Thursday, February 26, 2009

Academic Earth

(by Justin Taylor)

Academic Earth is a website with tons of free lectures and courses taught by top scholars from Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale.

Continue reading this post.

Knowing God in Hardcover

(by Justin Taylor)

Our kids are young--ages 5, 3, and 10 months--but one of the things I sometimes think about is giving them each a starter library on the Christian life when they graduate from high school.

One of the books I'd included is J. I. Packer's Knowing God.

Continue reading this post.

Resolution in the Psalms

(by Justin Taylor)

Our pastor, David Sunday, recently preached a very helpful series of messages on a neglected biblical theme: resolution:

Continue reading this post.

Johnny Cash

I don't know about you but I like Johnny Cash! Today Justin Taylor posts about this legendary singer and provides video from Mars Hill Church. Click here to check out this post.

Your Yearly Dose of Humility

(by Trevin Wax)

I need this book. In fact, I believe every Christian needs to read C.J. Mahaney’s book on humility. And not just once, but several times. At least once a year.

Humility: True Greatness (Multnomah, 2006) is one of the most practical, pastorally helpful books I’ve ever read. For this reason, I find myself coming back to it every few months or so.

C.J. will tell you up front that Humility is not written by an expert on humility.

Continue reading this post.

Upcoming: Philadelphia Conference of Reformed Theology, Sacramento CA

(by Dan Phillips)

The PCRT is to come to my town, Sacramento, Kolly-fornia (as our gov says it). Some might see it as a sleepy, brain-dead, nearly Godforsaken town. Unkind observers could describe it as squalid, ugly, and flat — except for the innumerable concrete islands manically splitting every street, so that you have to drive a mile past your destination and pull a U-turn. The church scene (it must be said) is dominated by fad-ism, seeker-wannabe's, emerg*-wannabe's, tepid traditionalism, Charismatics, and cults, with a very few exceptions.

Continue reading this post.

Random Thoughts on Reading

(by Tim Challies)

As you might imagine, I receive a good deal of email from people who read this site. Probably the most common questions I receive (other than those mentioning The Shack) deal with books and reading. I guess I’ve established a reputation as a bookworm and people often ask just how I find time to read all these books, what books I recommend, and whether I’ve developed a system to help me retain information. Every now and then I try to jot down my thoughts and I thought I’d share those today. These are, then, some rather random thoughts on reading.

Continue reading this post.

Something Light: Keeping the Sabbath

(by Kristin Chapman)

On Sunday, our pastor gave a message about honoring the Sabbath and what that means for us as Christians today. Then on Tuesday, by coincidence, my women’s Bible study addressed the same topic. Among the questions raised were ones such as:

Continue reading this post.

Weapons and worship update

(by Mickey McLean for World Magazine)

A few weeks ago we brought to your attention proposed legislation in Arkansas that would allow churches to decide whether or not congregants can carry concealed weapons into their sanctuaries. Yesterday the bill stalled after a voice vote in the Arkansas Senate’s Judiciary Committee, killing it after it had passed earlier in the House.

Continue reading this post.

For Christian readers only

(by Mickey McLean)

Christian publications distributed in Malaysia can now use terms such as “Allah” as long as they specify that their materials are intended for Christians, not Muslims. The Roman Catholic Church’s main newspaper in Malaysia, the Herald, has added “For Christianity” on its cover, but its editor said it would not drop a legal challenge to the ban.

Continue reading this post.

Little Teachers, Big Lessons

(by Michael Lawrence)

Two weeks ago I became a father for the fifth time. Since then, I've been reflecting on how God has used these kids of mine to teach me truth about what it means to follow Christ in this world. What follows isn't everything they've taught me, but five lessons I sure wish I'd learned earlier than I did.

Continue reading this post.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Help Promote Bible Study Magazine, Win Stuff!

(by Mike Anderson)

Logos Bible Software has recently launched a paper publication, Bible Study Magazine, and to help promote the launch we'd like to enlist your help.

Continue reading this post.

The Glory of God in Salvation through Judgment

(by Justin Taylor)

Jim Hamilton's 2006 Tyndale Bulletin article is now available online:The Glory of God in Salvation through Judgment: The Centre of Biblical Theology?

Go to this post.

“More Precious Than Gold” Interview with Sam Storms

(by the staff for Crossway blog)

In his latest book More Precious Than Gold, Sam Storms encourages readers to experience what he and generations of Christians have found to be true: that the whole of the Christian faith is about lifting God higher and magnifying his name—even during difficult times.

Dr. Storms recently answered some of our questions about More Precious Than Gold:

Continue reading this post.

Why He Left You

(by Frank Turk for Pyromaniacs)

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

Continue reading this post.

What's NEXT?

(by Carolyn McCulley)

It used to be called New Attitude, but now the Sovereign Grace Ministries conference for young adults is called NEXT. This year, it will be held in Baltimore over Memorial Day weekend and I have the privilege of being one of the breakout-session speakers. During February and March, NEXT's webzine is running an excerpt from Radical Womanhood about the female raunch culture and the often unrecognized third wave of feminism that is unabashedly pro-porn. Part one is up now and part two will be up in March.
Continue reading this post.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Birthday Blessings

(by: me)

Oh give thanks to Lord for He is good! So incredibly good my words cannot even begin to do His righteousness justice! For starters, just look at the beautiful day He has given me today!!! It has been so cold, rainy, and gray for days but not is warm, sunny, clear, and gorgeous!!! Thanks be to God for this wonderful gift! He knows how much I love the warm, bright, crisp weather! Secondly, He has blessed me with such an amazing family and friends whose love, tenderheartedness, and kindness cause my heart to overflow with joy!!! Joy so abounding it knows no limit and spills over...hopefully to those around me. :)

And though you have not seen him, you love him, and though you do not see him now, but believe in him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9.)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17.)

Praise God!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Leading a Life Worthy of the Calling

(by: me)

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all . . . for the building up of the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God. (Ephesians 4:1-6, 13).

This past Sunday the pastor at the church where I am a member gave a great message in which I saw myself. He was talking about Christ Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane the night Jesus was arrested. Christ, the Good Shepherd was protecting His sheep (i.e. His disciples) yet Peter decided to draw his sword and he cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. And this is the part that depicted me! I, like Simon Peter, get so protective when it comes to Christ Jesus and God! I feel I have to defend them when others speak cruelly or disrespectfully of them. I come out from behind the Lord’s protection and wave my sword around when in fact Jesus and God already have the situation under control!

