He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

Sunday, June 29, 2008 

A Day Late & a Dollar Short: Christians & Political Involvement

When many Christians think about the need to engage our world in a transformative way, they immediately think exclusively of our need to be involved in politics. For these Christians, the cultural mandate is synonymous with political activism. The assumption is that a change in policies will lead to a change in culture.

Now, I fully agree with the need for Christians to be involved in the political process. As I have argued, Christians are to be bringing the standards of God’s Word to bear on every cultural sphere—politics being one of them. But, it is a mistake to conclude that political activism is what God had in mind when he issued the cultural mandate to mankind. Moreover, it is also a mistake to conclude that the arena of politics is the most strategic arena for cultural renewal.

In an article I pointed out not long ago entitled The Day of Small Things, theologian Vern Poythress writes:

Bible-believing Christians have not achieved much in politics because they have not devoted themselves to the larger arena of cultural conflict. Politics mostly follows culture rather than leading it…A temporary victory in the voting booth does not reverse a downward moral trend driven by cultural gatekeepers in news media, entertainment, art, and education. Politics is not a cure-all.

After more than 20 years of political activism on the part of evangelical Christians, there is new understanding that the dynamics of cultural change differ radically from political mobilization. Even political insiders recognize that years of political effort on behalf of evangelical Christians have generated little cultural gain. American culture continues its steep decline into self-indulgent consumerism. Richard Neuhaus wrote in the April 2007 issue of First Things, “At the risk of generalization, I think it fair to say that Christianity in America is not challenging the ‘habits of the heart’ and ‘habits of mind’ that dominate American culture, meaning both the so-called high culture and the popular culture.”

I totally agree. For a long time now I have been convinced that what happens in New York (finances), Hollywood (entertainment), Silicon Valley (technology) and Miami (fashion) has a far greater impact on how our culture thinks about reality than what happens in Washington D.C. (politics). The political arena is the place where policies are made which reflect the values of our culture—the habits of heart and mind—that are being shaped by these other more strategic arenas. (Wasn’t it Scottish politician Andrew Fletcher who famously said, “Let me write the songs of a nation; I don’t care who writes its laws?”). So when Christians conclude that the most strategic way to change our world is through the political process they’re already “a day late and a dollar short.”

- Tullian Tchividjian | On Earth as it is in Heaven

Saturday, June 28, 2008 

Why Are So Many Japanese Choosing Not to Raise Families

News photo

Rafael Camara
Student (Brazilian)
It's troublesome and expensive to raise a family, but I get the impression that some people are running away from their responsibilities by choosing not to have children.

News photo

Jillian Graham
Student (Canadian)
I think people are trying to focus on their careers. As a woman here, once you start a family you are not expected to do anything else. Working mothers are fairly uncommon in Japan.

News photo

Mirei Fukasawa
Education costs a lot, and housing space is limited and expensive. If a working woman gets pregnant, they have to take time off work, which makes it hard for them to come back.

News photo

Kengo Suyuki
Management consulting
Many Japanese women feel that they want to go out and work, and try to advance their careers. My girlfriend works, and if she gets a good position and needs to focus on that, then we'll wait.

News photo

Mayaku Ita
Raising children takes a lot of money. The Japanese economy is not as strong as it used to be, and so we don't have as many children as we did in the past.

News photo

Hady Kahy
Economist (Lebanese)
The cost of living is so high in Japan that maybe parents here don't have the money to raise children. You have to have money and time to raise kids, and many people don't have both.


Read Albert Mohler's Christian response as to why Japan is becoming "The Land of Disappearing Children."

Friday, June 27, 2008 

Seeker Sensitive

I want to suggest that our church gatherings must be seeker sensitive if they are to be truly effective. But by this, I mean that our church gatherings must be sensitive to the of Luke 19:10: we must aim, in everything we do, to bring people face to face with the seeker - the Son of Man who came to seek & save the lost. In doing so, we will need to present the urgency of his demands & the need for radical repentance, as well as the joy of knowing Him.

Of course, we should also be sensitive to people, & seek to remove unnecessary distractions (e.g. strange clothing, music, jargon & traditions). But we do this not because we are trying to make lost people feel comfortable, but because we want lost people to focus upon the seeker of their souls, & so be saved.

- Lionel Windsor

Thursday, June 26, 2008 

Born-Again Friend

My best friend during my growing up years was saved from God's wrath at some point in the past year. We can't put our finger on the exact moment, but there's no doubt about it. He was that guy you still prayed for but never dreamed it was possible that he would get saved.

When I get a chance to talk to him & hear what the Spirit is teaching him, & how he is obeying the Lord & walking with Him so boldly, the joy of my own salvation is renewed. For 7 years I witnessed to him through letters, the phone, email, & face to face. At one point it cost us our friendship. We didn't speak for a 14 month period because he was tired of me pleading with him to give his life to Christ. Honestly, I think I was tired of pleading deep down. I wanted God to let me off the hook. And God did - He saved my friend.

An amusing & hopefully encouraging story of his from last week is one I want to share. My friend is a salesman in the southeast, travelling all over Alabama, Georgia, & Tennessee every other week. When we met last, I left him with several Gospel tracts that I think are clear & biblical. My friend went to a convention & as he was giving out information about his company, he was also handing out the tracts. This offended someone, & his Vice President was called. The tract was given to the VP who then emailed my friend to reprimand him about his "inappropriate behavior."

The VP said that they would cover the sales area together the following week, so for a solid work week, my friend didn't shrink back, but boldly shared the Gospel & what God had done in his life over the last year. The VP responded, "you're really into this stuff aren't you?" My friend said, "no - it's my life." If only you knew what a hopeless cause he was, you would rejoice at that response!

But to top it all off, guaging that the VP obviously was not born-again, at the end of the week, in a classic moment that I wish I could have seen, caring less about losing his job or any other repercussions, when he dropped the VP off at the airport, my friend extended his hand with the same Gospel tract & said, "I know you've already seen this, but this is for you & I hope you read over it!"

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. - 3 John v.4

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 

Ligonier Ministries Biblical Commentary Recommendations

Kidner, Derek. Genesis – Introductory.
Ross, Allen. Creation and Blessing – Intermediate
Waltke, Bruce. Genesis – Intermediate.
Wenham, Gordon. Genesis 1-15 and Genesis 16-50. – Advanced.

Bush, George. Commentary on Exodus – Intermediate.
Cole, Alan. Exodus – Introductory.
Currid, John D. Exodus, 2 vols. – Intermediate.
Enns, Peter. Exodus – Intermediate.
Motyer, J. Alec. The Message of Exodus – Introductory.

Bonar, Andrew. Leviticus - Intermediate
Harrison, R. K. Leviticus – Introductory.
Hartley, J. E. Leviticus – Advanced.
Ross, Allen P. Holiness to the Lord – Intermediate.
Wenham, Gordon. The Book of Leviticus – Intermediate.

Ashley, T. R. The Book of Numbers – Intermediate/Advanced.
Philip, James. Numbers – Intermediate.
Wenham, Gordon. Numbers – Introductory.

Craigie, P. C. The Book of Deuteronomy – Intermediate/Advanced.
McConville, J. G. Deuteronomy – Intermediate – Advanced.
Miller, P. D. Deuteronomy – Advanced. [Moderately critical]
Thompson, J. A. Deuteronomy – Introductory.

Davis, Dale Ralph. No Falling Words – Intermediate.
Hess, Richard. Joshua – Introductory.
Woudstra, M. H. The Book of Joshua – Intermediate.

Block, Daniel I. Judges, Ruth – Intermediate.
Cundall, A. E. and L. Morris, Judges and Ruth – Introductory.
Davis, Dale Ralph. Such a Great Salvation – Intermediate.
Wilcock, Michael. The Message of Judges – Intermediate.

Atkinson, D. The Message of Ruth – Intermediate.
Block, Daniel I. Judges, Ruth – Intermediate.
Hubbard, R.L. The Book of Ruth – Intermediate.
Morris, Leon. Judges and Ruth: An Introduction and Commentary – Introductory.

A.A. Anderson, II Samuel – Advanced.
Baldwin, Joyce. 1 & 2 Samuel: An Introduction and Commentary – Introductory.
Gordon, R.P. 1 and 2 Samuel – Intermediate.
Klein, R.W. I Samuel – Advanced.

