30 November, 2006

Pagan TV Attacks Sacred Things

The History Channel needs to double check its sources! They claim that days that many Christians hold dear are actually pagan!

29 November, 2006

A True Friend Is an Honest Friend

Here is a good quote that Dr. Beeke shared with us today during Homiletics. The context was in giving application that is relevant for a minister's specific congregation. I think that this is to be something of what all true Christians are to experience in communion of the saints. When you look at the book of Proverbs on what it means to be a friend- it rings all the more true!

“The man that loves you the most is the man that tells you the most about yourself.”
- Robert Murray McCheyne

28 November, 2006

Today is My Birthday

Today is my 29th birthday. It has been a wonderful day!

I had the opportunity to lead worship at chapel at Puritan Seminary.

This was my outline of Revelation 19.11-16:
I. The Character of the Rider
A. Faithful
B. True
C. Judges war righteously
II. The Artillery of the Rider
A. The Description of the rider
1. Eyes as a flame of fire
2. Kingly attire
3. Called the Word of God
B. The description of the rider's army
1. Martyrs of Revelation 6
2. On white horses
3. No weapons but righteousness
III. The Purpose of the Rider
A. smite the nations
B. rule with a rod of iron
C. tread the winepress
D. proclaim himself King of King and Lord of Lords.

And what did I get for my birthday you ask?
Let me preface with 'Thou shalt not covet':
I received volume one, number one of the Reformed Presbyterian Covenanter from January, 1863.

I also received the new edition of the 1599 Geneva Bible in Genuine Leather.

Happy birthday to me!

27 November, 2006

The Reverend Jesse Jackson Speaks

The Reverend Jesse Jackson has called for Hollywood to stop using words that are
offensive to racial minorities.
Fine, good, great.
I call on Jesse Jackson to stop calling himself Reverend.
That title,
applied to his name,
is offensive to Christians.

Is IKEA the New Reformation?

26 November, 2006

Sabbath a' Brakel: Promises Stored

He who, in reading the Bible, has accumulated numerous promises to be readily available upon becoming subject to a trial has a great advantage (II: 619).

25 November, 2006

Thomas Smyth on Harmony Amongst Church Members

1. To remember that we are all subject to failings and infirmities, of one kind or another.—Matt 7:1-5; Rom 2:21-23.

2. To bear with and not magnify each other's infirmities.—Gal 6:1.

3. To pray one for another in our social meetings, and particularly in private.—James 5:16.

4. To avoid going from house to house, for the purpose of hearing news, and interfering with other people's business.—Lev 19:16.

5. Always to turn a deaf ear to any slanderous report, and to allow no charge to be brought against any person until well founded and proved.—Prov 25:23.

6. If a member be in fault, to tell him of it in private, before it is mentioned to others.—Matt 18:15.

7. To watch against shyness of each other, and put the best construction on any action that has the appearance of opposition or resentment.—Prov 10:12.

8. To observe the just rule of Solomon, that is, to leave off contention before it be meddled with.—Prov 17:14.

9. If a member has offended, to consider how glorious, how God-like it is to forgive, and how unlike a Christian it is to revenge.—Eph 4:2.

10. To remember that it is always a grand artifice of the Devil, to promote distance and animosity among members of Churches, and we should, therefore, watch against everything that furthers his the Devil's end.—James 3:16.

11. To consider how much more good we can do in the world at large, and in the Church in particular when we are all united in love, than we could do when acting alone, and indulging a contrary spirit.—John 13:35.

12. Lastly, to consider the express injunction of Scripture, and the beautiful example of Christ, as to these important things.—Eph 4:32; 1 Pet 2:21; John 13:5,35.

(via Crazy Calvinist)

24 November, 2006

RPCNA Sites of Interest

It is no secret that I would like to preach in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America when I am completed with my Master's of Divinity. I am attempting to compile a list of websites that will be of interest to anyone who would like to know more about the RPCNA. Please add to this list via the comments section if you know of any more.

