Thoughts on the Way Home

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Straight From the Swine-Trough to the Best Robe

“I feel when I have sinned an immediate reluctance to go to Christ. I am ashamed to go. I feel as if it would not do to go, as if it were making Christ the minister of sin, to go straight from the swine-trough to the best robe, and a thousand other excuses. But I am persuaded they are all lies direct from hell.

John argues the opposite way—‘If any man sins, we have an advocate with the Father.’ The holy sensitiveness of the soul that shrinks from the touch of sin, the acute susceptibility of the conscience at the slightest shade of guilt, will of necessity draw the spiritual mind frequently to the blood of Jesus. And herein lies the secret of a heavenly walk. Acquaint yourself with it, my reader, as the most precious secret of your life. He who lives in the habit of a prompt and minute acknowledgement of sin, with his eye reposing calmly, believingly, upon the crucified Redeemer, soars in spirit where the eagle’s pinion [wings] range not.”

— Robert Murray M’Cheyne, quoted by Andrew Bonar in Robert Murray M’Cheyne (Edinburgh, UK: Banner of Truth, 1960), 176

Monday, July 07, 2014

Real Church - Dane Ortlund

A couple of excerpts from a good article by Dane Ortlund:
There's a strange idea I’m unlearning these days. Actually if I'm honest, I'm not yet unlearning it at all. But I'd like to. I need to.   
The strange idea is: church is for displaying the best about us, not revealing the worst about us. 
The result is: burdened, burned out, suffocating Christians and church leaders.
And this:
Someone gets wonderfully converted and we all rejoice, then promptly saddle them with spiritual disciplines to help them "grow." They’re not Christians two weeks before they feel like worse failures than they ever did as an unbeliever. Maybe they were dealing crack before conversion, but at least they didn’t feel hypocritical about it. 
What if we let a new convert breathe in some grace for a while? Until--I don't know--they die? 
What if the leaders in a church stepped off the cliff of face-saving into the mile-long freefall of humiliating honesty and found themselves floating into the delicious clouds of actual, real, for-sinners, grace?  
What if church discipline was used not to scare sinners but to kick out those who make sinners feel alienated, from God and from others? 
It is terrifying to confess sin. But so is going into surgery. Surely the life that follows surgery is better than the misery of living diseased? 
It feels like death to take the mask off. Not just pain, not merely embarrassment. Death. We feel as if we are shutting down in a profound, existential way. But perhaps it is just here that the odd theme running all through the New Testament about life through death will suddenly move from mental assent to felt experience.
Read the whole thing HERE.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Things Jesus Will Never Say to You - Jared Wilson

From Jared Wilson:

To those who trust in him for salvation, Jesus will never say:

“Go play somewhere; I’m busy.”

“Fake it til you make it.”

“I just don’t think it’s gonna work out between us.”

“I knew you were a screw-up, but this one really surprised me.”

“It’s too late.”

“I don’t care.”

“My assistant will get back to you on that.”

“We’re through.”

“I need some ‘me time’ right now.”

“I just ‘can’t’ right now.”

“I feel like I’m doing all the giving; what have you done for me lately?”

“Yeah, good job on ___________, but what about ____________?”

“I’ll be glad to help if you’ll ‘let’ me.”

“I can’t bless you until you release my power with positive words.”

“Who are you, again?”

“Beat it.”

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Is There a Carnal Christian? - Ryan Fullerton

THIS is a fantastic message from Ryan; highly recommended. He does a great job of challenging "easy believism" on the one hand, and the temptation to write off immature and struggling Christians too quickly on the other hand. Lots of wisdom in this one!

Listen or download HERE.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Battle to Do - Stephen Gates

I'm very excited to announce that Stephen Gates' new album, Battle to Do, is now available! It is encouraging, God-honoring and artistically excellent, and I highly commend it to you. It can be purchased through Amazon and iTunes, and streamed via Spotify.

Stephen's first album, A Free Man's Song, is also still available via NoiseTrade.  

Monday, June 02, 2014

Jesus at the Center

“There is nothing in the Gospels more significant than the way in which Jesus deliberately places Himself at the very centre of His message.

