Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Me...Prideful? No! Well...

From the IX Marks Blog:

"God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
James 4:6

In his booklet From Pride to Humility, Stuart Scott has compiled an insightful list of 30 biblical indicators as to whether pride is resident in our hearts. Read these slowly and prayerfully.

1. Complaining against or passing judgment on God (Numbers 14:1-4, 9, 11; Romans 9:20)

2. A lack of gratitude (2 Chronicles 32:25)

3. Anger (Proverbs 28:25; Matthew 20:1-16)

4. Seeing yourself as better than others (Luke 7:36-50)

5. Having an inflated view of your importance, gifts and abilities (Acts 12:21-23)

6. Being focused on the lack of your gifts and abilities (1 Cor. 12:14-25)

7. Perfectionism (Matthew 23:24-28)

8. Talking too much (Proverbs 10:19)

9. Talking too much about yourself (Proverbs 27:2; Galatians 6:3)

10. Seeking independence or control (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; Ephesians 5:21)

11. Being consumed with what others think (Galatians 1:10)

12. Being devastated or angered by criticism (Proverbs 13:1)

13. Being unteachable (Proverbs 19:20; John 9:13-34)

14. Being sarcastic, hurtful, degrading, talking down to them(Proverbs 12:18, 24)

15. A lack of service (Galatians 5:13, Ephesians 2:10)

16. A lack of compassion (Matthew 5:7, 18:23-35)

17. Being defensive or blame-shifting (Genesis 3:12-13; Proverbs 12:1)

18. A lack of admitting when you are wrong (Proverbs 10:17)

19. A lack of asking forgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24)

20. A lack of biblical prayer (Luke 18:10-14)

21. Resisting authority or being disrespectful (1 Peter 2:13-17)

22. Voicing preferences or opinions when not asked (Philippians 2:1-4)

23. Minimizing your own sin and shortcomings (Matthew 7:3-5)

24. Maximizing others’ sin and shortcomings (Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 18:9-14)

25. Being impatient or irritable with others (Ephesians 4:31-32)

26. Being jealous or envious (1 Corinthians 13:4)

27. Using others (Matthew 7:12; Philippians 2:3-4)

28. Being deceitful by covering up sins, faults, and mistakes (Proverbs 11:3; 28:13)

29. Using attention-getting tactics (1 Peter 3:3,4)

30. Not having close relationships (Proverbs 18:1-2; Hebrews 10:24-25)

Contemplate & Consider Vol. 13

"No one can come to Christ without having some knowledge of who God is. But after one comes to Christ, the issue is whether knowledge grows or stays puny and vague. Unfortunately, a flea could wade in the depth of knowledge about God in the mind of the average Christian."

R.C. Sproul, Renewing Your Mind, p30.

Christie and I had an interesting conversation this morning about the lack of the knowledge of God among Christians. It was sparked by and article by Al Mohler with reference to blatant heresies the the popular (10 million copies sold) book The Shack. (Read the Article Here)

People have claimed that The Shack has helped them understand God better and draw closer to him. The problem presented by Mohler is that the god of The Shack is not the God of the Bible.

The question Christie and I were discussing is, "whose fault is it that Christians are comforted by a book full of false teaching about God?" Is it the church's fault that they are not teaching the Truth of God in a more accessible way? Is it the Christian's fault that they will not Love the Lord with all their MIND!

This quote from R.C. Sproul puts the majority of the responsibility on us, the Christian. Yes, the church needs to teach Truth in a way that can be understood, but the individual Christian needs to be less overwhelmed by tough reading and less easily satisfied by heretical fiction and heretical "spirituality" that is smeared all over tv, magazines and popular matter how accessible.

If we knew the Word and the God who has revealed himself in the Word better we would be less comforted, intrigued and deceived by culturally accessible, yet unbiblical, notions of God.

There is more glory, peace and hope packed in one morsel of the reality of the One True God than in all the books and ideas of man.

Systematic Theology Part 15-Who put Him in Charge?

A Ship Captain.

A Prison Guard.

A Lunch Lady.

A Lifeguard.

A Head Elf.

A King.

