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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bible translation: Galatians 5

1 Christ has liberated us into freedom: Therefore, stand firm and don’t be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

2 Look! I, Paul, tell y’all that if y’all receive circumcision Christ will not benefit y’all at all. 3 Again, I testify to every man who receives circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 Y’all who are trying to be justified by law are alienated from Christ; y’all have fallen from grace! 5 For we by the Spirit through faith eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything, but [what matters is] faith acting through love.

7 Y’all were running well, who cut in on y’all to prevent y’all from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from the one calling y’all. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole batch.

10 I have confidence in the Lord concerning y’all, that y’all will take no other view. But the one troubling y’all will bear the judgment,whoever that may be. 11 But I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case, the offense of the Cross has been abolished. 12 I could wish that those troubling y’all would even emasculate themselves!

13 For y’all were called to freedom, brothers; only don’t turn freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, rather serve one another through love. 14 For all the law has been fulfilled in one statement– in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if y’all bite and devour one another, watch out, lest y’all be consumed by one another.

16 But I say walk by the Spirit and y'all will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other so that y’all don’t do the things y’all want. 18 But if y’all are led by the Spirit, y’all are not under law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious– which are: fornication, impurity, debauchery, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, faction, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these, which I forewarn y’all (as I told y’all before) that those doing such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law.

24 But those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited– provoking one another, envying one another.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Thanksgiving song from Johnny Cash.

(I apologize for the melodramatic Dr. Quinn episode framing this song.)


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sermon on Isaiah 44:6-20, Part 5: Isaiah 44:9-17

[Read parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.]

Next, the text turns to a description against the sheer foolishness of idolatry:

9 All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. 10 Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? 11 Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.

12 The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. 14 He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire! 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, Deliver me, for you are my god! (Isaiah 44:9-17 ESV)

Here we see a picture of a society of idolaters. They begin by shaping iron into cutting tools (v. 12). Next, someone cuts down a tree (v. 14). Half of this tree is used for a fire- for necessary warmth, for food. But look what is done with the other half (v. 15-17)!

Instead of trusting in the Creator, the idolater trusts in the lifeless thing that he worked so hard to create. Verse 13 further illustrates the effort the idolater puts into making the idol. This is no accidental sin. It is not as if the idol threw a bunch of gold into a fire and out came an idol. No, the idolater works hard at his idolatry. He makes it into a thing of physical beauty. He has a sense of accomplishment when the idol is finally made, so that he can worship it.

Now, it is easy for us to laugh at this poor, deceived idolater. But, dear reader, this may very well be a picture of your life. Because no one reading this post has likely set out to carve an idol in order to worship it, but everyone reading this has taken gifts that God has given and has begun trusting in those gifts rather than in God Himself. If we are not constantly checking our hearts, this is what we all do. We pray for a job so that we can support ourselves and our families, we search high and low for just the right job, exercising wisdom God has given us. Then, once we have a job, we begin trusting in that job for provision rather than in Jehovah Jireh- the LORD who provides. We trust in money so much that we are slow to give to the Church; we are so concerned about keeping our position that we neglect to bear witness to the Gospel in our workplace.

Perhaps it's not a job that tempts you to idolatry, but your family, your health, your ability in some other area. Any good gift God gives you that you are tempted to trust more that your Creator can become an idol. What might be an idol in your life? Isaiah 44:17 tells us that the idolater prays to his idol, "Deliver me, for you are my god!" When you are in trouble, anxious, or depressed, what is the first thing that your mind turns to? If it is something other than God, then that something is certainly an idol to you.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Do these celebrities realize the judgment of God they're flaunting by appearing in this video?

(Because I don't think they do.)

"Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay.
In time their foot will slip,
for their day of disaster is near,
and their doom is coming quickly."
(Deuteronomy 32:35 HCSB)

Then I saw a great white throne and One seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from His presence, and no place was found for them. I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books. Then the sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead; all were judged according to their works. Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
(Revelation 20:11-15 HCSB)


Monday, November 19, 2007

Mike Huckabee: "My plan to secure the border? Two words: CHUCK NORRIS."


Saturday, November 17, 2007

[Too White] Worldview Rap With Boyce College Prof., Dr. Jim Orrick

[HT:: Timmy Brister]

If I were a betting man, I'd be willing to wager a great sum of money that you've never heard another rap song with the word Weltanschauung in it.

