Monday, December 31, 2007

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

Tomorrow is January 1st, 2008. By God's mercy all of us who are reading this blog have been given breath to live for yet another day, and perhaps, another year as well. Many people around the world are preparing their resolutions that they want to live by over the coming year, and I have no doubt that many will fail at keeping their resolutions even in the first week. Why do I say this? I say this because I know that most resolutions are driven by things that are temporary, and it is incredibly difficult to be diligent when you know you will go back to what you are avoiding anyway. For instance, if your resolution is to avoid sugar and candy on the weekdays and eat sugar sparingly on the weekends, you may fall short because candy is so darn delicious. The goal is to avoid it because it is unhealthy. It hurts your body, and you can tell that it hurts you because it affects you on a daily basis. The problem is that even though you recognize that it is bad, you will probably still eat it because some things are just too appetizing to resist.(I'm looking at you cream puffs)! The other problem is that you may replace sugar with greasy food or caffeine. What happens next? A resolution to stop drinking coffee in 2009! This is a vicious cycle and I hate to say this, but we do this with God. We are children of the living Christ who deserves all glory, praise, and honor yet we substitute His perfection for material and useless things. While we spend all our mental and physical energy fighting our material urges, sin increases quietly under the surface. It aims to destroy us daily, and yet we do nothing. While lowering your caffeine intake is great for your body, it does NOTHING for you in regards to eternity. Please don't misunderstand. I am not condemning the use of resolutions to better your health, but I am pleading with you to make resolutions that affect your spirit and make those resolutions primary. If you hate sugar or caffeine more than you hate your own sin, something is terribly wrong. Just remember, a cross-centered resolution is beneficial all the way to eternity! By way of example I want to present the Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards. These are not New Year's resolutions, but rather they are a list of resolutions that he created for himself to live by every day. He read through these at least once a week and I would like to believe that he actually followed through with them. There are 70 of them so it is a lengthly read, but I would encourage all of you to make a similar list for yourself regarding the things of God and live by those more fervently than you would any other resolution.

So without further ado...
The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards (1722-1723)

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ's sake.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God's glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad's of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.

3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.

9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances don't hinder.

12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.

14. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.

15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings.

16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

18. Resolved, to live so at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.

19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

21. Resolved, never to do anything, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.

22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power; might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.

23. Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God's glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.

24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.

25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.

26. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.

27. Resolved, never willfully to omit anything, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.

28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.

30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

31. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.

32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that in Prov. 20:6, "A faithful man who can find?" may not be partly fulfilled in me.

33. Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining, establishing and preserving peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects. Dec.26, 1722.

34. Resolved, in narration's never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.

35. Resolved, whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.

36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.

37. Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself: also at the end of every week, month and year. Dec.22 and 26, 1722.

38. Resolved, never to speak anything that is ridiculous, sportive, or matter of laughter on the Lord's day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.

39. Resolved, never to do anything that I so much question the lawfulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or no; except I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.

40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking. Jan. 7, 1723.

41. Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.

42. Resolved, frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism; which I solemnly renewed, when I was received into the communion of the church; and which I have solemnly re-made this twelfth day of January, 1722-23.

43. Resolved, never henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God's, agreeable to what is to be found in Saturday, January 12. Jan.12, 1723.

44- Resolved, that no other end but religion, shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. Jan.12, 1723.

45. Resolved, never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan.12 and 13.1723.

46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eve: and to be especially careful of it, with respect to any of our family.

47. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented, easy, compassionate, generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable, even, patient, moderate, forgiving, sincere temper; and to do at all times what such a temper would lead me to. Examine strictly every week, whether I have done so. Sabbath morning. May 5,1723.

48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or no; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.

49. Resolved, that this never shall be, if I can help it.

50. Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.

51. Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.

52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.

53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.

54. Whenever I hear anything spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it. July 8, 1723.

55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments. July 8, 1723.

56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether ~ have done my duty, and resolve to do it; and let it be just as providence orders it, I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin. June 9, and July 13 1723.

58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May27, and July 13, 1723.

59. Resolved, when I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July ii, and July 13.

60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4, and 13, 1723.

61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it-that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc. May 21, and July 13, 1723.

