Thursday, April 30, 2009

Online Treasure Chest!

Just came across a treasure trove of great Christian works! From Augustine to Calvin, from Spurgeon to Whitefield!!! :) If you can't get enough of the 'dead guys' you'll spend a lot of time here!

Click here for Monergism's free online books!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Great email on God's Word and the Science of Human Bones

A good friend shared this email, had to pass on:
An excerpt from something I was reading today:

“Bone is built of two basic components: flexible fibers of collagen and brittle chains of the calcium-rich mineral hydroxyapatite. But those relatively simple ingredients, the springy and the salty, are woven together into such a complex cat’s cradle of interdigitating layers that the result is an engineering masterpiece of tensile, compressive and elastic strength. “We only wish we could mimic it,” Dr. Ritchie said.

The full article can be found here. Just goes to show how marvelously and fearfully we are made. Job 10:11 says:

clothe me with skin and flesh
and knit me together with bones and sinews?

Goes to show how accurate the Word of God is, even regarding the words it chooses to describe us. I am positive the author of this verse did not know any biology, but wrote down words revealed to him by God.

Just had to share this humbling moment.
HT: Amol

Monday, April 27, 2009

Man-centered tract

I found a new tract to hand out to hardened criminals in prison. They melt and tear up reading about how special they are. I'm being fecicious of course, but when I found Crossway's tracts when browsing their books/Bibles, this one was striking in it's man-centered approach.

Here are some of the quotes (my comments in green).
  • "Believe it or not—no one else is just like you." - I learned this watching Mr Rogers.
  • "He loves you and me so much; yet how often we go our own way, turning our backs on Him. God’s designs for our lives are then blocked; (emphasis mine.)" - Wow, this statement is stunning! Man is sovereign and can thwart God's designs?!?
  • "God is not an unfeeling, cold-hearted monarch of the heavens." - unfeeling, cold-hearted no, but He's definitely an absolute monarch. Just ask the de-throned Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 4:34-35)
  • "the Bible says, 'not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation [full payment] for our sins' (1 John 4:10)." - The 'full payment' in brackets just doesn't seem right. Doesn't propitiation mean satisfying or averting the wrath of God? How can you leave that part out?
  • "When we trust in Jesus Christ and let Him put our lives together, the Bible says that we become 'God’s masterpieces, created in Christ Jesus' (Ephesians 2:10, paraphrase). Can anyone be more special than that?" - This paraphrase of Eph 2:10 leaves off the 'unto good works' at the end. Are we afraid we'll scare off potential converts if we imply there is a cost to following Christ? (Luke 14:25-26)
This tract makes you feel so warm and fuzzy, unbelievers could almost forget they are under God's wrath (John 3:36), apart from God's grace! The seriousness of sin is never communicated, leaving the impression that Christ is just a nice add-on to improve this life. The sad thing is, this was touted as the top-seller on Crossway's website.

God's creation is beautiful and marvelously sophisticated, including mankind. We are 'fearfully and wonderfully made' (Psalm 139:14). But since the fall we have been under a curse. Ephesians 2:1-3 describe us accurately.

A well-known theologian pointed out how Christ used the law as a mirror. He would bring up the ten commandments to show people how they are not good people after all. Rather than flattering them and enticing them with God's abundant love (which is abundant indeed for His elect), sometimes they would go away sorrowful (Matthew 19:16-22), even when they were came to Him searching to take their spirituality to 'the next level'.

On this theme, Jim Elliff has written an article called,"You don't look so good" which has the opposite approach from the 'You're Special' tract. This article is an excerpt from Pursuing God, his great book explaining authentic faith in Christ. You can download the audiobook for free on WayToGod!

Let us love the lost enough to tell them that they don't look so good, at least not from God's perfect perspective. Unlike Mr Rogers, Christ doesn't like us just the way we are. He is infinitely more loving than that!
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? ... And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6:9,11)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Have you discovered Conrad Mbewe?

Have you been introduced to Pastor Conrad Mbewe (pronounced M-bay-way)? He is widely known as the African Spurgeon. I have enjoyed learning about him in this article, published for World Magazine. Here is an excerpt.
Mr. Mbewe isn't sure why listeners compare him to the British "Prince of Preachers." Perhaps it is because Mr. Spurgeon too toiled to the point of collapse, ministering to a congregation of 4,000, delivering sermons 10 times a week, managing an orphanage, and running a preachers' college - all of which culminated in exhaustion and gout.

Or perhaps it is because Mr. Mbewe shares Spurgeon's love for writing. Spurgeon edited and wrote for his monthly magazine, The Sword and Trowel; Mr. Mbewe has been writing two columns a week for the last 10 years in the country's Daily Chronicle newspaper. One is a sermon, while the other examines popular social questions and is tailored for the ordinary man, similar to Spurgeon's selection of parables, John Ploughman's Talk.
You can find Mbewe's sermons on HeartCry and Monergism. Here is Conrad's blog. Mbewe will be visiting the States in May for a FIRE conference in Indiana.