Why this strange list of individuals (and mythical creatures) here? Well, they all have something in common. Each of these people/mythical creatures has authority in a particular arena. They are the uncontested ruler of that arena. If you contest their authority or their rule then you will face consequences. You could even say that they are sovereign over that arena.

But, their sovereignty is limited. You won't find the lunch lady telling you to "only take one" in the dairy section of the grocery store. You won't find a lifeguard standing in your living room telling you to get out of the pool because it's "adult swim."

God's sovereignty, however, is unlimited. Let's start by defining sovereignty.

A sovereign is an unlimited and uncontested ruler, superior to all others in power, rule and authority.

In Revelation 19:16 God is defined as King of kings and Lord of lords. If there is anyone who is ultimately sovereign-superior to all others-it is God. Here are a few more verses you can look up that talk about God's sovereignty:

Acts 4:24; 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 6:10; Philippians 2:9-11; Psalm 59:13; 1 Chronicles 29:11; Colossians 1:16.

These passages make it clear that God is in charge; that he is sovereign. But why? Who put him in charge? Why is he the one who gets to be sovereign.

Could you imagine:

A mime as a radio dj?
A blind man as a brain surgeon?
A janitor that vomits at the smallest bad smell?
A Mob boss as a police chief?
A chef that can't taste or smell?
A lion tamer that looks and smells like a raw steak?

Of course not! Because there are specific characteristics needed for every position. Especially for the position of King of kings and Lord of lords! BAsed on his attributes, God is the ONLY ONE capable of absolute sovereignty.

We've spent 10 studies talking about the attributes of God because those attributes help us recognize and understand HOW God can and is the only true sovereign.

According to A.W. Tozer in his book The Knowledge of the Holy, "to be sovereign God must be all-knowing, all-powerful, and absolutely free...Were there even one datum of knowledge, however small, unknown to God, His rule would break down at that point."

God's sovereignty flows naturally from his infinity!

He is infinite in all his attributes. No one else is infinite so no one else can be King of kings. We can rule in certain arenas over certain groups of people, but only God is capable of ultimate sovereignty. Here are a couple more quotes to think about:

“Can we imagine the Lord God of Hosts having to request permission of anyone or to apply for anything to a higher body? To who would God go for permission? Who is higher than the Highest? Who is mightier than the Almighty? Whose position antedates that of the Eternal? At whose throne would God kneel? Where is the greater one to who He must appeal? ‘Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is not God.’” (Tozer, p171)

”Since God has created all that is, this means that God owns everything. Everything is God’s because God made it all. If some other god had made some part of creation, then that part of creation would belong to that god. But there are no other gods, and everything in creation has been made by the one true and living God. Since God created all things, then God (alone) is the rightful owner of all things. To take it one step further, we can see that since God created all that is, and since he, then, is the rightful owner of all that is, God also is the rightful ruler of all that is. Everything that God made is his, and he alone has rights to rule over it and use it however he wishes.” (Bruce Ware, Big Truths for Young Hearts, p63-64)

What does God do with this sovereignty that he has?

1. God provides
God always provides what is Good (James 1:17, Psalm 34:10, Psalm 84:11). But we have to eep eternal perspective in defining “good”. Remember that God is eternal and all-knowing.

God provides ultimate protection(Romans 8:31-32). Now and eternally in salvation. Even in the death of those who love and follow God ultimate good is provided.

God provides exactly what we need (Matthew 6:30-34). "The God who sees the needs in his creation is the God who will exercise his power wisely to provide for his creation.”(David Nelson, A Theology for the Church, p268)

This relates to something we all tend to do...a lot. Grumble and complain. God’s sovereignty as provider is the number one reason we should not grumble or complain.

”A grumbling spirit is sinful, because it fails to recognize God’s goodness and kindness in providing for us every good thing in life that we enjoy. Instead of grumbling, we should accept both what God gives us and what he chooses not to give us, because in both cases he does what is best for us.” (Ware, p69)

“The Lord Jesus Christ has shown an enormous degree of favor on us by providing for our every need, and to complain is to offend Him to the same degree.” (Ken Ham)

2. God Directs
"God has a plan for the world he made. he didn’t create the world wondering what might happen. He didn’t create the world and then leave it alone to run by itself. Rather, God created the world with a very complete plan for how the world would develop and what would be accomplished through it.” (Ware, p65)

In Daniel 2:21 we see God's sovereign direction in 3 areas.

