Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Toilet Ipod Dock

Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Snowed in Sunday Worship!

[UPDATE: Turns out Valley Church had services. Still the plows hadn't come yet and we only have one car...an honda civic that slips on everything and and would get stuck pretty easily. So we didn't brave the conditions. Besides after watching the news I just assumed that every church cancelled. Wrong assumption I guess:)]

Well, we couldn't get out for worship at a local church this morning, I woke up early this morning and every church cancelled services. But we could worship at home. So here's the family worship time we had this morning.

Preparation for worship: Prayers from the Valley of Vision
• I read...Meeting God [p. 148] favorite line: "Strengthen and give thee no rest until Christ shall reign supreme within me."

• Lindsey read...Christ Alone [p. 23] favorite line: "Here, it is my duty to be as Christ in this world to do what he would do, to live as he would live, to walk in love and meekness; then would he be known, then would I have peace in death."

Scripture Prayer
Ephesians 3:14-21 favorite line: verse 18-19, "to know the love of Christ that suprasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

• Lindsey
• Me
• Lindsey

Scripture Reading
Hebrews 7-10 Favorite lines:
o 7:3 "[The priesthood in the order of Melchizedek...namely Christ] Having neither beginning of days nor end of life"

o 7:24-25 "[Jesus] holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them."

o 8:10, 12 "...I will be their God, and they shall be my people...I will remember their sins no more."

o 9:22 "...without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins."

o 9:26, 28 "...But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself...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."

o 10:31 "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
Exposition/Preaching of the Word
• We listened to Ligon Duncan's Sermon on Titus 2:1-10.

Singing Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs [Lindsey is an excellent pianist!]
My Jesus, I Love Thee [no. 405] Favorite line: "I love Thee, because Thou hast first loved me, and purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree, I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow."
Take My Life, and Let It Be Consecrated [no. 310] Favorite line: "Take my moments and my days; Let them flow in ceaseless praise."

Soli Deo Gloria

Why Do We Go to Church?

Hebrews 10:23-25
"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."

Mark 18:20
"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."

1 Corinthians 5:4
"When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus..."

Acts 20:7
"On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight." [Notice what else happened on the first day of the week...the resurrection of our Lord! (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19)]

1 Corinthians 16:2
"On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come."
[All this Scripture is from the English Standard Version of the bible.]

From the above passages I believe we have a precedent that the disciples/apostles and early Christians gathered together on the first day of the week...the day of the resurrection. We commanded to not neglect meeting together. Where 2 or more are gathered there Christ is with us. Also, how are we to live out the love one another passages if we never see each other? [John 13:34-35, etc.] Also, we're to worship in spirit and truth [John 4:23]. No church is perfect, but when you no longer feel that you can worship the Lord in spirit and truth you need to seek fellowship, accountability, and worship with another group of believers somewhere.

Something to think on...

[I know this is a simplistic answer to why we go to church, but I believe these are pretty good simplistic answers...what do you think?]

Rick Warren and Gregory Boyd What a Pair!

No offense, but I didn't really hear a clear message about what the gospel is from Rick in this interview...what do you think?

Also, although I agree with some of the things the second interviewee [Gregory Boyd] said about Christians and politics...he's a pretty big "bad theology alert" when it comes to his Open Theism...

Warren and Boyd both think the church is to look like Jesus...unfortunately other than social issues they didn't say too much more about what that really means. What about the exclusivity of the gospel. Warren was cornered on the exclusivity of Christ and he acted like he didn't want to say...I don't think you'd see that in the book of Acts. Warren's brief summation of liberalism and evangelicalism was tragically simplistic.

Also, what do you think all of this talk on the kingdom of God? If Charlie Rose was interviewing you...what would you have said? I posted a response to the NY Times report on the sermon series that Boyd was talking about here a while back...it's interesting that he lost 1,000 members over politics...but when it comes to his heretical doctrine on the openness or non-sovereignty of God they stay. Wow!

Interesting stuff...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Presence of God in The Deep, Frightening Waters of Life

"To live with the Lord when things are light makes real the potential of realizing His presence when things are dark and when finding Him is not easy. The more we value our daily walk with Him when all is going well, the greater the potential of experiencing His fullness when moments of crises come. From the well of rich, historical experiences we are able to draw forth the lessons to be learned from those traumatic times. How wonderful to walk through the deep the frightening waters of life and emerge on the other side with a new understanding of the reality of the presence of God!"

[James, Sam Servant on the Edge of History: Risking All for the Gospel in War-Ravaged Vietnam. Copyright Sam James, 2005. Garland, Texas. Pg. 45]

A Prayer of Augustine

"My God, let me be thankful as I remember and acknowledge all your mercies. Let my whole self be steeped in love of you and all my being cry Lord, there is none like you! You have broken the chains that bound me; I will sacrifice in your honour. I shall tell how it was that you broke them and, when they hear what I have to tell, all who adore you will exclaim, ‘Blessed be the Lord in heaven and on earth Great and wonderful is his name.’"
Pine-Coffin, R.S. [Translator and Introduction] Saint Augustine Confessions. Penguin Books Ltd., London; 1961 Pp. 157 (Bk 8.1).

