Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Meditations on Reformed Worship 

My new book is available!  It's on the subject of worship, from a Reformed perspective.  I'll post the description from the book page:

Worship matters. We were created to be in relationship with God, in fellowship with Him, and to do so together with His people. The basic, bedrock promise of the Bible story from beginning to end is, "I will be your God, and you will be My people, and I will dwell in your midst." Corporate worship at its best is the closest experience of that eternal reality we will experience in this life. Over time the most accurate insight into a church's theology is their worship- what they do, what they sing, what they say, and the heart with which they do it. When you believe you are going to meet with God, you show everyone most accurately what you think about Him.  
God being God, and we being creatures, and especially creatures in a sinful and fallen state, it must be the case that God will define how that relationship looks. Therefore we look to Scriptures to define worship for us, and not our own imaginations or the opinions of men. A child does not define his relationship with his father; much less can we tell our Creator how we will relate to HIm! But He has graciously and lovingly instructed us in His Scriptures in the principles that should drive our worship.  
God is glorious, and good, and beautiful! And He has done marvelous things for us. Worshiping Him is an honor, a joy and a privilege, and carries great benefits for us as well. Interfacing directly with God through Biblical worship reveals our own nature, since we are in His image, and what we learn and experience in worship will shape our very hearts, to be more like Him in every way. And that is the purpose of our existence.  
This book is a series of essays on the subject of worship. Why do we worship? What principles drive and inform our worship? What are the different elements of a worship service and why do we do them? Throughout, we intend to go beyond going through the motions to see the heart of why we do what we do in worship. The theology of the Reformed branch of the Protestant Reformation informs us throughout.

It will be available on Amazon.com shortly as well.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Board games 

I got a new board game a couple days ago- Stone Age.  I've played it twice with the kids and it's great.  It's a resource management and worker placement game, and I really enjoy it.

I love playing games with the kids.  I think it's really valuable.  There's all sorts of things to learn and benefit from in a good game.  In Stone Age, you have to roll dice and divide by different numbers depending on what resource you're collecting.  So it works math skills, strategic thinking and planning ahead.  But besides that, most games I play with the kids give opportunities for lots of character building.  How to win and lose gracefully, how to follow rules, how to control temper and pride- I think these are all really valuable lessons.  I can observe my kids and see areas of their character where they need some growth.  And we just get to spend time together and have fun as a family.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


What if you never got bored of things?  What if the same sunset that delighted you one day delighted you just as much the next day?  Or even more?  What if one particular piece of music just never got old?  What if you could pick a well-balanced meal that you loved and eat it and only it for a hundred years and never get tired of it?

Would that not significantly change the way one perceives the prospect of eternal life?  Perhaps the very existence of boredom, of the thirst for novelty, is a product of man's fall into sin.  I don't know.  I can't think of any Scriptures to support this one way or another.  It's just a thought.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


If you are not learning to get along with other Christians, then you are not learning to be a Christian at all.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Values that Shape Us 

The Atlantic has published a really valuable article for understanding ISIS.

One thing that makes Protestantism superior to Catholicism is the burning of heretics.  Now of course the Protestants burned heretics along with the Catholics, but a Protestant can denounce the action, while a Catholic can't.  Heretics were burned by order of popes and councils, for example the Council of Constance which burned John Huss to death.  And in Roman Catholic theology, councils of the church are infallible.  I can say that the Genevan church was wrong to burn Servetus.  But the Roman Catholic can say no such thing about the Council of Constance.

Muslims have a similar problem.  No matter how modern and moderate a Muslim becomes, he cannot escape the example of Allah's true prophet, who held slaves, who married a nine year old, who practiced all sorts of barbarities.  The Islamic State says that anyone who rejects crucifixions and slavery rejects Islam, because it is to reject the practice of Muhammad and the teachings of the Koran, and they have a point.  As Christians, however, we can never go wrong by returning to the example of our founder, Jesus, whose values and teachings have shaped the modern world, values by which the members of that modern world judge people like ISIS even if they do not acknowledge the source of those values.

The Christian church at its very best attempts to emulates the true principles and practices of its founder.  Muslims at their best ignore the values of Islam's founder and adopt the values of the founder of Christianity instead.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The New Testament Sabbath 

The purpose of the Sabbath Day was never intended to teach people to rest in God one day of the week and to trust their own hard work the other six.  That day was a token, a sign teaching them to trust God every day.  It is to me so sad to see that just like the Pharisees of Jesus' day, some of the most careful and scrupulous observers of Sabbath days today think that by their effort to scrupulously keep the Sabbath they are earning God's blessings, and their legalistic attitudes are seen the rest of the week in their frantic activity trying to do everything perfectly.

The New Testament Sabbath is the reality of which the Old Testament Sabbath was just a sign.  The New Testament Sabbath is the resting in Christ and His salvation every day, and doing it whether one is at church, at work, at play, or wherever.  It is not the observance of a day- those ceremonies passed away with Christ.  It is the observance of a mindset, one of faith and trust with God, every day.

Peace with God is the Key to Everything Else 

Most of what people spend their lives doing is trying to overcome the effects of the curse without ever actually dealing with the curse itself.  The reason we are separated from one another, why people are hateful and envious of one another, why people are at war with themselves, engage in destructive behaviors of substance abuse, drunkenness, promiscuity and the like, why nations go to war, why people wreck the planet, wreck their families, wreck their own bodies- all of it is because they are alienated with God.  The rest of that is God's curse on us for rebelling against Him.  So it is absolutely futile to try to solve any of those other problems without solving the one big problem.  We're not stronger than God, and we will never defy His curse against us.  So people work hard, or chase pleasure, or get educations, or lose themselves in entertainment,  all to try to feel peace and happiness in their lives, or at least avoid pain.  But they will fail, because God is God and He will execute His judgment.  If we accept reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ, though, the rest of it will all fall in line.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Political Correctness Built-in Self-Justification 

The great thing about political correctness is, that as long as your social experimentation continues to produce bad results and therefore produces people who sensibly point out the failures of your social experimentation, you can continue to blame the failures of your social experimentation on the bigotry of the people with the temerity to point it out.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Google Analytics Alternative