Friday, November 30, 2007

Global Incident Map

Keep up with all the latest terrorist incidents and suspicious activities at this interesting site.


ht | Heather

Mindless Fun

How long did it take you to get 105 meters?  I'm not telling...
Someone at work sent me a link to an addictive, silly little paper airplane game. Check it out, but be careful that you don't get addicted.

By the way, let me know if you beat 105 meters. :-)


One Down

It is that time of the semester when mixed emotions are common. We finish one race, yet cannot rejoice because the tasks are not all complete. I took a final in my Ministry of Proclamation class last night, and plan to spend the weekend working on my Doctrine of Humanity and Sin take home final.

Praying for endurance,


Monday, November 26, 2007

Free Online Books at CBMW

The Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood has several free books available by authors like John Piper, Wayne Grudem, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Mary Kassian, and Dennis Rainey.

I know you like free books, so check it out here.


Baxter on Sincerity

Richard Baxter, as quoted by Stott in Between Two Worlds, writes,

"It is a palpable error in those ministers that make such disproportion between their preaching and their living, that they will study hard to preach exactly and study little or not at all to live exactly. All the week long is little enough to study how to speak two hours; and yet one hour seems too much to study how to live all the week . . . We must study as hard how to live well as how to preach well" (268).

Sanctify us, Heavenly Father, so that our lives might match our proclamation of the truth of your Word!


Thorny Soil

Mark 4:1-9 records Jesus' parable of the sower who casts his seed indiscriminately upon various soils. Some seeds are snatched up by the birds. Some take root but wither and die because they are malnourished. Some are choked out by thorns and fail to produce fruit. Other seeds fall on good soil and produce lots of fruit.

In the next passage in Mark (4:10-20), Jesus explains this parable to his disciples. The seed is the gospel and the soils are human hearts of various condition. Some hearts are hard and the gospel does not penetrate their lives. Neither does Satan let the gospel remain on their minds long enough to have an effect. Some hearts are shallow, and the gospel seems to impact their lives, but their faith withers at the first sign of sacrifice; their faith is not deeply rooted in the truth.

And then Jesus explains the soil with the thorns. In my devotion time this morning, I was reading this passage and I was convicted by these words:

"They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful."

Don't we all risk being choked out by "the cares of the world"? What about "the deceitfulness of riches"? Are you distracted by "the desires for other things"? I think this is a clarion call for us to sacrifice the things of this world that may be good for the things of God that are better. I struggle with this every day. I want to see and do and smell and taste and touch and drive and play and experience stuff that gets in the way of my wanting to follow Christ with all my heart.

Do you have a hobby? Does it hinder you from producing fruit? Do you have a passion? Does it hinder you from producing fruit? Do you have a pet worry (or lots of pet worries!), or a pet sin, or a pet habit that interferes with your fruit production?

Hobbies are not wrong. Recreation is a blessing from God that can restore our mental and physical health. Rest and relaxation are sometimes a great benefit to the weary. But do we risk eternity for the light pleasures of this world?

Let us evaluate everything in the light of eternity.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Spurgeon on Preaching

I could not help but post this one. Here's Spurgeon's take on preachers who can't connect with their audiences.

"Christ said, 'Feed my sheep . . . Feed my lambs.' Some preachers, however, put the food so high that neither lambs nor sheep can reach it. They seem to have read the text, 'Feed my giraffes.'"

Sometimes I think Dr. Mohler might have read this text when I listen to his radio program! :-)

***Please don't kick me out of school, Dr. Mohler. I was just kidding.***


Friday, November 23, 2007

Stott on the Church and the Word

I'm reading John Stott's Between Two Worlds and I thought I would share his take on the Church. In one section of his book he addresses "Theological Foundations for Preaching" and Stott states,

"Doubtless we have numerous convictions about the Church. But for my purpose I have only this one in mind, that the Church is the creation of God by his Word. Moreover, God's new creation (the Church) is as dependent upon his Word as his old creation (the universe). Not only has he brought it into being by his Word, but he maintains and sustains it, directs and sanctifies it, reforms and renews it through the same Word. The Word of God is the sceptre by which Christ rules the Church and the food with which he nourishes it" (109).

When I read this paragraph, I immediately felt the need to renew my daily commitment to Bible reading and meditation. Not only does God bring about new life in Christ by the power of his Word, but he also leads, sustains, and sanctifies us through his Word. If we ever struggle with sin (that would include you, too!), we need to be regularly applying God's Word in our lives in order that he may continually renew us.

