Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What is the problem?

Let me put this in another way. Sometimes you hear this phrase said: “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” I know what they are getting at when they say that. But the point I want to bring across is that to err is not human, to err is fallen. To err is fallen. We are not being quintessentially human when we make mistakes. Mistakes is an overused word. We are not being quintessentially human when we sin, we are being quintessentially fallen. If sin is of the essence of humanness, not only does that raise real problems for God’s original creation, but it makes me wonder what heaven is going to be like. Sin does not make me more human. It makes me less human. It is not how God originally created me. And to say, “Man’s basic problem resides in the fact that he is finite and God is infinite and this chasm cannot be crossed, we cannot even conceive Him because he is so majestic, so infinite and we are so finite,” is to miss the whole point of Genesis 3. And Barthian theology over and over confuses finiteness and sin. Again, I think I could argue the case. Barth’s problem was not with sin; it was with man. He basically says, “You know what your problem is? Your problem is that you’re not God. Your problem is that you are not infinite.” And that is not the problem the Bible says that we have. Adam was finite. God did not mock him for that. The problem was that Adam rebelled. Sin is the problem. Rebellion is the problem. Not finiteness. We are going to be finite in glory. ~ Ligon Duncan

Sunday, February 22, 2009

On Forgiveness

To sum this up: when we are unjustly wounded by men, let us overlook their wickedness (which would but worsen our pain and sharpen our minds to revenge), remember to mount up to God, and learn to believe for certain that whatever our enemy has wickedly committed against us was permitted and sent by God's just dispensation.

Paul, to restrain us from retaliation for injuries, wisely points out that our struggle "is not with flesh and blood" [Eph. 6:12], but with our spiritual enemy the devil [Eph. 6:11], in order that we may prepare ourselves for the combat. Yet a most useful admonition to still all impulses to wrath is that God arms both the devil and all the wicked for the conflict, and sits as a judge of the games to exercise our patience.

~ John Calvin

Saturday, February 21, 2009

They have a zeal for God, but not according to the Knowledge

Romans 10:2

When Paul wrote these words he was speaking of the Jews in the Nation of Israel. This was the group of people who had the "best knowledge" about God in the world. Romans 9:4-5 talks about all that God had given them and it is an impressive listing:

4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong l the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

Today the modern day Christian has the best access to the word of God. How are we doing? There is plenty of zeal (passionate ardor in the pursuit of anything). The real question to me is what is the pursuit of our heart because if it is not Jesus, completely Jesus then we need to examine ourselves.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Don't Waste Your Time

Now it is very clear what our duty is: thus, if the Lord has committed to us the protection of our life, our duty is to protect it; if he offers helps, to use them; if he forewarns us of dangers, not to plunge headlong; if he makes remedies available, not to neglect them. ~ John Calvin, Section: 1.17.4 of The Institutes of The Christian Religion

I remember early in my youth ministry career going to a conference and being given the charge to watch more MTV. It will be good for me to inundate my mind with the culture so I can identify with kids. I bought into it, I immersed myself in the culture of youth, but a nagging problem began to enter my mind. If I engage with the culture and surround myself with it, how do I go about the process of telling others not to engage with it? Furthermore, if I want to teach them how to disciple and mentor do I tell them at a certain point to jump back into the ills of culture so they can understand and relate to those whom they are ministering?

I reflected on this while reading the daily Institutes reading from the Princeton Seminary. Calvin reflects upon Matthew 10:29-31:

Whence Christ, when he declared that not even a tiny sparrow of little worth falls to earth without the Father's will [Matt. 10:29], immediately applies it in this way: that since we are of greater value than sparrows, we ought to realize that God watches over us with all the closer care [Matt. 10:31]; and he extends it so far that we may trust that the hairs of our head are numbered [Matt. 10:30].

I think we need to seek a little deeper inside of ourselves when it comes to the question of relating to others. The relational connection between others and ourselves is that we are made in the image of God, not that we are ruined by sin. We want to teach others to identify with their identity in Christ, not their identity in sin. This is the reflection that we need to ponder in our ministry towards others is how to call people back towards their natural state of being a reflection of the one true God.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bill Clinton is Reformed

Embedded video from CNN Video

We are just racking them up these days. John Calvin is alive well and winning the hearts of presidents everywhere.

