Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Disciple Making - The Trellis and the Vine

Just caught wind of this through Westminster Books newsletter. I haven't picked up a copy, but I trust Mark Dever's endorsement and will surely read it myself. If your church, like mine, is looking for a biblical way of making disciples this might just be of help to you. Check out Mark Dever's short explanation of the book below.

You can currently get the book for $10 at WTS Books.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

John Piper Confused by Laughing Audience While He Confesses Sin

Just read this and thought I would pass it along. I've noticed something similar happening during normal times of fellowship as well (ie. small groups, etc).

Lesson I learned from the stuff below: Just because people get uncomfortable talking/hearing about intense things, does not mean that I need to insert a joke as some sort of relief. Uncomfortable can be life changing. I don't want to train people to handle their sin by blowing it off with laughter.
A few weeks ago John Piper spoke at a conference for the American Association of Christian Counselors. You should listen to the first five minutes. Piper decided to be as transparent as possible, given the audience, and to discuss some of the prevailing sins that he has struggled with his entire life. And the audience laughed uproariously. Piper was obviously perplexed and commented on how strange their reaction was.

If you didn’t know Piper, some of it could probably come across–at least initially–as unintentionally funny. But it is quite clear soon after that Piper was not cracking jokes but was being deadly serious about sin.

Greg Gilbert, calling it “one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever heard,” sees in this an “incredibly important and massively undervalued lesson”:

"Do you see, at root, what had happened at that conference? Over the course of a couple of days, those conferees had been trained to expect humor from the speakers and therefore to react to the speakers with laughter–all the way to the point that they were incapable of seeing that John Piper was being serious in his confession of sin to them. You can quibble with whether the first couple of Piper’s statements were (unintentionally, it seems) kind of funny. I happen to think they were. By the time he gets to about the 3-minute mark, though, there’s nothing funny left, and he’s moved into very serious stuff. Yet the atmosphere of humor and levity at that conference was so thick–the training so complete–that the people were incapable of seeing it. So they laughed at Piper’s confession of his sin.

Apparently the conditioning of that audience to think everything is funny took no more than a couple of days.

How deep do you think that conditioning would be for a church who sat under a funny-man pastor every Sunday for fifteen years?"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

When David Heard - 2 Samuel 18:33

The account of King David and his son Absalom is, to say the least, heartbreaking. Absalom was by most standards, a terrible son. He killed his brother Amnon, left the kingdom for three years, returned with a desire to dethrone his father, David, and then declared himself king in Hebron and began a civil war with his own father. Absalom succeeded and David was forced to run from Jerusalem while Absalom placed himself on the throne. Somehow, amidst all of this, David remained compassionate towards Absalom. He ordered his men not to harm him, but to deal gently with him if he was seen in battle. Shortly after, Absalom became trapped in a thicket and was killed by one of David's warriors, Joab. The following scripture relates how David handled the news of his son's death.
...And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “Good news for my lord the king! For the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you.” The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!
I can only imagine the pain and anguish that David must have experienced as he cried out over the death of his son, Absalom.

Last night I heard a choral piece by Eric Whitacre entitled, "When David Heard" that I believe displays the emotional response that David had to this news. It is 13 minutes long, but it is well worth your time. While listening, imagine that you are there with David. Listen as he goes from sadness to rage to peace. Close your eyes if you need to, and crank your speakers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

While My "Ukelele" Gently Weeps

Another video. In my defense, this is simply beautiful and should be shared.

Monday, July 27, 2009

John MacArthur - The Singing Preacher

This may not be your style of music, but the man can definitely hold a tune.

Who knew?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Has God Abandoned America?

John MacArthur thinks so.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

John Piper Joins the World of Twitter

I'm not as Twitter crazy as some people, but I do enjoy seeing what other people are learning and experiencing whenever I get the chance. However, I never quite pegged John Piper to join the Twitter community, until I read this on his website:

Now what about Twitter? I find Twitter to be a kind of taunt: “Okay, truth-lover, see what you can do with 140 characters! You say your mission is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things! Well, this is one of those ‘all things.’ Can you magnify Christ with this thimble-full of letters?”