Make us like you by the power of your Word, Lord Jesus!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Chuck Norris Approved"

The Grind

Well, finals are next week. I have one final next Thursday, November 29, and one take-home final due on Thursday, December 6. I have two books to read:


I also have to listen to several SBTS chapel services and evaluate them.

All this to say, I may be posting sporadically for the next few days.


Friday, November 16, 2007

One Vote Under God

My wife and I have discussed briefly who we might vote for in the primaries, but we have not landed on one particular candidate yet. We didn't have enough information and had not done enough research. Where can you find out more about what the candidates really believe? I found this site helpful in comparing candidates, understanding their religious backgrounds, and identifying their stances on the different issues.

Check it out: One Vote Under God


Barry Bonds, Arrogance, and the Promises of God

You talkin' to me?
Barry Bonds was indicted on Thursday, November 15, 2007, for perjury and obstruction of justice charges. While we don't really "know" whether he is guilty or innocent of these charges, we do know that he is guilty of a different charge. One would be blind not to recognize Bond's arrogant attitude. It exhibits itself after every home run. It is written in the contempt on his face for every television camera. No one can deny the charge that Bonds public life is characterized by arrogance.

The Bible speaks clearly on this matter, and God expresses his own attitude about those characterized by arrogance. Proverbs 16:5 tells us, "Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished." It is no wonder why Bonds has earned such incredible negative sentiment from the public. Everyone who sees his attitude for what it is feels disgusted by his contempt.

Nevertheless, I am not happy that Bonds faces the possibility of prison. Don't get me wrong; part of me longs for that guy to get his name expunged from the baseball record books. Part of me wishes he would get what he deserves. But much more of me wants to weep for that poor, miserable, unhappy, contemptuous, arrogant man. He has no idea what awaits him in eternity! He bears fruit in keeping with ungodliness, and this is precisely why God can assure us that "he will not go unpunished." How will he deceive the Judge who was with him when he put the needle in his arm and could hear his thoughts?

You are not getting over...What's worse? You are arrogant. You are contemptuous. You display attitudes just like Barry Bonds. Maybe you don't do it on TV in front of millions of people, but you might do it in your car when somebody wants to get over in your lane and you don't want them to. Maybe you feel a little too proud of your achievements at work. Maybe you fail to offer up every praise you receive to the one who gave you everything you have, including every breath and heartbeat.

Barry Bonds' arrogance will be paid for; either by Barry, in hell for eternity, or by God's glorious gift of grace in Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. We, with broken hearts, long for God's justice, but we pray that his justice will fall on Christ's work and not Barry's ultimate demise.

Forgive us Father for our pride.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

"If You Could Only Say One Thing To Us"

Tonight, in our last regular preaching class, one of the students asked Dr. Vogel, "If you could only say one thing to us, what would it be?" Dr. Vogel replied, "Guard your walk with the Lord. It doesn't matter how much you invest in your preaching skills if you shipwreck your faith because you failed to guard your heart" (rough paraphrase). He gave us a couple of examples of men who had excelled at preaching but failed miserably in ministry because they let down their guard and Satan landed a crushing right hook on their glass jaw.

"Be killing sin or it will be killing you."

Thanks Dr. Vogel and John Owen.


Pyromaniacs on Logos Bible Software

Interesting. I upgraded to the latest version of Logos Bible software today, and Dan Phillips over at Pyromaniacs posted this review of the software this morning, too. He compares BibleWorks and Logos to contrasting tools like a scalpel and a chainsaw (no comment on which is which). Each tools is great for the job it is designed for.

Read Phillips' review and buy the software if you can.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Earth, Right Now, From Space

Check out this World Sunlight Map "showing current sunlight and cloud cover as of Nov 14 2007 23:00 UTC."

Even the space shuttle can't see this view!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Piper on "What Should We Expect?"

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry asking some tough questions like, "should our government legislate in ways that make unbelievers criminals for living life according to their fallen nature?" John Piper, by way of one of his 200+ sermons on Romans, lends his perspective on the issue in a sermon from August, 2004.

In a sermon on Romans 12:1-2 addressing the issue of homosexuality and the marriage amendment, Piper argues that we must approach life on this earth from two perspectives: as indigenous and as pilgrims. As indigenous to the people we are a part of, Christians should get involved in the law-making process. He says,
We should pray and work to shape our culture, its customs and laws, so that it reflects the revealed will of God, even if that reflection is only external and dim and embraced by unbelievers with wrong motives. . . . If someone asks, Why do you impose your religious conviction on the whole culture, we answer: all laws impose convictions on a culture. And all convictions come from worldviews. They don’t come out of nowhere. People argue for laws on the basis of a certain view of the world.

