Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Children are humorous, especially when they don't mean to be. Their responses to questions are classic (evidenced by the number of forwarded emails we've all received with such responses). Our 2 year-old daughter is no different. Two incidents occurred recently that left my wife and I laughing at her own "classic" responses to our questions.

The first happened when we were in a store and saw an inflatable Santa Claus. I asked my daughter who that was in the red suit with the white beard. Her response: "Noah" (she probably wondered why there were toys rather than animals in the sled).

The second incident was in the midst of my wife going over catechism questions with our daughter. They were talking about Adam and Eve, sin, and the punishment for sin. My wife asked, "What happens when we sin?" The answer we expected was: "It separates us from God." The answer our daughter gave: "We get a spanking."

Monday, November 28, 2011

What the Emerging Church Really Is

"The emerging church is not an evangelistic strategy. It is the last rung for evangelicals falling off the ladder into liberalism or unbelief."

--Kevin DeYoung

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Thanksgiving Hymn

Great Sovereign Lord, What Human Eye
Samuel Boyce, 1812

Great sovereign Lord, what human eye
Amidst Thy works can rove,
And not Thy liberal hand espy,
Nor trace Thy bounteous love?

Each star that gilds the heavenly frame,
On earth each verdant clod,
In language loud to men proclaim
The great and bounteous God.

The lesson each revolving year
Repeats in various ways;
Rich Thy provisions, Lord, appear;
The poor shall shout Thy praise.

Our fruitful fields and pastures tell,
Of man and beast Thy care;
The thriving corn Thy breezes fill,
Thy breath perfumes the air.

But oh, what human eye can trace,
Or human heart conceive,
The greater riches of Thy grace
Impoverished souls receive?

Love everlasting has not spared
Its best beloved Son;
And in Him endless life prepared,
For souls by sin undone.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Beeson Podcast on Hymns of Thanksgiving

Listen to this special edition of the Beeson Podcast with Dean Timothy George on the great hymns of Thanksgiving in the Christian tradition. Dr. George’s guest is Dr. Paul Richardson, professor of music at Samford University and past president of the Hymn Society of the United States and Canada. Along with discussion of the history and use of Thanksgiving hymns, you will hear choral arrangements of four beautiful and theologically-rich Thanksgiving hymns. One of the interesting points that emerges in this discussion is that the most beloved Thanksgiving hymns were written during times of extreme hardship.

If you are traveling this week, listening to this podcast would be a great way to spend a half hour of your travel time to set your heart on God’s goodness to his people.

You can download the podcast, or you can subscribe to it through iTunes here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nor Let That Ransomed Sinner Die

Arise, My Soul, Arise
Charles Wesley, 1707-1788

Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away, the presence of His Son;
His Spirit answers to the blood,
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Redemption of Ordinary Life

"Ordinary life is what's going to be redeemed. There is nothing better than ordinary life, except that it's always going away and always falling apart. Ordinary life is food and work and chairs by the fire and hugs and dancing and mountains - this world. God loves it so much that he gave his only Son so we - and the rest of this ordinary world - could be redeemed and made perfect. And that's what is in store for us."

--Tim Keller, The King's Cross

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Sanctifying and Comforting Effect of the Cross

"Let the cross of Christ be often before our minds. Rightly understood, no object in all Christianity is so likely to have a sanctifying as well as a comforting effect on our souls."

--J.C. Ryle

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Sinner Saved by Sovereign Grace

Not One of Adam's Race
Henry Fowler, 1779-1838

Not one of Adam’s race
But is by sin undone,
Deep sunk in foul disgrace,
And righteousness has none;
And this, when brought through grace to know,
Will sink the sinner very low.

He sinks in miry clay,
And scarce can lift a sigh,
He tries, but cannot pray,
Nor lift to heaven his eye;
His bosom heaves, with guilt oppressed,
But, in himself, can find no rest.

In this bewildered state,
Pursued by guilt and sin,
He pushes at the gate,
But cannot enter in;
Till Jesus opens wide the door,
And saves the helpless and the poor.

The prisoner now goes forth;
The lame man leaps with joy;
He feels the Saviour’s worth,
And lifts his name on high.
On Jesus’ head the crown he’ll place;
A sinner saved by sovereign grace.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Book on Adoption and Orphan Care

Interested in adoption? In the process of adoption? Want to know how you can care for orphans? Wondering how you can approach this issue in a gospel-centered way? If so, Tony Merida and Rick Morton have written a new book you might want to check out - Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care.

Thanks to Ben Mitchell for making me aware of this book.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Rap about Charles Spurgeon

Some of you may have already seen and heard this track by Shai Linne, but it's a combination of poetry and the story of God's grace seen in Charles Spurgeon. I had several friends send it to me, so I thought I'd post it here for others to view.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Hymn for Orphan Sunday

This is a great hymn for Orphan Sunday (which is this Sunday). It can be sung to the tune of "The Church's One Foundation."

Though I Was Born an Orphan
© 2009, Eric Shumacher and David L. Ward

Though I was born an orphan,
Abandoned and alone,
Enslaved and bound in darkness,
Without a hope or home,
The God of grace and mercy
From his eternal throne
Ordained to be my Father
And claim me as His own.

That I might be adopted
The Father sent his Son
To live in full obedience
And die for what I’ve done.
Now through his resurrection,
Through faith, with him I’m one.
A member of his household,
I am an heir, a son.

To soothe my fear and worry
The Spirit from on high
Was sent to be a witness
That “Father!” I might cry.
O How I love this Father!
I’m never left alone.
He’s come to dwell within me
Until He calls me home.

Since I have this adoption,
I cannot close my home
To widows and to orphans,
Abandoned and alone.
Lord, fill me with compassion
To love the fatherless,
That I might show the nations
How great my Father is!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Suffered Under Pontius Pilate"

Have you ever wondered about the significance of the phrase "suffered under Pontius Pilate" in the Apostles' Creed? Why mention Pilate? Why the reference to him in a creedal confession of the Christian faith? This quote from Harold Brown may help explain why this phrase has importance:

Jesus is...the Mediator between God and man, but he is not seen as a cosmic or universal principle, but as a real flesh-and-blood human being, who suffered, died, and rose again under a real, historical, and trivial Roman official, Pontius Pilate. During the early twentieth century, attempts were made to deny the historicity of Jesus Christ, and to present him as the invention of his followers, but there has never been an attempt to discredit the historicity of the unfortunate Pilate.

--Harold O. J. Brown, Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church

The historicity of Pilate confirms the historicity of Christ.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Another Baseball Season in the Books

For those of you who are baseball fans, Glenn Stout has a great little reflection that recently aired on NPR about the end of another season and waiting for next year - Major League Longing: What Comes After Game 7.

In this way, the Major League Baseball season serves as something of an earthly reminder of the anticipation and fulfillment inherent in the Christian faith.