Thursday, December 30, 2010

I am Second

"No, the team is not going to be the most important thing to me."

I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.
Romans 11:4
HT: Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology

Monday, December 27, 2010

Women Worthy of Praise

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30
Lisa Chan (wife of Francis Chan):

Lauren Chandler (wife of Matt Chandler):

Blair Linne (wife of Shai Linne):

I'm so greatly encouraged by these wives.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

But God...

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God...
Ephesians 2:1-4
After watching this powerfully moving testimony to the rebel-pursuing, sin-conquering, irresistible grace of God, I'm really looking forward to reading the book (to be released in May 2011):

Note: If you want to watch the video testimony, just a couple of things to note: 1) It's long (about an hour I think). And it's worth it. 2) It doesn't start off in English and you have to wait a while before it gets to the English. And it's worth it.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It Was Not A Silent Night...

Labor of Love
by Andrew Peterson

It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyways that night
On the streets of David's town

And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
Had no mother's hand to hold

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

Noble Joseph at her side
Callused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
In the streets of David's town
In the middle of the night

So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
For little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love

Friday, December 24, 2010

Immanuel (God With Us): Past, Present, Future

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14 (emphasis added)
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:20 (emphasis added)
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God Himself will be with them as their God."...And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
Revelation 21:3, 22-23 (emphasis added)

A very merry Christmas to you and yours.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wide-Eyed With Wonder in God's Spoken World

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
Hebrews 1:3
Tree, I say, and you know what I mean. You see one in your mind, or glance out your window and remember the much-needed pruning. Tree, God says, and there is one. But He doesn't say the word tree; He says the tree itself. He needs no shortcut. He's not merely calling one into existence, though His voice creates. His voice is its existence. That thing in your yard, that mangy apple or towering spruce, that thing is not the referent of His word. It is His word and its referent. If He were to stop talking, it wouldn't be there. Or do you think that its molecules and atoms and quarks are made of some mysterious, self-sustaining matter that has always been and always will be, some infinite Play-Doh or hydrogen, holy be its name? Maybe there was an Adam Up Quark and Eve Lepton? Maybe God found a bit of infinite matter and blew it up like a balloon, and now its sputters and spits while it swirls, sustaining itself? Maybe the balloon found itself and did its own huffing and puffing. Place your faith in the infinitude of matter if you like, and Chance will write your story. He'll shuffle together pages, words, scribbles from different languages, other people's noses, and small bits of string, run it all through a mulcher, and spray it into your yard. Enjoy your novel.

Imagine a poem written with such enormous three-dimensional words that we had to invent a smaller word to reference each of the big ones; that we had to rewrite the whole thing in shorthand, smashing it into two dimensions, just to talk about it. Or don't imagine it. Look outside. Human language is our attempt at navigating God's language; it is us running between the lines of His epic, climbing on the vowels and building houses out of the consonants.

See that thing?

What thing?

That huge pile of stones that climbs to where the air gets thin?

Yes. It has a lot of syllables.

Let's call it a mountain, okay? When I say mountain, that's what I mean. It'll be easier than building one every time.

It's supposed to blow up?

Let's call it a volcano.

--N.D. Wilson, Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World, p. 43-44
Wow! I think the subtitle of this book is accomplishing its intended effect in my life.

Oh how much there is to see and marvel at! Oh how blind I am! Oh Lord, widen my eyes with wonder!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

To Pursue Unity Itself Will Eventually Destroy It

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ...we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Ephesians 4:11-13, 15-16
Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.

--A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, 80
Here is a picture of the only unity that endures:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Hebrews 12:1-3 (emphasis added)
HT: Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wasting Your Life By Asking The Wrong Questions

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Acts 20:24

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
Philippians 3:17
[M]y sense is that in the prosperous West, the danger in the church is not that there are too many overly zealous people who care too deeply about the lost, and invest hazardously in the cause of the Gospel, and ruin their lives with excessive mercy to the poor. For every careless saint who burns himself out and breaks up his family with misdirected zeal, I venture, there are a thousand who coast with the world, treating Jesus like a helpful add-on, but not as an all-satisfying, all-authoritative King in the cause of love.

One of the marks of this peacetime mind-set is what I call an avoidance ethic. In wartime we ask different questions about what to do with our lives than we do in peacetime. We ask: What can I do to advance the cause? What can I do to bring the victory? What sacrifice can I make or what risk can I take to insure the joy of triumph? In peacetime we tend to ask, What can I do to be more comfortable? To have more fun? To avoid trouble and, possibly, avoid sin?

If we are going to pay the price and take the risks it will cost to make people glad in God, we move beyond the avoidance ethic. This way of life is utterly inadequate to waken people to the beauty of Christ. Avoiding fearful trouble and forbidden behaviors impresses almost no one. The avoidance ethic by itself is not Christ-commending or God-glorifying. There are many disciplined unbelievers who avoid the same behaviors Christians do. Jesus calls us to something far more radical than that.

People who are content with the avoidance ethic generally ask the wrong question about behavior. They ask, What’s wrong with it? What’s wrong with this movie? Or this music? Or this game? Or these companions? Or this way of relaxing? Or this investment? Or this restaurant? Or shopping at this store? What’s wrong with going to the cabin every weekend? Or having a cabin? This kind of question will rarely yield a lifestyle that commends Christ as all-satisfying and makes people glad in God. It simply results in a list of don’ts. It feeds the avoidance ethic.

The better questions to ask about possible behaviors is: How will this help me treasure Christ more? How will it help me show that I do treasure Christ? How will it help me know Christ or display Christ? The Bible says, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). So the question is mainly positive, not negative. How can I portray God as glorious in this action? How can I enjoy making much of him in this behavior?

