About Me

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My real name is Charlie Albright. I am the pinnacle of evil who God has flooded with His mercy. Declaring my sinful self righteous and holy in His sight! Lavishing His grace upon me by the blood Jesus shed on the cross! Carrying me through this life and giving me satiatfing joy! Anything good about me is only because of His grace!

Monday, December 29, 2008

What Africa Truly Needs (From an Atheist's Persepctive)

Writing in The Times, Matthew Parris (an atheist) confesses the necessity of Christianity for the well being of Africa, Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

It was encouraging to read that the light and beauty of Jesus Christ can be seen by even the hardest of hearts. Even though this man suppresses the truth of God in his heart he still has to concede to the fact that Christianity is wonderful to behold when it is done rightly.

What Matthew Parris had to say was very insightful and astounding. What he points out is not that astounding to us that know our Bibles. For we knew these truths before he put them down in this article. But what is astounding is the person it is coming from and the day and age in which it is coming.

Mr Parris made three points which I wanted to highlight:

1. What Christianity brings is not just material benefit, but fundamentally spiritual benefit.
I used to avoid this truth by applauding - as you can - the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It's a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith.

But this doesn't fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.

What Mr. Parris is saying is that the real value of Christianity is found in the transformation that it brings to people's hearts. It's value is not one person in America getting passionate about mission work and going off to do all of it himself. Instead, the value is in the message of Christianity spreading to individual heart causing those people to change their ways and those improve society.

His words ring with truth that we need to remember. The kingdom of Christ is not primarily about fixing physical problems on this earth, it is about the new birth by the Spirit (John 3:3). The fundamental problem with men is their spiritual rebellion against God (John 3:19). From this fountain flows the evils and injustices we see in society. And the only way that this can be fix is by the men's hearts becoming new by the power of Christ (John 3:13-18). and from this new birth comes the transformation that is desperately needed in society. To focus on the social problems without confronting the spiritual problems will only increase the darkness among people. This is not to say that Christians should only start and continue in social work based on receptivity. We don't stop working in the homeless shelters when people stop believing our message. We still must continue in the social justice aspect of the kingdom even when the community we are serving disdains the kingdom we are bring. What I am saying, and the Bible teaches, and what is pointed out by Matthew Parris, is that the primary growth and impact of the kingdom comes from the regenerated hearts that the gospel creates. From these regenerated hearts comes the good works that the world is groaning for. (Rom 8:19)

2. The individual aspect of Christian doctrine is an important part of society.
Christianity, post-Reformation and post-Luther, with its teaching of a direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God, unmediated by the collective, and unsubordinate to any other human being, smashes straight through the philosphical/spiritual framework I've just described. It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates.

This is a very interesting topic to discuss but I believe that Mr Perris does highlight and important aspect of Christin teaching. That is, each person is a personal human being and is distinct from everybody else. In other words, each one of us is an individual. And God sees and understands you personally.

Some of the "new" voices that have emerged in evangelicalism intensify the community aspect of Christianity. I am happy for this development, for it calls us to see ourselves as part of a redeemed community that are bounded to one another by the blood that redeemed us. There are, also, many ills that have befallen the church in America because of the individual centerness of our teachings. So people have reverted to talk in terms of the community of believers. Yet, in this emphasis, the individual aspect is some times lost. Just as it is a tragedy to see yourself as the center of Christianity, it is just as tragic to only see Christ relating to a community and not to you personally. Both views are beautiful truth and bring glory of Christ. We cannot lose either one of the aspects.

3.Christianity is better for people than other religions.
There's long been a fashion among Western academic sociologists for placing tribal value systems within a ring fence, beyond critiques founded in our own culture: “theirs” and therefore best for “them”; authentic and of intrinsically equal worth to ours.

I don't follow this. I observe that tribal belief is no more peaceable than ours; and that it suppresses individuality. People think collectively; first in terms of the community, extended family and tribe. This rural-traditional mindset feeds into the “big man” and gangster politics of the African city: the exaggerated respect for a swaggering leader, and the(literal) inability to understand the whole idea of loyal opposition.

Anxiety - fear of evil spirits, of ancestors, of nature and the wild, ofa tribal hierarchy, of quite everyday things - strikes deep into the whole structure of rural African thought. Every man has his place and, call it fear or respect, a great weight grinds down the individual spirit, stunting curiosity. People won't take the initiative, won't take things into their own hands or on their own shoulders.

This is an amazing statement in our pluralistic society. It flies in the face of what is commonly believed about religion. Parris has just said that there is one religion that is superior to another! But wait, he said more than that didn't he!? He just said that the Christian religion (a religion from America and Europe) is superior for the welling being of a culture than the very religions that the culture produces on it's own! Astounding! Our story triumphs their story.

Like I said before, we knew this before this atheist made the observation. But these are amazing words coming from an atheist in these days.

Lets us be encourage in that what we proclaim to mankind is not one idea amongst many others. Jesus Christ is THE story that defines all of reality. He is Lord, no matter what the story you grew-up with says other wise. His truth is THE truth!

What Mathew Parrris sees is the initiation of Christ's kingdom. This kingdom, that is going to be brought to it's fullest in the last day, has already been initiated on this earth by the coming of Christ. And the foretaste of this coming kingdom is that it is a good kingdom! The sick are taken care of, the evil is casted away. Thus, as those that are part of this coming kingdom, we work for the good of the cities that we find ourselves in. For the good that we bring is not an attempt to earn anything, but it is the fruit of what has already happened in our own hearts. The reason that we are willing to work for the good of the city, even when the city does not count our work as good, is because this coming kingdom has already taken dominion over our hearts. It's king is our king, king Jesus. And we proclaim His news of the kingdom, that by the propitiatory death of this king one may end their rebellion and surrender to His rule by faith. Upon belief in that messaage that person will then be made a new in Christ Jesus. His desires will grow into conformity to the desires of the Kingdom of God. And he will willingly work to make that kingdom a reality here on earth. Because he knows that the full consummation of the kingdom is coming when it's king will return to claim His own and make the heavens and the earth a new.

And this truth is the only hope for mankind. For our hope is God, who is our inheritance in at the consummation of God's kingdom. God's kingdom is going fill the earth and the people of God are going to be blessed by God forever and the enemies of God are going to be cast away forever. It is only belief in the Son that is going to determine what kingdom you are in. Man's kingdom or God's kingdom. When the last day comes the only hope for man is his surrender to the Lordship of Christ and faith in His work on the cross.

Let us, as part of this new community, let the rule of Christ be supreme in our hearts so that His excellencies are seen on this earth when we proclaim and live out the message we have believed.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:9-12)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

(The Gospel According to Luke 1:26-37, 2:1-20)


Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.


Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King,
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!"
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with th' angelic host proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th' incarnate Deity,
pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

May Christ's grace and glory be magnified in your celebration of His birth! May you have a merry Christmas all because of His grace!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
ponder nothing earthly minded,
for with blessing in his hand
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
as of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords in human vesture,
in the Body and the Blood
he will give to all the faithful
his own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
spreads its vanguard on the way,
as the Light of Light descendeth
from the realms of endless day,
that the powers of hell may vanish
as the darkness clears away.

