Monday, September 28, 2009

God reigns through the gospel

I loved what our Pastor, Tim Presson, said yesterday speaking about I Cor. 15:3-4, he said, "This is the gospel regardless of what we say or do." (Tim of Tim paraphrase). I was thinking about it today and thought about the proclamation that songs make so often, "You reign" being one of them. I like the song but my proclamation or realization of it does not 'solidify' the fact that He reigns, he reigns whether I believe it or not. That is what Pastor Tim was saying, you can believe it or not, that doesn't make it any less or more of the gospel, it is the gospel regardless.

Praying you believe.

Your boasting friend,


Friday, September 25, 2009

Pornification and the gospel call

So I was driving down the road the other day and saw a sign that was advertising a new show. Now I don't want to be one that would disparage everything that the world does and label it as garbage and not worthy of my time. There are many pursuits in the arena of God's common grace over everyone that are worth time and investment. Many of them cannot be found on TV, one reason the family decided to ditch it. That is for another post, I digress.

I saw the advertisement for, Californication, please don't say that you watch it for a better aim at sharing the gospel. All you can see on the billboard is David D.(sp?) and he is in between the girls who are walking up these steps. It is obvious what they are selling and it does sell very well. But the star has already seen the distress that it has placed on his life, after entering a sex rehab in California. Again, I digress. On the way back from work I get Cougar Town and then to top them all off I get the lie that, "The early church welcomed a gay man" also "would Jesus discriminate?" all within a 20 mile ride from Grand Prairie to Dallas on I30.

Why do I bring this up? We are bombarded everyday with the images and ads that titillate the mind. But further, think of it this way, what a society celebrates in the open is only a symptom of a greater sickness. There is no truth but what comes into your desire, if you like it and desire it then it must be good. I think this is where the gospel is counter cultural, it makes you think in opposite of your desires. What desire comes up in my life isn't to be displayed as true and celebrated unless I have made a conscious effort in bringing it in line with the gospel. Is it difficult in our society, YES! That is the whole point! We have instant access to our desires because that is what a society that celebrates these things does.

So the pornification of the society goes on and will continue to go on in a society that celebrates our own desires. Whatever you want you can have because if you desire it it must be good. I hope that attitude never gets into the chur...oops.

Boast in the gospel.

Your boasting friend,


Thursday, September 24, 2009

I was in the bathroom this morning brushing my teeth and I heard this tune playing in Samuel's crib:

Hush, little baby, don't say a word,
Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird.
And if that mockingbird don't sing,
Papa's gonna buy you a diamond ring.
And if that diamond ring turn brass,
Papa's gonna buy you a looking glass...

The tune started going in my head but as the lines kept going over in my head, I was thinking of the church's theology today. There is a "coterminous", if you will, theology or philosophy throughout the church. We're born innocent, like God, and if we can just keep that going, what a good thing it would be. How do we do that? By feeding the desires that we think are innocent, let's make life more comfortable. We think there is nothing in children but an innocence that if we bring it out enough it will blossom and how does this happen, lets make YOU the center of the universe.

We are so decieved that we'll mimick the world's 'creativity' and morph them in every endeavour to market God to the world. We will market the gospel and so create a 'tool' that will work for the circumstance at hand, have halloween? Call it fall festival, get candy, generate a lot of energy, give away things and bring people in. What? Or lets do Christmas and have it all revolve around singing and what the people in the choir can do. I mean, God didn't get it right the first time and so we'll show him how to do it. What would Paul have to say, "...what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols?" II Cor. 6:14-16

So, I generate light from darkness?

Man is the golden cow. God, we say, is subject to him and his pithy thoughts, I'm sure they wouldn't want him speaking like he did in the OT. I pray for my son to come to an early knowledge of his sin and his own wickedness but it won't come by 'hush little baby' will only come through the truth of the gospel. I am a great sinner but Christ is a great Savior.

Your boasting friend,


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Great stuff - let's not market the gospel...please

"The first week of September (!) I received my first piece of Christmas mail: a holiday subscription offer from Time magazine. This week I received a similar offer from Christianity Today. That's evangelical Christianity for you: a couple of weeks behind the cultural trendsetters, but trying hard to keep up."

Phillip Ryken

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gospel Driven Life

This is from Between two Worlds, Michael Horton's new book The Gospel Driven Life.

See the special offer from the Westminster book store, awesome!

He has the quote that really was the impetus for this blog:

"We can never assume the gospel; it has to be the staple diet not only for the beginning, but for the middle and the end of the Christian pilgrimmage."

Your boasting friend,


Friday, September 11, 2009

Praying for wisdom

Okay, I'm asking for critique and opinions of how I need to proceed with a further witness of the gospel in a co-workers life. We bounced around emails and this was a response to one that he had sent me back. The conversation started when he wrote an article, in a little email newsletter from our company, about Woodstock and the relative good nature of the event, and if we all just lived in that moment how good the world would be.

Below are the seven things that he pointed out to me of what the 60's really meant and mean in today's culture. These are the things that, if followed, would bring peace and harmony - okay now that I've set that up please read and let me know.

Your boasting friend,



Thank you ________.

