Friday, June 29, 2007

Apparently I Am Very Rare

I found this over at my wife's blog.

Your Personality is Very Rare (INTP)

Your personality type is goofy, imaginative, relaxed, and brilliant.

Only about 4% of all people have your personality, including 2% of all women and 6% of all men
You are Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Perceiving.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Whole New Way To Ride The Bus

I have to say, even though I am not into this, this really impressed me.

Woodpecker Cam

Yet another web-cam of wildlife is up and running.  Well actually it has been running for a while, but now the woodpeckers have babies.  Check it out here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Great Reading Idea

Darren R. Brooker posted a great idea for your summer reading.  Check it out here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

This Is A Rather Interesting Dog

Doing a little searching around on YouTube, I found this. A rather interesting dog I must say.


This week went from one where I was hoping to get a lot of pastoral visiting done, to one where I will be doing pastoral visiting, but not of the people I expected. On Monday night I received a call from a member of the congregation I serve that their step-grandson had dies suddenly Monday morning. Their son and daughter in law are not members at our church, but I and my wife have started to get to know them over the past few years, and they would like me to do the funeral. I ask that you keep me in your prayers, as I did not know this young man (only 20) at all, so I do not know how he was with the Lord. Pray that I will clearly and lovingly proclaim the gospel at the funeral, and that God will use it to work in the hearts of those present there. Also, please pray for this family. I cannot imagine what it would be like to find my son dead, and then the police and paramedics and all the rest investigating to see what happened. Pray God will grant them the peace that can only come through faith in Christ, drawing them near to himself through his Son.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Married People & Finally, All Of You

Here are two recent sermons. I have not been posting them on my normal site because I have run out of disk space. I am working at correcting that, but for now, everything will be over at Sermon Cloud.

Married People -- 1 Peter 3:1-7

Finally, All of You -- 1 Peter 3:8-12


As I couldn't sleep, I thought I would post. Not that I have anything to say are 4AM, but I have the beginnings of a cold. By that I mean, I have a very sore throat. Sore enough that it is keeping me up. I think I will try sleeping again in a few minutes, but thanks to either my son (who just had a cold) or someone else who shall remain nameless who also has a cold who I came in contact with this week, I am getting one as well. Hopefully it will proceed quickly as preaching with a sore throat is most unpleasant.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Back From The Banner

I am back from yet another great Banner of Truth conference. Since the conference ended at 3:30PM, we decided to head right home rather than stop part way. I just arrived home at 1:00AM. Hopefully I will sleep well. I will post my closing thoughts when I get up after getting some sleep.

Banner of Truth 2007 -- Session #9

Mark Johnson
Romans 8:5-17

We will end the conference reflecting on the believers walking in the Spirit. Ending with life in the Spirit is an appropriate way to end. Both we and the congregations we serve struggle with this question, "How do we live the Christian life?"

These verses spell out suscintly the Spirits role in living christian life.

A. The Spirit enables us for the life of faith by giving us the ability to do so (v5-11).

1. What is noticable in these verses is the contrast between those living or controled by the flesh and those controlled by the Spirit. Those controlled by the flesh or sinful nature cannot please God. They are incapable of it at all. Those who have the Spirit in them are different. They can now live in a way that is pleasing to God. Outside of the Spirit people are dead in sin, therefore can cannot respond to God. It is this regeneration of new birth by the work of the Spirit that makes a person able to aprehend and desire God. But, there is also the on going work of renewal. The regeration in the sense that Calvin uses it. Gives new ability to please God. No matter how skilled, gifted or capable an unbeliever is, that person cannot please God. Only those the Spirit lives in are capable of pleasing God. It is now possible for them to not sin because the Spirit is in them.

2. This is an ability possessed by every believer.
This is not something for the spiritual elite only. If a person belongs to Christ, they have the Spirit. And, if you have the Spirit you have the things the Spirit blesses those in whom he lives such as life instead of the death in sin and possibility of now pleasing God. Believers now live the life of the Spirit in us.

B. Enables us to live this way because of the responsibiilty he lays upon us. We have an obligation. This is not let go and let God. It is live by the Spirit in us. We are to exercise this in dependance on him. See this illustrated in that we receive Spirit of adoption or sonship, but we cry our "Abba, Father." It is not the Spirit who crys out, we do; but we do it because of the Spirit of sonship. In the gift of the Spirit we have been given amazing resources by God, but we have not used them even close to their capacity. Why? Because of our sinful laziness. Because of our sloth. The reason we are not seeing conversions is because we are not willing in faith to testify to our neighbors trusting that by the Spirit God will bring people to faith. God expects us to use the gift he gives.

Our free will in our own nature is one that is at emnity to God. It will always go the wrong way. But God has dealt with it. He has given the Spirit through the Son that we can now walk in righteousness which we could not do before.

The call is to set our minds on what the Spirit desires. This is to be done consciously, intentionally, and diligently. This means looking to the word of God. This means using our minds so they get remolded by the truth. We are to transform our minds.

That leads to mortifying the deeds of the body. Moving our actions into comformity to Jesus Christ.

C. The Spirit provides the encouragement we need in the Christian life.

It is amazing how relationships change a person's life. Think of the changes from a single man to a married man to a father. How much more true is that in the relationship with God through his Son as we are indwelt by the HOly Spirit. As we grow and explore this relationship we will change. The Spirit does this with us as the Spirit of adoption or sonship. He is the one who moves us to cry, "Abba, Father." This is the instinctive cry of a child in their need. Where do you cry in your need? If you cry out to heaven, "Father" is that not evidence of your state before God.

The Spirit gives real life. It is by him that we have life and peace.

