Monday, January 31, 2011

Coming home...

I'm somewhat of a softy.
I like to watch the homecoming videos of the soldiers to their families. A lot of them haven't been commissioned for 3-4 months, moreso it's 6 months-2 years. I can't help but put myself in those family members shoes and think about what it must be like. To finally hold your dad after all that time. To finally see your wife or kids after all that time. The reconciliation is breath-taking.
There's a great parallel here to the Christian life. For those who believe and have given themselves to Jesus, our Lord is awaiting our arrival. Likewise we are ecstatic at the thought of being in his presence. We get a taste of that now by the Holy Spirit's comfort. But on that day when God will say "well done my good and faithful servant", our joy will be complete as we will sin no more. I am stoked to be embraced by my Saviour, my God, my Lord.
Justine and I have talked about this several times, its something worth discussing. This life has a start and a finish, pondering the finish line I believe gives us encouragement to continue.
It makes death look so bright when Christ is awaiting on the other side with open arms.

Here's a great one I've definitely watched a few times...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Promises - A Selection of Sweet Delights to the Soul: Life Forever

This morning I was at church and one of our elders delivered a message on being delighted in Jesus. Whether in that moment you are healthy and enjoying dinner with your family, or its 3am in the morning before work and your baby is puking all over you - the excellent and the horrendous - we need to be delighting in God. The hard thing is - you can't get over your situation. You try, but your mind gets stagnant and incorrigible. We go guilt trip, introvert, anxiety wreck - we get hopeless.
Our elder gave us some great advice for these situations - look to God's promises in the Bible.
As a Christian I love to hear about the promises of God.
To hear them, know them, and believe them.
So when times shoot low, shoot high. Look at the message that is without error, and is trustworthy.
This week I'd like to share a few of those promises.
The first promise is one of life forever.
"For God so loved the world that
he gave his only Son, 
so that everyone who believes in him 
will not perish but
have eternal life." John 3:16

This is important.
For those who believe in Jesus there is an assured hope of salvation.
For those who don't believe, you need to stop and fix things with your God.

First - know that Jesus died for sinners, people who hate God and don't obey him.
Second - know that you are a sinner.
Third - God loves you and desires you to stop hating him and be restored to him.
Fourth - believe that God in Jesus Christ has the power to
             save you from perishing in hell.
Now Act - Give up your sin to God in Jesus, know that he took your sin
             and by believing in him you are saved.
            Live your life for the praise and glory of God and not yourself.

*You will never be saved by your good life.
>You will be saved by faith alone in Christ alone by God's mercy.

Tomorrow - Romans 8:28.
For now here's a great theme song for this week...

3D movies - soon to be a thing of the past

Do you have trouble concentrating when you see a film in 3D - I usually get headaches.
Believe it or not it looks like movies in 3D might not be around for that much longer -
A review and critique on these by Walter Murch posted by Robert Ebert, gives a great outline of just why.
Sum-up: Movies that succumb to the 3D appeal are lacking in film making technique and skill.
I agree with him, minus the evolution of humans over 600 million years, - I like good ol' fashion 2D.
Filmmakers are storytellers - they need to have variety, and that one-of-a-kind appeal. Or at least steal from the great ones of the past.
Why not try a couple black and white films - Hitchcock rocked it - and he's legend.
Tell me, have you even seen Strangers on a Train ?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Country for people who hate Country

"I like every genre except country. Country music sucks." I've heard this so many times from friends and acquiantences - not to mention some of my beloved housemates. But this is a sad and general statement about a long lasting genre - not like disco.
I think there has been too much beef circulating around concerning the country genre,
and I ain't talking cattle.
So I've decided to make a list of some of my favourite songs that you can sing to those people who really hate country music.
These songs are so catchy it might just get them whistling along with you as you drive them in your red-pick up truck.

