Sunday, 31 August 2008

The Glories of Calvary

A follow up on my previous post on Songs for the Cross Centered Life, I'd like to share a couple of lines from a song in the album.
From the song, The Glories of Calvary:
Lord, You're calling me to come and behold the wondrous cross.
To explore the depths of grace that came to me at such a cost.
Where Your boundless love conquered my boundless sin,
and mercy's arms were opened wide.

May God open your eyes so that you may see the glory of the cross.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Nice Pic: Eastern Timberwolf

A nice photo of a great work of art by God.


[The original image is taken by Christian Mehlf├╝hrer, downloaded from Wikimedia Commons and was resized by myself.]

May the slain Lamb receive His reward



(HT: Christ is deeper still)

Songs for the Cross Centered Life

I don't know much about music, but I listen to few Christian songs.
My favourite album at the moment is one from the Sovereign Grace Ministries called Songs for the Cross Centered Life.

With so many "Christian music" that lacks the accurate theology or quality music (sometimes both) flooding the market out there, I was impressed by both the words and music of this album. Not only that, the passion of these song writers seems to be directed at the heart of the gospel living by focusing on the cross and what had happened on that terrible execution device.
Highly recommended.

You can get it at Koorong as well as directly from the Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Extending friendship

First, a vocabulary.
clique
n.
A small exclusive group of friends or associates.
While cliques aren't unique to church, of course, but cliques within a church may prove to be problematic. Whether cliques are a problem at your church or not, as a redeemed people of God, I believe we must extend our friendship beyond our own closest and most comfortable circle of friends.
Why?
You must, if you believe in the Trinity.
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is in perfectly satisfying relationship to each other, yet extended his relationship to humans whom He Himself created in His image, for His capacity for love is great.
If we believe in God who goes beyond the most perfect and satisfying relationship to even sinners such as us, we must go beyond our comfortable circle of friends, who, incidentally, is not perfect nor as satisfying as the relationship our Triune God enjoys.

What practical things can we do?
Next time you invite a group of your close friends for dinner, or go out for a movie, invite someone from your church whom you are not so close to. Take an initiative in introducing him or her to your friends, and get to know him yourself too.

Some people are very good at this, and sometimes it seems very natural for them.
I suck at this.

[Note: Definition of clique quoted from Answers.com]

Christ is our salvation

On the great blog, Of first Importance, quoted,
Salvation is not a detached gift of God in some gracious and miraculous way bestowed upon man. Salvation is Christ, and to experience salvation is to experience Christ. It is not the experience of something, but of someone.

True indeed.

So, when I doubt my salvation, I am not simply doubting a gift from Jesus, but Jesus Himself! When I say I am doubtful of my salvation, I am saying I am doubtful of Jesus.

An application is this, that I must look unto Jesus again and again and see how sure He is, how real He is, how true He is, and must not seek something in me.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Doubtful salvation

And I need your prayer as well. Pray for me that I may stop sinning and endure till the day of our King's return.

Doubting salvation

I will pray for you. I stumble and fall too often too many times. I doubt my salvation time to time too. Sin hurts yet I like it so much, and I hate myself. My only hope is in Jesus. Think about Him as you struggle. I will pray for you.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

The Covenanters

I've always been fascinated by the brave Scots since the day I watched the movie "Braveheart", but as I learned a little bit more about the church history, and as I attend a Presbyterian church, my interest in Scottish church history grew even more.
So when I read about the Covenanters of the 17th century Scotland, I was impressed with their bold faithfulness to Christ.
I am faced with so many moments when I can fit in with everyone else by inaction and simply keeping my mouth shut. But, I want to be more brave when the time calls for it. When so many others keep on sending me a message with such questions like the one in the article, "Why didn't they just go to church?", when not many people see the danger I am trying to warn others about, when people tell me to just fit in and keep quiet by saying "why are you so argumentative?", I want to be faithful and be bold in my actions and words so I may be found faithful to the One who has been faithful all along.

(HT: Gordon Cheng)

Quietness of heart

"How can I live with quietness of heart in the madness of this world?"
Ray Ortlund starts with Sabbath in answering that question, and I think he has some wisdom to share.

Go and read the whole thing.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Multi-site video preaching

An interesting point made about Multi-site video preaching.
Ultimately, video venues strike me as a poor compromise. They may be necessary at times, but are certainly not a strategy to be pursued, even alongside traditional church plants. They focus entirely too much on the preaching gifts of one person, a trend even we small "emerging" types need to counter.

Thinking about preaching, I think Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones would have said one word about a video preaching: abomination.
Of course, there's no way of knowing that for sure, and I may not go as far as saying that "a"-word. But I strongly agree with Bob Hyatt on the point that video venues are a poor compromise. I may not defend my position analytically and critically as I should, but let me just state a question for those who think it is ok to have video preaching. If you need to be present physically at a Sunday worship together with other brothers and sisters, why is it ok for the preacher to be physically absent?

(HT: Between Two Worlds

Count the patience of our Lord as salvation

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation,
- 2 Peter 3:14-15a

My gracious Master has been so patient with me whole my life as I offended Him countless times.
Once again, I betrayed my Lord, yet my life was spared.
He spared me, He endured my time of rebellion. He considered it His pleasure to keep me alive and redeem me, instead of quenching His wrath by condemning me right there and then and fulfill justice even as I denied Him as my Lord.

