Sep 292012
 

O for a thousand tongues to sing
our great redeemer’s name;
To sing beyond ourselves, extravagantly,
with abandonment,
beyond our possibilities,
and all our fears,
and all our hopes…

to our redeemer dear, the antidote to death,
the salve to our wounds,
the resolve of our destructiveness…

A thousand, a million, a trillion tongues,
more than our own,
more than our tradition,
more than our theology,
more than our understanding,

tongues around us,
tongues among us,
tongues from our silenced parts.

Tongues from us to you in freedom and in courage,
Finally ceding our lives and our loves to your good care. Amen.

Walter Brueggemann

Sep 282012
 

There is a limit to the grace of God.

There is a line that His grace won’t cross.

There is a time when His grace is absent.

The line is today and the place is tomorrow.

I’m a sick man with a troubled child and a shaky job and terrors from tomorrow assault my faith continually.

I live in fear of the future and no balm from above comes to comfort me.

However, if I focus on today, there is mercy newly provided…tomorrows mercy awaits a new day and I cannot yet draw upon it.

There is grace available for the troubles of this day, not for next week or next year or next month.

To paraphrase Corrie Ten Boom, you only get the money for the ticket right before you get on the train.

Our Lord said;

““Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

(Matthew 6:34 ESV)

I say amen to the trouble part…

I write this this morning because I know that many of you are in the midst of serious trials.

Like me you are wholly dependent on the grace of God to survive them and you are awaiting positive answers to prayer for the provision needed…and you’ve been waiting a while now.

Tomorrow looks desperate…so don’t look.

Today is all we’ve been given, today there is enough hope and grace to get through.

Today.

Tomorrow isn’t even promised but if it comes a promise comes with it.

““Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

(Matthew 6:25–33 ESV)

Live fully in today, receive todays grace and mercy…and make your own application.

 

 

 

 

Sep 272012
 

One link only:

 

http://jimromenesko.com/2012/09/27/bryan-college-student-editor-shouldnt-have-written-about-professors-arrest/

The story of the professor himself is sad and horrible and separate from the reason I posted this link, though you are to discuss it as you wish.

What led me to post the link was the response of the student who is being quoted.

Any key phrases sound familiar?

Is this what evangelicalism, of whatever variety, is coming to?

 Posted by at 4:26 pm
Sep 272012
 

Original Sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born in this world, it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in the Greek, [phronema sarkos] which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh, is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe, yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.

I am a huge fan of “Total Depravity”. It was/is the first step in my personal theological revolution. I feel strongly about this article, as I do believe that there is no righteousness to be found in the heart of man. No one is righteous, no not one. All have sinned, and fallen short of the Glory of God. The heart is deceitful, and desperately wicked. No one seeks after God. I believe that without the proper understanding of sin, it becomes really hard to comprehend salvation.

You have to understand, I believe that I was raised Pelagian. There was always an emphasis on being about the Masters business, just in case he shows up… Chuck told the story countless times about how he was afraid to be found watching a movie when the Lord returned. I had been known to teach along these lines in my past. I have to say, I now believe this to be edging on heresy. The Synod of Carthage condemned this drivel almost  1500 years ago, and eventually, I have come to almost the same conclusion.

At any rate, go nuts! All points of view are welcome, especially those who disagree with this Article. I really appreciate the involvement in these threads.

 Posted by at 4:14 am
Sep 252012
 
  1. “We are all apologists”
  2. There are many things about Mr. Darwin’s legacy and contribution to science that I very much appreciate, but when absorbed into the fabric of our culture and society in unhealthy ways, not so much.
  3. The future of books: comments and conversations?
  4. So, how did second century Christians view Adam?
  5. …this is the sort of wonderful and profoundly Christ-like welcoming every church should offer her visitors.
  6. Brian McLaren presided over his son’s same-sex wedding.
  7. A movement set up to defend doesn’t do a good job of handling pilgrims who want to–need to–move off the beach blanket. This scenario leads to a problem for people like Haseltine: where do I go and what do I believe? That is the “middle space.”
  8. I have often wondered–quietly and usually to myself–what would happen if we could edit the Bible.
  9. The story many receive today is that either Genesis is right and science wrong, or science is right and Genesis is wrong. Watson contends that sells the story of their relationship short and misses out on big chunks of good thinking.
  10. If he wasn’t Anabaptist, he’d probably be an Anglican. (Website was down for maintenance when Linkathon part 1 went live)
 Posted by at 10:29 pm
Sep 252012
 

It seems that some atheists are in the midst of a 40 day prayer challenge in which they are daily asking God to reveal Himself to them and thus prove His existence.

