December 13, 2010

Did Jesus Get Sick?

Russell Moore always does a great job of answering questions with insight and candor. His latest question deals with whether or not Jesus got sick, something that may seem inconsequential on its face, but I think Dr. Moore answers this question particularly well. Check it out:

It just doesn’t seem right to us to imagine Jesus feverish or vomiting. But that’s precisely the scandal. It didn’t seem right to many to imagine Jesus as really flesh and bone, filled with blood and intestines and urine. Somehow that seemed to detract from his deity. It surely didn’t seem right to many to imagine the only begotten of the Father twisting in pain on a crucifixion stake, screaming as he drowned in his own blood. This was humiliating, undignified. That’s just the point. Jesus joined us in our humiliation, in our indignity.

December 6, 2010

Donate to The Gospel Coalition

I have decided to take part in a contest to raise funds for the the Gospel Coalition. The competition is being held through the website razoo, a website which allows nonprofit organizations to fundraise through creating web pages where donors can give money as they wish.

For those of you who don't know about the Gospel Coalition, it is basically an organization whose main purpose is to see Christians live Gospel-centered lives by equipping them with resources to do so. For more information, you can visit their website or watch this video.

I would ask that you please support the Gospel Coalition by donating at my page. You can also donate using the widget on the side of the blog.

I would rarely ask anyone to give money to anything of mine, but all funds go directly to the Gospel Coalition and I think that this is more than a worthy cause to give to. I have listed my reasons for making raising funds here:

I am a college student at West Viriginia University who plans on going into full-time ministry. I have joined this fundraising campaign for several reasons. 

1) The Gospel Coalition has provided with many resources to help keep my life Gospel-centered. Particularly, I subscribe to several blogs and will be attending their conference this coming year. These things consistently point me to the cross and help to equip me to lead a godly life. Therefore, making this fundraising page is really just a small way to say thanks. 

2) The Gospel should always be first and foremost in our lives. This is the main premise of the Gospel Coalition and to that end they work. In my opinion, any organization that aims for such godly things should be supported and promoted. 

3) Not only does the Gospel Coalition want to see those who are Christians living lives that are Gospel-saturated, but in addition they want to see the Gospel proclaimed to the ends of the earth for the purpose of many people coming to know, understand and accept the Gospel. This is a high aim and one that I support wholeheartedly. 

My prayer for this page is that many would donate and that all would be done for the glory of God. 

P.S.- for full disclosure, yes I would like to win this competition and I am grateful for the DVD that The Gospel Coalition is giving out. However, I think that my chances at winning this competition are very slim and hope that this campaign competition will truly be used by God to continue to equip Christians everywhere for living Gospel-centered lives.

Thank you!

December 2, 2010

The Gospel is NOT... A Datum

(This is the third post in the series "The Gospel is NOT...")

3. A Datum: Sorry to use such an unconventional word here, but my main point in this post is that while the Gospel is factual, it is not merely a set of facts.

When talking about the Gospel, we must recognize that we are presented with radical truth claims about who God is, who Jesus Christ is, who we are, what our greatest need is and how that need can be met. On one hand, this means that we cannot simply say we believe in the Gospel and not understand what that actually means. This is why we must be so careful to present and understand the Gospel correctly. Yes, it can be presented in a variety of ways and in different contexts but the core truths cannot be changed. Otherwise, we will not have the Gospel, but a false one.

On the other hand, simply agreeing with these truth claims does not equate a reception of the Gospel. These truths must be understood and accepted, but they call for radical change. The truth of Jesus Christ calls us to confess and repent (turn away) of our sin and to trust and rely on Jesus alone to save us. One can agree with the truthfulness of Scripture and still not have saving faith. One may even be able to know how to defend Christianity historically and logically and still not have saving faith. We cannot simply say that we accept these things; we must trust in them. 

It may help to have an example. I believe that the Earth is 93 million miles away from the sun and that it orbits it every 365.25 days. I can validate this scientifically and mathematically and I can show you well documented proof of these facts. However, they have nearly no effect on my daily life. I don't get up every morning and think about how the light had to travel 93 million miles to get to where I am. I don't adjust my daily routine because the Earth's orbit is 365.25 days. 

Those who have saving faith are entirely different.  They take the facts of the Gospel and stake their entire life on them. They will not be able to go on living as they once did before their encounter with these glorious truths. True saving faith will produce a radical change in their hearts and in their lives, a radical change that is not the basis of our faith, but the result of it. 

December 1, 2010

Christians and World AIDS Day

Russell Moore has some helpful and convicting thoughts on World AIDS Day. He closes his article with this:
I wonder how many of us will hear the words from our Galilean emperor, “I had AIDS and you weren’t afraid to come near me.” 

And so, if we love Jesus, our churches should be more aware of the cries of the curse, including the curse of AIDS, than the culture around us. Our congregations should welcome the AIDS-infected, and we shouldn’t be afraid to hug them as we would hug our Christ. Our congregations should be on the forefront of missions to AIDS-ravaged regions of the world. Our families should be willing to welcome those orphaned by this global scourge. 

Through it all, we should be insistent in gospel proclamation. To those whose blood has become their own enemy, we should announce blood they know not of, the blood of One who can cleanse them of all unrighteousness, just as it cleansed us (1 Jn. 1:7); the blood of One who is forever immune to sin and death and hell (Jn. 6:53-56). 

Jesus loves the world, and the world has AIDS. Jesus identifies himself with the least of these, and many of them have AIDS. Jesus calls us to recognize him in the depths of suffering, and there’s AIDS there too. 

Jesus has AIDS.

November 29, 2010

The Achilles' Heel of the Next Generation

This video has been around for a little while, but I thought it would be helpful to share it here as well:

November 13, 2010

The Trellis and the Vine: A Review

Earlier this week I finished reading The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift that Changes Everything by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne. While I many reviews have already been written on the book (for one such review, see here), I didn't think it would hurt to add one more endorsement.

In The Trellis and the Vine, the authors seek to look at some of what has been accepted as the "norm" within the Church in recent years and challenge their readers to compare these to Scripture, and particularly the mandate to "make disciples" (Matt. 28:19). Beginning from an explanation of what God Himself is doing in our world, they continue on, describing our part in this work, which is to be disciple-making disciples. From there, they continue to explain how this is worked out in a local body, addressing concerns and appealing to Scripture all along the way.

All in all, the book is an invaluable resource in regards to church ministry. The book is easy to understand, applicable, and, I believe, pertinent to the church at this time. I would recommend this book to all in the body of Christ.

