Jun 232013
 

thumbnail.aspx_“Kingdoms rage … and we are called

Kingdoms rage;

empires tremble;

cities totter.

You speak assurance;

You designate human agents;

You say, “This is my beloved son”;

 

You say, “This is my anointed.”

Right in the middle of chaos,

you designate human agents who do your will.

And we are not sure:

We would rather it were you,

directly

straight on and visible.

But you stay hidden in your holy spendor,

and we are left with human agents

about whom we are never sure.

So we name Jesus, “son of David”;

so human and frail, even if kicked upstairs;

so vulnerable, even if transformed in song and creed.

And then, in a flash, it may dawn on us:

You call and designate people like us, your agents.

Kingdoms we rage … and we are called.

Empires tremble … and we are designated.

Cities totter … and we are summoned …

like the first David, like the second David …

us, vulnerable, frail, anxious, your people.

And we are dazzled. Amen.”

Walter Brueggemann
Jun 212013
 

the_cross_by_skyburner2001Why doesn’t God do something?

The answer is two fold, He has and He will.

The cross of Christ has become so familiar a symbol that it’s true worth has been diminished.

 

At the cross, God didn’t send a book or a messenger to address our plight, He came Himself.

J.I. Packer  summarizes that work as follows;

  • (1) God, in Denney’s phrase, ‘condones nothing’, but judges all sin as it deserves: which Scripture affirms, and my conscience confirms, to be right.
  • (2) My sins merit ultimate penal suffering and rejection from God’s presence (conscience also confirms this), and nothing I do can blot them out.
  • (3) The penalty due to me for my sins, whatever it was, was paid for me by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in his death on the cross.
  • (4) Because this is so, I through faith in him am made ‘the righteousness of God in him’, i.e. I am justified; pardon, acceptance and sonship become mine.
  • (5) Christ’s death for me is my sole ground of hope before God. ‘If he fulfilled not justice, I must; if he underwent not wrath, I must to eternity.’ 
  • (6) My faith in Christ is God’s own gift to me, given in virtue of Christ’s death for me: i.e. the cross procured it.
  • (7) Christ’s death for me guarantees my preservation to glory.
  • (8) Christ’s death for me is the measure and pledge of the love of the Father and the Son to me.
  • (9) Christ’s death for me calls and constrains me to trust, to worship, to love and to serve.

Our problem is not first and foremost that we have been sinned against, it is that we are sinners ourselves and have sinned against a holy God and deserve that judgment that we judge others with.

Jesus did something…He came Himself and became one of us…and paid for our sins.

Martin Luther wrote;

‘All the prophets did foresee in spirit, that Christ should become the greatest transgressor, murderer, adulterer, thief, rebel, blasphemer, etc., that ever was . . . for he being made a sacrifice, for the sins of the whole world, is not now an innocent person and without sins . . . our most merciful Father . . . sent his only Son into the world and laid upon him the sins of all men, saying: Be thou Peter that denier; Paul that persecutor, blasphemer and cruel oppressor; David that adulterer; that sinner which did eat the apple in Paradise; that thief which hanged upon the cross; and, briefly, be thou the person which hath committed the sins of all men; see therefore that thou pay and satisfy for them. Here now cometh the law and saith: I find him a sinner . . . therefore let him die upon the cross”.

Jesus came once Himself…and He ‘s coming again.

God “did something” and is “doing something”…His kingdom has come and is coming, someday soon it will arrive with Him in it’s fullness.

“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.” (Hebrews 10:12–13 ESV)

The King is coming…and all His enemies will be defeated.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.””

(Revelation 21:1–8 ESV)

We are called to perseverance and endurance…one does not “endure” good times and blessings.

We persevere in the face of trial and many tribulations…we were promised these things.

By faith we hold to the promises of a day when they are no more.

Our faith is not in vain.

Persevere, my friends…He’s not finished yet.

 

 

 

Jun 212013
 

The Presbyterian Church in America’s General Assembly sent a proposed resolution on child abuse back to committee “to be worked on in the coming year”.

In other words, there will not be a resolution on protecting children from this denomination this year.

The proposed resolutions can be read here and here.

Stock in the millstone industry is up today in higher trading.

Jun 212013
 

This probably isn’t going to end well.