Johnny Cash - Ring of Fire 
Taylor Swift - Tim McGraw
Johnny Reid - Darlin'
Alan Jackson - Summertime Blues
Taylor Alison - You Belong With Me
Great Lake Swimmers - Pulling on a Line
Billy Ray Cyrus - Achy Breaky Heart
John Denver - Country Roads
Johnny Reid - Dance With Me
Paul Brant - Alberta Bound (Stauff shout-out)
Johnny Reid - Let's Go Higher
TAS - Back to December
Billy Cunnigham - People are Crazy
Brooks & Dunn - Boot Scootin Boogie (or Booty)
Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr - Sunshine on my Shoulders
Brad Paisley - Whisky Lullaby
T. A. Swift - Love Story
The Judds - Momma He's Crazy
and not willie nelson.

American Idol auditioner's hard love story...

Woah - this story got me definitely feeling for Chris.
If you haven't watched this - take a minute - these stories are hard to take and rare.
This guy seems really genuine.
I'm excited to see how his and his fiance's story goes...

Thanks to Mr. T. Challies for posting this earlier today. 

For friends

I just finished re-listening to this speech by Dr. M.A.G. Haykin at Southwestern Seminary last week. It's on friendship, specifically looking at Andrew Fuller and John Ryland's relationship. Very encouraging and capturing. 

"Your friend who is as your own soul..."

This statement comes right out of Deuteronomy 13:6.

In context the LORD speaks to Moses stating the severity of idolatry, that is serving other gods. And that if anyone in Israel entices a person to leave YHWH and serve idols they must stone him. It didn't matter who it was, even if they are best friends, that person and their gods should never be put above the Everlasting God.
In that community of Israel all the people had just been delivered from Egypt, out of slavery. To say that God had not brought the plagues and spared Israel, that he had not split the waters of the Red Sea, that he had not sustained them with manna to eat, would be to deny everything that God had done, depriving him of his praise and honour.

But the quote here of who a friend is to a man is startling.
As your own soul...

A friendship this close doesn't come by everyday. It isn't made overnight. It May not come early in life, it may not come in marriage, it may not come until old age.
Disheartening as it may be, does such a friendship in this life with another human ever occur?
There is one friendship that of Jesus Christ which is exceedingly great. This friendship comes through the repentance and faith in his sacrifice.

But how about in Christian circles? How about between one Christian and another?
How often do friendships get so deep that we would call another person - as our own soul?
I hope I can grow in one this far.
But from what I am learning, it will cost me - time.
For the seed of friendship to blossom,
the watering must be done with gallons of time. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Who are we...

"Those who regard a human being as nothing but a programmed machine (behaviourists) or an absurdity (existentialists) or a naked ape (humanistic evolutionists) are all denigrating our creation in God's image.  True, we are also rebels against God and deserve nothing at his hand except judgment, but our fallenness has not entirely destroyed our God-likeness.  More important still, in spite of our revolt against him, God has loved, redeemed, adopted, and recreated us in Christ."

John Stott is the writer of The Cross of Christ and the rector emeritus from All Souls Church in Langham Place (England).

--From 'Must I Really Love Myself?' "Christianity Today" (5 May 1978).
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 139, by IVP. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

On the way to the library...

Actually, I'm ok when I get interrupted reading a book - it happens.
But I don't think there's a better library pump-up song.
So before you get lunch and hit the books - get your theme song on...

Walking by the Spirit...

"...Those who belong to Christ 
have crucified the flesh 
with its passions and desires. 
If we live 
by the Spirit, 
let us also walk 
by the Spirit."
Galatians 5:24-25

When I desire my sin more than Christ,
I walk against the Holy Spirit, against my God.
When I desire Christ more than my sin,
then I am walking in the Spirit.
- if it's so easy to say, why is it still so hard to do?

Pray for his strength, to love Christ more.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Giving glory, giving glory!

This song has been in my mind, and several other of my friends lately.
We sang it this past week in our sunday church service. Have a read and a listen...

Father Long Before Creation
Father, long before creation thou had chosen us in love,
And that love so deep, so moving, draws us close to Christ above.
Still it keeps us, still it keeps us firmly fixed in Christ alone.

