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Showing posts from August, 2009

The start of a new academic program

Today I started my PhD program at Baptist Bible Seminary under Dr. Rod Decker. I'm taking two courses this Fall: Seminar in Greek Studies and Seminar in Advanced Theological Method. I'm entering new territory in my studies now and I'm swimming in the deep end of the pool with no floaties to help in the time of need! This semester, in order to accomplish my weekly activities of preaching at least twice a week and at most five times per week, I need to read about 150-200 pages per day. This is definitely doable; busy--but doable. I am reading The Gagging of God by DA Carson for my Theological Method course and I'm genuinely pumped for this course. I am absolutely convinced that we all come to our theological conclusions with presuppositions and a priori beliefs. I know I'll be stretched and challenged as I embark upon this new (and daunting) season of life! God is good and I rest in His grace for He promises to walk with me through my studies and see me through ti

The Joy of Hanging Upside Down

The Joy of Hanging Upside Down The joy of hanging upside down is, in fact, a highlight for me. Odd isn’t it? Not at all. One thing I absolutely love—if you didn’t know this already about me—is that I absolutely love upside down roller coasters . The old wood ones that don’t go upside down don’t float my boat. In fact, even the water rides are boring. The ones that I enjoy are those that take my stomach out of my stomach and then place it back in my stomach after a few loops, turns, twists, and twirls. Sound fun? Well, don’t be too jealous. Today is that day for me! I’m taking our youth group to 6 Flags Magic Mountain (here in LA) for the day of fun! In fact, last year I rode Tatsu (a crazy coaster that goes upside down several times [but still not enough!]) with another kid in our youth group 5 times in a row—we didn’t even get off the coaster! I plan, yes, I have the internal yearning, to conquer that record by going 7 times in a row tonight! Pray for me—tha

The indispensableness of systematic theology to the preacher.

Here are some notes I took from a great article. Enjoy! Warfield, Benjamin B. “The Indispensableness of Systematic Theology to the Preacher.” In Selected Shorter Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield—II . 2 volumes. Edited by John E. Meeter, 2:280–88. Phillipsburg , NJ : Presbyterian and Reformed, 1980. It is summed up in the propositions that “it is through the truth that souls are saved, that it is accordingly the prime business of the preacher to present this truth to men, and that it is consequently his fundamental duty to become himself possessed of this truth, that he may present it to men and so save their souls. (280). It would not be easy to overstate, of course, the importance to a preacher of those gifts and graces which qualify him to present this truth to men in a winning way—of all, in a word, that goes to make him an “accomplished preacher” (280). Systematic Theology is nothing other than the saving truth of God presented in systematic form (281

Why is it that some fall away in the Christian life?

Why is it that some fall away in the Christian life? I was reminded of a marvelous passage in Matthew 16 yesterday where Jesus told Peter that He was going to the cross. Unmistakably, Jesus unveiled His future on earth, yet Peter refused to believe it. In fact, not only did he refuse to believe what Jesus told him. Peter took Jesus and rebuked him! Imagine that! Jesus clearly showed Peter that he had to go to Jerusalem , be beaten, scourged, rejected by the leaders, killed, and then rise on the third day. This was Jesus’ mission. This is what He came to do, namely, accomplish salvation for His own. But Peter, to his dismay, found himself sharply chastised by Jesus. Indeed, Jesus called him “Satan” because Peter’s mindset was not in accord with God’s sovereign and perfect will but his own human and fallible desires. Jesus rebuked Peter because Peter rejected the divine wisdom that He had just revealed—that he was going to go to Jerusalem , suffer, die, and

Did Christ Preach in Hell?--1 Peter 3:18-20

some notes on 1 Peter 3:18-20 | compiled by geoffrey r. kirkland Text: 1 Peter 3:18-20 18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. Issues: Did Christ really descend into hell after his death and preach? Does this teach that people in hell will have a “second chance” to repent? Why would Jesus need to go to hell if His work was “finished” and “accomplished?” “Problem” Passages: The Apostles’ Creed— There are some old manuscripts of an early Christian document containing Christian doctrines (or, beliefs) from about 200AD. The

Don't rob God of His glory.

Fascinated with Acts 14 this past week, I continue to marvel at the humility and the God-centered nature of Paul and Barnabas. In Lystra, Paul heals a man lame from birth and the crowds immediately chant that he is a god and make all the necessary actions to offer sacrifices to both Paul and Barnabas! Acts 14:11-13 11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have become like men and have come down to us." 12 And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. Certainly the temptation was present to allow pride to swell and infest their minds and their hearts. But they did not allow this to happen. Paul preached to them telling them to forsake their foolish (=vain!) idols and turn to the Living God who made heaven,

wanna go to Israel?

