Friday, December 21, 2012

My Quote of the Year


"It (the Story of Christ) does not exactly work outward... It is rather something that surprises us from behind, from the hidden and personal part of our being... It is rather as if a man had found an inner room in the very heart of his own house, which he had never suspected."
- GK Chesterton "Everlasting Man"

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

HOW TO BACKSLIDE IN 9 EASY STEPS



1. Stop meditating on the gospel. “They draw off their thoughts, all that they may, from the remembrance of God, death, and judgment to come.”

2. Neglect your devotions and stop battling sin. “Then they cast off by degrees private duties, as closet prayer, curbing their lusts, watching, sorrow for sin, and the like.”

3. Isolate yourself from Christian fellowship. “Then they shun the company of lively and warm Christians.”

4. Stop going to church. “After that, they grow cold to public duty, as hearing, reading, godly conference, and the like.”

5. Determine that Christians are hypocrites because they continue to sin. “They then begin to pick holes, as we say, in the coats of some of the godly, and that devilishly, that they may have a seeming color to throw religion (for the sake of some infirmities they have espied in them) behind their backs.”

6. Trade Christian community for distinctly unChristian company. “Then they begin to adhere to, and associate themselves with, carnal, loose, and wanton men.”

7. Pursue rebellious conversation and fellowship. “Then they give way to carnal and wanton discourses in secret; and glad are they if they can see such things in any that are counted honest, that they may the more boldly do it through their example.”

8. Allow yourself to enjoy some small, sinful pleasures. “After this they begin to play with little sins openly.”

9. Admit what you are and prepare yourself for everlasting torment. “And then, being hardened, they show themselves as they are. Thus, being launched again into the gulf of misery, unless a miracle of grace prevent it, they everlastingly perish in their own deceivings.”

this came from John Bunyan
via Tim Challies http://www.challies.com/

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

“God takes everyone he loves through a desert. It is his cure for our wandering hearts, restlessly searching for a new Eden...
The best gift of the desert is God's presence... The protective love of the Shepherd gives me courage to face the interior journey.” 

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“According to Jesus, acknowledging our neediness opens the door to genuine and lasting happiness. Religions usually talk about what a person has to "do", but Jesus talks about what we "can't do". He says that our weakness, not our power or what we bring to God, enables us to know God.” 

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“If you wait, your heavenly Father will pick you up, carry you out into the night, and make your life sparkle. He wants to dazzle you with the wonder of his love.”

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mark Sermon Series

We just finished our sermon Series in the Book of Mark - Many of the sermons are available as videos on youtube channel FCCCofChester or follow this link:
http://www.youtube.com/user/fcccofchester

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Second Coming

"Cornelius Plantinga says in his book Engaging God's World that the second coming is good news for people whose lives are filled with bad news. If you are a slave in Pharoah's Egypt or in the southern United States in the early 19th century, or if you are an Israelite exiled in Babylon, or a Kosovar exiled in Albania, if you are a women in a culture where when your husband is mad at you he can lock you in a closet or call up his buddies and threaten to have them rape you, if you are a Christian in sub-Saharan Africa today where AIDS is devastating whole populations, you don't yawn when someone mentions the return of Jesus. The coming of the kingdom depends on the coming of the King, and the coming of the King means justice will at last fill the earth.

What that means, Plantinga says, is that "Passionate Christians want the return of the Lord. And, let me add, so do compassionate ones." Let's just think this out. If you long for Christ's appearing, then you long for the conditions that will accompany that appearing. What are the two basic things that will happen when he comes back? He will be known - every eye will see him, all will know his truth - and it will be the end of death, disease, injustice, suffering, hunger. Therefore, if you care about the second coming, Plantinga says that it makes you passionate and compassionate to do the same two things. you want everyone to know him, and you also want to see the end of suffering and disease and injustice. And, as a result, he is saying anyone who longs for the appearing of Jesus is eager to do good - eager to call people to believe, and eager to love and sacrificially serve everybody, whether they believe or not. That is what makes you compassionate and passionate."
Tim Keller

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Graduation Speech

Its the time of year again for Graduation Speeches - I found this one given by writer Michael Lewis at Princeton a few Years ago:


I now live in Berkeley, California. A few years ago, just a few blocks from my home, a pair of researchers in the Cal psychology department staged an experiment. They began by grabbing students, as lab rats. Then they broke the students into teams, segregated by sex. Three men, or three women, per team. Then they put these teams of three into a room, and arbitrarily assigned one of the three to act as leader. Then they gave them some complicated moral problem to solve: say what should be done about academic cheating, or how to regulate drinking on campus.

Exactly 30 minutes into the problem-solving the researchers interrupted each group. They entered the room bearing a plate of cookies. Four cookies. The team consisted of three people, but there were these four cookies. Every team member obviously got one cookie, but that left a fourth cookie, just sitting there. It should have been awkward. But it wasn’t. With incredible consistency the person arbitrarily appointed leader of the group grabbed the fourth cookie, and ate it. Not only ate it, but ate it with gusto: lips smacking, mouth open, drool at the corners of their mouths. In the end all that was left of the extra cookie were crumbs on the leader’s shirt.

