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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’


I don’t think anything could prepare us for what happened in Japan.  It is a perfect storm of disaster that would make Irwin Allen proud.  I thought we’d seen the worst disasters possible, but we apparently hadn’t.  One of the most powerful earthquakes on record, a tsunami and the possibility of Chernobyl.

I’m reading a book about prayer that talks about helplessness.  This picture, sadly, captures that reality more powerfully than any I have ever seen.

We need to pray for the people of Japan.  Money does not fix something like this.  That doesn’t mean we should not provide resources for emergency relief.  But rebuilding the soul of Japan will take far longer than rebuilding the nation.  And rebuilding the nation may take close to a generation (ask New Orleans).

To put this in perspective, this was a nation that somehow recovered from WWII to become one of the most productive economies in the world.  They enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the world.  But they have been brought to their knees, this time by the groaning of creation triggered by the sin of Adam.

It reveals just how close we are to the edge.  Life can change in a New York minute.  And when it does, there is not simple fix.  We all live by grace, common grace, whether we realize it or not.  We live by the sheer mercy of God.  Let us throw ourselves into the hands of a merciful and compassionate God, even as we intercede at the throne of grace for the people of Japan.  We pray to One who was torn asunder, but conquered death.  He can give hope to those on the brink of death.  He can give hope to Japan.

 

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We are continuing to interact with Tim Keller’s Generous Justice.  He recalls some experiences as a young pastor in Hopewell, VA.  They had a single mom they assisted.  During a discussion about whether or not to continue helping her Tim read some Scriptures.  The response?  “But that’s the Old Testament.”  He thought Christians should focus on salvation, not justice.

But, when Jesus was approached by John’s disciples, He referred to issues of mercy and justice (Mt. 11:4-5).  Additionally, in the synagogue Jesus read from Isaiah (61) regarding the one anointed with the Spirit who worked justice, He said “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

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Life has a way of becoming complex.  And people have a way of accumulating stuff.  It isn’t just the hoarders you see on TV.  All of us are prone to collect something.  I collect books and music.  Okay, I used to collect music until I got married and my disposable income had different uses.  I may start again, but at least it take up more space in my house, only my hard drive.  I’m sure you collect something: stamps, baseball cards, coins, dolls, coke logo items ….

In the 5th chapter of The Radical Disciple, John Stott talks about Simplicity.  He returns to the discussion of materialism from the first chapter here.  He tells a far too uncommon story of a man whose life was unencumbered by the possessions he could own, but rather he lived a life of great generosity.

I often say that government abhors a vacuum.  All left over revenues will be spent.  Rare is the government official who cuts a budget.  I remember someone is an organization saying “we’d better spend it or they’ll cut our budget for next year.”  It becomes about power and status.  This is who we are.

The followers of Jesus should be committed, not to power and status, but to simple lifestyles.  This does not mean living in a cardboard box, but recognizing God does not give us all He gives us for us to spend on us.  Did you get that?  I know, it doesn’t roll off the tongue.

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I’ve been reading Paul Tripp’s War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles.  [It is also available in a video series with workbook]   One of the issues he addresses is improper motives for following Jesus.  It is not a modern problem, but one that we see even in the ministry of Jesus.  Tripp takes us to John 6.  The people followed Jesus because they wanted to be fed, again.  They failed to look past the miracle (John uses the term sign) to the thing is signified.  They were unhappy when Jesus didn’t meet their expectations.

Tripp asks about your great “if only.”  “If only  … I would be happy.”  That would be your dream- the fountain from which all happiness would flow.  But now all that flows is a steady stream of disappointment and bitterness.  We think that Jesus has let us down, because he has not fulfilled our dream.

“Their pursuit of Christ was born instead out of a love for self and the hope that Christ would be the one who would meet their felt needs.  … What moves and motivates everything we do is not a submission to God’s will and a burning desire for is glory, but our own set of personal desires and dreams.”