Prayer Request: Randy's [a good friend's] Family

I’m posting this with Randy’s permission.

I just spoke with a good friend who needs your fervent prayers.

Randy’s Brother:
He received a message last night from his brother in Denver, CO. He mentioned in the message that he may be having a stroke. Randy tried to reach him numerous times this morning with no success. He also tried the local hospital and his brother was not there. So he called the police. They picked up Randy’s brother, and unfortunately we don’t know too much more right now.

Randy’s Sister:
Also, Randy’s sister is in the hospital in Omaha, NE. She is being treated for OCD, depression, and anxiety. Please pray for her as well.

Lastly pray for Randy’s health as he bears the difficult burden of helping his siblings. Pray for strength and God's glory!

In Christ

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


We're pretty depressed right now...

Please pray for us.

For His Glory

Sunday, February 18, 2007

"Straying Like Sheep"

Okay one last post before I start studying Hebrew again. I've been thinking about sheep for a while because of the label Jesus gives us as His sheep...

Have you really ever thought about what sheep are like? I've heard people say that sheep are really dumb. A good friend of mine, PJ Holmertz, was teaching once and said that a speaker brought a sheep to demonstrate its stupidity. He said they walked it into a corner and it couldn't find it's way out.

Honestly, that was hard for me to believe. But I love PJ and I believe him.

So last Thanksgiving I while we were driving out to Greeley, CO in the RV to hang with family I was talking to my dad about sheep. They used to have sheep. He told me a story that I think is good for understanding what we are like in the Lord's eyes.

Here it goes...
They had just acquired a flock of sheep and one had gone astray. I'm not sure if my dad was told he had to go find it and get it, or if he noticed it was gone and went after it...nonetheless he went after it. He didn't run or walk after it though...he took a tractor. He said that he spotted the sheep and it was up against a fence. As he pulled the loud tractor closer to the sheep he noticed that it got really scared and shook a little before falling down. Dad went up to the lamb and tried to get it to come to, but he couldn't. So he drove the tractor back home to get Grandpa Braymen.

So they come back out together to get this lamb. After looking at it a minute Grandpa told dad that the sheep had died. It must have had a heart attack or something.

Okay, I haven't worked with sheep before, but dad has. And this story really brings a few things to light to me. If we are truly like sheep...then when something big and glorious comes after us we are scared and we would literally die in the presence of this glory [I know, my dad on a tractor is an imperfect example of glory, but you get the point...sorry dad:)].

Second, the owner of the sheep isn't going to just let the sheep stray. They're going to actively go out after them.

Lastly, the sheep are so stupid. Do you get it. You're dumb...and I'm dumb. Nothing cultivates humility like coming to a realization that there is a lot that is wrong with you. Don't get too depressed though, because there is grace to be found in Jesus Christ. Don't be fearful and die in your stupidity and ignorance. When the Good Shepherd gently puts His hand you your shoulder when you are completely distraught and says, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid [Mark 6:50]," stand up and follow Him in repenting and believing in the gospel [Mark 1:15]."

God bless you brothers and sisters. My prayer is that you will be strengthened in all hope and love in the gospel this week. May God be glorified in you, to you, and through you!

Redeemer Presbyterian DSM, IA

I went to a Presbyterian Church of America church this morning called Redeemer Presbyterian in Beaverdale, IA. Lindsey is down in Arkansas so I thought I'd see what the only PCA church in central Iowa was like.

This church preaches the Word of God! Expositional all the way! Praise God for the labor that they are doing in DSM, Iowa!

Anyhow, the passage that Wayne preached on was 1 Peter 2:18-25...here are some of my notes.
Introduction: Commentary on slavery.
First Sentence… “What do we think of when we think of slavery?”
Main point: Because Jesus Christ suffered for us we must follow in His steps.
• Suffer for the sake of the gospel.
• Suffering injustice is a gracious gift from God.
o Because by obedience we find grace to do what is commanded of us.
o We are not suffering because of our sin, but we are suffering by the grace of God.
o It is a gracious gift of God because it points us to Jesus Christ!

Now my favorite part…
Atonement: The extent of Christ’s sufferings…
o The atonement wasn’t just an example as some folks would say today.
o Here where Peter is outlining and exhorting us most strongly to follow Jesus’ example in suffering he says that Jesus was crucified in our place.
o This is the vicarious [suffered in the place of another] subsitutionary [replacement for another] atonement [satisfaction of God’s wrath for the sins we have committed against Him].
o 1 Corinthians 5:21 “He became sin who knew no sin”
o 1 Peter 2:24 “He…bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.”
• “Look to God in faith to Jesus Christ who bore our sin on the tree…that we might follow and imitate.”
• “We cannot atone for our sin, but we are called to lay down our lives…in that people see self sacrifice and the love of God in our lives.”
• “The price of suffering is all worth it to be with our God.”
• “We are most effective in ministering when we come in our own brokenness…not to hide and cover up…it’s the power of the gospel.”
Last Sentence… “Live life to follow our shepherd.”


