29 October 2017

Equipping Eve: Gospel Anathemas

There is a lot of talk among professing Christians, some of whom are influential figures, about unity with the Roman Catholic Church. In this episode, we’ll explore why the gospel of Roman Catholicism and the biblical gospel cannot be united.

Resources (link does not necessarily equal endorsement)

Further Listening 

Sunday Morning Praise

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

27 October 2017

This 'n' That

Well, Reformation Day is almost here. Do you have your Martin or Katie Luther costume ready? Or are you going as one of the Swiss Reformers? I mean, surely you are dressing up, aren't you? I'm pretty sure only unsaved people don't dress up as Reformers for Reformation Day.

Yes, I'm kidding. No, I'm not dressing up. I'm not attending a Reformation party. Yes, I know, now I'll have to spend more time in purgatory. It's fine, though, because I hear that spending time in imaginary places isn't all that bad.

Source: Monergism
It is exciting to think that the Reformation has been ongoing (yes, ongoing, because the gospel is always under attack) for 500 years. Unfortunately, there has been a sort of Reformation reversal over the decades. Even more unfortunately, many professing Christians have either determined to remain indifferent or, even worse, have opted to join and progress this denial of Reformation doctrine (that is, biblical doctrine). That is why we must never cease to stand firm in the face of false teaching. Whether it is the false and damning doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, or the deceitful and equally deceiving principles of the prosperity gospel or the watered-down seeker-sensitive gospel, we must remain faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel that we are saved by grace alone, by faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

As we remain faithful to these core doctrines, we must not be afraid to rebuke the false. At the same time, we must be mindful of our methods and our motivation as we do so. Above all, we must, in the midst of our faithfulness to the truth, not neglect to proclaim with boldness and compassion the truth of the gospel to those who are in bondage to these lies. Faithfulness to the truth is far more than condemning the false, it is proclaiming that same truth by which we measure true and false in the first place.

Okay, while I go put the finishing touches on my Reformation wall mural (my dining room is going to look fantastic when it's finished), why don't you sit back and spend a few minutes enjoying your Reformation-themed week in review (kind of):

21 October 2017

Pray for Jess

There is a young woman—a wife, a mother, a daughter—whose time on this earth may be cut short, from our human perspective. She, like far too many, is fighting cancer. It has been a long battle. She grows worse each day.

I cannot imagine.

Such a schedule would weary the strongest of men, but one can nary imagine what this young woman experiences physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Not only is she fighting a physical battle for her own life, she is fighting that same fight for her two young boys. What mother could endure the thought of leaving her children behind, especially at a young age? What woman would be content to bid her husband goodbye, destined to never live out the Golden Years beside one another?

I cannot imagine.

To God's great glory, this woman is saved. She knows her Savior; she serves her Lord, Jesus Christ. She and her husband both love the Lord and trust in—no doubt lean on—His sovereignty, even in tragedy. They have a loving church family and friends. God has provided richly, yet the physical trial remains.

Still, I cannot imagine.

The purpose of this post is simple. It is to ask you to pray. Pray for Jess. Pray for her husband, Chuck. Pray for her children. I am not asking that you pray for her healing in this life, though of course such a miracle would be welcome. Rather, I ask you to pray for comfort and peace for this woman, her husband, and her children. I ask that you pray that the great gospel of grace of salvation in Jesus Christ alone would be made evident in their lives, and that this same gospel would perhaps bring salvation to others who are watching. I ask you to praise God for the testimony of this woman's life and to pray for His continued glory in even the darkest circumstances.

Jess is not the first young mother to be stricken with cancer and she certainly will not be the last. But she is a name we now know, a sister for whom we can specifically pray, and friends, that is a blessed privilege.

You should know that I do not know Jess personally. She, even in her illness, has ministered to members of my family. I have seen a mutual friendship, care, and love; the testimony of her life, then, has even ministered to me from afar. So I join you in praying from a distance, but I do ask you to pray. We serve a mighty and magnificent God. May the Good Shepherd of Jess' soul bring her a comfort beyond comprehension.

*This post was cross-blogged at Equipping Eve.

20 October 2017

This 'n' That

It's Friday. Again. Is it just me, or are the weeks going by faster lately? In some ways, that's good, because most of us prefer the weekend to weekdays anyway. In other ways, it's not preferable, because we feel as though there is never enough time to get everything done.

Work or school (or both), church, family, extracurricular activities, doctor appointments, errands (do we really need to eat a meal or is popcorn sufficient?), chores, eating, sleeping...all of these things take time. Some of them undoubtedly involve too much of our time and others are no doubt neglected.

I often think of the story of Mary and Martha. I am no hostess, but I can identify with Martha wanting to get everything done as she did. I think most of us can, even if we step outside the context of hostessing and hospitality. Which is why, of course, I love Mary's role in this story.
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
We can be doing well; we can be serving, whether in our local church or by serving our family or even by striving to reflect Christ as a good employee, and we can still miss the good part. No, we cannot spend our entire day in Bible study and prayer, but we can be careful about our priorities. We can be deliberate about spending time with the Lord. Above all else, then, let's be mindful that we are choosing the good part.

And while I certainly consider this weekly post to be something good, don't let it distract you from what is truly good. If you do have a few extra minutes, though, I hope you spend them enjoying your week in review (kind of):

18 October 2017

Equipping Eve: Reformation Reversal, Part 2

A recent Pew survey reveals that many professing protestants do not actually know or understand what they believe. 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, but is it possible that there has been a steady reversal of the reformation over the years? In this episode, we’ll continue our discussion from last time, emphasizing the need for Christians to know what they believe by knowing what God has said in His Word.

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

To access the Pew research survey referenced in this episode, click here.