Dilday, Russell. 1, 2 Kings – Intermediate.
House, Paul R. 1, 2 Kings – Intermediate.
Nelson, R. First and Second Kings – Advanced.
Provan Iain. 1, 2 Kings – Intermediate.
Wiseman, Donald. 1 & 2 Kings – Introductory.

Allen, Leslie. 1, 2 Chronicles – Intermediate.
Braun, R. 1 Chronicles – Advanced.
R. Dillard, 2 Chronicles – Advanced.
Japhet, S. I and II Chronicles – Advanced. [Moderately critical]
Pratt, Richard. I and II Chronicles – Intermediate.
Selman, Martin. 1 Chronicles – Introductory.
Selman, Martin. 2 Chronicles – Introductory.

Blenkinsopp, J. Ezra-Nehemiah – Advanced.
Fensham, F. Charles. The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah – Intermediate.
Kidner, D. Ezra and Nehemiah – Introductory.
Williamson, H. G. M. Ezra-Nehemiah – Advanced.

Baldwin, J.G. Esther – Introductory.
Bush, R. Esther – Advanced.
Jobes, Karen. Esther – Intermediate.

Andersen, Francis I. Job – Introductory.
Hartley, J. E. The Book of Job – Intermediate.

Allen, Leslie C. Psalms 101-150 – Advanced.
Boice, James Montgomery. Psalms – Introductory/Intermediate.
Craigie, Peter. Psalms 1-50 – Advanced.
Dickson, David. Psalms – Intermediate.
Kidner, Derek. Psalms – Introductory.
Mays, J. L. Psalms – Advanced.
Tate, Marvin E. Psalms 51-100 – Advanced.
VanGemeren, Willem. Psalms in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary ed by Gaebelein. – Intermediate.

Bridges, Charles. Proverbs – Intermediate.
Hubbard, D.A. Proverbs – Intermediate.
Kidner, Derek. Proverbs – Introductory.
Longman, Tremper, III. The Book of Proverbs. – Intermediate/Advanced.
Waltke, Bruce. Proverbs: A Commentary, 2 vols. – Advanced.


Bridges, Charles. Ecclesiastes – Intermediate.
Crenshaw, J. L. Ecclesiastes – Intermediate.
Eaton, Michael. Ecclesiastes – Introductory.
Kidner, D. A Time to Mourn and A Time to Dance – Introductory.
Longman, Tremper, III, Ecclesiastes – Intermediate.

Burrowes, G. Song of Solomon – Intermediate.
Carr, G. Lloyd. The Song of Solomon – Introductory.
Gledhill, T. The Message of the Song of Songs – Intermediate.
Pope, M. H. Song of Songs – Advanced.

Motyer, Alec. The Prophecy of Isaiah – Intermediate.
Motyer, Alec. Isaiah – Introductory.
Oswalt, J. Isaiah 1-39 and Isaiah 40-66 – Intermediate.
Young, E. J. The Book of Isaiah. 3 vols. – Advanced.

Harrison, R. K. Jeremiah and Lamentations – Introductory.
Thompson. J. A. The Book of Jeremiah – Intermediate.

Brooks, Richard. Great is Your Faithfulness – Introductory.
Harrison, R. K. Jeremiah and Lamentations – Introductory.

Block, Daniel. Ezekiel. 2 Vols. – Intermediate.
Craigie, P. C. Ezekiel – Introductory.
Duguid, Iain. Ezekiel – Intermediate.
Stuart, Douglas. Ezekiel – Intermediate.
Taylor, John B. Ezekiel – Introductory.

Baldwin, J. G. Daniel – Introductory.
Ferguson, Sinclair. Daniel – Intermediate.
Goldingay, J. Daniel – Advanced.
Longman, Tremper, III Daniel – Intermediate.
Young, E.J. Daniel – Intermediate.

Boice, James Montgomery. The Minor Prophets – Introductory/Intermediate.
Craigie, Peter. Twelve Prophets – Introductory.
Hubbard, D. A. Hosea – Introductory.
Hubbard, D. A. Joel and Amos – Introductory.
Kidner, D. The Message of Hosea – Introductory.
McComiskey, Thomas Edward. The Minor Prophets, Vol. 1 – Intermediate/Advanced.
Stuart, Douglas. Hosea – Jonah – Intermediate/Advanced.

Boice, James Montgomery. The Minor Prophets – Introductory/Intermediate.
Craigie, Peter. Twelve Prophets – Introductory.
Hubbard, D. A. Joel and Amos – Introductory.
McComiskey, Thomas Edward. The Minor Prophets, Vol. 1 – Intermediate/Advanced.
Stuart, Douglas. Hosea – Jonah – Intermediate/Advanced.

Boice, James Montgomery. The Minor Prophets – Introductory/Intermediate.
Craigie, Peter. Twelve Prophets – Introductory.
Hubbard, D. A. Joel and Amos – Introductory.
McComiskey, Thomas Edward. The Minor Prophets, Vol. 1 – Intermediate/Advanced.
Stuart, Douglas. Hosea – Jonah – Intermediate/Advanced.

Baker, D. W., T. D. Alexander, and B. Waltke. Obadiah, Jonah, Micah – Introductory.
Baker, D. W. Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah – Introductory.
Boice, James Montgomery. The Minor Prophets – Introductory/Intermediate.
Craigie, Peter. Twelve Prophets – Introductory.
McComiskey, Thomas Edward. The Minor Prophets, Vol. 2 – Intermediate/Advanced.
Robertson, O. Palmer. The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah – Intermediate.
Stuart, Douglas. Hosea–Jonah – Intermediate/Advanced.

Baker, D. W., T. D. Alexander, and B. Waltke. Obadiah, Jonah, Micah – Introductory.
Boice, James Montgomery. The Minor Prophets – Introductory/Intermediate.
Craigie, Peter. Twelve Prophets – Introductory.
McComiskey, Thomas Edward. The Minor Prophets, Vol. 2 – Intermediate/Advanced.
Stuart, Douglas. Hosea–Jonah – Intermediate/Advanced.

Baker, D. W., T. D. Alexander, and B. Waltke. Obadiah, Jonah, Micah – Introductory.
Boice, James Montgomery. The Minor Prophets – Introductory/Intermediate.
Craigie, Peter. Twelve Prophets – Introductory.
McComiskey, Thomas Edward. The Minor Prophets, Vol. 2 – Intermediate/Advanced.
Waltke, Bruce. A Commentary on Micah.

Baker, D. W. Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah – Introductory.
Boice, James Montgomery. The Minor Prophets – Introductory/Intermediate.
Craigie, Peter. Twelve Prophets – Introductory.
McComiskey, Thomas Edward. The Minor Prophets, Vol. 2 – Intermediate/Advanced.
Robertson, O. Palmer. The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah – Intermediate.

Baker, D. W. Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah – Introductory.
Boice, James Montgomery. The Minor Prophets – Introductory/Intermediate.
Craigie, Peter. Twelve Prophets – Introductory.
McComiskey, Thomas Edward. The Minor Prophets, Vol. 2 – Intermediate/Advanced.
Robertson, O. Palmer. The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah – Intermediate.

Baldwin, J. G. Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi – Introductory.
Boice, James Montgomery. The Minor Prophets – Introductory/Intermediate.
Craigie, Peter. Twelve Prophets – Introductory.
McComiskey, Thomas Edward. The Minor Prophets, Vol. 3 – Advanced.

Baldwin, J. G. Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi – Introductory.
Boice, James Montgomery. The Minor Prophets – Introductory/Intermediate.
Craigie, Peter. Twelve Prophets – Introductory.
McComiskey, Thomas Edward. The Minor Prophets, Vol. 3 – Advanced.

Baldwin, J. G. Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi – Introductory.
Boice, James Montgomery. The Minor Prophets – Introductory/Intermediate.
Craigie, Peter. Twelve Prophets – Introductory.
McComiskey, Thomas Edward. The Minor Prophets, Vol. 3 – Advanced.

