Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My Choice

I was listening to Mark Dever’s overview sermon on Ephesians today…and he read this poem [written by Bill McChesney around 1960 at the age of 25 in the World Evangelization Magazine], so I thought I’d share. The author was a missionary to the Congo in Africa and he was brutally murdered at age 28 along with hundreds of other missionaries. Blessings!

My Choice
By Bill McChesney

I want my breakfast served at eight
With ham and eggs upon the plate.
A well-broiled steak I'll eat at one
And dine again when day is done.

I want an ultramodern home
And in each room a telephone;
Soft carpets, too, upon the floors
And pretty drapes to grace the doors.
A cozy place of lovely things,
Like easy chairs with inner springs,

And then, I'll get a nice T.V.
- Of course, I'm careful what I see.

I want my wardrobe, too, to be
Of neatest, finest quality,
With latest style in suit and vest
Why should not Christians have the best?

But then the Master I can hear
In no uncertain voice, so clear:
"I bid you come and follow Me,
The lowly Man of Galilee."

"Birds of the air have made their nest
And foxes in their holes find rest,
But I can offer you no bed;
No place have I to lay my head."

In shame I hung my head and cried,
How could I spurn the Crucified?
Could I forget the way He went,
The sleepless nights in prayer He spent?

For forty days without a bite,
Alone He fasted day and night;
Despised, rejected - on He went,
and did not stop till veil He rent!

A man of sorrows and of grief
No earthly friend to bring relief;
"Smitten of God," the prophet said
Mocked, beaten, bruised, His blood ran red.
If He be God, and died for me,
No sacrifice too great can be
For me; a mortal man, to make;
I'll do it all for Jesus' sake.

Yes, I will tread the path He trod,
No other way will please my God,
So, henceforth, this my choice shall be,
My choice for all eternity.

"Redeem The Time"

I read the following in my devotion this morning...
Ephesians 5:15-21
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. [ESV]"

Right before this passage it says, "...when anything exposed by the light...becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, 'Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'" [5:13-14 ESV]

So then, because of this light that has shone; we must look carefully at how we walk. Redeem the time [Eph 5:16 KJV]! How??
(1) Don't be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
(2) Don't be drunk, but be filled with the Spirit
(a) addressing one another in psalms hymns and spiritual songs
(b) singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart
(c) Give thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of your Lord Jesus Christ.

(3) Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

I don't this is saying, "DON'T EVER HAVE FUN." I do think that this passage is giving us a good dose of sobriety in the Spirit that we don't take things nearly as seriously as we ought.

Brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us redeem the time today, for the days are evil. Life is a vapor (James 4:14)!
"Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen"

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Appointment With Death

I was listening to a John Murray sermon on Hebrews 9:27-28:
"And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. [ESV]"

After listening to the sermon I was thinking about life. I remembered a very close friend I had in college. The last night that I spoke with him we were talking about heaven, and we clearly had a disagreement [I'm sure he's forgotten, but it's still vivid to me]... He thought that this earth, and what we experience in life, here, is heaven. I told him that if this is heaven he's crazy. Life is really hard and it hurts to lose loved ones, and see people in general die.

Anyhow, I was making copies of letters for 4 + hours like I do every day, and I was thinking about my friend. I really loved that guy, but it's been probably 2-3 years. My flesh was starting to tempt me to desire the worldly things I desired when I was in know...glory for myself, friends that are famous in the jazz industry, etc. Then I looked up and saw the cross on the top of the Roman Catholic church next to our building and my delusions of grandeur were broken. Then I remembered the passage above...

I'm clean in is appointed for me to die, so redeem the time. I can play the guitar to God's glory in heaven.

For now, keep studying to prepare for the teaching and preaching of the gospel.
For now, keep groaning with the rest of creation waiting for adoption and the redemption of my body.
For now, tell people about who Jesus is and as Johnny Cash would say, "God's going to cut you down," if you don't repent.
For now, grasp for Joy in my saviour and His bride.
For now, enjoy the blessing Lindsey is in my life.
For now, enjoy His grace that I might breath another breath.
For now, sanctification.

When He appears it won't be to deal with sin, but it will be to take me home. When He appears we will be changed. Keep grasping and fighting this good fight of faith!