Sign of the Bread of Life

Our dreams motivate us.  Often into self-destruction.  Witness all those misguided people who end up on the first 2 episodes of American Idol.  They had a dream for themselves that was out of step with reality (and no one loved them enough to say ‘you can’t sing’- I’m not sure why since no one has a problem telling ME I can’t sing).

What is God’s dream for us?  If you are a Christian that is simple: that Christ would be your life, and that you’d have a deeper, stronger, more mature faith (self-abandoning trust as Packer says) in Christ.  Tripp develops this from John 6 and 1 Peter 1.

Any material blessings we experience are merely signs- and those signs point us to Jesus who is Life.  When they become the whole enchilada we lapse into idolatry.  When we don’t have them, watch out!  We will be filled with anger, bitterness, depression and a host of other vile things.

“In my opinion, in the heart of every sinner is a desire that life would be a resort.”

Probably, Las Vegas.  All you can eat buffets.  Lots of attractions to keep you occupied.  Comp rooms if you gamble (a lot).  Lots of eye candy, which really isn’t helpful.  But no mess, no fuss and party all the time.

But life is not like that.  And we take it out on others.  They may be blocking our desires, or merely ‘innocent’ bystanders.  Either way we become one of the thousands slain by hardship (though hundreds of thousands have been slain by affluence).

“If we are living for earthly bread and see it as our source of life, we are going to be in for big trouble when we don’t have it.  But if we are living for spiritual bread, for a deeper communion with Jesus Christ, then our lives (with all of their problems) become wonderful places to know and grow in fellowship with the One who is life. … If he is what your heart craves, there are wonderful opportunities to grow in grace and knowledge in the midst of all kinds of difficulty.”

Is that how you face difficulty?  Or are you miserable, whiny and petulant?  At that moment you are not craving Jesus, but something or someone else.  Your response to trouble matters.  It is a sign to the condition of your heart.

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I’m slowly working my way through The Letters of John Newton.  There is some great material in his letters.  Today I read his first letter to Lady Wilberforce, William Wilberforce’s aunt.

He is addressing her experience of indwelling sin.  His counsel is counter-intuitive, but gospel-centered.

“I would not wish you to be less afflicted with a sense of indwelling sin.  It becomes us to be humbled into the dust; …”

He sees the role a sense of indwelling sin plays in our lives- to humble us.  Where we do not have much or any sense of indwelling sin, we quickly become self-righteous and filled with pride.  Rather than run from the sense of our sinfulness, Newton wants us to embrace it.  Let’s see why.

“Sin is the sickness of the soul, in itself mortal and incurable, as to any power in heaven or earth but that of the Lord Jesus only.  But He is the great, the infallible Physician.”

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I am not an official Trekkie.  I saw most of the movies with the original cast, but preferred the Next Generation show to the original show.  What I did appreciate was the bond of friendship that existed between Kirk, Spock and Bones.  This became more prominent in the movies.  Those movies were better than the Next Generation movies.  A bit odd, isn’t it?

I was excited to see a reboot to the Star Trek series (rather then delving into the continuing to deteriorate TV series).  That J.J. Abrams was tabbed to direct was a good move in my book.  But the question was how to reboot a series like Star Trek?

J.J. Abrams and the screenwriters came up with a great idea- an alternative universe with all the same characters, but one in which not all will be as it was.

Eric Bana plays the “best”villain since Khan.  He is one ticked off Romulon miner who seeks to gain talonic justice (he thinks) against Spock. In some ways I wonder if he’s meant to represent a Muslim who becomes radicalized after his people are attacked.  Just a thought since this is how some people think this has played out in the Middle East.

This sets the stage for the backstory of how the crew of the Enterprise comes together for future adventures.  Slowly the various characters meet one another to fill out the crew.  The last is Scotty, who adds quite a bit of comic relief.  Chekof’s attempts to master English is funny too.

