Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolutions for 2009

Had to get a year-end plug for CCWToday in. There is so much great Christian reading on CCW, you really need to check it out!

Jim Elliff recently posted some Bible reading plans here on his blog. I'm especially excited about the NT in 90 days plan.

MacArthur also has a great Bible Study approach that is summarized here. Grab the audio too (links are provided), it's been one of the most helpful and edifying sermons I've ever heard!

To wrap up the 2008 blogs, I'll close with a few resolutions I scribbled down. Some things I'd like to keep in mind for next year ...
1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God' s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.
2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the aforementioned things.
3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.
4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.
5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God. July 30.
9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.
10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.
11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances do not hinder.
12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.
13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.
14. Resolved, never to do any thing out of revenge.
15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings.
16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.
17. Resolved, that I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
18. Resolved, to live so, at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.
19. Resolved, never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.
20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance, in eating and drinking.
21. Resolved, never to do any thing, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him. (Resolutions 1 through 21 written in one setting in New Haven in 1722)
22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.
23. Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God' s glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.
24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then, both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.
25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.
OK, so I didn't write any of these. In fact, Jonathan Edwards wrote them BEFORE he turned twenty years old! You can read all 70 of his resolutions here. The following words prefaced his resolutions and reminds us how we ought to make and keep resolutions today!

Bring in the New Year with a couple of Funny Videos

If you know Dan Warne, you probably saw this already (he posted on FB). Pretty funny stuff ...

This one is "Arminian Basic Training - How to Defeat Calvinism!" (I love the Bible highlighter idea!)

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Don't Waste Your Life ... on the job!

Some time ago our associate Pastor preached a fantastic sermon, (maybe one of his best), on the first verses of Romans 12. The message was passionate and memorable. At least I remembered to heed his advice to read John Piper's Don't Waste Your Life. I would encourage you to get a copy of this book or read it online.

There are a lot of quote-worthy treats in DWYL. Some day I hope to talk about his "wartime lifestyle" that he describes on page 111. This time, though, I want to quote from the discussion in Chapter 8, "Making Much of Christ From 8 to 5". Perhaps some day Christ will open the door for the Bonhams to serve as full-time missionaries. For now, though, DWYL is a welcome reminder to make much of Christ where we've been strategically placed at this present time! But how?
Therefore, the burning question for most Christians should be: How can my life count for the glory of God in my secular vocation? I am assuming from all that has been said in this book so far that the aim of life is the same, whether in a secular vocation or in a church or mission vocation. Our aim is to joyfully magnify Christ—to make him look great by all we do. Boasting only in the cross, our aim is to enjoy making much of him by the way we work. The question is, How? The Bible points to at least six answers.
I won't quote the whole chapter, but I will list these six answers:
1. We can make much of God in our secular job through the fellowship
that we enjoy with him throughout the day in all our

2. We make much of Christ in our secular work by the joyful,
trusting, God-exalting design of our creativity and industry.

3. We make much of Christ in our secular work when it confirms
and enhances the portrait of Christ’s glory that people hear in the
spoken Gospel.

4. We make much of Christ in our secular work by earning
enough money to keep us from depending on others, while
focusing on the helpfulness of our work rather than financial

5. We make much of Christ in our secular work by earning
money with the desire to use our money to make others glad in

6. We make much of Christ in our secular work by treating the
web of relationships it creates as a gift of God to be loved by
sharing the Gospel and by practical deeds of help.
For me the most striking was #3. The way we serve Christ and make Him look good at our jobs "confirms and enhances the portrait of Christ’s glory that people hear in the spoken Gospel." Working hard and with integrity makes the Gospel "play better". Piper explains:
There is no point in overstating the case for the value of secular work. It is not the Gospel. By itself, it does not save anyone. In fact, with no spoken words about Jesus Christ, our secular work will not awaken wonder for the glory of Christ. That is why the New Testament modestly calls our work an adornment of the Gospel. In addressing slaves, Paul says they are “to be wellpleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:9-10). The point here is not to endorse slavery (which Paul undermined more indirectly by calling the converted slave, Onesimus, “no longer . . . a slave but a beloved brother,” Philemon 16), but to show that the way we do our work “adorns” the doctrine of God.

