Friday, June 30, 2006

The Brevity of Life...and Music

I don’t approach this topic lightly. In fact I think we need to constantly live with the end in sight, the end of this life that is. How will we finish the race? Are we being used for the glory of God in spreading the gospel?

The reason I bring this up is because there are three songs that remind me of where I’ve been, where I am and where I’m going in this pilgrimage of life and faith. It might sound strange, but whenever the things of this world start to hinder my focus on Jesus Christ I try to do a few things.
(1) Fast & Pray in repentance expressing my dependence and neediness to God
(2) Read the Word
(3) Express my feelings with my wife and seek her prayer support
(4) Seek out the prayers of my family and the body of Christ
(5) I listen to a few songs that remind me of God’s grace in my life

These songs have truly been precious to me throughout the years and they remind me of the grace He has shown me in the past, and the remind me of the brevity of the current, and they give me an anticipation for what’s ahead.
(1) Spiritual (from Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden’s Beyond the Missouri Sky album)

(2) Letter From Home (from Pat Matheny Group’s Letter From Home album)

(3) Litania [Part One] (From Thomasz Stanko’s From The Green Hill album)

For some reason these tracks help me reflect on past, present and future in an amazing way. The gift of music from God is truly amazing. God’s grace is amazing! I remember listening to Letter From Home at a Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia meeting my junior year in college at Drake thinking, “Soon these meetings will come to an end, I may never see some of these guys again, some will keep in touch, some won’t, some will move, some will stay, some will die and some will continue living.” Music that humbles you like this is truly worth having around.

I was just listening to Spiritual and I was thinking about how good God has been, how much I love Lindsey, how much I love my family, and how much I love everyone in our ABF. It might seem weird that I would say this, but I really do love you all.

Do you guys have music you listen to…to get contemplative…or to rest…to cheer you up when you’re sad…to humble you…to remind you of the brevity of life…to remind you of God’s grace toward you? Let me know! Let’s get a good list going!

In Christ

[Also, I'm excited to add develop some favorite hymns...over lunch Lindsey and I picked up three free hymnals from Westminster Presbyterian Church in town:) And before you make assumptions...Yes, they gave them to us, we didn't just walk in and take them!]

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Baptistic Creeds

[This is also from yesterdays Al Mohler program cited two posts ago:)]

The origin of some contemporary Confessions.
(1) Westminster Confession of Faith 1646
(2) 1689 London Baptist Confession: Strictly Reformed derivitive of the Westminster Confession. [Generally adapted to meet baptistic convictions regarding government and baptism]
(3) Philadelphia Confession 1742[adapted for purposes of language and structure...not content]
(4) The Centennial Confession [basically the Philly confession only the 100 year anniversary of it, also, updates for language and structure...not content]
(5) Charleston Confession 1813[based off of the Centenniel Confession, updates for language and structure...not content]
(6) [Current] Southern Baptist Confession is based on the Charleston confession [updates for language and structure...not content]

same starting point, but an offshoot in that the Philly Confession isn't in this lineage...
(1) Westminster Confession of Faith
(2) 1689 Baptist Confession: Strictly Reformed derivitive of the Westminster Confession.
(3) New Hampshire Confession 1833[less explicitly Reformed and Calvinistic although it is not Arminian.]
(4) Baptist Faith and Message of 1925 & 1963[based off of the New Hampshire Confessions, updates for language and structure...not content...this was the Southern Baptist Convention's first confession. Once again this was less overt and less strictly Calvinistic although it wasn't anti-Calvinistic.]
(5) 1992 Southern Baptist Confession of faith

There might be some problems with this, but once again...I'm just trying to understand all of this:)


[The following info was from the radio show I cited on my last post from Al Mohler's radio show w/ Ligon Duncan III.]

Confused by all the divisions in the Presbyterian church?? I know I am (to be fair most denominations have more divisions than most of us can keep up with). Here's some clarification.
(1) Presbyterian Church of America (PCA): Formed in 1982 when North and South conservative denominations of Presbyterianism came together.

(2) Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA): Formed in 1982 with North and South mainline Presbyterian churches.

(3) Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC): Didn't join PCA in 1982, and took advantage of the escape clause from the PCUSA that allowed churches to branch off from the PCUSA in a 7 year period and keep their property. So they took advantage of this and formed their own denomination.

(4) Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC): This was a denomination of Presbyterianism formed by J. Gresham Machen in the 1920's (conservative theologically) that came from Northern Presbyterian churches that were more conservative.

There's more to be said to clarify, and I'm working on it, but this is helpful for now:)

Lig also said that the PCUSA says they have 2.3 million folks in their denomination but this has been decreasing by about 40,000 people every year since 1967 (this is probably not completely accurate...the point is the congregation is dwindling.)