I guess my point would be the idea of worldview or the true nature of people. How they generally act, think, create and how those things effect the state of our being and effect the generations down the line. I respect your knowledge here and would not be able in the least to compare with that. I was born in '67 so I couldn't quite catch up to you...:) Although that is true its never stopped me before.

So let me deal thoughtfully point by point:

a) a more mystical consciousness

I think there is little definition of this or there was during that time. Did they define that, or, would that be too 'unmystical' to try and define? I think mystery is very evident within the Ethos of God and so when the Apostle Paul would say, "the mystery of Christ in you the hope of glory" Col 1:27, there was a well defined parameter of Whom he was speaking of. So would defining this take off the edge of what they were trying to say or what you are saying?

b) a heightened awareness of the vital need to take care of our environment

I can agree to a point. I think when we look back on some of the 'greening' we might be a little more than disappointed. And just because some guy loses his job over my own need to be 'green' we might have to rethink some of these techniques that we're using. I would point to the use of DDT in Africa, because of one book they ceased to use this pesticide, as a result a virtual genocide in that country commenced that spread malaria at alarming rates. I agree lets take care of what God has given to us as stewards but lets not deny the fact of what our 'greed for green' causes. Is there even an element of corporate greed on the other end of this? I.e., those who want to squeeze the bigger corporations into actions that are not altogether warranted, basically spreading rumors and talking of doomsday?

c) a renunciation of the mind-numbing corporate state

Cannot say that I don't agree with this, although I want to be thankful where I feel God has placed me, I cannot think in that mindset. I must think people but most importantly God and his global purposes.

d) an effort to live more comunally and to share resources

I think you might like, Acts 2:44 - "And all who believed were together and had all things in common" I think that there was nothing better, then or, today, of having a commonality with others. Kind of like Cheers with Norm and "everybody knows your name." But it wasn't centered on my needs but those 'who believed' came together because they weren't so concentrated on themselves, but they were concentrated on God, they were God centered. In the history of the world I'm sure there was not a people more persecuted for their beliefs than those early Christians but they got together and stayed together because of the One who brought them together. That is a community ethos that cannot be broken.

f) newer forms of expression (particularly in the arts...the goal being to make one completely reexamine "traditional" schools of thought )

Okay, I think I get this. I would only say that it is a respect of those traditions that will lead to greater awareness, hence I cannot just look at God and the created world and how it expresses itself without some type of grasp on Who created and sustains it. I think it would be helpful to insert a quote from a recently read article , " Agassiz died... believing to his dying day that to study nature was to study the works of God. He worked tirelessly to see a zoological museum built at Harvard and when it was finally opened in 1860, Harvard?s President declared it was appropriate that the museum stood face-to-face with the theological school, ?God?s word and God?s works mutually illustrating each other.? I think that it requires digging into the traditions of past generations to see mistakes and triumphs but ultimately to see how God works through it. That is why I'm reading the biography of Andrew Jackson, amazing to see what he lived through to become the 7th president, also what our Union survived through, we would still be speaking with a British accent if it weren't for some of these brave souls. Are the 'newer forms' without any moorings on the past? When you say, 'reexamine', it brings to mind suspiciousness or casting a 'weary eye' toward something. What if there is found to be incompatibility in the newer v. older? What would be the criteria by which it is judged to be copasetic?

e) and lastly, (and perhaps most important of all), an appreciation for the sheer miraculous joy of existence.

What about the person with a disability or those born into starvation? I'm really not trying to bust your chops because I think God has purposes in both of them, if he did not then they would not exist. That is my worldview coming into it. I think it is instructive to see the depression, anxiety, and psychosis that grips our society because of the vacuum that an entertainment driven society requires. We don't want to think about suffering but it is a fact of every living human being. George MacDonald, CS Lewis' pastor, wrote this at the forward of CS Lewis' book The Problem with Pain, "Jesus Christ came into this world, not so that men might not suffer, but that in their suffering they might become like him". See I believe that the world revolves around Truth, not my truth, not your truth but a Truth that is Objective and clear, it provides purpose and ultimately unspeakable, unshakable JOY! So that the parents, caring for their 18 y/o son, who will never make it out of a wheelchair, and will spend all of his life immobile, and unable to speak, can find joy in the process of caring and loving a circumstance that is most unlovable. I'm not saying that it happens overnight, it could take 8-10-12 years or eternity to understand the joy filled purpose which God sent that into our lives. I believe that it is ultimately a joyous thing to find all my treasure in God and live in such a way that every circumstance speaks to His glory. Again this is a juxtaposition of joy but yet an awesome union in the end. What do you say? How do you derive joy from the everyday mundane tasks? How is it that ones existence is a 'joy' even when those circumstances don't pan out?


Finally, I'll just leave you with another quote that I just recently read:

In the book by Alan Jacobs, Original Sin, "The book included this gem of a quotation from novelist Rebecca West: "If the whole human race lay in one grave, the epitaph on its headstone might well be: 'It seemed like a good idea at the time'."

Take care my friend,


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gospel Urgency

Stumbled on this gem and thought it would go well with my post here and this is Richard Baxter, a puritan minister, who lived in the 18th century. What a timely word for me and those who we might come in contact with. Enjoy.