In other words, our work is not the beautiful woman, but the necklace. The beautiful woman is the Gospel—“the doctrine of God our Savior.” So one crucial meaning of our secular work is that the way we do it will increase or decrease the attractiveness of the Gospel we profess before unbelievers. Of course, the great assumption is that they know we are Christians. The whole point of the text breaks down if there is nothing for our work to “adorn.” Thinking that our work will glorify God when people do not know we are Christians is like admiring an effective ad on TV that never mentions the product. People may be impressed but won’t know what to buy.
For me, this is both an admonishment to work hard at work and with the highest integrity. It also is a reminder to open my mouth in boldness for Christ! I hate those TV ads that are so good or funny but never tell you the product to buy! That's not good marketing, that's just a waste! I don't want my hard work to be for nothing! I want people to know for Whom I work so hard, to make much of Christ!

DWYL is a good little book! I admit it reads a little slow (philisophical?) at the beginning as Piper reminisces about how God got him to where he's at now. It's well worth the effort, though, and has the potential to be life-changing for many!

As we approach the end of 2008, Don't Waste Your 2009!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Penn Jillette discusses evangelism

This video appeared on Pyromaniacs. Penn Jillette (an atheist) explains his very positive encounter with a believer who gave him a Bible.

Hearing this is encouraging, convicting and motivating. Perhaps Jillette does not convert to Christianity, but it was very helpful to hear his perspective.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A night to remember!

That's the way Aimee (my wife) described the night we had at the Nathan Clark George concert last night. Hard pews notwithstanding that was a great way to describe it!

It truly was a special time! Despite the single digit temperatures outside, my family and I were warm inside Redeember Presbyterian enjoying the heart-warming music of Nathan Clark George.

A crowd of maybe 200 (my estimate) enjoyed this intimate concert, as we got to know Nathan, Mark Stoffel (mandolin/violin) player, and Ross Sermons (bass) through their music. We heard a savory mix of Christmas tunes from the very old and well known (O Come, O come Emmanuel) to the old not so well known (Remember O Thou Man), to the more contemporary and well known (I'll Be Home For Christmas). I bought his Christmas CD and it's fantastic. Of course, they also played some of our favorite NCG songs not necessarily Christmas songs.

The acoustics were absolutely perfect for grand old Christ-honoring tunes! The sound was perfect, and Nathan's rapport with the audience was relaxed and comfortable. He was at ease and seemed to sincerely enjoy sharing his G0d-given gift of music. He was clearly praising God for His glory and for our edification and it was a real treat to listen to!

Being a Nathan Clark nut, and not having met him in person, I just had to say hello as he manned his own cd table in the back before the show (we were among the first ones there). I can't imagine anyone being more down-to-earth and humble than Mr. Goerge. When I asked where he was heading next, he explained how this is the last show of the year and talked about his plans for joining his wife and kids in Tennessee. He was also gracious enough to pose with Adriana and I for a couple of photos.

You can listen/buy Nathan Clark George songs here, and please also check out his mondolin player, Mark Stoffel: very talented in his own right and I have to say a very funny German! Stoffel has recently put together his own CD.

It sounds as if Nathan Clark George at Redeemer will become a Christmas tradition. Watch this blog for announcements about next year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I want a Snuggy for Christmas!

Who wouldn't want to stay warm while looking like their favorite Reformer, Martin Luther?

I think I saw some guy wearing this at the Chiefs game today! -10 wind chill! Why not?!?

Reminder: Nathan Clark George Christmas Concert tonight!

