Important conversation between Kevin DeYoung and Tullian Tchividjian about the role of effort in sanctification. Once again, Kevin manages to think my thoughts more clearly and express them more articulately. It’s a weird and humbling feeling.
Key sentence from Kevin: “I agree sanctification requires the fight of faith to believe this scandalous good news of the gospel of justification. I disagree that this is the only kind of effort required in sanctification.”
The truth about anti-depressants
Well, it’s not the whole truth, but this is a helpful and simply graphical presentation about anti-depressant medication. And while we are on the subject, here’s an important post by Phil Monroe, a Christian Psychologist, on how to begin bridging the divide between various Christian counseling camps.
Perhaps Reformed theology in general and Presbyterianism in particular are especially vulnerable to regarding intellectual achievement as identical with qualification for office. This is unfortunate. If a man cannot string a decent sentence together from a pulpit, has the personality of a ping-pong ball or the social graces of a pit viper, he will be a disaster in the ministry. The first will simply not be able to preach, the second will not be able to connect with people, and the third — well, we all know such types and we know they only ever seem to grow churches on the basis of similarly angry people leaving the church down the road and coming to join them.
A woman on working with women
Proclamation Trust asked Brenda Beckett, Children and Families worker at All Souls, to give pastors advice for working with paid female staff and unpaid female helpers. (Part two is here).
Book Recommendation: Note to Self by Joe Thorn.
What a great little book this is for Christians of all ages and stages of maturity. Joe describes it as a book on ‘How to preach to yourself.” I’ve been reading one of the 2-page “Dear Self” meditations every day with my Bible reading. It’s been so profitable and edifying. Here’s a video of Joe talking to Justin Taylor about his book.
Jun 16, 2011 • By David Murray • 3 Comments
I enjoyed Dane Ortlund’s piece on the “Glory-cloud” that appears frequently throughout the Old Testament. Dane does a neat job of briefly tracing the Glory-cloud through redemptive history and concludes: “Throughout the Bible the cloud signifies God’s glory-filled presence.”
I’d like to tweak Dane’s article a little, or, more accurately, add a bit to it. Here’s what I want to add:
The glory cloud not only signifies God’s presence in general, but the Son of God’s presence in particular.
But in addition to appearing as a Messenger in human form, the Son of God also appeared to Old Testament believers in the form of fire and smoke. This awesome fiery cloud, or cloudy fire, is usually called the “Glory of the Lord.”
For example, in Exodus 3, we find the Angel of the Lord and the Glory of the Lord brought together: “The Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush” (v. 2). This particular incident is also referred to in Deuteronomy 33:16, which speaks of “the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush.” By putting together Exodus 3 and Deuteronomy 33, we can say that the Angel of the Lord, who is the Son of God, inhabited or occupied the fiery Glory of God in the burning bush.
What do these appearances as the Glory-cloud of God teach us about the Son of God?
He leads: Moses says that the LORD was the Angel of God who went before Israel to lead them, and behind to protect them, and that He did so in the pillar of cloud by day, which in the dark glowed like a pillar of fire (Ex. 13:21; 14:19).
He defends: Exodus 14:19 teaches us that the Angel who dwelt in the pillar of cloud and fire also went behind Israel to protect them. This guarding ministry is confirmed by Exodus 23:20-23.
He communes: When Moses sprinkled the blood of the covenant on the people, the Son of God revealed Himself through the Glory-cloud to Moses and others. They “saw God” and yet they all ate and drank together in sweet fellowship (Ex. 24:10-11)
He speaks: The Lord descended to the Tabernacle in the Glory-cloud and “spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend (Ex. 33:9-11)
He sympathizes: This same Glory-inhabiting Son of God is also described as “the presence of Jehovah” (Ex. 33:14-15), a divine presence who “was touched with the feeling of his people’s infirmities.”
He commands: The law was given in the midst of awesome displays of Glory of the Lord (Ex. 19:16-25; 24:16-18). Stephen explains that Moses “was in the church in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the living oracles to give to us” (Acts 7:38).
