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Showing posts from November, 2006

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What Kind of Reader Are You?Your Result: Dedicated Reader You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
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Overcoming Sin and Temptation

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Many of you are familiar with the Puritan John Owen, whose works are still read today. Well, just recently a new book has been released: Overcoming Sin and Temptation. Compiled and edited by Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor, this book combines three of Owen’s works on the topic of overcoming sin. For right now, I will limit my comments to the first book in this three-part volume: Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers.

The Mortification of Sin is divided into three sections. Part 1 deals with the necessity of mortification, in which Owen stresses the seriousness of the battle. “There is not a day but sin foils or is foiled, prevails or is prevailed on; and it will be so while we live in this world.” In fact, “not to be daily mortifying sin is to sin against the goodness, kindness, wisdom, grace, and love of God, who has furnished us with a principle of doing it.” One cannot think he is growing in the Lord if he is not seeking to kill the sin in his life: “Let not that man think he makes…

Happy Feet—er, Thanksgiving

Gratitude isn’t an attitude I find easy to cultivate. Too often I think I am entitled to God’s goodness, and when troubles litter the road ahead of me my inclination is towards self-pity.

Sometimes God shows His goodness by igniting our hearts with a delight in Him so passionate that our joy almost seems effortless. Other times He shows His goodness by revealing our sin and calling us to fight for the refreshing spring of joy in a seemingly endless desert of depravity. I’m not a fan of being in the latter category, especially during the week of Thanksgiving.

Nevertheless, God’s goodness remains true and constant. I must not think of God as being good only when pleasant circumstances come my way. Primarily, God’s goodness is revealed to me through the cross, not the lack of adversity in my life. The Psalmists explain God’s goodness like this: “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (See Psalm 106:1, 107:1, 118:1, 29 and 136:1-26.)

How do I know God is…

Choral Magnificence

I hope your musical appetite was whetted with last week’s film score clip from Edward Scissorhands. Yes, I love choral music more than just about any other form of aural enjoyment. There are numerous musical instruments that bring delight to my ears (strings—especially the violin and cello—come to mind), but none of them compares to the emotional power of the human voice. I’m particularly fond of female and boys choirs, both of which emanate an innocent aesthetic beauty.

Danny Elfman has written some of the best choral work I have ever heard. He’s a film score composer (surprise, surprise) who has used choral elements in numerous films, the standout being his masterful work in Edward Scissorhands. I simply cannot explain how wonderful the music is; you must hear it for yourself.

So, below you will find an eight-minute suite from Edward Scissorhands. Sit back and enjoy! (And as an added bonus, there’s a short-but-sweet segment featuring some kickin’ violin work.)

Edward Scissorhands Suite

Emoticons: Cultural Learnings of Technology for Make Benefit Glorious Nuances of Communication

(Note: the above title is not an endorsement of the Borat film.)

Some friends of mine (most of them from the Manspeak blog) have criticized men’s use of emoticons. Evidently, they believe the utilization of technology to enhance communication is somehow unmanly. I find their stance disconcerting, especially since they purport a pursuit of genuine masculinity. I have been repeatedly persecuted by them for using emoticons and have decided a refutation is in order.*

Before the invention of computers and cell phones, modes of communication were simplified. People conversed with each other face to face. Phrases like “Thou milksop,” “A Pox on thee,” and “Thou art a misbegotten son of Beelzebub” were easily understood.

Nowadays, words aren’t always enough. In some cases, signs and symbols must be added to words to clarify their meaning. How much more important are signs in the technological age in which we live, when many forms of communication lack necessary elements of physical expression (po…

Read the Sandwich

I just stumbled across a great website: The Sacred Sandwich, a “periodical for small town Christians in the big bad world.” The mock news headlines are creative and entertaining. For example, check out WARREN UNVEILS THE R.I.C.K. PLAN ON HUMILITY.

Here’s a quote from the disclaimer page: “Despite the tongue-in-cheek style, The Sacred Sandwich’s main objective is to herald the sufficiency of Scripture as one of the surest means in which the visible Church might humble herself to God’s will and enjoy true spiritual revival.”