He argues that we should work as indigenous people to make our world better.

He also argues from the perspective of the pilgrim when he says,
On the pilgrim side of the tension, we make our Christ-exalting, cross-centered, soul-saving biblical worldview known with brokenhearted joy. Joy because Christ really is the sovereign Lord of the universe and will establish justice and purity in due time out of this fallen world. And brokenhearted because we share in the pain and misery of what sin has brought on this world. . . . The salt of the earth does not mock rotting meat. Where it can, it saves and seasons. And where it can’t, it weeps.

I don't think this answers the question, but it does help us frame the question a bit more clearly. We must be engaged, but we cannot leave all our hopes and dreams in the hands of government.

We have a greater hope.


Salting our Words

Justin Taylor recently posted a blog entry On Blog Commenting that is really applicable to blogging on the whole and the Christian life in general. Too many of us fail to remember Jesus' commands about true greatness: "let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves" (Luke 22:26). Our interactions with one another really must be characterized by humility: "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3).

Do you consider how you are impacting others when you simply say what is on your mind? What reason do you have for ungracious speech? "What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?" (1 Corinthians 4:7)

"Heavenly Father, help us salt our words. Let us be a blessing to others, not a thorn in their side. Forgive us."


Monday, November 12, 2007

So This is How Monday Feels For Preachers

Boy, I'm beat down. My pastor called me on Thursday of this week to tell me that he was going to have to have a wisdom tooth removed. Thankfully, I had prepared a sermon for my Ministry of Proclamation class the week before, so I had something in my back pocket. I spent my normal way-too-many-hours on Saturday between doing schoolwork, reworking my sermon for a different audience, and having some friends over for supper.

I arrived at church about 8:15 on Sunday morning in order to prep the PowerPoint with my sermon slides. From 8:30-9:30, our band (minus our preacher/drummer and his wife/pianist, plus Bart/fill-in drummer) worked out the kinks (most of them) in the music we were playing for worship. We discussed the person of Christ, specifically his eternal reign as a man, in Sunday School, and then we had a short time of prayer before the worship service began.

I preached on James 1:2-4, and tried to illustrate that we are like the hunk of steel a blacksmith forges into a useful tool. The point of the sermon was that we should have joy in our trials because we should recognize that God is shaping us into useful (fully mature) tools that he can use for his own purposes. I felt the clutch slipping quite a bit to begin the sermon; I couldn't get everything together. I felt like I was floundering! Thankfully, I started to get into a groove about half-way through, and the illustration about the blacksmith helped me pull the thing out of a steep nose-dive. God is so good; he shapes us through various trials, including preaching!

After church, we practiced the music for our Christmas service, and then several of us went out to grab something to eat. We got home about 2:30 or so, and I started working on my illustration file for my preaching class. We headed back to church at 5:00, and got home around 8:00. Heather and I talked for a while, working on a few projects that required our attention, and then I spent another hour or so on that illustration file.

So, that was my weekend. I am so tired! I hate the fact that I cannot enjoy school because of the incredible demands it places on my waking (and sleeping) hours. I hate the fact that I cannot enjoy my family the way I want to! But ultimately, I will consider this all joy, because God is working in all these various trials to bring about my full maturity; he is shaping me into a finished tool that will be useful for his purposes.

Thank you Father for working all things together for good!


Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Great Definition of Perversion

From Plantinga's book, Not the Way It's Supposed to Be, a definition of perversion that is helpful for understanding the extent of its impact:
Perversion is an ends-and-purposes disease. Most broadly understood, perversion is the turning of loyalty, energy, and desire away from God and God's project in the world: it is the diversion of construction materials for the city of God to side projects of our own, often accompanied by jerry-built ideologies that seek to justify the diversion.

Plantinga's book is filled with wonderful, descriptive illustrations of sin, its corruption, and its extent. Check it out.


Friday, November 09, 2007

A Paper on The Problem of Evil

In my Personal Reformation post, I mentioned a couple of papers that I had written that were formative for my life and theology. I posted the first about God's sovereignty about a week ago, and I just posted the other, a paper on the problem of evil.

I have no delusions; I do not claim to be a good writer or wise scholar. I just wanted to share with you how God has worked in my life.