The thing I liked the most about this service was the reverence for the word of God! We stood when Scripture was read. Also, I loved how we actually prayed the Lord’s prayer, and said the Apostle’s Creed out loud.

Communion was pretty sweet too…I was pretty surprised when I drank of the cup though…it was wine…and I don’t drink.

Lama’an Shmo

My Cousin Rocks @ Juggling!

Check this video out. If I'm not mistaken he's juggling to a great band Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Isaac is seriously one of the best jugglers I've ever seen. He juggles at family stuff all the time. It's great! I guess he's practiced so much in the yard that he has killed the grass in patches...check him out!


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Pistol Pete

I'm not a huge sports fan...but this guy looks like he was an amazing basketball player. Wow!

[HT: Michael Meisen at the "Blazing Fire"]

Duo Set List: 2/16/2007

Here's an old picture of Steve Gilbertson and I [not very high quality, but that's the best I could do with a glossy picture:)].

Well...the gig last night was great! We played from 6:00 to 8:00pm. It was at a jewelry/art store called M. C. Ginsberg [their philosophy is a bad theology alert:)].

Anyhow, Steve and I had a blast. He was on piano and I was on guitar. We just jammed on standard jazz tunes for a few hours. I love going to a gig with no particular set list in mind and just calling tunes and playing them! Here's the set list in case you're curious...

(1) The Days of Wine and Roses [Mancini] Medium Swing
(2) Blue in Green [Miles Davis] Ballad
(3) Alone Together [Dietz and Schultz] Medium Swing
(4) Stella By Starlight [Victor Young] as a Bossa Nova
(5) There Will Never Be Another You [Warren/Gordon] Medium Swing
(6) All the Things You Are [Hammerstein/Kern] Medium Swing
(7) Calypso [Kenny Baron] Medium/Up Latin Tune
(8) Sandu [Clifford Brown] Medium Swing Blues
(9) Alice in Wonderland [Fain/Hilliard] Jazz Waltz
(10) Summertime [George Gershwin] Bossa Nova
(11) Scrapple From the Apple [Charlie Parker] Medium Bop
(12) It Could Happen To You [Burke/Van Heusen] Medium Swing
(13) Don't Get Around Much Anymore [Duke Ellington] Medium Swing

It all came back pretty quickly. Also, we didn't take any breaks, because we were having so much fun.

If you're still reading...I'll tell you something funny that happened really quickly. We started to play Stella By Starlight [bear in mind that I'm a little rusty] and it sounded terrible. Our intonation was terrible. Steve looked at me like I was messing up and I was looking at him the same way. He lifted up his book and played the first few notes of the head...and I did too and we sounded fine. Then he set his book down again and we tried to start again. It sounded terrible again!

Well, it turned out that Steve had set his music on the "whammy" bar of his piano dropping the pitch by at least a half step. Man, we cracked up! Then we played it in the correct key.

It was a ton of fun...thanks Steve!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Jazz Duo Gig

Wow...it's been a while...but tomorrow I'm playing a gig with an old good friend. It'll be a blast as soon as I can get my fingers back:) Sorry folks...it's a private party.

I love jamming...playing jazz standards for two hours with good friends. The funny thing is that people actually pay us for this and they enjoy it. Who knew!?!? I'll let you know how it goes. As long as we can play "All the Things You Are" I will be happy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

When It Rains It Pours!

Wow...what a week...sheesh!

Bible study @ work Friday 2/09/2007...I talked to my boss about the "political correctness" of doing a bible study at work. She got back to me later in the day and told me it would be cool if I did. And she told me how I can do it following company guidelines. Pray for her...she's been a great help. Also, a co-worker that is a sister in Christ has set up a conference room for the future after this week. This was a huge help. Praise the Lord for her.

Evangelism @ Post Office Saturday 2/10/2007...I had a 40 minute discussion with Tom at the Waukee Post office about the gospel. We talked about everything from substitutionary atonement to how Christianity helps the government. He wouldn't repent and believe in Jesus, but I made it clear that that is what he must do. I made it clear the Jesus is exclusive in order to experience heaven with the Lord [I posted about it here]. Please pray for him.

Evangelistic Bible study @ work Monday 2/12/2007...I asked around 8 guys to do a Bible study with me here at work. Some were more interested than others...I don't know if most of them are Christians or not...but I felt like God would want me to do this. So it will be an "Evangelistic Bible" study. We will study Mark...and hopefully they will come...and hopefully they will be confronted with who Jesus Christ is. Please pray for them to come and be open to talking about the gospel.

Evangelism to Neighbor Tuesday 2/13/2007...I was out shovelling after work and I got into a conversation with my neighbor. He is Hindu. Anyhow, once again we talked about everything from substitutionary atonement [I didn't use this word though] to whether or not the Hindi faith is exclusive or not. I gave him a Tim Keller talk "Who Is This Jesus" and he wouldn't take it. I explained how I'd listen to anything he would give me. But he kept refusing. The conversation wasn't abraisive but he didn't really respond favorably when I started to explain that the only way to heaven is through Jesus. He said Hinduism believes in Christianity, but I told him it didn't. He didn't like that. Please pray for him and me...that he'd be softened and I would be humble.