Main denominational website

Wikipedia definition and articles

Position paper on worship and history

A downloadable and printable Constitution (what they believe)

A list of Congregations

Some of their Youth Ministries

Short Term Mission trips

Home Missions and Church Planting

Exciting Foreign Missions (including one in Japan and one in Cyprus)

Their denominational college

Their denominational Seminary

Their denominational publishing house

Book of the Year

Meet The Puritans has won book of the year by Shepherd's Scrapbook. This book is a worthy tome and is an excellent reference for those who want to get to know the Puritans better. Beeke and Pederson have given a biography of each Puritan- American, English, Scottish, and Dutch. They also list the Puritan books that have been reprinted in the last 50 years. Rev. Ray Lanning has compiled a wonderful glossary of terms, places, and concepts.

The book retails for $35, but at Heritage Books you can get one for $25. I will also pick up a copy for anyone local. (I have a loaner copy as well- if you would like to add it to your library, but would like to peruse it first, let me know.)

22 November, 2006

Thanksgiving ad fontes

Today Thanksgiving is called Turkey-day and it is when people over-eat and sit and watch NFL football all afternoon (at least that's how it was in my home growing up). Historically it was a great time of thanking the Lord for his provisions and a day set apart for worship and for prayer. Do we come to the Thanksgiving table with that same devotion to Christ that our Puritan forefathers did?

Our Corne did proue well, & God be praysed, we had a good increase of Indian Corne, and our Barly indifferent good, but our Pease not worth the gathering, for we feared they were too late sowne, they came vp very well, and blossomed, but the Sunne parched them in the blossome; our harvest being gotten in, our Governour sent foure men on fowling, that so we might after a more speciall manner reioyce together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labors; they foure in one day killed as much fowle, as with a little helpe beside, served the Company almost a weeke, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Armes, many of the Indians coming amongst vs, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoyt, with some nintie men, whom for three dayes we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed fiue Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed upon our Governour, and upon the Captaine, and others. And although it be not alwayes so plentifull, as it was at this time with vs, yet by the goodneses of God, we are so farre from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty. -Edward Winslow, December 11, 1621

They begane now to gather in ye small harvest they had, and to fitte up their houses and dwellings against winter, being well recovered in health & strenght, and had all things in good plenty; for some were thus imployed in affairs abroad, others were excersised in fishing, aboute codd, & bass, & other fish, of which yey tooke good store, of which every family had their portion. All ye somer ther was no wante. And now begane to come in store of foule, as winter aproached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degree). And besids water foule, ther was great store of wild Turkies, of which they took many, besids venison, &c. Besids they had aboute a peck a meale a weeke to a person, or now since harvest, Indean corne to yt proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largly of their plenty hear to their freinds in England, which were not fained, but true reports.
-Governor William Bradford

21 November, 2006

The Conquering Warrior-King

I have been meditating on Christ's kingdom a lot of late. I have been especially moved by the amount of places in Scripture that present the kingdom of Christ as one that will issue forth as a force that will not be stopped.

In our time, and from our point-of-view, it may seem as though the cause of Christ is being lost in our culture. We cannot despair. He who is called Faithful and True is riding forth to conquer- and he will.

Revelation 19. 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

20 November, 2006

Hearing Preaching in Post-Modernity

The concept of preaching has been challenged in the post-modern evangelical church. This may be because the preaching is not good, but it may also be that the hearing is not good.

Preachers need to be diligent in making their sermons Christ centered, exegetical, and applicatory to these post-modern times. On the other hand, hearers of sermons need to train their minds, ears, and rear-ends to endure a 40 minute sermon. My generation has the attention span of a gnat. I have heard it said that even in conversation the 20-somethings down to teens are not really having conversations, but verballing IM-ing each other.

With our culture being visually oriented and having less and less abilities to focus and to concentrate, we as Christians need to retrain our minds and be not conformed to the ways of this world. After-all, faith comes by hearing- and that requires a preacher.

The Right Hearing of Preaching
By this subject matter of preaching the word of God, we may receive a good direction to observe two caveats enjoined by Christ concerning hearing:

The first is concerning the matter which we hear, "Take heed what you hear," Mark 4:24. We must hear nothing with approval except what we know to be the word of God. We must, therefore, be well acquainted with the Scriptures ourselves, and by them test the things which we hear, whether they are the word of God or not, as the men of Berea did, Acts 17:11.

