Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mission Trip 2011-Reach Powhatan/Richmond

The Good Things Vol. 6

Daniel Lowhorn has a new album out titled DAWN. And Christie and I sing on it too!

You can download it HERE

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Good Things Vol. 5

You can download LOTS of John Piper books from the Desiring God online resources...


Here's a link

John Piper has some very encouraging books and Desiring God is offering many of them for free PDF download on the ministry website. Here are a few I recommend:

Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die
The Hidden Smile of God
Recovering Biblical Mandhood and Womanhood
Don't Waste your Life

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Good Things

Tim is a great comedian and worth checking out. And for those of you who don't know, I'm not a fan of hand sanitizer.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Calendar Update

Hey Everyone!!! Here's a calendar update for ya:

November 7-Flood Zone at WECC from 7:00-9:00 INVITE YOUR FRIENDS!!!

November 21-Man Party-MLS Cup Championship game. The game starts at 8:30, so it will end kinda late (11ish). We are going to have a menu consisting of fried foods, so come early to pig out!

December 12-Progressive Dinner/Christmas Party-$5 White Elephant gifts, food and more! INVITE YOUR FRIENDS!!!

January 14-15-YEC 2011!!! in Virginia Beach. Tenth Avenue North, Brock Gill and Darren Whitehead. Check it out HERE. Cost TBA.

February 4-5-20/20 collegiate conference at SEBTS-Around $40 for Juniors, Seniors and College Students

And, finally...go ahead and put this on your calendar...

Read Powhatan/Reach Richmond Mission trip
July 24-29, 2011
Mission projects, Bible studies, worship and a concert with Andy Gullahorn and Jill Phillips

Monday, September 20, 2010

Update...I know...It's about time!

So...the update that everyone's been waiting for is finally here!

The first monthly Flood Zone was this past Sunday and reports are that everyone had a great time. The next Flood Zone will be October 3 from 7-9 at the WECC building.

Wednesday Night Deep End is still going strong. We are digging our way through the Doctrine of Christ. It's been a bit perplexing at times, but I guess that's all you can expect when you have an infinite and incomprehensible God!

We are planning on heading up to Lynchburg for Scaremare on October 15. We'll leave from our house at 4 and return late that night. You'll need $8 to get in, some money for Pizza (a few bucks) and money for Waffle House after we're done going through the house. This is a great time to bring friends since they will have fun and also get to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel. Make sure you let me know if you want to go so we can have transportation for everyone!

The following weekend, the 22nd, we have some tickets for House of Fate in Tungsten. If you are interested in going to this, let me know. This is another great one to bring friends to. Tickets are limited, so first come first serve!

Thanks to Kevin and Amanda for taking the lead on the Christmas party. More details to come with regard to that.

Hope everyone is having a GREAT school year. We are already over 5 weeks in here at Crossroads. It's flying by! Summer will be here before you know it!

Where my heart is today...

A song by Jimmy Nedham called "Rend"

"Even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning."
Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
Joel 2:12-13

Jimmy Needham - Rend

You’ve been tarnished
And you’ve been stained
And all the varnish you’ve used to cover up with is peeling away

Yet even now, return to me with nothing less
Than your wounded, broken heart
Cling to Me, your gracious King
Be shattered glass of empty jars and rend
Rend, rend, rend
Rend your hearts

You’ve been tarnished
And you’ve been stained
And all the varnish you’ve used to cover up with is peeling away

I don’t need a grand display
Show me that your heart has changed
I don’t need a show
Only just to know your own heart breaks

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Good Things Vol. 4

Sorry, you will need the <a href="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer/" target="_blank">Flash Player</a> to play this game.
Add Games to your own site

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Contemplate & Consider Vol. 21

From City of God by St. Augustine on why the good and the wicked both face similar sufferings:

"This being so, when the good and the wicked suffer alike, the identity of their sufferings does not mean that there is no difference between them. Though the sufferings are the same, the sufferers remain different...The fire which makes gold shine makes chaff smoke...In the same way, the violence which assails good men to test them, to cleanse and purify them, effects in the wicked their condemnation, ruin and annihilation. Thus the wicked, under pressure of affliction, execrate God and blaspheme; the good, in the same affliction, offer up prayers and praises. This shows that what matters is the nature of the sufferer, not the nature of the sufferings. Stir a cesspit, and a foul stench arises; stir a perfume, and a delightful fragrance ascends. But the movement is identical."
City of God, Book I, Chapter 8

Monday, July 19, 2010

What is Freedom?

When people think of freedom they often think of a life without boundaries. An autonomous life that does not have to submit to authority but can do whatever the heart desires whenever the heart wants it.

What's interesting about this idea of freedom is that it often leads to slavery. Slavery to selfishness. Slavery to success. Slavery to sin.

Think about it.

The freedom that is believed to come from lots of money could lead to slavery to success and maintaining the lifestyle that often comes with lots of money. More slavery.

Freedom to do whatever you want could land you in addiction. More slavery.

Freedom from worrying about others makes you just think about yourself. More slavery.

Real freedom is not without boundaries but living in what the Psalmist describes as the wide open spaces of God's precepts.

Listen to Psalm 119:32:
"I will run in the way of your commandments for you set my heart free"

Freedom is found in the midst of boundaries!

He goes on in verses 43-45:
"And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in your rules.
I will keep your law continually, forever and ever,
And I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts."

The freedom that the Psalmist rejoices in is a freedom with boundaries.

Freedom is not found in autonomy (I'm in charge of myself. I do what I want when I want) but is found in surrendering to the boundaries God has established. When we step outside of those boundaries, we are no longer in the wide open spaces of freedom, but we are in the constricting, suffocating, barely able to move woods of slavery.

We only come to truly recognize the joy of the freedom found in God's "wide open spaces" through Jesus Christ. John 8:32 and 36 show us that freedom is found only in the Truth and that Truth is realized in Jesus Christ alone!

This week live in the joy of the wide open spaces that God has created for us in the safe boundaries of his precepts (teachings). Enjoy the freedom. Stop testing the boundaries and longing for the woods of slavery.

The Good Things Vol. 3

Andrew Peterson has a new album called Counting Stars (available for pre-order here)

Here's a new video of one of the songs called Dancing in the Minefields

Monday, July 12, 2010

Vaca update

If you would like to see a few pics and read a few highlights from our trip, check out my facebook page and our family blog


We miss you all! See you on Sunday!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Horizontal & Vertical Consequences

Think back...maybe a year, maybe 5, maybe yesterday:

What was the worst punishment you ever received?

I've heard stories of parents forcing kids to eat things they didn't like, washing mouths out with soap, whippings with switches, doors removed from rooms, semester-long groundings and more. But, here's a question for you:

Why do parents punish?

We punish our kids because we know that actions have consequences. The older our kids get, the more those consequences will impact their lives. We want to teach them the reality of their sinfulness and their need for a savior and the truth that sin has consequences.

But what kind of consequences come from sin?