62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; "knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord." June 25 and July 13, 1723.

63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan.14' and July '3' 1723.

64. Resolved, when I find those "groanings which cannot be uttered" (Rom. 8:26), of which the Apostle speaks, and those "breakings of soul for the longing it hath," of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalm 119:20, that I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be wear', of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton's 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26, and Aug.10 1723.

66. Resolved, that I will endeavor always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.

67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.

68. Resolved, to confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

69. Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.

70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.

Aug. 17, 1723

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Blank Bible

I am not exactly sure how I came upon the 'Blank Bible', but I think it has to do with the fact that I am currently reading the book Meet the Puritans written and compiled by Joel R. Beeke & Randall J. Pederson. For one reason or another I was googling the title, and came across a blog that had labeled Meet the Puritans as book of the year. While the review was interesting, what was even more intriguing was the "Do It Yourself: Blank Bible". Rather than go into all of the details I will just give you the link to the blog and you can see for yourselves. If you thought Wide Margin bibles were is time to have your eyes opened. It takes a little work, and my first attempt turned out worse than I had hoped, but now that I know the steps and have an idea of what I am doing I will most likely make another Blank Bible in the near future. Here is the link to the DIY: Blank Bible. It's an amazing idea that came from Jonathan Edwards. Check it out.

DIY: Blank Bible

Also, there appears to be a great series called "Humble Calvinism" on the same blog. It is not audio, but rather a series of blog posts that explain Calvinism. I haven't been through the entire series, but the first few seemed very informative and helpful. Here is the link to the series if you like.

Humble Calvinism

For fun, here are some pictures of my Blank Bible...

(I purchased a classic reference ESV hardcover bible, sawed the binding off, added a blank piece of paper between each page of scripture, and the bible grew from one book into five!)

(Here is another view showing the beautiful spiral binding courtesy of Kinkos. Everything looks just as it should on the outside. I just wish that the inside looked just as good...)

(Here is what it looks like from a distance on the inside. Original bible page on one side, blank journaling page on the other. Sorry that the photos are backwards. It's late and I didn't really care if it looked perfect or not.)

(And here is what some of the inside looks like. Unfortunately when I cut the binding off, the glue went so deep into the bible pages that by the time I had rid myself of all of the glue there was hardly any bible left. This made binding a problem, but I decided to cut my losses and get it done anyway. Most of the Old Testament is great, but the New Testament (bummer) and some of the Old has binding that covers words. Oh well. It is still useful, and not bad for a first try. I can still take notes just fine, but the perfectionist in me is not happy. I WILL learn to get over it however, and I am still determined to fill this baby up with notes galore!)

Here is the financial break down for the whole project give or take a few bucks.

-ESV Classic Reference Bible: $2 (I had a gift card. You can get these for a measly $12 at Westminster Bookstore as well.)
-Removing binding/cover: Free!(If you have access to a table saw.) I think Kinkos will do it for about $5, just make sure they clamp it down or your Bible will be destroyed. Bible pages don't cut as neatly and easily as regular old paper.
-Ream of acid free copy paper: $4
-Cutting the copy paper to the dimensions of the Bible paper: $3
-Binding each book: $5/book. I had to break mine down into 5 books which made it $25.

TOTAL: $50-$60. This really isn't so bad considering most people pay this much for a leather-bound study bible. Plus you get to put a massive mount of notes inside of each page! You just can't get that anywhere else.

Well that's it for this post. I hope that whoever reads this takes a chance and tries to make one of these. It really is exciting...and almost totally insane. Who takes a table saw to a Bible anyway?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

An Encounter with John MacArthur

Over the last few weeks I had the pleasure of spending copious amounts of time with both my family, as well as my wife's family. Much like every other married couple in America, we had to split up our time between both families. Fortunately, our families both live within two hours of us, so it really isn't as bad as it could be. No plane tickets.

My parents live the furthest away so we planned to spend four days with them first, and then spend four days with Erin's family. Thus our journey began.

Spending time with my family is always enjoyable. They have most every creature comfort that you could imagine, which my flesh reviled in. I am sad to say that I gave in to the temptation of laziness for most of my time with my family. The last few weeks I had been struggling with being committed to my time in the Word as well as prayer(to my shame), so this was just the icing on my cake of spiritual deluinquincy. Fortunately, God knows when one of his children needs an intervention.