At his feet the six-winged seraph;
cherubim with sleepless eye,
veil their faces to the Presence,
as with ceaseless voice they cry,
"Alleluia, alleluia!
Alleluia, Lord Most High!"

Liturgy of Saint James (fifth century)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Newsweek on Homosexual Marriage and the Bible

I know that this is coming late. But I did want to bring up the issue of Newsweek and their editorial article on Homosexual marriage and the Bible entitled "Our Mutual Joy."

Even though it is audacious in its claims so how it does not surprise me that people are making such arguments. She sets her argument up in the third paragraph,

First, while the Bible and Jesus say many important things about love and family, neither explicitly defines marriage as between one man and one woman. And second, as the examples above illustrate, no sensible modern person wants marriage—theirs or anyone else's —to look in its particulars anything like what the Bible describes. "Marriage" in America refers to two separate things, a religious institution and a civil one, though it is most often enacted as a messy conflation of the two. As a civil institution, marriage offers practical benefits to both partners: contractual rights having to do with taxes; insurance; the care and custody of children; visitation rights; and inheritance. As a religious institution, marriage offers something else: a commitment of both partners before God to love, honor and cherish each other—in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer—in accordance with God's will. In a religious marriage, two people promise to take care of each other, profoundly, the way they believe God cares for them. Biblical literalists will disagree, but the Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2,000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history. In that light, Scripture gives us no good reason why gays and lesbians should not be (civilly and religiously) married—and a number of excellent reasons why they should.

The rest of the article is her attempting to prove this point. I found the article completely unconvincing to say the least. She hatched up some old arguments that homosexual advocates press and some new ones as well.

When it comes to responses I would not want to waste your time with my won petty thoughts. Instead, Robert Gagnon has written a brillant responds to this article. his is the best and most thorough treatment of this article. You can read his resonds in PDF or HMTL.

This is what Dr. Gagnon says near the end of his article,
The question must be asked: What is it with the “elite” newspapers and newsmagazines over the past decade? Are they so obsessed with promoting the homosexualist agenda that they have now given up even a pretense to objectivity, balanced research, and good sense? Do they care nothing for destroying their reputation, built up over many years, as credible sources for news and commentary? These news sources are more and more resembling a homosexualist Pravda—a different agenda but the same style of propaganda “news” reporting that would make the old Kremlin leadership proud.

We should, of course, continue to dialogue with homosexualist advocates like Miller and Meacham. However, their support for a homosexualist ideology is so brazen and offensive in its blatant misinformation—obviously they are very angry about the passage of Proposition 8 in California—that subscribers to Newsweek should give serious consideration to canceling their subscription. For such homosexualist zealots as Miller and Meacham, reasoned argumentation is unlikely to have any major impact. Having lost their ethical compass, they may yet understand the language of
money, though. It is clear that, ultimately, Miller and Meacham have little desire to make responsible arguments about the merits of moral appeals to Scripture (their refusal to consider any major argument against their position is evidence enough of this). They have only one objective; namely, to intimidate Jews and Christians who appeal to Scripture for their opposition to homosexual practice. Such persons must either shut up or else be treated as the ignorant religious bigots that Miller and Meacham claim them to be.

Dr. Albert Mohler also gave His thoughts about the article. He said in conclusion,
Newsweek could have offered its readers a careful and balanced review of the crucial issues related to this question. It chose another path -- and published this cover story. The magazine's readers and this controversial issue deserved better.
You can also here him on NPR discussing this topic with Lisa Miller here.

Two other noteable responses,

Carl Trueman had some insightful things to say. He wrote,
The article does end on a note with which I wholeheartedly agree, however, at least on the surface. She quotes a pro-gay priest as saying `if Jesus were alive today, he would reach out especially to the gays and lesbians among us.' Amen, So he would. But not with the tawdry bauble of passing social acceptance; rather he would reach out with the love of the Father for those who are unlovely, offering them life in abundance, not through some intense but illicit orgasm; rather through the forgiveness and newness of life that comes from life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Fruck Turk gave some good thoughts about marriage in light of this article.
if the church was serious about this kind of love – which is Christ’s kind of love, first and foremost demonstrated on the Cross for a specific bride in order to make her holy and spotless before God – it wouldn’t abide a social Gospel of nondescript good will or idiotic exhortations about “your best life now”. Listen: often in marriage, you are not on the receiving end of good things but are in fact in the middle of hard doings. And if you expect that your marriage should be about satisfying you instead of sanctifying someone else through sacrifice, you will want to end your marriage in short order – kids and social appearances be damned.

The Don't Song

Just some good advice for either present or future situations,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Revivals, Shakers, and the Dangers of Spiritualism

My parents recently went to a settlement that use to be the community of a people called the Shakers (or by their official title: The United Society of Believers In Christ's Second Appearance). The Shakers had started a settlement outside Harrodsburg, Kentucky. The Shakers have been disbanded for many, many years now.

What made my parents curious about these people was a particular belief that my parents had heard about. The Shakers believed that all persons that are part of their community should remain celibate. (One of the main reasons that they died out).

After my parents took a tour of the settlement they bought a little booklet that gave the general history of this group of people. And one does not have to read to long in the book to find out that this group was just a cult that grew up around the beginnings of the 1800s. There leader, Ann Lee, believed that she was the second coming of Christ. God was both male and female, the female side had to show up since the male side did in Jesus. And Thus, there she was! (rolling of eyes)

There was one comment about this group's beginnings that really caught my eye. Ann and her followers came to America and sought out converts. And where did they go to get this converts?
In 1780 she extended her sphere of influence to New Lebanon, N.Y., where a
revival was happened to be going on at the same time and where converts were
secured without much difficulty, local sentiment being more or less propitious
for the introduction of the new religion. (Daniel Mac-Hir Hutton, Old
Shakertown and the Shakers. Harrodsburg Herald Press; Harrodsburg, KY. p.9)

So basically, she set her tent up beside the Christian tent at a revival and got just as well as turn out as the Christians did.

Now here is the thing, when most Christians look at revivals and see the great scores of people coming down the aisle to the alter they immediately attribute it to a "great moving of the Spirit." But here was a revival taking place, a great move of the Spirit, and then a cult leader comes along proclaiming that she is the second coming of Jesus and they get just as good as turn out!

What was happening here? Was it indeed a true revival? No! Does God work for the growth of false teachings as He does his own Church? No. Then what was going on?

This is a prime example of the spiritual excitement that accompanied revivals of that time. People would get worked up and emotionally pulled down the aisle so that they would make a outward profession that they were going to follow Christ. Yet, just because they made an outward profession did not mean they there was a spiritual change. What all this, sadly, boiled down to was people getting hyped-up and getting spiritual and "on the good path." There was no actual building up in the doctrines of Christ.
And from my understandings the focus of the revivals was on holiness and becoming right in character. There was proclaimation of Christ but it mainly consited of proclaiming condemnation on all the evils of the land. The revival leaders would get people worked up agaisnn the evils in themselves and the evils of the land. They would then call them to repent and seek holiness. And so people many would follow suit.

