Monday, March 31, 2008

Girl dies when she could have been treated

This makes me sad.
"An 11-year-old girl died after her parents prayed for healing rather than seek medical help for a treatable form of diabetes, police said Tuesday.

The girl's parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann, attributed the death to 'apparently they didn't have enough faith,' the police chief said.

They believed the key to healing 'was it was better to keep praying. Call more people to help pray,' he said."
Here's more info on "Christian" Science.

(HT:Friendly Atheist)

Quiet time?

Here's a great post from David Powlison about what we call quiet time. He suggests maybe it shouldn't be so quiet.
"By talking out loud we live the reality that we are talking with another person, not simply talking to ourselves inside our own heads."


Athens weekend

So Roy and I got to go to Athens this past weekend. It was eventful as well as relaxing. This pic to the left pretty much sums up what most of the weekend looked like. From Jittery Joe's to Cups to Hot Corner, we spent most of the time in coffee shops reading and personal computing. Roy also worked on his new website/blog.

One of the highlights for me was being able to see Red Mountain play Saturday night, as well as lead worship at Christ Community Sunday morning. If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, I'm sure you've become aware of this group of musicians from Birmingham. They pretty much take old unknown hymns and write music to them. And the hymns, unlike a lot of modern day stuff, engage my heart because they talk a lot about how messed up we are, but how much more gracious God is. So, check them out if you haven't already.

Here's what the rest of the weekend looked like:

Athens-based Terrapin Brewing Co. had a grand opening Saturday, so we got to sample some pretty good beer.

We also got to meet the newest member of the Bryant family, Ethan.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Seeing My Own Sin

Lately, this has been hard to do. I go through seasons of being overwhelmed by it to not noticing it much at all. And without the ability to really know my sin, I know that I can't really see how great Christ is.

In talking with a good friend last night, I was reminded that we often view others as more sinful than ourselves. We justify ourselves, knowing we aren't like "that." However, the Truth is our hearts are desperately sick.

I read the following quote today about how this all effects community.
"If my sinfulness appears to me to be in any way smaller or less detestable in comparison with the sins of others, I am still not recognizing my sinfulness at all. My sin is of necessity the worst, the most grievous, the most reprehensible. Brotherly love will find any number of extenuations for the sins of others; only for my sin is there no apology whatsoever. Therefore my sin is the worst. He who would serve his brother in the fellowship must sink all the way down to these depths of humility. How can I possibly serve another person in unfeigned humility if I seriously regard his sinfulness as worse than my own? Would I not be putting myself above him; could I have any hope for him? Such service would be hypocritical." - Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Here are a few things to consider today:

Justin Taylor shares this article which goes into incredible detail, from a medical perspective, on what the body goes through during crucifixtion.

"The suffering of the utterly innocent and infinitely holy Son of God in the place of utterly undeserving sinners to bring us to everlasting joy is the greatest display of the glory of God’s grace that ever was, or ever could be.

In conceiving a universe in which to display the glory of his grace, God did not choose plan b. This was the moment—Good Friday—for which everything in the universe was planned. There could be no greater display of the glory of the grace of God than what happened at Calvary. Everything leading to it and everything flowing from it is explained by it, including all the suffering in the world." - John Piper

"Now, mark: when you see Christ going up the Mount of Doom, you see man going there: when you see Christ hurled upon his back, upon the wooden cross, you see the whole company of his elect there; and when you see the nails driven through his blessed hands and feet, it is the whole body of his Church who there, in their substitute, are nailed to the tree. And now the soldiers lift the cross, and dash it into the socket prepared for it. His bones are every one of them dislocated, and his body is thus torn with agonies which can not be described. 'Tis manhood suffering there; 'tis the Church suffering there, in the substitute. And when Christ dies, you are to look upon the death of Christ, not as his own dying merely, but as the dying of all those for whom he stood as the scape-goat and the substitute. It is true, Christ died really himself; it is equally true that he did not die for himself, but died as the substitute, in the room, place, and stead of all believers." - Charles Spurgeon

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Holiness of God

I finished this book a week ago, and have been stirred up by many of its thoughts. As I mentioned earlier in a previous post, I have needed to be reminded of how holy God really is. I have needed my fear to be shifted from man to God. This book has really helped in that. Here are a few thoughts throughout the book:

Regarding the love of Christ:
“No man was ever more loving than Jesus Christ. Yet even His love provoked men to anger. His love was a perfect love, a transcendent and holy love, but His very love brought trauma to people. This kind of love is so majestic we can’t stand it.”
Regarding the injustice we often ascribe to God:
“If ever a person had room to complain of injustice it was Jesus. He was the only innocent man ever to be punished by God. If we stagger at the wrath of God, let us stagger at the cross.”
Regarding our attitudes of deservingness:
“We are not really surprised that God has redeemed us. Somewhere deep inside, in the secret chamber of our hearts we harbor the notion that God owes us His mercy.”
“We soon forget that with our first sin we have forfeited all rights to the gift of life. That I am drawing breath this morning this morning is an act of divine mercy. God owes me nothing. I owe Him everything.”
Finally regarding the errors of Arminianism:
“I am convinced that with all its virtues Semi-Pelagianism (Arminianism) still represents a theology of compromise with our natural inclinations...Evangelicals today have unconverted sinners who are dead in trespasses and sin bringing themselves to life by choosing to be born again...The failure of modern evangelicalism is the failure to understand the holiness of God. If that one point were grasped, there would be no more talk of mortal enemies of Christ coming to Jesus by their own power.”