Finally, I found this YouTube video of Conrad. I understand he is normally quite animated in his gestures (which the video doesn't pick up) but the audio is quite powerful.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Blood of His Cross by Dr Joseph Mizzi

I get a monthly newsletter and had to share this month as it is really good. Dr Mizzi (Just For Catholics) discusses how the blood of Christ makes attempts to earn God's favor through penance (like the 'cross carrying' shown in the video) unnecessary.

Here is the article in its entirety:

On Good Friday several parishes in my country hold processions to mark the passion and death of Christ. As part of this religious pageant, men carry heavy wooden crosses on their shoulders or drag heavy iron chains fastened to their ankles. They do so to fulfill a vow and as a form of penance, that is, to make satisfaction for their sins.

Their zeal and religious devotion is evident, and we should not doubt their seriousness and sincerity. Conscious of their failures, they are making a heroic effort to cleanse their souls and please God.

Sadly their zeal is not according to the knowledge of the gospel. The apostle Paul addresses a similar situation in his letter to the Colossians. Some Christians in that church had taken it upon themselves to follow certain ascetic practices which were not commanded by Christ or the apostles. But Paul denounced them as mere “commandments and doctrines of man”; he declares that, “these things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”

God is not impressed by our religious creativity nor is the harsh treatment of the body of any spiritual value. On the contrary human traditions distract our attention from the one and only remedy for sin. God has exhibited his Son, nailed on the cross, as the all-sufficient font where sinners can be thoroughly washed from their sins.

On the eve of his passion, the Lord Jesus declared that the new covenant is sealed with his blood “which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). God set forth his Son “as a propitiation by His blood, through faith” (Romans 3:25); the faithful are assured that we are now “justified by His blood” (Romans 5:9); “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7); and that we are at peace with God “through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:20).

Furthermore the Bible teaches that the blood of Christ, who offered himself without spot to God, cleanses the conscience; and that his people have boldness to enter heaven by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 9:14; 10:19). The apostle John puts it beautifully: “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). It is no wonder that the saints in heaven will forever sing in praise of Christ’s sacrifice, saying, you “have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9).

This then is our choice; we can either listen to the Word of God or approach him through our own religious inventions. We may have never carried a cross on our shoulder or dragged a chain for long, painful hours to make satisfaction for sins. But the concept of penance is an integral part of the Catholic religion; if you are a Catholic, your confessor must have told you, as he told me so many times, to say prayers, fast, or do some other religious act, as a form of penance.

But the Bible tells us to look away from ourselves and fix our gaze on the sinless Man that was nailed between heaven and earth. Let us cease from our puny efforts to justify ourselves; let us call on the name of Christ and trust in Him alone for salvation. Truly the blood of Jesus cleanses our soul from every trace of sin.

© Copyright Dr Joseph Mizzi | Duplication and free distribution is encouraged |

Monday, April 20, 2009

Great quote on what Christ suffered for the elect

I've been trying to comprehend what Christ's suffering on the cross must have been like. I know, impossible. Living the Cross-Centered Life has helped a lot as I've been going through that jewel of a book. Today's Spurgeon quote was fantastic as well.
"Christ died, not for one sinner, but tens of thousands, for multitudes whom no man can number. Think, then, what must have been the crushing blows which Jehovah laid on him when those strokes were inflicted to satisfy divine justice for the sins, the crimes, the transgressions of ten thousand times ten thousand of those for whom he died."

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Bacon Bible

Nothing like sacred sandwich to get a Monday started with a laugh!
HT:Thanks, Ryan!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday Darkening Service!

This if from my church's website.
Good Friday Darkening Service Easter is a triumphant celebration of Jesus' resurrection which is filled with joy and praise. However, the brightness of Easter Sunday is set against the backdrop of the darkness that occurred on Friday as Jesus bore our sin. You will not want to miss this year's Good Friday Darkening Service on April 10th at 7:00pm.
I went to this last year and it was incredible. Please join us if you can!

Tim Juhnke visits the Bible Study Group

The Bible Study Group, an employee network group where I work, hosted an Easter Celebration Luncheon yesterday, the day before Good Friday. We gave away great Gospel-centered literature to our guests* and heard a powerful message by Pastor Tim Juhnke (Faith Community Church). The event was simulcasted via video-conference to our offices in in Boston, MA, Quincy, MA, New York, NY, Sacramento, CA. We intend to post the video to our intranet site, making it available to 27,000 employees world-wide!