A. God directs Nature
“He Changes the times and seasons”
Psalm 135:5-7; Psalm 29:8-10; 1 Kings 17:4

B. God Directs the Rulers of the Earth
“He removes kings and sets up kings”
Romans 13:1; Isaiah 10:5-13

C. God Directs YOU
“He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding”
1 Samuel 2:6-7; Galatians 1:15-16; Psalm 31:14-15

God’s sovereignty is total and complete: He rules over ALL! (Psalm 103:19)

So God is infinite in all his attributes and this demands his sovereignty. His sovereignty means he has complete rule over all of life. What does this mean for you in everyday life?

1. You can trust him fully
2. You don’t need to worry
3. You can be confident in his sovereignty even when we don’t understand everything.

Stay tuned as we tackle two of the "sticky" topics that always come up in a discussion of God's sovereignty: The problem of pain, evil and suffering and the human will.

Monday, January 25, 2010

ULead-What's your purpose?

Last Night Paige encouraged us how we can be sure we are living in God's purposes for us as adults. She reminded us that it starts right now with 4 things God commands all Christians to be involved in:

1. A relationship with Christ-If you are not in Christ then you cannot know or follow the plan God has for you.
2. Spiritual growth-We must develop the mind of Christ, growing in wisdom
3. Connection with the church-for encouragement and accountability. This will help us stay on the right path
4. Sharing our faith-a command for all Christians, no matter how young or old.

If we will do these 4 things NOW then we will stay on the path has for us, leading us exactly where he wants us to be in the future. God promises to complete the work the has started in us and promises to take us exactly where he wants us to go. But we can't sit around and wait for that to happen. We have to be active NOW in the things we KNOW he has already commanded us to do.

Follow and obey in the small things now and you will find it easier to follow and obey in the big things later!

Funny or Not? Vol. 30

C' know I love bacon!

Friday, January 22, 2010


37 states have laws on the books defining homicide and the killing of the unborn...yet the killing goes on through abortion. Kevin DeYoung gives a quick overview of the state laws, abortion's true impact since Roe v. Wade, and a thought from the Word.

Check out a DeYoung's summary the state's laws here and abortion's impact here.

and Fetal Homicide State Laws here.

and a web-site dedicated to education on abortion at Abort73

How Much is Media a Part of Your Life?

Here's an interesting article about the number of hours children and teens spend using media, the potential impacts and the responsibilities of parents.

Like the Air They Breathe by Albert Mohler

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Some Great Shirts...for a pretty good price!

Check out for some great Christian shirts for a good price, especially in the clearance section. Here's a few I like:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Crazy! Human Jumbotron

This is incredible...the time that have to put into something like this...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Joey Update Vol. 26

Mabrouk bar chiji! Happy New Year to one and all!

I should begin with thanks as I am very thankful for you all and to our
Father who brought you into my life at this time. I am one of His "spoiled
bairns" as Oswald Chambers would say. Thank you all again for your
generosity in giving to this work I'm doing. I am constantly floored but
then I rise up again in praise.

Ah, the narrative. Since you last heard from me, I and my teammate have been
plugging away at storying. Each week our storycrafter came by to record a
new story and we were all working hard on recording them. As I remember I
asked pr'yer for this very thing, that we would at least have all the
stories in this story set recorded by the year's end. This has been done!
The work which remains is to test the stories and smooth out rough spots in
recrafting them.

I had a few good encounters and now that we recorded the central Story, I
was able to share it in its proper context a few times. Although the work on
them is not done yet, the stories we have recorded are useable. Once I met
with a friend of mine and he took me to where he was staying. It so happened
to be with other N. people and I brought the stories with me. One of those
listening was a teacher of 'sl@m and we got into a good conversation
afterwards. Another time I headed out to a village for a meeting of several
villages together and so many people were present. I again played the many
stories we have recorded.

