There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

Archive for August, 2005

help? here’s how

Here’s a few ways to help. Click here if you want to contribute to PCPC’s Hurricane Relief Fund. (An initial contribution of $25K has already been sent by our church) Click here if you’d like to house a displaced family for a while (the Family Research Council has recommended this effort, and they’d be unlikely to do so without vetting the organization). We’re waiting to hear from the PCA’s Disaster Relief Team to fill us in on how we can help with efforts on the ground; here’s their application if you’d like to volunteer to go there and help. And here’s their update from Aug 30.

disrobing depravity

I grew up in a very typical Midwest Methodist home, where there wasn’t a lot of hugging and kissing. My life has been a response to that.” –Hugh Hefner, founder and CEO of Playboy Magazine.

You might say that our depravity expresses itself most clearly in how we either shift blame elsewhere for our actions or at least minimize our own contribution to what we’ve done. I know in my soul that when confronted with my absence of integrity, my first response is to look for a scapegoat, or to minimize the significance of my action. So depravity is kind of like the chameleon that wants to blend in and have everyone believe it isn’t really there. It lurks; it slinks, but it doesn’t want to be found.

perhaps our most embarrassing lack

Brother Roger took James’ words of being “quick to listen, slow to speak” and established an entire sacred space around them. Taize is a Catholic retreat center in southern France where pilgrims, both Catholic and Protestant, seek a quieter, more devotedly prayerful refuge. Brother Roger was killed two weeks ago by a deranged woman. His desire to make capacious room for prayer is not thwarted though.

Why do we find lingering silence so unnerving? Why, when we gather in groups to pray do we feel the need to either cut short or fill up the moments of “nothing?”

linking to the Law

Here’s a decent link (make sure to follow the links it points you to also) to an essay that may help clarify the issues related to the place of the Law in the life of the Church. Perhaps lost in the melange of texts yesterday was this simple thesis: the Law, so defined as the character and will of God expressed in the form of instruction to God’s people and in accordance with God’s unfolding plan in history, remains of abiding concern for God’s people, those redeemed by God’s Son. Since God never changes, any instruction to His people consonant with His character remains ever applicable. And since the function of any given Law relates to the place in the story of God’s unfolding plan, then whatever laws were meant to foreshadow what would be accomplished in Christ are no longer necessary since He has now come and done what those laws foreshadowed. Goes without saying, the topic is so vast.

The excuse of being a sinner is getting old.

For many months I have been reading through excerpts from “Spiritual Revival the Want of the Church” by Charles Spurgeon. With each read through I see things that were once hidden to my heart. As Spurgeon said, “We Christians need a revival of piety in our lives…It is well known that it is no guarantee of a man’s honesty that he is a member of the church.” It’s certainly not that we deny our sinfulness so that we all “look” good on the outside. Nor is it that we just accept sinfulness as an excuse. I think the excuse of being a sinner is getting old. Something that I desire is to be more appalled by sin. I’m tired of the church overlooking not only our sin, but turning a blind eye to the sin of our brothers and sisters.

Great, we’re all sinners and we all know it. Shall I start passing out certificates of achievement? Somehow sin has become something that we recognize and we keep on sinning with no expectation to be rebuked. I want to fight against sin and not just acknowledge it. The last thing I want is to be surrounded by people who don’t care enough about my spiritual health by allowing me to continue in my sin. I have found the friends who became the closest to me have been the ones who, early in our relationship, made it clear that they were in my life to be my family at whatever the cost. No amount of my sinful heart would drive them away because it is understood that we are in need of each other. And isn’t that what it should be?

Yesterday, as I wrote the above paragraphs, I sensed that I was leaving out something pivotal. This morning I received a text message from a friend who works at a church in Irving about an article he had written about holiness. And I realized the cause of Christ and the glory of the Father far exceeds our insecurities to be deeply involved in each others’ lives. We need to learn to strive for God’s holiness, rather than attempting to “be holy.” By this I mean God is the object of His own affection because there is no other good. We must not “mistake outward piety for inward purity.” We must seek to uphold and desire that which is most good; we must ask to be made holy after only that which is most holy, God. “I’m a sinner” is a phrase too often used to excuse us from our disobedience to God, rather than confession and repentance of our fallenness to the Father. Our life is about God’s Holiness, and me passionately pursuing that and finding joy in Him. Saying goodbye to self is a difficult path, but one marked with grace through Christ.

Sara Kerens

(Check out the article by Brandon Florey at http://www.macarthurchurch.com/index.php?id=99.)

goal: say more with less

Skip was back yesterday (Incidentally, the comparison with Mick Jagger–I’m not seeing it), and aren’t we all glad. Here’s a devotional of his (Molly Goodson kindly unearthed and forwarded it to me) that says in far fewer words what I tried to explain yesterday about Israel and the Church. Consider the dramatic irony in speaking to this issue considering what Israel faces even this very day!

Into the breech: let’s discuss the Law

Prep for this Sunday’s exploration of the Law as it pertains to the Church: Have a look here at the West Wing’s comment on the Law. What’s credible about Bartlett’s portrayal? What’s conveniently left out of his tirade that might undercut his case? We’ll try to nail down how the Church ought to regard the Law–Law as the instructions God gives us. And we’ll also try to make sense of all the different kinds of laws–some as odd as they are old to us–we find in the Old Testament: which laws are no longer binding on the Church and how can we, if at all , discern the difference.