Friday, December 22, 2006

Maybe You Shouldn't Ask That Question...

If you ever have a question first go through this chart...maybe you shouldn't ask it. It's pretty funny:)

[HT: Justin Taylor...from a while ago]

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

William Wilberforce and "Amazing Grace"

Well, the most recent theatrical production being made from a Christian worldview [hopefully] is entitled "Amazing Grace". Basically the story of William Wilberforce and how he basically was responsible for stopping the African Slave trade in Britain...

Click here if you want to see the trailer [Wait a few moments and the trailer will load in a very small screen in the bottom right hand corner of the web-site]. This movie looks great. I'm curious to see further how the character of John Newton is acted out. I'm also curious to see if the fact that GAMBLING was Wilberforce's next policy to attack and abolish will be expressed in the movie.

I hope the gospel and the effects it had on Wilberforce and Newton will be a part of the movie as well.

It looks like it's going to be pretty awesome if it meets the historical and factual litmus test.

[HT: Justin Taylor]

UPDATE: 12/21/2006

Here's the Amazing Grace movie trailer from YouTube...

Prayer Request: Team Going To India Today

Below is a prayer that I modified from The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions [Banner of Truth] for a short term mission trip going to India from our church...

Please pray for Rocky, Jared, Kortney, and Brooke...and the rest of their team.

Your cause for India, not their own, engages their hearts,
and we appeal to You with greatest freedom
that they might work to set up Your kingdom in every place where Satan reigns;

Glorify Yourself and we will rejoice,
we pray that to bring honour to Your name is their sole desire.

We adore You that You are God,
and we long that others know it, feel it,
and rejoice in this reality.

O that all men might love and praise You,
that You might have all glory from the intelligent world!

Let sinners be brought to You for Your dear name!

To the eye of human reason everything respecting conversion
is a mystery, as dark as midnight,

But You can accomplish great things;
the cause is Yours,
and it is to Your glory that men should be saved.

Lord, use them as You will,
do with them what You will;
but, O, promote Your cause,
let Your kingdom come,
let Your blessed interest be advanced in India!

O do bring in great numbers to Jesus!
Let them see that glorious day,
and give them the grasp for multitudes of souls;
Let them be willing to die to that end;
and while they live let them labour for You to the utmost of their strength, spending time profitably in this work,
both in health and in weakness.

It is Your cause and kingdom they long for, not their own.
O, Lord answer our request.
O that they might be a flame of fire in Your service,
always burning out in one continual blaze.
[From God’s Cause page 177]

Monday, December 18, 2006

Prayer Request: Mt. Hood and Kelly James

This is a picture of Kelly James' mother and brother [see article at Fox news]

In case you haven't heard Kelly James' body was found on Mt. Hood. His older brother Frank James III was my Church History I professor [very small world]. If you have a moment pray for the other climbers, and their families...and that God's glory might be seen in the midst of the circumstances. Sounds like Kelly was a born again Christian, so rejoice in the Lord for his home coming, but pray for his family in their loss.

In Christ

[HT: Justin Taylor]

Social Justice: Politics and Christians...

I came across a helpful quote in approaching social justice through politics from a Christian perspective a few days ago from Tim Keller from Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
"No institution in society will escape the impact of heavy new social problems, especially with the new welfare reform. Regardless of our political views, it is indisputable that millions of people who once looked to the government will now need service and aid from churches and other agencies. The church will be forced by demographics to see what the Bible has always said. Love cannot be only expressed through talk, but through word and deed (1John 3:17).

Further he says,
"While accomplishing that task, Francis Schaeffer said, Christians may be at times, 'cobelligerents' with the Left or the Right, but never allies. 'If there is social injustice, say there is social injustice. If we need order, say we need order....But do not align yourself as though you are in either of these camps: You are an ally of neither. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is different from either - totally different.'"

Lastly he draws this conclusion,
"The ideology of the Left believes big government and social reform will solve social ills, while the Right believes big business and economic growth will do it. The Left expects a citizen to be held legally accountalble in areas of personal morality, but totally autonomous in the use of wealth. The North American "idol" - radical individualism - lies beneath both ideologies. A Christian sees either "solution" as fundamentally humanistic and simplistic."

[Keller, Timothy J. Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road Second edition. Pp. 25-26 P & R publishing company, New Jersey. Copyright 1997]

I agree with Keller...question is why can't we fix these problems? Why won't Christian democratic candidates [generally speaking] and republican candidates [generally speaking] stand up and destroy these stereotypes? Recognizing that these things probably won't improve apart from will the church step up to the plate to correct the "American idol" ideology and to meet social needs through preaching the gospel and giving materially?

Civil Unions for Same Sex Couples in New Jersey

Check out this article in the New York Times, “New Jersey Legislature Votes to Allow Civil Unions." One comment stuck out to me…
“Give us two to five years,” said Wilfredo Caraballo, who sponsored the civil union measure in the Assembly. “In a year and a half or two years we’ll see that the world hasn’t collapsed, heterosexuals are still getting married and God hasn’t thrown fire and brimstone on us.”

I disagree with this kind of cultural shift, namely changing the definition of marriage to be unions other than “One” man and “One” woman. However, I do agree that the culture is moving that way. So Mr. Caraballo is probably correct. But only God can determine whether or not He, “throws fire and brimstone on us.” This is a little bit of an arrogant statement in my opinion. He should read James 4:13-17
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. [ESV]”

What will Mr. Caraballo do if God doesn't perform as he desires? What will we and our country do if God goes against Caraballo's prediction. If Jesus tarries I pray for revival, and perseverance.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Living Nativity and "PETA"

This gave me a chuckle...
The folks at PETA are at it again, now targeting churches that use live animals in their manger scenes. However, one of PETA's perceived offenders was puzzled when he received an e-mail chastising him and his church for subjecting animals "to cruel treatment and danger." Sure, Anchorage First Free Methodist Church traditionally has a "living nativity," but humans play all the parts. "It's rough enough on us people standing out there in the cold," said Rev. Jason Armstrong. "So we're definitely not using animals. ... We have some puppet camel things we put out. We have a cow hood thing that a person will wear that actually just looks spooky." PETA apparently ran across the words "living nativity" on the Alaska church's Web site and added the pastor to its list of those the organization believes forces animals into manger roles that cause them to be "stolen," "slaughtered" or even "raped."

[HT: World Magazine Blog]

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What are Annan's "Human Rights", and "Rule of Law"?

I don't know if any of you read Kofi Annan's speech in Missouri the other day, but I recommend you check it out [ADDRESS AT THE TRUMAN PRESIDENTIAL MUSEUM & LIBRARY]. He had some pretty good points. But here are a few quotes that stood out to me...
"No community anywhere suffers from too much rule of law; many do suffer from too little – and the international community is among them. This we must change. [Pp. 4]"
Come on...does he really mean this?

"But if our different communities are to live together in peace we must stress also what unites us: our common humanity, and our shared belief that human dignity and rights should be protected by law. ...basic rights are protected and they can be confident of fair treatment under the law. [Pp. 3]"
This begs the question...what is your definition of human rights and shared human dignity?? I'm pretty sure we'll disagree on that!

"In short, human rights and the rule of law are vital to global security and prosperity. [Pp. 3]"
I agree, but whose definition of "human rights", and whose set "rule of law" are we going to go by?

I'm sick of being talked to with these generalities like they actually mean something. I agree that the down-trodden needs to be guaranteed some human rights in this world, but I'm afraid that a few vague statements about "rule of law" aren't going to do the trick. Also, what about the rights of unborn babies? Also, folks who are persecuted for their faith probably would say that their community has a little too much "rule of law". Maybe Kofi meant "bad rule of law" I don't think so though.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

"A Love Supreme" Sadly in Need of Clarification…

When I was a junior at Drake University [in DSM, IA] I started to get more serious about my relationship with Jesus Christ. As a jazz musician I tried to find any mentor I could in the Jazz world that was a Christian to justify my newfound seriousness about God. I realize now that justification for believing in the One Triune God needs no justification by men’s testimony [rather by God in His holy Word], but I was very immature in my faith.

The following is a “psalm” Coltrane wrote. It is a personal conversation between him and who he perceived to be God. It’s almost pantheistic or Baha'i in how general/universal it speaks of God. Somehow, this "psalm" and recording strengthened my resolve to seek Christ in college…I’m not sure why. I’d say that it was a was a gift of grace from the One True God [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit...I'm feeling the need to be specific]. If Coltrane was a Christian I wish he wasn’t so vague about whom he believes this God, in his “psalm”, is. Do with it what you will...

