Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Goodbye Norma Jean (Bill the Chimp is Gone)

Goodbye, Bill the Chimp. I always loved going to your corner of the zoo, especially when you threw poop at people.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Books in the mail!

Last week I received an unexpected treat in the mail: a free book! The wonderful folks over at Westminster Bookstore (namely Mark Traphagen) sent me Charles Drew's new book "A Journey Worth Taking" and it looks like it will be a very helpful and encouraging book.

From my cursory glance, the book looks to tear down the idea that "calling" is only something that people who are going into full time ministry get and instead restore the Biblical idea that God has called each person, in a myriad of ways, to worship Him through the gifts He has supplied them with.

This is from a quote from an interview with the author:
It is not always easy to worship while we work. Thanks to the fall, there is no job—whether it is raising children, running a bank, or working as a carpenter—that does not have its dreariness. Nevertheless, God made us for work, Jesus is present with us in our work, and Jesus will one day completely fix work. For these reasons, we should seek occasions to thank God for and in our work. Simply to be given something to do that brings order into our life is cause for thanks. If we get paid for it, all the better. Work often presents us with people to love—and this is good for us (especially when it is hard). There are, or course, those occasional jobs (or occasional tasks within a particular job) that we actually enjoy doing—for which it is only right to worship God. Then there is the recollection of how much worse work might be for us if we lived at a different time or under different circumstances—a recollection that should train our faith to see the hand of the Redeemer at work, and to thank him. Finally, there is the promise of consummation—of a coming world in which all toil will finally be taken from our work—and for this hope we worship God (especially when we are acutely aware of the toil in what we are presently doing).
I am looking forward to reading through the book and I will be posting a more comprehensive review once I read through it.

If you are interested, you can also preview the table of contents, the introduction, and the first chapter.

Oh, and in case you are tempted, don't even waste your time looking for this over at Really-Big-South-American-River. WTS has great prices, great shipping rates, and fantastic service.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Here's my boy

Sunday, June 10, 2007

From doubt to delight

This morning I preached from Psalm 73 at our church.

Here's a portion of my notes:
"One of the greatest lies that the church has struggled with, especially in the West, is that we should expect to have lives of great material abundance, superior physical condition, and a life free of suffering. Many Christians have gotten to this place in their lives where they are so consumed with a desire for the gifts they think they deserve that there is no room left over in their hearts to be consumed with a desire for the Giver. And that is a great tragedy and it does not honor God. It does not honor God when we desire the same things the world desires in the same way that the world desires them."
You can read the whole manuscript here (It's kind of a rough draft, but it's pretty close to what I said this morning.)


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Poverty, Prosperity, and Psalm 73

Watch this first:

HT: DG Blog

I didn't put this video up to be controversial but primarily because of the reference to Psalm 73 in the midst of the clip. I've been working on memorizing this psalm over the past couple of days, so it's been on my mind often. I read the psalm in my daily Bible reading a couple weeks ago and I have been longing to get more of the truth of it into my heart since I read it. Memorizing seems to be a good way to do that.

Psalm 73 has a lot of negative thoughts in it, almost to the point of being depressing- except for the last 10 verses. Asaph (the author) spends much of his time lamenting the abundance of injustice in his life and in the world around him. He complains about the wicked, the ones who openly defy justice and in so doing, defy the God of justice. He talks about how easy they have it; pain-free, wealthy, and without the cares of the world.

In many places in the world, this is much more evident than we see in our Western context. It is often the wicked who are the ones with the most money and the most power, but with the least regard for justice. As I was memorizing verses 8 and 9 of Psalm 73 this morning, I thought these probably mean much more to an African family than it does to my family, because we are not in constant fear of rape, mutilation, and disease.

But to some degree, injustice finds its way into our life. And far too often for me, it comes out of my own heart. And that's why I long to see the truth of the words "
...there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You" (v 25) stamp themselves into those unjust places.

Dr. Piper's statements in the video clip above remind me that to withhold the good news of the Gospel of Jesus and replace them with a cheap counterfeit is a form of injustice.

May God help me to live in a way that proclaims that God is truly the "strength of my heart and my portion forever." (v 26).

Text of Psalm 73

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