A to Z

For those of you who know me well, you should be highly aware of my love for books and reading. So, you can imagine my excitement when I came across this. Enjoy!

Enemies and Opposition

"Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other." -Isaiah 45:22

While preaching from Isaiah 45:22, Spurgeon points out that God raises up enemies and opposition to teach us that He alone is God and there is no other. He writes:
But that opposition through which God carries his servants, leads them to see at once that he is God, and there there is none else. If every one applauded, if all were gratified, we should think ourselves God; but when they hiss and hoot, we turn to God and cry, 'If on my face, for thy dear name, Shame and reproach should be, I'll hail reproach and welcome shame, If thou'lt remember me.'


Finding Different Plot Lines

I came across an interesting post that deals with the way we present the gospel non-Christians. The author suggests that we may need to take different "plot lines" or starting points when we confront others with the good news. The author points to the fact that in the book of Acts, we can see how Paul used different starting points with the Jews than he did when he spoke to the Gentiles. Check out the article and tell me what you think. But until you take time to read and comment, I'll give you a few of my thoughts:

Ultimately, our aim is to point people to Jesus and the cross--to boldly proclaim with the prophet Isaiah, "Your God reigns" (Is. 52:7). We do this because we want to see God glorified and mankind satisfied in God. Or if we can use the language of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, we want to see men and women live for the end in which they were created: "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." So, let us endevour to speak the gospel in ways that will connect and challange those whom we are addressing.


Finding a Solution...

Some of you have contacted me because you've not been able to post comments on my blog. I think they are still trying to work out a few bugs from the new version of blogger. Hopefully, they'll have everything fixed soon.

But here are a few tips for commenting...

*If you don't have a Blogger account, click on "Other." Then, put in your comment and fill out the "word verification." Then click submit. This should allow you to post, but sometimes you have to do it twice.

Thanks for your patience.

Fish and Pretzels

The other night while I was on the phone with my mom, Alora decided to feed the fish. But since she couldn't get to the fish food, she gave them pretzels instead. I think that we'll stick with fish food for now on.


"Hello. My name is..."

I know that there are many of you who visit this blog on a regular basis, yet you usually do not make use of the comment section. There could be a number of reasons for your lack-of-commenting. Maybe, some of you are unaware that the comment section exists. Though this seems unlikely, I'll just point out that the comment section is at the bottom of each entry. It's simple to use, so give it a try. Problem solved. Or the problem could be that some of you may not have anything to say in regard to the things I post. If this is the case, I'm sorry. I'll try to be a little more interesting. Or, maybe you're just shy. You prefer to roam across this blog without leaving many traces of your presence.

Today, I ask you to break from the norm. Instead of passing by the comment section, click on it and introduce yourself. But just in case you don't know what to say about yourself, I'll provide a few questions that can pick and choose from:

*What's your name?
*What's your occupation?
*What's your religious/denominational/church affiliation?
*Married or single?
*Tall or short?
*If you I gave you $452, how would you use the money?
*What are your favorite things to see and read about on this blog?

Go ahead. Click the comment section. Answer a few questions.


Did You Just Say the Word "SEX"?

I am sure that there are plenty of statistics that tell how many times a person thinks about or is confronted with something sexual in nature during a given day. If my experience is like most people, I'd have to say that the average would be high. Every form of media (whether it is radio, television, film, print...) is used to push forth the sexual envelope. We definitely have the "sex drive" in overdrive. As I pondered over our current cultural condition, a couple of things came to my mind.

First, God created us as sexual beings. Adam and Eve were created naked and they were not ashamed(Genesis 2:25); and the task given to them in the garden was to "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth" (Genesis 1:28). Basically, God told them to have lots of sex and babies so that the earth would be filled with image-bearers. They were having sex to God's glory.

Second, eventually Adam and Eve had to cover up because they sinned and "then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew they were naked" (Genesis 3:7). From this point on, the beautiful gift of nakedness and sex became a gift that could (and would) be exploited and abused.

The desire for sexual intimacy is good. It is a God-given desire that is supposed to take place between a husband and wife. Yet, we live in a society that perverts, distorts, and damages the good gift God has given us. How do we pervert the good gift?

First, we pervert the gift of sex by worshipping the gift instead of the Giver.

Second, we pervert sex by taking it and using it in ways that God did not intend for us to use it. The list of our perversions is long: sodomy, adultery, bestiality, masturbation, pornography, pedophilia, and the list goes on.

Yet, in the midst of all of our evil ways, perversions and distortions, there is hope. We must turn to Christ. The hope of our culture and our world is not sex education, abstinence, or any other action that merely seeks to change a person's behavior. We must repent of our sins. We must acknowledge that we have "exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator" (Romans 1:25). Then, we must turn to the God of mercy so that we can be released from the penalty and grip of sin. Only then, will we be free to be "truly human" once again. Only then, will our perversions be turned into purposeful living. We must be redeemed. And this is the message we must take to our world. "We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians, 5:20).


Peace and the Peacemakers

Well, I had the opportunity to preach at church this sunday. If anyone is interested, you can listen to the sermon here. The main text is Matthew 5:9 - "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." And here is the basic outline of the sermon:

I. Introduction

II. Peace

A. Its Meaning
B. Its Enemy
C. Its Maker

III. Peacemakers

A. Their Identity
B. Their Actions
C. Their Heritage

IV. Conclusion


An Open Love Letter to My Wife

I know I posted a poem about my love for my wife earlier today, but I couldn't let today pass by without publicly and explicitly declaring my unending and fervent love for her . So, here goes:


I am so glad that when we met on the main street on North Greenville's campus (and I asked you to smell my key chain), that you didn't think I was totally crazy. Instead, you gave me a chance to get to know the most wonderful woman in the world. I love living life with you. I amazed daily at how kind, caring, patient, giving and loving you are to me, our children, and anyone else you meet. You truly are beautiful inside and out. The grace of God is evident in your life, and I am a grateful to know that you are mine and I am yours. I love you deeply.

