28 March 2014

What to think about the Old Calvinism vs. the New Calvinism debate

For  some excellent insight on the Old vs. the New Calvinism discussion (debate?) check out the Reformed Forum podcast on this issue. While you're there read Jim Cassidy's post, 5 Reasons Why I Am Not a New Calvinist. Folks, this is good stuff and we should spend some time thinking on these issues. The discussion was born out of John Piper's recent lecture at Westminster Seminary for the Seventh Annual Gaffin Lecture. For the record, I'm an Old Calvinist but have sympathy and even embrace some of the distinctives of the New Calvinists. Still, there are issues of great import that we should consider. Below is Dr. Piper's lecture.

26 March 2014

World Vision Indecision

I really question whether I can call someone “brother” or “sister” who is openly and unrepentantly defying Jesus’ words. - Denny Burk

If  you're on the fence trying to decide what to think about the World Vision fiasco, read Denny Burk's clarifying post in response to the silly remarks made by Jen Hatmaker. We must ask ourselves, Is Scripture our basis in life or not?

28 January 2014

The Legitimacy of Divorce

The Christian Pundit has published a valuable and necessary post on the legitimacy of divorce. Too often women (and sometimes men) are wrongfully and unbiblically encouraged to remain in a marriage because of a lack of understanding of Scripture.

The author writes...

In the well-known passage on marriage and divorce found in Matthew 19:1-9, with its corollary in Mark 10:1-12, Jesus clearly retains the abiding legitimacy of divorce for marital unfaithfulness–as he had already done in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 6:32). .....When the faithful spouse decides to divorce the unfaithful one because trust has been so shattered that he/she believes the marriage cannot continue, that is biblically legitimate. The primary criteria is not that the marriage can potentially be salvaged. The primary criteria is her God-given freedom to choose which route she thinks is wisest, taking counsel from believers who know and love her. ...God hates treacherous divorce, yes (Malachi 2:14-16). He hates adultery, abuse, and abandonment. He does not hate godly divorce. He has provided the opportunity for a way out of a violated covenant for the innocent party. He is just, holy and good. He is a father to the fatherless, and a husband to the widow.

Please read and try to understand the awful dilemma many women are placed in today by receiving unbibilcal advice cloaked as God's Word on divorce.

27 January 2014

18 January 2014

Carl Trueman Videos on Sin and the Christian Life

If you have not seen these yet, sit back and watch. You'll be glad you did.








Extravagant Grace Lecture by Barbara Duguid

Barbara Duguid
A wonderful time was had by all at our recent lecture by Barbara Duguid, author of Extravagant Grace.  Below is the audio of the seminar. Learn & enjoy!


17 January 2014

Having trouble reading academic books?

Great article on reading academic books from Jared Oliphint. Click over and have a read here.

If you can clear the fog of fear and hesitation hovering over academic books, you might find an unexpected depth and richness between the pages. Heavy theological reading will never take the place of a heart-gripping novel or a devotional full of soaring words of worship. But a rich read can often add color, dimension, and vibrancy to your Christian walk and give those devotionals a few more volts. - Jared Oliphint

02 January 2014

Extravagant Grace Author coming to Hudson, Ohio

Barbara Duguid
Barbara Duguid, author of Extravagant Grace, will be speaking at Redeemer Church in Hudson, Ohio on 16 January 2014. She is a counselor and member of Christ Presbyterian Church (ARP) in Grove City, Pennsylvania. She holds an advanced certificate in biblical counseling from the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation in Glenside, Pennsylvania. She will be speaking about her book which is based on the writings of John Newton. The session starts at 7pm and there will be a book signing afterward. For more on Barbara Duguid, check out her interview on Reformed Forum and for directions and more about Redeemer Church head over to their website.

"In this fine book, Barbara Duguid combines her love of church history, her enthusiasm for John Newton, her insights honed as a pastor's wife and, above all, her love for Christ and his church. Here the reader will find sharp insights into the psychology of sin and sound practical advice on how the Bible speaks to the mundane rebellions of everyday human existence. The heart is indeed restless above all things; Barbara Duguid ably directs us to where we can find rest: in Christ alone."
—Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, WTS PA; Pastor, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC) Ambler, Pa. ---

"If only there were some secret—a strategy, an answer, a truth, a fix—to end all the awkward struggle in life! But nothing this side of the return of the King can make life easy. Even the saints in heaven cry, 'How long?' There is a way to live, however, that learns to struggle well through the wrongs inside us and around us. Barb Duguid struggles well. She has learned well from another lifelong struggler, John Newton. Both of them learned well from the the Man of sorrows and grace. He knows our weaknesses first hand. He loved us to the uttermost. He is loving us now. He will love us forever. Take this book to heart. It will sustain you for the long haul, long after the hyped up panaceas and utopias fail."
—David Powlison, Faculty Member, C.C.E.F.