Philippians 1:27: Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

1 Thess. 2:12: we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

Colossians 1:10: so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Colossians 2:6: Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,

Philippians 2:3: Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Colossians 3:13: bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Ephesians 1:18: having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, 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,

Ephesians 4:13: 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

Galatians 3:27: For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:5: and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;

I should not get all bent out of shape when God and/or His Son is under attack. For one, God only has to say, “I am” and people fall over (1 John 18:6). Not to mention He has an entire army of angels who can do a far better job then myself at battling evil and the wicked. I am only called to live in a manner that glorifies God!!! Why do I try to make things so much harder than they are? God does not ask me to be a warrior but rather a teacher (to His little lambs), a helper to my husband, a faithful servant who is knowledgeable of His word and who has a quiet, gentle spirit…not the strength of an army! Proverbs 31 and Ephesians 6:10-20 give me great encouragement and are wonderful pieces of scripture I preach to myself.

A dear friend of mine and sister in Christ recently posted the following scripture on her blog and I have to echo these beautiful, encouraging words:

"I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." (Galatians 2:20)

Acts 20:24, "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God."

© 2009 B.T.P.

Excellent Message by Pastor Jim Smith

Click here to listen to this message!

Jesus Prays for His Disciples
John 17:6-19
"I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

Eleven Reasons Why I Believe All Remarriage After Divorce Is Prohibited While Both Spouses Are Alive

(by John Piper)

1. Luke 16:18 calls all remarriage after divorce adultery.

Luke 16:18: Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

1.1 This verse shows that Jesus does not recognize divorce as terminating a marriage in God's sight. The reason a second marriage is called adultery is because the first one is considered to still be valid. So Jesus is taking a stand against the Jewish culture in which all divorce was considered to carry with it the right of remarriage.

1.2 The second half of the verse shows that not merely the divorcing man is guilty of adultery when he remarries, but also any man who marries a divorced woman.

1.3 Since there are no exceptions mentioned in the verse, and since Jesus is clearly rejecting the common cultural conception of divorce as including the right of remarriage, the first readers of this gospel would have been hard-put to argue for any exceptions on the basis that Jesus shared the cultural assumption that divorce for unfaithfulness or desertion freed a spouse for remarriage.

2. Mark 10:11-12 call all remarriage after divorce adultery whether it is the husband or the wife who does the divorcing.

Mark 10:11-12: And he said to them, 'Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.'

2.1 This text repeats the first half of Luke 16:18 but goes farther and says that not only the man who divorces, but also a woman who divorces, and then remarries is committing adultery.

2.2 As in Luke 16:18, there are no exceptions mentioned to this rule.

Continue reading this post.

Psalm 26:1-5

1 Vindicate me, O LORD,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
2 Prove me, O LORD, and try me;
test my heart and my mind.
3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness.

4 I do not sit with men of falsehood,
nor do I consort with hypocrites.
5 I hate the assembly of evildoers,
and I will not sit with the wicked.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts! (Psalm 139:23. ESV.)

Teach me your way, O LORD,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name. (Psalm 86:11. ESV.)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Teaching with Gentleness

(by: me)

"The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome but . . . able to teach . . . with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will." (2 Timothy 2:24-26.)

Oh boy! Not being argumentative but able to instruct with tenderness correcting those who are in disagreement is, honestly, a little difficult for me at times. My own struggles with my sins of frustration, pride, selfishness, lack of self control, impatience, anger, sins of the tongue, and worldliness sometimes get in my way. Yet God’s word states,

1 Tim 3:2-3: Therefore an overseer must be…sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

1 Thess 2:7: …like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.

Galatians 6:1: Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

Titus 3:2: to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

1 Timothy 6:11: But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

1 Peter 3:15: but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

Acts 8:22: Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.

1 Timothy 3:7: Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

God calls me to instruct His little lambs and to confront sisters in Christ when needed gently and without being judgmental. For as iron sharpens iron so does one man sharpen another (Proverbs 27:17). But before opening my mouth I must take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), tame my tongue, and pray for wisdom from my King (James 3).

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all . . . for the building up of the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God. (Ephesians 4:1-6, 13)

© 2009 B.T.P.

Friday, February 20, 2009

No Greater Joy

(by: me)

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (3 John 1:4. ESV.)

I wrestle constantly with my sin of fear over whether or not my children will have salvation. Am I training them up right? (Proverbs 22:6). Will they have faith that leads to grace? Will they repent of their sins and hear the Lord’s voice when and if he calls them? These thoughts relentlessly roll around in my mind. I desire for the children in my home to know and understand that God is sovereign and the center of everything!

But God’s word reminds me my sin of anxiety is in vain because He already has everything sorted out.
Proverbs 16:9: "The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."

Proverbs 19:21: "Many are the plans of a man's heart but the counsel of the Lord, it will stand."

Proverbs 21:1: "The King's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he wishes."

Isaiah 63:17: "Why, O Lord, dost thou cause us to stray from thy ways, and harden our heart from fearing thee? Return for the sake of thy servants, the tribes of thy heritage."

Jeremiah 10:23: "I know, O Lord, that a man's way is not in himself; Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps."

Philippians 2:12, 13: "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure."

Hebrews 13:20, 21: "Now the God of peace . . . equip you in every good thing to do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

I know God will put it in their hearts to execute His purpose (Revelation 17:17). I just need to have faith, do my part, and God will take care of the rest.

Each day we set aside time to do bible study in my home. Sunday is bible school at church of course, Wednesday we use John Piper’s “Children Desiring God” mid week curriculum, and the rest of the days we read and discuss scripture. I have been told of another workbook out of which I would like to also start working…The “Plants Grown Up”/ “Polished Cornerstones” series by Pam Forster. But none of this is a guarantee the little lambs in my home will be saved. Christ Jesus is the only promise of salvation and so I ultimately must keep my focus on Him and His Father!

2 Timothy 2:24-26: "The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome but . . . able to teach . . . with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will."

© 2009 B.T.P.

Is God's Love Unconditional?

(by John Piper)

There is such a thing as unconditional love in God, but it’s not what most people mean by it.

* It’s not a saving love that he has for everybody. Else everybody would be saved, since they would not have to meet any conditions, not even faith. But Jesus said everybody is not saved (Matthew 25:46).

* It’s not the love that justifies sinners since the Bible says we are justified by faith, and faith is a condition (Romans 5:1).

* It’s not the love of working all things together for our good because Paul says that happens “to those who love God” (Romans 8:28).

* It’s not the love of the most intimate fellowship with the Father because Jesus said, “He who loves me will be loved by my Father” (John 14:21). And James said, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

* It’s not the love that will admit us into heaven when we die because John says, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). And faithfulness is a condition.

How then does God love unconditionally? Two ways (at least):

1. He loves us with electing love unconditionally. “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world . . . for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:4-5).

He does not base this election on foreseeing our faith. On the contrary, our faith is the result of being chosen and appointed to believe, as Acts 13:48 says, “As many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”

2. He loves us with regenerating love before we meet any condition. The new birth is not God’s response to our meeting the condition of faith. On the contrary, the new birth enables us to believe.

