Round Up

Christianity as it was defined originally by Christ – “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Has the Church Sold Its Soul to Consumerism? – The Evangelical church in the twenty-first century has in many ways absorbed the consumeristic mentality that is so prevalent in the culture. Churches approach worship as if they were selling a product and the attendee were the consumer. Since the product is up for sale, churches must show that their product is more entertaining than anything else the world has to offer.

The Most Christian Nation – Probably not your first thought.

Unjuggling – Just for fun.

Quote:

“Be very sure of this–people never reject the Bible because they cannot understand it. They understand it too well; they understand that it condemns their own behavior; they understand that it witnesses against their own sins, and summons them to judgment. They try to believe it is false and useless, because they don’t like to believe it is true. An evil lifestyle must always raise an objection to this book. Men question the truth of Christianity because they hate the practice of it.” – J. C. Ryle

Round Up

If All Religions Are True – If all religions are true, then God is cruel. And not just cruel—God is an incompetent, cosmic child-abuser.

Two Favored Sons – Want to know how to read the Old Testament? Here’s a quick primer: Martin Luther said that everything bad in the Old Testament (and there’s a lot) is there to point out our sin, while everything good in the Old Testament is there to point us to our Savior.

Dragged Into the Kingdom, Kicking and Screaming – God often pursues us long before we have any inkling of what he’s up to. More often than not, we don’t like the pursuit.

Can Natural Man Do Good? – The unbeliever’s moral inability to do good—good that may be credited to his account by way of righteousness—means that there is only one possible way of salvation: it must come from outside himself.

Salvation In A Dementia Ward – “I know who you are,” she growled at me with eyes I could now see were wild with fear and anger. “You are Mr. Holy-Holy-Holy!”

Quote:

Tolerance has become such a god in our culture that not to have it is heresy. The effect is that tolerance swallows up truth, negating any need to search for things that might offend or challenge our preferences. It conveniently avoids the notion that certain things might just apply to all of us, no matter who we are or what we believe. It is a comfortable place to be, for it challenges nothing but truth, but it may also be a dangerous home to inhabit. – From the book Truth Matters.

 

 

Round Up

Spiritual Schizophrenia – If I watched a video of your everyday life for the past six weeks, would I conclude that your faith shapes everything you think, desire, say, and do?

The Book of Job – The book of Job is not answering a theoretical question about why good people suffer.  It is answering a practical question: When good people suffer, what does God want from them?

You Are going to Die – You know, it’s possible that God’s plan for us is littleness. His plan for us may be personal failure.

How To Count It All As Loss – What does it mean to count everything as loss for the sake of Christ? What does it mean to renounce all that we have for Christ’s sake?

Quote:

As we preach the word of God, we must have our toes on the very brink of eternity.  For our voice may be the last voice that many will ever hear. – Steve Lawson

Round Up

You are Not a Superhero – You and I were created to live dependent lives, never surviving on the basis of our own strength, wisdom and control. From the moment of our first breath, we were limited, weak, and fragile beings.

Dancing With Wolves – Any literal shepherd tasked with feeding and leading a flock of lambs would be thought deranged if he regarded wolves as potential pets to be domesticated and amalgamated into the fold. Suppose he actively sought and tried to befriend young wolves, presuming he could teach them to mingle with his sheep—insisting against all wise counsel that his experiment might succeed, and if it does, that the wolves will acquire the sheep’s gentleness and the sheep will learn beneficial things from the wolves. Such a shepherd would be worse than useless; he himself would pose an extreme danger to the flock.

Has Any People Heard the Voice of God…And Survived? – A 3-part link.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Quote:

“If you are one of those who undergoes regular worldview-size shifts in your thinking. If your message changes every time a new fad, or a new bestselling book comes along. If you are by nature fascinated with new perspectives and radical doctrine, get out of the ministry. Please. People like that only sow doubt and confusion. The man of God is supposed to be like a tree planted by rivers of water — steadfast, immovable — growing in a steady, constant fashion rather than lurching wildly from one point of view to another all the time.” — Phil Johnson

Round Up

Kill Your Jesus Talisman – When I was a kid I had a poster of Philippians 4:13 — “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” — with a photo of a guy dunking a basketball. You can bet I thought long and hard about how Jesus was gonna help me dunk on some fools.

The False Teachers: Arius – Tim Challies is setting out on a series of articles about false teachers down through the history of the Church.

The False Teachers: Pelagius – Tim Challies second article on false teachers in church history.

Engineered Revivals – Revelations regarding the “Spontaneous Baptisms How-To Guide.”  (If you need a “How-To Guide” it ain’t a true revival.)

When Silence is Sinful – This article is aimed at the Charismatic Movement, but could easily apply to the SBC also.

