Saturday, June 26, 2010

Free Christian Folk Download - Corey Doak

Through the wonders of Facebook I recently got re-connected with an old Briercrest Bible College Dorm-mate named Corey Doak. Corey was a very powerful display of the gospel to me. He had just recently experienced a very radical conversion and was coming to Bible College as a 'green as grass' new Christian (even greener than I was at the time). That was the winter of 1998, and I hadn't connected with him until a few weeks ago over the internet. Corey always had awesome musical talent, and I was thrilled to learn, not only that he was going on with the Lord, but that he has been using his music to God's glory! Check out his web site and enjoy his self-described 'Experimental Folk; Easy Listening, but Manly' sound. Also, check out this link for a free 3 song sampler.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Athiest Rebukes Timid Christians: Evangelize!

Magician, and athiest, Penn Jillette explains why all Christians should share their faith as much as possible. My favourite quote: "if heaven and hell is real, how much do you have to hate someone not to (share Christ with them)".


Friday, June 18, 2010

Toronto Pastor's Conference 2010. . .Audio Downloads

I'm back from the 2010 Toronto Pastor's Conference, and raring to be back in the pulpit! No one but a pastor will understand just how refreshing it is for a pastor to spend a few days in this way. I believe that churches receive long-term blessing as pastors get this time. My favourite things about this year's conference:

- The Fellowship - Paul Martin and team intentionally created space for pastors to interact. There was no shortage of 'meat' but the sessions were well-spaced, and the conference organizers did a great job of 'herding' pastors back to sessions. I hardly looked at my watch for three straight days, and I constantly found myself learning about another man's ministry setting.
- The Serving Team - Simply put, Grace Fellowship Church excels at serving. During the sessions, teams of people were preparing the next snack, or the next meal, or cleaning to make the next break more comfortable. In the men's washroom I bumped into a man in rubber gloves with a spray bottle in one hand and a paper towel in the other. When I met him a few years ago he was an unbeliver who had just started attending GFC through the witness of a co-worker. Now he is a Christ-like servant who was cleaning the bathroom on his day off to make my conference all the more enjoyable. This is one story of many!
- The Food - Admittedly, I didn't make it in for either of the breakfasts, but the lasagna supper and the cold-cut-on-bun lunch were extraordinary. I really mean that. I've never seen a piece of lasagna that large, and that full of cheese and meat. And I had hardly finished it when a 12 year old girl from GFC was clearing my plate and asking me if I wanted seconds. We were catered to in every possible way.
- The Conversational Q & A - I enjoyed the hybrid panel discussion/Q & A times hosted by Pastor Paul Martin. Paul's questions were penetrating, the speaker's answers were helpful, and I still got a chance to ask my burning questions!
- The Speakers' Geography - Mike Bullmore from Wisconsin was excellent. Some of the things he said helped 'the penny to drop' as it were, and will continue to shape my preaching for years to come. But the other speakers were all local. Robbie Symons from Harvest Bible Chapel in Oakville, Paul Martin from Grace Fellowship Church in Rexdale (Toronto), and Dan MacDonald from Grace Toronto Church, downtown Toronto, were all as good as Mike Bullmore. Even more exciting: these are men leading churches in my area! What a privilege to get to know leaders of great churches so close to home.
- The Speakers' Variety - I loved the way so many denominations were represented, not just in the attendees, but also in the speakers. In fact, the four speakers come from four different denominations. The conference was given a 'T4G Canada', or 'Gospel Coalition Canada' feel, with four broadly reformed men who agree on many things, but who differ on non-core issues, all in the same line-up. And, if I can be so bold, I wonder if their content was as good or even better as the larger American Conferences I referenced?
- The Speakers' Content - As I've already hinted, the strengths already mentioned complimented the most essential strength: great speakers. My favourite overall message was probably Robbie Symons on evangelism. But a close second would be Paul Martin on Robert Murray M'Cheyne. Dan MacDonald's thought-provoking talk was punctuated by a very humble confession of pride that caused us all to search our own hearts and repent (listen to the first five minutes of his talk if you don't have time for anything else). And Mike Bullmore impressed upon me my great need to know and cherish the gospel more and more every day. When I'm not doing well it's because I don't believe the gospel! Another favourite Bullmore quote (or paraphrase): 'the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever; the chief temptation of man is to seek glory for himself'. How true this is! And this is along the lines of Dan MacDonald's confession of burn out.

Listen and be encouraged. All the messages and panel discussions can be downloaded here for free.

