Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Admiral

I love this video. To consider the culture and context of playing in the NBA, it is so sweet to see a man (David Robinson) characterized by humility, love and Jesus, during his Hall of Fame speech.


Monday, June 27, 2011

An Open Letter To Mr. Grace-Loving Antinomian

A great post on Tullian Tchividjian's blog .... An Open Letter To Mr. Grace-Loving Antinomian

There seems to be a fear out there that the preaching of radical grace produces serial killers. Or, to put it in more theological terms, too much emphasis on the indicatives of the gospel leads to antinomianism (a lawless version of Christianity that believes the directives and commands of God don’t matter). My problem with this fear is that I’ve never actually met anyone who has been truly gripped by God’s amazing grace in the gospel who then doesn’t care about obeying him. As I have said before: antinomianism happens not when we think too much of grace. Just the opposite, actually. Antinomianism happens when we think too little of grace.
Wondering whether this common fear is valid, my dear friend Elyse Fitzpatrick (in C.S. Lewis fashion) writes an open letter to Mr. Grace-Loving Antinomian–a person she’s heard about for years but never met–asking him to please step forward and identify himself.
Dear Mr. Antinomian,
Forgive me for writing to you in such an open forum but I’ve been trying to meet you for years and we just never seem to connect. While it’s true that I live in a little corner of the States and while it’s true that I am, well, a woman, I did assume that I would meet you at some point in my decades old counseling practice. But alas, neither you nor any of your (must be) thousands of brothers and sisters have ever shown up for my help…So again, please do pardon my writing in such a public manner but, you see, I’ve got a few things to say to you and I think it’s time I got them off my chest.
I wonder if you know how hard you’re making it for those of us who love to brag about the gospel. You say that you love the gospel and grace too, but I wonder how that can be possible since it’s been continuously reported to me that you live like such a slug. I’ve even heard that you are lazy and don’t work at obeying God at all…Rather you sit around munching on cigars and Twinkies, brewing beer and watching porn on your computer. Mr. A, really! Can this be true?
So many of my friends and acquaintances are simply up in arms about the way you act and they tell me it’s because you talk too much about grace. They suggest (and I’m almosttempted to agree) that what you need is more and more rules to live by. In fact, I’m very tempted to tell you that you need to get up off your lazy chair, pour your beer down the drain, turn off your computer and get about the business of the Kingdom.
I admit that I’m absolutely flummoxed, though, which is why I’m writing as I am. You puzzle me. How can you think about all that Christ has done for you, about your Father’s steadfast, immeasurable, extravagantly generous love and still live the way you do? Have you never considered the incarnation, about the Son leaving ineffable light to be consigned first to the darkness of Mary’s womb and then the darkness of this world? Have you never considered how He labored day-after-day in His home, obeying His parents, loving His brothers and sisters so that you could be counted righteous in the sight of His Father? Have you forgotten the bloody disgrace of the cross you deserve? Don’t you know that in the resurrection He demolished sin’s power over you? Aren’t you moved to loving action knowing that He’s now your ascended Lord Who prays for you and daily bears you on His heart? Has your heart of stone never been warmed and transformed by the Spirit? Does this grace really not impel zealous obedience? Hello…Are you there?
Honestly, even though my friends talk about you as though you were just everywhere in every church, always talking about justification but living like the devil, frankly I wonder if you even exist. I suppose you must because everyone is so afraid that talking about grace will produce more of you. So that’s why I’m writing: Will you please come forward? Will you please stand up in front of all of us and tell us that your heart has been captivated so deeply by grace that it makes you want to watch the Playboy channel?
Again, please do forgive me for calling you out like this. I really would like to meet you. I am,
Trusting in Grace Alone,

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fighting for Time?

"My soul often mourned for want of more time and opportunity to be alone with God. In the spring and summer following, I had better advantages for retirement and enjoyed more comfort in religion. Though indeed my ambition in my studies greatly wronged the activity and vigor of my spiritual life. Yet this was usually the case with me that 'in the multitude of my thoughts within me, God's comforts principally delighted my soul'; these were my greatest consolations day by day."