Oh, how many lives are wasted by people who believe that the Christian life means simply avoiding badness and providing for the family. So there is no adultery, no stealing, no killing, no embezzlement, no fraud—just lots of hard work during the day, and lots of TV and PG-13 videos in the evening (during quality family time), and lots of fun stuff on the weekend—woven around church (mostly). This is life for millions of people. Wasted life. We were created for more, far more.

--John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life, p.118-120

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Culture Makin' That's Bangin'!

And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

This song is from FLAME's last released album, Our World Redeemed (this album is my new top two favorite! Grab a copy for yourself!).

Then watch/listen to FLAME talk about his latest culture making efforts:

And here's a peek at the new album that's gonna drop at the end of this month, Lord willing:

Captured is an album that was derived from a personal burden on FLAME's heart. When reflecting upon the state of the world and the church, FLAME noticed that people fell into two categories:

1. being captured by sin and still under its grip and control; or
2. having been captured by God and under His rule and sway.

Yet, he saw something similar in both groups: the need to be recaptured. The non-Christian needs to be captured by God for the first time, while the Christian needs to constantly be captured by God's beauty, His holiness, and His grace. As the psalmist says in Psalm 42, "As a deer pants for flowing streams so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God for the living God..." This is the language of one who is captured and is being captured by a holy God and a sweet Savior.

FLAME takes you on a journey from what its like to be captured from birth to childhood to adulthood and then throughout your Christian journey. FLAME shares many personal stories of how God captured him and is continuing to capture him. He also gives a glimpse of how he and all the saints will eventually be captured once and for all in the presence of God. This album is a plea and a call for God's created people and His children to follow hard after God and to cling to Him. Who or what has captured you?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Culture Making: Bringing Grace and Cross to Every Nook and Cranny of Culture

Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it spring up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.
Mark 4:3-8
The religious or secular nature of our cultural creativity is simply the wrong question. The right question is whether, when we undertake the work we believe to be our vocation, we experience the joy and humility that come only when God multiplies our work so that it bears thirty, sixty and a hundredfold beyond what we could expect from our feeble inputs. Vocation--calling--becomes another word for a continual process of discernment, examining the fruits of our work to see whether they are producing that kind of fruit, and doing all we can to scatter the next round of seed in the most fruitful places.


So where are we called to create culture? At the intersection of grace and cross. Where do we find our work and play bearing awe-inspiring fruit--and at the same time find ourselves able to identify with Christ on the cross? That intersection is where we are called to dig into the dirt, cultivate and create.

We are marvelously different enough from one another that the simple quest for each one's intersection of grace and cross will take us to every nook and cranny of culture.


Frederick Buechner writes that your calling is found "where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."

--Andy Crouch, Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling, p.256, 262, 263

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Jesus Is Building His Church...

...and I'm almost positive it doesn't look like what we think it should.

I highly recommend you read that blog post, which talks about The Line, a church plant in Chicago that one of my best friends has been helping to plant over the past year and a half.

I really wish that every person who has been inclined to comment on this thread had the opportunity to actually visit The Line. As one who has been there recently and experienced the grace of God there firsthand, I can say without any hesitation that the Holy Spirit is working in powerful ways in and through The Line for the exaltation of King Jesus. It's undeniable. I was so tremendously encouraged AND challenged by The Line's commitment to both contend for AND contextualize the gospel. To do both well isn't easy. Quite honestly, I don't think most evangelicals do both well (myself included). I would argue that the majority of churches/organizations are better at and/or focus on one more than the other (for me, I'm definitely better at and probably more focused on contending). Not The Line. The Line does both, very well.

Just a couple of things that stick out in my mind most:
  1. I had the privilege of being in Chicago the weekend when Milano (the band mentioned in the article) dropped their latest release with a concert on a Saturday night. It was a unique experience. Being an outsider, I didn't know anyone who was there. I have no clue what percentage of the audience was professing believers. But honestly, the best part was that it didn't really matter. My guess is that the majority of the audience was Christian, but even if that was the case it was an environment that seemed like an atmosphere that a non-Christian would totally enjoy and feel at home in (like the tax collectors and prostitutes did around Jesus). There came a point during the concert when Jon (the band leader) had his opportunity to "preach." And preach he did. Even though it probably wouldn't be what alot of evangelicals define as preaching. He pointed to sin by talking about the brokenness of the world that we can all identify with, Christian or non-Christian. And he pointed to the Savior by talking about the hope that we are all in need of, Christian or non-Christian. But he did so with what clearly appeared to me as carefully chosen words that wouldn't immediately alienate the non-Christians but rather invite them in to look past all the stereotypes (and we all know there are many) and take a closer peak at the gospel and the Christ who it's about. And my favorite part was when he said that the celebration that Saturday night was going to continue the next morning at a particular theater (which is where The Line gathers for their Sunday morning worship) and invited everyone at the concert to come and be a part of the celebration.

