Archive for October, 2008

The highlight of today was joining the over 1000 students and faculty for Reformation Day Chapel. Highlights included

  • Singing the Reformation Polka (very humorous song that told the story of Martin Luther’s life)
  • Hearing the Masters’ Chorale sing O Love that Will Not Let Me Go!
  • Learning about the lives of some great Reformation hymn writers (Did you know that Charles Wesley wrote over 8800 hymns?  Neither did I)
  • Singing all 19 verses of “O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing” (it only took 6 minutes and stanzas 9-14 tell the story of C Wesley’s conversion.  Amazing to hear and watch college students–the ones who aren’t supposed to like hyms anymore you know–sing with all their hearts of their Redeemer’s praise!

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Master’s visit

We had an uneventful trip out to CA, making all our connections and arriving at the Master’s College.  We took in lunch at the Mustang Grill on campus, attended two classes:  Christian Worldview and Christian Theology II, met with an admissions counselor and another administrator.  Tomorrow we are going to a few more classes and chapel and getting the campus tour.

We are impressed so far with the college’s unswerving commitment to the Word of God (no surprise really), the diversity of ethnicity among the students, and the willingness of everyone to help us out in any way they can.

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Here are some quotes that exalt Christ as you celebrate Reformation Day.  One of the five “solas” was Christ alone!  May this be a day where where we affirm with Paul, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:8-10, ESV)

Christ and Scripture:  “Remove Christ from the Scriptures and there is nothing left.”–Martin Luther

Christ’s Character: “All the virtues which appeared in Christ shone brightest in the close of His life, under the trials He then met. Eminent virtue always shows brightest in the fire. Pure gold shows its purity chiefly in the furnace. It was chiefly under those trials which Christ endured in the close of His life that His love to God, His honor of God’s majesty, His regard to the honor of His law, His spirit of obedience, His humility, contempt of the world, His patience, meekness, and spirit of forgiveness towards men, appeared. Indeed, everything that Christ did to work out redemption for us appears mainly in the close of His life. Here mainly is His satisfaction for sin, and here chiefly is His merit of eternal life for sinners, and here chiefly appears the brightness of His example which He has set us for imitation.”–Jonathan Edwards

Christ’s Compassion:  “He sheds tears for those that shed His blood.”—Thomas Watson

Christ and the cross:  “No man understands the Scriptures, unless he be acquainted with the cross.”–Martin Luther

“I believe that if I should preach to you the atonement of our Lord Jesus, and nothing else, twice every Sabbath day, my ministry would not be unprofitable.  Perhaps it might be more profitable than it is.”–C. H. Spurgeon

“Come, and see the victories of the cross.  Christ’s wounds are thy healings, His agonies thy repose, His conflicts thy conquests, His groans thy songs, His pains thine ease, His shame thy glory, His death thy life, His sufferings thy salvation.”–Matthew Henry

Christ is the only way:  “The summary of the gospel is that our Lord Jesus Christ, the true Son of God, has revealed the will of His heavenly Father to us, and with His innocence has redeemed us from death, and has reconciled us with God. Therefore, Christ is the only way to salvation for all those who have been, are, and will be.”–Ulrich Zwingli

Christ and Grace:  “The summary of the gospel is that our Lord Jesus Christ, the true Son of God, has revealed the will of His heavenly Father to us, and with His innocence has redeemed us from death, and has reconciled us with God. Therefore, Christ is the only way to salvation for all those who have been, are, and will be.”–John Bunyan

Supremacy of Christ:  “Jesus Christ is not valued at all until He is valued above all.” —Augustine

In Christ we have:

A love that can never be fathomed

A life that can never die

A righteousness that can never be tarnished

A peace that can never be understood

A rest that can never be disturbed

A joy that can never be diminished

A hope that can never be disappointed

A glory that can never be clouded

A light that can never be darkened

A purity that can never be defiled

A beauty that can never be marred

A wisdom that can never be baffled

Resources that can never be exhausted.–Unknown!

And so, Christ alone brings joy:  “To be in Christ is the source of the Christian’s life; to be like Christ is the sum of His excellence; to be with Christ is the fullness of His joy.”–Charles Hodges

For more Reformation Day reflections visit Challies.

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“Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.” (Psalm 54:4, ESV).

