Friday, September 30, 2011

Spiritual Growth


The idea of spiritual growth is foreign to many people, not least in the areas of faith and love. We tend to speak of faith in static terms as something we either have or have not. 'I wish I had your faith,' we say, like 'I wish I had your complexion,' as if it were a genetic endowment. Or we complain 'I've lost my faith,' like 'I've lost my spectacles,' as if it were a commodity. But faith is a relationship of trust in God, and like all relationships is a living, dynamic, growing thing. There are degrees of faith, as Jesus implied when he said, 'You of little faith' and 'I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith' (Mt. 8:26, 10). It is similar with love. We assume rather helplessly that we either love somebody or we do not, and that we can do nothing about it. But love also, like faith, is a living relationship, whose growth we can take steps to nurture.

--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 214, by permission of InterVarsity Press. RIP JRW Stott

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Language Study Boost

Here's some encouragement to keep persevering in the languages. 
This one goes out to my TBS buddies and Ty in Cali!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Stott on Private Speaking in Tongues

What, then, about the contemporary practice of private tongue-speaking as an aid to personal devotion? Many are claiming to discover through it a new degree of fluency in their approach to God. Others have spoken of a kind of 'psychic release' which they have found liberating and which one would not want to deny them. On the other hand, it needs to be said (from 1 Cor. 14) that if Paul completely forbids public tongue-speaking without interpretation, he strongly discourages private tongue-speaking if the speaker does not understand what he is saying. Verse 13 is often overlooked: 'He who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret'. Otherwise his mind will be 'unfruitful' or unproductive. So what is he to do? Paul asks himself. His reply is that he will pray and sing 'with the Spirit', but he will do so 'with the mind also'. It is clear that he simply cannot contemplate Christian prayer and praise in which the mind is not actively engaged.

--From "Baptism and Fullness" (London: IVP, 1975), p. 113. Rest with Christ JRW Stott.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dead and Now Alive

This is my pastor John and I when I got baptized last summer on July 3rd. 
It took me a while before I realized I should be obedient to Scripture and take the plunge. There were about 1/2 dozen of us who got baptized. In this way I was able to demonstrate the inward spiritual reality of what had happened years prior when I received eternal life. It was great to have my parents, church family, Daniel, and Tyler all there.  In this act I was confirming that I had been flatlined in my sin before I knew Jesus Christ. But God, showing me my sin, let me turn and believe in Christ's sacrifice for my punishment. That my old life of sin was buried and that I was now raised to life with Christ; for this life and the next. 

Dead


Buried


Alive



Id-un-get-betah den dat. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

I Agree With Pastor Phelps

"Wear the old coat and buy the new book."


Austin Phelps (1829-1890)

Thou Hast Made Me Whole



Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belov├Ęd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Alabamaology

I'm in a hurry to get things done
Oh I rush and rush until life's no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But I'm in a hurry and don't know why

Don't know why I have to drive so fast
My car has nothing to prove
It's not new
But it'll do zero to sixty in five point two

Can't be late, I leave in plenty of time
Shakin' hands with the clock
I can't stop
I'm on a roll and I'm ready to rock

Oh, I hear a voice
That says I'm running behind
Better pick up my pace
It's a race and there ain't no room for someone in second place

I'm in a hurry to get things done
Oh I rush and rush until life's no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But I'm in a hurry and don't know why

Although they didn't write the song I think Alabama is speaking to the soul on this one.
They also keep a clean and commendable amount of facial hair.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

George Whitefield on Essentials

Reading through the first half of Arnold Dallimore's biography on Whitefield this past summer has been a treat. I enjoy Dallimore's exhaustiveness on Whitefield's life. I've come to be quite empathetic of Whitefield as I read through; especially after Elizabeth Delamotte's denial of marriage to him - ouch! In around 1740, Whitefield is just about to head back to England from one of his preaching tours from New England to Georgia. While in Philadelphia he writes this God-glorifying, yet tactful comment:

"Whatever men's reasoning may suggest, if the children of God fairly examine their own experiences - if they do God justice, they must acknowledge that they did not choose God, but that God chose them. And if He chose them at all, it must be from eternity, and that too without anything foreseen in them. Unless they acknowledge this, man's salvation must be in part owing to the free-will of man; and if so,... Christ Jesus might have died, and never have seen the travail of His soul in the salvation of one of His creatures. But I would be tender on this point, and leave persons to be taught it of God. I am of the martyr Bradford's mind. Let a man go to the grammar school of faith and repentance, before he goes to the university of election and predestination."