  2. I just finished reading a book called Culture Making by Andy Crouch. I can say confidently that this is one of the best books I have ever read. And definitely the best book I read in 2010. It's oozing with insight, commanding in its biblical theology, and it's just simply beautiful in its rhetoric. It opened my eyes to see the entire Bible through the lens of culture in a way that I've never before considered, but which has clearly been there all along. I'm still working out the implications for my life. I was challenged to the core. One of the main premises of the book revolves around this concept of gestures and postures. A gesture is a movement our body makes in response to something. A posture is a position our body assumes over time. Crouch argues compellingly that, as the church, there are four different gestures that we can make in response to culture: condemn culture, criticize culture, copy culture, or consume culture. And each of these is necessary at some point. But one of our biggest problems is that at one point or another in church history or in certain wings of the church, we have turned these gestures into postures that we assume by default. And even though these gestures are necessary and good at the appropriate time, embracing any one of them as postures will end up bearing no fruit in the long run. Because the main posture that God has called us to embrace is none of these four (they're meant to be gestures only!) but instead that of being cultivators and creators of culture. Why do I mention this book and bother giving you this short little synopsis? Because The Line and Milano are doing exactly that. The Line and Milano aren't mainly condemning (like me!), criticizing, copying, or consuming culture. They are mainly cultivating and creating culture, showing Chicago what a culture that is submitted to the one true God looks like. And they are offering a legitimate and similar yet altogether different alternative to all the other cultures that people in Chicago can choose to embrace.
I'll be honest. It was hard for me to enter into musical worship at The Line. It's so remotely different from anything that I'm used to. But that's evidence that they are contextualizing for a Chicago culture that I'm an alien to (as would be the case if I were in a church in Japan). And so by the end of the service, when we were singing the last truth-filled song celebrating the hope of Jesus coming to make everything right, I was jamming because the gospel that secures that hope for us is powerfully at work in Chicago through The Line and that fills me with hope for the church here and now.

Thank you The Line. Thank you Milano. You're a gift and an example to us. Keep doing what you do. Thanks D. I praise Jesus you followed Him to Chicago.

Thank You King Jesus that You are building Your church. And that neither the gates of Hades nor our folly will prevail against it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Real Faith: God or Total Collapse

Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the LORD do what seems good to him.
2 Samuel 10:12

Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.
Esther 4:16

And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "
Matthew 4:3-4
"Pseudo-faith always arranges a way out to serve in case God fails it. Real faith knows only one way and gladly allows itself to be stripped of any second way or makeshift substitutes. For true faith, it is either God or total collapse. And not since Adam first stood up on the earth has God failed a single man or woman who trusted him."

--A. W. Tozer, "True Faith Brings Committal," In The Root of the Righteous (Harrisburg, 1955), pages 49-50.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Hebrews 11:6

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks

We give thanks to you, O God;
we give thanks, for your name is near.
We recount your wondrous deeds.
Psalm 75:1
That was the beginning of the psalm that my latest journey through the Psalms providentially brought me to on Thanksgiving yesterday. Perfect.

Two days earlier I read Psalm 73 and was especially struck by what I saw as the connection between the first and last verse of the psalm:
Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.
Psalm 73:1 (emphasis added)


But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the LORD GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
Psalm 73:29 (emphasis added)
What's the connection between these two verses in light of everything that comes in between them? The way God is good to Israel is by bringing Israel near to Himself.

And then the next day (the day before Thanksgiving) I read Psalm 74 which draws a connection between the way God seems to at times abandon His people and the way He seems to at times ignore the dishonoring of His name. What's the connection between the two? Because of the covenant that God made with Israel, the cause of God's people is inextricably bound up with the cause of God's name. The God who seems to look on idly while His name is being reviled is the same God who seems to look on idly as His people suffer. But verse 12 tells us that He is NOT idle:
Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.
Psalm 74:12
His glory. Our good, our joy. Inseparable.

So by the time Thanksgiving day came and I found myself in Psalm 75, verse 1 made perfect sense.
We give thanks to you, O God;
we give you thanks, for your name is near.
We recount your wondrous deeds.
Psalm 75:1 (emphasis added)
Why are the people giving thanks to God? Because His name--which not only represents His presence (Psalm 73) but also is bound up with their cause (Psalm 74)--has drawn near. And so they love to rejoice in the exaltation of His name! This is the greatest possible reason for thanksgiving, not just on the last Thursday of November but every day (and every moment of every day).

So today I celebrate no less than I did yesterday that Jesus "suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18). There's no greater good than this.

For the gospel that brings me near to God, I give thanks. And I recount some of His wondrous deeds from this past year that I'm thankful for (in no particular order):
  • I'm thankful for the local church: the mothers, brothers, and sisters that Jesus surrounds me with so that even though I may be single, I'm not alone (Genesis 2:18, Mark 3:33-35, Mark 10:29-30)
  • I'm thankful for the infinitely powerful, fear-destroying love of God for me through Jesus' wrath-bearing death in my place (1 John 4:10, 18, Revelation 1:5) that gives me invincible joy today and bold hope as I look to an unknown tomorrow
  • I'm thankful that in spite of the ups and downs of transferring to a new position at work at the beginning of this year, I still have a great job in this unstable economy when, all things considered, I really should have been laid off (Daniel 2:20-21)
  • I'm thankful for the Christ-exalting, Scripture-saturated army of gospel soldiers that God is using to bring revival and reformation in His church through rap and hip-hop culture (Romans 11:4-5). Just yesterday, as we were reminiscing about some of the songs we used to listen to, I was telling my sister how, in my opinion, this past decade can't touch the 90's when it comes to music in general (no pun intended =P ). But when it comes to the genre of rap and hip hop, this music seems to be a recent, supernatural phenomena of this past decade with no other explanation but a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in a particular sphere of culture.
  • I'm thankful for the ever-fresh, ever-relevant, ever-fascinating, Holy Spirit-inspired Scriptures that daily root me in an otherwise imperceptible reality (Psalm 119:18, Psalm 119:105, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12)
  • I'm thankful for several meetings with my pastor discussing my plans for Kenya that left me mindful of my insufficiencies as a leader (let alone church planter) and the many messages I preached (just about all of them) that left me mindful of my inabilities as a preacher because each has served to establish me more deeply in the gospel of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection as my only boast (Galatians 6:14)
  • I'm thankful for the significant recovery of my former roommate whose illness brought him literally into the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 64:19-20, Psalm 69:13, Psalm 40:1-3, Psalm 103:3)
  • I'm thankful for being surrounded by fellow believers who, in the midst of hardship, strive to submit to the sovereign Father of spirits and live (Hebrews 12:9, Job 1:21) rather than disapprove of or question His wisdom (Job 2:9-10, Romans 11:33-34) which is the default impulse of our fallen nature
  • I'm thankful for fellow laborers in my church whose lives are marked by a passionate urgency to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10, John 17:18, John 20:21)
  • I'm thankful for a new resurgence of the gospel and biblical theology in Nairobi among young adults; and the missionally-minded community that is graciously extending to me the honor of joining them in the new year as God continues to direct the greatest story ever told that He wrote in eternity past (Ephesians 1:9-11, Isaiah 46:9-11)
Just a few things I'm thankful for this year. And there's so much more.
We give thanks to you, O God;
we give thanks, for your name is near.
We recount your wondrous deeds.
Psalm 75:1
What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Which One?