Horizontal Consequences

1. Sin effects the sinner

Sin enslaves! (Romans 6:17; John 8:34)
“Sin has a disintegrating, damaging impact upon the person committing the sin” (Norman, A Theology for the Church, p472)

The good news is that Jesus pulls us free from slavery to sin (John 8:35-36)

Here are a couple of signs that you're enslaved to sin:
Self-Centeredness (James 3:16)
Denial of Sinfulness (Matthew 7:3; 2 Samuel 12:1-15)

Sin effects our relationship to others

In Galatians 5:19-21 we see a list of actions associated with sinfulness. All of these acts destroy relationships and bring disharmony. They tear at the fabric of society. Just think about reasons couples break up and friends go separate ways. You can see so many of those reasons in Galatians 5:19-21.

Sin destroys relationships

While horizontal (relational) consequences of sin are serious, the first and most serious consequence of sin is neither in ourselves or in our relationship to others, but in our relationship to God.

Vertical Consequences

Sin effects our relationship to God

Sin brings the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:3; Exudus 32:10-11; Judges 2:14; Psalm 30:5; Jeremiah 10:24; Romans 1:18)

Wrath is "God's appropriate displeasure and resistance to human sin"

“God’s anger should not be equated with being excessively emotional or uncontrollable. He exercises patience and longsuffering toward human sinfulness. The nature of God, however, demands that he respond with holy disapproval to that which is contrary to his very being.” (Norman, ATFTC, p467)

The good news is found in 1 Thessalonians 1:10: Jesus delivers us from God's wrath!

Sin makes man hostile toward and alienated from God (James 4:4; Romans 5:10; Romans 8:7; Ephesians 4:18)

Kind of like what we see happening here:

Our sin is hostile toward God and that results in him expelling us from his presence. This is what we see happening to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:7, 22-24.

“We no longer seek or yearn for his presence; rather, we flee and hide from him. We live in fear of God and rebel against him. We express our hostility toward God in that we defy him. In the sense that he actively works to thwart our disobedience and rebellion, God can be said to be “hostile” to our intentions. Although we were created to live in harmonious dependence upon God, we contemptuously pursue paths that lead us away from the only one who can fulfill our deepest needs.” (Norman, ATFTC, p467)

Sin brings guilt

As we grow in our understanding of who God is and what he expects of us our responsibility to obey grows.

Sin results in punishment

Sometimes this punishment is the natural cause of the sin (STD's, cirrhosis of the liver, etc.) In every instance punishment is meant to draw us to God and the understanding that we are sinful and need a savior. (Hebrews 12:10-11) Especially for believers.

“Although a panful consequence of sin, God’s discipline of believers is a sign of their adoption and an encouragement toward sanctification.” (Norman, ATFTC, p469)

Sin causes death

Physical death (Genesis 3:19; 1 Corinthians 15:55-56)
Spiritual death (Genesis 2:17; Eph 2:1-3)
Final death (Revelation 20:14-15)

Recognize, with gratitude, what God, in Christ has saved you from. Recognize the reason for his discipline in your life. Recognize the impact your sin has on your relationships. Repent and be restored.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


A few quick thoughts from Romans 5:12-19

1. Sin produces death (v12)
2. All die because all sinned (v12)
3. Adam's sin brought condemnation for all (v16)
4. Death originated in man because of the sin of Adam (v17)
5. Life is in Christ (v17-19)

The idea of original sin is seen in the last word of v12: "sinned". The word that Paul chose (hemarton), and is translated "sinned" represents a single past action, not an ongoing or present action (which he could have said by using the word hamartanousin). We face the consequences of sin because of Adam's single past action.

Here's another way to think about it:

We are not sinful because we sin, we sin because we are sinful.

6. Sin is universal
Just look at the spread of sin: Genesis 3:4-6; Genesis 6:13; Genesis 8:21; Psalm 143:2; 1 Kings 8:46. The sinfection is immediate and total. Romans 3:10-18 reminds us that no one is without sin.

Not only does sin infect everyone, but it infects every part of who we are.

Sin infects the physical body (Romans 6:6, 12; 7:24; 8:10, 13)
Sin infects the Mind or Reason (Romans 1:21; 2 Corinthians 3:14-15; 4:4)
Sin infects the emotions (Romans 1:26-27; Galatians 5:24; 2 Timothy 3:2-4)
Sin infects the Will (Romans 6:17; 2 Timothy 2:25-26)

Sin is pervasive. It is a part of everyone's life. We all sin, and because we all sin, we all need a savior. As Paul says in Romans 5:16-17 the source of the cure of sin and death is Jesus. The life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is our cure.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Contemplate & Consider Vol. 20

A little preview of what we will be talking about at Flood Zone Sunday night: The Cross & the Prosperity Gospel

Consider this:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Christians & Technology

The rise of technology just in the span of my life has been meteoric. It's amazing how much things have changed even in the past 6 years...since Facebook first came on the scene. Check out this video for a taste of the significance of social networking and internet influence:

With these technological advancements come good and bad

Social networking sites offer unprecedented opportunities for communication and contact-and that is both the promise and the peril of the technology (Al Mohler)
What are the benefits of technology? What are the benefits of technology for the Church?

Jesus' great commission is well known and in the days of the early church God had prepared the way for the first missionaries to travel all over the known world in safety and speed due to the Pax Romana. The conquering peace throughout the region and the height of Roman technology (their roads) allowed for the swift spread of the Gospel. Today that opportunity for a "swift spread" is even greater.

For $1300 we can travel to the other side of the world in under 48 hours. In seconds we can find ourselves playing checkers with someone in the middle east. Technology affords avenues for the swift spread of the Truth of Jesus Christ like never before. Fulfilling the great commission is easier today than at any other time in history. But are we making the most of it?

All too often the technology that is around us does not lead to a greater fervor for the completion of our mission as the Church. Instead technology leads us to laziness. We want things fast and easy. But that is not the way sanctification works

The patter is this: the greater joys are obtained through struggle and pain, while brief, unsatisfying and often destructive joys are right at our fingertips. Why is this? (John Piper)
You have to make yourself pick up that nourishing theological book while watching a movie can feel so inviting (John Piper)
You frequently have to force yourself to get to devotions and pray while sleeping, reading the sports, and checking Facebook seem effortless. (John Piper)

How are you using technology? Are you using it to the Glory of God and for the spread of his fame around the globe...or is it a time-suck leading to laziness and sin?

One last thought from John Piper:

One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.

For more thoughts from Al Mohler on social networking and Christians, check out his article Facebook Turns Five: Thoughts on Social Networking

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Good Things Vol. 2-Free Audio Books

christianaudio.com offers a free audiobook every month!

This month I downloaded Fracis Chan's Book Forgotten God

In previous months I've been able to download Pilgrim's Progress (John Bunyan), The Pleasures of God (John Piper), and Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Don Whitney)

So, if you don't like to read, here's a chance to get some great Christian teaching in your ears, heart and mind without having to read a word...

