Friday, December 31, 2010
We will begin our corporate worship of our great Savior in 2011 with a sermon on Psalm 37. There is great wisdom to feast on in this psalm. I'm looking forward to starting off the new year with all of you in worship.
Praise Ye the Lord! (#42)
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah (#495)
He Who Would Valiant Be (#507)
Another Year Is Dawning (#732)
Old Testament: Genesis 22; Psalm 72
New Testament: Matthew 14:22-36
The Salvation of the Righteous - Psalm 37
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
I Sing the Mighty Power of God (#19)
Praise Ye Jehovah (#4)
A Sovereign Protector I Have (#615)
O God Our Help in Ages Past (#49)
Old Testament: Genesis 21; Psalm 39
New Testament: Matthew 14:1-21
Come to Me and Drink (Part 2) - John 7
Monday, December 20, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Killing or coming - these are stark options, but they are real. You have to choose. Come to church this Sunday and hear what Jesus has to say about the matter.
O Come, All Ye Faithful (#88)
Angels from the Realms of Glory (#111)
As with Gladness Men of Old (#97)
Silent Night! Holy Night! (#109)
Joy to the World (#92)
Old Testament: Genesis 20; Psalm 17
New Testament: Matthew 13
Come to Me and Drink - John 7
Thursday, December 16, 2010
In 1994 the Swiss carried out an extra survey that the researchers for our masters in Europe (I write from England) were happy to record. The question was asked to determine whether a person’s religion carried through to the next generation, and if so, why, or if not, why not. The result is dynamite. There is one critical factor. It is overwhelming, and it is this: It is the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children.
After discussing the evidence, Low concludes:
A church that is conspiring against the blessings of patriarchy not only disfigures the icon of the First Person of the Trinity, effects disobedience to the example and teaching of the Second Person of the Trinity, and rejects the Pentecostal action of the Third Person of the Trinity but, more significantly for our society, flies in the face of the sociological evidence!
No father—no family—no faith. Winning and keeping men is essential to the community of faith and vital to the work of all mothers and the future salvation of our children.
Read the entire article.
(HT: Justin Taylor)
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Join us this Lord's Day for an unsettling, or a comforting (depending upon your condition), look into his Word.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel (#87)
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (#90)
Angels We Have Heard on High (#89)
The First Noel (#98)
What Child Is This? (#103)
Old Testament: Genesis 19; Psalm 83
New Testament: Matthew 12:22-50
You Have the Words of Life: Assurance and Apostasy - John 6:35-71
Thursday, December 09, 2010
- I was challenged to live my life fervently for the Lord like Tiffany did. Living with the knowledge of approaching death tends to blow the lethargy of worldliness out of the mind and snaps the soul into readiness. It teaches us to set our affections on things above where Christ is.
- I was vividly reminded of how brief life is. Our lives are a vapor. How clearly I remember the joy of the Brock family staying with us as we all prepared for David and Tiffany's wedding. Now we were reunited for Tiffany's funeral.
- The effects of sin are painful, almost beyond words. Funerals like Tiffany's make me hate sin - especially in myself.
- Nevertheless, life in Christ overcomes with a joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory!
- I am so glad for Christian funeral practices. They give genuine expression to our grief and to our great hope in the resurrection. I particularly like the fact that at the Ordway cemetery the graveside service really is at the grave side. The symbolism of human frailty coming into contact with eternity can be felt. The sun was tending toward its rest beyond the mountains, shedding it's light on the little band on the prairie, as the final words were said where Tiffany's body would be laid to rest. It was fitting that she should be laid to rest where her parents and grandparents and even great-grandparents had labored under the sun. Now, our hearts yearn for that day when the trumpet will sound and she will be raised incorruptible.
