Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Prayer for the New Year

O Lord, Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed in Thy presence, in Thy service, to Thy glory. Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour, that I may not be one moment apart from Thee, but may rely on Thy Spirit to supply every thought, speak in every word, direct every step, prosper every work, build up every mote of faith, and give me a desire to show forth Thy praise; testify Thy love, advance Thy kingdom. I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year, with Thee, O Father as my harbour, Thee, O Son, at my helm, Thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails. Guide me to heaven with my loins girt, my lamp burning, my ear open to Thy calls, my heart full of love, my soul free. Give me They grace to sanctify me, Thy comforts to cheer, Thy wisdom to teach, Thy right hand to guide, Thy counsel to instruct, Thy law to judge, Thy presence to stabilize. May Thy fear by my awe, Thy triumphs my joy. From The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (p. 112)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

True Preaching

I like to give credit where it is due and I am a bit lazy and love to post what others have found and written on their blogs. Such is the case with Thabiti Anyabwile at his blog Pure Church. He has a wonderful post dated today (12/30) from D. A. Carson about preaching. Great stuff! Tolle Lege.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Prodigal God

I just finished reading this new book by Tim Keller, Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian church in Manhattan. It is about Jesus' parable known as The Prodigal Son. Like Keller, I heard the late Edmund P. Clowney deliver a sermon titled the Parable of the Father's Welcome. Keller takes his cue from that sermon. You can read a full review of the book at Tim Challies website. Enjoy!

From Sir Winston S.Churchill

I'm a big Churchill fan and I came across this quotation in my reading of Richard Langworth's Churchill by Himself: "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."

Would that our incoming President and Congress understand this.

Friday, December 26, 2008

For Gwen

Our good friend Gwen H. passed away @ 1:00 am (MST) today. She is now cancer free and at home in the arms of her faithful savior Jesus Christ. She was raised on the Heidelberg Catechism. It is a great comfort to us today.

Question 1. What is your only comfort in life and death?

Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Eve Service

Here is the abbreviated Order of Service for Christmas Eve: Hymns are from the New Trinity Hymnal


What Child Is This, Johnson

I Wonder as I Wander, Barr

Advent Wreath

Call to Worship – “Let All Mortal Flesh”

Gathering Hymn – Once in Royal David’s City


Reading 1 – The First Promise, Genesis 3:1-15

Anthem – Sussex Carol

Reading 2 – The Prophets Foretell, Isaiah 7:10-14; 9:2, 6-7

Solo – For Behold (Recitative)

The People that Walked in Darkness (Air), from Handel’s Messiah

Reading 3 - Micah 5:2-5

Hymn #201, O Little Town of Bethlehem

Reading 4 – The Announcement to Mary, Luke 1:26-38

Anthem – He Is Born, The Divine Christ Child

Christmas Offering

Offertory, There’s A Song in the Air

Prayers of Thanksgiving

Reading 5 – Magnificat, Luke 1:46-56

Hymn #204, Away in a Manger

Reading 6 – Time and Place, Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-7

Hymn #213, What Child Is This?

Reading 7 – Luke 2:8-16

Anthem – Gloria in Excelsis

Reading 8 – Wise Men Seek Him, Matthew 2:1-11

Hymn - #195 Joy to the World

Reading 9 – The Incarnation, John 1:1-14

Anthem – And the Word Became Flesh

Candle Lighting

Hymn – #200 Silent Night


Postlude Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Hobby

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Eve

We celebrate Christmas Eve at Covenant Presbyterian with a Service of Lessons and Carols. Here is our explanation of the service:

A Festival of

Nine Lessons and Carols

This service, in its present form of nine lessons from Scripture with carols and anthems interspersed, goes back in history to late 19th century England. Lessons and Carols had its origin at Truro Cathedral (England) on Christmas Eve, 1880. The present format was introduced at Kings College Chapel, Cambridge, England in 1918. The BBC broadcast of the service each year helped popularize the service, and it was quickly duplicated by cathedrals and churches throughout the world. The Scripture lessons were chosen to illustrate the story of redemption, beginning in the Old Testament and ending in the New Testament. Originally, the readers formed a sequence, from the rank of chorister to Bishop. The carols were sung by the all male choir.

We have chosen to make some modifications to that format, while still following the basic progression. The heart of the service continues this day – that is, the retelling of the Christian’s story of faith from the fall of Adam to the coming of the Word Incarnate. This is a service of celebration and worship. The main theme is the development of God’s redemptive purpose through the words of the Bible. This is a corporate act of the Christian Community as we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the Savior. We are summoned by the words of the carol:

“Come and worship, Come and worship

Worship Christ the newborn King.”

We welcome you to this service as we celebrate the birth of Jesus our Savior.

“Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!”

I'll post a modified order of service tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Burn, baby burn!

