Monthly Archives: March 2007

When Christians Pray…

“When Christians have meetings, the devil smiles.
When Christians make great plans, the devil laughs.
When Christians pray, the devil trembles.”

- Corrie ten Boom

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In the Blogosphere…

Someone has put up a webpage that features dozens of blogs from Southern Seminary students. Add this to your Favorites list and see what Southern students are talking about. 

Tim Challies writes a compelling article about Abby and Brittany Hensel, twins conjoined at birth. He talks about the “gray areas” in black-and-white terms.

Legos are banned at a Seattle school. Find out why here.

If you haven’t seen this John Piper video on YouTube, now’s the time!

Top posts this week for Kingdom People: “How Saving Bellevue is Destroying Bellevue” and then the follow-up “How Saving Bellevue is Destroying Bellevue: Take 2″

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Book Review: God's Big Picture

David and Goliath. Daniel in the lion’s den. Jesus’ feeding of five thousand people. Too many of us know the stories in the Bible without ever understanding the Story of the Bible. Vaughan Roberts’ book God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible (IVP 2002) provides a remedy to this problem by giving a terrific overview to the entire Bible in less than 150 pages.

Roberts interprets the Bible with “The Kingdom of God” as the central motif. Each chapter progresses through the Bible, showing how the Scriptures are united around God and His rule. Roberts takes us through Creation, Fall, Israel, the prophets, the exile, Jesus, the Church, and the coming Kingdom, all the while showing how the Bible itself tells one story – the story of our world.

This book is similar to Graeme Goldsworthy’s Gospel and Kingdom, but a little more user friendly. Roberts does a good job of summarizing biblical doctrines within the overarching metanarrative that the Bible provides. Though the book traces the Bible’s story at a rapid pace, there are times when the writing seems to drag. But overall, this little book is a helpful introduction to the Bible’s big picture.

written by Trevin Wax  © 2007 Kingdom People blog

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Youth Worship 4: Approaching God and Authentic Worship

This is my final post in a series on youth worship services. 

1. Approaching God
One of the aspects of worship that intrigued me in Romania was the way people approached God when they entered the church. When people walked into a church, they would kneel at the back pew, or they would take their seat and then pray a silent prayer before the service. There was reverence and anticipation in that act. The person was acknowledging that they were entering the house of God and coming to meet with Him. They were also asking for a word from God.

We have lost this reverence in most youth worship services. There is a fallacy out there that pits reverence up against fun, as if contemporary automatically assumes irreverent. I do not think this is the case. I believe that we can attend church in casual dress, can sing current, popular music styles, and adopt new cultural expressions in our worship. Casual attire, yes. But there is no such thing as casual worship. We do not approach God casually.

One way that some churches seek to instill this awe and reverence for God back into our worship is by beginning the worship service with a few minutes of silence. Bible passages appear on the screen, with some instrumental worship songs playing in the background. The stillness in the sanctuary, as those who enter realize they have stepped into God’s presence fosters an atmosphere in which students can see themselves in God’s house, and …

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Why Did Jesus Die?

1. TO BEAR OUR GRIEFS AND SORROWS
Isaiah 52:14, 53:3-4

Our God knows what it is like to suffer. He is acquainted with grief. God has knowledge of suffering. He is not distant from our pain. He is not above grief. He knows what it is like to suffer, because Jesus suffered. Isaiah teaches us that not only were our sins placed on Christ, but also the implications that come from our sins – over very pain and sorrow and suffering and grief – all those things that are caused by sin, they were on Jesus too.

Night is a short book describing Elie Wiesel’s year in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel describes in horrific detail the “chimney,” – the place where Jews (even babies) were thrown alive into a blazing fire. Wiesel rebels against God. He refuses to fast on Jewish holy days. He questions the existence of God. The human evil of Auschwitz is too overwhelming to comprehend. Wiesel claims that human words cannot express the suffering he experienced.

The most disturbing scene in the book takes place when an innocent boy only 12 years old is forced to die, though he did not commit the crime for which he is punished. He and three others are placed on the gallows and hanged. The rest of the prisoners are forced to walk by and look squarely into the faces of the executed. But “the third rope was still moving. The child, too light, was still breathing… And so he remained for …

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How "Saving Bellevue" is Destroying Bellevue (Take 2)

Almost two months ago, I posted an article entitled “How ‘Saving Bellevue’ is Destroying Bellevue,” in which I decried the slander and gossip found on the SavingBellevue website. People continue to leave comments on that thread, many supporting the point of my article and others challenging my viewpoint.