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been [already!] born of God,” (1John 5:1). “[We] were born, not . . . of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).

Let us pray that thousands of people who speak of the unconditional love of God would discover the biblical meaning of what they say. If that happened many would find their feet on solid ground.

© Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Reading the Next Classic Together (And More!)

(by Tim Challies)

I am going to address two topics in this post, so be sure to read long enough to catch both of them.

In just a moment I want to tell you about the next classic book of the Christian faith that we will be reading together. But first, I want to announce a special reading project that I’ll be leading.

Continue reading this post.

The Dangerous Beauty of Friendship

(by Gary Thomas and Graham Thomas)

One of the best investments you can make in your early 20s is to learn the art of creating and sustaining deep friendships. Keep in mind, though, that the friends you have at 24 years of age may not be the ones who you should take with you on the journey to 42. This is something that few people really think about.

As our new President gets ready to give the "State of the Union" address, we'd like to invite you to take a few minutes to evaluate the state of your friendships.

Profitable businesses don't spontaneously erupt, good marriages don't happen by accident, and fruit doesn't suddenly grow in the middle of the living room floor. God-honoring, soul building friendships take the same good intentions and effort.

Continue reading this post.

Jonathan Edwards, James 3, and Humor

(by Ryan Townsend)

I love humor (and for better or worse, I especially like McKinley's). Humor, like all speech, is a gift of God. Yet every time we open our mouths we are communicating a worldview, an agenda (good or bad), and this can most naturally come out in the small talk and humor of our daily lives. Therefore, a good framework to consistently put before ourselves whenever we open our mouths is James 3, along with these resolutions from Jonathan Edwards related to the tongue:

16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

Continue reading this post.

A Bagatelle on the Virtue of Joy

(by Phil Johnson)

Don't make the mistake of equating levity and humor with the fruit of the Spirit. They aren't the same thing. Obviously, joy can produce laughter, but laughter is a fruit of joy, not the essence of joy.

In fact, modern society is filled with jokes but almost totally devoid of real joy.

Continue reading this post.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Knowing the Nature of Your Evil

(by John Piper)

It is important that we know the nature of the evil in our hearts.

Do you think the essence of your evil is disobeying commandments? That’s a good start. But it’s not the essence of our evil. Commands simply name the evil and its fruits, and tell us not to do them.

The essence of our evil is that we prefer anything to God (Romans 1:23; 2:23). Commands do not create the possibility of evil. Commands name it.

Long before we are told not to covet, we covet. Disobeying the command, “Thou shalt not covet,” is not equivalent to the evil of coveting. The evil of coveting is there first, and then is compounded by the transgression of the commandment not to covet.

Paul said, “I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet’” (Romans 7:7). That is, I wouldn’t have known the seriousness of my evil if God had not named it in the law.

But lawbreaking is not the essence of my evil. Desiring anything above God is the essence of my evil, before any commands name it.

One reason this is important to know is that it will affect the way you pursue change. If you think the essence of your evil is commandment-breaking, your focus for change will be commandment-keeping.

That is doomed to fail for two reasons. If we get good at it, we think we have changed, but the essence of our evil remains. If we can’t get good at it, we despair and quit trying.

But if we know that the essence of our evil is not commandment-breaking, but preferring anything to God, then our focus for change will be a change of heart. That is hopeful, because God promised, “I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19).

This is the new covenant that Jesus purchased with his blood (Luke 22:20). We receive it by faith.

© Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Anger: The Image of Satan

(by Jonathan Dodson)

My second year of marriage was a mess.

I had bottled up discontent from a lack of emotional intimacy with my wife from the first year. In immaturity and a gross lack of understanding, I exploded in episodes of anger. Shouting, name-calling, and T-shirt ripping. Yeah, I would grab the collar of my t-shirt with two hands and pull down in angst, ripping the shirt in two. My wife had no idea she was marrying the Incredible Hulk when she said "I do."

Continue reading this post.

Hand-copying the Bible — one verse at a time

(by Lynn Vincent)

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the New International Version of the Bible, Zondervan (the publishing house that owns the NIV copyright) is sponsoring a “Bible Across America” tour in which more than 31,000 Main Street folks will produce two handwritten copies of the Holy Scriptures. The Los Angeles Times reports:

Continue reading this post.

Pagan "evangelicalism"?

(by Dan Phillips)

I'm going to assume you're familiar with the narrative of Numbers 22-24. Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab (Joshua 24:9), tries to hire the services of a seer named Balaam. Balak believes that Balaam's words have power (22:6), and he wants Balaam to aim those words at his enemy: Israel.

The whole Balak/Balaam saga is a study in paganism vs. Yahwism. The pagan worldview is that the gods can be handled, "worked," manipulated to serve us and our will.

Continue reading this post.

Meet Thabiti Anyabwile (2)

(by C.J. Mahaney)

Thabiti, what single piece of counsel (or constructive criticism) has most improved your preaching?

At Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Mark [Dever] held service reviews every Sunday night following the evening service. Prior to then, I don’t think I ever received much feedback other than the customary comments you receive at the church door after service. The first few times through those sessions were excruciating! On one level, just receiving feedback pointed out a lot of pride and an unhealthy lack of reflection on what I was doing as a preacher.

Continue reading this post.

Resources for Foodies

(by Carolyn McCulley)

Continuing our food theme this week, I have a few more useful resources to recommend to you all. The first is -- as you may have guessed it! -- an iPhone application. ;) But don't despair if you don't have an iPhone. This app is a spin-off of the popular website,, where you can enter in the ingredients you have on hand to discover what dishes you can make.

Continue reading this post.

Persuasive argument

(by Mickey McLean)

Lia, a 12-year-old girl from Toronto, was assigned to come up with a persuasive speech for her seventh grade class. Teachers told her the topic she chose was “too big,” “too mature,” “too controversial,” and if she went forward with it she would not be allowed to advance to the schoolwide competition or beyond.

Continue reading this post.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hardships That Hang On

Okay, I totally stole this off of someone else's blog! SORRY!!! But I could not resist! I hope you will forgive me.

Hardships That Hang On
(by Joni Eareckson Tada)

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me... But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." --II Corinthians 12:8-9I will never forget the day they moved me from "acute care" to "chronic care" in the hospital. As they wheeled my stretcher under the sign, I got a lump in my throat. It meant "the doctors don't know what else to do and I won't regain use of my body." My condition was chronic.

Why do some hardships never go away? You pray and plead until your knees are sore; yet the pinched nerve doesn't heal, the multiple sclerosis doesn't halt, the Alzheimers doesn't regress, the marriage doesn't get better, the job promotion never comes, and the engagement ring never arrives. After decades in a wheelchair, this is my conclusion...