I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who said during the Second Continental Congress: "We must all hang together or we will certainly hang separately." Our brother and sisters in Christ in Wasilla Alaska have suffered the burning of their building while folks were inside. Why? Perhaps it was because Governor Palin is a member; perhaps because of their stand for truth against the sodomite lobby; perhaps just because there are sinners who hate God. In any event it certainly was a 'hate' crime, but all sin against God is a hate crime. The gospel reminds us that God has dealt with our hatred at the cross. In that wonderful transaction our sin was transferred to Jesus Christ and his righteousness is our through faith in him. God's justice is satisfied and we are redeemed.

You may wish to help the church rebuild, here is the address: Wasilla Bible Church 1651 W. Nicola Avenue Wasilla, Alaska 99654

Sunday, December 14, 2008

As One With Authority

Dr. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, gave a stellar defense of preaching at the December 12, 2008 commencement at the seminary. You may listen to it here. As a preacher I found his address stimulating and reassuring. How about you?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sin & Greed

The exceeding sinfulness of the human heart never ceases to amaze me. I know the depths of my own sinfulness and so in many respects nothing surprises me. Yet the case of Illinois Governor Blagojevich is breathtaking in its scope. It does lead me to question the integrity of and connection with the President-elect. Couple that with the death at WalMart on Black Friday caused by a greed stampede. But then, our sin sent the Savior to the cross; our sin of greed.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Remember Pearl Harbor

Today marks the 67th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, leading to the entrance of the Untied States in World War II. For several years I had the privilege of being part of a memorial service on the Sunday nearest December 7th. We held services on Ford Island and then laid a wreath on the Arizona. I was particularly struck by the fact that the Chaplain on the Arizona, I believe his name was Kirkpatrick, was among those entombed in the wreckage. Let us pray that God in his great mercy will keep us from any more Pearl Harbors or September 11s

New Denomination

On Wednesday December 3, 2008 the birth of the Anglican Church in North America was announced in Wheaton, IL. This comes about as a direct result of the un-Biblical theology of the Episcopal Church, U.S.A. in consecrating as Bishop of New Hampshire an openly homosexual man. This is, as several newspapers rightly put it, a theological issue, and this will be a theological, not geographical, province. Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh was elected as the first Archbishop. We wish them well and pray God's blessing on their theological fidelity to God's word.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving vs Black Friday

I am struck by the great irony when you compare Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Thanksgiving is rooted in thanks to God for his providential care and keeping. Black Friday is rooted in unbridled consumerism. This past Lord's Day I preached from Psalm 107, called by the late James Montgomery Boice "The Pilgrims Psalm." Boice and others surmise that Psalm 107. was the text for worship the Sabbath before the Pilgrim's debarked form the Mayflower, given William Bradford's use of it in his history of Plymouth Plantation. Dear reader, as we leave Thanksgiving and approach Advent I ask you to consider the last verse of the Psalm, "Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord." God, in his great mercy, sent Christ as the savior of sinners, the real reason for thanksgiving and the real reason for hope and change.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Wave of the Future?

Michelle Malkin has been chronicling what some are calling "homo-fascism" in light of Prop. 8 in California and Prop. 102 here in Arizona. Here is her take on the shakedown (extortion) at eHarmony. She has also chronicled physical attacks on Christians and the interruption of worship services by militant sodomites. Given that the president-elect and members of his party are committed to the sodomite agenda, is this the wave of the future?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thanksgiving - The Story of Squanto

If you are as old as I, you probably learned about Squanto in elementary school. The link here takes you to a Break Point commentary by Chuck Colson about the story of Squanto as God's instrument. I've use the story often to remind folks of God's providential care. My friend Vince Wood describes such things as L*U*C*K* (The Lord's Unconditional Care and Kindness). So, what is your experience with L*U*C*K*?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day!

To all those who have served, to those standing tall today, and for those who have given "the last full measure of devotion," thanks for your service. Regards, Chaplain (COL, ret.) Tom Troxell Arizona Army National Guard

Monday, November 10, 2008

Borrowed Thoughts

I came across the Thirsty Theologian website through Tim Challies site. Thirsty makes the following comments: "The fact that vast numbers of people, by their own admission, voted for Obama because of his color, and that others who could not vote for him wish that they could have because of his color tells me that color holds a place of significance that it should not. When the day comes when people no longer speak of “race” at all, especially as a factor in making choices between individuals, then I will recognize that something important has happened. I do not think of Obama as a black man. I think of him as an extraordinarily evil man. There’s nothing exciting about that. [snip] I will be praying for this new President, and I hope you will, too; but I will not simply be praying some vague prayer that God will bless him. I will be praying ... for his salvation. I will be praying that God will remove his heart of stone and give him a heart of flesh and grant him repentance. Until that happens, I will be praying for his failure. I will be praying that God will restrain him and prevent him from accomplishing any part of his evil agenda." Something to consider.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Post Election Comments, part 2

Dr. Ligon Duncan, President of the Association of Confessing Evangelicals, has a great piece over at the Reformation 21 blog.You will find some good reading on the blog.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Comments on the Election

I, like many, was sincerely disappointed by the outcome of the election. I continue to believe the substantive issues escaped many voters and we have created an underclass of entitlement people who vote with their feelings and not with good sense. That being said, we have a President-elect and we need to heed to words of Dr. Albert Mohler:

"Evangelical Christians face another challenge with the election of Sen. Obama, and a failure to rise to this challenge will bring disrepute upon the Gospel, as well as upon ourselves. There must be absolutely no denial of the legitimacy of President-Elect Obama's election and no failure to accord this new President the respect and honor due to anyone elected to that high office. Failure in this responsibility is disobedience to a clear biblical command.

