Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Four Core Elements to Agape Love

From Sunday's Sermon: The 4 Core Elements of Agape Love
I John 4:9-10 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1. Agape Love Always seeks the Highest Good in Another
God the Father did not withhold His most precious possession: His Son
"He sent His One and Only Son"

2. Agape Love Always commits itself First
"He loved us"

3. Agape Love Always is a Giving Love
"He sent His Son"

4. Agape Love Always Sacrifices
"Atoning sacrifice for our sins"

Colson's Conversion

Check Chuck Colson's testimnoy
If you want to read more pick up his excellent book, "Born Again"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Great Hymns

I really enjoy the music of Page CXVI, they sing some of the best, most powerful hymns
Give them a listen

Friday, October 15, 2010

What is Masculinity?

Notes from Chapter One of "Future Men"  by Doug Wilson

What is masculinity? Wilson writes: "the collection of all those characteristics which flow from delighting in and sacrificing bodily strength for goodness." He defines masculinity by 5 terms: Lords, Husbandmen, Saviors, Sages, and Glory-Bearers.

1. Lords: "man was created to exercise dominion in the earth. The charge which God gave in this regard is frequently called the Cultural Mandate." (Gen 1:26-28). "In boys we may call this the 'tree fort' impetus. Boys want to conquer and subdue, and if the terrain before them is the backyard, then that is what they want to conquer and subdue." (p.14)

2. Husbandmen: "Man was created not only to discover and conquer new worlds, but also to make those worlds flourish." (p.15)

3. Saviors: "Men also have a deep desire to deliver or save." (15) The great example of a Savior is of course Jesus Christ. The ancient serpent, the dragon, was the tempter who brought the occasion of sin before Adam and Eve. Men who follow Jesus Christ, the dragon slayer, must themselves become lesser dragon-slayers. And this is why it is absolutely essential for boys to play with wooden swords and plastic guns. Boys have a deep need to have something to defend, something to represent in battle. And to beat the spears into pruning hooks prematurely, before the war is over, will leave you fighting the dragon with a pruning hook. The Christian faith is in no way pacifistic. The peace that will be ushered in by our great Prince will be a peace purchased with blood. As our Lord sacrificed Himself in this war, so must His followers learn to do. Boys must learn that they are growing up to fight in a great war, and they must consequently learn, as boys, to be strong, sacrificial, courageous and good. (16)

4. Sage: "We must teach our boys the masculinity of study, of learning, of books, of intellectual discussion."

5. Glory-bearers: Men are the glory of God (I Cor 11:7) Boys must be instructed on how to grow up into glory and how to fulfill their responsibility to be representative, responsible, and holy. (18)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Don't Buy Stuff you Can't Afford!

2 Chilean miners accept Christ while trapped underground

This is really cool

SANTIAGO, Chile (BP)--José Henríquez leads a small group of men in prayer every evening in northern Chile -- 2,300 feet below the surface of the earth.

For more than two months, 33 Chilean miners have been trapped beneath the desert floor in a chamber the size of a living room. A partial collapse blocked the mine exit Aug. 5.

Chilean Mining Minister Laurence Golborne confirmed Oct. 11 that a trial run of a rescue capsule was successful. The miners' rescue is scheduled to begin at midnight, Oct. 12.

When the mine collapsed, three of the miners -- including Henríquez -- were Christians. Since then, two more of them have made professions of faith.

"It was José who made the request that an evangelical pastor come to minister to the miners and their families," said Bryan Wolf, an International Mission Board (IMB) missionary serving in Vallenar, Chile.

Rescue engineer Igor Bravo, a member of First Baptist Church of Santiago, was one of the first to hear of Henríquez's request for a pastor and contacted the Chilean Baptist Union.

Bernardino Morales, director of the Baptist union's Social Testimony Network, searched for a pastor who lived near the mine in Copiapó but no one was available. Two weeks ago he called Marcelo Leiva, pastor of Vallenar Baptist Church in Vallenar, Chile, located about two hours away.

"Pastor," Morales said to Leiva, "it's either you, or it's you."
Leiva's response: "Amen."

The miners had been on the pastor's heart before Bernardino called. He said Bravo contacting the Chilean Baptist Union was the "channel of blessing" that brought him to Camp Esperanza (Hope), where the miners' families are staying.