The core of God's plan is to rescue us from sin and self-centeredness. Suffering - especially the chronic kind - is God's choicest tool to accomplish this. It is a long process. But it means I can accept my paralysis as a chronic condition. When I broke my neck, it wasn't a jigsaw puzzle I had to solve fast, or a quick jolt to get me back on track. My paralyzing accident was the beginning of a lengthy process of becoming like Christ.

May I share with you one of my "chronic" Bible verses that won't go away? James 1:2-4 says: "When all kinds of trials crowd into your lives, my brothers, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed" (Phillips). When that finally happens, the only thing that will be chronic is joy!

Lord, help me to embrace the chronic conditions in my life. I want endurance to be fully developed in my life. Help me to hang on.

The Body Broken for Who?

(by UrL Scaramanga for Our of Ur blog)

Theologian J. I. Packer on restricting the Lord's Supper

Late in 2008, theologian J. I. Packer sat down with a few CTI editors to talk theology. Here's what Dr. Packer had to say when the conversation ranged to Communion.

Do you believe that access to the Lord’s Table should be restricted, and if so, how does the church do that in a way that’s inoffensive?

Yes, I believe access should be restricted at two points.

Continue reading this post.

Ephesians 4:29 and Blogging

(by Justin Taylor)

Bill Mounce writes about Eph. 4:29 and how it applies to blogging. He closes with the following suggested guidelines:

Continue reading this post.

Meet Thabiti Anyabwile (1)

(by C.J. Mahaney)

Meet Thabiti Anyabwile.

Thabiti holds B.A. and M.S. degrees in psychology from North Carolina State University and is the author of three books:

* What Is a Healthy Church Member?

* The Decline of African American Theology: From Biblical Faith to Cultural Captivity

* The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors

Thabiti is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman (the Cayman Islands). He was previously an assistant pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church (Washington, DC).

Continue reading this post.

School of the Word

(by Carolyn Mahaney)

At one time or another, we’ve all been students—driven to absorb knowledge by the beneficent shadow of our next exam. Minus this external pressure, though, our learning often slows to a trickle.

But our student-mindset shouldn’t end with the diploma or degree. We should be lifelong students—first and foremost of God’s Word.

As I said yesterday, the single season is one of the most valuable times of your life to pursue study of doctrine.

Continue reading this post.

Scalpel. Clamp. Twitter?

(by Kristin Chapman for World Magazine)

For the second known time last week, a team of doctors added a new element to the operating room: Twitter. As the Henry Ford Hospital surgeons worked to remove a cancerous tumor, they posted updates on Twitter, where other doctors, medical students, and the purely curious followed along.

Continue reading this post.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Under Persecution

(by Voice of the Martyrs)

Twenty- year-old Sandul Bibi is in prison in Pakistan, charged with violating section 295-B of the Pakistani legal code, the “blasphemy” law. Sandul is falsely accused of ripping pages from the Quran. On Oct. 9 a large crowd of Muslims attacked Christian families at a church, throwing stones and firing guns.

Continue reading this post.

Food Tidings

(by Carolyn McCulley)

I will confess to you that I have a passion for my iPhone that is perilously close to idolatry. If there is anything I need to track, manage, or discuss, there's likely to be an iPhone app for it. I'm on that thing all day -- tracking calories, entering exercise, logging business miles, reading email, playing games, answering text messages, organizing my schedule, and occasionally even placing a phone call. Though all these functions serve me, there's something I discovered yesterday that serves others. And for that reason, it's worth drawing attention to it.

Continue reading this post.

Hiding in the light

(by Andrée Seu for World Magazine)

I keep learning, in spite of myself, that words in the Bible I skimmed casually, sloughed off, took as hyperbole, or otherwise downplayed, mean exactly and literally what they say. I think that will be one of the surprises and terrors of heaven. It is very clever of the Holy Spirit; it is not a hiding in the dark but a hiding in the light.

The latest example is 1 Corinthians 1:18: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.”

I had long ago decided that in saying that the word of the cross is the power of God, Paul meant that the word of the cross contains the power of God.

Continue reading this post.

Forever Facebook?

(by Kristin Chapman for World Magazine)

Facebook quietly changed a portion of its terms of service earlier this month, sparking concerns within the blogosphere that members may be locked into a never-ending relationship with the social-networking website. According to the revised statement, which you can read here, it seems Facebook will now have a perpetual license to keep and use anything you post to your account, even if you remove it or later decide to close the account entirely.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg responded yesterday to the privacy concerns–but he never answered the primary question of whether Facebook can use a member’s information forever.

Continue reading this post.

More of the same

(by Alex Tokarev for World Magazine)

A quick review of the first few pages of the Bible could help our government see why the obsession with stimulating spending is tragically misplaced. The curse of sin makes labor less rewarding and more painful. At the same time we have unlimited wants and no desire to delay their gratification. If we work and save we do so because the expected future gains outweigh the pains of toiling and waiting.

If I skip lunch this month, I do it to save enough money to take my wife to a fancy restaurant for her birthday next month.

Continue reading this post.

Government post? Arkansas atheists need not apply

(by Lynn Vincent for World Magazine)

Okay, probably not in practice. But by the letter of the Arkansas constitution, any “person who denies the being of God” is not allowed to hold a position in any government office or testify in court.

Last week, state Rep. Richard Carroll, a Catholic and newly elected member of the Green Party, introduced a measure to eliminate this surprising constitutional holdover. In support of Carroll, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty wrote a letter to the Arkansas legislature objecting to the anti-atheist provision:

Continue reading this post.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Underground Reality: Vietnam

See what happens when eight ordinary teens set out on a mission to meet the underground church in Vietnam. Travel with The Voice of the Martyrs and a group of American and Australian teenagers as they journey through cities and jungles in order to witness the everyday life of the Vietnamese underground church.

Bibles Unbound (A Ministry of Voice of the Martyrs)

Even as you read this, persecuted Christians from around the world are gathering names and addresses from their local communities. These names are then submitted to Bibles Unbound where members have the opportunity to mail New Testaments in the appropriate language directly to the field. This unique program gives you the ability to stand alongside our persecuted brothers and sisters and help create a witness for Jesus Christ in hostile lands right from your own home.
Continue reading about Bibles Unbound.

Standing For Jesus In Orissa

VOM tells stories of Christians affected by the violence in Orissa, India.

Become a Theologian

(by Carolyn Mahaney)

What does undivided devotion look like in real life? How do you put legs on it and walk it out? For starters, you should become a theologian!

Bruce Milne explains:
“[As] a matter of plain fact every Christian is a theologian!… By virtue of being born again we have all begun to know God and therefore have a certain understanding of his nature and actions.

Continue reading this post.

A Reading Plan

(by Carolyn Mahaney)

Surely we’d all agree--reading is a good thing. Yet many of us despair that we don’t have time to read. But is that true?