I’m thankful for the grace God showed me through this, but in the future I would say that anything that doesn’t mention the Son of God is not necessarily a Christian “psalm”. Nevertheless, the recording of A Love Supreme is a great musical work and it still encourages me to serve and pursue God [I can't say the same for the words of the "psalm" he wrote]. Coltrane musically was a beast. Amazing imagination, sound, technique and more innovative and creative than anyone has been in music since [in my opinion]. Sadly, when it comes to writing, his words and thoughts are in desperate need of clarification. However, his vague expression of who God is in his "psalm" is a good summation of what a lot of folks actually do believe about God today. All the more reason to preach, teach, and pray, because God is a God of revelation of truth...not general realities. Not all paths lead to God [as Coltrane sadly suggests]. Here’s Coltrane’s “psalm”:
“I will do all I can to be worthy of Thee O Lord. It all has to do with it. Thank you God. Peace. There is none other. God is, It is so beautiful. Thank you God. God is all. Help us to resolve our fears and weaknesses. Thank you God. In You all things are possible. We know. God made us so. Keep your eye on God. God is. He always was. He always will be. No matter what…it is God. He is gracious and merciful. It is most important that I know Thee. Words, sounds, speech, men, memory, thoughts, fears and emotions – time – all related…all made from one…all made in one. Blessed be His name. Thought waves – heat waves – all vibrations – all paths lead to God. Thank you God. His way…it is so lovely…it is gracious. It is merciful – thank you God. His way…it is so lovely…it is gracious. It is merciful – thank you God. One thought can produce millions of vibrations and they all go back to God…everything does. Thank you God. Have no fear…believe…thank you God.

The universe has many wonders. God is all. His way…it is so wonderful. Thoughts – deeds – vibrations, etc. They all go back to God and He cleanses all. He is gracious and merciful…thank you God. Glory to God…God is so alive. God is. God loves. May I be acceptable in Thy sight. We are all one in His grace. The fact that we do exist is acknowledgement of Thee of Lord. Thank you God. God will wash away all our tears…He always has…He always will. Seek Him everyday. In all ways seek God everyday. Let us sing all songs to God To whom all praise is due…praise God. No road is an easy one, but they all go back to God. With all we share God. It is all with God. It is all with Thee. Obey the Lord. Blessed is He. We are from one thing…the will of God…thank you God.

I have seen God – I have seen ungodly – none can be greater – none can compare to God. Thank you God. He will remake us…He always has and He always will. It is true – blessed be His name – thank you God. God breathes through us so completely…so gently we hardly feel it…yet, it is our everything. Thank you God. ELATION – ELEGANCE – EXALTATION – All from God. Thank you God. Amen. [John Coltrane – December, 1964]” (I put questionable theology in bold/italics)

Cited from the liner notes of A Love Supreme John Coltrane Deluxe Edition. Copyright 2002. The Verve Music Group, USA (314 589 945-2).

Cherished Memory

Here's a picture collage of a trip that changed my life. I just thought I'd share...

I'm not feeling the greatest today. Pretty dejected and low. This picture encouraged me. If you have the opportunity please say a prayer for me to be renewed in Christ. I could use it today.

For His name's sake!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Matthew 4:1-11 Lesson 12/3/2006 to Discovery ABF at Valley E-Free Church

I had the honor of teaching the Discovery Adult Bible Fellowship at Valley yesterday. I had about 15 I butchered this manuscript...I did my best with the help of the Holy Spirit. This manuscript is the content I hoped to deliver. I pray that I wasn't a hindrance to an understanding of this passage or the gospel and that people will skip me and go straight to the Word if necessary. For His name's sake!

In Christ

Summary of Matthew 1-3
We have seen the first three chapters of Matthew pointing to Jesus as the messiah, the Christ, the complete fulfillment of the prophesy in the scriptures of the Old Testament. It has been in effect a “Case for Jesus as the Christ” to the Jews. The titles we have seen thus far have been Jesus Christ [also messiah Matthew 1:1, 16, 17,18; 2:4], Son of David [Matthew 1:1, 20], Son of Abraham [Matthew 1:1], the one who shall save His people from their sins [Matthew 1:21], Immanuel [Matthew 1:23], God with us [Matthew 1:23], King of the Jews [Matthew 2:2], Son of God [Matthew 2:15; 3:17]. (most of this paragraph is from Tom Curtright’s notes that we received at teacher’s community 11/28/2006.)

As we read the preparation for Jesus’ ministry in chapter four ask these questions in your mind…Who is Jesus? Is He truly the messiah? What kind of messiah will He be?

[Parrallels to Matthew 4:1-11 can also be found in Luke 4:1-13 and Mark 1:12-13]

I. Arriving in the Desert Matthew 4:1-2

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all place Jesus’ time of preparation directly after his
baptism [Luke has a genealogy between the baptism and this event]. This corresponds to the 40 years Israel wandered in the wilderness. This parallels especially in Jesus’ response to Satan’s second temptation.

There are a few particular things of note about this passage:
A. Led by the Spirit: Trinity
The passage says Jesus was, “led up by the Spirit into the wilderness.” In Luke 4:1 it says, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” So the Spirit that was leading him was an internal leading because He was filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus and the Spirit are one in a similar way that Jesus and the Father are one [John 17:11].

B. Temptation
We know that Satan is the tempter and this isn’t the only time the “tempter” comes [Matthew 16:23, Luke 22:28, Luke 22:42-44]. This isn’t a one time event in the life of Jesus.

When James 1:13 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one,” so how are we to handle Jesus as fully God and fully man being tempted in the desert by Satan.

John Calvin says it best when he states in his commentary:
“Our salvation, therefore, was attacked in the person of Christ, just as the ministers [all of us], whom Christ has authorized to proclaim his redemption, are the objects of Satan’s daily warfare…for the Son of God undoubtedly allowed himself to be tempted, that he may be constantly before our minds, when Satan excites within us any contest of temptations. When he was leading a private life at home, we do not read that he was tempted; but when he was about to discharge the office of Redeemer, he then entered the field in the name of his whole church. But if Christ was tempted as the public representative of all believers, let us learn, that the temptations which befall us are not accidental, or regulated by the will of Satan, without God’s permission; but that the Spirit of God presides over our contests as an exercise of our faith. This will aid us in cherishing the assured hope, that God, who is the supreme judge and disposer of the combat, will not be unmindful of us, but will fortify us against those distresses, which he sees that we are unable to meet (my emphasis) [from Calvin’s commentary pp. 142-143].”

This is why in Philipians 2:12-13 it says, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Also, in 2 Peter 1:10-11 it says, “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” It is because the Holy Spirit, “but that the Spirit of God presides over our contests as an exercise of our faith.” Don’t miss the implications of the work of the Holy Spirit in the application of what Christ did in this passage to our present circumstances.

Every commentator I read said that this tempting is not so much a tempting, but more of a testing. Which as Jesus replies in verse 7 no one should put God to the test! This is compared to the context of tempt in Genesis 22:1, and Deuteronomy 13:3. This is more of a "proving" context rather than an implication of a sinful temptation by desires that can ensnare Christ. This passage could also be a fulfillment of Isaiah 28:16, “…therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: 'Whoever believes will not be in haste.'”

Generally speaking this tempting/testing is a sign of how God works in our lives. As William Barclay states:
“…so a man has to be tested before God can use him for His purposes. What we call temptation is not meant to make us sin; it is meant to enable us to conquer sin…Temptation is not the penalty of being a man, temptation is the glory of being a man. It is the test which comes to a man whom God wishes to use [Barclay’s commentary pp. 56].”

Also, in 1 Timothy 3:10 we see that deacons must first be tested before the serve that role in the church. In Revelation 2:10 we see the outcome of faithfulness in testing, by trial, achieving the crown of life. This is not because of anything we’ve done but it is all somehow wrapped up in the righteousness of Christ proven in this testing in the desert. We know that salvation is not through works; rather, by the free gift of grace through faith [Ephesians 2:8-9].

There is a lot more that could be said but we will move onward. This tempting of Christ is very important to reflect on because it is as if through this narrative Jesus is living what Hebrews 2:17-18; and 4:15 describe.