But, I would encourage you to pick up a book this summer and read one. There's nothing like holding a book in your hands, smelling the pages and feeling the bulk of its pages move from your right hand to your left hand as you conquer it!

Funny or Not? Vol. 35-Watch the Drummer!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Target Missed-Doctrine of Sin Part 1

A few notes to start our discussion of sin:

Belief in one area always impacts belief in other areas. What we believe about the doctrine of sin effects what we believe about other doctrines.

Sin & what we believe about God:
-If God, being holy, expects holiness, then we are in deep trouble in our sin
“If, on the other hand, God is himself rather imperfect, or if he is an indulgent, grandfatherly type of being and perhaps a bit senile so that he is unaware of much that his going on, then the human condition is not so serious.” (Erickson, p580-581)

Sin & what we believe about humanity:
-If people are judged in comparison to the holiness of God then anything other than holiness is sin and deserves punishment.
-If people are judged in comparison to people, then just don’t kill anybody and you’ll be alright.
-If humans are free beings then they are responsible to bear the consequences for their sin
-If humans are basically good then the problems in this world can be fixed by a change in environment and behavior modification. There is no need for a savior
-If humans are basically sinful then the problems in this world are only solved by changing the nature of people. There is need for a perfect savior.

“If intended to reflect the nature of God, a human is to be judged not by comparison with other humans, but by conformity to the divine standard. Any failure to meet that standard is sin. If humans are free beings...then they are responsible for their actions, and their shortcomings will be graded more severely than if some determining force controls or severely limits the capability of choosing and doing.” (Erickson p581)

"Our approach to the problems of society will also be governed by our view of sin...if we feel that humanity is basically good or, at worst, morally neutral, we will view the problems of society as stemming from an unwholesome environment. Alter the environment, and changes in individual humans and their behavior will follow. If, on the other hand, the problems of society are rooted in radically perverted human minds and wills, then the nature of those individuals will have to be altered, or they will continue to infect the whole.” (Erickson, p581)

Sin & what we believe about salvation:
“If a human is basically good with intellectually and moral capabilities essentially intact, then any problems with respect to his or her standing before God will be relatively minor. Any difficulty may be merely a matter of ignorance, a lack of knowledge as to what to do or how to do it. In that event, education will solve the problem; a good model or example may be all that is needed. On the other hand, if humans are corrupt or rebellious, and thus either unable or unwilling to do what is right, a more radical transformation of the person will be needed. Thus the more severe our conception of sin, the more supernatural the salvation needed.” (Erickson, p581)

Sin & what we believe about the church:
“Our belief about sin also determines in large measure our view of the nature and purpose of the ministry of the church. If human beings are essentially good and capable of accomplishing what God requires, then the mission of the church is to exhort persons to achieve what is already in their ability to do. Appeals to kindness, compassion, generosity, and charity would be sufficient to move people in the right direction. If human beings are sinful, then our message is to proclaim the good news of salvation that comes by faith in Jesus Christ. in this case, the ministry of the church would engage sinful humans with calls to repent of sin, place one’s trust in Christ and be born again.” (Norman, A Theology for the Church, p411-412)
How does the Bible define sin?

1. Sin is missing the mark
2. Sin is going beyond an established limit
3. Sin is the absence of righteousness (sin is wickedness)
4. Sin is a departure from what is right and true (sin is lack of integrity)
5. Sin is rebellion
6. Sin is a breach of trust (treachery and unfaithfulness)
7. Sin is perversion
8. Sin is abomination

Sin is our active opposition to God

“Sin, biblically speaking, is not only the absence of good. it also entails our active opposition to God. it is, then, the defiance of his authority, the rejection of his truth, the challenge to his sovereignty in which we set ourselves up in life to live the way we want to live. It is the way we wrench ourselves free from obedience to him, cut ourselves off from his grasp, and refuse to let him be God. It is therefore all the ways we live life on our own terms, to our own ends, with accountability to no one but ourselves.” (David F. Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant, p102)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Contemplate & Consider Vol. 19

From the blog series "Twelve Appeals to Prosperity Preachers" by John Piper

Entire Post Here: Part VII: To Prosperity Preachers: Preserve Salt and Light

"The great tragedy of prosperity preaching is that a person does not have to be spiritually awakened in order to embrace it; one needs only to be greedy. Getting rich in the name of Jesus is not the salt of the earth or the light of the world. In this, the world simply sees a reflection of itself. And if they are “converted” to this, they have not been truly converted but only put a new name on an old life."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Systematic Theology Part 25-Equal Yet Different

You have $15 in your pocket. What will you spend it on? Your choices abound. There are so many things that cost $15. You can buy a DVD of The Simpsons Movie, a package of Alium flower bulbs (really crazy big purple ball-like flowers), a Five Iron Frenzy album, a steak, a rake or 8 boxes of Shake n' Bake. The choices are too many. Each of these items has their own benefits due to their differences. You may not know what to buy, but you know one thing: each of these choices have equal value despite their differences.

From the very beginning of creation man and woman have been seen as equal.

There are two main views in Christianity regarding the equality of men and women. They are defined by Alexander Strauch in the book Equal Yet Different.

Complementarian: God created men and women as equals with different gender-defined roles...the role differences promote godly manhood and womanhood and marvelously enrich family life as well as life in the local church...the fall of mankind into sin...created the battle of the sexes. (Strach, p6-7)

Evangelical Feminism (Egalitarian): The submission of the woman in marriage and womanly restrictions in Christian ministry are inconsistent with the true picture of biblical equality. They consider the equal-yet-different doctrine taught by complementarians to be a contradiction in terms...true biblical equality assures that both men and women are full and equal partners in life...men hold no unique, leadership-authority role solely because of their gender...one's gender does not determine one's status or role in life, nor does it limit spiritual giftedness and ministry opportunities. (Strauch, p8)

Any debate over godly/biblical manhood and womanhood has to start in the beginning. Genesis 1-3 provide a foundation for ANY conversation on the roles, relationships and authority of men and women.

Genesis 1:27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:27 establishes the equality of men and women as they are both made in the image of God. What kind of equality does the image of God imply?

Men and women have equal personhood
Men and women have equal value
Men and women have equal dignity
Men and women have equal responsibility to God

But does the equality proclaimed in Genesis 1:27 go beyond these 4 things? Does the equality extend to all areas and arenas of life?

We have to realize (as we will see in Genesis 3) that sin has marred the relationship between men and women and the understanding of equality. Thankfully we have Genesis 1 & 2 which are the only pre-fall (perfect/before sin) references to men's and women's roles, differences and extent of equality.

The reality is that men can do, for the most part, anything women can do. Movies like Mr. Mom, Mrs. Doubtfire and Daddy Day Care have shown this aptitude in men to take care of roles that are traditionally for women. Of course, men can't have babies-that is something uniquely female.