Well, if I may be so bold, I would propose that our problem is not a lack of time for reading, but a lack of planning. And here is my justification for such an assertion. Two separate authors have recommended reading plans that I think even the busiest person would have to say, “I can do that.”

Continue reading this blog.

A Failure to Think

(by Tim Challies)

In John Stott’s little book Your Mind Matters I found this quote from Martyn Lloyd-Jones. He was commenting on Matthew 6:30 in his Studies in the Sermon on the Mount and offered a great critique to those who feel that faith and thinking are opposites; that a person who has faith is a person who refuses to use his mind. Instead, says Lloyd-Jones, a person who exercises faith must use his mind.

Continue reading post.

Weapons and worship

(by Mickey McLean for World Magazine)

Arkansas lawmakers are debating a bill that would allow churches to decide whether or not congregants can carry concealed weapons into their sanctuaries. Under the current law, holders of concealed weapons permits can take guns anywhere in the state except bars and houses of worship.

Continue reading this post.

Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

Think not that I come here to defend the human side of salvation at the expense of the divine; nor am I desirous to magnify the divine side of it at the expense of the human; rather would I beseech you to look at the two texts which are together before us, and to be prepared to receive both sets of truths. I think it a very dangerous thing to say that the truth lies between the two extremes. It does not: the truth lies in the two, in the comprehension of both; not in taking a part from this and a part from that, toning down one and modulating the other, as is too much the custom, but in believing and giving full expression to everything that God reveals whether we can reconcile the things or not, opening our hearts as children open their understandings to their father's teaching, feeling that if the gospel were such that we could make it into a complete system, we might be quite sure it was not God's gospel, for any system that comes from God must be too grand for the human brain to grasp at one effort; and any path that he takes must extend too far beyond the line of our vision for us to make a nice little map of it, and mark it out in squares.

Read this post.

Memorize Scripture With Us!

(by Tim Challies)

I’d like to invite you to participate in this program. It’s very simple. We are focusing on longer portions of Scripture though I am also sending out weekly “Fighter Verses” for those who prefer to memorize shorter portions. This week we are beginning a new passage—Romans 13. It is a great passage that reminds us to submit to those whom God has put in authority over us, “for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

Read this post.

One Lost Sheep

(by Trevin Wax)

As Jesus taught the tax collectors and sinners gathered around Him, the Pharisees began to mutter to themselves about His open association with those deemed “unclean” according to the Jewish religious code. The parable of the lost sheep was Jesus’ defense of His welcoming of sinners.

Using a demeaning choice of words for the Jewish culture, Jesus compared the Pharisees to the lowest rank in the social class: the shepherd. The people in Jesus’ day knew that when a sheep went astray, the keeper was left no other choice of action except to search until he found it. The question was not “if”, but “when” he would find it.

Continue reading this post.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Embracing Joy

(by: me)

Last night my husband and I were checking out his new cell/mobile phone and laughing hysterically! This bad boy is equipped with all the modern day bells and whistles. It has photo and video capabilities, all of my husband’s music can be downloaded onto it, televisions shows can be watched on it, etc.

As my husband was showing me all the fantastic details he said, “Smile!” and he pointed the little camera feature in my direction. Little did either one of us know this phone that fits in the palm of your hand even comes with a powerful flash! To our utter surprise, right before the shutter clicked there was a blinding light!

“Ah, I’m blind!” I said dramatically as I closed my eyes and tried to block the brightness with my hand. My husband laughed. Then we looked at the photo and started laughing even harder.

“Okay, let me try that again. This time, keep your eyes open,” he said as he pointed his phone toward me again. Once more there was an insanely intense light before the “click”.

“Let me see that,” I said as I reached for the phone. “I want you to see how bright the light is!” He handed over the phone and I snapped a picture of him. No flash!

“Hold up here!” I said as I pressed the picture button again. No flash! This only sparked more laughter.

“Aarr, what’s up with this thing!” I said. “Oh I get it, you’re taller than me so I am pointing up toward the lights. No wonder it’s not flashing.”

This time I turned off the kitchen lights before trying the picture for the third and final time. BLINDING LIGHT!!! Yes! We were laughing so hard my eyes were watering.

What a blessing that God uses even little things like this to bring us joy (Psalm 119:91).

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11. ESV.)

Mark Driscoll on CNN

D.L. gets down low. Seattle Pastor Mark Driscoll combines two of D.L.'s main interests: sex and religion. Justin Taylor has the video. Click here to see it!

Christian music and other sins

(by Tony Woodlief of World Magazine)

Recently I told my wife we ought to call a lot of them “me’s,” not “hymns.” I suppose I’m getting more curmudgeonly, such that I cringe upon hearing a congregation warble what sounds dandy when crooned by an individual over the airwaves, but seems corny and too “me-and-Jesus” for corporate worship. My Savior does indeed love, and live, and He is always there for me, but now that I am here with all my brothers and sisters, couldn’t we see our way clear to sing a song that has a little more reverence or community or—God forbid—theology? Perhaps what I’m really seeking is less individuality in an American Church that has been overrun with it.

Continue reading this post.

Should Evangelicals Embrace or Resist Postmodernism?

(by Trevin Wax)

This week, I have summarized two evangelical approaches to the arrival of the postmodern era: Carl Raschke’s challenge for evangelicals to embrace postmodernism and David Well’s challenge to resist it.

It is difficult to contrast the visions of David Wells and Carl Raschke because these two books are written for different purposes. Wells’ book puts forth a robust Christology that he hopes will sustain the evangelical church during the postmodern era. Raschke seeks to provide a philosophical justification for evangelicals to embrace several aspects of postmodern thought.

Despite the different purposes of these books, one can still discern several points of agreement and disagreement. Furthermore, one can find strengths and weaknesses in both views, along with some valuable insights that lead to practical implications for ministry in a postmodern world.

Continue reading this post.

The Bible Is Clear

(by Thabiti Anyabwile)

Even if my practice of its precepts isn't. So, I'm guilty of having said things in the pulpit that I wish I could take back. I'm not the perfect man of James 3:2, and I suspect he doesn't exist. I've offended people with insensitive comments and off-color illustrations or jokes. Some people were fine with what was said, but others were pricked or hurt or unsettled. No news flash here: but I'm not perfect when it comes to speech.

Continue reading this post.

The God Who Is There: Naming God in a Pluralistic World

(By D. A. Carson)

For some, “Jesus” is no more than profanity. For others, he is a moralist who makes you feel bad if you start having fun. Or he is the founder of a world religion like other founders of world religions—Muhammad, for example. Or he is “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild” who loves to turn the other cheek and who is never, ever, angry. Or he is the Jehovah's Witness Jesus, a pretty impressive second-string god, but certainly not to be identified with the one, true God. Or he is an empty cipher with virtually no content at all. All of these different hearing groups constitute contexts in which what we say about Jesus will be understood (or misunderstood).

