Thursday, April 24, 2008

Knowledge Without Wisdom = Bad News Bears

I really needed to read this today...(Thank you Desiring God blog!)
If a twelve-year-old makes A’s in school and generally makes wise choices, how would you help her apply this verse to herself?
Never be wise in your own sight. (Romans 12:16)

You might say:

1. It means that you gladly admit that all true wisdom is from God. It is his, and not finally ours.

2. It means that you recognize that any sense of superiority comes from comparing yourself only with your inferiors. But the most important person to compare yourself with is God, and he is infinitely wiser than you. Not only that, there are a lot of people in the world wiser than you.

3. It means that you feel humbled by the fact that you are a sinner deserving of God’s wrath, and that you are amazed at the grace that gives you eternal life. This humility and amazement swallows up a sense of pride.

4. It means that you do not count yourself worthy of being served, but rather “empty yourself” and become obedient and serve others, both the wise and the foolish.

5. It means that you are mainly not thinking about yourself at all but taken up with how admirable Jesus is and how wonderful his works are and how interesting and needy others are.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

According to the Times: C.H. Spurgeon 1857

I thought that it would be a fun project to see how Christianity has been documented over the past hundred years or so, and somehow ended up at the NY Times website. They have archived articles that go all the way back to 1851 and they are basically scanned copies of the originals. Thus begins my new series: According to the Times. This will be a kind of on again, off again series, and hopefully over time I can develop a "Times Timeline of Christian People & Events" that will be both fun and educational...Seriously though, I'm excited. So without further ado, I give you series post #1, "C.H. Spurgeon 1857". (Keep in mind, Spurgeon was only 23 years old in 1857.)

March 16th, 1857: Personals

March 28th, 1857: Books of the Week

July 16th, 1857: Moral and Religious Intelligence

August 8th, 1857: Moral and Religious Intelligence (This article sounds like it was written about Mark Driscoll!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

T4G: Still Recuperating...

T4G was in a word...incredible. On one hand I was incredibly edified, on the other hand it almost killed me. To anyone who went to T4G and survived, I salute you. The schedule was simply relentless, and I do mean RELENTLESS. The two hour time change only added to the exhaustion, but again it was all worth it.

So here I am, a week later, still sick. Whatever I had before I left is still having fun with me in various ways that I can't explain in detail. The above picture pretty much covers it.

For those of you who were not able to attend the conference this year, here are the links to the various talks that were given:

T4G Conference Messages: Audio

Also, the BlackCalvinist posted some great video clips from the conference as well. I am so glad that he captured the singing, because it was one of the highlights of the conference for me. There is really nothing like 5,000 men singing at the top of their lungs. Check out the clip to see what I'm talking about.

Finally, you can always go to Challies blog to see a more detailed overview of the conference. I may not blog for a few days, so for the five of you that read this, sorry. Believe it or not, it is hard to blog when you don't feel well. In the meantime, enjoy the conference highlights!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Together for the Gospel - Day 1

After arriving in Louisville at 12 am this morning, I quickly fell asleep at my friend Eric's house only to wake up 7 hours later for Old Testament at 8:30am. The bed was more than adequate, although I seem to have an issue with causing every air mattress have ever slept on to deflate...

It was a good night's sleep regardless, and I am very thankful for my hosts' generosity. Eric still had classes to go to down here at Southern, so I thought I would tag along and get my money's worth while I'm out here. Thankfully, it was a beautiful morning.

Good morning Louisville!

After Old Testament we went to chapel, where Mark Dever gave a terrific exposition of Ezekiel 37. Through the word of God dry bones become like a mighty army, and I like those bones was once dead and became alive by the word of Christ! Amen! I would highly recommend downloading the audio for this from Southern's website.

Here is a picture of Eric and I in chapel. I am actually really happy to be here, but I could not get my camera to focus so....the result was less than perfect.

Following chapel I sat in on Eric's last class for the day, Intro to Spiritual Disciplines taught by Don Whitney. The lecture was about family worship and it was not only convicting but incredibly motivating. We will definitely be more worship minded as a family when I get back to Colorado!

After that it was straight to the conference. Here are some more pictures from Day 1. Enjoy!

Old Testament Classroom at Southern

The T4G Bookstore (This was absolutely huge. Almost ridiculous...almost.

Everyone waiting to get into the actual conference room. There are about 5,000 people here.

The Stage

John Piper Sat Here...

The crowd

Me and C.J. Mahaney (I know, I'm absolutely shameless...) Oh and thanks to Tony Reinke from Shepherd's Scrapbook for taking the picture for me!

Here is Joshua Harris with a typical Sovereign Grace smile on his face. Incredibly nice guy.

