Bible Reading

Here are a couple of links for today:

**When the Bible Is Boring - A few thoughts on why even the obscure details of the Bible are important.

**A Family Worship Experiment - A suggestion to read the full text of Scripture instead of condensed stories. (HT: Mark Horne)


Kind of Perfect

I made some Blue Raspberry Jello, and gave it to Alora. When I asked her if she liked it she said, "It's kind of perfect Dad."


Self-Regard or Self-Sacrifice?

The sermon that I preached on Sunday is available here. The sermon is called Self-Regard or Self-Sacrifice? and it's taken from Matthew 5:38-42. If you think that this passage is addressing issues such as pacifism, self-defence, captital punishment or war, then I think you should listen to this sermon. I believe Jesus words taken us in a different direction than those concerns. Here's the outline:

I. Introduction

II. Original Intent of the Law of Retribution
A. The law was restrictive
B. The law was corporate.

III. Distorting the Law

IV. Jesus Response
A. A call for pacifism?
B. Do not have a hostile heart

V. Four Examples
A. Dignity
B. Comfort
C. Time
D. Possessions

VI. Conclusion


2 Days, 5 Dollars

On June 27 and 28, Desiring God Ministries will be offering all of their books for $5 each. Sweet! So, be sure to take advantage of this great online offer.


There Was a Day When I Died...

"There was a day when I died, utterly died to George Muller and his opinions, preferences, tastes and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame of even my brethren and family and friends; and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God"

- George Muller as quoted by D. Martn Llyod-Jones in Studies in the Sermon on the Mount


You Can Do It

This morning Alora woke me up by pulling the sheet and blanket off of me and saying, "You can do it. Get up, please." Apparently, she knows that I always need a little encouragement to wake up in the morning. I'll take a wake-up-call from my daughter over an alarm clock anytime.


Discipline and the Father's Love

The sermon I preached on Sunday is now available here. The sermon is called Discipline and the Father's Love and it's taken from Hebrews 12:5-11. And here is the sermon outline:

I. Introduction

II. Defining the Father's Discipline

III. Responding to the Father's Discipline
A. Do not regard lightly
B. Do not be weary

IV. Testimony of the Father's Discipline
A. We are loved
B. We are true sons

V. Manner of the Father's Discipline
A. Perfect
B. Painful

VI. Design of the Father's Discipline
A. Share in His holiness
B. Yield fruit

VII. Conclusion

Rubbing Shoulders

"If we refuse to interact with others, we will learn neither our faults nor our virtues. So many dead churches believe themselves to be unified and full of love for the brethren, but it is only because they never see each other. It is easy to "love," in a vague, abstract kind of way, someone you do not know. It is easy to be at peace with humanity in general, as long as you never have to reconcile with a real person. There is peace and unity in a graveyard; there are no arguments and no divisions. But it is not the peace of the living; it is the emptiness of the dead. In a real, living church, growing under the blessing of God, members are rubbing shoulders constantly, and so there are constant outbreaks of conflict that require forgiveness, forbearance, and patience--growth in sanctification becomes a necessity; it is sink or swim."

-Steve Wilkins, Face to Face: Meditations on Friendship and Hospitality


Since moving to Anderson, our family has eaten at a lot of pizza places: Cici's, Frodo's, Famous, Family, Domino's, Wedgy's, Little Caesar's and Papa John's. Of all of these in Anderson, our favorite has been Famous Pizza with Family Pizza coming in at a close second. Of course, our favorite in the Upstate is Bertolo's Pizza, but after last night Bertolo's will have to share its crown with Peppino's Pizza. The pizza is handtossed and excellent. I enjoyed the pizza so much, I'm eating it for breakfast this morning.

UPDATE (3/13/08) - Strangely enough, this blog post is the number one entry on Google for people searching for Peppino's in Anderson. I assume that most people are looking for the phone number, so I wanted to help out by placing Peppino's phone number here:
(864) 224-3650

And as a shameless plug, if you live in Anderson...be sure to come and worship with us at Redeemer Church!


Oh My God

Patrick recently posted a John Piper video that contains one of my favorite songs from Jars of Clay's latest release, Good Monsters. The song is "Oh My God." You can read an (old) interview where the band talks about the song, here. And now for the lyrics:

Oh my God, look around this place
Your fingers reach around the bone
You set the break and set the tone
Flights of grace, and future falls
In present pain
All fools say, "Oh my God"

Oh my God, Why are we so afraid?
We make it worse when we don't bleed
There is no cure for our disease
Turn a phrase, and rise again
Or fake your death and only tell your closest friend
Oh my God.