November 12, 2010

Matt Chandler's Latest Update

A while ago, I posted about Matt Chandler, pastor at The Village Church in Texas and his battle with brain cancer. Though I have failed to post all of his updates here, I thought that it was important that I share this one with you (you can see all of Matt's updates throughout the year here):

(you can see all of Matt's updates throughout the year here)

(HT: Vitamin Z)

November 5, 2010

The Gospel is NOT... A Political Party, Ideal or System

(This is the second post in the series, "The Gospel is NOT...")

The Gospel is NOT... A Set of Rules

2. A Political Party, Ideal or System: Considering that this is the week of the midterm elections, this post seems particularly relevant.

Because of America's founding on certain Biblical principles and the feeling among some that we are somehow a "Christian nation", I think that there is a peculiar presence of those who hold to certain political stances as being distinctly Christian. For instance, some may think that those who do not believe in a democratic republic form of government as the best form of government are in some way unchristian. They couldn't fathom being a Christian and also in support of a monarchy or other forms of government. However, there have been Christians throughout the ages who have lived and died as good citizens of governments that were anything but democratic.

Likewise, in the political sphere, there a many Christians who on both sides of the fence politically. I have friends who genuinely disagree about the role government has in meeting the needs of people and wear the label "liberal", "libertarian" and "conservative" accordingly. But these friends also realize that the Gospel is what is central and ultimate, not their political views. Certainly, there are issues that have grave moral significance and are much easier to think through from a Biblical perspective. For instance, the Bible is clear about the moral nature of abortion. However, the fact that two people agree that abortion is wrong does not mean that the they will also agree on economic policy, or that being a Christian means that one must be for or against limited government, welfare or any other number of issues. God has blessed us with wisdom and logic to think through these things- indeed it is our responsibility to do so- but we should not expect that we will always be in agreement or that taking one stance is necessarily more in line with the Gospel than another.

In other words, believing the Gospel will not lead anyone to take a particular governmental or political stance. The converse is true as well. Being a Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative or anything else will not save you. Jesus will not come back and ask what political party you were affiliated with. This may seem silly, but sometimes it seems that people think this way. They appear to find it unfathomable that those who call themselves "Christian" would not share their views.

But the root problem with all of this is that we are putting an extra requirement on people that the Bible gives no credence for. Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. It's not that we have to have faith and be registered as a Republican. It's not that we believe in Christ and support the Democratic party. It's that we believe in Christ, who told us to submit to the government (no matter the structure) [Rom. 13:1] and who said, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). We trust in Him who will one day put all governments beneath His feet and rule as our perfect, praiseworthy King (1 Cor, 15:26-27; Rev. 19:16). It is from Him that we receive salvation, and no earthly power.

November 4, 2010

Solace of Silence

Solace of Silence

To where have they gone?

Though we long, we yearn... we scream for them,
Instead we’re encased
in this cacophony of
Bustling, hustling and jostling around us.
A swarm, a tempest, a tsunamic wave
Crashes upon our ears,
Splinters our thoughts,
Corrodes our concentration,
And attacks our minds.

Where is the peace
Of a cool summer breeze?
Where is the serenity
Of a mountain lake?
Where is the mute
Solace of silence
That brings lucidity, clarity, and health to our souls?

It is not to be found, my friend,
On the lofty peaks of the Rockies,
In the deep valleys of Appalachia;
Neither in the trees of the Amazon,
Nor in the waters of Lake Victoria,

No, no, it cannot be found there
For even there the tranquility will end
Even there Noise will intrude,
For our lack is within us,
Though our desire without,
And that need of calmness only One can fill:
The One who still cries out
“Be still!”
And bids these waves of clamor subside

-Nathan C. Matthews

October 29, 2010

The Gospel Is NOT... A Set of Rules

Sometimes, I think it is helpful to understand what something is through negative understanding, or by understanding what something is not. Particularly, the more complex and important an issue is, the more beneficial it is that we hear something taught in a variety of ways. Therefore, I will be posting several posts on what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT:

1. A set of rules: Commonly, it is said that Christianity is not a religion. By this most people mean that true Christianity is not simply a list of things that one must or must not do, which is entirely correct. While God's law certainly is still valid, those who try to abide by the His law will certainly die (1 Cor. 15:56). You see, the law was and is meant to show us our sin, because we could never keep it no matter how hard we try. This should lead us to depend on Jesus because He is the only one that was able to obey the law perfectly. It is by faith in Him that we are saved, not by anything we do or don't do (Eph. 2:8-9).

Does this mean that if we place our faith in Jesus, then we can do whatever we want? Paul asks it this way:
"Shall we sin that grace may abound more?", a question he then answers with an emphatic "By no means!" (Romans 6:1-2). You see, if we truly have an understanding of God's grace within our lives and the gravity of our sin, our failure to keep the law, then our faith will be real, and as James tells us, our faith will produce works as a result (James 2:26). In other words, it is out of our love for Christ that we will obey His law, not because we are seeking to prove ourselves to God or make ourselves good enough, because we never could. Jesus did what we never could, took our punishment for breaking the law and offers His free gift of salvation to all who believe.

October 25, 2010

Sam Harris Believes in God?

Newsweek has just come out with an article on the well-known militant "new atheist", Sam Harris and his belief in "God". The article explores how Sam Harris is not so willing to go by the label atheist because he "concedes he believes in something certain people call 'God'." While the article goes on to explain Sam Harris' belief in "spirituality" and that this belief is not in "God, but consciousness", the most troubling aspect I found was the statistic that "a quarter of Americans believe that God is 'an impersonal force'", and as Newsweek goes on to explain:
When polled about God, “people substitute in their own ideas,” says John Green, senior research adviser at Pew. “People have a vague, fuzzy notion of transcendence, and they substitute God for it...When you try to make the definition more specific, fewer people answer in the affirmative.” Or put another way, “If you let the concept of God float a little bit, almost everybody is a theist,” says Stephen Prothero, author of God Is Not One. What Sam Harris believes in—rationality, morality, transcendence, humility, awe, community, selflessness, and love—meets a fairly common definition of God.
My friends, this is the reality of living in a postmodern world. As time goes on, I believe that the real challenge to the Church will not be convincing people that there is a god, but showing people that the God of the Bible is the only true and living God.

October 11, 2010

Loving and Thinking

Here's a good quote from John Piper's new book, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God
 The main reason that thinking and loving are connected is that we cannot love God without knowing God; and the way we know God is by the Spirit-enabled use of our minds. So to “love God with all your mind” means engaging all your powers of thought to know God as fully as possible in order to treasure him for all he is worth.