Oh, if you have the hearts of Christians or of men in you, let them yearn towards your poor ignorant, ungodly neighbours. Alas, there is but a step betwixt them and death and hell; many hundred diseases are waiting ready to seize on them, and if they die unregenerate, they are lost forever.

Have you hearts of rock, that cannot pity men in such a case as this? If you believe not the Word of God, and the danger of sinners, why are you Christians yourselves? If you do believe it, why do you not bestir yourself to the helping of others? Do you not care who is damned, so you be saved? If so, you have sufficient cause to pity yourselves, for it is a frame of spirit utterly inconsistent with grace. . . .

Dost thou live close by them, or meet them in the streets, or labour with them, or travel with them, or sit and talk with them, and say nothing to them of their souls, or the life to come? If their houses were on fire, thou wouldst run and help them; and wilt thou not help them when their souls are almost at the fire of hell?

(Cited in I. D. E. Thomas, A Puritan Golden Treasury [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1977], 92–93)

(HT:Pulpit Magazine)

How great is our God!

Just some images from the Hubble space station. In the lower left hand corner they say that the image only shows a fraction of the 10,000,000 stars in that galaxy.

We are so small and insignificant in this vast universe, makes you think of the words of the Psalmist in chapter 8, "When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon the stars that you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him." (3-4) When was the last time that you just sat down and attributed glory to God for all that he does in the universe? That you are reading this right now is an act of his grace. Please know that I'm a poor begger with you, when I see these things my mind embraces a God whose infinite nature no one can fathom. Are you the center of your universe? When was the last time you made something like that? 10 million stars are nothing comparitively to the mind blowing fullness of this God. He ordains that these galaxies form and he ordains that you breath, He ordains you getting up and lying down. Makes you think of the Apostle Paul's words in Rom. 11:33-36, "Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor? Or who has given him a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things to him be the glory both now and forever. Amen."

Your boasting friend,


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Puritans on the pilgrimage

I thought it so refreshing Sunday when asking questions of our pastor that he said, paraphrasing Tim style, although his name is Tim: "I like the Puritans because they connected heart and head...although I like their seriousness I don't have that all down in my life." It was a sincere, honest answer which I think anyone who studies the Puritans can gain from. We will never, most probably, be able to live their lives but can we be imitators in some aspects?

How much the church does need this, a seriousness of Communion with God that would pervade our talk and life. This quote, is a long one, but one who, I think, more than any living peson has studied the Puritan's way of life, JI Packer, said:

" . . whereas to the Puritans communion with God was a great thing, to evangelicals today it is a comparatively small thing. The Puritans were concerned about communion with God in a way that we are not. The measure of our unconcern is the little that we say about it. When Christians meet, they talk to each other about their Christian work and Christian interests, their Christian acquaintances, the state of the churches, and the problems of theology—but rarely of their daily experience of God. Modern Christian books and magazines contain much about Christian doctrine, Christian standards, problems of Christian conduct, techniques of Christian service—but little about the inner realities of fellowship with God. Our sermons contain much sound doctrine—but little relating to the converse between the soul and the Saviour. We do not spend much time, alone or together, in dwelling on the wonder of the fact that God and sinners have communion at all; no, we just take that for granted, and give our minds to other matters. Thus we make it plain that communion with God is a small thing to us. But how different were the Puritans! The whole aim of their ‘practical and experimental’ preaching and writing was to explore the reaches of the doctrine and practice of man’s communion with God."

Oh that my aim and the gospel might be with me everyday to feast on and when I see others along this journey to feast. After reading William Gurnall's, The Christian in Complete Armor, Vol 1, I'm convinced that the Puritan's had rich hearts and were ready to discuss deep things because of what they read. May it be so with me and this generation.

Your boasting friend,

(HT: Between Two Worlds, for JI Packer comment)

Being salt and light - Gospel witness

Just saw this today on the Desiring God blog about President Obama's speech and John Piper celebrating the 'common grace' that is posited within the speech.

It resonated with me since I accepted a coaching position, somewhat forcefully, they called I accepted, to coach my son's fall ball team. To say that most of the kids home situations are either fractured or fracturing is an understatement, would it be that bad to wish them some of the grace, that I as a Christian, experience everyday, undeservedly so, but still that is the seed of the Gospel.

John Piper uses the term, "common grace", at the start, and I wonder if when we become so far along in our Christian witness we don't tend to feel a little comfortable with ourselves. "I" fear God, "I" pay my tithes, "I" fill in the blank, see my point is that if we would be out in the community and at least praying for opportunities to share maybe, just maybe these can be springboards by which the Spirit uses to open a heart. He does it friend, it isn't you no matter what you or I say, but don't blow the chance that "common grace" presents and go out to love on a baseball, football or basketball team. Hopefully the special grace to believe will be accepted and the gift of regeneration will happen before your eyes.

If it doesn't happen know that He is glorified no matter what. Say the word, show the gospel and love those who need a hand by "common grace" and maybe, just maybe that special grace will be lavished on them as well.

Your boasting friend,