Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ligonier's 'Bible in a Year' Calendar

Click here to download a PDF file of a calendar to read the Bible through in 2010.

I found this via Tabletalk Magazine from Ligonier Ministries.

Outline of Biblical History and The Main Chapters in the Biblical Storyline

Again, Justin Taylor has done followers of Christ a great favor by providing two posts from Graeme Goldsworthy's According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible.

The first is a helpful outline of biblical history. Click here to check it out.

The second is a summary of the main chapters of the Bible's storyline. Click here to read.

Both of these are extremely helpful in seeing the whole of the Bible and seeing better how it all fits together. Thanks to Goldsworthy for outlining it in his work, and thanks to Justin Taylor for including it as he did in his blog.

J.C. Ryle: "We Cannot Have Enough of Christ!"

Great quote here from J.C. Ryle:

“The New Testament begins with the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. No part of the Bible is so important as this, and no part is so full and complete. Four distinct Gospels tell us the story of Christ’s doing and dying. Four times over we read the precious account of His works and words. How thankful we ought to be for this! To know Christ is life eternal. To believe in Christ is to have peace with God. To follow Christ is to be a true Christian. To be with Christ will be heaven itself. We can never hear too much about Jesus Christ.”

Just a reminder, you can receive daily quotes by Ryle if you click here and follow the directions.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Bible Reading Plan for Shirkers and Slackers

This Bible reading plan looks very interesting as well.

Again, Justin Taylor has done us a service by providing information about it and a link to download it in a PDF format.

Check it out by clicking here.

Don Whitney's 10 Questions to Start the New Year

These have been very, very helpful for me this week as I contemplate 2010. Be both challenged and blessed as you consider them...

10 Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year

Once, when the people of God had become careless in their relationship with Him, the Lord rebuked them through the prophet Haggai. "Consider your ways!" (Haggai 1:5) he declared, urging them to reflect on some of the things happening to them, and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had told them.

Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about the direction of their lives. It's so easy to bump along from one busy week to another without ever stopping to ponder where we're going and where we should be going.

The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings. To that end, here are some questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God.

1. What's one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?

2. What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?

3. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?

4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?

5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?

6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?

7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?

8. What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this year different from last year?

9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?

10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

In addition to these ten questions, here are twenty-one more to help you "Consider your ways." Think on the entire list at one sitting, or answer one question each day for a month.

11. What's the most important decision you need to make this year?

12. What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what's one way you could simplify in that area?

13. What's the most important need you feel burdened to meet this year?

14. What habit would you most like to establish this year?

15. Who is the person you most want to encourage this year?

16. What is your most important financial goal this year, and what is the most important step you can take toward achieving it?

17. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your work life this year?

18. What's one new way you could be a blessing to your pastor (or to another who ministers to you) this year?

19. What's one thing you could do this year to enrich the spiritual legacy you will leave to your children and grandchildren?

20. What book, in addition to the Bible, do you most want to read this year?

21. What one thing do you most regret about last year, and what will you do about it this year?22. What single blessing from God do you want to seek most earnestly this year?

23. In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do about it this year?24. What's the most important trip you want to take this year?

25. What skill do you most want to learn or improve this year?

26. To what need or ministry will you try to give an unprecedented amount this year?

27. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your commute this year?

28. What one biblical doctrine do you most want to understand better this year, and what will you do about it?

29. If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they say? Would they be right? What will you do about it?

30. What's the most important new item you want to buy this year?

31. In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do about it this year?

The value of many of these questions is not in their profundity, but in the simple fact that they bring an issue or commitment into focus. For example, just by articulating which person you most want to encourage this year is more likely to help you remember to encourage that person than if you hadn't considered the question.

If you've found these questions helpful, you might want to put them someplace—in a day planner, PDA, calendar, bulletin board, etc.—where you can review them more frequently than once a year.

So let's evaluate our lives, make plans and goals, and live this new year with biblical diligence, remembering that, "The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage" (Proverbs 21:5). But in all things let's also remember our dependence on our King who said, "Apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

Bible Reading Plans for 2010

Justin Taylor, over at his blog at the Gospel Coalition Web-Site, has done the body of Christ a HUGE favor by lumping together some of the best Bible reading plans available for the next year.

Click here for several plans.


Here for more.