And here is Eric giving his approval of a day well spent. I'll try to post more pictures tomorrow night (hopefully less blurry). Take care all, and keep praying for me as I'm still not feeling to well. Thanks!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Heading to T4G!

Well, around 4pm today I will be driving to the airport to hitch a ride to Louisville, Kentucky. I will be arriving at 12:01 am, no doubt exhausted, but it's worth it. Funny thing is, about halfway through my day yesterday I started to feel absolutely terrible, and actually thought about cancelling my flight. My muscles were sore, my throat was sore, I had chills but no fever, and I was mentally out of commission. Needless to say, I was stuggling in faith and trust in God, and I was feeling a little frustrated. After all, I have been looking forward to this conference for months and all of sudden I have to wonder if it is even wise to go!

After taking some Tylenol PM and lying in bed for a few hours I finally fell asleep. Thankfully, I feel a little better today, but definitely not 100%. My muscles are still sore, and my throat is sore as well, but the dizziness and fatigue are starting to go away. I still get random chills, but they are becoming less frequent. I decided that since things are on the up I would still go, but I definitely need your prayers.

I will try to post updates during the conference(hopefully with pictures), but I'll leave most of the live blogging to Mr. Challies.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Together for the Gospel: Free Book Predictions

In light of the upcoming Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference (4 days!), I thought it would be fun to make some predictions on what books they will be giving away this year. This is the list that I have from the conference in '06 courtesy of

  • The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter
  • The Deliberate Church by Mark Dever and Paul Alexander
  • Getting The Gospel Right by R.C. Sproul
  • Women’s Ministry in the Local Church by Ligon Duncan and Susan Hunt
  • Give Praise To God (a tribute to James Boice)
  • Paperback ESV Bible
  • God Is The Gospel by John Piper
  • Counted Righteous in Christ by John Piper
  • Sex, Romance and the Glory of God by C.J. Mahaney
  • Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney
  • Speaking the Truth in Love by David Powlison
  • Why One Way? by John MacArthur
  • Hardcover N.A.S.B. MacArthur Study Bible

    Just to put this in persepctive, that is roughly $200 worth of free books!

    Here are my predictions for this year:

  • The Bruied Reed by Richard Sibbes
  • Twelve Challenges Churches Face by Mark Dever
  • Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin
  • In My Place Condemned He Stood by J.I. Packer & Mark Dever
  • Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor D.A. Carson
  • ESV Literary Study Bible (Doubt it)
  • Brothers We Are Not Professionals by John Piper
  • The Supremacy of Christ in Preaching by John Piper
  • Living the Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney
  • Seeing With New Eyes by David Powlison
  • The Truth War by John MacArthur

    I already have some of these, and I highly doubt that some of these titles would be given away, but here's hoping anyway!

    Now it's your turn! What books do you think will be given away this year?
  • Willow Creek Overhaul

    This was taken from an article on the site Our of Ur:
    Today, Greg Hawkins, executive pastor at Willow, recapped the study and then shared some changes that the church is now making in response to the research. He said they’re making the biggest changes to the church in over 30 years. For three decades Willow has been focused on making the church appealing to seekers. But the research shows that it’s the mature believers that drive everything in the church—including evangelism.

    Hawkins says, “We used to think you can’t upset a seeker. But while focusing on that we’ve really upset the Christ-centered people.” He spoke about the high levels of dissatisfaction mature believer have with churches. Drawing from the 200 churches and the 57,000 people that have taken the survey, he said that most people are leaving the church because they’re not being challenged enough.

    Because it’s the mature Christians who drive evangelism in the church Hawkins says, “Our strategy to reach seekers is now about focusing on the mature believers. This is a huge shift for Willow.”

    One major implementation of this shift will occur in June when Willow ends their mid-week worship services that had been geared toward believers. Instead the church will morph these mid-week events into classes for people at different stages of growth. There will be theological and bible classes full of “hard-hitting stuff.” Hawkins said most people are very enthusiastic about the change.

    On the seeker end of the spectrum, Willow is also changing how they produce their weekend services. For years the value people appreciated most about the seeker-oriented weekend services was anonymity. This is what all their research showed. People didn’t want to be identified, approached, confronted, or asked to do anything. But those days are over.

    “Anonymity is not the driving value for seeker services anymore,” says Hawkins. “We’ve taken anonymity and shot it in the head. It’s dead. Gone.” In the past Willow believed that seekers didn’t want large doses of the Bible or deep worship music. They didn’t want to be challenged. Now their seeker-sensitive services are loaded with worship music, prayer, Scripture readings, and more challenging teaching from the Bible.

