They were normal days in my homeschool world. An elementary student, I sat on the couch or at the table with my math book. I had mastered laziness. My first strategy was always to daydream. Then, after some prodding, I’d bellyache, maybe sob if needed. Phrases like “I need help” or “I can’t figure it out” were close friends. Read more
We have been promoting happily David Murray’s book Jesus on Every Page, as it is such a clear presentation of how we can see Jesus throughout all of Old Testament literature as the Lord said we could (Luke 22:44; John 5:39). Could it also be true that we can find “the church on every page” in the Old Testament, or at least the church on almost every page?
I believe so.
Of course this cuts against the grain of dispensational theology that grips much of the church today, which in itself is a sad irony as it leaves the church downplaying its very existence. You see, one of the key tenets of dispensationalism is the sharp distinction made between the nation of Israel and the church. This more than perhaps anything else is what distinguishes dispensational theology from covenant theology. Though many systems of dispensationalism exist, every form of which I am aware sees God’s plan for Israel as different from that of the church in one fundamental way. What is it? Dispensationalists see the Old Testament prophecies regarding Israel as fundamentally describing the physical nation of the Jews rather than the church of the New Covenant. Many dispensationalists would even go so far as to say the church is not prophesied about in the Old Testament and, based on their view of certain prophecies such as Daniel 7:24-27, deem the age of the church as “parenthetical,” i.e. not a major aspect of the overall plan of God. Read more
Positioned on a grassy hill, looking down on the stage where the musicians sang and played with artistic fervor, my heart could not help but yearn for heaven.
Last night, my wife and I, along with her sister, had the joy of attending a large concert.
At one point, I peered out over the crowd. Thousands upon thousands of people were spread across the landscape, hands raised, bouncing, their faces aglow from the flashing lights.
At that moment, my thoughts were lifted heavenward, and my heart ached. There we were, fixed in a mass of people, singing with delight, and yet, the delight fell short. My heart wanted more.
But what? Read more
Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. Last night, on our ride home from a cookout with friends, we saw Illinois license plates heading west, and Ohio plates heading east. Everyone was going home.
Sometimes we feel a letdown at the end of summer. Vacations refreshed us, mission trips expanded our vision, church conferences spurred us to greater growth. A holiday weekend provided an opportunity to be with family and friends. And now it ends. And we go home. Read more
One of my more enjoyable summer memories will be the morning I had a theological discussion with my daughter, Emory. She was asking about God’s will, particularly the question about how he can decree certain awful things to happen when it is clearly against his revealed will in the Bible for men to do these very things.
Think of the cross for instance. God clearly detests murder and deplored the unjust taking of his Son’s life. Yet he also clearly ordained it, for as Peter preached at Pentecost, “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23). The question is raised, “How can God not will murder but then have it as his will for Jesus to be murdered?”
Though I knew of a good article here discussing this problem of the “two wills of God,” or could have sent her to R.C. Sproul to have it taught, I gave her what first helped me with this matter. I plopped Calvin’s Institutes into her hands (Or did I send her an online link? My memory is not that good.) and encouraged her to read chapter 18 of Book One. Read more
To Christian college students who are settling into your dorm rooms: you can find ideas for dorm room set-up in places like this or learn about the cost here. But, those won’t necessarily help you think about how to make your new abode a place where people find grace. Students all around you are thinking, and their thinking is changing, and they are often open to spiritual truth in ways they never have been before. Often, that transformation begins through relationships where they live. The Apostle Paul was well pleased to impart to the Thessalonians not only the gospel of God, but also his own life – so is your room arranged to impart grace?
Every experience is different; I only have my own, which was with a Christian roommate on the campus dormitory of a large, public university. However, the nature of humanity remains the same across different campuses. The attached picture is a floor plan of my dorm room at Purdue that the university gave incoming students so we could plan (just rediscovered in an old file). In our two years together at Cary Quad East 331, my roommate and I prayed that the Lord would give us great ministry opportunities in that room, and we tried to plan for it. Our gracious Lord gave us some of the greatest opportunities and memories college students could want.
Some of you are engaged in ministry for Jesus Christ more faithfully and effectively than we ever were, and that’s really exciting to see. If the following suggestions can help you excel still more in the life and ministry that runs through your dorm room, I will rejoice: Read more
Brothers and sisters, we must be more vigilant. With our kids, with our families, with our Facebook accounts, with our texts, with our tweets, with our own eyes and hearts. Are we any different than the culture? Have we made a false peace with ourselves whereby we have said, we won’t do the things you do or be as sensual as you are, but we will gladly watch you do them for us? The kinds of things Paul wouldn’t even mention, the sort of sins he wouldn’t dare joke about, the behaviors too shameful to even name—we hear about them in almost every sitcom and see them on screens bigger than our homes. Here is worldliness as much as anywhere in the Christian life. Try turning off the television and staying away from the movies for a month and see what new things you see when you come back. I fear many of us have become numb to the poison we are drinking. When it comes to sexual immorality, sin looks normal, righteousness looks very strange, and we look a lot like everybody else.
This post from Kevin DeYoung (an excerpt from the book The Hole in our Holiness…the Kindle version is on sale for $2.99!), is well worth the few minutes it would take to read. As our nation continues its breathless sprint away from God’s law, the church can either just keep a few steps behind or we can grow in our holiness, letting the increasing separation between us and our society’s sins bear the light of Christ’s holiness in a dark world.
