Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sermon Notes - Feed the Flame of God's Gift

John Piper
Feed the Flame of God's Gift: Unashamed Courage in the Gospel
2 Timothy 1:1-12

Main point: Keep feeding the white hot flame of God's gift of unashamed courage to speak openly of Christ and suffer for the Gospel
  1. Where does the main point come from?
  2. Is it the point of the whole book?
  3. How do we fan the flame?
  4. Do it!
1. v6-8
  • Keep feeding it (v6)
  • The gift (v7-8)
  • How does he get the power?
2. Is the main point an isolated thought or the burden of the whole book?
3. How do we feed it?
  • By linking 1:2 with 2:1 (By the grace that is in Christ)
  • How do I get the grace? (see 1:2)
    • God's word mediates the grace
  • All epistles open: grace to you / end: grace with you
  • As you read, grace comes to you. After you're done, the grace with go with you. Hold it!
4. Do it!
  1. Your faith is authentic (v3-5) and I'm speaking to you as a father to a child

    • Paul says, I believe your faith is real, even though it came from your mom and not your dad. My faith is from my parents too. Dad wasn't there spiritually for you, but your faith is real, my beloved son.

  2. Paul gives himself as a pattern for suffering and God's sustaining grace.

    • You'll suffer, but don't be ashamed
      • Because the Gospel is powerful

    • I'm your father, I'm in jail, and I'm not ashamed

  3. The power (v9-10)
    • The grace of God was not given to you when you were converted, but before the world began
      • Your name is written, before the world was formed, in the lamb's book of life
Conclusion: Your calling, courage, salvation, power, has nothing to do with you and are they are not dependent on you.
  • From eternity, God planned to do you good.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gospel Coalition - John Piper

John Piper's ministry and sermons have always been a huge encouragement to me. This sermon was empowering and wonderfully passionate. If you are struggling with fear in your witness or your call, this message is for you.

John Piper
Feed the Flame of God's Gift: Unashamed Courage in the Gospel
2 Timothy 1:1-12
Formats: Audio/Video

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Summer Reading

What is the best way to approach a summer reading list? Hopefully my experience and advice can be of service to others who have failed to get through the large stack of books they tried to read last winter/summer break.

In my own life, there is always a pile of books that I can't wait to dive into. What tends to happen is that I pick up one and either A) Enjoy it and take my time or B) Dislike it and rarely touch it. This ends up slowing me down and leaving my stack of "want to read" books barely touched.

This summer I put together a plan to help me get through more books and enjoy each one in their own way. I have my DUTY list and my LEISURE list. I used the word "Duty" because it challenges me to take serious my time of reading the books on this list. I also kept the "Duty List" short to insure I get through each book. The "Leisure List" has books that look like easy/fun reads, and is a bit longer because some of the books may be a quick 1-2 day read.

The idea behind these two lists is that my "Duty List" will be a time of strengthening, growth, and training. The "Leisure List" is designed to give me an escape from heavy or challenging reading, but to keep my mind afresh and enjoying reading as a hobby.

I hope this helps, and feel free to comment with your own summer reading list or ideas that you use when reading.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Don't Waste Your Summer

As final exams pass us by and papers are turned in, let us remember to not waste our summer. Relax, enjoy some leisure, but do not waste your summer. Study God's word, know Him more intimately, improve your walk, spend more time with your family, do things that have eternal significance, substitute some TV and read a book with your wife, play less XBOX and Playstation and look at God's creation, breathe in the fresh summer air and know that God has made it.... but do not waste your summer. The following video emphasizes a similar theme, but I will let John Piper tell it to you...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sermon Notes - The Gospel and Idolatry

Tim Keller
The Grand Demythologizer: The Gospel and Idolatry
Acts 19:21-41

My notes from the conference:

Acts 19:23-41
-Paul always took on and challenged the idols of the people.

To be effective:
-Discern, Expose, Destroy

DISCERN: If idols are confronted, after salvation a person's life will be greatly changed. If they are not confronted, they run the risk of living an unchanged life.