Further Listening
Equipping Eve: Reformation Reversal, Part 1
Equipping Eve: Choice or Chance?
Equipping Eve: The Cross of Christ

Acceptable Sins Not Excepted: Impatience

The clock’s ticking…we’re waiting!

Impatience. It is unbecoming in the tamest of circumstances, but, when allowed to fester as an ongoing pattern of life, it can take a far more dangerous turn.

A spirit of impatience in daily life is ultimately a spirit of impatience demonstrated toward God, His timing, and His sovereign purposes. If we are honest, we come to realize that our impatience is a result of our desire to be in control of our circumstances. If we are even more honest, we admit that, at times, our impatience can lead not only to a lack of trust, but to unfounded irritability and even anger.

Annoyed that the commute is taking so long? Perhaps God has a purpose for you being in your car for an extra 10 minutes. Wondering why you are still waiting on that promotion or new job? God likely has His reasons.
The more clear your view of the sovereign purpose of God and His control in your life, the more patience you will have. Patience is the virtue that comes to those who don’t try to control everything in their lives.[1] 
And yet, even we who proclaim belief in the sovereignty of God often find our patience wearing thin in the face of everyday adversity. Even minor roadblocks may result in frustration and complaint.

13 October 2017

This 'n' That

There are times when I am just not very good at masking my frustration. Worse, there are times when I take to social media, particularly Twitter, to vent. I did it just this past week as I stood in the Post Office frustrated with and by...the Post Office. Now, to be clear, my mailman is fantastic. It's only when he takes a day off that things go awry. Also, for broader context, my grandfather spent his entire career working for the Post Office after he was finished serving in World War 2. So I have a great appreciation for mail workers who actually do their job. It's everybody else who is the problem. But then, I suppose that problem isn't exclusive to Post Office.

Long story short, everything worked out, but not without difficulty. In the process, I saw the bowels of my local post office. It was terrifying. It kind of made me want to wash my mail when it arrives. I felt a little bit like Buddy the Elf in the midst of a not-so-shiny mailroom.

Back to the matter at hand, though. I was reminded of the uselessness of tweeting or venting in any manner out of frustration. It helps no one, it reveals our pettiness (and our need to mortify such a sin), and it does not bring honor or glory to Christ. Twitter and other social media offer a great temptation in times of frustration, but we must think before we tweet/post/snapchat or whatever. What is the purpose of my post? Does it honor Christ? We all have frustrations we encounter daily, but we do not need to share them with the world. After all, if I'm already dealing with my own, why do I want to know about yours?

So, now that I've used this blog to offer up another true confession, why not give your Twitter feed a quick scan, clean it up if necessary, and then come back here to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

10 October 2017

Acceptable Sins Not Excepted: Gossip

In his sinfulness, man cannot help but defame others. It is intrinsic in his fallen nature. His pride, self-love, and disregard for God, God's law, and his fellow man all result in a mindset of self-preservation that is often exercised through defamation and slander.

Defamation and slander. These are two words that make most men shudder, for no one wants to be on the receiving end of such activity. But what about gossip? That isn't quite as bad, is it?

06 October 2017

This 'n' That

My life is filled with acronyms. Industry acronyms, company acronyms, department acronyms. For those of you who are drawing a blank as to what an acronym is, here is a definition:
An abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word.
So, ASAP isn't a word in itself, but actually stands for As Soon As Possible. That is an acronym.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Perhaps many of you remember a rather popular "Christian" acronym from the early 90s: WWJD, or What Would Jesus Do? Yep, the memories are flooding back, aren't they?

Raise your hand if you wore a WWJD bracelet! I admit it, I wore one. I mean, I went to church (sometimes), so I was a Christian, and Christians have to be up on the latest Christian trends. Right? Um...yeah, maybe not.

Oh well, we all have our moments. And, in my defense, I was only a kid...and I wasn't actually a Christian.

For some reason, remembering those WWJD bracelets makes me want to go find my slap bracelets, which were popular a couple years earlier. While I go search the closet for those, why don't you take a few moments to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

04 October 2017

The Lie of 'Acceptable' Sins

Take heed of secret sins. They will undo thee if loved and maintained: one moth may spoil the garment; one leak drown the ship; a penknife stab and kill a man as well as a sword; so one sin may damn the soul; nay, there is more danger of a secret sin causing the miscarrying of the soul than open profaneness, because not so obvious to the reproofs of the world; therefore take heed that secret sinnings eat not out good beginnings.
— Jeremiah Burroughs
Secret sins are hidden, concealed from our family, friends, and church. They are nurtured in the quiet moments of our life, and the darkest corners of our heart. We often consider such covert transgressions to be pursuits of lust, such as pornography; however, it is far easier to conceal and cultivate more “minor” sins, such as envy, anxiety, pride, or selfishness.

This is because we often fail to even recognize these sins as sins. Says Jerry Bridges,
God has not given us the authority to establish values for different sins…All sin is serious because all sin is a breaking of God’s law.[1]
Just because we are tolerant of a particular “respectable” sin does not mean that it is not a serious breach of the law of God. So while we mourn over our visible, flagrant sins, we must also mourn over those sins that, though perhaps acceptable in a fallen world, are not acceptable before God.

01 October 2017

Equipping Eve: Reformation Reversal, Part 1

A recent Pew survey reveals that many professing protestants do not actually know or understand what they believe. 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, but but is it possible that there has been a steady reversal of the reformation over the years?

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

To access the Pew research survey referenced in this episode, click here.

Additional Resources
A Brief Reformation Day History
The Reformer You Need to Meet: William Farel
Equipping Eve: The Importance of Context

Sunday Morning Praise

How Great Thou Art