Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Piper Audio and Video From Southern Seminary

Below is a picture indicating how excited my friend and fellow Strange BaptistFire blogger, Timmy Brister, was at the chance to hear John Piper at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary chapel this past week:

In posting this, I have to mention that witnessing John Piper live far surpasses just hearing an audio recording of him speak. It is obvious that Pastor Piper works hard at communicating his joy in Christ with every fiber of his being- with his countenance and every gesture- while he is speaking. Nevertheless, the messages he preached this week at the chapel services were indeed life-impacting, and I strongly suggest that anyone reading this take the time to listen to the following sermons:

Tuesday's chapel

Thursday's chapel

For some Piper-approved humor, check out the now-famous "John Piper is Bad" video, assembled by Tony Kummer with pictures by Timmy Brister:

For a much more serious Piper video by Tony, view the following:



Thursday, March 29, 2007

Liveblogging Pastor John Piper at Southern Seminary Chapel 2

II Cor. 3:18-4:7

A Question to consider throughout: “How can the burden of Christ be light when the burden is a cross?” (cf. Matt 11:30; Matt. 16:24)

[Recap of Tues. message: The joy of faith is the joy of Jesus as supremely valuable. Paul’s ambition was to so live and so speak that others would apprehend Christ in joy.]

As we battle for the gospel truths we are constantly in danger of losing the good of the Gospel.

4 Foundational Truths Concerning the Good of the Gospel:

  1. The event: I Cor. 15:1-3
  2. The accomplishment on our behalf: Rms. 8:3; Gal. 3:13
  3. The offer to everyone on the basis of faith alone: Eph. 2:8
  4. The application of Christ’s accomplishment through faith.

These must point to the glory of Christ revealed in the Gospel for your everlasting enjoyment or we have fallen short of true Gospel proclamation.

  • The Gospel. II Cor. 4:4,6– “The gospel of the glory of Christ” as the end to which doctrine is proper means. When you preach the Gospel, people should see the face of Christ: “We see with our ears when the Gospel is preached.”
  • Lostness. II Cor. 4:3-4– “Lostness is blindness to glory.” We see this when people are disinterested in the Gospel.
  • Conversion. II Cor. 4:6– God says, “See!” And Jesus is no longer boring, but rather we recognize Jesus for who He is.
  • Application. II Cor. 4:4-5,7. You are indispensable to this saving work (cf. Acts 26:17-18). You are called to do what only God can do. God will not save apart from His appointed means. An additional point of application comes from a cross-reference to II Tim. 2:24-26, so that we may see how to be means of God granting repentance to churches who disagree– it is essential that we must have the attitude of patience and gentleness the Apostle described. We must lift up a glorious, sufficient, satisfying God and humble ourselves, making ourselves low as His servants.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Liveblogging Pastor John Piper at Southern Seminary Chapel

The service began with President Mohler reading from Hebrews 1, introducing John Piper, then welcoming special guests to the seminary for today’s chapel service, which included Pastors C.J. Mahaney, Mark Dever, John MacArthur, and Ligon Duncan. (So every speaker from the Together for the Gospel conference was present, R.C. Sproul excepting.)

Piper’s text was II Cor. 1:24-2:4 with focus on 1:24, the point of which he summarized as, “I am working with the churches for their joy.” Piper pointed out that the Apostle’s passion for the Church’s joy was not cheap, indicating Paul’s suffering recorded in the second half of II Cor. 11, and concluding his thought on this, saying, “He suffered to advance the joy of the churches.”

“He is not talking about generic joy– joy in just anything.” He is talking about a joy that takes the new birth– that takes the Cross.

Piper cross-referenced Philippians 1:25– another text in which the Apostle links faith and joy.

“I’m coming with a message that could cost you your life– I’m here to make you happy.” If we are truly enraptured with Jesus, we don’t need to be alive. In preaching joy, we are not pampering our people, we are preparing them to suffer. We are not on the path of luxury, but the path of suffering. For an illustration of joy in suffering, Piper referred to II Cor. 8:1-2, which he proclaimed, “The opposite of the prosperity gospel.”