But Kirk starts off by alienating Spock.  Apparently it was Spock who programmed the “no-win scenario” that Kirk beats.  What they have done is tap into the Star Trek lore and came up with details about those events in the characters’ histories.  This should add to the fun for those who have followed these characters.  One of the more interesting details was the sub-plot of how Kirk supplanted Capt. Pike as Captain of the Enterprise.  Pike was the Captain in the pilot, and then disappeared (surfacing in a later episode).

But it is not all fun and games.  There is a villain to be vanquished.  Kirk and Spock chase him across the universe before he can complete his revenge by destroying Earth.  In so doing, he tries to use the technology of the Federation, the Vulcans to be precise, against it.  Huh?  Again parallels to events in the Middle East over the last few decades come to mind.  In the process they must learn to trust each other, and not give in to their own desire for vengeance against Nero for the pain he has inflicted on their families.

During the opening sequence, and must of the movie, actually, something Jesus said kept coming to mind: “a man has no greater love than  this, to lay down his life for his friends.”  This is a theme that seems prominent.

There was much to like about this movie, and I really enjoyed it- despite not being  wild about all the casting choices, and some questionable acting performances.  Still, much better than any of the Next Generation movies, and most of the original movies.  This could be a very promising series of films.

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This morning I had to give my first-ever children’s sermon.  The text was 1 Kings 18 (the subject of their children’s church lesson).  To prepare I broke out my copy of Faith in the Face of Apostasy: The Gospel According to Elijah and Elisha by Raymond Dillard.

The cycle of stories in 1 & 2 Kings about these two prophets are among my favorites in the Old Testament.  Prior to his death, Raymond Dillard did some lectures at RTS Orlando that would later be a part of this book.  It was the first in the Gospel According to the Old Testament series.  The series takes a biblical theological, gospel-centered approach to the texts.  I really enjoy this series.

And it all started with this book.  It was the first one I read, prompting me to keep an eye out for new installments in this series.  I think I’ve been disappointed only once.

This series has been a series that has instructed me in what it looks like to take a redemptive-historical, gospel-centered approach to Scripture.  That simple means to keep each text in the context of the whole, connecting it to the story of redemption which culminates in Christ.

Understood this way, Elijah and Elisha are historical types of Christ.  Their ministry is a reflection of his earthly ministry.  In each chapter Dillard brings us from the days of Elijah to the present through the work of Christ.  Each chapter has questions at the end to help you process and apply that portion of Scripture.

It is my hope to eventually use these materials for a sermon series or small group.  I want my congregation to learn the redemptive-historical approach to the Scriptures and this is one great way to teach them.

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On Nightline, there was a Face Off regarding the reality of Satan.  Mark Driscoll was one of the participants.  Mark did a great job integrating the reality of the Evil One with a presentation of the gospel.  He offered hope in the midst of our personal and societal struggles.

And then there was Deepok Chopra gave a bunch of ying & yang psycho-babble (quoting Freud, but in line with Jung’s work) about how “healthy people don’t need the devil.”   Bishop Pearson forsakes his calling based on a false stereo-type.  Nice.  Another “bishop” denying the teaching of Scripture.  I guess we solve the problem of evil by just not thinking about it.

Both of argue against the belief in the devil on the basis of wars- religious wars.  just because some nuts believe you can drop the bomb on the devil to destroy him does not make this a reason to deny personal evil.  It is a Straw Man argument, fallacious to the core.  The devil is not material, can’t be bombed, shot or drugged out of existence.  Only Jesus destroys the work of the devil (Hebrews 2, I think), which Pearson forgot to mention when saying Jesus would not be pleased by all that bomb dropping.  I’m pretty sure Jesus isn’t pleased with those who think dropping bombs (or flying planes into sky scrappers) is the way to defeat The Great Satan.  Now, legitimate governments bearing the sword against those who pose a threat against those they are charged to protect (Romans 13) is another story.  But the ultimate solution is only Christ and Him crucified to destroy, among other things, the hate in our hearts and the evils that flow from that.