Why would the Righteous King pursue a traitor like me with such loving zeal, I do not know.
Why would the Holy God touch a defiled, rotten and rotting corpse with such a gentle healing hand, I will never stop wondering.
Why was the Faithful Servant of God counted as an unfaithful, whoring idolator that I am, and I now inherit His blessings, I am silenced.

O, how long will I keep fighting His gracious will, to redeem and conform me to His likeness?
How many more times will I test my God for His patience?

God, You are strange.
You are wonderful.
You are beyond-belief.
You are good.
You are freely-giving.
You are forgiving.
You are my King, and I am your servant, even as I am unworthy to be called one.
May I continue to find favour in Your sight, may Your grace abound in me more and more.
May Your love never cease to grip my heart.
May the Cross my King bore never leave my sight.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Suicide

Don't commit suicide. Talk to some people if you have such an urge.
But, if you are simply asking that old question, "Can a Christian commit suicide?", "Could he/she have been saved?", etc, I found a recent response by Michael Patton very helpful.

The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses (present tense; 1 John1:7) us from all sin, not just some sins.
[...]
Christ's death is a once for all remedy to our damnation. Because of this grace and forgiveness we should live a life that is pleasing to him, but some of us won't do so well. That is what makes grace so wonderful and radical—indeed, beyond belief.


Be sure to read the whole thing.

New Mere Christianity?

David Skeel thinks about the classic, Mere Christianity, and modern contenders.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Blessings thrown at us by God's rough hands

In my cell, we have been reading Genesis for the past few weeks. I often found that God's blessing came to those Joseph (and others as well) in a very strange ways. The Bible says that God was with Joseph and made him proper in all he did, so he was made great in Potiphar's household, and in the jail, and later under Pharaoh. But God, being with Joseph and blessing him did not stop Joseph from being falsely accused as a rapist, nor from being thrown into the prison, nor from being forgotten after interpreting dreams correctly for two officials. And I am not often content with the explanation that goes like, "all is well that ends well," because I do not believe that the end can always justify the means.

However, this little quote from the Baptist preacher did a trick.

It is for a greater gain for us that God, in His providence, gives rough times. These temporary suffering is nothing compared to the greater spiritual gain that lasts forever.
Apostle Paul also testified, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18)."

How slow is my understanding and little my faith in Him!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Christian bookshop Retail

Less than a month ago, I was working at Koorong, one of the biggest, if not the biggest, Christian bookshop in Australia. So, this post by Frank Turk didn't go unnoticed.

Monday, 11 August 2008

I'm too sick to post my own thoughts, but...

I've been sick for the past few days, and I am still recovering. I haven't been this sick in the past few months, and I had to miss out on Sunday service yesterday even.

Anyways, while I conserve my energy and focus on resting, here are some articles I read recently that I think were worth sharing.

- So many people mix-up the words, Evangelical and Evangelistic. Read this article by Phillip Jensen and be enlightened. Hint: the point of the article isn't simply to educate you about the two words! (HT: Gordon Cheng)
- Parchment and Pen is one of the most generous and informed Christian blog. And it touched on Joel Osteen the other day. I admit that I still haven't read the book, "Your Best Life Now", but I think I'm pretty close to setting up my mind about this Osteen guy. Read the blog post here.
- Christians must be different in their way of living. May that be also an opening for evangelism.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Reading The Classics Together

Due to recent busy-ness and sickness, I couldn't read books much.
As I was participating in the Reading Classics Together, I tried to read the rest of the Part 2 of the Book, The Religious Affections, but I still haven't finished it.
I'll try to catch up.

Off to a completely different topic however, the Fitness First was on SMH today. I felt as if I was vindicated for the stress they gave me about a year ago when I tried to terminate the membership as well.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Discipline of resting required

I'm going to have to take some time off blogging for a week or so.
I may be replying to comments, but it's likely that I won't be posting anything new here for a while. Although, now I come to think of it, I'll still post something related to The Religious Affections for Reading the Classics Together. But other than that, I think I need some discipline to get enough rest for my body. Since I moved my work to Michael Page International last week, I haven't had proper rest, weekdays and weekends.
I will be back soon, hopefully with enough fresh thoughts to be shared.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

The Faithful Writer

The Faithful Writer conference (2 August 2008)
I've been to the Faithful Writer conference today. It wasn't exactly what I expected it to be, especially when I learned that the main speaker (Mark Tredinnick) was not a Christian, while I was under the impression that this was definitely a Christian gathering. Maybe I was wrong.
However, overall, I think it was a worth-while experience for me and I can say that I learned a few things through the conference, although I will not write much about them today - I'm simply way too tired for it.
Will I attend next time, if there was one? Maybe. While Mark did his good job, and I'm sure he is an expert in what he is doing, it simply was a matter of the mismatched expectation on my behalf. Hence, I think I'll do a bit more research on the main speaker before I register.

Take Heart

A wonderfully strengthening words over at "Of First Importance": Take Heart.

They are strengthening, not simply because they are inspiring words, but because they are true.

Read it.