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Showing posts from August, 2011


"Worldliness is the set of practices in a society, its values and ways of looking at life, that make sin look normal and righteousness look strange . It is the view of the world that puts the sinner at its center and God to the periphery" (David Wells, God in the Wasteland , 86). In my humble estimation, Wells couldn't be more spot on.

here’s why you should praise the LORD!

Psalm 147 provides a host of reasons why believers must praise the LORD. The psalm begins and ends with the same phrase which ties the psalm together as a unit: Praise the LORD (הַ֥לְלוּ יָ֙הּ). This phrase also occurs in v.12 as well which divides the psalm into halves. I. Your Duty Is To Praise the LORD! (vv.1, 12, 20b) II. The Reasons Why You Must Praise the LORD! (vv.2-11; 13-20a) The reasons include but are not limited to the following: 1. The Lord builds and gathers His people (v.2) 2. The Lord heals and binds up the wounded & brokenhearted (v.3) 3. The Lord counts the stars & gives all of them names! (v.4) [**let your mind ponder this thought for a while**] 4. The Lord's wisdom & understanding is infinite (v.5) 5. The Lord exalts the humble and humbles the prideful (v.6) 6. The Lord provides food & rain upon the earth for His creatures (vv.7ff) 7. The Lord is the one who gives snow like wool (v.16) 8. The Lord sends His word and can me

please pray for my PhD exams this week.

Please remember to pray for me as I take my seven written comprehensive exams this week for my PhD program. Pray that God gives me great recollection of the books I read & the things I studied. Here is my schedule: EXAMS: 1. Theology 2. OT & Hebrew 3. Bible Ex 4. NT #1 - NTI, hermeneutics, crit methods & backgrounds (LXX, Fathers, intertestamental) 5. NT #2 - Greek Grammar, syntax, and NT text crit 6. NT #3 - Pauline epistles (translation, exegesis, bibl theo, intro) 7. NT #4 - Gospels, Acts, and nonPauline lit (trans, exegesis, bibl theo, intro) SCHEDULE: Monday 9am Theology Monday 3pm OT & Hebrew Wednesday 9am Bible Ex Wednesday 3pm NT #1 Friday 9am NT#2 Friday 3pm NT#3 Saturday 9am NT#4

what does it mean to be CHOSEN by GOD?

Here is a link to free video lectures by R.C. Sproul. He apparently gave these lectures ' back in the day ' (just watch them and see his hair and you'll know what I mean!). At any rate, these are superb lectures worthy of your careful consideration. I think he is right on with God's election & God's sovereignty. Topics include: — God's sovereignty — What is free will? — Man's radical fallenness — Does God create unbelief? — The divine initiative Watch & be fed from solid, biblical, God-centered theology.

what is it to be a MAN?

Biblical masculinity does not demand to be served but itself serves and sacrifices for the good of others . And, the call to lead is a call to repentance, humility, and risk taking. So, men, be men.

you can understand the BIBLE!

Here are some good quotes I've come across in my PhD exam preparation: "There is throughout the Bible a historical plot line and the teaching of basic truths that can be understood apart from detailed genre analysis and knowledge of literary structure [not to diminish these *important* disciplines, however]. Evangelicals must make sure to let Christians in their churches know that the Bible is a book that God has given, in one sense, directly to them. This can be done because God is not hiding from us, but has given us a Book in space and time that can be understood literally." —Michael Stallard "Literal interpretation can be synonymous with plain, natural, normal, historical, grammatical, straight-forward, and the face-value interpretation." You can read & understand the Bible. Read it, understand it, interpret it in its normal sense. For true believers, God's Spirit will guide His elect into the truth with diligent study and proper hermeneut

study science to study GOD.

From Richard Baxter as he comments on Ps 111:2 — Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all who delight in them: " To see God in his creatures, and to love him and converse with him, was the employment of man in his upright state. This is so far from ceasing to be our duty, that it is the work of Christ, by faith, to bring us back to it; and therefore the most holy men are the most excellent students of God's works; and none but the holy can rightly study or know them. Your studies of physics and other sciences are not worth a rush, if it be not God by them that you seek after. To see and admire, to reverence and adore, to love and delight in God appearing to us in his works, and purposely to peruse them for the knowledge of God; this is the true and only philosophy, and the contrary is mere foolery, and so called again and again by God himself ." (from Spurgeon, Treasury of David , 2/2:7)

come to the school of God.

Psalm 111 — Study Hard! 1. Begin your study with worship (1) The psalm begins with Hallelujah —an exclamation of praise—which commands the community to sing and praise the Lord (1a). The assembly and the congregation of upright people are beckoned to worship God (1b). Thus, all study of God must begin with worshiping God rightly. 2. Study the works of God (2-6) God is worthy of praise because the works of God are great (2a)! The works of God are sought/studied (דרשׁ) by all who delight in them. The followers of the Lord are to seek out with intense study the works of God. Enter the school of God and bathe in the bottomless ocean of God's sovereign and providential deeds! 3. Study the Word of God (7-9) All God's statutes are faithful (7b) and supported forever (8a). Indeed, God, in his great grace and with His sovereign word has sent redemption for His people—referring back to the Exodus (Ex 12-14). How holy and awesome is His Name! 4. Study with fear and o

men—date your wives.

