Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Available Bible Reading Plans

Justin Taylor has provided a very helpful post on various Bible reading plans for the upcoming year. Read through what he has provided and find one that is most conducive for you and the way God wired you to comprehend His Word. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Piper on Prayer

Every year, John Piper leads his church (Bethlehem Baptist) in a week of prayer. It begins during the last week of the year and ends during the first week of the new year. He preaches sermons on prayer on each Sunday at the beginning and end of the prayer week.

This week, Desiring God offers some helpful resources on prayer that have been posted by Piper.

Sermon on prayer - December 28th, 2008.

Blog post of scriptural promises of answer to prayer.

Blog post of John Newton's personal struggle with prayer.

Blog post of reasons why to use the Bible when praying.

Let these posts encourage you and challenge you to be more prayer-filled in 2009.

2008 Stories

Al Mohler and Collin Hansen have put together two great Top Ten Lists of noteworthy news stories from the past year.

Mohler's article, "Ten for the History Books from 2008" focuses on news stories that have changed the course of history and demand evangelical attention. You can go there directly by clicking here. Later today, he plans to discuss these stories on his radio program.

Hansen's article is found in the current issue of Christianity today and focuses on the top theological stories from 2008. You can go there directly by clicking here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

J.C. Ryle on the Importance of Spending Much Time in the Word

A quote that I brought with me to the pulpit yesterday but did not have time to include was one that was given over a hundred years ago by bishop J.C. Ryle.

He said:

"You live in a world where your soul is in constant danger. Enemies are round you on every side. Your own heart is deceitful. Bad examples are numerous. Satan is always laboring to lead you astray. Above all false doctrine and false teachers of every kind abound. This is your great danger.To be safe you must be well armed. You must provide yourself with the weapons which God has given you for your help. You must store your mind with Holy Scripture. This is to be well armed.Arm yourself with a thorough knowledge of the written word of God. Read your Bible regularly. Become familiar with your Bible. . . . Neglect your Bible and nothing that I know of can prevent you from error if a plausible advocate of false teaching shall happen to meet you. Make it a rule to believe nothing except it can be proved from Scripture. The Bible alone is infallible. . . . Do you really use your Bible as much as you ought?There are many today, who believe the Bible, yet read it very little. Does your conscience tell you that you are one of these persons?If so, you are the man that is likely to get little help from the Bible in time of need. Trial is a sifting experience. . . . Your store of Bible consolations may one day run very low.If so, you are the man that is unlikely to become established in the truth. I shall not be surprised to hear that you are troubled with doubts and questions about assurance, grace, faith, perseverance, etc. The devil is an old and cunning enemy. He can quote Scripture readily enough when he pleases. Now you are not sufficiently ready with your weapons to fight a good fight with him. . . . Your sword is held loosely in your hand.If so, you are the man that is likely to make mistakes in life. I shall not wonder if I am told that you have problems in your marriage, problems with your children, problems about the conduct of your family and about the company you keep. The world you steer through is full of rocks, shoals and sandbanks. You are not sufficiently familiar either with lighthouses or charts.If so, you are the man who is likely to be carried away by some false teacher for a time. It will not surprise me if I hear that one of these clever eloquent men who can make a convincing presentation is leading you into error. You are in need of ballast (truth); no wonder if you are tossed to and fro like a cork on the waves.All these are uncomfortable situations. I want you to escape them all. Take the advice I offer you today. Do not merely read your Bible a little—but read it a great deal. . . . Remember your many enemies. Be armed!"

(found at Between Two Worlds blog)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Truth Out of the Mouth of a Professing Athiest

I urge you to take 5 minutes of your time and watch this clip. It ministered to me, convicted me, and challenged me. Read this quote and then click on the link to watch...

Penn Says: A Gift of a Bible

“I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell, and you think, ‘Well, it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward’…How much do you have to hate somebody not to proselytize?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

An Interview With One Who Has Memorized Much Scripture

Tim Challies interviewed Ryan Ferguson on Scripture memorization.

Interesting Perspective on Barack Obama's Choice to Have Rick Warren Pray on January 20th

Al Mohler has written a very helpful and interesting piece on the recent scandal that has erupted due to Obama's choice to have Rick Warren pray at his presidential induction next month. You can read his blog article by clicking here.

Mohler also did a radio broadcast with this as his main topic. Click here to download and listen.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mohler's Blog on How to Use a Study Bible

A written blog of what was discussed on his radio program on Friday.

