Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Random Question?

I’m just curious…but how and where did y’all first hear about the Emergent Church?

In Christ

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Reformation Day: John Calvin

"They who strive to build up firm faith in Scripture through disputation are doing things backwards...Since for unbelieving men religion seems to stand by opinion alone, they, in order not to belive anything foolishly or lightly, both wish and demand rational proof that Moses and the prophets spoke divinely. But I reply: the testimonty of the Spirit is more excellent than all reason. For God alone is a fit witness to himself in his Word, so also the Word will not find acceptance in men's hearts before it is sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit. The same Spirit, therefore, who has spoken through the mouths of the prophets must penetrate into our hearts to persuade us that they faithfully proclaim what has been divinely commanded...By this power we are drawn and inflamed, knowlingly and willingly, to obey him, yet also more vitally and more effectively than by mere human willing or knowing...I speak of nothing other than what each believer experiences within himself. [My emphasis]"

[Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion Edited by John T. McNeil pp. 79-80. Copyright MCMLX. Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville/London. (Also pp. 157-158 of Iain Murray's Evangelicalism Divided)]

Bad Theology Alert: Advertisements!

I can't help but post this. We received some advertisements two days ago in the mail...

Tell me what you think!

I. From a house cleaning service...
"[This company] values your opinion."
"[This company] values your time."
"[This company] brings value to you."


II. From a bank [this would be funny if it weren't so sad].
"Now there's a bank focused on you. Your life. Your needs. Your community."
"It's all about you. Your needs. Your life. Your community."

They sure do know how to play to the idols of the day...US!

Be careful what you are persuaded by!

Book Review: Suffering and the Sovereignty of God

Suffering and the Sovereignty of God [General Editors John Piper and Justin Taylor]

My wife, Lindsey, and I went to this conference last year, and it changed our perspective on everything. I can remember John Piper saying something to the extent of, “Many of you are about to enter a stage of suffering, for which you probably are not prepared for.” This was definitely true. We did not enter a stage of suffering, but we definitely were not prepared for suffering, and now we have a better understanding of our Lord so that we can cling to Him in that time when it comes! As we all know one hundred percent of us die and suffering almost always accompanies that death. Are you ready? This book will help!

I. Introduction
I was extremely excited to get my hands on Suffering and the Sovereignty of God. There are many reasons why.

First of all…my wife and I went to the conference, we bought the dvd’s of the conference, and now the book? Well, the book is almost as important as the rest of the media to communicate this message. I can hand someone this book and have them read just one chapter as it relates to their specific situation. As Justin Taylor says in the introduction, “You don’t need to read this book cover to cover. We encourage you to start with a section that addresses your most pressing questions (pp. 14).”

Second, the chapters are laid out with more substance than the one hour talks could hold. They are more expansive, and easier to cite in papers…or encouraging notes.

Third, there is an addition of a chapter by Dustin Shramek entitled Waiting for the Morning during the Long Night of Weeping. My only complaint about this is that Dustin wasn’t at the conference. What a grace it is to read his contribution to this work. There is also an addition of an article team-written by John Piper and David Powlison entitled Don’t Waste Your Cancer of which they wrote after they were both diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Fourth, as Taylor says in the introduction, “this is not an academic book…this is a book of applied theology (pp.11).” Well, it is...and isn’t academic [smile].

Fifth, this book answers the questions posed in the introduction:
“In what ways is God sovereign over Satan’s work? How can we be free and responsible if God ordains our choices? What is the ultimate reason that suffering exists? How does suffering help to advance the mission of the church? How should we understand the origin of ethnic-based clashes and suffering? How does God’s grace enter our sufferings? Why is it good for us to meditate upon the depth and pain of severe suffering? What is the role of hope when things look utterly hopeless? (pp. 11)

Justin also gives a thorough summary of each chapter in the succinct few pages of the introduction. A few one liners that stuck out to me were:
“Talbot argues that while God never does evil, he does indeed ordain evil (pp. 12).”

“She [Joni Eareckson Tada] ends with a hope-filled, stirring vision of that Day when we will experience Trinitarian fellowship in all its glory (pp. 13) [That’s a good foreshadowing of D. A. Carson’s talk this year!]”

One of my favorite parts about reading Taylor’s intros to books is that he is a man
of prayer. From the books I have read that he has worked on he has stated his, and his contributors’, prayer for the work. This is a humble segway into the content of the book!

[I’m only reviewing three chapters. Chapter 1, John Piper’s Suffering and the Sovereignty of God: Ten Aspects of God’s Sovereignty Over Suffering and Satan’s Hand in it. Chapter 8, Dustin Shramek’s Waiting for the Morning during the Long Night of Weeping. And the Appendice, John Piper and David Powlison’s Don’t Waste Your Cancer. I’m doing Piper’s as a good overview, and I’m doing Shramek’s chapter and Don’t Waste Your Cancer because they weren’t a part of the conference.]

II. Chapter 1: John Piper Suffering and the Sovereignty of God: Ten Aspects of God’s Sovereignty Over Suffering and Satan’s Hand in it
This chapter felt very much like reading A. W. Pink’s The Sovereignty of God, to me. Solid biblical reference to applicable knowledge of God’s attributes even though He is still mysterious in many aspects. There is a definite theme that he develops mainly who is in control, God!
“…celebrate the sovereignty of God over Satan (pp. 18).”
God is sovereign over Satan’s angels (pp. 21).”
“The lion [satan] does not have the last say. God does (pp. 21).”
God is sovereign over Satan’s hand in persecution (pp. 22).”
God is sovereign over Satan’s life-taking power (pp. 22).”
“Satan is real and terrible. All his designs are hateful. But he is not sovereign. God is (pp. 24).”
“Satan is real and full of hate, but he is not sovereign in sickness (pp. 25).”
“Satan can have a hand here [in natural disasters of Jonah], but he is not sovereign. God is (pp. 26).”
“Satan was not in charge of the crucifixion of Christ. God was (pp. 27).”
“Satan is not sovereign in the temptations of Judas or Peter or you or those you love. God is (pp. 27).”
“But he [Satan] is not sovereign. God is (pp. 28).”
“Satan is not sovereign over his captives. God is (pp. 29).”
“But evil and suffering are not ultimate. God is. Satan, the great lover of evil and suffering, is not sovereign. God is (pp. 29).”