C. Solitude
Before being used in His ministry Jesus went to be alone. We see this later too in the midst of His ministry [Matthew 14:18; Luke 9:18, 36; Mark 6:47]. Barclay has a great quote on this:
“There are certain things which a man has got to work out alone. There are times when no one else’s advice is any good to him. There are certain times when a man has got to stop acting and start thinking. It may be that we make many a mistake because we do not give ourselves a chance to be alone with God [Barclay’s commentary pp. 57].”

When was the last time you were alone with God…quiet. Not disturbed. I’m not saying this is something you should do all the time like a monk, but it looks like the Scriptures are commending this practice as a way that Jesus lived in preparation and in the midst of His ministry.

D. Wilderness
We know that the wilderness was a barren place, Barclay says the terrain is:
“Between Jerusalem, which stands on the central plateau, which is the backbone of Palestine, and the Dead Sea there stretches the wilderness. The Old Testament calls it Jeshimmon, which means The Devastation, and it was a fitting name. It stretches over an area of thirty-five by fifteen miles. Sir George Adam Smith who traveled over it describes it. It is an area of yellow sand, of crumbling limestone, and of scattered shingle. It is an area of contorted strata, where the ridges run in all directions as if they were warped and twisted. The hills are like dust heaps; the limestone is blistered and peeling; rocks are bare and jagged; often the very ground sounds hollow when the footfall or the horse’s hoof falls upon it. It glows and shimmers with heat like some vast furnace. It runs right out to the Dead Sea, and then there comes a drop of twelve hundred feet, a drop of limestone, flint, and marl, through crags and corries and precipices down to the Dead Sea [Barclay’s commentary pp. 56].”

Also, in Mark’s account it says there were “wild animals.” This was no safe place to be. So after forty days of just being exposed in this land would have been extremely difficult. Add to that that Jesus was fasting and you can imagine how completely famished He was being that Jesus was also fully man. It is at this time that Satan comes to tempt Jesus when he is completely physically worn out. Add to it Jesus’ loneliness [assumption…He might not have been lonely because He may have been fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit] and He would have been in a more vulnerable state than most of us could imagine.

II. The First Test: Stones to Bread Matthew 4:3-4

The first temptation was to one commentary said, “He must be ready to accept
privation [humbling/starvation] in fulfilling his God-given task without ‘pulling rank’ [IVP pp. 910].” Calvin states regarding fasting [in case people ask if this is a mandate us to fast like Jesus in this circumstance here's a good quote from Calvin]:
“Those who fast daily, during all the forty days, pretend that they are imitators of Christ. But how? They stuff their belly so completely at dinner, that, when the hour of supper arrives, they have no difficulty in abstaining from food. What resemblance do they bear to the Son of God? The ancients practiced greater moderation: but even they had nothing that approached to Christ’s fasting, any more, in fact, than the abstinence of men approaches to the condition of angels, who do not eat at all…To believe that such fasting is a meritorious work, and that it is a part of godliness and of the worship of God, is a very base superstition [Calvin’s commentary 141-142].”

A. Attack on Jesus' Faith
The first temptation was an attack on Jesus’ faith. As Calvin states, “When you see that you are forsaken by God, you are driven by necessity to attend to yourself. Provide then for yourself the food, with which God does not supply you [pp. 144].”

It is as if Satan is dangling the same temptation in front of Jesus that Israel had before their eyes in the desert. And as the first son of God [Israel] failed so this Son of God [Jesus] will succeed. This is clearly evidenced by Jesus’ quotation of Deuteronomy 8:2-3:
"And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.
And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”

B. Scripture Used as a Shield
The Scriptures here are also used as a shield against Satan which is an excellent example of the use of Scripture as Paul states in Ephesians 6:16-17. Conversely the Scriptures can be used as a sword [Hebrews 4:12], but in how Jesus Responds with Scripture it is more like a shield.

III. The Second Test: Throw Yourself Down Matthew 4:5-7

This temptation is different than the first in a few ways. This purpose of this
temptation was to show Jesus’, “trust [in] his Father’s care without the need to test it by forcing God’s hand [IVP pp. 910].” Satan clearly trying to provoke mistrust in Jesus of God the Father.

Here’s a great quote from D. A. Carson regarding this:

“Jesus was tempted by Satan to test God; but Jesus recognized Satan’s testing as a sort of manipulative bribery expressly forbidden in the Scriptures. For both Israel and Jesus, demanding miraculous proof of God’s care was wrong; the appropriate attitude is trust and obedience [Carson’s commentary pp. 114]”
A. Misuse of Scripture
The purpose is no surprise, as we have seen Satan work this temptation in the nation of Israel many times, but the means by which He accomplishes this purpose is a new one…namely by using scripture, incorrectly. Specifically Psalm 91:11-12:
“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”

Calvin correctly summarizes Satan’s statement like this, “If you expose yourself to death, contrary to the will of God, angels will protect your life [Calvin’s commentary pp. 148].” So he was clearly asking Jesus to test God.

Further Calvin warns us regarding those who will incorrectly apply the Scriptures:
“The same kind of stratagem he [satan] continues daily to employ; and the Son of God, who is the universal model of all the godly, chose to undergo this contest in his own person, that all may be industriously on their guard against being led, by a false application of Scripture, into the snares of Satan. And undoubtedly the Lord grants such a permission to our adversary, that we may not remain in indolent ease, but may be more careful to keep watch. Nor ought we to imitate the madness of those who throw away Scripture, as if it admitted of every kind of interpretation, because the devil misapplies it. For the same reason, we ought to abstain from food, to avoid the risk of being poisoned [Calvin’s commentary pp. 147].”

B. Don't Test God
Jesus replies with a passage from Deuteronomy 6:16, “"You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.” This is where the people grumbled against God and Moses struck the rock at Horeb and water came out of it [Exodus 17:6].

The context of Deuteronomy 6:16 is interesting, because it isn’t as if the nation was questioning what would happen in the future with God [although I’m sure they did], but they were complaining about the past faithfulness of God. God blessed them over and over and the only thing they did was complain about God’s past faithfulness saying, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children… [Exodus 17:3; Numbers 11:20; 20:4-5; 21:5; Deuteronomy 1:27]” So the people weren’t in a bind when they were complaining to God about a decision that they had to make that had no affirmative resolution. They were actually complaining about the grace, loving-kindness, and faithfulness of God in the past.

When Matthew writes this quote of Jesus bells would have been ringing all over the place in the ears and minds of the listeners to the book of Matthew [the Jews]. That phrase, “you should not put God to the test,” would have been very familiar and they would have logically gone straight to the context of Israel basically spitting in the face of God’s loving grace in liberating them from the Egyptians.

In essence Jesus is responding to Satan, “God has been faithful in the past, and He will be faithful in the future…how dare you misquote scripture to make me misuse the authority that belongs to Me.”

IV. The Third Test: Bow Down and Worship Me and I Will Give You the Kingdoms Matthew 4:8-11

Not in the lesson, but important: Matthew’s 3rd temptation is Luke’s 2nd and vice versa…Calvin says of this…
“It was not the intention of the Evangelists to arrange the history in such a manner, as to preserve on all occasions, the exact order of time, but to draw up an abridged narrative of the events, so as to present, as in a mirror or picture, those things which are most necessary to be known concerning Christ. Let it suffice for us to know that Christ was tempted in three ways. The question, which of these contests was the second, and which was the third, need not give us much trouble or uneasiness [Calvin’s commentary pp. 146]."

A. All Authority
This third temptation is almost an insult to Christ. Jesus has been given the
nations as an inheritance [Psalm 2:7, 8 partially fulfilled in Matthew 3:17 where God the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”]. Later, in the Great Commission we see this authority when Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me [Matthew 28:18].” The “well pleased” portion is from Isaiah 42:21 and further the Father was “pleased to bruise the Son” [Isaiah 53:10].

Jesus knows that all authority has been given to Him. He knows that He must go to the cross to atone for the sins of His people. To worship Satan would be ridiculous and undermine His own authority, and it would be a short-cut to authority without the cross.