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Near the end of Luke 2 there is a shift from God’s mercy to the reality that the coming of Messiah also means judgment for some.  We see this in Simeon’s prophetic song:

“This child will be rejected by many in Israel, and it will be their undoing.  But he will be the greatest joy to many others.  Thus, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.”  2:34-35 (NLT)

But that is not the end of this dark cloud rising over Israel.  John the Baptizer’s ministry ups the ante.  He rejoiced in the repentance of many, but was surprised to see others.

“You brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee God’s coming judgment?”  3:7

“Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever your roots.  Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”  3:9

“I baptize with water, but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am- so much greater that I am not even worthy to be his slave.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  He is ready to separate the chaff from the grain in his barn but burning the chaff with never-endedin fire.”  John used many such warnings as he announced the Good News to the people.”  3:16-18

Jesus’ ministry was not all good news.  It was also judgment on Israel.  The true Israel was about to be separated from false Israel.  It is not about blood line (John said this in 3:8 too).  The true Israel is comprised of those Israelites who believe, and believing Gentiles are grafted onto Israel (see Romans 9).

Judgment on unbelieving Jews took place, as prophesied by Jesus (Mt. 24) in 70 AD.  The age of Israel was done- the wrath of God for all the murdered prophets and especially the Prophet was poured out on that generation (Mt. 23).

This process continues to this day with regard to all of humanity.  Jesus reveals the the deepest thoughts of hearts- who treasures Him and who rejects Him.  The former receive the Holy Spirit, and the latter receive fire, an unquenchable flame.  Some seem to think this strange- calling Him ‘the Torturing God’ as though wacked out, far right nutjobs made this thing up.  But there it is in Scripture- Jesus is worth treasuring, rejoicing in.  To despise His glory is an act of cosmic treason. This judgment provides a backdrop for us to more fully understand the glories of His grace.  We who believe have been rescued from eternal condemnation.

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I finished reading Love Walked Among Us: Learning to Love Like Jesus by Paul Miller just before heading off to New York for a week.  Paul is the son of C. John (Jack) Miller, and has a ministry, See Jesus,  that offers 2 helpful small group programs.  The Person of Jesus is based on this book, and PrayerLife.  Both are interactive studies that come from a strong grace-orientation.  But, back to the book.

One of the things I found interesting was the variety of endorsements.  It does my heart good to see Tremper Longman, Steve Brown, Jerry Bridges, Dan Allender and Joni Eareckson Tada endorsing the book.  Max Lucado … not someone whose opinion really matters to me.  Brian McLaren … interesting choice.  Glad he endorsed it, it may mean he’s keeping his toe within the bounds of historic Christianity.

That last sentence is indicative of why a guy like me needs to read this book.  It reveals just how little I love like Jesus.  I can see why Brian McLaren would like most of the book- but he probably struggled with the last few chapters.  You’ll see why.

Paul’s 2 main premises is that Jesus alone shows us what true love looks like in action, and that we can only love well because we have been loved perfectly (including thru his penal substitutionary atonement- which is something McLaren has discounted publicly).  To bring us along, Paul uses numerous incidents from Jesus’ life to show us the richness of variety in his love, and the many barriers we have to showing love to others.  So this book is often convicting as our judgmentalism, self-righteousness, legalism and more are put on display as violating the 2 great commandments upon which all the Law and the Prophets hang.

But the emphasis is positive- love shows compassion, speaks the truth, depends on God and is energized by faith.  Miller weaves those biblical accounts from the life of Jesus with personal stories (he is not the hero of any of them), and some great quotes by various figures from history.  So you will find that it is an easy book to read, even if it hits you hard at times.