God is not honored by groundless love. In fact, there is no such thing. If we do not know anything about God, there is nothing in our mind to awaken love. If love does not come from knowing God, there is no point calling it love for God. There may be some vague attraction in our heart or some unfocused gratitude in our soul, but if they do not arise from knowing God, they are not love for God.
HT: Zach Nielsen

October 7, 2010

Treasuring Him- Sermon Jam

September 25, 2010

The Unspeakable Gift of Jesus

O God of grace,
teach me to know that grace
accompanies, and
my salvation;
that it sustains the redeemed soul,
that not one link of its chain can ever break.
From Calvary’s cross, wave upon wave of grace
reaches me,
deals with my sin,
washes me clean,
renews my heart,
strengthens my will,
draws out my affection,
kindles a flame in my soul,
rules throughout my inner man,
consecrates my every thought, word, work,
teaches me Your immeasurable love.
How great are my privileges in Christ Jesus.
Without him I stand far off, a stranger, an outcast.
in him I draw near and touch His kingly scepter.
Without him I dare not lift up my guilty eyes;
in him I gaze upon my Father-God and friend.
Without him I hide my lips in trembling shame;
in him I open my mouth in petition and praise.
Without him all is wrath and consuming fire.
in him is all love, and the repose of my soul.
Without him is gaping hell below me, and eternal anguish.
in him its gates are barred to me by His precious blood!
Without him darkness spreads its horrors before me.
in him an eternity of glory is my boundless horizon.
Without him all within me is terror and dismay,
in him every accusation is charmed into joy and peace.
Without him all things external call for my condemnation;
In him they minister to my comfort, and are to be enjoyed with thanksgiving.
Praise be to You for grace,
and for the unspeakable gift of Jesus.

—”Privileges,” from The Valley of Vision

HT: Justin Taylor

September 21, 2010

Doug Wilson on Glenn Beck

A good word from Doug Wilson:

Ask Doug: Glenn Beck from Canon Wired on Vimeo.

HT: Mere Orthodoxy

September 20, 2010

Jesus and the Elephant

There is an old Indian story that is often used to express relativity of or the impossibility of knowing truth.

Basically, the story goes that there were several blind men all touching the same elephant, wondering as to what it was.

The first man, touching the ear of the elephant said "Surely this thing is thin and papery."

The second man, feeling the elephant's trunk said, "I agree that the thing is thin, but it is certainly not papery, but rough and round."

A third man, with his hand on the leg of the elephant, responded, "My brother, I agree that this thing is round and rough, but I must say that it is thicker than my thigh."

Still another, feeling the tail of the animal, said "I don't understand how any of you could think this thing is thick or rough, it is clearly thin as my little finger, and besides that, it has hair on the end."

So the four of them debated the nature of the elephant, unwilling to back down from their convictions or to consider the possibility that any of the other men could be right.
At the end of this story the question is then asked, "Which man was correct?" The expected answer is that all of them were equally correct, they just didn't have the complete picture. Or if the answer is that none were correct, then the response is that this is because no one can fully comprehend the truth and, in that we are all equally wrong, we are all equally right in the part that we do know.

Then, to end the story, the point is revealed, "So is truth".

What as Christians, should we do with this old tale? We could just ignore it and say that it is not in fact representative of reality. Or we could use this story as a Gospel opportunity.

We, as Christians, clearly believe that the truth is knowable through Jesus Christ and that this truth excludes all other views claiming to be truth. So, how does Jesus fit into this story? I would alter the story as follows:

While the four men debated the nature of the elephant, a fifth man, who was not blind, came upon them. Hearing their arguments, he said "Brothers, I tell you that that which you debate about is an elephant, and the attributes that you argue about are all present in different functions within this animal; but none of you have seen the complete picture."

For a minute, the men considered what the new man had said. But, one of them replied, "Why should we believe you? How can you claim that you are any more correct than we?

The man responded, "I too was once like you, blind and stubborn in my way. But as I was hobbling about one day, a man named Jesus came and touched me, removing my blindness. Now I can see this and much more. And you too, can see, if only you'll believe in Jesus and his healing power."

"Why should we believe you? What proof do you have that you can see any better than we can? And even if you can "see", why should we believe that you're not just trying to take advantage of us?"

And so the man tried to reason with them, but could not change their stubborn hearts. He went away sad.

Without Jesus Christ, we are all blind to the truth. We may know some things that are true, but we will never know the truth unless He opens our spiritual eyes. And the truth is not an elephant, it is a person, Jesus Christ.

September 18, 2010

The Gospel

It's been way too long, but I've finally finished "The Gospel". You can access it  under the pages heading to the right. I encourage you to check it out.

September 12, 2010

Fatherlessness by Odd Thomas

"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." (Gal. 4:4-5)

September 10, 2010

Love, Righteousness and Doctrine

In his commentary on The Epistles of John, James Montgomery Boice, lays out the intricate relation between love, righteousness and doctrine in the Christian life:

Love without righteousness is immorality.
Righteousness without doctrine is legalism.
Doctrine without love is bitter orthodoxy (Pharisaism).

As Christians, we need all three.

September 9, 2010

You Need a Mother Very Badly

Brett Harris, who lost his mother earlier this year has posted this poem:

You need a mother very badly!

               she always used to say

And I agreed when loads of laundry needed washing

       or when my stomach stole my lunch and

               held it ransom for a midday snack, and I

       always told her she was right

                            because it made her

       Smile, knowing she was loved.

Then I left for college and suddenly what I needed was

        George Washington's face times five

                Once for washing,

                         again for drying

    And my face on a keycard

           fed me three times a day

    Sometimes more if I

           could stash a snack in Styrofoam for later.

But I still called her on the phone and she

             still told me I'd be lost without her, and I

     always told her she was right

                         because it made her

       Laugh, knowing she was loved.

Summer came and went, and she

      never said, You need a mother very badly,

and we never told her we'd be lost without her

                     because it made her

       Cry, knowing she was fading.

But life goes on, and we're still living

      lungs keep breathing, hearts keep beating

            heavier perhaps, but steady as the world turns, and I

don't always think about the reasons why

      she needed to be needed so

                     because it always makes me


       knowing I was loved.

(HT: Josh Harris)

What is the Bible Basically about?

A great video from Tim Keller:

September 4, 2010

People in Need of Change

Let me just get straight to the point with this review: Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul David Tripp is a book I believe every Christian needs to read; I cannot recommend it highly enough. In his book, Tripp takes Scripture and the Gospel and applies it to life in such a way that everything we thought we knew about counseling and ministry is turned upside down.

