christ? Would you have your Savior to be great and honorable, because you are not willing to be beholden to a mean person? And, is not Christ a person honorable enough to be worthy that you should be dependent on him? Is he not a person high enough to be appointed to so honorable a work as your salvation? Would you not only have a Savior of high degree, but would you have him, notwithstanding his exaltation and dignity, to be made also of low degree, that he might have experience of afflictions and trials, that he might learn by the things that he has suffered, to pity them that suffer and are tempted?"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sam Storms on Dispensationalism

Sam Storms has written the following helpful article on the dispensational view of the kingdom of God:

"Dispensational premillennialism (hereafter DP) contends that the Bible cannot be properly understood apart from recognizing distinct periods or eras or dispensations in which the unfolding purpose of God and his relationship with mankind are revealed. All dispensationalists recognize at least three dispensations...(click here to continue reading)

Sam Storms on the End Times...

Those of you who are preparing for your theology oral exams should find the following three articles on eschatology by Sam Storms helpful. (Even if you are not these articles should be helpful for those thinking through eschatological issues)

1) Problems with Premillenialism
Why does the Amillennialist reject the Premillennial interpretation of Scripture? In my own case, further study of what the NT said would happen in conjunction with the second coming/advent of Christ led me to conclude that a post-Parousia millennial reign upon an earth still under the influence of sin, corruption, and death was impossible. I will now briefly examine those texts...(Click here to continue reading)
*Note: I tentatively hold to Historic Pre-millenialism, but I think that Storms does a good job of pointing out key texts that must be worked through and is somewhat convincing.

2) The Amillenial View of the Kingdom of God

Virtually all who espouse amillennialism embrace the principles articulated in our lesson on the Historic or Non-Dispensational view of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, what follows is built upon the understanding of the people of God and the kingdom as outlined in that study.

A. A Definition of Amillennialism

Amillennialism (hereafter cited as AM) has suffered greatly in the past because of its seeming negative character. In other words, definitions of AM have focused more upon what the view denies (namely, a personal, earthly reign of Christ) than on what it affirms. In order best to counter this negativism, the definition of AM presented here will concentrate on its fundamental affirmations concerning eschatological truth. They are as follows: (click here to continue reading)

3. Daniel's 70 Weeks

One might well argue that Daniel 9:24-27 is both the most complex and the most crucial text in either testament bearing on the subject of biblical prophecy. Its complexity is questioned only by those who have not studied it, or perhaps by those whose conclusions concerning its meaning were predetermined by unspoken theological commitments. That Daniel 9 is as crucial as I have suggested can hardly be denied. For example, dispensationalists have largely derived from Daniel 9 several of their more distinctive doctrinal and prophetic themes, among which are, (click here to continue reading)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Business and Missions....

I recently ran across the following article discussing different models for business as mission: (Dr. Tokar if you have some time I would appreciate your thoughts on some possible helpful models for integrating business and mission)

"What if business is a God- created strategy to reach those in other countries who have never heard the truth? Sometimes God reveals His will by removing all other options. Such is often the case with business. Missionaries who feel called to ministries in other countries learn that they cannot go to those countries without doing business. They frequently begin by thinking of the businesses as “platforms,” excuses to receive visas, but soon learn that the more authentic they can be in their businesses, the more transparent and effective they can be in their ministries.

There are several principles I have observed in effective BAM.

The business is the ministry and it is sacred; it is not an excuse to do ministry, but a way to live among people with a common goal of producing products and services to glorify God. It provides the opportunity to expose people to the kingdom of heaven in real time and to do it with transparency and integrity.

Profits ensure sustainability and credibility. Without profits, a business cannot exist, and if it does continue to exist, people may wonder who is funding it. Profits also produce jobs and tax revenue that can be enjoyed by the host country.


Many of us have several years of business experience. We catch a vision for the world and are anxious to know what to do. Here is a principle of life: God prepares us perfectly for what He has next for us. Every experience and every job up until this point has been preparation for the next assignment.