Baldwin, J. G. Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi – Introductory.
Boice, James Montgomery. The Minor Prophets – Introductory/Intermediate.
Craigie, Peter. Twelve Prophets – Introductory.
McComiskey, Thomas Edward. The Minor Prophets, Vol. 3 – Advanced.

Boice, James Montgomery. The Gospel of Matthew – Introductory/Intermediate.
Carson, D.A. Matthew in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary ed by Gaebelein. – Intermediate.
France, R.T. The Gospel of Matthew – Advanced.
Keener, Craig S. A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew – Advanced.
Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to Matthew - Intermediate – Advanced.

Cranfield, C.E.B. The Gospel According to St. Mark – Advanced.
Edwards, James. The Gospel According to Mark – Intermediate.
France, R.T. Mark (NIGNT) – Advanced.
Lane, William. The Gospel of Mark – Intermediate.

Bock, Darrell. Luke, 2 vols. – Advanced.
Green, Joel B. The Gospel of Luke – Intermediate.
Morris, Leon. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary – Intermediate.
Stein, Robert H. Luke (NAC) – Intermediate.
Sproul, R.C. A Walk With God – Introductory.

Boice, James Montgomery. The Gospel of John – Introductory.
Carson, D.A. The Gospel According to John. – Intermediate/Advanced.
Hendriksen, William. John – Intermediate.
Keener, Craig S. The Gospel of John: A Commentary – Intermediate/Advanced.
Morris, Leon. The Gospel of John – Intermediate/Advanced.

Boice, James Montgomery. Acts – Introductory/Intermediate.
Bruce, F.F. The Book of Acts – Intermediate.
Johnson, Dennis. The Message of Acts in the History of Redemption. – Intermediate.
Marshall, I. Howard. The Book of Acts – Introductory/Intermediate.

Boice, James Montgomery. Romans – Introductory/Intermediate.
Hodge, Charles. A Commentary on Romans – Intermediate.
Moo, Douglas. The Epistle to the Romans – Intermediate.
Morris, Leon. The Epistle to the Romans – Intermediate.
Murray, John. Epistle to the Romans – Intermediate.
Schreiner, Thomas. Romans – Advanced.
Sproul, R.C. The Gospel of God – Introductory.

Hodge, Charles. I & II Corinthians – Intermediate.
Kistemaker, Simon. I Corinthians – Intermediate.
Morris, Leon. I Corinthians – Introductory.
Thiselton, Anthony. The First Epistle to the Corinthians – Advanced.

Barnett, Paul. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians – Intermediate.
Hodge, Charles. I & II Corinthians – Intermediate.
Hughes, Philip E. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians – Intermediate.
Kruse, Colin. II Corinthians – Intermediate.

Bruce, F.F. Galatians – Advanced.
Fung, R. Y. K. The Epistle to the Galatians – Intermediate.
Hendriksen, William. The Epistle to the Galatians – Intermediate.

Boice, James Montgomery. i– Introductory.
Hendriksen, W. Ephesians – Intermediate.
Hodge, Charles. Ephesians – Intermediate.
O’Brien, Peter T. The Letter to the Ephesians – Intermediate.
Sproul, R.C. The Purpose of God – Introductory.

Boice, James Montgomery. Philippians – Introductory.
Hendriksen, William. Philippians – Intermediate.
O’ Brien, Peter T. Philippians – Advanced.
Silva, Moisés. Philippians – Intermediate.

Hendriksen, William. Colossians – Intermediate.
O’ Brien, Peter T. Colossians – Advanced.

Bruce, F. F. I and II Thessalonians – Intermediate.
Green, Gene L. The Letters to the Thessalonians – Intermediate.
Morris, Leon. The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians – Intermediate.
Wanamaker, Charles A. 1 & 2 Thessalonians – Advanced.

Guthrie, Donald. The Pastoral Epistles – Intermediate.
Knight, George W. III. The Pastoral Epistles – Advanced.

O’Brien, Peter. Colossians, Philemon – Advanced.

Ellingworth, Paul. The Epistle to the Hebrews – Advanced.
Hughes, Philip E. A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews – Intermediate.
Lane, William. Hebrews – Advanced.
Owen, John. An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews. 7 vols. – Advanced.

Davids, Peter H. The Epistle of James – Advanced.
Manton, Thomas. James – Intermediate.
Moo, Douglas J. James – Intermediate.

Bauckham, Richard J. II Peter & Jude – Advanced.
Davids, Peter. The First Epistle of Peter – Intermediate.
Kelly, J. N. D. I & II Peter, Jude – Intermediate.
Kistemaker, Simon. Peter & Jude – Intermediate.
Michaels, J. Ramsey. I Peter – Advanced.

Kistemaker, Simon. James & I, II, III John – Intermediate.
Kruse, Colin. The Letters of John – Intermediate.
Marshall, I. Howard. The Epistles of John – Intermediate.
Stott, J. R. W. I, II, & III John – Intermediate.

Aune, David. The Book of Revelation, 3 vols. – Advanced.
Beale, Gregory K. The Book of Revelation – Advanced.
Gregg, Steve, ed. Revelation: Four Views: A Parallel Commentary – Intermediate.
Hendriksen, William. More Than Conquerors – Introductory.
Kistemaker, Simon. Revelation – Intermediate.
Ladd, George E. The Book of Revelation – Intermediate.
Mounce, Robert. The Book of Revelation – Intermediate.
Wilcock, Michael. I Saw Heaven Opened – Introductory.

- other commentary surveys, commentary series & sets, & whole Bible commentaries are recommended on Ligonier's website.


You Have Need of Endurance

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,

“Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

- Hebrews 10:35-39

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 

Dobson Speaks For Me

Barack Obama said Tuesday that evangelical leader James Dobson was "making stuff up" when he accused the presumed Democratic presidential nominee of distorting the Bible.

Dobson used his Focus on the Family radio program to highlight excerpts of a speech Obama gave in June 2006 to the liberal Christian group Call to Renewal.

Speaking to reporters on his campaign plane before landing in Los Angeles, Obama said the speech made the argument that people of faith, like himself, "try to translate some of our concerns in a universal language so that we can have an open and vigorous debate rather than having religion divide us."

Obama added, "I think you'll see that he was just making stuff up, maybe for his own purposes."

In his program, Dobson focused on examples Obama cited in asking which Biblical passages should guide public policy. For instance, Obama said Leviticus suggests slavery is OK and eating shellfish is an abomination. Obama also cited Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, "a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application."

"Folks haven't been reading their Bibles," Obama said in the speech.

"I think he's deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology," Dobson said.

Asked about Dobson's assessment, Obama said "somebody would be pretty hard-pressed to make that argument" that he was distorting the Bible.

Obama supporters also responded to Dobson.

The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, a Methodist pastor from Texas and longtime supporter of President Bush who has endorsed Obama, said Tuesday he belongs to a group of religious leaders who, working independently of Obama's campaign, launched a Web site to counter Dobson at http://www.jamesdobsondoesntspeakforme.com. The site highlights statements from Obama and Dobson and asks visitors to compare them.

Caldwell said he has great respect for Dobson's advocacy for families, but said the criticism of Obama was "a bit over the top" and "crossed the line."

"There has been a call for a higher level of politics and politicking," Caldwell said. "So to attack at this level is inappropriate and I think unacceptable and we at least want to hold everybody accountable."

Tom Minnery, a senior vice president at Focus on the Family, responded: "Without question, Dr. Dobson is speaking for millions of evangelicals because his understanding of the Bible is thoroughly evangelical."

- Sara Kugler | AP News on Yahoo!

It's called universalism and pluralism.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. - John 14:6

Sunday, June 22, 2008 

Abduction, Torture and Rape of Children Around the World

UNICEF is deeply concerned by increasing reports of kidnappings and abduction of children by criminal gangs and armed groups, particularly in countries affected by violence. In many cases these abductions are being carried out with impunity.

In the first six months of 2008, more than 50 children have been kidnapped in Haiti. Instances of rape and torture of kidnapped children have been reported and in some instances the victims have been murdered. The authorities suspect criminal gangs in search of easy profits are responsible for many recent kidnappings. Most of the perpetrators remain unpunished.