Is Smoking a Sin?

Great Post from Tim Challis today.

Click Here

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mark Driscoll is one savvy dude

The Stimulus Package

Here is the breakdown

Ministry is a Mixed Bag

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Obama's Testimony: He is Reformed?

"I was not raised in a particularly religious household. I had a father who was born a Muslim but became an atheist, grandparents who were non-practicing Methodists and Baptists, and a mother who was skeptical of organized religion, even as she was the kindest, most spiritual person I’ve ever known. She was the one who taught me as a child to love, and to understand, and to do unto others as I would want done.

I didn’t become a Christian until many years later, when I moved to the South Side of Chicago after college. It happened not because of indoctrination or a sudden revelation, but because I spent month after month working with church folks who simply wanted to help neighbors who were down on their luck – no matter what they looked like, or where they came from, or who they prayed to. It was on those streets, in those neighborhoods, that I first heard God’s spirit beckon me. It was there that I felt called to a higher purpose – His purpose. " ~ Obama

I am not sure if this is an excerpt or his entire thought, but I am not sure I understand what he means by God's Spirit. Is this the Holy Spirit calling him? Is Barack Obama reformed?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

California is a Green State, a light Green.

Role Model

I was reading ESPN website over the weekend when the Michael Phelps story hit. I read the story and no shocking news other than he was smoking pot. Then I started to read the comments and was interested in reading so many people defending him, as a matter of fact I never got to one negative comment in my reading (gave up after about 40).

Most of the comments ran along the lines of "boys will be boys", "it should be legalized anyways", and "he should be allowed to do what he wants to do". I find myself agreeing with all of these things as an American, but am really sad for him as a Christian. I guess I see so many of these guys who work so hard at their sport and really hope they understand that it is God who gave them this ability and talent. I suppose I should not really assume this, and probably should assume little to nothing.

I think stories like this are a reminder to me that I need to be the role model for my boys in all of life. I also need to remember that I am going to fail them at one point or another and in this way I need to remind them that God is our ultimate role model.

What is a role model anyways? It is someone or something that we model our lives after, it is one in our image that we hope to imitate in one form or another. I remember when my wife was sick she received many books about people who had overcome the illness themselves and they were to offer inspiration, and some of them did.

The reality for us as Christians however is that we are all called to one role model. The one role model who made us in his image in the first place. The one who created us uniquely in our mothers womb. This is the one whom we must seek after in the end to model our lives because he is the only true example of what we are meant to become.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What are the Questions?

I have always living in California since the day I was born. I love California and I love Californians. I like the diversity of our state and how people choose to enjoy its riches. I think California is a creative place with many wonderful opportunities to express this creativity. I sometimes believe that heaven is going to be a lot like California in many respects, and provide a little bit of everything.

The beauty of California has served to created a unique person on the planet. Our questions to the world are different. In some ways we are ahead of our time and the rest of the country looks to California for what next funky new wild idea we have come up with. These ideas cover all categories in recreation, technology, science, education, fashion, and even religion.

California asks tough questions and are not satisfied with simple answers to those questions. Californians challenge the intellect and stimulate conversation. We like to investigate the truths of the world and fight for the answers. As a Christian wanting to provide answers it makes for a very stimulating and complicated environment.

Praise God for California and God help us in California.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Not Too Many More Eternal Things Than Times With My Boys.

Posted with LifeCast

The Bible, Not What it Seems.

I had a Bible study recently and one of the guys shared with us that he is reading through the Bible and is currently in the Old Testament. He has heard a lot about the guys in the Old Testament, but never has gone through the stories one after another. He was dismayed at how bad they really were, he thought they were all suppose to be Godly men who didn't do wrong things.

It led to an awesome conversation about the nature of man and how the Bible is displaying how God can use typical men and women for his glory. There really is nobody on display in the Bible who should be exalted all that much except for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Everyone else fails at one one point or another which is so real. We can identify with anyone in the Bible because they are just like us, a bunch of people wanting to please God, but at the same time being overcome by our pride, selfishness, and lack of ability to understand all the God is trying to do.

I appreciate the guys in my Bible study, because they remind me of what the Bible is all about.

Sunday, February 1, 2009