Thursday, September 30, 2010

Having to State the Obvious

"By contending that there is no such thing as moral neutrality, we are also declaring that someone's morality will be imposed."

J. Daryl Charles, The Unformed Conscience of Evangelicalism

Dispelling the Darkness

Not surprisingly, Americans in general are not knowledgeable about religion. Perhaps that is why our president can claim to be a Christian while speaking theological nonsense and moral perversion. It is exactly this kind of thing that makes the Gospel of John so pressingly relevant. "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Listen!

It is imperative that we realize the rich resources for godly living which the Lord has provided for us in the ordinary means of grace, such as listening to sermons at church. I have found some conscience-quickening advice in the little book by Joel Beeke entitled The Family at Church: Listening to Sermons and Attending Prayer Meetings. Here is a synopsis of chapter 3 on listening to the preached Word.

Here are some guidelines for listening rightly to God’s Word.

1. Listen with an understanding, tender conscience. Jesus’ parable of the sower presents us with four types of listeners.
¨ The stony-hearted, superficial listener.
¨ The easily-impressed but resistant listener.
¨ The half-hearted, distracted listener.
¨ The understanding, fruitful listener.

2. Listen attentively to the preached Word. We must not listen to sermons as spectators but as participants. Good listening is hard work; it involves worshiping God continuously….Jesus did not spoon-feed His hearers….He challenges us to think, and that takes work….Pray for grace to work at listening.

3. Listen with submissive faith. This kind of meekness involves a submissive frame of heart, a willingness to hear the counsels and reproofs of the word. Through this kind of faith, the Word is engrafted into the soul and produces the sweet fruit of righteousness.

4. Listen with humility and serious self-examination. Do I humbly examine myself under the preaching of God’s Word, trembling at its impact? Do I cultivate a meek and submissive spirit, receiving God’s truth as a student while being intimately aware of my own depravity? Do I seriously examine myself under preaching, listening for my own instruction rather than for the instruction of others?...When the marks of grace are set before us, we must ask: Do I experience these marks?...Do I relish having the Word of God applied to my life? 
If you would like to purchase the book, there is a good price at Solid Ground Christian Books here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why We Sing that Way

If you have not yet read Scott Aniol's posts on Christian hymnody, you ought to do so. You can download all of them in two pdf files here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Go Into All the World

I love to hear of the work of Christ around the globe. I should probably mention it more on this blog. Today I was looking at Dan and Jana Eads' blog and praising the Lord for the good work he is doing in and through them in Tanzania. Check it out, and you can praise the Lord, too!

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.

No Anonymous Comments

Just to let everyone know, as a general rule I do not allow anonymous comments on this blog. Blogs can be a useful tool of communication within certain limits. They are, however, a terrible venue for anonymous argumentation.

Trace the Serpent

Here is a good word from John Owen on dealing with our temptations.

We need to trace this serpent in all of its windings, and to recognize its most secret tricks.

Read it all.

Educating for Liberty

On Mondays I typically stay away from the computer, stay away from the office, stay away from the phone. I never manage to stay entirely away from books. Yesterday I received in the mail the newest volume of the Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal, but I restrained myself and read only one article before I went to bed. Instead, on Mondays I work on the many family errands and projects which I do not have time to accomplish during the rest of the week. I even made a new chicken feeder yesterday out of a couple old buckets.

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

HCBC Church Covenant

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.

Christ Sees Us

We might think that seeing the glory of Jesus Christ is a one-way street: he reveals himself, and we see it. But there is more to it than that. When we encounter Jesus, he reveals us. He knows and he exposes what is truly in us. We might try to explore who he is under cover of darkness, but it will never work because God the Father sent Jesus to bring eternal life to the world. The Light is shining. What does it show about you?

Join us this Lord's Day to worship.

Songs
Holy, Holy, Holy (#3)
Doxology
How Sad Our State (#333)
Not What These Hands have Done (#347)
Salvation! O My Soul Rejoice! (#291)

Scripture Reading
Old Testament: Genesis 10:1-32; Psalm 9
New Testament: Matthew 7:1-14

Sermon
Christ Sees Us - John 2:23-3:21

Don't forget! We will rejoice together at Aaron's baptism at 1 p.m. at the facilities of Rustic Hills Baptist Church (1927 N. Murray Blvd).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Holy Glory

My apologies for posting this so late...but better late than never.

Join us tomorrow to behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, as he reveals himself to be the place where the life-giving presence of God dwells with men. You say you have never seen such a thing? All the more reason to come.

Songs
Arise, My Soul, Arise (#174)
Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow
O Sacred Head Now Wounded (#139)
Hark! the Voice of Love and Mercy (#134)
Christ Is Risen! Hallelujah (#167)

Scripture Reading
Old Testament: Genesis 9:18-29; Psalm 65
New Testament: Matthew 6:19-34

Sermon
Seeing Christ's Glory through Raising Up the Temple - John 2:13-22

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Dale A. Goetz Memorial Fund

Here is a great way to invest in something that yields eternal dividends. The Dale A. Goetz Memorial Fund has been established to provide high quality, biblically sound materials for chaplains to use in their ministry to the soldiers. All contributions to the fund can be made out to the Dale A Goetz Memorial Fund and sent to the following address:

Dale A Goetz Memorial Fund
The Bank at Broadmoor
155 Lake Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO 80906

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Fathers Teaching their Children

Our knowledge of the early history of the church simply would not be the same without Eusebius of Caesarea, the first to write an overview of the history of Christianity. For those of you in our seminar on early church history, we will be discussing the life and writings of this man this coming Lord's Day.

And if Eusebius piques your interest in the early church (which I hope he does), here are some recommendations from church historian Michael Haykin for beginning to learn more about our forefathers in the faith.

"Reading the Church Fathers: A Beginners Guide"

Seeing Christ's Glory

The events of this past week have certainly driven home the point that we need to see the Light of Life. Join us this Lord's Day as we rejoice in Jesus our Savior and watch him unveil his glory.

Songs
Christ the Lord Is Risen Today (#156)
Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness (#400)
There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood (#267)
Jesus Loves Me (#719)
For My Sake and the Gospel's, Go (#695)

Scripture Reading
Old Testament: Genesis 8:20-9:17; Psalm 33
New Testament: Matthew 6:1-18

Sermon
Seeing Christ's Glory through Good Wine - John 2:1-11

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Hymns and Our Hope

There is nothing like the power of a great hymn to express truth from our hearts and to carry truth to our hearts. In light of Dale's promotion to glory, the words from the last two stanzas of the last hymn we sang together last Sunday have been on my heart.

Keep us, Lord, O keep us cleaving
To Thyself and still believing,
Till the hour of our receiving
Promised joys with Thee.

Then we shall be where we would be,
Then we shall be what we should be;
Things that are not now, nor could be,
Soon shall be our own.