In Central African Republic, armed gangs have seized on the instability created by conflict to terrorize rural farms and communities, including by kidnapping children and holding them for ransom.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, thousands of children have been rounded up by armed groups and used as child soldiers or held in captivity as sexual slaves for extended periods of time.

In Iraq, UNICEF has received reports that a growing number of children have been recruited and used by militias and insurgent groups and that girls are increasingly subject to murder, kidnapping and rape, or are being abducted and trafficked within or outside Iraq for sexual exploitation.

These are just some examples of reports that UNICEF is receiving.

It is everyone’s duty to ensure children are safe from harm, and governments have a responsibility to enact and enforce measures that provide a protective environment for all children.

- UN Children's Fund

I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted,and will execute justice for the needy. - Psalm 140:12

For you have been a stronghold to the poor,a stronghold to the needy in his distress,a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat;for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall. - Isaiah 25:4

Saturday, June 21, 2008 

Disaster A or Disaster B: Obama or McCain?

As the campaign unfolds, I will be writing more about all of this, but let this serve as a basic orientation.

This November, we are facing a choice between disaster A or disaster B. We are piloting a plane that is going to crash, and we have the choice of crashing in the sea or on the land. As I have mentioned before, I understand fully why many of my fellow conservatives would opt for crashing in the sea. Fine. We are going to do one or the other, and if you want to help decide, I certainly don't blame you. And maybe chances of survival are increased with one of the choices. But what I don't get is how my fellow conservatives can confuse "crashing in the sea" with "flying home safely."

Let me give just one "fer instance." In the most recent edition of Chronicles, Srdja Trifkovic rightly calls George Soros one of the "most evil men in the world," and the "Philanthropist From Hell." Conservatives who know this man's name likely know it from the common denunciations in our circles of the moonbat group MoveOn.org, one cause among many for which Soros serves as Sugar Daddy. Sean Hannity and his like are ruthless in their denunciations of anyone who comes within fifty yards of Soros.

Except for John McCain. One of McCain's many grotestqueries was his co-sponsorship of McCain/Feingold, a bill that virtually annihilates free speech in the one area -- political campaigns -- where the Founders would have been most concerned to preserve it. Now conservatives are famously unhappy with McCain over that, thinking it an unfortunate lapse among a number of other unfortunate lapses.

But as Trifkovic reports, that whole business was tangled up with . . . George Soros. The Reform Institute was founded in 2001, and was pushing for "campaign-finance reform." That atrocity was chaired by John McCain until 2005. The initial funding for the Institute came from George Soros, and from the Teresa Heinz-Kerry Tides Foundation. You remember Teresa, don't you? And when it opened its doors in 2001, Arianna Huffington, a close associate of Soros, was on the board. And together they all conspired to outlaw individual citizens from telling the truth to the public during the course of a political campaign.

During the course of this coming campaign, you will probably hear the name of Soros a lot. But almost all of it will be connected to Obama -- and rightly so. "Vote Obama! Crash on the rocks!" Sure, Soros would want Obama. But he would be happy with McCain, and why conservatives would be happy with McCain is beyond me.

- Doug Wilson | Blog & Mablog

Friday, June 20, 2008 

World Refugee Day - June 20

Today is World Refugee Day. The UNHCR's 2007 statistics show 11.4 million refugees worldwide & 26 million internally displaced persons worldwide.

When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. - Leviticus 19:33-34


McCain's Balancing Act

John McCain attempts to woo Evangelical voters


History's Most Spectacular Sin

The most spectacular sin in the history of the world is the murder of the innocent, pure, perfect, and infinitely worthy Son of God. And at the center of that evil is the Satan-empowered betrayal of Jesus by his friend, Judas.

What was Judas’ role in relation to Satan’s power in this betrayal? Why would Satan assist in bringing Jesus to death, when it would ultimately result in his own destruction? And, most importantly, where was God in all this?

- Find out here

Thursday, June 19, 2008 

Japan Gripped by Suicide Epidemic

Japanese professionals in their thirties are killing themselves at unprecedented rates, as the nation struggles with a runaway suicide epidemic.

Newly published figures show that 30,093 people took their own lives in 2007 — a 2.9 per cent increase in a year — leaving the country as the most suicide-prone anywhere in the developed world and rendering government efforts to combat the problem a failure.

Suicide rates remained highest among men — at 71 per cent of the total — and very high among Japan's rising population of over-60s. Geographically, most suicides took place in the prefecture of Yamanashi, where the forested foothills of Mount Fuji continue to attract the suicidal from around Japan.

Government analysis of the figures, for the tenth year consecutive in which suicides have remained above 30,000 mark, has exposed a series of new and troubling trends: people in their thirties are the most likely to kill themselves, and work-related depression is emerging as a prime motive.

Psychologists, sociologists and other close observers of Japanese society believe that the country is in the grip of a full-blown crisis among its young working population. Experts say thathigh suicide rates and the recent spate of random stabbings in public places are symptoms of a malaise that the country has ignored for too long.

Mika Tsutsumi, an economist and social analyst, said that the recent stabbings in Akihabara were worryingly predictable: the killing spree for which Tomohiro Kato was allegedly responsible was, she says, driven by a sense of hopelessness in the workplace. Underneath Japanese society is concealed "an invisible reserve army of Katos", she said.

Even more disturbing than the raw suicide figures, said police, was the astounding recent surge in people who have taken their lives by generating highly poisonous hydrogen sulphide gas from a combination of standard household products.

Unlike more traditional methods such as hanging or drugs overdoses, the production of hydrogen sulphide endangers people in the same building and turns what used to be private despair into a public event.

Tweenty-nine people used that method to end their lives last year, but after the formula for the gas was circulated widely on various "suicide websites", it has taken on a sinister appeal to the desperate and lonely.

Since February this year, 517 people have killed themselves using the gas, about half of them in their twenties, and its macabre popularity as a method of self-destruction shows no sign of waning.

The crisis of despair gripping young working Japanese has triggered plenty of official and media hand-wringing, though little in the way of change in corporate Japan. Wages remain low, and hierarchies rigid.

"We live in an uncomfortable and restrictive society where trivial matters are important," said Professor Kiyohiko Ikeda, a veteran social commentator at Waseda University. "The young feel a sense of deadlock; society does not accept minor mistakes."

- thanks to Billy Amason for sending this to me via email

- Times Online

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 

Keep Praying for & Giving to Burma - Survivors Forced Back

Survivors of the Burma cyclone have been forced to return to their destroyed villages because the regime has ordered relief camps to be closed down.

At the end of May – a month after the cyclone which left up an estimated 200,000 people dead – the government announced that the relief phase was over and asked everyone in the camps to return home.

In most camps the government handed out 10,000 kyat (£4.5) or two days worth of rice to those leaving. The step was taken because the government wants to show that people are going back 'voluntarily' and are able to resume normal life.

Smell of bodies

'People are being forced to go back even when their villages are uninhabitable because of the amount of debris and the smell of bodies,’ said Robin Greenwood, head of Christian Aid’s Asia and Middle East Division. ‘The monsoon rains have started which will make it even more difficult to survive. It is also difficult emotionally for those who lost relatives to go back at this time.’

On the other hand, one positive aspect to people returning to their villages is that there will be fewer land disputes. Most people do not have deeds to their land and many were worried that they might lose it if they were absent for a long period of time.

One Christian Aid partner gave an example of how people were coping with the return. In one village the community decided that the men would go back first to clear bodies and animal carcasses, leaving the women and children with relatives until the area was habitable. The community has also decided to cultivate collectively for the next year to make the most efficient use of their resources.


With the dismantling of the camps, sending out relief supplies has become more complicated, as many villages are remote and located up to seven hours away by boat from the nearest loading site. But Christian Aid partners are still managing to provide essential supplies to 200,000 people.

Shelter continues to be one of the biggest challenges. The monsoon rains have started, but there is a lack of plastic sheeting and tarpaulin in the affected Irrawaddy Delta area, where thousands of homes were destroyed.

One Christian Aid partner reports that people are using the tarpaulin to create roofs over school buildings, rather than individual houses, so that as many families as possible can take shelter.

In need

'The communities are coming together to help each other in this time of need,' said a staff member of the partner organisation.

The monsoon means people are finding it difficult to keep food supplies dry, but the rains do at least provide clean drinking water. Christian Aid partners have distributed rain water collection and storage kits as well as food, clothing, blankets, cooking utensils and medicines.

