Tuesday, September 30, 2008

20 Resolutions from James

Sinclair Ferguson gives us 20 resolutions from James:

James 1:5 To ask God for wisdom to speak and with a single mind
James 1:9-10 To boast only in exaltation in Christ, & humiliation in world
James 1:13 To set a watch over my mouth
James 1:19 To be constantly quick to hear, slow to speak
James 2:1-4 To learn the gospel way of speaking to poor and the rich
James 2:12 To speak always in the consciousness of the final judgment
James 2:16 To never stand on anyone’s face with my words
James 3:14 To never claim as reality something I do not experience
James 4:1 To resist quarrelsome words in order to mortify a quarrelsome heart
James 4:11 To never speak evil of another
James 4:13 To never boast in what I will accomplish
James 4:15 To always speak as one subject to the providences of God
James 5:9 To never grumble, knowing that the Judge is at the door
James 5:12 To never allow anything but total integrity in my speech
James 5:13 To speak to God in prayer whenever I suffer
James 5:14 To sing praises to God whenever I am cheerful
James 5:14 To ask for the prayers of others when I am sick
James 5:15 To confess it freely whenever I have failed
James 5:15 To pray with and for one another when I am together with others
James 5:19 To speak words of restoration when I see another wander

HT: Between Two Worlds

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Count On It!

Dallas Willard says there are two things you can always count on from government:

1. Government will lie to you.
2. Government will use force on you.

*Note: I have this second-hand from a reliable source.

During this US Presidential election season, it's all too easy for believers to get their hopes and dreams wrapped up in government solutions. "If we can just get the right people in the top spots, all will be well," we tell ourselves.


We've had Republican leadership in the executive branch for the majority of the past few decades. It hasn't been sufficient to transform the culture by most measures, has it? (I can't quantify how much those men's influence forestalled a worse state of affairs, since we can do the split-test experiment.)

Whom is elected is important, please don't misunderstand my point. I have said in past that while you cannot legislate morality, you can legislate to promote immorality.

My point is that electing the "right" people is not sufficient. It's not even necessary. God has used righteous and unrighteous rulers in the past, all to His ends.

What about you, Dad, Husband, Man of God? Work within your sphere of influence, and be a good citizen. You have a powerful influence within your family and potentially amidst your community and workplace(s). Remember whose you are and actual accordingly -- for suggestions, see Colossians 3.

Put your hope in God, not in princes.

Pray for Christians in Iraq

News today about changes in the provincial representation of minority groups in Iraq -- including Christians.

Pray for positive and disproportionate influence of our brothers and sisters in that county and region!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Honoring Your Wife

I love the way Mark Driscoll honors his wife Grace (Part 1, Part 2). He passionately talks about his love, her strengths, his weaknesses and failures, their marriage strengths as a couple.

Challenge: honor your wife in a similar way. You don't need to write a blog post for the entire Internet. Just sketch out your thoughts, imagine yourself testifying about her before your friends. Write it out.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Joe Carter's Open Letter to the "Religious Right"

Joe Carter, managing editor of Culture11, shares 11 thoughts in an open letter to the “religious right.”

I really appreciated his perspective and recommendations. Excerpts:

“We have ideological enemies (such as Islamic terrorists) and ideological opponents (such as secular liberals). While our ideological opponents want us to lose political debates; our ideological enemies want us to lose our lives. That's a crucial distinction that we should always keep in mind.”

“Cultural reform is needed even more than political reform. As Andrew Fletcher, an 18th century Scottish patriot, once boldly proclaimed, "If one were permitted to make all the ballads one need not care who should make the laws of a nation." Fletcher understood that cultural influence was vastly more important than political power. We once understood this point too. It's time to remind ourselves that, as James Carville might have said, "It's the culture, stupid."

“It is not enough for religious conservatives to simply baptize the conservative agenda; our political beliefs must be derived from our religious worldview. Doing that, however, requires developing such a worldview and knowing how to derive political policy prescriptions from the principles. While the difficulty of the task makes it easier to accept off-the-rack conservatism, we need to be able to tailor our policies from the fabric of our faith.”

“There are those who call us "Christianists" and claim we are attempting to "impose a theocracy" because name-calling and scaremongering are easier than engaging us in debate. But there are also those who makes such claims out of honest ignorance. For example, many of the people who use the term "theocracy" are probably unaware that the largest Protestant denomination in America, Southern Baptists, cannot even tolerate a centralized church government much less a central government controlled by the church. Thinking that a nation full of Southern Baptists wants to establish a theocratic regime is about as absurd as believing anarchists want to create a centralized government. Keep in mind, though, that we live in a country where 34 percent of the population believes in UFOs and ghosts; we shouldn't be surprised to find that Americans will believe just about anything.”