Our martial arts instructor is highly skilled in his field.

He is well educated in his tradition and able to teach.

He is a strong, charismatic personality and an able communicator.

His authority in the dojo during times of training is unquestioned and earned.

Unfortunately, he wants to extend his authority beyond the boundaries of the class.

He believes certain foods are to be consumed and certain ones avoided…a normal thing for those who coach athletic activity.

When his beliefs are challenged, when an exhausted parent dares go to Wendy’s, recriminations are loud and harsh.

He wants everyone to work toward “elite” status and compete in tournaments in distant cities.

Some…most…families cannot afford those expensive trips.

Those folks parenting skills and devotion to their children is questioned.

If they really cared, they’d find a way to come up with the money.

The martial arts classes are to be the focus of the student and the family with school and work being the only higher priorities.

People are afraid to speak of a family vacation that will have them absent for a few days.

Changes are coming he says with a hint of a threat…sloppy devotion will no longer be tolerated.

His ways will be followed inside and outside of class and money will be found to support his goals…or else.

Your worth inside those walls will be based on your compliance.

There is much turnover in the school…but as one goes out the backdoor, one comes in the front.

He’s a really good teacher…

We as a family choose to honor and respect him within his area of authority…and set limits on where that authority begins and ends.

My son wants to know why I’m not intimidated by the master and the potential of inciting his wrath.

I’ve been in this church before.

Make your own application…

Jun 202013
 

Compare it to the first one…any rebuke of certain celebrities among the Reformed has disappeared.

This is the first draft…if they cut anymore they might as well forget it.

The Overtures Committee recommends the Assembly answer the Sloan Resolution by

(1) adopting the following statement, and (2) directing the Stated Clerk to distribute it to

Presbyteries and Sessions.

Statement on Child Sexual Abuse

WHEREAS our Lord Jesus said: “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such

belongs the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:14, ESV); and

WHEREAS the Lord Jesus, who possesses all power and authority in heaven and on earth,

taught and demonstrated in his humiliation, that power is rightly exercised to serve others,

protect the weak, and speak for the oppressed (Mark 10:42-45); and

WHEREAS a silent epidemic of child abuse exists in our culture wherein 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6

boys are sexually abused before their eighteenth birthday (Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention, 2006), with 95% of victims being violated by someone they know and trust

(Darkness2Light.org);

Therefore, be it

RESOLVED that we remind ourselves and our churches that Larger Catechism 129 and 130

make clear the responsibilities of “superiors” (e.g. church leaders) to love, care for, and protect

“inferiors” (e.g. children); and be it further

RESOLVED that we urge all church officers to take an active stance toward preventing and

rooting out child sexual abuse in the church by leading their churches to study, implement, and

maintain child protection policies; and be it further

RESOLVED that we exhort all church officers to use their power for the protection of our

children, by any and all godly means, including speaking boldly about the heinous sin of child

sexual abuse in our time; and be it finally

RESOLVED that the 41st General Assembly urge all members of the PCA to renew our

commitment to our Lord Jesus to love our children as he loves them, for to such belongs the

Kingdom of God (Mark 10:14).

Jun 202013
 

anglicanTHE riches and goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession of the same, as certain Anabaptists do falsely boast; notwithstanding every man ought of such things as he possesseth liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability. 

Here is something I used to be “Anabaptist” about. I believed for a time that Christian living was communal living, if done properly. I believed that all Christians ought to be working for the common good of fellow Christians. The communes of early CC days were utopian days for sure. I don’t quite know how that got planted in my head, but it stuck for a great many years. Of course, I did not like the idea, but I figured it was correct. When I was much younger, I figured I did not even need a job. God would provide miraculously every day, and I could just serve people. That worked for a short while, until the people I was living with told me to get a job or get out.

There are churches that require that you report your gross income to the bean counters. 10% would be monitored to the strictest standards. I don’t understand that at all. There are times when I can do above 10%, and times I can barely scrape together $20. But I never understood the idea that 10% tithe carried over to the NT Church, when all the other requirements stopped. To me, it is kind of like speaking in tongues. You must also get bit by snakes and heal the sick. Right?

Anyway, second to the last article, so have fun!

