25 February 2008

Abouts:
Added a new section “Resources”

Articles:
The Bondage of “Guidance” (Together for the Gospel)

A subjective sense of leading–when we’ve asked for it (as in James 1:5 we ask for wisdom) and when God freely gives it–is wonderful. The desire for such a subjective sense of leading, however, is too often, in contemporary evangelical piety, binding our brothers and sisters in Christ, paralyzing them from enjoying the good choices that God may provide, and causing them to wait wrongly before acting.

Beware of the bondage of “guidance.”

Randoms:
Table Manner Tips Every Guy Should Know (Ploomy)

Readings:

Formal religion pleases the natural indolence of man. It attaches an excessive importance to that which is the easiest part of Christianity, – the shell and the form. Man likes this. He hates trouble in religion. He wants something which will not meddle with his conscience and inner life. Only leave conscience alone, and, like Herod, he will “do many things.” Formalism seems to open a wider gate, and a more easy way to heaven. (Mark 6:20)

– J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion

Thinking about Seminary? (Between Two Worlds), Justin Taylor directs us to some resources that can be beneficial to someone thinking of going to seminary. Included is an intimate look at one’s personal experience going through seminary documenting his entrance, stay, and exit from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, interesting tangent is his inclusion of the aspect of being single in every entry (I thought that was kind of funny). Some great articles and then finally a recommended book list from Reformed Theological Seminary for pre-seminary, the first “short” list consisted only of 3 books, which caught me by surprise, so when I saw the “extended” version I was expecting around 20 books, but in the “Essential Reading” section alone there were 60 books and that is not including the “Further Reading,” and “Advanced/Comparison Reading” sections

Believing-the-Bible Book List (Desiring God), a nice general overview of books on the canon, reliability, and responses to critics of the Bible

Resources:
If you liked Sinim Books, then here is another resource you’ll love, Gospel Translations is a project to make biblical books and articles freely accessible in as many languages as possible. We accomplish this by partnering with Christian publishers to build our own free resource library, and then recruiting and equipping volunteer translators to convert those resources into a variety of other languages. Currently they have only six languages Español, Français, Bahasa Indonesia, Português, Русский, and 中文.

Videos:

Best part is from 1:17-1:24, although the whole thing is funny (them Koreans…)

Verses:
3 John 1:8
Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.

A Must Read (9 Marks), Jonathan Leeman points us to a great article of a fellow 9 Marks brother’s reflection on 3 John 1:8

John knows that one of the most reliable indicators of our love for Jesus is the degree to which we will work for the advancement of his truth when there is nothing directly in it for us.

Our love for the gospel is most clear when we delight to see it prosper—and to help it prosper—when other people will be viewed as the human agents of its success.


18 February 2008

Abouts:
I’ll say this before anyone thinks it, this is not really a good post…

Articles:
What Makes The Humble Happy? (Desiring God)

Readings:
Evangelism: Let’s Check Our Method (Pure Church) Anyabwile takes a quote from J.I. Packer’s book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, which asks us to examine how we evangelize (only part of the entire quote):

So, in the last analysis, there is only one method of evangelism: namely, the faithful explanation and application of the gospel message. From which it follows–and this is the key principle which we are seeking–that the test for any proposed strategy, or technique, or style, of evangelistic action must be this: will it in fact serve the word? Is it calculated to be a means of explaining the gospel truly and fully and applying it deeply and exactly? To the extent to which it is so calculated, it is lawful and right; to the extent to which it tends to overlay and obscure the realities of the message, and to blunt the edge of their application, it is ungodly and wrong.

Randoms:
The Full Armor of God (Christian Books) PLAYSET; why I never thought that this would exist kind of surprises me, click on the picture to see a child actually wearing it

Retrain Your Brain: 20 memory tricks you’ll never forget (Reader’s Digest)

Caffeine: A User’s Guide to Getting Optimally Wired

The 20 Worst Foods in America

How Americans Spend their Money (NY Times) graph

This is for all you comic geeks out there, pretty cool illustrations of the superhero and their alter-ego (Deviant Art)

Videos:

Verses:
Psalm 33:18
Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love

Humble hope shall have its share as well as courageous faith. Say, my soul, is not this an encouragement to thee? Dost thou not hope in the mercy of God in Christ Jesus? Then the Father’s eye is as much upon thee as upon the elder born of the family.

– Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers), 108. (Of First Importance)


11 February 2008

Abouts:
Updated a little of the “About me” section

Articles:
True Male Friendship: Part II (The Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood)

Cherishing Your Marriage (CBMW) part 1, part 2

Called to Preach (Unashamed Workman) 1: Ash On the Four Criteria, 2: The Church and the Call, 3: How They Started; I especially liked the “How they started,” section because this is when it gets personal and you get to see the criteria in action

News:
Bottom Line for (Red) (NY Times), what do you think, spending $100 million on advertising and raising $18 million for the Red AIDs campaign, if you don’t know the Red campaign it is the effort to raise money for the Research center for AIDS, where company’s participate by selling red products, like Apple with their red iPod, or Dell with Red laptops

Audios:
All the audio and transcripts of the 2008 Conference for Pastors (Desiring God) has been uploaded on the website, the theme for this year was “The Pastor as Father & Son,” and had D.A. Carson as one of their speakers

Beulah, great fun indie band, there are some youtube videos of them below. Eclectic, relaxed-summer feel, fun feel that is a little reminiscent of the early 90’s alternative pop like the upbeat side of Oasis with a little Ska like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and a little Rooney and the Shins mixed in, everything that makes a sweet indie find, plus they are from San Francisco, another bonus. Of course my description doesn’t really do them justice so just listen to them.

Messages:
The Spiritual Watch (Thomas Watson)

Keep your heart as you would keep a WATCH. The heart will unwind to the world; therefore wind it up every morning and evening by prayer. The motion of a watch is not constant: sometimes it goes fast, sometimes slower. And so it is with the heart: sometimes it goes faster in vanity and sometimes it goes slower in duty. Therefore set this spiritual watch by the sundial of the Word.

It is not a message paralleling the heart with a watch, this is just a paragraph I liked; what it is, is a exposition of Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

Readings:
Mohler: Top 10 Books Every Preacher Should Read in 2008 (Between Two Worlds), even if you are not going to preach I think there are a lot of books that anyone can benefit from

I don’t like how the indent for the block quotation makes it seem that that quote has something to do with the topic above it so I wrote this so it wouldn’t look that bad

The true Christian is the only man, because he has sources of happiness entirely independent of this world. He has something which cannot be affected by sickness and by deaths, by private losses and by public calamities, the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding.” He has a hope laid up for him in heaven; he has a treasure which moth and rust cannot corrupt; he has a house which can never be taken down. His loving wife may die, and his heart feel rent in twain; his darling children may be taken from him, and he may be left alone in this cold world; his earthly plans may be crossed; his health may fail: but all this time he has a portion which nothing can hurt. He has one Friend who never dies; he has possessions beyond the grave, of which nothing can deprive him: his nether springs may fail, but his upper springs are never dry. This is real happiness.

-J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion

Videos:

Verses:
Galatians 6:1-3
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Recently reading Respectable Sins (Jerry Bridges) while in the envy, jealously, and competitiveness chapter I was directed to this passage. The feelings of envy, jealously, and the related all have something in common, if nurtured enough will divide brothers and sisters. These are the sins that look at others and start comparisons. Now what does it have to do with the passage, this passage leads us to humility when dealing with others, it is easy to find someone who isn’t as good as you in something, there is always that person who just isn’t that smart as you, or as mature as you are; so what does it say “if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him,” of course being human we stop reading there and finish that sentence in our own minds. “you who are spiritual should restore him,” because you are so great, now pat yourself on the back because you did something good, and they better appreciate it because they should be begging for someone like me to help them. Of course the Bible won’t have it that way, so continuing we read, “in a spirit of gentleness.” Of course rarely do we admit or say such things out loud to the person we are helping, but if you read the message up there by Thomas Watson he points out that even if you don’t verbally announce your feelings it begins with the heart, it comes from the condition of the heart and spirit, you could look perfectly clean on the outside but your heart could be a black abyss . Paul didn’t write “in the voice of gentleness,” but the “spirit.” After figuring that out we stop once again and feel that we have done right which you would not be wrong about, you have done right, but he continues “keep watch on yourself,” what?! Why do you need to address me, the other person is caught in transgression, not me?! Well, “lest you too be tempted.”