B. Out of my way Satan!
Jesus’ response is one that we will see again, “Away from me Satan [Matthew 4:10; Matthew 16:23]!” When Jesus responds this way to Peter it is in almost the same context. Jesus foretells of what is about to happen [death, burial, resurrection] and Peter discourages Him from the thought of it as if to tempt Him of the easy way…not to go to the cross. Christ knew His authority and He knew that only He could be the perfect spotless lamb to wash away the sins of the world. God is jealous for His glory, and the obstruction of His glory provokes His stern jealousy. He recognizes anything that would come in the way of His work on the cross as Satan.

Application and Closing
A. Christianity...easy?
“The easy way or the cowboy way [Riders in the Sky]”… “The easy way or the Christian way"

B. Shortcuts
Shortcuts to shallow accomplishment…or hard work for reaping of true spiritual fruit.

C. The Cross
Look to Christ’s work on the Cross for the forgiveness of your sins. The Jews had to offer sacrifices perpetually forever to continue to atone for sins, but they knew that the sacrifices didn’t atone for sin because they had to keep making them. They were shadows of what was to come in Christ [Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 8:5; 10:1] also no human could pay the price for his another’s soul [Psalm 49:7-8]. Look to Jesus Christ!

D. Temptation through our gifts
We are often times tempted through our gifts.
“We must always remember that again and again we are tempted through our gifts. The person who is gifted with charm will be tempted with charm “to get away with anything.” The person who is gifted with the power of words will be tempted to use his command of words to produce glib excuses to justify his own conduct. The person with a vivid and sensitive imagination will undergo agonies of temptation that a more stolid person will never experience. The person with great gifts of mind will be tempted to use these gifts for himself and not for others, to become the master and not the servant of men. It is the grim fact of temptation that it is just where we are strongest that we must be fore ever on the watch [Barclay’s commentary pp. 59].”

E. Obedience to who in trials??
In trials will you obey God or will you obey Satan? Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith…how would you respond in this circumstance?
“The Communists convened a congress of all Christian bodies in our Parliament building. There were four thousand priests, pastors, and ministers of all denominations – and these men of God chose Joseph Stalin as honorary president of this congress. At the same time he was president of the World Movement of the Godless and a mass murderer of Christians. One after another, bishops and pastors arose and declared that communism and Christianity are fundamentally the same and could coexist. One minister after another said words of praise toward communism and assured the new government of the loyalty of the Church.

My wife and I were present at this congress. Sabina told me, “Richard, stand up and wash away this shame from the face of Christ! They are spitting in His face.” I said to her, “If I do so, you lose your husband.” She replied, “I don’t wish to have a coward as a husband.”

Then I arose and spoke to this congress, praising not the murders of Christians, but Jesus Christ, stating that our loyalty is due first to Him [Richard Wurmbrand’s Tortured for Christ pp. 15-16].”

F. Examine/Test Yourselves to see if you're in the faith!
2 Corinthians 13:5-7 “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. But we pray to God that you may not do wrong--not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed.”

Friday, December 01, 2006

Some of My Favorite Guitarists: Pat Metheny

This trio is one of my favorites! Metheny is great. Also, any guesses where the drummer is from??? You guessed it Des Moines, Iowa. Bill Stewart was a Roosevelt Grad. Check out this video of "Lone Jack".

Here's a video of him playing his "picasso guitar" made by Linda Manzer. I think this might be part of "Into a Dream".

Here's an awesome version of "Proof" directed by Jim McNeely at the North Sea Jazz Fest [I actually played at this festival with the Drake Jazz I]. Beware this recording starts and stops a lot...

Here's one of Metheny on a "Manzer" Baritone Guitar playing a variation Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why"


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Some of My Favorite Guitarists: Bill Frisell

Bill Frisell... Rambler. I actually bought the lp of this when I was in college. Check it out. Frisell is a master!


I had a great holiday…first off God has been very good in my life and I don't show my thankfulness to God nearly enough.

Second…my folks rented an RV…My parents [John, and Dianne], My aunt [Jan], My sister and brother-in-law and niece [Erica, Neil, and Norah], Lindsey and I all jumped in to go to Greeley, Colorado.

Well, we arrived in Greeley and it was great. Two sets of my cousins [1st set: Vicki, Craig, Joselyn, and Elle. 2nd set: Mike, Kenna, Michaela, Chloe, and Annika] were there. Also, my cousin Kenna’s mother and sister were there [Betty, and Cheryl]. I’m probably butchering these names. Count them though. That’s 19 people! Sheesh!

We had a great time. Here's the Travel Log:
Wednesday 11/22/2006
[1] Driving all night [we left at 9:00pm]. Some good conversation. I told dad that I read in books and hear from pastors that sheep are really dumb. Not ever having worked with sheep, I was curious what he thought [he has worked with sheep]. So it was good to hear some stories about sheep from dad. Just some trivia, he said the goats actually have some personality and aren’t dumb like sheep. Also, making jokes about the arch in Kearney, NE…and many other things [especially Napoleon Dynamite jokes]. No offense on the Arch get board in an 11 hr RV ride.

Thursday 11/23/2006
Early Afternoon
[2] Eating an excellent Thanksgiving meal [It was great to pray together]. And being amazed at how fast my cousins are growing up. They are all beautiful and smart young ladies.

Late Afternoon
[3] Talking with Erica and Vicki about effective small groups and how to minister to each other.

Early Evening
[4] Talking with Erica, Craig, Mom, and others about angels. This was interesting because Craig had a great relative that saw an angel then died in a farm accident a few days later. We talked about how if you see an angel it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to die, so relax:o)

Late Evening
[5] Staying up until 12:30 at night with Craig, Mike, Mom, and others talking about the difference between what Roman Catholics believe and what Reformed Protestants believe [justification by faith alone vs. cooperative grace, open vs. closed communion and the supernatural activities that some believe are contained in the sacrament, doctrine of the infallibility of the pope, etc.]. After this it was fun because Craig and I stayed up and talked about Eschatology [end times], and what we’ve been learning in our devotionals. Also, we had an interesting talk about the possibility of animals speaking before the fall [BTW, I don’t think they did...other than by supernatural circumstances in which Satan was in the form of a snake and the Lord opening the mouth of Balaam’s donkey in Nu 30ish. That’s just speculation though, I shouldn’t speak where the Bible is silent.]. This was a good time of fellowship and thought provoking conversation.

Friday 11/24/2006
[6] I woke up after a full/good night’s rest it was fun to get up and play with my neice Norah. I think about 6 people slept in the RV, which I think would have stunk because the battery for the RV wasn’t charged…that means NO HEAT! It was freezing out there. I’m glad the girls didn’t get sick.
[7] After a good "leftover food" lunch we went to Estes Park. It was awesome. Driving through Big Thompson Valley. It brought back a lot of memories because we used to go out there every summer growing up. It's just as beautiful as ever. Long's Peak was quite the site as well. We also droke into Rocky Mountain National Park and saw a bunch of elk [the other car saw a moose] and we went past Moraine Park [where we used to camp] and up to Bear Lake [where most of the hiking trails we used take, start].
[8] Later that night we went to the Christmas Parade in Estes Park. It was pretty cool. And I must admit I participated in a lot of "parade banter". We caused quite a scene. It was good fun.
[9] In the car ride home a bunch of folks slept and Mike, Lindsey and I talked about church...pastors...schisms [church splits] and such. We talked about how he felt some of the treatment of some of the ministers in his former church [Methodist] was unfair...but he didn't know how he could have prevented it. We also talked about how he feels reluctant to join a new church [Presbyterian after moving to CO] after experiencing the politics and pain in the old one. It was a lot of food for thought.
[10] We got back to Greeley around 9:00 and I ate some chips and cheese dip and fell asleep watching Napoleon Dynamite.

Saturday 11/24/2006
[11] We packed up and shipped out for the trip home. Sang some songs. Listened to Erica sing the "cappucino song"... and Lindsey and Erica sing some Christmas songs. Also, I was coerced to sing the IZ arrangement of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" with Mike by Craig.
[12] Arrived home around 12:30pm!

I will always remember this trip. It was great. Next time I'll have to take my guitar:)

I'll post a few pictures later.

Recent Books

Well I've read a bunch of books in the last couple months...I'm not going review each of them, but I'll drop a comment for each one.
Evangelicalism Divided [Banner of Truth] Iaian Murray: This book opened my eyes to the context of Christianity we find ourselves in today.

Christianity and Liberalism [Eerdmans] J. Gresham Machen: Amazing book!

Humility [Multnomah] C. J. Mahaney: Very practical book.

