Archive for the 'Meditations' Category

Church hopping

A church that “works” for me…

Do we need to lose that critical consumerist attitude to church? Why do Christians need to seek out the most spirited preaching, the most dynamic music, the most professional children’s program and the most comfortable group of peers? Maybe we need to work on cultivating a servant-heartedness that commits voluntarily to a small church where the preaching is faithful (if not fervent) and the music acceptable (if not awesome), but where there are opportunities aplenty to use our God-given gifts to edify Christ’s body. After all, Jesus’ humble other-person-centeredness is what we are called to emulate (Phil 2.1-5, John 13.12-17).

- Rowan Kemp in The Briefing, July-Aug 2010

Newton on complaining

For Christians, all things work together for good. John Newton put it this way:

If we were not creatures we might have a right to choose, if we were not sinners we might perhaps venture to complain of sufferings. If the Lord were not wise he might mistake our case; if He were not good he might deal hardly [harshly] with us. If this life were our all, delays and crossings for one, two or three years would be of great importance. But reverse all these suppositions, say that we are creatures, sinful pardoned creatures, bought with the blood of Jesus, that our Saviour is our shepherd, that He is infinitely wise and good in himself, and has engaged his wisdom and goodness in our behalf; that He suffered for us, and calls us by grace that we may suffer for him (Acts 9:16); say farther that every event we are concerned in is under his immediate direction, and all to work for good; that what we call heavy is light and the long and tedious but momentary, as to our true existence and compared with the weight of glory, and the length of eternity to which they lead. Let all these truths be planted like so many cannon in your defence and see whether self will and unbelief will dare to look them in the face.

Wise Counsel, p 124-125

What, me read? The post-literate culture

I guess everyone who cares about our civilization needs to read Thomas Bertonneau’s new essays on the students in his literature classes. This is frightening for anybody who is going to have to navigate through this new illiterate world we have built.

Essay #1

Essay #2

Essay #3

I found these essays referenced in a World Magazine overview article.

‘Telescope’ through the earth

I love this device!

You can read the (phony) story at their web site.

Wikipedia and truth

I suppose I should not be surprised by reports of ruthless editing in Wikipedia to exclude certain points of view, but I guess I really was surprised. Sometimes I get taken in by all the geeky goodness of freely shared information, and I somehow think that neutrality and free debate will be the result. Alas, the reality of fallen human nature always intrudes. Wikipedia still has a lot of good information, but let’s not fool ourselves about the neutrality of it.



Food for thought on how children’s “Bible Stories” often do more harm than good.

Eaten Alive in the April issue of Touchstone Magazine

Needing Him

The Lord has been willing, lately, to show me just how low and inadequate I am. I pray that I may learn how powerful and high and adequate and glorious and fulfilling he is.

I pray that Psalm 6 will speak to me, and possibly to someone reading this. It seems very appropriate to me at this time.

1 O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
2 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
3 My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O LORD––how long?
4 Turn, O LORD, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
5 For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?
6 I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
7 My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.
8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
9 The LORD has heard my plea;
the LORD accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.

The Exodus generation and us

My wanderings through the ESV Audio Bible and the adult Sunday School class on the Book of Hebrews have brought me right through the experience of the Israelites in Egypt. A complaining, murmuring, disobedient generation. And when the 38 years of judgment had killed off the generation that refused to go into the land, and Moses was facing a new generation about to enter the land under Joshua, he was dismayed at their continued unbelief:

“But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear” (Deut 29:4).

The Book of Hebrews sees the Israelite wanderings as a symbol of the professing Christian’s ability to finally reject what he claims to have accepted. The author of Hebrews asks us to not reject the heavenly good news like the Israelites mostly rejected the earthly good news that was offered to them.

But for those who have received Jesus Christ in a heartfelt way and desire to follow him, the disobedient and backward wilderness generation has an all too familiar ring. We continually abuse our privileges, murmur against God’s providence, fail to gratefully accept his provision, despise our leadership, dabble in false teachings and false gods, and other offenses. This is why God’s most beloved attribute is possibly his mercy, since only a merciful God could put up with the people he chose for himself.

Today I ran across George Herbert’s application of the wilderness experience to himself. It bemoans the experience of personal backsliding and rebellion, but rejoices in the full experience of mercy that we have now through the finished work of Christ. The poem is not on my Herbert web page yet, so here it is, adapted from another website:
The bunch of grapes

Joy, I did lock thee up: but some bad man
Hath let thee out again:
And now, me thinks, I am where I began
Sev’n years ago: one vogue and vein,
One air of thoughts usurps my brain
I did towards Canaan draw; but now I am
Brought back to the Red sea, the sea of shame.

For as the Jews of old by God’s command
Travell’d, and saw no town;
So now each Christian hath his journeys spann’d:
Their story pens and sets us down.
A single deed is small renown.
God’s works are wide, and let in future times;
His ancient justice overflows our crimes.

Then have we too our guardian fires and clouds;
Our Scripture-dew drops fast:
We have our sands and serpents, tents and shrouds;
Alas! our murmurings come not last.
But where’s the cluster? where’s the taste
Of mine inheritance? Lord, if I must borrow,
Let me as well take up their joy, as sorrow.

But can he want the grape, who hath the wine?
I have their fruit and more.
Blessed be God, who prosper’d Noah’s vine,
And made it bring forth grapes’ good store.
But much more him I must adore,
Who of the Law’s sour juice sweet wine did make,
Ev’n God himself, being pressed for my sake.

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