Sharpening by/with a Brother Wednesday 2/14/2007...I was involved in a pretty intense discussion about election/predestination with a fellow Christian at work. He clearly doesn't agree with what I have read in the Bible...but that's okay. We're here to sharpen each other...him me, and I him. Please pray for us.

Evangelistic Bible study @ work Thursday 2/15/2007...We start the evangelistic Bible study at work [I'll post more later as to how I came to the conclusion of doing this]. Please pray for us.

Tonight we celebrate Valentine's Day and then I study Hebrew, have a writing assignment to do, etc. This week has been crazy! I've been emotionally high, low, have felt spiritual warfare...and am tired. Praise God for a week well spent!

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bad Theology Alert: Flyer

I blurred out the phone #...but not the website...but anyhow, this bad theology alert was torn out of the local [Des Moines] paper. A friend gave this to me on Sunday.

As a church following Christ, hence Christian church, how do they reconcile this add with John 14:6?
"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. [ESV]"

Monday, February 12, 2007

D. A. Carson: Christians/Alcohol

Check out this quote from D. A. Carson. The context of this is in a lecture about the New Perspective on Paul. He's making an anology of why Timothy was circumcised by Paul. Carson says, this...
"...Timothy was not forced to be circumcised...But then, along comes Paul and circumcises Timothy. What’s going on? If somebody is saying that you have to circumcise someone in order for him to be a Christian, Paul will say, “Absolutely no way.” If on the other hand Paul...thinks it wise to avoid offending Jewish sensibilities by paying for somebody’s sacrifices or by circumcising Timothy so that they can get into the synagogues without raising a whole lot of questions. Then fine, he’ll go ahead and do it. [2:43:27]"

Then Carson makes an anology to drinking alcohol. This is classic check it out!
"To take an analogy that’s not very good, but nevertheless shows something similar, you know that in certain parts – now I’m a Canadian – but in certain parts of the United States do you know that many Christians don’t drink alcohol. Now, if I’m in one of those parts and everyone’s going to be all upset if I drink alcohol, then – I don’t drink alcohol, it’s not worth the fight and so on. But if somebody says to me, “You cannot be a Christian and drink alcohol,” I will say, “pass the Bourgogne [Canadian wine]’!” Do you see?

Because you do not ever allow anything to jeapordize the absolute sufficiency of Christ. Not anything! [2:44:37-2:45:25 (Emphasis added)]

[These quotes are taken from D. A. Carson’s talk on the New Perspective on Paul ELF 2003 Theologians Network (European Leadership Forum). The hour, minute, and second markers corresponding to where I trascribed the quotes from are listed after each quote.]

To listen to the entire lecture click here [beware, it's around 3 hours long].

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Capitol Hill Baptist Church and 9Marks Ministry

Lord willing...this is the church that I will be interning at next Fall. Check out the video!

In Christ

New Attitude 2007: Humble Orthodoxy

Check out this video trailer about this year's New Attitude conference!

The Preaching line-up looks pretty darn good:)

Josh Harris
Eric Simmons
C.J. Mahaney
Mark Dever
Al Mohler
John Piper

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Post Office, Patience, and The Gospel: Journal 2/10/07

It seems like a unlikely combination...I know. But that is my story today.

I had to mail some books back for the classes I didn't end up taking. Also, I had to mail in some rebates for our cell phones [among a few other things].

The Post Office on a Saturday
It's ludacris to go to the post office on Saturday morning from 11:30 to noon. Guess, what time I pulled up...11:45am. I knew I was going to have to be patient. So, I walked in.

I stood in line for about five minutes and then realized I wanted to send the rebates certified mail with a slip to be mailed back to me upon receipt at the destination. So I walk out of line to get the slips and I fill them out. I turned around and about five people arrived and jumped in line.

After waiting in line for about twenty minutes I got to the counter. The man behind the counter was a really nice Chinese guy named Tom. Anyhow, he rung up a bunch of stuff I was mailing...and then he pointed out that I had not boxed the boxes up correctly. I asked him what I needed to do and he told me.

I asked for help because I don't ship stuff very often and he abruptly said, "Sir, we are really busy, and we don't have time to offer these kinds of services." I turned around and sure enough there was a line behind me about as long as it was when I arrived. I thought, "Oh great, another 20 minute wait." I apologized and said to go ahead and ring everyone else up. He snapped at me and said, "I've already started to ring up your stuff." I tried to patiently say, "Well, let's ring up this stuff...then I'll go package this stuff appropriately...and you can ring everyone else up...and then we can take care of my boxes." Thus, I proceeded.

I went over to the area where they sell stamps and stuff, and started to put labels, and rebox items. He helped everyone else and then started to close everything up. Then I went back over and we started to take care of business again.

The Gospel
He asked what was in the boxes and I said, "Books, and shirts." Then I said the books were for a class I couldn't take. He asked what my major was. I responded, "Biblical and Theological Studies." He asked what classes I'm taking right now, and I said, "Hebrew and some others."

