Saturday, September 26, 2009

"[The] all embracing slogan of the reformed faith (Calvinism) is this: the work of grace in the sinner is a mirror for the glory of God" Geerhardus Vos. Its all about the glory of God - our hope and our joy!
The sure and only foundation on which we can stand: God is good AND God is absolutely sovereign (Eph 1).

Monday, September 21, 2009

How Connected Are You?

It is amazing how "connected" everyone is these days and yet how disconnected from God. Perhaps there is a direct correlation between the two...Ps 46:10

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mere Men

It is good to be reminded that we are "but mere men" (Ps 9:20). Humility and a contrite dependency are key heart attitudes that are required to receive salvation from the Lord...or to receive His help as we walk with Him after salvation. This is what is meant by passages like Ps 51:17, Isa 57:15, Mat 6:14-15. Also we see this is part of the fruit of the Spirit Gal 5:22-26. On the other hand if we do not have these heart attitudes we cannot assume we are actually saved and thus indwelt by the Spirit - Rom 8:9-10, Gal 5:19-21.

What should we do if we examine ourselves and find that humility and a contrite dependency on God is not in our hearts? First know that if you realize your need it is a result of God's grace and that is good news! Then pray to God and ask for the change of heart that comes about only by the working of His Spirit (Jn 16:8 & 6:43-44) through humble trust in Christ.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Intelligent Design

Within days of my daughter starting college this fall semester she came home relaying this comment from her biology teacher (I'm paraphrasing), "Creationism and intelligent design are not scientific whereas evolution is scientific". I explained to my daughter that the teacher's comment reveals a very common error based on ignorance regarding the meaning of "scientific"...odd coming from a college science teacher!

Many people confuse the meaning of the term "scientific" with the classic phrase "scientific method". One term (scientific) is used as a general almost "pop" term defining something as more or less adhering to the principles and "spirit" of objective, evidence based, investigation. The "scientific method" however, refers to a specific methodology that includes testing a hypothesis by experimentation. Now herein lies the "dirty little secret". Evolutionary "science" does not adhere to the scientific method any more than does Intelligent Design "science". In fact, I believe a strong case can be made that Intelligent Design theory follows (or can follow) the scientific method more so than Evolutionary theory. Evolutionary theory does NOT develop hypotheses that are then tested experimentally in a lab setting or otherwise. But Evolutionary theory is "scientific" in the sense that I defined above. It does seek to provide an objective theory to explain data that is observed in (presumably) a controlled and structured manner. So it does qualify as something that more or less adheres to the principles and "spirit" of objective, evidence based, investigation. It has developed a theory (Darwinian evolution) to explain data gathered by observation. It does not and cannot TEST its theory in the lab. Actually it cannot even PREDICT (which is critical to any good theory) outcomes because it claims the processes responsible for evolution are so incremental and slow that we cannot observe them!

Intelligent Design theory is similar to Evolutionary theory in that it too seeks to explain data gathered by observation. Obviously it has develop opposing hypotheses to Evolutionary theory. Evolutionary theory claims the evidence shows that each animal species developed from an earlier species (ancestor) through a slow, random, incremental process of change "governed" by the "law" of natural selection. Intelligent Design on the other hand, claims that animal life and the entire universe (so it covers not just origin of species but origin of the cosmos) displays clear evidence of having been designed by an intelligent designer/creator. As for testing its theory Intelligent Design has the edge. The fundamental Intelligent Design hypotheses (roughly stated) that all matter is organized in such a way that its cause is best explained by an intelligent creator rather than by random chance + long epochs of time, can be somewhat tested in the lab. For instance experiments can be setup to demonstrate the relative ineffectiveness of random processes to produce order, structure, and design. Experiments can also clearly reveal the kinds of patterns and order that result from intelligent design processes - because we CAN duplicate the kind of intelligent design processes (to a point) that is claimed by the theory but we CANNOT duplicate the kind of evolutionary processes claimed by that theory.

All of this is to simply say that Intelligent Design theory is very scientific and probably even more scientific than evolutionary theory. So don't shrink back from the debate. Know that the Christian worldview is THE MOST POWERFUL AND EFFECTIVE WORLDVIEW in existence to explain the way the world really is (1Cor 1:25).

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

God's Common Grace and the President

God lavishes grace upon the entire world - believers and unbelievers alike - and we call this "common grace". We know that God establishes all authority to include all governmental authority even if we disagree with that authority politically (Romans 13:1-7). That is part of God's common grace to all people to help ensure peace and an orderly environment. Certainly some of those governmental authorities rebel against God and abuse their authority and when that happens we should speak God's truth to them and hold them accountable to His word. But we should also acknowledge when they speak and govern in a way that reflects God's common grace and glory. To that end the President's speech to public school students today deserves recognition as an example of God's common grace.

