A Movie

Movie recommendations are fickle. Not only do interests vary, but so do consciences. So if you do not want to have your emotions pulled in painful directions, and if you harbor concerns about the content, which isn’t disqualifying in my mind, then save yourself a few dollars and do not stream this movie.

But if you do want to feel the heart-breaking pain of a child lost in Calcutta, as well as the emotional struggles that typically attend adoption, then the powerful film, Lion, is a perfect fit.

It is a story rooted in truth. It is a story that will make you cry. And it is a story that will make you want to help. Thankfully, there are ways to help. But I leave that for you to consider after watching it.

I do not want to say much more, as it is best to go into movies knowing as little as possible.

So again, the movie is Lion. It has an 8.1 on IMDB and an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes.


3GT Episode 42: The Glories of Ecclesiology

It’s summertime, and that means one thing. The ecclesiastical courts are in session! Across the country, various denominations are gathering for their annual meetings. A visitor to another assembly, Barry describes what it was like to be a little RP minnow in the big PCA pond. Kyle leads the guys in a discussion on the types of church governance, and explains why we should not roll our eyes about this topic. Aaron explains how he appreciates the representative nature of being a Presbyterian. The 3GTers go on and do more than just offer the biblical and practical necessities of presbyterianism – they glory in it and invite you to so as well!

Listen and learn with the guys as they seek to bring life to what many view as a dry topic!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/3gt-episode-42.mp3

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You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!


The Gospel Reformation Network

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Presbyterian Church in America‘s General Assembly in Greensboro, NC. Held in the spacious accommodations of the Khoury Convention Center, the week had a feel of a reunion to it. PCA ministers and elders greeted one another warmly and enjoyed extended fellowship with one another. Many of the men brought their families with them, and the wives and children would mill about as they waited on their dad to rejoin them after a meeting. As a guest, I was made to feel welcome throughout the week.

The deliberations and events surrounding the gathering of this nation’s largest conservative Presbyterian denomination were quite remarkable. Observing meetings and debates held in an assembly that is three times the size of the House of Representatives was quite an experience. Walking down hallways and regularly seeing leading Christian teachers and authors such as Tim Keller, Bryan Chapell, or Kevin DeYoung made me realize again just how “resource rich” the PCA truly is. Over a hundred exhibitors of Christian ministries filled a ballroom and spilled over into other hallways with booths offering literature, products for sale, or little freebies (the RUF tin can mints was the best give-away item […]


Fearing Christianity?

It seems that in the western world there is one category of people not particularly allowed to voice an opinion; one category of people that should be denied office at all costs.

Would that be people with a track record of lying to the public? No. People with a track record of breaking their promises? Nope. People with a history of political violence? Nope again.

What about people who come from a tradition which established schools for all children, brought an end to slavery, built hospitals and hospices, elevated women’s rights, fought racism, put an end to widow burning and cannibalism, alleviated poverty, and much more?

Absolutely—they shouldn’t be let within a beagle’s gowl* of anything political—who knows what sort of damage they might do! Former American Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders typified this attitude last week. He was part of a panel interviewing nominees for the role of deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The problem for Sanders was that nominee Russell Vought had once written that Muslims stand condemned before God because they don’t acknowledge Jesus as the way to God. Sanders pressed him and pressed him on this issue of condemnation, despite the fact that it’s been […]


Guilty!

Two weeks ago a close member of my family was sentenced to a three and a half year prison sentence for drugs related offences. Although it wasn’t a complete surprise, nevertheless the news when it came was still naturally shocking and distressing. As I’ve had some time to process things I thought I’d write a little about some of the things the Lord has been teaching me over these weeks.

A newfound appreciation of the sovereign wisdom of God. For years we have been praying for this family member to be converted, and our prayer has always been, ‘Lord, do whatever it takes to save him.’ In the last five or ten years, as we’ve watched him go from bad to worse and seen his stubborn unwillingness to change, it’s become increasingly clear that unless God graciously stopped him in his tracks by conversion, only something like a prison sentence would be enough to get him off the road of self-destruction he was hurtling down. And so, ever since he was charged with these offences back in March and the likelihood of a prison sentence loomed, we haven’t really been praying that he would be acquitted, but rather that God would […]


The Ordinary and the Extraordinary: How God works in summer camps and conferences

It’s the season for summer church camps and conferences. Our presbytery will host its conference soon. God’s word will be proclaimed in a setting unique from the rest of life. Christians will retreat from their regular callings to spend a block of time worshiping together, hearing and discussing God’s work, and enjoying fellowship together over meals and between the lines on fields or courts of play. Young people’s hearts will be drawn-out in counseling group discussions. They will be challenged to commit themselves to the Lord in response to his word, especially at the end of the week.