4 February 2008

Articles:
True Male Friendship: Part 1 (The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood)

However, the role of another male friend is unique and cannot be matched by any other relationship. Society sees true male Christian friendship as something foreign. Camaraderie between male friends has been looked upon with suspicion of homosexuality. My brothers, this is a travesty of our time! What happened to male friends who sat and discussed great books until the early hours of morning? What happened to male friends enjoying Godly conversation over a cup of good coffee? What happened to male friends, together, making a difference in the course of history?

Cross-Centered Books (Sovereign Grace Blog)

Randoms:
Cartoon Characters Skeletons, pretty neat, with characters like Bugs Bunny, the Road Runner, and more it is funny how you can still recognize those characters from only the skeletons

7 Tips for Morning Alertness Without the Caffeine

Readings:
I have to be the happiest Chinese person alive, well probably not because I can barely read Chinese, but now Monergism has opened a Chinese Reformed Bookstore, man to be able to reach friends and family with rich theology has been a small dream of mine, the site is called Sinim Books, and of course it will be added to my resource links, but if you are wonder why it is called Sinim (for those who don’t read chinese but have friends/family who do and you want to get them books, the English title of the book is given):

Monergism is delighted to announce the completion of a major online project developed for the edification of the Chinese Christian community: Sinimbooks.com. We now carry Christian titles that are Chinese, Reformed and Christ-honoring.

Why call it Sinimbooks? … “Sinim” is a word that comes from the Bible in Isaiah 49:12:

“Behold, these will come from afar;
And lo, these will come from the north and from the west,
And these from the land of Sinim.”

In context, this verse speaks of the gathering of true Israel from all parts of the world (43:5,6), even far away places like Sinim, which many scholars say is an ancient name for China. God has particularly placed in our hearts a deep affection for the Chinese people and so we wish to make available the most edifying Christian literature to our Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ; literature we pray will build up the saints and spread the fame of Christ’s name far and wide. We currently carry about 50 Christ-exalting Chinese titles in our Monergism Books’ warehouse and hope to grow the list over time. Thanks for your continued support. Be sure to tell all you Chinese Christian friends. (Monergism)

Thoughts:
Death is a funny thing, it has seemed to slow everything down and make this world more real, where death is real, where things do have an expiration date, where you realize you have time. There is no more excuse to not pray in the morning, you realize you have plenty of time, satan cannot convince you that spending a couple hours playing Mario is not bad for you, you can just make up for that time tomorrow by reading or something “godly.” I hate to use cliches but it is sort of a “slap in the face,” a bucket of water to wake yourself up, you realize you have been moving fast before but doing so little, as you move slow you realize you do so much more but feel less rushed, less worry, less anxiousness. It’s hard to describe and I’ll stop here.

This weekend I attempted to do the impossible, hold back the feelings God has so meticulously placed into our lives. Or course I failed miserably, going into it with confidence, ready to take on the world, ready to take on God’s sovereignty and be at peace. But what do you do, what do you say, what do you think about when you see someone break down into tears, crying out, when you have only seen them calm, peaceful, and collected, what do you do when the person you have lived with every second of your life for 50-60 years is gone in a second, to go back to a bed that you have shared all your life and find out the next night, you will sleep in it by yourself for the rest of your life. What do you do when you realize this, what do you say when all these emotions you have held back come out, what do you think when you wake up and that someone isn’t beside you and will be never be anymore. This hasn’t even happened to me and it’s still killing me…

I will miss his laugh, his gentle giant presence, his independent nature, his generosity; I will miss him…

Videos:

Verses:
Romans 12:15
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.