A Video Interview with Wayne and Margaret Grudem on Their Marriage

Mark Driscoll interviews Wayne and Margaret Grudem here. This is one of those ones I watched over breakfast, and then exhorted my wife to watch too. Wayne Grudem is often unfairly caricatured because of his views of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (he is a strong advocate of the Complimentarian position). But his marriage displays the beauty of this Biblical teaching. I hope I'm half giggly and giddy with my amazing wife after 40+ years of marriage! Also, the Grudems touch on some very helpful topics, especially for pastor's wives! Watch and be encouraged!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Reading and Writing With John Adams

From (about the 1st Vice President, and 2nd President of the USA):

Earlier today I was looking through some notes I took on David McCullough’s great biography of John Adams. I found there a few quotes from Adams about his love of reading. He was an avid reader who had a very substantial library—far more the exception than the rule in his day. Here is how he spoke of how reading ranked in his life in terms of priority.

I want to see my children every day. I want to see my grass and blossoms and corn … But above all, except the wife and children, I want to see my books.

As with Adams, my books are among my greatest pleasure and when I find I do not have time to read, I miss it a lot. There is pleasure to be found both in the books and in the experience of reading them. A day without a book is just not quite the same as a day with at least an hour or two spent reading.

Adams also said this about the way he did his best thinking:

The only way to compose myself and collect my thoughts is to set down at my table, place my diary before me, and take my pen into my hand. This apparatus takes off my attention from other objects. Pen, ink, and paper and a sitting posture are great helps to attention and thinking.

I, too, find that I can get very little thinking done, and cannot hold my attention for long, if I do not do my thinking with the assistance of pen, ink and paper (or the digital equivalent—a word processor and a keyboard). I love reading, I love writing and, like Adams, I love words. So I suppose one of the reasons I enjoy reading about Adams is that I feel a real affinity with him on that level.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Does God Choose People? If So, How Should We Understand It?

The following quote helps make sense of what is for many, a very confusing doctrine:

The famous American Bible teacher Donald Grey Barnhouse (1895–1960) often used an illustration to help people make sense of election. He asked them to imagine a cross like the one on which Jesus died, only so large that it had a door in it. Over the door were these words from Revelation: “Whosoever will may come.” These words represent the free and universal offer of the gospel. By God’s grace, the message of salvation is for everyone. Every man, woman, and child who will come to the cross is invited to believe in Jesus Christ and enter eternal life.

On the other side of the door a happy surprise awaits the one who believes and enters. From the inside, anyone glancing back can see these words from Ephesians written above the door: “Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.” Election is best understood in hindsight, for it is only after coming to Christ that one can know whether one has been chosen in Christ. Those who make a decision for Christ find that God made a decision for them in eternity past.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Testimony of God's Grace. . .To Tricia

This past Sunday was bittersweet for our church family. Four years ago we welcomed a single-parent family of five into our church. Over the past four years we grew a deep mutual bond with Tricia and her four great kids. This past Sunday was a goodbye of sorts, as Tricia shared a testimony of God's grace to her and her family, as she prepares for her upcoming July wedding, and (the bitter part for us), her move 2 1/2 hours north after the wedding. I'd highly encourage you to listen to Tricia's testimony (found here). She honestly recounts the trials she has been through, and the awesome way God helped her make Him her ultimate treasure through that pain. And now, as she prepares to marry a great man of God, she is excited, but she is most excited about her God!

After Tricia shared I preached an abbreviated message on the 'goodbye' aspect of Paul's address to the Ephesian Elders. My main point was: this was a goodbye because God was calling Paul away. And my three points were: 1. Goodbye, with tears; 2. Goodbye, for he sake of the Kingdom; 3. Goodbye, you are in God's hands. I hope our church was encouraged by this Biblical goodbye, as we prepare to say goodbye to a family that has been an incredible blessing to our church family, and who we will miss very much! My message can be found in the same place.

Note: our church web site only stores messages for three weeks. Every week we erase an old message and add a new one. . .so if you are reading this after the month of June, those links will not bring you to the sermons mentioned above!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Charismatic Calvinist

"The man who wrote Romans 9 (classic text on the doctrine of election) also wrote, 'I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you". That's my favourite quote from the following video. Who knew that doing chores and watching a few you tube videos along the way could mess up my theology so much?


If Miraculous Gifts Have Not Ceased, Should We Pursue Them?

Sam Storms gives a very helpful answer. (Full disclosure, I'm in nearly the exact position of the young guy asking the initial question, so Storms' answer really helped me.)

Conference Trailer - Think: the Life of the Mind and the Love of God

This one looks awesome.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Free Audio Book

This month's free audio book at Christian Audio is 'Forgotten God' by Francis Chan. I look forward to 'listening' to this book on the Holy Spirit as I exercise over the next little while. It can be found here.