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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Learning on the Road

Okay I said that I would comment on the sermons that I listened to in the car over Thanksgiving break. So here they are. I'm sure that you can search the names of these on the internet. The first six are from various Desiring God conferences. I won't comment on all of them although all of them were very good.

Mark Driscoll "The Supremacy of Christ and the Church in a Postmodern World"
Tim Keller "The Supremacy of Christ and the Gospel in a Postmodern World"
D.A. Carson "The Supremacy of Christ and Love in a Postmodern World"
Francis Chan "Think Hard, Stay Humble: The Life of the Mind and the Peril of Pride"
Micahel Oh "Missions as Fasting: The Forsaking of Things Present for the Global Exaltation of Christ"
Mark Dever "Sex and the Single Man"
Ravi Zacharias "The Loss of Truth (Parts 1 & 2)"
Micahel Horton "American Spirituality"
John Piper "Single in Christ: A Name Better Than Sons and Daughters"

Several of these stuck with me. The first two (Driscoll and Keller) were fantastic. Both hit on a point that I have been thinking a lot about lately and that is contextualization of the gospel. I know that is a scary word for a lot of people just because of how often it is misused. Generally people think of changing the message of the gospel to make it sound relevant to someone. That is nothing short of heresy, and Paul says in Galatians 1 that people who do that will be accursed. I'm talking about two things. The first is the method in which you present the gospel. And the second is showing people their need for Christ and his gospel through the avenue of the culture that they are in. Keller's spoke very much to that second point and was extremely helpful. I would encourage any of you who have a couple hours to listen to both of these messages. Here is the link to the page from the 2006 conference.

Francis Chan and Michael Oh's messages were the first two that I listened to on the way back to school. Both men hit me very hard because of the love that they have for those without Christ. Michael Oh's parallel of fasting and missions was mind-blowing for me. Not just because of what I saw in missions but how I see that in so many other areas of life. The title presents it well. Chan is always someone that I have loved listening to because he appeals to so many people. He speaks very plainly and is very easy to understand. These are two that I will probably listen to many more times when I get the chance.

Ravi and Michael Horton had similar messages. I had forgotten how much I love Ravi Zacharias. His message went very well with the topic I've been hit with recently concerning the postmodern culture in which we live. His are both very short, but packed with things that will blow your mind. I catch myself laughing when I listen to him because he shows the ridiculousness of ridiculous things. Michael Horton was also very good, but after listening to Ravi's his was somewhat redundant.

Mark Dever and John Piper both had good talks that were relevant to me right now. Piper had an awesome exposition of Isaiah 56:3-5. It was about the joys of singleness that come from having spiritual children instead of fleshly children. It was very encouraging for me. Dever's was a tag-team thing with some other guys in his church. It was basically about dating and what they believe the Bible says about it. There was a lot that they covered and I am going to have to look into it with the extra resources they gave. It was ground-shaking for me. The way they presented dating/courtship was a way that I had never heard before and taken to an extent I had never heard anyone take it before. They had some great things to say about pre-marital physical intimacy though. It's worth listening to just for that.

So obviously there is still a lot for me to process. I thank God for the ability to learn from these great teachers though. And to learn as I drive no less. This is why I stopped praying for safety on the way to and from school. The deepest desire of my heart is not to get from one place to another without getting a scratch. The deepest desire of my heart is to know Christ more fully and experience the joy found in His presence. That's why I love road trips. Only three more weeks till the next one.


Tullian Tchividjian is a great preacher that I have just recently heard a lot about. He spoke at the Desiring God conference this year and is very much connected with The Gospel Coalition. I just read a blog post that he wrote about self-righteousness. It's a great article and made me realize that I am often self-righteous about not being self-righteous. Read the article to understand what I mean.

The Double-Reach of Self-Righteousness

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I listened to some Ravi Zacharias on the way back to school this morning. He was talking about postmodernism and how truth is no longer fixed, but relative. In the discussion he quoted an English journalist named Steve Turner. It is really making a joke about relativism. It is funny but at the same time heartbreaking and even disturbing when you see what it leads to. I'll probably post some stuff later about all the great messages that I got to listen to, but I'll leave you with this for now.

by Steve Turner

We believe in Marx, Freud and Darwin
We believe everything is okay
as long as you don't hurt anyone,
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.

We believe in sex before, during, and
after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy is okay.
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything is getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated
And you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there's something in horoscopes
UFO's and bent spoons.
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha,
Mohammed, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher, though we think
His good morals were bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same-
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of creation,
sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the Nothing
Because when you ask the dead what happens
they say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then it's
compulsory heaven for all,
except perhaps
Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Kahn

We believe in Masters and Johnson
What's selected is average.
What's average is normal.
What's normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between warfare and
Americans should beat their guns into tractors.
And the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good.
It's only his behavior that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that
is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust.
History will alter.
We believe that there is no absolute truth,
except the truth that there is no absolute truth.
We believe in the rejection of creeds,
And the flowering of individual thought.