Beyond this, we must commit ourselves to pray for this new President, for his wife and family, for his administration, and for the nation. We are commanded to pray for rulers, and this new President faces challenges that are not only daunting but potentially disastrous. May God grant him wisdom. He and his family will face new challenges and the pressures of this office. May God protect them, give them joy in their family life, and hold them close together.

We must pray that God will protect this nation even as the new President settles into his role as Commander in Chief, and that God will grant peace as he leads the nation through times of trial and international conflict and tension.

We must pray that God would change President-Elect Obama's mind and heart on issues of our crucial concern. May God change his heart and open his eyes to see abortion as the murder of the innocent unborn, to see marriage as an institution to be defended, and to see a host of issues in a new light. We must pray this from this day until the day he leaves office. God is sovereign, after all.

Without doubt, we face hard days ahead. Realistically, we must expect to be frustrated and disappointed. We may find ourselves to be defeated and discouraged. We must keep ever in mind that it is God who raises up nations and pulls them down, and who judges both nations and rulers. We must not act or think as unbelievers, or as those who do not trust God.

America has chosen a President. President-Elect Barack Obama is that choice, and he faces a breathtaking array of challenges and choices in days ahead. This is the time for Christians to begin praying in earnest for our new President. There is no time to lose."

I've copied the salient points from today's blog post.

Monday, November 3, 2008

How Would Jesus Vote? - part 2

My fellow blogger Tim over at Gairney Bridge alerted me to this YouTube video of John Piper discussing tomorrow's election. It is a good follow on to much of what I said in yesterday's sermon at Covenant PCA. Thanks, Tim.

How Would Jesus Vote?

That was my title for yesterday's sermon. The texts were Romans 13:1-7, Matthew 17:24-27; 22:15-22. I addressed the confusion within churches left and right and reminded the congregation that while we are PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) we are not a PAC (Political Action Committee). I reminded them the task of the church is to preach, baptize, and catechise; but not to politicize. We looked at the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms; how God rules over both but in different ways. He rules the kingdom of man as creator and sustainer, bestowing rain on the just and the unjust. His rule over the spiritual kingdom is as Redeemer and King, bestowing the spiritual blessings of salvation and eternal life. The church equips believers to bring their faith and practice into the civil sphere as citizens, neighbors and even as community activists. Christians need to influence the culture by working in the culture - as journalists, plumbers, and even as heads of corporations and agencies like CNN. I do not yet have the audios of sermons online.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Good Book

Donald A. Carson has written a book that takes a look a Paul's method of prayer. We are currently going through this on Wednesday evenings at our Prayer Meeting. I am finding it very helpful and believe you might find it helpful as well. Dr. Ligon Duncan, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS recommended it and I thank him for that.

Something To Think and Pray About

My friend Tim over at Gairney Bridge has posted at letter from Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family of what things might be like for Christians in 2012 after four years of a Obama presidency. It is a sobering letter and a call to prayer. The letter is here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Christian woman killed by Taliban

KABUL, Afghanistan – Taliban gunmen on a motorbike killed a Christian aid worker in the Afghan capital on Monday, and the militant group said it had targeted the woman because she was proselytizing.

The woman, a British national, worked with handicapped Afghans and was killed in the western part of Kabul as she was walking alone around 8 a.m., police said. Najib Samsoor, a district police chief, originally said the woman was from South Africa, but the British government later said she was British.

The gunmen shot the victim in the body and leg with a pistol, said Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary. Officials did not release her name.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the slaying, saying the woman was killed because she was spreading Christianity.

"This woman came to Afghanistan to teach Christianity to people of Afghanistan," Mujahid told the Associated Press. "Our (leaders) issued a decree to kill this woman. This morning our people killed her in Kabul."

(From various sources in today's news)

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Financial Mess

David Skell and William Stuntz are two Law Professors who run a blog "Less that the Least." I find it a good read. Skell has a good post (October 9) on C.S. Lewis and the present financial crisis. You may wish to visit it here.

ESV Study Bible

The ESV Study Bible has arrived at bookstores, a long awaited event. You can find out more about it and browse the various editions by going to the Westminster Bookstore. I use the ESV and we use it at the church I pastor. Give it a look.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Separation of Church & State

The Jeffersonian doctrine of the separation of church and state is enshrined as the most sacrosanct issue not enumerated in the United states Constitution. This weekend a number of evangelical pastors endorsed a candidate in a direct challenge to the Internal Revenue Service. You may read the full story here at The Christian Post. The Alliance Defense Fund is behind the effort.