*Arnold Dallimore, "George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival" Vol 1. (Edinburgh, Scotland, Banner of Truth Trust, 1970), 570. 
**Also located in "Whitefield's Journals", p. 490 (Banner of Truth Trust). 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Scott's Homecooking

Here at TBS I sure love that Jamaican home-cooking. But once in a while I like to treat myself to my own homecooking. So tonight I made some cheesy-toast. A classic. If you're in for a late dinner why not venture the recipe?

Scott's Cheesy-Toast (S.C.T)

Ingredients
- semi-molded bread slice
- 1/2 cup of shredded cheese
- 1/3 cup of leftover cheetoes
- Frank's red-hot (or other hot-sauce)

Directions
1. Cook bread slice in toaster till it becomes toast
2. Put toast on microwavable plate
3. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of toast
4. Drizzle some Frank's on top of that
5. Cook on high in microwave for 25-30 seconds
> be sure that all cheese is melted
6. Take out cheesy toast
7. Mix the cheese and sauce together on top of toast
8. Sprinkle desired amount of cheetoes on top
9. Enjoy!



Note to self: Don't use the brown bread next time...


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hebrew Aleph-Bet Tips

Yea!!! Hebrew alright - this week I started my first course in Hebrew.
Here is my attempt to give some tips to memorizing the Hebrew Alphabet. Scott of the future - if you are out there and forget how it goes, re-read this and it should be easier. How this is going to work is there are the letters spelt out and then the tip for memory is (in brackets). Hope this helps you remember it all. And for all you other TBS'rs I hope this is helpful too. Feel free to add suggestions or criticisms in the comments.


Aleph-Beth
(alphabet)

Aleph, Beth, Gimel, Daleth
(same as Greek letters alpha-beta-gamma-delta [or abgd])

He & Het; not Cheth
(He & Het are the buns of this sandwich)

Waw, Zayin
(these are the meat - think "Woah - the land of Zion!")

Het, Teth
(They sound alike and rhyme - say them fast)

Yodh, Kaph 
(little backwards c, big backwards C)
((OR you can think Yo! where'd the letter go?))

Kaph, Lamedh, Mem, Nun
(back to the alphabet again - k, l, m, n - English follows the Hebrew here)

Samekh/Samed
(Greek! sigma but backwards)

Ayin
(silent - just like Alpha - always think of these two together)

Pe
("Ayin was silent so I Pe'd my pants") 

Tsade
(think "spade in your wallet" because it's just short of five bucks)

Qof, Resh, Sin,
(back to the alphabet - q, r, s

Sin, Shin
(they look exactly alike, just mind the dot - in order the dots should touch + they rhyme again!)

Taw 
(Aleph-Taw! Think of Taw as you're new Omega - as in the Hebrew ending)

*General Tips
1 - Whenever you see/write the letter, pronounce it outloud
2 - Whenever you say the letter, think about the actual letter (symbol)
3 - If memorizing from Aleph to Taw
a. write out each letter 20x
b. say the letter every time you write it
c. every three new letters you learn rewrite all the letters you've learned
d. once you learn it, learn it backwards!
4 - Impress your girlfriend by reciting it (even though she told you she doesn't want to hear it. Deep down she's probably melting for you). 

Fall/Winter Reading List

From my summer reading list I got to learn lots and grow from the books I had planned to go through; although the list did not get read completely. I'm hoping to contribute some reviews of the few books I got to read. A few works dropped from my reading list in the summer and a couple new ones have been added. Here is what I'm pining to read over the next two seasons. What's your current read? I'd love to hear - especially your recommendations.


Love in Hard Places - D. A. Carson
How To Study: John Schulte
The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God - D. A. Carson

What He Must Be - 
 Voddie Baucham
When Sinner's Say I Do - Dave Harvey
Exemplary Husband - Stuart Scott
Humility - C. J. Mahaney
What Christianity Says About Sex, Love, and Marriage - Ronald H. Bainton
End of the Law - Jason C. Meyer
According to Plan - Graeme Goldsworthy
Family Driven Faith - Voddie Baucham
Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood - W. Grudem and J. Piper 
Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married - Gary Chapman 
George Whitefield v. 2 - Arnold Dallimore



Monday, September 12, 2011

Prayerful and Prayerless: A Conversation*


Prayerless: I understand that you believe in the providence of God. Is that right?

Prayerful: Yes.

Prayerless: Does that mean you believe, like the Heidelberg Catechism says, that nothing comes about by chance but only by God's design and plan?

Prayerful: Yes, I believe that's what the Bible teaches.

Prayerless: Then why do you pray?

Prayerful: I don't see the problem. Why shouldn't we pray?

Prayerless: Well, if God ordains and controls everything, then what he plans from of old will come to pass, right?

Prayerful: Yes.