This theme that God is sovereign is like Wagner’s use of the leitmotif in music. In life the leitmotif of God’s sovereignty is in all, through all, and to all. Piper defines what he means by sovereignty by saying:
“…what I mean in this chapter when I say that God is sovereign is not merely that God has the power and right to govern all things, but that he does govern all things, for [H]is own wise and holy purposes (pp. 19).”

John Piper first establishes some truths about God in who He is. “God as [is] the supreme value in and above the universe…God himself is the great supreme value…And his name, as Creator and Redeemer and Ruler of all, is Jesus Christ (pp. 18).”

Then he discusses a few observations of the current state of the church, “much of the church is choosing, at this very moment, to become more light and shallow and entertainment-oriented, and therefore successful in its relevance to massive suffering and evil (pp. 18).” Pragmatic approaches to “doing” church have engulfed the mindset of many local churches in our day. Entertainment has the perception of “working” in the success of ministry. It does at times, but often it is short lived because there is no deeper connection going on. Further Piper states who should read this, “People who are about to enter a time of suffering in their life for which they are totally unprepared (pp. 18).” Are you prepared to suffer? If yes or no I would say read this book!

Piper then leads us in worship of God by demonstrating God’s sovereignty in 10 different aspects. He starts each by saying, “Let Us Celebrate that God is Sovereign Over.” Below shows what God is Sovereign over...
1. ...Satan’s Delegated World Rule (pp. 19-20).
2. ...Satan’s Angels (Demons, Evil Spirits) (pp. 20-21).
3. ...Satan’s Hand in Persecution (pp. 21-22).
4. ...Satan’s Life-Taking Power (pp. 22).
5. ...Satan’s Hand in Natural Disasters (pp. 23-24).
6. ...Satan’s Sickness-Causing Power (pp. 24-25).
7. ...Satan’s Use of Animals and Plants (pp. 25-26).
8. ...Satan’s Temptations to Sin (pp. 26-27).
9. ...Satan’s Mind-Blinding Power (27-28).
10. ...Satan’s Spiritual Bondage (pp. 28-29).

This shows us that Satan is powerful, but not nearly as powerful as our God. It shows that pain, sickness, moral sin, natural disaster, demon possession, death, etc. are real, but God is sitting on His throne and He will execute His judgment at the right time. This chapter was great!

III. Chapter 8 Dustin Shramek Waiting for the Morning during the Long Night of Weeping
I picked out an outline of sorts to the introduction of the chapter (pp. 175-177).
There is pain in suffering (pp. 175).
If you want to understand the value of the eternal weight of glory learn about pain (pp. 176).
Reality of Pain: Testimony about losing his son to death (pp. 176-177)
It’s hard to be encouraged by “pat theological answers”…you have to enter the pain with the person (pp. 177).

Shramek wraps up the introduction by pointing out the two points he will be laboring to demonstrate in the following pages, “First, for those who are not in the midst of suffering, I hope to help you see the depth of the pain of those who are suffering. By entering into their pain you will be more equipped to weep with those who weep. [Second,] [f]or those who are in the midst of terrible suffering, I hope you will see that God has not abandoned you in the pit. He knows it is dark and seemingly bottomless, but he has left you a lifeline-himself (pp. 177) [My emphasis].”

Regarding the problem of pain Shramek says, “Suffering is a universal experience so we can’t avoid it forever (pp. 178).” This is a great point, yet we try to hold back the pain and suffering forever! He further makes his point by saying, “…in America most of us work hard at holding back the loud cries during funerals. Indeed, we even try to hold back the tears (pp. 178).” Our natural reaction to pain is weeping and if we hold it back and do not let this God ordained expression of pain come out we will not heal well. By doing this we inadequately medicate one of the only healing balms God has given us. It is like putting a band-aid over a laceration. It’s probably not going to help. I can remember the first funeral that this happened to me. I was weeping like a baby, and everyone around me was calm and reserved. I felt like a complete idiot, but I couldn’t control myself. I felt guilty that I didn’t do more with the person; I felt the pain of loss of a close mentor and friend. Tears, snot, and wailing…I was a basket-case. Anyhow, I felt much better afterward [there is way more involved in healing but this is one important aspect]. Shramek also believes that avoidance of grief results from our not knowing how to deal with pain (pp. 178). Segwaying into the next point of The Depth of Pain [basically study of Psalm 88] he says, “God’s promise of deliverance does not mean that he will immediately deliver us. For many deliverance only comes with death (pp. 179).” It’s common in our culture to have an overly triumphalistic view of life [we don’t want to tip the scale in the direction of a fatalistic view of life either though]. Shramek is honest and displays a balanced realistic/truthful view of life. Deliverance will come, we know that by God’s promises, but we often don’t realize that deliverance might be in death. Pages 180-183 are pretty much an exposition of Psalm 88, the darkest chapter in the Bible.

Doctrinally he points to inerrancy at the beginning of the section on Why Such Pain Is in the Bible (pp. 184). He also points to penal substitutionary definite atonement by saying, “a death which he bore the wrath of God for all the people of God. The intensity of this wrath is remarkable, for it would take us all of eternity to pay the penalty for our sins and God’s wrath would never be quenched, yet Christ bore God’s complete wrath for billions and he did it in a matter of hours (pp. 185-186).”

I’m going to skip to my favorite part, what I think is the climax of the chapter, The Pain of Jesus. I quoted above about the atonement and the pain involved. And that point is my absolute favorite. Knowing my God personally as my substitute continues to bring me to a deeper level of repentance for my sin, and the fellowship with God gets better in the midst of that openness. Thanks be to God in His work on the cross! Shramek also says, “There has been no greater pain in all of history,” and,
“In the midst of our pain we may feel alone and believer that no one has hurt as badly as we hurt. But it isn’t true. Jesus Christ has felt such pain; indeed, he has felt pain that would have destroyed us. He is able to sympathize. ‘Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need’ (Heb. 4:16). (pp. 186)”

Jesus is knows the pain.