But it is not a self-help, try harder book.  The book ends with a section on how love moves from life to death.  It is about the centrality of Jesus’ sacrificial death, and how our lives are intended to follow that same track.  He is our model as well as our Substitute (see 1 Peter for plenty of that tension).  As a result, the book challenges those of us who err toward Phariseeism AND those who err toward a more “liberal” view of Jesus that maximizes his Incarnation while rejecting his finished work.  Miller does a great job of maintaining that tension of a suffering Savior whose love is rich and varied, perfectly suitable for the differing needs of its object.   So the book is biblical, accessible and applicable.  I heartily put my name up there with the other endorsees (even McLaren).  See, God’s using it in my life too.

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Songs for the Messiah will look at some of the more explicitly Messianic Psalms (for they are all Messianic).

11/30  Psalm 2  Song of the Great King

12/7  Psalm 16  Song of the Risen Holy One

12/14  Psalm 22  Song of the Suffering Savior (Ron Smith)

12/21  Psalm 72  Song of the Righteous King

12/28  Psalm 110  Song of the Eternal Priest

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Tim Keller’s The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith is a much needed book.  I needed to read it, and I can see how many in the churches I’m familiar with need to read it as well.  It is short, well-written, well-illustrated and keeps pointing the reader to Christ.  What more could you want?

Tim uses the Parable of the Lost Sons to examine the heart of the the Christian message.  He examines the Parable in the context of his audience in Luke 15.  He also compares and contrasts it with the parables that precede it (the lost sheep and the lost coin), to get the message ‘right’.  And that message is that both sons were lost- one thru license and the other thru legalism.  While we see the licentious brother return home (much like the sinners how heard Jesus and placed their trust in Him), while the elder brother resents the father’s grace (much like the Pharisees who were listening).  We just aren’t sure how he responds, so the question bounces back on all those elder brothers- will you enter the joy of the Father or maintain your ‘rights’ and sit alone and angry?

In this process Keller redefines both sin and lostness (as I’ve addressed in a previous post).  He doesn’t redefine so much as deepen our understanding of these concepts, expanding them so we can recognize how easily we can sin and appreciate our tendency to wander back into self-reliance.

Keller points us to the True Elder Brother, Jesus, who left the Father’s side to seek and save the lost.  We can only return home because He left, and lost His life.  This helps us to redefine, or deepen our understanding of, hope.  This hope culminates in the Feast of the Father- a picture of heavenly celebration.

In the process, Keller draws upon the thinking of Jonathan Edwards, C.S. Lewis and Martin Luther among others.  The last is particularly important since Luther understood too well that legalism is the default mode for most of us.  We quickly lapse back into the sins of the elder brother (pride, self-righteousness, lack of compassion).  He illustrates with movies (both popular and obscure) as well as novels that have captured people’s attention through the years.

So I found the book to be both convicting and comforting, humbling and encouraging.  Yes, big sinner.  Yes, bigger Savior who continues to change my heart so it resembles His.  This quote is one from the final chapter gives us something to chew on:

I have explained in this book why churches- and all religious institutions- are often so unpleasant.  They are filled with elder brothers.  Yet staying away from them simply because they have elder brothers is just another form of self-righteousness.  Besides that, there is no way you will be able to grow spiritually apart from a deep involvement in a community of other believers.  You can’t live the Christian life without a band of Christian friends, without a family of believers in which you find a place.

This is Keller’s hope- to transform the church and society as we recognize our frequent relapses into self-righteousness and rely more fully and completely on the only Savior- Jesus.  I think this is must reading for pastors, church leaders and ordinary Christians.  It is accessible to all- so don’t shilly-shally (as Steve Brown would say) and drink deep and drink often.

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I’m not sure if enjoying is the right word.  I guess the right word would be benefitting.  I am greatly benefitting from my reading of The Prodigal God by Tim Keller.  He is able to expand on some ideas found in his sermons on the Parable of the Lost Sons.  He develops a better understanding of both sin and lostness.