In the same way women can do, for the most part, anything men can do. (If you'd like to read a humorous story of Caroline's realization that she can't do everything a guy can do check out her blog)

But just because someone can do something doesn't mean they were intended or designed to do it. I can dig a hole with a spoon, but it doesn't mean the spoon was designed (or ideal) for that task. And if the spoon is occupied with digging a hole, what's helping eat the soup?

Genesis 2-3 give clear indication that men and women, while equal, were designed for different purposes. This doesn't mean they can't do things they were not designed for, but that would not be ideal. And if men and women are busy doing what they were not designed for, who is taking up the slack?

Genesis 2 establishes men as leaders:

1. God created Adam first
-Genesis 2:15: God placed Adam in the garden to care for it before Eve was formed
-Genesis 2:16-17: God gives Adam the first divine revelation and instruction before Eve was formed and trusts the man to pass that revelation and instruction on to the woman after she is created
-Genesis 2:19-God gave Adam responsibility (naming the animals) before Eve was formed

2. God formed woman out of man

3. God created woman for man
"She had her own biology, physiology, and psychology. She was made to coplement the man, to help him populate and rule the earth, and to unite with him as a loving companion-partner. This is the first statement in the Bible concerning the woman's role; she is to be a help to the man." (Strauch, p 23)

Now, before you get up in arms over the idea that women were created to be "helpers", look a little more closely at the idea of helper.

Helper or support is not a demeaning term. This term is often used of God as a "help to his people."

"To be a helper means that the woman has the necessary ability, fitness, resources, and strenght to be a help...for the Christian man or woman, whatever God calls us to do or be is just, good, holy and desirable." (Strauch, p23)

4. God gave Adam the right to name Eve

Feminists will say that submission and authority are introduced in Genesis 3 and are therefore a result of sin and the fall. Everyone agrees that sin has changed the male/female relationship for the worse, but the basic structure of authority, that, as we have seen, begins in Genesis 2, is still in-tact today. The differences are still there, though they have been marred by sin.

Genesis 3 recognizes differences in roles

1. Eve's Penalty afflicted her (and all women) with pain in her chief roles as mother and wife (3:16)

2. Adam's Penalty afflicted him (and all men) in his key roles as worker, protector and provider for his family.

Adam's penalty also brought death for all that Adam had authority over: his entire family, which includes us!

Notice also that in Genesis 3:9 Adam is the first one called to account for sin even though he was the 2nd to sin. This again speaks to his authority and responsibility over Eve.

People tend to get up-in-arms over teaching on gender in the New Testament. This is because they either reject or do not fully understand the foundation of gender equality, and differences, as they are defined at the beginning.

Let us understand and live the biblical truth of equality and differences and demonstrate this better way to the world.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sin? Why Not?

Want to live with poisonous snakes? A guy from England has decided he does. Here's a report from SkyNews:

A Sussex carpenter is hoping to break a world record by spending nearly four months in a room with some of the world's mos venomous snakes.

David Jones, 44, from Crawley, will carry out his 121-day challenge in Johannesburg on April 24.

His room-mates will include deadly puff adders, snouted cobras, boomslangs and green and black mambas.
That's CRAZY! I can, without a doubt, say that's something I would never do. But there are plenty of things I have done, and will probably do again, that are dangerous to my life, peace and joy. Daily we walk right into sin despite its deadly consequences. Why is this? Maybe its because we have an incorrect perspective of what sin is. Maybe its because we don't believe the consequences.

Here's a quote to help you get the right perspective of sin:
Sin, biblically speaking, is not only the absence of good. It also entails our active opposition to God. It is, then, the defiance of his authority, the rejection of his truth, the challenge to his sovereignty in which we set ourselves up in life to live the way we want to live. It is the way we wrench ourlseves free from obedience to him, cut ourselves off from his grasp, and refuse to let him be God. It is therefore all the ways we live life on our own terms, to our own ends, with accountability to no one but ourselves...the target missed, the path abandoned, the authority defied, the law transgressed are in each and every case God's. Sin is all about taking issue with God, defying him, refusing to submit to him, and displacing him from the center of existence.

David F. Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant, Page 102
Sin is not just about breaking a rule, its about defying God directly.

And this God that we so quickly and easily defy on a daily basis has given us ample warning as to the dangers of sin. Check out a few from Hosea 13:

Sin leads to death (v1)
Sin encourages sin (v2)
Sin is a waste of the talents God has given you (v2b)
Sin is a waste of the small amount of time you have (v3)
Sin ignores the goodness & greatness of God (v4-7)
Sin invites the wrathful discipline of God (v7-11)
Sin continued makes repentance difficult (v12-14)
Sin’s pleasures won’t last (v15-16)

There comes a point where you have to take the warnings and the consequences seriously...now is the time!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Contemplate & Consider Vol. 18

...if we begin to see the nature of sin, we are on the road back into reality. We are on our way back into the presence of God through Christ. It is not that the knowledge of sin alone suffices, but rather that it pushes us to seek our deliverance from it. Knowing about sin is therefore vital knowledge. There are none quite so lost as those who know little or nothing of their sin. Knowing about our sin, therefore, is something for which we should be deeply grateful.

David F. Wells, The Courage to be Protestant, p128

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Systematic Theology Part 23-A Sweet & Sour Creation that Matters Part 2

What if you woke up one morning and some important truths were suddenly no longer true?

What if, instead of bringing life, water now brings death?
What if, instead of remaining constant, the force of gravity was subject to change at any moment?

Would life change? You better believe it would!

What if one morning you woke up and scientists had proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God DID NOT create humanity? What if even the biggest advocates of creationism were jumping ship due to the new discovery? Would it change our beliefs? Is God's creation of humanity in the way the Bible accounts for it really foundational to other beliefs?

The Bible continually points to the truth that God created man, and not just in Genesis 1 & 2. We've already seen what happens when we don't believe in a common ancestry through a historical Adam and Eve, but what happens if we altogether reject the truth that God is the creator of mankind?

6 Significant Changes if Creation is Not True

1. Genesis 6:7-So the LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them."

Have you ever built a sand castle, block tower or house of cards and as you step back to admire your work of art someone comes along and destroys it? That can be upsetting...but why is it so upsetting? Because that person had absolutely NO authority to knock down your creation. You created it, so you have authority over it: to keep it intact or wipe it out.

If Creation is True, the creator God has authority.
If Creation is false, God's authority over man is undermined.

2. Malachi 2:10-
Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?

Blood is thicker than water. If it is true that God crated humanity then there should be a unity among all people. No racism because we are all the same race...the human race.

If Creation is True, the creator God unifies.
If Creation is False, divisions between men increase.

3. Psalm 100:3-
Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

We do not exist independently, roaming around freely with no protection. We have a shepherd who loves us and cares for us...even better than this shepherd:

If Creation is true, the creator God provides security.
If Creation is false, security is overcome by worry and fear.

4. Psalm 139:13-15-
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

If Creation is true, the creator God cares about life from the beginning
If Creation is false, respect for all life (no matter how small) diminishes

5. 1 Peter 4:12-13, 19-Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed...Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

I love the idea that we can still do good, even in the midst of suffering. A realization that we can still do good and that our creator has everything in hand will sustain us through suffering. Without that hope we succumb to despair and hopelessness.