Read this post.


(by Tim Challies)

Theology remains something of a bad word in Christian circles. I’d believe that the success of a book like The Shack has proven this to us yet again. Many people seem eager to embrace some form of Christian spirituality but have little desire or love for theology. Theology is linked in people’s minds with frigid, dead religion that cares more about principles and matters of the head than deeds and matters of the heart. It is associated with fundamentalism and with cold conservatism.

Continue reading this post.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Seeing Myself Through the Eyes of a Child

(by: me)

Every once in a while I get to see what I look like to the children in my home. Sometimes it is very humbling and other times it fills me with such joy I cannot even begin to describe it. Yesterday, was quite a joyful moment.

The oldest child in my household was instructed by one of her teachers to make a project at which she would like her family members to look for generations to come. Her teacher asked each student, “What would you like your great, great, great grandchildren to know about your family?” For those of you who do not know this child she is a very determined young adult who does not sugar coat things and has an excellent imagination. She has also been blessed with a stunning ability to write. I can sit and read her stories for hours and I am not just saying that because she is one of the children in my home! Her work is captivating. God has also given her a beautiful heart that loves deeply and in turn can hurt deeply. She has a precious, tenderness that I pray God will grow over time.

While working on her assignment she took great care to feature each member of her immediate family and special moments in her life. She highlighted her trip over seas, her favorite holiday, and special friends. For each person in her family she placed a picture of the individual along with a brief write up of them on the page. In addition to this, she chose one word to describe that family member overall. For one she chose the word “confidence”, for her father she picked the word “humor”, for another she decided on “strength”, and for me she selected the word “faith”!

In her description of me she used words like “kind hearted” and said, “She loves children more than anything, except maybe God…” It may not seem like much but to me it was a warm hug from the Lord saying, “They can see Me. Just keep on pressing on.” It has given me joy and encourages me to keep sewing the seeds and more importantly to keep on behaving in a way that brings God glory because they are watching and thankfully they can see Him!!!

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20. ESV.)

© 2009 B.T.P.

God’s perspective on women

(by Megan Dunham at World Magazine)

I’m getting ready to read a book that I hope will be both formational as well as foundational for me: Through His Eyes: God’s Perspective on Women in the Bible by Covenant Seminary Professor Jerram Barrs.

As the mother of four girls (not to mention a woman myself), I have a seriously vested interest here. I cut my theological teeth in a conservative but overly imperative-focused church. There were a lot of important truths I learned there (but also a lot of legalism from which I spent years breaking free).

Continue reading this post.

Are You a Sink or a Faucet Christian?

What an interesting picture. I never thought of Christianity this way. Trevin Wax asks, "Are you a sink or a faucet christian?" and then gives an explanation of each. Which do you feel you are?
Click here for Wax's Sink and Faucet Christian definitions.

David Wells’ Call for a New Reformation

(by Trevin Wax at Kingdom People Blog)

David Wells’ Above All Earthly Pow’rs seeks to provide a robust Christology for our postmodern world. Wells acknowledges two motifs that are transforming our culture: the postmodern ethos and religious pluralism.

In the first section of his book, Wells seeks to provide an accurate description of our modern life and to show how these recent cultural movements affect us internally. Of course, a proper understanding of today’s world must take into account the philosophies inherited from the Enlightenment – philosophies centered on freedom from the past, from God, and from external authority.

The development of society has paralleled the principles of the Enlightenment.

Continue reading this post.

Admiring and Disillusioned, I Turn from Lincoln to Jesus

(by John Piper)

This is a word of thanks for Abraham Lincoln in spite and because of his imperfections on his 200th birthday.

Two years before Lincoln became our 16th President he debated Stephen Douglas in pursuit of the Illinois U. S. Senate seat. Lincoln lost. He was too progressive on the issue of slavery for a state that made it a crime to bring into its boundaries “a person having in him one-fourth Negro blood, whether free or slave.”

But the debates did bring out the virtually universal racism of 19th century America including Abraham Lincoln's.

Continue reading this post.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Battling Discontentment

(by: me)

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2. ESV.)

Lions, and tigers, and bears…oh my!!! This is my mentality this morning except I’m replacing animals with my current obstacles. A new job, being sinned against, another broken water pipe, oh my!!! But why is my first reaction turmoil?!
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:5-6. ESV.)

Where is my hope in God? For hasn’t my King shown me time and again that He will take care of me? Have I not learned that He is faithful and has it all covered?
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:31-34. ESV.)

Why can’t my initial response be mild interest? Oh hey, look, there is dripping from behind the wall. Looks like another broken water pipe. I wonder where the Lord is going with this one? And, I need to get a new job, okay…I’m certain God will send a fabulous one my way. I’m not trying to be a smarty pants here. I mean honestly, why can’t my initial response be like that of Job’s…worship instead of my sin of anxiety? Why doesn’t my heart fill with joy at the sight of adversity? I know it is for my good and more importantly His glory!!! I know it is!!! There is absolutely no doubt in my mind about it! So where’s my joy? Why am I such an Eeyore struggling with my sin of self pity and discontentment instead of thankfulness that God has elected me? I should be exclaiming shouts of praise with tear filled eyes and joy which overflows!
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10-12. ESV.)

(c) 2009 B.T.P.

A Portrayal of Calvinism

(by Tim Challies)

As you may know, I decided to read through both of the Finding God in The Shack books released this month (two books, two authors, one title). Last week I reviewed the first of these (see: Finding God in the Shack (1)) and in a day or two I will review the second. But first, I wanted to share a few quotes from the book.

It is not lost on me that the majority of the people who vocalized objections to The Shack were Calvinists (Al Mohler, Mark Driscoll, Yours Truly, etc). Randal Rauser and Roger Olson noted this as well and both make a point of refuting some components of Calvinistic theology in their books.

Continue reading this post.

Meet John Piper

(by C.J. Mahaney)

So who is John Piper? What does he read for fun? What discourages him? How does he structure his devotional time? What correction from others has most benefited him? What career path would he have chosen if not ministry?

Read this post.

Say Something

(by Frank Turk)

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

To Titus, my true child in a common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

I have no idea how long this series is going to go on as I haven't really gotten to my favorite verse in this letter yet, but Paul's greeting to Titus is so rich, you have to at least admire the shiny parts even if you don't really count the stacks of wealth to find out all it is worth.

So we know that Paul thought of Titus and Timothy as true sons to him in the faith; we know that he believed that it was by God's command, and as a servant of God who commands, that he himself was called and therefore these men were called. But think about the purpose here Paul says the servant of God is called: for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth.