Shramek has three more points for the chapter Hope for the Pain, Where is God in Our Pain, and Clinging to God in the Midst of Pain. He paints a great word picture of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility [and perceived human involvement]. He describes human pain like falling off a cliff. We are no longer in control as we fall. We see “one and only one tree” that is growing out of the rock face, so we grab it and cling to it, “This tree is our holy God.” We don’t realize that when we fall our arm actually became entangled in the branches “so that in reality the tree is holding us.” “We hold on to keep from falling, but what we don’t realize is that we can’t fall because the tree has us. We are safe. God in his holiness, is keeping us and showing mercy to us. We may not be aware of it, but it is true (pp. 189).”

He ends with a good insight as well, “Yes, the night is long and the weeping intense, but the morning is coming. And as we wait for the coming dawn, the return of the Son of God, we can know that we are not alone (pp. 189-190).” Reassuring us of this he cites Scriptures, “And the city [will have] no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God [will give] it light, and its lamp [will be] the Lamb…And night will be no more” (Rev. 21:23; 22:5). I can’t wait for that day!

IV. Appendice #1: John Piper and David Powlison Don’t Waste Your Cancer
As a background this conference was done 5 months before both Piper and Powlison would be diagnosed with prostate cancer. They are clear at the outset that this article is, “one way to minister pastorally to those in need, but it’s not the only way to do so, and it is not the only thing that needs to be said (pp. 207).” This is really helpful for those of us who are much more immature in our experience with suffering. It would be easy for me to assume that this could be all that is said. They also reassure us that , “Cancer is not wasted when it is healed by God. He gets the glory and that is why cancer exists. So not to pray for healing may waste your cancer. But healing is not God’s plan for everyone (pp. 207).

Following are the 10 ways to not waste your cancer! You will not waste your cancer if…
1. …You do not believe it is designed for you by God (pp. 207-208).
2. …You believe it is a curse and not a gift (pp. 209).
3. …You seek comfort from your odds rather than from God (pp. 209-210).
4. …You refuse to think about death (pp. 210-211)
5. …You think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ (pp. 211-212).
6. …You spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God (pp. 212-213).
7. …You let it drive you into solitude instead of deepen your relationships with manifest affection (pp. 213-214).
8. …You grieve as those who have no hope (pp. 214-215).
9. …You treat sin as casually as before (pp. 215-216).
10. …You fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ (pp. 216-217).

You really have to read this book. The help that the truths in this have given to me, by God’s grace, have been very great. To finish are the words of the hymn “I Bind unto Myself Today” given by David Powlison (pp. 217).
“Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.”

May God’s grace be multiplied to you in the suffering you will experience…or are experiencing. And remember we're in this together. 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison… [ESV]” Cling to Christ!

In Christ
Noah Braymen

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Don't Celebrate Halloween...Celebrate Reformation Day!~

October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the church building in Wittenburg.

So instead of Halloween celebrate Reformation day this year. In honor of what the Holy Spirit did in 1517 through Martin Luther [and others] I'm going to post some quotes over the next couple of days in recognition of Reformation Day!

Martin Luther

"The state of the church was terrible under the pope. Then nothing was seen or heard which could encourage a heart in such distress, except that each year the story of the Passion was taught, though quite indifferently. This faintly indicated where pardon was to be sought. Everything else led away from the promise of forgiveness towards one's own righteousness. And so in many monasteries we saw stricken and despairing people passing the entire time of their lives and in the end wearing themselves out in the conflict by their worries and griefs. Because this doctrine was unknown, the rest of the brothers did nothing more than stand near by and try to obtain the protection of saints with their idolatrous prayers...Nothing is more terrible than to be in sin and yet to be remote from, or ignorant of, the forgiveness of sin or the promise of grace. But the pope was responsible for the concealment of the forgiveness of sins, because sound doctrine and true forms fo worship were not maintained in teh church. If some in faith were saved, it was the bare reading of the Passion of Christ accepted in faith which saved them, against the will and opposition of the pope. [My emphasis]"

[pp. 238 of Evanglicalism Divided by Iain Murray (citation is from Luther's Works, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan, vol. 1 (St Louis: Concordia, 1958), pp. 179-80.).]

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What is this Martin Luther Quote From????

I want to use this quote, but I'm afraid I'm going to be ripped to shreds if I don't have a reference as to what book and stuff it's from...can you guys find out...I've searched the world wide web and I'm coming up dry...
“God has surely promised His grace to the humbled, that is, to those who mourn over and despair of themselves. But a man cannot be thoroughly humbled till he realizes that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will and works, and depends, absolutely on the will, counsel, pleasure and works of Another - God alone. As long as he is persuaded that he can make even the smallest contribution to his salvation, he remains self-confident and does not utterly despair of himself, and so is not humbled before God."

Martin Luther

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Beautiful Wreath!

Take a dried sunflower...

Some wheat...

Red flowers...

Purples flowers...

A few more sunflowers...

And you have a beautiful wreath!

Lindsey...awesome job!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Book Review: Overcoming Sin and Temptation: Three Classic Works by John Owen [Ed. Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor]

Book Review: Overcoming Sin and Temptation: Three Classic Works by John Owen [Ed. Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor] Published 10/16/2006.

When I first heard that Volume VI of John Owen’s works was being edited I was nervous. Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers has been the most helpful thing I have ever read in understanding my sinfulness and how to fight sin to the glory of God.

After reading the Foreword [John Piper pp. 11], Preface [Justin Taylor pp. 15], Acknowledgements, Introduction [Kelly M. Kapic pp. 23], and Overview [Justin Taylor pp. 37] my worries were gone. These men fired me up to read this work again, and I was excited that it would be structured, on the page, in such a way that I could understand and apply the Holy Spirit’s principles, through John Owen, to my life more effectively.