01 January 2014

I don't like New Years Resolutions

I've never liked New Years resolutions. If it is something I need to do then I must resolve to do it at that moment. And there is much I should resolve to do. Here's another good take on New Years resolutions at A Jacket for all Seasons.


 

09 July 2013

The Digital Age is Upon Us

The Digital Age is upon us. In the span of less than three decades, we have redefined the way humans communicate, entertain, inform, research, create, and connect – and what we know now is only a hint of what is to come. But the greatest concern of the church is not a technological imperative, but a Gospel imperative.

By now, just about every church, corporation, business, school or organization has a presence on the Internet. If not, realize that you just do not exist, so far as untold millions of people are concerned.

Make certain that visitors can find you and your organization. If search engines do not know you exist, only those who already know your Internet address can find you. That is not a growth strategy.

[We] should be taking advantage of blogs, social media, and every available platform for communicating our message. We should be exercising stewardship in new opportunities to learn, teach, and study online, recognizing that no generation before us had such rich opportunities.

But our imperative to fulfill Christian leadership in the digital world is not technological. We should not use this technology simply because it is there. Our driving motivation must be a Gospel imperative – to see the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the full wealth of Christian conviction, and the comprehensive reach of the Christian worldview set before a sinful world. In other words, the Christian imperative in the digital domain comes down to this – sharing the light in a world of darkness. –Al Mohler

As Al Mohler points out above, our presence on the internet is critical. So what can each of us at our respective churches do? Here are some suggestions:

1. Start a Facebook page and Google+ page.
2. Go to your Facebook page and “like” it if you have not already. Then scroll down and click to invite your friends.
3. Add the page on Google+ as a friend and share.
4. Go to your Pastor’s blog (he should have one), “like” it and share it on FB and Google+. 
5. Share the link to your web page with your internet contacts and/or have your webmaster add a Facebook "like" button.

Increasing your “likes” and sharing the pages will bring you higher in the search engines such as Google and therefore you’ll be easier to find for those looking for a church in your area. Moreover, this will allow you to share what’s happening at your church and share the gospel with a larger audience.

Having stated the above I'm going on an extended hiatus to work on my church's website and our Pastor's blog. I don't know when I'll be back if ever. Traffic here has not always been the greatest but I do thank those of you who have stopped by to have a read. I hope it has been helpful and encouraging.

05 July 2013

Are We Ready?

Peter Leithart
Peter Leithart posts his thoughts on DOMA...

Many churches have already capitulated to the Zeitgeist, and many others will. Some Christians and some churches won’t be up to the challenge. For those who heed Paul’s admonition not to be conformed to the pattern of this world, things are going to get sticky. But we are servants of God. He opens our ears to hear, and he gives us tongues to speak truth. If that means we are insulted and marginalized, if it means we yield our back to the smiters and our face to those who spit on us, so be it.

Every day we are losing our rights not just as Americans but as Christians.  Widespread acceptance of homosexuality, same-sex marriage, freedom of speech and....and....and.... We must ask ourselves, are we ready? The trials, difficulties and persecution is coming and coming on rapidly. Think on it, friends. We capitulate or we are persecuted. Time to decide where you stand. As Leithart notes in his post,

God has his winnowing fork in his hand, and he’s ready to use it. There’s likely to be a lot of chaff, blown away like mist. But there will be a harvest. We’re being sent into an oven, but Jesus will crush the grain of the harvest so that, baked in the fire of the Spirit, it will become bread for the life of the world.

04 July 2013

Spritual Disciplines Week 5

    And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.
(Luke 4:16 ESV)



03 July 2013

Love That WIll Not Let Me Go

    “At that time, declares the LORD, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, 
and they shall be my people.”
    Thus says the LORD:
    “The people who survived the sword
        found grace in the wilderness;
    when Israel sought for rest,
        the LORD appeared to him from far away.
    I have loved you with an everlasting love;
        therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
    Again I will build you, and you shall be built,
        O virgin Israel!
    Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines
        and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.
    Again you shall plant vineyards
        on the mountains of Samaria;
    the planters shall plant
        and shall enjoy the fruit.
    For there shall be a day when watchmen will call
        in the hill country of Ephraim:
    ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion,
        to the LORD our God.’”
(Jeremiah 31:1-6 ESV)


George Matheson Author of "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go"
O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

The Church Saw My Discretions

A valuable post form the Gospel Coalition on women and broken people...