Monday, January 29, 2007

"We Are Dwarfs On The Shoulders Of Giants"

Here's a great quote from my reading assignment today...
"We are like dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants; thanks to them, we see farther than they. Busying ourselves with the treatises written by the ancients, we take their choice thoughts, buried by age and human neglect, and we raise them, as it were, from death to renewed life."

Peter of Blois PL 207, col. 290 AB (Epistola) [George, Timothy Theology of the Reformers Broadman & Holman Publishers 1988. Nashville, Tennessee Pp. 21]

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Church's Marriage to Her Sons, and to Her God

This is the sermon of Jonathan Edwards that really started to solidify the internal call I was sensing to start preparing to go into ministry.

Here are some quotes that specifically stirred my heart:
"The preaching of the gospel is...the great means of bringing about the prosperity and joy of the church..." (Pp. 19) [Emphasis added]

"When a duly qualified person is properly invested with the ministerial character, and does in a due manner take upon him the sacred work and office of a minister of the gospel, he does, in some sense, espouse the church of Christ in general...every one that takes on him this office as he ought to do, espouses the church of Christ, as he espouses the interest of the church in a manner that is peculiar. He is under obligations, as a minister of the christian church, beyond other men, to love the church, as Christ her true bridegroom hath loved her, and to prefer Jerusalem above his chief joy, and to imitate Christ, the great shepherd and bishop of souls and husband of the church, in his care and tender concern for her welfare, and earnest and constant labours to promote it, as he has opportunity." (Pp. 19)

"The minister, by solemn vows, devotes himself to the people, to improve his time and strength, and spend and be spent for them, so long as God in his providence shall continue the union; and they, on the other hand, in a holy covenant commit the care of their souls, and subject themselves to him." (Pp. 20) [Emphasis added]

"The minister joyfully devoting himself to the service of his Lord in the work of the ministry, as a work that he delights in; and also joyfully uniting himself to the society of the saints that he is set over, as having complacence in them, for his dear Lord's sake, whose people they are; and willingly and joyfullly, on Christ's call, undertaking the labours and difficulties of the service of their souls." (Pp. 20) [Emphasis added]

"Thus a faithful minister and a christian people are each other's joy, Rom. XV. 32. "That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed." 2 Cor. i. 14. 'As you have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye are ours.'" (Pp. 20)

"The minister earnestly and continually seeks the profit and comfort of the souls of his people, and to guard and defend them from every thing that might annoy them, and studies and labours to promote their spiritual peace and prosperity. They, on the other hand, make it their constant care to promote his comfort, to make the burden of his difficult work easy, to avoid those things that might add to the difficulty of it, and that might justly be grievous to his heart." (Pp. 20)

"He has chosen them, not to be mere servants, but friends; John XV. 15. 'I call you not servants; --but I have called you friends.'"

"On the other hand, the church chooses Christ above all others: he is in her eyes the chief among ten thousands, fairer than the sons of men: she rejects the suit of all his rivals, for his sake: her heart relingquishes the whole world: he is her pearl of great price, for which she parts with all; and rejoices in him, as the choice and rest of her soul." (Pp. 21)

"Christ and his church, as the bridegroom and bride, rejoice in each other's love. Wine is spoken of, Psalm CIV. 15. as that which maketh glad man's heart: but the church of Christ is spoken of as rejoicing in the love of Christ, as taht which is more pleasant and refreshing than wine, Cant. i. 4. 'The king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine.' So on the other hand, Christ speaks of the church's love as far better to him than wine, Cant. IV. 10. 'How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine!'" (Pp. 22)

"...And at that glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, shall the whole elect church complete as to every individual member, and each member with the whole man, both body and soul, and both in perfect glory, ascend up to meet the Lord in the air, to be thenceforth for ever with the Lord. That will be indeed a joyful meeting of this glorious bridegroom and bride." (Pp. 22)

"Ministers are sent to woo the souls of men for Christ, 2 Cor. V. 20. 'We are then ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.'" (Pp. 23)