Great stuff from Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology:
I recently asked four brothers: What would you rather have--

One billion dollars deposited into your checking account when you roll out of bed in the morning


the assurance of Isaiah 43: 'But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you."'

Which one?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Make War!

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death [make war against!] the deeds of the body, you will live.
Romans 8:13

And the official music video...

HT: Be Transformed

Friday, November 19, 2010

And From No Other... whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge...
Colossians 2:3
“We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ. We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else. If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is of him. If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his anointing. If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects, that he might learn to feel our pain. If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross; if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent into hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb; if newness of life, in his resurrection; if immortality, in the same; if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in his entrance into heaven; if protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings, in his Kingdom; if untroubled expectation of judgment, in the power given to him to judge. In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in him, let us drink our fill from this fountain, and from no other.”
--John Calvin, Institutes, 2.16.19.
Yup...Christ is deeper still...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Actions Speak Louder

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:10-12

HT: Christ Is Deeper Still

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who's Voice Are You Listening To Most Today?

Jesus' blood speaks a better word. Period.
[You have come] to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Hebrews 12:24

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Limitations: This Is By Design

Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
Ecclesiastes 7:13-14

by Trip Lee ft. Leah Smith

You know we feelin like we cant move many times
So we waitin for a break through at any time
So many things that we cant do, we really find
That any climb can be strangled in any grind
Can get tangled we get behind
And in the end they find, we feelin trapped like prison time
Got big vision, we're beginning tryin
But ain't grinnin when we gettin to the finish line

And we all feelin like we been tryin for too long
This day been racin through my mind for too long
I can't be runnin in place, do i need to save face and move on?

I watched friends fall short, i've seen many cryin
I watched my dad breath his last, we are really dyin
If I can grasp in my past, I see many times
When I was really tryin, but was limited by His design

This is the way that life will be, limitless You put limits on me
By Your grace, help us see, this is Your design
This is the way that life will be, infinite You made finite me
By Your grace, help us see, this is the way this is the way that life will be

So many things that we wanna get our hands on
So many heights we wanna reach that we planned on
And we was thinkin we just missed our chance homes
But our reach ain't long enough no matter what we stand on
I'll never be the kind of rapper that I like to be (yea, yea)
And I can see all the books that I like to read (yea, yea)
And twice the speed all the folks that i'd like to reach
I like to speak, but i'm limited my might is weak

Though God was pleased with the creation of man
We still gotta understand the limitations of man
Many of us stuck in the days of the trance
Man, thinking we can do some things that we cant

You may be thinkin you a beast but believe me
You still gotta sleep in the evening,
Ya you still gotta eat, need heat when its freezing
You peak for a season, but peep what we speakin

This is the way that life will be, limitless You put limits on me
By Your grace, help us see, this is Your design
This is the way that life will be, infinite You made finite me
By Your grace, help us see, this is the way this is the way that life will be

I know some folks who aint poor they crusin
We can work hard but if the Lord aint movin
No fruit in store man before they ruin
They should trust God who supports they doin
We not in control of the earth He's the owner
One day we get work, next day we a goner
Humanity's not getting any stronger, so we shouldn't front any longer

Behold the God of wonders, He has no hunger
Never does He sleep or He slumber
He's never limited, no enemies can ever come up
We're the victory He's got the one up, He runs us (He runs us)

So let's submit to that King who's in the skies
This is something that we cant do in our pride
Humble yourself under His name dude He is God
All powerful until the end of time

This is the way that life will be, limitless You put limits on me
By Your grace, help us see, this is Your design
This is the way that life will be, infinite You made finite me
By Your grace, help us see, this is the way this is the way that life will be

This is the way that life will be, limitless You put limits on me
By Your grace, help us see, this is Your design
This is the way that life will be, infinite You made finite me
By Your grace, help us see, this is the way this is the way that life will be

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Lausanne 2010: The Unfinished Task

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Matthew 24:14

The following is Piper's prophetic exposition of Ephesians 3 at Lausanne where he pleads for Christians with a passion for social action and Christians with a passion for evangelism to, instead of being suspicious of one another, come together as one church united with a single passion to alleviate every kind of suffering--especially eternal suffering--for the joy of the nations and the glory of Christ. Highly recommended.
Of this gospel I was made a that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 3:7,10
Part 1:

Part 2:

Monday, November 01, 2010

Change: Speed and Longevity

The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
John 12:23-24
The faster a given layer of culture changes, the less long-term effect it has on the horizons of possibility and impossibility...The bigger the change we hope for, the longer we must be willing to invest, work, and wait for it ... Nothing that matters, no matter how sudden, does not have a long history and take part in a long future ... the most beneficial events have little positive effect in the short run...

