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Announcing a Blog Move September 16, 2007

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Alright everyone, here is the deal. We are moving this blog to the Seek Him website! Yes, that is right, we are renovating the Seek Him Ministries website, so that our blog will now be on there (along with 2 others as well). We are not yet completely sure of the final format, but things are settled for now, RSS feeds, etc.

Just go to www.seekhim.org. Then click on “Blogs” and “Seeking Him” and you will have found us. As I said, we aren’t sure on the final destination address, but when we finalize things, we will certainly let you know (from every angle we can!).

Thanks for your patience (and simply for reading us!).

Seeking Him with you,

Joe

Congratulations Papa July 24, 2007

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Lar,

I was going to get this post up ealier, but I was without the internet for a little while. Anyhow, I wanted to let the world know that you have a very good excuse for your lack of blogging during the last few days, for you are now the proud daddy of Halle Charissa (that is how Erin had it spelled at least). She was born yesterday at whatever time in the evening at 6 pounds and 20 inches. Congratulations brother. I am excited for you and am sure that I am not alone. Children are indeed a reward from the Lord. I will be praying for you to faithfully reflect the Lord to young Halle for the glory of His great name. I trust He will grant you much grace. Here’s a picture Erin had posted on our blog.

Quote Parade December 4, 2006

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Here’s another to finish off the day by Richard Foster.  (I trust you know by now that I am reading his book!)

Speaking of Jesus’ call for us to follow Him in the way of service (a call He gave after He washed His disciples’ feet), Foster writes,

“In some ways we would prefer to hear Jesus’ call to deny father and mother, houses and land for the sake of the gospel than his word to wash feet.  Radical self-denial gives the feel of adventure.  If we forsake all, we even have the chance of glorious martyrdom.  But in service we must experience the many little deaths of going beyond ourselves.  Service banishes us to the mundane, the ordinary, the trivial.”

Naturally, I think he is right (otherwise I wouldn’t put up the quote).  I don’t agree with everything in the book, but I am being challenged a great deal.  Catch you tomorrow Lar, Lord willing.

Seeking to serve for the sake of the Servant,

Joe

Little Laz (Lord Willing) November 24, 2006

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Joe,

You are now free to fill in Blog Nation as to why you have to amend the second paragraph of the ‘What is this Blog?’ page.

Hope you guys are having a nice time with the Cochran’s!

Larry

Wow November 15, 2006

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Joe,

That is stunning. The ‘Your Best Life Now’ board game? I know I have been writing a lot lately, but that leaves me speechless. And to think that people would actually pay $35 for it? Stunningly horrifying. If ever there was a ‘super-apostle’ (See 2 Cor. 11), I think Osteen is it.  I thought the millions of Jabez products a few years ago was crazy, but this is taking the use of godliness as a means of financial gain to entirely new heights.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Larry

Gone… October 31, 2006

Posted by larrylaz in Random Musings, Uncategorized.
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I’m heading to the shore for a four-day spiritual retreat (a lovely birthday gift from my wife), so there will likely be no blogging from me until Saturday or Sunday.

I’m sure Joe can faithfully satisfy our hungry readers (all three of them).

Larry

Mercy August 17, 2006

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Well, I must confess that today is a day in which I really don’t feel like writing anything on this blog.  But Joe is in the midst of having to preach four times in five days, so I don’t expect that we’ll be hearing from him too much until next week.  Unless of course he chooses to do what I do, which is use his notes from sermons to keep the blog going!

Anyway, Michelle and I have been reading through Job together, and today we read chapter 7.  As we read, we were struck by the incredible mercy of God, that He did not simply strike Job dead because of his grumbling against the Almighty!  Job says to God, “I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are a breath….If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind? Why have you made me your mark? Why have I become a burden to you?” (7:16, 20). 

I just can’t imagine being in a place spiritually where I would say to God, “Leave me alone.”  I know I have had days where it felt like God had left me alone, but to actually ask God to leave you alone?  You see how low Job’s condition really was. 