Oh my God, can I complain?
You take away my firm belief
And graft my soul upon your grief
Weddings, boats and alibis
All drift away, and a mother cries

Liars and fools; sons and failures
Thieves will always say
Lost and found; ailing wanderers
Healers always say
Whores and angels; men with problems
Leavers always say
Broken hearted; separated
Orphans always say
War creators; racial haters
Preachers always say
Distant fathers; fallen warriors
Givers always say
Pilgrim saints; lonely widows
Users always say
Fearful mothers; watchful doubters
Saviors always say

Sometimes I cannot forgive
And these days, mercy cuts so deep
If the world was how it should be,
Maybe I could get some sleep
While I lay, I dream we're better,
Scales were gone and faces light
When we wake, we hate our brother
We still move to hurt each other
Sometimes I can close my eyes,
And all the fear that keeps me silent
Falls below my heavy breathing,
What makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder
We all feel the need for wonder
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder

Sometimes when I lose my grip,
I wonder what to make of heaven
All the times I thought to reach up
All the times I had to give
Babies underneath their beds
Hospitals that cannot treat
All the wounds that money causes,
All the comforts of cathedrals
All the cries of thirsty children
This is our inheritance
All the rage of watching mothers
This is our greatest offense

Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God

Father's Day #2

This morning I was greeted at the table with smell of bacon and blueberry muffins, a happy Father's Day song, and a new book: The Truth's We Confess by R.C. Sproul. Since this is my second time celebrating Father's Day, Amy put a giant #2 candle on top of one of my muffins.

Happy Father's Day to all of you dads out there!

"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).

"Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged" (Colossians 3:21).


Website Construction and Sermons

We are in the process of redoing our church website, but if you are interested in downloading any sermons from our church, they will still be available here for a while longer. I'll let you know when the new site and podcasting is available for your viewing and listening pleasure.


Preaching and Prayer

Patrick will be preaching (and I'll be teaching children's church) from Matthew 5:33-37 this Sunday. Be sure to lift us up in prayer. Also, I would appreciate if you all would pray for me as I prepare to preach later on this month. I'll be preaching on the last two Sunday's of the month (17th and 24th). We'll be continuing in our Sermon on the Mount series (Matthew 5:38-48). You can check out the previous sermons here or use the link on my sidebar.


A Few Random Updates

*BUSY WEEK: Amy and I have been pretty busy this week. She's been teaching art (mixed media) to children for a couple of hours each morning this week. I've been spending my afternoons meeting people and doing other ministry work. We had dinner with my parents last night, which was a lot of fun. This afternoon I'm going to be moving furniture all day, which probably will not be a barrel of fun.

*GROWING GIRLS: Adalynne is at the verge of crawling. Alora has almost finished potty training.

*DEATH: Alora's fish, Roxy, died this week. We had a burial service at the potty, and flushed Roxy down the toilet. Alora waved goodbye and then huged the toilet. A bit unsanitary but cute none the less.

*SEMINARY: I may be able to start seminary work in the Fall at Erskine. I talked to a lady from Admissions today, and she said that I still have time to apply. I can't really express how excited I am to think about going back to schoo to work on an M.Div. (Excited and hopeful enough to add "Seminary" as one of my blog labels.) Of course, I know that my life will be extremely busy as I balance family time, church ministry, and seminary but the Lord will be my strength!


Late Night Drinking

I'm not sure about some of you, but there are times when I just have to drink coffee. Well, tonight was one of those times. I finished drinking my second (large) cup of coffee a few minutes ago, and now I'm getting ready to go to bed. Strangely, I feel more tired now than I did before I had the coffee. Is it possible to build up a tolerance to caffeine? I guess so. Maybe this is just proof that I consume too much caffeine each day.



I really like this last picture. Alora was tired of taking pictures, so she got up and said, "I'm getting up. Bye Sissy."


Adventures in Camping

Last weekend our family went camping, and we had a wonderful time. For Alora and Adalynne, this was their first camping experience. Thankfully, we didn't have any major problems while we were camping (i.e. no one was bitten by a snake, etc.) Granted, I did run over Alora's potty and a box of supplies with the SUV within five minutes of arriving at our campsite...but the potty and the supplies survived. Well, here are some pictures from our trip:

Getting ready for the fire!

My beautiful girls sharing a beverage

Since we forgot the can opener, Amy had to stab a hole in the beans.

Roasting hotdogs and/or marshmallows

Alora stuffing her face with a marshmallow

Good morning Adalynne.

Alora hanging out in the tent.

Breakfast time.


The Church and Pop Culture

Yesterday, our family spent a couple of hours with a few friends from church as we celebrated Daniel's birthday. During our time together, we spent a little while talking about many of the cartoons that we remember from our childhood. As I think back, I am amazed at how many episodes, punch-lines, and other specifics I can remember from those shows. Yet, as Peter Leithart shows, we often know much more about pop culture than we know about the Church.

Take a few minutes to take a two-part quiz about the Church and Pop Culture. Then, read the lecture that follows. I believe many of you will find it both convicting and enlightening.

Living Good Lives, For Kindom Sake

I'm looking forward to reading the upcoming issue of byFaith magazine. A preview is available in pdf here (HT: Reformed News).