Friday, October 31, 2008

ESV Study Bible Top 8

I have owned the ESV study Bible for about a week now and have really enjoyed several features of the new study tools. 

  1. The color maps and images are amazing. It is really fascinating to see what the layout of Jerusalem was at the time of Christ, or get a picture of the details of the temple. 

  2. The insightfulness of the notes has been fabulous. So far as well I have noticed the notes align themselves with the type of questions that I am asking about the text. 

  3. I really enjoy the readability of the English Standard Version itself. I am going to have to be careful with telling others how great it is because in the end it is just one version of many English versions that are well written. 

  4. The online feature is amazing for me on many levels that will take up the rest of the list.

  5. I love being able to highlight the text and have it saved online. You get six colors to highlight the text in and then you can print it with the highlights. 

  6. I love being able to download maps and images for presentations in sermons and messages. 

  7. The adding notes feature is okay. It is most useful for scribbling some quick notes for later thoughts. 

  8. Finally, I like the fact they are going to update their notes online as they gain better insight or find other issues that should really be addressed. 
If you would like to learn more about the ESV Study Bible, click here

Tithing 10%?

Getting Ready for a Sermon on Giving in the next few weeks. I thought these stats from were pretty good.

Scripture has a tremendous amount to say about money or material possessions. Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables of Jesus deal with money. One out of every ten verses in the New Testament deal with this subject. Scripture has 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but over 2,000 verses on the subject of money. Money is an extremely important issue because a person’s attitude toward it is so determinative of his relationship with God, on fulfilling his purpose in this life, and on his character.

So far I think the greatest thing that stands out to me is that giving 10% is kind of the easy way to go when you consider giving. The Old Testament standard is replaced in the New Testament. It is quite true that nowhere in the New Testament does it talk about the 10% tithe. However, for those who would like to pocket some extra money let's not get carried away. The New Testament in a sense is almost asking for more. As Christ has given all of who he is to restore all of who we are, we are called to give unto him all of who we are. The 10% offering has been exchanged for a higher rate and we are going to have to be more forthcoming in our thought process in regards to our giving. The Bible seems to stress the importance of the topic and we must stress it in our economic plan as well.


One of the painful experiences in my faith has been my wife and mine lack of ability to conceive. We have two precious boys that I love very much but there is always sadness about these things that linger like residue on an old window. Today I was made aware of an online book by John Piper that is going to be released next year. The book is entitled “This Momentary Marriage” (if you would like to read the book click here).

I was looking through the chapter list and saw chapter 11 titled ‘Marriage Is Meant for Making Children . . . Disciples of Jesus: How Absolute Is the Duty to Procreate?” I immediately turned to it and then read this passage.

Having Hundreds of Children

In Mark 10:29–30, Jesus says,

“Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Here Jesus shifts the absolute from having children biologically to having hundreds of children through the family of Christ and through spiritual influence. It might include adoption. It might include foster care. It might include making your home a place for backyard Bible clubs. It might include hospitality in a neighborhood where your home is every kid’s favorite place. It might include your nursery job or your care for your nieces and nephews or the Sunday School class you teach. The point is: Marriage is not absolutely for making children; but it is absolutely for making children followers of Jesus one way or the other, directly or indirectly.

I have known in my heart that God has blessed Adriane and I and he has a plan for us in the loss of having biological children, but I think I needed this chapter to help fill an intellectual gap in the whole process.

The Prodigal God

Tim Keller is coming out with a new book. He mentions on his site that his first book “The Reason for God” was for people who did not believe in the God of the Bible and that this second book “The Prodigal God” is written for believing Christians. If you would like to read more about Tim Keller’s thoughts about this book click here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stumbling Block

John Owens lost one family member on the average of every 3 years of his life. Only one of his eleven children survived him. He knows the pain of the cross and in times of pain throughout my life I find so much strength from his wise words about the faith and our struggle in it and with it.

From John Owens “Christologia”:

It is a great promise concerning the person of Christ, as he was to be given unto the church, (for he was a child born, a son given unto us, Isa. ix. 6,) that God would “lay him in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation,” whereon “he that believeth shall not make haste:” Isa. xxviii. 16. Yet was it also foretold concerning him, that this precious foundation should be “for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offence, to both the houses of Israel; for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;” so as that “many among them should stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken:” Isa. viii. 14, 15. According unto this promise and prediction it hath fallen out in all ages of the church; as the apostle Peter declares concerning the first of them. “Wherefore also,” saith he, “it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto ye therefore which believe, he is precious; but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed:” 1 Pet. ii. 6–8.

On Suffering

I recently read the second chapter of the book “Suffering and the Supremacy of God”. It is a collection of seminars given at the 2005 Desiring God conference. I specifically gained a great amount of strength from the second chapter of this book which opens up with the memoir of Elie Wiesel describing his time in a German concentration camp and how this destroyed his faith. Mark Talbot quoted Wiesel as follows:

In the beginning there was faith—which was childish; trust—which is vain; and illusion—which is dangerous. We believed in God, trusted in man, and lived with the illusion that every one of us has been entrusted with a sacred spark from the Shekhinah’s flame; that every one of us carries in his eyes and in his soul a reflection of God’s image.

I believe so many of us live with this understanding of God and man. We do not understand the quite dominate sense of sins ultimate destruction path. Even in men who try to pursue the Lord with all their might. Sin is a force with devastating effects for those that give it cause.

I believed that I could avoid the affects of sin if I simply lived a good life. Don’t get me wrong I believed that God would still make life “hard” and “difficult”, but I would avoid the “majors” (infertility, cancer, deep betrayal). I believed that these would fall to the wayside for me and mine because I was doing “it” right.

Instead in this chapter Mark Talbot turns us towards the idea that we have to embrace the truth that God created evil and uses evil for his purposes. We cannot accept anything less from a God we consider sovereign. When I read that part I stopped and needed a break. That hurt. However, it is starting to give me peace. I feel the transition in my heart. If you would like to read this article the book is online and you can go to it here. Look for Chapter 2.


I have shared this interview about Ted Bundy many times in talks, but am really excited about the online book called “Porn Again Christian” that Mark Driscoll is doing.

Check it out by clicking here! (not for the faint at heart)


Tim Keller in an interview:

“When revival breaks out through a recovery of the gospel, three things happen:

1. nominal church members realize they’d never been converted;
2. sleepy, lethargic Christians are energized and renewed;
3. outsider non-Christians are attracted into the beautified worship, community and lives of the converted and renewed church members.

That’s how it works. We need it.”