After a few short weeks in our town we again returned to the capital to
celebrate Christmas. So, we've been in the capital since last week, our week
of feasting. We gathered together a few times in fact to celebrate and sing
the reason of our joy. This week and next while we are here, we hope to make
inroads to other N. speakers who are willing and able to hear and retell the
stories. This is a big part of testing them, as a big thing we are looking
for in testing is that the story is understandable and retellable. Already
this week, we've had a few successes in testing some of the stories that
need it.

-Our time in NDJ has been restful and fun with the whole team of us
-We have gotten all the stories in this first set recorded!
-We've made some headway already in testing the stories.

-That our time in the capital would be productive in more ways than one
-We have another consultant coming to meet with us next week and see how we
can use these stories further to start Groups. Lift up his time here and his
advice to us.
-There is a group of Followers of J. that is next week headed up north on
their annual trip by camel. I have been asked to send this along as a
Request so you all can help lift it up. Although this is not a direct part
of our work with N. people, they are doing kingd0m work just like us. Please
lift up their trip.

Thank you all again. I hope you all be blessed beyond your imaginings.


Systematic Theology Part XIV-Does God have a Dark Side?

We all have a dark side. You know, those characteristics that are ugly and mean and get us in trouble when they show up. Those characteristics we don't want anyone else to see. Those characteristics that lead us toward sin and evil.

Just for fun, check out this link if you want to see an example of a battle between these two sides (the light and the dark) from one of the greatest movie trilogies of the last decade (Gollum vs. Smeagol)

Does God have a dark side? Does ha have attributes that aren't very attractive, at least in the way that people live them out? Let's look at a few attributes of God that, when lived out by those made in his image, usually only show up on the dark side.

Exodus 20:3-5-God is jealous
Isaiah 48:11-God is selfish
Romans 1:18-God is wrathful

We know that God is perfect and that he does not sin, so if he is jealous, selfish and wrathful he must be able to hold those attributes sinlessly. But how?

To understand how God can be jealous, selfish and wrathful and still be sinless we have to try to understand another, all-encompassing attribute of God: Holiness

According to Exodus 15:11 Holiness is uniqueness. The Hebrew word "qadosh" means "marked off", "withdrawn from common, ordinary use", and "to separate."

"God's holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered, we know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable." (A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy, p163)

In Habakkuk 1:13 we also see that holiness is Absolute Purity.

God is "untouched and unstained by evil in the world." (Millard Erikson, Systematic Theology, p311)

God is Holy. What can we know about God's holiness?

Truth 1: God’s Holiness is a distinct characteristic (Revelation 15:4)
“Holy is the way God is. To be holy He does not conform to a standard. He is that standard. He is...incapable of being other than he is.” (Tozer, p163)

(Hosea 11:9)-Holiness distinguishes God from Man

Truth 2: God’s holiness contrasts perfectly to man’s sinfulness (Isaiah 6:1-5)

“We cannot grasp the holiness of God without at the same time recognizing our own unworthiness and sinfulness before such a God.” (ATFTC, p224, George)

Isaiah’s reaction in verse 5 tells us something else about God’s holiness.
Truth 4: God’s holiness makes sinners fear (Psalm 96:9)

“These two are inseparable linked: a high sense of God’s majesty and holiness, and the apprehension of radical depravity and human sin.” (Timothy George, A Theology for the Church, p225)

Not only do we need to have a sense of fear in the midst of God’s holiness, but sin should disturb us more than it does.

“Until we have seen ourselves as God sees us, we are not likely to be much disturbed over conditions around us as long as they do not get so far out of hand as to threaten our comfortable way of life. We have learned to live with unholiness and have come to look upon it as the natural and expected thing.” (tozer p162)

It’s not often that something goes from scary to joyful, but one place where you can see this clearly happen is on a roller coaster. Check out this video:

It should be the same way for those who have been rescued from sin. That fear we once felt in the presence of God's holiness should give way to joy!

Truth 4: God’s holiness makes the rescued joyful (Isaiah 41:13-14, 16)
In his holiness God has set us free from sin. We no longer need to fear his holiness but have the confidence to come to him joyfully. (Hebrews 10:22)

Truth 5: God’s holiness spreads to all of his attributes (Psalm 77:13)
“Because He is holy, His attributes are holy; that is, whatever we think of as belonging to God must be thought of as holy.” (Tozer, p163)
Which means that his jealousy, selfishness and wrath are holy...but how?

