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Showing posts from December, 2007

Sale on commentaries

Rejoice Christian Software is offering a special sale right now on the 12-volume Expositor's Bible Commentary. The print version of this set runs for $129.99 plus shipping at CBD. However, right now at Rejoice, you can buy the CD-ROMfor only $59.95 (the discount will be applied when you click "buy now."

My seminary professor Jim Rosscup called this set "the top general work of scholarly evangelicalism." Perhaps a good way to spend some of that Christmas money?

Please note, this set is NOT compatible with the Logos Bible Software I mentioned a couple weeks ago. It must be viewed in a separate program called Pradis. Unfortunately, Logos has not yet struck up a deal to publish Zondervan books in the Libronix format. This is a minor inconvenience, but the set is still very worthwhile to have.

Eat more (spiritual) food

We're pretty good at feeding our bodies, but are we equally faithful to feed our souls? Perhaps you are making a resolution to “eat less” food in the new year. Why not also resolve to “eat more” spiritual food? Job had a constant craving for the Word of God. He said, “I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12).
Here are several Bible reading plans to help improve your spiritual intake in 2008:The Book-at-a-Time Bible Reading Plan. Designed by Discipleship Journal, this plan is my personal favorite. I’ve used it for several years. There are two readings each day. I read the first in the morning in private devotions, and then Natalie and I read the latter (one chapter) at bedtime. I must confess I didn’t make it all the way through the Bible this year (I will probably only make it into November). Nevertheless, this reading chart has given me the guidance and acco…

Righteous anger

Righteous anger. At first, it may sound like an oxymoron. After all, anger is a dangerous emotion that can cause immeasurable damage in the family, in the church, in society, and in the soul. The Bible issues a severe warning to all of us in Proverbs 29:22: “An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression.” Far from being a virtue or effective manipulative tactic, the Bible says a quick temper is a sure sign of foolishness and spiritual weakness. Nevertheless, the Bible also teaches that when we are angry at the right things, and angry in the right ways, our anger is both appropriate and righteous.

There are four reasons I believe in the existence of a “righteous anger.” First, because God commands us not to sin when we get angry. In Ephesians 4:26-27, Paul says, “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” The fact that Paul permits his readers to “get angry, and not sin,” confirms the…

From heaven above to earth I come

Around 1535, the great Reformer Martin Luther wrote a hymn for his five-year-old son, Hans. It was apparently sung during the an­nu­al Christ­mas Eve fes­ti­val at the Lu­ther home. A man (dressed as an an­gel) would descend from a staircase and sing the open­ing verses. Then the child­ren and other guests would greet the heavenly messenger beginning with the verse, “Now let us all, with gladsome cheer.” May these beautiful words draw us to Jesus this Christmas.
From Heaven above to earth I come,
To bear good news to every home;
Glad tidings of great joy I bring,
Whereof I now will say and sing. To you, this night, is born a Child
Of Mary, chosen mother mild;
This tender Child of lowly birth,
Shall be the joy of all your earth. ’Tis Christ our God, who far on high
Had heard your sad and bitter cry;
Himself will your Salvation be,
Himself from sin will make you free. He brings those blessings long ago
Prepared by God for all below;
That in His heavenly kingdom blest
You may with us forever rest. These …

Sharing files in .pdf

This past week, I submitted an advertisement to the local newspaper for our upcoming Christmas services. I created the ad in Microsoft Publisher, but when it came time to email it, the Ad/Sales Department said they need to receive all ads in .pdf format. How do you create a .pdf document?
If you work with .pdf regularly and need lots of editing features, you may want to purchase Adobe Acrobat. But, in my case, I don’t need all those bells and whistles – just a simple program that creates .pdf documents. And Pdf995 does just that. The basic version can be downloaded for free and enables you to create your own .pdf files..Pdf files are very useful because they create high quality documents from any application and can be read on any computer with a PDF viewer (e.g. Adobe Reader). Here are a couple examples of how you might use Pdf995:Sharing a document with people who don’t own the original program. For example, not everyone owns Microsoft Excel, or Microsoft Publisher, but by making you…

God became flesh

When Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, He did not surrender or compromise His Deity in any way. Instead, God the Son added something wonderful and entirely unexpected to His nature: He became a Man. The God-Man. This doctrine is called the “incarnation,” and a verse in the Christmas carol “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” expresses it well:Christ, by highest heav’n adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord! Late in time behold Him come, offspring of the virgin’s womb. Veiled in flesh the God-head see; hail th’ incarnate Deity, pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel. Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the new-born King.”One of the key verses in the Bible that explains the incarnation is John 1:14: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” In that lowly stable of Bethlehem, on the night of Jesus’ birth, three changes occurred that would forever chang…

