Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Looking Back - Eternity

"God hath given to man a short time here upon earth, and yet upon this short time eternity depends."

~ Jeremy Taylor (1650)

Friday, July 25, 2008

99 Balloons

The Bible Contains...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Looking Back - Money

"Poor people are as much in danger from inordinate desire toward the wealth of the world as the rich from an inordinate delight in it."

~ Matthew Henry

"Money is in truth one of the most unsatisfying of possessions. It takes away some cares, no doubt; but it brings with it quite as many cares as it takes away. There is the trouble in the getting of it. There is anxiety in the keeping of it. There are temptations in the use of it. There is guilt in the abuse of it. There is sorrow in the losing of it. There is perplexity in the disposing of it."

~ J. C. Ryle

"God gave us wealth, not that we should be hoarders but dispensers."

~ Thomas Manton

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Looking Back - "Genius"

"If you knew how much work went into it, you wouldn't call it genius."

~ Michelangelo

Monday, July 21, 2008

User-Friendly God

"Step into the average church these days and you will likely see that the services are designed more to remove the fear of God than to promote it."

~ Stephen J. Lawson (Made in Our Image: What Shall We do With a User-Friendly God?)

Looking Back - Evangelism

"There is no true evangelism without the doctrine of sin, and without an understanding of what sin is. I do not want to be unfair, but I say that a gospel which merely says “Come to Jesus,” and offers Him as a Friend, and offers a marvelous new life, without convicting of sin, is not New Testament evangelism. The essence of evangelism is to start by preaching the law; and it is because the law has not been preached that we have so much superficial evangelism…evangelism must start with the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man and the eternal consequences of evil and wrong-doing. It is only the man who has been brought to see his guilt in this way who flies to Christ for deliverance and redemption."

~ Martin Lloyd-Jones

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Nice News - George Grant

"People want nice news not Good News."

~ George Grant

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Looking Back - B. B. Warfield

"There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ's sake, or we cannot ever be accepted at all. This is not true of us only when we believe. It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live. Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing; nor does the nature of our relation to Him or to God through Him ever alter, no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in behavior may be. It is always on His 'blood and righteousness' alone that we can rest."

~ B.B. Warfield, Works Vol. 7

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Levi and Esther

Here's a video of a few of my kids being silly. For some reason it just keeps making me laugh.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Cult of the Next Thing

Mark Buchanan, in an article entitled “Trapped in the Cult of the Next Thing” wrote this:

"I belong to the Cult of the Next Thing. It's dangerously easy to get enlisted. It happens by default—not by choosing the cult, but by failing to resist it. The Cult of the Next Thing is consumerism cast in religious terms. It has its own litany of sacred words: more, you deserve it, new, faster, cleaner, brighter. It has its own deep-rooted liturgy: charge it, instant credit, no down-payment, deferred payment, no interest for three months. It has its own preachers, evangelists, prophets, and apostles: ad men, pitchmen, celebrity sponsors. It has, of course, its own shrines, chapels, temples, meccas: malls, superstores, club warehouses. It has its own sacraments: credit and debit cards. It has its own ecstatic experiences: the spending spree. Most of us spend more time with advertisements than with Scripture. The Cult of the Next Thing's central message proclaims, ‘Crave and spend, for the Kingdom of Stuff is here.’"

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Judge more that you be not judged

I know the title of this post seems to contradict what Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount but give me a chance to explain. Many today are attacking the objectivity, clarity, authority and certainty of truth. The result is that two of the very few so-called virtues left today are tolerance and diversity. I believe we Christians today need to be more judgmental. We are called and commanded to discriminate and discern. We Christians need to judge more that we be not judged.

The great theologian Steve Martin joked, years ago, "Never judge a man unless you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Then you’ll be a mile away and you’ll have his shoes." That's funny but what did Jesus mean when He said what He said in what is now one of the most popular and well-known verses by Christians and non-Christians alike? Everyone knows and often quotes this saying of Jesus: "Judge not that you be not judged." (Matthew 7:1) The phrase has been twisted to mean "You live your lifestyle and I’ll live mine but don’t judge mine and definitely don’t try to force your standards of morality on me." The phrase "Judge not" now means "I’m OK, you’re OK. Believe what you want but stay out of my way!"

Jesus said "Judge not that you be not judged" in the first verse of Mathew chapter seven. The irony is when you read the rest of the chapter. This chapter is full of warnings and admonitions by Jesus Himself to judge people. In verse 6 He says, "Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you." Jesus is telling us to discern or judge certain people as "dogs" and other people as "pigs." How can you not not give dogs what is holy if you cannot judge certain people to be dogs? How can you not throw your pearls before pigs if you cannot judge certain people to be pigs? Describing people as dogs and pigs seems pretty judgmental to me.

Than in the same chapter, in verses fifteen though seventeen, Jesus says this:
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit." Here, Jesus also tells us to beware of people who are "wolves" in sheep's clothing. He also tells us to judge whether someone is a "diseased tree" or not by their fruit. Again, this is sounding quite judgmental.

So, if this chapter is full of instructions on how to "judge with right judgment" (as Jesus also commands in John 7:24) what does He mean in the famous verse one? All we have to do is read the next few verses: "For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (Matt 7:2-5)

Jesus was simply telling us not to be hypocritical judges. He was NOT telling us that we should not judge. In fact, the reason He gives for taking the log out of your own eye is so "then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." He starts off the chapter by tellings us to remove the log first and then He goes on and on with instructions on how to judge rightly. Remove the log from your eye so you can judge between dogs and children, pigs and people, wolves and sheep, and diseased trees and fruit-bearing trees. A half-truth is a lie. Read the whole chapter. Stop misquoting Jesus and judge more that you be not judged.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Are you shy?

Shyness is caused by morbid introspection. According to Dr. Bernardo J. Carducci of the Shyness Research Institute, shyness has three components:

  • Excessive Self-Consciousness - you are overly aware of yourself, particularly in social situations.

  • Excessive Negative Self-Evaluation - you tend to see yourself negatively.

  • Excessive Negative Self-Preoccupation - you tend to pay too much attention to all the things you are doing wrong when you are around other people.
The theme in those components of shyness is obviously self - self - self. The Bible tells us to deny self and control self. Jesus said "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Matt 16:24)

Let me suggest a few alternatives that may remove or restrict your problem with shyness:
  • Christ-Centered - We should have an excessive Christ-centeredness. We must "destroy arguments and every lofty opinion [excessive self-consciousness] raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ..." (2 Cor 10:5)

  • Spirit-Empowered - The fruit of the Spirit includes love, kindness and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23) These things are not works you do through more self-evaluation. The are produced, not by you, but by the Spirit working in you.

  • Other-Oriented - Rather than focus on how others feel about you, focus on how you can make them feel. Replace your negative self-preoccupation with genuine love for others. "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." (Rom 12:10)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Contentment and Coffins

"Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world."
1 Tim 6:6-7

There is only room in the coffin for you.
Your stuff won't fit.