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Browse Worthy: Engaging the Culture

I commend these posts with their resources that help us think Biblically and proactively about the cultural events roiling around us.

A Time to Speak – In an effort to promote “God’s multiethnic vision for the church,” The Gospel Coalition sponsored a streamed discussion the other day on the racial tensions in our land.  This post shows you the helpful resources and ongoing dialogue they are offering.

George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, You, and Me – As the Sony hackers put online not only movies but private records and correspondences,  Tim Challies offers these sobering thoughts for you to consider.

Moses without the Supernatural – Ridley Scott’s “Exodus:Gods and Kings” – With his typical insightful analysis, Al Mohler reveals the good, the bad, and the ugly about the new Exodus movie.

The Night Watcher

From a deep slumber, I awoke suddenly.  I lay in the dark wide awake, certainly no habit of mine.  The clock by our bed showed that it was one-thirty in the morning. In the depth of my sleep, my subconsciousness had alerted me that something unusual was taking place.

Above the sound of my wife’s gentle breathing and the drone of the fan in the hallway, I heard a sound. It was deep, mysterious, rhythmic.  After listening to it three or four times, I realized that what I was hearing was an owl.

We had heard them on a few occasions before. Their call reverberating through the woods fascinated us.  Yet attempts to spot them had been futile.   As I lay listening, I remembered my wife saying she had heard one recently. Having never seen an owl in the wild before, I was hopeful to do so this night.

So I slid out from beneath the covers, leaving my wife undisturbed.  I tiptoed over to the window and lifted the shade. The moon outside was full, casting a silvery glow on the woods behind our house.  The leafless trees stood there silhouetted against the night sky.  Each crook of their limbs and twigs […]

The Trinity’s Hymnbook (Part 2)

Uh-oh.

In preparing to teach a class at church this weekend, I realized what has been that nagging thought in the blog part of my conscience.  Toward the end of last year, I did a post entitled “The Trinity’s Hymnbook (Part 1),” which of course implies – and indeed promised – further installments which had not come before today.  As I remember it, we were in the process of moving the blog over to another site at that time.  So some delays moved my thinking to other areas. Regardless, part two is below.  

The first article looked at more direct references to the Trinity in the Psalms.  In this post, I want to take you “behind” the Psalter and look at what I believe is its greatest purpose as prophetical literature.  

Sorry for the delay.  However, a careful reading of the post did not say when I would write the next one!

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Knowing the purpose for which a book was written can make all the difference in understanding it, particularly when we read a book of the Bible.  For instance, knowing that the book of Proverbs shows a father writing instruction to his son, one who is on the verge of […]

A Hidden Treasure

One of the blessings I experience daily in my work at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary is chapel.  Each day, we pause from work and classes for a half hour to sing, pray, and hear God’s Word read and preached.  As we have more students from other nations than anytime in RPTS history, many of the wives and children of students living near the seminary attend, and there is a great spirit of fellowship in our community, chapel feels more than ever like a slice of heaven.

I realized recently that this is a blessing I could and should share with others.  RPTS has a its own YouTube channel of the messages that are preached each day, with the videos archived here. This relatively unknown site is a great resource to hear messages given by professors and students alike, helping the church hear what’s on the heart of the men that serve at RPTS as well as becoming familiar with up and coming preachers.  And given that the length of the messages are about twenty minutes or so, you can enjoy hearing these devotionals without a huge time commitment.

I thought I would provide a little sampling.  Immediately below is a wonderful […]

When the Spirit Flows

In Ezekiel 47:1-12, the Lord gives His prophet a vision of water flowing out from the temple in Jerusalem.  This imagery gives us a vivid, prophetic portrayal of the Spirit’s work in the church.   We see what types of things should be happening when the Spirit is at work among the people of the Lord.

All churches should be longing for, cooperating with, and seeking more of the Spirit’s work among us.  Yet what does that look like?  Here are four brief encouragements this passage gives us.

When the Spirit is flowing, what is centralized becomes universalized.

By this time in Ezekiel’s prophesy, Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed.  Yet in his vision he saw an idealized temple rebuilt with perfectly symmetrical measurements, with water that flowed out from its threshold.   The water was heading eastward, in the direction Adam had been sent out from the garden of Eden. These waters flowed out into the desert into the Dead Sea, and brought this body of water – so full of salt nothing can live in it – alive. This pictures for us that the sin and death that Adam had caused to flow into the world will now be overcome by the life and power of the Spirit.   Ezekiel was seeing the […]

Immigration and the Law of God

Toward the end of his speech last week on immigration, President Obama quoted from the Bible when he said:

Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too.

My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal — that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.

The outcry about the president using Scripture has been loud.  Some debated which Scripture he was quoting.  Conservatives appeared to be angry he used a Scripture quote, noting his failure to apply it in other situations such as same-sex marriages.  Predictably, liberals laughed more at the conservative reaction than questioning […]

A Great Pro-Life Idea

On a cold, wintry day in the early 1980’s, while a student at the University of Michigan, I participated in a pro-life march on campus.  As a brand new Christian, I wanted to witness publicly regarding my freshly experienced faith.  So as the snow fell, 10-15 of us walked silently and sheepishly across the campus, holding up amateurishly hand-painted signs made out of cardboard. One sign had a picture of an aborted baby stapled to it.  The rest had the typical slogans of the day.

“Abortion Kills a Child.”

“Abortion Hurts Women.”

“Adoption the Better Option.”

The next day in the student newspaper, a front page picture appeared of our group.  My presence was seen front and center, with a somewhat mocking article underneath.  Since the paper was printed on the very day of my January birth date, I kept a copy and took it home to show my parents, thinking they would find it amusing.  I remember being a bit shocked at their response.  My dad was not happy, and seriously warned me that my photo could be placed in government and employer files, making it difficult for me to find a job someday.  I was told that it was okay to have a private belief about this subject, but […]

Russell Moore Interview of Rosaria Butterfield

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Church held their national conference at the end of October on the topic of “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage.”  Russell Moore interviewed Rosaria Butterfield, author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.  You can watch this fascinating interview below.

Guardian Angels

When Peter was in prison awaiting his execution that was to take place the next day, we read in Acts 12 that the church conducted an all-night prayer service for him.  God responded, sending an angel to release him from his imprisonment. When Peter showed up at the door of the house where the prayer meeting was taking place and knocked to come in, the servant girl Rhoda was so astonished at his appearance that she left him there and ran to tell the others.  In a rather ironic moment in redemptive history, we are told the very people praying for Peter’s release denied it could be him.  “You’re out of your mind,” they told her (Acts 12:15).

In reading this, we might be tempted to shake our head at their unbelief.  Yet we ought to do so humbly rather than condescendingly if we do.  For what they said next is especially fascinating.  “When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, ‘It must be his angel.’” That the early church would rather think it was an angel at the door than Peter himself shows an acute awareness of the spiritual realm that they had which we moderns often lack.  Then, notice the […]

Browse Worthy: Challies on How to Get Things Done

Tim Challies is running a helpful series called “How to Get Things Done.”  As I’m finding the need to be more organized and productive in handling the various responsibilities the Lord has given to me, I’m thankful for posts like these that give helpful advice to that end.

Tim says that “productivity depends upon four tools: information tools, scheduling tools, task management tools, and communication tools.”  Here are his first eight columns.  Clearly more columns are yet to follow, but wanted to point you to this help now!

1) Productivity

2) Areas of Responsibility

3) Time, Energy, & Mission

4) Tools

5) Organization & Systems

6) Task Management

7) Information Management

8) Using Your Calendar Effectively