As you consider these things, it might be helpful to read about four models of business that are being used successfully in closed-access countries today. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but simply four models that are working. Two of them, the factory and the outsourcing, require a market for products outside the host country. The other two, franchise and micro-economic development, depend on sales within the host country. Opportunities abound for Westerners to start such businesses or to be major parts.

The Factory

There are a number of these in operation that are pure business as mission models. Most often the products are produced overseas and marketed in the United States. Having a good market for the products produced is critical to the factory being profitable and sustainable. It is helpful to have a niche market, a specialized product that does not have a great deal of competition. Some examples of goods produced are painted furniture, teak outdoor furniture, glass products, leather goods, lamps, and accessories. Keys to this model working well are low labor costs in the sourced country and bypassing middlemen as products go to market in the United States. In this model, we have seen many employees, suppliers, and customers come to Christ. In addition, when the factory becomes a transformational influence on the community—meeting needs, taking care of beggars and orphans—it gains great favor with government authorities.


In this model, the worldwide labor market is tapped by providing services in a host country that are useful and cost-effective due to labor rates. Some examples are computer-aided design work for architectural firms, software development, and the production of agricultural products like sun-dried tomatoes.

The Franchise

In this model, the goods are sold in-country and, frequently, many are employed. In one version of this model, believers are employed, providing them income and influence as they interact with customers. It is a scalable model that has the potential to employ thousands of people who can begin franchises, often with very small investments. Ideas include: convenient copy kiosks, sales of books, small restaurants, or other goods or services that are needed. Managers provide the spiritual and business mentoring.

Micro-enterprise Development

There are two typical BAM models of this. In one case, micro loans are provided to believers to support them, give them a reason to relocate to unreached places, and integrate them into society very quickly. In another model, a believer becomes the project administrator, making loans and mentoring a group of unbelievers —meeting economic needs while building close relationships. Successful programs include carefully selecting participants for micro-enterprises that meet unmet needs and providing these participants with ongoing mentoring relationships.
So how has God been preparing you? Next steps: read more about some of these models and visit some field operations to explore more."

(HT: Business As Mission Network)

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Deceptiveness of Sin

Hans Madueme offers the following thoughtful reflection on the deceptiveness of sin:

"Something is rotten in the state of the world. We do not need as witnesses the Wall Street Journal or BBC News. Just look around. We live in a dark, painful, and unjust world. Ethnic minorities are victimized. Women are second-class citizens. Children are pawns in evil chess games, now sex slaves, now victims of million-dollar advertising shenanigans. We feel the pain of brokenness in our homes and in our neighborhoods; bitter anguish permeates our world. We try to placate our cries with Zoloft or the comforts of a cigarette and one more strong drink. Our world is morbidly obese, stuffed up with the calories of injustice and unrighteousness: need we mention Auschwitz, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur? The poor remain oppressed, the foreigner denied justice. Once upon a time, people may have enjoyed happiness, peace, and justice, but for many today, misery is an intimate companion." (Click here to read the whole thing)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving! + Blog Update...

Happy Thanksgiving! May the good news of the glory of the happy God fill you with overwhelming delight today as you contemplate the many blessings in your life.

Blog Update: Last week I was out of town at two conferences in San Diego (The Evangelical Theological Society and the Society for Biblical Literature) and did not update the blog. I am now back in Phoenix and Lord willing, plan on posting more regularly over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sam Storms on John Wimber...

Sam Storms recently wrote the following article offering some reflections on the life of John Wimber:

"Doin' the Stuff" (Remembering John Wimber)
Sam Storms
Nov 17, 2007

John Wimber, born on February 25, 1934, in Kirksville, Missouri, died ten years ago today (November 17, 1997). Some of you may never have heard of him, but I doubt that you have attended a corporate worship service in the past twenty years that doesn’t reflect his influence.