“…we must recognize that America is not a "Christian nation", though we should aspire to be a nation where those of us who are Christians are admired as good and noble citizens. America is not a "shining city on a hill", though we should let our light of freedom be a shining example for the entire world. America is not the "greatest blessing God gave mankind", though it is a great nation worthy of our conditional adoration. Patriotic sentiment has its place but we mustn't let it expand beyond its acceptable borders. We are citizens of both the City of God and the City of Man and must always be careful not to confuse the one for the other.

Check out the whole article. Recommended for sharing!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Assignment: Gratitude!

It seems everywhere we turn there's bad news. Discouraging stuff. Financial institutions failing. Bombs killing innocents. People out of work. Riots. Storms and flooding and fires. Politicians promsing catastrophe of OT proportions if you vote for the other guy. Uncertainty at every turn. "Can you hear the flushing sound? Ka-wooooshhh!" says my neighbor.

Yup, the world is not peaches and cream. There's trouble. People are hurting. I don't seek to diminish this, but Dad, if your kids only hear you talking about this they'll lose sight of the great things of God we experience in Christ. You need to give them perspective, balance, and the tools to think wisely.

Here's an assignment: gratitude!

Why gratitude? Because a thankful heart keeps us right with God, and with one another. "Grateful kids do not commit suicide. Grateful husbands and wives do not get divorced." -- Lee Brower

Try this yourself, right now: Write down 4 things you're thankful for, or accomplishments you're proud of. Make sure two of them are true in the last 24 hours.

Next: Decide how you will cultivate thankfulness in the next 24 hours.

Finally: Think of one good thing that nobody else is recognizing enough, and then communicate it to your family.

I'd like to credit Perry Marshall for whacking me up the head with these ideas.

Yacht Delivery

I'm not sure how many of my readers will ever have a customized yacht delivered to them, but if you do I hope your experience is better than this.

Thoughtful Views on the Emergent Church

If you're confused about all the "emergent" church conversations, and maybe a little concerned about what you're hearing, you aren't alone.

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church, helpfully talks about four different streams of the emergent movement, based on a 2-x-2 "grid":

Don't Change Change

Pastor Driscoll argues for retaining orthodox doctrines (consistent with Jude 3), and being willing to change our practices to reach a changing culture. He helpfully warns about the problems that are occur when we abandon doctrines on scripture, Jesus Christ, gender, sin, salvation, the cross, hell, and authority.

Go here to get the 4 page PDF file, titled "A Pastoral Perspective on the Emergent Church." Excellent, concise, worth reading.

Friday, September 12, 2008

House Churches in Iran

We tend to forget that God has His people all over. Pray for the house churches in Iran as they come under more persecution. Imagine what God is doing to use these lights in the darkness and confusion of that country!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rejecting Absolute Truth

From page 93 of Senator Obama's autobiography, "Audacity of Hope":

“It’s not just absolute power that the Founders sought to prevent. Implicit in its structure, in the very idea of ordered liberty, was a rejection of absolute truth, the infallibility of any idea or ideology or theology or “ism,” any tyrannical consistency that might lock future generations into a single, unalterable course, or drive both majorities and minorities into the cruelties of the Inquisition, the pogrom, the gulag, or the jihad. The Founders may have trusted in God, but true to the Enlightenment spirit, they also trusted in the minds and senses that God had given them. They were suspicious of abstraction and liked asking questions, which is why at every turn in our early history theory yielded to fact and necessity.”


The founders did believe in absolute truth. (Yes, some were deists.) The opening paragraph of the Declaration of Independence rings with absolute truth:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Gene Vieth goes into this in more detail here and here -- recommended.

I do not know Senator McCain's views on absolute truth. That Senator Obama's worldview dismisses absolute truth does not surprise me, but does concern me.

Rumors Flyin', What To Do?

There are plenty of rumors, accusations, and innuendo flying around about all four candidates for President and Vice President.

Candidly, it says a lot about the gossipy-nature of our hearts and minds that we *love* this stuff. We love reading it. We love sharing it. We reward publishers with our attention. A reasonable interpretation of our our behavior is that we like being misinformed!

So what should a godly man do? Check the facts!
What should YOU do? Check the facts!

Here's one site with a good history of reliability: FactCheck.org

You can find out whether Senator Obama's bill fostered sex ed for kindergarteners (McCain's ad is a clear distortion), Governor Palin banned books in the Wasilla library (she didn't), etc.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Christians Attacked in India

Our brothers and sisters in India are suffering from violent attacks, and there are curious gaps in reporting. The hurricane and political election news in the US pretty much swamps out attention for these events. Please pray for them, and for the growth of God's kingdom in India.