For considerably less weighty content, but better vocal style, check out Presbyterian pastor Ligon Duncan and his brother John, the executive producer for Ligonier Ministries in the following rap:

To hear some serious rap with great content and good style, listen to Reformed rappers, CHRISTCENTRIC.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bible translation: Galatians 4

1 But I say that as long as an heir is a minor, he is no different from a slave, though he is lord of all, 2 but he is under guardians and trustees until the time appointed by the father. 3 So we too, when we were minors, had been enslaved under the elements of creation. 4 But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 in order that he might redeem those under law, in order that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because y’all are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore, you are no longer a slave, but a son. And since a son, also an heir through God. 8 But formerly, not having known God, y’all were enslaved to things that aren’t really gods. 9 But now, knowing God– or, rather, being known by God– how can you turn again to the weak and bankrupt elements? Do you want to serve them all over again? 10 Y’all scrupulously observe days, months, seasons, and years– 11 I fear for y’all, that perhaps I have labored for y'all in vain.

12 Brothers, I beg of y’all– become like me, for I became like y'all. Y’all didn’t wrong me, 13 but y’all know that through an infirmity of the flesh I formerly proclaimed the Good News to y’all. 14 And y’all didn’t despise nor reject y’all’s temptation in my flesh; rather, y’all received me as an angel from God– as Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore, where is y’all’s blessedness? For I testify that, if possible, y’all would have plucked out y’all’s eyes and gave them to me. 16 So have I become y’all’s enemy by telling y’all the truth?!

17 They court y’all dishonorably– rather, they desire to isolate y’all so that y’all court them. 18 But good is always to be courted in a good way, and not only when I am with y’all.

19 My children, for whom I am again in labor pains until Christ is formed in y'all, 20 I’d like to be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about y'all.

21 Tell me, you who want to be under law, don’t you hear the Law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons– one by the slave woman, and the other by the free woman– 23 but the one by the slave woman had been born according to the flesh, while the one by the free woman was through a promise. 24 These things are allegorical, for these women are two covenants: One, indeed, is from Mt. Sinai, giving birth into slavery– this is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar (Mt. Sinai) is in Arabia: This corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is enslaved with her children. 26 But the higher Jerusalem is free– she is our mother. 27 For it is written: “Rejoice, O barren woman, not bearing children! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor pains! Because the children of the desolate woman are more numerous than those of the woman who has a husband.” 28 Now y’all, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as it was then, when the one born according to the flesh persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, so it is even now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Throw out the slave woman and her son. For the son of the slave woman will certainly not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 Therefore, brothers, we aren’t children of a slave woman, but of the free woman.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bible translation: Galatians 3

1 O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched y’all, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly set forth as crucified? 2 I only want to learn this from y’all: Did y’all receive the Spirit by works of law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are y’all so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, Are y’all now perfected by flesh? 4 Have y’all endured so much in vain? (If, indeed, it really was in vain…) 5 Did He then, supplying the Spirit to y’all and working miracles among y’all [do these] from works of law, or from hearing with faith?

6 Consider Abraham– he believed God and it was counted to him for justification. 7 Y’all know, then, that those believing– these are the sons of Abraham. 8 But the Scripture, having foreseen that God justifies the nations by faith, foretold the gospel to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” 9 So that those believing are blessed with believing Abraham.

10 For as many as are from works of law are under a curse: For it has been written, “All who don’t persevere in everything written in the book of the law, in order to do them, are cursed.”

11 But that no one is justified with God by law is evident because, “The just will live by faith.” 12 But the law is not from faith, rather, “The one doing them will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, becoming a curse for our sake (as it has been written, “Everyone hanging on a tree is cursed”), 14 so that the blessing of Abraham might come into the nations through Christ Jesus, so that the promise of the Holy Spirit might come through faith.

15 Brothers, I speak in terms of human relations: No one annuls or adds to even a human covenant that has been established. 16 But the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. It does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but rather, “And to your seed,” as of one, which is Christ. 17 Now I say this: The Law, coming four hundred thirty years after the covenant, which had been previously ratified by God, does not cancel a covenant, so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham through a promise.

19 What, then, is the Law? It was added on account of transgressions until the seed, to whom the promise had been given, might come. It was ordained through angels by means of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not for one [party only], but God is one.