- Christian Aid


Foolish Obama: I Have the Audacity to Hope He Won't Win for this Reason

Obama has pledged to nominate only judges who support legal concepts at the heart of Roe and also has said he "will not yield" on such a "fundamental" issue as abortion. He has said the "first thing" he would do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act, a proposed law that would codify abortion-on-demand as the law of the land and also overturn every pro-life law -- such as mandatory waiting periods, parental notifications and partial-birth abortion bans -- on the federal and state level.

- read entire article here

As Abort73.com asks, would abortion bother us more if they used guns?


Ecuadorian Obstetricians and Gynecologists Issue Thundering Manifesto Against Abortion

"We are against induced abortion because it is not only an illegal act, but a criminal one...Under no circumstances should abortion be decriminalized in Ecuador," the document continues. "To the contrary, policies and strategies must be established to strengthen moral values and defend the basic principles of universal bioethics."

- read full article here


McCain's Sweet Talk Express

- Daniel Kurtzman | About.com


Obama's Hope-Nosis

- Daniel Kurtzman | About.com

Monday, June 16, 2008 

Is Obama a Christian?

Two weeks ago, I addressed comments made by Barack Obama about his faith dating back to 2004.

In an amazing coincidence, several other pundits and columnists discovered this 4-year-old interview in the Chicago Sun-Times after I wrote about it. I know it was a coincidence because none of them cited my column for bringing this information to their attention after all these years.

But, I digress.

The interview reveals Obama, who calls himself a Christian, has no concept of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

He states, for instance, that he has no idea of what will happen to him when he dies.
He suggests his eternal destination has something to do with being a "good father" to his children and transferring values he got from his atheist mother.
He says there are many paths to heaven.

In other words, he doesn't have a clue as to what it means to be a Christian. That, of course, is not surprising given the only church experience he has had in his life has come in that hate-filled, racist, neo-Marxist, liberation theology -based Trinity United Church of Christ. There "Christianity" is used to sell other religions altogether – anti-Americanism, black victimization, socialism.

In any case, not only did other pundits pick up on the subject of my column two weeks ago, so did People for the American Way. Unlike the others, People for the American Way noticed I wrote about this old interview first.

I must say, I'm always gratified when I am the target of a group like the hopelessly misnamed People for the American Way. I don't have any use for this Norman Lear creation, and, obviously, the feeling is mutual.

People for the American Way doesn't think it's fair that I offer opinions on what it means to be a Christian. The group characterizes this kind of analysis, based on what the Bible says, as a "religious inquisition."

Get a grip, you guys!

I haven't put any thumbscrews on Obama.

I haven't put him in the rack.

I haven't disemboweled him.

I haven't roasted him alive.

I haven't thrown him in boiling oil.

I haven't sawed him in half.

I haven't burned him at the stake.

What I have done is use his own words to illustrate he doesn't even understand the meaning of being a Christian – to accept Jesus' atoning, sacrificial death on the cross as full, unmerited payment for my sins and the sins of the world and to do my best to be obedient to His commandments.

I have confidence that if I do that, I will go to heaven because that's what God's Word reveals.

There is nothing else I can do to earn eternal life. It's not about good works.

And I know there is only one path to heaven, because Jesus said so.

Now maybe those atheists at People for the American Way think they know Christianity better than I. Maybe they think they know the Bible better than I. Maybe they think Obama should be given a pass to call himself a Christian because he has decided it would be an expedient path to the Oval Office.

But I disagree strongly with all of those notions.

Not to worry, though, fellows. You are in no danger of being thrown in the dungeon by me or other followers of Jesus. You are in no danger of persecution or witch hunts by me or other followers of Jesus. You are in no danger of being tortured or dismembered.

But I do pray that both Obama and his friends at People for the American Way learn about that saving grace and sincerely claim it – because a fate worse than all of the above awaits those who do not.

- Between the Lines @ worldnetdaily Joseph Farah


IMB Missionaries Ask for Prayer Following Strong Earthquake

RICHMOND, Va. —International Mission Board missionaries serving in Japan are asking Southern Baptist churches to pray for the victims of a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that shook northern Japan on June 14.

The earthquake killed at least 10 people and injured more than 250 others. Rescue teams are still searching for survivors. No IMB personnel were harmed.

Missionaries Kevin and Donna Qualls serve in Miyagi-ken, a city about 50 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter in Japan’s mountainous Iwate prefecture (state).

“It was scary, but we are all OK and suffered no apparent damage to our home,” Donna Qualls wrote in an e-mail to prayer supporters. “Thank you for always praying for our safety.”

There’s no word yet on how many homes were damaged or destroyed by the earthquake. Japan’s relief efforts are being hampered by landslides, damaged roads and aftershocks that continue to rock the area.

- International Mission Board Don Graham


Iowa Tornado

- AP Photo | Lori Mehmen

Sunday, June 15, 2008 

9 dead, 12 still missing in Japan

Rescuers in northern Japan have found three more bodies, bringing the confirmed death toll from Saturday's earthquake to nine, officials say.

Four more people are feared buried by a mudslide at a hot spring hotel near the town of Kurihara, Miyagi region.

With major roads buckled and unusable, rescuers are hiking through mountain trails to reach isolated towns.

Twelve people are still missing and more than 200 have been injured after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

There have been more than 200 aftershocks since Saturday.


Friday, June 13, 2008 

Language Study & Driving Test in Utsunomiya

My friend Jarod in Utsunomiya continues to update his life in Japan working with the JCTV team. His posts are helping paint a clearer picture to Mindy & me of what certain aspects of life will be like once we get to Shizuoka City. Even though his posts are entertaining & quite funny, do take the time to pray for Jarod & the lost Japanese in Utsunomiya.

Language Study & Driving Test in Unsunomiya

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

My dad sent this article to me today & it really made me consider possibly cancelling all my google reader subscriptions, as I've found it hard to get deep into books I've been longing to get to for the last several years. It's my attention span. I think I have trained my brain to read blurbs, blips, short blogs, news excerpts, etc..., I think I am losing my capacity to think deeply & meditate over deep content for long periods of time. The benefit is being able to stay up-to-date with what is developing in the world, but the downside may have dire consequences. Anyways, my brother & others that my dad sent the email too had some funny responses to the article:

The first few lines of this article was really good. But then I drifted off and started to play with my shiny keys. Oooohhh, shiny. It’s sad, but google is my brain now. It’s getting to the point I want it to finish my thoughts and stories. I’m in the middle of a sentence, and can’t recall some name or phrase. Then it happens. I start wishing I had Google in front of me. I’ve outsourced the portion of my brain that used to be in charge of recall to Google. My attention span gets shorter and shorter all the time. I notice this at work especially. I find myself taking breaks every few minutes because my mind just wanders. I used to read books all the time, but now I rarely do. I’m bored with this email now. Must find better things to do.

I sometimes wear depends so I can spend more quality time googleing.

At least you have an excuse. You are getting old like me.

Sunday, June 08, 2008 

Website to Email those 'Left Behind' After Rapture

"You've Been Left Behind gives you one last opportunity to reach your lost family and friends For Christ. Imagine being in the presence of the Lord and hearing all of heaven rejoice over the salvation of your loved ones. It is our prayer that this site makes it happen."

- I would love to laugh along with this silly website, but unfortunately, it's true, & the designer is quite serious.

Saturday, June 07, 2008 

Why Do You Think Japan's Suicide Rate So High?

News photo

Nonu Ishand
Cleaning, 20 (Indian)
Japan is so crowded and people have very little free time. I think the lifestyle makes it hard for people to enjoy their lives. If people spent more time with their families and relaxed more, I think it would help.

News photo

Heather Humphreys
Student, 21 (British)
I think Japanese society is very pressurized compared to other "developed" countries. People work a lot and don't have a lot of outlets for the stress that comes with such busy lifestyles.

News photo

Keisuke Tsurii
Service sector, 41
It's so sad, isn't it. There are many reasons for suicide, and many consequences for people to think about. I think we should all take more care of each other, and listen to one another.

