Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Hallow..errr REFORMATION DAY!

Here are four videos in celebration of the 493rd anniversary of the Protestant Reformation (two have been previously posted but still worth the watch).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Preaching Christ from the Old Testament

I'm mid-way through my preaching series through the Book of Jonah and I am loving it. My prayer is that my people will grow in their understanding of the sovereignty of God through this little book but I also hope they catch a vision for how to read the Old Testament as pointing to the Messiah. Jesus is all over the Book of Jonah! I do not mean that I believe Jonah's story to be a parable or a point-for-point allegory of Christ. Actually I'm convinced every note of this story is historical just as it is written-- big fish and all! I'm also convinced that Jonah was read and understood in his time. Those ancient Jews were taught the Word of God before the New Testament came in.

However we should now see that Jonah does point to Jesus-- a new and better Jonah! Not only to Jesus draw this line (Matthew 12:39-40) but He taught His disciples that the Old Testament should all be read as a Messianic book (Luke 24:27, 44-46). We are given a great example of Philip, that early deacon putting this hermeneutic into practice in Acts 8:35, "Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture [Isaiah 53] he preached Jesus to him [the Ethiopian official]." Preaching Jesus from the Old Testament does not mean contorting historical events into parables about Jesus but means seeing the typology and how all of Scripture points to the King of Kings.

For more and better insight into this subject Justin Taylor has helpfully linked to Sinclair Ferguson's lectures on 'Preaching Christ' and HERE is the lecture on "Preaching Christ from the Old Testament".

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Hodge-Podge

Monday, October 25, 2010

Video Monday- Al Mohler on Reading

I guess there's some humor in watching a video about reading but this is a helpful word by the Michael Jordan of reading, Dr. Albert Mohler of Southern Seminary.

HT: Challies

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dead Theologians

I have grown to love reading classic theological writers and have always loved history. For most people older writers and historical study is difficult or drudgery. Let me encourage you that reading men like Jonathan Edwards, Martin Luther, John Calvin, or John Owen is tremendously rewarding and worth the effort. We don't mind putting in the work to tone our abs, to make a few more bucks at work, or to play sports. We do it because of the pay-off. Well reading history and reading these time-tested men of God is definitely worth the pay-off. In fact, the more you read, the more accessible and applicable you'll find these resources.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Multi-site Mania

How many times have you heard the slogan "one church, two locations" or some variant? I think some of the churches using this slogan actually think they are original and creative. This multi-site trend is concerning to me for a number of reasons but I'm trying to remaind open-minded. Some employ the multi-site model as a means for church planting. Share resources, train leaders, and eventually launch them off. Others seem to have other motives. I'm especially perplexed when a church starts a second campus in a community that already has Biblical churches instead of just sharing resources with those churches.
  • Here is a BLOG POST that questions the practicality of such giga-churches.
  • The Gospel Coalition guys have POSTED a helpful resource of links to many different perspectives on the multi-site trend.

Friday, October 22, 2010

On Disciple-making at Home

Let me begin by first saying that the church is God's "program" for evangelism and discipleship. To be a Christian is to be a member of the Lord's church and the word "church" by original definition means "official assembly" or "congregation". So if you are part of the CHURCH you assemble locally with a church. I say that briefly to say that discipleship at home or worship as a family does not replace the accountability and fellowship a believer should commit to in a local church.

Now to the home, the Bible is clear that parents- particularly fathers- have a responsibility to bring the gospel to bear in their children's lives (not to mention each spouse's responsibility to do the same toward each other). Paul' s commands to the church in Ephesians 6:1-4 and Colossians 3:18-21 particularly remind us that the Christian home should exemplify the gospel. Sunday School teachers and youth ministers may provide help and accountability to come alongside the parents but are not a replacement for Christian parents sharing Scripture with their children.

I know this can be intimidating to some parents but if you treasure God's Word and love your children you will make this a matter of importance and for improvement. Keep it simple for starters. Have a set and protected time when your family prays together. Set apart time to read Scripture together. My eleven-month old has little understanding of what we're saying but before bed we huddle up and I pray for our family. When I read Scripture to him I realize he isn't getting much from it yet but it is great practice and discipline for me! As your kids grow (or even if its just you and your wife) discuss the sermon from Sunday or read the sermon text for the upcoming Sunday. Think about ways to "put it into practice". Remember above all the principle of Isaiah 55:11- God's Word will not return empty!

Here are some helpful links:

Is your Youth Group accomplishing anything? (Dustin Nickerson/ Resurgence Blog)

The Centrality of the Home (sermon by Voddie Baucham)

The Family: Together in God's Presence (John Piper on families worshipping together)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What a Blessing!

We've officially entered the mini-van world! Blair and I were determined holdouts. We're too young for a mini-van! We're too hip for a mini-van! These were the silly things we convinced ourselves (for the record my wife is still young and hip) until we finally realized this was the best fit for our present family and for our future hopes for more children (not to mention two dogs). The Lord took us from concession to really loving what He provided and boy oh boy did he provide!

This week we traded in our Jeep and all its $$ baggage for a used Toyota Sienna. On reflection we got a safer, bigger, and higher quality vehicle for lower monthly payments (and a quicker pay-off). I couldn't imagine we would come out so much ahead in so many ways. The Lord blew us away in how He met so many needs and we are so thankful... not to mention young, hip mini-van drivers!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fan the Flame

Thus far one of the best books I've read this year is The Unquenchable Flame by Michael Reeves. If you only have time to read one book, read the Bible. If you have time to read two books, read more Bible. If you can squeeze a third in read Reeves' highly accessible and winsome introduction to the history of the Reformation. I heartily agree with Mark Dever who wrote the foreward that this book is "The best brief introduction to the Reformation I have read."

Follow THIS LINK to view the website for the book that has gobs of resources to read and listen to for further study of the subjects addressed in this book. Below is an excerpt from the book (which comes in under 200 pages) that addresses "How to reform a church" (pgs. 56-57):

"Luther... instead of using force to reform, sought to persuade people with the Scriptures through simple, clear preaching. He believed that the word of God must first convince people, and then the rotten old structures would collapse. It was exactly what he had stood for before the emperor, that it is the Scriptures that must drive and dictate thought and practice. As a result, Luther never believed that he should devise any great programme for spreading the Reformation. He simply wanted to unleash the word of God, and let that do all the work."