Let your light shine

Matthew 5:14-16 says, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."When Natalie taught Kindergarten a few years ago, she taught her children the classic song, "This little light of mine." Some of the other stanzas begin, "Hide it under a bushel? No!" and "Don't let Satan (puff) it out." But my wife and her co-teacher thought up a new stanza for this song: "Shine your light at Christmastime, I'm gonna let it shine." I like that.
So, how are you letting your light shine this Christmas? Christmas is one of the best opportunities you will have all year to shine for Christ. Here are a few ideas:Invite a friend to church next Sunday. The North American Mission …

The purpose of this blog

Last week, Tim Challies offered some sage advice to all those newly-aspiring bloggers like myself in a post called "All about blogging." In it, he said,So before you begin your blog, ask why you should want to blog. Ask what you can contribute to the blogosphere. And once you begin the blog, ask why you want other people to read it. Question your motives and do not take for granted that other people will or should read your site.Since I just recently started this blog, I really owe it to you to share what I'm trying to accomplish here. I think you're entitled to know my answers to Tim’s questions. As the old saying goes, "If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time." Likewise, if this blog aims at nothing or no one, it will only succeed at failing.

I started this blog because the Lord has given me a burden for leadership development, and I believe blogging is a great tool to advance this in the 21st century. I think many young men and many church leaders…

Logos Christmas Special

Logos Bible Software is one of the best computer Bible programs on the planet - perhaps THE best. I use it every day.

Right now, Logos is offering a 25% Christmas discount on all their base products. If you’re considering buying Bible Software, now is the time. If you’re strapped for cash (aren’t we all?), I’d recommend starting with the Bible Study Library. You can upgrade to a larger set down the road, but this is an outstanding base package (170 books) for a killer deal at only $195. I really think every person - not just a pastor or seminary student - can benefit greatly from this package.

The coupon code is Christmas2007, but the discount should be automatically applied when you click 'add to cart' on any package. You can see a full product comparison here.

For those who already own some Logos books, you can upgrade from one package to another at a 15% discount. Happy shopping!

Three virtues

Over Thanksgiving break, I finally saw the latest Pixar film, Ratatouille. It traces the life of a cute little rat name Remy who has a knack for cooking. Remy develops his culinary skills in a rural French home, but finally hits it big when he arrives at the famed restaurant Gasteau's. As the film reaches a climax, the staff at Gasteau's are challenged to please the highly critical palate of the food critic Anton Ego. And of course, they succeed. What does it take to please him? A savory dish of every child's favorite meal - Ratatouille.
I'm sure that pleasing a food critic is quite an achievement. But what would it take to please the Apostle Paul? Although he didn't give out compliments indiscriminately, apparently he was quite pleased with the church at Thessalonica.

In 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4, Paul says,
We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness…

A lifelong battle

In 1 Peter 1:14-16, the apostle Peter says,
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.'As many of us know, the word "holy" means to be "set apart." Sometimes we use the word "sanctified." There should be something radically different about a Christian's speech, attitude, and behavior that distinguishes him from the world and his life before Christ. But how does this happen? Although new believers are declared holy in Christ at the moment of salvation (positional sanctification), the process of becoming holy (progressive sanctification) is an ongoing process.

The pursuit of holiness is a daily battle. We can't forsake sin and become righteous simply by "letting go and letting God." We must put on all our spiritual armor and engage the ene…

Update on Dylan

Some of you have been asking how Dylan is doing since his open-heart surgery five weeks ago. We're so pleased and thankful to report he has made an excellent recovery. He's playing and wrestling and exploring, and seems to have all the energy and enthusiasm you would expect in a toddler. In fact, if it wasn't for the scar on his chest, you wouldn't even know he'd been in the hospital. Things are finally returning to normal, and this past weekend, Dylan was able to be back in the the nursery at church. Praise the Lord!

Theology from a 2-year old

Last night during family devotions, we read the story of God commanding Abraham to climb Mt. Moriah and sacrifice his son Isaac as a test of faith. When we got to that dramatic moment when Abraham stretched out Isaac on the altar for sacrifice, Dylan informed us that Isaac was getting a "diaper change." We got a good laugh out of that one, and figured it was just as well for Dylan to understand this picture as a "diaper change" for now!

The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass opens this Friday in theaters everywhere. It's the first installment of a trilogy written by Philip Pullman called His Dark Materials. What can we expect from this new fantasy series? Its epic story and special effects look a lot like the Lord of the Rings and Narnia series, but the underlying message of The Golden Compass is quite the opposite.

Al Mohler give an excellent analysis of the series. Here are some of his main observations:

*It attacks Christianity. Mohler writes, "Philip Pullman has an agenda -- an agenda about as subtle as an army tank. His agenda is nothing less than to expose what he believes is the tyranny of the Christian faith and the Christian church. His hatred of the biblical storyline is clear. He is an atheist whose most important literary project is intended to offer a moral narrative that will reverse the biblical account of the fall and provide a liberating mythology for a new secular age." This attack against Christianity i…