Quote:

Every son of man is born in sin (Psalm 51:5).  So when the prince of this world first approaches a young soul with this or that wicked proposal, he finds the soul unarmed and in its natural state already familiar with his policies.  Yielding to Satan’s control will therefore not cause much of a stir in the naturally sinful heart.  But when Christ campaigns for a soul, He proposes sweeping changes.  And the selfish soul, which generally likes things as they are, answers Him with the same scorn as the rebellious citizens int he parable:  “We will not have this man to reign over us!” (Luke 19:14).  The vote is unanimous:  All the lusts cast their ballots against Christ, and rise up like the Philistines against Samson, whom they called the destroyer of their country (Judges 16:23-24).  If God’s grace did not step in and override the veto, the whole world would be held in Satan’s sway. – William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour

Round Up

Intellect, Worship, and the Irreducible Complexity of the Christian Life – When you mention worship to most American Christians, their thoughts will immediately focus on weekly church services, usually on Sunday.  Now worship does (or can) indeed happen at these gatherings, but worship is a much broader and more comprehensive concept in Scripture.

The Oldest Trick in the Book – I love that new GEICO commercial where the guy in the movie theater says, “Did you know there really is an ‘oldest trick in the book’?” Then the scene flashes back to ancient times where a man looks into an old book, and says, “Trick number one.  Lookest over there.”  The man then points across the room. His apprentice looks and of course sees nothing. Then the man says, “Madest thou look.”

Good Works and Sanctificaiton – The following 5 questions are answered – What are good works? Why do good works? Who brings forth our good works? How good are these good works? Then how are our good works acceptable to God?

Three Reasons to Get Some Sleep – Life is short. Stay awake for it.  Christian, life is short. You should get some sleep.

Quote:

Nothing whatever, whether great or small, can happen to a believer, without God’s ordering and permission.

The providential government of God over everything in this world is a truth of which the Greek and Roman philosophers had no conception. It is a truth which is specially revealed to us in the word of God. Just as the telescope and microscope show us that there is order and design in all the works of God’s hand, from the greatest planet down to the least insect, so does the Bible teach us that there is wisdom, order, and design in all the events of our daily life. There is no such thing as ‘chance,’ ‘luck,’ or ‘ accident’ in the Christian’s journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God. And all things are ‘working together’ for the believer’s good. (Rom. viii. 28.)

Let us seek to have an abiding sense of God’s hand in all that befalls us, if we profess to be believers in Jesus Christ. Let us strive to realize that a Father’s hand is measuring out our daily portion, and that our steps are ordered by Him. A daily practical faith of this kind, is one grand secret of happiness, and a mighty antidote against murmuring and discontent. We should try to feel in the day of trial and disappointment, that all is right and all is well done. We should try to feel on the bed of sickness that there must be a ‘needs be.’ We should say to ourselves, ‘God could keep away from me these things if He thought fit. But He does not do so, and therefore they must be for my advantage. I will lie still, and bear them patiently. I have ‘an everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure.’ (2 Sam. xxiii. 5.) What pleases God shall please me.’” – J C Ryle

Round Up

The Doctrine of Hell – If you were to give me a Bible, a divine eraser, and ten minutes, I would take hell out of the Bible.

The Key To The Christian Life Comes Not From Trying Harder But From Enjoying More – Can fascination with God and delight in Jesus really help me overcome my failures? Can my life genuinely be changed? Can this truth really make a difference down in the gutter of lust and greed and pride and envy and shame where I live?

The Beauty of the Impassible God – Critics often contend that the doctrine of impassibility depicts God as an emotionless rock. But to teach that God is impassible is not to deny that God has an emotional life with cares, joys, loves, and so forth.

MP3 Version of the ESV Bible For Free – Download the ESV Bible in MP3 format until the end of January.

Quote:
I remember lecturing at Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in this country. I was minutes away from beginning my lecture, and my host was driving me past a new building called the Wexner Center for the Performing Arts.

He said, “This is America’s first postmodern building.”

I was startled for a moment and I said, “What is a postmodern building?”

He said, “Well, the architect said that he designed this building with no design in mind. When the architect was asked, ‘Why?’ he said, ‘If life itself is capricious, why should our buildings have any design and any meaning?’ So he has pillars that have no purpose. He has stairways that go nowhere. He has a senseless building built and somebody has paid for it.”

I said, “So his argument was that if life has no purpose and design, why should the building have any design?”

He said, “That is correct.”

I said, “Did he do the same with the foundation?”

All of a sudden there was silence.

You see, you and I can fool with the infrastructure as much as we would like, but we dare not fool with the foundation because it will call our bluff in a hurry.

– Ravi Zacharias

God Did Not Save Us On A Whim – Blog Repost

Many Christians do not really grasp why God has forgiven us of our sins. It’s not as if God the Father woke up one morning and was having a great day, just feeling terrific about being the Sovereign of the universe, then decided on a whim to have mercy on his elect and look past their iniquities. God did not save us because the loving part of him finally out balanced the justice part of him. We must not picture God up in heaven muttering: “You know your sin? And all your rebellion and failures and disobedience? You remember all that? Well fuhgettaboutit. It don’t bother me. I love youse guys and I ain’t gonna mention your sin no more.”

Read the rest here.