Monday, February 25, 2008

Why a Bruised Reed?

Now that I have been blogging for a little while it may be a good idea to explain the title of this blog. Last year I read Richard Sibbes' TheBruised Reed and the work had a profound impact on my life in several ways.

1. It reminded me that I am a miserable sinner
2. It reminded me that Christ is a great Savior
3. It convicted me of my self-righteousness when
when I judge my brothers & sisters in Christ.
4. It humbled me and showed how deeply
rooted and pervasive pride is in my life.
5. It held out a great model of serving truth
with tenderness.
6. Sibbes uncovers and magnifies the work of Christ
in the gospel.

Like many young Calvinists I lack meekness, gentleness and humility and more than any other writer or book The Bruised Reed helped me see that my lack of gentleness is really pride and it is sinful. So, as a constant reminder to myself of the lessons the Lord taught me as I read Sibbes I have titled this blog A Bruised Reed and a Smoking Wick. This is not so much meant to be a tribute to Richard Sibbes as it is to be a reminder that I am a bruised reed and My Faith resembles a smoking wick much more than it does an actual flame. Matthew 12:20, Isaiah 42:3

Packer's Essay

I just finished reading J I Packer's introductory essay to the Death of Death in the Death of Christ by John Owen. I was reminded that there has always been controversy surrounding the doctrine of Christ's atonement. I received hope as I read; it is so easy for me to become discouraged with the many attacks on Biblical Christianity. Yet Packer reminded me that the truth of the gospel must be fought for in every generation and I should not be surprised to find some who wish to distort God's work of salvation to make it more palatable for man. Every one should read this essay and so I will whet your appetite with a few select quotes.

"A half-truth masquerading as the whole truth becomes a complete untruth. Thus, we appeal to men as if they all had the ability to receive Christ at any time; we speak of His redeeming work as if He had done no more by dying than make it possible for us to save ourselves by believing...and we depict the Father and the Son, not as sovereignly active in drawing sinners to themselves, but as waiting in quiet impotence 'at the door of our hearts' for us to let them in"

"For to Calvinism there is really only one point to be made in the field of soteriology: the point that God Saves sinners. God the Triune Jehovah, Father, Son, Spirit; three Persons working together in Sovereign wisdom, power and love to achieve the salvation of a chosen people"

"Where the Arminian says: 'I owe my election to my faith' the Calvinist says 'I owe my faith to my election.'"

"The Arminian will only say: 'I could not have gained my salvation without Calvary,' the Calvinist will say: 'Christ gained my salvation for me at Calvary.'"

"Christ did not win a hypothetical salvation for hypothetical believers"

Read the essay for yourself and you will be blessed by it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Jazz 101 with Wynton Marsalis

There is perhaps no greater trumpet player of our time than Wynton Marsalis. More than his ability to play the trumpet Marsalis is tireless in his efforts to expose a new generation to music. He is more than a trumpet player he is a great musician who loves music. Here he shows his love for early jazz.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Jazz 101 With The Jazz Messengers

Here are the Jazz Messengers playing Dizzy Gillespie's Night in Tunisia

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Theology & Doxology From Thomas Watson

For quite some time now I have been trying to read a theology book for at least 1half an hour of every day. By a theology book I don't mean a book that is theological; I am referring to a book who's main purpose is to teach theology. For example during this half-hour I have read chapters out of Wayne Grudem's Systematic, Louis Berkhof's Systematic, and sections from Calvin's Institutes of Christian Religion. Right now I am working through Thomas Watson's A Body of Divinity, which started out as sermons he preached on the Westminster Catechism. In many ways it is like a systematic theology though not technically one. I have been so blessed through my reading that I thought I would share some quotes from Watson.

"To glorify God is to have God-admiring thoughts; to esteem him most excellent, and search for diamonds in this rock only."

"A humble confession exalts God. How is God's free grace magnified in crowning those who deserve to be condemned!"

"In prayer we act like men; in praise we act like angels"

"God is perfect, the quintessence of good. He is sweetness in the flower....There is a certain sweetness about God's person which delights, nay, rather ravishes the soul."

"Obedience is an excellent way of commenting upon the Bible."

"If God be infinite, filling heaven and earth, see what a full portion the saints have; they have him for their portion who is infinite. His fullness is an infinite fullness; and he is infinitely sweet, as well as infinitely full."

"God's glory lies chiefly in his attributes, which are the several beams by which the divine nature shines forth."

"We are not elected for holiness, but to holiness"

I will post more as these are a sampling of the first 75 pages. I love the puritans because, better than anyone else, they understood the intersection that must take place between theology and worship (by worship I mean living in obedience to Christ Romans 12).

Monday, February 04, 2008

Why We Preach!

I found this little clip on the Together For the Gospel website. It is a great reminder for what is at stake in preaching. There is an earnestness that should be present in preaching because God killed his Son to pay his wrath for our sin. So when a preacher tells jokes or plays psycologist, or uses the pulpit for casual conversations he is making a mockery of what God has done for us. God sacrificed his son as an atonement for us. How dare we approach the gospel so lightly. And John Piper is the best prophet in our time to remind us of the call of the preacher.

Sorry about the fact that the sound is one or two seconds off. I had problems uploading it and now it has disappeared from the T4G website so I can't fix it.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

2008 Reading List

I have tried to set resolutions at the outset of the New Year and most years I have failed. I am attempting a new strategy for 2008. I have no resolutions (sorry Jonathan Edwards). However, I have set some goals. I like goals better than resolutions. Goals seemed to be measured on a scale whereas resolutions seem to be pass or fail. I have set as one of my goals to read about 27 books over the year. As a small measure of accountability I have posted this list on my blog and as I read books off my list I will post them to my completed books list. I think my goal for this year is reasonable I just need to read a little over 2 books a month.

Why place such an emphasis on reading? Well, there are many reasons; for starters the godliest men I know are all tireless readers and I want to be godly. Secondly, reading good books about God, theology, Christians of the past, and history are all ways of working at Philippians 4:8. I hope that God will use this discipline of reading for my own spiritual transformation this year.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Godly Men

I am currently reading volume 2 of Ian Murray’s biography of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. As I was reading a much quoted line from Robert Murray M'cheyne came into my head, “A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.” As I was reading this struck me as true about Lloyd-Jones. Even though is has been with Christ for now over 25 years Lloyd-Jones still speaks and convicts. One particular area in which Christ used Lloyd-Jones’s words to convict me is in the area of doctrinal differences. In a letter written to his daughter Elizabeth concerning the chapels at Oxford Martyn Lloyd-Jones quickly corrected Elizabeth’s thinking. It seems as though quite a few evangelical students at Oxford were critical of the hymns being sung during chapels. Some students were causing a stir and many did not attend the chapels for this reason. Elizabeth mentioned this in one of her letters and voiced her sympathies with this group. Her father was direct and concise in his correction:

“Your attitude is not one I can commend…Your duty is to show that your views and beliefs lead to a higher and finer type of Christian life and living. Then that will lead others to speak to you and to enquire as to your secret. To start a division on odd points and to raise difficulties especially in a matter like that of hymns seems to me to be the worst possible approach. It gives the impression that you are intolerant and that you regard yourselves as heresy hunters. Your duty it seems to me is to attend the services. If you find you cannot sing a hymn, just refrain from doing so.... You must beware of falling into what appears to be the common evangelical trap and snare namely an over-punctiliousness about matters that are relatively unimportant and a tendency to neglect more vital matters such as love and charity…”

I am perhaps more guilty than was Elizabeth in my attitudes concerning congregational singing. Though dead yet he speaks! I have rightfully fallen under his hand of correction. It seems as though M’cheyne’s comment rings true and God continues to use these men as weapons long after they have departed this earth.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Jazz 101 with Oscar Peterson

Just want to bring a little culture to the world. Here is a jazz great doing what he does best.

The Dangers of Pride

I have been reading CJ Mahaney's Book Humility for the second time and it is just as devastating this time around as it was the first. As I read chapter 2 I was meditating on the sinfulness of pride. In my reflection it occurred to me that the sin of pride is intimately connected with the sin of discontentment. For example, if I am asked a question that I am not sure of the answer I will answer anyway wanting the questioner to think I am smarter than I really am. This reveals my discontentment with my own intellect. I wish I were a genius and even more than that I fear that what I really want is to be omniscient. God however, has not made me a genius, in fact my intellect is quite average. Yet my pride and disconentment work together to tempt me to think I am greater than I really am. The root of the problem which Mahaney makes so well is that all pride is an attempt to displace God and rob him of his Glory. Lord keep me sensible of my sinnership; sink me deeper into penitence and self-abhorrence