I strongly disagree with their efforts. First, such 'civil disobedience' fall outside of the teachings of Romans 13 which clearly teaches that civil disobedience cannot occur unless the governing authorities provoke me to sin. I believe that test was not met. Second, the church must only confront the state when there is state sponsored wickedness - a' la' Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church movement. Third, it is the task of the church to preach the gospel and it is through the gospel and the Word that people are changed. Changed people change government. Fourth, God is neither Republican nor Democrat - he is for holiness and righteousness which must be the standard for electing leaders.

What do you think?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Birthday

My bride of 38 years has a birthday today. Happy Birthday dear.

The Slippery Slope

"If you're demented, you're wasting people's lives – your family's lives – and you're wasting the resources of the National Health Service." Those chilling words from Baroness Mary Warnock who posits a duty to die to free up precious financial and medical resource and to free families of their obligation for care. Check out Dr. Al Mohler's blog [link on the left] for September 23 titled "Licensing People to Put Others Down" -- The End of Human Dignity.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ligonier West Coast Conference

The excitement is building as Ligonier brings a conference to Scottsdale Bible Church this weekend. R. C. Sproul, Ligon Duncan and John MacArthur. The" goal is to equip you to answer questions that all Christians and non-Christians find perplexing." For many in this area this will be their first opportunity to hear and see these men in person. these kind of conferences charge my spiritual batteries. How about you?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Good Readings

Tolle Lege is a web site that posts good quotations from Christian sources. Tolle Lege is Latin for "take up and read," a quotation from St. Augustine's Confessions in which Augustine details his conversion to Christ. Here is the appropriate quote:

"So was I speaking and weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart, when, lo! I heard from a neighbouring house a voice, as of boy or girl, I know not, chanting, and oft repeating. ‘Take up and read; Take up and read.’ ['Tolle, lege! Tolle, lege!'] Instantly, my countenance altered, I began to think most intently whether children were wont in any kind of play to sing such words: nor could I remember ever to have heard the like. So checking the torrent of my tears, I arose; interpreting it to be no other than a command from God to open the book, and read the first chapter I should find…

Eagerly then I returned to the place where Alypius was sitting; for there had I laid the volume of the Apostle when I arose thence. I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell: ‘Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, in concupiscence.’ [Romans 13:14-15] No further would I read; nor needed I: for instantly at the end of this sentence, by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away.” (p. 127 in Volume 1 of The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers published by Eerdmans) Enjoy this new web site!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Something Lite

The Woods Tea Company is a folk group out of St. Albans, Vermont. I first encountered them several years ago on a PBS special. I was able to catch them in concert in Grantham, NY this summer and they will be in Arizona next year. For those who enjoyed Peter, Paul & Mary; The Weavers and other groups their music is refreshing and great to hear. Give them a try.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Worth Reading

Thabiti M Anyabwile is senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman in the Cayman islands. This is a helpful book for pastors who are seeking to teach church members what it means to belong to a church. It is a helpful book for church members who seek to understand their role in Christ's church. I'd like to give one to every family in my congregation. This work is a follow on and is dependent upon Mark Dever's Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (Crossway, 2004) and his 9Marks Ministries. You can read more and order this book through the Westminster Books link. It helps support my book habit!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

On the Horizon

Michael Horton, professor at Westminster Seminary in California, has a new book coming out on Christless Christianity. It looks worthwhile. From the promo:

Christians have always had their differences, but never in church history have there been so many statistics indicating that many Christians today are practicing what can only be described as "Christless Christianity."

Christless Christianity guides the reader to a greater understanding of a big problem within the American religious setting, namely the creeping fog of countless sermons in churches across the country that focus on moralistic concerns and personal transformation rather than the theology of the cross.

Michael Horton's analysis of the contemporary church points believers back to the power of a gospel that should never be assumed.

Here is an excerpt from the DVD:

Random Thoughts

1. Fairness - is in the eye of the beholder. Witness the "scrupulous" reporting of Governor Palin's religious views and the absence of the same in the MSM. 2. "Gotcha!" How I feel about MSNBC's removing Olbermann and Matthews from coverage of the campaign. Do tell - but there is no bias in the MSM! 3. The Alliance Defense Fund is soliciting pastors to challenge the IRS's muzzling of pastor's endorsing candidates by specific preaching on September 28. Sorry, but I think that is the wrong way to deal with the issue and certainly a wrong use of the power of the pulpit. Sorry but I know of no text that supports a particular candidate. I'm certain some preacher somewhere will use Daniel, Thessalonians and a few other ripped out texts to rant against Obama as the anti-Christ, the man of sin or the Obamantion of Desolation. I'll pass on this one. What do you think? 4. Borrowing from Andy Rooney "Don't ya just hate it when a blogger does random thought - must have nothing much to say!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Persecuted Church - India


Orissa: six more churches set on fire, hundreds of homes destroyed

More and more Christian villages are being plundered and set on fire as police remains idle. Death threats are made against Christians if they practice their faith. but according to the government of Orissa the situation is “under control”.

Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews) – The anti-Christian pogrom in the state of Orissa shows no signs of a let-up. In the past three days six churches have been attacked, set on fire and destroyed; hundreds of Christian-owned houses have been devastated and then torched. The number of refugees and missing people is rising.

According to reports that have reached AsiaNews from the diocese of Bhubaneshwar, the Catholic church in Padunbadi was attacked last night, plundered and torn down. Even the church wall was razed to the ground. The Catholic church in the village of Kakadabadi was also attacked yesterday and torched.

On Monday the Baptist church in Durgaprasad, the Catholic church in Chadiapally, and both the Catholic and Baptist churches in Balligada were set on fire and destroyed. Thanks to FreeRepublic & AsiaNews

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Persecuted Church in China - update

Word has come from China through Voice of the Martyrs that Pastor Bike has been released. See the August 19th post. Praise God for answered prayer!

School Begins

We are privileged to host a The Covenant Home School Network in our facilities. We expect 70 families in the Surprise, AZ area to be involved. This is the second year we are doing this. Click here for more information

Monday, September 1, 2008

Evangelicals and Sarah Palin

I was intrigued to read some posts over at Hugh Hewitt: Palin by Comparison. The John Mark Reynolds piece is long but very good.

I am bothered because some Evangelicals are saying they won't vote for the McCain - Palin ticket because the Bible forbids a woman to have authority over a man. I believe that is false exegesis of the New Testament passages as well as Proverbs 31 (Reynolds comments on this as well). St. Paul is addressing roles and authority in the church and says nothing about business or government. So, I believe their thinking is very misguided at this point. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Form of Persecution

I received the following as part of an email from Voice of the Martyrs:

"Our website has been attacked and overwhelmed by a concentrated effort from a source that our network engineers tell us originated from outside the USA. The intent has been to silence our voice in defense of the persecuted church through online means. The attack has caused irreversible damage to the site and it had to be taken offline. A new site is up now. When you type it will take you to the new site. More will be added to this as we go on rebuilding the site."

I know from my own experience that China is full of cyber hackers and sophisticated cyber attacks. It is not rocket science to figure out where these attacks came from. Continue to pray for China.

Friday, August 22, 2008

atheism REMIX

Rev. Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, has published a new work that answers atheist Richard Dawkins et. al. This work is a publication of his 2008 W. H. Griffith Thomas Lectures delivered earlier this year at Dallas Theological Seminary. You may view the lectures here. Additionally, Notre Dame philosopher Calvin Plantinga has a devastating critique of Dawkins' The God Delusion at Christianity Today. I'm reading the book and viewing the lectures - great stuff that we have come to expect from Dr. Mohler.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Persecuted Church - China

Word has come that the Chinese arrested Pastor Zhang "Bike" Mingxuan two days before the Olympics began. Voice of the Martyrs reports that Pastor "Bike" was the inspiration for the Olympic Prayer Bands many of us are wearing. So much for freedom of religion.

Reading Group

Our Sovereign Grace Pastors group is going to read Richard Sibbes book Glorious Freedom. Since I've never read it and know very little of of Sibbes this is going to be fun. In conjunction I am reading Mark Dever's Richard Sibbes: Puritanism and Calvinism in Late Elizabethan and Early Stuart England. You may find Sibbes works listed at Monergism. You can buy the books through Westminster Seminary - see the links.

Friday, August 15, 2008

C.S. Lewis & "Mere Christianity"

Professor David Skell of the University of Pennsylvania Law School has a wonderful op-ed piece in today's Wall Street Journal. He mentions various books on apologetics, including PCA pastor Tim Keller's The Reason for God (#23 this week on the NY Times bestseller list.) the article may be reached here. The professor details his reasons for believing Mere Christianity is still superior to other books, although he believes Keller comes close. The professor also has a blog at lessthantheleast.

Are You a Liberal?

John Hawkins has published "25 reasons you might be a liberal" over at Townhall. You can find it here. Like the Prager piece it is a good read and a bit more humorous.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Good Read

I found Dennis Prager's republishing his essay "Why I Am Not a Liberal" to be compelling reading. You may find it here at the Townhall website.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Russia vs. Georgia

The great Russian Bear has roused itself and now seeks once again to dominate the Crimea and thrust a finger in the eye of the West. As one trained in history and a one time instructor of the same for high school and community college students, the lack of a speedy and definitive response by the Bush administration is appalling. W is at the Olympics and Condi is on vacation. The presidents response this afternoon was wimpy. Having spent some time recently in Ukraine and having talked with Ukrainians, this crisis must be met head on and forcefully. Bush seems a day late and a dollar short on this one - perhaps a true lame duck?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Olympics and the persecuted church

As the Olympic games in Beijing approach there has been increased harassment of Christian leaders. I'm joining with many of my fellow Christian bloggers by asking you to pray specifically for the persecuted church in China. The Chinese government is masking the real ugliness of not only its pollution but also its treatment of our Christian brothers and sisters. A program started by Voice of the Martyrs and China Aid Association asks Christians to wear arm bands and pray for the church during this time. You can request an arm band by following this link.