The second caveat is concerning the manner of hearing, "Take heed how you hear," Luke 18:18. That which we know to be grounded upon the Scriptures we must receive, "not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God," 1 Thess. 2:13. We must with reverence attend to it; we must in our hearts believe, and we must in our lives obey it.
-William Gouge, (1575-1653)

19 November, 2006

Sabbath a' Brakel

Listen to the knocking and arousing voice of the Lord Jesus and reflect upon the words of the bride: "I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night." She, not being worthy of arising says, "My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him...My soul failed when he spake" (Song of Sol. 5:2, 4, 6) [IV: 273].

17 November, 2006

All Roads Lead to Rome

Eight Days OF Silence is an article about a Christian Reformed minister who went to a monastery and was silent for eight days. This experience was considered to be invigorating and reviving of his own personal spiritual life. He encourages us to do the same thing.

Is this really what minister's of the Gospel are supposed to be doing? Does a church with the name Reformed attached remember from what we have reformed? Does the blood of the martyrs not cry out against such practices that attempt to bring us, once again, under the blood-stained-staff of the so called Holy Father of Rome?

If we are going to drop the distinctives that Reformed churches have maintained since the 1500s (and not to mention the lights that shone in the Ancient and Medieval church), should we not just pack our bags and go knocking on the door of Saint Peter's basilica?

I desire one united catholic church- if others desire the same thing and have no problems with the errors and abuse of Rome- then they should return unto her shepherd. She is there to welcome you with open arms!

13 November, 2006

An Emotional and Logical Religion

Does your heart burn with within as grace is exercised? Does God excite your heart as you live out of obedience to Him? True religion is one that changes the way that we use our emotions and respond to God through them. True religion is not just an exercise of the mind.

The Spirit of God, in those that have sound and solid religion, is a spirit of powerful holy affection; and therefore, God is said to have given them the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (II Tim. 1:7). And such, when they receive the Spirit of God, in his sanctifying and saving influences, are said to be baptized with the Holy Ghost, and with fire; by reason of the power and fervor of those exercises the Spirit of God excites in their hearts, whereby their hearts, when grace is in exercise, may be said to burn within them; as is said of the disciples (Luke 24:32).
-Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections

Sabbath a' Brakel: Offices of Christ

Come to this Prophet, humbly beseeching Him that He will teach and guide you. "Shew me Thy ways, O LORD; teach me Thy paths; "Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me" (Psa. 25:4-5); "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law" (Psa. 119:18). Then believe that He shall hear you and grant you wisdom. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering" (James 1:5-6), that is, doubting neither the power and the willingness of the Lord nor the fact that He will grant any matter at His time, in His manner, and in a measure determined by Him (I: 529)

08 November, 2006

Living Out of Feelings or Living by Faith?

Ebenezer Erskine ( One of the founders of the Associate Presbyterian Church) makes the distinction in his preaching between the assurance of faith and what he calls 'the assurance of sense'. This distinction is what we would call living by your feelings versus living by faith. One man places his trust in his religious experience. The other man places his trust in the promises of God and by faith.

1. Sense gives an important status to what is enjoyed and in hand, but faith looks to all of what man has in Christ comprehensively.
2. Sense is ready to judge of the love of God by providences; Faith wreaths the love of God in all circumstances.
3. Sense and sight is a variable and fluctuating thing, but faith is steady and fixed like Abraham who against hope staggered against unbelief.
4. Sight and sense look only to things present, but faith, like a prophet looks to things to come.
5. Sense and sight are superficial and are easily taken in with appearances bt faith is a diving thing (it probes deeply).
6. Sense and faith differ in their order. Faith is the leader and sense is the follower. Faith is duty and sense follows in the wake of faith.
7. Sense is hasty and precipitous in judgment; faith is patient and waits to see God's end.
8. A life of sense is dangerous; a life of faith is sure and safe.
9. Sense has its only foundation and confidences within the believer himself, ittreadss in the shallow waters of experimental attainments and marks of grace; but faith has its foundation outside the man with Christ in God's covenant and in the great and precious promises. While the Mariner stays in the shallow waters in continuous fear of rocks and sandbars- while he is in the deep waters he feels safe. So it is with the shallowness of living out of sense and depths of living by faith.

06 November, 2006

Kerugma: A New "To Me" Blog

Kerugma: Pulpit and Pew
is a new blog that I have linked. Please check it out and see some of the great thoughts that are being published there. Pastor Lewis is a former Covenanter in the RPNA, in Edmonton Canada. He is also a former ARP minister. Pastor Lewis is now serving in the Free Reformed Churches.