Please feel free to comment, but only with graciousness, please. ;-)


Recommended Reading from Reformation Theology

Reformation Theology has some recommendations for those of us interested in studying theology that are not able to attend a great institution like SBTS. I can personally recommend several of these titles, and I look forward to reading the others.


ht | Thad

"I Am Ridiculous"

Here's an awesome video of Mark Driscoll talking about humility. Yes, Justin Taylor found it first, but I just loved the way Driscoll approaches humility with humor. He said, "Humble people can laugh at themselves. They can say, 'I am ridiculous, and that was ridiculous. And were it not for Jesus, this would not be funny.'"

That, my friends, is worth pondering. We even owe our ability to have a sense of humor to our Savior!


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Not the Way It's Supposed to Be

You should read this book.

You don't understand sin like you might think you do.

Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., brother to Alvin Plantinga (recent guest at SBTS for the Norton Lectures), wrote Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin in 1995 in an attempt to revive an awareness of sin that has been all but lost.

In this book, Plantinga makes a case that the Jewish notion of shalom is not simply an idea of peace, but a much fuller and all-encompassing idea of "the way it's supposed to be." And in this book, Plantinga does a masterful job of showing many of the different ways things aren't.

You will be convicted and enabled to guard your heart in new ways. Promise.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Serving Without Pay

In 2 Corinthians 12:14-15, Paul writes these words, "Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls."

While working on a paper this week, I stumbled upon this passage. I know I have read it before, but this time it was like a punch in the face. When I first moved to Louisville to attend Southern, I hoped I would find some ministry position that would allow me to serve God and help pay the bills. God, however, did not plan that for me.

As I look back on my long Seminary career, I realize that God put me in a ministry where I would not be a burden. I would be free to learn to "spend and be spent" for the souls of those with whom I am ministering. Not only has God given me a ministry in which to grow, but God also provided me a job that helps me seek not what is [others'] but [others themselves].

I am thankful that God brought me to State Street Baptist Church. I am thankful for the people God put me with, and I pray that God will allow me to seek the good of others without being a burden on my church.

Forgive me God for questioning your plans, and give me eyes to see others the way you see them!


Note: Just to clarify, I have nothing against a pastor or elder being paid by his church, and neither did Paul. I mentioned this only because it is directly applicable to my little church!

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Mystery of the Mind, Migraines, and Moving

Wow, this weekend was crazy. I spent all day Saturday working on a paper for my Doctrine of Humanity and Sin class with Dr. Allison. You might think I would be more than 1/4 the way through with it, but I decided to tackle a topic that I have little experience with. Thus, I have to do tons of research. My topic? Oh, yeah, neuroscience and theology. Yeah, I know, I'm crazy. My wife already told me.

Nothing sidelines your plans quite like a migraine, however. Well, except for two migraines. I woke up early to try to take advantage of the time change, and about 7:30 Sunday morning I started seeing an aura, which is described as "the perceptual disturbance experienced by some migraine sufferers before a migraine headache." My vision becomes distorted by sparklies. Kinda neat except you can't see very good and the pain that you know is coming makes you nauseous to think about. So I missed worship yesterday morning (totally bummed), and I missed work today (not so bummed--I need to work on this paper).

I did recover enough yesterday to help a brother move, and we enjoyed spending time with the Delaneys. We finished up watching Luther last night, and now I need to finish up my paper. So I hope you had a better weekend than I did!


Friday, November 02, 2007

New Interpretations Tested by Church History

Please note: This post is a bit long, but if you have ever read anything by John Gill or Charles Spurgeon, it is worth it.

Recently I had some email communication undergo some questionable interpretive procedures, and, well, the hilarity ensued. I began the chain event with a call to plan a Christmas get-together for our Sunday School class...
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Christmas season is approaching quickly! I would love for our Sunday School class to get together and celebrate. . . . Let's not do any gift exchanges . . . Don't get me wrong, I enjoy gifts more than you do, but let's make this about us helping others . . . But I'm going to be disappointed if we fellowship together somehow! . . .

Someone called me out on my type-o, and I sent a quick update with this text:
But I'm going to be disappointed if we don't fellowship together somehow!

In order to maintain Terry's someone's dignity, I won't tell you who responded with this interpretive work:
I think authorial intent was that he was gonna be bummed out if we got together and did not bring him any gifts. I arrived at this by exegeting the E-mail (he likes gifts more than we do and he wants us to do something for others and he still wants us to get together) that was preserved for us by God! After all, He is sovereign.
Just my interpretation of the passage!

So, quickly, I recovered by responding:
You know, this is proof that we cannot see into the minds of the authors of the Bible. We must only take them at their Word.

