Thursday, November 29, 2007

Paste Magazine- Signs o' Life 2007

Paste Magazine has compiled their "best of 2007" lists.
  • Music- somehow they didn't get Radiohead on there until #11 (they do have a good review of it though). They must not have gotten my ballot. Silly Paste! But it's a good list overall.
  • Books
  • Films
  • Games

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Johnny Cash- Temptation and Redemption

Here's a great video from Mars Hill Church about the temptation and redemption of Johnny Cash.

You can view more biographical videos of saintly songwriters here.

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Sigur Ros- Hvarf/Heim

My friend Joel gives his thoughts on the new Sigur Ros release Hvarf/Heim and ponders why Christians are so drawn to the music of these Icelandic ambassadors of beauty.

He says:
Most obvious is the overwhelming sense of awe that comes from Sigur Ros' music. "The world is charged with the grandeur of God," Gerard Manley Hopkins once wrote, and compositions like "I Gaer," are charged with that same grandeur. Starting with a modest glockenspiel melody, the song suddenly cracks open like a raging electrical storm, a billowing frenzy of guitars and drums.

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Sam Storms- Signs of the Spirit

Gary Shavey at Resurgence interviews Sam Storms about his book Signs of the Spirit: An Interpretation of Jonathan Edwards' "Religious Affections."

You can learn more about Sam Storms at his site, Enjoying God Ministries.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Is Jesus the only way to God?

I have some friends who recently been asking this question and subsequently flirting with the doctrine of inclusivism.

My friend described inclusivism as:
"...essentially a middle ground between exclusivism and universalism. Christian Inclusivism is a mysterious widening of God's grace. It admits the belief that Christianity is the most effective way to understand God, but that even some people in other religions and also those who are unaware of the Gospel may fall under a wider mercy of God."
Trevin Wax says that:
The inclusivist position rests upon two axioms: particularity and universality. Regarding particularity, inclusivism differs from pluralism by stating clearly that salvation is found only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Regarding universality, inclusivism differs from exclusivism by claiming that God intends his salvation to be available to all humans everywhere.
Trevin has a good four part blog series on inclusivism:
1. What is Inclusivism and Why Does It Matter?

2. Inclusivism: Is God Really Fair?
3. Inclusivism: What is “Faith” Anyway?
4. Yes, Good People Go To Heaven - But What Does “Good” Mean?

I understand the motivation to ponder a doctrine like inclusivism, because no one should enjoy the thought of others suffering eternally. But the doctrine of inclusivism seems like another poor and ultimately Christ-demeaning attempt to "rescue" God from the questions asked of Him by people who have no regard for what He has already spoken by His Son Jesus. It seems that rather than lamely capitulating to these questions by forming a hurtful doctrine, we should prayerfully, lovingly and tirelessly pursue the nations for their sake and for the sake of the glory of a God in whom righteousness and peace have already kissed.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Chris Schlarb- Twilight and Ghost Stories

Asthmatic Kitty is streaming a new album by one of their artists, Chris Schlarb, called Twighlight and Ghost Stories. The album comes out next Tuesday, December 4th.

It's described as "a dense 40-minute modern composition featuring a disparate cross-section of musicians from the avant-garde, independent folk, jazz and electronic communities."

It is indeed dense, but well worth a listen. Give it some time, and at least get to the 10 minute mark, where "...Schlarb cross-fades a recording of his son's in-womb heartbeat with white noise and together they become one indistinguishable sound." It's a beautiful moment.

Stream it and read about it here.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Moving Forward in Grace- Jonah 3:1-5

I preached from Jonah 3:1-5 this morning at church.

Here's an excerpt from my notes:

Think about this: as a prophet of God, Jonah was God’s mouthpiece, God’s messenger. It was his responsibility to communicate God’s will to people. And Jonah outright disobeyed what God had told him to say. He abandoned his calling to run away. He ignored God, he disobeyed God, and he forsook God.

It was in the depths of the sea that he realized his sin, and I believe he repented. He was in the dark, in the pit, and he knew that he had failed. He does what we often do in that situation. He calls out to God and says “I know I messed up. I’m sorry that I rebelled against You. I still need You. You’re all I’ve got.” And what does God say to Jonah?

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you. (Jonah 3:1-2)

God says nothing about Jonah’s sin again. He just says I have a plan for you and I want you to keep moving. You’re feet are back on the ground again and I want you to walk. I want you to move forward again.

This has tremendous implications for us. We are often so crippled by guilt and condemnation that we don’t feel like we can do anything for God. We say “I have failed, I have let God down, I’m no good. I can’t do anything for Him because He is angry with me.” But we see with Jonah that this just isn’t the case. God says “Keep going! I’ve still got something for you to do. My grace is greater than all your sins!”