The PCA is the largest of Presbyterian Congregations in the world with 450,000 folks.

If you guys know some stuff I don't let me know...I'm just trying to understand all of this!

Al Mohler's Radio Show 6/28/06...

You have to check out yesterdays Al Mohler radio program...

Here’s a quick rundown of topics…

(1) What’s going on in Prebyterianism?? (Guest is Ligon Duncan III)

(2) Why don’t protestants recognize the Apocrypha as Scripture, while Roman Catholics do?

(3) Ann Coulter’s new book The Church of Liberalism: Godless (this has some arrogant and terrible things written in it, but the thesis is reminscent of J. Gresham Machen's Christianity and Liberalism).
a. Secular liberalism is a religion
b. Their Sacrament is abortion
c. Public Schools are their temples
d. John Dewey a founder in the Common School (Public Schools) movement. Here’s a few quotes from Mohler’s essay Needed: An Exit Strategy regarding Dewey’s intentions:
“Educational leaders like John Dewey saw the public schools, often called the 'common' schools, as the mechanism for indoctrinating children into a new democratic faith. The worldviews and eccentricities of the various ethical and national backgrounds would be erased and a new melting pot of Americans would emerge. Dewey, the most influential shaper of the public schools in America, understood that the success of his effort would require children to be liberated from the prejudices and values of their parents."

"In his book, A Common Faith, Dewey advocated a radically secular vision for the public schools and the larger public culture. His concept of a humanistic faith, stripped of all supernatural claims, doctrines, and theological authorities, would replace Christianity as the dominant culture-shaping worldview. 'Here are all the elements for a religious faith that shall not be confined to sect, class, or race,' he claimed. 'Such a faith has always been the common faith of mankind. It remains for us to make it explicit and militant.'”

(4) Does Calvinism state fatalistically that God saves some and determines not to save others?

(5) If a person denies that faith alone is sufficient for salvation, is it possible for that person be saved?

(6) Those who are called to teach will face a more strict judgment.

Needless to say an great and interesting radio show!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Sharing Jesus Christ with your grandparents…

Well, this last weekend was a good one, but tiring…

Lindsey and I had planned all week to go to Geneseo, Illinois to hang out with her Grandpa Raymond and Grandma Jean on her Dad’s side, then drop by her Grandpa Don and Grandma Nonnie’s, on her mother’s side. We knew it would be a busy weekend, but we knew it would be fully worth it.

I’m 26 and Lindsey is 25. If you are anywhere close to our age and God has blessed your grandparents with a long life then you might be experiencing what we are. Our grandparents are in their 70’s and 80’s and their health is failing, and we don’t know how much time we have left with them.

Unfortunately we haven’t had many spiritual conversations with our grandparents with one exception Lindsey’s grandma on her mother’s side. That leaves 3 grandparents in Lindsey’s family that we don’t have a clue where they are in regards to God. We know that the most loving thing that we can do is share (1) about God, (2) human sin nature hence separation from God, (3) the atonement and forgiveness for those who believe to be able to commune with God, (4) and the eternal life with Christ for those who believe in Him, hence eternal damnation in hell for those who don't. We feel that we have to do this no matter how offensive it is. It's difficult to start to work on soil that has grown so hard over the years and we regret not starting this sooner. So this is our goal...because we love them.

We know that God might not have us in Iowa for long, so we are trying to reach them for Christ.

So this was our weekend…
Friday, get together at the Rosberg’s on Friday night from 7:00ish to 10:00ish.

Saturday, left early 8:00ish for Geneseo, Illinois. Rode around in the golf cart for a while with Papa Ray…
Left for Davenport, Iowa. Hung around, took a nap, at a good meal, then left and returned home at 10:00pm.

Sunday, Lindsey got up early to clean, I wrote a little regarding some options that we could do for material for our next ABF study. Went to 8:30am worship service (Tom Curtright preached an awesome sermon on Romans 5), had ABF (last one with the Rosbergs on intimacy), came home, quick lunch, cleaned, put out for sale signs, had an open house from 2-4pm (If you didn’t know we are selling our house, and we have an open house every Sunday from 2-4), then we went to the grocery store, then returned home. Whew…

We made some progress, which is extremely encouraging. But it is hard to see genuine faith in a confession of faith which took place long ago through a current reality of nominalism and hard hearts. Please pray for Papa Ray, and Grandma Jean’s salvation!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Adventures in staining a piano...

First of all I'm not very handy. It took me about 2 hours to install a mailbox, and I went through 2 different ones, and I even used a jigsaw...don't ask.