Marcy Deck writes

The church saw my discretions, and neither did they ignore them or punish me for them. Instead, they loved me well until I saw the error of my ways. They invited me in. They gave me resources. They spoke truth when I needed to hear it. They were there to help pick up the pieces when I had to deal with the consequences of my actions.

and further

I was also granted the privilege of being pursued to serve other women in the church. I saw in action what Jen Wilkin commended in her recent article "The Complementarian Woman: Permitted or Pursued." She writes, "The challenge for any pastor would be to consider whether he is crafting a church culture that permits women to serve or one that pursues women to serve. Because a culture of permission will not ensure complementarity functions as it should."

What struck me about this article is how the church took her in in her brokenness. Aren't we all broken? Don't we all need the love and affection of our church family? I know I do. The question I ask of myself and of you is are we doing this for others in our churches in their brokenness?

Moreover, she filled the the glaring gaps of ministry. Is your church and my church doing this? Are we creating a culture that goes beyond entry level Bible studies and knitting circles.

Read the entire post here and consider: what is the depth of women's ministries at your church and are people being met where they are - in their brokenness?

02 July 2013

This Generation - Mark 13:24-31

    “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, 
from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
    “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
(Mark 13:24-31 ESV)



28 June 2013

What is Prayer? - Ephesians 6:16-18a

        In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit...
(Ephesians 6:16-18a ESV)


Westminster Shorter Catechism #98

Q.  What is prayer?
A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.


27 June 2013

Spiritual Disciplines Week 4

We look at the discipline of worship this week.


    But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
(John 4:23-24 ESV)



26 June 2013

On Discipling Women in the Workplace

Such an important issue...

It's imperative to help women "get past that grass-is-greener tendency and recognize God's sovereign hand in their calling at this particular time," Brownback explains. "And what a privilege it is to be called by God to a specific sphere for a season of life. It's an opportunity—wherever you might be."



Thanks to Matt Smethurst and the Gospel Coalition for posting this video.

25 June 2013

A Jacket For All Seasons

Hey, check out my daughter's new blog as she tackles a new task in life. She's going to jail.


"I think it’s helpful to share our experiences of helping others.  It’s a chance to brag on God; to boast of what only He can do.  It’s a chance to inspire others, and to receive encouragement for yourself when it gets tough.  So for me, I’ll be sharing about going to jail."

24 June 2013

Great Expectations - John 14:12-14

     “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
    (John 14:12-14 ESV)



Pastor Mark Scholten
 We welcomed to our pulpit this week at Redeemer Church Pastor Mark Scholten of Faith Presbyterian Church in Akron. Pastor Scholten graduated from Hope College (Holland, MI) in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion. He also studied at the Oregon Extension and at L’abri in Switzerland. He received an M.Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson, MS) in 1992. Mark is married to Kathy, and they have been blessed with five children.

21 June 2013

Lead On, O King Eternal

     Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.”
(John 13:36 ESV)



Lead on, O King eternal

 

Lead on, O King eternal,
The day of march has come;
Henceforth in fields of conquest
Thy tents shall be our home:
Through days of preparation
Thy grace has made us strong,
And now, O King eternal,
We lift our battle song.

Lead on, O King eternal,
Till sin's fierce war shall cease,
And Holiness shall whisper
The sweet amen of peace;
For not with swords loud clashing,
Nor roll of stirring drums,
But deeds of love and mercy,
The heav'nly kingdom comes.

Lead on, O King eternal,
We follow, not with fears;
For gladness breaks like morning
Where'er thy face appears;
Thy cross is lifted o'er us;
We journey in its light:
The crown awaits the conquest;
Lead on, O God of might.

Er­nest W. Shurt­leff

19 June 2013

Spiritual Disciplines Week 3

We delve into chapter two this week of Whitney's Spiritual Disciplines and discuss prayer.


Westminster Shorter Catechism #98

What is prayer? A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies.


17 June 2013

The Abomination - Mark 13:14-23

    “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that it may not happen in winter. For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.
(Mark 13:14-23 ESV)