Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Sovereign Light of Our Darkness

For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. (Psalm 18:28)

Surprised by Marriage - Paul Tripp

On Sunday evening October 4th our church will begin the process of going through the DVD conference series "What Did You Expect - Redeeming the Realities of Marriage" by Dr. Paul David Tripp. Leading up to that time I will posting a few videos on a regular basis by Paul Tripp explaining some of the concepts he speaks about throughout the series. Note: these are not part of the DVD conference we will be going through.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Heavenly Father, if I should suffer need, and go unclothed,
and be in poverty, make my heart prize Thy love,
know it, be constrained by it, though I be denied all blessings.
It is Thy mercy to afflict and try me with wants,
for by these trials I see my sins, and desire severance from them.
Let me willingly accept misery, sorrows, temptations,
if I can thereby feel sin as the greatest evil,
and be delivered from it with gratitude to Thee,
acknowledging this as the highest testimony of Thy love.
When thy Son, Jesus, came into my soul instead of sin
He became more dear to me than sin had formerly been;
His kindly rule replaced sin's tyranny.

Teach me to believe that if ever I would have any sin subdued
I must not only labour to overcome it,
but must invite Christ to abide in the place of it,
and He must become to me more than vile lust had been;
that His sweetness, power, life may be there.
Thus I must seek a grace from Him contrary to sin,
but must not claim it apart from Himself.

When I am afraid of evils to come,
comfort me by showing me that in myself I am a dying,
condemned wretch, but in Christ I am reconciled and live;
that in myself I find insufficiency and no rest,
but in Christ there is satisfaction and peace;
that in myself I am feeble and unable to do good,
but in Christ I have ability to do all things.

Though now I have His graces in part,
I shall shortly have them perfectly in that state
where Thou wilt show Thyself fully reconciled,
and alone sufficient, efficient, loving me completely, with sin abolished.

O Lord, hasten that day.

From "The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotion"
edited by Arthur Bennett

Eternal Life = Political Death

"I know that voting against the healthcare bill will probably be the death of my political career, but I have To live with myself, and I always reflect on the phrase of the New Testament, 'How does it profit a man’s life to gain the whole world but to lose his soul.'”

U.S. Representative Anh “Joseph” Cao, Republican from Louisiana


Friday, August 28, 2009

The Nature of Humanity – Charles Spurgeon

I daresay you have heard people use pretty phrases about the dignity of human nature, and so on. They are lying phrases; for human nature is as bad as it can be. If you want the proof of that assertion, behold how God himself came here among men, incarnate virtue robed in love! Did men love him? Did they fall down before him and do him homage? The homage of the world was, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ The world hates virtue; it cannot bear perfection; it might endure benevolence, but absolute purity and righteousness it cannot, away with. Its native instincts are wrong; it is not towards the light that men are going, their backs are to the sun, they are journeyinng into the thick of darkness. (The Crisis of This World by Charles Spurgeon)


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Brian Regan and the Eye Doctor

Here is another video of my family's favorite comedian. Enjoy!

An Unassisted Triple Play!

One of the most of rare events in sporting history happened today. Second baseman Eric Bruntlett turned an unassisted triple play to end the Philadelphia Phillies' wild 9-7 victory over the New York Mets. It was the 15th unassisted triple play in major league history - the second that ended a game. With runners on first and second in the ninth inning, Jeff Francoeur hit a line drive up the middle that appeared headed toward center field for a single. But both runners were stealing on the pitch, so Bruntlett was in perfect position as he moved over to cover second base. He caught the liner easily, stepped on second to double up Luis Castillo and then turned to tag Daniel Murphy for the third out. Murphy tried to backpedal away from Bruntlett, but had nowhere to go. To watch the video - Click Here.

What I like most about this is that Brunlett had made two bad plays in the inning beforehand - and the unassisted triple play pretty much wiped those from people's memory. Reminds me of what God has done in my own life: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Divine Justice Beyond Lockerbie

Last Wednesday Scotland released Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the terrorist from Libya who had been serving a life sentence for murdering 270 people by blowing up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, two decades ago – because he has terminal prostate cancer. There is understandably a great deal of outcry against his release – especially from the families who lost loved ones in the tragedy, most are from the United States.

When asked why he could permit such an injustice, Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said this:

Our justice system demands that judgment be imposed but compassion available. Our beliefs dictate that justice be served but mercy be shown. . . .

The evidence I have from the director of Health and Social Care for Scottish Prison Services, and it's his advice along with that of the prison governor, and indeed of other relevant bodies of Scotland, it's the prognosis that he's since deteriorated. It says now that he has less than three months to live. I'm obliged to accept that. I'm not medically qualified, I do not challenge it. And what I accept is that he is a dying man. I can't change that. That verdict has been brought upon to him by a higher power. But I am prepared to stand up for the values we hold as a people of Scotland not to lower them, not to debase them, not to live in a manner which others seek to do. We've brought him to judgment, but we allow him to go home to die.
Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi’s punishment may have just ended in Scotland, but it will only just begin when he leaves this earth: "But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Tornado, the Lutherans, and Homosexuality - John Piper

I saw the fast-moving, misshapen, unusually-wide funnel over downtown Minneapolis from Seven Corners. I said to Kevin Dau, “That looks serious.”