This is the reason why Ann's cult had such a good turn out at the spiritual "revival." They just showed up and said to the masses, "Hey! if you want to be really, really spiritual why don't you come and join our little community? Because seeking holiness is what we are going to be doing!" And thus it was said about the people, "converts were secured without much difficulty." Think about that phrase for a moment longer...let the fact that the "female incarnation of the Christ" was able to do this!

What does all this mean for us? One of the big truths that we can glean from this is, Beware of Christian spiritualism that is detached from Christian doctrine. He were people getting excited for the right practices and reasons (holiness), but they were easily seduced by heretical teachings that had the same practices they were seeking. The Shakers were very big on being "holy" but there god was not the true god. If one does not make the teachings of Christ and His Apostles about the nature and character of God a priority in their preaching then other groups are going to come and present a style, movement, focus, or practices that is going to be just as, or even better than, what the church is marketing. The only thing that keeps us distinct as the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is Christ! Unless we are grounded on Him any movement can roll-up next to us and present it better than we can and secure coverts "without much difficulty"
So ever practice, and call to right living, must be grounded upon the doctrine of who Christ is. Christ must permeate our teaching. He must be the focal point and the essence of what we proclaim. Anything else, no matter how right it sounds, or successful it appears, will never be for the increase of God's kingdom here on earth and His glory throughout the heavens

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

While being Sick...

Well, I have spent this day in a way that I could not have foreseen. I had plans to prepare for the trip back to Louisville and complete some Christmas shopping. I also looked forward to getting some more reading done in the book that I want to finish this winter.

But here I am in bed only now possessing the strength to type. I woke up this morning with a heaviness in my stomach and finding myself with less and less energy to do simple things. I manged to get myself back in bed where I have stayed for the entire day.

I feared that it was a stomach viruses since that seemed to be the bug going through Knoxville during these months. But, thank the Lord, I have not had any of the major symptoms like vomiting. I don't know what it is but I pray that the worst it will do to me is just zap my strength.

Yet, I don't need to waste this illness either! If God is sovereign of everything that happens in this world then microscopic viruses are under his dominion as well. The Lord has seen fit to take away my strength and lay me up in bed for the day. (maybe worst if He sees a means of bring Himself glory.) So what should I call to mind from my predicament that I have been placed in?

1. God is good to me beyond what I deserve, But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (Eph 2:4-8). Even though I am laid up in bed I am in a position that I do not deserve. I do not deserve to have a temporary sufferings. I deserve to have eternal sufferings! God, on the other hand, has decided to make me a recipient of His mercy and grace for all of eternity! What struggles I go through here on earth cannot compare to the rebellion God forgave at the cost of His own blood! I do not deserve this grace that I am in while I am sick

2. I have been granted the greatest healing that I could ever havev hope to attain. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls (1 Peter 2:24-25). The greatest healing that I could attain is not some name it and claim it prayer where by I pray to God for physical healing and I know that He will give it. No, the greatest healing is that I was once dead to the sin that ensnared me and was bring me into destruction. But now, because of Christ death on the cross the old nature is dead and I am able to live unto righteousness. I can cast away the sins that brought pain and torment and be created in the image of the most glorious being in the universe, Jesus Christ! I can live according to His commandments, His guidance, His oversight and find myself fully satisfied in bring Him glory! That is true healing! Though this body lay broken, I have been healed according to righteousness through the sin defeating death and resurrection of Christ!

3. I am completely dependent on God for the normal functions of my body to work properly. Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?" (Ex 4:11) mouths and eyes are all dependent on God. One day I was fine, going to get a shirt for an upcoming wedding (not my own, just to dispel such thoughts) and the next day all my strength is gone. Who am I but a creature that is totally dependent on his creator. That is a very humbling thought! One that I need to keep in mind for the rest of my life. I may think of myself as successfully but my very well being is under the dictates of God.

4. All my bodily functions can fail and I be left a powerless and desolate yet God upholds me by his strength and Christ is still in my possession. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps. 73:26)I maybe powerless on my bed, but Christ is still mine and I am His!

5. God does not need me. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. (Is. 40: 12-17) He can lay me up in bed for the day and rule the earth in absolute perfection. He does not need my strength, my insight, my well being for Him to accomplish His purposes. He is from everlasting to everlasting!

6. This body is broken like all other things in this world yet there is coming a day when this body will be redeemed. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.(Romans 8:23)

Well, my strength is getting close to depleted, so I believe that is all I can say for right now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Best Sermons of Fall 2008

Every semester we have some of the finest preachers come a speak at our chapel here on campus. There messages are encouraging, challenging and Christ glorifying. Here is a list of those that I found most beneficial to myself this semester.

"The Year of Living Dangerously" (Dr. Albert Mohler)

"Predestined to What? Why the Doctrine of Election Is So Hard to Believe" (Rom. 8:26-9:6) (Dr. Russell Moore)

Both messages by Dr. Platt were phenomenal!

"The Presence of Christ in the Great Commission"

"The Authority of Christ in the Great Commission" (And just to let you know, Dr. Platt is not reading the section from Romans. He is quoting it from memory)

Both messages by Dr Ortlund were really good.

"Power in Preaching: Decide" (1 Cor. 2:1-5)

"Power in Preaching: Delight" (2 Cor. 12:1-10)

Many bloggers have already linked to this sermon by Russell Moore, but it deserves to be linked to again.

"Joseph of Nazareth Is a Single-Issue Evangelical: The Father of Jesus, the Cries of the Helpless, and Change You Can Believe In" (Matt. 2:13-23) (Dr. Russell Moore)


"Jesus in the Public Square: Sharing Jesus to a Non-Theological World: 'Orthodoxy before the Canon'" (Dr. Darrell Bock)

Also, Dr. Albert Mohler finished up his series on the Apostles Creed this semester,

I Believe
God the Father Almighty
Maker of Heaven and Earth
Jesus Christ, His Only Son, Our Lord
Conceived of the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary
Suffered Under Pontius Pilate
Was Crucified, Died, and Was Buried
The Third Day He Arose Again from the Dead
He Ascended into Heaven and Sitteth on the Right Hand of God the Father Almighty
Whence He Shall Come to Judge the Living and the Dead
The Holy Spirit

The Holy Catholic Church and the Communion of the Saints
The Forgiveness of Sins
The Resurrection of the Body and Life Everlasting

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Finished for the Semester!

Well, another semester done and over with. This one was was a bear to say the lest. But God has brought me through another semester of school and I am looking forward to next semester.

I will try to pick up the amount of blogging around here the best I can. I am sorry that I have be distant from most of my blogging friends. But I should have the time now to pay you'all a visit.