In Colorado Springs we have a few malls that are comparative to most average malls in America. They are nothing spectatcular, but they serve their purpose. As my family and I walked around the mall we basically window shopped. I was content, and completely ignorant to what was about to happen. My parents were ready to go, but I was starving. Erin and my sister, Aimee, were off trying to figure out where Aimee could get her ears pierced so I was basically all alone, on a mission to Chick-Fil-A.

After ordering the largest serving of nuggets that I could along with a large lemonade, I made my way back to my parents so that we could leave the chaos of Christmas shopping behind us. While walking, I chomped down on a delicious nugget and turned my head towards one of the many shoe stores in the mall. At first, all I saw was a bunch of shoes, a clerk, and a white haired older gentleman looking at a pair of shoes. All of sudden my brain fired, and I did a double-take. Here is what occured from my mind's point of view.

Brain: "Is that John MacArthur?"

Me: "Not possible. He lives in California."

Brain: "I really think that it was him."

Me: "It's Christmas. He would not be in this mall. He would be with his family."

Brain: "Well, you could just go ask. If it's him, great! If not, no big deal."

Me: "Fine...Stupid brain."

So I walked up to the gemtleman who was now bending over, which by the way was incredibly awkward, and the following conversation ensued...

Me: "Pastor MacArthur?"

JMac: "Yes?"

(At this point I started shaking thinking that my greeting was probably theologically incorrect.)

Me: "My name is Paul Pavlik, and I am a HUGE FAN! (I didn't really say that).

Me: "I saw you preach at the Desiring God conference and I wanted to thank you for your ministry and all that God has done through you. It has been a true blessing."

JMac: "Well, thank you Paul. It is always encouraging to hear that."

Me: "What are you doing in Colorado?"

JMac: "My wife's mother lives here so we are here to spend some time with her."

Me: "Oh, well that's great. I didn't mean to scare you, I just really wanted to thank you again for your ministry.

JMac: "Thanks Paul. It was nice to meet you."

Me: "Thank you again (shakes hand) and God bless you sir."

There it was. God's intervention was John MacArthur. In person. What was most encouraging to me was that he was very gentle in his speech, quiet, and very friendly. He really did have the demeanor of any run of the mill pastor, and that gave me great peace and confidence that he really lived what he preached. He was just a man. Looking at shoes and buying shampoo for his wife. Needless to say I have had more time in the Word and in prayer as a result.

I must conclude by saying that this really did make my day. However, it was not because of the man, John MacArthur. While it was a joy to meet someone I greatly admire, it was more wonderful to see that God cares for me enough to bring one of his frontline warriors to our tiny mall, which in turn brought joy and encouragment to a down-trodden saint. Thank you Lord that you care about me so. And thank you again for Dr. MacArthur's ministry and how you have used it in my life and the countless lives of others.

Oh, and maybe next time you could use John Piper...

Just kidding.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

This Is How You Preach About Joy...

I know what you are thinking...And no John Piper is not a terrorist. As I was taking in my daily Desiring God fix, I noticed that they were offering video clips of various sermons that John Piper had done in Brazil in the early '90s. After about five minutes into my first clip I witnessed something I've never seen in a John Piper sermon before...A gun and a knife. We aren't talking about just any knife either! This thing has Crocodile Dundee written all over it. All humor aside, it is quite fascinating to see John Piper preach a sentence, and then wait for it to be translated, and then preach another sentence, and so on. While I don't speak Portuguese, the translator did a great job of relaying the power behind Piper's preaching. I would suggest that if any of you have time, please take a gander at these videos. You get to see a few things you may never see elsewhere....

1. Young John Piper
2. Sentence by Sentence Translation Preaching
3. Gun Toting, Knife Wielding John Piper
4. God Exalting, Joy Infused Preaching

Ok, the last one you see in basically every one of his sermons, but you get the point. Check these out before they fade into the archives of Desiring God.

Portuguese Preaching

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Review of Amazing Grace

First off, let me just state that I am NOT a professional movie critic, nor would I ever claim to be. However, after watching the movie 'Amazing Grace: The William Wiberforce Story' I felt a strange urge to review it. So without further ado, I present my review.

