Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Christian's are enraged and atheists are enthused. "The Golden Compass" hits the silver screens December 7th. It is a fantasy film starring Nicole Kidman that is based on the first book in the fantasy trilogy entitled "His Dark Materials" by atheist Philip Pullman. Pullman, an "evangelistic" agnostic who belongs to secular humanist societies, has written his trilogy motivated by his hatred for C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia books.
The Golden Compass begins with a 12-year-old girl named Lyra [not Lucy] hiding in a wardrobe which unexpectedly transfers her into a universe-altering adventure. Hmmm... why does that sound familiar? There is also talking animals and witches (but the witches are on the so-called good side this time). In spite of the fact that imitation is the highest form of flattery, Pullman said, "I hate the Narnia books, and I hate them with a deep and bitter passion". Pullman has said explicitly, "My books are about killing God."
I told my kids that there is a new movie coming out that looks a lot like the Chronicles of Narnia. Then I showed them the trailer to the movie. After I got them all excited to see this new really cool movie I read to them all the stuff exposing the anti-Christ animosity behind the film that, a few seconds ago, looked so enticing to them. They went from anticipation to anger (at the movie) very quickly. My point was for them to see that the world makes poison look delicious. The serpent in the garden was the very first advertiser (come on you want this, you need this, you like this).
One more point I think I should make... Many Christians are going to be all up in arms about this movie and blowing the trumpet of boycott. The only problem I have with this is that 99 percent of the movies that come out of Holyweird are produced by the same type of atheists with the same type of motives. I would rather have movies like this that are openly atheistic because at least the antithesis is clear. I love reminders like this that remind us that we are in a battle for the hearts and minds of our young people. Praise God for these precious clear glimpses of the enemy.
Here's the trailer (I'm positive that J.R.R. Tolkien wouldn't like this story being tied to his like they do in this trailer):
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
"For my own part I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await many others. I believe that many who find that 'nothing happens' when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand."
~ C. S. Lewis
Saturday, November 24, 2007
"In our prosperity we are apt [quick] to have secret thoughts that our enjoyments were debts God owed us, rather than gifts freely bestowed upon us. Hence it is that men are more unwilling to part with their righteousness than with their sins, and are apt to challenge salvation as a due, rather than beg it as an act of grace."
~ Stephen Charnock
Thursday, November 22, 2007
"A sense of the beauty of Christ is the beginning of true saving faith in the life of a true convert. This is quite different from any vague feeling that Christ loves him or died for him. These sort of fuzzy feelings can cause a sort of love and joy, because the person feels a gratitude for escaping the punishment of their sin. In actual fact, these feelings are based on self-love, and not on a love for Christ at all. It is a sad thing that so many people are deluded by this false faith. On the other hand, a glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ causes in the heart a supreme genuine love for God. This is because the divine light shows the excellent loveliness of God's nature. A love based on this is far, far above anything coming from self-love, which demons can have as well as men. The true love of God which comes from this sight of His beauty causes a spiritual and holy joy in the soul; a joy in God, and exulting in Him. There is no rejoicing in ourselves, but rather in God alone."
~ Jonathan Edwards
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thes 5:18)
We ought to give thanks in ALL circumstances. This is a powerful and often ignored command even though it is the will of God in Christ Jesus for us. All circumstances does mean all circumstances. Thanksgiving Day, obviously, is not the only circumstance where we should give thanks. In good times give thanks (do not forget the One who made the good times good). In bad times give thanks (do not forget the One who brings you through the bad times). In happy times give thanks for His blessings. In sad times give thanks for His comfort.
If you truly believe that God is completely sovereign and completely good than you must believe your circumstances are completely perfect. He could be rewarding you, blessing you, training you or testing you. Give thanks in prosperity, give thanks in adversity. Give thanks on the bed of roses; give thanks on the bed of sickness. Our prayers should not be only filled with requests but with thanksgiving. We should praise as much as we petition. We should extol as much as we entreat. God gave us His image, His breath, His world, His Word, His Covenant, His grace, His Spirit and His only begotten Son. Dare we grumble? Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
"Do you suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused? Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women? The sun, the moon, and the stars have been worshiped. Shall we then pluck them out of the sky? ... See how much He has been able to accomplish through me, though I did no more than pray and preach. The Word did it all. Had I wished I might have started a conflagration [huge destructive fire] at Worms. But while I sat still and drank beer with Philip and Amsdorf, God dealt the papacy a mighty blow."
