Archive for April, 2013

This is a great article that that a father wrote to his son who was reluctant to pray out loud? The son loved to pray alone but didn’t feel comfortable praying out loud with others.

Fathers, share “This, then, is how you could pray” with your sons. And men, this is a good read for us all, especially if you feel a bit reluctant yourself to pray in small groups or in public worship.

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Jason (who was filling in for Kevin when he was in South Africa) reminded me that entertainment isn’t inherently evil or worthless.  His article “Christians, Baseball and Mickey Mouse” provide ten thoughtful principles for how we approach and engage entertainment as Christians:

As Christians, we don’t have to abandon entertainment. We don’t have to limit our television watching to documentaries, disguise our vacation with a convenient trip to see relatives on the way, or push our fiction books to the back corner of the shelf. We just have to be wise in what we choose to entertain ourselves with and how we approach that entertainment. And then we can laugh, fantasize, and play to the glory of God and our enjoyment. Enjoy Mickey Mouse with your kids. Take in a ball game with your spouse. Have a few friends over to enjoy some good food. Laugh, smile, rest, delight, find pleasure–it’s o.k. for a Christian. Actually, it’s more than o.k.–it is good and right.

Read it all here.

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Denny Burk, as usual, has some of the most cogent commentary  on the Jason Collins and Chris Broussard.  He begins:

After the news broke earlier today that Jason Collins has come out as the first openly gay player in the NBA, I didn’t really plan to comment. But that all changed after watching Chris Broussard’s commentary for ESPN (see above).

After Collins’ announcement appeared, all the sports shows were abuzz with the news. ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” hosted a discussion between two sportswriters: the openly gay LZ Granderson and the Christian Chris Broussard.

The long and short of it is this. Jason Collins still claims to be a Christian even though he is openly gay. ESPN asked Broussard to comment on Collins’ claim that one can be both gay and Christian. Broussard answered the question politely and boldly, and he did so as a Christian. In fact, I think he said pretty much what I would have said if I had been asked such a question.

Read the rest here  and recognize that it is not going to get any easier to stand on the Word of God and with Christ in this culture.

Pastor Erik Raymond (full article) also nails it in my opinion:

The news firestorm provides a perfect screenshot of our cultural forecast. We have two professionals who are highly respected in their field and by their peers. They are both commenting on the same issue and boldly making statements about their personal convictions and lifestyle. However, one is being largely labeled a hero and a progressive champion while the other is being labeled a bigot and a conservative caveman. The cultural temperature is clearly seen on the issue of homosexuality.

But why the polemics? Why do the same people who get sore arms from waving the flags of progressive tolerance also go hoarse yelling that anyone who disagrees with them is unacceptable? The answer is simple: in so far as people march according to the cadence of what is popularly sanctioned as culturally “in tune” then they are fine. If they go off script then they are an impediment, a conservative stench amid the parade and pageantry of pluralism.

Collins is embraced because he is a powerful gust of wind into the secularist sails. Broussard is impugned because his statements (regardless of their personal conviction or tact) are a contrary wind at these same sails.

The popular American culture is like the frustrated, overworked, and overmatched Dad driving the family on long road-trip vacation. He wants to have fun and keeps telling everyone to have fun but he flies off the handle and yells at everyone all the time for not keeping in line. We say we are tolerant and accepting but if you don’t line up with popular opinion….well, “Don’t make me pull this car over!”

Everyone is talking about how far we have come as a country. Really? We can’t even have convictions or disagree. This seems like a step back to me.


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Mark Altrogge reminds us that God doesn’t ever do something without a purpose and plan. In this post he shares several benefits of affliction in our lives including the following:

  • Afflictions deliver us from pride.
  • Afflictions make us sympathetic, merciful and slower to judge. 
  • Afflictions remind us of the brevity of this life and make us long for heaven where our true treasure is.
  • Afflictions stir us to pray and keep us dependent on God.
  • Afflictions are opportunities for Christ to display his power in us.

And there are more right here.

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“Your sanctification must be made a matter of business.  It must be cared for and prosecuted in a businesslike way; not indolently and slothfully, as if it were a process that might be left to itself, but industriously, sedulously, diligently, with regularity and punctuality, as you would manage a worldly concern, on the common principles of worldly energy and worldly care and worldly zeal.”

“If you would fight for Christ, you must fight deliberately, with [a] cool head as well as [a] warm heart; with fixed and resolute determination, upon principle rather than upon impulse.  If you would work for Christ, you must work systematically, and you must work on with patient and persevering energy, with firm purpose not to give up or to give in.”

