Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Favorite Quotes from My Vacation to the U.S.

Sam Storms at the Desiring God 2009 National Conference quoting a letter John Calvin wrote to the wife of one of the Reformation leaders in France who was experiencing physical illness . . .

"They [our physical afflictions] should serve us as medicine to purge us from worldly affections and remove what is superfluous in us. And since they are to us the messengers of death, we ought to learn to have one foot raised to take our departure when it shall please God."

One of our relatives from Louisiana describing how his trees looked after Hurricane Katrina went through his neighborhood . . .


Julius Kim at the Desiring God 2009 National Conference . . .

"The worship of the church has become a feel-good experience rather than the meeting of the holy God of the universe. Exciting music has become the new sacrament mediating the presence of God and his grace."

My wife Nancy’s Aunt Sis describing someone she knew who could not sit still . . .

“You couldn’t play checkers on his shirt tale.”

Doug Wilson at the Desiring God 2009 National Conference . . .

"In his preachers Christ is discharging his office. What should we expect when we come to hear the word of God proclaimed? That we would hear his own words and, in a sense, see God himself speaking to us. That is the purpose and intention of preaching, not to compete with Scripture, but to be the platform from which God's word in Scripture is proclaimed. This is why pulpit ministry has to be grounded in the Scriptures, in exposition. The minister should not deviate from what is assigned him. One of the things my father taught me about preaching was, "When you run out of things to say, go on to the next verse."

. . . The preacher is to preach what was written before he ever existed, as a herald and as an ambassador, and not to point to himself in any way. A minister is not up there to develop a relationship with everybody individually. He is there to declare something that is outside of his control. He's not there to preach himself but Christ."

A conversation between myself and my wife sitting behind me in a van while we are driving . . .

Question (Leland): “Do you want to use Jennifer’s cell-phone?”

Answer (Nancy): “I don’t know where to put my knees!!!”

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Blog Sabbatical

I am beginning a blog sabbatical for the remainder of the month of September. Blessings!

"I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable." (Psalm 145:1-3)

(picture is of the Butterfly Nebula)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Last Day Matters Most - Mark Driscoll

This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:1-7)

12th Annual Wacky Warning Label Contest Winner

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (1 Corinthians 1:20)

Here are a few other real wacky warning labels:

Sign at Railroad Station - Beware! To touch these wires is instant death. Anyone found doing so will be prosecuted.
Hammer - Caution: Do not use this hammer to strike any solid object.
Coffee Cup - Caution: Hot beverages are hot!
Laser Pointer - Do not look into laser with remaining eye.
Curling Iron - For external use only!
Christmas lights - For indoor or outdoor use only.
Ray-O-Vac Renewal AA Batteries - If swallowed or lodged in ear or nose see doctor.
Fire Alarm System - There shall be three (3) access levels with level 4 being the highest level.
Rowenta Iron - Warning! Never iron clothes on the body.
Sainsbury's Peanuts - Warning: contains nuts
Heated Seat Cushion - Warning: Do not use on eyes.
Sleeping Pill Prescription - Warning: drug may cause sleepiness.
Rat Poison - Warning: has been found to cause cancer in laboratory mice.
Frisbee- Warning: May contain small parts.
Silly Putty - WARNING: Not for use as earplugs.
Baby Stroller - Warning: Remove child before folding baby stroller.
Curling Iron - Warning: This product can burn eyes.
Fritos - You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.

The Greatness of Humble Servanthood

Last Sunday morning (August 30th) the Spirit of God was clearly active in the hearts of many in our church family at Arrowsmith; there were a number of people who came forward after the message, and many shared with me that they had responded in their hearts. I am always greatly humbled to somehow be involved when God powerfully moves and works in the hearts and lives of His people. Yesterday I found out that last Sunday John Piper and I had both preached from the same text - Mark 10:32-45 (I also added verses 46-52). While our emphasis was somewhat different – the foundational concepts of greatness, humility servanthood were the same. Here are a few quotes from Dr. Piper’s sermon – Click here to read/listen/watch the whole thing.

Humility agrees and is glad that this servanthood is true greatness. Verses 43-44: “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” So to sum up,

1. Humility is glad that God gets all the credit for choosing us so that we boast only in him and not man.
2. Humility happily admits that everything we have is a free gift from God, so that we can’t boast in it.
3. Humility is glad to affirm that God sovereignly governs our heartbeats and safe arrivals, or non-arrivals.
4. The root of Christian humility is the gospel that Christ died for our sins. That’s how sinful I was. That’s how dependent I am.
5. Humility gives itself away in serving everyone, rather than seeking to be served.
6. And humility is glad to affirm that this service is true greatness.

If God would work this humility in us—O how freely we would serve each other. One of the reasons I am praying and preaching toward humility is that the church survives and thrives by servanthood. Every member of Christ is gifted in someway to serve. . . .

My point here is that without humility we won’t serve, or we will serve for the wrong reasons. It seems almost impossible to overstate how pervasive are the effects of humility in our lives. . . .

Gospel humility frees you from the need to posture and pose and calculate what others think, so that you are free to laugh at what is really funny with the biggest belly laugh. Proud people don’t really let themselves go in laughter. They don’t get red in the face and fall off chairs and twist their faces into the contortions of real free laughter. Proud people need to keep their dignity. The humble are free to howl with laughter. . . .

Gospel humility, grace-based humility, Jesus-exalting humility does not make you gloomy, or timid, or passive. It makes you joyful, and courageous and industrious.