Murray on reconciliation

"The essence of sin is to be against God and the liability of sin is no more adequately expressed than in the fact that God is, therefore, against us. The marvel of grace is that God removes this “against”. It is by and in “the reconciliation” that this is done. Hence no category is more basic to the gospel; it is essentially the message of the reconciliation (cf. II Cor. 5:18–20)."
- John Murray


owen on context

"And so usually doth it fall out, very unhappily, with men who think they see some peculiar opinion or persuasion in some singular text of Scripture, and will not bring their interpretations of it unto the analogy of faith, whereby they might see how contrary to the whole design and current of the word in other places."

- John Owen, Hebrews



I have recently been caused to reflect on the particular means human beings reflect the likeness of our Creator: this being the very practice of creating. I have had the joy of being able to make things for around our home out of scraps from work. I've been amazed at my utter excitement about the next project and my (sometimes ridiculous) pride over what I have made.

However, it recently occurred to me that I have been ignoring the true beauty of me being able to create ridiculous little objects. The true beauty is that THE Creator created me with the ability and desire to create (in a much  subordinate manner to His) and thereby having joy in the process by giving glory back to the Designer.

It goes without saying that the creating that we as finite beings do is vastly different from that of God - namely being that we create out of SOMETHING - recreating, if you will. Though our feeble attempts to bring about (re)creations from that which already has been, are trite and relatively inconsequential, they are apart of our privileged role and God-ordained task of imaging forth apart of who He is - THE Creating One.

We can create because He first created and because He breathed into man the breath of life, making man unique to the rest of His creation. I can only try to imagine the joy He feels to see His children, His beloved creations (and NEW creations) accurately and joyfully reflecting Him and likewise the pain to see the inverse.

May we glorify God in toiling in the toil that He has given us to toil in (creating Word documents, lasagna's, sermons, weed-free gardens, research papers), remembering that He gets the glory.


spurgeon on election

“I believe in the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that if God had not chosen me I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love.”

- Charles Spurgeon


a walk-in's perspective

Since being at Redeemer Community Church, it has given me the opportunity to observe how it departs from my own concept of a "traditional service" format. These differences are not things that I would consider as MAJOR issues but no doubt the format, method, and structure of a church service affect the desired ends of that time spent together - thus placing it on a level not warranting neglect.

Change is something that is not easy and frankly, not always necessary, and definitely not comfortable for most congregations - especially when tradition or familiarity is compromised. However, with a barely-3-year-old church plant, nonessential traditions can be abandon, rethought, and restructured fairly easily.

Most of these things I am about to list are those which I noticed on the very first Sunday that we visited. I thought it might be healthy for some to hear a little different approach from a fellow orthodox, Bible-believing, evangelical church. I claim no originality on RCC's part. I only intend to mention observed characteristics.

1) Corporate Reading of Scripture (in Unison)

Depending on the Sunday, there may be one or two of these during the service with the passages on the screen to be read aloud by all. It's a joy to be able to read Scripture on a corporate level with the body - all in unison.

2) Time for Private Confession of Sin

After we sing one or two songs the congregation is given an opportunity to confess sin to the Lord. This is a helpful reminder of who we are worshipping and our own unholiness. Shameful how I can forget my sinfulness so easily...

3) Time after the Sermon for Contemplation and Prayer

This is just a few minutes where the congregation, before they interact with one another and forget what they just heard, are given the opportunity to reflect on the truth just presented and how it is applicable in their own life. I'm amazed at how helpful this is - to have everything stop briefly to ponder the truth just brought before me.

4) Programs are not the Primary or Typical Means to Facilitating Discipleship

Discipleship and speaking the Word to one another are no doubt emphasized but encouraged to take place by the member's own initiation with each other - not the elders organizing a meeting or program. People don't have the luxury of relying on a title or involvement in a program to say they are involved in "ministry." Programs are not evil. But like any type of structure, it can distract from the primary purpose.

These are just a few observations - not criticism of those who depart from this in any way.


That thou mayest seek thy all in Me

Kim and I had the privilege of joining the local body in singing a most astounding hymn this last Sunday. "I Asked the Lord" is probably one of the oldest hymns still in circulation - I'm guessing - but I can't recall singing it on a previous occasion.I count it a privilege to have enjoyed it with God's people.

The Spirit used this rhythmic work of beauty to prick my soul and to remind my forgetful heart of how God works - above and beyond our level of knowledge and intellectual capacity. I am reminded of the folly of expecting sanctification - and life in general - to happen on my time-table and by the means I deem most appropriate.

"That thou mayest seek thy all in Me" is the answer that the Lord gives in the lyrics of the tune. Such is the desire of our loving Lord - that His children would run to no other source for satisfaction and fullfillment. May God continue to refine by means of the furnace as we trust in His unbending goodness, His ultimate sovereignty, and His never-failing ability to satisfy.

Read or listen (or both, both is good).

I Asked The Lord

1. I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace
Might more of His salvation know
And seek more earnestly His face

2. Twas He who taught me thus to pray
And He I trust has answered prayer
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair

3. I hoped that in some favored hour
At once He'd answer my request
And by His love's constraining power
Subdue my sins and give me rest

4. Instead of this He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart
And let the angry powers of Hell
Assault my soul in every part

5. Yea more with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Cast out my feelings, laid me low

6. Lord why is this, I trembling cried
Wilt Thou pursue thy worm to death?
"Tis in this way" The Lord replied
"I answer prayer for grace and faith"

7. "These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free
And break thy schemes of earthly joy
That thou mayest seek thy all in me,
That thou mayest seek thy all in me."

Props to @luggnut for (though unintended) topic suggestion.



I have been enjoying the reading of a couple of books before school begins (TODAY). One of these selected works has been one which I have heard a lot about but never taken the opportunity to experience -- that being C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters. It really is interesting to "listen-in" on the type of communication that could perhaps take place on a demonic level and I began to realize how easily we are distracted from the reason why we are on this earth - walking in obedience to His Word and proclaiming Christ until He returns.

"The attitude which you want to guard against is that in which temporary affairs are treated primarily as material for obedience. Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades, matter more to him than prayers and sacrament and charity, he is ours-- and the more "religious" (on those terms), the more securely ours."

Good things can so easily deter our eyes away from that which is the best and the reason for all those things.