How will this happen?

  1. You will fight with all your might for personal joy in Christ (especially in times of comfort, which can wrongfully divert our joy).
  2. Every time you speak to the congregation (or portion of the congregation), display God in Christ as supremely valuable.
  3. You will sustain your people by grounding them in the truth of God’s sovereignty in suffering.
  4. You will be there with your people in their suffering the way Christ is always there for you.
At the close of the service, President Mohler had us pray for the salvation of the members of Soul Force- a homosexual activist group that showed up at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary yesterday and (apparently) had to be escorted of campus by the police so that classes would not be disrupted.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Baby Announcement

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.
(Psalm 127:3 NIV)
My wife, Abby, wrote this email yesterday and sent it to some friends and family members:

> After a couple of months of medical problems & not
> feeling well, we finally
> figured out the cause of it all today. Pregnancy
> test had been negative & my
> doctor was thinking I had an ovarian cyst. I went
> for the ultrasound of the
> cyst today, but there was a baby instead! As of
> tomorrow, I am indeed 12
> weeks pregnant. Strange to be that far along without
> figuring it out sooner!

The story is pretty funny. Abby had gone to a medical clinic in mid-January and as part of her examination, they did a pregnancy test which had come up negative. Shortly afterward Abby had went to the doctor and after that visit started feeling ill regularly- greater sensitivity to motion sickness, and so on. Well, the doctor had examined Abby for pregnancy and had drawn blood-work, testing hormone levels, etc., but the doctor had not indicated pregnancy as a possibility, so even though Abby's symptoms sounded like morning sickness and other indications of pregnancy, we figured the medical clinic and the doctor knew best. Rather than pregnancy, the doctor suspected an ovarian cyst and ordered an ultrasound to examine this possibility. Abby went to get the ultrasound, and as soon as that examination started, the technician asked Abby, "You're sure you're not pregnant?" Abby said, "Yes, I'm sure." The technician said, "Well, how would you feel about being pregnant?" Abby said, "That would be fine." To which the technician replied, "Would you like to see your baby?"

Abby brought home pictures of the baby from the ultrasound. I can clearly see the head and an outstretched arm with individual fingers. Because of the wait due to the faulty pregnancy tests, we only knew Abby was pregnant yesterday, and today the baby is 12 weeks old!

We are very excited about this blessing, and we also realize (as much as we can at this time) the great responsibility having a child entails. Please pray for continued health for Abby and the baby. Pray that God would grant me wisdom in providing for my family, and pray that we would have wisdom to be consistent in training our child to trust in Christ and live for Him.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Live-blogging "The Lost Tomb of Jesus"

Introduction: The following is, as the title indicates, "live-blogging," so I am simply typing out a few thoughts as I watch the Discovery Channel special, The Lost Tomb of Jesus. Due to the highly informal nature of this type of blog-post, I won't have any "bells and whistles" I usually try to put in my articles (pictures, video, hyperlinks, etc.); I may even have a few typos.

Live-blogging: Near the beginning of the show the gospel account from Matthew is referenced in which the quote is given, 'His disciples came during the night and stole [the body of Jesus Christ] away while we were asleep' (cf. Matt. 28:13b, NIV). The narrator admits that this claim is portrayed by Matthew as a cover-up for Jesus Christ's physical resurrection, but the show fails to mention that Matthew and the other Apostles were killed as a witness to the resurrected Christ. In other words, they either saw Jesus Christ arisen from the grave, or they knowingly died for a lie.

The show claims that the corpse of Jesus Christ would have certainly been placed in an ossuary, such as the one archaeologists have found, “Following Jewish burial practices of the time.” But again, these burial practices would have only been followed assuming that He was not risen from the dead, something that this film must prove (contrary to eyewitness testimony) rather than take for granted.

