Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Semi-Pelagianism and my garage door

My Sears garage-door-opener is partly broken. When I push the remote garage-door-opener-button, it goes up 24 inches and stops. My friend who knows about garage-door-openers tells me that the garage-door-opener-motor is exhausted.

But I can help it work! If I press the remote garage-door-opener-button, and get out of my car in time, and lift up on my garage door, the motor keeps working! The garage door goes to the very top. Its teamwork you see! Sears and me [pardon the bad grammar. I like “me” better] working together!

So I’m going to write Sears and tell them that my plan is better than their plan. They need to reinvent a garage-door-motor that only lifts a garage door up 24 inches. That way people can help Sears. They’ll feel really good about that. And Sears will get some of the credit. They’ll also be helping people to exercise! And maybe it won’t cost them as much money to make a garage-door-opener-motor that only lifts a garage door up 24 inches.My Sears garage-door-opener is partly broken. But I can help it work! [Galatians 2:21]

Monday, December 21, 2009


Even with the myriad of "How-to" books crowding both non-Christian and Christian bookstores, it still might be a struggle to find a book title like, "How to Behave in the Household of God." It's probably not going to make the top 10 list of "How-to" books to ask for on our Amazon wish list. It sounds kind of like - hmm - a corrective maybe? "C'mon man!" It's been a stressful week. Let's do church - ugh - coming as we are and doing what we'd like? Won't that work?

Paul doesn't think so. In fact, Paul writes his first letter to Timothy so that Timothy "might know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth" [I Timothy 3:15].

Notice the relatonship of the church's behavior with "knowledge" and "truth." Churches are saints in union with the Truth. Churches hang out with truth and support [pillar and buttress] the truth against false teachers from within the church who "depart" [4:1] from the truth. Wow man! Paul doesn't sound like a area community church I heard about recently whose stated goal was to "connect people with God." What does that means? It doesn't sound like Paul. It sounds more like a vacuous Joel Osteen slogan. What a profound difference from the first words of Jesus' public ministry: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" [Matthew 4:17].

Maybe we're becoming less like Paul and Jesus and more like Fiyero from the show Wicked who sings, "Dancing through life, skimming the surface, gliding where turf is smooth." Paul's emphasis, in contrast, is on knowing "how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

stewards of a new building!

In Psalm 126:3 the psalmist writes, “The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.” Gladness characterizes the people of God in Christ. And we are glad that, on this Lord’s Day, we’re worshipping in a new church building! Who could have imagined that God would entrust to us such a wonderful place? Our mouths are filled with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy [Psalm 126:2]. From three couples meeting in a living room five years ago to this memorable day, God has and continues to lavish grace and steadfast love on GBC. Thank you Pastor Colin for beginning this race. Thanks Pastor Ben for taking the baton from Colin and persevering in the race that’s been set before you. Thanks Gary for the countless hours you've spent recently making all the difficult places smooth. And thank you brothers and sisters of Grace who’ve spent hundreds of hours moving and cleaning and preparing meals and serving in countless ways. God is building His church, and the gates of hell won’t prevail against it. Our body is working together! “Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son, and praise the Spirit, three in one!” This unity will continue as we continue to devote ourselves to doctrine, prayer, the ordinances, and fellowship. Let’s also continue corporately to sing, pray, read, and preach the Word, rejoicing in the gospel with all those who love the gospel!

Monday, December 14, 2009

"No one is eternally condemned for failing to find purpose in life"

Here's a short excerpt from the Lord's Day sermon on December 6, followed by a quote I used by Michael Horton.

"So the reason not to have sex outside of marriage should not be ultimately because you might contract a sexually transmitted disease, or that there's a boatload of regret that accompanies it, or that it’s personally harmful or hurtful, or has deep ripple effects in leadership, or even because there will be spiritual consequences for you. These may all be true; however our text reminds us that sin doesn’t fall short of the glory of self-esteem or the glory of wellness or the glory of your best life now. Sin falls short of the glory of God." Lord's Day Sermon, December 6

"In the biblical perspective, that which makes sin sin is not first of all the unhappiness of shame that it brings to us and those around us, but the objective offence that it is before God. No one is eternally condemned for failing to find meaning, purpose, or fulfillment in life. But when sin is first defined vertically--that is, in reference to God--our nagging sense of unworthiness and guilt finally finds a real source and object. Only real sins can be forgiven. We cannot forgive ourselves. Even the forgiveness of other people cannot erase the debt and give us a righteous status. Only if our sins are first of all offences against God can they be objectively, fully, and finally forgiven." Michael Horton, The Gospel-Driven Life, p. 50-51 [2009]