Anyhow, approximately last February of 2006 I took on the effort of refinishing a piano. That is a ridiculous idea for someone who is so challenged in industrial arts! Well if you're interested here's the story (as concise as I can get it).
· One Sunday morning about 2 years ago I woke up to see that our groundskeeper, at our apt at 3914 University Ave in Des Moines, "Chip" had strapped an upright studio piano to his trailer. Lindsey and I assumed he was going to trash it and we were correct (he said he had planned to back up to a landfill and let it roll over the end of the trailer!). We left a note on the piano as we left for worship service that if he was entertaining the thought of throwing it away...not to, because we would like it. So he held onto it and we arranged a group of about 5 strong men (not including myself) to carry it into the apartment.

· Linds had a piano all growing up and about a month prior to this we found out her parents sold it cheaply to someone. She was pretty upset, and after going to a local piano retailer we found a new one would cost approximately $3,000...ouch! Needless to say we were excited to get this one.

· So after we moved it to the apartment we noticed it was scratched up like you wouldn't believe by a cat or some other animal.

· We tried to give the piano away all last Fall and nothing ever worked we were faced with three options. (1) Trash it (which I wasn't about to do), or (2) keep it the way it was (which Linds wasn't about to do), or (3) Refinish it (which I thought it was worth a shot).

· So approximately February of 2006 I started to sand the puppy down. Zach Kapfer came over to help. It was awesome! Then it started to take what seemed like forever. Then a ton of guys and some ladies' fathers from our Adult Bible Fellowship (ABF) offered advice on how to stain too.

· So here's the process
(1) Sand w/ 60-80 grit, then 120, then 240 grit (use tach clothe between each step to take of excess dirt, sawdust, etc.)
(2) One coat of clear sealer (to even out the future coats).
(3) Rub it down well with steal wool.
(4) First coat of stain...
(5) Use 240 grit sand paper...
(6) Second coat of stain...
(7) Use steel wool to rub the entire thing down.
(8) Third coat of stain...
(9) Let it dry... (which is where I'm at and it looks GOOD!!) and then...
(10) Top Coat (which I haven't done yet)

Thanks to everyone who has helped me. It really looks good and I think Lindsey's really happy!

Two new movies coming out from Walden Media...

Walden Media
Charlotte’s Web: In theaters this Christmas starring Dakota Fanning and the voice talents of Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, and Robert Redford.

Amazing Grace: The William Wilberforce Story: In theaters early next year — an epic account of Wilberforce’s fight to abolish slavery in the United Kingdom.

I like the story of Charlotte's Web so it should be a good flick, but I'm not crazy about the celebrities they chose. However, I'm pumped about the one on William Wilberforce!

Looking for a Job??

The following faculty positions have been declared open:
· Old Testament - Orlando and Jackson
· Philosophy/Theology - Jackson
· Practical Theology - Charlotte

For more information contact Dr. Robert Cara, VP Academic Affairs,

In my dreams:)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Lighter Note... books...

On a lighter note...

I am not feeling well today, so I took the day off and have been sleeping for much of it...I had the opportunity to stop by Half Price Books on the way home and picked up a few things!!
(1) What appears to be a great commentary on Romans [Eerdmans; F. F. Bruce; 2002]

(2) William Barclay's commentary on the Letters of James and Peter [Westminster Press; 1960].

(3) I also picked up Jesus Freaks Vol. II.

Each of these were $ huh...

Also, I arranged to get an old Presbyterian Hymnal [the Red One] from Westminster Presbyterian Church in town as our piano is almost done. I'll share more about the piano later!!

Urgent Prayer Request: Rosebud Mission Trip...

Lindsey and I received this email today...please read it...
Dear Beloved Sisters:

"I am sending this to you with much emotion.
Our daughter ----- is on a missions trip with a group of approximately 16 students and 5 leaders [With Valley Church]
in Rosebud, South Dakota.
They left Saturday morning and are scheduled to return
Friday night @ 7 p.m.

This has been a very, very challenging trip.
The Indian children are angry, aggressive and disrespectful
to the group.

Everyday when the group arrives
they are pelted with stones, mud and profanity. This is a menacing situation.
Brandon Mick is the Team Leader and goes ahead of the
group and tells the kids to throw stones at him,
God Bless him, and he has taken a number of hard hits.

Yet, Glory to God, they persevere.
The Indian children say to them each night, 'we know you won't come back tomorrow, you will leave like everyone else.' But because of their love for God and compassion for the children,
these courageous Warriors have made the decision to be Salt & Light and endure and persevere. May they be an example to all of us.

They have asked for help from the Pastor there, but he will not for fear of what will happen to him.
I told ------ that God has something HUGE to do there. Before they ever left for South Dakota they were running into logistical difficulties, they lost their housing and food plans and had a tire blow out on the van on the way up there.
The evil one has tried to stop them, but the love for their Lord gives them strength.

I have 3 requests....

(1) If you do not belong to Valley Church, please
contact your prayer chain and ask for God's protection
and His strength for these awesome kids.
Pray that God's Will is accomplished here.