~ Martin Luther
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
"As theology declined in most churches, and sociology became the major 'Christian' concern, the churches became steadily more irrelevant, in that school and state were now the truly effective institutions, and the roll of a harmless club became progressively the function of the church."
~ R. J. Rushdoony The Messianic Character of American Education
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
"Ye have prayed in times of difficulty very earnestly, but when God has delivered you, where was your former fervency? In the day of trouble you besieged his throne with all your might and in the hour of your prosperity... oh! how faint was the prayer compared with that which was wrung out of your soul by the rough hand of your agony... though you have ceased to pray as you once did, God has not ceased to bless. When you have forgotten your closet, he has not forgotten your house, nor your heart."
~ Charles Spurgeon
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
We believe the Scriptures to teach, not only that God originated the whole universe, but that He bears a perpetual, active relation to it; and that these works of providence are "His most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all His creatures, and all their actions."
It may be said that there are, besides this, three other theories concerning God’s relation to the Universe...
- That of the Epicurean, who, though admitting an intelligent deity, supposed it inconsistent with His blessedness and perfections, to have any likings or anger, care or concern in the multiform events of the worlds...
- That of the Rational Deists, Socinians, and many rationalists, that God’s concern with the Universe is not universal, special and perpetual, but only general, viz: by first endowing it with general laws of action, to the operation of which each individual being is then wholly left, God only exercising a general oversight of the laws, and not of specific agents...
- And that of the Pantheists, who identify all seeming substances with God, by making them mere modes of His self-development; so that there is no providential relation, but an actual identity; and all the events and acts of the Universe are simply God acting.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Here's another goldmine of a quote from Augustine of Hippo. I am really falling in love with his writings. As Agostino Trapè says, he is a "a philosopher, theologian, mystic, and poet in one." After many years of being in bondage to sexual sin and lust (involving a 15 year relationship with a concubine) he was finally converted by the irresistible power of God's sovereign grace. He realized the deceitful emptiness of worldly pleasure compared to the eternal fullness of the pleasures of God. This is what he wrote:
"How sweet did it suddenly become to me to be without the sweetness of trifles! And it was now a joy to put away what I formerly feared to lose. For thou didst cast them away from me, O true and highest Sweetness. Thou didst cast them away, and in their place thou didst enter in thyself -- sweeter than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood; brighter than all light, but more veiled than all mystery; more exalted than all honor, though not to them that are exalted in their own eyes. Now was my soul free from the gnawing cares of seeking and getting, of wallowing in the mire and scratching the itch of lust. And I prattled like a child to thee, O Lord my God -- my light, my riches, and my salvation." (Confessions, IX, I).
"If men's affection to God is founded first on His profitableness to them, their affection begins at the wrong end; they regard God only for the utmost limit of the stream of divine good, where it touches them and reaches their interest, and have no respect to that infinite glory of God's nature which is the original good, and the true foundation of all good, the first fountain of all loveliness of every kind, and so the first foundation of all true love."
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
In our Omnibus class today we read this quote and it is awesome. A must read!
"What, therefore, is my God? What, I ask, but the Lord God? "For who is Lord but the Lord himself, or who is God besides our God?" Most high, most excellent, most potent, most omnipotent; most merciful and most just; most secret and most truly present; most beautiful and most strong; stable, yet not supported; unchangeable, yet changing all things; never new, never old; making all things new, yet bringing old age upon the proud, and they know it not; always working, ever at rest; gathering, yet needing nothing; sustaining, pervading, and protecting; creating, nourishing, and developing; seeking, and yet possessing all things. Thou dost love, but without passion; art jealous, yet free from care; dost repent without remorse; art angry, yet remainest serene. Thou changest thy ways, leaving thy plans unchanged; thou recoverest what thou hast never really lost. Thou art never in need but still thou dost rejoice at thy gains; art never greedy, yet demandest dividends. Men pay more than is required so that thou dost become a debtor; yet who can possess anything at all which is not already thine? Thou owest men nothing, yet payest out to them as if in debt to thy creature, and when thou dost cancel debts thou losest nothing thereby. Yet, O my God, my life, my holy Joy, what is this that I have said? What can any man say when he speaks of thee?"