Then he asked me if I was a Jew. I said no. He was puzzled and asked why I'm taking Hebrew...as a Christian wouldn't I be taking Latin? I chuckled a little and asked him if he's ever read the Bible. He laughed and said, "No." Well, I explained, the first part of the Bible is called the Old Testament and it was written by the Jews in Hebrew, and the New Testament was written around the time that Jesus Christ was on earth and it was written in Greek. So the languages of the original manuscripts of the Bible are Hebrew and Greek. He was a little surprised.

He proceeded to ask me what the difference is between Christians and Mormons. "Well," I explained, "Christians believe in what is called the Trinity, and the Mormons don't. I explained that there is one God eternally...and that One God exists in three different states/forms/persons...God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. It seems like there are three Gods, but it's really One. The Mormons believe that we humans can become Gods, and they don't believe in the Trinity...among other things." He was intrigued.

He asked me what good Christianity is to the state/government. I described that most Christians would desire a separation between church and state because we would never want the government to impose on religious beliefs. I asked him if he's ever heard the “gospel” or the “good news” about Jesus Christ. He said, “No.”

So, I described that there is and always has been this One God. He created all things...and every good thing on earth comes from Him. He created humans [Adam and Eve] and they sinned by disobeying God's laws. This sin is also in us. I pointed at him and said, "So that means you’re sinful," then I pointed at myself and said, "and I'm sinful." I told him that we are created to be in a relationship with God and that if we don't repent in believe in Jesus Christ [in that our sins were paid for by Jesus' death] the Son of God for the forgiveness of our sins then we will spend eternity in hell. I described hell means separation from God and all the good things we encounter on earth [never ending torment].

"So," he said, "why are there all these denominations?" I described how a Christian denomination is principally grounded in the fact that the people that are a part of it believe in the gospel that I just told you. He asked why in the Middle Ages that Roman Catholics disagreed with some of the things the denominations believed [He was trying to make a case that basically all generations of Christians negate the truth of their message because it's different in every age]. I told him that part of the reason that people thought differently back then was because people couldn't read, and the leaders did not teach what the Bible says. He seemed to acknowledge my rebuttal.

"So," he said, "are you going to be a priest." I said, "No." I described how, Lord willing, I will be a minister/servant and a pastor. Then he started asking how I would make money as a pastor. I told him that a portion of the money that people give to the church will provide for my food and house and stuff. “As a pastor,” I described, “I will labor and work take care of the people God has brought to our church body by studying the Bible, helping spiritually, and in times of need.

He said, "So, like the bigger churches in West Des Moines...does that mean that you'll make more money the bigger the congregation. So being a pastor is a pretty good business strategy." I described how the "church" is not the building and it is the people that gather together. I told him that he's spot on in his observation that pastors of larger churches make more than smaller churches. I told him that private planes though [that he cited] is probably a poor use of God's money. I described that Christians see the money they have as God's money so it's used to teach about the gospel which is the power unto salvation. I told him that it’s not a business strategy…it’s people coming together to worship God and teach about Him to the world.

He said, “Yeah, like in Europe…they don’t believe in God anymore and so Christians send missionaries there to teach about what they believe.” I told him that he’s right. He said, “So then, there are not Christians anymore in Europe.” I told him, “Because Christians didn’t keep teaching the gospel in Europe [and many other factors]…it is largely an unbelieving place now. I told him that there are Roman Catholics there, but it is largely not effective in teaching the gospel.

I asked him if he wanted to meet sometime and he said, “No, I’m too busy.” I said, “How are you too busy?” He said, “Well, I have to work, sleep, and do things on my computer.” I told him he should go to the little Waukee Baptist Church [a block away] sometime and just watch what Christians do. He seemed a little uncomfortable with that.

I asked him if he had a Bible, and he said he did…so I told him to just pick it up and read it sometime. He looked at me and said, “You’re one of the most patient people I’ve ever seen here.”

Needless to say, if you go somewhere and you’re ticked because something inconvenienced you and you have to be patient...BE PATIENT! God might have ordered those events so that you might witness the glorious gospel. Praise God that I was able to today!

I intend on doing more business at the Waukee Post Office! See you soon Tom!

Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, February 09, 2007

Is Congregationalism Biblical???

I know...first ordination...then eldership...now congregationalism. You're probably all ecclesiologied out by me today. But this stuff is really important. We go to church every week [possibly numerous times a week]. Do you even think about how this stuff is done at your church?

Do you have elders acting as what the Bible qualifies as deaconal in role? Do you have deacons acting as what the Bible defines as the roles of the elder? Do you have people that aren't members of your church teaching and leading? Does it matter??