Consider this report:

"Some well meaning Christian leaders would like you to believe that Christians are no longer persecuted in China," the promotion says. "Chinese Christians like Anna would disagree. At the young age of 11, Anna has been persecuted for her faith. She has been run out of a Christian orphanage by the Communist authorities and refused admission to public school. She currently lives in hiding and attends an illegal underground Christian school. Anna, like many persecuted Christians in China, remains strong in her faith. She recently told The Voice of the Martyrs, 'I think God must really love me. He has taken such good care of me.'"

(A tip of the hat to Michele McGinty @ Reformed Chicks Blabbing and Voice of the Martyrs)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ukraine Trip, part 2

Well, after the trip we enjoyed 10 days in beautiful Silver Bay, NY (on Lake George). We had our second son and his family with us. Now it is back to work. Here is a link to Lake Osborne PCA where you will find a brief narrative and pictures of the trip. Rev. Larry Roff, a pastor at LOPC, was the choir tour organizer. It was a truly wonderful and moving experience. I'm ready to do it again.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ukraine trip

My wife and I are recovering from our 11 day trip to Ukraine. I was part of a 23 member PCA choir - from 6 states - that sang concerts in Kiev, Odessa and several other cities. We also participated in the dedication of the new building for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Belgorod-Dnestrovsky. It was a wonderful, exhilarating and tiring trip. I hope to be able to go again. I'll post some pictures and other links when I get them prepared. Thanks to those who prayed for us in the trip. Pray for our Ukrainian brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The power of storms

We drove here to Lake George. Part of our trip took us through Missouri, Illinois and Indiana during the severe storms last Friday and Saturday. We were detoured by two closures on I-70 and remarked to each other about the power of the storms and the duration - 30+ hours. We even heard the tornado warning sirens go off as we passed through Rolla, Missouri. God in his grace brought us through. Some in Indiana were not so fortunate. In those storms I am always reminded of Psalm 29 as it speaks of "The voice of the Lord." I remember reading that the Israelites used to Psalm to calm their children during the thunderstorm. Thanks Lord for your sustaining grace.

A Brief Respite

I'm sitting on the shore of Silver Bay on Lake George (NY) enjoying the breeze and the view. We are trying to open the cabin and get ready to go to Ukraine as part of a PCA choir. I've been transcribing director notes to the music and practicing the various pieces of music. I'll not be blogging from Ukraine - too busy - but will post on my return.

Friday, May 23, 2008

New Link

One of my favorite cartoons is Bruce Tinsley's Mallard Fillmore. It is well drawn and skewers all the right people.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Memorial Day

Memorial Day began after the Civil War to honor Union dead and after World War I it was expanded to honor all those who died in war or other military actions. Growing up, my mother referred to it as “Decoration Day,” reflecting the tradition of decorating the graves of our military dead. It was a time for speeches, parades and personal reflection. For many the day marks the end of the school year, the unofficial start of summer or the start of the business and tourist season that ends on Labor Day. In the midst of a very contentious and perhaps momentous election, persons of faith need not despair. No, I’m not pulling out the “Christian America” theme. What I am pulling out is the belief that God will still be God on Wednesday, November 5, 2008. Christians need to trust God, not the government. Read Psalm 46, pray for men and women of righteousness to be elected to office and then vote for such people.

Missing in Action

Sorry for the lack of postings. I've been busy trying to get ready for a choir trip to the Ukraine in June. That will be the subject of a later post before I depart.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cross Words, part 2

I cannot say enough about Paul Wells' book mentioned in a previous post. It is a clear, cogent defense of the atonement in a classic sense and speaks against modern ideas seeking to reduce the cross and the atonement to mere symbols of human suffering. The chapters are short, the evidence overwhelming and the style lucid and engaging. Read it!

Thanks Be to God !

My wife 'tolerated' the surgery yesterday. Better, the doctor reported the mass looked benign, for which we praise God. This, my arterial stent, and a case of shingles for a good friend remind us that we will continue to suffer dis-ease until Jesus comes. Maranatha!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Prayer Request

My wife, Jean, has thyroid surgery on Monday, May 5. Please pray that it not cancerous; but if it is ask the Lord to sustain us by his sovereign, omnipotent grace.