If Chance be
the father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky
and when you hear:

State of Emergency!

Sniper Kills Ten!

Troops on Rampage!

Bomb Blasts School!

It is but the sound of man worshipping his maker.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Valley of Vision

I read this prayer in The Valley of Vision today and was just blown away by it. Since is was so good I figured I would relay it to anyone who wants to hear it. And it was too long for facebook, so this seemed to be the best place. This book is great by the way. It is a book of Puritan prayers from men like John Bunyan and Charles Spurgeon. It has been a great encouragement and challenge to me. I hope it is to you as well.

The title of this prayer is Regeneration

O God of the highest heaven,

Occupy the throne of my heart,
take full possession and reign supreme,
lay low every rebel lust,
let no vile passion resist thy holy war;
manifest thy mighty power,
and make me thine for ever.
Thou art worthy to be
praised with my every breath,
loved with my every faculty of soul,
served with my every act of life.
Thou hast loved me, espoused me, received me,
purchased, washed, favoured, clothed,
adorned me,
when I was worthless, vile, soiled, polluted.
I was dead in iniquities,
having no eyes to see thee,
no ears to hear thee,
no taste to relish thy joys,
no intelligence to know thee;
But thy Spirit has quickened me,
has brought me into a new world as a
new creature,
has given me spiritual perception,
has opened to me thy Word as light, guide,
solace, joy.
Thy presence is to me a treasure of unending peace;
No provocation can part me from thy sympathy,
for thou hast drawn me with cords of love,
and dost forgive me daily, hourly.
O help me then to walk worthy of thy love,
of my hopes, and my vocation.
Keep me, for I cannot keep myself;
Protect me that no evil befall me;
Let me lay aside every sin admired of many;
Help me to walk by thy side, lean on thy arm,
hold converse with thee,
That henceforth I may be salt of the earth
and a blessing to all.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's Been Awhile

I realize that this is the least creative title you have seen. Just bear with me. I'm a bit rusty.

My good friend Joe encouraged me to write some things on here again. So I figured I would oblige him and give a quick update. There are many things that have been going on with me lately. Most relationship things are too personal to post all over the internet so I'll leave those out. Just know that God, in His grace, has given me many close friendships this semester that have served many purposes. I hope that have all served to exalt His name in some way. Other things that have been going on include my new church home, my reading of the Word, my reading of other books, and life experiences that always lead me to Christ and a realization of His greatness and exclusivity as the source of all good things.

My new church is great. It is called Fellowship Bible Church. I have not been able to be nearly as involved as I would have liked, although next semester looks like it's going to bring some good things. I plan on being involved with the youth and hopefully a community group in the spring. Those are still up in the air, but definitely on my mind. The preaching pastor, Doug Grimes, is great. He does a great job of preaching the truth and not avoiding things that are not very fun to talk about (like Hell when going through the sermon on the mount). More than anything though, I have loved being able to go there with many of my Harding friends. It has opened up a lot of good dialogue about things that matter.

My reading of the Word has been awesome (I think Mr. Webster would even approve of the use of that word here). Part of the reason that it has been so great is that most of what I am reading is new to me. I have not had a lot of experience reading the letters and honestly I believe that when I did before, I did not have ears to hear. I feel like my doctrine is shaped and new things are formed with every book that I read. It has become much more of a study than a read-through like it was in the Old Testament and the gospel accounts. I have been writing so much about what I am processing and I still feel like I am skimming. But the themes that I have heard people talk about have been so evident. Just one piece that I will share is the pre-eminence of the gospel in Paul's writings. He just keeps going back to it. My favorite examples are Ephesians 2 and Titus 3. Go read them if you get the chance and just bask in the grace that Christ has given us. (I am in Hebrews right now if you are wondering.)

When I say the other books I am reading, I am specifically talking about Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. I haven't spent very much time in there at all but the few hours I've gotten have been well worth it. Obviously something that I am very interested in is the sovereignty of God in the world. Chapter 16 of Grudem's book was extremely helpful in hashing out what Scripture had to say about that. It hit me at a time where that comfort was just like God wrapping me up in His arms and reminding me that His wants to do good for me. Much of that encouragement came through promises in Jeremiah 32 and the beginning of Matthew 7 as well. I look forward to the break when I might be able to get to the chapter on the doctrine of election and maybe the doctrine of sin.

The other book that I have been reading is The Valley of Vision. It is a book of Puritan prayers. It is absolutely ridiculous. The writers articulate so well and just have an amazingly high view of God and low (realistic) view of themselves. It is amazing to see and so necessary to be reminded of.

That is about all I have for now. I have to get back to the cookie making. Hopefully I will be updating this more often now. Definitely over Christmas break. Thank you to anyone reading this. I'll leave you with this as a charge.