Other sections of the newspaper include the following:

Food for Thought, with numerous articles by authors—living and dead—that call the church back to sound doctrine.The Twin Theologians, where Maruice and Emmett answer questions sent in by readers (and yes, hilarity ensues).The Bohemian Baptist: Correspondence from a Postmodern Heretic, a column with articles such as, I DON’T BELIEVE THAT ANYONE CAN BELIEVE IN A NON-BELIEF SYSTEM.Photo Gallery. You have to see the co…

Capster’s Dictionary / Word Entry: “Lunch”

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Kris Love (evening DJ at Love 89.1 FM) and I have come to a realization: “Lunch” and “Copper Cellar” are synonymous. To call any other meal at any other restaurant “lunch” would be a gross insult. Lunch just doesn’t get any better than this. I need not recount the myriad of culinary pleasures that accompany eating the Copper Cellar hamburger because I have already done so here. Suffice it to say there is no better lunch than that of which we partake every Wednesday at Copper Cellar (“we” being half the staff at Love 89).

Therefore, I have resolved to refer to any other mid-day eat-out excursion as a “meal” or glorified “snack.” The term “lunch” has been redefined by the life-altering succulence of the Copper Cellar hamburger. Eden has come to Knoxville, Tennessee—just a small foretaste of the restored created order described in Revelation.

I remember one Tuesday when I passed Kris in the hallway at work. All I said was, “Tomorrow.” He just nodded and replied, “Tomorrow.” No other words …

Baby Panda Allergic to Hay?

One word: hilarious. The more I watch this, the more I laugh.

The Measure of a Man

Another aspect of the men’s conference that stood out to me were the videos shown that honored specific men from the different churches that had come. One person honored was Jeff Hutchison, a member of CrossWay Community Church. As I watched the video, I was reminded that I have too often thought of marriage in selfish terms (i.e., what is my future wife going to bring to the table to serve me?). Like many of the events of the conference, this video was a grace-filled slap in the face. Jeff Hutchison is a real man. You can watch the video by going here.

(And for those who don’t know, the messages from the conference are now available for download here.)

The Summit

I joked about going to the Sovereign Grace men’s conference and coming back a man. Well, the joke was on me. To say the conference was a means of grace would be both an oversimplification and an understatement. It was, in fact, a milestone in my Christian walk.

God used the messages (especially the first one, which dealt with denying yourself and following Christ) to point out certain areas of sin in my life—you know, those areas where you think you’re doing well and then you realize once again that you’re a complete sinbag dripping with depravity. As the light of God’s truth exposed selfishness and pride in my life, my heart fought to hold onto its illusion of autonomy. There were a couple of times where I freaked out at the prospect of relinquishing my “right” to organize my life according to my wishes and not God’s will. But by His grace I was able to see the folly of refusing to submit to the Lordship of Christ. After all, self-denial is not an end in and of itself; it is simply th…

Brief Sabbatical

I’ll be heading to Charlotte, NC tomorrow for Sovereign Grace’s mid-south “Making of a Man” conference. Hopefully, I shall come back a man.

But seriously, please pray that this time will be a means of grace for those of us who are going.

Let Dead Men Feed You

In an age of theological ambiguity, it’s refreshing to sit at the feet of saints long gone. One thing I appreciate about dead theologians whose works are still read today (Martin Luther, John Owen, etc.) is that they centered their lives on the gospel. Nothing on which they taught strayed from the cross. Even topics like discipleship and the pursuit of holiness were firmly grounded on the finished work of Christ. For example, here’s a quote from Scottish preacher Horatius Bonar (1808 – 1889):

Every plant must have both soil and root. Without both of these there can be no life, no growth, no fruit. The root is “peace with God”; the soil in which that root strikes itself, and out of which it draws the vital sap, is the free love of God in Christ. “Rooted in love” is the apostle’s description of a holy man. The secret of a believer’s holy walk is his continual recurrence to the blood of the Surety, and his daily intercourse with a crucified and risen Lord. All divine life, and all the pre…