Thursday, February 27, 2014

...another part anemia, one part effeminacy, two parts stoner-mystique"

Doug Wilson has the following thoughtful comments on the new "Son of God" movie:

Let me also begin these comments by saying that I will do my level best to keep the Second Commandment out of this. This not because the Second Commandment is irrelevant — indeed, that commandment lurks in the background of all Jesus movies, as the great unspoken explanation for why these movies are so consistently lame. It might help you follow these comments if you know that my general outlook on these things is akin to the views of the Scots Covenanters, and my idea of an ecclesiastical relic is a Claymoor hanging in the narthex. So you will have to grant me some leeway on the subject.
That said, and judging by the trailer — which is what they want us to judge by, right? — we have yet another Jesus who perpetuates our perennial and mule-headed idea that holiness consists of one part anemia, one part effeminacy, two parts stoner-mystique, and one part slight constipation, this time with a British accent. But I don’t want a Russell Brand Jesus.

See the entire article here:

Monday, February 3, 2014

Lizziejank writes about her family rethinking the Sabbath....

Back when I was in high school my Dad became convicted that we should be honoring the Lord’s Day more than we had been. Having grown out of a Jesus people kind of church that met in the parks sometimes, we were growing into Christian traditions that were much older and unfamiliar, and often seemed painfully stuffy.

Read the whole article here:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Doug Wilson on the film Mercy Rule

This is what Wilson says:
here is a movie for the whole family you really ought to check out. It is called Mercy Rule, and here is a link that explains how to get it. I have seen it — it really is fantastic. Make sure to check out the trailer at the link.
We are ordering it today!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

When Fear is Rebellion

This morning we read Numbers 14 in family worship.  The spies have returned from scouting out the land: Though it is lush, the people are strong and the cities fortified.  Crying aloud and grumbling, the people   imagined all manner of horrors: "our wives and children will become prey."  But Caleb has no sympathy for these fears. In fact he calls the fear of the people 'rebellion.' He says that if God delights in them, he will bring them into the good land, and the people of the land will be "bread for us."  God had told them that he was giving them the land.  Going in was not presumptuous.  It was faith.
Similarly, when God tells us to go to all of the nations and preach the gospel, we must not let fear keep us back.  Such fear is rebellion.

Monday, January 13, 2014

"Moses will lend you a knife...." Advice to a young minister.

 In his book  five Christian leaders,  J.C. Ryle writes about John Berridge, an eccentric, humble, wise, kind and courageous man who preached during the time of Wesley and Whitefield.   Preaching wherever people would hear him, he was the means of bringing thousands to Christ.  Wouldn't you like to know what advice Berridge gave to a young pastor?  Ryle begins:
 I know few wiser and more comprehensive letters of advise to a young minister about a sermon than one (not dated) which Whittingham has inserted at the end of his collection. Among other things, he says: "When you open your commission, begin with laying open the innumerable corruptions of the hearts of your audience. Moses will lend you a knife, which may be often whetted at his grindstone. Lay open the universal sinfulness of men's natures, the darkness of the mind, the frowardness of the will, the fretfulness of the temper , and the earthliness and and sensuality of the affections. Speak of the evil of sin in its nature, its rebellion against God as our Sovereign, ingratitude to God as our Lawgiver, and contempt both of his authority and love. Declare the evil of sin in its effects, bringing all our sicknesses, pains and snares---all the evils we feel, and all the evils we fear."--"Lay open the spirituality of the law and its extent, reaching the every thought, word and action, and declaring every transgression, whether by omission or commission, deserving of death. Declare man's utter helplessness to change his nature, or make his peace."---"When your hearers are deeply affected with these things, which is often seen by the hanging down of their heads, then preach Christ. Lay open the Savior's almighty power to soften the hard heart and give it repentance, to bring pardon to the broken heart, a spirit of prayer to the prayerless heart, holiness to the filthy heart, and faith to the unbelieving heart. Let them know that all the treasures of grace are lodged in Jesus Christ for the use of the poor needy sinner, and that he is full of love as well as of power; turns no beggar from his gate, but receives all comers kindly; loves to bless them, and bestows all his blessings free. Here you must wave the gospel flag, and magnify the Savior supremely. Speak it with a full mouth, that his blood can wash away the foulest sins, and his grace subdue the stoutest corruptions. Entreat the people to seek his grace, to seek it directly, to seek it diligently, to seek it constantly; and acquaint them that all who thus seek shall assuredly find the salvation of God."

Friday, January 10, 2014

Give me the Konkombas' love for your Word, O Lord.

In Unafraid of the Sacred Forest, Ronaldo Lidorio tells the story of his church planting among the Konkomba tribe, an unreached people group in Ghana, Africa.    Especially touching is his account of the affection with which the people received the Word of God as it was being translated:

The hunger for the Word of God became clear even while people were still painstakingly learning to read. As they gathered in small groups they developed effective ways of hiding the Word in their hearts. One week everyone was memorizing Matthew 14:34-6 and they particularly liked the final part, 'and as many as touched it [the hem of Jesus' garment] were made perfectly well.' Some women repeated this short text over and over as they walked to the river to fetch water. Others repeated it while working in the plantations. Even the children were saying it as they played under the trees. The desire to know God's Word was so great that when people living in outlying villages forgot some of the Scriptures they were memorizing, they were prepared to walk several kilometers to the nearest believer to ask, 'How does that part go?' Christians set Bible verses to music, singing them repeatedly so they would not forget them. 
          Many people wanted to learn to read and write. In the evenings they would gather in a circle around a small fire and listen to each other reading portions of the Word to demonstrate what they had learned. No sooner had we begun to teach them to read than they started writing Bible verses all over the place: on jars, walls, trees, anywhere.They did this so they would not 'forget the Lord'. This love for the Scriptures, placing them at the heart of Church life was a wonderful indication to us of the way the Spirit was moving among the Konkombas.  

The Power of Sharing Your Pleasures

I have a habit -- good or bad, I am not sure -- of dipping into the middle of books.  It is sort of like fishing. You throw your line out into the middle of the water somewhere. Let me tell you, I have caught some whoppers.
Recently I was reading Talks to Girls by Eleanor A. Hunter.  Though I am not sure how gospel-centered the book is, there are some sweet words of wisdom.   Among them is this gem on sharing pleasures:

 ... there is no surer way to get a good influence over people than to let them share your pleasures. That new girl, for instance, who has just come to your school: she is rather shy and awkward perhaps; she does not look very interesting. Do not think you have done your duty by that girl when you have asked her to Sunday school and Christian Endeavor. Probably she will not accept such a formal invitation. But if you will not ask her to play tennis and to lunch with the other girls on some Saturday, she will believe in you and love you and will go with you anywhere you like.         Then did you ever think that there are people in this world---and some of them are young girls too---who never have any good times of their own? They have to work hard, and they know wha it is to have constant care and anxiety. Sometimes they catch glimpses of you, my happy girls, flitting along in your pretty clothes. They see your smiling faces now and then, they hear the cheerful ring of your voices as you pass by and that is all they know about good times. Think of them, and let them come within the charmed circle too, and give than a little taste of lighthearted happiness, to let them know you love them and sympathize with them.    I think God often teaches us by joy as well as sorrow, by pleasure as well as pain; and if we receive our good times unselfishly and thankfully as coming from His hand, we never need be afraid to take them, for we shall be nobler and better for every one which we enjoy.