This leader had performed no special task. He had no special virtue. He’d been chosen at random, 30 minutes earlier. His status was nothing but luck. But it still left him with the sense that the cookie should be his.

This experiment helps to explain Wall Street bonuses and CEO pay, and I’m sure lots of other human behavior. But it also is relevant to new graduates of Princeton University. In a general sort of way you have been appointed the leader of the group. Your appointment may not be entirely arbitrary. But you must sense its arbitrary aspect: you are the lucky few. Lucky in your parents, lucky in your country, lucky that a place like Princeton exists that can take in lucky people, introduce them to other lucky people, and increase their chances of becoming even luckier. Lucky that you live in the richest society the world has ever seen, in a time when no one actually expects you to sacrifice your interests to anything.

All of you have been faced with the extra cookie. All of you will be faced with many more of them. In time you will find it easy to assume that you deserve the extra cookie. For all I know, you may. But you’ll be happier, and the world will be better off, if you at least pretend that you don’t.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Foundation of National Morality

 

"The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families... In vain are Schools, Academies, and Universities instituted, if loose principles and licentious habits are impressed upon children in their earliest years... The vices and examples of the parents cannot be concealed from the children. How is it possible that children can have any just sense of the Sacred Obligations of Morality or Religion if, from their earliest Infancy, they learn their mothers live in habitual infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant infidelity to their mothers?" --John Adams 1778

Friday, May 18, 2012

Powerful Quote


"Marriage is ... in its origin a contract of natural law... It is the parent, and not the child of society; the source of civility and a sort of seminary of the republic." --Justice Joseph Story

HT: Joe F

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Christian Mind

 
Harry Blamires “The Christian Mind: How should a Christian think?
“There is no longer a Christian mind. It is a commonplace that the mind of modern man
has been secularized. For instance, it has been deprived of any orientation towards the
supernatural. Tragic as this fact is, it would not be so desperately tragic had the Christian mind
held out against the secular drift. But unfortunately the Christian mind has succumbed to the
secular drift with a degree of weakness and nervelessness unmatched in Christian history. It is
difficult to do justice in words to the complete loss of intellectual morale in the twentieth centuryChurch. One cannot characterize it without having recourse to language which will
sound hysterical and melodramatic.”

“There is no longer a Christian mind. There is still, of course, a Christian ethic, a
Christian practice, and a Christian spirituality. As a moral being, the modern Christian
subscribes to a code other than that of the non-Christian. As a member of the Church, he
undertakes obligations and observations ignored by the non-Christian. As a spiritual being, in
prayer and meditation, he strives to cultivate a dimension of life unexplored by the non-
Christian. But as a thinking being, the modern Christian has succumbed to secularization. He
accepts religion - its morality, its worship, its spiritual culture; but he rejects the religious view
of life, the view which sets all earthly issues within the context of the eternal view which
relates all human problems - social, political, cultural - to the doctrinal foundations of the
Christian Faith, the view which sees all things here below in terms of God’s supremacy and
earth’s transitoriness, in terms of Heaven and Hell.”

But what is a Christian mind? Part two of the book identifies six characteristics.
1. A supernatural orientation. There is more to reality than the here and now and what we can see.
2. An awareness of evil and what it has done in perverting “the noblest things.”
3. A conception of truth that depends on God’s revelation.
4. An acceptance of authority. We must know what God requires and submit to it. He is the final authority in all of reality, things present and things to come.
5. A concern for the person, realizing that people are not machines. Human life has value.
6. A sacramental cast. In a sacramental view of life, the Christian mind recognizes things, such as relationships and sexual love, as God’s ways of opening reality to us.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mormonism 101

Last Sunday night we had a seminar on Mormonism
this is the video we used to open
it is a bit dared but very informative


Jeremy Lin

Don't know how many of you are basketball fans or have heard of the new Knicks Asian point guard out of Harvard that no one has ever heard of.  His name is Jeremy Lin and they are calling it 'Linsanity!' Not only is he a phenomenal player who came out of nowhere but he is also (and more importantly) a committed Christian. 

From World magazine:

Jeremy Lin, then a third-string point guard for the NBA's New York Knicks, found himself suddenly in the limelight a little more than a week ago after leading his team to a surprise victory against the New Jersey Nets. Before coach Mike D'Antoni put Lin in the game out of desperation, few Knicks fans, let alone anyone else, had ever heard of the Harvard grad already cut from two other NBA teams.


But now, as he leads the Knicks on a seven-game-and-counting winning streak, everyone's talking about Lin, his underdog story and his faith.