Your Husband,


Sunrise, Sunset

Good morning My Beauty!
You have awaken me from sleep.
The brightness of your beauty has filled eyes,
And the darkness no longer has a place to creep.

While laying beside you this morning,
I brushed my hand across your face.
I felt the warmth of your skin,
And thanked God for the embrace.

Three years and counting,
We've been together as one .
Our love is deep and hearts are true,
And we'll continue until our lives are done.

So, as long as the sun continues to rise and set
My Love, you can always be sure,
That I will be here with,
Striving always to be faithful, true, and pure.


Feeling Better

Thankfully, Amy is feeling much better today. Thanks to all of you who took time to pray for our family. Hopefully, this will be the last sickness that we have to deal with for a while.


Setting Aside the Centrality of God

"We are so bombarded by human tragedies of poverty and crime and abuse and neglect and war and the manifold injustices of man to man, that we are tempted to agree with the world that it is useless pie in the sky by and by to be concerned with whether the soul will ever see God. But this is the greatest of all tragedies—that in seeking to relieve the temporal miseries of man we set aside the centrality of God." -John Piper, from the sermon Blessed Are the Pure in Heart


The Girls

Here are a few pictures of the girls for those of you who haven't had the opportunity to see them lately. They're growing up so fast! Adalynne will be three months old soon, and Alora will be two years old in a week! Time passes by so quickly.


Essentials of True Worship

"There are always two parts to true worship. There is seeing God and there is savoring God. You can't seperate these. You must see him to savor him. And if you don't savor him when you see him, you insult him. In true worship, there is always understanding with the mind and there is always feeling in the heart. Understanding must always be the foundation of feeling, or all we have is baseless emotionalism. But understanding of God that doesn't give rise to feeling for God becomes mere intellectualism and deadness. This is why the Bible continually calls us to think and consider and meditate on the one hand, and to rejoice and fear and mourn and delight and hope and be glad, on the other hand. Both are essential for worship."

-John Piper, taken from The Supremacy of God in Preaching


The Challenge of Jesus

I couldn't get to sleep last night, so I decided to finish reading N.T. Wright's The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is. (I finished at about 1:00am). I started reading this book during my breaktimes while I was working third shift at Rockwell; so, it has taken me a while to finish. (It was really difficult to concentrate on reading and thinking critically at 4:00am!)

As usual, Wright's book was both scholarly and pastoral in nature. Wright writes with the goal of having each reader grow in his or her understanding of the historical Jesus (one that is firmly planted within the first century Palestinian world) and to follow Him more faithfully in the twenty-first century.

Although I found many helpful discussions in this book (namely, Wright's discussion involving the way Jesus subverted the Jewish symbols in order to show Himself to be the true Israel, the true Temple where forgiveness and hope is found.) Yet, Wright's book is not without serious flaws. As one Amazon reviewer wrote,
one of these [flaws] is particularly serious, namely inadequate handling of the Atonement. Nowhere in the book's climactic chapter, `The Challenge of Easter' does Wright come close to explaining how Jesus' death can be the means of salvation or even transference of guilt. In fairness to the author, it is clear from passing comments elsewhere in the book that he vehemently disowns the view that Calvary was no more than an example to the infant church of the cross-bearing path it would have to follow. Nevertheless, he does not elaborate this conviction in the parts of the book where it matters most, and readers could be excused for inferring from the chapter under discussion that Jesus' painful death was little more than an inconvenient bridge he had to cross to get to his glorious resurrection.
The under-emphasis of substitutionary atonement was for me at least the most serious of several flaws including a rather too guarded analysis by the author of exactly what he means when he speaks of Christ's divinity, and in a lesser work these might have been fatal. But it really is too much to expect that any one book but the Bible itself can do justice to every strand of Christian truth.


One Life, Two Tables

When reading through the Scriptures, one can clearly see that there are two types of people: those who love God and those who do not. We are either walking through the narrow gate that leads to life or through the wide gate that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13,14). We either love Christ and obey Him or we do not love and obey Him (John 14:23,24). We are either sheep or we are goats (Matthew 25:32,33). There is no middle road on which to walk. There is no such thing as neutral men when when it comes to the condition of our hearts. There are no hybids in the kingdom of heaven. There's no room for fence-sitting.

In 1 Kings 1, we see that as King David lays in bed shortly before his death, his son Adonijah exhaltes himself by saying, "I will be king." (1 Kings 1:5). Adonijah calls for himself chariots, horses and men to run before him, and he alignes himself with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest. He also called to himself his brothers and all the royal officials of Judah to feast and celebrate with him. Yet, not everyone stood with Adonijah. We are told that Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, David's mighty men and Solomon were not invited to feast with Adonijah (1 Kings 1:8,10).

The partly lines have been drawn. The men have pledged their allegiance. They have chosen between Adonijah or Solomon--between the self-appointed "king" and the LORD's anointed king. They have taken their places at different tables and prepared to eat at different feasts.

All of mankind will sit down to feast at one of two meals. One meal will fill men with every pleasure that the world can offer. They will fill their stomachs with temporary food that cannot satisfy. There meal will end in destruction and death. Yet, there will be those who sit down at the marriage supper of the lamb. They will feast upon Christ, the living bread that came from heaven, and they will be blessed and satisfied forever (John 6:51; Revelation 19:9).

Each person only has one life to live, but there are two tables set before each of us. Where are you feasting today?

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1).