It seems to me that if these roles are all intermingled and flip-flopped around there's the possibility that there is great confusion in your church. It's a good indicator that confusion or pragmatism [or both] have taken over your church. If it is true that His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness [2 Peter 1:3] should we rule out that the Bible is the authority to train us in that life and godliness? That's absurd. Of course it has the authority as all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness [2 Timothy 3:16]. Okay...so if the Bible is the guide for our individual lives then why not for church life as well. I've heard people say, "[the book of] Acts is descriptive...not prescriptive." True enough, but is that a blanket statement spread out in order to ignore what Acts [or the rest of the New Testament for that matter] says about church life? I have heard from others that my ideas about the church [no matter how good they might be] might be Satan getting a foothold into the church. This might be correct, but I've never heard other people say that about themselves. We might all be correct, but we might all be wrong. What's the rule bar that we measure ourselves on? The Bible...we have to come to agreement based on the Bible...because if we don't we're looking at schism because people just disagree about everything.

I think there is a lot written especially in the epistles of Paul that give us a glimpse at how to conduct church life. The Bible isn't only authoritative in regard to spiritual disciplines and my personal life. It has a ton to say about ecclesiology. Maybe if we are faithful to what the Bible says [even a little more than we are] God will be seen as greater and us as smaller and weaker.

So here's the last church government post from me for today:) Is congregationalism biblical? Is it a democracy? Check out this article by Paul Alexander, Is Congregationalism a Democracy. This explains pretty well why I believe the Bible teaches that congregationalism is the Biblical model for church government [as opposed to an Episcopacy or Presbyterian persuasion]. These are just a few quotes, but I recommend you check out the rest of the article.
"Biblical congregationalism is democratic in the sense that it is not strictly monarchic (rule by one), oligarchic (rule by a few), aristocratic (rule by the fittest), or anarchic (rule by no one), but rather government by the people (the demos). It is the gathered local assembly that is the final court of appeal, not the pastor or the elders, and not a deliberative body outside or above the local church...

In a congregational system, the gathered assembly is only the final court of appeal in matters of discipline (1Cor 5:1-13), doctrine (Gal 1:6-9; 2Tim 4:3), personal dispute (Matt 18), and church membership (2Cor 2:6)...

Yet there is a significant sense in which even a congregationally governed church is also a monarchy, Christ being the benevolent King and the members his willing and submissive subjects. Christ alone is the true head of the church (Eph 1:22; 4:15; 5:23). And again, there is a significant sense in which a congregationally governed church is also an oligarchy or aristocracy, overseen by a plurality of Christ’s qualified under-shepherds, the body of elders (Acts 14:23; 20:28; Phil 1:1; Titus 1:5; 1Peter 5:1-5)...

...the congregation is also responsible to obey its leaders and respect their authority (Heb 13:17)...

Biblical congregationalism also recognizes that the congregation is not the infallible guide to faith and practice (2Tim 4:3)...Congregational decisions are not right simply by virtue of being made by the congregation. Vox populi (the voice of the people) is not always tantamount to vox dei (the voice of God), which is why the leaders of the church must be those who are “able to teach” from God’s word the “doctrine that conforms to godliness” (1Tim 3:2; 6:3)."

[As always I tried to bold and italicize all the Scripture references.]

The Importance of Elders

In light of my last post on Ordination...we have to know what the biblical mandate is for the office of elder. So here's a non-exhaustive description biblically.

The 9news for this month is in regard to eldership, but I didn’t see the following from the Deliberate Church in the article [maybe I just missed it]…and I believe the following is a big part of making a case for a plurality of elders and deacons in the structure of a local church. What do you think??

"A Brief Biblical Background

Acts 20:17-38 shows that the words elders (presbuterous, v. 17) and overseers (episkopous, v. 28 [also known as bishops]) are interchangeable, and that both do the work of pastoring (poimainein, v. 28) or shepherding God’s flock. A pastor, then, is an elder, and an elder is a bishop/overseer – all three terms refer to the same office and the same work of pastoring [Note the same interchangeability of “elders” (presbuterous) and “the overseer” (episkopon) in Titus 1:5-7]. Note too that Paul “sent to Ephesus” for “the elders [presbuterous, plural] of the church [ekklesias, singular]” (v. 17). The pattern is of a plurality of elders in each local church [Cf. Acts 14:23, where Paul and Barnabas appoint elders (presbuterous, plural) in every church (kat’ ekklesian, distributive singular].

1 Timothy 3:1-13 distinguishes the office of elder (episkopos) from that of deacon (diakonos). Each must meet the same character requirements, but elders must also be able to teach [Cf. also Titus 1:9] – an ability not required for the office of deacon. In fact, D. A. Carson has observed that all the qualities Paul lays out for elders are elsewhere in the New Testament enjoined on all Christians – every quality, that is, except the ability to teach. Right away, then, we see that elders are different from deacons in that teaching is pivotal to the elder’s responsibility, while the deacon’s tasks lie elsewhere. Both offices must be present for a church to be organized, led, and served according to the Word.

Acts 6:1-4 further clarifies the distinction. There we read of a controversy between Greek and Hebrew widows about the equity of food distribution among them. The disciples gather the whole congregation and say, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve [diakonein] tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry [diakonia] of the word” (6:2-4). The division of labor is clear. The seven chosen men “deaconed” (served) tables, which released the apostles for “deaconing” the Word.