-The Life and Diary of David Brainerd, Edited by Jonathan Edwards


I really resonated with this, and it's always encouraging to know you are not alone in fighting for time to spend with the Lord. I pray that God's promises to us will be the focus and high point of each and every day regardless of the day's events!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Exodus, then Law

"The covenant law comes after the exodus. That is, we have eighteen chapters of salvation in Exodus before we have a single chapter of law. Only after the story of salvation do we come to Sinai (Ex 19), the ten commandments (Ex 20) and the making of the covenant (Ex 24). The Sinai covenant, like all covenants, is founded on God's grace and motivated by God's mission. That is to say, it looks back to what God had already done for Israel out of his love and grace in delivering them from slavery, and it looks forward to God's purpose within history through Israel - to make them the instrument of his blessing to the nations."

- Christopher J.H. Wright, Salvation Belongs to Our God


In the same frequency, the gospel says, "I'm accepted; therefore, I obey."

Finish the Mission: For the Joy of All Peoples, Bringing the Gospel to the Unreached and Unengaged

A preview of this upcoming year's Desiring God National Conference.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You Just Gotta Know

The lyrics from a Lecrae song 'You Just Gotta Know'

And I just gotta know that even though I'm a misfit 
I'm still worth more than calamity's French kiss 
Yes I'm loved, and I'm pursued 
And though I can't feel it, still I know that it's true 
Somebody woke me up, and yeah, I know it was you 
And yet I keep tryin' to steer clear of your view 
Cuz if you get me, I know that you got me 
But I'm so insecure I can't believe that you want me 
But then I heard you went on your way to adopt me 
Well you can have my all if you swear you won't drop me 
Cuz I gotta know (yeah) 

God. The only one who loves us perfectly even though we are misfits. The only one who ultimately went out of his way to adopt us. These are things I need to know. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Good Discussion

Per Kevin DeYoung's blog on the TGC website and Tullian Tchividjian's blog on the TGC website. This are a couple of articles in a very insightful discussion by guys that are much smarter than I am, and guys who love Jesus. I love discussion and learning. Each of these articles has caused me to think about the two wonderful doctrines of justification and sanctification, and of God's incredible grace toward sinners!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Certain Victory

From Valley of Vision,

I bless thee that the issue of the battle between thyself and Satan
has never been uncertain,
and will end in victory.
Calvary broke the dragon's head, 
and I contend with a vanquished foe,
who with all his subtlety and strength
has already overcome.
When I feel the serpent at my heel
may I remember him whose heel was bruised,
but who, when bruised, broke the devil's head. 
My soul with inward joy extols the mighty conqueror."

This morning I praise God for decisively defeating Sin at calvary. My mind cannot understand the kind of faithfulness God has demonstrated. Though I cannot comprehend, my heart rejoices that God was faithful to His promise in Genesis 3:15. In this life, I will never fully understand the depth of grace that was displayed in fulfilling Genesis 3:15. I do not realize how truly undeserving I am, and what it meant for the infinitely holy, good, perfect, creator God, to die for hateful sinners who consistently choose to malign His name rather than rejoice in their Creator. Yet, in what my finite mind can comprehend, I rejoice and glory in the grace of God. My mind cannot comprehend the intricacy of God's providential sovereignty. From the beginning of time, God has been bringing His plans to pass. I rejoice that God has sovereignly chosen to reveal His glory by granting salvation to a People. I rejoice that before the foundations of the earth, God predestined me to be a vessel of mercy, to be adopted into His family, and not to be a rightful vessel of His wrath. Lastly, I cannot comprehend a love of this kind. In this life I will never truly understand the profundity of the Son becoming man and suffering on the Cross. I am amazed how a God infinite in wealth, put aside His fame and limited himself to a human body, experiencing life in a broken world. The One who deserves ultimate praise, the One who is the highest, emptied himself of everything, and became the lowest. All of this to fulfill His promise in Genesis 3:15. The only way for God to crush the head of Sin was for himself to be bruised. This is love, that God became man, took upon the himself the shame, burden and punishment for Sin that His people rightfully deserve, and finished it once and for all at the Cross. I pray that I will be 'strengthened with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.' (Ephesians 4:18-19)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Through the Abundance of God's Steadfast Love

"For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
   evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
   you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
   the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