Richard Sibbes [Mercer University Press] Mark Dever: Pretty Academic. It was edifying to see how Sibbes approached different theological topics. All that I have to say is that Dever is so accurate on correcting other author's misrepresentations of Sibbes that it's almost painful!

Knowing God [IVP] J. I. Packer: Excellent book!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Out of Town/Light-bloggin'

Well in honor of Thanksgiving I'll be with family for the next 5 days...

So if you read my blog, thank you! Please don't stop coming because I'll get back to a more steady flow on Monday 11/27/2006.

Give thanks to the Lord as much as you can this week [and every week]!
In Christ

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Schumann "Musical Rules at Home and in Life"

Well, today I went to Half Price Books. I came home with some good gems.
(1) Recording of Bach: St. Matthew Passion
(2) Sarah Groves Songbook [For Linds]
(3) Album Fur Die Jugend Kinderszenen, Robert Schumann [For Piano]

I'm not an excellent pianist, but I have been practicing more and more and I was really excited to get this. Anyhow, there is a section at the back of the book called "Musical Rules at Home and in Life". I thought I'd list a few for your reading pleasure:)
"Do not be frightened by words like Theory, Thoroughbass, Counterpoint etc. They can be your friends if you approach them in a friendly manner. [Mrs. Schneider...are you reading this:)]"

"Never play an instrument which needs tuning. [Guilty:)]"

"Make efforts, even if your voice is not a good one, to sing at sight without the help of the instrument; in this way the sharpness of your hearing will continually improve. If you have a beautiful voice, waste no opportunity to have it trained, and treat it as the finest gift Heaven can bestow on you! [Ummm... I think salvation is the finest gift, but I get what he means.]"

"Children are not made into healthy people by eating sweets, cakes and icing. Spiritual food, like food for the body, must be plain and wholesome. The latter has been amply provided by the Great Masters; keep to it. [I think music was definitely an idol for this man. He's right about the spiritul food, but wrong that "music" is the spiritual food!]"

"A lot can be learned from singers, but do not believe everything they tell you. [The same goes for pianists and composers, no?]"

"There are many people in the world. Be modest, there is nothing you can invent or think of that has not already been invented or thought of by somebody else. If you do think of something original, regard it as a gift from above to be shared with others. [Amen.]"

"Learn early on to read the old clefs. Otherwise many treasures of the past will be withheld from you. [This is why I hope my kids someday can learn Greek and Latin and maybe a few other languages:)]"

"If Heaven has given you a vivid imagination, then you will often spend solitary hours sitting at the piano as if in a trance seeking the harmonies to express your innermost feelings. The more mysteriously you feel yourself drawn as it were into a magic circle, the more elusive seems the world of harmony. These are the happiest hours of youth. But beware of over-indulging a talent that may lead you to waste time and energy on phantoms of the imagination. The mastery of form, the ability to clearly formulate thoughts, can be acquired only through the fixed symbols of notation. Therefore write more, and dream less."

"The moral laws are also those of Art. [If only "artists" followed this advice!]"

"From a pound of iron worth a few pennies can be made many thousand watch-springs, which are worth hundreds of thousands. Put to good use the pound that God has given you."

"Only if the form is first clear to you will the spirit then reveal itself. [I'm thinking the spirit is the aesthetic nature of a piece...not like a soul or the Holy Spirit.]"

[Schumann, Robert Album Fur Die Jugend Kinderszenen Fur Klavier Konemann Music Budapest, 1993 pp. 91-93]

Friday, November 17, 2006


Did you know that John Piper is bad. This video is pretty funny:) This puts a new spin on total depravity!

A Challenge to Young People

Are you an adult? Do you have a holy ambition?

Distorted and Plastic View of Beauty

This is a sad article “21-Year-Old Anorexic Model Dies in Brazil”. It just reminds me of the fake plastic perception our culture has of beauty...and how this view of beauty drives our sisters, mothers, wives, daughters, etc. to go to such extremes.

Here are a few quotes...
“…a Spanish fashion show responded to such criticism by banning models with a body mass index of less than 18. Body mass index is a calculation doctors normally apply to study obesity, and anyone with an index below 18.5 is considered underweight.”

Isn’t it interesting that 18.5 is underweight, but they ban models less than 18. Wow!
“Reston would have had a body mass index of 13.4 at the time of her death, according to a calculator on the Web site of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

This article reminded me of the video below…I won’t comment on the noetic effects of sin or common grace like David Powlison did here…but I pray this breaks our hearts to share the love of Jesus Christ with a culture that needs to know what love and beauty are.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Teaching on the Spot!

Well, Sunday was a great day. As Lindsey and I were getting ready in the morning we received a call at 8:00[am] for me to teach in an ABF [adult bible fellowship]. It’s funny because just a few days ago I was really hoping to have the opportunity to teach again…

Anyhow, it was fun [and a good exercise] to do…but I was a little bummed that I didn’t have more prep time. The lesson was on Matthew 1:1-25. It is an excellent passage. We spent quite a bit of time reflecting on some of the different folks in the geneology.

I was mentioning something about Tamar, saying something about how it was wrong of Tamar to dress up as a prostitute. Obviously Judah was wrong to have sex with his daughter in-law…especially since he did it with the intent to be with a prostitute. Anyhow, I must not have made it clear that Judah was wrong too, because a woman in the ABF said [2 or 3 times], “Tamar was just taking what was rightfully hers.” My response was, “well, I guess technically you’re right.” But I probably was wrong to capitulate to what she said [Since Judah refused to let his other son redeem Tamar he would have been the next responsible kinsman redeemer (I think)…but assuming that there may have been other kinsman redeemers (and there probably were) Judah could have rightfully denied her this “right” to claim him as the only possible kinsman redeemer]. I was thinking, “they were obviously both wrong,” but I didn’t want to go there because we were talking about Matthew not Genesis 38)

I went straight to the cross…and I mentioned how the Old Testament is about Jesus [I hoped to read the passages about the OT being a shadow of things to come (Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 8:5 and 10:1)…but I didn’t get to it].

I talked about the monergistic [in contrast to synergistic] movement of God in salvation in Matthew 1:21, “…he will save his people from their sins…” Notice He is saving, and He is saving His people. Anyhow, I related this to Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

It is very interesting to teach a group of folks my parent’s age. Some of them have probably been reading their bibles for more years than I have been alive! I was really pretty humbled to have the opportunity to teach them. They were gracious and clapped for me when I was done, and said I can come back some time to teach. They were way too gracious:)

Anyhow, I was glad to have been able to describe the imputation of our sin to Christ and His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5) to us in the atonement made on the cross. I was glad to have been able to pray with them, that we would know our sin more fully that we might kill it and understand the cross more deeply in knowing our depravity.

One bummer… I wanted to make more application regarding the faithfulness of God. That He was faithful to fulfill in Christ [1 Cor 1:20; etc.] the prophecy of Genesis 3:15. That God is faithful. This is also an excellent preparation for understanding God’s covenant with us. That He made a covenant with us that if He is to break it He will be dashed to pieces [Genesis 15:12-21 contrasted with Jeremiah 34:17-22]…He won’t break it and He is faithful. Praise be to God.

I’m thankful to have taught such an ill-prepared [on my part] lesson. God is humbling me and teaching me. We discoursed on a lot more…but those were some of the highlights:)

L’ma’an Sh’mo

Monday, November 13, 2006

Psalm 23 "מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד:"

(Adonai Roi, Lo Ehsar / The Lord is My Shepherd, I shall not Want)

When I was younger I used to sing the solo from Chichester Psalms (in case you are familiar with this work…yes, I was a first soprano).

Anyhow, I never knew what I was saying…turns out it was the Hebrew for the 23rd Psalm. It’s crazy…I don’t have the 23rd Psalm memorized in English, but I do in Hebrew!

For your interest here is the first part...[Psalm 23:1-3]
אֶחְסָר מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד:.
Adonai roi, lo ehsar.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

מְנֻחוֹת יְנַהֲלֵנִי בִּנְאוֹת דֶּשֶׁא, יַרְבִּיצֵנִי; עַל-מֵי.
Bin'ot deshe yarbitseini, Al mei m'nuhot y'nahaleini,
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside the still waters,

לְמַעַן שְׁמוֹ ,נַפְשִׁי יְשׁוֹבֵב; יַנְחֵנִי בְמַעְגְּלֵי-צֶדֶק,.
Naf'shi y'shovev, Yan'heini b'ma'aglei tsedek, L'ma'an sh'mo.
He restoreth my soul, He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness, For His name's sake.