Foreword: John Piper
Of people today Piper says, “…most of the miseries people report are not owing to the disease but its symptoms. They feel a general malaise and don’t know why, their marriages are at the breaking point, they feel weak in their spiritual witness and devotion, their workplace is embattled, their church is tense with unrest, their fuse is short with the children, etc. They report these miseries as if they were the disease. They want the symptoms removed. (Pp. 11)” How true this is, and we must see how it works in us! Humans tend to hate the effects of sin, not the sin itself. This is seen where Owen says, “Men may see their sickness and wounds, but yet, if they make not due applications, their cure will not be effected (pp. 65)." Owen highlights this theme throughout Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers.

Preface: Justin Taylor
Justin states one of their goals is to “reintroduce John Owen to the church today. (pp. 15)” Further he talks about the difficulty of understanding Owen through a J. I. Packer quote (pp.15-16). Packer said, “Owen did not write for superficial readers… (pp.16).” He is spot on! It’s almost a frightening thing to read, because he analyzes the human condition so precisely that your soul is laid bare before the book and you have no other option other than either harden your heart to the words, or repent! Justin further outlines their pragmatic purpose of editing this volume, “…we are seeking to present something new [contrasting two other editions of the work…abridged and one from the 1850’s]: an unabridged but updated edition of Owen’s three classic works that preserves all of Owen’s original content but seeks to make it a bit more accessible [and he footnotes that they are also editing Volume II of Owen’s works Communion with God]. (Pp. 17)” In my opinion their efforts are a success!

Introduction: Kelly M. Kapic
Have you ever desired a Father in the faith? Someone older to mentor you? Kapic discusses how he has, and in his course of reading Owen, his wife Tabitha pointed out, “You are being mentored. (pp. 23)” This introduction spurs you on with excitement to dig into the book you’re about to read. He says there is a, “value of listening to the saints of old (pp. 24),” and that Owen is a, “perceptive physician who delivers both a terrifying diagnosis and the means of a miraculous cure. (pp. 24)” He puts the works in perspective biographically (Pp. 24) and historically (Pp. 25). He states that Owen deals with many contemporary issues of depression, addiction, apathy, and lust (pp. 26).

He considers the “monastic mistake” of how a perceived physiological control of ones body does not necessarily diminish sin in ones life (Pp. 26). Asceticism is not the goal in this volume. Deeper communion with Jesus Christ is the goal and the means is through the mortification of sin, not legalistic “rigid regiments”. Further, Kapic states, “The goal of the Christian life is not external conformity or mindless action, but a passionate love for God informed by the mind and embraced by the will. (Pp. 28)” He also points out Owen’s “Christian hedonism” tendency, “Resisting sin, according to this Puritan divine, comes not by deadening your affections but by awakening them to God himself. Do not seek to empty your cup as a way to avoid sin, but rather seek to fill up with the Spirit of life, so there is no longer room for sin. (pp. 28)” This puts Owen in a category with Jonathan Edwards, C. S. Lewis, John Piper, Augustine, etc.

Kapic also points out that, “Past faithfulness is not a protection against present dangers. (pp. 30)” Kapic covers a lot more ground, but in his conclusion he points out a few important things to keep in mind as we read. He says, “Owen makes it perfectly clear that the power of sin and Satan were just as real then as now (pp. 35),” and that, “Believers should read Owen not to return to the past but to gain insight into how they might more faithfully live in the present and prepare for the future. (pp. 35)”

If all of this wasn’t enough Kapic ends the introduction by saying, “You stand at the threshold of Dr. John Owen’s office. Will you enter and receive the diagnosis, and stay to hear your cure? (pp. 35)” Wow! I can’t think of a better way to motivate someone to read this book. The editors did an extremely good job pumping up the volume. Now on to Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers.

Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers

Overview: Justin Taylor
Justin gives a brief overview of the book which is really helpful. In light of how deep the book delves into the human condition this kind of explanation really helps digestion of the material.
They divided the work in to three parts. One, the necessity of mortification starting with an exposition of Romans 8:13. Two, defining the mortification of sin and directions on how to mortify, “Owen argues that mortification is a habitual, successful weakening of sin that involves constant warfare and contention against the flesh (pp. 37).” Three, a pastoral counsel in how to mortify sin.

Justin also gives the 9 directions for the soul with regard to mortification [They appear in chapter 9-13]:
1.) Consider symptoms listed attending to sin (pp. 96)
2.) Get a clear sense in your mind of the guilt and evil of your sin (pp. 97)
3.) Load your conscience with the guilt of sin (pp. 103)
4.) Constantly long after deliverance from the power of sin (pp. 106)
5.) Consider what sins your constitution is disposed to (pp. 107)
6.) Know when your sins dominate and watch against them (pp. 109)
7.) Rise mightily against the first acting of your sin (pp. 109)
8.) Exercise meditations that fill you with disgust of your sin (pp. 110)
9.) Do not speak peace to yourself before God speaks it (pp. 118)

Discussing part three Taylor points to Owens focus that, “we must set our faith on the cross work of Christ for the killing of sin…work of mortification must be done in the power of the Spirit. (pp. 38)”

[From the book I picked up 3 main points running throughout]

I. Mortification is the Work of the Holy Spirit of God
Owen alludes to this throughout the entire book. Mortification must be from the work of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the, “principal cause of the performance of this duty… (pp. 47),” “He works in us as he pleases (pp. 58),” “Without Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5) (pp. 60),” “all graces and good works which are in us are his…He works upon our understandings, wills, consciences, and affections, agreeably to their own natures; he works in us and with us, not against us or without us (pp. 62).” [See also pages 70, 75, 78-81, 86, 108, 124, 134, 138-139 on how mortification is the work of the Holy Spirit.] Chapter 3 covers this topic well as well.

