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Wonder if this will work

 

My New Favorite Site

True Community

“The church offers a way forward, beyond mere individualism, beyond mere organization. It is a voluntary community of those who have caught some glimmering of what God means in Christ and how Christ unites all who accept the Acccepter. Thus in the church, at its best, there is both the flowing of individuality and also the sense of belonging, of being accepted, of forgiving, of being forgiven, of loving and being loved.”

— Chad Walsh.
The Christian Imagination

Message of the Bible in 221 Words

From This Post

D. A. Carson

God is the sovereign, transcendent and personal God who has made the universe, including us, his image-bearers. Our misery lies in our rebellion, our alienation from God, which, despite his forbearance, attracts his implacable wrath.

But God, precisely because love is of the very essence of his character, takes the initiative and prepared for the coming of his own Son by raising up a people who, by covenantal stipulations, temple worship, systems of sacrifice and of priesthood, by kings and by prophets, are taught something of what God is planning and what he expects.

In the fullness of time his Son comes and takes on human nature. He comes not, in the first instance, to judge but to save: he dies the death of his people, rises from the grave and, in returning to his heavenly Father, bequeaths the Holy Spirit as the down payment and guarantee of the ultimate gift he has secured for them—an eternity of bliss in the presence of God himself, in a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

The only alternative is to be shut out from the presence of this God forever, in the torments of hell. What men and women must do, before it is too late, is repent and trust Christ; the alternative is to disobey the gospel (Romans 10:16;2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17).

Yeah, I'm a Mountain Man for Sure

My Little Girl is 4!

It's hard to fathom the speed in which time passes when you're a parent. Seems like it was just yesterday my little girl was born, and yet pictures like this make me realize she is growing up way too fast.

Savannah is such a joy as my daughter and I love every moment with my larger than life personality little girl.

Happy Birthday Sweetie

When Philosophical/Theological Thoughts Collide like Chocolate Bars & Peanut Butter

I've had a hankering for some Greek Philosophy lately. I know I'm not alone, and I'm sure many reading this post have those same cravings for B.C.E.)works of thought, long left in the dust by the Sputnik effect of eroding classical education.

Having read most of the works of Socrates, Plato, & Aristotle as an undergrad, I really didn't want to just revisit them, but to see the core of Western Philosophy with a new approach. That combined with my love of Christ, I found this book rapidly climbing my "to read" list.

What would happen if Socrates--yes, the Socrates of ancient Athens--suddenly showed up on the campus of a major university and enrolled in its divinity school? What would he think of human progress since his day? How would he react to our values? To our culture? And what would he think of Jesus? Peter Kreeft, Christian philosopher and longtime admirer of the historic Socrates, imagines the result.

What I am liking about Socrates Meets Jesus so far is the theme of reason in search of truth. I've been on both sides of the academic coin when it comes to faith, and honestly I often find both sides tarnished by their lack of pure thought & reason. Kreeft's book is a pleasant surprise and a nice combining of a past passion and the all consuming passion of my life.

Mules Leave You Hanging

Today I was reading in 2 Samuel and a major event happens involving a mule. Of course this led my brain down quite the rabbit hole concerning these hybrid beasts of burden, which shows just a glimmer of the craziness of my thoughts:)

A mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. Mules exhibit a higher cognitive intelligence than their parent species. They tend to be curious by nature. A mule generally will not let the rider put it in harm's way.

So, thanks to Wiki, it appears that the mule mentioned was saving himself at the expense of his rider.

2 Samuel 18:9 ESV "And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on."

So the mental picture is of David's son, who is warring against his dad, stuck in the crook of an Oak Tree, suspended & hanging but not choking. If you continue to read the text, you will find he was left to hang there until it was reported to a commander, who then ordered had him killed.

A war ended, the sins of a father coming back to him, and an angry son's life gone because his noggin was stuck in a tree.
Do you think the mule did it to save himself from the end of a javelin?

I am constantly blown away at how a small detail leads to so many thoughts in scripture. I can't get enough of the Bible!

Colossians 1 Wrap Up

As we wrapped up our three week series in Colossians chapter 1 today, I was moved by what God allows me to do each week. I get to open His word and proclaim His truth to all who have ears to hear.

It's a heavy weigh but one filled with awe and joy. I was driven to reflect on some preaching quotes I keep around for perspective.