As Christians tell the story, the three days encompassing the condemnation crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth where the most extraordinary sequence of events in human history--events accompanied by physical earthquakes, splitting the temple veil and opening tombs, which mirrored the historical and spiritual drama of that divine intervention...

And yet the cultural implications of Jesus' resurrection, one day or one week after the event, were exactly nil. The following Sunday, according to the Gospels, the witnesses to that earth-shattering event were hidden in an obscure corner of Jerusalem in fear for their lives. The event that would do more than any other in history to alter the horizons of possibility and impossibility had not yet had the slightest effect on the life of a typical resident of Jerusalem. Arguably, it had not even had much effect on the few who had seen evidence of the event with their own eyes.

A few decades later there was a burgeoning movement of witnesses to the resurrection and those who believed their testimony. But their cultural impact was still minimal, meriting only the most cursory references in the correspondence of Roman officials and the annals of contemporary historians. It was not until seven hundred years had passed that the Christian movement, with the assistance of a possibly converted and certainly savvy emperor named Constantine, began to shape the horizons of the Roman Empire. Even the resurrection of Jesus, the most extraordinary intervention of God in history, took hundreds of years to have widespread cultural effects.

So hope in a future revolution, or revival, to solve the problems of our contemporary culture is usually misplaced. And such a hope makes us especially vulnerable to fashion, mistaking shifts in the wind for changes in the climate. Fads sweep across the cultural landscape and believers invest outsized portions of energy and commitment in furthering the fad, mistaking it for real change.

--Andy Crouch, Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling, p.56-59 (emphasis added)
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away...And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.
Mark 4:5-6,8 (emphasis added)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What's The Least I Can Do?

That's the question we all tend to roll out of bed asking. What's the least I can do here? What's the minimum requirement? What bar do I have to meet, after which I can do what I want to do?

It's the question Peter asked with respect to forgiveness--what's the least number of times I can forgive before finally having the right to stop forgiving? (Matthew 18:21-35)

It's the question the Pharisees asked with respect to marriage--what's the least excuse I can have for divorcing my wife? (Matthew 19:1-12)

It's the question the rich young man asked with respect to morality--what's the least I can do to have eternal life? (Matthew 19:16-22)
Read the rest of this short (you're already halfway done), excellent post to learn the alternative.

I love this blog: how biblical, prophetic, challenging, direct, and to the point it is. Here are two of my other favorite posts:

2 Samuel 10:12

How Do We Make the Huge Decisions in Life?

No irony that two of my favorite blogs are authored by father and son.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Only Two Options: Religion or Jesus

...having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law...
Philippians 3:9
...that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.
Philippians 3:9

Friday, October 22, 2010

Come Close!

Tell me, what do you see?! It's God! And that's something to see!

(I don't know about you, but I'm ready to dance!)
Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
Psalm 66:5

Come Close
by Trip Lee, featuring Flame and Sho Baraka

Set the scene, in the beginning was God
He was holy, glorious and He was wise
If anyone tries, to question His power
Tell them cowards, you really don't buy it
He's really so fly, He don't need no assistance
He made everything spoke it into existence
Creation listened, with no resistance
What kinda powerful God is this?
I'm tripping sometimes I stop and just gaze
I'm so amazed that He made this in 6 days
Made land, made man, but man made a mistake
Men ate fruit now we all in a sin state
But don't think He's no match for the serpent He
Smashes His adversaries, laughs at adversity
They plan, they scam, but they ain't got a good fate
The seed of the woman will smash on the serpent's seed
Time goes, guys grow mo and mo sin filled
God grows, tired though, He's hatred for their sin builds
Because they lacked great faith and love
God showed that He reigned with a flood
He showed His hatred for sin that sits in mens hearts
And the grace He extends to men on His ark
He's amazing man, His great works are a testimony to His person
And I'm so blessed He knows me

Come close, tell me what do you see?
It's God and that's something to see
You wanna know who the boss is?
Flip through His narrative, switch through His character
Come close, tell me what do you see?
It's God and that's something to see
You wanna know who the boss is?
Take a look at His works you can see ID

Verse 2 - Flame:
Aye Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph in the hands of Yahweh how they showed us
How raw our God is never say no
ask Pharaoh let go my people like ego
they know who so parted the Red Seas
plans to redeem through Abraham's seed
Here comes another parting through the Jordan waters
God is such an artist should be askin' for His auto-graph
this ain't the half my brother
that God reveals like pealing the covers
back His attributes and acts
that we will see when we go in OT
but-what I aint talkin' bout overtime
the Old Testament see the plagues and pestilence
that reveals how holy God is
so much so that even armies had to bow down
look at Jericho the walls had to let em go
who can tell Him no dawg betta let em know
who can stay afloat when God got the levees broke
see for His glory
it will get gory
yet at the same time the same God of Jacob
the same God of Joseph and Caleb
Can take a sinner man and make em a nation
make laws just to show off His power and patience


Verse 3 - Sho Baraka:
Let the Gospels introduce you to the Lamb and the light
In Revelation He returns as the Lion with the might
He runs the urban jungle crushed my burden to the law
Took a bite out of sin/ Got death in His claw
He demonstrates his power over death, sickness
Over Nature, over evil over time and distance
All power is in his hand, when they thought he was ruined
But he rose from the grave like "How you doing"
He established the church and working hard like adrenaline
But Satan and the world they want to pump us with Ritalin
Gotta keep running whether in your bapes or timberland
Perseverance of the saints, baby there is no giving in
Now the Holy Spirit provides gifts for the church
So we can build one another and complete his works
What does this say about Jehovah, He so consistent
Man falls man repents man is freed from his prison
All by His power, through His mercy and His grace
So man will stop worshiping self and seek his face
We live the great commandment then do the great commission
So we see 20/20, continue the family business

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Give Us The Truth!

