26 June 2015

This 'n' That

Source
I've written before about the church bells near my office that play hymns at certain hours of the day. Not long ago, I happened to be outside at noon again when the carillon began playing 'How Great Thou Art'. Realizing it was midday already, I looked over toward the cafeteria. There stood that day's food truck and a rather lengthy line of hungry patrons, eager to dine on anything other than the typical cafeteria offerings. I couldn't help but wonder how many of them, as they waited for their food or for their turn to order, even noticed the bells in the background, and if so, if they realized how God was being praised through the beautiful music and the rich, captivating lyrics that were implied.

How many unregenerate people go about each day without giving their Creator a first thought, let alone a second? I daresay it is the vast majority, for although they know God, they do not honor Him as God or give Him thanks (Romans 1:21) for the common grace that He is good to bestow on them. They have no concern for the One who not only gave them life, but continues to give them life. Even worse, they live each day without care for tomorrow, even though tomorrow could find them face to face with this God who is their Judge.

In short, I was so thankful for the bells that declared the glory of God that day, but that also offered me a sobering reminder of the urgency of the hour. Lord, make us faithful to declare Your gospel to all who may hear.

With that, I do believe it is time for you to take a few moments to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

20 June 2015

Equipping Eve: The Submissive Wife (Part 2)

In this episode of Equipping Eve, Erin continues her discussion of biblical submission and of the recently-aired reality show, Submissive Wives. Is being a submissive wife all about checking off the right boxes? Is it all 5-course meals and blind catering to every whim? Or is there more to God's design for marriage?

Click here to listen to the latest episode of Equipping Eve.

Click here for a list of resources mentioned in this episode of Equipping Eve.

Further Listening
Equipping Eve: The Submissive Wife (Part 1)

19 June 2015

This 'n' That

Ducks! Baby ducks might possibly be one of the most adorable of God's creatures. And this week, a family of ducks appeared at my bird feeder.

This has been an ongoing saga over the past few weeks. There is a pond not far from my house, which means the bird feeder in my backyard feeds the fun pond residents (i.e., ducks) and not the annoying ones (i.e., geese). A few weeks ago, a pair of Mallards appeared, but the male was clearly injured. He hobbled on his leg, and it was evident that it was not going to heal anytime soon. It wasn't long before the female started visiting alone (here is where I would insert a frowny face if I were one to use emoticons in my blogging). She faithfully feeds every morning and evening but this week, she brought a few more mouths with her:

video

Doesn't it make you smile? And here we see a gracious illustration of God's provision for His creation. Here is a momma duck who has lost her mate, and yet God provides sustenance for her and her ducklings. They have safe shelter near water and an endless, guaranteed buffet just up the road. Not only is this a gift to these unknowing animals, but it is a gift to my household. Though it was sad to watch the male as he grew weaker, to see the faithful return of the female and now to watch as she instinctively cares for her young ones is an immeasurable joy. God is so good, for if He will care for the birds, surely He will care for those whom He has adopted into His family.

Well, it feels like it's been kind of a slow week out there in Internet world. Perhaps that's because I was largely detached from my computer for most of the week due to work obligations, or perhaps I'm simply growing immune to the madness. Whatever the reason, be warned that this week's roundup is a bit skinny. But hey, it's summer, and we all like to be a little skinnier in the summer, don't we? And if you decide to find a spot where you can feed some ducks this weekend, may I suggest that you offer them cracked corn and not bread? But before you take that excursion, first take some time to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

12 June 2015

This 'n' That

I was reading some articles this week about Bill Gothard. I think one of my favorite stories is about the 1986 Cabbage Patch craziness. Apparently, Gothard claimed that Cabbage Patch dolls were evil and were causing destructive behavior in children. These symptoms could only be alleviated if the dolls were removed or destroyed. Further, stories were told by a midwife that mothers in labor suddenly experienced quick and easy delivery once Cabbage Patch dolls and troll dolls were removed from the home. Why do I get the feeling that Gothard may have watched 'Child's Play' a few too many times? Or maybe he was traumatized by this episode of The Twilight Zone:


Look, I get it, dolls are creepy. I'll never understand people who collect them because, let's face it, few things are more disturbing than walking into a room and feeling 50 sets of glass eyes fixed on you. But it's tragic to think how many people and families have been influenced by Gothard and his teachings. Christian, be discerning. Test all things against Scripture. If you do, you'll find Gothard's bizarre legalism simply does not align. And ladies, don't go digging through boxes to find your old Cabbage Patch doll so that you can burn it. Chances are the fumes that would be released by the burning plastic would be more detrimental than Gothard's imaginary Cabbage Patch demons.

