Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
It is a mistake to think of the Kingdom of God in purely futuristic terms. The idea that Christ will reign on the earth someday ignores the teaching of Jesus that declares the Kingdom to be inaugurated upon the incarnation of Christ. The Kingdom is NOW, and growing. I think Handel captures this scriptural reality wonderfully in the second part of His oratorio, particularly as he progresses from the ascension of Christ to the Hallelujah chorus. Notice the Lordship of Christ expand by Handel’s Scriptural progression (from Part II of Messiah)-
Unto which of the angels said He at any time: Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee?(Hebrews 1 : 5)
Let all the angels of God worship Him. (Hebrews 1 : 6)
Thou art gone up on high; Thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men; yea, even from Thine enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among them.(Psalms 68 : 18)
The Lord gave the word; great was the company of the preachers.(Psalms 68 : 11)
How beautiful are the feet of them: that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things. (Romans 10 : 15)
Their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world. (Romans 10 : 18 / Psalms 19 : 4)
Why do the nations so furiously rage together, and why do the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against His Anointed. (Psalms 2 : 1-2)
Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us. (Psalms 2 : 3)
He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision. (Psalms 2 : 4)
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. (Psalms 2 : 9)
Hallelujah! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.(Revelation 19 : 6)The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever.(Revelation 11 : 15) King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.(Revelation 19 : 16)Hallelujah!
Do you see the subduing of the nations from the time of Christ’s ascension? While we associate the much-loved “Hallelujah Chorus” with Advent and the birth of Christ, it is actually a joyous response to the expansion of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth. Messiah wonderfully and biblically displays the lordship of Christ expanding on earth between his first and final coming (right now!).
The scriptural certainty of Christ's Kingdom expansion gives me great excitement about the mission of the Church. Missions are a celebration of the Lordship of Christ. It is our great privilege and joy to be a part of Christ’s expanding kingdom.
Friday, December 28, 2007
One A& M yell leader, during a pep rally Thursday night, told the crowd that Paterno was "on his death bed" and "someone needs to find him a casket." The remarks drew boos from the crowd.
Paterno, at a news conference Friday at the Alamodome, said he was backstage with Aggies interim coach Gary Darnell when the comments were made, but did not hear them. "I think everybody has to take things with a grain of salt," Paterno said. "Some young guy went up there, trying to be funny. Maybe he's accurate, I don't know."
Texas A&M's interim president, Eddie Davis, and athletic director Bill Byrne later apologized to their Penn State counterparts.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
The crucial significance of the cradle at Bethlehem lies in its place in the sequence of steps down that led the Son of God to the cross of Calvary, and we do not understand it till we see it in this context. . . . The taking of manhood by the Son is set before us in a way which shows us how we should ever view it — not simply as a marvel of nature, but rather as a wonder of grace.
– J. I. Packer, Knowing God, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993; pp. 58-59.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Matthew 1:18-25 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.  And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.  But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:  "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and they shall call his name Immanuel"(which means, God with us).  When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife,  but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
The RPC pastoral staff went to see I AM LEGEND, the movie starring Will Smith seen in the above trailer. I am not much of a movie reviewer, but I will give you my response-
I’ve long given up going to horror movies of the suspenseful, slasher variety. Cheap terrorizing just doesn’t do anything for me in my older age. Legend kind of feels like such a movie, though with much deeper and somewhat believable themes- that’s what makes it so frightening. Nathan and I felt bad we took Brian, he was clearly the most scared among us and the other theater goers. I hope viewing this movie didn’t scar the poor guy. I am sure he slept with his BB gun and light on last night.