If Creation is true, the creator God gives hope in suffering.
If Creation is false, hopelessness in suffering overcomes peace.

6. Revelation 4:11-
"Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."

If Creation is true, the creator God is worthy of worship.
If Creation is false, idolatry surpasses the worship of the true God.

A loss of the truth of creation puts man on top.

What humans are understood to be will color our perception of what needed to be done for them, how it was done, and their ultimate destiny. (Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, p481)
God's creation of mankind is not just foundational to the doctrine of humanity but also to our beliefs about God, the world, revelation, Jesus and salvation.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Good Things Vol. 1-New Music...FREE!!!

Here's a new feature I'm calling "The Good Things". In these posts you'll get music, movies, books, web-sites, and maybe even a recipe (probably involving bacon). Just some good things for you to check out when you have nothing else to do (or maybe instead of doing some other things that you have to do)

Let's start with some free music...good music!

Site 1: Come & Live!

Come & Live! free music downloads. All types of music. Check out the site to listen to samples then downloads something new...and GOOD!
Here are the bands:

Holding onto HopeSo Long Forgotten
Ascend the Hill
Great Awakening
Ian McIntosh
Preson PhillipsThe Ember DaysThe Frozen Ocean
Sons of God
White Collar Sideshow
I Am Alpha and OmegaReality LA
Daniel Bashta

Site 2: Brite Revolution

Brite Revolution is a collection of music from independent artists. These are new recordings that go up each month from each artist. You do have to register, but it's free to download the music.

Site 3: NoiseTrade

NoiseTrade is another place where artists can offer their music for free (or suggest a donation). It's not all Christian music, but there is some really good stuff on here worth checking out.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cross Central-Worse off than Frogs

You may have heard it said that the greatest display of love is the cross, and, in fact, it is an intense display of love. But what makes it such an intense display of love?

1. God shows his love by the intensity of his sacrifice

In Revelation 19:16 Jesus is described as the King of kings and Lord of lords. John 3:16 defines Jesus as the only Son of God. Hebrews 3:18 reminds us that Jesus is eternal and unchanging.

This isn't just some man dying for other men. This is the infinite, eternal ruler of the universe dying for his creation.

We tend to place men at a high place, separate from all other creation, but he true separation is between God and all he has made, including man.

There is a saying that goes:

Christ didn't die for frogs. So he was responding to our value as humans.

This saying implies that we deserved to be died for because we are so awesome. John Piper has a better way of looking at our position as humans:

We are worse off than frogs. They have not sinned. They have not rebelled and treated god with the contempt of being inconsequential in their lives. God did not have to die for frogs. They aren't bad enough. We are. Our debt is so great, only a divine sacrifice could pay it. (50 Reasons Jesus came to Die, p29)

2. God shows his love by the intensity of our unworthiness to be saved
According to Romans 5:7-8 we deserve divine punishment, not divine sacrifice, but that is exactly what we get: divine sacrifice that leads to eternal life.

While we were still sinners Christ died for us!

We benefit from the riches of his grace!

It's true that the cross is a great example of God's love for us. It is an intense example of God's love for us. But remember that its intensity is related to our sinfulness and his sacrifice. Don't let the cross make you proud by thinking, "Jesus died for me!" Instead let it humble you as you think, "Jesus died for me!"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Systematic Theology Part 22-A Sweet & Sour Creation that Matters Part 1

People are sweet.

People are sour.

Humans are capable of great acts of love, can create majestic works of art, and can even enter into a relationship with an infinite God; yet they are equally capable of horrific evil and cruelty and share many features in common with other animals. In the end, despite all their efforts to resist it, they die, and most are quickly forgotten. Scripture compares us to a mist 'that appears for a little while and then vanishes' (James 4:14). No wonder the psalmist marvels in amazement that God is mindful of us (Psalm 8:3-4).
(John S. Hammet, A Theology for the Church, p340)
And it is amazing that God is mindful of us, and even created us, knowing how sinful and rebellious we would be. But we do see special attention given to man in the Bible starting with the creation account.

There is a change in language used in Genesis 1 from "let there be" to "let us make" when God is making man. This shows that in some way the act of creating man is special and deserves special attention. The creation of man is described in much greater detail than any other act of creation. Animals and plants are mentioned in large groups, we don't even see the creation of the angels and the universe, galaxies, and planets are mentioned in just a few words.

So, what is man that God is mindful of him? Why did God bother creating us?

When people create or invent it is usually to fill a need, for convenience or for happiness. But God did not need to create us. It certainly didn't make things more convenient for him, so why did he create us?

4 Reasons God Created Man

1. God created man that man may glorify God (Isaiah 43:7)
2. God created man that God may delight in man (Isaiah 62:3-5; Zephaniah 3:17)
3. God created man that man may delight in God (Psalm 16:11; Psalm 27:4; Psalm 73:25-26; Psalm 84:1-2)
4. God created man that God may share life with man (John 10:10)

But when God created did he really just start with one man and one woman, Adam and Eve?

The Hebrew word "adam" actually means "dust, man, or mankind" and the Hebrew word for eve, or "hawwa" means "living one". These generic terms have led some to translate Genesis 1 & 2 as "mankind" and "human race" instead of the specific people Adam and Eve.

Does this mean that Adam and Eve are just metaphorical representations of all men and women? Are the two people that we know as Adam and Eve actually historical or did God create the whole human race at one point in time?

Paul (in Romans 5, 1 Corinthians 15 and Acts 17) certainly taught that Adam and Ever were actual people and the belief in Adam and Eve as real people provide an important foundation for other doctrines, beliefs and traditions. If we lose the foundation of Adam and Eve the actual historical beginning of the human race then an tower of beliefs crumble around it.

If Adam and Eve are not the historical beginning of the human race then...

...Traditional marriage collapses (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9)
Jesus points back to Adam and Eve as the starting point of marriage. God institutes marriage immediately after creating eve from Adam. Without Adam and Eve marriage dissolves.

...Racist ideals are strengthened (Acts 17:26)
If God created Adam and Eve first then the rest of us are descended from the same family line. This is part of Paul's argument in Athens. There are no races, only the human race. We are one big family. No one color is better than another because we all come from the same gene pool. Without Adam and Eve racism explodes.

...The universal sinfulness of mankind and the need for a savior disappear (Romans 5:12, 19; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22)
Paul points back to Adam as the source of all sinfulness and the need for Jesus. Without Adam and Eve there is no universal sin or need for a savior.

The creation of Adam and Eve as real people, and the first people through which the rest of mankind came, is foundational to important social concerns and eternal truths. We have seen the crumbling of marriage and family, the strengthening of racial tension and the loss of personal responsibility and understanding of sin. Much of this can be tied to a loss of the belief in the historical Adam and Eve which then turns into a rejection of the rest of God's revelation to man: the Bible and Jesus.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Funny or Not? Vol. 33

Contemplate & Consider Vol. 17

Watch your words!

