Saturday, April 28, 2007

Marathon Man

My friend James ran the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon today, finishing the 26.2-mile run in 4:01:59.

And here's a video for James' parents, who live in Brazil:

Friday, April 27, 2007

Two Sermons

Two excellent sermons from Galatians 2:11-14:

Tom Schreiner at Clifton Baptist on April 8

David Saxon in chapel at Maranatha on March 13

Monday, April 23, 2007

John 21:1-14

I always find this passage, which I read this morning, especially picturesque. There's a stark beauty about it. I try to imagine the pale first light of day, the crackling of the fire with fish cooking, the sound of the water washing against the shore, and the splash when Peter "threw himself into the sea." Also, as one who enjoys a hardy morning meal, I love Jesus' invitation to the disciples: "Come and have breakfast." I imagine Jesus made a really excellent breakfast.

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, do you have any fish?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Every Parent Is A Youth Pastor

From an excellent article at Sharper Iron:
The character of God and the promises of God in Christ demand that parents take their responsibility for the next generation seriously. The call of the Great Commission - “disciple the nations” (Matt. 28:19, my translation) - must not be limited to the regions beyond. It begins at home. I have no greater opportunity—nor any greater responsibility—to cultivate a follower of Christ than in my own home with my own children. As a parent, I must meditate on the greatness and goodness of God, give great attention to my responsibility in light of His character and works, and then structure my family’s existence around Him.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Psalm 86:8-13

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

Listen to Max McLean read it HERE. (You'll have to scroll down)

Augustine Outdoors

We had Church history on the Seminary lawn yesterday. We normally have a break halfway through the (three-hour) class, and yesterday the professor announced that we would meet outside for the second half. I'm the fifth one from the right in the front with a hat on and my head down. It was a lot of fun, and one of the best lectures of the semester.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Could It Be?

I think I just finished my last paper of the semester. Maybe. Anyway, I have that feeling of relief that comes when you finish one off and bid it farewell. So, farewell to you, "Polity in the New Testament and in Church History." It's been fun.

Monday, April 16, 2007


From George Will in yesterday's Washington Post:

Like many New Yorkers leaving home for work on April 15, 1947, he wore a suit, tie and camel-hair overcoat as he headed for the subway. To his wife he said, "Just in case you have trouble picking me out, I'll be wearing number 42."

No one had trouble spotting the black man in the Dodgers' white home uniform when he trotted out to play first base at Ebbets Field. Suddenly, only 399, not 400, major league players were white. Which is why 42 is the only number permanently retired by every team.
(Read on here)

Are You Growing in Grace? Part 3

From J.C. Ryle:
Another mark of "growth in grace" is increased holiness of life and conversation. The man whose soul is "growing" gets more dominion over sin, the world, and the devil every year. He becomes more careful about his temper, his words, and his actions. He is more watchful over his conduct in every relation of life. He strives more to be conformed to the image of Christ in all things, and to follow Him as his example, as well as to trust in Him as his Saviour. He is not content with old attainments and former grace. He forgets the things that are behind and reaches forth unto those things which are before, making "Higher!" "Upward!" "Forward!" "Onward!" his continual motto (Phil. 3:13). On earth he thirsts and longs to have a will more entirely in unison with God's will. In heaven the chief thing that he looks for, next to the presence of Christ, is complete separation from all sin. Would any one know if he is growing in grace? Then let him look within for increased holiness.
J.C. Ryle, Holiness, pp. 106-107.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Are You Growing in Grace? Part 2

From J.C. Ryle:
Another mark of "growth in grace" is increased faith and love towards our Lord Jesus Christ. The man whose soul is "growing" finds more in Christ to rest upon every year, and rejoices more that he has such a Saviour. No doubt he saw much in Him when first he believed. His faith laid hold on the atonement of Christ and gave him hope. But as he grows in grace, he sees a thousand things in Christ of which at first he never dreamed. His love and power; His heart and His intentions; his offices as Substitute, Intercessor, Priest, Advocate, Physician, Shepherd, and Friend, unfold themselves to a growing soul in an unspeakable manner. In short, he discovers a suitableness in Christ to the wants of his soul, of which the half was once not known to him. Would any one know if he is growing in grace? Then let him look within for increased knowledge of Christ.
J.C. Ryle, Holiness, p. 106.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Are You Growing in Grace? Part 1

From J.C. Ryle:
One mark of "growth in grace" is increased humility. The man whose soul is "growing" feels his own sinfulness and unworthiness more every year. He is ready to say with Job, "I am vile"; and with Abraham, I am "dust and ashes"; and with Jacob, "I am not worthy of the least of all Thy mercies"; and with David, "I am a worm"; and with Isaiah, "I am a man of unclean lips"; and with Peter, "I am a sinful man, O Lord." (Job 40:4; Gen. 18:27; 32:10; Ps. 22:6; Isa. 6:5; Luke 5:8.) The nearer he draws to God, and the more he sees of God's holiness and perfections, the more thoroughly is he sensible of his own countless imperfections. The further he journeys in the way to heaven, the more he understands what St. Paul meant when he says, "I am not already perfect"; "I am not meet to be called an apostle"; "I am less than the least of all saints"; "I am chief of sinners." (Phil. 3:12; 1 Cor. 15:9; Eph. 3:8; 1 Tim. 1:15.) The riper he is for glory, the more, like the ripe corn, he hangs down his head. The brighter and clearer is his light, the more he sees of the shortcomings and infirmities of his own heart. When first converted, he would tell you he saw but little of them compared to what he sees now. Would anyone know whether he is growing in grace? Be sure that you look within for increased humility
J.C. Ryle, Holiness, pp. 105-106.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Me too, Linus


Originally published April 11, 1960.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Gospel of John on mp3

I use the Word of Life Quiet Time Diary for my personal devotions. We've been in the Gospel of John for a couple of months now. (I say "we" because the entire youth ministry back in Illinois, and many of their parents and other church members, also use the Quiet Time Diary.) Spending several months has been fine with me because John is my favorite gospel. The Lord has opened my eyes this time through to see some important themes and teaching that I hadn't seen before. So I was psyched to see that the entire Gospel of John is available for FREE in mp3 audio format on the ESV blog. Download it! Sync it to your mp3 player or burn it to CD! Listen to it!

