Ministering in a Difficult Church (Said at Southern Seminary)
I think Dr. Lawless’ message should be heard by all aspiring ministers. There are too many students at Southern and other seminaries who are attending not because they need to learn anything–they already know everything. Rather, they are attending simply to gain credibility. In essence their education has become the choice idol they would rather worship.
How to Ruin a Women’s Ministry (Resurgence), for the ladies
Jesus Christ: The Interpretive Key to the Scripture (Monergism), this article tackles some key concepts of Christianity that are taken to a level that it shouldn’t just because Christ was not the focus, for example the first point of how there is a false assertion that one can lose his salvation, but this is only “because the focus becomes your own moral ability rather than Christ.”
Love and Marriage: Luther Style (Boundless) “In a handwritten invitation to the public ceremony for their wedding, [Martin] Luther wrote to a friend, ‘I feel neither passionate love nor burning for my spouse, but I cherish her.'”
The Vow (Washington Post) Must be the sweetest story I’ve read in a long time, if not ever; I hope I will some day be as loving to my wife as he is
If you have not heard, the New York Philharmonic (NY Times) has recently paid a visit to North Korea getting a chance to perform in front of the North Koreans (Times). With the orchestra came of course journalists, here are some photos not usually seen by Americans of North Korea (NY Times). (Links are to photoblogs and they are all different sets)
That Martin Luther? He wasn’t so bad, says Pope (Times UK), “the Pope will argue that Luther, who was excommunicated and condemned for heresy, was not a heretic.” If you read the article it seems to me that no one really has a solid stand on anything happening anymore, the article is confusing in the way it will say something like this, “the move would help to promote ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Protestants,” and then say it is to “counteract the impact of July’s papal statement describing the Protestant and Orthodox faiths as defective and ‘not proper Churches.'” I think that sums up ecumenicalism.
Ligonier Ministries (Ligonier) now has started there own blog
Five Books to Read Before Easter (Challies)
Here is a quote of a quote from Charles Swindoll’s book, Improve Your Serve, that I found most insightful and surprising that it came from a child’s book. The chapter is on how we are called to be servants and how it is what we were made to be, but so often we don’t think that way. The child’s book is about a stuff rabbit that wants so hard to be “real,” but then encounters a worn-out stuffed horse and begins to have a dialogue (If you’re wondering what child’s book it is, it is The Velveteen Rabbit.
The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for the had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.
“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “orbit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and yours eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Usually on the bus ride from campus back to my apartment I tend to just stare at things or play some solitaire on my phone, it’s only a 10 minute ride so there isn’t much time to do anything. Well last Tuesday I look up just to look at what kind of ads there were this time around, and I look at one that seems to be a timeline, it had a the point ‘born’ at one end and ‘die’ at the other, and in between were just the “normal” phases of life, nothing fancy, it had ‘graduate,’ ‘get a job,’ and ‘retire.’ What I found interesting was that there was a hand (computer) drawn dot between ‘graduate’ and ‘get a job,’ it read ‘change the world.’ One would think, “O, how clever, maybe I should think about doing something after graduation?” I took a step back and I thought, “I can only change the world after I graduate and before I get a job?” Of course that is absurd thinking and not what the ad wanted to convey, but how many times do we think that way. We get stirred up by some sermon, we get pumped up about some future job, we hear stories about guys who are ‘living the life,’ and we think to ourselves, “Man, I wish man, too bad schools in the way, too bad I have this job.” How many times are we jealous of other’s circumstances, how many times do we just look at opportunities in the future and dwell on them and not see the plain opportunities now. For example, I would love to go on missions right now, but what is holding me back, school. See, already I put a condition in-front of myself, I was taking school as only the pathway between the parking lot and track. To me school wasn’t the main event, it was just stalling the main event to me, but I really don’t think we should think that way. I think each aspect of our lives we should take as a main event.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24) Who is your master?
(For the Bereans you can see Diane, Mimi and Brian at the 1:03 mark)
1 Kings 8:27
“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!
God’s immensity, His eternality has always been some abstract concept that I never really grasped, and I know I will never fully grasp it in my lifetime, and knowing that I never really gave it much attention. But recently during my prayers questions like ‘Why did he make us?’ Why did he make us so small?’ started coming up. ‘If He’s so big, why make something so small to worship Him?’ Growing up in the church I heard all the illustrations comparing God’s immensity to us, like the universe compared to earth, a human to an ant, and so on, and that has always been my picture of God and us, but I think that has brought about a misguided illustration. All these analogies have something in common, the problem arises when all of them seem to place a finite quality unto an infinite God, they equate a Human which dies, which grows old, which is a certain height, which is a certain weight to God, who never will die, does not need to grow, and has no certain measurement. What I have recently realized is that we will be small and always small compared to God. You might say to yourself that I have gone in a complete circle and have not accomplished anything, but what I am trying to say is that if God created us as giants the size of planets, we still would be miniscule compared to God, if each of us were the size of solar system, we would be still be microscopic compared to God, what I am trying to say is we must realize how small we are and will always be, not because God purposely made us small, but because when you compare anything to an infinite, eternal God what you compare with Him will be essentially nothing. We cannot think or even compare Him in terms of physical capacities and earthly dimensions but I think we should grasp the idea that we will never know the immensity of Him and dwell not on analogies that show how small we are compared to Him, but we should show just how great, how everlasting He is and from that we begin to see how we are nothing. So the question I need to ask is not ‘Why did He make something so small worship Him?’ but ‘How glorious is our God?’