Monthly Archives: December 2006

The Sufficiency of Scripture in 2007

Have you begun to make your New Year’s Resolutions yet? Most people are going to strive to lose weight, eat out less, exercise more, start the day earlier, or finally paint the fence in the back yard. A new year does serve as an opportunity for us all to make a fresh start and evaluate where we have been. Are you making a conscious effort to change some things this year?

Are the goals that you have for your family in 2007 any different the typical, self-help, ladder climbing, and comfort sustaining milestones associated with the “American Dream?” How will you display a visible dependence upon God in 2007? Will you strive to make the Bible sufficient for all your needs, or will you rely on substitutes that seem to get the job done?

Fathers, did you effectively lead your wife and children this year? Did you seek to be unselfish and sensitive toward your wife and place her needs before your own? Did you strive to effectively and consistently lead your family worship time? Is your family growing in their knowledge of God through the Scriptures? Wives, did you seek to help your husband to be as effective as possible in his vocation? Did you rejoice in your role as wife and mother, or grumble and constantly lose your temper?

What is your source of life and truth in this world of relativity and skepticism? What rock will you cling to this year, in the midst of death, disease, economic downturn, war, and spiritual drought? What will be your manual for living or for the building of the Church? Should our churches be governed by practical results or the clear instructions from the Bible?

Friend, don’t let this opportunity for reflection and re-focus pass you by. Don’t you know that you have “His divine power…pertaining to life and godliness” sitting on your shelf? Your soul longs for its nourishment. Do you have a “true knowledge” of God, or do you say: “To me, God is like…” May God bring us back to Himself and back to the Bible in 2007!

Happy New Year!

God Glorified in Men and Women in the Old Testament

I highly recommend that you listen to this sermon preached by Jim Hamilton last week at Baptist Church of the Redeemer, entitled David, the Fool and Abigail.

It’s interesting to note again the contrast between David and Nabal, and the implicit warning to all husbands and fathers. Dad’s don’t be like Nabal!

Enjoy!

10 Questions to Review the Sunday Gathering

I am blessed to serve at a church that is committed to the review of the Sunday morning service. Our aim is to serve our people as effectively as possible by what transpires at the Sunday Gathering. You can read more about our commitment to prune away items from our service that are not God-centered and Cross-pursuing here, here , here and here.

I’m thankful for Bob Kauflin and this list that helps to focus the efforts of those leading in worship services on Almighty God. You can read the entire post here.

Here are 10 questions that I encourage you (pastor, elder, teacher, worship leader) to ask this Sunday:

1. Is our Savior’s substitutionary sacrifice on the Cross clearly and repeatedly presented through song lyrics and exhortations as central to our worship and the means by which we approach God?

2. Is it evident to the church and guests that all we do is rooted in Scripture and in response to Scripture?

3. Do we devote sufficient time to preparation and practice prior to Sunday, and encouragement and evaluation after Sunday?

4. Is there a recognizable theme for our corporate worship which is clearly communicated and grounded in objective truth about God?

5. Are we listening for and responsive to the spontaneous direction of the Holy Spirit during corporate worship?

6. Do our spoken and musical transitions serve to connect different elements of corporate worship in a natural and meaningful way?

7. Has our song selection and presentation become predictable? Does our song repertoire reflect songs of different styles, emphases, and lengths?

8. Are the pastors and worship team an example to the church of passionate, expressive, and responsive worship?

9. Are we aware of and appropriately sensitive to guests who may not be familiar with our terminology, style and practice?

10. Does our description and expression of corporate worship reinforce the understanding that it complements, rather than replaces, a lifestyle of worship?

(HT:Worship Matters, Jim Hamilton)

True Greatness

What is true greatness? Can you think of five people in your life that you would consider truly great? What criteria are at work in your decision? Are these people wealthy, successful in business, honorable in reputation, easy to talk to? Does the Bible give us criteria to answer this question?

Throughout 1 Samuel true greatness and folly are starkly contrasted. This week at Redeemer, we observe the lives of David, the Fool, and Abigail, from 1 Samuel 25 (devotional guide available here). We are introduced to a man named Nabal who displays characteristics of greatness. He is a very rich man who is married to a beautiful, intelligent woman named Abigail. Surely this must count for something?

However, we will begin to see where the biblical definition of true greatness and the worldly one diverge. The author of Proverbs tells us that it is “better (to be a) poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool” (Proverbs 19:1).