Wimber led a colorful life, to say the least, although it isn’t my purpose here to write a biographical history. Rather, I want to comment briefly, yet very personally, on the great impact he had on my life and a bit on...(Click here to read the rest)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Commentaries on Acts

Denver Seminary has put together the following list of commentaries they recommend on the book of Acts. If you do not own any commentaries on Acts I would suggest purchasing Bock's and Barrett's. (In Blue I have posted some additional comments).

Commentaries on Acts

Barrett, C. K. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles (ICC, rev.), 2 vols. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1994-1998. (Barrett is a committed Methodist and addresses issues from that perspective)

*Bock, Darrell L. Acts (BECNT). G.R.: Baker, 2007. (Darrell Bock is Research Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has written an excellent 2-Volume commentary on the Gospel of Luke. This volume on Acts should be excellent as well)

Bruce, F. F. The Book of the Acts (NICNT). G.R.: Eerdmans, 1988. (Anything Bruce has written is worth purchasing.)

Fitzmyer, J. A. The Acts of the Apostles (AB). New York: Doubleday, 1998. (Fitzmyer is a prolific commentator who writes from a Catholic perspective. He is a great scholar and one I would have enjoyed studying under)

Marshall, I. H. The Acts of the Apostles (TNTC, rev.). G.R.: Eerdmans, 1980. (Marshall has written some excellent commentaries from an Arminian perspective.)

Polhill, J. B. Acts (NAC). Nashville: Broadman, 1992.

*Witherington, B. The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. G.R.: Eerdmans, 1998.

*Fernando, A. Acts (NIVAC). G.R.: Zondervan, 1998. (This commentary is the NIV application commentary series so it is not super technical. This would be a great resource to consult if you are preaching through ACTS.)

Green, M. Thirty Years that Changed the World: The Book of Acts for Today. G.R.: Eerdmans, 2004.

Larkin, W. J. Acts (NTC). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1995.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Post on Sports

Due to the pressure from a number of readers--to be true to the description of my blog and post some about sports-- I have decided to post something about sports. Below are my predictions for the NBA season. Feel free to disagree in the comments section.

The Top 10

1. San Antonio Spurs--(4-1) This is the team to beat. They have three of the hardest players to defend in the NBA leading the charge. Predicted finish 61-21.

2. Dallas Mavericks-- (4-1) They know that anything short of game 7 of the Western Conference Finals is failure. In light of this, they will pace themselves this season. Predicted finish 61-21.

3. Boston Celtics--(3-0) Its too early to tell just how good Pierce, Garnett, and Allen can be. The key is the supporting cast. They are the favorite to make the finals from the east. Predicted finish 57-25.

4. Phoenix Suns--(3-2) The Suns lost Kurt Thomas in the offseason and through five games this is looking like a huge mistake. Stoudamire has been hurt but in the games he has played his defense is putrid at best. Come playoff time unless Stoudamire can defend Duncan the Suns won't advance past the Western Conference Finals. Predicted finish (57-25).

5. Houston Rockets (4-1)--Yao and McGrady look prime to make a deep playoff run (which for McGrady means the second round). Predicted finish 55-27.

6. Detroit Pistons (3-1)--The Pistons get the best out of the talent they have. Look for them to make the Eastern Conference Finals. Predicted finish: 54-28.

7. Los Angeles Lakers(2-2)--If you have read this far you should be shocked that the Lakers are ranked this high. I think the Lakers will make a couple of mid-season acquisitions that will land them the 5 seed in the west. Predicted finish: 49-33.

8. Denver Nuggets (2-3)--A.I. and Carmello will get it together and the Nuggets will be the 6th seed in the West. Predicted finish: 47-25.

9. Miami Heat (0-4)--Shaq still has some diesel left in the tank and once Wade gets back the Heat will play inspired basketball. Predicted finish: 45-37.

10. Atlanta Hawks (2-2)--This will be the suprise team of the year. Already they have victories over Dallas and Phoenix. (Not to mention a 1 point loss to the Pistons). Predicted finish: 45-37.

