Sep 212012
 

My email is full of multiple announcements of it’s arrival.

The iPhone 5 is here.

“The wait is over” say the ads.

I haven’t been waiting.

My old phone is in pristine condition and I can’t afford to replace it with something slightly thinner, slightly taller, and with a few more features, some of which are reported to actually work.

Still, as I go to work this morning there will be lines of people lining up outside the carriers stores to make sure that they are among the first to have the new symbol of everything cool.

Many will be disappointed as I already know that inventory on the magic device is “constrained’…they will leave still carrying the magic device they spent hundreds on last year.

They will leave the stores empty handed and quite probably angry, having believed the cultural and corporate message that they have been denied something they both need and want.

Those that actually are able to buy the device will be thrilled for a few days, then begin to pine for the next round of magical devices to come in a year or so.

This morning I got something I both needed and wanted…for free.

Mercy.

I was also reminded of receiving other things I need and want…

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insightmaking known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christas a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,to the praise of his glory.”

(Ephesians 1:3–14 ESV)

There was no line and no charge as Someone had already purchased it for me.

You’d think there would be a line where you can get this stuff for free…you’d think.

Maybe we need better advertising.

Make your own application…

 

Sep 202012
 

The Three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius’s Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles’ Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.
Maybe for fun, we could discuss this one as well. Specifically Decree 10. If I am wrong about this, and I could be, this is the standard Orthodox creed in long form. Xenia can help with this?
Is there a particular creed that you defend? Is there something of these creeds that does not align with your tradition?
As always, feel free to go wherever you would like with this, so long as it has nothing to do with the Dodgers.
 Posted by at 4:01 am
Sep 192012
 

In which you probably thought people would be arguing over Mitt Romney, not Jesus’s wife.

Wait…what? Jesus had a wife?…can’t be true. Never heard any preacher say that on TV.

Thankfully (because The Reformed are always thankful about something), the Gospel Coalition is here to set us straight.

Or CNN. Or The Guardian. Or a bunch of people from whatever political and/or theological angle you prefer.

On an unrelated note, some might say this is the pot calling the kettle black.

If this was an Acts29/Mars Hill/SBC/Sovereign Grace blog, Michael may have written this article months ago. And this one.

Here’s something Al, CeeJay and Marky Mark may not be very enthusiastic about: renewable church membership.

Do you care what is on Rob Bell’s reading list? No?

Good news: if there’s ever a nuclear exchange, your beer will be safe.

More good news, in case humanity ever figures out warp drive and your descendants go on a five-year mission: someone’s already thinking ahead about religion.

Fred Clark asks “what is the deal” with Christians and pyramid schemes?

Al Mohler sets us straight: we can never leave our churches except for “theological error”.

Roger Olson talks about persecution and martyrdom.

Download over 800 classic tracts and books…

 Posted by at 6:47 pm
Sep 162012
 

1. By now, we’ve established that I’m more “liberal” than the average evangelical. I’m all for tolerance and focusing on being an “ambassador for Christ”. Having said that, I’m also a biblicist and amatuer historian. Biblically and historically, if you really think that you can co exist peacefully with the Muslim worldview, you know little about history or theology. That’s simply a fact and no amount of post modern good intentions will change the medieval desire of Islam to dominate the world through any means necessary. How we deal with that reality is open for discussion, the reality of the situation really isn’t.

2. I never noticed this before…the fruit of the Spirit is a singular, not a plural. In other words, you get it all or you get none of it.

3. While we are justifiably outraged over the loss of American lives overseas, our neighbor to the south has lost a 100,000 lives in the last five years, close to a hundred in the last week. Our neighbor…

4. Jesus is ruling and reigning and working through His church and I want to be too busy in that work to be distracted by temporal political conflicts with my brethren.

5. If watching a particular television program or movie caused you to stumble and sin, you would not watch it. The same should be true if watching the news causes the same issues.

6. God sends us particular voices at particular times to reorient our thinking and theology. N.T. Wright is one those voices for our time.

7. The National Hockey League has locked out its players. Mike Macon and I care.

8. Mark Driscoll has some serious issues with his teachings and attitudes about women. Someone who has access to the theologians and theological resources that he does has to be willfully and deliberately twisting the Scriptures to suit his own prejudices and conceptions. Who can hold him accountable? Nobody….except the people who support his ministry. Will they?

9. I watched a few minutes of the Epicenter Conference from Calvary Albuquerque the other night. While that was painful enough, my conclusion after much thought is more so.Let me say it publicly, mark my words. The future leader of the Calvary Chapel movement will be Skip Heitzig.