(2) This group gets home Friday night @ 7:00 pm
I am asking as many Valley Church attenders to come to the Valley parking lot @ approx. ! 6:30 and welcome these weary Warriors home, to thank them and give
Glory to God.

(3) Will you please take some time to call everyone from your ABF's and ask them to show up and support these kids.
They are in such need of it. Call as many Valley people as you can and ask each one to call another and as you do, please pray with them and ask them to pray with the people they call for God's protection, strength and Will.

When I talked to Sami she was strong, but her voice was shaky.
I cannot express in words how much I respect and admire these brave kids that God has blessed us with.

They answered the Holy Call
We need to "hold their arms up" for the Good and Righteous Fight.

In His Power and Love,

Since we have planned with our ABF to be at the Rosberg's Friday a majority of us cannot be there to welcome these kids please pray for them, and I would encourage you all to write a note or do something to extend the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to Brandon Mick [who's a good friend] and his team!

If you're interested in following some posts on the Rosebud mission trip go the High School Ministries blog.

In Christ

Monday, June 19, 2006

Assumptions and Pursuits (Mark Dever)

You have to read this article by Mark Dever, Assumptions and Pursuits, if you're interested in being faithful to God and relevant to the culture.

Here are a few teaser quotes...
"I think the most basic practical division among evangelical pastors today may be between those who pursue faithfulness and assume relevance and those who pursue relevance and assume faithfulness."

"the first generation has the Gospel, the second generation assumes the Gospel, the third generation loses the Gospel."

"Consider what you and I will do to the Gospel message in our churches if we continue to change the 'presentation' of the Gospel until we begin to get a response... Pursue faithfulness and relevance. Know that the Gospel is always relevant. NEVER assume the Gospel."

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Augustine's Confessions: His Doctrine of the first few books.

When you speak do you clearly communicate who God is in His attributes in some way? When you journal or write does the language ooze of God's character to communicate to others who God is? We could take a lesson from Saint Augustine's Confessions. If we spoke this way people would know who God is, and they would understand the humility it takes to show how weak and dependent we are on Him.
“You are my God, my Life, my holy Delight, but is this enough to say of you? Can any man say enough when he speaks of you? Yet woe betide those who are silent about you! For even those who are most gifted with speech cannot find words to describe you.” [Pp. 23]

“Why do I mean so much to you, that you should command me to love you?” [Pp. 24]

“It did not come to me from them but, through them, from you, because you, my God, are the source of all good and everywhere you preserve me (2 Kings [2 Samuel] 23:5).” [Pp. 25]

“You have existed from before the very beginning of the ages.” [Pp. 26]

“Time, as well as everything else, exists in you. If it did not, it would have no means of passing.” [Pp. 27]

“No one but you can do these things, because you are the one and only mould in which all things are cast and the perfect form which shapes all things, and everything takes its place according to your law.” [Pp. 28]

“Intelligence which you, my God, gave to me.” [Pp. 29]

“And yet I sinned, O Lord my God, creator and arbiter of all natural things, but arbiter only, not creator, of sin.” [Pp. 31]

“But you, who take every hair of our heads into your reckoning [Matt 10:30], used for my benefit the mistaken ideas of all those who insisted on making me study; and you used the mistake I made myself, in not wishing to study, as a punishment which I deserved to pay, for I was a great sinner for so small a boy. In this way you turned their faults to my advantage and justly punished me for my own. For this is what you have ordained and so it is with us, that every soul that sins brings its own punishment upon itself.” [Pp. 33]

“O Lord, for you teach us by inflicting pain, you smite so that you may heal, and you kill us so that we may not die away from you.” [Pp. 44]

“My God, though you are the only Master, true and good, of its husbandry.” [Pp. 45]

“For such things are attractive and have beauty, although they are paltry trifles in comparison with the worth of God's blessed treasures.” [Pp. 48]

“It is true that the pears which we stole had beauty, because they were created by you, the good God, who are the most beautiful of all beings and the Creator of all things, the supreme Good and my own true Good.” [Pp. 49]

“For you alone are God, supreme over all.” [Pp. 49]

“Yet no one is to be feared but God alone, from whose power nothing can be snatched away or stolen by any man at any time or place or by any means.” [Pp. 49]

“Extravagance masquerades as fullness and abundance: but you are the full, unfailing store of never-dying sweetness.” [Pp. 50]

“No innocence is greater than yours. You are innocent even of the harm which overtakes the wicked, for it is the result of their own actions.” [Pp. 50]

“Yet you have supreme knowledge of all things.” [Pp. 50]

“Safety is assured nowhere but in you.” [Pp. 50]

“There is not place whatever where man may hide away from you.” [Pp. 50]

“My real need was for you, my God, who are the food of the soul, I was not aware of this hunger.” [Pp. 55]

“My God must be the Keeper of my soul, the God of our fathers, who is to be exalted and extolled for ever more.” [Pp. 56]

Pine-Coffin, R.S. [Translator and Introduction] Saint Augustine Confessions. Penguin Books Ltd., London; 1961.