Now, don't give up yet. This is the best part, from our very own church historian:

Brothers and Sisters,

You know.... after watching the "Amazing Grace" DVD on Sunday nights.... and hearing R.C. Sproul helpfully comment on the fact that if a person comes up with a new interpretation or one that cannot be found in the history of the church that it is probably false.... I thought it necessary to run brother Terry's interpretation of Todd's email through the test of church history. Thus, I went to the commentaries on this one and consulted John Gill, Matthew Henry, John Macarthur, and one of Charles Spurgeon's sermons. Here's what I found.

John Gill wrote: "In the firsteth email, one couldeth observetheth that the original writer of the email, with fingertipest to the keys accidentalliest tappeth the wrongest key. The factest that the writer wouldest be in much sorrow if those assembled in the church, those predestined before the foundation of the world, justified, and in the future glorified, who have taken part in churches two sacraments, namelieth baptism and the Lord's Supper, did not participatiteth in some event during the Christmas season gives us reason to believe that he is a Calvinistic Baptist. He meanteth to typeth "don't getteth togetherest" but insteadeth typest in the first email "do getteth togetherest." This email needs to be compared with the newest manuscripts which do in fact prove that the inspired writer of this email meanteth to sayeth "don't getteth togetherest." Three things therefore remaineth.& nbsp; The orginal writer wantest to get togetherest with those within the church, not to bring gifts for the other or for himself but to share Christ's love with others so that the elect may come. We also have reasoneth to believeth that the writer of the email is Superlapsarian.

Matthew Henry wrote, "By lookingnest to the original manuscripts it seems as though the most holy author of this there original email had his lofty and holy affections and desires setteth on typing "don't getteth togetherest". But do to a war which took place within this person's very soul, between the flesh and the Spirit, the writer's right index finger failed to reach down and hitteth the letter "N" with clarity and precision and thus an error took place in the original manuscripts. It is likely that a Masorite (Scott Lee) later came along and noticed the error and had it then correctedeth. This appears to be the case due to the evidence that we find in the SL translation "I'm going to be disappointed if we don't fellowship together somehow." It is the most recent manuscript available. We have everyieth reason to believe that the original writer of that email was baptized as an infant, due to the testimony of his parents belief in the gospel, the original writers love for his brethren and sistren and therefore have every reason to believe that the person is in the covenant."

John Macarthur commented, "In the first dispensation of this email the writer wrote "I'm going to be disappointed if we DO fellowship together somehow." Someone in a later dispensation came along, noticed the unfortunate error and recommended that the sentence be changed to "disappointed if we DON'T fellowship together somehow." We also have evidence in this statement to believe that the church will be raptured before the great tribulation and that Christ will return, set up a millenial kingdom which will also include the Old Testament sacrificial system. Those that don't believe in the message communicated in the original email should expect to be left behind to go through the great tribulation period."

And Charles Spurgeon commented, "Listen here men, women, young boys, and little girls, remember that in the firsteth email we have the welcome of the original author to cometh at once and welcome to this here Christmas party, bringeth a gift only to give away, and enjoyeth the fellowship. Do this and the Lord will be Glorified and His saints will be encouraged! We knoweth that not onest can do this unless it has been granted to him to do so, but to those who cometh we know that there election of this party is sure. Do this now, don't let your conscience cause you to linger from coming, sendeth your RSVP as soon as possible.... and the author of that email will welcometh you with open arms. Just as the Father welcomenest his long lost prodigal son. There's no need to walk an isle... just believeth the intent of the email at once, even while your sitting there in your office chair a nd then show your belief in this here email by sending an RSVP and coming to the party!! Let us pray..."

These are the observations that I found and thus brother Terry's interpretation seems to fall within the interpretation of the history of the church! God Bless you brother for your helpful insight in this matter!

Happy Reformation Day,


Wow. Hope you enjoyed.


The Religious Affections

I've heard rumblings that the next free audio book from would be a good one. Well, it's true. Jonathan Edwards' Religious Affections, in unabridged audio form, is more than just "something" for exactly nothing. Be sure to use the promo code.

Don't just download it though.


ht: Justin Taylor

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Paper on God's Sovereignty

In my last post, I made reference to a paper I wrote in Systematic I entitled, God's Sovereignty, Human Moral Freedom, and Responsibility. Well, I think I have figured out a way to publish it for anyone interested in reading my feeble exercise. Posted here. I'll be working to upload other stuff, too.

By the way, I think Google is taking over the world...


UPDATE: I uploaded the file as a PDF to better preserve the formatting...