He lists three ways that the Spirit mortifies sin. One, by causing our hearts to abound in grace and the fruits that are contrary to the flesh, and the fruits thereof and principles of them. Two, by a real physical efficiency on the root and habit of sin, for the weakening, destroying, and taking it away. Three, He brings the cross of Christ into the heart of a sinner by faith, and gives us communion with Christ in his death and fellowship in his sufferings (pp. 61). Men can’t do this and this is Owens biggest problem with the Roman Catholic perception of mortification (pp. 58, 59, 83, 85, 108, and 120).

There are four points at the very end of part 3 (pp. 139) [The Means of Mortification] that explain the Spirits work in Mortification
1.) The Spirit alone establishes the heart in expectation of relief from Christ [2 Corinthians 1:21].
2.) The Spirit alone brings the cross of Christ into our hearts with its sin-killing power; for by the Spirit we are baptized into the death of Christ [Romans 6:3; 1 Corinthians 12:13].
3.) The Spirit is the author and finisher of our sanctification… [Ephesians 3:16-18].
4.) In all the soul’s addresses to God in this condition, it has support from the Spirit… [Zechariah 12:10; Romans 8:26; 2 Corinthians 12:8].

II. Sin is to be Taken Seriously because It Sends Souls to Hell
There is a connection between mortification and eternal life (pp. 46)! The vigor, and power, and comfort of our spiritual life depends on the mortification of the deeds of the flesh (pp. 49). Owen points out that things aren’t always what they seem. When we think a sin is dead it may not be completely dead. And when we focus all our attention onto one specific sin we can be assured that there are probably many other sins, possibly more serious that we don’t heed any attention to. This can be deadly. “The contest is for our lives and our souls (pp.54).” If we go after a sin such as sexual immorality we might be killing an action, but not the root of the cause of the outward sign of the sin. We might have fear of man, unbelief, pride, malice, etc. to deal with, but we think we are clean because we have whipped the sexual immorality. Sin is much more complicated than it seems. The most quoted phrase in regard to killing sin is the following:
“Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it while you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you. Your being dead with Christ virtually, your being quickened with him will not excuse you from this work (pp. 50)”

The nice thing about this edition is that Kapic and Taylor have set these important phrases apart by indenting them. Also, other phrases were italicized everywhere. This was really helpful. Some of Owen’s sentences are complicated and his thought process is so drawn out that you have to read a lot to understand some of his points. Justin and Kelly have helped tremendously that we don’t lose these vital truths!

III. Real Mortification Takes Place Only in Believers
It is only by the death of Christ, in the atonement He worked on the cross as our
Penal substitute that mortification of sin can be pursued (pp.49, 60, 70, 75, 78-86 [Chapter 7], 87, 92, 93, etc.). Owen says, “‘Sin...is crucified; it is fastened to the cross’ (pp.75).”

In chapter 7 this topic is most developed. Mainly if you are not a Christian Owen says your work is not mortification, rather conversion! Listen to his words, “there is no death of sin without the death of Christ (pp. 79),” “A man may easier see without eyes, speak without a tongue, than truly mortify one sin without the Spirit (pp. 80),” “All attempts then, for mortification of any lust, without an interest in Christ, are vain (pp. 80),” “…mortification of sin without an interest in Christ first obtained. It deludes them [unbelievers], hardens them – destroys them (pp. 83).” This leads Owen to his first general rule regarding mortification of sin:
“Be sure to get an interest in Christ – if you intend to mortify any sin without it, it will never be done (pp. 83)”

Accept Christ, and then the work of mortification is yours (pp. 84). He paints a good picture to from when Pharaoh made Israel make bricks without straw. It made their work much more difficult. If you can imagine that take Owen’s comment into account. “Is not this to put men to make brick, if not without straw, yet, which is worse, without strength?” Mortifying sin is not like making bricks without straw, rather making bricks without strength. It’s impossible!

God’s glory and our enjoyment of Him is the chief end of the work of mortification (Chapter 4). There is a description on page 65 that describes sin like a cloud, “[it] intercepts all the beams of God’s love and favor. Owen also says that, “every unmortified sin will certainly do two things…weaken the soul and darken the soul (pp. 64).” The focus here is that it entangles the soul’s affections. Sin, “diverts the heart from the spiritual frame that is required for rigorous communion with God (pp. 64).” Humans’ affections must be wrapped up in the glory of God, not sinful desires.

There is a lot more than can be said of this book. My review is really probably inadequate to the main points I even picked out. They seemed to me to be the most important. My only complaint is that one difficult word to understand [impetuousness] was clarified by another difficult word to understand [vehemence] (pp. 73). It’s ridiculous that that would be my only complaint. This work is excellent! It’s my prayer that this fresh work by Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor will awaken the Church to John Owen again. My recommendation to everyone is to buy this book and spend some time working through it. The other two Owen books look good as well!

In Christ
Noah Braymen

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Reflection on...Above All Earthly Powers: The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World

This reflection has been a long time coming…considering the conference was approximately three weeks ago. Have you ever noticed that when you reflect on something very recent that it is not so much something you have digested? The quick reflection just becomes a regurgitation of your notes. Well, I waited a while to write my reflection…instead of reading my notes you can track a few things that stuck with me for more than a day. [That’s just my excuse for waiting for so long.]

Anyhow, these are my brief reflections of the conference.

There was a lot of hype… I don’t like to go with what’s popular, but it felt/feels like the Holy Spirit was/is really at work in these messages. However, I need to bear in mind Edward’s thoughts from Distinguising Marks. Perceived appearances don’t always signify authentic work of the Spirit. However, the fact that this conference stuck so tightly to the Word of God I would say it is of the Holy Spirit! Also, I wish I could see some of the fruit from these conferences in local churches. I know it’s probably happening, but I just can’t see it with my limited perspective.

The bookstore is a huge part of the conference…and I think books are important, but in fighting consumerism this might be stumbling some brothers [just a thought...]. In the process of possibly stumbling brothers they bought some pretty good books though.