In the first part of the book, Tripp dispels the notion that ministry and are primarily done by ministers. The truth is instead, that most of this is done by the "normal" Christians as they come into contact with friends, family, and others who are going through difficult situations. The counseling and ministry comes as those people seek help and an ear from us. Secondly, he rejects the idea that changing behavior is our goal. Every issue is a heart issue and, therefore, our goal in every situation should be to see the heart changed through the Holy Spirit's work in us. Thirdly, he counters the view of many that the Bible is simply an encyclopedia of counsel or, in other words, a book which we come to looking for advice on a specific topic. To the contrary, we need to see what the Bible says as a whole, taking into account its view of God, man, sin and the world, and from there we begin to apply its message to our specific situation. The last thing I'll mention that Tripp talks about in this section is the idea of incarnational living. We are to be Christ and represent the Gospel in what we say and do in various situations.

In the second part of the book, Tripp lays out his plan for biblically counseling others, which he summarizes in four steps: love, know, speak and do. Before anything, we are to love the other person or people we are counseling, as Christ loves them. We are to get to know them well and have an understanding of their situation lest we simply throw verses or advice at them that may not actually be helpful. Then, once we have gathered information about the situation, we are to lovingly confront the people involved (confrontation here is not meant to be seen in light of its present negative connotation, but instead in it positive biblical meaning). Lastly, once the person has responded to the correction, it is necessary to have a plan of action to deal with the problem. This process is lengthy and hard, but it is biblical and right. And as we help people we too will be helped because everyone of us are, as the subtitle says, people in need of change.

Once again, I just encourage you to read this book and see how God uses broken vessels like us to be His instruments in accomplishing His glorious will.

August 26, 2010

The Gospel: the Greatest News in all the World

I'm just going to let this video speak for itself:

August 25, 2010

A New Season

For those of you reading this blog that might not know, last Wednesday I officially became a college student, and entered a new season of life. On the front in of this new change, I would like to tell you that God has certainly pressed a couple things on my heart.

The first is this, that I am to use my time right now for God's glory and according to His will. Though I do plan on going to seminary after college and becoming a pastor at some point after that, I cannot live as if my life and ministry will not start until then. What a horrible thing it would be to waste this college experience when there is so much to do. Instead, by God's grace, and as much as I am able, I intend to spread the Gospel, learn from the Word and others, encourage other believers, and continue to grow in living out a life that is pleasing to Him. This is where God wants me to be right now.

The second thing that God is really pressing on my heart is the need to be bold in spreading His name anywhere I go. There are so many people who need to hear the Gospel. My prayer is that God would help me to make the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:15-16) and that I would be able to say, with Paul that "I am not ashamed of the Gospel" (Romans 1:16).

I just pray that, in the end, my time here is glorifying to God. Soli Deo Gloria.

August 15, 2010

5 People I'd Love to Meet

The following list is limited to those that I'd admire who are living in the United States presently. There are many people throughout history and around the world who I would love to meet, however I have limited it this way for simplicity.

Also, this list is more representative than exact. That is, there are other people who I would be honored to meet for the same reasons as some of those on this list.

1. John Piper- At a young age, I was drawn to the power of God through the preaching and passion of John Piper. I have learned countless things from his teaching, foremost of which is his classic phrase that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. John Piper is without a doubt my biggest hero that I've never met. I would love few things more than just to sit and talk with this man whom God has used and exalt in the glory of God with him.

2. Steven Curtis Chapman- I have long respected and appreciated the musical work of Steven Curtis Chapman. Several of his songs still remain among my all-time favorites. However, I do not put Mr. Chapman on this list for his creative abilities. Rather, Steven Curtis Chapman is one of the greatest modern examples of faith in the midst of loss, in my opinion.

In 2008, Mr. Chapman's youngest daughter, Marie Sue was killed in an accident at the Chapman home. Though must have been unimaginably painful, in less than a year Mr. Chapman and his family were on Larry King expressing their deep faith in Christ, even among such sorrow. I would love to sit down and talk with this man who has suffered so much and remained faithful to God in the midst of such incomprehensible loss.

3. Joni Eareckson Tada- A quadriplegic, Joni Eareckson Tada has also been an amazing testimony to the love and goodness of God in incredible suffering. Ms. Tada has been in a wheelchair since she was in her late teens, and she has used the majority of her time since then sharing with others how God saved her and worked such horrific circumstances for His glory. I'm amazed at this woman who God has used so mightily and would love to sit down and learn from her.

4. Billy Graham- Billy Graham has been preaching and spreading the Gospel for just a few decades short of a century. He has been all over the world and won more respect worldwide than virtually anyone else alive. In a day in which we so many men and women of faith, politicians, musicians, leaders, and heroes of all kinds fall in the worst ways, it is refreshing to see one man who has stood faithfully for so long. It would be an immense blessing to sit down and talk with this stalwart and longstanding figure of the faith.

5. Glenn Beck- You may be surprised that I would include Glenn Beck among the likes of John Piper and Billy Graham. However, my immense respect for Mr. Beck has nothing at all to do with his religious views and little to do with his political views. Instead, I place Glenn Beck on this list because, despite the fact that he is perhaps the most hated man in the media and has been disowned from people on every side of the aisle, he has seemed to speak his honest opinions with a boldness I would love to emulate. It would be quite exciting to sit down with this man and, if he is truly who he claims to be, talk about the world.

These are some of the men and women who have inspired me throughout my life. I would be blessed to sit down for an hour with any one of these examples of courage, faith, passion, faithfulness, and boldness.

Who would you like to meet if you had your choice?

August 2, 2010

Randy Alcorn Makes Minimum Wage?

Mark Driscoll, over at The Resurgence, interviews Randy Alcorn about why he can no longer earn above minimum wage. It's a video well worth watching.

July 29, 2010

God's Masterpiece

This a great little film about being God's masterpiece by The Skit Guys. I hope that it encourages and edifies you as it has me.

July 23, 2010

The Christian Life

This life, therefore, is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness
not health but healing,
not being but becoming,
not rest but exercise,
We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it;
the process is not yet finished but it is going on;
this is not the end but it is the road.
All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified.

July 17, 2010

Stuff Christians Like: an Audiobook Review

I've been thinking for a while how I would approach reviewing Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff. To begin with, listening to an audiobook always feels a little awkward (this is only the third one I've ever listened to), and Acuff's book is not exactly one that would normally be grouped with the books I usually read (John Piper, John MacArthur, CJ Mahaney, etc.)

However, I say neither of these things to discredit Acuff or say that I disliked it. To the contrary, as an overall statement I enjoyed Stuff Christians Like immensely. It had me laughing and thinking deeply about some things that deserve much thought. But before I get into that more, let me express the purpose of this book.

In his book, Jon Acuff uses satire as a means of communicating the absurdity of certain things that Christians do, or that are associated with Christians. And he does this as a Christian, often poking as much fun at himself (if not more so) than others. Acuff uses his satire expertly, in such a way that he is able to disarm the reader (or listener, in my case) and present a side of an issue that they might not otherwise listen to. However, there was at least one time when listening to the audiobook when I was confused as to what Acuff was trying to defend. Also, one caveat I would give is that, once or twice, I feel that I would have used different words or language than he used in the book. But I maintain that any such language was minimal.