News photo

Elizabeth Costello
ALT, 23 (Australian)
Japanese people feel like they have no one to talk to about problems, so I think they can feel very isolated. Australia has a high-profile depression awareness campaign -- I wish Japan had something like that.

News photo

Yoshiko Ishioka
The most important reason is love, then the breakdown of family morals. Unless you have your children or some kind of spiritual guide to support you, life can be very difficult.

News photo

Ai Haruta
Elderly care worker, 32
In my job I deal with death every day. Death is part of life, no more or less special than birth. Japanese people romanticize death, and I think we should have more ways of talking about it in our regular lives.

- Jackie Hoffart | JapanTimes

David Rainer
Preparing missionary, 29
Because the Japanese do not know hope because they do not know their Creator & have not passed from death to life by trusting & putting their hope & treasure in the eternal Savior, Jesus Christ.

Friday, June 06, 2008 


And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. GO therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


What Did You Say? Hilarious!


8 Years

I don't know what day of the month the first Sunday in the year 2000 was, but it was 8 years ago this week that God saved me from His wrath. I came to church for the first time in 5 years, angry because my parents had made me come - I was 21 & hardened & going to Hell on a fast track path that I was paving myself. Then I heard the Gospel preached & my anger transitioned to fear as I realized that I was lost. And then came utter joy & disbelief in my belief & understanding that even after spitting in the face of a holy God for my entire life, Christ was enough to cover that & His sacrifice so much greater than my great sins - & my heart of stone became flesh - I crossed from death to life. Where was the message from?

1 John 1

1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

He has been more than faithful & just over these last 8 years. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Thursday, June 05, 2008 

God Works on Another Scale

"I was brought up in French Canada. As recently as 1972, in a population of 6.5 million, there were thirty-five or thirty-six evangelical churches, none with more than forty people. Between 1972 and 1980 the churches grew from about thirty-five to just under five hundred, many of them with hundreds of members.

But in 1972, my father was a church planter through all those lean years when Baptist ministers alone spent eight years in jail for preaching the gospel. The charges were always “inciting to riot” or “disturbing the peace,” but that’s what it was. We kids would get beaten up in the 1950s because we were maudite protestant—damn Protestants. In all those years my father saw virtually no fruit. I remember many times seeing him in tears for his people. In 1972, when the turn came, he was already sixty-one years old, and the leadership passed off into other hands. In that period of growth I know he felt as if he had been largely put on the shelf. But when he died at the age of eighty-one—although he still felt that way—in fact, most of the church in Quebec viewed him as the grand old man because he had been faithful through the lean years.

There are people who went to Korea in 1900, planted churches, and saw the church grow to a quarter of the world’s evangelical population today. There are people who went to Japan about the same time—and no place on God’s green earth did the church grow more slowly than in Japan. What are you going to do? Say, “All the ones who went to Korea are spiritual—particularly loved of God?” The ones in Japan aren’t blessed of God? God works on another scale."

- D.A. Carson | 173

Tuesday, June 03, 2008 

Recommended Books from Desiring God

Christian Hedonism

  • Desiring God (Piper)
  • When I Don’t Desire God (Piper)
  • Pleasures Evermore (Storms)

The Life of the Mind

  • Love Your God with All Your Mind (Moreland)
  • No Place for Truth (Wells)
  • Habits of the Mind (Sire)
  • Fit Bodies, Fat Minds (Guiness)

Christian Worldview

  • Lectures on Calvinism (Kuyper)
  • God's Renaisance Man: Abraham Kuyper (McGoldrick)
  • The Universe Next Door (Sire)
  • Turning Point Christian Worldview Series (Crossway Books; Olasky, gen. ed.)

General Theology

  • Now That's a Good Question (Sproul)
  • God's Passion for His Glory (Piper; includes the complete text of Edwards' The End for Which God Created the World)
  • The Instructed Christian (Lyford)
  • The Arraignment of Error (Bolton)
  • Body of Divinity (Watson)

Historical Theology

  • Historical Theology (Cunningham)
  • The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation (Cunningham)
  • The Theology of the Reformers (George)

Systematic Theology

  • Systematic Theology (Grudem)
  • A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith (Reymond)
  • Systematic Theology (Berkhof)

The Attributes of God

  • The Doctrine of God (Bavinck)
  • Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (Carson)
  • The Existence and Attributes of God (Charnock)
  • God the Father Almighty (Erickson)
  • Knowing God (Packer)
  • The Holiness of God (Sproul)
  • The Pleasures of God (Piper)
  • The Doctrine of God (Frame)
  • The Attributes of God (Pink)

The Trinity

  • On the Trinity (Augustine)
  • The Forgotten Trinity (White)
  • The Trinity (Bickerseth)

The Person of Christ

  • The Person of Christ (MacLeod)
  • The Glory of Christ (Owen)
  • Through the Looking Glass (Lundgaard)

Providence and Predestination

  • The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (Boettner)
  • The Five Points of Calvinism (Dabney)
  • The Sovereignty of God (Pink)
  • Still Sovereign (Schreiner)
  • Potter's Freedom (White)
  • Chosen by God (Sproul)

Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

  • Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (Packer)
  • The Freedom of the Will (Edwards)

Open Theism

  • God's Lesser Glory (Ware)
  • Bound Only Once (Wilson)
  • No Other God (Frame)
  • Beyond the Bounds (Piper, Helseth, Taylor)

Doctrine of Scripture

  • Inerrancy (Geisler)
  • Disputations on Holy Scripture (Whitaker)
  • Thy Word is Truth (Young)
  • The Sufficiency of Scripture (Weeks)

Doctrine of Humanity & Sin

  • Human Nature in its Fourfold State (Boston)
  • Body and Soul (Moreland)
  • The Bondage of the Will (Luther)

Law & Gospel

  • Treatise on Law and Gospel (Colquhoun)
  • The Law & Its Fulfillment (Schreiner)
  • Paul & the Law (Thielman)
  • Understanding Dispensationalists (Poythress)
  • Economy of the Divine Covenants (Witsius)
  • New Covenant Theology (Wells & Zaspel)

Doctrine of Salvation

  • The Doctrine of Justification (Buchanan)
  • Justification by Faith Alone (Edwards)
  • Putting Amazing Back into Grace (Horton)
  • Redemption: Accomplished and Applied (Murray)
  • The Death of Death in the Death of Christ (Owen)
  • Saved by Grace (Hoekema)

Doctrine of Sanctification

  • Keep in Step with the Spirit (Packer)
  • Future Grace (Piper)
  • Five Views on Sanctification (Dieter)

Spiritual Warfare

  • Power Encounters: Reclaiming Spiritual Warfare (Powlison)
  • Winning the War Within (Adams)

Miraculous Gifts

  • Showing the Spirit (Carson)
  • Satisfied by the Promise of the Spirit (Edgar)
  • Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? (Grudem)
  • Pentecost Today? (Murray)

Doctrine of the Church

  • Worship in Spirit and Truth (Frame)
  • Glorious Body of Christ (Kuiper)
  • Biblical Eldership (Strauch)
  • The Reformed Pastor (Baxter)
  • Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (Dever)


  • The Supremacy of God in Preaching (Piper)
  • Preaching & Preachers (Lloyd-Jones)
  • Lectures to My Students (Spurgeon)
  • Christ-Centered Preaching (Chapel)

Preaching and Hermeneutics

  • Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text (Greidanus)
  • Preaching Christ from the Old Testament (Greidanus)
  • Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture (Goldsworthy)

Doctrine of Last Things

  • Basic Guide to Eschatology (Erickson)
  • Crucial Questions about Hell (Fernando)
  • The Bible and the Future (Hoekema)
  • The Blessed Hope (Ladd)


  • New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Bruce)
  • Apologetics to the Glory of God (Frame)
  • Mere Christianity (Lewis)
  • Christianity and Liberalism (Machen)
  • Beyond Death: Exploring the Evidence for Immortality (Moreland)
  • Reasonable Faith (Craig)
  • Faith & Reason (Nash)
  • Francis Schaeffer Trilogy (Schaeffer)
  • Every Thought Captive (Pratt)
  • Persuasions (Wilson)
  • Can Man Live Without God? (Zacharias)