Sports commentators are calling Lin the "Taiwanese Tebow," a nod to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who sparked so much debate last year about public displays of faith. Although the men share a habit of giving God glory during post-game interviews, Lin's friends say the quiet and unassuming basketball player has little in common with the demonstrative football star.


But Lin's story of perseverance on the basketball court cannot be separated from his testimony of dedication to God, a faith that sustained him through rejection, humiliation and now, unexpected fame. Through each setback Lin encountered on his way to becoming a household name, the devout basketball player trusted God and used his trials to encourage others.


During a conference put on by River of Life Christian Church in Santa Clara, Calif., last year, Lin described his journey to the NBA as a roller coaster ride between euphoria and despair.


When he signed with the Golden State Warriors in July, 2010, Lin said he had confidence in his strong faith, remembering the spiritual training he had at Harvard. He thought he was grounded enough to face life in the NBA. Soon, however, Lin was deluged by media attention and thousands of Facebook friend requests.


"I felt like I was on top of the world," Lin said. "My life changed overnight."


But during training camp, Lin discovered he wasn't as ready for the big leagues as he thought. His teammates outperformed him on the court and even his coaches' encouragement couldn't lift his spirits.


"I was humbled very quickly," Lin said.


Lin eventually found himself headed for the NBA's Developmental League, where teams send players who need to hone their skills. Near despair, Lin wrote in his personal diary that he felt like a failure after putting so much pressure on himself to make the NBA.


"This is probably the closest to depression I've been," he wrote in an entry on Dec. 29, 2010. "I lack confidence on the court, I'm not having fun playing basketball anymore, I hate being in the D-league and I want to rejoin the Warriors. I feel embarrassed and like a failure."


Just a few days later, he decided his basketball career was a mistake: "I wish I had never signed with the Warriors," he wrote on Jan. 1, 2011.


"That's really the amount of pressure and the amount of stress I put on myself, to the point where I really lost my joy, my passion and my purpose in basketball," Lin told last year's conference attendees.


At that point, none of the fame and glamour that come with playing in the NBA mattered to Lin.


"None of the paychecks, the car, the fame, none of the NBA lifestyle, none of that stuff, my dream job, my dream life, none of that meant anything to me anymore...My happiness was dependent on how well I played," he said.


Lin realized that basketball had become an idol in his life, and decided to return to trusting God for his future.


"For me to not trust God is crazy," Lin said, listing all of the ways God had paved his way to the NBA, including his dad's love for basketball, his coaches, and his spiritual growth at Harvard.


Adrian Tam, who served as Lin's spiritual mentor at Harvard, said Lin has a "very strong and vibrant faith." During his last year at Harvard, in 2010, the player's busy schedule kept him from attending the Harvard-Radcliffe Asian-American Christian Fellowship meetings on Friday nights, so he and Tam got together whenever he had a break from classes and practice.


"We would talk about different aspects of following Christ and what that looks like," Tam told World on Campus. "We read a book together, 'Too Busy Not to Pray,' and we would look for ways that he could engage in prayer. He really wanted to have prayer be…a regular thread in his life."


Lin grew up in the church, so he was "thrown off guard" by the godless culture of the Harvard basketball team, Tam said. He got involved with the school's Asian-American Christian Fellowship, led a Bible study for two years for both Christians and non-Christians, and made concerted efforts to reach out to his non-Christian roommates. Tam said Lin was one of two practicing Christians on the basketball team, and when he made efforts to "mobilize" their faith, he did not preach at them.


"He always did it in a way that was respectful and sensitive," Tam said.


pre-season games for Houston before the team cut him loose. He joined the Knicks on Dec. 27 as a third-string back-up point guard. He had to compete for a spot on the roster and made another trip to the D-League in late January.


At the beginning of February, the team considered cutting Lin to make room under the salary cap for a new player. But on Feb. 4, with the team still licking its wounds from a tough loss against the Boston Celtics, D'Antoni decided to give Lin a shot. After playing just 55 minutes during the team's first 23 games, Lin came off the bench to score 25 points, five rebounds and seven assists, leading his team to a 99-92 victory over the Nets.


Questions about Lin and shock over his performance exploded on Twitter and other social networks. As he continued to lead the Knicks on a winning streak, sports writers scrambled to find out more about the 23-year-old from Palo Alto, Calif. Media commentators dubbed the Internet frenzy "Linsanity." It took about a week for word of Lin's faith to spread. Comparisons to Tebow soon followed.


Tam, Lin's Harvard mentor, says the two athletes may share a common faith but have very different ways of showing it. He hesitated when asked whether Lin would become a cultural icon like Tebow.


"He's a very friendly, non-assuming person, so even though he is very bright and very accomplished, you wouldn't be able to tell just by sitting around reading the Bible together or praying together," he said of his friend.


While Lin might not share Tebow's flair for attention, both men have a commitment to sharing their faith and backing it up with their actions, Tam said: "They both want to give all the credit to God."