Continue reading this post.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Keeping Near the Cross

(by Carolyn Mahaney)

Nancy Guthrie has served us big-time once again! First, she provided a compilation of Advent readings in Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus which fed my soul each day in December as I meditated on the glorious truths of the Incarnation. And just a week ago, my husband handed me her most recent book, Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross, which will help me to "experience the passion and power of Easter."

Her book arrived in perfect time for me. I just finished memorizing the prose version from A Gospel Primer for Christians a way to grow in applying the truths of the gospel to my daily life.

Continue reading this post.

The Problem of Evil at the Foot of the Cross

(by Rick Holland)

The impending crucifixion of the Son of God constituted the greatest evil and injustice ever committed. But there was more going on than met the eye. What Jesus revealed to Pilate was that all the perpetrators, conspirators, and evildoers ultimately act under the authority of God. So what was God doing in this horrific event? John Piper answers, “At the all-important pivot of human history, the worst sin ever committed served to show the greatest glory of Christ and obtain the sin-conquering gift of God’s grace. God did not just overcome evil at the cross. He made evil commit suicide in doing its worst evil” (John Piper, Spectacular Sins, 12). Any form of evil, every pain, all sorrow, every degree of suffering, each injustice, all sickness, every disease, and any “bad thing” including death lost its sting at the cross (cf. 1 Cor. 15:54–57).

Read this post.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Be Transformed by the Renewal of Your Mind

(by: me)

Trusting God in all things and patiently waiting on Him are, for some reason, two extremely difficult lessons for me to learn!

The other morning when I woke up the first thing that went through my mind was, “Do not be conformed to the ways of this world and lean not on your own understanding.” Actually this is from two different pieces of scripture. The first:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2. ESV.)

And the second:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5. ESV.)

Oh to be good and acceptable, and perfect and to hear my King say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21, Matthew 25:23, Luke 19:17.)

On Sunday Pastor Jim Smith did an excellent sermon on John 17:6-19 (which I will post here as soon as it is available to download.) He reminds us to be in the world not of the world. John 17:9 says, “I [Jesus] am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you [Father] have given me, for they are yours.” Jesus did not pray for the world but rather He prayed for the pilgrims (1 Peter 2:11-16). Pastor Jim also gives the reminder that it is broken people God uses for His glory and whether we live in a monastery or hide behind legalism, we still have to address the flesh.

Which makes me wonder…would my struggles with my sin and the flesh be easier in a convent or would I still wrestle with them so even there? Hum…

I find encouragement in Habakkuk 2:14 which says, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”

That's AWESOME!!! Whoo-hoo!!! I am filled with such joy that my heart leaps when I read and re-read this truth!!!

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:18-19. ESV.)

For "All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever." And this word is the good news that was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:24-25. ESV.)

(c) 2009 B.T.P.

Read the Bible

(by Pyromaniacs)

We greatly need readers for the Bible. I grieve that even to some who bear the Christian name, Holy Scripture is the least read book in their library. One said of a preacher, the other day, "How does he keep up the congregation? Does he always give the people something new?"

Continue reading post.

Your Father Knows What You Need

(by John Piper)

Jesus wants his followers to be free from worry. In Matthew 6:25-34 he gives at least seven arguments designed to take away our anxiety.

One of them lists food and drink and clothing, and then says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” (Matthew 6:32).

Do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (vv. 31-32).

Jesus must mean that God’s knowing is accompanied by his desiring to meet our need. He is emphasizing we have a Father. And this Father is better than an earthly father.

I have five children. I love to meet their needs. But my knowing falls short of God’s in at least three ways.

* Right now I don’t know where any of them is. I could guess. They’re in their homes or at work or school, healthy and safe. But they might be lying on a sidewalk with a heart attack.
* I don’t know what is in their heart at any given moment. I can guess from time to time. But they may be feeling some fear or hurt or anger or lust or greed or joy or hope. I can’t see their hearts.
* I don’t know their future. Right now they may seem well and steady. But tomorrow some great sorrow may befall them.

This means I can’t be for them a very strong reason for not worrying. There are things that may be happening to them now or may happen tomorrow that I do not even know about.

But it is totally different with their Father in heaven. He knows everything about them now and tomorrow, inside and out. He sees every need.

Add to that, his huge eagerness to meet their needs (the “much more” of Matt. 6:30). Add to that his complete ability to do what he is eager to do (he feeds billions of birds hourly, Matt. 6:26).

So join me and my children in trusting the promise of Jesus to meet our needs. That’s what Jesus is calling for when he says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”

© Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

The Christian Lover II: Dispatches from the Digital Age

(by Tim Challies)

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed The Christian Lover by Michael Haykin, a collection of historical love letters sent from one Christian lover to another. Despite feeling like a bit of a voyeur, spying on private communications, I enjoyed reading these letters, and highly recommended the book. But it got me thinking about my relationship with my wife and whether she and I will leave behind any such tangible evidence of our love for one another. We have a few letters from our courtship days, little love notes that we’d sooner die than have anyone else read, but notes that we can’t bring ourselves to throw away. I remember my mother once saying that she and my father once exchanged such letters and we were free to read them…once she and dad were dead.

Continue reading this post.

An Interesting Morsel from an Old Magazine

(by Phil Johnson and the Harpers Magazine archive)

Here's an item from one of their editors, describing Charles Spurgeon just three years after he began his ministry at the Metropolitan Tabernacle:

In person, Mr. Spurgeon is short and stout; his face is large and soft, well-developed in the lower part, and with an overhanging forehead. His countenance is devoid of color, and he has a quantity of neatly-arranged black hair. His voice is penetrating and powerful, but strongly accented with an English provincial twang, and he uses a profusion of gesture and dramatic action. Lately, Mr. Spurgeon preached without any gown, and was not assisted by notes or manuscript.

Continue reading this post.

Sorrow and Joy

Click here to listen to this message from Pastor Jim Smith.

"A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me." 17 So some of his disciples said to one another, "What is this that he says to us, 'A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'; and, 'because I am going to the Father'?" 18 So they were saying, "What does he mean by 'a little while'? We do not know what he is talking about." 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, "Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, 'A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me'? 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.
(John 16:16-23. ESV.)

Friday, February 06, 2009

The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission

This is a sermon excerpt from John Piper's series on marriage.

I just LOVE John Piper's teaching!!!

Staying Married Is Not About Staying in Love, Part 1

taying Married Is Not About Staying in Love, Part 1
January 28, 2007
Marriage is about keeping a covenant, as Jesus does with his bride, the church
Author: John Piper
Scripture: Genesis 2:18-25
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Staying Married Is Not About Staying in Love, Part 2

Staying Married Is Not About Staying in Love, Part 2
February 4, 2007
Please include the following statement on
any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700

Author: John Piper
Scripture: Genesis 2:18-25

Topic: Marriage
Series: Marriage, Christ, and Covenant: One Flesh for the Glory of God
Manuscript: Read this message
Why were Adam and Eve unashamedly naked? And why did they become ashamed when they sinned?