The movie begins with our protagonist, William Wilberforce, riding in a carriage during a rainstorm. As his carriage moves further down the road he witnesses two men whipping, and kicking their black horse that has collapsed on the side of the road. William stops his carriage, and goes to reap some moral justice on the men. He says one sentence and the men stop beating the horse and almost instantly the collapsed horse starts to move. Here we see the set up for the theme that runs through the entire movie. Through his wit and passion, Wilberforce goes through storm after storm to stop the brutality of the slave trade in England.

William is plagued by dreams and visions concerning slaves and the terrors of the slave trade. He is also ill with a disease that is referred to in the movie as colitis, which causes him to take opium to soothe the pains of the illness. His powerful voice is all but gone, and his passion has faded into a quiet frustration. In order to 'heal' William's pains, his friends introduce him to Barbara Spooner. In the movie, Barbara is shown to be a strong-willed, politically driven young woman. While we do not know much about the real Barbara Spooner, what we do know is that she was a strong Christian, and very devoted to faith in Jesus Christ. William Wilberforce was also a Christian at this point in the movie, yet the director chose to make politics the driving force that brings them together, rather than their common love for God. I cannot say that I am surprised by this, but to be fair, this movie was clearly made as a political victory story for England, rather than a story about the driving power of faith in Christ. It was set up as a politically minded story, and that is exactly what it is.

The movie makes frequent use of 'flashback' scenes where we see the young Wilberforce arguing in the House of Commons. He is shown to have the ability to quiet the loudest opposer, and he accomplishes this with one liners that are both witty and humorous. This, I am happy to say, is most likely a true representation of the real Wilberforce. He was known to be quite brilliant in his speech, as well as passionate. While the Wilberforce in the movie was tall, dark, and handsome, the real Wilberforce was no more than 5 feet tall! All criticisms aside, Ioan Grufford was a great Wilberforce by my estimation.

At this point William has not yet been introduced to the horrors of the slave trade, and is mainly arguing for the conclusion of the war in America. However, at a late night poker game between William and a merchant slave trader William is shown to already have a distaste for slavery. We see this more accurately when the merchant tries to gamble against Wilberforce with a slave that the merchant had purchased. William is disgusted and leaves the gentlemen's club, followed by his close friend and future prime minister, William Pitt. The Williams have a short conversation about slavery and a great quote is born from this discourse. Wilberforce refers to witnessing slavery in this way:

"For me it's like arsenic. Every dose doubles the effect."

Pitt is more concerned with becoming prime minister than anything else, but Wilberforce is determined to do something about the slave traders in the club, and we then witness either one of the most powerful scenes, or the most cheesy. Wilberforce walks into the club, stands on a table, and sings the song Amazing Grace. His voice, while a little shaky, quiets the roar of the merchants and some of them even appear moved by the display. I couldn't get past the cheese factor, but it was a meaningful scene. How true it is, I am not sure, but it was comforting to see Wilberforce stand up for his faith even among wolves.

We go back a little further to see Wilberforce lying in the grass speaking to God. One of William's servants sees him lying there, and William admits how strange he has been acting. His explanation is simply, "It's God". I was so glad to hear how Wilberforce talked about his salvation in this short conversation between himself and his butler.

Butler: "You found God sir?"
Wilberforce: "I think He found me."

While this is just a small moment in the film, it speaks loudly of Wilberforce's theology. He was known to be of the Calvinist bent, and was known to be in total awe of the design of God. Needless to say, this made me smile. To the film's credit, Wilberforce had a fair amount of 'defending my faith' scenes. For instance, William Pitt brings a group of political activists to Wilberforce's house to convince him to be the the point man for the abolition of the slave trade instead of being a full time minister of the gospel. Another great quote comes from this scene and it is this:

'We understand that you are having a difficult time deciding on whether to be a minister of the Lord or political activist. We humbly suggest that you can do both."

