Monday, January 26, 2009

Persevering in Prayer - Piper Quote

"The point is not to finally break down God's resistance but to discover, by patient prayer, God's wisdom as to the way and time the prayer should be answered. He is not disinclined to help His children and glorify His name. He simply knows better than we do when and how the answer should come. Therefore, our persistence in prayer shows both our confidence that God is our only hope and that He will act in the best way and the best time in response to our persistent pleas."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Holiness of God

I listened to an SBC writer last night and came away troubled. He said that we need to "balance" the holiness of God with the goodness of God. Otherwise, he suggested, we will all wind up as sour-puss Christians. What was equally troubling was that no other pastors in the room seemed bothered by what he implied; namely that the holiness of God can be abstracted from attributes such as his goodness, and vice versa. After the event I tried to share with him that the holiness of God is a beautiful attribute that causes us to "rejoice with trembling" (Psalm 2), and is not the cause of "sour-puss" syndrome. But it was immediately apparent that he wanted undiluted praise and much purchasing of his materials, and wanted nothing to do with constructive criticism.

The evangelistic counsel was that we need to have more fun with unbelievers, rather than singing songs of worship and giving them the word of God. I can't help but think of Bunyan's Vanity Fair.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

When we say that we care about the cause of life, or that we are fighting for the life of the unborn what do we really mean? What is our real goal? What is the desired outcome? And why are we so concerned?

We care because of all the people who are affected. There is obvious tragedy of the death of the newborn. This is tragic and is actually not just the removal of human tissue or a mass of cells - it is the intentional taking of a human life - by definition it is murder. But the baby is not the only person affected. There is the mother who will carry the emotional scars of her act for the rest of her life, there is also the danger of physical harm that abortion can cause to women. There is also the affect on the men involved, men because they do not carry the baby themselves have always faced the temptation to act as predators and in earlier periods of history would acts as seducers and would abandon women they impregnated, now through the advent of the abortion culture in the western world men have been emboldened to be use predatory behavior because there is now this "procedure" that will remove the effects of their actions. There is also a cost to society, when you embrace this kind of moral insanity sacrificing all for individual rights you have sacrificed any sane basis for morality and in time anything goes.

So what is our desired goal, David Reardon says it best, "Our real desire has always been to create a culture where abortion is not just illegal, but is unthinkable."Just making the act illegal is not enough we want a world where just hearing the word abortion sends a shudder down people's spines.

What is our primary tool in fighting abortion. High-tech imaging machines. Getting pro-life politicians elected. Getting pro-life laws passed and enforced. These are all good and helpful, but we must not forget that we are fighting a battle not only in courts, but rather for the hearts and minds of an entire nation, so there must be truth involved and the truth that makes all the difference is that men and women are made in the image of God. (Gen. 1:27) Because of this truth all humans have an inherent dignity that must be defended. This truth must be shared and defended. And I believe that it will be the last line of defense in an a culture that cannot differentiate between the value of animal and plant life compared to human life. Nothing but the Image of God will guard this unique value.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


This week an article appeared in the London Telegraph newspaper about a 22 year old San Diego woman who is taking a unique approach to funding her higher education. Natalie Dylan (not her real name) is auctioning off her virginity to the highest bidder in order to fund a Master's degree in, of all things, Family and Marriage Therapy. According to the report the highest bid to date is in the neighborhood of 3.7 million dollars. The article can be viewed by clicking here.

This article reveals a great deal about the state of our culture today and how many people view sexuality. Ms. Dylan explains in the article that she developed the idea to auction off her virginity after her sister prostituted herself for a few months to pay for her own education. While this entire article is disturbing and sad, one particular statement stands out. Ms. Dylan concludes her interview by saying, "It's shocking that men will pay so much for someone's virginity, which isn't even prized so highly anymore." Regrettably, I have to agree with her on that last part.