And it just makes me marvel that God does not simply kill him right on the spot!  It is amazing that He doesn’t kill us all on the spot!  For to some degree, we have all grumbled at the providence of God at some point in our lives.  I mean, when we grumble about a traffic back-up, what are we really doing but grumbling against our Maker, who works all things (even traffic jams!) after the counsel of His will?  In a thousand ways every day, we receive blessing from His merciful hand.  Yet the second something goes wrong (and granted, Job’s plight truly was terrible) we complain.

I walked away from Job 7 this morning marveling at God’s mercy, knowing that to whatever extent Job was guilty of sin here, I am 10,000 times more guilty.  And only when we know the depth of our guilt can we truly delight in the riches of His grace.

Thankful for the One whose mercies are new every morning,

Larry

A Reminder August 16, 2006

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INDIA (Compass Direct)
(Gospel for Asia)
In July, three students from a Gospel for Asia Bible College in Maharashtra were hospitalized after being attacked and severely beaten by a group of anti-Christian extremists. A month later, two pastors’ wives were stripped and beaten before a village council for their faith in Christ. Both incidents are evidence of the growing oppression of Christians in central India, reports Gospel for Asia President K.P. Yohannan. The three students, along with a few Christians from a local church, were returning from sharing the gospel in a neighboring village when they were attacked. The Hindu fundamentalists beat the believers with belts and large sticks, and pummeled them with their fists. A group of local residents saw the attack and intervened to break up the beating and rescue the believers. The pastors’ wives in Chhattisgarh state were “dragged before the community council, stripped naked and beaten for accepting Jesus and following Him,” reported GFA regional leader M.A. Lalachan.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” (Hebrews 13:3)

Forgive us, Father, for forgetting far too often. 

Wisdom and Humility of Heart August 15, 2006

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Lar,

Those are two good words right there. Amen to them both. Your earlier post regarding Edwards’ discernment in Religious Affections is right on the money. I don’t like the word ‘balance’ to describe it, but it might work. He understood so well that we tend to one of two extremes as human beings, no matter what topic we might be speaking of. In fact, he mentions that at the beginning of that book I believe. I appreciate that more and more as the days and years pass, because it is so rare. The moment we see error, we tend to jump all over it in an extreme sort of way, thinking we have to ‘balance things out’ or something. I know that I have been guilty of it often.

The way I see it, there are a few things we should focus on if we want to be more like Edwards. First, spiritual discernment. It is lacking. And I’m not sure I need to give any evidence for that statement. It is just so obvious. We are an external, shallow people. We have a hard time seeing the way God sees, a hard time going beneath the surface to see things for what they really are. This takes time, but more so, it takes deep thought on our knees over our Bibles. Meditation upon the Word of God is the chief means through which this discernment comes, b/c it is the chief means through which the Spirit of God renews our minds in such a way that we begin to think like God. We should read other books of course (like Religious Affections), and a lot of them I might add, but just reading those books won’t cut it. We need to pray for wisdom according to God’s promise in James 1 (“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all generously and without reproach…”). Then we need to seek the wisdom that comes by the Spirit through the Word of God. Again, reading good teachers (like Edwards) isn’t enough. Because apart from our own meditation on the Word of God, all we will be capable of is regurgitation. We need our thoughts to be our own. That is where the true wisdom and power comes from. Edwards is a clear example of this.

Second, we need to grow in humility of heart. When we are arrogant or proud, we tend not only to think that we have all the answers, but more so (and worse) to think that our spiritual experience should be the measure or rule for everyone else. This happens even to the best. We are wise to realize that we do not and cannot have all the answers. To set ourselves up as the last word in orthodoxy is to put ourselves in the same camp as those who killed Christ. That is dangerous truth that should bring every evangelical believer and teacher to their knees. Not only that, but we need to be very aware of our own natural dispositions and tempers, so that we can come to realize and appreciate those whose Christian experience does not obviously reflect our own. This is big and for this we need much grace. However, I would also emphasize that we need to pursue this humility of heart. We need to face our natural spiritual pride head on, to accept it and realize that it will color almost all our thinking and speech. The moment we think we have all the answers, we enter into a dangerous place!