- Last, I was encouraged by this funeral to abound in the work of the Lord. However insignificant my little labors are, they are not in vain in the Lord.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
|Photo from Glen Eyrie website|
As my wife and I walked through the chilly night air up to the castle, we remembered that we had not been to a concert together since before we were married. The last time we attended a concert, we walked through the chilly night air of Milwaukee, WI to attend a performance by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Those memories seem to come from long ago and far away. It was fun to make some new memories and to listen to some wonderful music from Holst, Corelli, Mendelssohn, Handel, Lauridsen, and Rutter.
A hearty thanks to all who gave us the gift of good memories and good music!
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
"Economics is essentially a theory of providence."
Understanding economics is based on knowing God and knowing ourselves. This animal "economics" turns out to be a a study of the featherless biped Man in his relationships with God and others. So Jesus' command to love the Lord our God and to love our neighbor turns out to be at the heart of economics. If we leave that out, we have misidentified the animal.
Saturday, December 04, 2010
O Come, All Ye Faithful (#88)
Joy to the World (#92)
And Can It Be? (#335)
Amazing Grace (#247)
Chosen of God (#290)
Old Testament: Genesis 18; Psalm 29
New Testament: Matthew 12:1-21
All That the Father Gives Me: God's Sovereign Grace in Salvation - John 6:35-51
Friday, December 03, 2010
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
David Brainerd, Lord's Day, October 14, 1744
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Here are Dr. Trueman's suggestions for staying faithful.
1. Guard your personal integrity and be honest about where you stand in relation to your vows.
2. Understand that sound preaching and earnest prayer are not enough to stop a denomination losing the plot or to turn it around once the rot has set in.
3. Watch changes to the terms of confessional subscription very carefully.
4. Do not be intimidated by the `we are just doing it for evangelism' argument.
5. If you are called to be a leader, then be a leader, not a statesman.
Read the entire post here.
Point #2 sparked some thoughts for me. It was recently suggested to me that if a church is committed to expository preaching, then the church is on the right track, even if there are other problematic areas. I'm not convinced that this is the case.
First, I should make clear that a commitment to expository preaching is a blessed commitment. Such a commitment is necessary to the enduring faithfulness of any church.
However, such a commitment is not sufficient for the enduring faithfulness of a church. As Trueman points out, heterodoxy dresses up in many guises. Often, what is actually practiced in a church and in the lives of its people has a much more determinative impact on the direction of a church than what is preached from the pulpit. Furthermore, what a church loves shapes and directs whatever doctrinal commitments that church may hold. A church may formally hold to an impeccable doctrinal statement and philosophy of ministry, but if the people of the church, and especially the leaders of the church, have their affections shaped by alien influences, they will cease to understand the spirit of their own commitments. When they no longer understand these commitments, it is but a short step to revise, replace, or reject them. Many times this happens in practice long before it happens on paper.
Enduring faithfulness requires orthodoxy, to be sure, but it also requires orthopraxy (right practices) and orthopathy (right loves). Faith and love flow out into obedience - an obedience that is willing to fight the good fight of faith. Without this willingness to drop the pietistic pretense and fight for what is right, we will not stay faithful.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Arise My Soul Arise (#174)
Come Ye Disconsolate (#317)
Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah (#495)
Old Testament: Genesis 17; Psalm 3
New Testament: Matthew 11:1-30
I Am the Bread of Life - John 6:1-71
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Soul's joy, when thou art gone,
And I alone,
Which cannot be,
Because thou dost abide with me,
And I depend on thee;
Yet when thou dost suppress
Of thy abode,
And in my powers not stir abroad,
But leave me to my load:
O what a damp and shade
Doth me invade!
No stormy night
Can so afflict or so affright,
As thy eclipsed light.
Ah Lord! do not withdraw,
Lest want of awe
Make sin appear,
And when thou dost but shine less clear,
Say, that thou art not here.
And then what life I have,
While Sin doth rave,
And falsely boast,
That I may seek, but thou art lost;
Thou and alone thou know'st.
O what a deadly cold
Doth me enfold!
