Monday, October 22, 2018

Honest Answers: "How Did We Get the Biblical Canon?"

"Honest Answers" is a very helpful series of videos produced by Southern Seminary. Here's an excellent one by Dr. Robert Plummer entitled, "How Did We Get the Biblical Canon?"

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Beautiful "Scum of the Earth"

Voice of the Martyrs produces a video each year for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. These videos provide a window into the real life suffering of our brothers and sisters around the globe. This year, they tell the story of life for Christians in Pakistan. Take five minutes and view the video HERE. It is a heartbreaking, yet beautiful picture of the power of the gospel.

These Pakistani Christians are walking in the footsteps of Jesus (Philippians 2:7-8) and the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 4:8-16). They may be treated like second-class citizens in their country, but there is no second class in the kingdom of God. Their citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), and they are the meek who will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). And one day, when Jesus returns, the great reversal will take place, and "many who are first will be last, and the last first" (Matthew 19:30). Then the world will know that Pakistan's trash is actually God's treasure. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Testimony of Tragedy and Grace in Rome

For those of you who attended our missions conference back in April, you got to know Leonardo De Chirico and the ministry of his church (Brecchia de Roma) in Rome.

Laurie sent me this powerful video testimony of Reid and Kyra Karr, missionaries who served together with Leonardo for six years. While on furlough back in the States, shortly before their intended return to Rome, Kyra was tragically killed in a car accident. 

After Kyra's death, Reid returned to Rome and continues to serve Christ there. Watch this powerful testimony to the mighty sufficiency of God's grace:

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Introduction to Genesis Resources

We began our series through the book of Genesis this past Sunday. As promised, I wanted to point you to some excellent introductory material for your own study. The more you dive into this great book, the more you'll benefit from it.

First off, be sure to read Genesis for yourself! Take time in the next week or two or three to read it the whole way through. And then do it again. One of the most profitable exercises in Bible study is repeated reading. We often see things on the second or third (or 57th) reading that we didn't see the first time.

The best "one-stop shop" for resources can be found over at The Gospel Coalition. They've put together a free "Introduction to Genesis" course.

This "course" combines great resources from The Bible Project (including four introductory videos), the ESV Study Bible, and an overview sermon of the whole book of Genesis by Mark Dever.

Here are two of The Bible Project videos to whet your appetite:

The first is on the background to Genesis 1-11:

The second is on the details of Genesis 1-11 in their "Read Scripture" series:

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Falling Plates

James Askren recently pointed my attention to this video by Cru. It's powerful. Maybe you know someone who needs to see it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Proverbs 18:10, Illustrated

I thought I'd voice my "Amen!" to Lily's visual "sermon" here. She drew it a few Sundays ago. Don't you love the looks on the faces of "the righteous"?

In the Bible, "the righteous" are not stoic, super-saints. They are the honest, humble ones who know their need, and where to run for help (a la Psalm 32).

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Financial Time Travel - A Little Wisdom in a Word Picture

An insightful way to look at borrowing and saving (quote by CPA Brent Esplin, found in a YNAB newsletter, emphasis added):
While physical time travel is still only fantasy, financial time travel is a reality. Modern finance provides us the necessary tools to send money to our future selves through saving and investing and to send money from our future selves back to the present through borrowing.
In other words, when you borrow or use credit, you are forcing your future self to pay for your past self's decisions. When you save or invest, you are blessing your future self (and other persons you love) with your past self's decisions. No ground breaking discoveries here, but a helpful way to capture some financial wisdom in a word picture.

Speaking of financial time travel, the most significant form is summed up by Randy Alcorn's "Treasure Principle" (when you give money away as an act of grace and worship - see 2 Corinthians 8 & 9 and Matthew 6:19-24): You can't take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.

Monday, May 21, 2018

7 Marks of a Good Apology by Brad Hambrick

Brad Hambrick is the Pastor of Counseling at the Summit Church in NC. His website is filled with biblical counseling wisdom and resources.

In the message yesterday on Psalm 51, I summarized part of his helpful post entitled, “7 Marks of a Good Apology Vs 8 Marks of Bad Apology” I'd encourage you to go read the whole thing, but here's the summary I quoted yesterday: 

Repentance is when we quit trying to make our dysfunction “work” and embrace the life-giving alternative to our sin that God offers.
7 Marks of a Good Apology
1. Address Everyone Involved.
When you fail to seek forgiveness you leave that person believing you think your actions were acceptable to God
2. Avoid If, But, and Maybe.
Our first tendency in repentance is to soften what we admit. Words like if, but, and maybe have no place in repentance. “If” calls into question whether what you did was really wrong. “But” transforms repentance into accusation. “Maybe” indicates you are not convinced your actions were wrong and invites a conversation (or debate) that is likely to go badly and, regardless, is not repentance.
3. Admit Specifically.
Generic confession is often a sign of insincerity. “We all know what happened,” is no excuse for brevity. Hearing that you can be specific without falling into blame-shifting or self-pity is an important indicator that you are a “safe” person and that restoration is wise.
4. Apologize (Acknowledge the Hurt).
Sin has consequences; both intentional and unintentional. Repentance expresses empathy and often takes responsibility for the dominoes that fall as a result of our sin. This is not groveling or penance (both of which are emotionally manipulative). It is an exercise in other-mindedness. 
5. Accept the Consequence.
Repentance is not a plea-bargain or negotiation. Repentance is not a time when we establish the “acceptable terms” for our sin. …we are not presenting a contract or deal, but that we are seeking to be restored to a person.
6. Alter Your Behavior.
The repentant conversation is not the culmination of the journey.
…repentance, …is rooted in the Gospel paradigm of dying to self to find life.
7. Ask for Forgiveness & Allow Time.
…forgiveness is commanded by God, but Scripture never calls on the confessing party to be the one who reminds others of this command or to insist that it be obeyed. As a general rule to promote humility and patience, allow at least as much time for forgiveness as it took you to come to repentance. It is hypocritical to expect someone else to process suffering (your sin against them) faster than you changed your sin.

Thursday, May 17, 2018