Though the world may change its fashion, yet our God is ever the same;
His compassion and His covenant through all ages will remain.
God’s own children, God’s own children must forever praise His name.

God’s compassion is my story, is my boasting all the day;
Mercy free and never failing moves my will, directs my way.
God so loved us, God so loved us that His only Son He gave.

Loving Father now before Thee, we will ever praise Thy love,
And our songs will sound unceasing, ’Til we reach our home above,
Giving glory, giving glory to our God and to the Lamb;
Giving glory, giving glory to our God and to the Lamb.

(this is the Caedmon's Call version - which has an extra chorus - 
its catchy and well put together vocally & acoustically)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Answering the tough questions on God...

"That's ok, you can believe whatever you want...” seems like a valid saying in the 21st century, but Dr. Keller gives the Christian, agnostic, and atheist no room to sit tight with this conclusion. He concisely walks with the skeptic through their philosophy and theology, revealing the thin ice on which they so proudly stand. He rightly sums up the thoughts of this generation and how Christ’s message is not only exclusive, it’s offensive. Wrestling with the issues of evolution, pluralism, suffering, and faith - Keller brings a firm defense for Christianity. His conclusive truth is that humanity first offended God and our only solution is to submit to the offended, wrath-taking, sinner-saving, Lord Jesus. A reminiscent page-turner like that of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, Reason for God will answer the questions your friends have been, are, and will be asking you. 4.5 stars

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Tim Keller (New York: Dutton, 2008). 

God's breath, yet the earth's dust

I just read this from John Stott this morning, I think you should too...

"It is part, I think, of the paradoxical nature of our humanness that we are both breath of God and dust of earth, godlike and bestial, created and fallen, noble and ignoble.  That seems to be why we both seek God and run away from him, both practise righteousness and suppress the truth in our unrighteousness, both recognize the claims of the moral law upon us and refuse to submit to it, both erect altars in God's honour and need to repent of our ignorance and sin."

--From "Essentials", by David L. Edwards and John Stott (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1988), p. 322.

--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 138, InterVarsity Press.

2 websites

My girlfriend Justine has a magnificent site for vintage wear here:

I'm attempting to keep a log of books I'm reading/read/want to read here.
You should join this site - its very useful for the absentminded like yours truly.

Blogs you should check out

Challies Dot Com - Mr. T. Challies
Andrew Fuller Center - Dr. M.A.G. Haykin
Redeeming the Time - Professor K. Wellum
Contemplating the TRD - Master J. K.
Defending the Truth - Master A.P.

All of these are linked on my sidebar and are worth your while.
These men love the Lord Jesus Christ and their blogs reflect that.

Toronto in the winter

its really cold.
Especially when there's not a heater in your dorm room.
Good tips
1 - keep your door open, then the hot hair can enter the room
2 - don't close your door
3 - dance
4 - put on lots of extra clothes
5 - jump on Stauffer's bed
6 - keep your window shut
7 - workout
8 - bug Stauffer again
9 - fetal position til morning, then you can take a hot shower

any other suggestions will gladly be considered

Our agenda in the Scriptures

I stole this from John Stott, but I don't think he'll mind.

We come to our reading of the Bible with our own agenda, bias, questions, preoccupations, concerns and convictions, and, unless we are extremely careful, we impose these on the biblical text.  We may sincerely pray before we read, 'Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law' (Ps. 119:18), but still the same non-communication may persist.  For even that introductory prayer, though to be sure it is taken from the Psalter, is suspect because it lays down the kind of message we want to hear.   'Please, Lord, I want to see some "wonderful thing" in your word.'   But he may reply, 'What makes you think I have only "wonderful things" to show you?  As a matter of fact, I have some rather "disturbing things" to show you today.  Are you prepared to receive them?'   'Oh no, Lord, please not', we stammer in reply.  'I come to Scripture only to be comforted; I really do not want to be challenged or disturbed.'

--From "The Contemporary Christian" (London and Downers Grove: IVP, 1992), p. 190.

--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 133, IVP. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

To Start

And whatever you do,
in word or deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Col 3:17