Friday, February 25, 2011

Mission: This Will Provoke Weeping!

An 18 year old North Korean orphaned student gave this testimony at the Lausanne Conference on World Evangelism recently held in Cape Town, South Africa. John Piper spoke, but this nine minute testimony brought the house down. Watch and weep!

The Gospel and Porn!

Porn is a plague on modern culture. The cost to human flourishing is incalculable. Ultimately, understanding and applying the gospel is the solution. Here is a four and one half minute interview with John Piper, Tim Keller, and Don Carson that will help anyone struggling with this issue. Enjoy!

Would love your feedback.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Great Movie!

Colin Firth delivers an Oscar worthy performance in “The King’s Speech” (Rated R). Based on a true story “The King’s Speech” chronicles King George VI’s public battle with stuttering. At first glance one would not think a speech impediment would be an appropriate movie topic, however, I found the film to be entertaining and informative.

Our first glimpse of Prince Albert, Duke of York, the second son of King George V, (Colin Firth) comes in 1925 as he is giving a speech in Wembley Stadium at the close of the British Empire Exhibition. Accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), it is clear Prince Albert’s stuttering not only makes him uncomfortable, but the crowd as well. After many unsuccessful attempts at treatment Prince Albert finally gives up, determined to live a full life despite his impediment. But, his wife convinces him to try just one more therapist.

Geoffrey Rush performs beautifully as the unconventional speech therapist Lionel Logue. Breaking all Royal etiquette rules, Lionel convinces Prince Albert that he can help him no matter how off beat his methods may seem. Through the therapy process, Lionel and Prince Albert become friends, an almost unheard of connection between Royalty and commoners. Years pass and Lionel digs deep into Prince Albert’s emotional past attempting to find the root cause of the stutter believing that attacking the root was necessary to treat the symptoms.

When George V dies in 1936, the Prince of Wales (Guy Pearce) becomes King Edward VIII. However, King Edward is torn by his duty to his country and his love of Wallis Simpson, an American socialite (Eve Best), who has not only been divorced once but is still married to her second husband. When Prince Albert points out to his older brother King Edward that he cannot marry a divorced woman and retain the thrown, King Edward abdicates in order to marry and Prince Albert succeeds him as King George VI. The emotional scene of King George’s first speech as King in 1939 when England makes a declaration of war on Germany, thus entering World War II, makes the whole film worthwhile.

Expecting to receive a creative history lesson, I was blown away by the performances of the entire cast of “The King’s Speech”. I highly recommend this movie and, if you are able, suggest seeing it on the big screen before renting it. The accents can, at times, be slightly difficult to understand, but it was fun to feel Lionel’s larger than life personality resonating from the monstrous screen. The R rating comes from a few profanity laced scenes during Prince Albert’s speech therapy lessons, but the cardinal rule for this film is context, context, context. Aside from these few brief profane scenes the film is clean and free of all sexual content and references. I give “The King’s Speech” five out of five stars...Stephanie Spurgetis  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Top Ten Sovereign Grace Songs

As Most of you know, one of the best things about Sovereign Grace Ministries is their music. Here is a list of the top ten favorites. I think you will find them interesting.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When To Correct a Brother?

Often we are in agony wondering whether we should "forbear" with our brother's foibles and weaknesses (Eph 4:2), or "restore them in a spirit of gentleness" as prescribed in Gal. 6:1. Between Two Worlds has an excellent short discussion here on this crucial subject. I found it most helpful. It is a tool to  use in marriage, our parenting, or our relationships at church. 

As always, your thoughts on this short essay are appreciated.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tim Challies Nails It!

If you have ever wondered what is wrong with the gospel preached by many evangelicals, take a moment to read this short post by Tim Challies. He hits the nail on the head. This message should be trumpeted throughout Christendom.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Parenting and the Cross

Every repetition of the fifth commandment in scripture ends with the reminder that there are consequences for obedience or disobedience. Col. 3:20 is no exception. “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”

Although we are justified by faith alone and made righteous with Christ’s righteousness because we believe, it is still possible to please or displease God. Col. 3:20 tells us that obedience “please the Lord” just as disobedience “displeases the Lord.” A mature Christian is able to hold these two truths in tension.

Here is the first truth that we must hold in tension. If you are a Christian, failure to obey God will never cause him to reject you. You are clothed in Christ’s righteousness. He is as pleased with you as he is pleased with his Son. Rom. 8:35 asks the rhetorical question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” The answer is “No person, No thing, or No failing.”

But there is a second truth. Your works, or their absence, can cause God to be either pleased or displeased with you. God is a father. Fathers love their children, even those that deeply disappoint them. They never quit loving their children. They can be upset with them, but they will never reject them. They will never cast them out of their family. They cannot be disinherited.

But because they love them, they will discipline them, and the discipline can be exceedingly painful. Because he struck the rock, rather than spoke to it, God barred Moses from entrance to the Promised Land. Moses was saved. He was deeply loved by God. He stood next to Christ in glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, yet he suffered greatly for his sin.

Because of David’s adultery and murder the sword never departed from his family. Remember, David was the man after God’s own heart. Hebrews 11 lists him as one of the heroes of faith. But the suffering that his sin unleashed in his family was off the charts.

Therefore, our text reads. “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” This means children can either please or displease God. In each case there are profound consequences.

Negatively: Disobedience displeases the Lord. In scripture, rebellion against parental authority is exceedingly serious. As we have noted, it is always rebellion against God. Again, that is how God sees it. Listen to God's Word on this subject.

