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Showing posts from November, 2009

Album of the Year (2008)

If I were to vote for album of the year, it would be Come Weary Saints from Sovereign Grace Music. Each song has been been remarkably timely and encouraging during a particularly trying time. My three favorite tracks are...

I Have a Shelter

Steve & Vikki Cook and Bob Kauflin

I have a shelter in the storm
When troubles pour upon me
Though fears are rising like a flood
My soul can rest securely
O Jesus, I will hide in You
My place of peace and solace
No trial is deeper than Your love
That comforts all my sorrows

I have a shelter in the storm
When all my sins accuse me
Though justice charges me with guilt
Your grace will not refuse me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
Who bore my condemnation
I find my refuge in Your wounds
For there I find salvation

I have a shelter in the storm
When constant winds would break me
For in my weakness, I have learned
Your strength will not forsake me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
The One who bears my burdens
With faithful hands that cannot fail
You’ll bring me home to heaven

© 2008 Inte…

The First Thanksgiving without My Mom

A very long while ago, Paul asked me if I wanted to be a "guest blogger". I declined. I didn't have anything to say. (Shocking, I know.) Tonight, I am having a hard time sleeping, so I thought I would give it a try. Here goes....

Grief is a funny thing. I have compared it to an ocean often in the past 9 months since I have experienced it in a new way after my moms death. It was incredibly choppy the first several weeks. As the months went on it became easier on a daily basis. Then those waves would come... almost out of nowhere. It just rolls right over you sometimes with an almost shocking intensity.

So, tonight is one of those nights. I knew it was coming. I've known for about a month now, wondering when it would hit and dreading it. Here it is. My first Thanksgiving without her. And this Thanksgiving particularly, I would really like to share with her. I really, really miss her. I feel like part of my history went with her. No one can answer "D…

Don't Go to Church?

Jeff Purswell is a pastor at Covenant Life in Gaithersburg, MD and serves as the Dean of the Sovereign Grace Pastors College. He saw a bumper sticker the other day that read "Don't go to church - be the church."
Here are his thoughts:
Now, despite the element of truth (God’s people are the church), there are all kinds of things wrong with this statement. But behind the words is obviously someone’s disappointment (and possibly disillusionment) with organized Christianity. And although I’d guess that many Christians would reject this false choice, their attitude to Sunday gatherings of the church may reveal a similar apathy.

To fight such apathy, we all need a biblical perspective on what is taking place on Sunday—a perspective that can transform our attitude toward “going to church.” And it’s this perspective that the writer of Hebrews gives us when he describes the ongoing worship service we join when we gather to worship each Sunday.

Mount Sinai and Mount Zion

In Hebrews th…

John Donne

John Donne (1572-1631) was an English poet and a churchman famous for his spellbinding sermons. Here are some of my favorite John Donne quotes and poems.
Our critical day is not the very day of our death, but the whole course of our life: I thank him, that prays for me when my bell tolls; but I thank him much more, that catechizes me, or preaches to me, or instructs me how to live.

John Donne: Sermons.

The whole life of Christ was a continual passion; others die martyrs, but Christ was born a martyr . . . His birth and his death were but one continual act, and his Christmas-day and his Good Friday are but the evening and morning of the one and the same day.

John Donne: Sermon of Christmas-Day, 1626.

The Father was pleased to breathe into his body [of man] in the creation; the Son was pleased to assume this body in the redemption; the Holy Ghost is pleased to consecrate this body by his sanctification. The consultation of the whole Trinity is exercised upon the dignifying of man's body…

The Doctrine Is the Drama

Quote of the day--"It it is worse than useless for Christians to talk about the importance of Christian morality, unless they are prepared to take their stand upon the fundamentals of Christian theology. It is a lie to say that dogma does not matter; it matters enormously. It is fatal to let people suppose that Christianity is only a mode of feeling; it is vitally necessary to insist that it is first and foremost a rational explanation of the universe. It is hopeless to offer Christianity as a vaguely idealistic aspiration of a simple and consoling kind; it is, on the contrary, a hard, tough, exacting, and complex doctrine, steeped in a drastic and incompromising realism. And it is fatal to imagine that everybody knows quite well what Christianity is and needs only a little encouragement to practice it. The brutal fact is that in this Christian country not one person in a hundred has the faintest notion what the Church teaches about God or man or society or the person of Jesus Ch…

Economic Good News

The financial crisis of 2007–2009 has been called by leading economists the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It contributed to the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth estimated in the trillions of U.S. dollars, substantial financial commitments incurred by governments, and a significant decline in economic activity. The International Monetary Fund estimated that large U.S. and European banks lost more than $1 trillion on toxic assets and from bad loans from January 2007 to September 2009. These losses are expected to top $2.8 trillion from 2007-10. U.S. banks losses were forecast to hit $1 trillion and European bank losses will reach $1.6 trillion. Many causes have been proposed, with varying weight assigned by experts. Certainly high among the causes would be a lack of responsible management, a shortage of high ethical standards, and widespread greed run amuck.

There is some good news. There seems to be a movement toward more responsi…

The Doxology

The Lord's prayer ends how it began: with God. "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen." The kingdom refers to God's all embracing control over all of his universe. He created the world, so he has the right to rule the world--and, in fact, does. More particularly, his kingdom denotes his design to redeem a people for himself by overthrowing the rule and dominion of Satan. Having asked for God to bring that about, the prayer concludes by asserting its reality: the kingdom is his. J. I. Packer comments:
Satan, the prime example of how sin breeds cunning but saps intelligence and rots the mind, does not accept that the Lord is king in this basic sense, and would dismiss this doxology--indeed, all doxologies--as false; but Christians know better, and praise God accordingly.
The power is God's as well. God can do anything in accord with his nature. There is no power that can overthrow the rule of God Almighty. Jesus came into the wor…

Everyone Must Live for Something

Quote of the day--"Every human being must live for something. Something must capture our imagination, our heart's most fundamental allegiance and hope. But, the Bible tells us, without the intervention of the Holy Spirit, that object will never be God Himself." Tim Keller in Counterfeit Gods
Get the book here.

Temptation

While I was in college, I was told a story of two brothers from Tennessee who received a surprising gift from their father. Their dad brought home a lion cub to the farm as a pet for the boys. They were thrilled of course, but soon realized that the cub was growing and needed a pen of its own. They built a cage for the lion and all was well, until one day they discovered the heads of chickens scattered around the yard. Right away the boys realized that the lion was responsible, but how was he killing the chickens. They decided to set up surveillance. Hidden behind some bushes they saw the lion in its cage feigning sleep. Soon chickens were approaching the lion's cage and poking their heads through to eat from the lion's feeding trough. First timidly, then with abandon, the chicken gorged themselves. At that moment, the lion swiped at the chicken's head and it went sailing through the air and into the yard. The chicken would then run around like the proverbial chicken with …

Forgive Us

There once was a boy that was quizzed by his father about the sermon he had just heard. "What was the preacher talking about?"
"He was preaching about sin," the boy replied.
"What did he say about it?" asked his dad.
"He was against it," the boy answered.

The fifth petition is "Forgive us our sins (or debts)." Sin is not pleasant or popular, but we ignore it to our peril. If we don't deal with our own sin it will swallow us up. Go wrong here, and everything else is warped. Make light of sin and you make light of God's holiness and his love. Jesus came and gave his life to deal with our sin.

David dealt forthrightly with his sin and expressed great grief at having disobeyed God by his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of Uriah:
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my t…