This is one of the more impacting books that I've read. He goes deep!

Augustine's Confessions: Sola Gratias, Depravity, Election...

He sounds like the apostle Paul, Martin Luther, Calvin, and a lot of reformers...sola gratias, and total depravity, unconditional election...
"[Book II.7 Pp. 51] I will love you, Lord, and thank you, and praise your name, because you have forgiven me such great sins and such wicked deeds. I acknowledge that it was by your grace and mercy that you melted away my sins like ice. I acknowledge, too, that by your grace I was preserved from whatever sins I did not commit, for there was no knowing what I might have done, since I loved evil even if it served not purpose. I avow that you have forgiven me all, both the sins which I committed of my own accord and those which by your guidance I was spared from committing.

What man who reflects upon his own weakness can dare to claim that his own efforts have made him chaste and free from sin, as though this entitled him to love you the less, on the ground that he had less need of the mercy by which you forgive the sins of the penitent? There are some who have been called by you and because they have listened to your voice they have avoided the sins which I here record and confess for them to read. But let them not deride me for having been cured by the same Doctor who preserved them from sickness, or at least from such grave sickness as mine. Let them love you just as much, or even more, than I do, for they can see that the same healing hand which rid me of the great fever of my sins protects them from falling sick of the same disease."

You can see why the reformers, outside of the Bible, were so impacted by the writings of Augustine.

Augustine's Confessions: Regarding Pleasure...

Right now I'm reading this for Church History. This book is VERY genuine! I'm having a hard time controlling my are some samplings:
He sounds like Jonathan Edwards, C.S. Lewis, and John Piper in that our desire for true pleasure is too weak because it is satisfied in things less than God Himself...
"[Book II.5 Pp. 48] The eye is attracted by beautiful objects, by gold and silver and all such things. There is great pleasure, too, in feeling something agreeable to the touch, the material things have various qualities to please each of the other senses. Again, it is gratifying to be held in esteem by other men and to have the power of giving them orders and gaining the mastery over them. This is also the reason why revenge is sweet. But our ambition to obtain all these things must not lead us astray from you, O Lord, nor must we depart from what your law allows. The life we live on earth has its own attractions as well, because it has a certain beauty of its own in harmony with all the rest of this world's beauty. Friendship among men, too, is a delightful bond, uniting many souls in one. All these things and their like can be occasions of sin because, good though they are, they are of the lowest order of good, and if we are too much tempted by them we abandon those higher and better things, your truth, your law, and you yourself, O Lord our God. For these earthly things, too, can give joy, though not such joy as my God, who made them all, can give [my emphasis], because honest men will rejoice in the Lord; upright hearts will not boast in vain (Psalm 63:11; 64:10)."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blue Like Jazz book reviews

Have you ever heard of the book Blue Like Jazz?

Here are some book reviews on a really popular Christian book right now...and a quick quote from each one [I've edited for clarity]...

(1) 9 Marks Review
"The postmodern convert who comes to Christ the friendly listener [who Jesus is represented as in the book] has yet to meet the authentic Jesus. He’s met the aspects of Jesus that are most comforting to contemporary Westerners, but he has never experienced the stripping bare of all fleshly dignity before the reigning king of the universe. And this nakedness before God is necessary for salvation...Likely, right now someone in your church is reading Blue Like Jazz or some similar book. It will resonate with them in style and content—it is cool and Christian. And it is extremely unhelpful...The first is to reintroduce young Christians to the biblical Jesus: the person who died an agonizing death for their sins, who will tread the winepress of the wrath of God, and who listens to their prayers. The second is to begin the battle against the cool..."

(2) Christian Blogger Tim Challies' Review

He starts...
I found that I enjoyed this book more than I thought I might. That is not to say it is without its problems, and without some serious problems at that. But I enjoyed the rambling, conversational tone of the book, even if it is a little difficult to follow at times....

He ends...
"It is strange, that having come to the end of this review I am far less enthusiastic about the book than I was in reading it and in reflecting on it afterwards. While I can say that I did receive some benefit from reading it, I would be hesitant to recommend it to others. There is some value to be found, but one has to dig deep beneath layers of rambling untruth and poor theology to find them. There are many other books that contain far more treasure than this."