    Willow has been wrestling with the research from REVEAL since 2004. Hawkins said, “We’ve tried incremental changes for four years, but now we know we have to overhaul our whole strategy.” Small steps are no longer the method; Willow is revamping everything. “It would be malpractice for us to not do something with what we’re learning.”

    In the larger REVEAL survey taken by 200 churches, people were asked what they want most from their church. Three of the top four responses were:
    1. Help me understand the Bible in greater depth
    2. Help me develop a closer personal relationship with Christ
    3. Challenge me to grow and take the next step in my faith

    Read the rest here.

    Still, I can't help but notice that it is still all about what the people want. What happens when they want something else? I'm just thankful that the flavor of the month for them is scripture and theology. I say that tongue-in-cheek. Hopefully, once they see the fruit from this, they'll never go back.

    Tuesday, April 8, 2008

    Top 10 Myths About Evangelism

    We are only responsible for what we can do, not what others do. Our responsibility is simply to proclaim the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the results to God. We don’t have to push.

    By definition a witness is “one who testifies.” What if all the “witnesses” in a court trial only answered in mime? As Christians our lives need to be consistent with our words but they are not a substitute for them.

    While there is merit in the idea of gaining a hearing, the notion of “earning the right to be heard” can also put Christians on their heels. Do Hollywood producers call you to ask if you might be offended by the scenes and themes of their upcoming movie? Do professors in colleges distort Christian ideas and qualify their lectures with an apology? All around us people are making bold assertions about what is right and true. We have the truth. We are called to declare it sensitively and assertively.

    We often assume others have thought about their spiritual beliefs to the extent we have. Many people believe what they do more for emotional reasons or expedience. People often believe what they want to believe – what makes them feel good. This is especially true among those influenced by the postmodernism, reflected in this way: “Whatever you believe about God is fine and true for you, but it’s not for me.” On some occasions you might succeed in thoroughly answering a person’s intellectual objections only to find they still resist. We need to lovingly discern “smoke screens” and surface the core issues that keep a person away from God.

    Our experience doing Gospel Outreaches (GO) verifies that there is overwhelming interest in discussing the substantive questions of life. Nobody likes to be pushed, but there is strong interest in discussing spiritual ideas. By experience we’re seeing that many people are tired of shallow conversations and the rules of political correctness that make it taboo to talk about God.

    ”And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

    While this helps, the gospel’s inherent power is not bound by our personal connections. God may bring people across our path for even a brief time by His sovereign design in order that we would share the message of Christ with them. The Bible records many accounts of the gospel powerfully going forward, apart from a prior established friendship. Remember the account of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40)?

    Do you fish? When was the last time a fish jumped out of the pond, flapped all the way up to your house and asked, “Hey, where’s your fishing pole? I wanna get on your line right now.” Fishing for men requires initiative on the fisherman’s part, not the fish! Sharing the gospel with others is an active endeavor, not a passive one.

    Most people are uncomfortable with interpersonal confrontation. But sharing the gospel usually is a conversation not a confrontation. Although there is a very real battle taking place in the spiritual realm, on a personal level people should know that we genuinely care about them. We need to refine the art of asking good questions and listening. See Luke 2:46-47; the principles in this passage are excellent and very insightful with regard to our personal witness. If someone is clearly uncomfortable discussing God then we should back off. Whoever said that the same rules which apply in “normal life” don’t apply in personal evangelism?

    Not every opportunity to share the message is going to be equal. In some cases you’ll have just a few minutes to talk, ask a question, share an idea, or simply listen. Make the most of it and relax (Colossians 4:5). Try to discern how much a person is ready to hear. Jesus Himself said “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear” (John 6:12). Even with His disciples he did not feel compelled to unload everything at once.

    Get the PDF containing the "10 Myths of Evangelism" here at

    Proclaim: An Evangelism Resource for Your Church

    Want to share your faith but don't know how? Proclaim is a small-group course designed to help everyday Christians like you grow in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Through seven sessions, you'll discover how to communicate the gospel more clearly and how to trust God more fully in evangelism.

    Session Titles
    The Unstoppable Gospel
    Gifted for Evangelism
    Becoming a Friend of Sinners
    Breaking the Sound Barrier
    Proclaim the Bad News
    Proclaim the Good News
    Putting the Go in Gospel

    The Proclaim course was developed by Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, to help you grow in sharing your faith. To learn more, visit

    Sovereign Grace Ministries is offering a Small Group Study Kit on their site as well.

    Monday, April 7, 2008

    Alistair Begg Interview

    Alistair Begg answers questions that range from "What is the core belief of your church?" to "Do you ever doubt Christianity?" to "How do you pray?". Rather than say anything more, here is the interview.