"Faithful ministers are made the instruments of leading the people of God in the way to heaven, conducting them to the glorious presence of the bridegroom, to the consummate joys of her marriage with the Lamb; as Abraham's servant conducted Rebekah from Padan-aram to Canaan, and presented her to Isaac and delivered her into his embraces. For it is the office of ministers, not only to espouse the church to her husband, but to present her a chaste virgin to Christ." (Pp. 23)

"...And let us behave ourselves as those that are devoted to their good; being willing to spend and to be spent for them; joyfully undertaking and enduring the labour and self-denial that is requisite in order to a thorough fulfilling the ministry that we have received." (Pp. 23) [Emphasis added]

"Let us aim that when the appointed wedding-day comes, we may have done our work as Christ's messengers; and may then be ready to present Christ's spouse to him, a chaste virgin, properly educated and formed, and suitably adorned for her marriage with the Lamb; that he may the present her to himself, a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, and may receive her into his eternal embraces, in perfect unity, beauty, and glory." (Pp. 23) [Emphasis added]

"Christ obtains his elect spouse by conquest; for she was a captive in the hands of dreadful enemies; and her Redeemer came into the world to conquer these enemies, and rescue her out of their hands, that she might be his bride. And he came and encountered these enemies in the greatest battle that ever was beheld by men or angels; he fought with principalities and powers; he fought alone with the powers of darkness, and all the armies of hell; yea, he conflicted with the infinitely more dreadful wrath of God, and overcame in this great battle; and thus he obtained his spouse. Let us consider at how great a price Christ purchased this spouse; he did not redeem her with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with his own precious blood; yea, he gave himself for her. When he offered up himself to God in those extreme labours and sufferings, this was the joy that was set before him, that made him cheerfully to endure the cross, and despise the pain and shame in comparison of this joy; even that rejoicing over his church, as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride that the Father had promised him, and that he expected when he should present her to himself in perfect beauty and blessedness." (Pp. 24) [Emphasis added]

"The reason why Christ pust such honour on faithful ministers, even above the angels themselves, is because they are of his beloved church, they are select members of his dear spouse, and Christ esteems nothing too much, no honour too great, for her...[a]nd seeing Christ hath so honoured us, that our relation to his people resembles his, surely our affection to them should imitate his, in seeking their salvation, spiritual peace, and happiness. Our tender care, labours, self-denial, and readiness to suffer for their happiness, should imitatewhat hath appeared in him, who hath purchased them with his own blood." (Pp. 24) [Emphasis added]

"May you now, as one of the precious sons of Zion, take this part of Christ's church by the hand, in the name of your great Master the glorious bridegroom, with a heart devoted unto him with true adoration and supreme affection, and for his sake knit to this people, in a spiritual and pure love, and as it were a conjugal tenderness; ardently desiring that great happiness for them, which you have now heard Christ has chosen his church unto, and has shed his blood to obtain for her; being yourself ready to spend and be spent for them; remembering the great errand on which Christ sends you to them, viz. to woo and win their hearts, and expouse their souls to him, and to bring up his elect spouse, and to fit and adorn her for his embraces; that you may in due time present her a chaste virgin to him, for him to rejoice over, as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride. How honourable is this business that Christ employs you in! and how joyfully should you perform it!" (Pp. 25) [Emphasis added]

"The joyful day is coming, when the spouse of Christ shall be led to the King in raiment of needle-work; and angels and faithful ministers will be the servants that shall lead her in. And you, Sir, if you are faithful in the charge now to be committed to you, shall be joined with glorious angels in that honourable and joyful service; but with this difference, that you shall have the higher privilege. Angels and faithful ministers shall be together in bringing in Christ's bride into his palace, and presenting her to him. But faithful minsiters shall have a much higher participation of the joy of that occasion. They shall have a greater and more immediate participation with the bride in her joy; for they shall not only be ministers to the church as the angels are, but parts of the church, principal members of the bride. And as such, at the same time that angels do the part of ministering spirits to the bride, when they conduct her to the bridegroom, they shall also do the part of ministering spirits to faithful ministers. And they shall also have a higher participation with the bridegroom than the angels, in his rejoicing at that time; for they shall be nearer to him than they. They are also his members, and are honoured as the principal instruments of espousing the saints to him, and fitting them for his enjoyment; and therefore they will be more the crown of rejoicing of faithful ministers, than of the angels of heaven." (Pp. 25-26) [Emphasis added]