The prophets repeatedly used the metaphor of drunkenness in describing godless leaders of nations abusing power. Examples abound. Here are just a few.
In Isaiah 19:13-14, the prophet said of Pharaoh and his counselors:
The princes of Zoan have become fools, and the princes of Memphis are deluded; those who are the cornerstones of her tribes have made Egypt stagger. The Lord has mingled within her a spirit of confusion, and they will make Egypt stagger in all its deeds, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit.
Jeremiah had this to say to the political and religious leaders of Jerusalem:
Then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord: Behold, I will fill with drunkenness all the inhabitants of this land: the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem’ (Jeremiah 13:13).
This prophetical language was not limited to the Old Testament. The apostle John said of the kings throughout the Roman Empire:
The kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk (Revelation 17:2). Read more
Marshal McLuhan was the one who coined the phrase “the medium is the message” back in the 1960′s. In his book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, he explains what he meant:
This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium – that is, of any extension of ourselves – result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.
What McLuhan was getting at is that there is more to the use of new forms of media than just the obvious ones, i.e., the telephone allowed us to communicate over long distances or the television provided the opportunity to watch a drama in your living room. Though dramatic, these type of changes are the more static ones that these forms of media brought in their day. McLuhan’s thesis, certainly one that is readily observed once we become aware of it , is that new media also dynamically shape the people and culture that use them, often with unforeseen consequences. Certainly Alexander Graham Bell did not want to discourage people in writing letters, allow others to listen in on the secret conversations of others, or to help gossip spread faster, yet those are just a few of the numerous consequences of the telephone. The medium does not just deliver the message, but shapes those who use it in positive and negative ways. Read more
It’s no secret that the book of Revelation loves its numbers, but you may not have realized just how much. In his commentary on Revelation, Gregory Beale (using some insights from Richard Bauckham) highlights some of the ways Revelation uses the numbers 4, 7, 12–each are numbers signifying fullness and completion. In addition to the most obvious (seven bowl, seven trumpets, etc.), there are numbers and patterns of those numbers skillfully woven throughout the book. Read more
Congratulations to Rachel in Massachusetts and Debbie in Indiana for being the first two to submit the winning answers to our Jesus on Every Page book give-away! We appreciate every one who listened and participated.
If you want to see what a modern day prophet looks like, then watch this video of one man in Orlando whom the Lord is using to save the unborn. John Barros refused to be filmed for over a year, but then his wife convinced him to allow it for the sake of the greater church. John says about himself:
As you can see I do not look like Brad Pitt, more like Shrek. I’m handicapped in many ways but Jesus loves to use broken vessels.
It is not uncommon to hear Christians say something like “Maybe persecution would be good for the church in our culture.” Certainly, the church of Jesus Christ in the West has too-often strayed from Biblical truth in recent decades and centuries, in spite of enjoying great peace and freedom. Now, we see the judgment of God in our culture in various ways as a result. Some people are bracing for intense persecution of the church as a presumed certainty. Would it be good for the church today? God alone knows, and he will accomplish all his holy purpose.
A better question for us to ask is “What kind of attitude should we have towards persecution and the future of the church in the West?” Some Christians almost seem to have a “bring it on!” attitude because of the purification that has come in past ages through such suffering. The motive is not all wrong; people want to see Jesus glorified, and they are willing to die for it. There is also a desire for purity and holiness. However, those desires must be shaped by the pure and holy word of God. So, what kind of attitude should we have toward persecution and the future of the church in the West? Here are five truths that will help shape our attitude: Read more
“The son trudges uphill, bearing wood for his own sacrifice; his father has decided to give him up to death. What biblical event does this bring to mind? Is it Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22, or Christ’s passion in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? The kinship between these two stories is deeper than mere coincidence. Christ is present in the story of Abraham and Isaac. In fact, he is present on every page of the Old Testament…”
So writes Dr. David Murray in his new book Jesus on Every Page: 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament.
When I first read those stirring words, I was immediately captured by the imagery. God’s preparations for the arrival of His Son are awe-inspiring! History is a canvas, and God is an artist infusing events with multi-layered meaning. He uses pictures to foreshadow Christ- pictures through poetry, pictures through stories, pictures through law, covenants, events, human lives. God is not unimaginative. He is the kind of artist who doesn’t simply use red paint, He creates the very color itself. What a wonderful thing!
And yet, for all the brilliance, sometimes we miss it.
Thankfully, however, God has raised up voices to help show us the way. David Murray is one such voice.
Today we’re pleased to bring you an interview with Dr. Murray, author of the book Jesus on Every Page. Barry and I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion, and as we dive into a few of the details of this helpful work, we trust you’ll be encouraged as well.
To download, click here: David Murray Interview
We would like to also provide you with an opportunity to receive a free copy of the book. It is simple. If you look to your right, you will notice on the sidebar a section designated “Gentle Answers.” Simply fill in your name, provide your email, and answer the following question (which can be found in the interview): What passage does Dr. Murray cite as an example of an obscure or challenging text prefiguring Christ?
The first two correct answers will receive a free copy.
If you would like to order a copy of his book, do check out the following webpage to obtain extra goodies: http://jesusoneverypage.com/
Also, for a helpful review of the book, Barry York has written a brief post on the subject here.