Monthly Archives: February 2009

Friday night @ the Knight’s

Last night my lovely bride and I braved a Nebraska snow storm to attend an event hosted by our friends Curt and Merissa Knight. The Knight’s are a wonderful family from our local church who, by the grace of God, are making an impact for the kingdom of Christ. The purpose of the event was to view a documentary film by Dan Merchant called “Lord, Save Us From Your Followers“, and then discuss it afterward.

The point of the movie, in my opinion, was to point out one of the primary, and often neglected, commands of Christ followers. The command to love your neighbor as yourself. I use the term Christ followers because, as the movie pointed out, the term Christian has become a negative term in our society. The term Christian has been associated with folks like Westboro Baptist Church and their pastor, Fred Phelps. You’ve heard of their famous tag line “God hates fags”. It is also the web address for their churches web site. They completely neglecting such biblical verses such as:

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV)

They get the verse nine part, but seem to have forgotten what Paul states right after this. He states that those he is addressing were also among those who practiced the same unrighteousness.

Granted, Westboro Baptist is one of the extreme cases against the term Christian but the point is they are totally missing the second greatest commandment which is to love your neighbor as yourself. Loving your neighbor was exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ. When we, as Christ followers, point our fingers at those unrighteous folks practicing those things condemned within scripture without showing them the grace and the love of God, we indeed fall short. This is the very same love and grace that God has shown you even when you were His enemy. Yes, I said it, His enemy. Or do you not know:

9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Romans 5:9-10 ESV)

To summarize the film, I would have to say it did a great  job of pointing out this often neglected discipline of loving our neighbors. I would have to agree to disagree with some of the theology director Dan Merchant expressed briefly in the film. But the premise of the film was very successful. The concensus of those in attendance last night was that although those who focus only on the love discipline of Christ followers but neglect theology are doing harm to their neighbors by not also telling them about their condition before a holy God. In like manner, those Christ followers who only focus on theology and the doctrine of Christ and scripture without showing the love and compassion for those called enemies of God are totally missing the second greatest commandment. I would definitely recommend viewing this film. I would also recommend that you view it with others because it will prompt some interesting and stimulating conversation. I know it sure did with us.


Puritan Quote – John Owen

No heart can conceive that treasury of mercies which lies in this one privilege, in having john-owen-bigliberty and ability to approach unto God at all times, according to his mind and will.

This quote from the Puritan John Owen was mentioned in his work  The Discourse of the Work of the Holy Spirit in Prayer. In the context of this work Owen follows with:

It is a matter of praise and glory to God, in an especial manner, that He hath granted an amplification of this privilege under the gospel. The spirit is now poured forth from above, and enlarged in His dispensation both intensively and extensively.

Which is to say that we, as believers, should not take lightly this treasure and resource from the Lord. To even imagine the wealth of wisdom and grace would be a fruitless effort on our part. In preaching to myself I would have to ask, what prevents me from participating in this freedom and going to the throne of grace? It is only sin that prevents me.  My old nature. By God’s grace alone I shed this old man and seek after His mind and His will.

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Posted by on February 27, 2009 in Holy Spirit, John Owen, Prayer, Puritan, quotes


Within Temptation – The Heart of Everything

I first heard about the band known as Within Temptation after checking out “those who purchased this also purchased within-temptation_the-heart-of-everythingthis” suggestion section of while reading reviews of a Dream Theater album. Then while listening to one of Within Temptation’s more popular singles called “Angels” my sixteen year old daughter told me that she and her friend liked the song and had memorized the lyrics to it. Within Temptation, founded in 1996, is a band from the Netherlands categorized as symphonic metal/gothic metal. Lead vocalist and founding member Sharon den Adel in an interview stated “we consider ourselves more of a symphonic rock/metal band, we are in my opinion not a gothic band.” Most folks compare them to the more popular band Evanescence. There are some similarities, but while the multi-talented singer/song writer Amy Lee of Evanescence also has outstanding vocal pipes, Sharon del Adel can shatter crystal with her vocal chords.