Cross Words

My Westminster Seminary classmate Dr. Paul Wells of the Reformed Seminary in Aix-en-Provence, France has written a wonderful book on the Biblical Doctrine of the Atonement (Christian Focus, Scotland). He examines current thinking about the atonement - 'cosmic child abuse' - using a delightful style and forthright scholarship. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 9 on Victory. "If the goal of Satan as the Tempter is to drive a wedge between God and man, to stimulate disobedience through unbelief, he is totally disarmed when his lies are rejected. The victory of Jesus is a victory of obedience, the triumph of truth over lies. Satan is rendered powerless simply when God's truth is received, honored, and obeyed. The recognition of God's word is the best defense and the best attack" (p. 115). I am halfway through, but already have found some possible sermon ideas. You can purchase it through the Westminster Seminary Bookstore link

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

An Antidote to Rev. Wright - Thabiti Anyabwile

Thabiti Anyabwile is senior pastor at First Baptist Church, Grand Cayman Islands. He is himself an outstanding preacher in the reformed tradition. He writes in this book about three African-American pastors who were faithful in life and doctrine. They were faithful to their call and promoted the gospel, not some watered down, Afro-centric, liberal mumbo jumbo like Rev. Wright. This is one of the books from T4G. I confess to having it already and it was an eye opening book to read. It broadened my understanding of and appreciation for rhe African-American church. You can order it through the Westminster Seminary Bookstore. Just click on their link. Pastor Anyabwilie has his own blog Pure Church.

Monday, April 28, 2008

J. I. Packer

J. I. Packer, noted author and theologian, has left the Anglican Church of Canada. You can read about it here. We wish him well.

My Reading

This is the first of the T4G books I've set out to read. I'm into chapter 6 right now. My immediate response so far is that "the more we learn about the emerging church, the harder it is t swallow." (p.23) Double talk and ambiguity are two words I would use to characterize this group. Two other words are neo-modernism and theological jello. (OK, that's three words!) More when I've completed the book.


Our PCA Presbytery met last Thursday in Alamogordo, NM. It was a good meeting. We conducted the normal business, including recognizing two newly organised churches, one each in AZ and NM. We also had the unhappy, but necessary, task of deposing a minister. That last issue is probably passing strange for many, yet considered to be one of the three marks of a true church by John Calvin and others. The other marks are the preaching of the Word and the right administration of the Sacraments.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A new blog partner

I met Tim at T4G after reading his comments at WORLDMagBlog. He has his own blog to which I am posting a link here and over on the left.

Many Books

When I was in seminary, eons ago, we used to quote what we called the seminary student's verse from Ecclesiastes 12:12b, "Of the making of many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh (ESV). At Together for the Gospel 2008 hereafter (T4G) we were given 15 books - probably wholesaling for the amount of our registration fee - a real treat. As I read each one I'll be posting a short review. With about 5500 in attendance and 15 books apiece that is about 82,500 books. WOW! Here is a list of the books:
Why We're Not Emergent, Moody
If You Could Ask God One Question, The Good Book Co.
Preaching the Cross, Crossway
The Gospel & Personal Evangelism, Crossway
Pierced for Our Transgressions, Crossway
Worship Matters, Crossway
The Future of Justification, Crossway
In My Place Condemned He Stood, Crossway
The Faithful Preacher, Crossway
ESV Bible, Crossway
Culture Shift, Multnomah
The Gospel According to Jesus, Zondervan
Christ & Culture Revisited, Eerdmans
The Courage to be Protestant, Eerdmans
The Truth of the Cross, Reformation Trust

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Great Preaching

Here is the link to the sermons from the Together for the Gospel '08 Conference. You will find a feast for your souls. Enjoy! T4G Sermons

Friday, April 18, 2008

T4G - last day

Well, I arrived home at 10:30 pm local time after a long flight. John Piper and C.J. Mahaney were they last two preachers and they "sealed the deal." Piper was awesome as he spoke on radical Christian sacrifice. C.J. challenged pastors from Philippians 1:3-8 to have gratefulness to God, faith for the future and affection for others. All in all a great, uplifting and spiritual battery-charging conference. Now, I have to read the 15 books we were given, plus the two I bought.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

T4G - Day Two

WOW! A great day! First, John MacArthur on the sinner being neither able or willing to come to Christ without the Father's call - a sermon on Total Depravity, awesome. Then Mark Dever on unbiblical theology and how postmodernism is just neo-liberalism. The highlight of the day was R. C. Sproul on Galatians 3:10-14. He spoke of the curse of God placed on Christ and how the scapegoat shows that. Marvelous, he took us right to the throne of grace; many tears were shed. Last, was Al Mohler on the issues within evangelicalism and the denial of the substitutionary atonement of Christ. It was like drinking from a fire hose. In the end, tired and very happy. I'm looking forward to John Piper and CJ Mahaney tomorrow. (Posted the next day due to network issues at the hotel.)

T4G - Day One

A great day with 5000 in attendance. Ligon Duncan challenged us to be good Systematic Theologians in our preaching. Thabiti Anyabwile challenged us that race is not found in Scripture; we are all descended biologically and spiritually from the one man Adam. Ethnicity is a construct one slides in and out of. Bob Kauflin lead the inspired singing.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Louisville - T4G

Well, I've arrived safe and sound (?) in Louisville. Later this morning I'm going to meet "TJ" a fellow blogger @ WORLD Magazine blog. There are going to be 5000+ men and well over 100 bloggers covering the conference. Go to Challies dot com to read a good blog of the conference. Well, off to breakfast and meeting TJ.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

T4G - part 2

I'm looking forward to being in Louisville at Together 4 the Gospel 2008. I attended in 2006 with about 2800 pastors. I understand this year there may be 5000 of us. I know the singing will be extraordinary. Speakers are Al Mohler, CJ Mahaney, Mark Dever and Ligon Duncan with friends John Piper, John MacArthur, RC Sproul and Thabiti Anyabwile. I expect my spiritual batteries to be fully charged at the end of the conference Thursday.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Persecuted Church

We had a representative from Voice of the Martyrs speak to us at our Vespers service last Sunday evening. We were reminded once again that persecution was not long ago and far away, but as near as China, Indonesia and the Sudan. Pray for our brothers and sisters in those locations.