I had the opportunity of meeting him at Puritan Seminary where he sat in on one of my sermon critiques. He had some great recommendations and we had the opportunity to spend some time together speaking of the great depths of the riches of Christ.

I would also recommend listening to his sermon on Sermon Audio entitled Preparation For Rain. It is a true call to the church that all should hear!

05 November, 2006

A Meditation From the Depths Towards the Heights

Sometimes in the Christian experience we have dark nights of the soul. These are times when our experiences of the world around are affecting us to the point where God feels far from us. Our soul longs for closeness and communion with God, through Christ, yet we cannot muster the energy to bring worship from the depths of our being. The Puritans referred to these times as being in the Valley of Vision. This is where we are brought low as into a valley for the purpose of seeing our loving God on the apex of the mountains above us.

The Psalms are perfect meditations for times in the Valley of Vision. John Calvin called the Psalms a complete anatomy of Christian experience. Allow me to share one such Psalm that I have been meditating on today. May the Lord be blessed as we command praise from the depths of our souls!

The tune is Freu Dich Sehr, also entitled, Thirsting. The text is a translation of the Genevan poet Louis Bourgeous' rendition of Psalm 42. It was originally written in 1551 and then translated by Dewey Westra in 1931.

This meditative Psalm is one that is worth putting into memory for such a time as this. Again, may the Lord be blessed as we walk in the Valley of Vision.

As the hart, about to falter,
In its trembling agony,
Panteth for the brooks of water,
So my soul doth pant for Thee.
Yea, athirst for Thee I cry;
God of life, O when shall I
Come again to stand before Thee
In Thy temple, and adore Thee?

Bitter tears of lamentation
Are my food by night and day;
In my deep humiliation
Where is now thy God? they say.
Yea, my soul doth melt in me,
When I bring to memory,
How of yore I did assemble
With the joyful in Thy temple.

O my soul, why art thou grieving,
Why disquieted in me?
Hope in God, thy faith retrieving;
Let Him still thy refuge be.
I shall yet extol His grace
For the comfort of His face;
He has ever turned my sorrow
Into gladness on the morrow.

From the land beyond the Jordan
I bewail my misery;
From the foothills of Mount Hermon,
O my God, I think of Thee.
As the waters plunge and leap,
Deep re-echoes unto deep;
All Thy waves and billows roaring
O'er my troubled soul are pouring.

But the Lord will send salvation,
And by day His love provide;
He shall be my exultation,
And my song at eventide.
On His praise e'en in the night
I will ponder with delight,
And in prayer, transcending distance,
Seek the God of my existence.

I will say to God, my fortress:
Why hast Thou forsaken me?
Why go I about in sadness
For my foes' dread tyranny?
Their rebukes and scoffing words
Pierce my bones as pointed sword,
As they say with proud defiance:
Where is God, thy soul's reliance?

O my soul, why art thou grieving;
Why disquieted in me?
Hope in God, thy faith retrieving;
He will still thy refuge be.
I shall yet through all my days
Give to Him my thankful praise;
God, who will from shame deliver,
Is my God, my rock, forever.

Sabbath a'Brakel: On Unconverted Church Members

By maintaining that only true believers are members of the church, we do not claim that there are no unconverted in the congregation, but that they are not present as true members there. There neither has been, nor will ever be a church upon earth in which there are no unconverted, that is, those who merely run along; yes, the latter are generally in the majority. There is a significant difference between being in the church, and being of the church (II: 14).

02 November, 2006

Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts

Some of the greatest meditations on the life and work of the Lord Jesus Christ come from the pen of the 12th century mystic, Bernard of Clairvaux. Bernard is highly honored amongst those in the experiential Christian tradition. Bernard is extensively quoted by John Calvin as well as by many Puritan authors. He is well known for his work on the Love of God as well as for his extensive meditations on the relationship between Christ and his Bride as described in the book of Canticles.
Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts,
Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts,
We turn unfilled to Thee again.

Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
Thou savest those that on Thee call;
To them that seek Thee Thou art good,
To them that find Thee all in all.

We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.

Our restless spirits yearn for Thee,
Wherever our changeful lot is cast;
Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,
Blessed when our faith can hold Thee fast.

O Jesus, ever with us stay,
Make all our moments calm and bright;
Chase the dark night of sin away,
Shed over the world Thy holy light.