There is more, but that is enough for now. Also, for anyone listening, Piper’s sermon at the Together for the Gospel conference is definitely worth listening to, even if you aren’t a preacher (which you probably aren’t). You begin to get a taste for the seriousness of not only preaching, but listening. And that is always a good thing. Alright, I’m out for now.

Seeking to grow in wisdom and humility with you,

Joe

Piper on Preaching August 15, 2006

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One of the ways in which gracious affections (to use Edwards’ term again) are awakened in the hearts of His people is through the wonderful gift of preaching.  And here lies another reason why the affections are so neglected and minimized in this day, because the vital importance of preaching is being marginalized in this day.  People do not want to hear someone yell, it is reasoned, and so “seeker-sensitive” churches use other ways to make people feel comfortable.  But there is something unmistakably beautiful about the glorious truth of Scripture being preached  by a man “dominated by a sense of the greatness, the majesty, and holiness of God” (to quote George Whitefield). John Piper had this to say about the urgent need for a revival of powerful preaching at the Together for the Gospel Conference this past April:

“God did not ordain the cross of Christ or create the lake of fire in order to communicate the insignificance of belittling his glory. The death of the Son of God and the damnation of unrepentant human beings are the loudest shouts under heaven that God is infinitely holy, and sin is infinitely offensive, and wrath is infinitely just, and grace is infinitely precious, and our brief life—and the life of every person in your church and in your community—leads to everlasting joy or everlasting suffering. If our preaching does not carry the weight of these things to our people, what will? Veggie Tales? Radio? Television? Discussion groups? Emergent conversations?

“God planned for his Son to be crucified (Revelation 13:8; 2 Timothy 1:9) and for hell to be terrible (Matthew 25:41) so that we would have the clearest witnesses possible to what is at stake when we preach. What gives preaching its seriousness is that the mantle of the preacher is soaked with the blood of Jesus and singed with fire of hell.”

That’s well said, John!  If anyone is reading this, nothing would make me happier than for you to pray consistently that God would mold me into such a preacher.  Who knows what God could do with a few thousand men who were so burdened for the realities of heaven and hell that every sermon was “soaked with the blood of Jesus and singed with the fire of hell”? 

To read Piper’s manuscript of the message in which this quote came from, click here To Download the message for $2, see the Sovereign Grace Ministries Online Store.  You can also snoop around there to get the regular audio version for $5.  

Larry

Last Thoughts on Religious Affections (at least for now!) August 15, 2006

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Joe,

What a feast the Religious Affections is!  My day off of reading became a day of saturating myself with the thought of Edwards.  I read 60-70 pages yesterday, and my heart was truly soaring.  I am seeing something in how he is writing, an area that he emphasizes, which we would be wise to likewise emphasize: that just because you have affections for God does not mean you are truly born again. 

I think that is why some people are very hesitant to embrace the centrality of the affections in the Christian life.  This goes back to what we were talking about the other day, with why people are a bit “afraid” to embrace a ministry like John Piper’s or Jonathan Edwards.  We often talk about the necessity of affections, and that if you do not have strong feelings for God, you cannot be assured that you really know Him.  Right thinking about God and external obedience to God’s commands does not automatically make you a believer, if something profound has not happened in your heart which gives you a taste for the spiritual beauty of Christ.

We talk a lot about that, and well we should, given how much the Bible says about it!  But far less do we say: Just because you have those strong emotions, and just because you cry at prayer meetings and shout joyfully your praises to God, etc. this does not necessarily make you a Christian.  Edwards does a masterful job of showing that many “religious affections” cannot be used to determine whether a person is truly born again.  Maybe the reason why so many people are hesitant to embrace the role of the emotions, is because they hear so many talk about spiritual experiences in which their hearts were greatly affected, yet the bulk of their lives reveal that no miracle of grace has really happened in their lives.

But Edwards uses much more balance in his presentation than we do!  We say so often, you must feel, delight, treasure, rejoice, etc.  And yes, we must!  But Edwards shows biblically how to distinguish between “gracious” affections (ie. those that result truly from the work of the Spirit in salvation) and “natural” affections, which a person may have to a strong degree for God and Christ, and yet not truly be in the household of faith. 