Amazing Grace

Tonight some of us are gathering to watch the video of "Amazing Grace," the story of William Wilberforce and his campaign to end the British slave trade and abolish slavery. I'd recommend two books as background. Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas and John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace by Jonathan Aitken. These books record the stories of two remarkable men brought together by God's providence nand the legacy the left to Christians. I recommend them highly.


Well, it is kind of a punch in the stomach to be told - after the fact - that one of you heart arteries was 99% blocked. A stent was put in and I am doing fine. I was able to preach the Sunday after the operation, but I was very tired afterwards. I am very grateful to the Lord for the gifts he gives to doctors and those who assist them. Now I've got to get back to exercising, which was the whole reason for getting checked in the first place. If you prayed for me - thanks!

Thursday, March 6, 2008


I was told this morning I have a possible heart artery blockage and need an angiogram, (scheduled for Monday, March 10). The eternal teenager in me believes he will live forever and not have this sort of thing happen. The Christian me says I will live forever based on the righteousness of Christ received by faith alone. Such is tough to be found mortal. But tougher still is life outside of God's grace - sovereign, omnipotent, free grace. "What time I am afraid, I will trust in You." Psalm 56:3

Eating Crow

Well, I may have to eat a large helping of crow. Anyone have a good recipe? Should it be fried, baked, put in a pie? Stewed, boiled or broiled? With Queen Hillary and the "Dahli-bama" duking it out, and the Republicans reduced to John-boy, the choice seems to be radical socialism or centrist blather. Where is Reagan when we need him? Caw, Caw What do I do with the feathers?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

An open letter to the GOP RE: John McCain

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Let me cut to the bottom line – if McCain is the Republican nominee I will not vote for him for the following reasons:

He is not a true conservative and no longer supports traditional Republican (Reagan) principles – he has become a lefty-lite.

He does not support making the Bush tax cuts permanent

McCain-Lieberman on the environment

McCain-Feingold on free speech

McCain-Kennedy on amnesty

McCain-Kennedy-Edwards on patient ‘rights’

His hatred of evangelical Christians

His temper and his ego

His unwillingness to appoint strict constructionists to the Supreme Court

His endorsement by the New York Times – he works well with liberals because he is one.

His position on Gitmo detainees

His standing with Kerry against the Swift Boat truth

Let me be even more clear. If McCain is the nominee I will contribute no money to any GOP candidates at any level. I am a life long Republican and a card carrying Reagan conservative. My party has left its base and deserves to lose and lose big time if its leftward drift continues.

I will either vote for Hillary and see the blame for our country’s demise fall entirely on the Democrats, or I will sit out the election. But I will never vote for McCain, electability be is not the issue, conservative principles must hold sway.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Christian Witness to a Pagan Planet (CWiPP)

I'm off to Escondido, CA on Monday January 21, 2008 to take part in a symposium hosted by Dr. Peter Jones and CWiPP. You can find the web site and more information here. I'll post some follow-up material when I return

A Long Obedience

In our monthly small groups we are slowly working our way through Eugene Peterson's A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society a wonderful study of the Psalms of Ascents (120-134). I highly recommend it. This week I am preparing the study guide for Psalm 125 "Security." Peterson has been commenting on how Israel and the believer can become "saw-toothed;" up one day, down the next in a endless cycle. There is a way out.

"We learn to live not by our feeling about God but by the facts of God... My feelings are important for many things. They are essential and valuable. They keep me aware of much that is true and real. But they tell me next to nothing about God or my relation to God. My security come from who God is, not how I feel. Discipleship is a decision to live by what I know about God, not by what I feel about him or myself or my neighbors. "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people." The image that announces the dependable, unchanging, safe, secure existence of God's people comes from geology, not psychology." (Page 87).

Read also Psalm 46.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Persecuted Church

Since 2002 Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians have been persecuted for their unsanctioned faith. The only faiths sanctioned by the government are Orthodox, Catholic, Islam and Lutheran. Some 2000 persons are reportedly held because of their beliefs, most of them Christians.

Then comes a report out of Canada that a town is moving against churches by taxing 'non-religious' space - whatever that is - and limiting usage space and exactly where churches may build or locate.

Can't happen here you say? Watch out if the radical Democrats carry the election!

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Dance of Democracy

R. Albert Mohler is the President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. He is a frequent guest of Larry King, High Hewitt and others. His cogent remarks about the Iowa caucus and the race for the Presidency and what evangelicals ought to think can be found here.