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Showing posts from August, 2010

The sweet smell of sweat in Haiti

We showed this 5 min. video at church Sunday morning to report how God has been at work in Haiti since the tragic earthquake. It's an encouraging update on how college students are giving their time, talents, and treasure to serve the Lord and make an eternal impact.

The reference mentioned at the beginning of the clip is from Ezekiel 16:49. (It took me and Natalie a while to find this one. It's quoted from the NLT).

Click to watch: "Haiti: the sweet smell of sweat"

Great news for Bible study

Today is a great day for Bible study, with two exciting new resources.

1. The ESV MacArthur Study Bible. After much anticipation, the MacArthur Study Bible is now available for the ESV. Here's a description of this excellent Bible study tool:
An “essentially literal” translation, the ESV Bible combines “word-for-word” accuracy with readability, literary excellence, and depth of meaning. Timeless, trustworthy, and relevant, the ESV has become the fastest-growing Bible translation.

The ESV MacArthur Study Bibleis an essential resource for growing Christians. It can transform your personal time in God’s Word by clarifying difficult passages, bringing unseen cultural and historical details to life, and helping you understand and apply biblical truth. It features:
Complete ESV Bible text Nearly 25,000 explanatory notes from Dr. John MacArthur Bible text in 8.7 point type, 7.6 point study notes More than 140 two-color maps, charts, timelines, and illustrations Complete introduction…

Visual Latin 50% off

From the makers of Modern Parables comes a great new product called Visual Latin. Here's their announcement...
We're excited to announce you can pre-purchase the first 10 lessons of our new Visual Latin curriculum for only $25! (We won't offer it at this price for long.) If you're a parent who wants your children to have fun learning Latin, if you're a school that needs a Latin teacher, or if you always wanted to know what "habeas corpus" means, this is the class for you.

Kick the tires by watching a complete lesson for free at And please forward this email to friends who would be interested. Even if you think you'd never want to learn Latin, go watch the first lesson (it's only 7 minutes): you'll get a few good laughs. Or download the four free intro lessons now. What exactly is Visual Latin? Their blog explains...
It’s a combination of short videos and exercises that work together to teach you…

Logos 4 Mac Giveaway

Logos Bible Software is giving away thousands of dollars of prizes to celebrate the launch of Logos Bible Software 4 Mac on October 1. It's kind of a birthday party of sorts. Prizes include an iMac, a MacBook Pro, an iPad, an iPod Touch, and more than 100 other prizes.

I don't own a Mac, but I've been extremely pleased with Logos 4 on the PC, and am happy that all you Mac users out there finally get to have your own version.

Logos is having a special limited-time sale on both their Mac and PC base packages and upgrades, so this is a great time to expand your digital library. Stop by and check it out.

Related posts:
Sermon prep in Logos 4 Logos week later Logos 4

Discipleship can be painfully slow

Here's a fascinating story about Mark and Lisa P, missionaries to an unreached people in Thailand. Over the past seven years, they were able to help local farmers with agricultural techniques and quickly gained respect in the village. But when their conversation turned to the gospel, the locals tuned out. It's another reminder that "a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him" (1 Cor. 2:14).

One thing I appreciate about this article is that the International Missions Board admits just how hard and discouraging the work of missions can be. We often hear the tear-jerking stories of conversion and the unprecedented revivals in faraway lands (as we should). Yet we can begin to assume that as soon as the gospel is proclaimed, people always respond and churches flourish. But we dare not forget how painfully slow discipleship can be.

Mark and Lisa have learned a valuable lesson through all this: "We have to trust God i…

Stetzer on young SBC leadership

Ed Stetzer has been writing a series on young leadership in the SBC. He touches on the very things I've heard out here in California at our first, second, and third regional open forums. He accurately identifies what's driving young leaders away from our convention -- or at least causing them to lose interest and focus their attention elsewhere.

Stetzer lists several contributing factors:
How the SBC has treated young pastorsMega meetings like Catalyst and T4GMethodological disconnectTheological frustrationLack of relevanceThe 'kids table' still existsHis article elaborates on each of these points. Wow, it almost sounds like he's been eavesdropping on our open forums. Stetzer's closing words are excellent:
"As I’ve said to many other denominations: 'What you celebrate, you become.'  If you celebrate controversy, narrowing parameters, and anger, that is what you get. Instead, if we celebrate rising leaders, the future, biblical fidelity, and God’s …

Third SBC Open Forum

On Thursday, July 22, Walter and I hosted our third of five open forums across the state to discuss the future
of the California Southern Baptist Convention. The meeting was well-attended and resulted in some great discussion. Here were a few highlights for me:
The next generation. Much time was spent discussing the nature of the next generation. Southern Baptists have bemoaned for years now the lack of fresh blood and the graying of hair at our annual meetings. But what will it take to actually attract the next generation? Once again, mentoring was a hot topic. There are some young leaders starving to be mentored by wiser, godlier, more experienced pastors. We also admitted that many young people view the SBC as something of a "relic." It's still not clearly worth saving. It may already be too late to convince some, but other young men seem open, if only we can prove there is something worth preserving. This is a generation that is willing to ask hard questions, and won&…

Three planets snuggle up

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,  sun, moon and stars in their courses above,  join with all nature in manifold witness  to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
The course of the stars and planets is wonderfully predictable and a reminder of God's faithfulness.

You'll want to take a moment in the next couple nights and step outside to look at the sky. As you scan the western horizon, you'll see a rare astronomical treat. With great precision, three planets will snuggle up close together in what astronomers call a "convergence." The brilliant planet Venus will appear alongside two lesser lights, Mars and Saturn.

Two-planet convergences are noteworthy, but three planets are quite rare. Of course, these planets will still be millions of miles apart from each other, but from our angle, they will form an exciting planetary trio in the sky. gives more detail:
A wide variety of different conjunctions and configurations involving the planets typica…

Reflecting on Prop 8

Al Mohler has written a helpful piece on the overturning of Proposition 8. Here are a couple excerpts...
The importance of the decision handed down yesterday by U. S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker in California’s Proposition 8 trial will be difficult to exaggerate. Proponents of same-sex marriage immediately declared a major victory — and for good reason...

...The religious liberty dimensions of the decision are momentous and deeply troubling. While Judge Walker declared that the religious freedoms of citizens and religious bodies were not violated because no such body is required to recognize or perform same-sex marriage, the very structure of his argument condemned religious and theological objections to homosexuality and same-sex marriage as both harmful and irrational...You can read the whole thing here, which I recommend to understand the legal arguments used during the proceedings, and to understand the next step in the constitutional process.

We are witnessing major moral ero…

Welcoming Christ from a distance

One of the highlights of my day is arriving home from work, walking toward the house, and seeing bright little eyes peering out the window with a nose smashed against the glass. Often there are shrieks and giggles as the kids scurry off to hide and surprise me. Daddy’s home!” my wife exclaims. Moments like this make me so thankful to be a dad.

It’s interesting that even before the door opens and I hug my family that a kind of ‘welcome home’ party has begun. We’ve greeted each other in our hearts, though still at a distance. And that is precisely how we should treat the return of Jesus.

Hebrews 11 describes many of the heroes of the faith who caught a glimpse of future joy, but didn’t immediately obtain it. Many endured great suffering in this present world. We learn of men and women like Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Rahab. What these people shared in common was that all “died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and havi…