 Posted by at 3:35 am
Jun 192013
 

links_image1Multi-site is the new normal

Things Rachel Held Evans wishes more pastors would say…with the underlying assumption that most of us never say these things…

Most Americans ok with NSA spying…will welcome the beast.

 

Ten reasons why good Christians go bad

The new legalism....

Evidently, the new lingo is “marriage equality”…

Another reason why I ignore John MacArthur…

Why they left God…

Sidelining the stigma of mental illness…

More on mental illness and the church…

Excellent read…the politicized life is destroying society. HT to Mr. Murphy. 🙂

Ergun Caner is a piece of work…

Jun 182013
 

Pretty much anything made by the most wonderful red-head (aside from my wife) in the world. Especially Star Crunch and Swiss Cake Rolls. Yours? images

 Posted by at 8:15 pm
Jun 182013
 

Personal Resolution on Child Sexual Abuse

Proposed to the 41st General Assembly in Greenville, South Carolina

By TE Mike Sloan, Georgia Foothills Presbytery

WHEREAS our Lord Jesus demonstrated his righteous anger at his disciples, rebuking those who would do anything to prevent covenant children from coming unto him, saying “to such belongs the Kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14); and

 

WHEREAS the Lord Jesus, who possesses all power and authority in heaven and on earth, taught and demonstrated in his humiliation, that power is rightly exercised to serve others, protect the weak, and speak for the oppressed (Mark 10:42-45, Exodus 22:21-24, Deuteronomy 10:17-19, Proverbs 31:1-9); and

 

WHEREAS a silent epidemic of child abuse exists in our culture wherein 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their eighteenth birthday (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006), including girls and boys who attend PCA churches, with 95% of victims being violated by someone they know and trust (Darkness2Light.org); and

 

WHEREAS child sexual abuse thrives in an environment that discourages open communication about the abuse and also thrives with both the calculated sin of abusers and by the inaction of church leaders who are nonetheless complicit in the abuse and culpable before the Lord; and

 

WHEREAS the law in almost all states mandates pastors, and even in some states volunteers, to report child abuse to civil authorities within 24 hours, and biblical due diligence requires churches to train its workers and volunteers to protect children by screening workers and volunteers, by strictly limiting one adult one child situations, and by maintaining a child protection policy informed by wise resources now widely available; and

 

WHEREAS the silence of the church, by not speaking out against this sin, or not supporting the courageous victims who disclose abuse, or not proactively taking the steps to prevent abuse, is a fundamental failure of servant leadership in such a time as this, and drives people away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and

 

WHEREAS many of our members have close relational ties with some Reformed and evangelical organizations, fellowships of ministers, and well-known leaders who have lately come under the closest moral and legal scrutiny, some facing criminal and/or civil litigation for neglect in reporting alleged criminal activity against children and harboring and protecting alleged sexual perpetrators against children, casting doubt in the eyes of some on the stance of the PCA toward child sexual abuse and our moral resolve to uproot it; THEREFORE, be it

 

RESOLVED that we plead with all pastors and church officers to take an active stance toward rooting out child sexual abuse in the church by leading their churches to study, implement, and maintain child protection policies pertaining to our moral and legal obligations in loving our covenant children and protecting their rightful interests as God’s image-bearers and heirs of the Covenant of Grace from the devastating actions of abusers in the church; and be it further

 

RESOLVED that we pledge our commitment to work and fully cooperate with duly appointed God-ordained government officials in exposing and bringing to justice all probable perpetrators, who morally and criminally harm the children placed in our trust, and not in any perceivable way display reluctance in fully cooperating with lawful authorities by attempting to handle the issue internally by subjecting either the supposed victim or alleged criminal perpetrator to private “church discipline” or relational “restoration” apart from the fulfillment of our mandated reporting duties to God-ordained government authorities; and be it further

 

RESOLVED that we exhort all pastors and church officers to use their power for the protection of the vulnerable, by any and all godly means, including speaking boldly about the horrors of child sexual abuse in our time, urging anyone with knowledge of these sins to “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11), and by supporting victims who are easily intimidated, and often suffer in silence, without the clear support of those in positions of power; and be it finally
RESOLVED that the 41st General Assembly urge all members of the PCA to renew our allegiance to our Lord Jesus to love our covenant children as he loves our covenant children, for to such belongs the Kingdom of God (Mark 10:14).

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