One question has come up several times in the comment section, both from those who support the Bellevue site and those who disagree with the methods taken. “What should we do?” This comment from “Debbie” sums it up best.

What would you suggest someone should do if they are ever faced with this problem in their own Church? I think this is the best question of the Blog and really the next point of value after dealing with both sides of the “Saving Bellevue” site issue.

I understand the deep desire of getting the truth out to people in your church, when the church has taken a left turn that you either perceive as unscriptural or really is unscriptural. You want the truth known and the church you love protected from the guaranteed attack from the evil one (who would love to destroy a church), or from the wrath of God as he chastens his shepherds for deceiving or harming His sheep.

We could all agree that the people in Bellevue went to leadership and weren’t heard. Let’s assume that was true. The question is then, what is the next right thing to do? I’ll assume a lot of prayer went into …

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How God Gets the Glory

“I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave Me to do.”
- Jesus, praying on the night of His betrayal (John 17:4)

As Jesus prepared Himself and His disciples for the time of trial quickly approaching, He prayed that God would keep His followers united and that the Father’s will would be done. In those moments of anguish before His betrayal, Jesus told the Father that He had glorified Him on earth by accomplishing the work that had been given Him during the time of His earthly ministry. Jesus specifically equated obedience to the Father’s will with the Father receiving glory!

God receives glory from our lives when we do His will. As the sovereign Planner of this universe, He has given us each a work to do and a purpose to fulfill. We have not been put on earth to waste time, but to seize every opportunity to accomplish the Creator’s design for us. The Bible says that King David died, only after fulfilling God’s purposes for him in his generation. In the same way, for such a time as this, God has placed each one of us in a certain location and has charged us to further His kingdom.

Glorifying God on earth means more than just singing, attending church or praying. The worship that truly brings glory to God springs from obedience to His commands – carrying out His kingdom plans in full devotion and humility. The act of true worship comes through doing the …

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The Deeps

Lord Jesus, give me a deeper repentance,
a horror of sin, a dread of its approach.
Help me chastely to flee it
and jealously to resolve that my heart shall be Thine alone. 

Give me a deeper trust,
that I may lose myself to find myself in Thee,
the ground of my rest, the spring of my being.
Give me a deeper knowledge of Thyself
as Saviour, Master, Lord, and King.
Give me deeper power in private prayer,
more sweetness in Thy Word,
more steadfast grip on its truth.
Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action,
and let me not seek moral virtue apart from Thee.
Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly husbandman,
that my being may be a tilled field,
the roots of grace spreading far and wide,
until Thou alone art seen in me,
Thy beauty golden like summer harvest,
Thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.

I have no master but Thee,
no law but Thy will, no delight but Thyself,
no wealth but that Thou givest,
no good but that Thou blessest,
no peace but that Thou bestowest.

I am nothing but that Thou makest me.
I have nothing but that I receive from Thee.
I can be nothing but that grace adorns me.
Quarry me deep, dear Lord,
and then fill me to overflowing with living water.

From The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett.

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The Gospel Assumed

 ”The gospel assumed is the gospel denied.”

- Robert Preus

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Youth Worship 3: Worship Bands and Song Choice

In previous posts, I wrote about how youth services should be Word-centered, God-focused, and how the service should involve all the young people, not just the ones who like to sing. Today, I’m writing about the use of worship bands and also the type of songs we choose to sing.

1. Worship Bands
I prefer to be cautious with worship bands, because I have seen how sometimes they can so drown out the worshippers that the congregation begins to accompany the band instead of the band accompanying the worshippers! This danger is found in many churches, regardless of worship style. (Some organists are just as guilty.) When this happens, God is used to display man’s talent instead of man’s talent used to display God.

I am also cautious about the youth themselves leading worship. This may seem strange after all I have said about the youth serving and participating in worship, but I would prefer a college student or young adult to lead worship, instead of one of the youth. There are many reasons for this, but I’ll suffice to give you just three.

First, we should not be naïve and think that a young person is sufficiently mature to be able to stand up in front of his/her peers and perform weekly without letting it go to their heads. Dare we forget how tough it was when we were teenagers and we craved so much the acceptance of others?

Second, …

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