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Archive for May, 2009

Favorites in…

Weather:  I’ve never seen this before…at first I thought it was a hoax – snow rollers.

Movies: Some good questions to ask when watching films from John Frame. (HT: JT)

Health: 10 Tips To Save Your Vision.  Read it, know it, live it.

Listening: Recent sermons from great speakers at the NEXT 2009 Conference.

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Nonpolar

A good quote from Timothy Keller in his book “The Prodigal God.”  He is describing the two basic ways that people pursue happiness and fulfillment in light of the parable of the prodigal son: the elder brother’s way of moral conformity, and the younger brother’s way of self discovery.  Keller explains that both ways are dedicated to “self-salvation.” He continues:

Jesus’s message, which is “the gospel,” is a completely different spirituality.  The gospel of Jesus is not religion or irreligion, morality or immorality, moralism or relativism, conservatism or liberalism.  Nor is it something halfway along a spectrum between two poles – it is something else altogether.

The gospel is distinct from the other two approaches: In its view, everyone is wrong, everyone is loved, and everyone is called to recognize this and change.  (p. 44-45)

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Weekly favorites in…

Evangelism: A two part article from Grace Community Church (John MacArthur) called “Evangelizing Children.”  Part 1, Part 2

Historical Theology: An essay titled What Happened at Nicaea by Fred Sanders, covering the early church Arian controversy.

Science:  The illusion of the curve ball.  Does it really curve?  (HT: Abraham Piper)

Historical Theology 2: Another set of essays from Fred Sanders at the Scriptorium Daily called Why Protestants Should Read Thomas Aquinas (4 Parts)

Biography: I’ve read a lot about this guy in Runner’s World and TIME Magazine, but never actually read his book “Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All Night Runner” .  Last night at Barnes and Noble, I spotted it on a shelf and started reading…before I knew it I was nearly 3 chapters deep.  This is guy is incredible.  He completed 50 marathons in 50 days straight, ran a 200 mile relay race solo, and completed a 350 mile run.  Here’s his Wiki.

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This is hilarious.  Original sin according to Brian Regan:

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Reflections

First off, I should introduce myself and apologize for rarely posting. I’m Andy, and though I am a faithful reader, I haven’t had much time to contribute to this blog because I’m in my first year of seminary. But, I took my last final yesterday and now feel the need to be reflective. As I was cleaning my room last night I came across some notes I took at the seminary’s orientation last year. I laughed out loud as I read one quote that has proven to be true, “God brought you here to seminary to mess with you.” I’ll share a few ways that has been happening.

I was all about correct doctrine when I came here 9 months ago…I was quick to judge “emergents” who seemed to cast aside truth in an effort to “reach the culture.” I have by no means come to a point where I cast doctrine aside, but am less arrogant (hopefully) in thinking that I have it all figured out. These are a few questions that I am still pondering: how much of our doctrine is shaped by our American culture and how much of that is Biblical? Throughout the minor prophets, nations are judged because of their extreme arrogance, and God’s people were not exempt from that. Another judgment against God’s people was that their worship was not from the heart. They went to the temple, they did their sacrifices and externally they seemed very faithful, but their hearts were not in it which was evidenced by the way they lived outside the temple. They neglected the poor and needy and they joined in “pagan” sins, even turned to other gods. This was convicting to me because I have so often “done the church thing” out of a sense of duty and not engaged my heart in worship. I have not worhipped any idols carved by human hands, but have put other “worldly idols” before God – want evidence of that? Check out my bank statement!

Those who put doctrine over ethics, the pharisees, received some of the harshest of Jesus’ rebukes. (though they didn’t have good doctrine either) Do I fall into the same mindset as them, so convinced that they are correct that they weren’t even able to recognize the Son of God when he came? What about those to whom Jesus ministered to? He didn’t go for the best of the best, he came for those who were sick, outcasts, neglected, those who clearly did not have it all together. For his disciples he chose men who were not of high social status, but blue-collar guys who would faithfully follow him. So often we create our discipleship models by the same standards of the world, choosing the “natural leaders” and neglecting those whom the world neglects. We choose those who are fun to be around, in which we are no different from the world. That is, if we are choosing anyone at all! I don’t mean to criticize those who are investing in younger generations…you are a blessed minority! We all need to consider how we can serve the needy in our world, across the globe AND in your neighborhoods!

These are just a few thoughts from the semester, hopefully I can share more thoughts over the next few summer months. I am not claiming to have this all figured out, but those above reflect some of the questions that I have been struggling through over the past few months. I would love to hear your feedback or reactions…where you agree or disagree.

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Favorites in…

Streaming: John Piper’s address to President Obama on abortion.

Reading: The book I’ve reading lately is called Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch.  It came highly recommended and has lived up to the hype two-thirds through.  Here is a link to a trustworthy review.

Blogging: I think I post something from Kevin DeYoung every week, but oh well.  Here is another good one called Why I am a Calvinist.

The influence of Calvinism is growing because its God is transcendent and its theology is true. In a day when “be better” moralism passes for preaching, self-help banality passes for counseling, and “Jesus is my boyfriend” music passes for worship in some churches, more and more people are finding comfort in a God who is anything but comfortable. The paradox of Calvinism is that we feel better by feeling worse about ourselves, we do more for God by seeing how He’s done everything for us, and we give love away more freely when we discover that we have been saved by free grace.

Podcasts: Want to better understand Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormonism?  The Theology Program put up free sessions at itunes. (HT: JT)

Weather Photos: Need new wallpaper for you desktop?  Here are some great shots from local storm chaser Mike Hollingshead.

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Some excellent words from Miles J. Stanford in the chapter titled “Acceptance” from his short book of essays called Principles of Spiritual Growth:

There are two questions that every believer must settle as soon as possible.  The one is, Does God fully accept me?  and the second, If so, upon what basis does He do so?  This is crucial. (p. 17)

Many suppose that because they are conscious of sins, hence they must renew their acceptance with God.  The truth is that God has not altered.  His eye rests on the work accomplished by Christ for the believer.  When you are not walking in the Spirit you are in the flesh: you have turned to the old man which was crucified on the cross.  You have to be restored to fellowship, and when you are, you find your acceptance with God unchanged and unchangeable.  When sins are introduced there is a fear that God has changed.  He has not changed, but you have.  You are not walking in the Spirit but in the flesh. (p. 18 emphasis added)

Here he quotes Wm. R. Newell explaining “the proper attitude of Man Under Grace:”

To believe, and to consent to be loved while unworthy, is the great secret.

To refuse to make ‘resolutions’ and ‘vows’; for that is to trust in the flesh.

To ‘hope to be better [hence acceptable] is to fail to see yourself in Christ only.

To be disappointed with yourself, is to have believed in yourself.

Ephesians 2:3-7

BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

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