We tend to tie sin in with rebellion- which it is.  But sin is craftier than that.  It can look like obedience!

It is not his sins that create the barrier between him and his father, it’s the pride he has in his moral record; it’s not his wrongdoing but his righteousness that is keeping him from sharing in the feast of the father.

His obedience produces a pride that keeps him apart from his father and younger brother.  Sin can work thru “obedience” to keeps us from Christ and His people.  We seek to save ourselves.  This is the work of the religious fanatic Martin Luther said lives in each of us, the default of our hearts, trying to earn merit before God.

You can avoid Jesus as Savior by keeping all the moral laws.  If you do that, then you have “rights.”  God owes you answered prayer, and a good life, and a ticket to heaven when you die.  You don’t need a Savior who pardons you by free grace, for you are your own Savior.

Because sin is not just breaking the rules, it is putting yourself in the place of God as Savior, Lord, and Judge just as each son sought to displace the authority of the father in his own life.

Keller continues to say that these 2 conditions are not equal.  It is easier for the licentious to see his sin and seek to return home.  The legalist thinks he already is home!  He is more blind to his sin because he looks so good.

What are the signs of an elder brother (legalist, self-righteous, Pharisee)?

The first sign you have an elder-brother spirit is that when your life doesn’t go as you want, you aren’t just sorrowful but deeply angry and bitter.

Keller notes this can function in 2 ways.  If I perceive I have been obedient- I am angry with God and rage against him.  If I perceive I have not been obedient- I am angry with myself and become filled with self-loathing.  Hey, been there, done that- and still take trips there.

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Jesus and His disciples hid from the Pharisees and Sadducees in Ephraim.  When the time for the Passover drew near, they began the long journey to Jerusalem.  It is fairly safe to assume that He spent much of his time with the disciples preparing them for ministry, teaching them truth and encouraging them.  These were the Thunderous Twelve, twelve men prepared to serve.

At long last they arrive in Bethany and the home of Lazarus and his two sisters.  A meal is prepared and Martha, as usual, is busy serving dinner.  It seems one detail had been overlooked.  The journey would obviously dirty the feet of the men.  They had just been walking the dusty roads of Palestine.  Their feet would likely be soure and the skin cracked.  Who would don the towel and cleanse the feet of the Master relieving His discomfort?  Peter perhaps?  Or at least one of the twelve, right?

Mary comes forth with some oil for His feet, very expensive oil at that, to ease the soreness of a long journey.  She offered up what was most likely a protion of her dowry in an act of loving service.  The benefit of this act extends beyond Jesus as the soothing fragrance of oil filled the house.

John in his gospel contrasts Mary with Judas, who only thought of himself though he pretended to care for the poor.  He longed for the opportunity to steal a portion of the expensive perfume’s sale price, to line his pocket with ill-gotten gain.  Though he had just spent time alone with Jesus, he completely missed the point.  He was not alone in this respect, for not on of the twelve seems to have attended to their Master’s needs.  Mary is known for her faith and love, while Judas is known for unbelief and betrayal.  Yet both were known, at this point, as followers of Jesus.

We, like the disciples, should train, prepare and study.  Too often though we fail to get our hands dirty by serving others.  We can easily deceive ourselves into thinking we are not yet ready to serve.  But note who was with Jesus during this time in the wilderness.  Judas, not Mary, was there.  All the training in the world does not make a servant.  Mary did not have the training, but had the heart of a servant.  Very little training is required to love other people, but still we can hold back.  Training is good and necessary, but let us not neglect the examples of Jesus and Mary.  Let us not think too highly of ourselves to serve others in the service of the Gospel.  Let us never forget the words of James who rightly reminds us, “so faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).

[originally published in the July 1997 issue of Tabletalk Magazine (p. 37), published by Ligonier Ministries.]

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In listening to some Tim Keller sermons there were a few leads I wanted to follow up. If you are like me, you might think “I really need to find that”, but aren’t really sure where to find it.