The outcome is pretty predictable…God rarely allows Himself to be used as a lab experiment and according to Romans 1 He has already revealed Himself.

Still, I give the atheists credit for hitting vital spot, even if accidentally.

It has always seemed to me that prayer (and God’s responses to it) was the way relationship was created and maintained between ourselves and God.

As I have often written here, the absence of those answers has caused me no small amount of doubt and angst.

Yet, I believe…Lord help my unbelief.

We sure have a lot of folks right now who could use some direct divine intervention…

Those of you who watched Monday Night Football last night saw the worst officiated game in NFL history as the regular officials have been replaced by amateurs in a labor dispute with the NFL.

While football fans are justifiably outraged, this is the way of corporate America today.

Professional bankers, salespeople, managers, and others have been replaced by lower paid amateurs to increase corporate profit lines.

Your bank account is in the same hands as that football game was…

Tony Campolo has a new book coming out with Shane Claiborne advocating that we all become “red letter Christians” giving precedent to the words of Jesus over the rest of Scripture.

In honor of this I pulled some ecumenical red letter quotes for us to meditate on.

““Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

(Matthew 25:41 ESV)

“So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.””

(John 8:21 ESV)

“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.””

(John 8:44–47 ESV)

Have a good day…

 

 

Sep 242012
 

1. I think in all my years of ministry I’ve never seen so many struggling in so many ways. In addition to the economic and physical issues people are struggling with, the political and cultural divides are keeping people in a state of anger, despair, and confusion. We’ve never needed holy, biblical, pastoral leadership like we need it today…leadership that rises above sectarian and political matters to show the kingdom of God and it’s King at work in the lives of the people we’ve been entrusted to care for. We have been called to minister through a providentially difficult season in history and we have to step up to the challenge.

2. My hope is in God and not in any temporal leader. My job as a pastor is to give people reasons to hope with me…not reasons to be angry with temporal leaders or cultural trends.

3. I know a lot of people in need of direct divine intervention on what we would call a miraculous level. The question I always face when praying about these things is “do I really believe in that sort of divine intervention”?

4. After I recover from my operations I’m going to apply to be an NFL official. I couldn’t be any worse than what they’ve got now.

5. What we need in this country today on a secular level is a true news agency that isn’t beholden to any political position. You can’t have a true democracy without a true press. I’m convinced that none of us really know the truth about the issues that divide us, making it even more important that we cling to the truth we’ve been given in the Word.

6. God is for you, my friend… even in the most difficult of circumstances.

7. Build your faith in the light so you’ll be able to find it in the dark.

8. I haven’t read much new stuff lately…in times of trial I tend to fall back on those writings that formed the foundation of my faith. For me, that would be the writings of Packer and Calvin and Brown that taught me unshakable biblical truth. How about you?

9. I’ve said it before…the doctrine of the sovereignty of God in providence is the pillow I lay my head on. This is His world and all things come through His hand.

10. Here’s a new documentary about the Lakeland “revival” and that snake Bentley.

Sep 222012
 

You call and we have a vocation.
You send and we have an identity.
You accompany us and we are swept to
big purposes:
chosen race,
royal priesthood,
your own people,
receiving mercy.

But we, in our restlessness,
do not want to be so peculiar.

We would rather be like the others,
eager for their wealth,
their wisdom,
their power.
Eager to be like them, comfortable
beautiful
young
free.

We yearn to be like the others,
and you make us odd and peculiar and different.

Grant that we may find joy in our baptism,
freedom in our obedience,
delight in our vocation.

The same joy, freedom and delight
that so marked our Lord
whom we follow in oddness.

Walter Brueggemann

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