I appreciated every message, but I was very frustrated with the audience at times. If you listen to the recordings you might be able to pick up on what I mean. I know there were probably some dissenters in the audience, but the majority already shared the same mindset and convictions as the speakers [so basically they were preaching to the choir…which isn’t necessarily bad]. Anyhow, when a preacher would rebuke the erroneous views and poor epistemologies…a ton of people would laugh. As if to say, “yeah you’re right, and it’s so obvious by what you are saying…that it’s hilarious that these men we don’t even know are losing the gospel…and are so deceived.” This is serious stuff...and the audience laughed way to much at some of these things. This was mostly on the first night…because Piper came out in the first interview panel with all guns blazing against the Emergent Church epistemology. This really was discouraging to me because I have friends who are persuaded to the Emergent wiles and ways of thinking. And it’s been difficult to discourse. I think that this kind of approach might not be effective to reconcile them to orthodoxy. If you come out abrasive to the person’s face that’s one thing, but I don’t think that is what this conference was intended to be. After that first night I was afraid it was just going to turn into an all out Emergent-church-bashing-fest. Fortunately, all the speakers were very gentle and humble in the rest of their talks and very gospel centered. John Piper modelled humily in an incredible way on the last talk!

My favorite talk was by Tim Keller [Redeemer Presbyterian, NYC]. Because of my age [26] I have thought in the past, “well, I’m postmodern because I’m young.” Well, news-flash, I’m not a postmodern [completely]. Next to Mark Dever’s “Mountain” analogy for the thought “every religion is correct just taking different paths to the same God” Tim Keller had another great way to describe this view. He talked about an Indian proverb of an elephant that was extremely helpful to identify that those saying “all paths are different paths to the same God” are just as presuppositional and exclusive as Christians truth that "Jesus is God within the Trinity and is the only way to God". In order for a person to make the statement “all paths lead to the same God” they have to be able to see all the paths that lead to God. They are espousing that they have knowledge of absolute truth, which they are trying to strip from you. He was very upfront that as Christians we must honestly deal with defeater arguments. If we do not do this we cannot expect people to understand our worldview shaped biblically by God.

Keller also developed his talk off a theme from Martin Lloyd-Jones, “the demon is in too deep.” Saying that a narrative presentation of the gospel must accompany evangelism...we can't just do the four spiritual laws and think that people get it. His combination of gospel centeredness, wit, social analysis, and experience really brought a lot to the table.

Really, I learned way more than I can state in a reflection like this, but suffice it to say that it gave me a renewed vision of God and challenged me to start to focus on where God would have me serve.

The only difficult aspect to a conference like this is that you learn a lot, and then when you want to apply some of what you learned you come across as arrogant or a perceived know-it-all. We need to be humble. Also, there wasn't a lot of advice on how to apply these things to the local church if you aren't in leadership of it.

One last thing on evangelism. Toward the end of D. A. Carson's talk he spoke a little of evangelism. That the love of God is displayed in the Father's love of the Son, and that evangelism of Christians must be the same way. People know God's love by Christians exhibiting Trinity love...love of our brothers and sisters in Christ. John 13:35 "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." [ESV]

In Christ

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

For Sale: "Our House"

We're having a difficult time selling our house...so if you guys could pass us along to any friends you know that are looking for a house that would be a huge help.

Click here for our add on the DSM-FSBO website.

I'll add more to this post later...but for now just the picks:)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Foz do Iguaçu

A few years ago Lindsey and I participated in a mission trip to Brasil. The day we left Cascavel we flew out of Foz do Iguaçu [Iguacu Falls]. The Iguacu river borders the state Paraná, Brazil and Argentina. This water fall was huge…I guess it’s approximately 7 times the size of Niagra Falls. I guess the water power generates a large percentage of electricity for the region.

Anyhow…at the Desiring God website they have pictures of natural wonders with bible verses… Well, low and behold the last time I went there was the Foz do Iguaçu. Check it out!


Thursday, October 12, 2006

"Why don't people pray beyond the sick list?"

One last quote from David Powlison.
"Why don't people pray beyond the sick list? We pray for circumstances to improve so that we might feel better and life might get better. These are often honest and good requests - unless they're the only requests we make. Detached from the purposes of sanctification and a yearning for the coming of the King, prayers for circumstances become self-centered."

[David Powlison Speaking the Truth in Love pp. 124]

"Psychologies...Thin Gruel"

I'm reading Speaking the Truth in Love by David Powlison [scroll down a bit the link to see his bio] right now. In the chapter Why I Chose Seminary for Counseling Training he recalls something interesting.
"...my experience in the mental health system fed a growing disillusionment and skepticism [in regards to his opinion of psychotherapy]. I was working as a Mental Health Worker (MHW) on a locked ward at McLean Hospital outside Boston. One day a young woman named Mary slashed herself with a broken bottle. As we dressed her wounds and sought to calm her, she wailed inconsolably, 'Who will love me? Who will love me? Who could love me? Who could love me?' Drugs eventually quited her down. But her anguish and guilt made the psychologies I believed seem like thin gruel. Her distraught cry was realistic and heart-rending. Nothing I knew could really answer her, not her psychiatrist, medication, parents, job, boyfriend, or peers in the small group I led. We could manage Mary - sort of - but neither our theories nor techniques could really touch what ailed her. I now see that her cry of desolation could only find answer in the mercy and hope of Jesus, one thing that our theories, therapies, and institution made a point never to offer her. [My emphasis]"

[David Powlison in Speaking the Truth in Love pp. 155]

It's almost impossible to do his argument against psychotherapy justice in a blog post, but he has some very strong points!

"To Show You My Power"

I was reading Exodus this morning in my devotions and this passage stuck out to me. Notice why God has “raised you [them] up,” in order to “show you [them] His power, so that my [God’s] name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”
Exodus 9:13-16
“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. [ESV]”
This reminds me of John 9 when the disciples asked Jesus whose sin caused the man in question to be born blind, and Jesus responded, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him [John 9:3 ESV].”