When Leiva arrived at the camp, he didn't know anyone. But Henríquez's family quickly connected him with other families.

"That [connection] allowed a lot of other people to hear the Word," Leiva says, "and to know that in the midst of this catastrophe, God is in control, and it is the Lord who has kept their family members alive."

The wife of one of the miners who became a Christian since being trapped in the mine met with Leiva over the past two weeks and also accepted Christ.

Miners' families have been staying at Camp Hope for weeks in what Leiva describes as rudimentary conditions. They receive three meals a day and sleep on mats inside government-provided military tents. Despite the simple accommodations, being close to their loved ones brings them comfort.

After the frenzy of activity during the day subsides, Leiva finds the families are more available to talk with him in the evenings. He has noticed the difference between the families who know Christ and the families who do not.

"This has been a testimony to what the Lord can do in a person's life," Leiva said. "Those that are the children of the Lord have been those that have shown, even in the midst of the storm, a testimony of peace, tranquility and trust in the Lord."

At Henríquez's request, Leiva was recently given 10 minutes to speak through a telephone that connects the trapped miners with the rescue crew. Leiva used that time to pray for Henríquez and encourage him.

Henríquez sent a letter to Leiva on behalf of the trapped miners, calling him a blessing and thanking him for being there with their families. Leiva also has been sending down letters of encouragement to the trapped miners.

Besides Leiva, a Pentecostal pastor is the only other evangelical preacher allowed in the camp. The two have been working together when they can and have made a "good team," Leiva said.

Leiva has had the opportunity to witness to family members, Chilean policemen and foreign press -- including a Japanese reporter, Wolfe said. Leiva also wrote down a Scripture portion from Psalms and gave it to Mining Minister Laurence Golborne.

As the rescue draws near, the families in Camp Hope are anxious. Leiva realizes that this unique opportunity to share the Gospel is a fleeting one.

"Let's do our job and fulfill the purpose for which God brought us here," Leiva said. "Not to just have a protagonist role without sharing the Gospel. Because this camp, in a few more days, is going to close and the people will return home.

"Pray that we, the children of God, will do our job," Leiva said.

Tristan Taylor is an International Mission Board writer in the Americas

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Screwtape Letters on Broadway

I finally got around to seeing Max McLean's Screwtape Letters last Friday night with Tammy and it was thoroughly enjoyable and powerful.  I have read Lewis' Screwtape letters several times and liked it but not nearly as much as his other writings like: The Great Divorce, or Mere Christianity. Sort of on the level of his space trilogies.  But seeing and hearing it spoken and performed by McLean was powerful.  Listening to Wormwood was much more engaging than reading.  It is amazing the insight Lewis had on temptation and the words he put into Wormwood's mouth.  It is telling that the Playbill describes it as 'wickedly funny' and i kept hearing people laughing but to me it was profoundly serious and moving. I would recommend seeing it and tickets are very reasonable.

One section of Wormwood's dialog still has me thinking:

"Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy's ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made all the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Raising your boys in Unbelief or Faith?

I really enjoyed Doug Wilson's book "Future Men" on raising boys.  It is one of the best parenting books i have ever read and recommend it highly.  From the intro:

"The faith exhibited by wise parents of boys is the faith of a farmer, or a sculptor, or anyone else engaged in the work of shaping unfolding possibilities. It is not the faith of someone waiting around for lightening to strike; it is the faith of someone who looks at the present and sees what it will become- through grace and good works.

Countless examples may be multiplied from any given day in the life of a small boy. Say a boy breaks a chair because he was jumping on it from the bunk bed. Unbelief sees the cost of replacing the chair. Faith sees aggressiveness and courage, both of which obviously need to be directed and disciplined. Suppose a boy gets into a fight protecting his sister. Unbelief sees the lack of wisdom that created a situation that could have been easily avoided; faith sees an immature masculinity that is starting to assume the burden of manhood.

Unbelief squashes; faith teaches. Faith takes a boy aside, and tells him that this part of what he did was good, while that other part of what he did got in the way. "And this is how to do it better next time."

This issue of fighting provides a good example of how necessary such distinctions are. Of course parents do not want to encourage fighting in their sons. Neither do they want to encourage abdication and cowardice. There are times when men have to fight. (page 10)"

I thought this was pretty good

They mention Tim Keller as being a good example going forward in Evangelical circles
We are studying one of his books in our Men's Study Wednesday nights