–Robert Candlish on Romans 12:11

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A man of one thing!

“A zealous man in religion is pre-eminently a man of one thing. It is not enough to say that he is earnest, hearty, uncompromising, thorough-going, whole-hearted, fervent in spirit. He sees only one thing, he cares for one thing, he lives for one thing, he is swallowed up in one thing; and that one thing is to please God. Whether he lives, or whether he dies,— whether he has health, or whether he has sickness,— whether he is rich, or whether he is poor,—whether he pleases man, or whether he gives offense,—whether he is thought wise, or whether he is thought foolish,— whether he gets blame, or whether he gets praise,— whether he gets honour, or whether he gets shame,—for all this the zealous man cares nothing at all. He burns for one thing; and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God’s glory. If he is consumed in the very burning, he cares not for it,—he is content. He feels that, like a lamp, he is made to burn; and if consumed in burning, he has but done the work for which God appointed him. Such an one will always find a sphere for his zeal. If he cannot preach, and work, and give money, he will cry, and sigh, and pray” (Practical Religion, p. 130).

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Jesus, the sinner’s Friend, to Thee,
Lost and undone, for aid I flee,
Weary of earth, myself, and sin:
Open Thine arms, and take me in.

Pity and heal my sin sick soul;
‘Tis Thou alone canst make me whole;
Dark, till in me Thine image shine,
And lost, I am, till Thou art mine.

At last I own it cannot be
That I should fit myself for Thee:
Here, then, to Thee I all resign;
Thine is the work, and only Thine.

What shall I say Thy grace to move?
Lord, I am sin, but Thou art love;
I give up every plea beside—
Lord, I am lost, but Thou hast died.

– Charles Wesley

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The free download of R.C. Sproul’s ‘The Truth of the Cross ends tomorrow. Get it here in different e-book formats.

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A powerful piece by Randy Alcorn. . . please read (all the way to the end) and then pass it on:

Unborn childI’m a little taken aback that so many Christians are utterly shocked only because of the fact that this man killed some babies after they were born instead of a minute, week, month or three months earlier. As if that makes the slightest difference to the babies or to God. (I’m not talking about thelegal differences, I’m talking about moral and human rights differences.)

The “shocking discovery” that an abortionist who made millions of dollars from child-killing had such a low regard and such a profound disrespect for the lives of babies and women is properly responded to with a “Huh?” As in, didn’t we know that already? And, if we didn’t, what is wrong with us? (And by the way, while Gosnell is on trial for the murder of seven babies, the fact is that he killed thousands and thousands of children. Anyone who only counts them as babies once they get big enough is an accomplice to this man’s evil deeds.)

Could we please stop pretending? Abortion is in fact the ruthless killing of an innocent human being. That’s what it always has been, and that’s what it always will be. When Planned Parenthood and NOW and politicians deny this, they are simply lying. There is nothing new about this. If you are surprised to discover, as in the case of this Pennsylvanian abortion clinic, that those who kill babies for a living are really not very good people, my question is…where have you been, and what have you been thinking goes on in these clinics? And if some abortionists are better at sanitizing the walls and disposing of baby body parts, do you really think that makes them any better in the sight of God Almighty, Creator of these children, and Judge of us all?

Unborn children in America are our equivalent of Jews in Germany seventy years ago. The church’s indifference to them, and failure to stand up in their defense, is a shame of huge proportions. Self-righteously we decry the German church’s failure to stand up for the Jews. Meanwhile we fail to stand up for the unborn. We shake our heads in disgust at the German church’s tolerance of one holocaust while ignoring our own tolerance of another. It is always far easier to see the bloodshed of another country of another time and wonder why the Christians didn’t stand up, than it is to see the atrocities of one’s own place and time, where we are failing to stand up.

. . . could we stop being shocked only when babies are “aborted” an hour after they are born? Could we start being shocked when the same children—with the same beating hearts, measurable brainwaves and preprogrammed DNA—are aborted an hour, month or seven months before they’re born? What, in the eyes of God Almighty, is the difference?

Read the whole article here.

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One of the most well-known hymns in the church today is “Rock of Ages” written by Augustus Toplady.  Here’s an interesting biography of both the author of the hymn and some of the background to the hymn.  Interesting to find out that even some of the great hymnwriters had flaws and yet God has used them greatly throughout more than two centuries.

Click here for more.

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