(3) Crosswalk's Review
"...autobiographical musings of a young man who found his way from the “fever swamps” of "fundamentalism" to the “high country” of non-judgmental relationism. It disarms with a tone of candor and self-deprecation. There are nuggets of insight and gratifying quotes here and there, and your heart goes out to a fellow in his struggles. Up to a point, that is. In the end, I found the book to be a dreadful (though canny) mess."

It also describes it as...
(a) Blue like Blue States.
(b) Blue like Blue-Light Special.
(c) Blue like Blue Blood.
(d) Blue like Berri Blue Jell-O.
(e) Blue like Black and Blue.
(f) Blue like Working Blue.
(g) Blue like Pabst Blue Ribbon.
(h) Blue like Blue Ice.
(i) Blue like Blue Screen.

This quote stuck out to me as a jazz musician..."Miller is intrigued with jazz, its “freedom” and “lack of resolution.” Actually, the improvisational freedom of jazz operates within boundaries and gives way to clear resolution." I have to say that Mark Coppenger [the reviewer] is spot on correct in regards to Jazz!

Any of you have ideas on this??

The Pursuit of Joy

Here is a way you can pursue joy from John Piper's talk at Capitol Hill Baptist Church.
He said some of this information is probably in the chapter on worship in his book Desiring God.
(1) Read God's Word
(2) Pray
· I... Incline my heart to your testimony. [Psalm 119:36]
· O... Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things out of your law. [Psalm 119:18]
· U... Unite my heart. [Psalm 86:11]
· S... Satisfy me in the morning with your steadfast love. [Psalm 90:14]

Southern Baptist Convention: Annual Meeting

You may or may not know, but the annual meeting for the Southern Baptist Convention was this week. Here are some of the results according to Fox News.

Home Schooling
“Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention refused Wednesday to support a resolution urging the denomination to form a strategy for removing children from public schools in favor of home schooling or education at private schools.”

“Southern Baptists are concerned about how classrooms are handling subjects such as homosexuality and ‘intelligent design.’”

New President
“…the SBC elected a new president, the Rev. Frank Page. The 53-year-old pastor at First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., was supported primarily by younger pastors and others who felt marginalized by an older generation that led a conservative takeover of the denomination in the 1970s and 1980s.”

"…the SBC unofficially barred members who drink alcohol from serving as trustees or members of any SBC entity.

The ban, part of a larger anti-alcohol resolution that was easily approved by delegates, was proposed by Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. While stopping short of officially preventing drinkers from serving, it 'urges' that no one be elected or appointed to SBC offices if they are 'a user of alcohol.'

'Use of alcohol as a beverage can and does impede the message of Jesus Christ' that Southern Baptists are trying to spread, Richards said.

Any thoughts?? What do you think?

Monday, June 12, 2006


[Also from Justin Taylor's blog]

You can get a lot of good training and information through the free online courses at Their aim is to provide "the finest in Christian evangelical teaching to the world, for free, forever."

Courses linked below are free and ready to go. (You have to register to access them.) Courses that are not linked are awaiting funding.
· Old Testament Survey: Dr. Douglas Stuart
· Old Testament Theology: Dr. Paul House
· Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospels...Dr. Robert Stein
· Introduction to the New Testament: Acts-Revelation...Dr. Robert Stein
· New Testament Theology: Dr. Frank Thielman
· Biblical Hermeneutics: Dr. Robert Stein
· Systematic Theology I: Dr. Bruce Ware
· Systematic Theology II: Dr. Bruce Ware
· Church History I (Pentecost up to the Reformation): Dr. Gerald Bray
· Church History II (Reformation to present): Dr. Gerald Bray
· World Mission of the Church: Dr. Timothy Tennent
· Educational Ministry of the Church: Dr. Gary Parrett
· Worship: Dr. Gary Parrett
· Spiritual Formation
· Pastoral Theology: Dr. John Piper
· Greek Tools for Bible Study: Dr. William Mounce
· Biblical Greek: Dr. William Mounce
· Hebrews: Dr. George Guthrie
· Christian Apologetics: Dr. Ronald Nash
· Martin Luther: Dr. Gordon Isaac
· Christian Ethics: Dr. Ronald Nash
· Advanced Worldview Analysis: Dr. Ronald Nash
· History of Philosophy and Christian Thought: Dr. Ronald Nash
· Contemporary World Missions: Dr. Timothy Tennent
· Theology of Mission: Dr. Peter Kuzmic
· Introduction to Islam: Dr. Timothy Tennent
· Introduction to Buddhism: Dr. Timothy Tennent
· Introduction to Hinduism: Dr. Timothy Tennent

Once again if you ever want to learn more here's your free opportunity!