Thanks to Justin Taylor for tracking these down and putting them in an 'easy-to-find-and-access' location for us!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Another Great Quote from J.C. Ryle on the Wise Men

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“This is the kind of faith, let us remember, that God delights to honor. We see the proof of that at this very day. Wherever the Bible is read the conduct of these wise men is known, and told as a memorial of them. Let us walk in the steps of their faith. Let us not be ashamed to believe in Jesus and confess Him, though all around us remain careless and unbelieving. Have we not a thousand-fold more evidence than the wise men had, to make us believe that Jesus is the Christ? Beyond doubt we have. Yet where is our faith?”

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas: The Greatest Miracle

I found this over at Zach Nielson's blog. Great word(s) on the miracle of the Incarnation

Suppose I asked you to name the greatest miracle that ever took place? If you know the Bible you have lots to choose from. God rescued three from a blazing furnace. He closed the mouths of lions and demolished the walls of Jericho. Blind men saw; lame men walked. God parted the Red Sea and the children of Israel walked through on dry ground. But, none of these are the greatest miracle. Even God speaking creation into existence is not the greatest miracle.The incarnation is the greatest miracle that ever took place.The incarnation was when Jesus, though God Himself, was born as a baby in Bethlehem. God became humanity without in any way ceasing to be deity.According to theologian Wayne Grudem, “[The incarnation] is by far the most amazing miracle of the entire Bible – - far more amazing than the resurrection and more amazing even than the creation of the universe. The fact that the infinite, omnipotent, eternal Son of God could become man and join himself to a human nature forever, so that infinite God became one person with finite man, will remain for eternity the most profound miracle and the most profound mystery in all the universe (Grudem, 563).”

Paraphrasing John Murray, “The incarnation means that God who never began to be . . . as God, began to be what he eternally was not (Murray, Vol. 2, 132). It is the most amazing, the most incredible miracle that will ever happen.

And, the reason Christ became humanity was that He might win the victory and deliver His people from sin.

J.C. Ryle on the Wise Men

Great Quotes from J.C. Ryle. Consider...

"The conduct of the wise men is a splendid example of spiritual diligence. What trouble it must have cost them to travel from their homes to the place where Jesus was born! How many weary miles they must have journeyed! The fatigues of an Eastern traveler are far greater than we in England can at all understand. The time that such a journey would occupy must necessarily have been very great. The dangers to be encountered were neither few nor small. But none of these things moved them. They had set their hearts on seeing Him ‘who was born King of the Jews;’ and they never rested until they saw Him. They prove to us the truth of the old saying, ‘Where there is a will there is a way.’”

“It would be well for all professing Christians if they were more ready to follow the wise men’s example. Where is our self-denial? What pains do we take about our souls? What diligence do we show about following Christ? What does our religion cost us? These are serious questions. They deserve serious consideration.”


“The conduct of the wise men is a striking example of faith. They believed in Christ when they had never seen Him – but that was not all. They believed in Him when the Scribes and Pharisees were unbelieving – but that again was not all. They believed in Him when they saw Him a little infant on Mary’s knee, and worshiped Him as a king. This was the crowning point of their faith. They saw no miracles to convince them. They heard no teaching to persuade them. They beheld no signs of divinity and greatness to overawe them. They saw nothing but a new-born infant, helpless and weak, and needing a mother’s care like any one of ourselves. And yet when they saw that infant, they believed that they saw the divine Savior of the world. ‘They fell down and worshiped Him.’

“We read of no greater faith than this in the whole volume of the Bible. It is a faith that deserves to be placed side by side with that of the penitent thief. The thief saw one dying the death of a criminal, and yet prayed to Him and ‘called Him Lord.’ The wise men saw a new-born babe on the lap of a poor woman, and yet worshiped Him and confessed that He was Christ. Blessed indeed are those that can believe in this fashion!”

Go here to subscribe to a different Ryle quote every day.

Al Mohler on the Santa Claus Issue

I listend to Dr. Mohler's program (from yesterday) this morning while I exercised. Very helpful, in my opinion, and thoughtful.

You can listen to it or download it here.

I appreciate those who have left comments on the previous blog post about Santa. Please continue to offer insights. All would agree (at least I think most who read this blog would agree) that as Christian parents, we must think through this issue, seeking wisdom from the Lord in what is most profitable for our precious children.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More Interesting Articles about Tiger Woods from a Christian Perspective

From Al Mohler, click here.

From Tim Challies, click here.

How to Benefit from the Bible

Great article from James MacDonald here (I found this from Tim Challies).

His main points are:

Read it.
Question it.
Plan it.
Pray it.
Share it.

Santa Claus: Do or Don't Do?