"Your chosen pastor comes to you on this errand, and he comes in the name of the bridegroom, so empowered by him, and representing him, that in receiving him, you will recieve Christ, and in rejecting him, you will reject Christ." (Pp. 26)

[Edwards, Jonathan The Works of Jonathan Edwards Volume II Hndrickson Publishers Inc. Peabody, MA (Reprinted from an 1834 edition in the UK, third printing -- January 2003]

Meditating on these thoughts excites me to be an elect member of the Lord's spouse, the church. It also excites me and makes me tremble at the awesome responsibility it is to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. By His grace we can joyfully serve and be used by God to prepare His church for the marriage He builds it.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Giving to the Poor...

I'm reading a book by Tim Keller called Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road. This quote is humbling, but good!
Of course, many true Christians do not evidence the social concern the Bible says is a mark of real faith. How do we explain that? Though it may not be in evidence, a heart for the poor sleeps in all Christians until someone preaches grace in connection with the ministry of mercy. This "pushes the button" deep in our soul, and we begin to wake up. Let me give you an example of the kind of preaching that "pushes the button."
Now dear Christians, some of you pray night and day to be branches of the true Vine; you pray to be made all over in the image of Christ. If so, you must be like him in giving..."though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor"...

Objection 1. "My money is my own."
Answer: Christ might have said, "my blood is my own, my life is my own"...then where should we have been?

Objection 2. "The poor are undeserving."
Answer: Christ might have said, "They are wicked rebels...shall I lay down my life for these? I will give to the good angels." But no, he left the ninety-nine, and came after the lost. He gave his blood for the undeserving.

Objection 3. "The poor may abuse it."
Answer: Christ might have sad the same; yea, with far greater truth. Christ knew that thousands would trample his blood under their feet; that most would despise it; that many would make it an excuse for sinning more; yet he gave his own blood.

Oh, my dear Christians! If you would be like Christ, give much, give often, give freely, to the vile and poor, the thankless and the undeserving. Christ is glorious and happy and so will you be. It is not your money I want, but your happiness. Remember his own word, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Can you feel the Spirit of God "pushing your button" under such preaching?

[Keller, Tim Ministries of Mercy: The call of the Jericho Road Copyright 1997 P & R Publishing; Phillipsburg, NJ Pp. 65]

(I edited the quote for clarity in reading)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bad Theology Alert

Maybe a better way to say it is "bad psychology alert!"

I was on the fox news web page today and I saw this sentence…
"Some psychologists say sexy displays by your teen may be a good sign"

Wow! You can find people trying to rationalize anything these days. I’m not surprised in light of human depravity.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hebrew Longa, Vita Brevis!

[I'll explain what I mean by this quote in a later post]

Well, I've been trying to memorize the Hebrew alphabet.

It's been great, but it's challenging. I'm bearing in mind that I won't be able to ever read Hebrew like I can English, but I can get pretty good with practice. Right?

So I've memorized the 23 consonants Aleph through Taw. Now I'm working on the final forms of Beth, Mem, Nun, Pe, and Tsade, and the "begadkephat" letters.

The so I'm moving from memorizing sybols and saying what they are in English to pronouncing the sounds of the letters [starting with the letters with the Daghesh Lene].

I'm hoping that soon I'll be able to start phonetically pronouncing a few words and memorizing the meaning of what those words are. It's awesome!

It's pretty amazing to glance at the Hebrew Old Testament and realize, this is the language that God began His revelation in. He is truly unfathomable, yet knowable. Curious!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

My Seminary Status @ SBTS

Well, by God's grace I am what I am... Again Lindsey and I learned humility and the sinfulness of our hearts through our circumstances. Here's a quick update for those of you that don't know what's been Going on this last year...
1) April of 2006: We put our house on the market in order to be prepared to move where God might lead to pursue education/ministry training.
2) June of 2006: Applied for the internship program at CHBC in Washington DC, and I applied for admission to SBTS.
3) September of 2006: Went to Weekender at CHBC...learned that they didn't have room for me to do the internship at CHBC the Spring of 2007...but might be able to accept me if we could sell our home and provide our own housing. With this news we listed our home with Next Generation Reality to speed up the selling process of our home.
4) December of 2006: The possibility of selling our home and moving to Washington DC for the internship Spring of 2007 was slim to none. CHBC said we are accepted for the Internship in the Fall of 2007. With this in mind I registered for full time classes with SBTS through the internet this Spring thinking that I would be able to get the discounted rate because we will be joining a Southern Baptist Church in the middle of the semester as we plan to move to Washington DC and become members of CHBC.
5) Last week I found out that there is a Covenant that I needed to complete and have turned in to SBTS by the deadline of 12/1/06 to get the discounted tuition. Almost doubling the price to take the classes that I registered for.

