Beautiful Who?

July 5, 2009 by

Ready… Aim… Fire!!

Going out Sacred Cow shooting and looks like I may have just got one. Big one too! It is tagged “Contemporary Worship Music.” Metaphor aside, in church during worship the song “Beautiful One” was sung. We sing this one often and to my shame I’ve never really thought about it much. Also to my shame I tend to just sing along and follow the bouncing ball on the screen without much consideration as to the lyrics and/or theology involved with the song. Tonight was different though, I found myself not just singing along mindlessly letting the mood and melody take me away, but really putting deep thought into worship. (Does that make me a bad Charismatic?) As the song was sung I read ahead in the lyrics before I sang them to see if I actually COULD in a sense of worship to the Triune God. Turns out that the song “Beautiful One” flat out will not let me! Honestly, I don’t think it can even classify as a worship song!

Bold claim! Better back it up, huh? Let’s look at the Word and the words and I’ll explain.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Witness Wednesday (Free Float Night at SONIC)

June 4, 2009 by

I’ll confess before I start that I did NOT plan tonight. A while back my friend and sister in Christ, Alisa, told me that SONIC would have a Free Root Beer Float Night. That went in one ear and out the other. Tonight someone at church mentioned it and said, “Don’t worry Berry. It starts at 8 and ends at midnight so you have plenty of time to get there.” So I thought… “Wow! Those are gonna be some long lines. Is it really worth it for a Root Beer Float?” Worship was about to start so I sat down and prayed and read a small section of Scripture… During worship it hit me… GO! Read the rest of this entry »

Bible Study Notes “From Dark to Light” (5-31-09)

June 2, 2009 by

From Dark to Light

1 John 1:5-2:2

This section gives us some good contrast: that between light and darkness, God and man, the character of the regenerate and that of the unregenerate. To look at these contrasts is a humbling thing and may cause some discomfort. It has for me.

Let us begin, most appropriately, with God. John writes clearly in the most simple of terms so that even a child can understand, yet profound enough that we can probe it deeply and still see through a mirror darkly. If asked to explain God to an inquisitive toddler one could easily say to the tot, “God is light! He doesn’t have any darkness in him.” Even the small mind could think about the scary dark room and the monsters under the bed and in the closet and the ominous shadows of clothes made by a small night light. The tiny child could imagine a bright day with sunlight pouring into the room giving vibrant light to every corner. Such a little one could easily then conclude (in a limited way) that God is pure, that God is good. While we could be content to stop here, Scripture reveals even more to us that we might begin to understand what this means. (I say begin as while God is knowable he is incomprehensible.) But what of light and God? Let’s look at 1 Tim 6:16 which says God “alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” Indeed Exodus 33:20 records the Lord himself saying, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” We find also that any physical descriptions of God’s form include light. Deuteronomy 4:12, “Then the LORD spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice.” The thought of seeing God himself face to face was a terrifying thought. It meant death! When God gave the Law the people of Israel were astonished at the fact that they lived after such close contact with the Lord “For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of fire as we have, and has still lived?” (Dt 5:26). We tend to not think this way much anymore. We view God as the warm fuzzy light of table lamp, not the raging consuming fire of a star. Has God’s nature changed from then until now? Of course not! Had it Paul, New Testament, would not have written that God “dwells in unapproachable light.” Rather than give us pause, we should be comforted by this. There is no darkness in God. There is no sin in God. There is no evil in God. Isaiah 6:3 tells us that God is “holy, holy, holy” and Luke 18:19 rightly says, “No one is good except God alone.” Such a moral purity is unmatched by any stretch of the imagination. We see God’s moral purity back in Genesis when he ejects Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden after their sin. We see God’s moral purity in the flood. We see God’s moral purity in the moral law (the 10 Commandments for example). We see God’s moral purity when he wipes out those who live in the presence of the pillar of fire/smoke yet rebel against him. We see God’s moral purity when he punishes an idolatrous and rebellious nation by sending them into exile. We see God’s moral purity, God’s light, shown clearly when contrasted with human darkness.

But this creates a problem. Verses 6 and 7, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Now… don’t go thinking you got off easy because I’m not tackling this head on screaming bloody murder. I’m going to touch this lightly as John does and then, come 1 John 3:4-10… Well…

Put plainly a Christian cannot be a Christian if he or she engages in willful patterns of sinful behavior. A Christian can only be a Christian if he or she has a pattern of increasing godliness, holiness, and righteousness. Before I go on I must make this disclaimer: I am not promoting works-based righteousness or sinless perfection. Any questions on that will be answered in chapter three. Furthermore, just as sin separates us from God it separates us from each other. Yes, I am aware of how Emergent/Emerging/Emerged/Emer-whatever that sounds, but! If a Christian habitually lies to another Christian they have sinned against God (as a matter of primacy and utmost importance) but also against a brother or sister. Such a thing could very well and rightly so cause distrust between the two and thereby weaken fellowship. Yet what of the Christian whose life is exemplified by good works? The blood of Jesus cleanses from all sin.