When was the last time you recognized a trouble in your life to be a display of God’s might. Remember Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7?
“So to keep me from being too elated by the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. [ESV]”
Further in 2 Corinthians 12:9 he said, “But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' [ESV]”

Therefore, let us say along with Paul, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. [2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV]”

Heavenly Father, show us your power today!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"Redeeming the Time"

Here's a post I did at Matt Proctor's blog under his posts Rest is the Youth Pastor's Missing Ingredient and Idleness is the Youth Pastor's Playhouse:
You know a few passages popped in my head when I was reading your posts on this.

Proverbs 19:15 "Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger. [ESV]"


Proverbs 20:13 "Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread. [ESV]"

I think that rest and sloth are completely different states of mind...yet the same outward appearance. Deliberateness in the use of time is almost always good [Eph 5:16] whether for rest, work or play. You don't have to be sharing Christ every second to be productive...but doing everything in faith to the glory of Christ should be done every second [Ro 14:23; 1 Cor 10:31]. To not would be to sin.

My problem is that I'll say I'm going to rest...and I'll watch tv...and then I have a headache...or I just don't feel revived. So after all of that mindless numbness of vegging in front of the 'boob tube' didn't result in rest. That's not good redemption of the time...for my physiology:)

In Christ

I assume that rest isn't only a problem for youth pastors...what do you guys think about this?

C. S. Lewis and "Membership"

C. S. Lewis on "Membership":
"The very word membership is of Christian origin, but it has been taken over by the world and emptied of all meaning. In any book on logic you may see the expression "members of a class." It must be most emphatically stated that the items of particulars included in a homogeneous class are almost the reverse of what St. Paul meant by members. By members he meant what we should call organs, things essentially different from, and complementary to, one another, things differing not only in structure and function but also in dignity. Thus, in a club, the committee as a whole and the servants as a whole may both properly be regarded as "members"; what we should call the members of the club are merely units. A row of identically dressed and identically trained soldiers set side by side, or a number of citizens listed as voters in a constituency are not members of anything in the Pauline sense. I am afraid that when we describe a man as "a member of the Church" we usually mean nothing Pauline; we mean only that he is a unit - that he is one more specimen of some kind of things as X and Y and Z. How true membership in a body differs from inclusion in a collective may be seen in the structure of a family. The grandfather, the parents, the grown-up, the child, the dog, and the cat are true members (in the organic sense), precisely because they are not members or units of a homogeneous class. They are not interchangeable. Each person is almost a species in himself. The mother is not simply a different person from the daughter; she is a different kind of person. The grown-up brother is not simply one unit in the class children; he is a separate estate of the realm. The father and grandfather are almost as different as the cat and the dog. If you subtract any one member, you have not simply reduced the family in number; you have inflicted an injury on its structure. Its unity is a unity of unlikes, almost of incomensurables."

[C. S. Lewis Membership Pp. 110-111 (From The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, MacMillan)]

"What does war do to death?"

C. S. Lewis is helpful with this:
"What does war do to death? It certainly does not make it more frequent; 100 percent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased. It puts several deaths earlier, but I hardly supposed that that is what we fear. Certainly when the moment comes, it will make little difference how many years we have behind us. Does it increase our chances of a painful death? I doubt it. As far as I can find out, what we call natural death is usually preceded by suffering, and a battlefield is one of the very few places where one has a reasonable prospect of dying with no pain at all. Does it decrease our chances of dying at peace with God? I cannot believe it. If active service does not persuade a man to prepare for death, what conceivable concatenation of circumstances would? Yet war does do something to death. It forces us to remember it. The only reason why the cancer at sixty or the paralysis at seventy-five do not bother us is that we forget them. War makes death real to us, and that would have been regarded as one of its blessings by most of the great Christians of the past. They thought it good for us to be always aware of our mortality. I am inclined to think that they were right. (My emphasis)"

[C. S. Lewis Learning in Wartime Pp. 31 (From The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, MacMillan)]

War is hideous...but do you think that maybe this is one of the reasons that man in our country want to back off of the war?? Just something to think about.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Workin' Out!

Well, Linds and I have a new plan in working out!

Get to work earlier and burn some calories right after working hours. Ask me how it's going sometime to keep me accountable. This is my workout summary:)

10 minutes running [Hill setting at 6 MPH]
5 minutes walking [Hill setting at 3.6 MPH]
3 sets of 12 reps each for the following
Curls 17.5 lbs
Lat raises 20 lbs [after these I noticed how weak my left arm is compared to my right!]
Incline press 1st set 30lbs, 2nd and 3rd sets 35lbs
Back extension 90lbs
Ab Cruch 1st set 70lbs, 2nd and 3rd sets 90lbs
Lat pull down 70lbs
Shoulder press 1st set 30lbs, 2nd and 3rd sets 20lbs

I know I'm a lightweight, but hey, you've got to start somewhere. Hopefully when I post stats again after a while there will be a significant improvement:)

Favorite Blurbs From DG

Below are some of my favorite quotes from the Desiring God conference 'Above All Earthly Powers'. I took these from my notes...so some of these might be paraphrases...but I'm pretty sure most are exact quotes:)

David Wells
"Jesus isn't great, He's incomprable."
"Christ is re-railing the universe."
"In Christ's work on the cross the very back of evil is broken."
"We live in the period of the already and the not yet."
"It is God's pleasure that He be acknowledged for who He is now!"
Tim Keller
"[Regarding the Emergent Church] This movement won't last without institutions."
"[Summary of Emergent thinking] Authentic relationships trump truth."
"The west is an ex-mission mission field."
"The demon is deeper."
"As the city goes, so goes the culture."
"We should be hobobs."
"Theology, all of it, must be an exposition of the gospel."
"If I'm saved by grace there's no limit to what He [God] can ask of me."
"Who's exclusive beliefs cause me to be humble and to love their opponents?"
"Are you insulting your Creator by your low expectation of evangelism in your cities?"

Vaudie Bauchman
"Narrative is not normative."
"You are the crowning glory of the creation of God."
"You are what the creator of the universe says you are."
"We possess the answer and we are possessed by the answer."
"How dare you steal His [God's] air."

