Monday, August 30, 2010

Thinking Christianly about Glenn Beck and Co.

Will America's hope for Christians like us be found in Fox News celebrities like Glenn Beck (and Sarah Palin) who's Washington rally last Saturday drew many thousands? Is their cause our cause? For a biblically wise assessment, read this by Russell Moore, theologian at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We're not alone

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

"Just imagine crossing the street with a little three-year old. Although those sweet, little fingers are grasping your hand, you aren't relying on them to hang on to you. No, you hold his whole hand (and part of his arm) in your grip, and nothing will pry your fingers loose. That's a picture of what your heavenly Father is doing with you. He's holding onto you. And He's stronger than you could ever imagine. To put it in Jesus' words, "no one is able to snatch you [his sheep] out of the Father's hand" (John 10:29) - no, not even you. He's going to get his children across the street without any accidents."

- Elyse Fitzpatrick, Love to Eat, Hate to Eat, pp. 192-193

Monday, August 23, 2010

Godly ambition

In light of our study on wise work from Proverbs yesterday, this Driscoll clip is more than apropos. Thanks to Jason Skjervem for supplying the link. If you want to read more about godly ambition, check out Dave Harvey's excellent book, Rescuing Ambition. You can find it here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Humility in surprising places

Of all the Christian marks of grace, humility may be the most rare. We find it rarely in Christian circles, let alone in the secular world. Therefore, it struck me all the more when I recently came across a great example of self-effacing humility in the world of 80's rock and roll.
As a 12 year old kid in 1982, one of the songs I heard most that summer was Toto's smash hit 'Rosanna.' The album that spawned it, Toto IV, went on to take the grammy that year for best record. Without doubt, the guys in Toto raked in heavy cash in 1982. The accolades for 'Rosanna,' which peaked at #2 for 5 weeks, were replete.
So what does this have to do with humility? Fast-forward in time from 1982 to 2008. It was then that I noticed a drumming instruction video by Jeff Porcaro, the drummer and founder of Toto. In the video, Jeff explains and demonstrates the unusually complex rhythm he developed for 'Rosanna.' Here's where humility comes in: the rhythm of the song - to the technically uninitiated - is sufficiently masked and subdued that his brilliant drumming is never front and center in the song. In fact, in my relatively uneducated opinion, what Jeff Porcaro pulls off in 'Rosanna' is far more difficult than many elaborate drum solos which wow the crowds to thunderous applause. For 'Rosanna' Jeff Porcaro personally received little applause. What it did produce is an unusually rich song which is much more technically complex than one might imagine. For Jeff it was all about Toto and producing a great song by a great band. It wasn't about him and his percussive genius. That's humility. There's something there, I think, for us Christians to imitate.
You can see Jeff's drum lesson here.
You can listen to 'Rosanne' here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Can it be godly to own a great car?

Personally, I don't care much about cars. Though I would love to drive a Mini Cooper someday (just because they're SO British and I'm a commited anglophile), most of the time I'd be happy with public transportation (which will never be feasible here in Minot, ND). Still, I very much appreciate my Ray Ortlund's perspective on car ownership to the glory of God. You can read about it here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The sword of the Lord

"Following the concluding prayer, the young king....left the Abbey and led the way to Westminster Hall where the coronation banquet was to be held. An anecdote has survived which gives clear evidence of the seriousness with which he viewed his new responsibilities. Carried before him in stately symbolism were three swords. Surprised, Edward stopped the procession and asked for an explanation. He was told that each was to represent one part of the kingdom: England, Ireland and France. 'One is wanting,' was his unexpected reply, 'the Bible. That book is the sword of the Spirit and to be preferred before these swords.' Quickly the Bible was removed from the lecturn [in Westminster Abbey] and at his insistence carried in front of the three swords representing his temporal kingdom."

- Faith Cook, Lady Jane Gray: Nine Day Queen of England, p. 56.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Self-control in the kitchen

Tomorrow in church we're studying 'the wisdom of self-control' from Proverbs. One aspect of wise self-control regards the food we eat. Whereas a lack of food in the developing world brings with it a host of issues impoverished Christians need to face, for us who have access to perhaps too much food and too many food choices (not to mention our culture's worship of slim bodies) we have our own potential sin issues. The best treatment on this topic from a gospel and God-centered standpoint, in my view, is Elyse Fitzpatrick's book Love to Eat, Hate to Eat. If you struggle with self-control in the area of food (not just gluttony but binging, self-starvation and yo-yo dieting), I cannot recommend this book too highly. You can order it here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

From boy to man

"Dad, when will I be a man like you?" Those words are commonly heard by fathers of young sons who long to come into their own as men. God made boys for manhood, and it is our task to help lead them there. So, how can our sons know when they have become true men? Consider the following thirteen marks of true manhood delineated by Albert Mohler in his fine booklet, From Boy to Man.

A boy has become a man...

1. When he's spiritually mature enough to lead a wife and children.

2. When he's personally mature enough to be a responsible husband and father.

3. When he's economically mature enough to hold an adult job and handle money responsibly.

4. When he's physically mature enough to work and protect a family.

5. When he's sexually mature enough to marry and fulfill God's creation purposes where possible.

6. When he's morally mature enough to lead as an example of righteousness.

7. When he's ethically mature enough to make biblically responsible decisions.

8. When his worldview is sufficient to understand what's truly important.

9. When he's relationally mature enough to understand and respect others.

10. When he's socially mature enough to make a contribution to society.

11. When he's verbally mature enough to communicate and articulate as a man.

12. When his character is mature enough to demonstrate courage in the face of conflict.

13. When he's biblically mature enough to lead at some level in Christ's church.

Dads, how are we doing ourselves in these areas? By God's design, our lives are a key ingredient in shaping our sons from boys to men.