Every community, culture, or person looks to something as an idol.
-Something to save them

What is an idol?
Anything in your life that is so central that losing it would strip all meaning from your life.
-It is when you take a good thing and make it an ultimate thing.

EXPOSE: When you threaten idols, anger and chaos will follow.

3 kinds of idols to expose:

1. Personal
  • Money
  • Romance/Love
  • Children
2. Religious
  • Truth - the "rightness" of doctrine
  • Gifts - mistake gifts for fruit
  • Morality - I'm loved because of what I do
3. Cultural
  • Family
  • The individual
  • Politics

DESTROY: When the idols are opposed, it is violent.

Paul risked his life to confront idolatry.
Jesus gave his life.
- You'll always take your life into your hands when you confront/destroy idols.

Objectively: Jesus died, conquered death
Subjectively: We need to see this

Friday, April 24, 2009

Gospel Coalition - Tim Keller

I am going to provide links to all of the sessions for those who are interested. It was truly a powerful conference, and I'm thankful for their willingness and graciousness in putting these videos up for anyone to watch.

Tim Keller
The Grand Demythologizer: The Gospel and Idolatry
Acts 19:21-41
Formats: Audio/Video

Timothy Wright

By The Associated Press The Associated Press – Fri Apr 24, 3:27 am ET

NEW YORK – The Rev. Timothy Wright, the Grammy-nominated gospel singer and composer known for his up-tempo praise songs and powerful mass choir sound, has died. He was 61.

Full story: Yahoo News

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Authority and experience

The idea that we are autonomous and our own authority is contrary to the entire idea of authority itself. Authority, to maintain any level of actual legitimate authority, must of necessity exist above the object that is subject to it. In other words, it is nonsensical to say you are your own authority because you can't be above yourself and subject to yourself simultaneously. And if you are your own authority, then that means you make your own rules. Does this mean being autonomous makes our lives one big game of Calvin Ball (from a cartoon where a young boy makes up rules as he goes to play a game)? If that is the case then you aren't really your own authority because you can change the rules at any point which means you really answer to no one, not even yourself. You simply adapt the rules to your liking and continue playing the game how you want. This, in my estimation, is far more dangerous than someone who believes in an authority that exists outside of himself.

Experienced based truth is also nonsensical. To say, "I will derive my own truth from my own experiences," is a redefinition of truth while claiming to be the definer and molder of truth. One must think very highly of themselves and their experiences to say such a thing and actually believe it. For something to be true the opposite has to be false. So how can experience be a source for truth? You might say, "These things have happened to me, and they are what I base my views on." But since much of our experience is out of our control, this sort of truth finding is as reliable as rolling dice or flipping a coin. Do you know what will happen to you next week? No? Then your "truth" is subject to change, which removes any idea of truth from your definition and allows for things that were once false to now be true. Truth then becomes merely what you think for the moment, and nothing more. The delusional man that goes on a shooting spree has his own "truth", so how can his actions be wrong or his ideas false? I'm sure his experience has played a major role in bringing him to anger, violence, and murder. So how do you know that you're right? You're just as convinced as the mad man with the gun.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Perfect man?

Is it reasonable to look within man for truth? Man who is born with imperfections, dependencies, and a mortal body that slowly dies from the moment of birth? Is it not more reasonable for man to see his nature being imperfect and ultimately corrupt as a reason to look for his antithesis as the source for truth? An imperfect, dependent, mortal being should naturally assume the existence of a perfect, independent, immortal being. This should then lead to a subordinate view of man below the perfect immortal being that must of necessity be above and superior to all that exists. Therefore, faith and belief in a god is far more reasonable than the denial of any superior existence. Those who deny the possibility of a perfect being existing passively deny their own imperfection, deem themselves a god among mortals and should then define perfection by their imperfect perception and existence. Is this not the behavior of insane men? Did not Hitler take this view to its logical end? He deemed himself a god among men and became the one who sought to define perfection while ridding the world of what he thought to be imperfect. Men who deny any god yet live peaceably with other men deny their own supposed godlike nature by living equal to and not above other men. If they be a god, they are not one worthy of worship, let alone worth listening to.