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Bitterness and a Demanding Spirit Threaten Faithfulness

Jerry Bridges

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Michael Phelps’s Bong

(by C.J. Mahaney)

The photograph of Phelps reminds me of myself prior to conversion, a competitive swimmer (of slightly lesser skill), a sinner (of greater degree), held captive by sin, pursuing the fleeting pleasures of this world. And sadly, in my case, pursuing sin with passion.

Read this post.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Faithful Wounds

(by: me)

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”
(Proverbs 27:6. ESV.)

Ooh boy did I get a good dose of this proverb just recently! And I do not feel my words could ever describe how thankful and fortunate I am to have such a friend who came to me and confronted me though she knew I would be wounded. A dear sister in Christ, someone who knows me day in and day out beyond the mere scratching of the surface, noticed I was battling terribly with my sin. She says her heart became very heavy and she prayed for me every day. I cannot say I was blind to my sin, I saw it there blaring at me. I simply did not care to address it. Thankfully my dear friend did care.

With tear filled eyes she sat before me and shared her heart holding me accountable for my ugly sin. Though this kick in the pants felt more like a kick to the head my friend and I knew it was needed and deserved. I was not living as God has called me to live as His daughter. And when you are a daughter of the King, ignoring or smoothing over sin is not an option! For at least an hour after my sister in Christ confronted me I fought with my own sin even further. The sins of frustration and resentment (not toward my friend but toward others), self pity, pride, and selfishness filled my body and my flesh tingled as the sin coursed through it. My sister in Christ was afraid she had offended me.

Gradually the initial shock of it all wore off and I am now left with an indescribable awe of God at work. He knows what it takes to draw me ever closer to Him. No, I’m not mad at my beloved friend. I am filled to the brim with joy because of her faithfulness. If only I was that true to others in my life. Yes, faithful are the wounds of a friend…and quite painful wounds they might be at that! We are called to encourage one another as iron sharpening iron. (Proverbs 27:17.) And that is exactly what we should be doing!

"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."
(Matthew 18:15-20. ESV.)

How precious!!!

© 2009 B.T.P.

Ray Comfort on Responding to Atheists

(by Tim Challies)

Ray Comfort is setting out on a blog tour to support his new book You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence but You Can’t Make him Think. Knowing that many of the readers of this site are admirer’s of Comfort, I decided to participate. I solicited questions from readers and here is one that Comfort was eager to respond to.

Continue reading this post.

3 Reasons to Share the Gospel

(by Abraham Piper and Mark Dever)

3 Reasons to Share the Gospel (Click here to listen to this message.)

1. A Desire to Be Obedient to God’s Commands

Jesus commanded his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. That is exactly what the early disciples did. Paul spoke of a compulsion to share the gospel. To evangelize is to obey.

In Acts 8:4, we see that those who had been scattered preached the gospel wherever they went. One of the clearest examples of evangelism being commanded is in 1 Peter 3, where Peter commands believers to “always be…prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”

Our silence is not a matter of neutrality. You need to tell yourself that. Our silence is a matter of guilt and sin. Obedience is definitely a biblical reason to evangelize.

2. A Love for the Lost

Preachers, we have got to stop avoiding the topic of lostness—hell. Jesus spoke of God’s wrath remaining on those who don’t believe on him. God will cause terror in us if we appear before him apart from Christ.

Apart from God’s grace, the sinner will never stop sinning. God’s judgment will never end. Their rejection of God never ends. God will inflict extreme and unnatural pain on them forever.

As preachers of the gospel, we have no business making God seem more humane to sinners who are in rebellion against him. Think about if hell were unleashed on you forever and tell unbelievers how horrible it is.

Christians are motivated by a love to others. Hudson Taylor said he would have never thought of going to China if he didn’t know that they were lost. It’s people who are this lost, who have this fate awaiting them, that we are aiming to convert.

We can confidently tell people the basic message of the gospel and trust that God’s Spirit will faithfully pick up our message and use it to save people.

3. A Love for God.

We want to see God glorified. We want to see the truth about him told in creation. The desire to see God glorified was the motivation for all Jesus’ actions.

Everything exists for God’s glory (Romans 11:36). Our salvation is “to the praise of his glorious grace” (Ephesians 1:6). God does everything he does for his own glory, and we should do all we do for the glory of God.

To tell the truth about some people is not to honor them, but to tell the truth about God is to honor him. God is glorified in the gospel.

© Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:


(by Tim Challies)

This is a book that is realistic about teens as they are going to be, not wistful as to what they might be. This is no idealized view of teenagers. Rather, it is realistic, giving an assessment of teens that rings true while providing solutions that can actually work. It teaches a parent to do more than react to a sinful teen, but teaches him to be proactive in approaching the teen, in reaching out to him, and in shepherding his heart. This is exactly what Shepherd Press does so well.

Read this entire post.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sovereign Grace Ministries Sale

Sovereign Grace is having a super sale on their CD's and books!!! Not to mention FREE SHIPPING!!! Check out this killer deal at the Sovereign Grace website. Be there or be square.

Changes to Matt5verse6 Blog

Okay, so I've decided to make some changes to my blog in an effort to make it easier to view from most computers but things aren't quite going as I had planned. But even in this small, mundane task I must fight against my sin of frustration and hold firm in my faith that God's ways are perfect!!! So, please forgive me as I try to get the blog up and running properly again. Thanks!!!

Worldliness Chapter by Chapter

The 9Marks is taking the book WORLDLINESS edited by C.J. Mahaney chapter by chapter. Click here to read these posts.

Get Outta My Face

Teens are often times misunderstood. They have a lack of self control, become angry at times, and act out. But this behavior does not necessarily mean they are miserable but rather just confused. There is a lot to process and hormones kick in making things even harder. Rick Horne has written the book GET OUTTA MY FACE to try and assist parents in understanding and evangelizing to their teen.
Click here for more information about this book.

Freedom Comes

(by Tim Challies)

At my church last night I preached a message that was part of a series we are doing on various points of theology. The topic I had to address was biblical manhood and womanhood. It’s something of an uncomfortable topic to have to preach and one we, as Christians, are too often intimidated by. I sought in this message to emphasize the freedom and the delight in God that come to us when we understand and even celebrate the differences between men and women—when we understand what God tells us about biblical manhood and womanhood.

I guess I am very traditional (and hopefully biblical) when it comes to gender roles within the church and within marriage.

Continue reading this post.

Messages Worth Hearing

A dear friend of mine just attended the Northwest Women's Conference. She was excited there is a link to download the messages from the Conference and said, "I promise it will bless your socks off!" It sounds like a message worth hearing so I am providing the link here incase you would like to download it too!

Click here to download Northwest Women's Conference messages.


Related Posts with Thumbnails