Friday, November 14, 2008

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side

Psalm 124
1 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side—
let Israel now say—
2 if it had not been the Lord who was on our side
when people rose up against us,
3 then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
4 then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
5 then over us would have gone
the raging waters.

6 Blessed be the Lord,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth!
7 We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped!

8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

I had had one of those times in the Word of God this morning that it seemed as if God was literally speaking to me. (Thought, God is speaking to us every time we open the pages of Scripture. It is our ears that are hard of hearing that makes the Word seem unexciting). This semester has be particularly hard on me. Working 20 hours a night, trying my best to stay on top of the Greek language, and getting around 5 hours of sleep during the week have taken their toll on me.

And one of those things that have taken a hit is my walk with God. It is not as if I rebelled (God forbid!), but one has to spend time in Scripture, prayer, other spiritual disciplines, while being under the shadow of the cross to grow spiritually. Yet, one thing that a person has to have to do all this is time. That was one thing I did not have. My schedule was packed beyond standard. And I was running on what little sleep I could get. So all of this to say that my spiritual walk was not were it should have been nor was it growing.

So this morning, before I opened up the Scriptures, I whispered the prayer that God would bring me back to Himself. That he would graciously restore me. Then I flipped open to this chapter to read for the morning. A full chapter exalting in the fact that God has stepped in and saved his people from there troubles. If God had not taken their side, there would be no hope. My mind was hearkened to a familiar passage that I have turned to many times, "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom 8:31)

As one that is under the blood of Christ I have the immovable promise that God is for me in all things! Since I have be united to Christ God has removed all hostility against me. Where there was wrath there now exists peace.

But having God's wrath removed is no guarantee that God is for me. For one can have no hostility against someone but have no concern for their well being. What is my bases for saying that because of my salvation God is for me in all things?

Not only am I justified before the sight of God, I am also united to Christ. "For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." (Col 3:3). The Father has united me to the Son so that everything that is His is now mine. "And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'" (1 Cor 1:30-31). My soul is hidden in the perfect wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption of my savior. My entire salvation is in the Christ and I am hidden in him.

Since I am hidden in Christ, the Father is for me as much as He is for Christ. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places," (Eph 1:3)

It is mind blowing to consider that my life has become a recipient of the love that flows between the Trinity. And it is this truth that vanquishes any doubt about God being for me. Even though I have fallen down, even though I have not pursued Christ as much as I should God looks upon me with mind blowing love! for my weak, puny, defenceless life is hidden in the glorious person of Christ. Therefore, all the love that God the Father is pouring upon the Son is being poured on me! For I am in the Son! The day God turns His hand against me is the day that the Father turns his hand against the Son. Which is NEVER, NEVER, NEVER! For that would mean God would turn against Himself. No. The love that exists between the members of the trinity is of a proportion that dimensions cannot handle! His love for the Son is unimaginable and I am receiving it because I am in the Son!

I myself have not fully worked through all of this (and I never will). It is so mind blowing to consider that: I know God is for me in all things because God the Father has place me in the Son which makes me a recipient of the inconceivable love the Father has for the Son.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Trapped in Neverland

Carl Truemen has an excellent article on different generational views on growing up. He turns to the culture of his grandfather and the current culture and indites both on having a wrong view of growing up. It is well worth the read!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Grace and Peace

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph 1:2)

Grace and peace to you. These are very familiar terms to those that turn the pages of scripture. You come across them every time you open up an epistles of Paul, Peter and Jude. At the beginning of the letter you will find the terms used in a manner like the one I quoted above.

But do we really think about what is communicated by these words? Many times, familiarity with all things Biblical can create a callousness in us to those things. Not that we disdain them, but we will never take the time to ponder over them since, “Hey, I know all that stuff.”

If that is what familiarity does to you then you are in a dangerous spot indeed! Just look to the Israelites and you will find what happens to a group of people that let familiarity bred callousness.

I know for me that I let myself slip in this regard when it came to these verses. I mean, “It is just a little phrase. I hear about grace and peace so much, I should already know all that there is to be known about it.” What foolish thoughts!

As I was humbled to look at these verse like it was the first time I read them I was struck by the magnitude of its meaning. What is the very first words that come out of the God’s mouth? Grace and peace! Not condemnation! Not a stern rebuke! Grace and peace! No matter if Paul was writing to a messed up church in Corinth or writing to encourage believers in Philippi, God’s first words to them were grace and peace.

Grace: communicating that God has poured upon them blessing that they do not deserve. God is not dealing with his children according to what their works have earned. No, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:32) God has decided to glory Himself by lavishing goodness and joy upon those that do not deserve it. And it is not just that they don’t deserve it. They deserve the opposite! Their sins were a declaration that they deserved hell and condemnation. They were children of wrath, dead in transgressions and sins. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:4-7)

Peace: No hostility exists between those in Christ Jesus and God! Where as, we rebelled against God, laughing at his law, insulting His glory to the infinite degree, Christ has reconciled us! Where as God answered our rebellion with his righteous wrath, God instead directed His wrath to His Son on the cross! “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Rom 5:6-11)

So ,whenever you open up a didactic latter of Paul, no matter what kind of rebuke you will receive from God as you read, remember, the first thing God wanted to say to you is this; Grace and Peace!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Blog of Interest

A good friend of mine, Rosalynn Robb, alerted me to her blog just recently. It is called Drawing Near Before the Throne.

What makes this blog of of particular interest is the person writing it. I have personally witness Rosalynn go through extreme trials and afflictions. Yet I have seen God's grace manifested in her as she still holds on to the promises. I have, also, seen God sustain and carry her during these trials. Such a testimony makes her thoughts and reflections of incredible value! I would encourage you to stop by her blog.

Mark Richt and Adoption

Even though I am a Tennessee fan I cannot help but hold Mark Richt (Georgia's football coach) in high esteem. This video will tell you why.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What is the Purpose of a Permarital Relationship?

The following is a short answer that I came up with for a project in the class Marriage and the Family.

What does the Bible say about dating for marriage?

Well, to answer this question we have to turn first to the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. In 2 Tim 3:15-17 The Apostle Paul tells is a young pastor named Timothy that the Scriptures are profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness so that the Man or messenger of God maybe complete and equipped for every good work. What Paul is telling Timothy is that everything that he needs for faith and practice of faith is found in the pages of scripture.

This is very important to realize when coming to the question of the purpose of dating. For what God, through the apostle Paul, is telling us is that all we need to know about dating and marriage is already before us. But let me throw in some important qualifications here, (1) it is all that we NEED to know and (2) it is for what promotes godliness. For point one, we may have ideas and assumptions that we see as essential for finding a spouse and having a happy marriage that God does not see as essential. The tendency is then to think of the Bible as insufficient because we do not find our own perceived needs listed in the Bible. To the contrary, the Bible tells us what we need. If our perceived needs are not in the Bible then they are not true needs. On point two, the Bible tell us us how we can reach the highest goal which is godliness. It is not concerned primarily about how we can quick satisfy our desire for romantic pleasure or a host of other desires. (As pure and godly as those desires might be.) What the Bible lays out is the path to the greatest joy, which is holiness.