This post has probably generated more questions than answers, but hopefully that points readers to Edwards’ work.  It really is a must read!  To those who have only read books written in the 20th or 21st century it may take some slowing down in reading, but his language really is not that difficult for those who are willing to think.  And what could be more important to think about, than discerning what the heart of a true Christian looks like!

Grateful to God for the great saints that have walked before us,

Larry

The Day’s Final Post August 14, 2006

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Brother Lar,

If that wasn’t a blogging day, I’m not sure what is! Be assured that Blog Nation thanks you. I was excited reading each post. Of course, you quoted Scripture, C.S. Lewis and Jonathan Edwards all in one day. You have to like that. It is hard to go wrong there (unless of course, you quote some sort of Arminian stuff from Lewis).

As far as the religious affections go, I have been thinking along the lines of Edwards’ quote from your last post. I have used that quote before and love it, b/c it really is that simple. If the glorious realities of God and the Christian message and teachings are rightly understood, they must be felt. For someone (like us) to embrace them in a cold, distanced manner does not make one a Christian. The truths concerning God are not meant to be mere fuel for our intellectual consideration, but fuel for the inner reaches of our souls. They are meant to transform us in the innermost core of our beings, meant to bring change to that which needs most change, that which defines the whole of our existence from beginning to end. And where that change doesn’t take place there is no true Christianity.

This really is a humbling reality. The truth is the mind must do a work in the heart before one should consider himself a Christian. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we are all just caught up in heavenly rapture all the time. Life, we know, is a fight, a difficult fight. However, it is a fight for great joy, greater happiness in and love for Almighty God through Jesus Christ. It is a fight not simply for right thoughts, but right feelings. And O how this needs to be emphasized today! Right thinking is just not enough. There must be right feeling!

I fear for us Lar. We live in a day when most professing Christians believe that right thoughts concerning God are enough. But didn’t Jesus live in that same sort of day. And what did they do but hang Him on a cross? Tough stuff, but that is exactly why we need to deal with it. Fluff Christianity is killing more people than we know. So sad. So sad. Let us plead with the Lord to send forth His Spirit. Revive us again, O Lord, that your people may rejoice in You! Show us your steadfast love and grant us your salvation!

One more thing. I would like to emphasize how important this understand of the Christian life is not only for those who become Christians, but those who are Christians, those who possess a genuine faith in Jesus Christ. The Christian’s sanctification is dependent in great measure on their understanding of what they are seeking.  If we do not understand the goal, how can we take adequate steps towards it?  When Christians think that the only thing they need to seek is more information, what do we end up with, but more educated Christians who are bored or boring? We, as Christians, must understand that right thoughts are meant to stir up right affections. We simply will not be a passionate people unless we understand that we are supposed to be a passionate people.  Vision is big.  We must know what we are shooting for.  I trust you understand what I am saying and agree.

Alright brother, I’m out for now. Don’t be shy with those Edwards’ quotes (or the Scriptures of course!).

Seeking a heavenly heart with you,

Joe

Great Edwards Quote August 14, 2006

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Sorry, but I had to interrupt my personal reading party to share this great quote from Religious Affections.  I suggest you read it slowly two or three times, then pray earnestly that God’s people would be full of both heat and light!

“Although to true religion there must indeed be something else besides affection; yet true religion consists so much in the affections, that there can be no true religion without them. He who has no religious affection, is in a state of spiritual death, and is wholly destitute of the powerful, quickening, saving influences of the Spirit of God upon his heart. As there is no true religion where there is nothing else but affection, so there is no true religion where there is no religious affection. As on the one hand, there must be light in the understanding, as well as an affected fervent heart; where there is heat without light, there can be nothing divine or heavenly in that heart; so on the other hand, where there is a kind of light without heat, a head stored with notions and speculations, with a cold and unaffected heart, there can be nothing divine in that light, that knowledge is no true spiritual knowledge of divine things. If the great things of religion are rightly understood, they will affect the heart. The reason why men are not affected by such infinitely great, important, glorious, and wonderful things, as they often hear and read of, in the Word of God, is undoubtedly because they are blind; if they were not so, it would be impossible, and utterly inconsistent with human nature, that their hearts should be otherwise than strongly impressed, and greatly moved by such things.”