Notably Missing:

Chicago Bulls (0-4)--Ben Wallace is a year older and they still need some offensive help down low. They should make the playoffs, but don't expect them to get past the second round unless they pick up Kobe. Predicted finish 44-38.

Utah Jazz--Kirilenko's attitude is a virus that could destroy the season. Williams and Boozer will play extremely well and both make the All-star team. Ronnie Brewer will probably win the most improved player award, but Kirilenko will weigh down the team needlessly. Predicted finish: (45-37).

Mark Driscoll on Joel Osteen...

What does Mark Driscoll think about the message that Joel Osteen is preaching? Watch the following clip to find out...

(HT:Adrian Warnock)

Mark Driscoll on Pride....

Is pride a sign of strength? Is humility a trait of the weak? Is it possible to truly be humble and contend for the faith at the same time? Listen to Mark Driscoll address what he calls the biggest failure in his eleven years of pastoral ministry:

Below is an excerpt from the manuscript of Mark's public repentance related to pride:

"I believe that humility is the great omission and failure in my eleven years of preaching. I believe that this is my greatest oversight both in my example and in my instruction.I therefore do not claim to be humble. I do not claim to have been humble. I am convicted of my pride, and I am a man who is by God’s grace pursuing humility. So in many ways this is a sermon that I’m preaching at myself, this is a sermon you are welcomed to listen in on as I preach to myself.But I truly believe that were there one thing I could do over in the history of Mars Hill it would be in my attitude and in my actions and in my words to not only emphasize sound doctrine, encourage in strength and commitment and conviction but, to add in addition to that, humility as a virtue..."click here to read more

(HT: JT)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Results from Presidential Poll....

The results from the presidential poll conducted on this blog are in. Check them out below and feel free to leave a message in the comment section.
*Note the percentages have been corrected. Thanks to "anonymous" for pointing out that the percentages were wrong.

Mike Huckabee 25%

Barak Obama 21%
Mitt Romney 15%
Ron Paul 10%
John McCain 8%
Hillary Clinton 4%
John Edwards 4%
Rudy Giuliani 4%
Dennis Kucinich 0%
Joseph Biden 0%
Other 8%

Packer on Sanctification...

J.I. Packer has written the the following helpful article on sancification.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Cutting the Root of Performance Based Discipleship...

Jerry Bridges discusses how the gospel relates to our sanctification in the following article. Below is an excerpt from the article:

"So I learned that Christians need to hear the gospel all of their lives because it is the gospel that continues to remind us that our day-to-day acceptance with the Father is not based on what we do for God but upon what Christ did for us in his sinless life and sin- bearing death. I began to see that we stand before God today as righteous as we ever will be, even in heaven, because he has clothed us with the righteousness of his Son. Therefore, I don't have to perform to be accepted by God. Now I am free to obey him and serve him because I am already accepted in Christ (see Rom. 8:1). My driving motivation now is not guilt but gratitude." Cick here to read the whole thing

Desiring God Book Sale

Desiring God is offering "The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World" for only $5. Cick here to learn more about this great deal.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Scope of Christ's Death...

The following article (which served as a preface to John Owen's "The Death of Death") by J.I. Packer has proven to be extremely helpful to many people as they have wrestled with the Scriptures on the scope of Christ's death on the cross. Below is an excerpt from the article:

There is no doubt that evangelicalism today is in a state of perplexity and unsettlement. In such matters as the practice of evangelism, the teaching of holiness, the building up of local church life, the pastor's dealing with souls and the exercise of discipline, there is evidence of widespread dissatisfaction with things as they are and or equally widespread uncertainty as to the road ahead. This is a complex phenomenon, to which many factors have contributed; but, if we go to the root of the matter, we shall find that these perplexities are all ultimately due to our having lost our grip on the biblical gospel. Without realizing it, we have during the past century bartered that gospel for a substitute product which, though it looks similar enough in points of detail, is as a whole a decidedly different thing. Hence our troubles; for the substitute product does not answer the ends for which the authentic gospel has in past days proved itself so mighty. Why? (Click here to continue reading)

Piper on Racial Reconciliation...