לְמַעַן שְׁמוֹ.[L'ma'n sh'mo / for His name's sake]

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Names of God: Proper

Definition of God's proper names by Herman Bavinck.

"Definition of God's proper names:
When we speak of God's names in the more limited sense of that term (i.e., in distinction form his attributes), we understand thereby those appellatives which designate God and by means of which we address him as an independent, personal being. Such names are found in every language. Though in himself God is without name, nevertheless, we must be able to designate him, and we can do this in no other way than by means of the use of names. "For unless you know the name, your knowledge of the objects which it indicates will perish."

Generic Names: theos, daimon, kyrios, God, Asura, Ahura

Formerly the Greek word theos was held to be dreived from tithenai, theein, theasthai. At present some philologists connect it with Zeus, Dios, Jupiter, Deus, Diana, Juno, Dio, Dieu. So interpreted it would be identical with the Sanskrit "deva," the shining heaven, from "div," to shine. Others, however deny all etymological connection between the Greek theos and the Latin Deus and connect the former with the root thes in thessasthai to desire, to invoke. In many languages the words heaven and God are used synonymously: the oldest Grecian deity Uranus was probably identical with the Sanskrit Varuna; the Tartar and Turkish word "Taengri" and the Chinese word "Thian" mean both heaven and God; and also in Scripture the words heaven and God are sometimes used interchangeably; e.g., in the expression "kingdom of heaven" or "kingdom of God."

Another Greek word daimon is dreived from daio meaning: he who determines one's destiny.

The words kyrios from kyros characterizes God as the Mighty One, Lord, Owner, Ruler.

Our word "God" is of uncertain origin. Attempts have been made to prove its derivation from the word "good"; from the Avestan "khoda": "independent in existence"; from the Sanskrit "gudha" or "gutha," keutho, which would designate God as the "Hidden One," or from the root "ghu," Sanskrit "hu," meaning to invoke, so that God would be the One to whom invocations are made; or from a root kodo, kosmos to which the meaning: to arrange, to order, has been given; or from the Aryan "cuddhas," pure, good, etc., but all these derivations are uncertain.

The Indian "Asura" and the Persian "Ahura" designate God as the Living One."

[Bavinck, Herman The Doctrine of God Translated by William Hendricksen. Pp. 98-99 The Banner of Truth Trust copyright 2003]

I will quote more in the days to come as a meditation on the names of God.

Inerrancy: Legitimate Hermeneutics

Last night after teacher’s community at church I ran into some guys going to the leadership development classes on biblical interpretation. They were talking about the articles they had to read. One of which was Legitimate Hermeneutics by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. This was one of the first things we had to read for Systematic Theology I, so I thought I’d post a few quick quotes from the article!
“All of our own notions of truth and principle must be set aside in favor of those the sacred writers taught if we are to be valid interpreters (pp. 119).”

General Points on Hermeneutics:
(1) The Bible is to Be Interpreted by the Same Rules as Other Books (pp. 119-120).
(2) The Principles of Interpretation Are as Native and Universal to Man as Is Speech Itself (pp. 120-122).
(3) My Personal Reception and Application of an Author’s Words Is a Distinct and Secondary Act From the Need First to Understand His Work (pp. 122-123).

5 Principal By-passes used by various interpreters of Scripture to escape the three basic rules…:
(1) Allegorical interpretation
(2) Overdependence on the principle of “progressive revelation”
(3) Improper use of the principle of the “perspicuity of Scripture”
(4) Unfair appropriation of the alleged freedom with which the New Testament writers cite the Old Testament.
(5) Appeal to the implied presence of a dual sense in the messianic predictions of the Old Testament (pp. 125).

“The Situation here is exactly as it is with grammars and dictionaries; they do not prescribe what a language must do; they only describe how its best speakers and writers use it. So it is with hermeneutics (pp. 121)”

“Paul’s word cannot be used to claim that people without the Spirit do not understand any part of the Bible until they become spiritual (pp. 123).”

“No less vulnerable is much present-day evangelical preaching and teaching, which is often superficial and frothy, because of failure to spend enough time with the text and to patiently hear what it is saying first-rather than out of any overt embarrassment about the literal claims of an allegedly defunct Scripture. This method of sermonizing opens up an easy path – particularly for quick, adroit, fanciful, but lazy minds who, under pretense of truth and righteousness, teach what they will from where they will in Scripture. Fortunately for the church, little immediate harm is done in most cases (other than teaching poor methodology and starving God’s people from the full counsel of God). Most evangelical practitioners of this method merely “gather wool” from various passages and then import the ideas into unnatural biblical contexts (pp. 126) [my emphasis].”

“…therefore…the so-called “literal” interpretation must include the same depth of meaning as the writer himself included (pp. 127)”

“…perspicuity means simply that the Bible is sufficiently clear in and of itself for believers to understand it (pp. 128).”

“…our generation needs a whole new hermeneutical reformation. The current crisis regarding the doctrine of Scripture is directly linked to poor procedures and methods of handling Scripture… As a partial corrective for this astonishing situation, I urge that talk about the Bible be modified to this extent: that evangelicals in particular get equally busy identifying the meaning of the text itself – the meaning the original writer of Scripture intended – before we go on to name the relationships between that meaning and ourselves, our country, our day, and our conception of things; that is, before we consider the significance of the text for us (pp. 147).”

[Editor and contributor: Geisler, Norman L. Inerrancy pp. 116-147 article Legitimate Hermeneutics by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. 1980 Zondervan; Grand Rapids, MI.]

There’s a ton more to this article. And even though I’ve read it I repent for not always teaching hermeneutically [leading the people in good hermeneutics] as I have studied the Word in preparation for the lesson. This is a good reminder to me!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Workin' Out: Update # 1

This post is for all those out there who are dying to know how my workouts are going… There is one person who has requested an update, so here it goes:o)

First Workout on 10/08/2006
3 sets of 12 reps each for the following:
Curls: 17.5lbs per arm
Lat Raises: 20lbs per arm
Dual Axis Incline Press: 30lbs 1st set 35 lbs 2nd and 3rd set
Back Extension: 90lbs
Ab Crunch: 1st set 70lbs, 2nd and 3rd sets 90lbs
Lat Pull Down: 70lbs
Shoulder Press: 1st set 30lbs, 2nd and 3rd Sets 20lbs
Arm Extension: Didn’t use
Dual Axis Row: Didn’t use
Running: 10 minutes @ 6 MPH

First Check-point 11/07/2006
3 sets of 12 reps each for the following:
Curls: 20lbs per arm
Lat Raises: 50lbs using both arms on machine
Dual Axis Incline Press: 70 lbs [last set only 9 reps]
Back Extension: 130lbs
Ab Crunch: 110lbs
Lat Pull Down: 110lbs
Shoulder Press: Machine no longer works:o)
Arm Extension: 55lbs
Dual Axis Row: 60lbs
Running: 15 minutes @ 6.5 MPH

I’ve also been doing 50 crunches and 50 push-ups in the morning everyday. I do this 5 times a week...and this is actually encouraging to see some strength improvement over a month. I don't weigh any less [I fluctuate between 214-219] but I look a little more slim...and am definitely sore:)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Names of God: Extrabiblical "Trinity"

A few quotes from Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield on God.

[Works of B. B. Warfield Volume IX, Studies in Theology]

“The nature of God has been made known to men, therefore, in three stages, corresponding to the three planes of revelation, and we will naturally come to know Him, first, as the infinite Spirit or the God of nature; then [second], as the Redeemer of sinners, or the God of grace; and lastly [thirdly] as the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost, or the Triune God (pp. 110)”

“The essential elements which enter into and together make up this great revelation of the Triune God are, however, most commonly separately insisted upon. The chief of these are the three constitutive facts:
(1) that there is but one God (Deut. 6:4; Isa. 64:6; 1 Cor. 8:4; Jas. 2:19);

(2) that the Father is God (Matt. 11:25; John 6:27; 8:41; Rom. 15:6; 1 Cor. 8:5; Gal. 1:1, 3, 4; Eph. 4:6; 6:23; 1 Thess. 1:1; Jas. 1:27; 3:9; 1 Pet. 1:2; Jude 1);

the Son is God (John 1:1, 18; 20:28; Acts 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Heb. 1:8; Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:6; 2 Pet. 1:1);

and the Spirit is God (Acts 5:3, 4; 1 Cor. 2:10, 11; Eph. 2:22); and

(3) that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are personally distinct from one another, distinguished by personal pronouns, able to send and be sent by one another, to love and honor each the other and the like (John 15:26; 16:13, 14; 27:8, 18, 23; 16:14; 17:1).