I half believe,
That Sin says true: but while I grieve
Thou com'st and dost relieve.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thinking in this vein, I appreciate good discussions which discover, develop, and delight within the framework of God-saturated reality. The results are quite often explosive, life-changing, and deeply satisfying. Today I'd like to highlight a couple discussions which fit that bill from websites which regularly feature worthwhile content.
"Will the Real Legalist Please Stand Up - Judging Culture"
"Humanity and Honor, Culture and Clarity"
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."
This Lord's Day we will corporately give thanks for all of the Lord's blessings. Preach this psalm to your soul and prepare to give him glory!
Come, Ye Thankful People, Come (#708)
Praise Ye Jehovah (#4)
We Gather Together (#709)
Now Thank We All Our God (#5)
Everyday Grace - John 6:11, 23
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
My circumstances are such that I have no comfort of any kind,but what I have in God. I live in the most lonesome wilderness; have but one single person to converse with that can speak English. Most of the talk I hear is either Highland Scotch or Indian. I have no fellow-christian to whom I may unbosom myself, or lay open y spiritual sorrows; with whom I may take sweet counsel in conversation about heavenly things, and join in social prayer. I live poorly with regard to the comforts of life: most of my diet consists of boiled corn, hasty-pudding, &c. I lodge on a bundle of straw, my labor is hard and extremely difficult, and I have little appearance of success to comfort me. The Indians have no land to live on but what the Dutch people lay claim to; and these threaten to drive them off. They have no regard to the souls of the poor Indians; and by what I can learn, they hate me because I come to preach to them. But that which makes all my difficulties grievous to be borne, is, that God hides his face from me.
Brothers, pray for our missionaries, and pray that the Lord will make us willing to endure all things for the elect's sake.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The entire interview, which is worth reading, can be found here.
I have no political interest in posting this. My interest is in the fact that this interview represents the faith of thousands of our friends and neighbors who call themselves Christian. As we seek to serve these friends and neighbors, we need to be aware of the many misconceptions that they hold about Christianity, and we need to address these with the truth of God's Word. Only the truth will set them free.
(HT: The Weekly Standard Blog)
Friday, November 12, 2010
You mentioned casually in your last letter that the patient has continued to attend one church, and one only, since he was converted, and that he is not wholly pleased with it. May I ask what you are about? Why have I no report on the causes of his fidelity to the parish church? Do you realise that unless it is due to indifference it is a very bad thing? Surely you know that if a man can't be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighborhood looking for a church that 'suits' him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches.
Ah, the wisdom of demons.
Holy, Holy, Holy (#3)
O Father, Thou Whose Love Profound (#29)
Glory Be to God the Father (#72)
Salvation! O My Soul Rejoice (#291)
Old Testament: Genesis 16; Psalm 83
New Testament: Matthew 10:24-42
Love Overflowing into Life: Your Life Found in the Love Between the Father and the Son - John 5:19-24
Friday, November 05, 2010
Micah Watson opens with these words:
“You can’t legislate morality” has become a common turn of phrase. The truth, however, is that every law and regulation that is proposed, passed, and enforced has inherent in it some idea of the good that it seeks to promote or preserve. Indeed, no governing authority can in any way be understood to be morally neutral. Those who think such a chimerical understanding is possible could hardly be more wrong. For, in fact, the opposite is true: You cannot not legislate morality.
Read the whole thing.
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world....
These evocative words by Ralph Waldo Emerson have come to be used for many events which set off world-transforming effects. In a sense, they can be applied to John 5 as the Scripture develops for us what happened when the Word became flesh and manifested his glory. As Jesus demonstrated who he truly was and what that meant for sinful men, opposition began to seethe and simmer. But when we come to John 5, it comes to full boil. Jesus deliberately performs a sign which fans the flames and draws the battle lines sharply between belief and unbelief. From here on, there is no turning back. The battle is on. Jesus' work brings him directly into conflict with unbelief.
We will hear from the Word of God about this this Lord's Day, and we will honor the Son just as we honor the Father. Come and join us.
