Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

Daily Carson 2/22/08

Here is today's quote from Carson's A Call to Spiritual Reformation (see Intro):
The critical turning point in their lives came when they believed the gospel: "you believed our testimony to you" (v.10). Beyond their conversion, however, Paul assumes that real Christians will ultimately persevere. The assumption is common in Scripture (e.g. Matt. 24:13; John 8:31; Heb 3:14; 1 John 2:18-19). Christians may stumble and fall, doubt like Thomas, and disown their Lord like Peter, but they ultimately will utter their "Amen" to Thomas's confession (John 20:28) and weep with Peter (Matt. 26:75)." (p. 45)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Daily Carson 2/21/08

Here is today's quote from Carson's A Call to Spiritual Reformation (see Intro):
If in our prayers we are to develop a mental framework analogous to Paul's, we must look for signs of grace in the lives of Christians, and give God thanks for them. … For what have we thanked God recently? Have we gone over a list of members at our local church, say, or over a list of Christian workers, and quietly thanked God for signs of grace in their lives? Do we make it a matter of growing conformity to Christ, exemplified in trust, reliability, love, and genuine spiritual stamina? (p. 44)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Daily Carson 2/20/08

Here is today's quote from Carson's A Call to Spiritual Reformation (see Intro):
But in the Western world we urgently need this advice, for many of us in our praying are like nasty little boys who ring front door bells and run away before anyone answers. Pray until you pray. (p. 37)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Daily Carson 2/19/08

Here is today's quote from Carson's A Call to Spiritual Reformation (see Intro):

What [the Puritans] meant is that Christians should pray long enough and honestly enough, at a single session, to get past the feeling of formalism and unreality that attends not a little praying. We are especially prone to such feelings when we pray for only a few minutes, rushing to be done with a mere duty. To enter the spirit of prayer, we must stick to it for a while. If we "pray until we pray," eventually we come to delight in God's presence, to rest in his love, to cherish his will. Even in dark agonized praying, we somehow know we are doing business with God. In short, we discover a little of what Jude means when he exhorts his readers to "pray in the Holy Spirit" (Jude 20)--which presumably means it is treacherously possible to pray not in the Spirit. (p. 36)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Daily Carson 2/18/08

Here is today's quote from Carson's A Call to Spiritual Reformation (see Intro):

If a boy asks his father for several things, all within the father's power to give, the father may give him one of them right away, delay giving him another, decline to give him a third, set up a condition for a fourth. The child is not assured of receiving something because he has used the right incantation: that would be magic. The father may decline to give something because he knows it is not in the child's best interests. He may delay giving something else because he knows that so many requests from his young son are temporary and whimsical. He may also withhold something that he knows the child needs until the child asks for it in an appropriate way. But above all, the wise father is more interested in a relationship with his son than in merely giving him things. Giving him things constitutes part of that relationship but certainly not all of it. The father and son may enjoy simply going out for walks together. Often the son will talk with his father not to obtain something, or even to find out something, but simply because he likes to be with him. (p. 31)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Daily Carson 2/17/08

Here is today's quote from Carson's A Call to Spiritual Reformation (see Intro):

The reason we pray so little is that we do not plan to pray. Wise planning will ensure that we devote ourselves to prayer often, even if for brief periods: it is better to pray often with brevity than rarely but at length. But the worst option is simply not to pray--and that will be the controlling pattern unless we plan to pray. If we intend to change our habits, we must start here. (p. 20)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Daily Carson 2/16/08

Here is today's quote from Carson's A Call to Spiritual Reformation (see Intro):

In the biblical view of things, a deeper knowledge of God brings with it massive improvement in the other areas mentioned: purity, integrity, evangelistic effectiveness, better study of Scripture, improved private and corporate worship, and much more. But if we seek these things without passionately desiring a deeper knowledge of God, we are selfishly running after God's blessings without running after him. We are even worse than the man who wants his wife's services--someone to come home to, someone to cook and clean, someone to sleep with--without ever making the effort really to know and love his wife and discover what she wants and needs; we are worse than such a man, I say, because God is more than any wife, more than the best of wives: he is perfect in his love, he has made us for himself, and we are answerable to him. (p. 16)

Daily Carson

D.A. Carson has written a great book on prayer called A Call To Spiritual Reformation, in which he walks through the prayers of Paul's epistles, expositing rich lessons on prayer from the biblical text!

I typed up some of my favorite quotes from the book, and will be posting those daily for a while.

If you want an excellent, VERY thorough (10 pgs) outline of the book plus many quotes from the very quotable Carson, check out Dan Green's blog. Dan is a youth pastor in the UK, who named his dog Piper (that's right, after John)!

It is my prayer that A Call to Spiritual Reformation will encourage you in your walk with Christ, as it has in mine!

Let's get on with the first quote:

The one thing we most urgently need in Western Christendom is a deeper knowledge of God. We need to know God better. (p 15)

Update to Common Word Controversy

Some influential evangelical leaders have withdrawn their names from the evangelical letter endorsing the Christian-Muslim statement we discussed earlier.

This article states that administrators from Wheaton college are withdrawing their names, reviews opposition to the letter from John Piper and Mohler, and gives a good summary of the controversy ...