“In every painful ordeal, God is a help to his people.  He is the all-sufficient one who sustains them through deep waters.  God is His people’s deliverer who, according to his perfect timing, rescues the righteous from harm. God is good all the time and is to be trusted in every stormy trial. Even when attacked by others, believers should praise God who rescues people from trouble.”–Steve Lawson

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From the latest EJournal of 9Marks Ministry: An interview with Winston Smith. Winston T. Smith, M.Div., is the director of counseling at CCEF and has extensive experience as a marriage and family counselor. He is the author of many counseling articles, the booklet, Rest, and is currently writing a book on marriage.

9M: How do you think the culture has changed over the last fifteen or twenty years? What do you think marriages are facing now that they may not have faced twenty years ago?

WS: There are probably many cultural pressures that make marriage different than it was even 15 or 20 years ago. I will just point out one because it’s one of the most insidious. I’ve seen time and time again just how powerful and destructive pornography is in marriages. Of course, pornography is more than 20 years old, but what has changed in the last 20 years is technology. In the past there was this shame barrier that you had to be willing to cross. To really throw yourself into pornography, you had to go to a different part of town. You had to get out of your car and walk into a store and be willing to be seen. Your name and your face would be associated with the material that you were handling. Now anonymity seems almost guaranteed. It’s not just available to you, it’s invading your life. It’s promoting itself. It will pop up in your e-mails. It will show up on the movie menu in the hotel room. Probably the classier the hotel, the easier it is to view pornography and the more shamelessly it’s displayed.

Pornography is on the offensive against you. It’s coming after you. So you have to have real reasons to say no to it, not just because you are going to get caught. That’s not a good enough reason because you’ll have opportunities to secretly indulge in it. The mode of pornography has changed, and the message has become amplified. Without being graphic, anybody who’s seen pornography will probably know what I’m talking about. Pornography is ultimately about anonymous, meaningless relationships where the center of focus is personal gratification.

Sex is wonderful, but sex is intended by God to communicate meaning and purpose. It is intended to communicate God’s commitment, covenantal and sacrificial love, tenderness and care. It is not intended to communicate a freedom to do what you can get away with, focus on yourself, and engage in anonymous, meaningless relationships. You take those anti-relationship messages of pornography and pair them with a physiological high and you’ve got something really nasty on your hands. It doesn’t just enslave a person’s time and thought life. It begins to invade the rest of their relationships. Those same messages of convenience, pleasure, and self-focus leak all over your life—they don’t just stay on your computer .

9M: Do you have any wisdom for pastors and churches for taking the offensive—ways they can be proactive in the battle against pornography?

WS: I think one of the ways churches should work against this threat, very simply, is to start talking about it. And don’t just talk about it as something that’s out there in the culture, but talk about it as something that’s coming after us as individuals and families in the church. Create forums/arenas where people who are battling with it can talk about it without being shamed or treated like second class citizens. Create an open conversation where this problem is treated with the same care, concern, and tenderness as any other sins and struggle.

This is a very simple but bold step. You need to say, “We’re going to talk about it like it’s a problem in our church, because it is.” It is a given. Of course, this conversation should occur as part of the larger culture of discipling and accountability that pastors should be cultivating in their churches.

Then be really practical in giving people tools to do something about it.

  • If you have an Internet connection in your home, think of it as a portal to a XXX book store. You have a doorway in your house that leads to an adult book store if you have an internet connection, a cable TV, or satellite connection. So treat it like it’s a door that needs to be guarded and locked. It’s ok to be entertained with your computer, but you need to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. You’re not just grazing on your computer.
  • Limit private access to the computer. If you have a desktop computer, put it in a family area with the screen facing the middle of the room.
  • There are all kinds of software available that are effective, but no software is foolproof. There are software options that are effective at erecting a barrier (stringing up some razor wire). If you break through, it’s because you wanted to break through – not because you were entrapped.

There are all kinds of basic things that we can do to protect ourselves, but we seem to walk around in churches with naiveté. People are assuming, “No one is talking about it so it must not be a problem.” I have seen countless examples of pastors and church administrators who’ve been ensnared by it. I have counseled people who work as cleaning staff who will log onto computers at night and look at pornography in the buildings they are cleaning. Hopefully, some of these suggestions will be helpful in battling this prevalent issue.

(HT:  VitaminZ)

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R.C: Principles from voting

R. C. Sproul discusses biblical principles for voting.

Listen here or read it here.

(HT: Challies)

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Lord, help!

“I sometimes think that the very essence of the whole Christian position and the secret of a successful spiritual life is just to realize two things. . . .I must have complete, absolute confidence in God and no confidence in myself.” –D. Marytn Lloyd-Jones.

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