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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

From "The Valley of Vision"

If you've never examined "The Valley of Vision," it is worth your time. A collection of Puritan prayers (don't get hung up!), these are not for the weak of heart or wimpy of will. Hard, penetrating stuff that is worth reading s l o w l y and rereading...though conviction oozes.

Here is what is called "A Disciple's Renewal":

O my Saviour,
Help me.
I am so slow to learn, so prone to forget, so weak to climb;

I am in the foothills when I should be on the heights;

I am pained by my graceless heart, my prayerless days, my poverty of love, my sloth in the heavenly race, my sullied conscience, my wasted hours, my unspent opportunities.

I am blind while light shines around me: take the scales from my eyes, grind to dust the evil heart of unbelief.

Make it my chiefest joy to study thee, meditate on thee, gaze on thee;

Sit like Mary at thy feet,
lean like John on thy breast,
appeal like Peter to thy love,
count like Paul all things dung.

Give me increase and progress in grace so that there may be:
more decision in my character,
more vigour in my purposes,
more elevation in my life,
more fervour in my devotion,
more constancy in my zeal.

As I have a position in the world, keep me from making the world my position.

May I never seek in the creature what can be only found in the Creator;

Let not faith cease from seeking thee until it vanishes into sight.

Ride forth in me, thou King of kings and Lord of lords, that I may live victoriously, and in victory attain my end.

If this is new to you, or if it meets a need; you may want to buy the book...and if you click below and do so, you'll help us out!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I don't like it when people tell me to turn my music down, even (or especially) at my age!
But this incredible 8.20 song/video/reading is a vital reminder that often the very best thing I can do is SHUT UP for a while.

Seize the Moment to Confess

Basketball coach Rick Petino confessed to an adulterous affair and made this very wise observation:

Pitino said:

"When you have a problem, if you tell the truth, your problem becomes a part of
your past. If you lie, it becomes a part of your future."

When the Spirit of God convicts me of specific sin, if I run to First John 1.9 it is gone (more than in the past, God chooses to remember it no more). If I ignore, suppress, deny; it remains in my present, and my future.

When the Spirit of God convicts a lost person of their sin and guilt before God, if they run to the Cross and the Gospel it is buried and gone; if they suppress...they may never have another opportunity.

"Today is the day of salvation," "now is the accepted time."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What Does It Mean to "Grow in the Gospel"?

“Growing in the gospel means seeing more of God’s holiness and more of my sin. And because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross, we need not fear seeing God as he really is or admitting how broken we really are. Our hope is not in our own goodness, nor in the vain expectation that God will compromise his standards and ‘grade on a curve.’ Rather, we rest in Jesus as our perfect Redeemer — the One who is ‘our righteousness, holiness and redemption’ (1 Cor. 1:30).”

- Bob Thune and Will Walker, The Gospel-Centered Life

Friday, September 25, 2009

Family Fotos

Jane and Janelle trying to bop each other (and others) on the head during a goofy game at our first SQ (Student Quest) of the season...every Monday night provides an opportunity for Christian students to hang out and invite their friends to learn about the Gospel

Jacob and his buddy Aaron pause for a breath during the fun of Southside's Fall Festival last weekend

And what else would you expect to find in Saint Joseph, Missouri's Hyde Park?

Why Does "Stuff" Happen to Us?

Justin Taylor is well-worth following, and he shares significant insights from J. I. Packer's "Knowing God" concerning trials, troubles, and God's purposes:

J. I. Packer writes about how to understand the “unexpected and upsetting and discouraging things” that happen to us. What do they mean?

Simply that God in his wisdom means to make something of us which we have not attained yet, and he is dealing with us accordingly.

(Suggestion: resist the skimming temptation and read that line over again.)

Then Packer ponders the possible purposes God might have in mind for you:

Perhaps he means to strengthen us in patience, good humor, compassion, humility, or meekness, by giving us some extra practice in exercising these graces under especially difficult conditions.

Perhaps he has new lessons in self-denial and self-distrust to teach us.

Perhaps he wishes to break us of complacency, or unreality, or undetected forms of pride and conceit.

Perhaps his purpose is simply to draw us closer to himself in conscious communion with him; for it is often the case, as all the saints know, that fellowship with the Father and the Son is most vivid and sweet, and Christian joy is greatest, when the cross is heaviest. . . .

Or perhaps God is preparing us for forms of service of which at present we have no inkling.