The doctrine of the Trinity is but the synthesis of these facts, and, adding nothing to them, simply recognizes in the unity of the Godhead such a Trinity of persons as is involved in the working out of the plan of redemption. In the prosecution of this work there is implicated a certain relative subordination in the modes of operation of the several persons, by which it is the Father that sends the Son and the Son who sends the Spirit; but the three persons are uniformly represented in Scripture as in their essential nature each alike God over all, blessed forever (Rom. 9:5); and we are therefore to conceive the subordination as rather economical, that is relative to the function of each in the work of redemption, than essential, that is, involving a difference in nature. (pp. 113-114)”
[I edited with my emphasis, and for clarity in reading]

Monday, November 06, 2006

Names of God: Improper Antropomorphic Descriptions of God

From Herman Bavinck's The Doctrine of God [Banner of Truth pp. 86-88]
God has a soul [Lev. 26:11; Matt. 12:28]
A Spirit [Gen. 1:2; etc.]
Mention is never made of God's body, although in Christ God assumed a real human body [John 1:14; Col. 2:17]
Church is called the body of Christ [Eph. 1:22]

Bodily Organs
Countenance [Ex. 3:20, 23; Is. 63:9; Ps. 16:11; Matt. 18:10; Rev. 22:4]
Eyes [Ps. 11:4; Heb. 4:13]
Eyelids [Ps. 11:4]
Apple of his eye [Deut. 32:10; Ps. 17:8; Zech. 2:3]
Ears [Ps. 55:1]
Nose [Deut. 33:10]
Mouth [Deut. 8:3]
Lips [Job 11:5]
Tongue [Is. 30:27]
Neck [Jer 18:17]
Arms [Ex. 15:16]
Hand [Num. 11:23]
Right hand [Ex. 15:12]
Finger [Ex. 8:19]
Heart [Gen. 6:6]
"Yearning of his heart" (A. V.: "sounding of his bowels") [Is 63:15; cf. Jer. 31:20; Luke 1:78]
Bosom [Ps 74:11]
Foot [Is. 66:1]

Human Emotions
Joy [Is. 62:5]
Rejoicing [Is. 65:19]
Grief [Ps. 78:40; Is. 63:10]
Anger [Jer. 7:18, 19]
Fear [Deut. 32:27]
Love, in all its variations (e.g. compassion, mercy, grace, longsuffering, etc.)
Zeal and Jealousy [Deut. 32:21]
Grief [Gen 6:6]
Hatred [Deut. 16:22]
Wrath [Ps. 2:5]
Vengeance [Deut. 32:35]

Human actions Ascribed to God
Knowing [Gen. 18:21]
Trying [Ps. 7:9]
Thinking [Gen. 50:20]
Forgetting [1 Sam. 1:11]
Remembering [Gen. 8:1; Ex. 2:24]
Speaking [Gen. 2:16]
Calling [Rom. 4:17]
Commanding [Is. 5:6]
Rebuking [Ps. 18:15; 104:7]
Answering [Ps. 3:4]
Witnessing [Mal. 2:14]
Resting [Gen. 2:2]
Working [John 5:17]
Seeing [Gen. 1:10]
Hearing [Ex. 2:24]
Smelling [Gen. 8:21]
Tasting [Ps. 11:4, 5]
Sitting [Ps. 9:7]
Rising [Ps. 68:1]
Going [Ex. 34:9]
Coming [Ex. 24:22]
Walking [Lev. 26:12]
Descending [Gen. 11:5]
Meeting [Ex. 3:18]
Visiting [Gen. 21:1]
Passing [Ex. 12:13]
Casting off [Judg. 6:13]
Writing [Ex. 34:1]
Sealing [John 6:27]
Graving [Is. 49:16]
Smiting [Is. 11:4]
Chastening [Deut. 8:5]
Punishing [Job 5:17]
Binding up the wounds and healing [Ps. 147:3; cf. Ps. 103:3; Deut. 32:39]
Killing and making alive [Deut. 32:39]
Wiping away tears [Is. 25:8]
Wiping (out) [2 Kings 21:13]
Washing [Ps. 51:2]
Anointing [Ps. 2:6]
Cleansing [Ps. 51:2]
Decking with ornaments [Ezek. 16:11]
Clothing (with) [Ps. 132:16]
Crowning [Ps. 8:5]
Girding with strength [Ps. 18:32]
Destroying [Gen. 6:7]
Laying waste (making a waste) [Lev. 26:31]
Killing [Gen. 38:7]
Plaguing [Gen. 12:17]
Judging [Ps. 58:11]
Condemning [Job 10:2]

Names which indicate a certain office, profession or relation among men.
Bridegroom [Is. 61:10]
Husband [Is. 54:5]
Father [Deut. 32:6]
Judge, King, Lawgiver [Is. 33:22]
Man of War [Ex. 15:3]
Hero [Ps. 78:65; Zeph. 3:17]
Builder (architect) and Maker [Heb. 11:10]
Husbandman [John 15:1]
Shepherd [Ps. 23:1]
Physician [Ex. 15:26]

In connection with these mention is made of his seat, throne, footstool, rod, scepter, weapons, bow, arrow, sword, shield, wagon, banner, book, seal, treasure, inheritance, etc.

In order to indicate what God is for his children language derived from the organic and inorganic creation is even applied to God.
Lion [Is. 31:4]
Eagle [Deut. 32:11]
Lamb [Is. 53:7]
Hen [Matt. 23:37]
Sun [Ps. 84:11]
Morning Star [Rev. 22:16]
Light [Ps. 27:1]
Torch [Rev. 21:23]
Fire [Heb. 12:29]
Fountain [Ps. 36:9]
Fountain of Living Waters [Jer. 2:13]
Food, Bread, Water, Drink, Ointment [Is. 55:1; John 4:10; 6:35, 55]
Rock [Deut. 32:4]
Hiding Place [Ps. 91:1; 121:5]
Shield [Ps. 84:11]
Way [John 14:6]
Temple [Rev. 21:22]

Saturday, November 04, 2006

What's in a Name?

A good quote to inspire reflection on names! Do you know what your name means? How do you name your children? Do you know what God's name(s) mean? Do you know the different names of God given in Scripture? I hope to post a little on this over the next week:)
"A name is an indication of the bearer, an appelation according to this or that attribute which he reveals and by which he may be known. Between the name and its bearer there is a certain connection, and this connection is not arbitrary. Even among us though names have for the most part become sounds without meaning that connection is felt. A name is something personal: it is not a mere number. It is always more or less unpleasant to have one's name mispelled. Our name stands for our honor, our worth, our personality, our individuality. That connection between the name and its bearer was more evident when names still had a transparent meaning, when they actually revealed the bearer (my emphasis)."

[Bavinck, Herman The Doctrine of God Translated by William Hendricksen. Pp. 83 The Banner of Truth Trust copyright 2003]

"God's Power in the Pentateuch"

This is just an observation as I've been reading through the Pentateuch [first five books of the Old Testament]...

God performed the plagues on Egypt, "To show [them His] power, so that [His] name [would] be proclaimed in all the earth (Exodus 9:16). (ESV)" It seems brutal, but that is really what was going on behind it all.

We see the fruit of this in that, " Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses (Exodus 14:31). (ESV)" Also, "Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power, your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy (Exodus 15:6). (ESV)"

These passages kick off the theme of God's power that cannot be missed. I'll try to build up to a surprising event that I didn't remember from the last time I read these books culminating in Leviticus 9.

Israel at Sinai began a new period of time (Exodus 19), of God relating to His people, a time under God's laws given through Moses. They received laws about many things [the ten commandments (20:1-21), altars (20:22-26), slaves (21:1-32), restitution (21:33-22:15), social justice (22:16-23:9), sabbath and festivals (23:10-19), etc.]. They also received instructions on making the ark of the covenant (25:10-23), the table for bread (25:23-30), the golden lampstand (25:31-40), the tabernacle (26:1-37)...and on and on it goes through chapter 30 and then again from Exodus 35-40.