We must not abuse the setting to evoke emotionally derived responses, but we should also recognize that the Lord does work though these extended meetings to settle our hearts and minds for a few days, to immerse us in his word, and to change us.

The Lord stirred my heart afresh at one particular conference when I was in high school. I vividly remember how the Lord met me there through his word and by his Spirit. The change that came in me was evident in the months that followed and still is to this day.

So, recently, I was fascinated to stumble across my […]


The Good Life

The following article is a guest post from Emily Moore, co-founder of Psalter Project, a community resource for singing the psalms with fresh arrangements of faithful translations. Emily and her brother, Pastor Derek Moore, desire to see the broader church know and sing the psalms. Their latest album The Good Life is now available – just click the link.

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Who doesn’t want to be happy?  “The pursuit of happiness” is such a basic aspect of human nature that it is considered an inalienable right in the U.S. Constitution.  So when we think of “the good life,” what typically comes to mind are some key ingredients to a pleasure-filled life: health, wealth, and popularity.

However, the psalms give us a radically different picture of what a truly good life looks like.  It’s not just a different means to an end; the goal itself is redefined.  Contrary to our natural instinct, the good life is not essentially found in happiness.  God is the fountain of life (Ps 36:9) and the source of pleasure that will last forever (Ps 16:11).  Our good depends on God’s nearness (Ps 73:28).

Psalm 103 puts it this way: God is the one “who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your […]


In it for the long haul?

Just back from an unexpected house visit at the end of a 3rd hot sunny day in Nantes (I can sense you feel my pain!).

We were just finishing our evening meal with our host missionary couple, when the phone went – a separated, middle-aged, French lady was on the other end of the line: she needed a male hand lifting a washing-machine out of her apartment and putting into her car boot (trunk).

This lady turned out to be a long-term, 25 year, contact – she hadn’t been seen or heard of for quite some time. However, even though we were a little skeptical as to the value of accepting the challenge, off the three of us went, to help her bear the weight.

Once the fuse had been replaced (she hadn’t mentioned that in the call, and none of us are electrically minded), the power turned on, and the washing-machine transferred as required, suddenly, and surprisingly, we began to get into a conversation about the Jeremiah, Israel, Christ and the Bible. For almost thirty minutes we talked in-depth about spiritual matters.

What was the verdict of the missionary? Well he was genuinely, pleasantly, delighted: “The best conversation we’ve had with her in […]


Mercies in Mission

This is just a brief ‘diary entry’ after day 2 of my current pastoral visit to two missionary families in Nantes, West France.

After waking up late and bleary-eyed on Friday morning (having tried unsuccessfully to stay awake for the UK General Election results the night before), I grabbed a bite of breakfast, a mug of coffee, and headed off to our Team Meeting.

I began our time by reading Romans 1.1-17. I briefly stressed Paul’s note of thanksgiving and desire for mutual encouragement expressed in v7-12, in their saving Gospel faith v16-17, which is located in the promised, incarnate, risen, glorified Christ v1-6:

“To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long […]


Don’t Become a Hobbit! (Unless God calls you to)

In times of significant cultural upheaval, it’s common and eminently understandable to seek whatever stability and calm we can find within our lives and to do some good soul searching about the way we’ve chosen to structure them.  Are we contributing or perhaps even capitulating to the nervous, noisy way of life we see all around us?  In a cultural moment tyrannized by all things digital and overloaded with a constant bombardment of information, so much of it shallow-minded if not salacious, have we neglected a simpler, more richly satisfying and God-honoring way of life?  Have we unknowingly – or perhaps knowingly! – imbibed the fuss and fury of a fallen world put on fast forward? These are important questions to consider, and I’m afraid certain trends among Christians are offering overly simplistic answers in their worthy quest for a simple life filled with spiritual substance.