Summary: So we still have our house, and in order to maintain our mortgage I will need to work full time at my current job. In order to afford my classes it is looking like I will need to drop a few classes.

I'm really pretty bummed about this...but God is showing me that to make plans is arrogant...only if He wills...these things will happen. I'm being humbled, and I am thankful for Jesus and the forgiveness He has given me through His substitutionary sacrifice. If Christ is for us who can be against us!

Workin' Out: Update #2's been a long time since I posted on how I'm doing with the old work outs. I was working out about 3 x's a week [at least] before Christmas. I was having a difficult time staying motivated because I wasn't seeing any results.

So I have a new strategy that I've been doing for the last two weeks...and I hope to keep increasing the intensity as time goes on and my body adjusts.

I have been running for 30 minutes every the first week I dropped about 4 lbs [from 216lbs. to 212lbs. and one day it was 211lbs.], so this is working alright. I also go down in the middle of the day so that I don't get a 10 minute weight lifting session at the end of the day. It's been great...and since I now have an IPod [thanks mom and dad!] I have been listening to sermons and good music a ton!

I'll post occasionally in the future to let you know what's up w/ my workin' out program:) Oh I also started counting points for weight watchers and that's helped as well! Later!

Oldies But Goodies

Well, over new years we celebrated Christmas with my was a ton of fun. It was awesome to take some digital photos of some pics of our family when we were little. Here are some of my favorites.

Boating...Yes, in the winter! Dad cracks me up in this picture.

Here's a picture of Erica and I at what was probably a joint birthday party. We were born 1 year and 2 days apart: Erica February 27, 1979; Me February 29, 1980.

Church kids...this picture is of all the kids at First Presbyterian Church in Dallas Center where we grew up. In case you're wondering which one is me...just look for the one wearing the "spider-man" glasses.

Mom would have us pose for pics sometimes [I guess:)] anyhow here's Erica...

Here's one of me...

Check out that tummy sheesh! I guess some things never change. Lol...

I'll post a few more things this weekend. Enjoy the brisk winter weather!!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Blazing Fire is Blazing Again!

My good friend Michael Miesen is blogging again after about a 3 month break. Check his blog out at the Blazing Fire.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Schedule Spring of 2007

I was just reading a a friend's blog post on his schedule and thought that I'd share my schedule for this upcoming semester. If you could pray for me I would really appreciate it. I'm taking 14 credit hours and trying to work a 40 hour a week job. I'm a little anxious and I anticipate many late nights.
(1) Elementary Hebrew: Duane A. Garrett
An introduction to the Hebrew of the Old Testament, including basic grammar, syntax, and vocabulary.

(2) Written Communication: Marsha Omanson
To help improve writing style and develop a sense of confidence, a degree of competence, and criteria for evaluating writing and writing of others. Review of basic mechanics of writing (grammar, punctuation), a review of composition skills, and an introduction to specific needs for writing in seminary.

(3) Introduction to Missiology: Dr. George H. Martin
An evaluation of missiological thought with a veiw to developing a contemporary theology of mission: the what, why, and how of missions.

(4) Introduction to Church History II; The Reformation and the Church in the Modern Period: C. Brand
Focus is on four major areas of study in the modern period: the history of Protestantism, the origin and history of Baptists, the history of Roman Catholicism, and American church history.

(5) Introduction to Christian Philosophy: T. Cabal
A study, in historical, perspective, of the basic issues in the philosophy of religion.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Slow Posting

I know it's been a really long time since I've posted anything. I've just been very busy. Hopefully tomorrow or Saturday I will start bloggin' more regularly again.

Thanks for reading:)

In Christ