John’s thought takes logical progression takes us next to the person who would say after the atonement we have no more sin. That is not so. To do so would to be sinlessly perfect. There are some in Christendom who believe that such a thing is possible in this life. They are the super-spirtiual type who claims such a level of sanctification that they do not any longer sin. They are not even tempted to sin! They can look at half naked women and be just fine and look with scorn on those who cannot. They can speak freely of events learned of third-hand without the slightest hint of gossip and scoff at the thought of people talking behind their back. But scripture disagrees. Even Paul, POST-conversion wrote such: Romans 7 is a clear indication of the battle he wages. In 1 Timothy 1:15 Paul says, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” Not “of whom I was…” But “of whom I am.” Indeed such a claim is to walk in the sin of pride! By denying plain fact and Holy Scripture we show that indeed we are self-decieved and without God’s truth. Let’s look also to the unconverted. There is a question that is familiar to many of us: “Would you consider yourself to be a good person?” Suppose we phrased that, “Would you consider yourself innocent in God’s sight?” Many would answer in the affirmative to both! Yet they do so to their own destruction. Jeremiah 2:35 says, “you say, ‘I am innocent; surely his anger has turned from me.’ Behold, I will bring you to judgment for saying, ‘I have not sinned.’”  John is correct to say it is self-deception. As Job (15:14) points out, “What is man, that he can be pure? Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous?” This also points to the separation between light and darkness, God and man, Sons of God and Sons of Perdition. The good news of the gospel is that Christ died to take the punishment of the sins of mankind. If one claims sinlessness then for what did Christ die? His death would be in vain and God would be a capricious, malevolent bully. Our duty as ministers of the Gospel is to tell the Truth and the WHOLE Truth. Paul says it this way in 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 (note the common themes with our main passage), “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” You say you have not sinned. God says you have. Who is the liar? If anyone dare say God, they are not Christian.

But… here is the part that is most beautiful. If you were keeping count you will see I jumped over a verse. Verse 9! If you want to memorize something to have ready on the mind when speaking with people this is one. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” First: Confess. What does this mean? The Greek word used here is “homologomen” Which means you are saying the same as, you are agreeing with whomever. In this case you are saying, “Lord, you are correct in your judgment of me. I am, indeed, a sinner. I lie. I lust. I steal. I covet. I use your name as a curse word. I kill even by murder in my heart. I….” There is no “Yeah, but…” in there. There is no room for excuse. It is 100% agreement with the light about the darkness. So we confess. What is this cleanse? Do we drink special water and abstain from yeast and sugar for two months? No. The cleanse comes from the blood of Jesus. The cleanse comes as the fullness of the sacrifices of the Old Covenant are made manifest in Christ. What do I mean? Turn to Hebrews chapter 9. The whole of it.  [+++] Clear? But wait… there’s more!

John’s purpose in writing (one among many) is that we may not sin. John, however, recognizes that tendency. If anyone does sin, there is an advocate on our behalf before the throne of God above! Not just any advocate, JESUS CHRIST THE RIGHTEOUS! The very one who bore the sin and grief of many, the  very one whose blood was spilled, the very one who experienced denial after denial from his own people, from his own followers, and from every one of us upon every sin where we deny in practice the Lordship of Jesus. It is that One who points to the scars upon his wrists, the scars upon his feet, and the scars upon his brow…

Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;

They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:

“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,

“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,

“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

+++

For the audio of this message please click HERE.

Sermon On The Mount Saturday

May 29, 2009 by

Sorry for the delay in this post, but I was hoping to have video to go with it. When I get it, I’ll post it.

Anyway, I was a proud participant in Sermon on the Mount Saturday. I went out with two others, ageman and Alisa. My idea of what we would do changed as I was just going with the flow. Hit several parks, one park in many places, etc.

We began at Desert Breeze Park. We met at 11am and I gave Alisa and ageman a quick Open Air 101 crash course. After that, we prayed.

The best place to start, it seemed, was the skate park. There were a few kids there and a couple adults supervising. In the center of the skate park sits a large planter with some palm trees and a nice wall (I guess you could say) around it. It is about 18 inches to two feet high. I asked if either ageman or Alisa wanted to go, they declined. So I went.

Getting elevated is still the hardest thing. It means you are then committed to doing what it is you are there to do. So I got up there, and read. I forgot how hard it was to keep a consistently loud voice. Despite my years of theatre back in high school I could not keep projecting well. I’m going to just chalk that up to being nervous.

I made it through with no heckling until the end when all the little sk8r kidz screamed, “FINALLY!”

Some listened, all heard. You can listen here!

After that we looked across the street. Still the same park… imagine that. There were several soccer games going on but no good place to actually read. Bummer.

However, we were getting hungry so we grabbed some lunch and figured out what to do next.