Free Online Classes from Covenant Seminary

Covenant Worldwide:

"Covenant Worldwide's mission is to provide ready access to grace-centered, high-quality theological training by minimizing the barriers of distance, cost, and language. This mission recognizes our part in stewarding the resources of theological education to the Church, which is growing most rapidly in areas of the world where ministry training is often least available." "You may download, use and share courseware at no charge for non-commercial purposes. Lectures are in MP3 format, and study guides are available as PDFs. The lectures are currently available in English but are being transcribed to facilitate the translation of these materials into multiple languages."

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If you've ever wanted to learn more here's your free opportunity!

[HT: Justin Taylor]

Friday, June 09, 2006

Cloak of Peace

I ran across this quote in my reading assignment for church history from Ambrose that is pretty much relevant to all times.
“Be on your guard against a man who conceals war under a cloak of peace.”

[Early Latin Theology Selections from Tertullian, Cyprian, Ambrose and Jerome. Pp. 225, Letter 24 The Text (Ambrose to the Emperor Valentinian). Translated and edited by S. L. Greenslade. The Library of Christian Classics Ichthus Edition. Louisville: The Westminster John Knox Press, 1956.]

Good advice!

Prayer Request--Gosslink’s bookstore in Pella

[I have received permission to post this prayer request]

I received this prayer request in my email today:
"I just got a prayer request from a friend. The local Christian bookstore (Gosslink’s in Pella [Iowa]– don’t know if I am spelling that right) here had a Wiccan group protest outside their place a couple Thursdays ago. The next day the entire computer system crashed in the store and had to be rebuilt and then the owner’s daughter was in a serious accident. They need some prayers of protection!"

Please join me in prayer for them that God will protect them!
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, (Ephesians 6:12, [NIV])."

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28, [ESV])."

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?...For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35, 38-39, [ESV])."

In Christ

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


This was on the RTS newsletter too... is a not-for-profit ministry which provides free Christian worship music with no commercial interruptions exclusively on the Internet in three different formats: contemporary worship, praise & worship, and Spanish worship. Their mission is to strengthen a believer's walk by providing them the opportunity to listen to great worship music and to lead new people to Jesus Christ through the power of this music. Click here to visit their website and to hear their musical offerings.


Systematic Theology...woohoo!

In the latest RTS newsletter it mentions "RTS PROFESSOR WRITES NEW BOOK"

Here's what the rest of the article states...
"Dr. John Frame publishes a new book on systematic theology, Salvation Belongs to the Lord; an Introduction to Systematic Theology. It is a survey of Reformed systematic theology, summarizing biblical teaching in all major doctrinal areas and tying them together under the concept of divine Lordship. William Edgar said of the Salvation Belongs to the Lord, “John Frame is not only one of the most productive theologians of our day, he is also one of the most lucid. . . We may be grateful for such a powerful and clear exposition of the whole range of theology.” The book is published by P&R Publishers and is due out June 2006."

Dr. Frame will sign copies of the book ordered through the newsletter. The retail price of the book is $24.99 plus shipping and the RTS Orlando Bookstore is offering it at a 30% discount. You can reserve your copy now from the RTS bookstore by clicking here and selecting the Orlando bookstore.

Needless to say there is another addition to my book list today:)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

People just Disagree...I don't know why???

It's amazing how many people in the world that disagree with you. I was talking with Lindsey the other day and the first time I realized that tons of people disagree with me came to my mind.

I was a junior in high school in Mr. Kindheart's class at Dallas Center-Grimes. We were in World History I or II...not sure. He asked, "are you for or against the death penalty?"

We all sat and thought for a few seconds then he said, "Raise your hand if you're against the death penalty." I firmly raised my hand...and then I looked around...and I was the only one out of about thirty people with my hand sticking straight up. I was amazed (I know...pretty naive).

Then Mr. Kindheart said, "Raise your hand if you're for the death penalty." Shockingly everyone else's hand went up!

I couldn't believe it. This many people disagree with me. It rocked me. As I get older the more I realize that I disagree with a lot of people. Even the people that I agree with a lot about I still disagree with something that they think. I just need to get over it and embrace the mystery of it:)

Controversy: Dissonance to Harmony

Here are a few things I wrote about controversy in a paper from about a year ago…

Controversy is a result of sin. Sin depraves the minds of men in their approach to the loving, glorious, jealous, angry, and merciful God. One must engage in controversy sinlessly similarly to how the Psalmist discussed engaging in battle sinlessly in Psalm 91:7-8:
“A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.”

The controversy in itself is not bad but it grows out of the depraved views of men. A man retreating from battle is the most obvious sign of cowardice; similarly a man who engages in battle for the enjoyment of killing is monstrous. Facing controversy is necessary but deep entanglements of emotions must be avoided to stay focused on Christ’s purpose for the controversy. One must use it to develop convictions based on Scripture through the power of the Holy Spirit. Learning what God loves and hates must be a priority. Christians must express God’s desires in their lives to their neighbors so that they may know the One who loves them. We have to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ.