Come, Thou Almighty King (#63)
How Sad Our State (#333)
What Think Ye of Christ? (#363)
How Good Is the God We Adore (#738)
Old Testament: Genesis 15; Psalm 25
New Testament: Matthew 10:1-23
"I Am Working:" Jesus' Clash with Unbelief - John 5
Friday, October 29, 2010
Chosen of God (#290)
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (#588)
Old Testament: Genesis 14; Psalm 110
New Testament: Matthew 9:18-38
You Will Not Believe - John 4:43-54
P.S. Attentive readers may have already noticed that our songs have to do with the Reformation. October 31 is "Reformation Day." No candy and costumes; we will sing great hymns!
P.S.S. Here are some good suggestions on serving the church each Sunday morning when we gather.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The first post articulates two pillars of conservatism:
The first is affirmation of transcendent, absolute principles, a belief that such principles are knowable, and a commitment to align one’s self to those principles. Now the three big transcendentals are truth, goodness, and beauty.
The second pillar of conservatism is a commitment to conserve those institutions and forms that best reflect a recognition and respect for this transcendent order.
He makes this important observation, There is a huge difference between being truly conservative and being merely anti-contemporary. My fear is that there are a lot of people, especially within the fundamentalist heritage, who are certainly anti-contemporary in their practice, but they do not really have truly conservative underpinnings for their practice. And so they often end up defending traditions that are certainly not part of the current pop culture, but neither are they really conservative either. What they defend is not conservative, it’s just old.
Read it here.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
"It is easy to harangue upon the excellency and advantage of the light of nature. It is agreeable to the pride of mankind to exalt the powers of human reason, and pronounce it a sufficient guide to eternal happiness. But let us inquire into the records of antiquity, let us consult the experience of all ages, and we shall find, that those who had no guide but the light of nature, no instructor but unassisted reason, have wandered in perpetual uncertainty, darkness, and error. Or let us take a view of the present state of those countries that have not been illuminated by the gospel; and we shall see, that notwithstanding the improvements of near six thousand years, they remain to this day covered with the grossest darkness, and abandoned to the most immoral and vicious practices."
(taken from his ordination sermon, preached June 12, 1744)
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
What does the sufficiency of Scripture mean?
Wayne Grudem gives a good definition: “The sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contained all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly” (Systematic Theology, 127).
The Westminster Confession of Faith says, “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed” (1.6).
Where does the Bible teach this?
a. 2 Timothy 3:15-17 is one key passage.
b. See also Psalm 119:1; Isa 29:13-14; Mark 7:8; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Rev 22:18-19.
c. Hebrews 1:1-4 also has important implications for our understanding. Since God has given the ultimate revelation of himself in his Son, and that revelation is authoritatively recorded only in the Scripture, we need not look elsewhere for understanding God’s redemptive plan.
What are the practical implications of this doctrine?
a. God tells us in the Bible everything we need to know from him about how to think or live.
b. We must not add anything to the Bible.
c. We should not think of any other information as equal to the Bible in truth or authority.
d. God’s requirements for our lives must be defined by the Scriptures, either directly or by good and necessary consequence. We may not call something sin unless we can demonstrate it biblically.
e. In our ethical reasoning, we ought to emphasize what the Scripture emphasizes. Topics and issues in Scripture that are less clear should be lesser in importance to us.
f. We must be content with what God has told us.
What does this doctrine not teach?
a. It does not teach that the Bible is the only factor in making ethical decisions. It teaches that the Bible contains all the divine words that we need. There are other things that we need to live wisely, such as the illumination of the Spirit, correct use of the tools God has given us, and natural revelation.
b. It does not teach that the Bible is the only source of information we may use in decision making.
c. It does not teach that natural revelation is irrelevant. In fact, natural revelation and special revelation must go together. The important point is that special revelation norms or controls our understanding of natural revelation.
d. It does not teach that logic, or right use of reason, is unnecessary. Diligent study and correct reasoning are indispensible to rightly using Scripture.
e. It does not teach that we may not have human teachers, especially those who are well-informed on relevant topics or who are good examples in their wisdom. On the contrary, the Scripture indicates the importance of other people in our discipleship.
f. It does not teach that there are no other legitimate authorities in our lives. In fact, the Bible itself specifically legitimizes other authorities. However, these authorities are always subordinate to the Scripture.