So, lets look in to the main question now, should Christian just date to marry? If we look to the Bible one thing becomes starkly clear, there is not prescribed means to find a spouse. God gives no direct counsel on what levels of emotional closeness man and woman should engage in before they are fully married. Or anything like a formal system to find a mate. It is just not there. But since we know that the Bible the sufficient, we are guarded from the idea that God has fail to correctly inform us on this issue and we are left to fend for ourselves. We must turn to look at what God HAS said and see if we are properly aligning our priorities with God's priorities.

If we look for a relationship between an man and a woman that has moved beyond a friendship, marriage is the only thing that is presented as acceptable. In the very beginning God made woman to complement the man and they were in a relationship where they cleave to one another instead of their parents. Jesus makes the term of the relationship clear when He pointed to this account and defined the relationship as marriage (Matt 19:3-6). Through the Proverbs, Solomon only gives wise sayings to his son about marriage. When we read through the epistle, we only read about instructions regarding marriage and attesting to the glories of that relationship (Eph. 5:22-33, Col 3:18-19).

What can we gather from all of this? If we keep in mind the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture we remember that the priorities in the Bible should be our priorities. And the Bible clearly presents marriage as the holy relationship for a man and a woman to be in if it has moved beyond friendship. So I concluded that marriage should be the priorities of our premarital relationships. Our relationships with the opposite sex that has moved beyond friendship should be for the purpose of marriage. Any other purpose is is going to a place that God has not made that relationship to go. It is to make a goal (whether it be emotional closeness, physical interaction, or anything else) what God has not set as the goal. That is why I concluded that any premarital relationship should be entered into for the purpose of and constantly moving to a marriage.

Friday, October 10, 2008

C. S Lewis and Using the Past

Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, it reminds us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion. A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village; the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age.

From, Learning in War-Time.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

No Where to be Seen

If everybody hasn't already noticed I have pretty much disappeared from the blogging scene. This semester is soooo busy! I am taking Greek I this semester and it is very demanding. Put that on top of the rest of my classes and my second shift job and you get a very busy Charlie. There have been several occasions where I have found myself translating Greek sentences around 3:30am when I have to get up the next morning around 8:45am.

Needless to say that blogging has taken a very far back seat on my list of priorities. (And I am not just talking about my blog, I have very little time to look at other blogs as well.) Lord willing I will get things back up and going when things slow down around the end of the year. Till then, there will not be much posting.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Two Sermons To Get You Going

Both Southern Seminary and Boyce college are already swimming in the deep waters of academic study. Boyce has been going since the 11th and Southern since the 18th.

And, as always, coming with the semester comes the great sermons and Bible teaching at Alumni Chapel every Tuesday and Thursday.

I wanted to call you attention to the sermons preached by the President of the seminary, Dr. Albert Mohler, and the dean of theology, Dr. Russell Moore the past two weeks. Both sermons were excellent!

"The Year of Living Dangerously"

"Predestined to What? Why the Doctrine of Election Is So Hard to Believe" (Rom. 8:26-9:6)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Works of Jonathan Edward

WSC is selling the works of Jonathan Edwards for $25. This a great deal if you don't already have Edward's works.

I have learned that WSC has sold out of the works. Sorry to everyone that did not get there soon enough.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Importance of the Old Testament

These are quotes taken from a book that I am reading for Preaching 1. The author is Dr. Graeme Goldsworthy.

Basically, the Old Testament is not the history of man's developing thoughts about God, but the whole Bible presents itself as the unfolding process of God's dealing with man and of his own self-disclosure.

The most compelling reason for the Christian to read and study the Old Testament lies in the New Testament. The New Testament witnesses to the fact that Jesus of Nazareth is the One in whom and through whom all the promises of God find their fulfillment. These promises are only to be understood from the Old Testament; the fulfillment of the promises can be understood only in the context of the promises themselves. The New Testament presupposes a knowledge of the Old Testament. Everything that is a concern to the New Testament writers is part of the one redemptive history to which the Old Testament witnesses. The New Testament writers cannot separate the person and the work of Christ, nor the life of the Christian community, from this sacred history which has its beginnings in the Old Testament. (page 18-19)

To understand the whole living process of redemptive history in the Old Testament we must recognize two basic truths. The first is that this salvation history is a process. The second is that this process of redemptive history finds its goal, its focus and fulfillment in the person and work of Christ

Failure to Grasp this truth - largely because the proper study of the Old Testament has been neglected, has aided and abetted one of the most unfortunate reversals in evangelical theology. The core of the gospel, the historical facts of what God did in Christ, is often down-graded today in favor of a more mystical emphasis on the private spiritual experience of the individual. Whereas faith in the gospel is essentially acceptance of, and commitment to, the declaration that God acted in Christ some two thousand years ago on our behalf, saving faith is often portrayed nowadays more as trust in what God is doing in us now. Biblical ideas such as 'forgiveness of sins' or 'salvation' are interpreted as primarily describing a Christian's personal experience. But when we allow the whole Bible - Old and New Testaments - to speak to us, we find that those subjective aspects of the Christian life which are undoubtedly important - the new birth, faith, and sanctification - are fruits of the gospel. This gospel, while still relating to the individual people at their point of need, is rooted and grounded in the history of redemption. It is the good news about Jesus, before it can become good news for sinful men and women. Indeed, it is only as the objective (redemptive-historical) facts are grasped that the subjective experience of the individual Christian can be understood. (page 20-21)

From The Goldsworthy Trilogy, by Graeme Goldsworthy.

I had never heard about Graeme Goldsworthy until I cam up here to Boyce. Although, after listening to some of his lectures and reading his book my whole understanding of how to read the Old Testament is changing! I am seeing Christ in the pages of Scripture so much consistently and much more clearly because of Dr. Goldsworthy's works. I highly recommend them to you.

Last spring, Dr. Goldsworthy gave a few lectures here at Southern. here are the links,

The Necessity and Viability of Biblical Theology

Biblical Theology and Its Pastoral Application

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Begone Unbelief

Begone unbelief, my Savior is near,
And for my relief will surely appear:
By prayer let me wrestle, and He wilt perform,
With Christ in the vessel, I smile at the storm.

Though dark be my way, since He is my Guide,
’Tis mine to obey, ’tis His to provide;
Though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail,
The Word He has spoken shall surely prevail.

His love in time past forbids me to think
He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink;
Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review,
Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through.

Determined to save, He watched o’er my path,
When Satan’s blind slave, I sported with death;
And can He have taught me to trust in His Name,
And thus far have brought me, to put me to shame?

Why should I complain of want or distress,
Temptation or pain? He told me no less:
The heirs of salvation, I know from His Word,
Through much tribulation must follow their Lord.

How bitter that cup, no heart can conceive,
Which He drank quite up, that sinners might live!
His way was much rougher, and darker than mine;
Did Jesus thus suffer, and shall I repine?

