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Showing posts from March, 2006

Sin: What’s the Big Deal? (Part 2)

The message this last Sunday by Howard Varnedoe was excellent! Using Hebrews 12:1-2 as his main text, Howard explained what it means to “look to Jesus” each and every day. One truth that hit me harder than it ever has before was this: my greatest problem is my sin. It isn’t my circumstances or trials. It isn’t figuring out what the future holds. It isn’t attempting to overcome a financial or vocational challenge. Sin is my greatest enemy. Is sin killing me or am I killing it? Here’s a quote to chew on from The Mortification of Sin . John Owen says we are to bring our sin to the gospel — not [first] for relief, but for farther conviction of its guilt; look on Him whom thou hast pierced, and be in bitterness. Say to thy soul, “What have I done? What love, what mercy, what blood, what grace have I despised and trampled on! Is this the return I make to the Father for his love, to the Son for his blood, to the Holy Ghost for his grace? Do I thus requite the Lord? Have I defiled the heart

Sin: What’s the Big Deal?

In being made more aware of my idolatries Sunday, I spent some time meditating on the importance of the doctrine of sin. Why talk about sin so often? Why make such a big deal about it? When all around my soul gives way, should sin really be that high on the mental checklist? Well, I thought, what is my ultimate goal? Defeating sin isn’t an end, it’s a means to an end, so what is that end? Succinctly put, my created purpose is to glorify God. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). In his Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, Matthew Henry writes, “In eating and drinking, and in all we do, we should aim at the glory of God, at pleasing and honouring him. This is the great end of all religion, and directs us where express rules are wanting.” So, does fighting sin distract us from pursuing the glory of God? Quite the opposite, actually. There is really only one obstacle that stands between us and the glory of God, and

Providence and Nature

I’m at chapter six in Trusting God , a chapter that deals with God’s power over nature. My first thought was to skip it because I didn’t think the chapter would have anything applicable to my current circumstances. I’m glad I rejected my initial impulse. Jerry Bridges talks about how many of us—even those who believe in the complete sovereignty of God—oftentimes fail to recognize His providence when it comes to the weather. We view instances of rain, frost, wind, etc., as unfortunate occurrences of random conditions. How many times have I complained about the weather, obliviously and foolishly ignoring the Sovereign hand behind it? Mr. Bridges makes a simple yet profound point: not only do we sin when we complain about the weather, but we also forfeit the peace that comes from trusting that God is in control of the weather (see Job 37:3, 6, 10-13; Psalm 147:8, 16-18; Jeremiah 10:13; Amos 4:7). (It’s not just the weather, though; God’s control over nature includes things like physical

A Movie Worth Five Stars...er, Tickets

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On rare occasions, I make my mother go to the movie theater to watch a film on the big screen. This past weekend was one such occasion, although she wanted to see the movie anyway. After all, when I started praising King Kong after my first viewing—and second, and third, and fourth—she was intrigued. (Yes, having spent so much money on this movie, I now own part of Universal Pictures.) Well, she liked the movie a lot. In her words, “It’s like Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings and every other movie all put together—and then some!” I have to agree. It was also fun sitting behind three older women who enjoyed the movie tremendously. Every time something made them jump, they’d nervously laugh after landing back in their seats. In fact, they were laughing through the entire movie (at the right parts, mind you). There’s something special about watching movies with complete strangers and seeing/hearing their reactions…like the one woman up front who screamed bloody murder when a

Deception

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I don’t know how many of you like to read fiction, but for me there are few things more delightful than being engrossed in the latest Michael Crichton or Frank Peretti novel. Another great fiction writer is Randy Alcorn. His first novel, Deadline , is outstanding both in storytelling and originality. By “originality” I don’t so much mean his story as I do his use of the English language. Mr. Alcorn avoids clichéd phrases that litter the works of other authors. In Deadline , Alcorn also created one of my most favorite characters of all time: Ollie Chandler. Ollie is a detective with a quick and dry-as-the-Sahara wit. Everything that comes out of his mouth is ingeniously hilarious. To borrow a phrase from filmmaking, he steals every scene he’s in. Anyway, Alcorn’s newest novel, Deception , features Ollie Chandler as the main character. The first chapter of the book is available here and all I can say is…wow. You need to check it out! The storyline looks quite generic (murder mysteries

Oscars, Shmoscars

For the first time in years, I didn’t sit through the Oscar ceremonies. Due to the often-ludicrous nominations, my respect for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has declined with each passing year. In truth, the Oscars are not much more than a highly publicized popularity contest for the Hollywoodonians. I’m tempted to say people from southern California are crazy, but that would mean I am crazy, which I am not. Yes I am. No I’m not. Shut up! Anyway… I did manage to catch the presentation of Best Original Score—always the highlight of the Oscars for me. Seeing Itzhak Perlman (one of the world’s greatest violinists) perform selections from each of the nominated scores was a real treat. The treat summarily ended, though, when Brokeback Mountain was announced as the winner. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back (yes, lame pun intended); after that, I didn’t want to watch any more. So, in lieu of a good Oscar awards ceremony, head over to the Cue Awards . They eve