Basic plot: In the year 2009 a new method of treating cancer is thought to be a cure. It’s a virus that, when initially tested, routed out and killed the cancer cells in thousands of people tested. Thinking it to be a cure, the virus was mass-produced and administered. Tragically, the virus mutates and kills most humans on the planet. Only two kinds of “people” are left. Those, like Will Smith’s character, Dr. Neville, who are completely immune to the virus (which is estimated to be a few million people on the entire planet, most of whom get killed by the second category of “people”), and those who survive the virus, but turn in to hideously aggressive zombie-like, Gollum on steroids-looking predators that come out only at night, due to extreme sensitivity to light. These sub-human beasts hunt and eat whatever flesh-bearing creatures they can find. Dr. Neville is the lone occupant of New York and determined to stay there until he finds a cure. He lives in constant fear these night-walkers will break in to his fortified NY apartment and eat him and his faithful dog (it’s a real shame, the dog eventually gets whacked by a virus-infected pooch). Eventually another survivor and her child, on their way to a rumored survivor colony in Vermont, finds Neville and tries to convince him that God is working events so that a cure can be found. By this time Neville is as agnostic as one could be. He is totally warped by his three years of solitude, paranoia about being eaten alive, and repeated failed attempts to find a cure, leading him to say- “There is no God”. Anna, the other survivor, disagrees, and in the end, some “providential” events transpire that allow Neville to find the cure and acknowledge that something supernatural was in fact working toward the end Anna suggested. Neville, in his last act before sacrificing himself to save Anna and her son, extracted some blood from a night-walker who was being cured by his newly discovered antidote, and instructed Anna to bring it to Vermont. The last scene is Anna pulling up to the gate of the survivor colony, the guards taking the blood sample, and Anna narrating the good news that Neville’s cure worked to restore humanity. She says the survivors are Neville’s legend…hence the movie name.
Follow all that? It’s pretty complex actually. I’d have to see it again to pick up some of the more subtle nuances one viewing doesn’t allow. My favorite scene was an intense deer hunt (what did you expect?) through the abandon streets of New York. I prefer hunting deer with a bow, but if I found myself to be the only person alive in a massive city like New York, I wouldn’t mind hunting from a Shelby Mustang (assuming the superior Chevy Camaro wasn’t available) with an assault rifle like Neville. Fresh meat was hard to come by, so I don’t blame him.
Should you see the film? It’s up to you. How’s that for a recommendation?
Monday, December 17, 2007
By Rep. Ron Paul, MD.
July 21, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Most disturbing to me is the revelation about Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite. I wouldn't be surprised if you told me many MLB players have used various steroids and hormones when coming back from injury, Clemens and Pettite included. It seems clear, however, Clemens used roids as a way of training, like the biggest cheat of them all, Barry Bonds. I no longer respect Roger. Period. No Hall of Fame for him, in my opinion, which is very hard to say. Pettite's situation is more difficult to interpret as it relates to injury recover, but man, it's still cheating and tremendously disappointing to hear.
There are a bunch of players mentioned in the report, Tejada and Bonds, of course, but another that really disappoints- Eric Gagne. So much for his "prolific" closing numbers for the 3-4 years he dominated. Now we know why. Very sad. I have a new respect for Mariano Rivera (if Mo used steroids, he needs to get his money back, he's still as skinny as a rail) and others who seem to have not cheated...but who knows these days. Everything's tainted.
I'm pretty ticked right now. Soccer is so much better than baseball.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Scholar. - Could any one be found so perfect, he might justly be deemed righteous, but as we are all sinners, guilty before God in many ways, we must seek elsewhere for a worthiness which may reconcile us to him.
Master. - But are all the works of men so vile and valueless that they cannot merit favour with God?
Scholar. - First, all the works which proceed from us, so as properly to be called our own, are vicious, and therefore they can do nothing but displease God, and be rejected by him.
Master. - You say then that before we are born again and formed anew by the Spirit of God, we can do nothing but sin, just as a bad tree can only produce bad fruit? (Matt. vii. 18.)
Scholar. - Altogether so. For whatever semblance works may have in the eyes of men, they are nevertheless evil, as long as the heart to which God chiefly looks is depraved.
Master. - Hence you conclude, that we cannot by any merits anticipate God or call forth his beneficence; or rather that all the works which we try or engage in, subject us to his anger and condemnation?
Scholar. - I understand so; and therefore mere mercy, without any respect to works, (Titus iii. 5,) embraces and accepts us freely in Christ, by attributing his righteousness to us as if it were our own, and not imputing our sins to us.
Master. - In what way, then, do you say that we are justified by faith?
Scholar. - Because, while we embrace the promises of the gospel with sure heartfelt confidence, we in a manner obtain possession of the righteousness of which I speak.
