31 March 2008

Articles:
Deacons: Sober and Content, Keep Hold of the Faith (Pure Church) This is a continuation of Thabiti Anyabwile’s Deacons series

Monergism Interview with Dr. Tim Keller (Monergism) A general interview about his new book “The Reason for God

Should We Really Call It a “Quiet” Time? (Between Two Worlds)

6 Reasons Pastors Should Blog (Desiring God)

Readings:

He who comes as partly righteous is sent empty away. He who comes acknowledging unrighteousness, but at the same time trying to neutralize it or to expiate it by feelings, and prayers, and tears, is equally rejected. But he who comes as an unrighteous man to a righteous yet gracious God, finds not only ready access, but plenteous blessing. The righteous God receives unrighteous man, if man present himself in his own true character as a sinner, and does not mock God by pretending to be something less or better than this.

– Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness

Randoms:
Looking at all the stuff I needed to bring back to Irvine, I get my quote of the day:
(just for your information, ‘mmm’ in Cantonese means ‘not,’ or ‘is not’)

Me: Dude, I don’t have enough room to fit all this in.
Mom runs upstairs to get be a bigger bag.
She brings back this gigantic woman’s suitcase down.
Me: Dude, that’s humongous!
Mom: Noo, mmm mong!

Videos:
Sweet interview with Ben Stein by R.C. Sproul!

Verses:
Romans 2:6-8
He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

Do This and Live (Monergism)

God has not rescinded His law which says “Do this and Live”. We herald the law and the gospel to people (1) to let them know that they must obey the commandments of God perfectly to live. This is God’s requirement for mankind. But (2) when persons recognize they are morally impotent to obey, then the law serves its convicting purpose. They then, seeing their own inability and spiritual bankruptcy, can only flee to Christ for salvation.


25 March 2008

Abouts:
Sorry this was late and it will be short due to finals week

Random:
Do you know was Facsimile is/short-for? Don’t know, Fax! I just learned that this week…

Articles:
His Last Friday Was His Best (Blazing Center)

The Reformation and Mysticism, you think after reading the title, mysticism?! that is not relevant for me, think again, read the article

Pride in Preachers (Desiring God)

Gospel and Ministry (New Attitude) “How do I lead people into a robust understanding of gospel-centered living? How can I make sure they don’t dismiss the gospel off to the side of life for a litany of good things?”

Resources:
Remember Sinim Books, if you thought that was sweet I found this site recently, China Christian Books, it has some of the same resources, different books, and other reformed literature, but what the kicker is, is that it is all online to read for free. So if cost was an issue all you need is the internet (or a friend with the internet and printer…)

Messages:
Explosive Fellowship (Desiring God)

Verses:
Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Pierced By the Word of God (Desiring God)

What then is the point saying that the “word of God” pierces to the “division of soul and spirit”? The point is that it’s the word of God that reveals to us our true selves. Are we spiritual or are we natural? Are we born of God and spiritually alive, or are we deceiving ourselves and spiritually dead? Are the “thoughts and intentions of our heart” spiritual thoughts and intentions or only natural thoughts and intentions. Only the “word of God” can “judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” as Hebrews 4:12 says.


17 March 2008

Articles:
Things to ask a church when considering a pastorate (9 Marks) I think this is not only very relevant to pastorates, but to churches to examine itself to see what areas are being neglected

Deacons: Full of the Spirit and Wisdom, Sincere (Pure Church) Looks to be another mini-series this time on deacons

Trusting in Our Own Ability (Pure Church)

The Tempter in the Child’s Bedroom — Television (Al Mohler)

The Digital Age–A New Dark Age?: A Look At How Christianity Can Speak To Those Lost In A Storm of Information (Resurgence)

News:
J. I. Packer to Be Suspended from the Anglican Church of Canada (Between Two Worlds)

Videos:
Blast from the past, not really (this is the random stuff you get sometimes on Pandora when you put in Jack’s Mannequin as the artist)