On one occasion a visitor to Gilcomston South Church in Aberdeen, while greeting the minister, William Still, at the conclusion of a service, commented, “But you don’t preach.” When the pastor asked what he meant, the man answered, “You just take a passage from the Bible and explain what it means.” Mr. Still replied, “Brother, that is preaching!”

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. --Isaiah 40:8

Whenever a human being, Bible in hand, stands up before a group of other human beings, invites the gathered assembly into a particular text of the Bible and as faithfully as possible tries to say again what the living God is saying in the text, something always happens. Something transformative, empowering, life-giving happens. -- Darrell Johnson

I'm honored that God would trust me with His word, and I stand amazed at the call he has on my life.

A Little Spot in Norway I'd Visit

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Lewis on the Gospel

“A perfect man would never act from a sense of duty; he’d always want the right thing more than the wrong one. Duty is only a substitute for love (of God and of other people) like a crutch which is a substitute for a leg. Most of us need the crutch at times; but of course it is idiotic to use the crutch when our own legs (our own loves, tastes, habits etc.) can do the journey on their own.”.
~Letters of C. S. Lewis

A Prayer for Pastors & Scholars

Creator of all things, true source of light and wisdom, origin of all being, graciously let a ray of your light penetrate the darkness of my understanding. Take from me the double darkness in which I have been born, an obscurity of sin and ignorance. Give me a keen understanding, a retentive memory, and the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally. Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm. Point out the beginning, direct the progress, and help in the completion.

I ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.
– Thomas Aquinas

Preaching is a source of great joy and of great weight in my life. I read & pray this one to myself often.

Grace is & Leads to Everything

It seems like I have at least two conversations a week concerning the doctrine of merit less salvation. So many people have ingrained in their minds that we must either earn God's love, or after our hearts are opened by his loving grace, we must then get to work to keep Jesus happy.

Both are terribly dangerous and wrong. Justin Holcomb addressed this recently in an article that I'll now be sending out with great frequency.

Take some time and read it HERE

I Could Live in a House with This View

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I could wake up to this view every day:)

Sunday's Are For Sermonizing

Sunday morning begins a three week series in Colossians ch.1 called, **Rooted in Christ**.
We will be starting in Revelation 3 and land in Colossians 1:1-12..... Don't worry, it may seem like an odd road to travel, but it will make sense Sunday morning. Colossians is the most Christ centered book of the bible, and a beacon call for us all to make Jesus first and supreme in all aspects of our lives.

Sunday night finds us in Matthew 18. The words of Christ in this part of the Gospel are directed at the church, how we are to hold each other accountable, protect each other from sin, and pour out grace that is shown to us from above.
The chapter is filled with some of the most misquoted and misused passages of scripture. My aim is to correct those mist aught and shine a spotlight on what Christ calls the church to be.

I've had a rich time in study this week, and can't wait to share God's Word tomorrow.
Mike

Lyrical Theology

I've stated before that I have no musical ability or intelligence. That being said, I do enjoy listening to music, but typically it's the lyrics I'm drawn too. Lately, I've been enjoying the words of Shai Linne a man who raps with a deepness that is not often found in any musical genre.

Honestly, I can't say that I'm much of a rap fan, except that short lived middle school dabbling in bad late 80's garbage. However, the shear depth of Shai's work is truly something to behold. I've embedded one of his songs that deals with the Trinity and the Gospel. Below are their lyrics so you can follow along.

If you know anyone who enjoys well crafted songs and is seeking answers regarding faith, then I highly recommend the work of Shai Linne.

Now let's get straight to the topic, God's love is weighty to process.
And apart from the Holy Spirit, we're unable to digest.
Because man's depraved in his logic, so God's haters will mock it.
But inter-trinitarian love should make us astonished.
Imagine the Son enjoying the embrace of His Father.
Eternally paying Him homage as He bathed in His knowledge.
Equally faithful and sovereign, gracious, patient and honest.
Cosmic greatness blazing with radiance- conscious.
Holy Spirit also present, full display of His God-ness.
No creation could watch this- it wasn't safe for their optics.
What an awesome scene in heaven with all esteem and reverence.
It's Psalm 16:11 as conveyed through the prophet.
Overflow of joy and love, the Father made Him a promise.
To give His Son a people to liberate from their bondage.
So they're no longer slaves and hostages, but blameless and spotless.
Consequence of eternal love- our salvation's accomplished!