Click here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Six Reasons Why the Doctrine of the Virgin Birth is So Important

1. The sufficiency, inerrancy, and integrity of the Scriptures.

2. The Superiority of Christ above all things.

3. It Demonstrates The Deity of Christ AND The Humanity of Christ.

Luke 1:35

4. The Eternal Existence of Christ.

John 1:1-2, 14

5. Without the Virgin Birth We Have No Authentic Salvation

(1) The fact that Jesus did not have a human father means that he
did not have a sin nature like every other human being has.

(2) Salvation can only come from the Lord.

Genesis 3:15
Galatians 4:4-5

(3) The virgin birth happened in order to reverse the curse.

Genesis 4:1
Matthew 1:25

See Romans 5:12-21

6. The Entirety of Our Hope is at Stake

Remarkable Advent Calendar of Images from Hubble Telescope

Click here and allow the images to lead you to worship our infinitely powerful Creator God.

Al Mohler and Justin Taylor on Bible Translations and Study Bibles

Friday on the Albert Mohler radio program, Dr. Mohler and Justin Taylor discussed which Bible translations are the best and which study Bibles are the best. For those interested, it was a very profitable and helpful discussion on the issues. You can listen or download the program by clicking here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Quotes From Those Denying the Virgin Birth

Yesterday morning I began a series of messages entitled "Christmas Apologetics." The first two messages in the series deal with the Virgin Birth. In setting up the seriousness of the issue before us today, I listed and quoted from a number of different people who do in fact deny the literal virgin birth of Christ.

Below are the quotes that I gave you yesterday. I simply am cutting and pasting from my sermon manuscript. Please note, however, that I retrieved all of the quotes from two main sources.

The first from Al Mohler's web-site. Click here to find numerous articles he has written and posted regarding the Virgin Birth.

The second from the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM) web-site. Click here for a host of articles written in the area of the Virgin Birth.

Here are the quotes/comments I presented yesterday:

A writer for The New York Times, Nikolas Kristoff has written: “The faith in the Virgin Birth reflects the way American Christianity is becoming less intellectual and more mystical over time…most biblical scholars regard the evidence for the Virgin Birth…as so shaky that it pretty much has to be a leap of faith.”

John Meacham, a writer for Newsweek, wrote that “the Nativity narratives are the subject of ongoing scholarly debate over their historical accuracy…almost nothing in Luke’s stories stands up to close historical scrutiny.” He argues that the infancy and birth narratives were simply invented by the early church in order to answer awkward questions and develop a fully-orbed theology and understanding of Jesus. He claims that Matthew and Luke wanted to tell the story of Jesus’ birth, but had little to work with.

John Dominic Crossan, a Roman Catholic Scholar, and a member of the “Jesus Seminar” movement discounts the biblical narratives about the virgin birth as invented theology.

Bishop Joseph Sprague of the United Methodist Church said that the “myth of the virgin birth was not intended as historical fact, but was employed by Matthew and Luke in different ways to appoint poetically the truth about Jesus as experienced in the emerging church.” He claims that Jesus was born to human parents and did not possess trans-human, supernatural powers.

Cecil Sherman, at one time a Southern Baptist, but later became the coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship said, “A teacher who might also be led by the Scripture not to believe in the virgin birth should not be fired.”

Harry Emerson Fosdick, a 20th century Protestant preacher, preaching from the pulpit of the First Presbyterian Church in New York City said that Christians, “may hold quite different points of view about a matter like the virgin birth.” Though he held the doctrine to be true he insisted that others, equally Christian, could disagree with those who believe in the virgin birth to be historically true.

Chloe Breyer, Episcopal priest at St. Mary’s Manhattanville Church in West Harlem wrote this in an article entitled “The Earthly Father—What if Mary Wasn’t a Virgin?” :
… the infancy narratives from Matthew and Luke must be squared with some startling silences, alternative Greek translations, and a couple of snide comments from Jesus' hometown critics. Paul never mentions the virgin conception and in Galatians describes Christ as "born of a woman." John's Gospel says nothing on the subject of Jesus' conception. And Mark describes the shocked response of the synagogue-goers of Jesus' hometown of Nazareth when Jesus as an adult returns to preach and teach as God's chosen one. The Nazareth Jews presumably would have known better than anyone about the irregular timing of Jesus' birth. "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?" his parents' neighbors ask one another. Since Jewish men of the time were identified in relationship to their father…scholars take this remark as an insinuation about Jesus' parentage--one that was so offensive that the later Evangelists Luke, Matthew, and John changed it.