What was written about John Piper's reaction is noteworthy:
Piper called the Christian document a "profound disappointment" in the way it was worded and was surprised that even some of his friends lent their support to the letter.

"What's missing from this document is a clear statement about what Christianity really is and how we can come together to talk with Muslims from our unique, distinctive, biblical standpoint," Piper said in a public statement last month.

He rejected the letter's emphasis on the common ground of the love of God, arguing that the love of God for Christians is starkly different from that of Islam.

"The love of God is ... uniquely expressed through Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sins because he died on the cross and rose again. All those things, Islam radically rejects," Piper stressed. "So they do not believe in the love of God we believe in."

This goes perfectly with what I'm reading in Always Ready, Dr Greg Bahnsen's apologetic masterpiece, about the presuppositional method for evangelism! Can't wait to get some notes on that book out! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Abraham Lincoln and Divine Providence

Lincoln's birthday was 199 years ago Tuesday!

For you history buffs: Here's a great (and short) article about how "personal and national suffering drew Lincoln into the reality of God, rather than pushing him away."

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Sustainer of Presidents

This is as "political" as I get, even during our current Presidential Election season.

Christian Communicators Worldwide has put together a great list of excerpts about God from presidential inaugural addresses ...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Valentine's Video

Was off Friday and had a couple hours with the girls when Myles napped. So we did a little project...

Sophia colored all the dinosaurs after using a stencil to trace them.

The music is courtesy of Nathan Clark George. If you subscribe to his website he provides free downloads. This song ("Bustle") fit perfect with the craziness of the dinosaur images. The girls picked out all the colors!


Two Years Ago This Week

Aimee and I have been talking about what happened two years ago around this time. Myles was a week and 1/2 old and very sick. We were in and out of the doctor's office and not getting answers.

We had made plans to visit the Hansons from Countryside and had to call to cancel as Myles was being x-rayed for pneumonia. Leigh persisted we still at least stop by (finally admitting they planned a surprise party for us to celebrate Myles' birth!) So after our long day at the Dr's office we decided to come and visit with the Hansons. We enjoyed the fellowship and Myles did fine sleeping in his car seat carrier. It was nice to talk with our friends about our concern and we knew they would pray for us.

Check out this cake Leigh made for us!

The next day, Myles was admitted to Children's Mercy with RSV, a respiratory virus that was very common and contagious at the time. We would spend two nights there. He received very good care, but it was a rough time. He had to be suctioned out periodically which he despised and made Aimee and I cringe. I remember trying to stay awake watching the monitor that measures oxygen level. It often dipped below tolerance, which would trigger unsettling alarms. The nurses would check on us (not soon enough I thought), then assure us things were not serious unless the levels remained low. Sure enough, after what seemed like hours (only a matter of seconds in reality) the levels would rise back into acceptable levels. I remember wondering if our boy would have brain damage from the oxygen deprivation. That feeling of helplessness was indescribable!

Super Bowl XL took place during our stay at Children's Mercy. I remember Pittsburgh was in it that year, but I have never been less interested in a game as I was that year. And now we associate being in the hospital with our newborn when we think about the Super Bowl.

Myles soon improved and we were able to leave. Aimee remembers feeling guilty that we got to go home when so many sick babies remained. We slept little that first night without any monitors to rely on.

Fast-forward to 2008. The 16th was Myles birthday. We celebrated with a trip to ride the train at Zonkers at the Great Mall and ice cream at the Fritz's Railroad Restaurant.
Here is Sophia and Myles waving. There was a nice (yet overly "serious") man operating the train that day. We thought maybe he was a little "special" though, because the ride seemed to go on forever. That thing probably made at least 20 laps! The kids were noticeably relieved when it was finally over! We sure got our money's worth, though!

Myles enjoyed a couple of the token rides.

Myles and Sophia in front of Fritz's. Adriana was there but not pictured.

Mom and Myles ordering and waiting patiently for a train sighting.

Like many boys, Myles loves trains, especially Thomas!

A dear friend of our family bought him a Thomas train set for his birthday and he has enjoyed it thoroughly!

We are so thankful the Lord spared our little guy two years ago, and kept him from developing any long-term problems. In fact, he actually GAINED a pound during his stay (it went right to his chubby cheeks!) We've been praising God for His faithfulness and for blessing us with three healthy children!
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5)
I thought this would be a good opportunity to praise our Lord for His protection and thank Him for our kids!

My prayer: Lord, may we be always faithful to You in the stewardship of parenthood. Our children are not ours, but have been entrusted to us for a short time to care for their needs and to teach them to fear You. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10)"

Friday, February 1, 2008

Piper on the Prosperity Gospel

A Common Word

This is Piper's response to the controversy over "A Common Word".

James White also has an excellent response...

Also check out Nathan Busenitz on the subject ...

Quotes on Ministry

Great collection of quotes compiled by Nathan Busenitz...

Piper interview on Tsunami (NPR)

Here is a link where you can listen to a riveting NPR interview with John Piper after the Tsunami in 1995, in which he discussed repentance from the perspective of Luke 13. (Click here)

Jim Elliff Trip To Eastern Europe

Read about Jim Elliff's recent Trip to Germany, Ukraine and Romania...

About Me

Here is my testimony: mike