And the coolest part about all this is found in this powerful verse:
"For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: 'I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and a lowly spirit.'" - Isaiah 58:15

He dwells with us if we realize how unworthy we are!! Be fearful and be encouraged.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

St. Patrick's Day...where did it come from?

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner again (Saturday), and I wanted to be reminded again of why there is a holiday for this guy. Last year I posted about St. Patrick mainly through this post from Stand to Reason's blog. It is a very insightful post, and here are a few paragraphs summing up this man's life:
"Sometime around 400 AD, Patrick, a sixteen-year-old Briton, was kidnapped by Irish pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. He had previously rejected the Christian faith of his parents, but during his six years of captivity, he repented and gave his heart to God, praying constantly as he tended sheep alone in the hills. When he escaped and returned to Britain, Patrick was far behind his peers in terms of education and never really caught up, but he worked hard to receive the theological training he needed so he could return to the Irish as a missionary--to the very people who had enslaved him"

"Thanks to Patrick's love and service, within a hundred years, the country was transformed from an illiterate, pagan nation of war, slavery, and human sacrifice to the guardian of the literature of Western civilization as Rome crumbled. After the dust settled, it was the Irish who traveled into Europe to plant the seeds of spiritual renewal and learning through the creation of monasteries that protected the ancient manuscripts and re-evangelized Europe."

"The irony of this holiday is that Patrick would be horrified to learn that not only is there a special day now devoted to him, but that day is cluttered with leprechauns, gold, and good-luck charms--the kind of paganism he worked so tirelessly to rescue people from in the first place."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The importance of both Solitude and Fellowship

I've blogged twice now on solitude, here and here. I'm very intrigued by the subject I guess. However, I know about myself that it's easier to retreat into solitude than to engage others in fellowship. I was struck by this sentence when reading Life Together yesterday. It comes from the chapter, "The Day Alone."
One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation, and despair."
Wow...very convicting.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Loving Death vs. Martyrdom

Here's a good article by John Piper over at the Desiring God blog. He references an article where multiple Muslims are quoted as saying that they love death. Piper responds an says Christians do not love death, but Christ. He continues:
There is a long history of Christian martyrdom. Often missionaries have desired to die for Jesus. But there are two great differences between this and the death wish of radical Islam. One is that Christian martyrs join Jesus in dying to save, not dying to kill. In their own sufferings, they extend Christ's sufferings to those for whom he died (Colossians 1:24). The other difference is that they call death gain not because of the secondary benefits of paradise, but because “to depart and be with Christ . . . is far better” (Philippians 1:23).

He also references Raymond Lull who was the first martyr in trying to reach the Muslims in 1315.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Piper and the Prosperity Gospel

John Piper speaks his mind about the prosperity gospel. Good stuff. Even the song, is by one of my favorite bands right now, Future of Forestry. Enjoy.

Freedom among limitations

I'm going through a situation at work right now (actually right now, in the moment) where I am becoming frustrated. Before I go further, I'll back up a little bit.

I've been in this training program for a bank since last July. The goal of the program is to teach the nine of us going through it more about credit (loans), and to eventually be a commercial lender (Loan Officer for Small Businesses), for the most part. Well, 4 weeks ago, the nine of us began to travel around the Atlanta area and visit a different bank office (branch) for two weeks and observe credit analysts (people who put together loan packages). I went to Tucker for the first rotation, my old stomping grounds of Marietta for the second, and now I'm in Cumming for two weeks.

Now that you're caught up, here's why I'm feeling this way. You see, every loan package that is put together is done differently depending on which branch you are at. Overall, there is a structure that remains constant, but underneath this larger structure, things change up a good bit. Some people use charts, others rearrange how they input information, etc.

Here's my thought, everyone likes to do things differently and has a feeling of independence because of it. Limitations to one set way would seem too constraining, and wouldn't allow people the real freedom to think for themselves. And for the most part, that's how today's secular world views something like Christianity (or any other set of beliefs). They say it's too constraining. They say limitations to ideas and behavior doesn't give people the freedom that they want or need. But, if you look at my example, what I need and desire is limitations set so that I can perform more freely in the environment of creating loan packages.

Tim Keller says it this way:
"A fish, because it absorbs oxygen from water rather than air, is only free if it is restricted and limited to water...[so]in many areas of life, freedom is not so much the absence of restrictions as finding the right ones, the liberating restrictions. Those that fit with the reality of our nature and the world produce greater power and scope for our abilities and a deeper joy and fulfillment."

"The popular concept--that we should each determine our own morality--is based on the belief that the spiritual realm is nothing at all like the rest of the world."

"Freedom, then is not the absence of limitations and constraints but it is finding the right ones, those that fir our nature and liberate us."

"The love of Christ constrains. Once you realize how Jesus changed for you and gave himself for you, aren't afraid of giving up your freedom and therefore finding your freedom in him"
- The Reason for God pgs 46-50


O living God, I bless thee that I see the worst of my heart as well as the best of it, that I can sorrow for those sins that carry me from thee, that it is thy deep and dear mercy to threaten punishment so that I may return, pray, live.
My sin is to look on my faults and be discouraged, or to look on my good and be puffed up.
I fall short of thy glory every day by spending hours unprofitably, by thinking that the things I do are good, when they are not done to thy end...
Death dismays me, but my great high priest stands in its waters, and will open me a passage, and beyond is a better country.
While I live let my life be exemplary, When I die may me end be peace.
- Valley of Vision

Sunday, March 02, 2008


"The Biblical view of things is resurrection--not a future that is just a consolation for the life we never had but a restoration of the life you always wanted.  This means that every horrible thing that ever happened will not only be undone and repaired but will in some way make the eventual glory and joy even greater."

The Reason for God, pg. 32; Tim Keller