REMINDER: Nathan Clark George (read other posts on NCG) will be putting on a free concert this evening at Redeemer Presbyterian tonight at 6:00 pm! See you there!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Spurgeon: Our sin is a boa constricter

I came across this quote and had to share. The picture is funny but Spurgeon's quote is spot on and deadly accurate.
It is easier to save us from our sins than from our righteousness. Our self-righteousness is that hideous boa constrictor which seems to coil itself round and round our spirit, and to crush out of us all the life that would receive the gospel of the grace of God. - CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Jesus describes this self-righteousness through a parable in Luke 18:
9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' 13"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' 14"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 18:9-14
If you have not come to Christ as a lost and helpless sinner, trusting in His perfect righteousness to provide a right standing with God, you will be eternally lost. Why not rather admit your helpless state and trust in the One who has paid for your sin!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Rolfs at State Street 12/12

Friday (12/12/08) was a special day! Devon Rolf and Family came to State Street and played bluegrass and Gospel tunes in the lobby. What a treat to hear the girls proclaiming Christ to the passers by during the lunch hour! Preston and Jonathan from church also came to make sure the sound system sounded great. And boy, did it! Emma's fiddle burst into flames during one of her solos, which nearly set off the internal sprinklers!

Here are some pictures I snapped (sure wish I could have captured the audio!) ...

Devon Rolf, Jonathan Slaven, and Preston Bowman discussing what they miss (and don't miss) about working in a big corporation.

Thank you Devon and Rebecca (back row), Annie and Abby (twins in white sweaters), and Heidi (front row), and Emma (right)!

You can catch the Rolf family perform in Branson this May!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The bridge is broken!

"I have heard of an army, who, being defeated in battle, endeavored to make good a retreat. The soldiers fled to a certain river, where they expected to find a bridge across which they could retreat and be in safety. But when they came to the stream, there was heard a shriek of terror--'The bridge is broken, the bridge is broken!' All in vain was that cry, for the multitude hurrying on behind pressed upon those that were before and forced them into the river, until the stream was glutted with the bodies of drowned men.

Such must be the fate of the self-righteous. You thought there was a bridge of ceremonies, that baptism, confirmation, and the Lord's Supper made up the solid arches of a bridge of good works and duties. But when you come to die, there shall be heard the cry, 'The bridge is broken, the bridge is broken!' It will be in vain for you to turn round then."
Thank you Spurgeon for this reminder that we can't get to God by crossing a bridge of our own good works or by keeping a moral code. It breaks my heart to think of my friends who think they can get right with God this way.

The December e-Letter of Just For Catholics discusses the Pope's recent words on justification. Dr Joseph Mizzi does an excellent job of making the issue of justification by faith alone clear. You can read the article here on his blog.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Man who lost his family asks for prayer for the pilot

From CNN ...

A Korean immigrant who lost his wife, two children and mother-in-law when a Marine Corps jet slammed into the family's house said Tuesday he did not blame the pilot, who ejected and survived.
Dong Yun Yoon addresses reporters Tuesday, a day after a jet crashed into his home and killed four of his relatives.

Dong Yun Yoon addresses reporters Tuesday, a day after a jet crashed into his home and killed four of his relatives.

"Please pray for him not to suffer from this accident," a distraught Dong Yun Yoon told reporters gathered near the site of Monday's crash of an F/A-18D jet in San Diego's University City community.

"He is one of our treasures for the country," Yoon said in accented English punctuated by long pauses while he tried to maintain his composure.

"I don't blame him. I don't have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could," said Yoon, flanked by members of San Diego's Korean community, relatives and members from the family's church.

Authorities said four people died when the jet crashed into the Yoon family's house while the pilot was trying to reach nearby Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Another unoccupied house also was destroyed.

Yoon named the victims as his infant daughter Rachel, who was born less than two months ago; his 15-month-old daughter Grace; his wife, Young Mi Yoon, 36; and her 60-year-old mother, Suk Im Kim, who he said had come to the United States from Korea recently to help take care of the children.

Read the whole story and watch video of Yoon addressing the media.

About Me

Here is my testimony: mike