A fool's lips walk into a fight,
and his mouth invites a beating.
A fool's mouth is his ruin,
and his lips are a snare to his soul.

Proverbs 18:6-7

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Systematic Theology Part 21-Do Angels Do What You Think They Do?

A few notes on what angels do:

Angels are ministers to God:

1. Angels are the first line of God's worshipers (Psalm 148:1-2; Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 5:11-14)

2. Angels are the first line of God's workers (Psalm 103:20-21)
-Angels patrol the earth (Zechariah 1:9-11)
-Angels assist Christ (Matthew 4:8-11; Luke 22:42-43
-Angels deliver messages (Daniel 9:20-23; Mark 16:4-10; Luke 2:8-14; Acts 8:26; 1 Thessalonians 4:16) They had the pleasure of announcing Christ's birth and resurrection and will announce his return!
-Angels administer wrath (2 Chronicles 32:21)
-Angels care for believers (1 Kings 19:1-8)

As we see in these last three (messages, wrath and care) angels also minister to believers. It is important to remember that, even when they are ministering to people, everything they dio is in worship and obedience to God.

Angels are ministers to Men:

1. Angels are ministers of God's judgment to man
-when a command of God is directly disobeyed (1 Chronicles 21:7-17)
-When God's people are surrounded by enemies (2 Chronicles 32:16-22)
-When God is not given the glory (Acts 12:20-24)
-In the final separation of the righteous and the unrighteous (2 Thessalonians 1:6-9; Matthew 13:36-43)
-In the final judgment of the earth (Revelation 16:1-21)

2. Angels are ministers of God's favor to man
-The favor of divine revelation (Galatians 3:19; Daniel 8:15-17; Luke 1:11-20, 30-32)
-The favor of divine protection (Genesis 19:1, 15-17; Psalm 91:11)

This brings up a question. If God uses angels as protectors of man, does this mean that guardian angels are real? Are there really individual angels charged with guarding individuals? If we could see into the spirit world, would it look something like this?

The bible gives clear examples of God using angels to protect believers (2 Kings 6:15-17; Psalm 91:11-12; Acts 5:19; Luke 16:22), and there is the traditional Jewish belief in guardian angels that carried over to the early Christians (Acts 12:6-5), but here are a couple of quotes to help balance the belief in guardian angels with what we know to be true:

There is insufficient evidence for the concept of guardian angels...A report indicating that certain disciples believed in guardian angels (Jewish tradition) does not invest the belief with authority. Some Christians still had mistaken or confused beliefs on various subjects.

Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, p469

Angels are great ministers from God and are important, but do not live in awe of the angels of God or fear of the fallen angels. Instead live in surrender, awe and worship of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Don't let your conversations always be about the side issues but about the most important issue-salvation in Jesus Christ.

I love the way the angel in Revelation 22 wraps this up:

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, 'You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!'

Revelation 22:8-9

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Start Here

Alex & Brett Harris' new book (you know, the guys who wrote Do Hard Things) is out...you can pick it up here. It gives you ideas on HOW to do hard things, some places to start, now that you know you need to do hard things.

Check out this little promo video about one girls trip to get the new book, Start Here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Systematic Theology Part 20-Wings, Harps, Weapons & Halos?

I’m beginning to think that people have a bit of an obsession with angels...

angel gifts
angel cults
praying to angels
angel guides
angel tattoos
angel sports teams
hells angels
angels with harps
baby angels
love angels
Highway to Heaven
Touched by an Angel
Angels in the Outfield
The Prophecy
It’s a Wonderful Life
City of Angels
guardian angels
animal angels
Blue Angels

It seems that what most people believe about angels they have learned form popular culture:

All angels have wings (and earn them). Angels look like people. Angles fall in love with humans. Angels really want to be human. People become angels. Angels hold the fate of the world in their hands.

But what is really true about angels? What are they like? What do they do?

According to the Bible, Angles are:

-Created, not eternal (Psalm 148:1-6)

-have emotions (Job 38:7), they worship (Psalm 148:2); they have conversations (Luke 1:13-17); make moral choices (Matt 25:31; John 8:44).

-Spirit (do not normally appear in bodily form)
-Hebrews 1:14; Matt 22:30 (don’t marry); Luke 20:36 (don’t die)
-occasionally reveal themselves in bodily form (Gen 18-19; Matt 28:5; Heb 13:2)
--2 Kings 6;17; Numbers 22:31-cannot be seen unless God opens our eyes to them.

-Appear w/ the brightness of God’s glory (Luke 2:9; Rev 18:1; Luke 1:19)-They are reflecting/manifesting the “glorious brilliance of the holy God from whose presence they have been sent.” (p296-A Theology for the Church)

-Wise but not omniscient-Matt 24:36 (don’t know the end time);

-Strong but not omnipotent
-Ps 103:20; Matt 28:2; Acts 5:19; Acts 12:7; Rev 10:1)-superhuman power (Col 1:16; Eph 6:12)

-Authority comes from God-Jude 9

"Angels derive their great power from God and remain dependent on his favorable will or permission to exercise it. They are restricted to acting within the limits of his permission.” (Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, p465)-even Satan

-Not omnipresent-Job 1:7; Dan 9:21; Dan 10:10-14; Luke 1:26

-Innumerable (Heb 12:22, Deut 33:2; Ps 68:17; Rev 5:11-12

-Michael, the archangel of Jude 9 “conveys some degree of authority and leadership over other holy angels. Michael exercises his authority as he leads a host of angels into battle against the great dragon, Satan, when war breaks out in heaven (Rev 12:7)”’
-Daniel 10:13-there are other princes
-Col 1:16-presumably the terms thrones, dominions, principalities and powers indicate order and ranking in the angels.

-Susceptible to evil-2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6;

Angels are amazing creatures, but as Millard Erickson says in Christian Theology:
"Every reference to angels is incidental to some other topic...When they are mentioned, it is always in order to inform us further about God, what he does and how he does it." (p459)

I find it interesting that people are often more willing to have a conversation about angels than about Jesus. People are obsessed with knowing more about angels and don't care to know more about Jesus. People give credit to angels and none to Jesus.

Hebrews 1:3-9 is very clear that Jesus is superior to the angels. Angels are created beings, and while powerful, they are not worthy of worship, praise or honor, especially when they are receiving praise and honor instead of Jesus.

As 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, we have built the study and belief of angels up against the truth of God. One particular area where this happens is in our beliefs about satan and fallen angels. While evil angels are real and Satan is surely real they are still angels. They are still subject to God. They are still limited in the same way other angels are. They cannot be everywhere. They are not all powerful. They don't know everything.

And most importantly, Jesus has already defeated them.

Angels are great ministers from God (as we’ll see next week) and are important. But do not live in awe of the angels or fear of the fallen angels. Instead live in surrender, awe and worship of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Don’t let your conversations always be about the side issues (angels and demons and such) but about the most important issue (salvation in Christ alone).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Systematic Theology Part 19-Creating Confidence

Have you ever noticed the differences between people that are confident and people that lack confidence? See if you agree with these:

Confidence means we make choices faster, easier, more boldly, without doubt and with certainty.