Larry

Human Worth and the Necessity of Fellowship August 14, 2006

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As I wrote last night, the heart of my message from Psalm 139 was to show that God has uniquely fashioned each and every human being to reflect His infinite worth in a way that only that person can.  No one else in the history of the world — past, present, or future, can display the glory of God the way each of us can.  This truth is simply astounding!

And this truth has such huge implications for our every day relationships with family, friends, co-workers, especially those brothers and sisters who join us in the household of faith.  If it is true that each of us was fearfully and wonderfully made to reflect the worth of God, then it is true that each of us has the ability to reflect the worth of God to our neighbor in a way that no one else can.  Should this truth not transform the importance we place on relationships with other people, and should it not cause us to examine what our relationships are really built upon?

Should we not, then, saturate these relationships with the things that really matter in life?  Should we not read Scripture together, and pray together, and share our hearts’ desires and dreams and fears and life experiences together?  How often we waste this remarkable gift that God has given us, that He has put people in our lives who can reflect the glory of Christ to us in a way that no one else can!  At the end of The Weight of Glory, CS Lewis says,  

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations…There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal…Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ—the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.”

What a heavy truth this is!  Each of us has breath in our lungs to reflect the glory of God to one another, and we have been knitted together intimately and lovingly by God Almighty for that high calling.  So what shall we do when we get together, watch movies together and eat food and talk about mindless triviality?  The people we encounter daily (in all of life, but especially, I believe, in the household of faith) have been fashioned in the image of God, to reflect the infinite worth of the God that we claim to love and worship.  Can we really treat one another with such indifference, or ascribe worth to each other based on the things that Jesus calls an abomination?  How silly, that we should complement one another on our hair or outfit or athletic ability, and not affirm the things that really matter: passion for Christ and zealous ministry for the sake of making Him known!

It is folly to ignore one another and get excited about sun rises, because next to Jesus Christ Himself, nothing in all of creation bears witness to the glory of God more than the people we encounter every day.  Let’s pursue fellowship together like we really believe that!  And I thank you, Joe, for being one person in my life who constantly reminds me of how much is at stake in the relationships that we have.

Larry 

More on Religious Affections August 14, 2006

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Joe,

You are right in saying Monday is my day off, but I don’t know if I would call it my blogging day!  I do have a nice, three-hour chunk of time set aside for some reading, which I am quite excited about.  Religious Affections, Biblical Eldership and finishing Spiritual Depression are how the day is to be spent, followed by some time with Michelle. 

Before I posted about fellowship as I had said I would, I wanted to add a bit to what you had said regarding the affections and why Edwards’ thesis that true religion consists much in holy affections seems to be ignored by so many who esteem Edwards as a great man of God and theologian. 

You had posed the question, “could it be that one main reason why we don’t emphasize the centrality of religious affections in the Christian life is because we have so little of them?”

I think you are exactly right, Joe.  The thesis that Edwards works out in this volume, and the heart of John Piper’s message (who is really just re-stating Edwards’ theology for today’s generation) is extremely threatening to nominal Christianity.  There are, I believe, millions of professing Christians who have made a “decision” to follow Jesus, have cleaned up gross immorality (like excessive drinking and such things) from their lives, go to church weekly and put their tithes in the offering plate, even spend time in daily devotions, and yet their hearts do not burn with a passion for Jesus Christ.  He is not their highest delight, as Edwards says, “the cream of all their pleasures”.  Now these people are working very hard to convince themselves and others that they are not nominal Christians.  And by and large, they do a good job of it.  They feel comfortable and secure in delighting in the things of the world and having a relationship with Jesus on the side as well.