He goes on:

We may be frankly bewildered at things that happen to us, but God knows exactly what he is doing, and what he is after, in his handling of our affairs. Always, and in everything, he is wise: we shall see that hereafter, even where we never saw it here. . . . Meanwhile, we ought not to hesitate to trust his wisdom, even when he leaves us in the dark.

But how should we respond to baffling and trying situations when cannot now see God’s purpose in them?

First, by taking them as from God, and asking ourselves what reactions to them, and in them, the gospel of God requires of us;

second, by seeking God’s face specifically about them.

“If we do these two things,” Packer writes, “we shall never find ourselves wholly in the dark as to God’s purpose in our troubles.”

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Delayed Gratification

Fun with a point. Do I really believe long-term obedience results in blessing, or do I, like all "good" Americans, want it NOW?

Start Now!

"Begin at once; before you venture away from this quiet moment, ask your King to take you wholly into his service, and place all the hours of this day quite simply at his disposal, and ask him to make and keep you ready to do just exactly what he appoints. Never mind about tomorrow; one day at a time is enough. Try it today, and see if it is not a day of strange, almost curious peace, so sweet that you will only too thankful when tomorrow comes to ask him to take it also."

Francis Ridley Havergal

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Does He Really?

Too often I forget the teaching found in Hebrews 7.25, "Consequently (Jesus) is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."

Really? The King of Kings prays for me (assuming I "draw near to God through Him")? First John 2.1 declares we "have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

Really? Jesus is praying for me? For my situation, my cares, my struggles, my...everything?

Yeah, or the Word of God is not accurate.

In the Lord's "high priestly prayer" He makes clear that prayer was not only for the 1st century disciples, but for us, "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word." (John 17.20)

Whether sighing or singing, triumphing or struggling, sick or well, full or famished...whatever the situation, if I pause to remember and reflect on the fact that Jesus is praying for me, hope and peace saturate and comfort.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Honest Confession

The following was written and posted on Facebook by a sophomore in college I've known for years. A great young lady who genuinely shares, openly and honestly, what we all could echo at at least some portion of our lives...and which may, uncomfortably, hit home even now...Here is her post:

"I need to apologize to all four hundred and one of you. I have proclaimed myself to be a Christian, but I need to be honest. I have this fear that some of you may compare my actions and words to those of my savior, Jesus Christ. It is rare for my actions to reflect him, and I need to apologize to you for portraying falsities.

"Yes, I attend church. I am a leader in my youth group, and attend a Bible club on my campus. I went to a college with chapel requirements my freshman year of college. I worked at a Christian camp, and served on mission trips. I don’t swear, or look at porn. I have no experience with the taste of alcohol or euphoria that comes with smoking pot. I’m pro-life, and disagree with the theory of evolution. I also need to tell you that none of these things make me Christian.

"Some people see Christianity as being a bunch of boring rules you have to follow. I fear it is people like me who tell this lie to the masses. In high school, if you looked at my schedule you would think I was a boring Bible thumper who never participated in anything that involved the f word. Why would someone who spends three days a week participating in church functions have any idea what the f word actually is? I have had more fun participating in these actions because they all involve the f word: fun. You might understand where I'm coming from. You might not. I can’t tell you what to feel because I’m not you, but I wish you could. I never will be you. I’m not writing this to tell you what I have and haven’t done so you can see me as a great person. I’m telling you so you can see my faults. I am one of the worst sinners you will ever meet in your life.

"Here is the truth: Christianity is having a relationship with the creator of the universe. It’s having someone to run to when you’ve had the worst day of your life. It’s having someone to share joy with. It’s having someone tell you things are going to be okay, even when they feel like they won’t. It is the epitome of a best friend. You don’t have to worry about him telling your secrets or sleeping with your best friend. Would you like to know one of the best parts of this relationship? It’s a relationship based on love- the love a father willing to die for you kind of love. Keeping this relationship growing on a daily basis is what makes you a Christian. It's a far cry from a list of rules. It's not magic either. Trust me on this one-becoming a Christian doesn't make your troubles disappear. It does make them easier to conquer, however.

"Here is an ugly truth: I’ve been neglecting this relationship like you wouldn’t believe. It’s the neglect of this relationship that causes me to be a bad witness. I’m false representation, believe it or not. I’ve been living a life that isn’t even close to proper representation of Christ is, but I’ve still put on the Christian t-shirt. It is with this reason that I am apologizing to you. I’ve lied to all of you in the worst way possible, and the only thing I know to do is ask forgiveness, so that’s what I’m doing.