10. Thank you all for your prayers and kindness, not only through my illness, but over the years. I am deeply impressed again with the holy responsibility that those of us that speak for God have and how accountable we will will be held for the grace we’ve been given. God bless you all.

Sep 152012
 

We begin the new week toward you,

from whom no secret can be hid.
We have had a night,
a weekend,
and a lifetime of secrets.

We have stored the usual list of secrets,
of acres of guilt unforgiven,
of desires too rich to utter.

Beyond that, we have a secret list of hurts,
from ancient days with parents and siblings,
from assorted bullies at playschool
and in adult life;
some of us overly sensitive,
all of us grown protective
and capable of self-pity

Beyond that, we have a secret list of hopes,
some selfish and some noble,
hopes of new freedom and new reconciliation,
of new security and new recognition,
of doing well and being well.

We have so much to keep hidden.
And you know –
you know because you made us and have watched us from the beginning;
you know because you see us in our waking and our sleeping;
you know because you love us right through, beyond all our covert capacity.

And we yearn to be known – fully, without reserve by you;
So we ask on this day,
courage to match your love,
honesty to match your generosity,
self-awareness to speak into our awareness of us.

That by the time the sun sets,
we will have rent the curtain of our lives,
and let you into the center of it all,
there to abide in holy forgiveness.

We pray through your spirit of all truth
that our truth opened to your mercy may make us free.

Walter Brueggemann

Sep 142012
 

I am an addict.

A blood bought, Bible preaching, Spirit filled, born again, addict.

Despite walking through the valley of the shadow too many times due to my addiction, I’m still an addict.

 

Despite my theology, my intentions, my heart, and my devotion to God and family, I’m an addict.

Despite full knowledge of the dire consequences of my addiction, I’m an addict.

Despite being in every kind of pain you can fathom, I’m an addict.

I’m addicted to nicotine and it will kill me sooner or later.

I’m sharing this for two reasons.

I covet your prayers for the power of God to break this addiction.

That’s #1 and I make no pretense about it.

The second reason is that perhaps by sharing my own weakness..by being honest to God and to you, someone else will feel emboldened to speak the truth about themselves and get the help they need.

Whether your addiction is as mine or your addiction is something no one can see, we’re here to deal with it together and in love.

God isn’t finished with us yet…

Thanks for praying…I’ll keep you posted.

Sep 142012
 

It was an important milestone in my recovery, a big deal to me emotionally.

I had driven the few blocks to the convenience store by myself and I was going in for an ice cold Mexican Coca Cola to celebrate.

My daily visit to this little store was part of my life routine and being able to drive there by myself and buy something meant life was going to be normal again after my surgeries.

My strength was small and my gait slow and deliberate…it took a lot to get out of the truck, more to inch my way to the back of the store where the bottles of bliss are shelved.

I made it though, and began to shuffle toward the cash registers with my frosty treasure in hand.

About half way up the aisle I was more than a little disturbed to see the clerks in emotional distress…one was unable to control her sobbing, the other seemingly unable and unwilling to look my direction.

“I can’t stand to see you this way”, the crying one almost shouted.

I was…stunned.

They didn’t ‘know” me.

They didn’t go to my church.

They had never read my book.

They had never read my blog.

I had never given them anything, counseled them through anything, never done anything except shop for a few minutes everyday.

Yet, I mattered.

A lot.

This confused me, as I have always expected to be loved according to the measure of what I could do or had already done.

Thus, I have spent my life focusing on doing, rather than being.

I have worked myself to exhaustion and illness to “do” in order to feel worthy of love and acceptance.

Sometimes, I have even believed that what I have done should entitle me to be less responsible for what I am…

What a shock to find that my role as “customer” had trumped ‘pastor”, writer”, “blogger’, etc.

What a shock to find that some had accepted me for who I was rather than anything I’ve done…that the mundane living out of my daily life had more impact than any of my works.

What a shock to find that who I am really is more important than what I do.

That’s almost biblical…

Make your own application…

Sep 132012
 

THE Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and man. Wherefore there are not to be heard which feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the law given from God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet, notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral. 

I like this one.

Feel free to go nuts!

 Posted by at 4:18 am
Sep 112012
 

I’m a little under the weather at the moment, so here’s part 1. I plan to post part 2 in a day or so.

  1. The Sinner’s Prayer is “a work of genius”.
  2. Have Lucifer on your prayer chain?
  3. Who is Esther? Who is she not?
  4. Genesis after Darwin.
  5. why u no pray wit me hubby? 🙁
  6. The “sexiness” of guilt and community.
 Posted by at 9:12 pm
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