A Hymn - Boundless Grace

    1039     C.M.    A. Steele
    “The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant.” 1 Tim. 1. 14
    1    Lord, we adore thy boundless grace,
            The heights and depths unknown,
        Of pardon, life, and joy, and peace,
            In thy beloved Son.

    2    O wondrous gifts of love divine,
            Dear Source of every good;
        Jesus, in thee what glories shine!
            How rich thy flowing blood!

    3    Come, all ye pining, hungry poor,
            The Saviour’s bounty taste;
        Behold a never-failing store
            For every willing guest.

    4    Here shall your numerous wants receive
            A free, a full supply;
        He has unmeasured bliss to give,
            And joys that never die.

HT: Grace Gems


Potent Quotables (8/24)

I've been furiously working on studying for the next section of the CPA exam (Regulation, i.e. tax law) and co-creating a study guide on Mark to be used in small groups. I'm terribly excited for the University Church to launch at Syracuse University this Sunday! Looking forward to being involved deeply there. 

SU named No. 12 party school in nation - My alma mater proves itself to be quite raucous yet again. In certain environments, especially college ones, the effects of sin are abundantly clear. I can't wait to see the gospel take further root here in the hearts of men and women.

Global Leadership Summit – Bill Hybels - Hybels: "I’ve never known a single leader who regretted carrying out a tough calling." Regardless of your persuasion on seeker-sensitive types, you should be able to find encouragement here.

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich - Warren Buffet thinks the mega-rich should pay more taxes. (If you don't know, Buffet is quite mega-rich).

My favorite band, Thrice, just posted a lyric video to the song "Promises" on their new album Major/Minor, coming out in September. Dustin Kensrue again proves himself to be an excellent lyricist.

Thrice - Promises [Lyric Video]

Because God does not seek his own glory, but seeks the glory of others, because the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all circling each other, glorifying each other, adoring each other, praising each other, serving each other, deferring to each other, because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are giving glorifying love to one another, God is infinitely happy. - Tim Keller


What Is True Repentance?

My roommate and I are working on a small group study guide on Mark and I came across these words by Andrew Murray on Mark 1:15:
Repentance is not an actual victory over sin, but the soul has to bring every sin to the feet of the Lord Jesus, the great victor over sin, that He may take it away; and this cannot find place, except by faith which has acknowledged that He is faithful to forgive sin, and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.
Indeed, repentance is not merely a turning away from sin. It necessarily involves a turning to Jesus in faith. If we only turn from sin and fail to turn to God, this would, as Murray says, only "tend to self-righteousness". How often is that my predicament. An aversion to sin with scant affections for God. True repentance involves Christ. If Christ is not involved in our repentance, we are not repenting. If Christ is not the one to whom we turn, we only would turn from sin to sin, from sin to self, from sin to weakness. But if we turn from sin in faith that Jesus finished what he said he finished on the cross, we will find true repentance.

May we go to the cross of Christ all the days of our lives in true repentance. May God grant us this powerful repentance wed to forgiveness of sin in Jesus.


Singing to Build Up

Singing hymns is not just an opportunity for each of us, as individuals, to worship God in our own way.  It's an opportunity for the church, as a whole, to worship God together.
 Read the rest here at the 9Marks Blog. And sing tomorrow with all your voice, with all your soul. May the worthiness of God inspire our tongues to sing.


We Don't "Do" Church

Carl Trueman:
So often Christians can tend to think of the church worship service as something we do: we sing praise to God; we respond to the gospel; and we rejoice in our Saviour. Further, much discussion in the church focuses on what we need to be doing in order for church to be effective. Yet church is, first and foremost, something which God does.
Read the rest here.

The Antidote to Sexual Immorality

- TableTalk Magazine, Reading for August 19, 2011


Mark Driscoll, Cessationism, and Shenanigans

Some of you privy to the blogging realm of Christendom may be wondering: What in the world is going on with Mark Driscoll these days? What is cessationism? Who are these people freaking out? What's the deal? I've compiled a chronological host of links related to the shenanigans taking place. I hope they are informative. Please comment with more links if you have them.

7/25 - The Resurgence posts a talk by Driscoll given at a Resurgence conference recently. He details four movements within global Christianity now: Reformed theology, complementarian relationships, Spirit-filled lives, and missional churches.

8/2 - Frank Turk responds in an open letter to some comments Driscoll made in the aforementioned talk.

8/2 - A transcript of a portion of Driscoll's talk is provided.

8/7 - Clint Archer writes a fiery response to Driscoll at The Cripplegate.

8/11 - Nathan Busenitz elaborates on what cessationism is not at The Cripplegate.

8/15 - Phil Johnson writes about "Pornographic Divination" at Pyromaniacs.

8/17 - Doug Wilson chimes in.

8/18 - Phil Johnson and Dan Phillips respond to Doug.

8/18 - Doug Wilson chimes back.

8/18 - Possibly related: A second message by Driscoll on the original topic.


