Friday, November 20, 2015

Marriage is Like "Dancing in the Mine Fields"

Another good marriage song... This one by Andrew Peterson.

Here's how the song came about, in the artist's own words (found here):
In December of 2009 my wife and I celebrated fifteen years of marriage. A few days later, we got in a silly argument and I wrote this song after she went to bed. Marriage, see, was God’s idea. It’s one of the most potent metaphors in all of Scripture for the way God loves us and the way we’re to let ourselves be loved by him. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. To the contrary, it’s fraught with peril. Any good marriage involves a thousand deaths to self—the good news is, in Christ that marriage involves at least as many resurrections. We lay our lives down and enter this perilous dance with another human being who has done the same. Why should we expect to emerge unscathed?
The video isn't overly impressive, but listen to the words and you'll be encouraged. And  you've got to love seeing decades-old marriages that are still lively and sweet (like the couples seen in the video).

Andrew Peterson - Dancing in the Minefields from Centricity Music on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

I Hope Benjamin Watson Gets Under Your Skin

In the wake of Ferguson and the maddening and disheartening number of racially charged police shootings over the last year and a half, there has been no end to the commentary on the news and social media. Some has been helpful. Some has been despicable. Some has brought clarity. Some has only muddied the waters.

Benjamin Watson is a star tight end for the New Orleans Saints. More importantly, he is a thoughtful and outspoken Christian. You may have read his Facebook post response to Ferguson back in 2014 when he wrote it, but I only recently came across it. It went viral and was viewed by millions...for good reason. He summarized his thoughts under the following 12 headings:


Please take the time to read how he unpacks each of these statements. You can find the full post reprinted here. You can watch him share an abbreviated version here:

I don't know about you, but after reading (or watching) that, I want to hear from Benjamin on race relations and the power of the gospel to break down the dividing walls of hostility. If you're with me, you might want to check this out. He will be doing a webcast on Nov 24, at 7:30pm to have a conversation about race with pastor Darrin Patrick. You may also want to order a copy of his new book called, Under Our Skin.

May the Lord use his efforts to shed divine light and wisdom on these complex issues, and bring about more blood-bought unity across all kinds of blood lines.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Shrink Ray & The Magnifying Glass: A Couple of Satan's Weapons

Some very helpful wisdom here from Tim Challies (who's got a great blog, by the way):
One of Satan’s greatest tricks is to convince you that the sin you are being tempted with is a very small sin. “This is just a little one. It’s not like you’re going to kill anyone. It’s not like you’re committing adultery. You’ve done it before and God didn’t strike you down. The joy will by far outweigh the risk. We will keep this one between just you and me.” And too often you believe his lie. You indulge in what seems like just a little sin, a harmless peccadillo. 
One of Satan’s greatest delights is to convince you that the sin you have just committed is a very big sin. That same sin that was so small in the future looms so large in the past. Now he whispers, “Oh, you have sinned so badly. You have sinned so big. How could you have done this? You’ve gone and done it this time—you’ve sinned beyond his grace.” And again, you believe the lie. You wallow in guilt and sink into despair.
Read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Husbands, Play This One For Your Wives

Pastor Tyler put me on to this song awhile ago. It's excellent. Husbands, why not plan a date, print the lyrics, and give them to her as you play it in the car on the way out?

Here are the lyrics:

You are a sight for aching eyes
A river for my thirst
When all the world is harsh and dry
Wasted by the curse
All words seem beggarly and poor
When set to sing your grace
What could I've know of love before
My eyes had seen your face?

My love, how beautiful you are
My love is ever where you are

I know you feel the wounds of time
The wandering feet of crows
But I am yours and you are mine
And none but me could know
How all of you enraptures me
Till I can't look away
I pray that I will live to see
You wear a crown of gray

My love, how beautiful you are
My love is ever where you are

Oh when you kiss me I am lost
Or is it that I'm found?
My feet send roots beneath the rocks
To fix me to the ground
Never to float away again
A captive to the tide
No more to wander in the wind
Without you by my side

My love, how beautiful you are
My love is ever where you are

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"Suta" Video for IDOP

Sunday, Nov 1 was the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. We showed the following video produced by Voice of the Martyrs. I referenced it again this past Sunday, as it is a powerful illustration of 1 Peter 2:12.
Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
If you didn't get a chance to see it on Nov 1, or if you'd like to watch it again, here it is: 

Luke 6:27-36
"But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 
To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 
Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 
And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. 
"If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 
And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 
And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Bible Project

THIS is a really cool project. Check out their video on Ruth to get an idea of how helpful these videos can be.

Visit their website to see what biblical books and themes they've done, and what project they're working on right now. Scroll down to "Book Videos" and "Theme Videos" to see the lists.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Because We Ought to Make Fun of "Reality TV"

Ecclesiastes 1:2-3, 9-10, 14
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? 
What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new"? It has been already in the ages before us. 
I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

Matthew 6:32-33
For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Second Helping Sermon Quotes

In case you want to go back for seconds on these (emphasis added):

Carl Trueman (from this article -- and the whole thing is worth reading!): 
When I married a young couple in my congregation a few years ago, I commented in the sermon that all human marriages begin with joy but end in tragedy. Whether it is divorce or death, the human bond of love is eventually torn apart. The marriage of Christ and his church, however, begins with tragedy and ends with a joyful and loving union which will never be rent asunder. There is joy to which we point in our worship, the joy of the Lamb’s wedding feast. But our people need to know that in this world there will be mourning. Not worldly mourning with no hope. But real mourning nonetheless, and we must make them ready for that.

J.I. Packer [from “The Gospel and the Lord’s Supper,” in Serving the People of God, vol. 2 of Collected Shorter Writings of J. I. Packer (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1998), 49-50.]:
We are … to learn the divinely intended discipline of drawing assurance from the sacrament. We should be saying in our hearts, ‘as sure as I see and touch and taste this bread and this wine, so sure it is that Jesus Christ is not a fancy but a fact, that he is for real, and that he offers himself to be my Saviour, my Bread of Life, and my Guide to glory. He has left me this rite, this gesture, this token, this ritual action as a guarantee of this grace; He instituted it, and it is a sign of life-giving union with him, and I’m taking part in it, and thus I know that I am his and he is mine forever.’ That is the assurance that we should be drawing from our sharing in the Lord’s Supper every time we come to the table. 
And then we must realize something of our togetherness in Christ with the rest of the congregation. . . . [We should reject the] strange perverse idea . . . that the Lord’s Supper is a flight of the alone to the Alone: it is my communion I come to make, not our communion in which I come to share. You can’t imagine a more radical denial of the Gospel than that. 
The communion table must bring to us a deeper realization of our fellowship together. If I go into a church for a communion service where not too many folk are present, to me it is a matter of conscience to sit beside someone. This togetherness is part of what is involved in sharing in eucharistic worship in a way that edifies. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

"At The Table" by Josh Garrels (Music Recommendation)

I quoted from the song "At The Table" by Josh Garrels a few weeks ago. It's one of my favorites from his newest album entitled, "Home."

If you aren't familiar with Garrels' music, you can listen to a bunch of it here. You can also download a free sample album here. Here are a few recommendations to get you started: Farther Along, The ResistanceRevelator, Pilot Me, Zion and Babylon, & All Creatures. I'll go ahead and stop there. Enjoy!