In a recent interview, John Piper discussed the relationship between good doctrine and racial reconciliation. In particular he addressed how pluralism ultimately undermines the grounds for true racial harmony. The following is a brief quote from the interview. To listen to the short interview click here

Any listener who thinks that the way forward in race relations is to dumb down doctrine, so that you can hang out and not count truth as important, is undermining the very foundation on which we must stand together to make progress against injustice and the forces that destroy families, cities, and kids.(Click here to read or listen to the whole interview)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tim Keller on Postmodernism

Tim Keller has written a helpful article on Pluraism and Relativism called "The Current Intellectual State of Affairs in America." The following is a brief excerpt from the article:

About every other week, I confront popular pluralist notions that have become a large part of the way Americans think. For example, pluralists contend that no one religion can know the fullness of spiritual truth, therefore all religions are valid. But while it is good to acknowledge our limitations, this statement is itself a strong assertion about the nature of spiritual truth. A common analogy is often cited to get the point across which I am sure you have heard — several blind men trying to describe an elephant. One feels the tail and reports that an elephant is thin like a snake. Another feels a leg and claims it is thick like a tree. Another touches its side and reports the elephant is a wall. This is supposed to represent how the various religions only understand part of God, while no one can truly see the whole picture. To claim full knowledge of God, pluralists contend, is arrogance. When I occasionally describe this parable, and I can almost see the people nodding their heads in agreement. But then I remind the hearers that the only way this parable makes any sense, however,is...(Click here to continue reading).

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Shameless Plug...

One of my desires for this blog is that people would benefit from their time spent here. This is one of the reasons that I often suggest books, recommend articles, or link to helpful websites. If you have been helped by this blog then would you consider telling three or four other people about it? I know it may sound a little self-serving to ask you to recommend this blog to someone else, and perhaps it is on one level (in that I desire for people to benefit from this blog). However, if this blog has benefitted you I think it might benefit others as well. In fact if there began to be a more substantial number of readers I could justify putting in more time to make the blog better. Therefore I am asking that you consider passing along the web address If there have been things that have been particularly helpful leave a comment so I can make sure to do that again. If you have ideas for making the blog more user friendly, aesthetically pleasing, or just more helpful overall I would appreciate those comments as well.


"The Tinker"

p.s.--Oh yeah, if you haven't cast a vote yet in the presidential poll (see right side of blog) please go ahead and do so.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

United States Presidential Candidates

Who do you plan on voting for? If you live in the United States and are planning on voting in the 2008 presidential election take a moment to fill out the poll on the right side of the blog. If you live outside of the United States feel free to cast your vote as well.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Systematic Theology

One of the classic Systematic Theology books is Herman Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics. If you are looking for a great price (40% off) on a classic book click here.

Check out Richard Gaffin's endorsement of this book:

"Arguably the most important systematic theology ever produced in the Reformed tradition - I have found it to be the most valuable - English-speaking theology throughout the 20th century until now has been singularly impoverished by not having at its disposal a translation of Bavinck’s Dogmatiek in its entirety. The appearance of this volume, with the remaining three planned to follow in the near future, will be an incomparable boon for generations of students, pastors, teachers and others, serving to deepen understanding and enrich reflection in both historical and systematic theology."

Jason Upton: "Dying Star"

This song offers a helpful rebuke to the sinful tendency in all of us toward self-promotion in ministry and life. Click below on the play button to listen:

Dying Star by Jason Upton

You've got your best man on the front side
You always show your best side
And evil's always on the other side
You say this is your strategy
But son I hope you take it from me
You look just like your enemy
You're full of pride
We better trash our idols if we want to be
In the army of the Lord
And the greatest idol is you and me,
We better get on the threshing floor
When will we learn that God's strategy
Is giving glory to the Lord?
We better trash our idols if we want to be
In the army of the Lord

Star how beautiful you shine
You shine more beautiful than mine
You shine from sea to shining sea
World-wide is your strategy
But shining star I hope you see
If the whole wide world is staring straight at you
They can't see me...