Mark Driscoll
"Jesus is HOT in pop culture."
"I yell, God's in charge, Nighty Night. [Sleep like a Calvinist]"
"In the name of tolerance and kindness we send people to hell."
"I'm sick of talking about the kingdom and not the king."
"Relevantism not relativism."
"Seeker sensible not seeker sensitive."

D. A. Carson
"We go to heaven not to be saved, but to see God's glory."
"Worship, worship, worship."
[Carson's view of missions were very similar to some of the concepts that I learned at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Perhaps I'll write a little later about it:)]

John Piper
"His [Jesus'] joy becomes ours in His propositions."
"He [God] acts from fullness, not need."
"Seeing God's glory in our minds enables us to love Him in our hearts."
"Joy was designed by God as the deepest way to reflect God's glory.
"There is no such thing as hypocritical joy."

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Some Good Packer Quotes!

Quote I
"Think! says Paul in effect. God is for you, you see what that means; now reckon up who is against you, and ask yourself how the two sides compare. (Note, the translation "who can be against us" is wrong, and misses Paul's point: what he asks for is a realistic review of the opposition, human and demonic, not a romantic pretense that it does not exist. Opposition is a fact: the Christian who is not conscious of being opposed had better watch himself, for he is in danger. Such unrealism is no requirement of Christian discipleship, but is rather a mark of failure in it.)" [Pp. 263 Knowing God]

Quote II
"Again: you are called to be a meek person, not always standing up for your rights, nor concerned to get your own back, nor troubled in your heart by ill treatment and personal slights (though, if you are normally sensitive, these things are bound to hurt you at the top level of consciousness); but you are simply to commit your cause to God and leave it to him to vindicate you if and when he sees fit. Your attitude to other people, good and bad, nice and nasty, both Christians and unbelievers, is to be that of the good Samaritan toward the Jew in the gutter - that is to say, your eyes must be open to see others' needs, both spiritual and material; your heart must be ready to care for needy souls when you find them; your mind must be alert to plan out the best way to help them; and your will must be set against the trick that we are all so good at - "passing the buck," going by on the other side and contracting out of situations of need where superficial help is called for.

None of this, of course, is strange to any of us. We know what kind of life Christ calls us to; we often preach and talk to each other about it. But do we live it? Well, look at the churches. Observe the shortage of ministers and missionaries, especially men; the luxury goods in Christian homes; the fund-raising problems of Christian societies; the readiness of Christians in all walks of life to grumble about their salaries; the lack of concern for the old and lonely and for anyone outside the circle of 'sound believers.'

We are unlike the Christians of New Testament times. Our approach to life is conventional and static; theirs was not. The thought of 'safety first' was not a drag on their enterprise as it is on ours. By being exuberant, unconventional and uninhibited in living by the gospel they turned their world upside down, but you could not accuse us twentieth-century Christians of doing anything like that. Why are we so different? Why, compared with them, do we appear as no more than halfway Christians? Whence comes the nervous, dithery, take-no-risks mood that mars so much of our discipleship? Why are we not free enough from fear and anxiety to allow ourselves to go full stretch in following Christ?

One reason, it seems, is that in our heart of hearts we are afraid of the consequences of going the whole way into the Christian life. We shrink from accepting burdons of responsibility for others because we fear we should not have strength to bear them. We shrink from accepting a way of life in which we forfeit material security because we are afraid of being left stranded. We shrink from being meek because we are afraid that if we do not stand up for ourselves we shall be trodden down and victimized, and end up among life's casualties and failures. We shrink from breaking with social conventions in order to serve Christ because we fear that if we did, the established structure of our life would collapse all around us, leaving us without a footing anywhere." [Pp. 269-270 Knowing God]

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

DG Conference

The Desiring God conference "Above All Earthly Powers" was great.

Here is a picture of me with a brother that has helped me in a ton of ways, Justin Taylor. From considering the TBI up at Bethlehem Baptist Church, to the Internship at CHBC, to seminary at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Be sure to check out his blog Between Two Worlds.

Miesen...he mentioned something about an incident with macaroni and cheese...what's that all about?

Washington DC Pictures

Here are some pics of me with some of the pastors from Capitol Hill Baptist Church.

Matt Schmucker the Director of 9 Marks ministry. Matt's the one that hooked me up w/ all the free books. He was a very gracious brother.

Michael Lawrence associate pastor at CHBC. It was fun to play name that jazz musician in his office;) Check out the series of sermons he did on Biblical Theology...they're awesome! [Creation, Fall, Love, Sacrifice, Promise.] He might be working w/ Crossway to publish these in the future.

Mike Gilbart-Smith and his wife Hanna were excellent hosts. They're from England...so it was fun to have lamb and tea! They hosted three of us and they have two children. They even hosted a member of CHBC one night. That's 8 people staying in one house. They were great! Check out Mike's sermon on Philemon here from a few weeks ago.

Mark Dever, who is the senior pastor of CHBC. He's written a bunch of books, and speaks at tons of conferences. His latest sermon series on the book of Ruth was great. Check it out [Ruth 1, Ruth 2, Ruth 3, Ruth 4.] It was great on Sunday evening...we were up until 2am talking about theology and church situations and he fell asleep in his chair:) All of these guys worked extremely hard all weekend. It was amazing.

Here are some of the cliche pics...but I had to get a few in front of the Capitol and the Washington Monument:)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Slim on the Posts

Well, lately I haven't posted much, so I'm sorry about that for the folks that check out my blog:)

A lot has happened in the last month:) I have been out of commission for the last couple of weeks trying to reflect on everything that God has been teaching me. In case you didn't know I was in Washington DC about 3 weeks ago for a church health conference with 60 other folks at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. It was incredible!

And Lindsey and I just returned from the Desiring God conference in Minneapolis [we went with my sister, and the Youngs].

I'll post quite a bit more later!~

Josh, C. J. Mahaney was sitting in the row right behind us listening to Piper's talk on Sunday morning. I wanted to get my pic with him to surprise you, but he snuck out while we were praying, lol:)

In Christ