Monday, November 05, 2007
I'm kind of new to expository preaching. That is the direction I am heading. My past messages have been mostly topical. I am in the process of learning how to be more of an expositor. My brother told me about a message online entitled "What is Expository Preaching?" by Dr. Steven J. Lawson. Expository preaching is different than topical preaching. Expository concentrates on a specific text and discusses topics covered within that text, whereas the topical concentrates on a specific topic and references texts covering the topic. Mark Dever defines expository preaching as “Preaching that takes for the point of a sermon the point of a particular passage of Scripture.” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones states, “In a sermon the theme or the doctrine is something that arises out of the text and its context, it is something which is illustrated by the text and context.”
Here is a great quote from Dr. Lawson's message:
“Preaching without exposition is all hot air; it is loud but there’s no life. Preaching without exposition is just shallow and superficial and surface. Preaching without exposition exemplifies what one pastor wrote in his notes: “weak point, yell here.” It’s all style but no substance. Preaching without exposition is all theatrics but no theology. Preaching without exposition tries to fill the building without filling the pulpit. All preaching and no exposition trivializes the Scripture, it abuses the pulpit, it manipulates people and it results in a church of unconverted, unregenerate people who show up for supper club on Sunday morning; it is dangerous. Exposition, on the other hand, without preaching is all content but no challenge; all information but no exhortation. Exposition without preaching is all cerebral and is cognitive; it is dead, it is lifeless, it is stoic, it is cold, it is calloused, it is calculating, it is clinical, it is boring, it is like hearing someone read the phone book to you. Exposition without preaching produces people that are imbalanced; they’re all head, no heart, they’re all hearing, no doing. All exposition and no preaching produces a congregation of egg-heads, with little passion and little personality, and little push to God’s will and God’s work.”
Sunday, November 04, 2007
"Seek not to grow in knowledge chiefly for the sake of applause, and to enable you to dispute with others; but seek it for the benefit of your souls, and in order to practice....Practice according to what knowledge you have. This will be the way to know more... [According to Ps. 119:100] 'I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.'"
~ Jonathan Edwards
Saturday, November 03, 2007
As I was scrambling to get my sermon prepared for tomorrow (which should have already been done) I came across this little poem:
- They said procrastination was
The source of all my sorrow
I don't know what that big word means --
I'll look it up tomorrow
Posted by Kenny Anderson at 10:54 PM
"A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader... if virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security."
~ Samuel Adams
Friday, November 02, 2007
The Prayer of an unknown Confederate soldier:
I asked God for strength that I might achieve . . .
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things . . .
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy . . .
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men . . .
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life . . .
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for,
but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself,
my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all,
most richly blessed!
Thursday, November 01, 2007
I never answered the 3rd of my poll questions about whether unity is more important than truth. So here's my stab at it. Some people really believe in unity at all costs. Better to just put your beliefs or the truth in the closet for the sake of "everyone just getting along." After all, the reasoning goes, we are supposed to be loving and peaceful. Christians shouldn't be just picking fights and arguing about dogmatic theological assertions that are more philosophical than they are practical. Well to this I say that it's true - Christians should not be "just picking fights" for the sake of just picking fights. Christians are to be loving but they are also to love the truth and hate lies. Because an entire church is united in heresy doesn't mean that the unity of that church is blessed by God.
The tower of Babel taught us that unity is not always the best way to go. God confused the languages of those archaic one-worlders in order to bring division among them and make them disperse. There is a diabolical unity that is displeasing to God. When people are united in error, unity is not the best policy. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, actually said something (in Matt 10) that many Christians today would consider harsh, unloving and divisive: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace [not to bring unity], but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household." Jesus wasn't looking for unity at all costs; He was looking for followers of the truth and He was that truth.
The unity of believers who love the truth and separate from error is a beautiful thing. And it is glorious for God's people to be doctrinally pure in their minds and lovingly united in their hearts, but the former should be preferred to the later if both cannot be maintained. Truth is more important than unity. God is not pleased when a bunch of heretics are holding hands. Still, we must, as believers, be like the early church who "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship" (Acts 2:42). J. Gresham Machen wrote this: "Again, men tell us that our preaching should be positive and not negative, that we can preach the truth without attacking error. But if we follow that advice we shall have to close our Bible and desert its teachings. The New Testament is a polemic book almost from beginning to end ... It is when men have felt compelled to take a stand against error that they have risen to the really great heights in the celebration of the truth"
Here's a good video on this same subject: