Archive for April, 2006
April 30th, 2006 | Comments Off | Posted in » Devotions / Bible Studies
25Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.
28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.
We’ve been studying the book of Romans in Sunday School recently, and touched on this passage from Romans 2 this morning. It seemed particularly appropriate and convicting, at least when looked it in modern terms.
Let’s set the scene a bit. When Paul wrote this passage, he was addressing the Jews… the chosen people of God, who, as part of their covenant with God, were to be circumcised as a sign of the covenant. Paul has made the case to them that the law reveals sin, and that lawbreakers would be judged accordingly. He has gone further to say that those Jews who rely on the law and boast about their relationship to God as children of the covenant… the circumcised… effectively nullify the value of their circumcision due to lack of obedience to the law. He explains that circumcision has value only if it is not just a physical symbol, but if it is “circumcision” of the heart.
Put differently? Our acts of worship mean nothing if not accompanied by the complete commitment of our hearts to God.
So… the question of the day seems simply this… Has your heart been circumcised?
Think about it… how many of us pray before we eat simply because “it’s what Christians should do”? How many of us open our Bibles each morning out of duty rather than a heartfelt desire to grow in our relationship with God? How many of us have repetitive prayer lives… the same prayer with the same words, each morning or each evening… prayers which have become something we simply say because they’re our habit? How many of us exhibit outward signs of worship (much like Jewish circumcision) that, if we’re completely honest with ourselves, are full of empty worship?
It’s a convicting thought, especially if we desire for our lives to be as pleasing to God as possible.
(Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying that we need to ditch habitual worship practices… spiritual discipline is DEFINITELY a good thing! Just don’t miss the point of worship altogether in being disciplined in your approach to worship.)
April 27th, 2006 | 1 Comment | Posted in » My Life / Family, Pictures
Well, it’s been FAR too long since I blogged. Not much to say, so I’ll just share a picture I took yesterday of the Washington Monument, if for no other reason than to show I was here in our nation’s capital.
Side note… did you know almost all of our national museums close at 5:30 PM?!? There’s umpteen million people that come here each year, and everything closes that early. Frustrating… I was hoping to see a lot of things yesterday afternoon when I got here, but was only able to make it to the Air and Space Museum (yes, probably my favorite anyway, given that I’m an engineer).
Anyway, our capital is quite beautiful, but it’s not nearly as much fun being here without my family. I’ll be glad to be home this evening!
April 10th, 2006 | Comments Off | Posted in » Pictures
To most of us, a dandelion is nothing but a noxious weed. Through the eyes of my son? It’s a “flower” for Mom, a great photo opportunity, and a wonderful expression of love!
Won’t you take a hint from a 3 year old by hopping off your bike and noticing the “flowers” today?
April 6th, 2006 | Comments Off | Posted in » Baptist Issues
WOW. This has got to be the best article I’ve ever read from Baptist Press: ‘TULIP’: Divine sovereignty, human responsibility.
I won’t summarize the article (you REALLY need to read this for yourself), but I must share the closing, which I particularly enjoyed:
The great Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon was a five-point Calvinist. He was also a passionate evangelist and soul winner. On August 1, 1858, he preached a sermon entitled, “Sovereign Grace and Man’s Responsibility.” The words of wisdom that flowed from his mouth on that day could only come from a capable pastor/theologian with a shepherd’s heart and a love for the lost. We would do well to heed the counsel of this Baptist hero upon whose shoulders we stand today.
“I see in one place, God presiding over all in providence; and yet I see and I cannot help seeing, that man acts as he pleases, and that God has left his actions to his own will, in a great measure. Now, if I were to declare that man was so free to act, that there was no precedence of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to Atheism; and if, on the other hand, I declare that God so overrules all things, as that man is not free enough to be responsible, I am driven at once into Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestines, and that man is responsible, are two things that few can see. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory; but they are not. It is just the fault of our weak judgment. Two truths cannot be contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one place that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find in another place that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is my folly that leads me to imagine that two truths can ever contradict each other. These two truths, I do not believe, can ever be welded into one upon any human anvil, but one they shall be in eternity: they are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the mind that shall pursue them farthest, will never discover that they converge; but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring…. You ask me to reconcile the two. I answer, they do not want any reconcilement; I never tried to reconcile them to myself, because I could never see a discrepancy…. Both are true; no two truths can be inconsistent with each other; and what you have to do is to believe them both.”
Here is a good place to stand. Here is a theology we can all affirm in service to our Savior.
I wish we could see this same kind of inclusive stance on IMB issues. I long for the day when we see cooperation for the furtherance of the gospel become the norm again.
April 4th, 2006 | 1 Comment | Posted in » In the News...
Alright! Science to the rescue again! This time, it’s that Jesus might not have really walked on water… but that he may have walked on ice.
I love this article… I certainly needed a laugh today!
The results suggest temperatures dropped to 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees Celsius) during one of the two cold periods 2,500 to 1,500 years ago for up to two days, the same decades during which Jesus lived.
Did you catch that? Temperatures dropped to levels that could cause freezing for one or two days during a couple cold periods over 1,000 years.
Man… that’s certainty for ya!
(To be fair, the author of the study didn’t claim Jesus walked on ice, but said, “we simply explain that unique freezing processes probably happened… we leave to others the question of whether or not our research explains the biblical account.”)
April 4th, 2006 | Comments Off | Posted in » Baptist Issues
Micah Fries has posted some more information on the “Disturbing Development” I mentioned yesterday afternoon regarding the potential dismissal of “the D’s” as IMB missionaries. Micah’s post (“A Doctrine that could lead to hell”) can be seen as being harshly titled and/or harshly worded… but this is a harsh action with a harsh truth. If this action moves forward, an unreached West African people group will continue to go unreached, opportunites for their salvation will be lost, and people WILL die outside a relationship with Christ as a result.
Again, pray for this situation!
April 3rd, 2006 | Comments Off | Posted in » Baptist Issues
Marty Duren has just posted regarding “the D’s”, a missionary couple serving in West Africa, whose service as IMB missionaries is about to be terminated over church planting strategy issues and relationships with another missionary organization. I’d highly encourage you to read his post here.
This would appear to be a most disturbing development, particularly in light of the immense need for Christ in West Africa, the difficulties we are having in getting new missionaries to serve there, and the fact that they served in the ONLY church plant amongst this particular unreached people group!
Pray for this situation!