Waiting Time



Waiting (Photo credit: Iguanasan)

Waiting Time.

This is an interesting little parable on the effects of perception and organizational efficiency and effectiveness.

Sometimes, the “issue” isn’t really the issue.

Mishandling Scripture in Pulpit = Misguiding People in Pews

A great quote by Sinclar Ferguson on preaching and teaching (check out full quote here):

“If people sit regularly under a ministry where the Scriptures are mishandled, they will have great obstacles to overcome in order rightly to handle it themselves.” 

-Sinclair Ferguson from, Richard Allen Bodey, Inside the Sermon: Thirteen Preachers Discuss Their Methods of Preparing Messages

It’s Been a While

I have to say that I have been a bad blogger lately – and justifiably so.  School has ramped up, and I have been unusually stressed out.  So this past week was a great opportunity to practice an area of much needed sanctification in my life, something I like to call rest!  It was absolutely fabulous Us as a Family at Halloweento take several days “off” – no school work, no running out to study, or meet with anybody, or be anxious about how much I have to do in the next two weeks (which is alot). Instead, I got to roll around on the floor with my two children – Maya and Alex, re-arrange our living room to decorate for Christmas, lay on the couch without a Systematic Theology book resting on my belly, and spend some time on the couch with my wife.  I also spent very little time on the internet, and think that I might need to make that a recurring practice every so often.I do have some things in the works though for the blog that I wanted to preview for you all.Pierced for Our Transgressions  Sometime in the next few weeks I am going to posting several reviews of books.  One of my joys is sharing resources, and as I come across good books from class, or from generous folks (thank you Michele!), I’d like to tell you all about them, and recommend to you the ones that are worthwhile.  So, be on the look out for a post or two on Pierced for Our Transgressions (a great book on Penal Substitution), as well as something on Piper’s (and others) recent works, The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World and The Future of Justification.Early on next year,  a friend here at seminary and I will be trying to read Communion with the Triune Godthrough some good stuff by some older generation, godly men.  We’ve talked about starting off with Communion with The Triune God – the recent adaptation(?) of John Owens’ classic.  I hope to make that a regular posting.  In addition, I’ll keep posting thoughts on faith, life, culture and preaching, because it seems those are the things that occupy the free space of my mind these days.

What Should Move Us?

The following are some quotes and insights from Bryan Chapell’s book Holiness by Grace. The concept of gospel-motivation as normative for the Christian life is one that has been rocking my world lately. Not only is it a vital part of a sermon series at church (“The Joy Church: Series Through Philippians”), but it seems to be resonating with my own struggles with sin and living as a redeemed child of God. I’ve put some my reflecting thoughts in blue to differentiate between what Chapell wrote and what I’m processing.

What Should Move Us?
Turning From a Desire for Gain

Not for Self Protection

“The loses the thankful leper risks indicate that neither self-promotion nor self-protection drives him…what we do for God cannot make god our debtor, and should never be done primarily for our gain. ” [Looking at Parable of 10 Lepers Healed] p. 30

• If we are serving for our personal gain, who are we really serving?

• Serve to get favors from God – self-promotion –> More my deal than I’m aware, I’m afraid

• Serve to keep Him off our backs – self-protection

• “What such people think is gaining them ‘brownie points’ with God is actually to their demerit in heaven’s accounting, which considers the motives of the heart as well as deeds of service,” p. 30
• “The point is not that his blessings should never motivate us at all, but they cannot be the driving force of our service. His blessings are the oil that helps the machinery of obedience operate, but love for God and desire for his glory are the pistons and the wheels,” p. 31

• Frankly, I think I would have been alright without this statement. How do you combat wrong, works-related motivation for the blessings of God when they still “help the machinery of obedience operate?” This is my struggle; I’d rather chuck all of the obedience – God loves you despite what you do or don’t do – or all of the blessings, and not let them mix. But then, what am I left with when I do this? Neither a very good religion, or a joyful relationship (I think anyway?).

Turning to a Delight in Gratitude

• “…the Bible teaches us that what should move us to serve God is our delight in expressing thanksgiving to him for his grace,” p. 32

Compelling Love

• “What ultimately keeps our motives biblically prioritized and holy before God is the profound conviction that obeying God will merit us nothing. This is why Jesus tells us that, when we have done all that we should do, we are still unprofitable servants. Jesus does not nullify the value of duty in order to dissuade us from serving God, but to keep us from depending on duty to gain God’s acceptance…Thus we learn to serve God not for personal gain but for his glory – not for love of self but for love of the Savior,” p. 32

• Quoting Samuel Bolton

• “There is nothing more powerful than love. Things impossible to other are easy to them that love. Love knows no difficulties…Love is an affection that refuses to be put off by duties or difficulties which come between it and the person loved,” p. 32

• Quoting B.B. Warfield

• “We are sinners, and we know ourselves to be sinners lost and helpless in ourselves, but we are saved sinners, and it is our salvation which gives tone to our live – a tone of joy which swells in exact proportion to the sense we have of our ill-desert. Fir it is he to whom much is forgiven who loves much and, who loving, rejoices much,” p. 33

Childlike Willingness

• “Because God accepts us on the basis of his unmerited pardon, rather than on the basis of our earning his affection or compensating for our guilt, we are enabled to serve him with an unrestrained childlike love that is a joyful response to his care. The power of this joy to strengthen and heal our lives makes God’s mercy the primary message we must share in our churches, counseling rooms, classes, homes and workplaces,” p. 35

Gospel Zeal

• “Grace distinguishes its possessors by their joy,” p. 35

So what does it mean then if “joy” isn’t the characteristic of your life, and with that, your relationship with God?