Deacons, then, serve to care for the physical and financial needs of the church, and they do so in a way that heals divisions, brings unity under the Word, and supports the leadership of the elders. Without this practical service of the deacons, the elders will not be freed to devote themselves to praying and serving the Word to people. Elders need deacons to serve practically, and deacons need elders to lead spiritually. [Emphasis in bold added for clarity]"

[Dever, Mark The Deliberate Church: Building Your Ministry on the Gospel Crossway 2005. Wheaton, IL Pp. 131-132]


Well a while ago I met with a youth pastor at our church. We talked for a few minutes about ordination. I thought it was biblical because of the laying on of hands discussed as elders were appointed to their responsibilities. I was using the unbiblical term "ordination" to describe a biblical act of pulicly installing a man that meets the qualification for eldership into that role in the local church.

Anyhow, he disagreed with me and was using the unbiblical term "ordination" to describe an unbiblical pragmatical reality of what "ordination" means in much of the church today. He said something to the extent that, "Ordination is just the title of pastors in churches that are paid...to distinguish between paid elders and unpaid elders." I agree with him that this is what "ordination" has come to mean. But I still think that there is a biblical mandate for "ordination".

Check out this article, Should Elders Be Ordained? . This describes my position pretty well. Here's the conclusion from Benjamin Merkle's article...
"Elders should be "ordained" if by ordination we simply mean the public recognition of someone to a particular office and ministry. Perhaps a more appropriate, and biblical, term is "appointment" or "commission." The appointment to a ministry was often accompanied by prayer and fasting and the laying on of hands. These public acts draw attention to the seriousness and importance of the appointment. In addition, elders should be appointed as soon as they take their office. [Pp. 23 of the 9news article]"

You should check out the entire thing.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

"The Physical Death of Jesus Christ"

[HT: Justin Taylor]

This article is excellent...and I'm in a rush so here's a direct quote from Justin's Blog.
"Those who have been involved in evidential apologetics undoubtedly already know about this article. But for some it may be new. Over 20 years old now, it was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, examining the physical aspects of Jesus' crucifixion. It is a sobering read. Even more sobering to consider that the physical aspect of Christ's pain paled in comparison to the pain of being rejected by his Father and propitiating his Father's wrath that we deserve."

You must check this out!

In the Name of Felt Needs

I'm doing a book report on Counted Righteous in Christ: Should We Abandon the Imputation of Christ's righteousness? and a quote really stuck out to me in the reading...
"Growing a Church Without A Heart For Doctrine

To begin with, the older I get, the less impressed I am with flashy successes and enthusiasms that are not-truth based. Everybody knows that with the right personality, the right music, the right location, and the right schedule you can grow a church without anybody really knowing what doctrinal commitments sustain it, if any. Church-planting specialists generally downplay biblical doctrine in the core values of what makes a church "successful." The long-term effect of this ethos is a weakening of the church that is concealed as long as the crowds are large, the band is loud, the tragedies are few, and persecution is still at the level of preferences.

But more and more this doctrinally-diluted brew of music, drama, life-tips, and marketing seems out of touch with real life in this world-not to mention the next. It tastes like watered-down gruel, not a nourishing meal. It simply isn't serious enough. It's too playful and chatty and casual. Its joy just doesn't feel deep enough or heartbroken or well-rooted. The injustice and persecution and suffering and hellish realities in the world today are so many and so large and so close that I can't help but think that, deep inside, people are longing for something weighty and massive and rooted and stable and eternal. So it seems to me that the trifling with silly little sketches and breezy welcome-to-the-den styles on Sunday morning are just out of touch with what matters in life.

Of course, it works. Sort of. Because, in the name of felt needs, it resonates with people's impulse to run from what is most serious and weighty and what makes them most human and what might open the depths of God to their souls. The design is noble. Silliness is a stepping-stone to substance. But it's an odd path. And evidence is not ample that many are willing to move beyond fun and simplicity. So the price of minimizing truth-based joy and maximizing atmosphere-based comfort is high. More and more, it seems to me, the end might be in view. I doubt that a religious ethos with such a feel of entertainment can really survive as Christian for too many more decades. Crises reveal the cracks. [Emphasis added]"

[Piper, John Counted Righteous in Christ: Should We Abandon the Imputation of Christ's righteousness? Crossway 2002. Wheaton, IL Pp. 22-23]

Monday, February 05, 2007

Provocative Statements...

I was listening to J. Ligon Duncan III's sermon on Ephesians 1:7-8 today called Abundant Grace preached 7/24/2005. Anyhow he said something that really stopped me in my tracks...here it is...
"'Hell is eternity in the presence of God.' I meant to say it that way. Listen to it again: 'Hell is eternity in the presence of God. Heaven is eternity in the presence of God with a Mediator.'"

[Duncan III, Ligon fifth-seventh paragraphs under: II Forgiveness of our sins – breaking of God’s law in the sermon Abundant Grace. He is quoting Professor Finlayson of the Free Church College.]

This reminds me of another provocative statement that either he or Dr. Kelly said in one of my systematic theology classes. That went something like this...
"Salvation is by works...that's correct, salvation is by the works of Christ, not mankind."