This quote actually struck me on a very deep level. As I've come to love God more and seek after Him more, it is natural that I would take the view that full time ministry is the end all be all. To be devoted to a secular interest would be more humanistic and man centered than God centered, so full-time ministry is the way to go! However, this quote stirred that thought in my mind and helped me to realize that God does make every man to do a specific work for Him. For some that may be eldership, and for others it may be caring for the poor, orphans, etc. Wilberforce most likely thought the same way I did, until he realized that God could possibly use him in an even greater way as an activist, than as a pastor. And did God ever use him! William Pitt even asks him in the film:

"Do you intend to use your beautiful voice to praise the Lord, or to change the world?"

Wilberforce truly did both. In real life WIlberforce was still driven by his faith and was very dedicated to study and theology. While this is harder to maintain in the public eye, he was able to persevere in his faith regardless. I would argue that Wilberforce's driving force behind abolishing slavery was his desire to do the will of God, and his convictions as a believer. This however, was only lightly touched on in the film.

John Newton was represented decently in the movie, but I must confess I was a little disappointed. Albert Finney was a terrific Newton, and to his credit he is a great actor. I really believed that he could be John Newton, but the delivery was a little disconnected from the actual personality of Newton. For instance, Finney played Newton as a somewhat sarcastic, somewhat hurt, and somewhat angry old man that could not let go of his past sins against slaves when he himself was a trader. While this helped the film, Newton was considered to be a joyful man that was very gentle and very loving. He most likely carried the burden of his past sins with him, but from what I've read of him it wasn't to the degree displayed in the film. Later in the movie, when Newton is blind, he is represented in a much more accurate light. In fact, one of his lines was very moving and I was actually suprised to see it in the film.

"I remember two things very clearly. I'm a sinner and Christ is a great savior."

Of all the things that they could have had Newton say, I am so pleased that this was in the film. This scene truly captured the heart of Newton's and Wilberforce's lives and mission, and I am so thankful that it was spoken so obviously. He also had a very humorous line that I can imagine the real Newton saying after he had gone blind.

"God decided I'd seen enough."

Pure gold.

As you have noticed, I have stopped reviewing in a timeline fashion, and have moved to a more character driven review. I want to touch on one more character in more detail and then I will conclude.

Barbara Spooner had the best lines in the entire movie. They were more powerful than William's and Newton's and to be honest they stuck with me more after the movie had ended. I also see great parallels to Christianity in her quotes, and they would be very useful if speaking about sin, trials, etc. Here are a few of the quotes:

"Seems to me that if there is a bad taste in your mouth, you spit it out. You don't keep swallowing it."

"I told my friends there was actual slave blood in every lump of sugar"

These are just a few, but honestly, Barbara had the best quotes in the entire film, and I was convicted by almost every one of them.

Finally, Wilberforce was driven by two goals. The abolition of the slave trade, and the reformation of society. While the film mainly touched on the slave trade, it is important to note that after the bill to abolish the trade was passed, Wilberforce continued for 18 more years attempting to abolish the use of current slaves throughout England. Three days before he died, this bill was passed as well. For the last quarter of his life he couldn't even stand under his own power and required some sort of hard under-suit that could keep him upright! It just goes to show that God brings you home when you are done, plain and simple. No matter how weak the flesh, God still brings change to the world and ultimately glory to Himself.

I really did enjoy this movie, even though it was different than I expected. The title makes it out to be a blatant Christian film, but as stated before, this isn't the case. The film itself was obviously about political victory, and this was done very well. While there were moments of cheese, there were also moments that were moving and convicting. If you haven't seen this film, I would highly suggest that you give it a chance. If you are a Christian, or you love history, this movie is for you, but I do believe that anyone can enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

2 Timothy 4:5

I recently gave a 30 minute teaching on 2 Timothy 4:5 at our monthly leadership class. It was a great honor for me to speak, and it was by far one of the greatest joys I have experienced! I figured I might as well put it up on the blog and see what happens. Enjoy!

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

In the beginning...

Greetings all,

It is a pleasure to finally join the blogosphere. My intentions for this blog are three-fold.


1. Verse by Verse Scripture Study for the benefit of others, as well as myself.

2. Develop a community to discuss theology, church practices, history, etc.

3. Reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ and encourage fellow believers.


I hope that through the grace of Christ, all this would be accomplished as well as much, much more. Grace be to you all, and may God bless your lives.