We will see a stark contrast from Nabal’s reaction to David’s request for help and Abigail’s. One is self-absorbed and stingy, while the other is willing to risk life and limb out of a fear and reverence for Yahweh. What makes a person wise or foolish? How would the five people that you named categorize you? Would they describe you as a person who trusts in Jesus for all that you have? What is the result of Nabal’s foolishness?

May God place us and keep us on the right path.

Save Darfur

Save Darfur Image

The situation in Darfur has not improved. This topic has been raised on this blog before. As always when we are not reminded of the genocide taking place in Darfur, we soon go back to our lives, saying something like “wow, that’s terrible.”

I encourage you to pray, donate money, and get as much information as you can about this tragedy. You can purchase bracelets here, that serve as a good reminder. Visit Save Darfur.org to learn more.

We cannot stand by and pretend that this is not happening any longer. The Church must act! What will you do?

Challies and Homeschool Part 2

Tim Challies has posted Part 2 of his thoughts on homeschooling today. I encourage you to read it, and Part 1 if you missed it, and let me know what you think…or you can just be one of 130 something comments on his blog…

Just kidding Tim! Thanks for these brave words that have made us all think…

The Cross in 1 Samuel 24

We cannot fully celebrate Christmas without meditating upon the mercy of God. How could it be? A sinner, in full opposition to God, living for self gratification and self indulgence bought with the blood of the blameless Christ? This mercy is priceless because God the Son became flesh to die for people like you and me, who would rather pursue our agendas than worship the creating, redeeming, sustaining God of the Universe.

This mercy is foreshadowed often on the pages of Scripture. We at Redeemer have seen God’s mercy poured out on His people Israel, even when they wickedly desired a King. God has shown mercy to them all the more by anointing David king, in contrast to the “people’s choice,” Saul. This week we again see a picture of mercy as David Mercies Saul, in 1 Samuel 24 (download devotional guide here).

Isn’t it interesting how David reacts to the “giving of Saul into his hands?” He remembers Yahweh’s choice of this man, and even refers to him as “the LORD’s anointed.” This in the midst of multiple attempts by Saul on David’s life! David shows mercy to Saul in the cave. How will Saul respond to this? Will this finally be the turning point that brings him to repentance and illumination? Will David’s desire to “let the Lord judge between them” (vs. 12-13) remind Saul of God’s justice?

How about you, friend? Are you in a situation to model the gospel before those who have wronged you? Can you take an opportunity to display God’s mercy by forgiving a loved one or a colleague? Can you see the cross in the shadow of the Cave where David stands, holding that tattered piece of robe?

May we live and breathe in its shadow!

Home School VS Public School…that is the question!

I’ve been blogging for over a year now, and I might have 82 comments if you added them all up…probably not. Tim Challies received 82 comments in one day on his latest blog explaining why he does not home school his children.

This can be a heated topic, but Tim does a fair job of presenting his case. I’m looking forward to part 2 of this article. May God give Christian families grace and leadership in this area.

An Evangelist for Atheism?

Perhaps many of us live in a bubble, apart from people like Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Praise God for evangelical leaders like Al Mohler. In a recent post, Mohler details the atheistic ideals put forth by these men in a very informative way.

Here is a sampling of what to expect from the article:

For a man who is supposedly an exemplar of the humble discipline of science, Dawkins is capable of breathtaking condescension. Consider these words: “Highly intelligent people are mostly atheists . . . . Not a single member of either house of Congress admits to being an atheist. It just doesn’t add up. Either they’re stupid, or they’re lying. And have they got a motive for lying? Of course they’ve got a motive! Everyone knows that an atheist can’t get elected.”

The political dimensions of Dawkins’ thought become immediately apparent when he speaks of how children should be protected from parents who believe in God. “How much do we regard children as being the property of their parents?,” Dawkins asks. “It’s one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children? Is there something to be said for society to be stepping in? What about bringing up children to believe manifest falsehoods?”

This evangelistic idea is not just seeking to convince believers of their “false beliefs,” but to discourage the belief in God to the point of calling it evil.

However, Mohler interestingly points out that even the propigators of this view have quickly found it to be futile:

Throughout the article, Wolf also admits his own doubts. He seems to identify himself more with agnosticism than atheism, and he reveals some discomfort with the stridency of the New Atheism.

May the gospel heal our evil hearts and may God remind us that but for his grace, so we too would be…

(HT: Al Mohler)

C.J.’s Christmas List for Guys!

Way to go C.J.! I think this is a great line up!

(HT: Justin Taylor)