World Religions

  • Answering Islam (Geisler)
  • Roman Catholics & Evangelicals (Geisler)
  • Compact Guide to World Religions (Halverson)
  • Pocket Dictionary of New Religious Movements (Hexham)
  • Neighboring Faiths (Corduan)
  • Reasoning from the Scriptures with Jehovah's Witnesses (Rhodes)


  • Gagging of God (Carson)
  • Postmodern Times (Veith)
  • Truth Decay (Groothuis)
  • The Vanishing Word (Hunt)
  • Reclaiming The Center (Erickson, Helseth, and Taylor)


  • Darwin's Black Box (Behe)
  • Intelligent Design (Dembski)
  • The Soul of Science (Percy)
  • Darwin on Trial (Johnson)
  • Life is a Miracle (Berry)
  • A History of Nearly Everything (Bryson)
  • Redeeming Science (Poythress)


  • Introduction to Philosophy (Geisler)
  • Life's Ultimate Questions (Nash)
  • The Consequences of Ideas (Sproul)
  • Longing to Know: The Philosophy of Knowledge for Ordinary People (Meek)
  • Socratic Logic: A Logic Text Using Socratic Method, Platonic Questions, and Aristotelian Principles (Kreeft)
  • The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God (Frame)


  • The Federalist Papers (Hamilton)
  • Democracy in America (Tocqueville)
  • God's Name in Vain (Carter)
  • Beyond Good Intentions (Bandow)
  • Practical Christianity (Wilberforce)


  • Capitalism and Freedom (Friedman)
  • Wealth and Poverty: Why Socialism Doesn't Work (Nash)
  • Wealth of Nations (Smith)
  • Applied Economics (Sowell)
  • Basic Economics (Sowell)
  • The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism (Novak)
  • Economics in One Lesson (Hazlitt)

Business Ethics

  • Beyond Integrity (Rae)
  • Business for the Glory of God (Grudem)


  • Ethics for a Brave New World (Feinberg)
  • Christian Ethics (Geisler)
  • Principles of Conduct (Murray)
  • When is it Right to Fight? (Morey)


  • Polictically Correct Death (Beckwith)
  • Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments (Alcorn)


  • Homsexuality (DeYoung)
  • Straight and Narrow (Schmidt)


  • Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Piper)
  • Equality in Christ (Hove)
  • Men and Women: Equal Yet Different (Strauch)
  • Feminism and Evangelical Truth (Grudem)

Racial Harmony

  • Divided by Faith (Emerson)
  • Mighty Long Journey (George)
  • Winning the Race to Unity (Shuler)


  • Technopoly (Postman)
  • Technics and Civilization (Mumford)

Work & Leisure

  • Redeeming the Time (Ryken)
  • God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life (Veith)
  • The Call (Guiness)
  • Getting Things Done (Allen)
  • Business to the Glory of God (Grudem)


  • State of the Arts (Veith)
  • Reviewing the Movies (Fraser)
  • Art and the Bible (Schaeffer)
  • The Liberated Imagination: Thinking Christianly About the Arts (Ryken)
  • The Christian Imagination: The Practice of Faith in Literature and Writing (Ryken)


  • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Dillard)
  • The Brothers Karamazov (Dostoyevsky)
  • Crime and Punishment (Dostoyevsky)
  • Robinson Crusoe (Defoe)
  • Till We Have Faces (Lewis)
  • The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien)
  • Book of the Dun Cow (Wangerin)
  • Jane Eyre (Bronte)
  • East of Eden (Steinbeck)

On Literature

  • Great Books of the Christian Tradition (Glaspey)
  • Invitation to the Classics (Cowan)
  • Reading Between the Lines (Veith)
  • Realms of Gold: The Classics in Christian Perspective (Ryken)

Christian Classics

  • Confessions (Augustine)
  • City of God (Augustine)
  • Pilgrim's Progress (Bunyan)
  • Institutes of the Christian Religion (Calvin)
  • The Weight of Glory (Lewis)


  • How to Read a Book (Adler)
  • How to Read Slowly (Sire)
  • Validity in Interpretation (Hirsch)


  • Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning (Wilson)
  • Repairing the Ruins (Wilson)
  • Paideia of God (Wilson)
  • The Well-Trained Mind (Bauer)
  • The Well-Educated Mind (Bauer)
  • The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them (Hirsch)
  • The New Lifetime Reading Plan (Fadiman)
  • Teaching the Trivium (Bluedorn)


  • Roaring Lambs (Briner)
  • All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes (Myers)
  • Where in the World is the Church (Horton)
  • How Should We Then Live (Schaeffer)
  • Cultural Literacy (Hirsch)
  • Dictionary of Cultural Literacy (Hirsch)
  • Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (Postman)
  • The Art of the Commonplace (Berry)
  • The Image (Boorstin)

Spiritual Growth

  • Righteous Sinners (Julian)
  • The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin (Lundgaard)
  • Sin and Temptation (Owen; volume 6 of his Works)
  • Holiness (Ryle)
  • The Spiritual Quest (Whitlock)
  • Way of Life (Hodge)
  • The Christian in Complete Armor (Gurnall)
  • The Sermon on the Mount (Lloyd-Jones)
  • War Psalms of the Prince of Peace (Adams)

Communion with God

  • Communion with God (Owen; volume 2 of his Works)
  • The Life of God in the Soul of Man (Scougal)
  • Joy of Fearing God (Bridges)
  • Experiencing God's Forgiveness (Ensor; forward by John Piper)
  • Fear of God (Bunyan)

God's Guidance

  • Step by Step (Petty)
  • Decision Making and the Will of God (Friesen)


  • Godward Life [Books I and II] (Piper)
  • For The Love of God [Volumes I and II] (Carson)
  • Morning & Evening (Spurgeon)
  • Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (Bennet)

Prayer & Fasting

  • Pray With Your Eyes Open (Pratt)
  • Hunger for God (Piper)
  • Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers (Carson)
  • Theology of Prayer (Palmer)
  • A Method for Prayer (Henry)

Women's Spirituality

  • Personal Touch (Crabb)
  • Women Helping Women (Fitzpatrick)
  • By Design (Hunt)
  • True Woman (Hunt)
  • Female Piety (James)
  • Fearlessly Feminine (Ortlund)
  • Becoming A Titus 2 Woman (Peace)
  • Praise Her in the Gates (Wilson)

Men's Spirituality

  • A Godly Man's Picture (Watson)
  • Disciplines of a Godly Man (Hughes)
  • Fidelity (Wilson)


  • Mystery of Marriage (Mason)
  • Each for the Other (Chapel)
  • The Excellent Wife (Peace)
  • The Complete Husband (Priolo)
  • Love Life for Every Married Couple (Wheat)
  • Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God (Mahaney)
  • Reforming Marriage (Wilson)

Parenting & Family

  • The Family: God's Weapon for Victory (Andrews)
  • Your Home: A Place of Grace (Hunt)
  • Training Hearts, Teaching Minds (Meade)
  • For the Family's Sake (MacAulay)
  • Age of Opportunity (Tripp)
  • Shepherding a Child's Heart (Tripp)
  • The Fruit of Her Hands (Wilson)

Young People

  • Passion and Purity (Eliott)
  • Anne of Green Gables (Montgomery)
  • Anne Henry and the Birth of Liberty (Olasky)
  • Thoughts for Young Men (Ryle)
  • Choosing My Religion (Sproul)


  • Big Book of Questions and Answers (Ferguson)
  • Big Truths for Little Kids (Hunt)
  • My ABC Bible Verses (Hunt)
  • International Children's Bible Dictionary (Waller)
  • Someone Awesome (Libby)
  • Hero Tales, Volumes 1-4 (Jackson)
  • God Made Them All (Carlson)
  • Classics to Read Aloud to Your Children (Russell)
  • Three Beloved Classics (White)
  • Chronicles of Narnia (Lewis)
  • Leading Little Ones to God (Schooland)


  • Competent to Counsel (Adams)
  • Ready to Restore (Adams)
  • Christian Counselor's Manual (Adams)
  • A Theology of Christian Counseling (Adams)
  • Love to Eat, Hate to Eat (Fitzpatrick)
  • Genius of Puritanism (Lewis)
  • Spiritual Depression (Lloyd-Jones)
  • Biblical Counseling (MacArthur)
  • Case and Cure of a Deserted Soul (Symonds)
  • A Christian Directory (Baxter)