It was. Serious in more ways than one. A friend who drove down to see the damage wrote,
On a day when no severe weather was predicted or expected...a tornado forms, baffling the weather experts—most saying they’ve never seen anything like it. It happens right in the city. The city: Minneapolis.

The tornado happens on a Wednesday...during the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America's national convention in the Minneapolis Convention Center. The convention is using Central Lutheran across the street as its church. The church has set up tents around it’s building for this purpose.
According to the ELCA’s printed convention schedule, at 2 PM on Wednesday, August 19, the 5th session of the convention was to begin. The main item of the session: “Consideration: Proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality.” The issue is whether practicing homosexuality is a behavior that should disqualify a person from the pastoral ministry.

The eyewitness of the damage continues:
This curious tornado touches down just south of downtown and follows 35W straight towards the city center. It crosses I94. It is now downtown.

The time: 2PM.

The first buildings on the downtown side of I94 are the Minneapolis Convention Center and Central Lutheran. The tornado severely damages the convention center roof, shreds the tents, breaks off the steeple of Central Lutheran, splits what’s left of the steeple in two...and then lifts.
Let me venture an interpretation of this Providence with some biblical warrant.
1. The unrepentant practice of homosexual behavior (like other sins) will exclude a person from the kingdom of God.
The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
2. The church has always embraced those who forsake sexual sin but who still struggle with homosexual desires, rejoicing with them that all our fallen, sinful, disordered lives (all of us, no exceptions) are forgiven if we turn to Christ in faith.

Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)
3. Therefore, official church pronouncements that condone the very sins that keep people out of the kingdom of God, are evil. They dishonor God, contradict Scripture, and implicitly promote damnation where salvation is freely offered.

4. Jesus Christ controls the wind, including all tornados.
Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4:41)
5. When asked about a seemingly random calamity near Jerusalem where 18 people were killed, Jesus answered in general terms—an answer that would cover calamities in Minneapolis, Taiwan, or Baghdad. God’s message is repent, because none of us will otherwise escape God’s judgment.

Jesus: “Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:4-5)
6. Conclusion: The tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin. Turn from the promotion of behaviors that lead to destruction. Reaffirm the great Lutheran heritage of allegiance to the truth and authority of Scripture. Turn back from distorting the grace of God into sensuality. Rejoice in the pardon of the cross of Christ and its power to transform left and right wing sinners.


Let There Be Light!

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5)

As a magnifying glass concentrates the rays of the sun into a little burning knot of heat that can set fire to a dry leaf or a piece of paper, so the mystery of Christ in the Gospel concentrates the rays of God’s light and fire to a point that sets fire to the spirit of man. . . .

God is everywhere. His truth and His love pervade all things as the light and the heat of the sun pervade our atmosphere. But just as the rays of the sun do not set fire to anything by themselves, so God does not touch our souls with the fire of supernatural knowledge and experience without Christ.

But the glass of Manhood seeks out spirits that are well prepared, dried by the light and warmth of God, and ready to take flame in the little knot of fire that is the grace of the Holy Ghost.

by Thomas Merton, “New Seeds of Contemplation”, pp 150-151.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Enmity Between the Snake and Fallen Humanity

The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15)

"Where two or three are gathered in my name . . . "

This is quite a stretch from the point Jesus was making - but the dog sure does seem to be into it.

Sin: Looking at our own wrong and seeing good

Sin lives in a costume; that's why it's so hard to recognize. The fact that sin looks so good is one of the things that make it so bad. In order for it to do its evil work, it must present itself as something that is anything but evil. Life in a fallen world is like attending the ultimate masquerade party. Impatient yelling wears the costume of a zeal for truth. Lust can masquerade as a love for beauty. Gossip does its evil work by living in the costume of concern and prayer. Craving for power and control wears the mask of biblical leadership. Fear of man gets dressed up as a servant heart. The pride of always being right masquerades as a love for biblical wisdom. Evil simply doesn't present itself as evil, which is part of its draw. You'll never understand sin's sleight of hand until you acknowledge that the DNA of sin is deception. Now, what this means personally is that as sinners we are all very committed and gifted self-swindlers. … We're all too skilled at looking at our own wrong and seeing good.

Paul David Tripp, "Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy", p. 32

The Glory of God in Missions

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns." (Isaiah 52:7)


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blog Sabbatical

In case you might not have already noticed - I am on a short sabbatical from blogging until August 17th. Blessings!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What is the Problem of Evil and Suffering? - Randy Alcorn

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cruising on the MVuchuck III

I’ve not blogged for over a week due to 1) a really busy schedule with church and people, and 2) my wife Nancy and I enjoyed the beautiful scenery on a two day cruise through the inlets of Vancouver Island’s rugged West Coast aboard the MV Uchuck III, a 136-foot passenger and freight vessel which provides service through the historic Nootka, Esperanza and Kyuquot Sounds. Below are a few pictures from our time away. For more information on the MV Uchuck II, click here.