Here's an offer for you. We're taking our church on a second trip to Israel, and we want YOU to join us! We have a number of spots still available and if you've always wanted to go, THIS just might be the opportunity for YOU to walk around, traverse through, and journey in the Holy Land! Here is the sign up sheet. Here is our itinerary. December 25, 2009-January 6, 2010; $3300 Contact me if you have any questions,

Your standing in Christ.

You were an enemy of God; You are now a friend of God. You were once hated by God; You are now eternally loved by God. You were once hating God; You are now serving God. You were under God’s wrath; You are now under God’s grace.

To the Jew First--Does God Have Favorites?

Here is a question I recently was asked from a woman in our church: “I am reading through the book of Romans and it says (2:10) "first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." And then in the next verse ... "For God does not show favoritism." Help me since I just don't understand how " first the Jew " is not favoritism.” Here is my response: Great question. The gospel is for the Jew first not because God is showing a sort of "favoritism", but because Israel ("the Jews") are God's chosen people, that is, God elected them to be His "special" people and His "treasured possession" out of all the peoples on the earth (cf. Deuteronomy 7). Remember, this is not favoritism--this is undeserved grace (same with YOU and Me and our salvation--God didn't show favoritism in electing and saving us, rather, His grace saved us though we were dead in our own sins!). Also, Jesus said in Ma

A worthy reminder on which to meditate.

"Theologians call Jesus' perfect life his active obedience . When we believe in Christ, God counts us as righteous in Christ. That is to say, God imputes to us the active obedience of Christ; so, he sees us, regards us, counts us, declares us as righteous and holy, as Jesus is. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that "for our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." God imputes our sin to Christ and his righteousness to us. God judges our sin in Christ, and he regards us as righteous in Christ. That is sometimes called double imputation : our sin to Christ, his righteousness to us. So, God not only forgives our sins, he gives to us the very righteousness of Christ. We are not only acquitted but we are positively good" (John Frame, Salvation Belongs to the Lord , 149).

911 Call--Help with Math Homework, Please!

You have to give this little guy credit for going to an authority for help!

The need for repentance in YOUR life

Tonight I have the distinct privilege of preaching God's Word and the Scripture arresting our attention will be Psalm 32. Strikingly, Psalm 32 has some noticeable themes: Sin is a theme of the psalm. There are three (maybe four, depending on one's interp.) distinct words for sin in the text. First, there is a word for "transgression" which specifically refers to rebellion against God in a sort of legal setting. Second, there is the most common term for sin denoting "missing the mark," or "deviating off of the correct/right path." Finally, a word most commonly translated "iniquity" in our English translations signifies that which is totally corrupt and twisted; almost a sort of criminality. Forgiveness is another prominent theme. Again, three different words or phrases are found. First, the idea of a sin being "lifted up;" or "carried away" is one way David refers to God's forgiveness. Second, he speaks of God &qu

Group Picture of Retreat in Missouri

Philippians 1:3-6 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

reasons to gaze upon heaven now.

reasons to gaze upon heaven now. When I erase all my excuses, I am utterly convicted as to how seldom I think about heaven. For believers who have placed saving faith in Jesus Christ as LORD, heaven is home. There is no other home in comparison to heaven for the Christian. Some reasons have come to my mind as to why we should gaze upon heaven now. First, we must gaze upon heaven now because heaven is the eternal home for every Christian. Second, we must gaze upon heaven now because this forces us to live heavenly-focused lives instead of earthly-focused lives (which is what Hollywood and most other aspects of culture point us to). Third, we must gaze upon heaven now because that will transform us as we live through, endure through, and triumph through trials, struggles, discouragements, and persecutions in this life. That trials are tough is not the issue; the issue, rather, is how the Christian endures and perseveres through the trial with a God-centered and a heave

Knowing God.

"You grow in knowledge of God as you know him more and more as Lord, as King. First, he is the one who controls all things. You will grow in your knowledge of God as you see more and more things as under his control: the present, the future, your own life, your sin, your salvation . . . second, you come to know God as the one who speaks with such authority that you must obey--in every area of your life: your social life, your moral life, even your intellectual life. You will grow in your knowledge of God when you come to bring every thought captive to Christ (2 Cor 10:5)" (John Frame, Salvation Belongs to the Lord , 75).