Monday, December 15, 2008

Book Giveaway

Trevin Wax is giving away a stack of books. Check it out at his blog, Kingdom People.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Review: The Kingdom of the Occult

The Kingdom of the Occult brings up a number of thoughts to my head. Overall this book is a good resource, but things bothered me about it. The first thing I noticed was that though it appears that Walter Martin is the author based on looking at the cover, it was really more of an adaptation of his notes by two other people. This was more of an annoyance than anything, but I will move on. For anyone who has read Walter Martin’s famous book, The Kingdom of the Cults, this book has some advantages and disadvantages. The advantages I find primarily in the “Case Studies” that are in each chapter. Each chapter on a different branch of occult practices has a true story of a person’s experience with that form of the occult. This sheds light on the reality of the occult, which we find so easy to ignore. A disadvantage that arises is that the book is not as clear in its comparisons to Christianity as Cults was. This may be due to the fact that the Occult is more easily distinguished from Christianity than cults are, but either way I found it lacking. Also, different sections (notably the first chapter) are marked by sub-par exegesis in pointing to the truth of Christianity. Although the heart of the authors was clearly good and they were pursuing a worthwhile cause, I found their treatment of Christianity lacking. Overall this book is good and useful (especially when not talking about true Christianity), but not as impressive or comparable to Cults as I had hoped.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A piece of wisdom from R. C. Sproul on voting:

"It is, of course, the American way. But we Christians should not be involved in that sort of thing. Rather we should be voting for what is right, what is ethical. And our consciences on that score need to be informed by the Word of God, not by our wallets. And so I plead with you: When you enter the voting booth, don't leave your Christianity in the parking lot. And be bold to speak on these issues, even if it means somebody picks up a rock and throws it in your head. Because it is through tribulation that we enter the Kingdom of God. I pray for you, beloved, and for our nation in these days to come."

Read the whole article here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by Lynne Spears’s book, Through the Storm: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World. I really did not know what to expect coming into the book, though I had heard rumors about “Britney’s mom’s book about parenting.” What I didn’t expect was something that was present throughout the book: an account of her faith and trust in God, and not just any God, but Jesus Christ. I was skeptical while reading through most of the book, she said a lot of vague things about faith in God, but things started sinking in with words like “providence,” “redemption,” and finally the phrase “Christ our savior.” She surprised me with an apparently deep faith that I knew nothing about before reading Through the Storm. Really, that is part of what the story is about. Lynne Spears has an abiding faith in God, even though her family went through a “storm.” She often appeals to the image of a “whirlwind” of fame and its ramifications, and if there was not already a book by Tim Ellsworth about the tornadoes at Union University with the title God in the Whirlwind, it would be an appropriate title for this book. Lynne Spears presents a picture of her family, faults and all, with fame tearing it apart in some instances, yet her faith remains steady. Her faith is the stabilizing factor in her life. While I had trouble reading the book, my issue with it was not content, but the stream of thought organization. Really, I read theology more than anything else, so this book is much different and in many ways hard for me to follow. But it was casual and good for what it was, her story, and many people that are prone to judge the Spears family should read this book. This book opens your eyes to see the character of the members of her family, the effect fame has had on them, and the regrets she has for letting fame take control and letting her own control slip away. Let this be the basis for judging Lynne’s character, not the tabloids.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ray Boltz has come out of the closet. Sad reality of the world we live in and how little we know about the artists we listen to, or in this case, hear every once and a while in church.

This story illustrates the miserable state of much of the American church. You can seem like everything is good, everything is fine, when it is not. We all struggle with sin, but this man who performed in front of thousands of people at a time could not admit it to anyone. Nobody knew the struggle he had inside.

“I was so good at pretending/like an actor on a stage/but in the end nobody knew me/only the roles that I portrayed/and I would rather have you hate me/knowing who I really am/than to try and make you love me/being something that I can’t” (from “God Knows I Tried”).

He was acting. This speaks greatly for the need of fellowship and accountability in the local church. There is nothing like confession of sins one to another, "16Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working."

This strikes a chord with me because of the failure of the local church, in teaching, in fellowship, in accountability, and in exhortation. This isn't to say that no local church could have provided him with this, or that he necessarily avoided it, but some churches encourage such a sinful lifestyle. While some encourage, some completely ostracize and don't reach out. Though the church must not embrace sin, people must reach out in love.

Finally, everyone is a theologian, we all have thoughts and views about God. Don't forget this.
“I don’t want to be a spokesperson, I don’t want to be a poster boy for gay Christians, I don’t want to be in a little box on TV with three other people in little boxes screaming about what the Bible says, I don’t want to be some kind of teacher or theologian — I’m just an artist and I’m just going to sing about what I feel and write about what I feel and see where it goes.”

Thursday, September 11, 2008

So, Wordles are fun, and interesting when you think about them. The more a word is used, the larger that specific word is. It gets cool thinking how the repeated words may actually illustrate the theme of the book quite well.
Here is one using the ESV text for the book of Hebrews.

Some of the themes of the book come out in the repeated words that are larger, but it is also a nice picture.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

So it is my birthday.
I'm at Camp Linden.
Not much is going on . . . yet . . .

Sunday, May 04, 2008

For once I am being personal... out of, I don't know, 5 posts? That isn't too bad...

Life is crazy.
I move from one thing to the next, procrastinate as if it is my profession, feel the weight of always having something else to do, never know what I really have planned for tomorrow, fly at about 90 miles per hour until I start writing, and never end up getting real rest.
I am really bad about taking useless and restless breaks that make me more anxious than before and not taking the true break that God had in mind when he made up the Sabbath.
As soon as this semester ends, I will do my laundry, miss some of my best friends' graduation, and head out for 10 weeks of almost non-stop summer missions.
I am excited, but I'm sad at the same time.
This past year has been hard, and I have been growing, but I need a break. I need time just to process and hang out with friends, without any papers due the next day.
Within 6 months, my grandmother died, a lot happened with my dad in his pastorate, I had major surgery, I went through an F-4 tornado, heard a friend screaming from underneath the rubble, wrote the most I have ever written in my life, lived in 5 places in 4 weeks, and been constantly stressed except for when I was on pain killers after my surgery.
I haven't had time to process, and I may never.
As days go by, I become more anxious about school, more anxious about my future, more anxious about my friendships, more anxious about relationships, and more anxious about the summer, even though I know God is in control.
The only thing I can do is rest in Christ, knowing that hope in Christ is hope enough. Knowing that though my life is a life of suffering (albeit not much in comparison to some) in a fallen world and I am a wretched man on my own, I do not have to fulfill the requirements of the law, and cannot, but I have hope in the one who fulfilled all the Law and the Prophets: Jesus Christ.
I'm tired, I need time to process... I guess that will happen after I finish the paper I should be working on.