Because the thing we need to remember when we sin is that Jesus has paid for it. Yes, we need to be sorrowful when we sin, we need to repent when we sin, but we also need to look to Jesus, look to the Cross and walk forward in the victory won for us at the place where Jesus died and paid for our rebellion against God.

You can see the rest of my notes here.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Caption this

The best tourist attraction of all time has taken a serious blow to the head. Please enter your own caption for this brilliant picture.

My best is "A big ox-ccident!"

Read more about it here.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Cloverfield- 01-18-08

A few months back I hopped on the "I am really excited about this new JJ Abrams project called 01-18-08" bandwagon. The movie has now been officially titled (at least for now) "Cloverfield".

Watch the new trailer and you will want to hop on the bandwagon with me.


Happy Birthday Dallass!!!

Happy birthday to my wonderful wife Dallass. You are my favorite and I am so thankful to our good God for you.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

John Wimber

DG Blog shares some thoughts that Sam Storms wrote about Charismatic-meets-doctrine pioneer John Wimber, who passed away 10 years ago today.


2007 book guide

Tim Challies offers his 2007 book guide, with everything from theology to New York Times bestsellers.

Now playing: Over The Rhine - Coal Train
via FoxyTunes


Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Great Sufjan Song Xmas Xchange!!!

For all you creative types, Asthmatic Kitty is offering a Sufjan Stevens song for one of yours...if it's good enough to beat all the rest of the coughnerdscough who will enter this thing.

Like me.

Check out The Great Sufjan Song Xmas Xchange!!!

And while you're at it, you might as well download some of Sufjan's delightful Christmas songs:

"That Was the Worst Christmas Ever"

"Sister Winter"

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rob Bell in San Francisco- the gods aren't angry

Justin Buzzard shares some good thoughts on Rob Bell's latest speaking tour.


More on Idolatry

My friend BJ shares some additional thoughts on idolatry and also points to a 3 sermon series on idolatry preached by CJ Mahaney (download the sermons and outline here for free).

Kenneth Maresco also preached a sermon called "Identifying and Tearing Down Idols of the Heart." I've not yet listened to it, but it looks to be another useful tool for sanctification.


Books in the mail!

Yesterday, I went to my parents house and saw a mysterious box from WTS Books. I knew that my mom had just gotten a shipment from them the week before and I wondered "Is that my Christmas present? Should I open it now and ask questions later?" Well, I thought it prudent to ask questions first, so I called my mom and she said "Oh no...those are just more ESV Children's Bibles for my Sunday School class."


We continued talking and before I hung up, she sighed and said "Oh, just open it! Those are books for you. I wasn't going to give them to you until we got back (they are out of town this week) but just open them now!"

Just then, the heavens opened up and I heard angelic singing in my ears. It was a beautiful moment.

I eagerly opened the box and, lo and behold, my parents had blessed me with a copy of Beeke/Pederson's Meet the Puritans and Goldsworthy's Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics!

Thanks Mom and Dad!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thoughts on Sigur Ros

Tim Smith at Doxologist shares some good thoughts on Sigur Ros and their wonderful art.

Like Tim, I recommend Takk as a great starting place to listen to the music of Sigur Ros, especially on an autumn drive.

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The Idol of Approval

Darrin Patrick recently gave an excellent talk entitled "Dealing With Personal Idols" (audio stream/download here). In that talk he gently but piercingly helps the listener to evaluate the things in our lives, general or specific, that can take the place of Jesus as the Lord of our hearts and desires.

I freely confess that I often place the approval of others in a place of greater importance than recognizing the approval that I already have in Jesus. This sin plays itself out in every area of my life, whether it's my marriage or getting a cup of coffee at Starbucks. God help me as I seek to honor Him in every area of my heart and life.

Also see another great talk on idolatry (download) by Mark Driscoll at the Continuous Worship conference back in September.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World

I was privileged to attend the 2006 Desiring God National Conference entitled "The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World." It was a great weekend of learning from God's Word, singing with God's people, and meeting lots of new friends.

In recent years, Desiring God has partnered with Crossway to publish the talks from each of their national conferences in book form. Crossway has just released the new book entitled (surprisingly) "The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World."

Here are the chapter titles:

Introduction- Justin Taylor

Part 1. Culture and Truth

1. The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World- David Wells

2. Truth and the Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World- Voddie Baucham Jr.

Part 2. Joy and Love

3. Joy and the Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World- John Piper

4. Love and the Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World- D. A. Carson

Part 2. Gospel Theologizing and Contextualizing

5. The Gospel and the Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World- Tim Keller

6. The Church and the Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World- Mark Driscoll

Conversations with the Contributors

You can find the book here at WTS Books.

Desiring God has also released the entire book in pdf for free. You can find that here.

As always, you can find the audio for the entire conference at DG's site (there is also video). I highly recommend Baucham's and Keller's talks, but they are all wonderful.

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