How can God be jealous and still be holy? People are jealous when they have a rival. God's jealousy shows up in the same circumstances. The difference is that, for God, there is no worthy rival. He is the ultimate, so anything that challenges for his glory is challenging the supreme. While there are many "gods" and "lords" in this world there is only one TRUE God. The God who gives us life and sustains our life. (1 Corinthians 8:4-6)

God is jealous to defend His own honor. He will not accept any rivals! His jealousy preserves his holiness and shows his love for us in wanting us to have the best.

How can God be selfishness and still be holy? People are selfish about what they love most...themselves. Selfishness is seeking your own comfort and well-being “to the disregard and even the detriment of others.” (Erickson p314) We are taught that selfishness is a terrible sin...that it is possibly the root of many/all other sins.
According to Luke 10:27 what is to be loved most is God. That is the first and greatest commandment. Selfishness only becomes sin when it causes us to prefer something more than we prefer God.

“Even an unselfish preference of some other person rather than God is wrong.” (Erickson, p314)
Even God obeys this first commandment which means he has to love God his selfishness he preserves his holiness in obeying the first and greatest commandment: to love the Lord God. The bible says time and again (example in Ezekiel 20) that God does what he does for his names sake. The good thing for us is that we often benefit for his name's sake.

How can God be wrathful and still be holy? Because true wrath is a perfect hatred for all sin
We talked on Sunday night about what makes you angry...what brings out your wrath. We said that God’s wrath comes when he’s insulted. This helps us understand how his wrath remains holy and sinless, unlike our wrath.

Exodus 32:9-10-An unwillingness to repent brings out the wrath of God
Deuteronomy 9:7-8-Rebellion brings out the wrath of God
John 3:36-Rejection of Jesus brings out the wrath of God
Romans 1:18-Suppression of the the Truth brings out the wrath of God

The wrath of God is always in response to sin and ultimate rescue for us all.

“Every wrathful judgment in the history of the world has been a holy act of preservation.” (Tozer, p166)

In 1 Peter 1:15 we are encouraged to be Holy because God is holy and it is an attribute that he has given to us and is perfecting in us. Jealousy, wrath and selfishness are hard ones for us to put in the holiness category, so don’t think you can do it easily. But here are a few ways you can and should practice holy jealousy, holy selfishness and holy wrath

Practicing Holy Jealousy: We should also be jealous to defend God’s honor when we see other people and things receiving the worship that should be for him alone.

Practicing Holy Wrath: Defend God’s honor. Don’t let the jokes about Jesus, God, or the church go uncontested.

Practicing Holy Selfishness: Honor God with your time, your money, and your mind.

Funny or Not? Vol. 29

That's one impressive voice on that rooster...great length on that scream!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winterfest Pics!

Christmas Party Pics

Systematic Theology Part XIII-Now These...I Like!

There are some things that everyone can agree about liking. The look of fresh snow on the ground. The first day of summer break. The smell of baking cookies. Bacon. With God there are some attributes that everyone likes. These attributes are his Love, Goodness and Righteousness.

God's Love

1 John 4:8, 16 tells us that God is love. Often when we talk about God’s love we are thinking in a people-centered way. We think about God’s love as it relates to us. It’s true...God does love us (as we are about to see) but it’s important to understand that God’s love did not start with the creation of the world and people. According to John 17:24 God's love extends to eternity past. Before the foundations of the world he loved Jesus.

Love is a attribute of God. It always has been and always will be. God takes great joy in loving us, his creation, but before we existed he still loved.

“Had God chosen never to create the world or human beings within it, he would not suffer a deficiency of love.” (Timothy George, A Theology for the Church, p226)

God expresses the full essence of love within himself...within the trinity.

God has perfect love within himself. He receives and gives love perfectly within the Trinity. God was not obligated to share this love with us, but he has! How does God love?