Since all that I meet shall work for my good,
The bitter is sweet, the medicine is food;
Though painful at present, wilt cease before long,
And then, O! how pleasant, the conqueror’s song!

-John Newton

From Cyberhymnal

Friday, August 1, 2008

Experience in Lakeshore

Well, I got back from Lakeshore Mississippi around two weeks ago. Yes, yes, I know that this post is coming late. You can look at the post before this one to find out why. But late is better than “not at all.” So, here is the late report of Lakeshore...

We left from Louisville at about 6:45 Thursday morning. Five of us piled into a five person vehicle and made our way to Lakeshore. It was an eleven hour trip (stopping to eat included) so we got there around 5:45 that evening. We worked after supper until there was no light in the sky. The next two days were constant work.

Now let me break off and explain who we are and what we did down there. We is defining five people, including myself, that are members of Immanuel Baptist Church. Doug Thorpe, Ashlea Davenport, Kristi Rhodes, Jill Edwards, and myself. What we did was small construction projects on houses being built by Lakeshore Baptist Church. So, we sanded dry wall, nailed hurricane strips, Tyvecked part of a house, and other small things while we were there.

That is how Lakeshore runs it's building ministry. They have different teams build a little on a house. One team will put the frame up. Another will put the outside ply-boards up, etc. No one team sees a house built from start to finish. It is doing a little bit there and a little bit here and leaving the next part for the next team.

Back to our time, that is what we did the two days we worked. Sunday, we attend the service at Lakeshore. That afternoon Doug and myself got to spend some time with paster Don Elborn and be an encouragement to him. That night we started our way back to Louisville.

I really enjoyed the time we spent down there. The trip was short, but we were able to provide a little help. It was a good time of service to the people of Lakeshore and fellowship with my fellow Immanuelites.

If there were somethings that stood out to me while we were down there it was the depravity of man and the need of regeneration by God in each person's life. Three years after Katrina hit and there was already a newly built Casino on the beach and a Porn shop right off the main city road. Very little time went by after this major disaster and people are right back in the sin they were in before.

After seeing these sights I pondered, “Don't you think that people would think twice before they leap back into the lives they once lived? I mean, a major storm just wiped your whole town off the face of the map three years ago. Shouldn't you have a little more fear of God before your eyes because of it?”

Now, don't hear me saying that “God brought Katrina upon America to punish this nation for it's wicked action!” I am no saying that I know this was a judgment from the Lord to punish sins. Though, I do believe that God caused Katrina (Isa 45:7), it is that I do not know the motives for such actions.

Even still, after a calamity like that happens it is right to step back and ask, “Is God angry at me?” It makes sense that people would begin to question some of their ways and lifestyles because of a disaster. People, however, were not doing that. On the contrary they were going right back into their sins.

With these things in my head I read this verse later on that night, “And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.” (Gen 8:21) The context for this verse is God establishing a covenant with Noah after the flood. Noah made a sacrifice to the Lord and as the verse says it pleased the Lord. Then the Lord says that He will not curse the ground on account of man. I believe that the curse mentioned here is what took place in chapters seven through eight. Namely, the great flood. That is the most obvious curse to be referencing. Then God gives the reason for not cursing the earth again, because the intentions of man's heart is evil from his youth. The problem with this world is that evil resides in every man's heart.

What verse 21 is saying is that changing man's sin problem in this world cannot be brought forth by external influence upon him. The problem of evil in this world dwells in the heart of man. To just change the outside influences whether it be paternal, maternal, cultural, philosophical, or what have you does not solve the evil in his heart.. There must be a change in the inside of man.

The flood bears great witness to this. Even though the world began a fresh with a rigtheous man at the helm and no evil cultural influences, man still falls into sin. One does not have to go far into the Bible to discover that man found himself in the same predicament as before the flood. A disaster of immense magnitude will not remove the evil in this world.

So what will bring about this change in man? It will be by a work of God, but not one done outside of man. It will be a work done on the inside, “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor 4:6)

I was reminded while sitting on my bed of human depravity and and need for divine regeneration. Send a horrendous storm upon evil people that takes everything that they have away from them. They, however, will return to the sin that they live in before the storm. Their only hope is the salvation that God brings when He sovereignly moves into someone's heart by means of the gospel. Then their eyes will be open to the Savior who satisfied the wrath of God on there behalf. And the holy Spirit will do a work in their heart that truly changes their desires regarding sin.

Here are some pictures from the trip. You can see the temporary building for Lakeshore Baptist and the old steeple. The Mobile Relief Unit is where we stayed while we were there.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Come out, come out, wherever you are"

Wow, it has been too long since I posted here. Some of you might have been getting the idea that I never made it back from Lakeshore. Rest a sure that I made it back safely. I have been back for a good two weeks.

“So why the long break from my blog” you ask. Well, I had full and wonderful intentions of sharing my experience at Lakeshore as soon as I got back. But the first three days were filled up with doing the things that had built up because of the trip while doing everything else that I normally do. After those days the whole blogging thing just fell from the priority list. So, each day would come and go with no new post on this blog.

This is tough for me because I was hopping to renew my blog a little bit by posting more often, and more consistently. But atlas, it was to no avail! Not with this long of intermission. But with ever intermission comes the next part of the play!

So, I am back and wanting to pick up where ever I left off...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Going down to Mississippi

I will be down in Mississippi for the next week. I am heading with a group from Immanuel Baptist Church(my church) to Lakeshore, Mississippi to do disaster relief work.

And yes, relief work is still needed down around the coast where Katrina hit. Many people are still without homes and living in FEMA trailers. There are still needs that have to be meet.

Our ties with the city of Lakeshore is Pastor Don Elbourne and his church Lakeshore Baptist Church. He and his church weathered Katrina and became a means for relief work in the town. My church supported them while after the storm and through the process of rebuilding.

Don Elbourne recently preached up here at Immanuel. It was an amazing sermon! It is such an encouragement to hear someone preach on the sovereignty of God that went through such a storm as Katrina.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Defeated Foe

Beloved Christian, sin's days are numbered in your life! The ax has already been laid to the root of your sin. Like a tree that has been cut off at ground level, its leaves may still appear green for a while, but the fact is that its life is over. It is only a matter of time until every leaf withers and falls to the ground!

Sin is a defeated foe. The war against sin has already been won. Like the pockets of resistance that sometimes continue to struggle on in ignorance after the treaty of surrender has already been signed, so sin continues to fight on in our lives with no hope of ultimate victory. Though the believer's conflict with sin may at times be fierce, the final outcome of the battle is assured.

For the Christian, sin is but an early summer snow. Such snows fall occasionally even in the warmer climates, but they are only the death throes of a winter that is past. In a day or two they are melted and gone, and they have no power to stop the inexorable advance of summer. Christian, sin does not stand a chance in your life! You can fight against it with the confident knowledge that summer, not winter, is approaching! The remnants of sin that you still face are just the vestiges of what you once were; they are not an expression of who you are now, and they will soon pass away forever!

