Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Save the Earth

My church has RA’s on Wednesday nights. This is a mission education program for elementary age boys. As I was walking by the room tonight I saw the teacher using a color coded map to show the boys what religions are dominant in the different regions of the world. I appreciated his effort to expand their horizons and let them know that there are people all over the world who need to hear about Jesus.

The boys were having a difficult time grasping the point of this map of many colors. As I walked away I heard one of them say, “Aren’t there a lot of rainforests there?” I laughed a little and then flashed back to my fourth grade year in school. Mrs. Keeler was my favorite teacher up to that point, and maybe ever. I liked her mostly because she shared my love for the Giants. In addition to her love for the Giants, she loved the earth. She taught us about the rainforests: where they were, where they weren’t, and where they might not be in a few years unless we took action. So we started the Save the Earth Club! This was a cutting edge group of like-minded 10 year olds determined to buy at least one acre of the rainforest before the end of the school year. We had a bake sale, and bought our little piece of property near the equator. Or at least we gave the money to an organization that said we had saved an acre of the earth.

So I guess I was green before it was cool. Now the rainforests are the least of our worries, as we are told the whole earth is rapidly nearing a boil. Global warming has more than just 10 year olds concerned, as thousands of recyclers and carpoolers join together to form their own Save the Earth Club.

At the heart of our culture’s passion to cool the world, I believe there is a deeper God-given desire. We all want to save the earth. We all know deep down there is something very wrong, and that there is a very bad ending in the future unless we do something. The problem is that we too often suppress the truth about what that ending will be, and what we need to do to save the earth. The truth is that the wrath of God is coming upon every person on the earth. Our biggest problem is not excessive emissions or gas guzzling cars. No, our problem is that we are in rebellion against the One who made the earth. The only way to save the earth is to tell people about a humble Carpenter who took the wrath of God on Himself when He was executed 2000 years ago on a cross. In Christ we find our only happy ending.

So when we hear Mrs. Keeler or Al Gore tell us we can help save the earth by bringing some fresh brownies on Friday or using florescent light bulbs, we dive in and do our part. Hopefully we can preserve the forests and keep the earth cool. But I am thankful for RA teachers who try to teach boys not just where the rainforests are, but where the people are and what Jesus has done for those people. I hope we will also listen to people like that, and dive in and do our part. For what good would it be to gain the whole earth if we lose our own souls?

[By the way, Al Gore's view of global warming is not quite the consensus we are sometimes led to believe. Check out this summary of opposition to the doomsday predictions by dozens of scientists, including many publishing in peer-reviewed journals. Also, see this article about scientists' predictions of global cooling in Newsweek from 1975, and this follow-up in 2006. Some even recommended pouring soot on the polar ice caps to melt them and help keep the earth warm.]

$3 Worth of Gospel

From D. A. Carson's Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians:

"I would like to buy about three dollars worth of gospel, please.

Not too much – just enough to make me happy, but not so much that I get addicted.

I don’t want so much gospel that I learn to really hate covetousness and lust.

I certainly don’t want so much that I start to love my enemies, cherish self-denial, and
contemplate missionary service in some alien culture.

I want ecstasy, not repentance;

I want transcendence, not transformation.

I would like to be cherished by some nice, forgiving, broad-minded people, but I myself don’t
want to love those from different races – especially if they smell.

I would like enough gospel to make my family secure and my children well behaved, but not
so much that I find my ambitions redirected or my giving too greatly enlarged.

I would like about three dollars worth of the gospel, please." (pp. 12-13)

HT: Justin Taylor

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thanks for Visiting Moore Family!

Mom, Dad and Robin came to visit for Hope's 1st b-day and got to stay for a week. It was a lot of fun! We were very spoiled while they were here. We even got to go out to see the Bourne Ultimatum. Here are some pictures from the week:

Hope with Auntie Robin

Hope with Grandpa.

Hope with Grandma.

In Cincinnati on the Purple People Bridge.

Hope deciding what she wants for dinner at Buckhead.

If anyone can guess what Robin's doing in this picture, you get a copy of it. :)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Piper in California

For those of you who live in California, I want to give you a heads up on what promises to be a great conference, "The Pleasures of God," with speaker John Piper. You can register online, here.