I don't know how many who might actually read this have ever struggled with this issue or not, but Katie (my dearly beloved wife) and I have really wrestled with the whole Santa Claus thing. We both see pros and cons to either. Recently, however, I came across two different articles on the issue that has me thinking even harder about it. The first one is by Thabiti Anyabwile and the other by Noel Piper. I will post the links to where I found them below. I would LOVE to hear anyone's thoughts after having read the articles, offering personal insights into what you and your family have done in the past.

Thabite Anyabwile's article can be found here.

Noel Piper's article can be found here.

Please let me know your thoughts....

Monday, December 7, 2009

The TV Is My Shepherd

Wow. I found this at Pure Church. So true...don't you think?

The TV is my shepherd,I shall want more.

It makes me lie down on the sofa.

It leads me away from the faith;

It destroys my soul.

It leads me in the path of sex and violence for the sponsor's sake.

Yeah, though I walk in the shadow of Christian responsibility,

there will be no interruption, for the TV is with me.

It's cables and remote control, they comfort me.

It prepares a commercial for me in the presence of my worldliness;

It anoints my head with humanism and consumerism;

My coveting runneth over.

Surely, laziness and ignorance shall follow me all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house watching TV for ever.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

C.J. Mahaney on Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods wants his privacy back.

He wants the media entourage to disappear from his life.

He wants to be left alone so he can manage his personal problems in private.

Not a chance.

The story began unfolding in the early hours of last Friday when he crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a tree and a fire hydrant near his Florida home. He refused to speak with the police about the incident, raising curiosity about the circumstances. The story has now escalated into allegations of marital infidelity, and that generated a blog post from Tiger that stated, “I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart.” This statement by Tiger has led most to believe that the allegations of infidelity are true.

Hunted by the Media

As expected, the allegations of adultery involving a public figure are attracting a media pile-on. This is a big story with a big audience and it’s a story that will not disappear soon. Tiger Woods is being hunted by the media. But let us make sure we do not join the hunt. A Christian’s response to this story should be distinctly different. We should not be entertained by the news. We should not have a morbid interest in all the details. We should be saddened and sobered. We should pray for this man and even more for his wife. And we can be sure that in the coming days we will be in conversations with friends and family where this topic will emerge. And when it does, we can avoid simply listening to the latest details and speculations, and avoid speaking self-righteously, but instead we can humbly draw attention to the grace of God in the gospel.

Hunted by Sin

But Tiger is being hunted by something more menacing than journalists. Tiger’s real enemy is his sin, and that’s an enemy much more difficult to discern and one that can’t be managed in our own strength. It’s an enemy that never sleeps. Let me explain.

Sin Lies

The Bible in general, and the book of Proverbs in particular, reveals an unbreakable connection between our character, our conduct, and the consequences of our actions. These three are inseparable and woven by God into His created order.

Deception is part of sin’s DNA. Sin lies to us. It seeks to convince us that sin brings only pleasure, that it carries no consequences, and that no one will discover it. Sin works hard to make us forget that character, conduct, and consequences are interconnected. And when we neglect this relationship—when we think our sins will not be discovered—we ultimately mock God.

Sin Hunts

We’ve all experienced it: Sin lies to us. We take the bait. And then sin begins to hunt us. One commentator on Proverbs articulated this truth like this: “The irony of a life of rebellion is that we begin by pursuing sin…and end up being pursued by it!….You can ‘be sure your sin will find you out’ (Num. 32:23…).”* In other words, sin comes back to hunt us. In light of this fact, sin is an enemy Tiger can’t manage. He can’t shape this story like he does a long iron on a par 5. Tiger doesn’t need a publicity facelift; Tiger needs a Savior. Just like me. And just like you. And if by God’s grace he repents and trusts in the person and work of Christ, Tiger will experience the fruit of God’s promise that “whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).


Tiger cannot intimidate this enemy like he can Pebble Beach or any of the field of professional golfers. And there is no privacy he can claim from this enemy, regardless of his resolve, his silence, or the name painted on his yacht. It’s likely Tiger only perceives the press hunting him out of a vain “curiosity about public figures.” But Tiger is being hunted and hounded by a far greater foe: the consequences of his sin.And this story should humble and sober us. It should make us ask: Are there any so-called “secret sins” in my life? Is there anything I have done that I hope nobody discovers? Is there anything right now in my life that I should confess to God and the appropriate individuals? And this should leave us more amazed by grace because there, but for the grace of God, go I.