Jonah 4:2-God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love
Zephaniah 3:17-God rejoices over us, quiets us in his love
John 3:16-Loved us and sent his son to save us
Romans 5:8-While we were still sinners Christ died for us

God has passed down this love to his children. John 13:35; 1 John 2:9-11; and 1 John 4:8, 16
remind us that if you are in Christ and Christ is in you your first instinct should be one of Love.

God's Goodness

We use the word "good" to describe a myriad of actions and objects. A person can be called good if they don't do what is considered bad. A basketball shot or football field goal can be called good if it is accurate. A movie, book or cd is called good if it's enjoyable. Food is good if it tastes good and satisfies.

The multiplicity of definitions for "good" may confuse us or limit our understanding of what it means for God to be good. Here's a definition:

“The goodness of God is that which disposes Him to be kind, cordial, benevolent, and full of good will toward men.“ (A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, p127)

How is God good?

God is Gracious
“God’s expression of goodness in His not giving us our due punishment” (David Nelson, Systematic Theology Class Notes, p83)

God is a great gift giver. Gift givers don’t give gifts based on how good you’ve been. Gift givers give gifts out of love and grace. If gifts were based on how good we’ve been, all of us would get boxes full of coal, or maybe even angry spitting cobras. That’s what we deserve. In the case of eternity we deserve hell, but that’s not what we get. Instead...

Ephesians 2:5-9-gift of God for salvation shown in Christ Jesus
Titus 2:11-results in salvation
Titus 3:4-7-gives us an inheritance in eternity

“If God gave to all what they deserve, none would be saved.” (Millard Erickson, Systematic Theology, p322)

God is Merciful
“God’s pity and goodness expressed toward those in distress.” (Nelson, p83)

What's the difference between grace and mercy? According to Erickson:
"if grace contemplates humans as sinful, guilty, and condemned, mercy sees them as miserable and needy.” (Erickson, p322)


“God deals with his people not on the basis of their merit or worthiness, what they deserve, but simply according to their need” (Erickson, p320-321)

Psalm 103:13-mercy as compassion-the way a father has compassion to a child
Exodus 3:7-8-delivering Israel from slavery
Mark 1:40-41, Matthew 14:14-mercy in healing

As a pastor I see a lot of need. People without food, without homes, without heat, without hope. We should show mercy when we see these needs, but we always need to remember:

The greatest need any person has is rescue from sin!

And God is patient in providing this rescue from sin!

God is Patient
“The expression of God’s goodness in withholding due punishment over a period of time.” (Nelson, p83)

Psalm 86:15-slow to anger, steadfast love
Romans 2:4-his patience is for the purpose of leading us to repentance
2 Peter 3:15-count the patience of the Lord as salvation

God is “withholding judgment and continuing to offer salvation and grace over long periods of time” (Erickson, p322)

Our culture is built AGAINST patience. People get upset when the satellite stalls or the light doesn’t change at the right time or the lady in front of you at Wal-Mart decides to write a check instead of sliding the card. We can't believe it when our fast food order doesn't come in under 3 minutes or when our waiter doesn't refill our sweet tea the moment we drink the last drop. Our understanding of patience is largely gone, so don't think of God's patience as human patience. His patience has lasted thousands of years and continues today. May we take on a more Godly patience with those around us.

God is Righteous

Psalm 11:7 tells us that God is righteous. How does God show his righteousness?
His Law is Perfect (Psalm 19:7)
His Actions are Perfect (Jer 9:24-practices righteousness)

“God commands only what is right, and what will therefore have a positive effect on the believer who obeys.” (Systematic Theology, p313, Erickson)

God is Just

God's righteousness leads to his justice (Job 34:12). How is God just?

God punishes sin (Gen 2:17; Rom 6:23)
God rewards righteousness (Psalm 58:11)

All of these attributes all come together and are revealed in their fullness at the cross (Romans 5:8). The cross of Christ is the ultimate display of love, grace, mercy, patience, righteousness and justice. Are you grateful for that?

Write a letter of thanksgiving to God for each of these attributes:
Why are you thankful for God’s love?
Why are you thankful for God’s goodness?
Why are you thankful for God’s righteousness?
Why are you thankful for God’s justice?

Tell Him!