To the contemporary mindset the idea of being a virgin upon entering marriage is both laughable and absurd. A study released by NPR in 2006 reported that 80% of Americans have had sex by the age of twenty. That is a staggering thought. This means that more than half of the kids in your church's youth group are already having sex, and of those 50% who haven't, half of them will be shortly after leaving for college. Based on the results of this same study, only 20% of women who will marry this year will be virgins. I believe the reason for this is not simply because, as Ms. Dylan states it, virginity "isn't even prized so highly anymore." The real issue here is that God and His Word are not prized so highly anymore. Instead of viewing Scripture as God's plan for real and lasting joy amidst a sin-drenched existence, most today see the Bible as a restrictive, outdated rule book for nut-jobs crazy enough to believe it literally.

Today sex is no longer esteemed as a wonderful gift from God intended to be celebrated and enjoyed within the safe and loving boundaries of marriage. While every culture throughout history has abused God's gift of sex to some degree, the rampant abuse seen today is unmatched in world history and has led to a pervasive numbing of the moral conscience. The reality clearly on display in this article is that sex is now a tool used to achieve my wants and desires. Yet God's plan for our sex lives is so much more rich and satisfying. Sex is not simply about personal gratification, but instead it seeks mutual enjoyment and satisfaction within a relationship that is honored by God and reflects the glory of God. While this may be taboo in today's world, every single part of the marriage relationship, including sex, is designed to reflect the relationship of Christ to His bride, the church.

When I married the love of my life, my precious wife Emily, we inserted a non-traditional element into our otherwise traditional wedding ceremony. Right before we exchanged our wedding rings, we publicly exchanged the "True Love Waits" rings we each had worn symbolizing a vow of chastity made seperately in high school. By God's grace alone, we both stood at the front of an audience of God, family and friends as virgins and proudly stated it publicly through this exchange. Now I say that with much humility, knowing it was in no way because of my superior strength or discipline that I remained a virgin. But I am immensly grateful to say that by God's gracious presence and providence in my life and in my wife's, we were both virgins when we stood to be married that day.

I am deeply concerned and worried at the prospective results of Ms. Dylan's financial agreement to sell her virginity to the highest bidder. 3.7 million is way too cheap to sell one of God's greatest gifts, especially when we know He seeks to give us a much richer and fulfilling joy found in a marriage that glorifies King Jesus.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yearning for the Open Triumph of His Hand

"There is a hunger for God that goes beyond the desire for private experience. It longs for the public display of his glory in the world. It longs for the great dishonors against our God to be set right. It is not content to hope for private revelations of his saving help, as precious as they are. It yearns for the open triumph of his hand in the establishment of God-exalting truth and righteousness—in universities and courts of law and advertising agencies and political debates and all the media of television and radio and newspapers and magazines and movies and the Internet. It is driven by a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples."
- John Piper, A Hunger for God, 156-157.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hold it Loosely

Money and other possessions can be a great blessing and of great use in serving King Jesus. Our money can be used to support missions, to care for the needs of the poor and afflicted, and to provide for our families. Yet Jesus says that Money makes it hard for people to enter the Kingdom of God. How do we navigate this danger in the wealthy west? How do we use our wealth (unless you're homeless all Americans are wealthy) for the Kingdom without succumbing to the danger.

I fear that money has several dangers that we must fight to overcome. Money binds our hearts to this world - we begin to love our money and come to the point where we hate to leave it behind. Money divides our loyalties - we get sucked into preserving and making more money and we lose the hunger to follow and serve Christ. Money misplaces our trust and safety - money can make us feel safe and secure, "I have enough money to care for us so now I can relax" whereas our only real security is the fact that we are in Christ. Money can make us forget that we must live for the treasure in heaven - we are foolish to live for treasure that moth with rot and rust destroy when God has laid up for us treasure that nothing can take away. The little pleasures of money can make us forget that there are infinite pleasures and joys to be tasted now but feasted on when feasting with Jesus in His Kingdom.

How do we fight this danger. First we must remember that we are stewards, all we have belongs to God we are called to manage it according to His purposes and will. Second we are to pursue the true treasure Jesus Christ. If we are pursuing fellowship with Him, and if we are meditating on His truth then I think that we will slowly but surely be set free from this dangerous money.

Hold it loosely brothers and sisters or simply let it go in service to God.