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Posted by on February 24, 2009 in The Heart of Everything, Within Temptation


Assuming the gospel

The above title was point number one in a series of sermons titled “The Death of a Church” delivered by our senior abandonedchurch_in_a_smalltown_11pastor Patrick Abendroth beginning two Sunday’s ago. What is meant by assuming the gospel is to assume the conversion of an individual. It is also to assume the flock, congregation, or church leadership can articulate the gospel of Jesus Christ. And also the assumption that the local church is standing firm in the faith, and striving together. This assumption of the gospel is one of several signs of a dying church mentioned in the sermon series.

Is the conversion of an individual down played? Does the church even discuss conversion? Jesus makes it very clear in Matthew 18:3. In the context of the disciples questioning Jesus about who the greatest in His kingdom. Jesus states:

Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (ESV)

Is conversion taken for granted? Is the assumption that salvation is passed down from previous generations? Whenever I think of this assumption, I think of a song I heard many years ago. The song was recorded by artist Nicole C. Mullen called “Granny’s Angel” which basically warns folks that you can’t get to heaven on Granny’s conversion. No one has ever been or will ever be born a Christian. No one automatically becomes a Christian at a certain age or after some series of classes are completed. One of the signs of a dying church is the assumption of the pastor, leadership, and congregation that those folks who attend and are involved in ministry are believers.

Which brings us to point number two in the signs. I will only briefly mention this one as I may blog about in more detail at a later date. Point number two is gospel ignorance. Do you know the gospel? Can you articulate the gospel? Pastor Mark Dever of Capital Hill Baptist Church and founder of 9Marks Ministry says that every believer should be able to articulate the gospel in one minute or less. The apostle Paul tells the Corinthian church in 1 Cor. 15:1-4 to hold fast to the gospel he preached to them.

1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

We also should hold fast to this same gospel. If you can’t think of how to articulate it now, it can all be summed up in three words. God saves sinners! We can surely elaborate on that.

The Death of a Church


Calling all fans of Jonathan Edwards

Big kudos go out to that little private university in New Haven, Connecticut called Yale University. They have created Jonathan Edwardsa web site for The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University. When you link there, among the many resources you will find a sermon index, a multimedia library, an Edwards Wiki, online courses, and an online journal where you can submit your own material related to Jonathan Edwards.

The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University

HT – Tony Reinke

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Posted by on February 14, 2009 in Jonathan Edwards, Yale University


Joe Satriani – Professor Satchafunkilus and the Musterion of Rock

Today, as the snow falls here in Nebraska, (they are forecasting 5 to 8 inches) I have become acutely aware that I have been lax in my joe_satriani_-_professor_satchafunkilus_and_the_musterion_of_rockblog postings lately. I have also fallen behind in my music reviews, so today I will review an album that was given to me by a good friend who also plays guitar. The artist is a common favorite of ours and a popular guitarist in the minds of many who appreciate killer guitar compositions. The artist is Joe Satriani. If you have never heard of him and you like great guitar then you have been living under a hard rock all your life. I first heard the riffs and screaming guitar sounds of Joe Satriani, or “Satch” as he is known in more appreciative circles, from a guitarist who was teaching me lead guitar many years ago. When this teacher found out that I was a Randy Rhoads (original Ozzy guitarist) fan he turned me on to “Surfing With the Alien” by Joe Satriani. The jaw dropping reaction I experienced after hearing this incredible guitarist was much like my reaction in 1978 after seeing and hearing the hammer-on and pull-off storm known as “Eruption” performed by Eddie Van Halen at St. Johns Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Who is this guy?

Since that blessed day I have been listening to the music of “Satch”.  Among his guitar playing he has also found the time to help instruct others in the art of axe wielding. He helped create the talents of axemen such as Kirk Hammett of Metallica, Larry LaLonde of Primus, Marty Friedman of Megadeth, and David Bryson of Counting Crows who are now great guitarists in their own right. But they can’t compare to the master Satch. In 1995 Satch came up with an awesome idea to put together something of a guitar festival which became known as the G3 tour. Along with Satch, the tour has included many guitar greats like Steve Vai, Yngwie Malsteen, Eric Johnson, John Petrucci (Dream Theater) and Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big). Satch has become notorious for odd song titles like “Surfing With the Alien”, “The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing”, “Flying in a Blue Dream”, and “Is There Love in Space”. Along these lines comes the new album released by Satch.

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