Lack of confidence shows itself with hesitation, uncertainty, doubt and fear.

The Doctrine of Creation gives us confidence, specifically in 3 areas. But why?

When you look at the story of creation in Genesis 1 and further into the Old Testament you see the creative act attributed to God. As you go through the Old Testament and into the New Testament you see that God created with ALL of who he is in that the Spirit and Son also contributed to the creative act along with the Father.

Genesis 1, Isaiah 37:16, Isaiah 44:24 and Isaiah 45:12 speak of the Father's Authority as the AUTHOR of creation.

John 1:1-3, 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16 and Hebrews 1:2 show how the Father created THROUGH the son.

And Genesis 1:2, Genesis 2:7, Psalm 33:6, Psalm 104:30, Job 26:13 and Job 33:4 talk about the Father giving life THROUGH the Spirit.

While we don't see the word "trinity" in the Bible creation is one of the doctrines in which the truth and reality of the Trinity is revealed and confirmed.

"It appears from scripture that it was the Father who brought the created universe into existence. But it was the Spirit and the Son who fashioned it, who carried out the details of the design. Although creation is from the Father, it is through the Son and the Holy Spirit." (Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, p399)

The doctrine of creation supports the truth that the Son and Spirit are eternal and the Son and Spirit are God.

God poured all of who he is into the act of creation and that can give us all kinds of confidence.

1. We can confidently WORSHIP God because he created

Remember that God is one. He does not need anything outside of himself. He is self-existent and self-sustaining. Understanding that, we know he did not have to create.

Worship goes back to the original purpose for which we were created. Creation helps us know that God is real, true and faithful...so we can worship him as real and true.

As you read the Old Testament you see examples of worship arising from the great acts of God, and you see those acts tied back to a common theme: his act as creator.

In Psalm 96:1-5 and Isaiah 43:1 God is worshiped as the Creator who Saves
In Psalm 121 and Psalm 124 God is worshiped as the Creator who Protects
In Isaiah 40:28-31 and Isaiah 42:5-6 God is worshiped as the Creator who Sustains
In Genesis 1:22, Genesis 1:28, and Psalm 115:15 God is worshiped as the Creator who Blesses

The writers of the Old Testament expressed worship to God not just for what he was doing but what he had done, in the beginning, in Creation.

When we reject or ignore the Doctrine of Creation we reject and ignore a foundation of true Worship.

2. We can confidently pray to God because he created

In Acts 4:23-30 we see the early church praying fervently for the brothers who are sharing Christ in the face of great persecution. What's interesting about their prayer is that it begins with faith, trust and hope in God as CREATOR.

As they pray to the creator God they are praying for boldness to witness. As Paul ministers he also appeals to God as creator as a foundation of his witness. (Acts 14:15; Acts 17:24)

3. We can confidently talk about God because he created

When you talk about God you are talking about a real and true God as evidenced in creation. This should give you confidence.

There is a lot at stake in the Doctrine of Creation. Without a proper biblical understanding of the doctrine certain things are bound to happen (and are as many, even in our churches, reject the doctrine of creation)

Idolatry increases
True worship decreases

Fear of man increases
Fear of God decreases

Confidence in us increases
Confidence in God decreases

Belief in the goodness of man increases
Belief in the sinfulness of man decreases

Talk of man and what he's done increases
Talk of God and what he's done decreases

A biblical understanding of creation is foundational to right biblical belief about God, man, life, worship, salvation and eternity.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Contemplate & Consider Vol. 16

Sin, biblically speaking, is not only the absence of good. It also entails our active opposition to God. It is, then, the defiance of his authority, the rejection of his truth, the challenge to his sovereignty in which we set ourselves up in life to live the way we want to live. It is the way we wrench ourlseves free from obedience to him, cut ourselves off from his grasp, and refuse to let him be God. It is therefore all the ways we live life on our own terms, to our own ends, with accountability to no one but ourselves.

..the target missed, the path abandoned, the authority defied, the law transgressed are in each and every case God's. Sin is all about taking issue with God, defying him, refusing to submit to him, and displacing him from the center of existence.

Page 102

Contemplate & Consider Vol. 15

From The Bible is Not Self Help by David Wells

But the point of studying Scripture is not therapy. Bible study is not self-help. We are not there to listen to our own voice that is crying from within. We are there to hear his voice that comes from outside our experience. And his Word is not one of many. It is the only Word that has been there from all eternity because it comes from the eternal God.

God, then, is not there for our use when we need him; we are here on earth for his use. He is not there for our benefit as if he were a product; we are here for his service.

5 Ways Sin is Serious

From Desiring God Ministries
John Piper

In Psalm 51, as he laments and repents of his adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah, David confesses at least five ways that his sin is extremely serious.

1. He says that he can’t get the sin out of his mind.

It is blazoned on his conscience. Verse 3:

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Ever before him. The tape keeps playing. And he can’t stop it.

2. He says that his exceeding sinfulness is only against God.

Nathan had said David despised God and scorned his word. So David says in verse 4,

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.

This doesn’t mean Bathsheba and Uriah and the baby weren’t hurt. It means that what makes sin sin is that it is against God. Hurting man is bad. It is horribly bad. But that’s not the horror of sin. Sin is an attack on God—a belittling of God. David admits this in striking terms: “Against you, you only, have I sinned.”

3. He doesn't justify himself.

David vindicates God, not himself. There is no self-justification. No defense. No escape. Verse 4:

…so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

God is justified. God is blameless. If God casts David into hell, God will be innocent.

This is radical God-centered repentance. This is the way saved people think and feel. God would be just to damn me. And that I am still breathing is sheer mercy. And that I am forgiven is sheer blood-bought mercy. David vindicates the righteousness of God, not himself.

4. He intensifies his guilt by drawing attention to his inborn corruption.

Verse 5:

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Some people use their inborn corruption to diminish their personal guilt. David does the opposite. For him the fact that he committed adultery and murdered and lied are expressions of something worse: He is by nature that way.

If God does not rescue him, he will do more and more evil.

5. He admits that he sinned not just against external law but against God’s merciful light in his heart.

Verse 6:

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

God had been his teacher. God had made him wise. David had done so many wise things. And then sin got the upper hand. For David, this made it all the worse. “I have been blessed with so much knowledge and so much wisdom. O how deep must be my depravity that it could sin against so much light.”

So in those five ways at least David joins the prophet Nathan and God in condemning his sin and confessing the depths of his corruption.

Excerpted and adapted from the sermon "A Broken and Contrite Heart God Will Not Despise."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Contemplate & Consider Vol. 14

"One's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

Luke 12:15

Funny or Not? Vol. 32

The T-Shirt War from Ibrahim Nergiz on Vimeo.

Dumpster Juice or Jesus?

Philippians 3:7-8
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.

