Recent blog posts
First, thank you for your sincere response! I am going to respond back to you point by point. I appreciate also the comments of RB.
I have just preached two sermons on "Delighting in God". I am interested in the "normal Christian experience" of joy in God. Peter says:
"Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory" [1 Peter 1:8]
But is that the experience of most Christians?
Part 1 notes and download: Looking for Pleasure in All the Right Places
Mary in 2002, with Richard in the background
Mary died on Tuesday. She was 73. She and Richard would have been married for 28 years at the end of May. Richard had a very difficult childhood and was taken away from his father to work on a farm. Both of them had hard lives and struggled in many ways but came to know the Lord with a simple faith.
Mary has been in a nursing home for several years and towards the end was suffering terribly. Richard had been praying that God would take her home.
Things came to a head on Tuesday evening and it was so distressing for Richard that the nurses suggested he left the room, so he went to get a cup of coffee. Half way across the street God spoke to Richard. He just said, “Don’t worry. I have answered your prayer! I have taken Mary home.”
Richard immediately turned around and went back to the building. A nurse met him and said, “They want you up on the third floor right now!”. Mary had indeed been “taken home”.
He keeps talking about the look on Mary’s face. Her eyes were fixed wide open in awe and amazement and she was smiling. Moments before she died she must have had a glimpse of the one she was going to be with. But what he talks about most was that a light was actually shining from her face and body as if it were lit up from the inside.
(I asked Richard if he minded me sharing these facts and he said, “Oh no! It’s a testimony!”)
I was wondering what a cessationist would make of these events.[read more...]
There are two common errors regarding repentance, both of which I believe are quite dangerous.
I believe that a combination of these two ideas delayed my own salvation for years since I found myself unable to work up a strong feeling of guilt for sin, and thought that I could not come to Christ until I had these feelings of repentance.
I have just written an article which describes these errors and does a study on the use of the word in the Old and New Testaments.
I also preached an evangelistic sermon on "What it means to repent" which is based on Acts 17. There is a certain amount of overlap in content, but the sermon is obviously much more popular in presentation. The notes and audio download can be found here:
Last Sunday we were staying in a cottage in the Bruce Peninsula and visited Light and Life Community Chapel, Tobermory.
The Pastor, Jerry Clubine, was preaching on Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” He pointed out that poverty is usually considered a bad thing, so how can Jesus say it is blessed?
The answer is in how we define what it means to be poor in spirit. What Jesus is talking about is a recognition that we do not have what we need by ourselves, but need God to give us a “download” of his spiritual filling. The poverty is a recognition of need.
I think this was an excellent explanation of the text, but I had a couple of thoughts about it afterwards that I would liked to have been able to discuss with Jerry.[read more...]
I remember coming across this phrase as a section heading in Paul, an Outline of his theology by Herman Ridderbos. It was so exciting to read and I felt as if whole vistas of understanding were opened up to me.
That book together with Resurrection and Redemption by Richard Gaffin are two books that have made the biggest impact on me in my understanding of the Apostle Paul.
I imagine these concepts like a great range of underwater mountains that penetrate the surface of the ocean as groups of islands. In the same way, once you grasp Paul's underlying framework, you can see it poking through in numerous places in his letters.
For me, one of the most fundamental of the fundamental structures is Paul's teaching on the "Two Worlds", or if you prefer, "Two Aeons". Jesus leaves the old, entering the tomb and then is raised a new being. We follow by virtue of being united with him. This my picture of how I think of it:
What does Microsoft have to do with Moses and the burning bush?
Back in the early 90's, Microsoft developed a remarkable piece of software, Windows NT. (Anyone who knows me will know that I am no fan of Microsoft but this product was an exception.)
What was most amazing about this software was that conventional wisdom was that it was impossible to develop something of that size and complexity in the timescale, even with a huge team. In 1994 a Wall Street Journal writer named Pascal Zachary obtained permission to interview all those involved and write a book.
The book is in some places shocking and even a little scary, because it becomes clear that what enables the project to succeed is the cult-like leadership qualities of the project leader, Dave Cutler, and his abilities to motivate his "followers" (employees) to the point where nothing else in their lives mattered, outside of working on his team. Here is a quote from the book:[read more...]
I was mulling over my thoughts about our vision for Newlife Church and I came up with some key concepts. We want the church to be diverse in culture, age and social level. We want all the gifts in operation. We want evangelism and growth, strong teaching, and a love and care for people that addresses the social problems of the city and gives hope to the hopeless. Gods presence should be our delight and the source of our strength, and finally we want to be a resourcing church that is missions minded and plants other churches, acting as a strong base.
As I was praying about what to preach on, the example in Acts 13:1-3 of the church in Antioch came to me. Then I remembered there was more about the same church in Acts 11:19-30. I read the passages with increasing excitement as I realized that all of my points were found in the description of this churcheven the ethnic/social diversity of the church and the caring for social needs. Here they are, (and honest, I didnt plan there to be seven!)[read more...]
Last Sunday evening I spoke at TACF on the subject of "What it means to live under the New Covenant" as part of their "Equipping series". Of all the subjects I speak on, this is probably the one that is most important and foundational for the Christian. It is also one that I get very excited about.
I have uploaded the video to Youtube:
If the above video does not play smoothly for you try the following link:
Please don't be offended at the way I have involved the audience in role-playing some of the scenes. I am not trying to be disrespectful to God, I just feel that there is much more of an impact when people are more involved.
All my notes (fairly detailed), illustrations and Scripture passages are at loveintruth.com/newcovenant - What it means to live under the New Covenant
The video can also be downloaded to your computer from the following links:
There is a debate going on right now about whether a church that holds to believer's baptism should allow someone who has not been baptized to be a member, or even to break bread together with the rest of the church.
I find myself very much in agreement with Sam Storm, who writes:
Let me be clear on one thing. I am a credo-baptist, not a paedo-baptist. That is to say, I believe that only those who believe in Jesus Christ should receive the ordinance of water baptism. I also believe that the proper mode of baptism is by immersion. Ligon Duncan, on the other hand, is a Presbyterian paedo-baptist. Because of this, both Mark Dever and Al Mohler made it clear that if Duncan were in attendance at either of their churches they would not permit him to partake of the elements of the Lord's Supper.[read more...]