Charles Leiter in Justification and Regeneration, pp. 88

More Lists of Commentaries

After Ligonier started posting their list of commentaries, Tim Challies decided to throw out his recommendation on what commentaries to use. Once again, if you are not shopping for commentaries at the moment, lists like these are great to hold on too for future reference.

Also, my friend Steve Weaver posted several links to recommend commentaries a while back. His list is a list of lists. So it is pretty encompassing in scope.

Boyce's New Dean

Friday, July 4, 2008


This is my 100th post. Whahooo! This blog has been up and running since August 5th, 2007. It has been a joy having a venue to post and talk about things that interest me. It has also been a blessing to get a small but faithful readership. I know that I am not the most exciting person (in fact I can get quiet boring at times and take major breaks from posting things) to hang around. I do so appreciate your'alls kindness in sticking with me and taking the time to read what I post. You guys and gals are great!

So, what about the future of this blog? This is a good time to step back and take a gander at what I have been doing with my blog for the past 100 posts.

One of the thinks that really struck me at the Band of Bloggers panel discussion was blogging and ministry. My blog should be a minstry! My blogging as Christians is not to fulfill my own selfish ends. I need to consider my blog not as my own little venue to do what I please and say what I want. My life is not my own (Thank God! I would make such a mess of things if it was) it was brought with a price. And that means that every area of my life is to be in service of the one who owns me. So it is with my blog. My blog is to be for the service of my Christ who cares and governs me. If it is not in His service by increasing the glory of His name then it is of no value. More than that, it is actually an instrument of rebellion! This I do not want! My blog is my Lords blog.

The question then becomes, "How do I best use my blog in service for my Lord?" The way that I have ministered to you so far is by linking to articles and posts I like, posting quotes, and giving my thoughts on a particular subject (And of course some humor thrown in here and there.). All of this aimed to accomplish the title of this blog, Renewing the Mind!

But those are my thoughts. Here I turn and ask you, faithful readers of my blog, what do you think? What would you like seen done with my blog? In what ways can I minister to you through the medium of blogging? would you link to see more links? More of my own thoughts? More quotes from books? Me quit blogging all together? Something I have not throught of doing? Whatever you think can aid in renewing your minds please let me know.

By God's grace, may I complete another 100 post to the glory of his name!

Friday, June 27, 2008

5 Tips for Clear Writing and Talking

Posted over at the Desiring God blog, C.S. Lewis gives advice on how to write and talk clearly.

Michael Haykin: Church History

Steve Weaver posted several resources from Dr. Michel Haykin awhile back. If you intrested in church history Dr. Haykin's knowledge is invaluable.

I have hade the privilege of meeting Dr. Haykin and listening to one of his lectures he did at the Andrew Fuller conference. He is a very Godly man and intelligent in regards to church history. It is wonderful to have him on the SBTS faculty.

Doing Some House (Google Reader) Cleaning

I am presently going throuth my star item list on my Google Reader. If you in any way like me you star posts and never get back around to reading them or sharing them with others. They just sit there and get more starred items piled on top of them. So, for the next few posts I am going to be doing some house cleaning in my Google Reader. Hopeful what I share will be of some value to you. :)

Commentary List

Keith Mathison over at the Ligonier blog is giving his top five commentaries on a specific book of the Bible. If you are not looking for commentaries at the moment, it is something to keep a hold of for future reference.

So far he has given his top five for:





Monday, June 23, 2008

Joy and the Ministry

A very good, short panel discussion on fighting for joy while doing ministry with C.J. Mahaney and Jeff Purswell.

A blurb from the discussion by C.J.

Yes, if we assume the gospel, or neglect the gospel, or neglect to preach the gospel to ourselves on a daily basis, if we do not review and remind ourselves of the doctrines of grace, if we do not prepare our hearts to discern evidences of grace, all we will be left with throughout the day is an increasing awareness of sin and an increasing awareness of adversity.

Southern Baptists, the Family, and the Rule of the Appetites

Dr. Russell Moore hits another grand slam with his commentary. Here is his ending paragraph,

Could it be that Ronald McDonald and digitalized talking "Christian" vegetable cartoons are just as erosive of the family as the cultural rot we are accustomed to denouncing? Could it be that the consumer culture we mimic in our own church and denominational programs is, in reality, just as hedonistic as a truck-stop
"peep show" booth, and for the same reasons?

The Faithful Preacher

I have finished one of Thabiti Anyabwile's books, The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors. The book was a collection of sermons from three African-American preachers spanning the years of 1780 to 1937. Before the sermons of the specific pastor, Anyabwile gave a brief overview of their ministry and presented what lessons we can learn from the pastor.

The basic thesis of the book is the quote I posted earlier. We as future ministers, ministers, and lay-people serving in a local church should look to the faithful and fruitful ministers that have gone before us . We are constantly presented with a new, fresh way to do ministry. This new way is sure to catch people's eyes and revive excitement. But there is no guarantee that the new technique will be effective. And in Thabiti's word's, "But who really wants to approach shepherding the Lord's sheep by trial and error?" (p. 14) Should we play with men's souls as we constantly seek out new church techniques? Instead, we should learn from those faithful men that have gone before us and have demonstrated a sound and Biblical way to minster.

That is what Anyabwile sets out to do. This is not a "Here's a five step program to how to do church." Instead it a chance to read from ministers from years past and glean the wisdom of ministry they present in their sermons.

here are some quotes from each of the pastors in the book.

Lemuel Haynes -

The solemn account that the faithful minster expects to give on another day will direct him in the choice of his subjects; he will dwell upon those things that have a more direct relation to the eternal world. He will not entertain his audience with empty speculations or vain philosophy but with things that concern their everlasting welfare. Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, will be the great topic and darling theme of his preaching. If he means to save souls, like a skillful physician he will endeavor to lead his patients into view of their maladies and then point them to a bleeding Savior as the only way of recovery. (p. 32)

Daniel A. Payne -

The end of all his studies and research into religion, science, and philosophy is to teach immortal souls and lead them to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. He does not mistake sound sense, any more than he could mistake stones for bread, giving the people the former just because he has not the latter. He is more anxious to make God's people intelligent and wise than to excite their animal feelings and make them shout. He labors not to make them admire and praise himself but to make them angry with themselves, fall out with their sins, and fall in love with Christ. And this he does by all plainness of speech and fitness of simile, by arguments as strong as bars of iron, by illustrations as beautiful as the lily and the rose. (p. 100)

Francis J. Grimke -

The only thing that we need to be concerned about is to see that we carry out faithfully the instructions of the Lord; that we be true to the solemn trust committed to us; that we go on preaching the gospel; that we go teaching His word, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, in season and out of season, and give ourselves no concern about its future. Its future is assured. God is behind it. It cannot fail. (p. 181)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Looking to Those Who have Gone Before Us

This is quote from the introduction of The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors, by Thabiti Anyabwile. I believe that these are wise words regarding where ones looks when consulting about the workings of ministry. New ideas abound everywhere and there is no slow down to people producing them. But when it comes to the important task of ministry, where should the bulk of our ideas becoming from, Thabiti writes,

Those who have gone before us, old friends with old ideas, have left us a proven track record of faithfulness and fruitfulness. and the two do go together: where there is faithfulness, fruitfulness is bound to follow.