Christian Loners Will Die

"But this consideration is also very important, that the Lord hath so divided his manifold graces, that no one is to be content with one thing and with his own gifts, but every one has need of the help and aid of his brother. This, I say, is a bond which God hath appointed for retaining friendship among men, for they cannot live without mutual assistance. Thus it happens, that he who in many things seeks the aid of his brethren, ought to communicate to them more freely what he has received."
 - John Calvin, commenting on 1 Peter 4:10

The fact that we are directed to "serve one another" with the gifts we have received from God indicates that no single person possesses a totality of gifts from God. We are made for community. There's no way around it.

Can we open our hearts and hands in service to one another? Can we, "above all, keep loving one another earnestly"? We are called to do just that. If we don't we will wallow in our deficient selves - perhaps the worst fate that could befall us in our short time here on Earth.

Let's not be cold to one another and sink in the icy pool of self-centeredness. We have been given "God's varied grace" (1 Pt. 4:10). Let's be vessels who are always tipping over and pouring the grace given to them into others. For God's grace and the sake of the Church.


You Can't Reform The Dead

Jesus came to raise the dead. He did not come to teach the teachable; He did not come to improve the improvable; He did not come to reform the reformable. None of those things work.
- Robert Farrar Capon


Potent Quotables (8/12)

Had a fantastic day yesterday. Work, great time in Psalm 16, studied at Starbucks, cooked a great meal, and wrote a song. Looking forward to having lunch with a coworker tomorrow. Recently shared the gospel with her and I am eager to continue that conversation.

Is Internet Explorer For The Dumb? - This was a headline too good to pass up. Who knows how accurate the information is though. So, what browser do you use?
UPDATE: Looks like the story was a hoax. Oh, internet.

Signs - No, not the M. Night Shamalamadingdong movie. "When we come to know Jesus, we do so by joining Him in His mission. All followers of Christ are therefore missionaries. But what does that mean? It means that we are signs."

Ramadan: Praying for a Precious Sense of Emptiness - "It seems to me, therefore, that the way Jesus calls us to pray during Ramadan is that God would reveal to Muslims the emptiness of their worship. Jesus says they are not connecting with the true God. This is tragic. And it is more tragic when they think they are. Awakening to this emptiness would be a precious awakening."


What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power? - Henry Lyte 


Potent Quotables (8/11)

I guess this is the introduction to a new feature of the blog - Potent Quotables. Here you will find a number of links to various things I found worth checking out. I hope you enjoy!

Should The Church Accountant Be The One Called The "Worship Pastor"? Dan Kimball: "What is intriguing is that as we primarily define worship as singing, in terms of sacrifice - singing doesn't cost us too much. We mentally and emotionally bring ascent to our thoughts as we sing and focus on God. But we aren't really sacrificing something. Are we?"

The Road to a Downgrade WSJ: "This is the road to fiscal perdition. The looming debt downgrade only confirms what everyone knows: Congress has made so many promises to so many Americans that there is no conceivable way those promises can be kept. Tax rates might have to rise to 60%, 70%, even 80% to raise the revenues to finance these promises, but that would be economically ruinous."

Are You Worth Dying For?  Josh Thiessen: " Let me clarify, you are not worth dying for. That is what makes the gospel such a beautiful thing."

Should You Support Campus Crusade Staff Now That the Name Is Changing? Piper: "Since Campus Crusade for Christ announced (and explained) that it will change its name to Cru, some donors have withdrawn support from Crusade staff. I am writing to say: That’s not a good reason to withdraw your support."

In light of recent clarifying events in London...


Never content with what it has, the unconverted heart always craves more. But the more it acquires, the less fulfillment it has. - S. Lawson

Feeling Far From God?

"When we sense a distance in our relationship to God, it is wise to ask ourselves if we are engaged in some persistent, impenitent sin that brings the Spirit grief." - Tabletalk, August 10, 2011
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
- Psalm 139:23-24


True Conversion

True conversion makes a marvellous change in the heart and life of every one who partakes of it. It brings a man off from all his old, fashionable, and delightful lusts, and from the common ways and vices of the world, to the will of God. It alters the mind, judgment, affections, way, and conversation of every one who has experienced it.
- Matthew Henry commenting on 1 Peter 4:1-2

And oh how delightful it is to be converted! To be permanently changed by God. To have "ceased from sin". To no longer be under the bondage of sin's cruel slavery. To be given divine strength to cast off our sinful desires. To be indwelt by God himself.

God's truth, sunk in our souls by the anchor of faith, is overwhelming. Let's live for our loving Father's will. For as the song goes, "We are changed not by the things we arrange, not by the works our hands have done. It's through your Son that we are changed!"


You can't do it

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
- Augustus Toplady

You can't save yourself from your sins. You simply - and completely - lack the ability to stand before God as one acceptable to him. Thank our God for Jesus. Take some time and think about this. Even the good I do, which is little, can not save me. I am in the dark apart from God.

And then let the gospel build you up. Jesus alone is able to save me from my sins. He loves me and proved this when he died on that cross, where I should have died. "Fully atoned for" is now the banner under which I stand. Jesus came to save his people and this he accomplished. It is finished.
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
- Psalm 32:1