These kind of statements are great...because at first the confuse you, but then you think about it and it makes pretty good sense. Anyhow, I just thought I'd share:)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Shalom [שָׁלוֹם] Peace

For devotionals I’m currently reading Ephesians. In William Barclay’s commentary he had a good description of the word Shalom. I thought I’d share...
“[Regarding Ephesians 1:2's use of “Peace”] In Greek the word is eirene, but it translates the Hebrew word shalom. In the Bible the word peace is never a purely negative word; it never describes simply the absence of trouble and hardship and distress. Shalom means everything that makes for a man’s highest good, everything which is calculated to make him a man in the highest sense of the term, everything which is calculated to make life truly worth living. This Christian peace is something which is quite independent of outward circumstances. A man might live in ease and luxury and on the fat of the land; he might have the finest of houses and the biggest of bank accounts, and yet not have peace; on the other hand, a man might be starving in prison, or dying at the stake, or living a life from which all comfort had fled, and be at perfect peace. What is the explanation of it? The explanation is that there is only one source of peace in all the world, and that is doing the will of God. We know perfectly well that when in life we are doing something which we know we ought not to do, or when we are evading something that we know we ought to do, there is always a haunting uneasiness and dispeace at the back of our minds; and we know quite well that even if we are doing something very difficult, even if we are doing something which we do not want to do, if we know that it is the right thing there is a certain contentment in our hearts. 'In His will is our peace.' The only peace on earth is in the will of God.”

[Barclay, William The Daily Study Bible: The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians The Westminster Press, Philadelphia 1958 Pp. 87-88]

It’s interesting that every time I hear the word “peace” I think of it in the inactive/negative sense. That is, the absence of fighting, war, violence…etc. The active/positive aspect that Barclay discusses here is almost never thought of today [that I know of…if it is please give a reference…I’d be curious to read it]. Maybe next time we say or think of peace we will think of the active/positive aspect of it, and not just the inactive/negative aspect of it. Hopefully meditating and thinking of the positive aspect of peace will draw us to worship God not ourselves and our materialistic idols. Just something to think on.

In Christ

Friday, February 02, 2007

The System is Down

[Update: Sorry...this is Strongbad from Homestar runner...an old college classic!]

In honor of the system being down @ work I figured this would be appropriate...


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Love and Marriage...What Happened?

Okay I was listening to some Frank Sinatra this afternoon. This guy swings hard!

Anyhow, I was listening to the words of Love and Marriage [by by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen 1955] and the thought came across my mind, "what the heck happened," these words wouldn't have any traction anymore in our culture at large.

Frank's saying:
"Love and marriage...goes together like a horse and carriage...you can't have one without the other...it's an institute you cant disparage...Ask the local gentry and they will say its elementary...try to separate them, it's an illusion...Dad was told by mother you can't have one without the other."

What happened?? It seems like our culture heard the words to "My Way" and decided to follow that instead.

Here are all the lyrics in case you wanted to read the entire thing...
Love and marriage, love and marriage
Go together like a horse and carriage
This I tell you brother
You cant have one without the other

Love and marriage, love and marriage
Its an institute you cant disparage
Ask the local gentry
And they will say its elementary

Try, try, try to separate them
Its an illusion
Try, try, try, and you will only come
To this conclusion

Love and marriage, love and marriage
Go together like a horse and carriage
Dad was told by mother
You cant have one without the other

PoMo Culture: Out of My Dreams in 1943

Here is a quick commentary on our culture from a while back.

The musical Oklahoma! There’s a line from the song Out of My Dreams [by Rogers and Hamerstein] that clearly represents postmodern [PoMo] thinking. Postmodernity was alive and well in the midst of modernity! This musical was written in 1943. I’ll get you up to speed...

Okay…Oklahoma is a love story…basically a modern/western/country take on Pride and Prejudice. Well, Laurey’s [lead woman] too proud to go to a dance with the protagonist Curly. Curly’s too proud to ask her to the dance.

They love each other but both are to proud to admit it. Meanwhile, the antagonist of the story, Judd, asks Laurey to the dance…naively she says, “Yes.”

Anyhow, she takes some smellin’ sauce [basically drugs] and starts hallucinating about how she wishes she could be with Curly. Before she takes it she sings this song Out of My Dreams. At the height of her passion and emotion in the song her friends encourage her by saying the following…
“Ask your heart, whatever it tells you will be true”

Sheesh! I love this musical especially the version with Hugh Jackman, but come on! It’s these kind of false philosophies that ruin things for me. I’m thinking, “good dancing, singing, fun lyrics…etc.,” and then this huge stinkin’ lie that so many people believe. Bummer…

I’ll have you know that I did enjoy the rest of the musical…just goes to show you that PoMo philosophies have been around for a long time…it’s just accepted generally as actually being true now. This stuff didn't start with Oprah folks:) Back then people might have believed it, but it seems was either just an exercise in romantics, e.g. this song, or a pipe-dream not generally accepted in the wider culture.

I’ll post on another song here in a minute.