© 2002 Jason Upton & Key of David Ministries. All rights reserved

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Geographic Spread of Religion

To learn about the geographic spread of religions throughout the history of the world in less than 2 minutes click on the map below:

(HT: Justin Taylor)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Great Books. Great Prices.

One of the best places on the Internet to purchase good books for a good price is Westminster Bookstore. They have recently redesigned their website to make their bookstore more aesthetically pleasing and easier to use. To see their new website click here

Book Recommendation...

One of my favorite books to give as a gift to parents with young children is "The Big Picture Story Bible." To preview a chapter and/or see the table of contents click here.

Publishers Blurb:

No child is too young to begin learning about the greatest love story of all—God’s love for his people, as portrayed in the Bible. David R. Helm and Gail Schoonmaker collaborate to create a beautifully illustrated book of Bible stories especially for children, written with simplicity. Rather than simply retelling the most familiar short scenes from the Bible, this book presents the “big picture”—the unified story running through the Old and New Testaments. This delightful book will help children learn the Bible’s whole story and begin to appreciate the fulfillment of God’s promise to his people.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Piper on the Prosperity Gospel

Is the Prosperity Gospel harmful? Or is it just incomplete? Post your comments about questions, concerns, or commendations regarding the Prosperity Gospel after watching the following three minute video:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

This helps me to love Jesus Christ more....

A few years ago I was at a conference in Minneapolis on the supremacy of Christ. The following video takes some of the audio from one of the most powerful messages I have ever heard and incorporates corresponding images with the content of the message. The video is 10 minutes long, but I think it will be one of the best 10 minutes you have spent on the internet in a long time. It may even be the best 10 minutes of your day. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

More Thoughts on Spiritual Depression...

A couple of days ago I posted an extended quote from "Spiritual Depression" by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. However, after posting the quote I realized that it could come across as a quick-fix for spiritual depression. That is not the point of Lloyd-Jones book or my post. Lloyd-Jones was a trained medical doctor before he became, perhaps, one of the most powerful preachers of the western world in the 20th century. His understanding into the human body and emotional processes is astounding. This is one of the things that makes his book so extremely helpful. When he looks at Psalm 42 he recognizes that the feeling of despondency is a common human experience that even the writers of Scripture were not immune to. Because Lloyd-Jones is such a realist with regards to the human experience he is able to take the good news of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ and apply it to the human heart in specific ways. He does not offer a quick fix, a home remedy, or seven easy steps to being happy. Instead he peels back the human experience layer by layer like that of an onion and seeks to massage the truth of God's word into the areas of the human heart that need revitalization.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mark Driscoll Quote...

Regardless of how you feel about Mark Driscoll the following quote is just plain funny:

"This has been a packed week with some interesting potential fodder for the pajama blogger jihadists who make declarations about how the world should be from the comfy confines of their mom’s house."
--Mark Driscoll

(HT: Josh Ayres)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Spiritual Depression

Do you ever wake up and feel depressed? Do you ever feel discouraged by the thoughts running through your mind? In his book Spiritual Depression Martyn Lloyd-Jones offers the following helpful advice for those struggling with depression:

The main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. Am I just trying to be deliberately paradoxical? Far from it. This is the very essence of wisdom in this matter. Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problem of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man's treatment [in Psalm 42] was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself, 'Why art thou cast down, O my soul?' he asks. His soul had been repressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: 'Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you'. Do you know what I mean? If you do not, you have but little experience.

The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: 'Why art thou cast down'--what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: 'Hope thou in God'--instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: 'I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God'.

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D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures, pp. 20-21.

(HT: Between Two Worlds)