    CJ Mahaney Interviews Sinclair Ferguson

    If you haven't heard these interview clips already, you probably should stop whatever you are doing and listen to them. Ok, maybe that is going a little too far. Seriously though, if you have nothing better to do, it would NOT be a waste of your time. Here is the blurb from the Sovereign grace blog:
    Over the past week we have been posting small excerpts from C.J.’s rich interview with pastor and author Dr. Sinclair Ferguson. Here is a complete index of those blog posts. Also, we’ve included the full audio recording from the two-hour interview.

    Here is the link to these interviews:

    Sinclair Ferguson Interview: Index and Audio

    Resolved 2008 Promo Video

    Thank God for the powerful message of the gospel!

    Friday, April 4, 2008

    Who Is Jesus? A Debate Between Hamad & Anyabwile

    In effort to find something to listen to while working, I stumbled across this debate on YouTube between Ahmed Hamed (speaker on Islam and comparative religion) and Thabiti Anyabwile (Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, USA). This dialogue/debate was organised by the Muslim Student Association and Christian Fellowship Club from the University of Wollongong in Dubai. I have combined the videos into a few different groupings (4-5 per group) to make it a little easier to follow and have listed them below for your edification. The debate is around 2 hours long (as most debates are), but it is very interesting and worth your time. This is a good example of a "non-heated" debate, which can only be attributed to the amount of humility present. In fact, I was actaully shocked at how calm and relaxed this debate was! Hope you enjoy it!

    Thabiti Anyabwile's Opening Statement

    Ahmed Hamed's Opening Statement

    Audience Q & A

    Closing Remarks

    T4G Second String Speakers


    John Macarthur - Vocals and Rhythm Guitar

    John Piper - Vocals and Lead Guitar

    Thabiti Anyabwile - Vocals and Bass

    R.C Sproul - Drums

    They're gonna rock your socks off...

    G.K. Chesterton on Seeing Wonder in the Ordinary

    "[Children] always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we."

    G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (1924; repr. Garden City, N.Y.: Image Books, 1959), 12.

    Wednesday, April 2, 2008

    We Don't Give Jesus Enough Credit

    During my devotional time last night I was struck with how much Jesus has done for us, and how little I actually praise Him for it. My reading was 1 Corinthians 1:1-17, but I will be focusing on verses 1-9.
    1:1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

    2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

    3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Let's look at Paul first.

    Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus

    From this statement alone it is clear that Paul's role as an apostle did not come from his own volition, but rather by the call and will of God. Paul wasn't sitting around one day wondering what his next career path would be. He was killing Christians, and would have still been killing Christians had Jesus not knocked him to the ground and blinded him on the way to Damascus. Jesus called to Paul, not the other way around. Jesus is responsible for Paul's conversion.

    Now, I am going to take a broader stroke concerning the rest of us.


  • Sanctifies us (v.2)
  • Calls us to be saints (v.2)
  • Gives us grace and peace (vv.3-4)
  • Enriches our speech and knowledge (v.5)
  • Builds upon our spiritual gifts (v.7)
  • Sustains us to the end (v.8)
  • Makes us guiltless in God's sight (v.8)
  • Is Faithful (v.9)
  • Calls us into fellowship with Himself (v.9)


  • Have fellowship together with other saints (v.2)
  • Call upon the name of the Lord (v.2)
  • Extend grace and peace to one another (v.3)
  • Give thanks to God, specifically the grace of God evident in fellow saints (v.4)
  • Testify to the grace we have received (v.6)
  • Wait for the final revelation of Jesus Christ (v.7)

    The overall point of this is that Jesus Christ calls and sustains, and we merely respond. Without Christ doing all that is listed above, our list would not exist. The grace of Christ must be present if we are to praise Him rightly. The life of a Christian is marked by the evidence of Christ's calling, giving, and sustaining fellowship.

    I cannot help but wonder if most Christians (myself included) fail to recognize just how much Jesus did and continues to do in our lives. It seems elementary really, and yet I doubt that Jesus receives the praise and thanksgiving that He so rightly deserves in working out our salvation.

    I am thankful to Jesus that He felt it right to reveal these things to me during my short devotions, and I pray that I would not falter in trusting His perfect will and that I would praise Him more fully as a result.
  • 6 Reasons Pastor's Should Blog

    Here is a link to a recent post by Abraham Piper on DesiringGod.

    6 Reasons Pastors Should Blog

    As we can see, this is clearly biblical...
    The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to blog, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own blog well, with all dignity keeping his readers submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own blog, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that his blog may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. 1 Timothy 3:1-5 (English Blogging Version)