Love so perfect
Love eternally
Unchanging, Holy, Righteous Love
Transcends our understanding
But in Your nature there is perfect love
Love so perfect
Love eternally
Unchanging, Holy, Righteous Love
Transcends our understanding
But in salvation there is perfect love

Now it's one thing to consider God's love that's within
But how could God's love extend to men corrupted with sin?
Because we certainly don't deserve it, He's perfect and we're imperfect
What's lurking beneath the surface? His mercy and deeper purpose
Made in His likeness, installed with reminders of His law
Despite our blindness from the fall, His kindness reaches all
The fact He allows the sun to rise on this evil planet
Means that His love is such that we can't even understand it
In other words, don't let traditions fool ya, gotta let them Scriptures school ya
As a matter of fact, see how Christ reacted when it came to the rich young ruler
Love explicit, if it isn't His love, what is it
Restricting Him from inflicting His vengeance on the wicked?
Some call it common grace, but I'm inclined to state
that it's the love of God shining from a place that beyond time and space
They say, "If God is love, what's eternal torment for?"
Well, He loves the world for sure, but He loves His glory more!

Perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of this subject
Would be the love of God that He expresses towards the elect
And the second some people hear that, they get mad inside
But it's a special kind of love the Husband has for His Bride
It's a love that distinguishes her and sets her apart
No other woman could ever have the same effect on His heart
Because this Groom is not adulterous, this marriage has no openness
His devotion is traced back to when the world was motionless
In love we were predestined for adoption as a son
Not for anything that we've done, check Ephesians chapter one
Look, when we lived as God's opponents, He gave His only Son for atonement
So we've got to see He can't possibly love us more than He does this moment
In love, He justified us, in love, He sanctifies us
So we don't have to jump through hoops to try to make Him like us
One thing we truly cannot fathom- we're stunned
The Father loves us with the very love He has for His Son!

Journals That Aren't Diaries

I'm not digging on diary keepers who have hijacked the beloved "journal" so as to appear either masculine or more contemplative..... I've been keeping a "journal" for awhile now. {of course it's an iOS version of Doogie Howser awesomeness}

I was introduced to the scholarly journal over a decade ago as an undergrad. (man that sounded old of me) I read several in the fields of history, politics, and education. Now I read theology, preaching, and ministry journals.

They are often dense and way over my head but that is often exactly what I need. This month's Themelios has an article from D.A. Carson on Matthew 18 that was instrumental in my sermon prep for this Sunday night.

I share all this as an encouragement to dig a little deeper, and stretch your theological shops a bit. It may hurt but it's worth it.

You can get the 9Marks eJournal HERE
You can get Themelios HERE

Conversion Is Not a One Time Ceremony

Great Article From Greear.

"Conversion is not a one-time ceremony you go through and you’d better get right or else be eternally lost; it’s a posture toward Christ that you begin at a point and maintain for the rest of your life."

Visual History of Europe

Time Lapse of Europe
Here is a time-lapse video from ca 1000 AD until 2003 that shows Europe’s shifting borders, alliances, unions, territories, occupied land, and so on.

A Beautiful Burial

I am constantly amazed at what God does in the lives of his creation. He loved us first, came to rescue us, and patiently awaits the day of glory while pouring grace upon his continuelly sanctified children.

One of the greatest joys I have is in witnessing the declartion of commitment and joy seen in baptism. To be perfectly honest, the idea of a non-baptized “Christian” in the times of the New Testament was completely foreign. In fact, in many of Paul’s writings, he uses baptism into Christ as a euphemism for salvation (Romans 6:3, Galatians 3:27, et al).

This serves to further reinforce that baptism, while not being necessary to attain salvation, is the natural overflow and result of such redemption. In other words, God’s people at all times in all places should pursue baptism as an expression of obedience to Scripture and the God Who authored it.

I know many question the "why" and "how" of this outward expression of God's awakening in hearts once rebellious towards Him. However, none of them are sufficient to deny Christ's call to the water.

These students followed the call of Christ to be unashamed witnesses, committed to the expansion of His Kingdom above all other things. Katie is a student from Marshall, who showed 50 students and every walker-by that Christ is King while in the expanse of the ocean that He spoke into existence. Seth & Monica are a young married couple who just graduated from Marietta College and are moving to Virginia for Grad School. They wanted to be a witness to their family and their friends before heading out. This couple has been a shining light of the gospel on campus and in the lives of all they encounter. Now they will be making Christ's name known in a new location, built on the foundation Christ birthed in them here.

Baptism is one of the most beautiful experessions of love for God and for our neighbor, byshowing all that Christ is supreme.