Something I was reminded of again yesterday in my church planting class was the absolute necessity of making sure my wife is #1 in my life and that she knows that she is #1 in my life. Listen, I'm not perfect at this (not even sure if I'd be in the 'good' category) but we as men must continually work at being better husbands, leaders, lovers, and learners of our wives. HOW? 1. Spend time with them daily at a time when she wants to chat. 2. Serve them in ways around the home that will help & lighten her load. 3. Shepherd her in the Word of God as you read and study God's Word together. 4. Equip and train her with the principles and and issues to instill in the children. 5. Take her on a vacation where you hang out together and have fun together and do things together. 6. Do date night as often as possible. 1 Peter 3:7 — You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a w

marriage is a picture of the GOSPEL.

"In the home when a husband leads like Christ and a wife responds like the bride of Christ, there is a harmony and mutuality that is more beautiful and more satisfying than any pattern of marriage created by man. Biblical headship for the husband is the divine calling to take primary responsibility for Christlike, servant leadership, protection and provision in the home. Biblical submission for the wife is the divine calling to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts. This is the way of joy. For God loves his people and he loves his glory. And therefore when we follow his idea of marriage (sketched in texts like Gen 2:18-24; Prov 5:15-19; 31:10-31; Mark 10:2-12; Eph 5:21-33; Col 3:18-19; 1 Pet 3:1-7) we are most satisfied and he is most glorified.” (Piper, John. "A Vision for Biblical Complementarity: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible. " Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evang

how God encouraged me in ISRAEL.

How God encouraged me on Israel this trip (Of the many things I could write, I will limit it to only a few for the sake of time!) 1. In the Wilderness of Paran , where the Israelites wandered (Num 12:16), I meditated on Deuteronomy 8 and God reminded me of the simple but profound phrase in verse 2 that God has led His people in the wilderness all the way. 2. At the Upper Room , where Christ had his last Passover meal with His disciples the night before the cross, we arrived early in the morning and there were no other tour groups there and we had a great deal of time to carefully and slowly walk through the steps of Jesus and how he so carefully moved and timed everything—John 12-18:1. 3. One of the favorites for everyone on the trip was the Cove of the Sower which is a cove on the north edge of the Sea of Galilee in between Capernaum and Tabgha. I ran down to the shore (or as close as I could get) and I had everyone else scatter on the hillside up above (below and above

fix your eyes on JESUS.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

don't forget GOD.

Last night I preached Deut 8 at the rehab center and gave four pillars to stand on so you don't forget the LORD your God. You can listen here . Deuteronomy 8:1-2 "All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your forefathers. 2 "You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

does God draw you or drive you to prayer?

It has just occurred to me, that the reason why the Lord has of late allowed me to be so severely tried--is that I have been very little at His throne of grace. Nor have His promises appeared so precious, pleadable, and suited to my case. Jesus is determined to have me often at His throne, and if the invitations and promises of His Word will not draw me there--then He will send trials to drive me there! Blessed Jesus, are you not saying to me by every trial, "Call upon Me! Make use of Me! See what I will do for you!" What a proof of the deep depravity and base ingratitude of my heart is this--that You are obliged to send trials and troubles to bring me to Your feet! Yet it is so! For unless drawn by the cords of Your loving-kindness, or driven by painful trials--I seldom come to You with earnestness, fervor, and life! (from the diary of James Smith, 1862)

ponder this.

Luke 2:52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Καὶ Ἰησοῦς προέκοπτεν ἐν τῇ σοφίᾳ καὶ ἡλικίᾳ καὶ χάριτι παρὰ θεῷ καὶ ἀνθρώποις.) What an amazing thought to consider that Jesus—in the fullness of His humanness— grew in both wisdom & stature and in favor with both God & men. The word "grew" (προέκοπτεν) is in a Greek verbal form that brings the action to the forefront. There is some emphasis in the way the author, Luke, chooses to portray the action. Food for thought today. Your Savior had to grow in wisdom & stature just like you and I have to grow every day. Let's make today a special day where we grow with our eyes focused on Jesus (Heb 12:1-2).

some things I learned guiding this trip to Israel

[photo: Iron Age gate at Tel Dan; courtesy of BiblePlaces ] Here are a few things I learned in leading this, my fourth, trip to Israel. 1. Be passionate & excited and that will contagiously affect the tourists . Not that I have to confess that I am not passionate about going to Israel; I am! But I heard people say that because the guide enjoys the land so much and gets so excited over some 'rocks' and 'hills' (if you have been to Israel you know what I'm talking about), then it excites the travelers as well. 2. Be willing to say: " I don't know ." I'm not a professional tour guide. Nor do I claim to be. I have studied and I have lived in Israel but there are still (many!) things I just still don't know. And when folks ask questions that I don't know the answer to, it is better to confess my ignorance and say: "I don't know" rather than to pontificate on something I don't have any idea about and then be

prayer for preaching this week.

Pray for me as I prepare & preach this week: Sat, Aug 13th — Street preaching @ Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica Tues, Aug 16th — Preaching Deut 8 at the Bible Tabernacle Fri, Aug 19th — Street preaching @ Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica Thanks for your prayers!

a word of wisdom from my wife.

I returned from Israel yesterday and my wife asked me: " Honey, how was the trip?" I responded: "Great. It was very restful and a needed time of refreshment." Then she replied: " Interesting that you just finished leading an eleven day tour through the land of Israel and you found that restful. Interesting that your pace of life here is so busy that you found leading a trip to Israel restful." Point well taken & words of wisdom from my wife.

home from Israel

God richly blessed our trip to Israel. We had 11 fabulous days in Israel cramming dozens of sites in and then some (and some new ones for me!). I hope to post in the next few days some reflections on what God taught me on this trip. Thanks for your prayers.