Francis Schaeffer Lecture Series – Emerging Church

Darrin PatrickHere is the content for the Covenant Seminary’s Francis Schaeffer Institute Lecture Series (that’s a mouthful, isn’t it?) on the Emerging Church. This was a series of talks given by Darrin Patrick, lead pastor of The Journey and V.President of the Acts 29 Network. Darrin is a guy who neither absolutely praises or bashes the Emerging Church movement. Instead, he gives a really good inside picture of it, while also standing somewhat outside of it and gives it a good critical assessment of its strengths and weaknesses. If you’re out there and you’re the least bit curious, or cautious, of anything that bears the label “emerging”, then listen to these lectures.

Audio Content (page – you can download the lectures individually)

Written Content (abridged notes from the talks)

Mark Driscoll on Humility

Man, I really liked Mark Driscoll before. I loved his ability to communicate truth clearly and fiercly. I can’t wait to see how God continues to use him as a man pursuing not only orthodoxy with strength and conviction, but also growing in humility. Not only is this video just a great 5 minute gut-level reality check for myself, it is also probably one of the most powerful forms of public repentance I’ve seen or experienced. Enjoy!

What is beauty?

I found out about these videos in my Intro to Counseling class today.  I had to share them.  They address a real problem we face everyday – “secular sermons” where we are all impacted and formed by our culture in ways that aren’t exactly healthy.

Check these out for a healthy corrective attempt to the problem [Caveat – I find it interesting that this comes from Dove, a company very much invested in the success of the beauty industry.  Shouldn’t the church be the ones tackling this problem?]:



Tim Keller – Contextualization

timkeller.jpgThis is the best quote I have come across on contextualization, and it happens to come from…you guessed it…Tim Keller. Much thanks to Darrin Patrick for talking through this and pointing to this definition about contextualization at the FSI Lecture Series this weekend on the Emerging Church (check out http://covenantseminary.edu in a couple of days/weeks for the audio – if they post it.)

Quote on Contextualization:

Contextualization is not giving people what they want. It is giving God’s answers (which they probably do not want) to the questions they are asking and in forms they can comprehend.

CT Article on Gospel Coalition

The Gospel CoalitionColin Hansen has an article for CT about The Gospel Coalition.  Its a good excerpt, and worth reading to understand what I think is an exciting and important trend for the shaping of future ministry, particularly in the U.S.   Here are a couple of good quotes (from Keller, yes!), but do go read the rest of the article (click here).

“I want to see more churches and leaders joining hands across denominational and network lines to think out how to do effective mission based on the historic, classical understanding of the gospel as it has come down to us from the Reformation and through the Awakenings.”

“If we seek service rather than power, we may have significant cultural impact,” the statement says. “But if we seek power and social control, we will, ironically, be assimilated into the very idolatries of wealth, status, and power we seek to change.”-Tim Keller

Gospel-Centered Sexuality – Session 1

These are the notes I took from the frist session of Scotty Smith’s “Gospel-Centered Sexuality” class. I found these things very helpful in understanding how the gospel transforms and re-orients my view of sexuality, and figure these might provide some interesting “springboards” for further thought. I’ll try to put up the Saturday sessions later on.

Friday PM: Session 1

Intro – Story-line of Scripture

• We’re not going back to Eden—we’re going to Paradise! The future (eschatology) is far better and grander than the beginning!
• We were made for a relationship and intercourse with, that can only be truly fulfilled in Jesus! (Quote in handout)
• Q: What is this, exactly? Sounds a little fruity to me? (referenced: “neither given or given into marriage” in Heaven/Paradise)
• Right Use—-Mis-Use—-Dis-Use—–Abuse of Sex
• Q: What does “dis-use” of sex drive at?
• A: So busy with life…or comfort…that sex, within marriage, is minimal, if not non-existent.

Song of Solomon 4-5

• The fact that we can’t read this “shame-free” is evidence that we live in a fallen world – we have been robbed of something precious to us!

Ephesians 5: 31-33

• Nothing else but the Gospel could ever give us the hope of being able to say, “I hold nothing back from you” [my finances, imagination, fears, tears, dream, hopes, hurst…genitalia]
• v. 32 – There is a fulfillment of Gen. 2 that is reserved alone for Jesus Christ
• Q: What is this “fulfillment”? Is it the idea of “shame-freeness” that you’re driving at?
• A: If you consider intercourse as genital-to-genital interaction, you’ve missed the point.
• Sex serves cleaving! (Wow, that makes sense). Sex has a context, and when we take it out of context, monsters are created.

Sex and Subversive Nature of the Gospel (from Tim Keller; also S. Smith, The Reign of Grace)

I Corinthians 6:12-7:40

• Paul isn’t just saying, “Stop sleeping around.” He is saying, “You were made for deep, connection with Jesus!”
• In a sense, you have to demote your human relationships in relation to your relationship with Jesus.
• Being the “bride” of Christ doesn’t just mean that we are faithful and not sleeping around, but that we are in love and fully engaged with our lover!

Nature of the Gospel

• Where does the true gospel become the real (functional) gospel in your life? (Great question!)
• “When Jesus died on the cross, He got down on one knee and proposed to us.” – anonymous
• Legal and Existential side of the Gospel
• “If all you have is the legal/penal side of the Gospel, you have the lyrics, but where is the music?”

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

• Sex is for community (needs more development)
• Eschatologically speaking, to speak of “intercourse” with Jesus is to refer to unlimited, unbounded, intimacy and communion with Him and His creation – the ultimate community; the grand city within a city!
• The Gospel (and Sex in the Context of the Gospel) is about giving not getting!
• We’ve got to learn to demote certain things in our lives and culture to line up with the Gospel – like money, sex, and power!
• Not suggesting to stop longing to be married, but to realize that our longings are only met and fulfilled in Jesus!