Trying to down-play the extent to which this show is an attack on the Christian faith, the film-makers constantly make assertions such as, "In theory, this ascension [of Jesus Christ] could have been spiritual." [Thus, they wish to say, we could find the body of Jesus Christ and not undermine the Christian belief in the resurrection and assention.] But though they say, "In theory," they need to answer the question, "In theory of whom?" Certainly the New Testament presents Jesus Christ as physically resurrected and ascended to heaven and first century Jewish thought knew nothing of a merely spiritual resurrection.

Jacobovici, concerning the names found in the supposed "Jesus Tomb," exclaimed, "There isn’t a single name that does not fit!" But he ignores the fact that some of the names they found in the supposed family tomb of Jesus do not fit at all. There is no "Mariamne" in the New Testament, Matthew is not supposed to be a family member of Jesus Christ, and there is certainly no "Judah son of Jesus" ever before mentioned in relation to any Christian tradition. So when he exclaimed, "There isn’t a single name that does not fit!" he only meant, "There isn’t a single name that does not fit my baseless theories!"

Concerning how the creators of this show got their statistics to prove this must be the family tomb of Jesus Christ, they figured probabilities for, “Jesus with a father named Joseph, a mother named Mary, and a brother named Jose…” But this is simply begging the question! They have not proven these family relations for the actual physical remnants they found!

They did have Dr. Tabor say: "Those who take a strictly historical approach to the gospels would expect to find the body in his family’s tomb." "If you’re going to be historical about it, realistic about it..." Well, that is exactly what serious Christians are trying to be. Faithful, yes- but not blindly so. We want realistic, historical grounding for our beliefs, so that when theories that are based on little more than idle speculation are set forth as an attack on our faith- especially when these theories are packaged in a slick, pseudo-scientific fashion, which is liable to influence many people to be prejudiced against belief in the risen Lord Jesus Christ- it is indeed very frustrating.

The film (again) speculates that if in the early Christian tradition, Mary Magdalene was an apostle, then the inscription Mara found on the ossuary could point to something extraordinary. But the makers of this film are not even hinting that there's any speculative nature to identifying Mariamne as Mary Magdalene. They just keep saying that the Acts of Phillip talk about Mary Magdalene and her brother Phillip, or saying that Mariamne and Mary Magdalene are the same person. But this connection is never made in the Acts of Philip (which is a highly questionable document anyway) itself!

The creators of this special clearly assert that the DNA testing proves that there were “No familial ties…” between "Jesus son of Joseph" and "Mariamne." But this is, in fact, false, as the test only proves that they are not related through the mother. They could very well have been related on the father's side of the family exclusively, as half brother and sister, cousins, uncle and niece, aunt and son, or "Jesus son of Joseph" may have even been Mariamne's father. We simple do not know. To this end, the actual biotechnical researcher in charge of the DNA evidence merely said, 'If they are not related, they are most likely husband and wife,' but Simcha Jacobovici and his crew strengthen this, saying. DNA results of Talpiot suggest that they were married.

What this show leaves us with is a chain of improbable IFs that all must be answered in a certain way to reach the conclusion Simcha Jacobovici is promoting: IF James and Jesus Christ were the only two James and Jesus' with a father named Joseph buried in Jerusalem, IF Jesus Christ had ever been said to have a child named Judah, IF any document ever made a connection between Mariamne and Mary Magdalene, IF Mary had been referred to by a Latin form of her name in biblical times, IF Jose is also the son of Joseph, IF there is any reason to find a Matthew in Jesus' family tomb, IF Mariamne is not paternally related to Jesus son of Joseph, etc.

But all of this can be answered by a series of very probable (certain, really) series of IFs, namely: IF the Bible is true, IF Jesus died on the Cross for sinners, was buried, and rose again on the third day according to Scriptures, IF the risen Lord Jesus appeared to the apostles and about 500 others at one time, IF Jesus bodily ascended into heaven, IF He remains at the right hand of God the Father offering eternal life through the Holy Spirit to all who repent and place their trust in Him, IF He has been radically changing lives for thousands of years,
-then believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have nothing to worry about.