(Ex 21:15) "“Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death."

(Ex 21:17) "“Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death."

(Dt 21:18-21) " “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear."

(Dt 27:16) "Cursed be anyone who dishonors his father or his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’"

(Pr 30:17) "The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures."

These texts are not in the Bible to motivate us to administer the death penalty to our children. They are in the Bible to impress us with the seriousness of these sins, and what they would receive if God were not slow to anger.

They are also here to impress us with the immensity of God’s love. In our place Jesus took the “death penalty” that we and our children deserve. We have all been stubborn and rebellious. Some of us have struck our parents. Some of us have even cursed our parents. All of us have failed to obey our parents or dishonored them. In God’s sight these sins are capital crimes. That is how serious they are. And here is the amazing truth. God is love. How do we know that? God sent his Son to come and take the death penalty in our place.

We will get serious about parenting to the degree that we see the horror of sin and the infinite nature of God’s love, mercy, and grace. We see both the horror of our sin and the love of God at the Cross.

Positively: God wants to Bless children Col 3:20 reads, “Children obey your parents in everything, for this please the Lord." This means it also works the other way. God blesses the child that obeys its parents. Col 3:20 tell us that a child’s obedience “pleases the Lord.” In addition, Eph 6 reminds us thtat the fifth commandment is the first one with a promise, “That it may go well with you in the Land.”

Both the fifth commandment in Exodus and its repetition in Deuteronomy have a promise attached—first, “a long life” and a life that “goes well with them in the land.” (When the Ten Commandments were given the Jewish people knew little of Heaven or eternal life. The rewards were confined to this life).

So brothers and sisters, in light of the cross, lets get serious about parenting. Lets do it because we love our children, and because we are passionate about the glory of God.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mortifying Porn

I wish I could make every guy in our church read the book "Closing the Window; Steps to living porn free" by Tim Chester.  As a pastor I'm always looking for tools to give males and females (surprisingly 1 in 5 porn viewers is female according to Chester's research) who struggle with lust. This book is now my go to resource.  What makes this book so helpful is its gospel centered approach.  Yes this book rightfully instill the fear of God into porn users but it also fills one with hope that change is possible through the gospel.  Even if one does not struggle with porn this book is still worth reading if one wants to grasp how the gospel affects change. (David Farley)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Temple Grandin, A Movie To See

Temple GrandinTemple Grandin (rated PG) is an Emmy Award winning HBO biopic of a high-functioning autistic woman named Temple Grandin. Directed by Mick Jackson, “Temple Grandin” stars Claire Danes as the title character. We meet Temple Grandin the summer after her high school graduation as she prepares to leave for college. The director uses a series of flashbacks from Temple’s childhood and high school days to draw the audience into her world as an autistic woman growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s. These flashbacks include a series of pictures which are meant to show us that because she is autistic Temple’s brain processes information completely differently then you or I would, all the while finding answers to difficult problems a person of average intelligence could not comprehend. A difficult science project would become an obsession for Temple until she had conquered the challenge, while you or I would have given up long before. Not only are these flashbacks used as a display for Temple’s brilliance, but we also learn that normal interactions with other humans (such as a hug) leave her flustered and distressed almost beyond repair.

Through the careful guidance and tireless help of family and teachers, Temple goes on to graduate not only from high school, but earned a Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate. While studying for her Master of Science in Animal Science from Arizona State University in the early 1970’s, Temple developed more humane ways to handle livestock. This is not an animal rights film. The cattle are still butchered; however, Temple’s work revolutionized common practices in slaughter plants and livestock farms saving the ranchers money and time. Her practices are still widely used today.

I highly recommend this movie. Admittedly I watched it without knowing what it was about and was pleasantly surprised. Having been personally touched by children with autism I cried at the struggles Temple faced to simply learn in a classroom setting or have a normal conversation at a Christmas party. Claire Danes shines as Temple Grandin and obviously put her heart and soul into the role that not only brings awareness to autism, but also to the work Temple Grandin has done in the field of livestock that inadvertently affects all meat eaters....Stephanie Spurgetis

Monday, February 7, 2011

Rare Film Of J.R.R. Tolkien

The blog Between Two Worlds posted a link to this rare footage of J.R.R. Tolkien smoking his pipe, drinking English ale, and talking about his writing. It appears to be the 1960s. Those of you who have read Tolkien will love it. The footage shows Tolkien at Oxford, where he taught for decades. I was there last summer, so all of this has special meaning. Would love your comments.


Christianity Isn't Religion, or is it?

“In a sermon Dick Lucas once preached, he recounted an imaginary conversation between an early Christian and her neighbor in Rome.

“Ah,” the neighbor says. “I hear you are religious! Great! Religion is a good thing. Where is your temple or holy place?”

“We don’t have a temple,” replies the Christian. “Jesus is our temple.”

“No temple? But where do your priests work and do their ritual?”

“We don’t have priests to mediate the presence of God,” replies the Christian. “Jesus is our priest.”

“No priests? But where do you offer your sacrifices to acquire the favor of your God?

“We don’t need a sacrifice,” replies the Christian. “Jesus is our sacrifice.”

“What kind of religion is this?” sputters the pagan neighbor.

And the answer is, it’s no kind of religion at all.”

—Tim Keller, King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus, p. 48.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Advantage of Being Criticized

In his post to pastors, C. J. Mahaney explains that, although painful at the time, the experience of being criticized is a huge boost to our maturity. Whether pastor or housewife, you will probably find this short article most helpful. Take a moment to read it and post your insightful response...David Farley