But then a guy like Edwards or Piper comes along (or far more importantly, King David and the Apostle Paul and Peter and Jesus Himself!) and levels a knockout punch to dead religious ritual that is devoid of pleasure in the Person and work of Jesus Christ:

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1)

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8)

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,” (1 Peter 1:8)

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44)

You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” (Matthew 15:7-9)

And you know full well, I could go on and on with these texts.  They are devastating to nominal Christianity that does all the right things yet lacks an inner fire for the glories of Jesus Christ.  That is the essence of what the New Birth brings, a totally new disposition that sees and savors beauty in the face of Christ when once there was nothing but boredom and indifference. 

But so many people do not want to hear this; they only want to hear that they are comfortable and heaven-bound because they have acknowledged some facts about Jesus that has left no impression on their souls.  Revive Your people, O God, and birth in us a delight in Christ that makes all else the world offers look like refuse in the light of You!

For the sake of space, I’ll save my thoughts on fellowship for the next post!

Satisfy us this morning, Lord, with You and Your steadfast love,

Larry

Good Morning Lar! August 13, 2006

Posted by Joe in Uncategorized.
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Lar,
I too did not want to leave the day without a post. Needless to say, the day was quite full. However, it was all good stuff, with a great deal of fellowship to say the least. Such a joy. I do love the beauty of the diverse, unified body of Jesus Christ. With each passing day, I love Christ’s church all the more. I can’t wait to go to heaven and see the wisdom of God as displayed through the building of His kingdom–with particular study of the centrality of the church in that plan. O how we will worship Him on that day! Come Lord Jesus, come!

I have to head to bed, but hope to get down some more thoughts tomorrow. I also look forward to reading your posts brother–on a few different topics. It’s your day off right? Or should we just call that blogging day? Nice…blog nation awaits with eager expectation!

Longing for His presence with you,
Joe
p.s. Meyer Dairy’s extra thick oreo cookie milkshake was money for the second straight day!

God’s Worth and Ours August 13, 2006

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Well, I guess Joe had too many milkshakes today to get anything up, so I wanted to at least post something so he wouldn’t feel like we’ve failed Blog Nation.

The title of this post was the title of my message tonight, and I took my text from Psalm 139.  Specifically the words, “I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  It is astounding to consider that God Almighty fashioned each of us intimately and uniquely in a way that we alone can put on display the infinite wealth of His glory for the enjoyment of others.  May this, and not our attainment of worldly accolades that Jesus finds unimpressive and irrelevant, be the foundation of our sense of worth. 

It is a remarkable thing to consider that with the vast beauty of sunsets and trees and flowers and oceans, that when God wanted to create something “in His image”, something that would represent Him and display Him more than any other part of creation, He chose to create us. 

My prayer is that this truth would not compel us to get excited about ourselves, but to pour our lives out in striving to make every second of our lives reflect His incomparable worth.

Tomorrow I want to write a bit about the implications of this truth of being uniquely made in His image for our fellowship with one another as believers.

Humbled at being fearfully and wonderfully made,

Larry

Religious Affections August 12, 2006

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Lar,

So I am at the Smith’s house for the next few days and they are linked up with some wireless Internet.  Needless to say, blogging with be a priority brother!  I’ll do my best to remind you of what you want to say regarding those two topics, but maybe you should just put it on your calendar.  By the way, did you read that book yet or are you stil not Getting Things Done?  Just curious…

Anyhow, one thought before I head to bed.  I have a burden to see the evangelical church properly emphasize the role of affections Christian life.  And as I have said to you in coversation before, I see so many in the church today who praise Jonathan Edwards, but who do not live and preach his thesis statement in Religious Affections.  “True religion consists much in holy affections.”  My question:  why not?

I can’t answer that in full tonight, because of both time and intellectual constraints, but I do want to communicate one thought:  could it be that one main reason why we don’t emphasize the centrality of religious affections in the Christian life is because we have so little of them?