To which I respond:

The sovereign Lord of the earth and sky
Puts camels through a needle’s eye.
And if his wisdom see it mete,
He will put worlds inside a tweet.

So I am not inclined to tweet that at 10AM the cat pulled the curtains down. But it might remind me that the Lion of Judah will roll up the heavens like a garment, and blow out the sun like a candle, because he just turned the light on. That tweet might distract someone from pornography and make them look up.

I’ve been tweeting anonymously for a month mainly to test its spiritual and family effects on me. In spite of all the dangers, it seems like a risk worth taking. “All things were created through Christ and for Christ” (Colossians 1:16). The world does not know it, but that is why Twitter exists and that’s why I Tweet.

This doesn't make me want to tweet more or less, but it does give a little more guidance as to how to think about Twitter and the benefits it could have.

I wonder how long it took for John Piper to come up with a word that rhymed with "tweet". Brilliant.

Read the entire pose here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

John Piper on Preaching

This is a worthwhile six minutes. I'm not a preacher, however I still can appreciate and learn from what Piper is saying. I was especially struck by the part about the devil. I wish I had half as much passion for Jesus as Piper does. Yikes...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Carl Trueman's Poignant Thoughts on Exhibitionism

While reading Carl Trueman's most recent Ref21 article, "Making Exhibitions of Ourselves", I couldn't help but think that he was really hitting the nail on the head when it comes to social networking, blogs, and the like. I also appreciate his honesty which to some may seem a little over the top. I for one find it quite refreshing in this politically correct world of ours.

For those of you with an addcition to Facebook, Twitter, Reality TV, etc., this may be a worthwhile article to read.

You can find it here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ignatius: Youth Pastor Extraordinaire

Thank you iMonk for this amazing video. Unfortunately this satire is more realistic than most of us would like to admit...

Ignatius from travis hawkins on Vimeo.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Early Church Prayer

"The early church didn't have a prayer meeting, it was a prayer meeting."

(Taken from a recent interview with Ben Patterson)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Bible According to Caravaggio - Part 2

Welcome to the second part in the "Bible According to Caravaggio" series. I have no idea how many parts there will be, but if there are more to come I promise that they will not be almost a year apart like this one is. For those of you who missed the first part, you can find it here. Oddly enough the first post on Caravaggio has been my most read post. Who knew a color-blind guy posing as an art critic could garner so much attention.

Without further procrastination, let's take a look at a few more of Caravaggio's paintings concerning biblical subjects and find out if he really does capture each scene accurately.

The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew

This is another case of not having a biblical record to support or deny the accuracy of this painting. In fact, according to the Catholic church, any information we have of Matthew's death is "nothing but legend". Regardless, Caravaggio sets out to show the joy of being martyred for Christ, and this is exactly the disposition we find in both Eusebius' History of the Church and John Foxe's Book of Martyrs. Here is the Wikipedia explanation of this painting:

"The painting shows the martyrdom of Saint Matthew the Evangelist, author of the Gospel of Matthew. According to tradition, the saint was killed on the orders of the king of Ethiopia while celebrating Mass at the altar. The king lusted after his own niece, and had been rebuked by Matthew, for the girl was a nun, and therefore the bride of Christ. Cardinal Contarelli, who had died several decades earlier, had laid down very explicitly what was to be shown: the saint being murdered by a soldier sent by the wicked king, some suitable architecture, and crowds of onlookers showing appropriate emotion....It takes concentration to understand that the confused melee is a victory of sainthood. Saint Matthew appears to recoil as he falls before the naked fury of his executioner, burning in the glare of light, who readies his sword to strike. Around the saint are persons showing varied emotions, as required by Contarelli: terror, awe, and consternation, while an angel holds out the palm of martyrdom. Confusion about the image can be alleviated by understanding that Matthew is not quailing in fear at the executioner's strike, instead he reaches for the angel's gift. The executioner's grasp and the angel's reach are two parallel paths. Only Matthew is privy to the angelic visitation. Viewed as such, this is a painting not about a moment of general terror, but the death of a saint as the personal handshake of the divine. Italian Baroque painting and sculpture of the time commonly depicted martyrdoms not as moments of fear, but as moments of joy or ecstasy,"

