Sunday, September 26, 2010

Recently Read

Just finished a great read: "True Spirituality" by Francis Schaeffer. Highly recommended! Here's a link

Sunday, June 29, 2008

It's a Beemer!

The latest addition to the Parker family arrived June 28, 2008, weighing 517 lbs. and 87 ins. long. Beemer is in perfect health, for its age, having a former life that began in 1984... its a classic, folks!
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Being the Church in the Postmodern World

"In the hand of God, the biblical Word is a fearsome weapon, "sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." And thus it is, Hebrews says, as we stand in the presence of God by its work, that everything is "laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do" (Heb. 4:12-13). Is it too much to hope that the evangelical Church can yet again recover its moral seriousness, that it can recover its vision of the holiness of God, its trust in the greatness of his power? This is the key, strange as it may seem, to Christian effectiveness in the postmodern world. It is the reform of the Church of which we stand in need, not the reform of the Gospel. We need the faith of the ages, not the reconstructions of a therapeutically driven or commercially inspired faith. And we need it, not least, because without it our postmodern world will become starved for the Word of God." (David F. Wells, "Losing Our Virtue", pg. 209)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Godly Ambition

Ambition is sometimes viewed negatively. Godly ambition, on the other hand, is something every Christian should cultivate. John R. W. Stott has hit the nail on the head in his book, "The Message of the Sermon on the Mount":

"Everybody is ambitious to be or to do something, often from early years. Childhood ambitions tend to follow certain stereotypes - e.g. to be a cowboy, astronaut or ballerina. Adults have their own narrow sterotypes too - e.g. to be wealthy, famous or powerful. But ultimately there are only two possible ambitions for human beings... just as there are only two kinds of piety, the self-centered and the God-centered, so there are only two kinds of ambition: one can be ambitious either for oneself or for God. There is no third alternative.

"Ambitions for self may be quite modest (enough to eat, to drink and to wear, as in the Sermon) or they may be grandiose (a bigger house, a faster car, a higher salary, a wider reputation, more power). But whether modest of immodest, these are ambitions for myself - my comfort, my wealth, my status, my power.

"Ambitions for God, however, if they are to be worthy, can never be modest. There is something inherently inappropriate about cherishing small ambitions for God. How can we ever be content that he should acquire just a little more honour in the world? No. Once we are clear that God is King, then we long to see him crowned with glory and honour, and accorded his true place, which is the supreme place. We become ambitious for the spread of his kingdom and righteousness everywhere."

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Blasphemy Challenge

I stumbled upon the following 'challenge' the other day:

A great first response from former atheist Doug Powell:

A followup response:

Doug is a talented musician whose website can be accessed here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Good News, but not what you think it is...

Trevin Wax: Could you give us a brief definition of “the gospel”?

N.T. Wright: I could try taking a Pauline angle. When Paul talks about “the gospel,” he means “the good news that the crucified and risen Jesus is the Messiah of Israel and therefore the Lord of the world.” Now, that’s about as brief as you can do it.

The reason that’s good news… In the Roman Empire, when a new emperor came to the throne, there’d obviously been a time of uncertainty. Somebody’s just died. Is there going to be chaos? Is society going to collapse? Are we going to have pirates ruling the seas? Are we going to have no food to eat? And the good news is, we have an emperor and his name is such and such. So, we’re going to have justice and peace and prosperity, and isn’t that great?!

Now, of course, most people in the Roman Empire knew that was rubbish because it was just another old jumped-up aristocrat who was going to do the same as the other ones had done. But that was the rhetoric.

Paul slices straight in with the Isaianic message: Good news! God is becoming King and he is doing it through Jesus! And therefore, phew! God’s justice, God’s peace, God’s world is going to be renewed.

And in the middle of that, of course, it’s good news for you and me. But that’s the derivative from, or the corollary of the good news which is a message about Jesus that has a second-order effect on me and you and us. But the gospel is not itself about you are this sort of a person and this can happen to you. That’s the result of the gospel rather than the gospel itself.

It’s very clear in Romans. Romans 1:3-4: This is the gospel. It’s the message about Jesus Christ descended from David, designated Son of God in power, and then Romans 1:16-17 which says very clearly: “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God unto salvation.” That is, salvation is the result of the gospel, not the center of the gospel itself.

Let’s be clear about this because many Christians in the evangelical tradition use words like “conversion,” “regeneration,” “justification,” “born-again,” etc. all as more or less synonyms to mean “becoming a Christian from cold.” In the classic Reformed tradition, the word “justification” is much more fine-tuned than that and has to do with a verdict which is pronounced, rather than with something happening to you in terms of actually being born again. So that I’m actually much closer to some classic Reformed writing on this than some people perhaps realize.

Let me put it like this. In Paul (and this is really a Pauline conversation, after all), what happens is that the word of the gospel is announced. That is to say, Jesus Christ is proclaimed – one-on-one or in a large meeting or out on the street or whatever, and even though that message is crazy (and Paul knows it’s crazy; he says it’s folly to Gentiles and a scandal to Jews), some people find that it grabs them and they believe it. This is bizarre. I shouldn’t be believing this. A dead man got raised from the dead and he’s the Lord of the world. I really shouldn’t believe this, but it does make sense. And it finds me and I can feel it changing me. Paul’s analysis of that is that this is the power of the word (he has a strong theology of the word), and another equal way of saying it for Paul is that this is the Holy Spirit working through the gospel. He says, no one can say that Jesus Christ is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

So, the Holy Spirit is the One who through the Word does the work of grace which is the transformative thing, and the first sign of that new life is faith.

The above was found here.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Humor as a Weapon

Surfing the net the other day, I came across this:

After thinking on it for a while, I am wondering if perhaps our best weapon against Islamic Fascism might be ridicule. Consider:

"Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. 'Let us break their chains,' they say, 'and throw off their fetters.' The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them..." Psalms 2:1-4

Maybe if our Hollywood elites would get behind a campaign to unmercifully ridicule the Islamofascists, as they often do with Christian fundamentalists, we could get some traction in driving Osama even further into hiding... On the other hand, they may be more afraid of Osama than they are of Pat Robertson...