Helpful Quotes from Bob Kauflin and David Powlison on Leading Worship

From Justin Taylor:

Bob Kauflin

“A worship leader should never say, “Sing it like you mean it.” We should always mean it.”

“People walk in every Sunday with the problem that everything in their lives has become bigger than God.”

“The worship leader links heart-stirring music with biblical truth . . . to let the Word of Christ dwell in people richly.”

“In both counseling and worship we can rely on technique and forget all we have is Christ.”

“Leading worship is a pastoral function before it’s a musical one.”

David Powlison

“Pay attention to the syntax of hymns. Some are about God, drawing our hearts toward Him. Others are unto God, giving our faith direct expression to God.”

“Counseling needs to do more than analysis and problem-solving; it needs to evoke the thing it seeks to create.”

“Biblical counseling is worship, and repentance, and faith, and hearing and loving and needing God.”

“Way more often than we imagine, people need reminding, not informing.”

“The world in which we counsel is the same world in which we worship & pray.”

“The word ‘technique’ is actually offensive in ministry.”

Great Challenge and Insight from Dan Cruver on Adoption

From the Gospel Coalition blog:

Caring For Orphans While Soaked with a Sense of Exile
by Dan Cruver

Yesterday, I was deeply moved by something that I read in a letter that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote to his son Christopher. As I reflected upon his words, it occurred to me that he touches on something that is profoundly relevant to the global orphan crisis.
Tolkien writes:

"We all long for [Eden], and we are constantly glimpsing it: our whole nature at its best and least corrupted, its gentlest and most humane, is still soaked with the sense of ‘exile’. If you come to think of it, your (very just) horror at the stupid murder of the hawk, and your obstinate memory of this ‘home’ of yours in an idyllic hour (when often there is an illusion of the stay of time and decay and a sense of gentle peace) are derived from Eden (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, 110)."

One of the challenges for Christians in the Western world is that we are often guilty of trying to dry up our profound “sense of exile” with the non-absorbent paper towels of the incomplete joys of this world. That’s not to say that it is wrong for Christians to enjoy themselves in the here-and-now. God gives His children many good gifts that we are to enjoy now with gratitude in our hearts. But our here-and-now enjoyment was never meant to be the way we deal with the deep ache of exile. When we deal with our “sense of exile” by using God’s good gifts to self-medicate, we will find ourselves moving away from the world’s most needy rather than to them. Self-medicating people are not easily mobilized for self-sacrificial service.

The reality is that we are in exile. Eden has been lost. We are exiles in the here-and-now (1 Peter 1:1). The period of time in which we live as exiles is deeply marked by suffering and unrest (Romans 8:18). The presence of 143,000,000 vulnerable and orphaned children in the world is irrefutable evidence of that fact.

Although we find ourselves in exile – still soaked with a deep sense of Eden-lost — God has not left us to wander aimlessly within it. He has not left us alone to cope with our deep sense of exile through self-medicating behavior. No, Jesus entered into our exile, became a man of sorrows, was forsaken by the Father at the cross in order that he might lead us out of our exile into eternal belonging. Jesus endured the very worst of our exile in order that he might bring us home!

What Jesus did through his life, death, and resurrection has provided us with “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19-20) in the midst of our exile. As a result, we can enjoy the incomplete joys of this world without using them to deal with our deep sense of exile. Only when we rest in what Jesus has already done to one day bring us back home (Romans 8:19-23) are we able to move toward our world’s most needy.

The gospel takes those who are marked with a deep sense of exile, frees them from the “need” to self-medicate, and moves them out to serve the orphan, the widow, and the marginalized. Only by the power of the gospel can we do the self-sacrificial work of caring for orphans while soaked with the sense of exile.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Theodoret of Cyrus on the Divine Providence of Having a Rear End

So I am currently working on my PhD dissertation and had to share the following exerpt from a sermon given by Theodoret of Cyrus, probably around 435 A.D. The sermon quotation is found in the third sermon in a series of ten on the providence of God. The title of the sermon is "Demonstrations from the Composition of the Human Body."

Here's the quote:

"Mark another manifestation of His providence. The body provides the natural couch of the buttocks so that you can make a seat out of the ground or a stone and not be hurt by sitting on bare limbs. You are ungrateful notwithstanding. You fail to recognize the gifts, and rave and rant against the wisdom that makes such provision for you."

I must confess. I have never thanked God for my rear end. Thank you, Theodoret, for such a solemn reminder.