Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fantastic article by Dan Phillips at Pyromamiacs. Hat tip to Bekah.

Porn and Paper Pastors

Decades ago, I read a disturbingly candid essay by a pastor about his struggles with pornography. It was in Leadership magazine. Years later, two of his realizations still stand out to me.

The author came to see (as I recall) that he was attracted to these images because they were unreal. The women in the pictures never had bad days, were never crabby and demanding, never disrespectful and demeaning. No mood swings. They always suited his mood, his needs, his wants. They were unreal.

And this post is not about pornography, men, women, nor marriage...

[read it all here]

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen!

While Abraham, King David, Mohammed and Buddha all lie in their graves awaiting the judgement of the wicked and the just, Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why You Need Saturday Night Sleep

Don't let this happen to you on Easter Sunday!

Head versus Heart

This frightens and convicts me (from John Brown's Commentary on First Peter):

It is painful to think that it is no uncommon thing for a person to be able to talk plausibly about these principles of Christianity, to reason conclusively in their support, and to be zealous even to rancour against those who deny, or even doubt, their truth; while he yet continues a total stranger to their transforming efficacy, the slave of selfishness, malignity, and worldliness. And what is the most lamentable part of this sad history, the infatuated man seems in a great measure unaware of the shocking inconsistency he is exhibiting, in displaying the most unchristian tempers in defense of Christian truth. He mistakes his knowledge and zeal about certain propositions - which, it may be, embody Christian truth - for Christianity itself; and looking, it would seem, on orthodoxy of opinion as the sum and substance of religious duty, wraps himself up in an overweening conception of his own attainments, and resigns himself to the pleasing dreams of a fancied security, from which but too frequently he is first and for ever awakened by hearing the awful mandate, "Depart from me, I never knew you;" and by finding his place assigned him with the hypocrites, in the regions of hopeless misery.

Prayer for Texas

As many of you already know, the state of Texas is currently on fire. The whole thing. I'm not kidding. As of yesterday, there were only two counties in the whole state that don't have fires. Over a million and a half acres have burnt. Two firefighters have died. Please pray for rain. As the governor of Texas has asked for prayer today, God's answer would surely shine his glory before many who doubt his existence. Pray both for rain and the glory of Christ. Thanks for praying.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Best Novel You Will Read This Year

Don't let its size daunt you. The Island of the World by Michael O'Brian is not a difficult read, at least in that it is not intellectually tiring (does that make sense?). But it IS a difficult read in a spiritual and emotional sense, not like Saving Private Ryan (glad I saw it and never will again), but in that it takes you to difficult places and you find that your heart and soul went on a journey with Josip Lasta. It will probably change you and the novel will live with you.

Island of the World is the story of Josip Lasta, a Croatian whose life is a difficult journey through the Second World War and Communism and unbelief and hopelessness. It is very Roman Catholic in perspective and addresses, narratively, the struggle to forgive out of very deep hurt.

Here's an idea for a spiritual retreat. Take two books: The Island of the World by O'Brian and Free of Charge by Volf. I think your world and heart will be rocked. Read O'Brian first.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Additional Information on Generosity

Here are some study notes from today's sermon.

I talked about Clement of Rome this morning. A site which has his letter and lots of other early church documents is Christian Classics Ethereal Library. The section of the letter where he talks about the faithfulness of the Corinthians is here.

The three ministries I mentioned this morning are:

The Diaconate of Highlands
Highlands Presbyterian Church
1211 West North Main St
LaFayette, Georgia 30728

The Care Mission
105 North Chattanooga Street
LaFayette, GA 30728-2763
(706) 638-3664
article on them here

Bringing Good News
Ian Thomson (David Thomson's father and ministry partner with Agape Puppets)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Small Decisions - Big Consequences

In a classic case of seemingly small decisions and unintended consequences, Christians in Iran have been endangered by the recent budget cutting in Congress. International Christian Concern has reported that in the midst of the budget cuts of the Republican-led Congress, Texas Representative Lamar Smith (R), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has proposed reviewing all judicial amendments in light of their budgetary impact. This would endanger the Lautenberg Amendment a Cold-War era piece of legislation which grants refugee status to persecuted Christians and Jews in the former USSR. This law was expanded in 2003 to include religious minorities in Iran.

The US grants asylum to many thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of refugees. These refugees receive small amounts of assistance in establishing themselves with other assistance given by non-governmental agencies and ministries. The refugees included in the Lautenberg Amendment are a tiny fraction of the total, but they are among the most vulnerable because other countries often do not recognize them as refugees. Oftentimes, the opportunity to emigrate to the US can make the difference between life and death for a Iranian Christian. This Amendment has never been controversial and its budgetary impact is tiny.

Repealing or even pausing this amendment could put lives at immediate risk.

Please consider calling Rep. Smith's office and asking him to not include the Lautenberg Amendment in any legislative review and leave it in effect. Sen. Smith's number is 202-225-4236. His staff is very nice.

Also, you could call your Congressional Representative and ask them to support the Amendment by leaving it in effect and not submitting it to review. It would be helpful if your representative called Sen. Smith's office as well.

Representative Tom Graves (GA) (202) 225-5211
Representative Chuck Fleischmann (TN) (202) 225-3271

Read more at International Christian Concern.