Exodus 40:34-38 is a testimony to the Lord's faithfulness in that the Glory of the Lord was dwelling among Israel.

Then in Leviticus the first 7 chapters outline how Israel was to offer offerings for atonement of sin. It is clear through the demand for having to cyclically make atonement all year every year that this substitutionary atonement was not a full atonement for all sins that we see in the Lord Jesus Christ.

We see all the different procedures for offering sacrifices to the Lord in these first 7 chapters of Leviticus. God is very detailed in what He expects for atonement, the tabernacle, priests clothes, etc. It's like all of this tension is building from Exodus 19-Leviticus 7. Tension of all these standards that Israel must meet in order to please God. In my mind I'm thinking, "this is all impossible," and, "to what end are all of these things being done?"

So in Leviticus 8 God, through Moses, consecrates the priests, Aaron and his sons. He basically ordains them and follows a very specific ritual in order to do this. Then in Leviticus 9 the priests do their first offering!

A bull! It's interesting that this is the first real mention of Aaron since he led Israel in idolatry of the golden calf...and he is sacrificing a bull. So they do it...all according to God's design and then this happens in Leviticus 9:22-24:
"And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings.
And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people [my emphasis]. (ESV)"

What a reward to the people who obediently followed God's very particular instructions. And then this...

"And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces [my emphasis]. (ESV)"

How humbling would that have been...

Of course Israel stumbled right after this, but what an amazing experience to come out of Egypt; to sin against God numerous times and be forgiven; to be given, out of God's grace, a law would point to our sin; to be given an understanding of atonement in a shadow of what was to come in Christ being seen in glory on the cross and resurrected; and then to see God's glory in this consuming of the offering.

I don't spend enough time on my face in reverence of God's power and glory!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

"My Introduction to the Emergent/Emerging Church"

I first heard about the Emergent Church [EC] in a conversation with a friend about 2 years ago. He asked me if I had ever heard of the movement, and I hadn’t.

I was curious about EC so after some “Googling” I ended up at Emergent Village . I listened to all the audio available from Tom Wright [I think], and a conference at Columbia college. The conference was hosted by Brian McLaren and Tony Jones with some guest speakers Walter Bruggeman and a few Reformed guys.

My honest reflection from the talks were that Bruggeman was an unhappy man who started with some good views on American consumerism’s effects on the church, but became a little misdirected in his focus and solutions. He went in a complete opposite direction from David Wells’ focus and solutions, based off of some similar sociological analysis [which concerns American consumerism’s effects on the church as well]. Bruggeman severely stumbled me from that talk for a long time [if you're curious about how ask me sometime:)]. Also, Jones and McLaren’s approach to the Reformed men, they invited to be panel speakers, was disrespectful. They treated them as presuppositionalists [In reality aren’t we all?]. Anyhow, the entire thing did not leave a good taste in my mouth.

I read a lot of the documents that they listed as sources as well [I don't own any books...I've just tried to read free stuff online]. The only one I found helpful was McLaren’s stuff on a good perspective in worship music [albeit not as helpful as some stuff that John Frame has written or Ligon Duncan III with the "distributive principle"].

At about this same time I was listening to talks regarding the New Perspective on Paul [NPP] by Sinclair Ferguson [my professor for Systematic Theology II], and had read articles by J. Ligon Duncan III [my professor For Systematic Theolgoy III] [Sidenote: I’m getting a copy of a talk that Derek Thomas gave at Dordt College last weekend regarding Luther and Calvin on the NPP]. NPP is propogated by Tom Wright and others.

So at the outset I wasn’t a fan of Bruggeman, or Tom Wright [I guess Wright wrote one of the best books on “justification” published by Banner of Truth and then after that he denied that he believes any of it]. [Here's an article if you're curious about Wright's views.] And a lot of stuff that EC leans toward theologically is by those guys [there are other theologians they look up to…but at the time this is who I was able to read that EC recommended].

Shortly after all of this I emailed Brian McLaren [his email at one time was listed on the site] to see if they had a mission statement because the beliefs section on Emergent Village [now values and practices were really difficult for me to understand. They were kind of vague doctrinally to me, and I really couldn’t get a clear idea of what they were talking about in the use of some of terms and phrases they were using. I never heard back [sidenote: almost a year later (5/4/06) Emergent posted this article on why they don’t have a doctrinal statement].

When I was in college I went through a period of time that I was against any form of the institution of the church. With my own eyes I wasn’t seeing the local church live the way I saw it living in the New Testament. God has softened my heart toward institutionalized Christianity [pretty much all existing local churches cell, home, etc. are institutions...just some smaller and some larger] and He is shaping my vision of what the local church should look like more and more.

Unfortunately for EC I believe that social action is only effective if it is grounded in good dogma and doctrine [you can read a lot more of what I think of some of this in a series of posts I did. I’ll link them below]. Therefore, it is fruit that bears from a tree rooted in good soil. Even a tree in poor soil bears fruit for a time, but it certainly doesn’t live as long [I guess the four soils would be a good example of this, only it is in regards to hearing the Word, not works]. I can understand peoples’ frustrations with the church, but a fuzzy view in some arenas and an abandonment of orthodox theological views in others is not the correct way to go in my opinion.

It’s interesting to me that some of the folks in EC are making decisions and such in a similar way that the mainline denominations made when “modernism” came on the scene. This split the church into fundamentalism and liberalism [generally speaking]. Then a third head popped up “evangelicalism” which had [very generally speaking] theology of the fundamentalists but was trying to engage culture (see Life of Carl F. H. Henry interview) [actually this head had a root in many years prior]. Read Evangelicalism Divided and Christianity and Liberalism you’ll see where I’m coming from with some of these comments [I’m sure there are plenty of other books]. Anyhow, there was a watering down of “evangelicalism” from the late 1950’s to 2000 in the ecumenical movement and this is what led to the disillusionment that we are faced with today [in my opinion]. Carson talks about this a little in the Being Conversant with the Emerging Church book. He, as Scot McKnight points out in his recent lecture at Westminster Theological Seminary, was not accurate on everything, but I think on the idea that Carson discusses about this movement having roots in the modern movement is spot on [harsh words allude to EC in a footnote used Carson’s book Conversant from his book The Gagging of God when he says, “…postmodernism [is the] bastard child of modernism: the genetic descent can scarcely be denied…” pp. 26 footnote 71]. I think much of postmodern epistemology is always with the best intentions... I just don't want to see EC lose the gospel like many of the churches did in what went down in the "liberalism" of the late 1800's to 1900's. Maybe I'm crazy, but I think conservative theology can be coupled with social justice. Maybe that's one of the streams of the "Emerging Churches" that Mark Driscoll talks about.

Anyhow, I'm still following this movement, and I am humbled...seeing the great depth of my sin as I have erroneously heaped judgment at times on brothers and sisters in Christ that are part of this movement [I'm just concerned. I guess it's another good intent that may have bad fruit]. I'm trying to learn how to be more like Christ too. I'm praying for you brothers...and I hope that God will continue to cling us to His inerrant Word, and to a clearer vision of His work on the cross, and His continued work through us...for the clear communication of the gospel to the lost in order that God may save as many has He desires. I'm sorry for any unloving judgment I have pointed in your direction, if you consider yourself a cohort of EC. It may be a sign of my lack of maturity...but I think these are dangerous waters and we must move forward extremely carefully.

I welcome any corrections or rebukes regarding the subjects that I might have misrepresented. To the best of my abilities this is how I have understood everything so far. Please let me know of any rebukes or corrections!

Thanks for listening [reading :)].

In Christ
[Below is the series of posts I did on the Emergent/Emerging Church Movement 5/8/06 to 5/18/06]

What is the Emerging Church Movement?
Emergent/Emerging Church
Part 1
Part 2
Part 2.1
Part 2.2
Part 2.3
Part 3
Part 3.1
Part 3.2
Part 3.3
Part 3.4
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Concerns Regarding The Emerging Church Movement.
Part 1
Part 1.1
Part 1.2
Part 1.3
Part 1.4
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 4.1
Part 4.2
I ended this series with this post Emergent/Emerging Church in order focus on Christ instead of concerns/criticisms of EC.