We are from the time we are schoolchildren that "those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Maintaining an ignorance of history will not result in replication of greatness and earlier success. Those who learn from history, who wisely consult those who have gone before, are the only ones who have a real chance at succeeding and avoiding pitfalls. Faithfulness and fruitfulness in ministry require wisdom, hard work, time, and the providential blessings of God, all of which are enhanced by a humble study of our predecessors. (p. 14)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

To Christ the Lord Let Every Tongue

To Christ the Lord let every tongue
Its noblest tribute bring
When He’s the subject of the song
Who can refuse to sing?
Survey the beauties of His face
And on His glories dwell
Think of the wonder of His grace
And all His triumphs tell

Majestic sweetness sits enthroned
Upon His awful brow
His head with radiant glories crowned
His lips with grace overflow
No mortal can with Him compare
Among the sons of men
Fairer He is than all the fair
That fill the Heavenly train

He saw me plunged in deep distress
He fled to my relief
For me He bore the shameful cross
And carried all my grief
His hand a thousand blessings pours
Upon my guilty head
His presence gilds my darkest hours
And guards my sleeping bed

To Him I owe my life and breath
And all the joys I have
He makes me triumph over death
And saves me from the grave
To Heaven the place of His abode
He brings my weary feet
Shows me the glories of my God
And makes my joy complete

Since from His bounty I receive
Such proofs of love divine
Had I a thousand hearts to give
Lord, they should all be Thine
A thousand men could not compose
A worthy song to bring
Yet Your love is a melody
Our hearts can’t help but sing!

Words by Samuel Stennett
©2001 Laura Taylor Music.
Taken from RUF Hymn Book

Monday, June 16, 2008

God's Immutable Love

God's love never changes. That is one truth that brings such wonder and gladness to my heart. If you know me, my love changes. One day I might have more love for you than the next. It is not because I mean to be unloving, I am just a frail human being. But God's love for you has always been the same. Every time you go into His presence His love and affection for you is constantly abounding above imaginably! Think of this, the same intenseness of Christ's love shown to you when he uttered the words, "Father forgive them," on the cross has never changed. He loves you right now as intensely as he did then. Christ's love is immutable!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The "Good" in the Good News

I was thinking about the question posed by people regarding talking about the wrath of God in a gospel presentations (or anything that makes people feel bad. Calling people “sinners”, for example). the question posed is this, “We are command to tell people the good news of Jesus Christ. Now, all that stuff about wrath and sin is not all that “good” to some people. So how can we tell people about the good news if we tell them so much bad news (wrath, sinner)?”

I believe that problem with this question is that it defines the meaning of what is a good message according to a cultural context. What is good differs from culture to culture. The same message can be affirmed in one culture while causing people to tear their hair out in frustration in another. So to force the message of Christ to be defined by a cultural understanding of good is just letting the culture tell you what to preach. Our message that we have been entrusted with is filtered through a grid of acceptability. If, indeed, what we preach is considered “good” to the hearers.

This can prove detrimental to the gospel message which we are commended to preach. Here in America it seems to work just fine to lay off the bits about wrath and hell. I mean, those are uncomfortable subjects. Isn't it best to just tell people about how much God loves them by sending forth His Son to die on a cross and be resurrected in three days for them? To bring up the part of them being rebels against the living God and the only thing that their rebellion is going to accomplish is an eternity in hell is just going to make them feel down cast. So, we think it is best to lay off the the wrath part since it really is not that good of news to people. But lets say that one day while sitting down on one side of a park bench you turn and see an older man on the other side. You begin conversing with him out of friendliness. You'all talk about normal things at first: what both of you do, where each of you live, etc. during the conversation you come to find out that he is Jewish. Thus, you begin to move the conversation towards a more religious direction. It is not much longer until you bring up the fact that you are a Christian. “Oh,” he says, “I have heard about Christianity but have not had the privilege to talk an actual follower.” This, of course, excites you tremendously, but before you start explaining your beliefs he makes the following comment, “What I do know about Christianity is that you believe that the Messiah died on a cross. Now let me tell you, I shutter in my soul to think that God's messiah would die in such a fashion. I cannot bare the thought of such an atrocious idea!” What are you going to do? Obviously, the news that the messiah did in fact die on a cross is not good news for him. In fact it will probably close his ears to where ever else you are going to say.

Do you see the problem when you let the culture or the person define what is the good that our message should bring? Now, not only are you removing the truth of God's judicial wrath but if you are consistent, you have to remove the very fact that Jesus died on a cross! So that the message you are bring could be good in the listeners ear. So now we have gone from removing a few attributes too removing the very essence of the gospel! If we, indeed, say that the hearers are the determiners of the nature of the good we bring we are capable of having the very essence of the gospel removed from our message.

That is why the nature of the good in the gospel is not based in a culture's take on what makes them feel good but in the immutable and glorious character of God. That must be the nature of the good in our news. Our news is good because we tell of the nature and workings of our God who is Himself good. God came, in the flesh, to reconcile a world that rejects Him though He made the world and the very people that rejected Him. That is a good action. But what about wrath? It is telling that this is even a question. Yes! God's wrath is good! It is righteous! It is holy! God does the right thing by punishing evil and wickedness.

The proclamation that God's wrath will be poured out on those who do evil is good news. When ever you are told that someone did the right thing you always take it as good news. Well, God punishing those that deserve punishment is a good thing. For every tyrannical dictator, every child kidnapper, and every raper, will be punished according to what they did. What kind of news would it be if you heard that God just looks past evil atrocities? If you hear of a judge that pardons the clearly guilty, do you take that to be good news? No! Good news is hearing that the Lord of the universe will render all accounts settled in the end. Justice with be served. Evil will be punished. This is good news!

The problem that we face is that the people in this culture do not see themselves as evil. They consider themselves to be good people that slip up now and then. Now, they would say, there are some really bad people out there that God should punish. But, God will just see all the good things that I have done and see that they out weight the bad things in my life. The very idea that God's wrath should be over them personally is not only far from their minds, it is offensive. I mean, God being wrathful on a “good” person? What is up with that?

See, once again, that when we let the culture define what is the good in our gospel we end up letting the culture shape the gospel itself? God's righteous judgment against wickedness is removed because telling people the truth that they are indeed wicked is offensive. Therefore we end up failing to tell people the very truths that they need to hear. The very philosophical and ideological problems that are hostile in people's minds to embracing the gospel go unchallenged. If people do not believe that they need saving they will not look for a savior. The good that the unconverted want is not always the good that they should have. At times it is not even good. We cannot let sinful people tell us what good is.

So, the good of our gospel is God. His nature and His deeds. Man in his rebellion is always going to be offend by some, if not all, aspects of the message we bring. We must, however, present boldly, clearly, confidently, tenderly, humbly, and passionately the full gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.