For all the sarcasm and the laughs that came from it, at times, I was saddened by some of the things Acuff pointed out. It is unfortunate that Christians are perceived in certain negative lights. But it is especially unfortunate that Christians are perceived this way often because these things are true.

The final chapter of this book, in my opinion, was the most helpful. In it, Acuff puts aside the sarcasm and bares his heart for all to see. Much of what he says in that chapter resonates with my own soul, and how I too often rely on and love Christ too little, and depend on myself too much.

Ultimately, I am thankful for what God has taught me through Jonathan Acuff in this book. It was good to let down my guard enough to be able to laugh at myself and the foolish things I (and others) try to do to impress others or earn favor with God. I recommend this book to you if you can spare your pride long enough to read it (or listen).

NOTE: I would recommend listening to this book rather than reading it for two reasons. 1) There is something about hearing the author's sarcastic, satirical tone that is simply irreplaceable. 2) There are a few points throughout the book where Acuff stops reading for a few minutes to give background or extra information regarding what he is saying.

July 14, 2010

Piper's Caution to the Young, Restless, and Reformed Crowd

Justin Taylor shares John Piper's advice to New Calvinists. Whether you are a New Calvinist or not, I believe all Christians should hear this. I urge you to take five minutes out of your day and watch this video.

As a young Calvinist and, therefore, a part of the "New Calvinism" crowd, I find this word of advice extremely relevant and in need of being heeded. Thank you John Piper, you have expressed where my heart is better than I could once again.

July 6, 2010

Memorial to a Father

About two weeks ago, an excellent local surgeon by the name of Robert Rudolph passed away. While I did not know Dr. Rudolph personally, I went to school with his two sons and had seen him on occasion through the years.

Recently in a post on Facebook, one of Dr. Rudolph's daughters wrote a tribute to her father that I would like to share here with you. Whether you knew Dr. Rudolph or not, I encourage you to read this moving tribute to a remarkable man.

"Memorial for My Dad":

I’ve spent my whole life sharing my dad. It used to bother me when his beeper was relentless. His cell phone stuck to his ear. And then blue tooth came out…don’t even get me started on the blue tooth and the many conversations I thought I was having with him, but really he was having with someone buzzing in his ear. We’d be talking about something like my kids and then suddenly he’d be discussing someone’s colon or urine output, the light bulb would turn on and I’d then realize my conversation was being cheated on. There were moments that I thought about writing my name on a chart and dropping on the table in front of him to earn some time with him. It always made me mad to share him, until one day...

One day someone thanked me for sharing him. They told me their amazing story about how my dad and his blessed, skilled hands had healed their loved one. I then realized I shared my dad for thousands of reasons and they were all lives that he had touched. shared my dad because God was making it possible through my dad’s hands to save lives. My dad was giving other people their dads, their moms, their brothers, sisters, spouses, and the list continues on. Growing up, I spent hours at the hospitals learning which nurses would provide popsicles and pop. What stools on wheels were best to race on in the hallways, where the Xerox copiers were and what old school computers would print off pictures of Snoopy made from stars. But, best of all I got to see what amazingness my dad’s hands were capable of. I saw him advocate for his patients, shake hands, hug the families, I saw his handy work surrounding me. I saw God’s miracles through my dad. His hands…………My dad’s hands. My sister Julie admired my dad’s hands after he passed. It was a beautiful moment when she held onto him remembering all the stitches he had sown, all the lives had touched, all the surgeries he had performed.

As I remember his hands and talk about his work I can hear my dad in my head and the lecture begins, “Jennifer, you’re missing the point! Tell them about how God created my hands; tell them about how God used a stubborn doubting man of science to show His love through healing and hard work. Tell them about how God forgave me and how God used my greatest weaknesses for His greatest glories in my life.”

My dad was a strong man in his scrubs with scalpel in hand, but he always struggled with family. Family was his weakness. And God waited patiently for my dad to ask for help. When my dad finally realized that he needed God and came to God desperately seeking Him in all aspects of his life, God began to work miracles in our family. Beautiful, healing, awe-inspiring, loving miracles.

Although my dad absolutely, undeniably loved surgery and medicine, I believe that if you asked his greatest accomplishments in his 60 years, he would list his relationship with Jesus Christ and his family at the top. When the Rudolph family began multiplying my dad said he didn’t know how he felt about being a grandfather. We teased him about what the kids would call him and Sarah tried persistently to train the girls to call him “Pap-Paw.” It didn’t take long for Launa to wrap my dad around her little finger and he came running when he heard “Granddad.” One of my favorite memories will always be when I was pregnant with my second daughter and my husband Nate was out of town. So my dad offered to take Launa to the motocross track with Jonathan for the day, and it sounded like a great idea. Around 9p.m., they brought Launa home filthy dirty with a diaper that probably weighted 5lbs. sagging down to her knees causing her to walk like a duck, and on a caffeine-high from Lord knows how much sweet tea. The whole point of the trip was to give me some rest, and when Launa returned I was up until close to 2a.m. trying to go to sleep! Needless to say, my dad earned the title Granddad quickly through spoiling and returning her home to me. God uses our weakness to show how strong He can be for us when we need Him the most. And my dad’s life is a magnificent illustration of how God shows up big when we allow Him in our hearts.

11 years ago we lost my mom to colon cancer and I distinctly remember thinking how cruel it was that the world around me just continued on like nothing had changed, like no saint was lost, like no lives were devastated. I left my mom’s memorial service mad at the world, mad at God, closed fisted and ticked off. After a few years of bitterness and anger, I slowly began to see how awesome God’s plan was; how he was trying to hand me pieces of joy, but I had my hands closed to him. And when I opened my hands and allowed him into my heart he showed up big and small. He showed me how He healed my mom by bringing her home. He showed me the extended family I could have because she was home with Him. He gave me sisters and sisters and more sisters! He revealed how beautiful my mom’s faith was through her notes and Bible and sisters in Christ who continue to share stories about my mom. He continues to reveal His plan and I ask us all to leave our hands open today so that we can receive His love, His comfort; and I pray we keep our eyes and hearts open to His will so that we don’t miss the many blessings that will pour out from how God used my dad’s life. As I stand before you today, I look around at how the world continues on after the death of my dad and how glorious and beautiful it makes the world that we can keep going and the thread of my dad’s life continues on through us.
I leave you with this scripture, 1 Corinthians 15: 50-57:

I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

"Where, O death, is your victory?

Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

July 1, 2010

The Glories of Christ

John Flavel, a preacher who preceded the great American preacher Jonathan Edwards by about fifty years wrote a series of sermons entitled The Fountain of Life Opened Up in 1671. In the opening letter, he writes:

My dear and hounoured friends

If my pen were both able, and at leisure, to get glory in paper, it would be but a paper glory when I had gotten it; but if by displaying the transcendent excellency of Jesus Christ, I may win glory to Him from you, to whom I humbly offer them, or from any other into whose hands providence shall cast them, that will be glory indeed, and an occasion of glorifying God for all eternity...

Alas! I write His praises but by moon light; I cannot praise Him so much as by halves. Indeed, no tongue but His own (as Nazianzen said of Basil) is sufficient to undertake that task. What shall I say of Christ? The excelling glory of that object dazzles all apprehension, swallows up all expression. When we have borrowed metaphors from every creature that has any excellencey or lovely property in it, till we have stript the whole creation bare of all its ornaments, and clothed Christi with all that glory; when we have even worn out our tongues, in ascribing praises to Him, alas! we have done nothing, when all is done.

June 24, 2010

I'm Back

Once again, I apologize for being gone so long. I've wanted to write for some time now, but I've just been so busy. However, now that summer is here and life is (somewhat) settled down, I'm back indefinitely.

Just to catch you up on some of what's been going on in my life, I thought I would list a few big events that explain some of the busyness in my life.

1. Together for the Gospel: This conference was amazing once again. There are few things more invigorating than spending time listening to and fellowshipping with mighty men of God. If you haven't heard them yet, you can download or watch the sermons, panel discussions and breakout sessions (I went to see Kevin DeYoung) online.

2. High School Graduation: Wow, I don't think I've fully let this one sink in completely yet. It was such a blessing to see so many of my family and friends come to see me graduate. I am humbled by the many godly and helpful people that God has placed in my life.

3. World Changers- Tulsa: I just got back from a week-long mission trip to Tulsa, OK with the older members of my youth group. This was the first time I've ever been involved with World Changers, which is a Southern Baptist short term mission organization, and it was well worth the time and energy.

Anyway, that's just some of what's been going on in my life. It's all been a blessing from God, but I'm glad to be back home, and back in the blogosphere.

May 3, 2010

I'll be back soon...

Dear readers of "Mind in Renewal",

I am truly sorry I've been gone for close to a month now. I have missed sharing my thoughts and the thoughts of others with you for this time. I have failed to organize my time as best I could and unfortunately it was this blog that paid the price.

However, no matter how much time I take away from this blog, my plan is always to come back. So, I plan on regularly posting in about a week or so. I hope you'll wait for me.

Dependent on the grace of God alone,

March 6, 2010

Matt Chandler on the Gospel

I'm sorry that I didn't post this video earlier. This is Matt Chandler, who I have mentioned before speaking for the 20/20 Collegiate Conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Unfortunately, he was unable to actually make the conference. However, this is his fill-in video.

He speaks on making the Gospel explicit:

Matt Chandler - 20/20 2010 Session 1 from Southeastern Seminary on Vimeo.

February 19, 2010

The Tragedy of Tiger Woods

As many know, Tiger Woods gave a public speech today for the first time since his marital infidelties were revealed about 3 months ago. I will not pretend to commend or defend what he has done. His actions were horrible and it grieves me to see such a previously respected and honored person fall. However, I would like to note some postitive things I heard and the one thing I wish he would have said.

First of all, I am encouraged that Woods realized that he is solely responsible for what he has done. Unlike many public figures who have "confessed" their sins before the people, Woods did not skirt around his own guilt or try to blame anyone but himself. He admitted that he was the only one who was unfaithful and it was his fault alone.

The second thing that I respect I about his speech is that he recognized his own pride. He mentioned how he was selfish and thought of himself above the rules. The fame and money got to his head and he considered it his right to give into temptation. (Also, I would add that he made it easy to give in to temptation by letting himself be without accountability).

The last thing that I want to commend is that Woods defended his wife even as he is possibly facing a divorce. The fact that he made it a point to dispel all rumors of domestic violence on her part is (deservedly) respectful even in this tragedy.

All of that being said, and even though Woods' acceptance of responsibility for his actions is good, I find it no less than tragic that his conclusion was also focused on himself. Woods made sure to assure others that he would do better, seek help and get back to his Buddhist roots. Sadly, his own work will never be enough to "atone" for what he has done. The only hope that Tiger Woods, along with everyone else, has is the forgiveness and atonement that is found in Christ Jesus who died. His death is the only thing that will wash Tiger Woods' guilt away. Jesus' death and resurrection is the only hope that Tiger Woods has, the only hope that anyone has.

Please join me in prayer that Tiger Woods will know that hope for himself.

February 13, 2010

God's Love

This Valentine's Day, let's remember what love really is:
John 15:13:
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for
his friends.

Romans 5:7-8:

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good
person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while
we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 8:31-39:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be
against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how
will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any
charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ
Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right
hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the
love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or
nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

"For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him
who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers,
nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor
anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God
in Christ Jesus our Lord

February 12, 2010

True Love

Thinking about Valentine's Day, I thought that this song by Phil Wickham would be appropriate:

Here are the lyrics:

Come close listen to the story
about a love more faithful than the morning
The Father gave his only Son just to save us

The earth was shaking in the dark
All creation felt the Fathers broken heart
tears were filling heaven's eyes
The day that true love died, the day that true love died
When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn’t move came crashing down
We were free and made alive
The day that true love died, The day that true love died

Search your heart you know you can’t deny it
Come on, lose your life just so you can find it
The Father gave his only son just to save us

The earth was shaking in the dark
All creation felt the Fathers broken heart
tears were filling heaven's eyes
The day that true love died, the day that true love died
When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn’t move came crashing down
We were free and made alive
The day that true love died, The day that true love died

Now, Jesus is alive

Jesus is alive X4
Oh, He is alive
He rose again

When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn’t move came crashing down
We were free and made alive
The day that true love died, The day that true love died

Come close listen to the story

February 9, 2010

Free Driscoll Audiobook

Each month gives away a free Christian audiobook. This month, the book is Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears' Religion Saves and Nine Other Misconceptions.

January 30, 2010

Order and Argument in Prayer

In the third chapter of his book The Power in Prayer, Charles Spurgeon explains two aspects of prayer which seem to me to be lacking in many Christians' prayer life, including my own. He suggests first that we, as Christians should order ourselves before prayer and secondly, that we should have proper arguments for our cause.

Order in Prayer

First and foremost, when we approach God we must realize that we are coming before an infinitely holy, powerful, and just King of all Creation. By all rights, we should never be permitted to come before God at all. It is only by sheer grace that God would allow us to come before Him. It is only because He has taken us (wretched, arrogant, sinners dead to all that is holy) and made us alive through the blood of His perfect Son.