Verses:
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God

For a guy this is usually the passage that is turned to when dealing with lust whatever form it may come in. I found it interesting while looking over the passage on the solution to sanctification. I use to think that defeating sin was some kind of magical formula and that if you pray to God your sins are forgiven and you won’t sin anymore. But look how the passage says to “know how to control” you body. Defeating sin takes a proactive approach, it takes work, it takes time to figure out your body, but it doesn’t stop there, to know how to control your body is only half the battle. If you can stop yourself from watching pornography or stop yourself from looking at a guy/girl lustfully then good, but then we must not fill in that space with some other junk. We need to control our body “in holiness and honor,” we must turn from the sin and turn to “holiness and honor.”


10 March 2008

Articles:
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

News:
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.

Randoms:
Ligonier Ministries (Ligonier) now has started there own blog

Readings:
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.”

Thoughts:
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?

Videos:


(For the Bereans you can see Diane, Mimi and Brian at the 1:03 mark)

Verses:
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?’


3 March 2008

Audios:
Something that has been in browser sitting next to future blog articles recently is the addition of Pandora, it’s a pretty sweet music player that is essentially a really good radio. All you do is type in the artist/song name that you really like and it gives you a station that has that artist/song and also plays similar artists/songs, it does a real good job and matching styles. Also it is a clean format that feels lightweight, so all it is is the station player so there is no fluff. If you make a profile, then you can save the stations you have loaded before.

Articles:
Five Rules for Choosing a Commentary (The Road To Emmaus), how many times have you looked for a commentary and been daunted with the task to pick one out of hundreds of different titles, or you don’t want to only have the commentary a friend suggested but don’t know which other commentary to get, well Chad has the answer (sounds like an infomercial), well more like guidelines
In addition here are Ligonier and Desiring God’s recommendations of commentaries, I would suggest going to Ligonier’s first because it is also helpful in explaining the different commentary series that are out (e.g. EBC, NICOT, etc…). Also here are Calvin Theological Seminary’s recommendations

What To Do When You’re Robbed (The Blazing Center)

The reason Paul and Silas could worship in the blockhouse was because they didn’t derive their joy from their circumstances, but took joy in the God of their salvation.

Randoms:
Mark Altrogge shares a very touching story (Blazing Center) about him and a friend he lost touch with, if I were a girl, right now I’d be crying…

How to Cram for a College Exam

Messages:
So the Resurgence conference was available live on the internet this past week, but if you happened to miss it, here are some quick little videos from the speakers (Resurgence) of the conference, and of course John Piper has his messages on his site for download: Why I Trust the Scriptures, How My Pastoral Ministry Shapes My Pulpit Ministry, and How I Distinguish Between the Gospel and False Gospels (Desiring God), I really wish they had the Q & A too, I caught most of John Piper’s session and it was both informative and funny

Verses:
Psalm 27:14
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

I was pointed to this passage during the Sunday message while going through Psalm 27. It was a little surprising that this statement was made after the whole chapter. In the beginning, David is presenting his present position as confidence in the Lord while going through pain and opposition of all sorts. The psalm is filled with the praise of God, “The LORD is the stronghold of my life,” “my head shall be lifted up above my enemies,” and petitions for God’s protection, “Give me not up to the will of my adversaries,” “Teach me your way, O LORD.” So all in all it goes along with our logic to how someone with David’s heart would trust in the Lord and ask for guidance in times of trouble, but what is unusual is that in verse 14 he says “Wait for the LORD.” What does trust entail, according to David it requires us to wait, though we be in anguish, in pain, we are to “wait for the LORD,” but the waiting the world thinks is one of sitting on the couch watching TV until someone tells them that God is ready. What Psalm 27 shows us is that the waiting is focused on the stronghold of the Lord, on prayer towards the sovereignty of God, and trust in the Lord’s promises which strengthens us.