Master. - This then is your meaning-that as righteousness is offered to us by the gospel, so we receive it by faith?
Scholar. - It is so.
Master. - But after we have once been embraced by God, are not the works which we do under the direction of his Holy Spirit accepted by him?
Scholar. - They please him, not however in virtue of their own worthiness, but as he liberally honours them with his favour.
Master. - But seeing they proceed from the Holy Spirit, do they not merit favour?
Scholar. - They are always mixed up with some defilement from the weakness of the flesh, and thereby vitiated.
Master. - Whence then or how can it be that they please God?
Scholar. - It is faith alone which procures favour for them, as we rest with assured confidence on this-that God wills not to try them by his strict rule, but covering their defects and impurities as buried in the purity of Christ, he regards them in the same light as if they were absolutely perfect.
Master. - But can we infer from this that a Christian man is justified by works after he has been called by God, or that by the merit of works he makes himself loved by God, whose love is eternal life to us?
Scholar. - By no means. We rather hold what is written-that no man can be justified in his sight, and we therefore pray, Enter not into judgment with us." (Ps. cxliii. 2.)
Master. - We are not therefore to think that the good works of believers are useless?
Scholar. - Certainly not. For not in vain does God promise them reward both in this life and in the future. But this reward springs from the free love of God as its source; for he first embraces us as sons, and then burying the remembrance of the vices which proceed from us, he visits us with his favour.
Master. - But can this righteousness be separated from good works, so that he who has it may be void of them?
Scholar. - That cannot be. For when by faith we receive Christ as he is offered to us, he not only promises us deliverance from death and reconciliation with God, but also the gift of the Holy Spirit, by which we are regenerated to newness of life; these things must necessarily be conjoined so as not to divide Christ from himself.
Master. - Hence it follows that faith is the root from which all good works spring, so far is it from taking us off from the study of them?
Scholar. - So indeed it is; and hence the whole doctrine of the gospel is comprehended under the two branches, faith and repentance.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
The next installment of the Narnia series is due out in May. Here's the trailer posted above.
I am particularly looking forward to the appearance of Reepicheep. Reep figures more prominently in "Voyage of the Dawn Treader", but he should have a part in this film, in particular the battle with Miraz.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Micah 5:2-5 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.  Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel.  And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.  And he shall be their peace.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
In addition to Chuck Norris and "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, I might soon be giving my endorsement to Mike Huckabee for president...if anyone cares.
I'm torn between Ron Paul and Huckabee. Honestly, Ron Paul doesn't have a real chance to win, he just doesn't. Huckabee does havea chance, especially if you believe the latest polls. Fred Thompson is a huge disappointment so far.
So now I start the task of learning as much about Huckabee as I can. I won't lie and say I ever thought voting for a governor from Arkansas makes sense, but I just might this time.
I am playing various clips of his debate speeches as I study today. This clip actually impresses me quite a bit. I think he answers well.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007 /Associated Press
I readily admit to not being the sharpest knife in the legal drawer, but something is seriously askew with the law in this situation. A doctor can slaughter a baby in the womb, so long as the mother says it's O.K., but when a person who is not a doctor does the same thing without the woman's consent, he or she can be guilty of murder? So, the only thing that makes the slaughter of a baby murder is the consent of the woman carrying the child? Seriously? I have to be missing something here.
God help us.
Q. 93. Which are the sacraments of the New Testament?
Q. 94. What is baptism?
Q. 95. To whom is Baptism to be administered?
56-1. Baptism is not to be unnecessarily delayed; not to be administered, in any case, by any private person; but by a minister of Christ, called to be the steward of the mysteries of God.
56-2. It is not to be privately administered, but in the presence of the congregation under the supervision of the Session.
56-3. After previous notice is given to the minister, the child to be baptized is to be presented, by one or both the parents, or some other responsible person, signifying the desire that the child be baptized.