Hear me out.  Why would we want to emphasize the importance of something that we do not possess?  That wouldn’t be very comfortable would it?  I think not and trust you will agree.  When it comes to religious affections, the embracing of Edwards’ thesis places true Christianity on an entirely different plain.  Indeed, I think it could be said that his thesis indites us!  And by ‘us’ I am not simply referring to popular evangelical Christianity as a whole, but even more specifically to those who believe we are theologically sound and even deep.  There are many within the reformed thelogical camp who, in my humble opinion, don’t want to deal with this truth, because it will expose the fact that right answers are not enough.  For the true Christian, they must be accompanied by right affections.  The devil himself has the right answers.  So if all we have are right answers, we best take notice of the company we keep!

As I said, that doesn’t cover everything, but I believe it is worth our time and reflection.  I’ll catch you soon brother.

Seeking to see and savor (with high and holy affections) our great God with you,

Joe

Missions for His Name’s Sake August 12, 2006

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Joe,

That’s good stuff, brother.  So good that I don’t have the time to post all that I want to say in response!  So that I will not forget, let me say what I hope to get back to in the next couple of days: 1. the beauty of fellowship, 2. Music constantly being on around us.  Now I am asking for some grace tomorrow because Sunday is always a long day with preaching.  But I hope that by Monday I’ll be able to address those two things.

But I wanted to say something in response to the article you posted for our enjoyment.  It was indeed well said, and funny because I just picked up the Religious Affections yesterday to begin re-reading it.  I love Edwards’ thesis: True religion consists much in holy affections.

Specifically, the article helped me apply the Chambers quote to the area of missions.  Why do we preach the gospel to others?  Why do we travel to far-away countries to share the love of Christ?  If I’m understanding Chambers right, the answer is not, “Because we want people to be saved.”  Certainly we do want people to be saved, but I don’t think that is the deepest, most fundamental answer for preaching the gospel.  The deepest reason is, that the glory of God might be heralded among all peoples and the knowledge of glory might fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.  And of course, it doesn’t really matter what Chambers says in the end, it matters what the Word of God say!  The Scriptural battle call to missions is,

For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11)

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!…Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” (Psalm 96:3, 10)

This is so subtle, but so deeply important for us to get right!  And it seems as I look even at the landscape of the American Church, that we are not getting it right.  The glory of God, seen most vividly in the cross of Christ, has tragically become a means to some other end: self-esteem, peace of mind, a sense of purpose and hope, health and wealth, escape from hell, etc.  Instead, the glory of God must be the center of all things, our only hope of everlasting joy. 

There is sweet fellowship with you brother, in that both of our hearts are jealous for that one glorious end for which all things were made.  From Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to Him be glory forever and ever.  Amen!  May we expend our energies exploring, expositing, and extolling the glories of Jesus Christ (Sinclair Ferguson’s words, not mine!)

With you not in body, but in spirit,

Larry

Checking in from PSU August 12, 2006

Posted by Joe in Uncategorized.
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Lar,

Thanks for the welcome from blog nation (I really do love that ridiculous term!).  And you can be sure that I will have a (great many?) milkshakes from Meyer Dairy for you brother.  But you know, it really isn’t as good without the fellowship.  It is like everything I suppose.  The joy is not complete unless it is shared.  Of course, I am still going, but it still isn’t quite as good.  Anyhow…

Here I am checking in from Panera bread.  Good food, but why is it now that everywhere we travel in America, we need to have the radio playing with a bunch of nonsense?  Could you imagine what would take place if we turned off the music?  No doubt there would be some complaints.  This I do not doubt.  But why?  Is it because we would then have to deal with the inner meditations of our hearts?  Maybe….

Of course, music itself isn’t bad.  It is the content that is bad.  And think about the impact of it.  I was sitting here thinking about someone who has listened to some of Madonna’s nonsense for awhile.  Just a few songs listened to 20 times or so adds up to a number of hours ingesting her worldview.  Disturbing?  Absolutely.  Influential?  Absolutely.  But how many people tell us that the music they listen to doesn’t effect them?  Numerous of course.  But they are kidding themselves without doubt.

Anyhow…I do have to get going for now, but I did want to give a hearty Amen to that Chamber’s quote and your comments.  This article is worth checking out in light of that post.   Let me know what you think (you and everyone reading).  I didn’t think the article was perfect, but it was pretty money.  He was getting it done.

Alright, peace for now brother.

Joe