 But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
   will enter your house."
Psalm 5:4-7

Only through the steadfast love of God is man able to enter His house. Not by works or good conscious. If evil may not dwell with God, and He destroys those who lie, that leaves every man completely dependent upon an act of God's grace. Because we have all rebelled, we deserve to be outsiders. But this is where it gets interesting. Jesus Christ, the 2nd person of the trinity came to earth, became an outsider, took upon himself the just punishment for all of God's people, for their evil and rebellious hearts, and for every lie spoke. Now, those who trust in Christ may enter His house. Only through the abundance of God's steadfast love can we enter His house. The Apostle John captures how the Cross is the manifestation of this steadfast love. God has ultimately made a way for wrath deserving sinners to come to Him and dwell in His house. 

"In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
1 John 4:9-10

Monday, June 13, 2011

Don't Add On

Gospel + Nothing = Everything

Dirty. Nuff said.

There is Only One Good Guy

A great post from my close friend Dan Orr

My little guy Isaac loves playing good guys vs. bad guys.  The game usually ends up with him tackling Lily, his little sister. For whatever reason, he talks about good guys and bad guys all the time.  Here’s a gospel truth that I share with him that you’ll hopefully be encouraged by:
  1. We’re all bad guys.
  2. There was only one truly good guy that has ever lived.
  3. That one good guy has declared that his bad guys are now good, and he’s now on a mission to make them good like himself.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Salvation as a Story

"Salvation is not just a doctrine we believe in, or a condition we find ourselves in. Salvation is a story we participate in - the story of what God initiated through Abraham and accomplished through Christ."

"[The law] was given to the Israelites after God had saved them, on his own initiative and out of his own grace and love. It was only after he had brought them out of Egypt that he called them to keep his covenant and obey his law. God acted first. Israel's obedience was to be a response to their salvation - not the means of achieving it, still less deserving it...It is a fundamental mistake to think that in the Old Testament blessing or salvation came as something earned through obedience...Blessing is the fruit of being saved by God, and obedience is the means by which those who have experienced God's salvation continue to enjoying that fruit."

- Christopher Wright, Salvation Belongs to Our God


God's work of salvation is one story from Abraham to Jesus, and it extends to us through faith. It has been the same covenant from day 1. It is founded on God's faithfulness to His people, and is fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, who brings peace with God to all those who believe in Him.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Allow Me to Re-Introduce the Christ

A video from P4CM (Passion for Christ Movement). I can't get enough of these. Check them out on youtube if you haven't already. I rejoice in how God has gifted people to creatively write, speak and perform like the people at P4CM. God glorifying truth.

Allow Me to Re-Introduce Christ.....

Friday, June 10, 2011

Getting God Himself part II

Last post I shared a quote from Augustine in which he talked about the Gospel providing the only real satisfaction to our longings by connecting us to God himself. Along the same lines, I thought it would be fitting to share these verses from Revelation. The end goal of the Gospel is for God's people to be with God in the new heavens and new earth. God, through Jesus' life, death and resurrection, is redeeming the entire world from Sin. The new heavens and the new earth are the restored, glorified creation. As members of God's covenant people, we will also be fully redeemed and restored from sin, and be given new glorified bodies, completely free from any form or effect of Sin. I can't even image how awesome it will be to be in the presence of God, without my Sin being a hitch. We will see Him for who He truly is, and it will be magnificent. God will walk among us as He did in Genesis with Adam and Eve. He has restored the goodness of His creation. He has rescued His people from Sin. Here, the Gospel comes to full fruition, as God fully establishes His Kingdom on earth and in the hearts of men. All things have been made new, and God himself will dwell with us for eternity.

"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 any mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.' And he who is seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.'" Revelation 21:1-5

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Gospel Equals Getting Jesus Himself

As I've been reading Saint Augustine's 'Confessions', I am blown away by his understanding of grace and his satisfaction in God. In describing his early years, specifically his education, Augustine recalls how he had a hunger in his soul, but instead of being fed with what his soul really longed for (God himself), he was fed with different forms of religion. In this specific quote, it is astrology. He was being fed God substitutes.