He does not say with other teachers, ‘The truth is everything, I am nothing’; He declares ‘I am the truth.’ He does not claim, with the founders of certain ethnic religions, to suggest answers to the world’s enigmas; He claims to be the answer — ‘Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.’ He does not offer the guidance of a code or a philosophy to keep men right through the uncertainties of an unknown future; He says, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’”

— James S. Stewart
A Faith to Proclaim
(Vancouver, BC: Regent College Publishing, 2002), 122

HT: Of First Importance

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tricky Texts: 1 Corinthians 7:10-12

Tim Challies has an excellent article HERE on how we should understand 1 Cor. 7:10-12, and Paul's use of "not I, but the Lord" followed by "I, not the Lord" in this section. Here is the upshot:
When I come across this text in books or blogs, I often find authors suggesting that in the first statement Paul is drawing upon a statement that is binding on all Christians while in the second he is either expressing humility or a kind of personal opinion. In either case, they highlight the full authority of the first statement and then diminish the authority of the second statement, saying something like, “Paul was humble enough to say that this was simply his understanding of the situation” or “In the second statement Paul was expressing his personal opinion.”
However, the contrast here is not between divine revelation and personal opinion. Rather, the contrast is between two different kinds of authority, each of which is from God and each of which is fully authoritative and fully binding.
Read the rest HERE.

What I've Learned in Twenty Years of Marriage

From Russell Moore's article, "What I've Learned in Twenty Years of Marriage":
We weren’t ready to get married. That’s true. But our finances were the least of our worries.
I wasn’t ready, at twenty-two, to know how to console a sobbing wife when she learned that her parents were divorcing. I wasn’t ready to collapse into her arms when I heard that my grandfather had died.
I wasn’t ready to pack up and move all our hand-me-down furniture into a moving van for years of doctoral work in Louisville. I wasn’t ready for miscarriages. I wasn’t ready to hear that we’d never have children. And then I wasn’t ready for an adoption process that took us to the former Soviet Union and back with two very special-needs babies. I wasn’t ready for the doctors to be proven wrong, and kind of suddenly be the parents of five sons. I wasn’t ready to be celebrating our twentieth anniversary with a two year-old toddler in the house. And I could go on and on.
Of course, I wasn’t ready for all those things. In a very real sense, “I” didn’t even exist. The life that I have now is defined by our lives together. That’s why the Scriptures speak of marriage as a “one flesh” union, of a head and a body together. These aren’t two separate lives, bringing their agendas together. This is two people joining together for one life, life together. One can prepare oneself to be a husband or to be a wife. But one can never be really “ready.”
Read the rest HERE.

HT: Challies

Monday, May 19, 2014

Lighten Up, Christians!

THIS article was good for me this morning. A few quotes:
We say we want to be like God, and we feel we mean it. But we don't. Not to be harsh, but if we did really mean it, we would be having a lot more fun than we are. We aim for safety and cultural respectability instead of following our stated first principles: that we are made in God's image and should strive to imitate him.
Our God made things simple and funny—skin bags full of milk swinging beneath cows. And also hard: Skim the cream, add sugar from cane grass and shards of vanilla bean from faraway lands, surround with water cold enough to have expanded its molecules and become solid. Now stir. Keep stirring. Now taste. And worship.
Us: No more for you, Johnny. You've had enough.
God: Try the hot fudge.

The WHOLE ARTICLE is well worth reading!

HT: Challies

The Irony of the Overprotected Child


Some interesting points in THIS article. A couple of excerpts:
The same parents that won’t let their child out of their sight want her to be independent, make her own decisions, and think for herself. Parents value autonomy and independence, but they’re reluctant and frightened to give much of it.
Parents are bothered by the changing nature of childhood—they feel it was “better” to have more freedom and independence; they think their children are missing out on important formative experiences. But very few parents can even imagine giving their own children that freedom. Ironically, parents today both lament a world gone by and actively participate in the construction of a new world of constant monitoring and control.

Read the whole thing HERE.

HT: Challies