He anticipates: The Glory-cloud also filled the Tabernacle from time to time (Ex. 40:34-38), anticipating his future “tabernacling among us” in the flesh (Jn. 1:14). The Glory-cloud especially occupied the space between the cherubim in the Most Holy place of the Tabernacle and the Temple. “I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat” (Lev. 16:2; cf. Ps. 80:1). There the Son of God witnessed the high priest’s annual sprinkling of the mercy-seat with atoning blood, anticipating the giving of His own life-blood for sinners.
He reveals: When Moses prayed “Please, show me your glory” (Ex. 33:18), the Son of God “descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord” (Ex. 34:5).
Christ was again surrounded with the Glory-cloud at his transfiguration (Matt. 17:5). This is probably what John was referring to when he wrote: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14).
He ascended to heaven in the same glorious cloud-chariot (Acts 1:11). And, one day, in like manner He will return in the Glory cloud, “and every eye shall see him” (Rev. 1:7).
Thanks so much, Dane, for the helpful reminder that, “Throughout the Bible the cloud signifies God’s glory-filled presence.”
But it’s even more wonderful than that because the glory cloud not only signifies God’s presence in general, but the Son of God’s presence in particular.
Jun 15, 2011 • By David Murray • 0 Comments
1840 posts and 452,603 comments later, CNN’s Belief blog reflects on its first birthday with Ten lessons the Belief Blog learned in its first year. Here are the headlines:
- Every big news story has a faith angle.
- Atheists are the most fervent commenters on matters religious.
- People are still intensely curious about the Bible, its meaning and its origins.
- Most Americans are religiously illiterate.
- It’s impossible to understand much of the news without knowing something about religion.
- Regardless of where they fit on the spectrum, people want others to understand what they believe.
- Americans still have an uneasy relationship with Islam.
- God may not prevent natural disasters, but religion is always a big part of the response.
- Apocalyptic movements come and go.
- Most Americans don’t know that President Barack Obama is a Christian.
You can read more of the details here. It’s a bit of a mixed bag: some encouragement (# 1, 3, 5, 6), some discouragement (#4), and #2 is just so intriguing isn’t it!
Jun 14, 2011 • By David Murray • 3 Comments
It was good to be back in the pulpit on Sunday morning for the first time since my illness. I’ve never before felt so privileged to be a preacher of the Gospel.
Don’t know if this is helpful or not, but thought I would post my sermon notes from that sermon. As some of you know, I am a strong advocate of preaching without notes (or with minimal dependence upon them). I’ve written about the why and the how before.
So here’s an example of what I do. I write out my sermon in full; well not quite full, but about 80-90% of what I plan to say. Then I reduce the 4-5 draft pages to one page of highlighted outline which I study until I have the structure and points fairly well cemented in my mind. Before I preach, I pray the points of this outline to my own heart, kind of preaching and applying it to myself and making each point a matter of adoration, thanksgiving, confession, or supplication. I find that process really helps to give clarity to my mind and passion to my heart.
Obviously I don’t remember everything I wanted or planned to say. However, I’ve decided that the sacrifice of some material, and even of precise grammatical expression, is worth it for enhanced contact with my listeners.
So, here’s the “full” notes, here’s the outline, and here’s the resulting audio. BTW, this was a communion service, which means that my eighth point (don’t usually have that many) was spoken at the Lord’s Table – hence not recorded.
And for those who just want some bullet points, here they are:
1. Your body is defiled by sin (9-10)
2. Your body is saved by God (11)
3. Your body remains vulnerable (12)
4. Your body is for the Lord (13-15)
5. Your body is a member of Christ (15-17)
6. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (18-19)
7. Your body was bought with a price (20)
8. Your body is to glorify God (20)
Jun 13, 2011 • By David Murray • 0 Comments
Bronnie Ware, a palliative care expert, has compiled a list of the five most common regrets expressed by dying people.
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard (expressed by every male patient)
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.Read the rest of the post here. There’s got to be a sermon or two here, preachers!