Prayerless: So it's going to come to pass whether you pray or not, right.

Prayerful: That depends on whether God ordained for it to come to pass in answer to prayer. If God predestined that something happen in answer to prayer, it won't happen without prayer.

Prayerless: Wait a minute, this is confusing. Are you saying that every answer to prayer is predestined or not?

Prayerful: Yes, it is. It's predestined as an answer to prayer.

Prayerless: So if the prayer doesn't happen, the answer doesn't happen?

Prayerful: That's right.

Prayerless: So the event is contingent on our praying for it to happen?

Prayerful: Yes. I take it that by contingent you mean prayer is a real reason that the event happens, and without the prayer the event would not happen.

Prayerless: Yes that's what I mean. But how can an event be contingent on my prayer and still be eternally fixed and predestined by God?

Prayerful: Because your prayer is as fixed as the predestined answer.

Prayerless: Explain.

Prayerful: It's not complicated. God providentially ordains all events. God never ordains an event without a cause. The cause is also an event. Therefore, the cause is also foreordained. So you cannot say that the event will happen if the cause doesn't because God has ordained otherwise. The event will happen if the cause happens.

Prayerless: So what you are saying is that answers to prayer are always ordained as effects of prayer which is one of the causes, and that God predestined the answer only as an effect of the cause.

Prayerful: That's right. And since both the cause and the effect are ordained together you can't say that the effect will happen even if the cause doesn't because God doesn't ordain effects without causes.

Prayerless: Can you give some illustrations?

Prayerful: Sure. If God predestines that I die of a bullet wound, then I will not die if no bullet is fired. If God predestines that I be healed by surgery, then if there is no surgery, I will not be healed. If God predestines heat to fill my home by fire in the furnace, then if there is no fire, there will be no heat. Would you say, "Since God predestines that the sun be bright, it will be bright whether there is fire in the sun or not"?

Prayerless: No.

Prayerful: I agree. Why not?

Prayerless: Because the brightness of the sun comes from the fire.

Prayerful: Right. That's the way I think about the answers to prayer. They are the brightness, and prayer is the fire. God has established the universe so that in larger measure it runs by prayer, the same way he has established brightness so that in larger measure it happens by fire. Doesn't that make sense?

Prayerless: I think it does.

Prayerful: Then let's stop thinking up problems and go with what the Scriptures say. Ask and you will receive. You have not because you ask not.

*Thanks to DesiringGod for posting this on their website about 15 years ago. Really enjoyed it.
February 14, 1996 | by John Piper | Topic: Prayer

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Integrated Christian


Paul loved to liken the Christian life to a race in the arena. Notice that to 'run well' in the Christian race is not just to believe the truth (as if Christianity were nothing but orthodoxy), nor just to behave well (as if it were just moral uprightness), but to 'obey the truth', applying belief to behaviour. Only he who obeys the truth is an integrated Christian. What he believes and how he behaves are all of a piece. His creed is expressed in his conduct; his conduct is derived from his creed.

--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 216, by permission of InterVarsity Press.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mounce on Context


Any interpretation of the Messianic Kingdom that denies the future reality of the kingdom (as was true in Peter’s day, see 3:11-13), what Peter calls “cleverly devised myths” (v 16), comes under the same divine judgment as the false prophets in Jeremiah’s day, who “speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of God” (Jer. 23:16).
As is so often in Greek, the original language gives us the range of interpretive options, but usually it is context that makes the final decision. Greek is not a magic key that reveals the one and only possible interpretation; otherwise we wouldn’t have endless supplies of Greek commentaries.

- From 2 Pet 1:20—Can an Individual Interpret Scripture? (Monday with Mounce - Repost) Posted: 15 Aug 2011 05:18 AM PDT

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back at TBS



I'm back on Jarvis and Gerrard it seems for another semester of Bible College at TBS. Pretty stellar - I'm back with my housemates Adam & Benoit from last year and Stauffer is just 2 houses over - it's great to see old friends again. Great to reconnect and catch up on the summer and have some good laughs together. We have 3 new guys in our house pretty excited to get to know them. Here's my get-up for this year - ground zero for the majority of the coming year's blogging, devos, Greek hmwrk, reading, stranger watching in the park, prayer, meditation, talks with friends, and the occasional nap.
And no that's a man not a dog that was barking outside my window a few moments ago.
Good ol' Toronto - glad to be back.



Thanks to Stauffer last year, Coffee has become a significant component in my bloodstream. Over the summer I acquired a french press from Crappy-Tire - the press however, not so crappy.
Just ask Javex. Here's this morning's brew.



Scott's Top 7s: Kanye-Interruptions #1

Obi-Wan couldn't have said it better...