His speech is excellent as far as it goes. It would be best to exhort students to Christ...but short of that, in the parameters of God's common grace and function of the governing authorities, it is excellent advice from the President of the United States. I pray that all students and parents take it to heart. We can debate the appropriateness of the President making a speech to public school students (whether it is President George H.W. Busch or Barack Obama) but from a Christian world view perspective the content of the speech is good and commendable.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Being His Witnesses

This morning we received a good reminder that one evidence of having God's Spirit in us is that we WILL be His witnesses. But it is also good to remember that being His witness is more than evangelism. It certainly IS evangelism but it is also more than evangelism. It includes how we think, talk, and act in our everyday lives. Jesus says to let our light so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify God (Mat 5:16). Jesus also tells us that in the way we love one another will be a witness to Him (Jn 13:35). We are also told that we are to be His witnesses through our suffering and persecution (Mat 24:9, Lk 21:12-17, Rom 8:36).

Perhaps Romans 12:1 says it best. We are to present our very bodies (our whole selves) as a living and holy sacrifice because that is our spiritual act of worship to God. It is by the way we live that we proclaim our worship and display the object of our worship. If we try to evangelize (as a specific activity) without presenting ourselves a living and holy sacrifice to God, the people with whom we are sharing the gospel will see the message as hypocritical. Or at best they will see it as inconsistent and therefore lacking power and validity. So by all means we should and must evangelize, but we must also remember to be His witnesses means so much more. It means we must give ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice and thereby live a lifestyle of worship displaying to the world that which we love most - our object of worship - our great and glorious God!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Oh not to receive the grace of God in vain

What does Paul mean in 2Cor 6:1? Some things I think we can conclude: One, he is talking to the church, albeit the Corinthian church. He is talking to professing Christians so it must be that people who profess to be Christians can be in danger of receiving the grace of God in vain. Secondly, receiving the grace of God IN VAIN actually negates the grace of God. In other words, if someone receives God's grace in vain that means they did so in an empty, meaningless, powerless way so really that person did not truly receive the grace of God. That's why I say Paul was addressing PROFESSING Christians. He certainly was addressing the entire Corinthian church (2Cor 1:1) so, the third thing to note, is that it must be true a church can have a mixture of people who have truly received the grace of God (in power) and those who have "received" it in vain. Fourthly, one evidence of having received the grace of God in vain is that you don't separate yourself from the world (2Cor 6:14-7:1). That was how some of the Corinthians were demonstrating it so Paul warned them and pleaded with them in 6:1 to not be ones who receives the grace of God in vain. Some were apparently claiming the name of Christian but also maintaining their relationships, ties, activities and behaviors they had as non-Christians. They looked and acted just like pagans/unbelievers.

What a challenge to all who name the name of Christ! "Come out from among them" the Lord says. Paul challenged the Corinthians to examine themselves to see if they be in the faith (2Cor 13:5). We must do the same. If we wish to follow Christ and fellowship with Him we cannot follow and fellowship with "the world" or with sin. Oh Lord, change my heart and keep it tender and repentant so that I will not be one who received Your grace in vain!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Watch very closely

Be aware and watch this closely..."The top-selling Bible in North America will undergo its first revision in 25 years, modernizing the language in some sections and promising to reopen a contentious debate about changing gender terms in the sacred text. The New International Version, the Bible of choice for conservative evangelicals, will be revised to reflect changes in English usage and advances in Biblical scholarship, it was announced Tuesday. The revision is scheduled to be completed late next year and published in 2011" (Associated Press 9-3-2009).

It is not the rule that people take the Apostle Paul's stance to determine not to handle the word of God deceitfully (2Cor 4:2), it is the exception. Just because the NIV today is a solid translation (not with out fault but good) does not mean it will remain that way after this revision. Judge it carefully and compare it to other trusted translations (NKJV, NASB, ESV).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


"We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18).

So how are we transformed? According to scripture, "with unveiled face" (meaning we see things as they really are) "beholding the glory of the Lord". So by gazing upon, beholding, and savoring God's glory we are changed. Then we learn, "for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit". So this is a sovereign act of God the Holy Spirit working this transformation in us by way of our gazing upon His glory, after having already opened our minds to see the truth. It is all from God working in us but through the means of our loving, focusing on, gazing upon, and savoring Christ! That's how we become more holy...sounds a lot more appealing than following a bunch of rules and religious rituals! But once we're on the path of change from one degree of glory to the next, we love the rules and the rituals...oh the wisdom and majesty of our God!

Eternal Things

We should follow Paul's inspired example. He kept his focus on things eternal by "looking" at things unseen rather than constantly looking at things seen (2Cor 4:18). How wrapped up are we in "things seen"? Many of the things seen are good things too - but when they occupy us to the point of preoccupation they become bad things because they rob God of our time and affections for who can worship someone (or something) without time and affection?