Sunday, November 9, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted some advice to the Pope - his 95 Thesis. What started as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church, quickly spread to become the Protestant Reformation.
While many things came from the reformation, one thing is (to me) the most important - That every believer can read, interpret, and apply the bible in their own lives - indeed, Christianity's Dangerous Idea
So this day, in the midst of costumes and candy, of things we do to distract our children from the paganism and commercialism that has overtaken a once religious holiday, may I suggest pointing to that day which is well worth remembering.
Martin Luther penned this hymn - seldom sung in our modern churches, but well worth remembering
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
The Nine Marks has a nice series on the church, with lesson six being on Fellowship. One of the interesting things is they do not talk about pot lucks, small groups, singing or any other action. All they focus on is Love.
Fellowship: Building a Bond of Unity
"Living as a Church"—Class 6
For the first few weeks of this class, we looked at some of the key building blocks of a healthy New Testament church. We explored the essential attributes of the church and considered how each of those fosters unity. We also thought about how we, as individual members, can promote unity.
Over the next two weeks, we turn to a different set of questions: How should church members relate to one another? What should their relationships look like? What does it mean to have healthy relationships in the church? Why should we care?
I. Love, and why it's important
So how should Christians relate to one another? What should characterize their relationships? The Bible actually has a lot to say about this, and the answer is pretty simple: Christians are to love.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Husbands, love your wives....
Since Jacob had fallen in love...
And live in love...
Now I will most gladly spend and be spent...
When they could not pay...
If there is not actual sacrifice involved, do you actually love?
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Neither the word adoration nor any of its forms is found in our familiar King James Bible, but the idea is there in full bloom. The great Bible saints were, above all, enraptured lovers of God. The psalms celebrate the love which David (and a few others) felt for the person of God. As suggested above, Paul admitted that the love of God was in his breast a kind of madness: For whether we be beside ourselves, it is of God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us (2 Cor. 5:13-14). In Weymouths translation the passage reads, For the love of Christ overmasters us. The idea appears to be that Pauls love for Christ carried him beyond himself and made him do extravagant things which to a mind untouched with the delights of such love might seem quite irrational. Perhaps the most serious charge that can be brought against modern Christians is that we are not sufficiently in love with Christ. The Christ of Fundamentalism is strong but hardly beautiful. It is rarely that we find anyone aglow with personal love for Christ. I trust it is not uncharitable to say that in my opinion a great deal of praise in conservative circles is perfunctory and forced, where it is not downright insincere.
I never thought of this in exactly this way - but I wonder if it is why I gravitated towards Chi Alpha in college as a new believer - they were a group that was completely in love with Christ, and we did many things that non-believers may well of thought of us out of our mind for. Far more than the other groups on campus (CC, Navs, etc) (which are all fine groups, fyi)
Monday, April 14, 2008
So said the Beatles. If they’d been singing about God’s love, the statement would have a grain of truth in it.
But what usually goes by the name love in popular culture is not authentic love at all; it’s a deadly fraud.
Far from being “all you need,” it’s something you desperately need to avoid.
The apostle Paul makes that very point in Ephesians 5:1-3. He writes, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.”
From Pastor MacArthur at Pulpit Magazine
Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling;
All thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation;
Enter every trembling heart.
Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit,
Into every troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit;
Let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
End of faith, as its Beginning,
Set our hearts at liberty.
Come, Almighty to deliver,
Let us all Thy life receive;
Suddenly return and never,
Never more Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
Pray and praise Thee without ceasing,
Glory in Thy perfect love.
Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.
Charles Wesley (via Cyberhymnal)
Friday, March 28, 2008
C.Micheal Patton has a great post on Chuck Swindoll. In it he says this about Grace:
It is a free gift that God offers in exchange for nothing other than a willing hand of reception. Broadly speaking God’s grace is seen in creation (He gave us life for free), in providential provision (He sustains the world for free), and in salvation (He offers to those who have turned against Him reconciliation for free). While other religions may have love, they do not have unconditional grace as the avenue for the expression of that love.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,And grace my fears reliev'd;How precious did that grace appear,The hour I first believ'd!
Thro' many dangers, toils and snares,I have already come;'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promis'd good to me,His word my hope secures;He will my shield and portion be,As long as life endures
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,And mortal life shall cease;I shall possess, within the vail,A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,The sun forbear to shine;But God, who call'd me here below,Will be for ever mine.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Over the years I’ve had to reflect on what made the churches I attended as a child and teenager so ineffective at evangelism. I have to be careful here because I know several people from the churches of my youth who read this site and I want to be careful that I accurately characterize these churches. While there are several reasons I could provide, and they are of varying importance, there is one that I believe stands at the foundation of the rest: These churches often regarded the unbeliever as the enemy. Of course the church would never have articulated that belief, but it seemed to be deeply rooted.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Biblical love cannot be separated from biblical righteousness. Christian love is drawn toward “right” and repulsed by “wrong.” It is attracted to and adheres to that which is “good,” abhorring and withdrawing from “evil.” Christian love is most certainly not “blind.” Biblical love distinguishes between good and evil, and then acts accordingly, cleaving to the good and avoiding the evil.
Christian love is something like a battery. There must be two poles for current to flow. There is a positive terminal and a negative terminal. In biblical thinking, “love” cannot be separated from “hate.” Love is a choice, a decision. It is a decision to choose one thing and to reject another. Jacob could not “love” both Leah and Rachel; he had to “love” one and to “hate” the other.53 So too we cannot serve two masters, for we will inevitably “love” one and “hate” the other (see Matthew 6:24).
Our love as Christians is to be both a response to God’s love and a reflection of His love. Our Lord’s love was a far cry from the hypocritical “love” of the scribes and Pharisees of His day. They spoke of good, but in practice they did what was evil. While our Lord’s love prompted Him to receive sinners, and to suffer and to die for their salvation, it also manifested itself in Jesus’ strong reaction to evil (see Matthew 20:12-17; 23:1-39). Jesus wanted no association with evil, and thus He even forbade the evil spirits to proclaim that He was the promised Messiah (see Mark 3:11-12).
There are Christians today who urge us to emphasize God’s love. This we should do. But if we are to proclaim God’s love, we must distinguish between good and evil. The love of God is that love which clings to the good and abhors the evil. The love of God cannot and does not overlook sin nor the judgment which it deserves and requires. If we would speak more of God’s love, we must speak more of good and of evil. Rebuke and discipline are not a violation of love but a manifestation of it. Love acts in accordance with righteousness. Bob Deffinbaugh