Controversy is necessary as one examines the Scriptures… The need for controversy can be seen in Acts 17:2-3. In this passage, Paul “reasoned,” “explained,” and “proved” the Scriptures to the Thessalonians. In the midst of controversy Paul showed that Christ needed to suffer and rise from the dead. Paul’s approach gives Christians today a model of how to approach a controversial circumstance.

Controversy can draw one to the truth, but it can also push one away from the truth. All of Christ’s teachings were controversial. An natural example of controversy is dissonance in music. Beautiful and resolute conclusions in music are often prepared by tense and dissonant chords. In the same way, God uses controversy to develop resolute conclusions or convictions within His elect… Controversy exists to strengthen Christians in their faith. Strengthened faith in Christ results in the assurance of salvation. When assurance of salvation exists in a community of believers God’s church will grow, because people’s assurance is genuine in the rock of Christ. Through God’s two books, nature and Scripture, He will bring the elect to a saving knowledge of Christ. He is who He claimed to be as God within the trinity!

However, it is important for believers to have the attitude of Jesus Christ (Eph 2:5) when approaching difficult issues. Christ faced controversy without using weapons of this world (Eph 6:12; Col 1:13). Rather, He was a long-suffering servant (Ro 15:8; Phil 2:7; Matt 20:28; Mk 10:45; 1 Tim 1:16; 2 Pet 3:15) who denied Himself at great expense so that we might have unity and fellowship with God (Phil 2:1; 1 Cor 1:9; 2 Cor 13:14; Phil 2:1; 1 Jn 1:3, 6). Christ’s attitude should be seen as believers approach disagreements. Christians are called to speak the truth in love and to pursue unity within the church. Christians can minimize their effectiveness to reach the lost as they focus on controversy instead of Christ.

Mankind creating controversy is not always profitable. Man, in his sin, has the tendency to arrive at an opposing viewpoint to that of God (Romans 3). Controversy exists in creation because God has willed it. Fallen creation is the best way to reveal His glory to humanity because this is what He has actually willed!

After writing this I have found myself in the middle of quite a few situations of working through controversy. I know it is because of my depravity...pray it is not because I enjoy it. Trust me I don't! I pray that the our Lord Jesus Christ will bring me through to see the resolution of a beautiful harmony from some of this dissonance.

In Christ

Monday, June 05, 2006

Boyz II Men...

Vitamin Z cites three areas in life that the church currently teaches boys to become men in which is completely wrong.
1. Athletic Ability
2. Sexual Conquest
3. Economic Success

I agree that these areas do not define what a godly man is, and if this is really what the church is teaching boys then there's a problem, but is this the whole picture???

This is from a recent article written by Anthony Bradley called: “Wisdom from 'Joe'--Sex, Money, Good Grades, Good Job--The False Masculinity of an Emasculated America (what's the church's response?)

I found this article a little troubling…here are the comments I posted on Vitamin Z's blog.
Personally I found this article to be bitter and angry...not compassionate and sharing the truth in love...furthermore not very helpful. This kind of ranting happens way to much in "good theology" circles. Why can't folks who are analytical, and see problems in the church point it out in humility, compassion and love instead of angst.

I understand what the writer was saying, but there has got to be a better way to communicate it. Also...the the descriptor "feminization" shouldn't be used so much that it becomes an actual insult the feminine (namely the women).

There are problems in the doubt...I'm aware that our culture and many churches don't teach boys how to become men, but I hardly found THIS article edifying...just complaining and tearing down. Creating division. And painting a few ministries with disrespectfully wide strokes. Generalizing like this is not's what the Emergent Church often does...and in response I and others do the same to them.

Thought provoking article though.

In Christ

What do you all think of this article?!?!?!?!?!?

Friday, June 02, 2006

Biblical Metaphors for the Church

Here is the Scriptural support for some of the metaphors for the church:
(1) The Church is the Bride of Christ: Revelation 21:2, 9; 22:17; 1 Corinthians 11:1-3; Ephesians 5:22-33

(2) The Church is the Building of God: 1 Corinthians 3:9 (Field of God and Building of God), 1 Peter 2:4-10 (verse 5 Spiritual House/holy priesthood), (verse 9 chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation, people for his own possession); 1 Corinthians 6:19 (body is a temple of the Holy Spirit); Exodus 3:7, 10; 5:1; 7:16; Deuteronomy 4:37; 7:6-8; Ruth 1:16-17; 2:11-12; 1 Peter 2:9-10; Ephesians 1:12-14; Romans 9:4 (People of God).

(3) The church is the Body of Christ: Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:16; 4:4, 12, 16, 17; 5:23, 30; Colossians 1:18, 24; 2:19; 3:15.

(HT: Ligon Duncan III from Systematic Theology I at RTS.)