At its heart, this doctrine represents the fact that God alone is the Lord who has ultimate authority.
Friday, October 08, 2010
Joy to the World (#92)
Arise, My Soul, Arise (#174)
Hark, the Glad Sound (#126)
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say (tune: Kingsford)
The Name High Over All (#31)
Old Testament: Genesis 12; Psalm 105
New Testament: Matthew 8:18-34
Believe the One Who Is from Above - John 3:22-36
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Friday, October 01, 2010
I hope you will join us this Lord's Day to rejoice in the love of God for this sinful world.
O Father, Thou Whose Love Profound (#29)
Arise, My Soul, Arise (#174)
God Loved the World (#244)
O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus (#249)
Salvation! O My Soul Rejoice! (#291)
Old Testament: Genesis 11:10-32; Psalm 47
New Testament: Matthew 8:1-17
God So Loved the World - John 3:16
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
P.S. While the Eads are stateside, the Dan Huffstutler family will be living in their house in TZ while transitioning to their ministry in Kenya. Keep up with the Huffstutlers on their Facebook page.
While I am puttering around, working on projects which don't require a lot of thought (like chicken feeders), I will occasionally listen to lectures on a wide variety of topics. Yesterday, I listened to a very good lecture entitled "Educating for Liberty" by Peter J. Leithart. I commend it to you. [Go to this page and then scroll down to the lecture referenced above.] Since Christ commanded us to make disciples, and since education is essentially discipleship, understanding education rightly is crucial to accomplishing the mission of Christ.
Leithart basically makes the case that education which is for liberty must be education in love, that which trains the students to love what is good, true, and beautiful. But he goes on to point out, quite correctly, that this is "precisely what liberal democracy, at least in its current form, prohibits. Rooted as it is in Enlightenment renunciation of unchosen tradition, American public education, at least, explicitly renounces all religious ends and sometimes operates on the pretense of promoting no ends at all. If I am correct, this kind of education cannot be education for liberty."
I wonder how many Christian parents who send their children to be trained in the public school system realize that they are subjecting their children to an education which destroys liberty? I wonder how many Christian parents who homeschool their children do so out of a false and unbiblical view of liberty, namely, "I can do what I want"? I fear that many, many Christian young people are being discipled into spiritual bondage because their parents and pastors do not understand the ends of education.
Listen to the lecture. I'll look forward to discussing it with you.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Having been, as we trust, brought by divine grace to embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and to give ourselves wholly to Him, and having been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit upon our profession of faith, we do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
We purpose, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love, exercise an affectionate care and watchfulness over each other, and faithfully warn, exhort, and admonish each other as occasion may require. We will work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but will devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to the ordinances of the church, and to prayer. We will contribute cheerfully and regularly to the ministry and expenses of this church and the spread of the Gospel throughout all nations. We will reject all heretical beliefs and practices, contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. We will both submit to the church’s discipline upon ourselves and assume our responsibility to participate in the discipline of other members, according to the teachings of Scripture.
We will strive by God’s grace and power to live as Christ in the world, and denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we will seek to fulfill our calling to lead a holy life and to be salt and light. We purpose to maintain family and private devotions; to train our children according to the Word of God; to seek the salvation of our relatives and acquaintances; to walk carefully in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our commitments, and exemplary in our conduct. We will abide by the standards of sexual purity, ethical integrity, and spiritual fidelity taught in the Bible. We will watch over one another in brotherly love, remember one another in prayer, rejoice with one another in blessing, and bear one another’s burdens in times of trial.
We moreover purpose that when we remove from this place we will as soon as possible unite with some other church of like faith and order where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word. If there is no such church, we shall seek, with the Lord’s help, to establish one.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.