Incidentally, I love the ESV. It's been my Bible for about three years now. If you're looking for a reliable translation that strives to be as literal as possible without sacrificing literary beauty (a combination previously achieved only by the King James Version among English translations), maybe the ESV is for you. If you have considered switching translations in the past, but have been afraid that switching at this point in your life might be too difficult or a hassle, I'd like to suggest that the ESV might be a good option. I think you'll feel very comfortable with the ESV. Much of it will sound familiar. (Read all about the ESV translation philosophy HERE. Read about the relationship of the ESV to the KJV HERE.) You could get a paperback edition pretty cheap at your local Christian bookstore, use it for your devotions, and see what you think. Or download the mp3 file above and give it a listen.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Word on Sin to All Christians, Especially Parents

A word on sin to all Christians, and especially parents, from J.C. Ryle:

[M]en try to cheat themselves into the belief that sin is not quite so sinful as God says it is, and that they are not so bad as they really are. You may see it in the tendency even of believers to indulge their children in questionable practices, and to blind their own eyes to the inevitable result of the love of money, of tampering with temptation, and sanctioning a low standard of family religion. I fear we do not sufficiently realize the extreme subtlety of our soul's disease. We are too apt to forget that temptation to sin will rarely present itself to us in its true colours, saying, "I am your deadly enemy, and I want to ruin you forever in hell." Oh, no! sin comes to us, like Judas, with a kiss; and like Joab, with an outstretched hand and flattering words. The forbidden fruit seemed good and desirable to Eve; yet it cast her out of Eden. The walking idly on his palace roof seemed harmless enough to David; yet it ended in adultery and murder. Sin rarely seems sin at its first beginnings. Let us then watch and pray, lest we fall into temptation. We may give wickedness smooth names, but we cannot alter its nature and character in the sight of God. Let us remember St. Paul's words: "Exhort one another daily, lest any be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" (Heb. 3:13). It is a wise prayer in our litany, "From the deceits of the world, the flesh, the devil, good Lord, deliver us."

from Holiness by J.C. Ryle, p. 9.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Precious Blood


Before thy cross I kneel and see
the heinousness of my sin,
my iniquity that caused thee to be 'made a curse',
the evil that excites the severity of divine wrath.

Show me the enormity of my guilt by
the crown of thorns,
the pierced hands and feet,
the bruised body,
the dying cries.

Thy blood is the blood of incarnate God,
its worth infinite, its value beyond all thought.
Infinite must be the evil and the guilt that demands such a price.

Sin is my malady, my monster, my foe, my viper,
born in my birth,
alive in my life,
strong in my character,
dominating my faculties,
following me as a shadow,
intermingling with my every thought,
my chain that holds me captive in the empire of my soul.

Sinner that I am, why should the sun give me light,
the air supply breath,
the earth bear my tread,
its fruits nourish me,
its creatures subserve my ends?

Yet thy compassions yearn over me,
thy heart hastens to my rescue,
thy love endured my curse,
thy mercy bore my deserved stripes.

Let me walk humbly in the lowest depths of humiliation,
bathed in thy blood,
tender of conscience,
triumphing gloriously as an heir of salvation.

Valley of Vision, p. 41

Scripture Readings for Friday & Saturday

Good Friday
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Psalm 22
Hebrews 10:16-25 (or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9)
John 18:1-19:42

Holy Saturday
Job 14:1-14 (or Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24)
Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16
1 Peter 4:1-8
Matthew 27:57-66 (or John 19:38-42)

from The Revised Common Lectionary, Year C

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Glory of Christ, part 2

More from Charles Spurgeon on the glory of Christ:
"Come unto me, all ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
~ Matthew 11:28

Jesus Christ says to all who labour and are heavy laden, "Come unto me, and I will give you rest." This invitation implies a movement, - a movement from something to something. You are bidden to come away from whatever else you have been trusting in, and to move towards Christ, and trust to him; and when you do so, he will give you rest. . . . And if you, dear friend, have come to Christ, and trusted him, you have received that rest and peace which he delights to give; you have found the kernel of the nut, you have reached the essence and the root of the whole matter. If your heart has abandoned all other confidences, and is just depending upon Jesus Christ, you have found eternal life, and that eternal life will never be taken away from you. Therefore, rejoice in it.

* * *

Come now and just receive from [Jesus Christ], and glorify him by receiving. O sun, thou givest light; but not till God makes thee shine! O moon, thou art gladdening the evening; yet not with thine own brilliance, but only with borrowed light! O fields, ye yield your harvests; but the great Husbandman creates your grain! O earth, thou art full; but only full of the goodness of the Lord! Everything receives from God, and praises him because it does receive. So let my weary heart lie still beneath the showers of love; let my heavy laden soul rest in Christ, and gladden him by being glad in him.

From the sermon "The Old Gospel For The New Century," delivered by C.H. Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, London, on Lord's-day Evening, December 5th, 1880.