56-4. Before baptism, the minister is to use some words of instruction, touching the institution, nature, use, and ends of this sacrament, showing:
a. That it is instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ;
b. That it is a seal of the Covenant of Grace, of our ingrafting into Christ, and of our union with Him, of remission of sins, regeneration, adoption, and life eternal;
c. That the water, in baptism, represents and signifies both the blood of Christ, which taketh away all guilt of sin, original and actual; and the sanctifying virtue of the Spirit of Christ against the dominion of sin, and the corruption of our sinful nature;
d. That baptizing, or sprinkling and washing with water, signifies the cleansing from sin by the blood and for the merit of Christ, together with the mortification of sin, and rising from sin to newness of life, by virtue of the death and resurrection of Christ;
e. That the promise is made to believers and their children; and that the children of believers have an interest in the covenant, and right to the seal of it, and to the outward privileges of the Church, under the Gospel, no less than the children of Abraham in the time of the Old Testament; the Covenant of Grace, for substance, being the same; and the grace of God, and the consolation of believers, more plentiful than before;
f. That the Son of God admitted little children into His presence, embracing and blessing them, saying, “For of such is the kingdom of God”;
g. That children by Baptism, are solemnly received into the bosom of the Visible Church, distinguished from the world, and them that are without, and united with believers; and that all who are baptized in the name of Christ, do renounce, and by their Baptism are bound to fight against the devil, the world, and the flesh;
h. That they are federally holy before Baptism, and therefore are they baptized;
i. That the inward grace and virtue of Baptism is not tied to that very moment of time wherein it is administered; and that the fruit and power thereof reaches to the whole course of our life; and that outward baptism is not so necessary, that through the want thereof, the infant is in danger of damnation;
j. By virtue of being children of believing parents they are, because of God’s covenant ordinance, made members of the Church, but this is not sufficient to make them continue members of the Church. When they have reached the age of discretion, they become subject to obligations of the covenant: faith, repentance and obedience. They then make public confession of their faith in Christ, or become covenant breakers, and subject to the discipline of the Church.
The minister is also to exhort the parents to the careful performance of their duty, requiring:
a. That they teach the child to read the Word of God;
b. that they instruct him in the principles of our holy religion, as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, an excellent summary of which we have in the Confession of Faith, and in the Larger and Shorter Catechisms of the Westminster Assembly, which are to be recommended to them as adopted by the Church, for their direction and assistance, in the discharge of this important duty;
c. that they pray with and for him;
d. that they set an example of piety and godliness before him; and endeavor, by all the means of God’s appointment, to bring up their child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
56-5. The minister shall then read the covenant promises:
For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee. Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house. (Acts 2:39; Gen. 17:7; Acts 16:31)
There are plenty of theological sites which debate the above, that's not my purpose here. Rather, I wish to relish the rich history of interpretation and explanation I am part of. We do what we do for a reason- a reason we believe is biblical.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Ron Paul won't win the GOP presidential nomination. If he runs as an independent, he'll likely take votes away from the republican candidate as well as bring out young people who wouldn't otherwise show up at the polls.
Still, his rhetoric is very interesting.
What do you think?
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
First, in our times of worship and fellowship together, we’ll reflect upon the amazing act of God the Son to “make Himself nothing” in order to be our Savior. Such reflection is both sobering and exciting. Can you believe God the Son did this for us? Do you realize what this means? We are saved from the just punishment our sin deserves, and we are saved to bring glory to God by our redeemed lives. We’ll reflect on the Incarnation this Advent.
Second, we’ll celebrate the Incarnation. Because God the Son agreed to take on flesh in order to make payment for our sins, we are redeemed! While there is a sense of shame in thinking of Jesus leaving His Father’s presence in heaven in order to stoop to earth, there is also a striking elation that makes us want to sing, worship, and fellowship with friends and family. Advent 2007 will be a celebration of redemption made possible by the willingness of God to give His Son and His Son’s obedience, making Himself nothing.
Third, there should be a sense of contemplation about what the Incarnation practically means for us today. Reflection is essential, but contemplation takes it one step further. Since Jesus has come in such an alarmingly humble way, how shall we then live? More personally- how should I live my life differently because Jesus came as a man to pay for my sins the way He did? Is there any length to which I should not humble myself for my brothers and sisters in light of what Jesus has done? I encourage you to make this Advent a time of seeking God’s transforming ministry in your life, and the life of our/your church.