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
John 17:17

Give Us the Truth (Part 2)
by Flame

Give us the truth...part 2 (part 2, part 2, part2)
Give us the truth
For every email, for every phone call
For everybody that came up to me at a show, Here's part 2...listen yo

After the platinum show the two I did with cross movement
I said my goodbyes 'cause I had to fly back to St. Louis
I left there to early for my first semester in school
I was exposed to so much truth that I had to choose
between what I had learned and what I was taught to do
at my church on my zone I was so confused
the first sunday morning back it was a culture shock
watching the sheppard and sheep explode like a soda pop
they're heads was shaking, they shaking over these chintzy sermons
people spitting and shouting but nobody's discerning
I left the building
my feeling were crushed I felt forsakin'
the one place I was supposed to come for restoration.
and worship of a Holy God and exalt Him in praises
spent the whole prayer time rubuking the satan
spent the whole sermon time just talking 'bout money
while I was dieing inside and spiritually hungry.

Give us the truth
That's what we need if we're gon' properly teach
If we gon' seek and we gon' properly reach.
Give us the truth
That's what we need if we gon' carry our cross
and if we gon' affectively disciple tha law.
Give us the truth
That's what we need if we gon' walk up in holiness and boldness and meek and lowliness.
Give us the truth
That's what we need in this race we running
proper lessons as we wait for his second coming (for real)
Give us the truth

I left tha crib
moved into the dorms
so depressed that I ventured in porn (it was a crazy thing)
I felt the disconnect from Jesus' arms
so I ceased to write these rhythms in palms to disobey the King
I told my teachers that I was living in sin
and my bible I'll never read it again and threw it in the closet
and anything that had to do with God
Marcus T. he was going the opposite into lifestyle
I called phanatic and turn to the cell
ad said for ministry I would go to jail 'cause I was in no position
to minister to anybody at all
cause I wasnt sure if I was a christian at that moment dog
I was skipping classes
hanging with the masses
and my days were black and grey like cigareete ashes
all I know is that I wanted to die
but suicide met me into God
then I felt Him shook me.


But it was obvious
God in his providence
put me with people to guide me and got me outta this
during the chapel service
a cat named Paul Wausher
preached the gospel and drove me up to the Lord's alter
and I confessed my sin
and he presed reset again
I started ova and felt like a solider for Jehovah
I called my old pastor and apologized for how I behaved
as of that day we agreed to go our seperate ways.
I met this girl named beth who told me about a church home
first I visit, became a member, and then it was on
then the pastor gave me a stack of books
now Im back with raps and hooks
took a summer and spent three hundred dollars on tapes and books and learned from these biblical scholars
now Im back and Im walking in light
living my life
Glorifying Jesus Christ

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I'm Singing

And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."
Revelation 5:9-10

I'm Singing
by Kari Jobe

Only one name lasts forever
Only one fame stands alone
Only one King has an anthem
That goes on and on and on

And I'm singing to the God
Who brings redemption to the nations
Kings and oceans bow to Him in praise
And I'm singing to the God
Who wrote the book on our salvation
To the One Who covers me in grace
I'm singing

Only one Word in the beginning
Only one Truth will prevail
Only one Love brings a freedom
Only one Man took the nails

Praise praise to the Savior
Praise to the Lamb of God
Praise in all of His splendor
Praise for saving my life
Singing now. Looking forward to singing with the saints tomorrow morning. And looking forward to singing with every tribe, language, people, and nation one day.

Monday, October 11, 2010


He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
Colossians 1:15-20

Friday, October 08, 2010

Ezekiel 15 and John 15: Jerusalem and Jesus

And the word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, how does the wood of the vine surpass any wood, the vine branch that is among the trees of the forest? Is wood taken from it to make anything? Do people take a peg from it to hang any vessel on it? [Answer: no] Behold, it is given to the fire for fuel...
Ezekiel 15:1-4
What's the point of Ezekiel 15? Answer: John 15.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit...Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:1-5

Though it appeared as though Israel was the vine in the Old Testament, the point all along was that the coming Messiah was the true vine. Though that vine withered and faded, Jesus never will. And it's only by abiding in His person and work that we will avoid experiencing the same decay that Jerusalem did. Because--quite literally--apart from Jesus, we can do nothing.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Why I Need The Righteousness Of Christ Today

And the word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the LORD GOD.
Ezekiel 14:12-14
1) I'm not as righteous as Noah, Daniel, or Job. Not even close. So I can't deliver myself.
2) Noah, Daniel, and Job aren't as righteous as God. So they can't deliver me (and they can't really deliver themselves either).
3) Only the righteousness of God can deliver me from the wrath of God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21
I'm so glad that, when no other man could do it, God provided the one man whose righteousness could deliver my life.

And yours.

And whoever calls upon His name.
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
1 Timothy 2:5-6

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Essence Of All Sin

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.
Psalm 36:7-9

Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
Jeremiah 2:12-13
Think slowly about this exchange (trading God for whatever substitute). It's appalling. And it's downright foolish. Don't do it.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Jesus Is Our Rehabilitation

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance [= rehab].
Luke 5:31-32

Humanity has searched long and hard for answers to our ills, pains, and unsatisfying lives. While we were created emotionally, spiritually, and physically healthy, sin has caused us turn away from God and separated us from Him and His goodness. We need restoration, healing, and rehabilitation back to that original state of unity with God. Jesus is our rehabilitation. The Christian life is an entrance into Rehab.