"I know I’ve written a few notes similar to this on here. They all sound similar to, “I’ve been bad, but I’m not going to act like that again. I’m a good Christian now.” Here’s the deal. I’m not going to be a Christian anymore. I’m going to be a growing Christian, and this time I’m going to be honest. Feel free to keep me in check if you wish."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Salvation Is of The Lord Reminder/Prayer

Tullian Tchividjian posted this prayer by Pastor Scotty Smith that is worth echoing:

"Gracious Father, today is a great day for me to be reminded that “salvation is of the Lord.”

You are the one who begins the “good work” of redemption in our lives; You are the one who is carrying it on, even when you’re not working according to my timetable and agenda; and You are the one who will bring redemption to completion on the Day Jesus returns to finish making all things new.

This is incredibly good news, as I ponder my own heart and the lives of other people I care about a whole lot. I cannot be my own savior, and neither can I be anyone else’s savior. What a relief, but also what a critical truth to remember. This grand affirmation leads me to offer these earnest supplications:

Father, give me the same confidence about your vigilance and faithfulness you gave Paul for the Philippians. Sometimes irritation, worry and fear loom larger in my life than patience, trust and hope. When this happens, I’m pretty worthless as a friend.

Father, teach me how to wrestle in confident prayer for others, like Epaphras wrestled in prayer for the believers in Colossae (Col. 4:12). My tendency is to wrangle emotionally rather than wrestle believingly. This leaves me worn out and it simply frustrates others.

Father, keep me tender enough to engage in my friends’ broken stories, but tough enough not to get entangled in “stuff” that has nothing to do with me.

Father, teach me how to wait on you without falling into self-protective passivity or self-validating activity.

Only the gospel is sufficient to help someone like me love others in such redemptive and healthy ways. So I abandon myself to you and your resources, Father, in light of the weight of grace and the Day of Christ.

In Jesus’ name,


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It ain't pretty, but effective!

Application? Never give up!

Questions Are Good

Got this from a missionary friend in Brazil; no idea who Joe Brown is, but it is a great observation:

“I don’t find in the Bible where Jesus condemned people for asking too many questions. I do find where he condemned people for thinking they had all the answers.” - Joe Brown

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Spectacular New Images From the Hubble Telescope -

Spectacular New Images From the Hubble Telescope -

Posted using ShareThis

Pair of Ponderable (and Perplexing) Quotes

This is from a tweet received today:

"The gospel of sin management produces Christian vampires who wants Jesus for his blood and nothing else." - Dallas Willard

And this from A. W. Pink, who died in 1952.

"The nature of Christ's salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. He announces a Savior from hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness."

Think these through...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Study Bible Full of Wiersbe Wisdom!

Now his concise commentary is wrapped up in the Word of God as David Cook has published The Transformation Study Bible.

Over 2,200 pages, it is loaded with outlines, overview, cross-references, maps, and much more. What makes it unique is that portions of Wiersbe’s books are dotted throughout the Bible. Wiersbe has a way to present truth in a crystal-clear way, with the goal of transferring truth into action in the follower of Christ’s daily life.

Wiersbe writes, “It isn’t enough for us simply to read assigned portions of the Bible each day, as helpful as that is. A truly transforming experience involves meditating on what we read (Ps. 1:2), studying it carefully in the light of other verses, and then obeying what God tells us to do (Josh. 1:8).”

This new tool will not fit every box, but for readable, applicable, and fresh insights into the Word of God, it is heartily recommended. The publishers have used The New Living Translation.

Get a copy, and help out the Hager family, by clicking below:

Four Minutes of HUH?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Why It is Hard to be a Christian in America

"Most of us labor under the delusion that we have every right to our lives; that we have the right to go where we wish, do as we please, live as we choose, and decide our own destiny. We do not. We belong to God. He made us for himself. He chose us in Christ out of love, from before the foundation of the earth to be his own. He has bought us twice over, both through his generous death and also by his amazing resurrection life."

Phillip Keller

Balancing the truth of Keller's quote with perceived, nherent American "I've got my rights!" and "Go for the gold" and "Look out for number one" is a continual battle.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Comfortable? Danger!

"It is quite common for people to say they are looking for a church they are comfortable with. I think that is a scandalous statement. When were churches supposed to be comfortable places? There is too much need in the world for Christians to be comfortable."
--Ajith Fernando, The Call to Joy and Pain: Embracing Suffering in Your Ministry (Crossway, 2007), 1994