Thursday, December 25, 2003

Big Government

Tonight's family devotion was taken from Isaiah 9:7. I focused on the fact that the kingdom of Christ is growing. It's larger than it was a 1,000 years ago, 10 years ago, and just last year. Larger still will it be next year and the years to come.

The kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever. (Rev 11:15)

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end--it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. (Hab 2:3)

It is a fact that the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea! (Hab 2:14)

Monday, December 22, 2003

Another working-mom

A secretary here returned to work today 6-weeks after her first child. She described how odd if felt to drop off the infant at a day-care with no one she knows. Of course, she was quickly reassured by the other working moms here that what she's feeling is "normal" and what she has done is fine. I doubt her salary even covers the expense of the day-care. I just don't understand.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

An Apology to the Elect yet to be Converted

To those who will one day name the name of Christ for the first time, on behalf of the saints in middle Georgia, I apologize.

I lament what you've seen of the church, especially those that have spent their life in this area. The churches, in general, have done a poor job representing what Christianity is. What you've experienced of American Christianity is more American than it is Christian. This is not the way it should be.

I'm sorry that the church wraps itself so much in the nation's flag; boasting over a president instead of grieving over its own leaders. I regret that all you've seen of its people is contentment in their knowledge of God and complacency with their lifestyles. You have yet to see a "Titus 2" older woman. Or a younger woman who is zealous to raise godly seed. You've yet to see a husband who washes his wife with the Word. You've yet to see youth with an undistracted devotion to the Lord.

But don't give up, not all churches are this way, not even here. Look hard, ask tough questions. While you can't find a healthy church, you can find one that is committed to becoming healthy.

Needless to say, the greatest apology is owed to the Bridegroom. We are blemished, spotted, and wrinkled. O Christ, wash us and make us glorious, for You are worthy of great reward.
And I Quote: "Military Men seldom seem inclined to religion..."

Matthew Henry expressing his surprise that soldiers asked John the Baptist, "What must we do?". (Luke 3:14)

Sunday, December 14, 2003

On Christmas:

Christmas is full of new wonders and insights this year.

Here's a summary of the preached Word from my pastor:
Just as the prophets of old, we should long for Christ. Approach advent from the Older Testament perspective. The prophet's "foreshortening" saw a complete coming of Christ where He fixes all things. We should long for this still. Christmas is as much about sin and judgment as it is about the Babe in the manger.

And from several articles in "Every Thought Captive" of the Highlands Study Center:
To celebrate Christmas only as a memorial is to be guilty in a manner not unlike those who believe the Lord's Supper is just a memorial. We most definitely are engaged in remembering a past event, but at the same time we are declaring that Christ is reigning and ruling now. We look forward with expectancy, hope, comfort and joy to a future event--the consummation of His kingdom.
In Response:

Here's my Pastor's response to Dr. Payton's teachings on the purpose of worship music (See previous post):

One of the items I believe is touched upon very well is the nature of style. Is style neutral or relative? I believe the answer has to be ‘No.’ Payton does a good job pointing this out with the Shine Jesus Shine/Sweet Caroline segment. For the church to be not conformed to the world, which is an explicit command, our music should not be conformed to the world either. It may be that the world would conform to the church’s music, which did happen in much of the baroque and classical period, but the converse must never be true. Unless one can say that there is nothing wrong with the pastor wearing a clown costume to the worship service, he cannot argue that style is neutral.

"Dr. Payton does an excellent job with this subject. It is very easy to criticize work you haven’t done. Still, I feel that something needs to be mentioned. I believe Dr. Payton grants undue weight to the Levitical tradition. I am, after all, a Calvinist, and we Calvinists agree whole-heartedly with Hebrews 7 (especially v. 18), that worship under the law (which was no doubt the Levitical tradition) is “weak and useless”. Maybe Calvin went too far to one direction, but Payton goes too far in the other. He has left Presbyterianism and become a Lutheran (literally), in spite of the fact that there are obvious Christological problems in Lutheran theology. Apparently he feels that historical worship practice is more important than biblical orthodoxy. I believe worship practice must grow out of biblical orthodoxy, not historical practice."