  • When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty (Tada)
  • Why Does it Have to Hurt? The Meaning of Christian Suffering (McCartney)
  • How Long, O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil (Carson)

Missions & Evangelism

  • Let the Nations Be Glad! (Piper)
  • The Church is Bigger Than You Think (Johnstone)
  • From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya : A Biographical History of Christian Missions (Tucker)
  • Autobiography of John Paton (Paton)
  • A Vision for Missions (Wells)
  • Through Gates of Splendor (Eliot)
  • Tell the Truth (Metzger)
  • Bruchko (Olson)
  • A History of Christian Missions (Neil)


  • The 100 Most Important Events in Christian History (Curtis, et al)
  • Turning Points : Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity (Noll)
  • A History of Christianity (Latourette)
  • Sketches from Church History (Houghton)
  • Hitler's Cross (Lutzer)
  • Evangelicalism Divided (Murray)
  • Timetables of History (Grun)
  • Annals of the World (Ussher)
  • The Reformers and Their Stepchildren (Verduin)


  • Legacy of Sovereign Joy:…Augustine, Luther, and Calvin (Piper)
  • Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography (Murray)
  • Jonathan Edwards (Marsden)
  • Wesley and Men Who Followed (Murray)
  • Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (Bainton)
  • The Forgotten Spurgeon (Murray)
  • George Whitefield (Dallimore)
  • Foxe's Book of Martyrs (Foxe)

The Puritans

  • Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Reallly Were (Ryken)
  • A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Packer)
  • The Puritans (Lloyd-Jones)

Theological Dictionaries

  • New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (Carson)
  • Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Elwell)

Biblical Reference

  • The Essential IVP Reference Collection (CD Rom)
  • Bible Works (Windows)
  • Accordance (Mac)
  • Holman Bible Atlas (Brisco)
  • New Bible Dictionary (Packer, ed.)
  • Introduction to the New Testament (Carson)
  • Introduction to the Old Testament (Longman)

Biblical Background

  • Backgrounds of Early Christianity (Ferguson)
  • IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Keener)
  • IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament (Walton)
  • Dictionary of NT Background (Evans)
  • Understanding the Land of the Bible (Robertson)

Biblical Interpretation

  • Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (Blomberg)
  • Exegetical Fallacies (Carson)
  • Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible (Stein)
  • How to Read the Psalms (Longman)
  • Reading the Bible with Heart and Mind (Longman)
  • He Gave us Stories (Pratt)
  • Interpreting the Pauline Epistles (Schreiner)
  • The Hermeneutical Spiral (Osborn)
  • Foundations of Contemporary Interpretation (Silva)
  • Interpreting the Prophetic Word (VanGemeren)
  • Is There a Meaning in This Text? (Vanhoozer)

Biblical Studies

  • Historical Reliability of the Gospels (Blomberg)
  • Toward an Old Testament Theology (Kaiser)
  • Paul & His Letters (Polhil)
  • The Progress of Redemption (VanGemeren)


  • Practical Works of Richard Baxter (4 volumes)
  • Works of Benjamin B. Warfield (10 volumes)
  • Works of John Newton (6 volumes)
  • The Works of Jonathan Edwards (2 volumes)
  • The Collected Writings of John Murray (4 volumes)
  • The Works of John Owen (16 volumes)
  • Sermons of Charles Spurgeon (5 volumes)
  • The Collected Shorter Writings of J.I. Packer (4 volumes)
  • God, Revelation, and Authority (6 volumes) (Carl F.H. Henry)

- What Are Some Books that DG Recommends? | Desiringgod.org

Monday, June 02, 2008 

Recommended Individual Commentaries on Each Book

Genesis: Wenham (Word Biblical Commentary) or Sailhamer (Expositor's Bible Commentary)
Exodus: Enns (NIV Application Commentary)
Leviticus: Hartley (WBC)
Numbers: Wenham (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries)
Deuteronomy: McConville (AOTC ); Wright (New International Biblical Commentary)
Joshua: Woudstra (New International Commentary on the Old Testament) or Hess (Tyndale Old Testament Commentary)
Judges, Ruth: Block (New American Commentary)
1 & 2 Samuel: Bergen (NAC)
1 & 2 Kings: House (NAC)
1 Chronicles: Braun (WBC)
2 Chronicles: Dillard (WBC)
Ezra and Nehemiah: Williamson (WBC)
Esther: Baldwin (TOTC)
Job: Andersen (TOTC)
Psalms: Kidner (TOTC)
Proverbs: Kidner (TOTC); Bridges (Banner of Truth)
Ecclesiastes: Longman (NICOT)
Song of Songs: Longman (NICOT)
Isaiah: Oswalt (NICOT)
Jeremiah: Thompson (NICOT)
Jeremiah & Lamentations: Harrison (TOTC)
Ezekiel: Allen (WBC)
Daniel: Baldwin (TOTC); Longman (NIVAC)
Minor Prophets: McComiskey (3 volumes; superb)

Matthew: D.A. Carson (EBC)
Mark: Lane (New International Commentary on the New Testament)
Luke: Bock (Baker Exegetical Commentary)
John: Carson (Pillar New Testament Commentary)
Acts: Longenecker (EBC)
Romans: Moo (NICNT); Schreiner (BEC); Murray (Eerdmans)
1 Corinthians: Fee (NICNT)
2 Corinthians: Barnett (NICNT)
Galatians: Longenecker (Word)
Ephesians: O'Brien (PNTC)
Philippians: O'Brien (New International Greek Testament Commentary)
Colossians/Philemon: O'Brien (WBC)
1 & 2 Thessalonians: Bruce (WBC)
Pastoral Epistles: Mounce (WBC)
Hebrews: Ellingworth (NIGTC)
James: Moo (PNTC)
1 Peter: Grudem (Tyndale New Testament Commentary)
2 Peter and Jude: Baukham (WBC); Moo (NIVAC)
Johannine Epistles: Kruse (PNTC); Stott (TNTC)
Revelation: Beale (NIGTC)

- What Commentaries Does DG Recommend? | Desiringgod.org


Community Church

- Out of Ur

Sunday, June 01, 2008 

Love Abounds

The running joke after having your first child seems to be that nobody cares about you or your presence any longer, & that now that you have provided the grandbaby or great nephew, what have you, the love that used to be reserved for you must now be shifted to the baby. Sorry, but your time has passed, expired - the baby now replaces you.

Yes, yes - hahaha, very funny. I get it. It's worth a laugh. The cuteness of a baby is no match for an adult man. But this joke I'm now very familiar with has led me to reflect & be grateful for the reality that we are given the communicable attribute of love from God.

John 17:26 reads, "I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

Romans 5:5 reads, "
and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Not only does God's love being communicable to us allow us to return that love for God, but it allows us to love our fellow man.

What an awesome reality that as we've moved from city to city & therefore from church to church, that we haven't had to stop loving those in our previous churches in order to love those in our current local church.

How awesome that as my family has grown & as I have gained brothers-in-law & sisters-in-law that I have not had to subtract any love from my brothers & sisters I grew up with in order to add love to those who do not share my blood.

I'm so grateful that if anything, my love for my parents & my wife & other family members & friends has only increased with the arrival of our first son as I've realized how precious life and love are, and seen the privilege it has been to have those in my life that I have been blessed to share the years with.

I'm so grateful that the love of God did not stop with Adam & Eve, but is vast enough to ransom someone from every tribe, language, people, and nation.

And though I realize that there are many unbelievers & pagans who love their family & increase their love for others, we must recognize that that is only because all men are stamped with the image of God, whether they give Him any recognition or not - He alone gives the ability to increase and add love upon love. God is love (1 John 4:16).

But where the triune God makes it so clear that love is His alone to give & communicate from Himself to us, and from man to man, is in the fact that in Christ, love abounds not only for family & friends, but also for our enemies (See Matthew 5:43-48).

And I'm so grateful that God loved His enemy, me, so much that He reconciled me to Himself by pouring out wrath I fully deserved on His perfect Son!

For a Christ-like love that abounds for family, friends, & the faithless!!

About me

  • I'm DR
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