Friday, February 29, 2008

John Piper on the Prosperity Gospel

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tim Keller on Small Groups

"If you're not in a small group, you're not in the church." How mobile our society has become! Fewer and fewer people live in a region in which they have been born and raised and that is filled with networks of their family, relatives, and long-time friends. But both church leaders and church members often expect that care and nurture will happen through informal, word-of-mouth communication and unplanned relationships between (usually) pastors and parishioners. It took us nearly two years to realize that the traditional approach can't work in a city. It is through a network of 'cells'--small group fellowships--that we can nurture and care for one another. Soon I began to warn people: "If you are a member or regular attender at Redeemer, and you have a spiritual problem, or you get sick, or you have some kind of acute need in your life--we certainly will try to help. But if you are not in a group and we are slow to respond, you don't really have a warrant to complain. It is through small groups that we can provide care and opportunities through learning, and it is through the groups that we know quickly if you have a need the Body can meet. So--practically speaking--if you aren't in a small group, you aren't fully in the church."

Monday, February 18, 2008

More Pictures from the blast.

Alon, USA

If you haven't heard the news, an oil refinery called Alon, USA exploded this morning in my hometown of Big Spring, TX. I have never experienced anything like it. Here's how it went down...

I arrived at my office at 8 AM this morning. At 8:20 I was getting ready to go teach my Substance Abuse class when I felt the blast. I was sitting at my computer about to check my email and then it sounded and felt like a bomb went off on the compound that I was at. It's hard for me to describe it, but dust started falling from the ceiling. After a couple seconds of just sitting there wondering what the heck happened I went and looked outside towards the oil refinery on the East side of town and saw a huge mushroom-looking cloud starting to form. I immediately went back to my office and called my wife because she was at our house which is about 1-2 miles away. To give some perspective, my office is about 10 miles away from the refinery on the opposite side of town. Amber answered the phone and said that everything was okay, but that she was definitely startled. She said that the glasses on our window seal in the kitchen fell off and that the bed shook pretty dramatically. Our dog in the backyard was cowering under some bushes and whimpering. Amber got our daughter (and dog) and we went to my parents' house in Ackerly, TX about 30 miles North of town. I am now back in my office.

To give an overall picture of the damage...

Some buildings downtown (~2 miles away) had all of the windows blown out. One person was injured that was driving on I-20 right beside the plant when it exploded. 4 Alon employees were injured. One person's house near the refinery had the front door and door frame blown off. And now for the miracle: THERE WERE NO DEATHS! If you were here you would understand how insane that is. The gracious providence of God manifested itself today. First off, it is President's Day so 50% of the employees (out of ~170) were not even there. Second, only part of the plant exploded. Had it been the entire thing I don't think I would be here to type this... no joke. Apparently, someone realized that their was a gas leak and immediately told the workers. As soon as they heard they started running and got all the way to the parking lot before it exploded. The blast threw them all to the ground and sent nails into cars and tires. One person was sent to Lubbock with 2nd and 3rd degree burns. Please pray for the families of those that were injured. The fire is now contained and there is still a HUGE pillar of black smoke rising from the site. I do not want to experience anything like that again. I know several people that work there, including a very good friend, our landlord, the father of my best friend when I was little, and a couple of people that go to church with my parents. To the best of my knowledge all are okay. If anything else in this town explodes I'll let you know. peace.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Resources @

I just found out that has put together a "Puritan Library". I can't believe the amount of ENTIRE books and complete works that are on here to read online for free. Click here to check it out.

Jonathan Edwards on Trials

God tries the graces of his people by their persecutions, that the truth and power of his grace in them may appear to his own glory, both before men, angels and devils. One end is that by such a discovery of the truth and strength of their faith and love, he may as it were triumph over Satan; and make him to see what a victory is obtained over him, by so rescuing those souls that were once his captives from his power; and convince him of the real success of his design of redeeming and sanctifying souls - notwithstanding all that he had done to [them], whereby he thought he had utterly ruined mankind, and put them past the possibility of cure. For this end God tried Job. God gloried in Job as a perfect and an upright man, that did good and eschewed evil [Job 1:8]. Satan don't own the truth of it, but charges that Job was a hypocrite, and his service mercenary. But God tries Job with grievous affliction for Satan's conviction. So it is in the church in general, their trials being for Satan's conviction...

Jonathan Edwards
Entry 52 in 'Notes on the Apocalypse'
Quoted from Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography by I. Murray, p. 352

Friday, February 08, 2008

Mission Accomplished

Mission Accomplished
written by shai linne

Verse 1
Here’s a controversial subject that tends to divide
For years it’s had Christians lining up on both sides
By God’s grace, I’ll address this without pride
The question concerns those for whom Christ died
Was He trying to save everybody worldwide?
Was He trying to make the entire world His Bride?
Does man’s unbelief keep the Savior’s hands tied?
Biblically, each of these must be denied
It’s true, Jesus gave up His life for His Bride
But His Bride is the elect, to whom His death is applied
If on judgment day, you see that you can’t hide
And because of your sin, God’s wrath on you abides
And hell is the place you eternally reside
That means your wrath from God hasn’t been satisfied
But we believe His mission was accomplished when He died
But how the cross relates to those in hell?
Well, they be saying:

Lord knows He tried (8x)

Verse 2
Father, Son and Spirit: three and yet one
Working as a unit to get things done
Our salvation began in eternity past
God certainly has to bring all His purpose to pass
A triune, eternal bond no one could ever sever
When it comes to the church, peep how they work together
The Father foreknew first, the Son came to earth
To die- the Holy Spirit gives the new birth
The Father elects them, the Son pays their debt and protects them
The Spirit is the One who resurrects them
The Father chooses them, the Son gets bruised for them
The Spirit renews them and produces fruit in them
Everybody’s not elect, the Father decides
And it’s only the elect in whom the Spirit resides
The Father and the Spirit- completely unified
But when it comes to Christ and those in hell?
Well, they be saying:

Lord knows He tried (8x)

Verse 3
My third and final verse- here’s the situation
Just a couple more things for your consideration
If saving everybody was why Christ came in history
With so many in hell, we’d have to say He failed miserably
So many think He only came to make it possible
Let’s follow this solution to a conclusion that’s logical
What about those who were already in the grave?
The Old Testament wicked- condemned as depraved
Did He die for them? C’mon, behave
But worst of all, you’re saying the cross by itself doesn’t save
That we must do something to give the cross its power
That means, at the end of the day, the glory’s ours
That man-centered thinking is not recommended
The cross will save all for whom it was intended
Because for the elect, God’s wrath was satisfied
But still, when it comes to those in hell
Well, they be saying:

Lord knows He tried (8x)

Click here for a link to Shai's blog.