Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Linked below is a lecture given by Pastor Mark Driscoll to what seems to be a gathering of fellow pastors. His topic is: What is the church? This is my first introduction to Pastor Driscoll and what I heard resounded in my heart and mind. I think it will for you too. This is a message we all need to hear given our times. Please take a few moments and take a listen to:
Thanks to all the guys who have been encouraging me to tune into Driscoll!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
2009 marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of one of Christianity's great heroes -John Calvin. Calvin was 16th century pastor, writer, theologian, scholar, and reformer of the church who lived during a time of great danger, political turmoil and ecclesiastical corruption. As an individual he suffered much from personal physical maladies which he eventually succumb to at just 55 years of age. What he accomplished during that short time is of inestimable value to the church and the world. He is probably best known for the "Institutes Of Christian Religion" which today are still widely considered as the most important piece of literature ever written, after the Bible. What many are not familiar with though are his sermons. To really understand John Calvin one must read his sermons, because in them you hear and see not only his mind but his heart as well. He was no mere cold theologian, but he was first and foremost a pastor who sought to teach and apply the truth of Scripture in a plain and loving way to those in his church, day after day.
Here is an excerpt from a sermon I recently read. It is representative of his sermons in that you can get a feel for how understands life and the world. I do not know if this quote would be considered as the "best" of Calvin. Probably not. I chose it simply because it resonated in my heart as I read it.
This quote is from a sermon he preached while preaching through the book of Acts on Sunday, April 13, 1550. His text is Acts 4:1-4.
His opening remarks are:
"Among the means by which our Lord wants our faith to be put to the test is this: Satan exerts all his power to prevent the word of God from going forth. And when his word begins to be made known, the wicked oppose it vigorously, for they are the devil's instruments for waging against God and Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. That is what Luke is now bringing to our attention. We have heard how the apostles taught the people and how that was a sign that the gospel was to be made public. But here the devil is, making serious inroads against that endeavor. It is an attempt to test the faith of the apostles and of all those associated with them. Seeing that everyone was resisting God's truth, they had to be armed with perseverance so they would not be daunted by that resistance. It is true the devil will make a valiant effort, but he will not be able to do anything against Jesus Christ, for since our Lord is seated at the right hand of God his Father (Eph 1:20-22), all creatures are in subjection to him. Consequently, when the devil tries to prevent the spread of the gospel, he can do so only with God's permission. He can do nothing on his own authority, but God gives him leeway to do everything within his power so that when there is nothing more he can do, we will realize the power of God's truth notwithstanding the fact that his truth remains victorious whenever the world and the devil come into conflict."
Ultimately we remember and celebrate the life of John Calvin some 500 years after his birth not because he was a great writer or simply because he was a brilliant mind, which he was, but rather because of what and who he wrote about. Like few other men in history Calvin was able to look at life and the world from a truly God-centered perspective. He was able to clearly see the weakness, pride, rebellion, and helplessness of man apart from God like few others.