Monday, February 24, 2014

Striving After the Wind

Tim Challies offers an insightful post on why we sometimes feel like frauds. Here’s a sample.
We are dissatisfied because we must be dissatisfied. God has put eternity in our hearts (Ecc. 3:11) but we locked ourselves in a temporal world. God created us to find our highest joy and delight in him, but we chose to seek delight in the things he made. We worship the creation rather than the Creator. Even those of us who have been drawn back to the Creator still turn to this side and that, to this idol and that.
We can cry out that we were made for more, that we were meant for more, from now until eternity. We will cry out from now until eternity. We will simply be expressing what Solomon told us so much more pointedly so many years ago. “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” This world cannot deliver all we want from it. This life cannot deliver all the satisfaction we long for.
Chaillies doesn’t stop there of course, ending with…
But those who die in Christ have the great promise that we will awake to all the pleasures, all the satisfaction we have ever longed for, and so much more besides.
I encourage you to read the entire post.

NOTE: The assumption that The Preacher of Ecclesiastes is in fact Solomon is a popular belief held by many respectable people. I happen to hold that while The Preacher likely is Solomon, there is some room for doubt.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Work That Makes a Difference

Here’s an excerpt from an encouraging post from Tim Challies. I encourage you to read the entire post.

Work is not significant only when it utilizes my full capacity or full capabilities. Work is not significant only when it offers unusual challenge or special opportunity. Work is not significant only when it is measurable in dollars and cents or praise and compliments. Work has intrinsic significance because it gives me the opportunity to do something with joy—with joy in the Lord. I can do my work in such a way that it glorifies God, or I can do it in such a way that it dishonors him. Anything I can do to God’s glory has significance. It has great significance!

Definitely something about which I need to be reminded more often than I’d like to admit.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Penalty of Leadership

This work has been often misattributed, but it comes from a Cadillac print advertisement on page 47 of the January 2, 1915 Saturday Evening Post. Excellent work here by legendary ad man and philanthropist Theodore F. MacManus. A partial quote is below.

The leader is assailed because he is a leader, and the effort to equal him is merely added proof of that leadership. Failing to equal or to excel, the follower seeks to depreciate and to destroy — but only confirms once more the superiority of that which he strives to supplant. There is nothing new in this. It is as old as the world and as old as human passions — envy, fear, greed, ambition, and the desire to surpass. And it all avails nothing. If the leader truly leads, he remains — the leader.

You can see the actual ad with the full quote here.

Friday, December 20, 2013

No one has a right not to be offended

Jay Watts at the Life Training Institute blog has a great post reporting how he responded to someone who basically said she was offended that he would present a reasonable argument against abortion. Two quotes follow, which will hopefully encourage you to read the entire post.

Anytime someone disagrees with us and offers arguments for their position there are only a few options open to us in response. (1) We can quietly listen, consider their views, weigh the counter arguments, and decide they were wrong. (2) We can listen, consider, weigh, then decide we are wrong and adjust our beliefs appropriately. (3) We can listen, consider, weigh, and then decide that we simply lack sufficient information to come down on one side or the other. (4) We can offer counter arguments on the spot addressing the specific lines of evidence offered.


[W]hen some people say they are offended what they are really saying is that I’m upsetting them so I ought to stop talking…. I reject that all together. No one has a right not to be offended. Sometimes there are questions of such importance that we are compelled to engage in public discussion knowing that it will be upsetting to do so. Imagine how you would feel if someone suggested that you shouldn’t be allowed to argue for positions with which they disagree simply because they are incapable of controlling their emotions.

The entire post is well worth reading. It serves as a reminder that we are all too often “held hostage” by people’s feelings, emotions, and perceptions when discussing important issues. Obviously when a deeply-held belief is challenged, our first impulse is often to react emotionally rather than sensibly.

While Watts’ reply might not have been diplomatic, it was certainly appropriate to the situation.

HT: Tim Challies

Friday, December 13, 2013

Advent: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

—John 1:11–18, ESV

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Pentecostal in (General) Support of the Strange Fire Conference

A refreshingly candid post from Josiah Batten, a Pentecostal associate pastor at an IFCA church in Fairmont, WV in which he points out the value of the Strange Fire Conference. Here’s a sample— but the entire post is worth reading.

I recognize the value of unity, but a unity not grounded in and centered on the truth is merely a superficial unity. If we Pentecostals want John MacArthur to make distinctions when he calls out the Charismatic movement for its abuses, then maybe we should be the first ones making distinctions and calling out heresy and excess where we find it.

Reading this reminded me to not paint all continuationists (or indeed anyone) with the same brush. This author is humble and generous, and we probably agree on most things (theologically speaking).

I continue to be in awe at the many ways God brings glory to Himself.

Advent: for they loved the glory that comes from man

So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

“He has blinded their eyes
   and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
   and understand with their heart, and turn,
   and I would heal them.”

Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

(John 12:34-43, ESV)