D. The Spirit reminds us where we re going. If the Spirit is in us, is the Spirt who raised Christ. He will likewise raise us to a new life in the world to come. The Spirit is working in us in all our weakness to make us new. While he is working we may not, in fact generally don't look good, but that is because we are works in progress. He is remolding and remaking the people of Christ that Christ may be glorified and through him God may be glorified.

Banner of Truth 2007 -- Session #8

Derek Thomas -- "Meditation and the Future Life: The Goal of Holiness"

Romans 8:1-11
Ephesians 4:17-24
Colossians 3:1-4

In this third and final session we come to what Calvin has to say about the goal of holiness. For most of those who attend the Banner there is a great love for the Puritain experiential preaching of the scriptures. What draws us in is that they speak to our hearts. What we long for most of all is that God's word addresses us not just at level of intellect but at the level of our affections and actions. We probably find Calvin more intimidating because we have concluded that Calvin does not speak to our heart like the Puritans. But that makes a division between the Puritans and the reformers of the 16th Century. The puritans loved and read Calvin. That sort of division is simply not true. To dismantle this error all one has to do is plumb the depths of book three of the Institutes.

Piety was important to Calvin. He in writing was writing in contrasts to the Summa of Aquinus. Calvin's institues were a summa of piety. They are the theology of the heart. We often do not grasp that. It shows how disengaged with how the reformers understood the Christian life. The problem is likely ours, not Calvin's. For Calvin there is a particular reformed spirituality. Reformed understanding covers all of life. That would include spirituality. It would point out that what is important are truth, what and how we know what we know, scripture, worship in accord with principles found in word of God, etc.

Central is the doctrine of the union with Jesus Christ. In that restoration and renewal the image of God like a ruined castle is recreated by the Spirit so that what is broken is brought together again. This is primarily that we might know God. Calvin in the institues is seeking to show how a believer comes to know God better.

In 1538 when Calvin was thrown out of Geneva, the first thing he did was to write a cathechism. There is pointed out that true piety embraces God as much as a father as it reverences him and fears displeasing him worse than death.

For Calvin especially, mind is hugely important and significant. Your mind matters. We are to use our mind. But, the heart is to be used too. We as Christians ought to be like newlyweds. Longing and anticipating and thinking about the future as we fall more and more in love with Christ. Sin and world and Satan all seek against this. Therefore effort is needed to maintain and grow love and hope toward God. Calvin called this meditation.

Meditation is enormously important to Calvin. Baxter had same take. He said we are to imitate the most powerful preacher we have ever heard in applying Biblical truth to our lives. Calvin said we are to live in this world so we more and more desire the one to come. We do that by meditation on those scriptures that are given to get a foretaste for what is to come.

This begins with a renovation of the mind. A change in the way we think. What is it that you thnk about when you are not thinking about anything in particular (Owen). Makes us realize we must force ourselves to think spiritual thoughts. Calvin does much the same thing. In commenting on Colossians chapter 3 he said, what Paul is saying here is that we are to express with aciduity and intesity to think on those things above. He warns that we are to beware of the tendency to stop at the resurrection. He comments that we have made too little of the ascension. One implicatoin of the ascension is that CHrist brings us with him into heaven. So we are to think on Christ where he really is, at the right hand of God in heaven. This requires a regular discipline of our minds. Those who are of the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit.

Second, a detachment from the present world. There is an improper and intemperate love of this world that keeps us from serving and loving God properly. We tend to be slaves to this world. But, this world is like a shadow or dew in the morning. It will disappear. Even in Eden the garden was meant to move Adam and Eve to see the beauty of the one who created the beauty of the garden. All to often we fool ourselves that this world is all that there is. Even health and exercise are idols in today's world. Even in the Christian circles. Is that not in part because too many people live in affections for this world instead of eternity. We should live in light of eternity. We must sit loose to this world. Heaven it our homeland, so the world is an exile and a seplecure. This is not because there is not value or proper ways to enjoy this world. Calvin has much to say about that, but all the same this world is not our home. The new heavens and earth are our home. No one makes progress in sactification without looking in anticipation to death and the new life.

Meditation is not close your eyes and hum. It is a thoughful examinination and contempation and application of scripture. It is not a matter of asceticism and the like, but setting mind on things above. Trials are meant to detach us from this world and set our longings and affectons on the future world. The crosses we are given to bear are like ladders by which the mind and heart ascend to heaven. To loosen us from the things of this world.

Calvin says where is true joy and lasting joy to be found. It is to be found in its true sense not in the things, relationships of this world because they will pale in comparision to the joy of being in the presence of God and see Christ in all his glory.

Third, a realization that heaven is the ultimate destiny. There is a sense in which we have been save, are being saved, and will be saved. Only in glory will we be saved from the last remnants of corruption and freed from that attacks of Satan. There is an eternal weight of glory being prepared. Real world is actually the unseen world of angels, church triumphant and Christ and God. For Calvin this is one of the glorious priveleges is that when troubles come it does not shake us because there is an underlying rock under our feet of our eternal home that can never be taken away. Yes, it will be painful, but those who believe can stand because they look to what cannot be shaken.

So how do we do this?

This is done in part by the portayal of this life as found in the Psalter. The psalms were basic to understanding the nature of this life. The Psalms are realistic. They deal with all of life in all it good and bad. We should sing all the psalms. They are completely realistic covering the whole spectrum of emotions. We need to sing the psalms or we miss out on the shape of reformed spirituality, and will not anticipate the world to come as we should.

Second, prayer. For Calvin the psalms are prayers. What does it mean when we pray. In it we are being drawn into heaven. In prayer the Spirit makes requests in groans that words cannot express, and carries us up to heaven. For Calvin God gives us the Spirit to enable us to pray. The Spirit works for us and with us to bring our feeble voices to the Father in heaven.