Last verse:
I was created by God but I ain't wanna be like Him,
I wanna be Him
The Jack Sparrow of my Caribbean
I remember the first created being,
And how he shifted the blame of this thing
For fruit he shouldn't have eaten
And now look at us all that are eating,
Wearing designer fig leaves by Louis Vuitton
Make believe it
But God sees through my foolish pride,
And I'm weak life Adam another victim of Lucifer's foolish lies
But then in steps Jesus,
All men were created to lead but we need somebody to lead us
More than a teacher,
But somebody who buy us back from the darkness,
Say He redeemed us,
Taught us that real leaders follow God,
Finish the work 'cuz we on our job
Taught us not to rob
But give life like He loved the Church,
Not seeing how many hearts we can break first
I wanna be like you in every way,
So if I gotta die everyday
Unworthy sacrifice
But the least I can do is give the most to me
Because being just like you is what I'm 'spose to be
You said you came for the lame,
I'm the lamest
I made a mess you say you'll erase it,
I'll take it
You said you came for the lame,
I'm the lamest
I broke my life, but you say you'll replace it,
I'll take it.
Amen. I'll take it.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Honor Such Men...For The Fame Of God's Name

So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ...
Philippians 2:29-30
Wish I could have been there for this...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Gospel: The Bible's About Jesus, Not Us

And beginning with Moses [Genesis-Deuteronomy] and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures [Old Testament] the things concerning himself.
Luke 24:27

You search the Scriptures [Old Testament] because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me...
John 5:39
Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us.

Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood that now cries out, not for our condemnation, but for our acquittal.

Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void not knowing whither he went to create a new people of God.

Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, "Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me," now we can look at God taking his Son up the mountain and sacrificing him and say, "Now we know that you love us because you did not withhold your Son, your only Son, whom you love from us."

Jesus is the true and better Jacob, who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.

Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.

Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.

Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God's justice, now give us water in the desert.

Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.

Jesus is the true and better David whose victory becomes his people's victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.

Jesus is the true and better Esther who didn't just risk leaving an earthly palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn't just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.

Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast into the storm so that we could be brought in.

Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb, innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us. He's the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread.

The Bible's really not about you--it's about him.

--Tim Keller, quoted by Darrin Patrick in Church Planter: The Man, The Mission, The Message, p.142-143
Here's the message where Tim Keller reads the quote (I don't think he is the original author):

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Money, Love, Power... Christ!

Him [Christ!] we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Colossians 1:28, 2:3
Throughout his letters, Paul constantly connects his practical concerns to Christ and his saving work. For example, when Paul deals with the issue of giving and financial generosity in 2 Corinthians 8, he appeals to Christ's saving work as an example [2 Corinthians 8:9]. When he challenges husbands to love their wives in Ephesians 5:25-33, he immediately discusses Christ's relationship to the church. Likewise, when Paul has to confront the Corinthians for making an idol of knowledge and power, he points them to Christ as the power and wisdom of God [1 Corinthians 1:30]. So, for Paul money, love, and power--three of the main physical, spiritual, and emotional motivators of the human heart--all find their truest expression in Christ. In Christ alone are true wealth, true intimacy, and true power. Paul responds to the practical concerns of churches filled with flawed and hurting sinners by connecting them back to Christ.
--Darrin Patrick, Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission, p.134

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why We Must Preach

"Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. Again, if a righteous person turns from his unrighteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered his soul.
Ezekiel 3:17-21
Four different situations. In all but one of the situations, the result is death. Sobering.

Note: In what follows, when I speak of the preacher, this especially applies to those who have been made overseers of God's flock (Acts 20:28). But it still in a sense applies to every follower of Jesus because we're all watchmen (Hebrews 3:12-13, James 5:19-20, Mark 16:15-16) who proclaim (preach) not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord with ourselves as the servants of others for Jesus' sake (2 Corinthians 4:5).

Situation #1:

The wicked person is walking in wickedness. And the preacher doesn't warn him (v.18).

Result: The wicked will DIE for his iniquity. And the preacher will be held responsible (v.18).

Situation #2:

The wicked person is walking in wickedness. But this time the preacher warns him (v.19).

Result: The wicked will DIE for his iniquity. But the preacher will NOT be held responsible (v.19).

Situation #3:

The righteous person turns to wickedness (v.20). In this situation, it's taken for granted that the preacher didn't warn him.

Result: The righteous will DIE for his iniquity. And the preacher will be held responsible because he didn't warn him (v.20).

Situation #4:

The righteous person is walking righteously. The preacher warns him not to sin. And the righteous person doesn't sin (v.21).

Result: The righteous person will LIVE and the preacher will have delivered his soul (v.21)!


1) Whether we preach or not, the wicked are going to persist in disobedience and eventually perish (the wicked die in both situation 1 and 2) because they were destined to (1 Peter 2:8).

2) The difference between whether the righteous person turns to wickedness or not is the preacher's faithfulness or unfaithfulness as a watchman. If the preacher is unfaithful and fails to preach the message of warning, the righteous WILL turn to wickedness. If the preacher is faithful and preaches the message of warning, the righteous WILL NOT turn to wickedness. What do I base such a bold statement on? Verse 20 assumes that the reason a righteous person turns to wickedness is that the preacher didn't warn him! So, even though it's not explicit in verse 21, I conclude that if a righteous person is warned, he will not turn (completely) to wickedness.

3) The means by which God has purposed to keep His people walking in righteousness is the faithful preaching of His word--especially His warnings--by His faithful watchmen. To say it another way, the way God keeps His righteous people righteous is through the preaching of His watchmen. That's why preaching is indispensable. And since we don't know for sure who the righteous and wicked are, we must preach to everyone.