We went to another park (I cannot remember the name) near my dad’s house. There’s a small skate area there so I thought we may have similar luck. Sadly, no. Lots of people, but all of them engaged in various softball games. Only four sk8r kidz. We decided to pass out tracts and try for some 1-2-1 encounters. That didn’t go over so well. We got some tracts out but most people were too engrossed in the games to want anything to do with us and they made that known! Yet, as I said, we got some tracts out and did what we could without being tactlessly uncouth.

Was it a success? YES! Why? We did what EXACTLY what God would have had us to do. How do I know? Because it is what we did.  We don’t count people who pray a prayer. We preach the Gospel and let God do the work.

John Piper Responds!

May 20, 2009 by

Interesting is the only word I can find. I’ve read MacArthur’s perspective. I understand it. I have heard Piper’s response.  I understand it. Where do I stand? (Like it matters.) I’m taking a middle ground. I think Driscoll should publically repent of doing a few things. By that I mean stand in the pulpit and appolgize for his lack of holiness in preaching and HSAT dust off and move on with more respect to the power of language. Abdicate the pulpit? Perhaps temporarily to wrestle with the Lord in the matters of the tongue.

Let me say. I am not perfect. I let drop words unbecoming of a Christian more often than I like in my personal life. I see the plank in my own eye and am praying and working for growth.

HSAT myself…

HERE is where the audio can be found.

HT: Mark of http://hereiblog.com

Shameless Plug

May 20, 2009 by

This Shameless Plug is for 10:31 Sermon Jams. Their new album of sermon jams came out Tuesday 19 May 2009 and it is great. Better than the others? Perhaps. This one has an added theme along with the Gospel. Don’t Waste Your Life! With the book, sermon video, DVD, concert tour, and other merch it seems that DWYL is something John Piper wants to make perfectly clear. I’ve read the book and wish the church which I attend would have done that instead of 40 Days of Purpose. Frankly the DWYL theology is the non-aberrant version of PDL. As for the album itself, it is good listening. John Piper’s sermons fill the 11 tracks with the last one being a good clear gospel presentation. Fave track is 30 A.D. Listen and I’m sure you will see why. I would definitely give this CD away as a tract or follow-up. The cost is reasonable to buy them and the more you buy the more you save!

Okay… so I’m no Tim Challies when it comes to reviews. I’ll admit that. But either way, I get no money from the sales of this but I am fairly sure God gets glory from this project and someone just might get saved.

 

 

DWYL 10:31 Sermon Jams

DWYL 10:31 Sermon Jams

 

Here’s a little added bonus for taking the time to enjoy this blog post. Hit it Lecrae!

Bible Reading Plan (Day 139)

May 20, 2009 by

DAY ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-NINE — Numbers 29, Psalm 73

Nu 29

The requirements for offerings continues. These are the holy day offerings. Note, as it was in the previous chapter the offerings are called to be “without blemish.” There are Christological implications with this. Jesus was the only sinless human. Not one sin in thought, word, or deed. Had he sinned, the offering would not have been accepted, but by the resurrection we have proof that the offering was truly acceptable.

+++

Ps 73

What a familiar tone this one is. How often we see the rich, the evil, and scoffers of God living the good life. Just look at Joel Osteen! Not to mention Lil’ Wayne, Green Day, George Clooney, Paris Hilton, etc. They all have such a vast amount of money and stuff that it is hard not to covet their possessions. We spin our brains to try to understand how a just God could let people spit in his face and get blessed by it! (William Young, I’m looking at you.) It bothers the author of this psalm. Then… he goes to God’s sanctuary and it all makes sense. God has them in a place so that their foot shall slide in due time. The author then repents for having been so brash in his shortsightedness. He then states succintly that those who are apart from God are destined for death. Those who are near God have safety to tell of God’s wonders. For us Christians that means the Gospel!

+++

Questions to Ponder:

*Not a question, but a good idea: Memorize Psalm 73:25-26

Good Point

May 19, 2009 by

Here’s a great, pithy, blog post from Russell Moore quoting from Andrew J. Cherlin.  Yeah, I know… Secondary source… But I like it okay! ^_^

GIVE US SOME MEN WHO KNOW THE TRUTH!

May 19, 2009 by

Watch and listen as Steve Lawson mocks Joel Osteen for the ignorant dog that he is.  All I can say to this video is a simple “AMEN!”

If a man cannot affirm the most basic truths of the Gospel he has no business in a pulpit. Indeed, Joel Osteen spends his platform putting on a smiley-dog and shiny-haired pony show for the lost masses as they live their best life now on their way to thier worst eternity forever.

Bible Reading Plan (Day 138)

May 19, 2009 by

DAY ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-EIGHT — Numbers 28, Psalm 72

Nu 28

Closing in on the Promised Land and the new leader of the people of Israel established, YHWH gives further commands in regards to daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly offerings.

+++

Ps 72

This Psalm is the prayer offered up as intercession for a righeous and good king. But the end of the Psalm shows praise for the TRUE King of Israel.

+++

Questions to Ponder:

* In Numbers 28, what is the commonality that all of the offerings have? HINT: 2 words.