This is the very same God who made the universe with the breath of His mouth and holds in being at all times. He ordains the sun to rise and fall and rains to fall. This is the God whom we approach when we pray.

Because of this, we need to prepare our hearts -to humble ourselves and consider just how unworthy we are and, more importantly, how merciful God is in letting us come before Him. And not only does God allow us to come before Him, but He invites us to approach the throne of grace confidently (Hebrews 4:16) and with the expectation that our prayers will be heard. With this in mind, we prepare our hearts before God -reverent of His great power, and gratefully awed by His grace.

Arguments in Prayer

Once our hearts are in order, we then may approach God with arguments, not against God, but for what we are presenting before Him in prayer. Argument must not be mistaken for complaints, for complaints are made unaware of the true nature of God and not out of a grateful and trusting heart. In particular, he outlines six arguments in prayer that one can use:

1. God's Attributes: We must use what we know about God to be true from Scripture. We know that God is just and merciful. If you cannot lay hold on God's justice rightly, lay hold on his mercy. We also know that God is faithful and holy and that He will do what is right in all circumstances. It is with who God is that we begin to for our arguments.

2. God's Promises: Whether it's Romans 8:28 or Philippians 4:19, the Bible is filled with the promises of what God will do for His children. What God has said He will never go back on.

3. The Great Name of God: God will not be dishonored for long. He will always vindicate His name. We can trust that if what we ask is for God's glory then it is a worthy argument to bring before Him.

4. The Sufferings of His People: "Nothing is more eloquent with a father than his child's cry. Yes, there is one thing more mighty still, and that is a moan -when the child is so sick that he is past crying a lies moaning with the kind of moan that indicates extreme suffering and immense weakness. Who can resist that moan? Ah, and when God's Israel will be brought very low so that they can scarcely cry but only their moans are heard, then comes the Lord's time of deliverance, and He is sure to show that He loves His people."

5. The Past: If God has begun a work, He will complete it. He is faithful to us and will not grow weary or tired of what He has set out to do. God is unchanging and will do in the future what He has done in the past.

6. The Sufferings of Christ: God will not deny His own Son's name. "When you plead the name of Christ, you plead that which shakes the gates of hell and that which the hosts of heaven obey, and God Himself feels the sacred power of that divine plea."

January 29, 2010

A Good Word from Kevin Deyoung

Kevin Deyoung writes some helpful advice to all Christians. We would be wise to heed what he says. You can see his post here.

January 25, 2010

A Godly Vision

(This is a guest post from my wonderful girlfriend Mollie.)

This past month, I found my mind drifting to the idea of “vision”. I questioned: What does God have to say about vision? From where do visions come? How do we know if an idea I have latched onto is a self-centered dream or a God-given vision?

One evening, Daniel and I discussed this idea and decided to search Scripture regarding the subject. Two passages that he noted, in particular, piqued my curiosity:

Where there is no revelation*, the people cast off restraint;
but blessed is he who keeps the law. - Proverbs 29:18, emphases mine
*some versions use the word “vision”

Thus says the LORD of hosts,
"Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you
They are leading you into futility;
They speak a vision of their own imagination,
Not from the mouth of the LORD
- Jeremiah 23:16, emphases mine

Aha! God told his people through Jeremiah that prophecies or visions from the mouth of the LORD were reliable, but that those from human imagination were not. We can be sure God has a plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and that it stands aligned with the law (Proverbs 29:18 above. See also Deuteronomy 11:18-25). Over and over again while reading passages about vision Daniel and I discovered that vision, or “revelation”, was aligned to the law – in other words, God’s Word – in this way. Could it really be that simple? Do we discover and test vision through the reading of the Word?

While meeting to pray with friends after returning to school earlier this month, I shared this idea of vision. Rather than brainstorming to create personal goals or (i.e., those from our own imagination) we searched Scripture for prayers of the Bible, noted that which was lacking in our own prayer lives, and wrote what we called “What if?” statements on which to focus this coming year.

Here is part of my “What if?” statement, or if you prefer, my Prayer Vision:

"What if I let go of myself and set my eyes on God in prayer? What if I trusted him to do abundantly more than I could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), even though my prayers were "imperfect" every time? What if I prayed prayers of thanksgiving when I was enduring challenges and difficulty and truly learned to rely on God for my everything (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)? What if, not just in my mind but in my heart, I deemed nothing impossible for God, even that which I knew was humanly impossible (Luke 1:37)?"

There it was – a God-given vision for my prayer life. It wasn’t accompanied by flashes of lightning. It didn’t make me giddy with excitement. And it certainly wasn’t original or creative. But it was biblical and, because I believe that the Bible is “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16), I knew it was trustworthy.

Lesson learned? Don’t “dream big” because you follow the world’s doctrine that tells you to “believe in yourself.” “Live big” and “pray big” because you follow a God who is strong in your weaknesses and glorifies Himself despite your failures! Immerse yourself in “the law” and you will be immersed in God’s vision. I have discovered that my failures and those areas in which I am lacking are precisely the places where God extends the most grace and where He begins to show me His vision.

January 24, 2010

Missions Call

I thought I would round out my week of videos with a call to the important work of missions.

January 23, 2010

R.C. Sproul interviews Ben Stein

The next video I would like to share is an interview of Ben Stein by R.C. Sproul. Though this was made a few years ago to discuss Stein's move Expelled, the points about evolution, chance, and creation are still worth noting.

Note: To my knowledge, Ben Stein has never professed to be a Christian, but rather claims the Jewish faith as his own. Pray that God will change his heart. Even though he does not share the Christian faith, still he can see the logic of a Divine Creator. I only hope that Stein will know Him personally some day.

January 22, 2010

99 Balloons

To comemorate the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I would like to show this video of Eliot Harman Mooney, celebrating the dignity of every life, no matter how short.

99 Balloons from Igniter Media on Vimeo.

January 21, 2010

John Piper on the Prosperity Gospel

Since I seem to be in the mood for videos, I thought I would post a couple of my favorite of all time over the next couple days. First, John Piper preaches against the Prosperity Gospel:

January 20, 2010


In response to the horrible events in Haiti, Mark Driscoll and James McDonald have teamed together to create Churches Helping Churches Ministries to provide support and the Gospel to those who have been effected by this disaster. You can donate here.

Totally Like Whatever, You Know?

Not only is this video funny, but it's an important message for this generation.

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.

January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream"

Update from Matt Chandler

For those of you who have heard of Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Texas, and his amazing story of faith under trial, here is an update on his present condition.