Okay, now that we've all been sufficiently creeped out by talking dolls, let's step back and start off the weekend the right way, by enjoying the week in review (kind of):

06 June 2015

Equipping Eve: The Submissive Wife (Part 1)


"Wives, be subject to your own husbands..." Sometimes Ephesians 5:22 can be a loaded verse, especially in the eyes of the world. A reality show called Submissive Wives recently aired and was touted as offering a depiction of what a biblically submissive marriage looks like. What is biblical submission, and did the women in this show accurately reflect it?

Click here to listen to the latest episode of Equipping Eve.

Click here for a list of resources mentioned in this episode of Equipping Eve.

Additional Resources
Equipping Eve: Life Verses and Labyrinths

05 June 2015

This 'n' That

I was driving home from work this week and noticed that the car next to me was labeled "Student Driver." Poor kid. There he was, hands at 10 and 2, and a wee bit white-knuckled if you ask me. I suppose evening rush hour can do that to even the most veteran of drivers, though. And as I passed him I thought, "You know, if you put me in a precarious driving situation with construction and narrow lanes and semi trucks barreling down on me, I think I'd feel just as nervous as this 16-year-old, even though I've been driving for as long as he's been alive." And then I thought about how, every now and then, I still feel like a student driver on the road of the Christian life. Yes, that's right, I am about to turn that poor student driver into a lame illustration.

We've all been there, haven't we? It doesn't matter how long we've been a Christian, there are times when trials or circumstances simply leave us feeling as though our response was inadequate, our prayers were feeble, and our trust in the Lord was faltering. By God's grace we may know that we are not mere student drivers on this road, but sometimes we cannot help but feel this way. It is these times that we must remember from whom we draw our strength, namely the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9). And when we open His Word and are reminded of His promises and of His care for His own, we find our spiritual strength is reinvigorated and renewed. Christian, are you feeling like a student driver? You have been equipped with all you need to navigate the road upon which God has placed you in this life. Open His Word and drink deeply from the well of truth. Get on your knees and draw near to your God. He will provide the strength you need to endure whatever you face.

Well, since we are talking about driving, I hope you're not driving as you read this. If you are, stop (stop reading, not driving), but when you finally reach your destination it might be a good idea to pause and enjoy your week in review (kind of):

04 June 2015

Learning to Meditate at Tim Keller's Redeemer Presbyterian Church


**UPDATE** 4 JUNE 2015
Upon publication of this article, the following conversation occurred via Twitter. The entire conversation may be viewed by clicking here. The reader will note that Tim Keller stopped responding after I sent this tweet noting that the source material for this article was derived from information posted on his own church website, as well as a book written by the author in question and the educational institution from which she earned her "spiritual director" credentials.


ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, has long been beloved by many evangelicals. Over the course of his ministry, he has somehow managed to deftly please both liberal and conservative Christians alike. He has been hailed as a leader among the Reformed movement. His books can be found on the tables of conferences everywhere.

And yet, over time, some have grown increasingly concerned about Keller. Of particular interest is Keller's obvious affinity for the contemplative. Even a cursory glance at the website of Redeemer Presbyterian leads one to the conclusion that Keller encourages Christians to engage in contemplative prayer practices.

Says Christian Research Network:
Contemplative prayer (also referred to as centering prayer, breath prayer, meditation or listening prayer) is one of the most esteemed spiritual disciplines taught in spiritual formation. In both practice and purpose, contemplative prayer stands in contrast with what Scripture teaches about prayer. (Source)
Articles appearing on the website of Redeemer Presbyterian include such titles as "Meditation: Not So Mysterious" by Jan Johnson and "First, You Listen: Discover the Key to Learning What's On God's Heart" by Lee Brase. What are these teachings, are they biblical, and why are they being promoted by a top "Reformed" evangelical leader? The first two questions may be answered with easily determinable fact. The final question, of course, can only be answered by speculation. The reader is urged, then, to take the information that follows and draw his own informed conclusions, not merely about Keller or Redeemer Presbyterian, but about the practices that are described.