The Calling of St Matthew

This is the companion piece to The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew commissioned by Cardinal Contarelli. This work is based off of the biblical text of Matthew 9:9:

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

Obviously, the clothing is not historically accurate for the period. It may be accurate to Caravaggio's time, but not during the time of Christ. I never imagined the tax booth to be indoors either, but I suppose it could have been possible. What is fascinating is the look of Jesus' pointing hand. The similarity to Michaelangelo's familiar painting of God's outstretched arm to Adam in the Sistine Chapel is undeniable. The image of Levi on the far left with his face woeful and buried in collected taxes while Jesus commands him to follow is accurate in depicting the darkness that is prevalent without Christ. This painting appears to resemble the passage quite clearly, but I'm not sure I agree with some of Caravaggio's choices.

(I will post part three shortly...I promise)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

iTunes "Religion & Spirituality Barometer" - 3/4/09

I just realized that I haven't done one of these since September. Unfortunatley, not much has changed in the world in the last 6 months.

Barometer Reading: 3/4/09

This Week's Winner: Marianne Williamson. I honestly don't know much about her, but after reading about her on Wikipedia I must say I am not excited that she is in the first place spot. Here is a blurb from Wikipedia:

A minister in the Unity Church, the driving force behind Williamson's philosophy is to offer a New Thought approach to spirituality.

She addresses both established Christianity and Judaism in statements such as "You've committed no sins, just mistakes." Her earliest renown was for her talks on A Course in Miracles, a step-by-step method for choosing love over fear. She credits her breakthrough to Oprah Winfrey who invited her on to The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss Williamson's first book A Return to Love, a book of which Oprah bought one thousand copies.

Honorable Mention: Driscoll, Piper, and Stanley made it in the Top 10 amidst a sea of poor theology.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jonah vs. Park Squirrel

I was just talking on the phone with my wife and apparently our two year old son Jonah had a little too much fun at the park today. The story plays out like this:

Jonah sees semi-tame squirrel.

Jonah approaches squirrel.

Jonah tries to pet squirrel.

Erin grabs Jonah out of fear of rabies.

Time passes...

Moments later Jonah finds the same unsuspecting squirrel

Jonah kicks squirrel.

The end.

I imagine it looked something like this...

"Rabbi" Duncan on Hyper-Calvinism & Arminianism

“Hyper-Calvinism is all house and no door; Arminianism is all door and no house.”

( Courtesy of The Scriptorium)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Validation - Short Film

Smile, smile, smile...

The "Boomer in the Pew" & a Free Calfskin ESV Study Bible

Considering I am one of the few, it seems, to not own an ESV Study Bible I am always looking for a good deal so that I can pick one up. Westminster Bookstore has great discounts at 40% off, but that cannot compare to getting an ESV Study Bible for free! Thanks to the Boomer in the Pew this free ESV Study Bible "dream" may become a reality.

Go here for more info.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Jesus Under Fire: Twelve Reasons We Can Trust The Canonical Gospels (Craig Blomberg)

Last night Dr. Craig Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary, gave a lecture at the University of Northern Colorado. The lecture was titled, Jesus Under Fire: Twelve Reasons We Can Trust the Canonical Gospels and involved twelve main points:

1. We have highly reliable copies of the texts of what Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote.

2. The authors were in a position to report accurate historical information.

3. All four gospels were written during the first century of Christianity.

4. The gospel writers would have wanted to preserve accurate history.

5. Ancient cultures meticulously cultivated the art of memorization.

6. The differences among the gospels closely match the patterns of ancient storytelling.

7. The literary genre of the gospels most resembles that of the other more trustworthy histories and biographies from the ancient world.

8. The presence of the "hard sayings" of Jesus supports the Gospels' historicity.

9. The "missing topics" Jesus does not address also support historical reliability.

10. The testimony of non-Christian writers confirms the general contours of Christ's life.

11. Archaeology has confirmed even more circumstantial details in the Gospels.

12. The testimony of other early Christian writers supports many remaining details.

You can listen to the lecture here, and the short Q&A session can be listened to here.