January 15, 2010

Does God Hate Haiti?

In the midst of the tragedy and destruction in Haiti, Albert Mohler offers his answer to the question, "Does God Hate Haiti?":

Does God hate Haiti? That is the conclusion reached by many, who point to the
earthquake as a sign of God's direct and observable judgment.

God does judge the nations -- all of them -- and God will judge the nations.
His judgment is perfect and his justice is sure. He rules over all the nations
and his sovereign will is demonstrated in the rising and falling of nations and
empires and peoples. Every molecule of matter obeys his command, and the
earthquakes reveal his reign -- as do the tides of relief and assistance flowing
into Haiti right now.

A faithful Christian cannot accept the claim that God is a bystander in world
events. The Bible clearly claims the sovereign rule of God over all his
creation, all of the time. We have no right to claim that God was surprised by
the earthquake in Haiti, or to allow that God could not have prevented it from

God's rule over creation involves both direct and indirect acts, but his rule
is constant. The universe, even after the consequences of the Fall, still
demonstrates the character of God in all its dimensions, objects, and
occurrences. And yet, we have no right to claim that we know why a disaster like
the earthquake in Haiti happened at just that place and at just that moment.

The arrogance of human presumption is a real and present danger. We can trace
the effects of a drunk driver to a car accident, but we cannot trace the effects
of voodoo to an earthquake -- at least not so directly. Will God judge Haiti for
its spiritual darkness? Of course. Is the judgment of God something we can claim
to understand in this sense -- in the present? No, we are not given that
knowledge. Jesus himself warned his disciples against this kind of

Why did no earthquake shake Nazi Germany? Why did no tsunami swallow up the
killing fields of Cambodia? Why did Hurricane Katrina destroy far more
evangelical churches than casinos? Why do so many murderous dictators live to
old age while many missionaries die young?

Does God hate Haiti? God hates sin, and will punish both individual sinners
and nations. But that means that every individual and every nation will be found
guilty when measured by the standard of God's perfect righteousness. God does
hate sin, but if God merely hated Haiti, there would be no missionaries there;
there would be no aid streaming to the nation; there would be no rescue efforts
-- there would be no hope.

The earthquake in Haiti, like every other earthly disaster, reminds us that
creation groans under the weight of sin and the judgment of God. This is true
for every cell in our bodies, even as it is for the crust of the earth at every
point on the globe. The entire cosmos awaits the revelation of the glory of the
coming Lord. Creation cries out for the hope of the New Creation.

In other words, the earthquake reminds us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is
the only real message of hope. The cross of Christ declares that Jesus loves
Haiti — and the Haitian people are the objects of his love. Christ would have us
show the Haitian nation his love, and share his Gospel. In the midst of this
unspeakable tragedy, Christ would have us rush to aid the suffering people of
Haiti, and rush to tell the Haitian people of his love, his cross, and salvation
in his name alone.

Everything about the tragedy in Haiti points to our need for redemption. This
tragedy may lead to a new openness to the Gospel among the Haitian people. That
will be to the glory of God. In the meantime, Christ’s people must do everything
we can to alleviate the suffering, bind up the wounded, and comfort the
grieving. If Christ’s people are called to do this, how can we say that God
hates Haiti?

If you have any doubts about this, take your Bible and turn to John 3:16. For God so loved the
world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish
but have eternal life. That is God’s message to Haiti.

January 14, 2010

Check out...

Kevin DeYoung's post on over thinking decisions we make.

Also, Katherine Jeffrey, in Christianity Today, writes a helpful review on The Shack. (One caveat. I do believe that some things that Young writes in his book, within the proper context, could be helpful to the Church and Christians as a whole. However, I agree with her on the whole, and particularly that this book is not one that should be considered helpful, but rather harmful for the Christian (see my review)).

January 6, 2010


My dear friend Brad recently sent me an e-mail with these considerations of the attributes of salt:

1. Salt incites thirst

Salt makes any of us (human or animal) thirsty. It has the effect of making us get to some water or juice and guzzle it down. The other day I was unusually thirsty and upon reflection I realized that I had tasted some of Papa's country ham and biscuits. It was the salty country ham that made me really thirsty.

Jesus said to his disciples: "You are the salt of the earth...”
When people are in your presence (or even after they leave your presence) do they have this inexplicable thirst to find out more about Jesus?

This may be a partial answer to the age old proverb: "You can lead the horse to water but you can't make it drink." You can't force the horse to drink, but slip him something "salty" and see if that doesn't trigger his thirst.

That puts a responsibility on all Christians to stay "salty". Our very presence in others' lives should incite a thirst for Christ.

2. Salt flavors

A salty disciple has a way of turning bland into tasteful. I hope and pray that your presence in the lives of friends, relatives and co-workers makes them want to "taste and see that the Lord is good"; that your "salty" presence will turn blah and bland fare into desirable and tasty victuals . Spice up your life! Spice up others' boring existence with juicy flavor. "Season your speech with salt" Paul said, so that people will desire to ingest more of what you have.

3. Salt holds back corruption

In the days before refrigeration, people would salt their meats not only for flavor, but to preserve it from spoiling. Does your presence in a place (work, home, play) hold back the onslaught of sin and corruption? It will if you are salty. A Christian's presence anywhere holds evil at bay...

So, are you salty? I plead and beg God that we who are "the salt of the earth" (Jesus' description of us) will never lose our saltiness or flavor. Bland is boring. Salt stimulates thirst and appetite. I hope we are more stimulating and less bland as we grow old.

January 5, 2010

The Five Solas

For those who haven't ever heard of the Five Solas of the Reformation (or those who have forgotten about them), I thought I would post them in Latin with their English translation.

~Sola Scriptura- Our ultimate standard is "Scripture alone"
~Soli Deo Gloria- Everything is "For the Glory of God alone"
~Solo Christo- Salvation is through the work of "Christ alone"
~Sola Gratia- Salvation is by "Grace alone"
~Sola Fide- Justification by "Faith alone"

For a brief explanation for each "sola", you can go here.

January 3, 2010

Mind in Renewal is here!

After a little over a year of blogging as "A Fool for Christ", I have decided to move my blog here to its new home "Mind in Renewal". As you may see, the blog has been renovated and renamed. My main purpose in changing the blog is to make it easier to remember. As you can see, the name of this blog is in the URL.

However, in the process of moving the blog, I have made some basic changes in the appearance of the blog. Also, I intend to add a couple pages to the sidebar (Starting with "The Gospel" which will hopefully be up soon). Aside from that, posting will remain the same. I hope that you will find this blog edifying, encouraging, and pointing you to Christ. Soli Deo Gloria (To God alone be the glory)!



© 2009Mind in Renewal | by TNB