Food, money, relationships, stuff...life. What is your treasure? Something eternal or something that will quickly fade with life and death. In Philippians 3 Paul encourages us with the treasure of his life, Christ. He considers everything else to be trash compared to the worth of Christ. This doesn't mean that food, money, relationships and stuff have no value, temporally, but compared to the eternal value of Christ they are like that juice you find at the bottom of the dumpster.

So, how do we value Christ? How do we use money, food, relationships and stuff in a way that shows the world we treasure Christ more?

Check out this John Piper Sermon Jam:

"The way we display the supreme worth of Jesus is by treasuring him above all things and then making choices which make the joy we have in his supreme worth manifest." (John Piper)

People need to see that we treasure Christ. That we treasure our relationship with him. That we understand the supreme value of eternity versus stuff.

Treasure Christ this week by keeping an eternal perspective in everything.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Christie's songs

Hey guys

We've put Christie's music on Noisetrade. You can download it for free! Just use the widget.

Systematic Theology Part 18: From Nothing to Something

God's creation is amazing. We've all experienced that to some extent. Whether it's the fog on the fog rolling across the lake, a shooting star, snow on the fields or a woodpecker in the back yard, you can see how amazing God's creativity and power are. There are some amazing images out there, and the further you go the more you can see the creative power of God. Modern technology has given us some incredible views of the universe. Here are two of those views:

Images from the Hubble Telescope

Planet Earth

We are not going to take on the Creation/Evolution debate here. We've talked about that at length before and will again in the future. Instead we are going to look at the ACT of creation. We'll find out why its important, what it means and how it affects our lives and our faith.

Creation is not just a thing but is also an act. Here's a definition of Creation as an act:

"The Christian doctrine of creation is the free act of the triune God to create the entire universe from nothing, as well as every creature for his own purposes and glory. (David Nelson, A Theology for the Church, p243)

But, why study creation as an act?

1. The doctrine of creation is fundamental to faith.

Hebrews 11:3 says: "By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible."

The beginning of a chapter on people that believed and acted in faith is grounded in the belief and faith that the world was created exactly the way Genesis one depicts it. Belief in creation is the first great belief in faith and, as we will see, is foundational to EVERYTHING else we believe.

2. The doctrine of creation is a significant part of the whole of scripture.

The theme of creation runs through the entire text, from the original creation in Genesis 1 to God's recreation, the new heaven and new earth, in Revelation 21-22. We will see this as we discover the key truths about creation. The doctrine of creation is not limited to Genesis 1 and 2.

"God's creative work plays a prominent role in the biblical presentation of God." (Millard Erickson, Chrisitian Theology, p393)

3. The doctrine of creation has historically been a highly important part of the teaching and preaching of the church.

The first part of the Apostle's Creed says, "I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth." The church fathers knew that our understanding of the doctrine of creation affects our understanding of other doctrines.

"Alter the doctrine of creation at any point, and you have also altered...other aspects of Christian doctrine." (Erickson, p393)

The church, in recent years, has lost much of this distinction. It's time to intelligently get it back.
Let's start by looking at 4 key truths that generate from this doctrine of creation and see how they affect our lives as Christians.

Truth 1: God created everything

Everything is a tough concept because when we often say "everything" we don't really mean everything. Someone might remark that they left "everything" out on the court or field, but they obviously still have something. Someone might promise to give "all they have" for someone else, when in reality they will hold something back. A mugger might tell someone to give them "everything" but they probably don't want the coupon for toothpaste or the grocery list that's in their pocket. They just want money and valuables.

We have to get past this limited understanding of everything and realize that when Genesis 1:1 says that God created "the heavens and the earth" this means he created EVERYTHING. Not just most, but all.

Genesis 1 isn't the only place we see this truth proclaimed. Check out Acts 17:24; Ephesians 3:9; John 1:3; Revelation 4:11; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 10:6; Acts 4:24; and Acts 14:15.

The Bible is clear about the extent of God's creating. He created it all.

And since he created it all, there couldn't have been anything to begin with, so

Truth 2: God created everything out of nothing (Ex Nihilo)

Hebrews 11:3-What is seen was not made out of things that were visible
Colossians 1:16-everything has its existence because of Jesus
John 1:3-if it was made, it was made by Jesus
Romans 4:17-He calls into existence the things that do not exist."

God created "without the use of preexisting materials...he did not fashion and adapt something that already existed." (Erickson, p394)

Again, this is hard for us to fathom. We have all participated in the act of creation: a piece of art, a meal, a song, an essay. We've all made something, but everything we make is limited to the material that we have.

The original act of divine creation is unique. It cannot be compared to how we create. It is not limited to what exists. It "brings into existence what does not exist."

Erickson helps us see why this is important to other doctrine, namely the doctrine of God:

"He brought into existence the very raw material he employed. If this were not the case, God would not really be infinite. There would be something else that also was, and presumably had always been...God brought the raw material into being and endowed it from the beginning with the characteristics he wanted it to have." (Erickson, p400)

Truth 3: God created everything good

One word repeats itself over and over again in the act of creation: "good". But, what does God mean by good? Our understanding of good is often just "adequate". For God, who is also good in the most perfect sense, good means perfect. God created the world PERFECT!

Being infinitely good, God could not have created something that was not perfectly good. This carries a few implications:

1. There was nothing evil within God's original creation
2. God created the world with order and purpose
3. The goodness of creation places the responsibility for sin and evil on us. Human sin is an exercise of human freedom and therefore our responsibility, not just and outgrowth of our environment or society.

Since everything was created perfectly good, then it follows that

Truth 4: God created everything with intrinsic value

Matthew 6:26-30 shows God's love and care for a world with value.

"God loves all of his creation, not just certain parts of it. Thus we should also have concern for all of it, to preserve and guard and develop what God has made...Christians should be at the very forefront of the concern for the preservation and welfare of creation, because it is what God has made." (Erickson, p411)

This intrinsic value is lost on many of us. We value things that we want, and if we don't want it or care about it then it has no value to us. So, then, if we don't want it, we just throw it out. That's how babies end up in the trash. They have no intrinsic value in someone's mind. For God, though, his whole creation is of great value. He values us so much that he has rescued us from sin and suffering for all eternity through Jesus' very own suffering on the cross.

These truths should, in some way, impact how we live as Christians. Here are 4 ways we should be changed.

Since God created everything, we should love open-handed, realizing that we really own nothing. It's all his. He has blessed us with what we have so we can bless others.

Since God created everything out of nothing we should live humbly, realizing that, even in our greatest moments of inspiration and creativity we cannot compare to the creativity and power of God.

Since God created everything perfectly good we have to take responsibility for our sin, not excusing it by saying we are "just human".

Since God created everything with value we must respect and care for life. Recognize the dignity that even the elderly and disabled have. Protect the unborn. Care for the world God has given us.

If you're struggling with the science and the "proof" of evolution and all that you've learned that hits against the doctrine of creation, here are a few books to help your further study: