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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Night of the Meek

A night of the meek where the weak find wings
A night where the unlikely so mightily brings
True peace on and goodwill towards men
By turning the world upside down -
God covered in skin

Through blood and water
Comes the only consolation
For all of our shortcomings, sin and frustrations
Freedom for the nations
Which at once would be lost
If the Son of Man had not come
And leveled the cost

Meek and mild He came
Born of a virgin mother
Chosen to the task because the Father saw fit
That she had known no other
So that a lowly carpenter
Who could barely meet ends
Would become caretaker
Of the One in whom all ends meet
And would hold him in his hands

For the shepherds who were barely trusted
To care for a flock
Are now the first to hear the news
Of how redemption is sought
As kings from the east now make it their work
To lay gifts at the feet of a Prince
Who will never clamor for worth

For He is worthy...

I AM in a manger means we're no longer estranged
As far as the curse is found
Christ has engaged us

Lift every voice to sing
"Merry Christmas, everyone
The Meek has inherited the earth

Soli Deo Gloria,

Posted via email from THE CENTER (ROOM 116)

Monday, November 07, 2011

Like It Or Not...

Whether you like it or not

This life is not all about you
It doesn't matter how much money you’ve got
Or all the chicks that are on your jock, dude
And it doesn’t matter
If you’re “stackin’ that paper to the ceilin'”
Because when they put you in that pine box
That's the beginning of your end, see
Or better yet
Let's just call it the next verse
You’ll be crossed over like John Edward
When they put you in that hearse
And now they’re singin’ sad songs
Thought you'd be dead and gone
But you can’t ever die dead enough
Because eternity is just way too long

So whether you like it or not
I’ve gotta spit some of this truth to you:
You really don’t think those dollars gonna mean a thing
When it comes to your end, do you?

Like PRo said:
"This is court, but your money matters hardly;
You can ball, but never get a trophy, similar to Barkley."

Man, if you that’s a real hard way to speak
It‘s nothing compared to hard words
When the Lord is speaking from the Judgment Seat
Life after death was no “Biggie”
Until He opened the Book of Life and took a spiritual audit
Now you’re “Leo DiCaprio”; so say hello to the duly departed

Matthew 7:21-23, 16:26, 25:31-46; Luke 12:16-21; Philippians 3:8; Hebrews 9:27-28; Revelation 20:11-15

Soli Deo Gloria,

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Evangel-Lies: Prophets of Profit

This is the sort of thing that makes me physically ill...the sort of thing that gets exported from America as "Gospel" (not all of the time, but unfortunately it is the majority report). Men like this turn the truth of God into a spectacle for their own gain, and never blink twice. Remember that Jesus saves FROM the "American Dream". In the words of Lecrae: "God is the Gospel, not a new Bentley..."
Nigerian Fake Pastors and Church Business Exposed from Maku Zikya on Vimeo.

Friday, October 21, 2011

All By Myself (An Honest Assesment)

By myself, I'm nothing more than a spiritual fool; feeding on opiates and anything else I can use to quell the stir of echoes that I hear in my head...whatever I can use to convince myself that I'm not dead.

Dead to the world; sleepwalk it off. I lose myself in every moment -- never do what I ought. Since no conscience abides, I lay law to the side. Now the throttle's wide open for one hell of a ride...

Because who needs brakes when you've got a wall? No guts, no glory. Which way does Niagra fall? In a barrel with no hesitation...I'm not just looking to make name, but to be the main presentation...

ALL BY MYSELF -- a vain beast in the kingdom of animals; food, sex and shelter is all I wanna get a handle on. All the rest is gone -- succor for the masses that need faith, hope, love...and green lawns.

Psalm 14:1; Proverbs 24:16, 27:20; Romans 1:18-25 

Posted via email from THE CENTER (ROOM 116)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blind, Crippled & Crazy...For Her: The Hard Truth About Lust

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
(Matthew 5:27-30 ESV)


"Look, but don't touch."

This seems to be the common suggestion given these days as a way to handle lust. If you can pull this off, it supposedly demonstrates a heightened ability of self-control. You hear it all the time; "I love my wife, but it doesn't hurt to look every now and again". As long as you don't "sample the merchandise", you're golden. The ladies aren't exempt from this either. But, what is even sadder is when I hear a married woman say something to the effect of how she doesn't mind if here husband looks - as long as he doesn't cheat - because he's gonna look anyway. The only thought that runs through my mind when I hear someone say that is, "you're lying". This is the answer you get because they've just settled for having someone there, but not really having their heart. This begs the question: Is it really worth having at all? Should we not expect a higher standard of the person who has vowed to spend the rest of our lives with? And if you're single, there's no magic switch for turning off the emotions of lust. While, indeed, you have more liberty in your life than say one who is in a marraige, that liberty cannot be abused. Making a habit of lusting will become just that - a habit. If you continue to give way to it, you will reap its harvest. It won't just go away even after you've entered into marraige because you've made a career out of not being faithful with your eyes (and now the heart wants to follow).

As we have seen from the Scriptures, looking is adultery, which makes it grounds for divorce (Matt. 5:31-32). To make lame excuses for looking in a society where we are bombarded with images and words that seek to do nothing but provoke our lustful desires, we must remember that the bond between a man and woman is as much spiritual as it is physical. So, the best way to combat this is not to resolve to use mere behavior modification tactics to curb destructive and corrosive behavior. After all, an alcoholic is still an alcoholic even if he's trapped on a desert island with no where for miles to buy a beer. Christ gives us the gory anlogy of ripping and tearing off limbs and body parts (not to be taken literally, of course) in Matt. 5:29-30 of our passage. The point of the gruesome imagery is this: TRUE LOVE CARRIES WITH IT A VISCERAL HOSTILITY TOWARDS ALL IMPOSTERS.

In other words, if we are truly compelled by the love of Christ, then we will listen to his words. And in turn this will carry over into a steadfast vigilance and zeal for our significant others (Song of Solomon 8:6). If you are in a commited relationship, you shouldn't get all geeked up off of the fact someone else is trying to make a move on you or is consistent in their blatant disregard for that bond. It should make you angry. Mind you, I'm not telling you to drill someone in the face for making a pass at you, but you should say or do something. Because if you don't take the proper measures, the second you begin to mildly entertain any sort "flirting", you've already stepped into the realm of marital unfaithfulness. The true enemy in adultery is my "inner-me". So all vigilance first and foremost must be turned on the fleshly desire to give in to temptation to throw discernment and caution to the wind.

Here's an illustration-- 

Say you and your wife have an argument. Okay, sure. It happens. But, let's say also that while you and your wife are having issues, a young attractive female at work (who you already know has a "thing" for you) becomes your sounding board. She becomes your encourager. Now, the next time you get into it with your wife, the first thing you think is, "I bet ___ from work would never think that way about me...". And there you are on a downward spiral toward infidelity and spiritual destruction -- all because you failed to (as Steven Lawson would put it) hear the hiss of the serpent in the statement.

For us to understand these principles clearly, our minds and hearts must be renewed from this fallen world. We must take every thought captive to the Word until it is brought under submission to it. There is not a soul with a half a bit of sanity who thinks that they can go knocking on Potiphar's door (cf. Genesis 39) and expect to make an escape from the snare the awaits them. Lust is a drowning machine; the deeper you wade into the current, the more it pulls you under. Lust is a liar. It promises you everything you could possibly want, but never truly delivers. Lust is a thief. All the while it's showing you "the goods", while robbing you of your own. Lust is a deciever. It disguises itself as passion, yet is as promiscuous as ever. Lust is a killer. It murders you from the inside out.

But you can't blame her really. The girl can't help it. She's just like her dad (John 8:44, 2 Cor. 11:14)...


"Now if I listen to this radio, then I might have to split open a swisher and fill it wit green pine--and if I listen to this TV, then you would catch me chasin' plenty chicks 'cause homie, they fine--but I DDT my mind, put my flesh in a figure 4--yeah, sometimes I fall, but this right here ain't gone kill me though--even if I have to be a blind amputee I promise that my Father here is purgin' me of all of my impurity--Bang on 'em! Bang on 'em! Go hard, Father! Reign on 'em! Reign on 'em! Show you God--'Cause every time I slow up, that's when my Father show up--make way for an escape and I'm right back scrappin' like, 'What up?!'--Tell my TV to shut up--what you sellin', I don't want it--hide that Word inside my heart--Ron Artest, gon' and guard it--So I don't want yo goodies, baby--you can keep yo cookies, baby--I know they got M&M's, but this road I'm on is slim 'n' shady."  - PRo (Covenant Eyes)

Proverbs 5:1-23; 6:20-34; 7:6-27; 9:13-18


Soli Deo Gloria,


Posted via email from THE CENTER (ROOM 116)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Workin' For A Livin': Daily Bread That Is Needed Daily

"Jesus came not to give bread, but to be bread."  - John Piper

Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
(John 6:28-33 ESV)

The work of first and most importance in the life of the Christian is that of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Then, and only then, can any other good works pleasing to God be accomplished. This work, it should be noted, is not one that we accomplish in and of ourselves as we see later in the passage; it is accomplished completely apart from us as an act of mercy by a benevolent God (John 6:44). The work that is done by human means is important (2 Thess. 3:6-15), but the true work that ultimately gives life is not accomplished by us. Our work is just as terminal and finite as we are (Genesis 3:19). But, Christ is eternal, and therefore the work that he accomplishes is eternal as well.

Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,

and whose sins are covered;

blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

(Romans 4:4-8 ESV)
Believing in the One who God has sent is referred to as doing the work of God. As we learn in Romans 9:14-18, human will and exertion are not enough to save us from the wrath of God. The offense of sin is judged by the magnitude of the one for whom it has offended. God is eternal; so, in order to be redeemed from our fallen state, we must be saved by a state of the same measure (John 17:1-26; Galatians 6:7-10; Ephesians 2:1-10)

Soli Deo Gloria,

Friday, September 16, 2011

Old Post, New Life: I'm Not American...I'm...Kuyperian?!

I originally posted this article on January 24, 2006. However, due to recent discussions and developments in our current politcal climate (on both sides), I thought this would be a good time restate some things of first importance on the political matters at hand, as well as try to help shed whatever light that I can gather on the subject to bring these thing to there much deserved place at the forefront of our hearts and minds. Grace and peace...


"Do not bury our glorious orthodoxy in the pit of spurious conservatism." ~ Abraham Kuyper (Dutch Theologian, Statesman, Journalist and Prime Minister of The Netherlands)

Jesus Christ is not running for office in 2008. Regardless, of what the conservative religious right might lead you to believe, it just won't happen.

There is an ever-persistent trend of late by many conservative Church congregations to try and "politicize" the Gospel. That is to say, that if we can censure and monitor every aspect of our society under the auspices of Christian principles (or as the "fundamentalists" like to call it, "returning to our roots"), then America would be a better place - and don't forget to vote Republican. This, as one writer put it, is a two-thousand year old Galatian error.

I can't tell you how many times I've recently had conversations with people who believe this way. They are thoroughly convinced that if we put prayer back in schools and keep the ten commandments in front of the courthouses, viola--problems solved. These are noble intentions, but there are far-reaching consequences of this sort of logic that are not being considered by those that hold this view. So, I want to pose the same question that I asked of a friend of mine who happens to be in this school of thought:

If the Law of God couldn't make the Israelites any better, then what makes you think that making the Bible the "Law" in America would make us as a nation any less corrupt?

And here in lies the controversy of this movement known as Christian Reconstruction. But as it has been stated before, religion and politics don't mix. Never more clearly can it be seen than when one takes a long hard look at the misguided (although, well-meaning) plan of "reconstruction". If carried out to fruition, this movement would only subvert and distort the truth of the Gospel. The reasons can be seen in the following conclusions:

1. The Church stops focusing on evangelism (the salvation of souls) and begins to focus on political hot-button issues and agendas.

It has become a trendy thing to turn Sunday Morning sermons into political rallies. I'm not saying that certain societal woes should not be dealt with on Sundays, but it needs to remain in its context. Pastors should be about the business of shepherding the flock; teaching the congregation in accordance to the Word of God is the way to help them keep in step with the Holy Spirit. Inviting your favorite politician to give a speech on how and who to vote for will only cause a tension (unnecessarily, I might add) between the Church and the rest of the world. It becomes "us" against "them". But isn't it "them" that we are seeking to save? There is also the lingering danger of seriously dividing the Body of Christ over non-essential issues. I have seen it time and again; if a fellow brother or sister in the Church doesn't vote on the right side of the political party line, he or she is considered a heretic! This is the same sort of muddle-headed thinking that brought about the Salem witch hunts. If sound doctrine is in place, discernment will follow.

2. The separation of Church and State is perilously blurred.

By this, I mean that the Church seeks to usurp the power of the government and strong-arm people in to "right living". This is not evangelism, it's nothing more than behavior modification. We are never to force anyone to believe what the Church believes. We are simply to proclaim the Gospel of Christ and allow the Spirit to change the hearts and minds of those that hear. Trying to force the issue will bring about ghastly consequences. For example, most people want to have prayer put back in schools. Okay, fine. But if you're a Christian, what is stopping you from praying? It is a right that no one can take away from you. Why would you want to force someone to pray who may not even worship in the same manner as yourself? That's false worship. God finds no glory in it. I expect the non-believer to not want to see the Ten Commandments in front of the courthouses, I expect atheists to want to take "God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance. Abortion will be accepted, Gay marriage will pass, etc., etc. The light of the truth is not in them. Christianity as a federal law will ultimately fail, due to the fact that it skews the purpose of the Gospel. The Church becomes the Pharisaic and intrusive. How exactly does one legislate policies against the Sin? The heart of man is the heart of the problem. Christians obey the law of God because they have been given a "new heart". We live the way we do because the love of Christ compels us. Trying to force those who have yet to be (or who never will be) quickened by the the grace of God through the spirit would be the equivalent to Jesus grabbing the rich young ruler in a headlock and forcing him to follow. There's no love in it. No true Christian is ever saved in this manner, so why would we expect anyone else to be any different?

My major concern in all of this is the enthusiasm and fervency with which some fellow Christians hold to this view (in reformed and non-reformed circles). If carried out, this sort of mindset snuffs out the great commission. Christians do not conquer through military or political might, but through the love and sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Anything else makes for sloppy evangelism until it all eventually boils down to elephants and asses: Christians becoming fat and lazy in their spiritual lives hiding behind the guise of "political correctness" and "conservatism" while holding grudges against those who aren't like them, forgetting that we too used to be stubborn mules lost in the darkness. Much like fascism and communism, two bad ideologies on opposite ends of the spectrum come full circle to make an even worse situation than the one that you had before. The truths of our religious beliefs are tainted and have become a leveraging tool for election strategies. A vivid illustration of this could be seen in the comment that a political analyst made after the democratic party lost the last election: "the democrats need to get 'born again'". This statement turns the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in to a farce.

It is time for Christians to check their allegiances. Christ shows no partiality to any man, political party, or country. In the imitation of our Lord and Savior, we should do likewise. That being said, none of this is written to discourage individual Christians from taking up political causes or even hold political offices. By all means, if God permits, we should take the opportunity. However, I think that the Church trying to become an empirical legislative branch of the government is a grave error. It is trading away the liberties that we are granted as individual living stones which are free to go out into the world and seek the lost, for becoming a solid concrete entity which will eventually stunt the growth of the Church altogether. It also causes us to run the risk of being at odds with scripture on the way we should view the civil magistrates and government officials of our country. We are to submit to them, because they have been ordained by God's providential hand (regardless of how we may feel about them personally). They are there for our protection and we should pay them the respect and honor due to the office in which they hold - whether we voted for them or not!!! When they overstep their boundaries and begin to rule willingly up and against the Kingdom of Heaven, Christian citizens may rightly come together and make their voice heard as is our right. We must learn to use separation of Church and State for its proper purpose and advantage, not to our own undoing. The church and the state alike both have an obligation to wield their respective swords responsibly (the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God in the church and the sword of wrath in government) .

I don't see Christians as conservative or liberal. I definitely don't see them as republicans or democrats. We are either biblical or unbiblical - discerning or indiscretion - in the world or of the world. These are the lines in the sand that must be drawn. Any neutrality in these areas, or granting priority to party or politician, is a vote against Christ.
As J.I. Packer summarizes:
"The Church's sphere of authority relates to the civil gorvernment at the level of morality. The church has the responsibility to comment on the morality of governments and their policies on the basis of God's word, but should not appropriate to itself the power to set such policies. Whereas these assessments may foster political action among Christians, they should act in their capacity as citizens rather than as a representatives of the church. In this way the gospel works through moral persuasion and the working of God's grace among citizens."

"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,' and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." ~Romans 13:1-10 (ESV)

"Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor." ~1 Peter 2:13-17 (ESV)

Soli Deo Gloria,



Posted via email from THE CENTER (ROOM 116)

"The Good Shepherd": Perseverance (and Preservation) In the Atoning Work of Christ

"Believing doesn't make you a part of His flock; being a part of His flock allows you to believe." - John Piper
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
(John 10:7-18 ESV)

The definite redemption of the saints is in view here; it is not only definite, but also universal. Jesus came not to save some particular type of people, but a particular people made of every tribe, tongue, and nation (Revelation 5:9-10). Also to be noted, if you are in Christ, you cannot fall away, because as his sheep we only hear His voice and no other. By his atoning work on the cross, he seals them, thereby they are unable to fall away from their faith in an ultimate sense...
If these words of Christ don't bring confidence to the life of Christian faith and the assurance of salvation, I don't think that anything would (John 17:12; Jude 24).

Soli Deo Gloria,

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Why “Let Go and Let God” Is a Bad Idea

What is “let-go-and-let-God” theology? It’s called Keswick theology, and it’s one of the most significant strands of second-blessing theology. It assumes that Christians experience two “blessings.” The first is getting “saved,” and the second is getting serious. The change is dramatic: from a defeated life to a victorious life; from a lower life to a higher life; from a shallow life to a deeper life; from a fruitless life to a more abundant life; from being “carnal” to being “spiritual”; and from merely having Jesus as your Savior to making Jesus your Master. People experience this second blessing through surrender and faith: “Let go and let God.”

Keswick theology comes from the early Keswick movement. Keswick (pronounced KE H-zick) is a small town in the scenic Lake District of northwest England. Since 1875, it has hosted a weeklong meeting in July for the Keswick Convention. The movement’s first generation (about 1875– 1920) epitomized what we still call “Keswick theology” today.

People who influenced Keswick theology include John Wesley, Charles Finney, and Hannah Whitall Smith. Significant proponents of Keswick theology include Evan H. Hopkins (Keswick’s formative theologian), H. Moule (Keswick’s scholar and best theologian), F. B. Meyer (Keswick’s international ambassador), Andrew Murray (Keswick’s foremost devotional author), J. Hudson Taylor and Amy Carmichael (Keswick’s foremost missionaries), Frances Havergal (Keswick’s hymnist), and W. H. Griffith Thomas, and Robert C. McQuilkin (leaders of the victorious life movement). People who were influenced by Keswick theology include leaders of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (A. B. Simpson), Moody Bible Institute (D. L. Moody and R. A. Torrey), and Dallas Seminary (Lewis Chafer and Charles Ryrie).

Beginning in the 1920s, the Keswick Convention’s view of sanctification began to shift from the view promoted by the leaders of the early convention. William Scroggie (1877– 1958) led that transformation to a view of sanctification closer to the Reformed view. The official Keswick Convention that now hosts the annual Keswick conferences holds a Reformed view of sanctification and invites speakers who are confessionally reformed.

Keswick theology is pervasive because countless people have propagated it in so many ways, especially in sermons and devotional writings. It is appealing because Christians struggle with sin and want to be victorious in that struggle now. Keswick theology offers a quick fix, and its shortcut to instant victory appeals to genuine longings for holiness.

Keswick theology, however, is not biblically sound. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

1. Disjunction: It creates two categories of Christians. This is the fundamental, linchpin issue.
2. Perfectionism: It portrays a shallow and incomplete view of sin in the Christian life.
3. Quietism: It tends to emphasize passivity, not activity.
4. Pelagianism: It tends to portray the Christian’s free will as autonomously starting and stopping sanctification.
5. Methodology: It tends to use superficial formulas for instantaneous sanctification.
6. Impossibility: It tends to result in disillusionment and frustration for the “have-nots.”
7. Spin: It tends to misinterpret personal experiences.

You can tell that Keswick theology has influenced people when you hear a Christian “testimony” like this: “I was saved when I was eight years old, and I surrendered to Christ when I was seventeen.”

By “saved,” they mean that Jesus became their Savior and that they became a Christian. By “surrendered,” they mean that they gave full control of their lives to Jesus as their Master, yielded to do whatever He wanted them to do, and “dedicated” themselves through surrender and faith. That two-tiered view of the Christian life is let-go-and-let-God theology.

The Keswick Convention commendably emphasized personal holiness and left a legacy of Christian service, but holy and fruitful living by no means distinguishes Keswick theology from other views. All of the major views on sanctification have adherents who are exemplary, inspiring Christians, and disagreeing with a particular view of sanctification in no way questions the devotion to Christ of those who hold that view.

We shouldn’t determine our view of sanctification by counting up who we perceive to be the most holy Christians and seeing which view has the most. Scripture, and Scripture alone, must determine our view of sanctification.

As John Murray reminds us, “The cause neither of truth nor of love is promoted by suppressing warranted criticism.” Constructively criticizing a faulty view of sanctification can actually advance the cause of truth and love.


by Andrew Naselli

Posted via email from THE CENTER (ROOM 116)

Monday, July 04, 2011

Free Indeed: Mr. Puritan Goes on the "O" Show (Pt. 2)

It's been a long time comin'...but the newest installment is finally in.

Mr. Puritan is back at it on the Oprah Winfrey Network, sharing his biblical worldview on the freedom of the will, regeneration and what true liberation looks like and how we are to properly attain it; our liberty is totally dependent on the sovereignty and mercy of a gracious God. And now for your viewing pleasure...

Soli Deo Gloria,


Posted via email from THE CENTER (ROOM 116)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

THE END IS NEAR...again?!

I originally posted this on January 11, 2006 because I knew this day would come (pun intended).
But on a serious note, people being misled by false prophecies and teaching is a serious matter, and I pray that this helps to shed some light on why it is so important to use discretion in what we listen to or read on such matters; and also that we remember to let the Scriptures themselves be our guide and final word on how eschatological (end-times/last things) matters will take place. Forget what you've heard...read THE Word.

"If the world were to end tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree."
-Martin Luther
It never fails. Something catastrophic happens, particularly in the Middle East, and some prophecy "expert" comes running out of the woodwork screaming "Bloody Armageddon". The reason that history seems to be repeating is because people don't pay attention to it. The present generation of the time always has an air of arrogance about itself; they want to believe with all their might that they are way more corrupt than the previous generations. "Those guys were amateurs, but we are the real deal! Rotten to the core!" This may sound like a ludicrous sentiment, but this is really what it amounts to (of course, it is phrased a little differently).

Every generation has had it's share of catastrophes; bad ones, too. They happen all over the world. However, we in the west seem to have a particular "itis" for this kind of thing; Apocalypse-itis, if you will. The danger of becoming too consumed with "The End" is roughly two fold:

1. Falling into the trap of clock watching and date setting.
This is inevitable. Have you ever stopped to watch a clock for one minute? That minute seems like an eternity. And when that minute comes and goes, what do you have to show for it? A minute lost. Nothing is gained in that minute because you stopped to watch it go by. You'll never get it back again. The same thing happens when we stop to watch the "prophetic clock" as well. Yes, we are supposed to be watchful, but this is pushing it far beyond its rational conclusion. We are also to be sober-minded.

This is the first step into our second and most appalling error:

2. Forgetting to spread the Gospel !!

Instead of being productive by being about the business of spreading the Gospel (which is the purpose of the Church in the world), we withdraw into ourselves waiting to make a "great escape"; To hell with everyone else - literally. Knowing the end could come at any moment should further strengthen our resolve to share Christ with the lost, not cause us to abandon our post.

Don't get me wrong, I anxiously await the return of the Lord as much as any Christian. But as long as we are on this earth, first and foremost, we should be engaged in fulfilling the Great Commission. It's not our job to concern ourselves with how and when the end will come. God has graciously given us plenty to keep us occupied. But just in case you do start to feel a little jittery, here's what you can do to take your mind off your worries:

Share Christ with someone. Then, go plant an apple tree.

"While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease."
-Genesis 8:22 (ESV)

"When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him."
-Deuteronomy 18:22 (ESV)

"The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of the law."
-Deuteronomy 29:29 (ESV)

"But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but the Father only...Therefore you also must be ready for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
-Matthew 24:36,44 (ESV)

Soli Deo Gloria,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

...Against Such Things There Is No Law: What I Know About Love (pt. 2)

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 ESV)

But, are we truly free to marry whoever we love?
“Love is not a legal category. Love has never been a legal category. If you think that love makes a family, then what does it mean when a man decides he no longer loves his wife, he no longer loves his children, and he wants to walk out and never pay child support again? After all, ‘It’s love that makes a family’; why should he be forced to pay child support? It doesn’t make any sense to use love as a binding legal category. Besides, would you really want the government inquiring about who loves who? And also, there are plenty of loving relationships that are based on love that we would never even think about having marriage around…so you love your child, you love your sister, you love your best friend. But that’s not a marriage; nobody believes for a moment that that’s a fitting relationship for a marriage. So, what kind of love are we talking about, and in the end, what is the social purpose of marriage? If all marriage is supposed to do is affirm people who love one another, then we need to ask ourselves why do we need marriage in the first place? And the answer is we don’t need marriage if that’s its only purpose! We need marriage for completely different purposes that the advocates of same-sex marriage never want to even think about.” – Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

In short, what we need to remember this: Marriage is the safeguard for love, not the other way around...

Soli Deo Gloria,

Monday, February 14, 2011

What I "Know" About Love

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." - 1 Corinthians 13:12

The "know" here is not speaking of mere head-knowledge or intellectual ascent ; in fact, it is a different word in the greek ('epignosimai' rather than 'ginosko') - here, Paul is speaking of "know" in the most intimate of context (much like Adam "knew" Eve - Genesis 4:1). So the literal translation would actually read more, "...we will love intimately as we have fully been loved intimately". When understood in context, it sheds much needed light on this passage; everything that we do now, including love, is done "in part" (incomplete). It is this way until the maturation process is completed in the return of Christ. At that point, all other things, save love (1 Corinthians 13:8), will cease because the culmination of God's love for his creation will be fully comprehended. The reason for the ceasing of things like prophecy and tongues is because their purpose will be terminated by the presence of the One in whom they point to...all that will be left is Love unsurpassed and unhindered in the ultimate of intimacy: face to face fellowship everlasting with the Godhead.

Talk about a Valentine's Day...

Soli Deo Gloria,

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Robert Frost on Fire and Ice - Desiring God

Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Robert Frost died on this day in 1963. The one poem of his that I ever memorized was “Fire and Ice.” This is powerful cadence and rhyme. It gets depravity right.

I think some preachers should ponder what they have to say long enough that sometimes they talk like this.

Fire and Ice
By Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Powerful...ponder it.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Posted via email from THE CENTER (ROOM 116)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Independence Mirage

photo by Paul Gallo

I was speaking to a group of high school kids. Several of them had been to our house. Petey was a gamer. He had been over at our house when I broke out a couple of paint ball guns and paired everyone off in duels with a single paintball each. It was awesome.

Anyway, I wanted to make a point about how dependant a human being is. I called Petey to the front. I told him I was going to put him in a chair and get him in a rear naked choke. I had been watching a lot of MMA (mixed martial arts). I realize it is not very pastoral. A rear naked choke is a hold that cuts off the air supply until your opponent must “tap out” or black out. I told Petey just to tap out when he needed to. I put a towel over his head so the class couldn’t see his face and got him in the hold.

He lasted longer than I thought and then tapped. I didn’t let go. My idea was to have him panic and struggle and show that a human being when deprived of something he is dependent on will do almost anything to get it. It was going to be a brilliant point. Petey tapped, waited and tapped again with a little more urgency. I held fast waiting for the struggle I knew Petey was capable of. Instead Petey put his arms at his side and stopped struggling. I released him and took the towel off. I asked, “Petey, why didn’t you struggle?” He said, “ I figured you weren’t letting me go for a reason so I just decided to wait to black out.” I told you Petey was a gamer. The school hasn’t asked me back.

My real point is this. It is comical that human beings even talk about independence. God made us so we need to eat every few hours. We need to drink almost hourly. We can only live minutes without air (unless you are Petey and you are willing to take it to the mat). God made us so that every 5 seconds we would be reminded we are dependent beings. Who gives us air and water and food? Where does it all come from?

I don’t know what we are going to do in heaven but sometimes I dream of God setting me loose to create my own little world. I know I would make some fundamental error. I would create a world where all the creatures would eat the same kind of food. All my creatures would live approximately 4 days before all the food on the planet would be gone and my poor little guys would begin to drop over one by one. God would come by and look at me, smile the smile you smile when you like someone a lot but they are just not that bright. He would then fold up my world into a lump of clay and hand it to me to start over.

The idea that everyone on this planet is breathing and drinking and eating is just astounding. And we have the audacity to think there is such a thing as being independent. It makes God smile that smile again.



Being a submission grappler, I had to re-post this...great stuff!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Posted via email from THE CENTER (ROOM 116)

Monday, January 03, 2011

Silencing the Haters; Silencing the Devil...

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 ESV)


Posted via email from THE CENTER (ROOM 116)

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