This makes me ask myself, "What am I feeding myself with rather than God?" What do I look to to fill my soul other than God himself? As Augustine asserts, religion, regardless of what form it takes, is a 'halluination'. It is not the real thing. It has the appearance of godliness without any connection to the real source. It is phony. Like Augustine says, everything in this created order isn't an end in itself, rather it points to the source. The good things in this life aren't meant to satisfy us. Only God, and God himself can do that. Check this quote out.

"Those people used to sound off about You to me frequently and repeatedly with mere assertions and with the support of many huge tomes. To meet my hunger, instead of you, they brought me a diet of sun and moon, your beautiful works, but they are your works, not you yourself, nor indeed the first of your works. For priority goes to your spiritual creation rather than the physical order, however heavenly and fully of light. But for myself, my hunger and thirst were not even for the spiritual creation but for you yourself, the truth. The dishes they placed before me contained splendid hallucinations.....You were not those empty fictions, and I derived no nourishment from them, but was left more exhausted than before."

The Gospel is good news because in it, we receive God himself. Religion doesn't get us to God. We can't get to God through ideologies, good works, tolerance, moralism or church stuff. Only the Gospel gives us God himself. Why would we settle for anything less? Why would we eat on stale bread crumbs when the most extravagant feast is placed before us?

He is THE Saving God

Mike, I as well am excited to have settled into a summer routine finally, and look forward to reading and sharing what we are learning. Here's something I stumbled across, which serves as such a simple reminder to me.


"On the one hand, 'salvation belongs to ... God.' That is, salvation is God's property, not ours. And on the other hand, 'salvation belongs to our God.' That is, salvation is part of God's identity - he is the saving God (as no other god is)...According to the Bible, religion saves nobody. God does...We are saved because God has acted, in Christ, to accomplish salvation for us...Our Christianity is the response we make, in faith and life, to the saving acts of God."

Christopher J.H. Wright, Salvation Belongs to Our God

Text: Revelation 7: 10

"Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Act of Recollection

From Augustine's Confessions,

"I intend to remind myself of my past foulness and carnal corruptions, not because I love them but so that I may love you, my God. It is from love of your love that I make the act of recollection. The recalling of my wicked ways is bitter in my memory, but I do it so that you may be sweet to me, a sweetness touched by no deception, a sweetness serene and content. You gathered me together from the state of disintegration in which I had been fruitlessly divided....

At one time in adolescence I was burning to find satisfaction in hellish pleasure. I ran wild in the shadowy jungle of erotic adventure. 'My beauty wasted away in your sight I became putrid' (Daniel 10:8), by pleasing myself and by being ambitious to win human approval.

The single desire that dominated my search for delight was simply to love and to be loved....I travelled very far from You, and You did not stop me. I was tossed about and split, scattered and boiled dry in my fornications. And You were silent. How slow was I to find my joy!.......

Your intention was that I should seek delights unspoiled by disgust and that, in my quest where I could achieve this, I should discover it to be in nothing except you Lord, nothing but you."

Though I Once Embraced the Darkness

I know I've pretty much been MIA the last month or so, but now that summer is settling in I'm planning on returning to consistency. Here is a hymn written (both music and words) by one of my close friends David Gill. David has been a tremendous blessing in my life and has enriched my time here at seminary. At the bottom, I've left links for downloads for both a recording of the son, and for the music. Enjoy!

"Though I once embraced the darkness, loved my sin and self alone,
was opposed to Christ's own mission, lived for glory all my own:
Yet my God who loved me freely saw my sin, my guilt and shame,
saw my unrepentant spirit, still ordained me live again.

Live for Christ, in Him, forever, trusting Him and Him alone.
Resting not on my obedience: saved by works but not my own!
Christ obeyed the law completely, gave me standing pure and true,
fellowship that can't be broken by my will or what I do.

To the Father, Son and Spirit, I make this my earnest prayer:
Keep me close, surround me, guide me to Your side and to Your care.
To Your name and to Your glory, I now freely bend my knee;
Cause me now to know Your mercy; of your saving love for me.

Daughters, Sons, await His coming, when we'll see Him face to face.
Robes washed white with Christ's own bleeding, ruling with Him endless days!
He has set for us a banquet, giving us as Jesus bride;
all the blood bought saints around Him: these, for these has Jesus died. "


download the recording