Several people in Kansas City and in the remote sites dropped us a note to let us know they were greatly blessed by what they heard. What they heard was nothing less than Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was clearly communicated by our guest speaker!

Here is the text he preached from, and his outline.
Title: Good Friday: The Crucifixion of the Christ
Text: John 19:16-30

I. It is a historical event. It is the epic moment of human history: Man crucifies his Creator. Yet for all the brutality, gore, and sensationalism of this event, the Apostle John refused to exploit or capitalize on the agony of Jesus. To describe the whole ugly process of crucifixion, John used one word.

II. It is a transformative event. Crucifixion was the most humiliating, disgusting, barbaric form of execution in the first century. It was completely offensive to human sensibilities. It was a death designed to prolong suffering as long as possible. It was designed to humiliate Rome's enemies. Yet 2000 years later we celebrate this event on "Good" Friday, and believers wear crosses around their neck.

III. It is paradoxical. The crucifixion was at once the most awful thing, yet the most glorious. It was at one time a display of the fierce wrath of God against sin, but at the same time a display of the amazing love of God to the sinner. It was an event freely carried out by corrupt Jewish and Roman leaders; yet simultaneously divinely ordained by the sovereign plan of God.

IV. It is decisive. By this one event in human history, Christ finished the work of redemption. According to John, the last words Jesus uttered on the cross came when He bowed His head and whispered through parched lips, "It is finished." With those words, Christ would turn the world of religion upside down.
What a huge blessing to be a part of this network group and to have such great opportunities to proclaim Christ at work!

*here is a list of the books we offered:

Were you there? Good Friday thoughts

His arrest is not just-neither is the trial
While Jesus is being treated foul, He sees Peter’s denial
He’s sent to Pilate, to Herod, back to Pilate
The violence of humanity at its finest
So now He stands before the crowd doomed to die
An angry mob who’s yelling out “crucify”
The way they treat the Lord of glory is debased and it’s foul
But you miss the point if you don’t see your face in the crowd
This is from Shai Linne's "Were You There?". Challenging lyrics and very appropriate for Good Friday! (click here for complete lyrics.) I was especially struck by the last line: "You miss the point if you don't see your face in the crowd." Truly I was there, in the crowd shouting "Crucify Him!" (John 19:6-16)

I recently discovered Christian rap artist Shai Linne in this article on Sovereign Grace.The article reviews his latest album, Atonement, includes "Where you There?", and includes a link to a video of Shai Linne giving his testimony.

Yes, it's true I'm a skinny white-boy with new glasses that-according to a friend from work-have me looking like the 'skinny version' of Drew Carey, ...

But I love this 'sanctified' version of rap music. It's not 'cop killer' and debasing to women. Rather it's grounded in Scripture and Christ-exalting! Now excuse me while I lay out some card-board and practice my break-dancing moves.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gospel Enemy #1

A good friend passed this article along (click here to read it on Monergism).

It's from a book by Jerry Bridges (w/Bob Bevington) called The Bookends of the Christian Life. The article deals with self-righteousness (Gospel Enemy #1). It is found in the unbeliever who says, "I’m a pretty good person.” “My good deeds outweigh my bad deeds.” “I’m better than most people.” But it is also a big problem with the believer, who will often base his standing with God and closeness to Him on recent performance/obedience. Bridges explains how such thinking 'nullifies the grace of God' (Gal 1:6-8).

I found it very hard not to cringe and squirm while reading this article, as I considered my own self-righteousness. Here is a quote:
Many today are banking on the hope that a just God will consider their good deeds to have enough redeeming value to offset the guilt of their bad deeds. But people who think like this make two dangerous assumptions that are inconsistent with Scripture; they misjudge God’s justice, and they misconstrue the value of their own righteousness.
HT: Travis, thanks for sharing!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Spurgeon Quotes on the sovereignty and love of God

I get a an email devotional each morning (from e-word) which includes a quote from Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Last week he had some great words for those who would make up a god to serve their own 'felt needs' yet not a Lord to submit to as a slave.

Men have no objection to a god who is really no God, a god who shall be the subject of caprice, who shall be a servile follower of their will, who shall be under their control. But a God who speaks and it is done, who commands and it stands fast, a God who does as he will among the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of this lower world, such a God as this they cannot endure.

Then this week, the 'prince of preachers' reminded me of the amazing, deep love of God, which is shown most gloriously in the death of His only Son. Enjoy...
In the French Revolution there was a young man condemned to the guillotine and shut up in one of the prisons. He was greatly loved by many, but there was one who loved him more than all put together. It was his own father. When the lists were called, the father, whose name was exactly as his son's, answered. And the father rode in the gloomy tumbril out to the place of execution. His head rolled beneath the ax instead of his son's, a victim to mighty love. See here an image of the love of Christ to sinners.

About Me

Here is my testimony: mike