Alan Jones wrote Reimagining Christianity
From the book…
"I believe the Bible and the creeds but not literally, and I'm no atheist. I love the tradition and am nurtured by it. I have a great devotion to Mary the Mother of God but am agnostic about her literal virginity-- or, to put it bluntly, I couldn't care less about it." Page 31
"For my part, I won't allow those who insist on a literal interpretations [sic] of these myths and doctrines to deprive me of my devotion to her [Mary]. Was she literally a virgin? I don't know...But much of the emphasis on virginity arose from a negative and destructive view of sexuality. So I doubt very much whether Mary was literally a virgin..." Page 175

Al Mohler Comments on the Current Issue of Newsweek

Last night in my message on Jude, I referenced the current issue of Newsweek and its apparent desire to show how the Bible actually 'supports' a gay lifestyle rather than the opposite. Al Mohler has posted a very good review on his blog. You can read it here.

Another Christmas Idea

Last night I thought of another great Christmas idea, especially for those people who already 'have everything.'

I subscribe to World magazine. It is a bi-weekly news magazine from a Christian perspective. I love it! It is like receiving Newsweek or Time except the reporters and writers all know and love Jesus! You can read more about it and order a subscription here. At the top, right-hand corner of the webpage you can find where to give the magazine as a gift. Again, I highly recommend it for your own personal reading and/or for a gift for someone you love.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Great Christmas Ideas

As I shared this morning, several of you have called me and asked for recommendations regarding different books to buy for various people at Christmas. Below is a list of the books I brought to your attention and links to where you can order them on-line.

Children's Bibles:

Study Bible:

Bible Study Resource:

Christmas (Advent) Season Resource:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

John Piper on the Book of Ruth

Below I provide links to four messages given on the book of Ruth. They are all four preached by John Piper at a UCCF conference September of this year.

These, in my opinion, are remarkably done and correctly interpreted by a brilliant and passionate biblical pastor and scholar. Enjoy!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wayne Grudem on Why God Chose to Send Jesus the Way He Did

"If we think for a moment of other possible ways in which Christ might have come to the earth, none of them would so clearly unite humanity and deity in one person. It probably would have been possible for God to create Jesus as a complete human being in heaven and send him to descend from heaven to earth without the benefit of any human parent. But then it would have been very hard for us to see how Jesus could be fully human as we are, nor would he be a part of the human race that physically descended from Adam. On the other hand, it probably would have been possible for God to have Jesus come into the world with two human parents, both a father and a mother, and with his full divine nature miraculously united to his human nature at some point early in his life. But then it would have been hard for us to understand how Jesus was fully God, since his origin was like ours in every way. When we think of these two other possibilities, it helps us to understand how God, in his wisdom, ordained a combination of human and divine influence in the birth of Christ, so that his full humanity would be evident to us from the fact of his ordinary human birth from a human mother, and his full deity would b e evident from the fact of his conception in Mary’s womb by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit."

(Taken from his Systematic Theology)

In Memory of the Beloved Hilda Daniel

Yesterday I had the honor of performing both the funeral and the graveside service of Mrs. Hilda Daniel. When one thinks of Wynne Baptist Church, one cannot help but think of her. She was a dear, precious, loving, merciful, compassionate, and Holy Spirit filled servant of Christ Jesus and His Church. I am grateful to God for her and the impact she had on my life in the brief three years that I knew her.

I have included the outline of my message below. Two verses in the pastoral epistles compel us to learn from older widowed women. Titus 2:2-4 says, “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women, likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children.”
Likewise, 1 Timothy 5:5 says, “She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day…”

Here are eight lessons I learned from Mrs. Hilda:

1. An encouraging word brings life to weary bones.

Proverbs 15:30
says, “The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones.”

2. A frail 87 year old can be active in missions.

3. Secular retirement is not the same as spiritual retirement.

4. A lover of Christ and His Church will do anything necessary for the sake of His great name and the joy of others.

5. Going through an Economic Depression will teach dependence and priorities…and you CAN live through it.

Psalm 119:67, 71
says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word…It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.”

6. An adoring husband makes for a thriving wife and family.

Proverbs 31:28-30
says, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.’”

7. It really is ALMOST possible to obey the Great Commandments.

Luke 10:27
says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

8. Death is a hope and a longing when your treasure is Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:21-23
says, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which shall I choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.”