Preaching is designed by God to proactively (believers) and reactively (non-believers) save those who listen. And so whether we think they'll listen or not, that's why we preach. And that's why we must never stop preaching.
Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and your teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
1 Timothy 4:11-16

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Pleasure of God in ALL He Does

Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.
Psalm 135:6
The sovereignty of God is a precious reality for me and for many people in my church. How many times have we gotten word of some heart-wrenching calamity in one of our church families! We have gone to our knees before the Lord and cried out to him for their help and comfort. Time and again I have heard my people submit themselves to the sovereign will of God and seek his good purposes in it. Once a tornado ripped through our area, destroying homes and stores and uprooting huge trees. It was a Sunday afternoon. That evening we prayed. Even today, years later, I can recall a woman calling on God for mercy for the victims, and then lifting her voice to extol God for his power in the roaring wind, and asking him that we all be humbled and brought to repentance before such majestic authority.

The son of one of our former deacons was run over by a motor boat. He lived, but his knees were badly damaged, and there were superficial nicks on his chest and neck from the propeller. When his father testified in a deacon meeting, he said that his main comfort and lesson was the sovereignty of God. "God has his purposes for the life of my son," he said, "and my for my whole family. This will turn out for the good of all of us as we trust in him. God could have taken my son with another half-inch difference. But instead he said to the blade: 'This far and no farther.' [Job 38:8-11]"

God does not always stop the blade. On December 6, 1974, he did not save my mother's life. She was riding with my father on a touring bus heading toward Bethlehem in Israel. A van with lumber tied on the roof swerved out of its lane and hit the bus head on. The lumber came through the windows and killed my mother instantly. The death certificate said, "lacerated medulla oblongata." When we saw her body ten days later, after the funeral home did the best it could, my sister fainted. My father wept alone over the coffin for a long time...

What was my comfort in those days? There we many. She suffered little. I had her for twenty-eight years as the best mother imaginable. She had known my wife and one of my children. She was now in heaven with Jesus. Her life was rich with good deeds and its good effects would last long after she was gone. And underneath all these comforts, supporting all my unanswered questions, and calming my heart, there was the confidence that God is in control and God is good. I took no comfort from the prospect that God could not control the flight of a four-by-four. For me there was no consolation in haphazardness [chance, randomness]. Nor in giving Satan the upper hand. As I knelt by my bed and wept, having received the dreaded phone call from my brother-in-law, I never doubted that God was sovereign over this accident and that God was good. I do not need to explain everything. That he reigns and that he loves is enough for now.

So let us stand in awe and wonder of God--eternally happy in the fellowship of the Trinity; infinitely exuberant in the wisdom of his work; free and sovereign in his self-sufficiency. "Our God is in heaven; he does all that he pleases" [Psalm 115:3]. Let us humble ourselves under his mighty hand, and rejoice that his counsel will stand [Proverbs 19:21], and that one day all the families of the nations will worship before him; for dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations [Psalm 22:27-28].

--John Piper, The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God's Delight in Being God, p. 74-75

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Belong To Him. That's It. I'm All In.

...through [Jesus Christ] we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
Romans 1:5-6

Love you Driscoll.

Thank You Jesus.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

May We Never Take Our Eyes Away...

...from the cross.
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Matthew 27:45-46

So forever will I tell, in three hours Christ suffered more than any sinner ever will in hell.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Holding Fast To Jesus' Name

I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny your faith in me even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
Revelation 2:13
...because a missional church is biblical, a missional church is always, only, solely, fully, passionately, uncompromisingly, wholeheartedly, unwaveringly, and continually all about Jesus as God, Savior, Lord, Hero, Hope, and Friend! The missional church does not want to use vague terms and titles such as God into which non-Christians and false teachers can pour their own unbiblical meaning, so in missional churches the name of Jesus is often used instead.
--Mark Driscoll, Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods, p.221-222
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
Acts 4:12

Monday, September 06, 2010

Light Up My Eyes! A Brief Meditation on Darkness and Light in Psalm 13

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Psalm 13:1-2
Light (!):
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 13:5-6
What happened to bring David out of the darkness and into this light? God's decisive action in response to David's prayer.
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God;
light up my eyes
, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy says, "I have prevailed over him,"

lest my enemies rejoice because I am shaken.

Psalm 13:3-4 (emphasis added)
Light up my eyes! That is the essence of David's prayer. The problem in David's life isn't that there is no light. The problem is that he can't see the light. The problem is with his perception. The light is there! But only God can enable him to see it by faith. And the testimony of this psalm is that God does enable him to see it by faith!

Apart from God's decisive action to light up our eyes by giving us faith, our natural tendency every day is to see darkness.

Which is why Paul prays for the church at Ephesus (and for the entire church of Jesus Christ):
...that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened (that He would light up your eyes!), [so] that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
Ephesians 1:17-21

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Does God Cause Or Allow Suffering? A Real Life Testimony

When Connor was injured two summers ago, we were thrown topsy turvy. Yes, we were followers of Christ, and had a spiritual foundation in Him. But we weren’t very good at it, to be honest. Our family - spiritually, emotionally, and physically - should have probably been declared a federal disaster area.

We grabbed on and clung to the only sure thing we knew - God. We held on to Him like a drowning man clings to a rock in a storm (which is probably why that’s a common imagery for His provision in times of trouble!). During that time, we often asked how this disaster could have happened to us, and we found comfort in the thought that “...God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NASB).

But for whatever reason, this often brought up an interesting debate - did God cause Connor’s accident, or did He allow it to happen? Some folks seem more comfortable with the idea that God lets bad things happen in our lives, than with the concept of Him making bad things happen in our lives. What about you?
I highly recommend you read the rest of this post.