Tim is fond of mentioning Martin Luther’s Large Catechism in connection with idolatry.  I’ve been wanting to read it for myself.  I figure there is quite a bit I could learn.  Perhaps you are like me and aren’t sure where to look.  Well, it is part of the Book of Concord.  So, here is the Large Catechism.  Enjoy!

Keller also mentions a Thomas Chalmers’ sermon, The Expulsive Power of a Greater Affection, in connection to sanctification.  I’ve been wanting to read this sermon, but was not aware of any Thomas Chalmers’ collections.  He’s not the most famous of the Puritans.  Thank God for the internet.  Someone has put The Expulsive Power of a Greater Affection online.  Justin Taylor notes how Sinclair Ferguson makes use of this same sermon.

Sometimes we make the mistake of substituting other things for it. Favorites here are activity and learning. We become active in the service of God ecclesiastically (we gain the positions once held by those we admired and we measure our spiritual growth in terms of position achieved); we become active evangelistically and in the process measure spiritual strength in terms of increasing influence; or we become active socially, in moral and political campaigning, and measure growth in terms of involvement. Alternatively, we recognize the intellectual fascination and challenge of the gospel and devote ourselves to understanding it, perhaps for its own sake, perhaps to communicate it to others. We measure our spiritual vitality in terms of understanding, or in terms of the influence it gives us over others. But no position, influence, or evolvement can expel love for the world from our hearts. Indeed, they may be expressions of that very love.

Others of us make the mistake of substituting the rules of piety for loving affection for the Father: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” Such disciplines have an air of sanctity about them, but in fact they have no power to restrain the love of the world. The root of the matter is not on my table, or in my neighborhood, but in my heart. Worldliness has still not been expelled.

The basic point is that our desire for particular sins will be lessened or removed only by having a greater affection for something or someone else.  We must love Jesus more than we love our favorite sins.  This is what Samuel Storms discusses at length in Pleasures Evermore.  It is what lies underneath John Piper’s Christian Hedonism.  Some great stuff- as I shared with someone caught in an addiction.  Avoiding our addiction can be a new idol- a mere replacement idol.  This person needs to meditate upon the work of Christ that he might grow in his love for Christ and be able to put this sin to death.  Otherwise we are using worldly means to deal with our sinful desires and habits.

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I recently had a dialogue with another pastor about the office of prophet, priest and king in church leadership.  He had been re-reading Dan Allender’s Leading with a Limp, chapter 14: Three Leaders You Can’t Do Without (wow, how did I not blog on that chapter?!).  He wondered what my primary & secondary gifting were (prophet-priest if you’re interested).  One of these days I may try to put my more theologically oriented material into a leadership oriented book working through these issues.

In the meantime, I visited Drew Goodmanson’s blog and he had links to the Acts 29 regional conference in Raleigh.  He and David Fairchild had some seminars working through this triperspectival view of leadership.  I highly recommend them after listening to them today.  The first was on the foundations of triperspectival leadership, and the second was on the applications of triperspectival leadership.  David provided some background into their church plant, the struggles they had and how they have benefited from applying John Frame’s triperspectivalism to church leadership.

Here are some thoughts I jotted down in my notebook to keep track of them:

“When you plant (a church) you’re reacting to something you think you’ve seen wrong in the church, so you’re in this heavy, heavy deconstruction mode.”  David relating advice given by Mark Driscoll

There are differences between how Jesus exercised His office during the Incarnation and how He exercises it now in His exaltation (yes, still incarnated).  For instance, while on earth He preached directly to the people.  In his heavenly prophetic ministry, He worked through the Spirit to complete the giving of Scripture and works through the Spirit in the preaching of the same Scripture.  In His earthly priestly ministry He offered up His body as the perfect sacrifice for sin.  In His heavenly priestly ministry He lives forever to intercede for us (Heb. 7:25).

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