21 Is the Law, therefore, against God’s promises? May it never be! For if a law was given that was able to impart life, then justification really was on the basis of law. 22 But the Scripture confined all under sin, so that the promise based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were being kept [as] those confined under law, until the coming faith was revealed, 24 so that the Law has become our tutor until Christ, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But since the coming of faith we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of y’all as have been immersed in Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 But if y’all are Christ’s, then y’all are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Sermon on Isaiah 44:6-20, Part 4: Isaiah 44:8

[Read parts 1, 2, and 3 HERE, HERE, and HERE.]

God says:

"Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from the beginning and declared it? And you are my witnesses!" (Isaiah 44:8a ESV)

We can all say "amen" in regards to fulfilled prophecy, but there should be another response as well- that of fearless trust in God. We can all say "amen" when we hear that God added fifteen years to Hezekiah's life, but do we have peace and confidence that God has our lives and deaths in His hands? We say "amen" when we read that God spoke of Cyrus a hundred years before he was born, but do we trust that God knows and controls the events of tomorrow? We who are God's witnesses, saying we believe God's prophecies to be true- do we live with assurance in God's continued faithfulness, or do we live racked with anxiety, as if God does not know or is not in control of the future?

"Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock, I know not any." (Isaiah 44:8b ESV)

This is a passage I mentioned when teaching on Mormon evangelism. Remember, when a Mormon missionary tries to convince you that there is more than one God, you can take him to this verse and point out, "That's interesting- if there are other Gods, then apparently God Himself doesn't know about them!" This gets back to the beginning of the passage, where God says, "besides me there is no god." We must be unashamed to proclaim the message of the one true God. Whether our neighbors believe in the Mormon god- who they think of as an exalted man- or whether they are like a co-worker I once had who said, "Work is my church," meaning, "Money is my god," we must, as followers of Christ, be willing to lovingly confront the false gods of others, realizing that Christ is the one true Rock and without Him everyone is headed for destruction.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

How I found out that my friend Chris West is the coolest person I've ever met.

While reading some old blog posts from my friend Chris West (I've been too busy to do much blog reading lately), I discovered that Chuck Norris has endorsed Mike Huckabee for President.

In his post on that subject, Chris casually mentioned that as a child he had been an extra in the Norris film Invasion U.S.A. and that he has a picture of himself sitting in Chuck Norris' lap.

"Well," I thought, "Chris is a dirty liar." (Actually, I seriously thought that Chris was just kidding.)

Then I discovered from the IMDb page that Invasion U.S.A. was filmed in Atlanta, GA (near where Chris lives) in 1985.

So, I figured I should get to the bottom of this.

As I type this post, I am on the phone with Chris. (Chris does not know I'm blogging right now.)

Q: "Chris, is it true that you were an extra in Invasion U.S.A. and that you even have a picture of yourself sitting in Chuck Norris' lap."
A: "Oh, absolutely," etc. etc. etc.
My reply: "Well... then I guess you're not a dirty liar."

There you have it folks, as a child Chris West was bounced on the knee of the man who once killed four birds with half a stone, the man who is the second leading cause of death in the United States, the man who is single-handedly responsible for the fall of the Soviet Union.

This means that Chris West, the author of the unsanitarily named blog "Absolutely Spoo," the [former(?)] drummer for the death-metal/elevator music fusion band "Micah," is actually the coolest person I've ever personally met.

Go figure. < / backhanded complement >

Seriously, though-
Happy late birthday, Chris! And congratulations again on your engagement to Jennie!


Friday, November 09, 2007

Happy Belated Reformation Day

OK, so this post is a little late...

A week ago last Wednesday (October 31) was the 490th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 thesis to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg- an action that has come to be regarded as the symbolic beginning of the Protestant Reformation. So while most of the American populace was tricking and/or treating, we at Southern Seminary and at my local church- Kosmosdale Baptist Church- were celebrating Reformation Day (Abby went with Christian over to KBC while I was at work so they could watch the movie Luther).

Though the following has been around the Internet the past couple of weeks, I only got the chance to watch it a few days ago- so, if you've missed it, enjoy the "Reformation polka:"

Also, if you didn't see it on my family blog, check out the picture Abby took of Christian and me with the Reformation pumpkin in the Boyce Centennial Library:

Christian was so excited. :|

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