Where: Sacramento, California
When: October 12 - October 13 (begins Friday evening, and ends Saturday at 1pm.
How Much: $30
Why: John Piper, and more importantly the truth he proclaims, is one of God's gifts to our generation. To read his books is to be drawn to the the greatness of God and the convinced as to the smallness of pursuing anything other than the glory of Christ. I have heard him in person several times. Hearing him speak in person about what God takes pleasure in is worth a day off work, a long drive, and a night in a hotel. I promise you will leave the conference not talking about John Piper, but about how amazing God is. I won't be going, since I live in Kentucky. But if you end up going, let me know how it was. And if you don't go, buy The Pleasures of God and read it. It is only $9.50, and you can even read the first three chapters online for free.

Here is the invitation from Desiring God:
You don’t truly know someone until you know what makes them happy. So it is with God. We can only know the greatness of his glory if we know what makes him glad. Therefore, we must understand the pleasures of God.

At the Desiring God 2007 Regional Conference, John Piper will navigate the biblical evidence to help us see and savor what the pleasures of God show us about him, so that we can become more like him. This is not a conference about you. It’s about the one you were made for—God himself.

Please join us October 12-13 in Sacramento, California.

Monday, August 13, 2007

"Special Student"

What is a "special student?" Well, I guess at Southern Seminary it the label they give to people who have already graduated yet for some reason stick around and keep taking classes (I would like to use a little bus joke here, but am not sure if that is offensive or not). The new semester began today. I am taking a Greek Exegesis class on the book of James, as well as a Hebrew class.

I will also continue to work at my church. I am preaching through the life of David on Sunday mornings along with my senior pastor. And starting this Sunday I am teaching a class on Sunday nights called "The Story of Christianity." It is basically a survey of Christianity from AD 30 to today. So other than Greek and Hebrew, much of my study will be on David and Christian history. If I am still awake at the end of the day, I'll post some of what I learn or think or wonder about these topics here. If I fall asleep pictures of Hope will be the norm, and you will all probably enjoy this blog much more.

Right now I am reading J. N. D. Kelly's Early Christian Doctrines, Bruce Shelley's Church History in Plain Language, Douglas Moo's Commentary on James (Pillar series), and a Catholic commentary on James from the Sacra Pagina series. What are you reading? What classes are you taking or teaching?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Please Pray for Nathan

Nathan McLean is 3 years old, and was diagnosed in April with Neuroblastoma (Abdomen Stage IV). I don't know him personally. His dad goes to the Seminary I graduated from in the Spring. The past couple of months Nathan has been having chemotherapy. We have been praying for him, along with what seems like the whole city of Louisville. This week he had surgery to remove the primary tumor. Yesterday morning as I read the report of how he is doing I was moved to tell you about Nathan and ask you to pray for him also. It brings tears to my eyes and prayers to my mind every time I read what this little boy and his family are going through. Maybe it will do the same with you. To learn more about Nathan and what is going on with him go to his website.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Ongoing Affects of the New Birth - Religious Affections #5

This post has been a long time coming. When I got back from California my church was doing VBS in the evenings, and I needed to write a sermon for Sunday, and Stephanie's parents and sister were in town, and Hope's birthday was this past weekend. So, anyway, Edwards and Religious Affections hasn't been on the top of the priority list. But here is the next and possibly last installment of my summary and interaction with Edwards's great book. Any comments you have are welcome and encouraged. Here goes . . . .

The change wrought by the Holy Spirit does not end when a person embraces the gospel. In fact it has just begun. The Spirit’s work is not a one time thing. The sense of the heart not only enables a person to see and believe the gospel, but it is also “maintained by the Spirit of God, in the hearts of the saints, whereby they are in like manner led and guided in discerning and distinguishing the true spiritual and holy beauty of actions” (209). The birth of holy affections causes a person to see and delight in the beauty of God’s holiness, and also causes him to see and pursue the beauty of practical holiness. If someone truly delights in the holy beauty of God he will also delight in holy beauty of a given action. The point is that the birth of holy affections necessarily leads to holy behavior. In fact, Edwards believes this point so strongly he writes, “It is manifest that Christian practice, or a holy life, is a great and distinguishing sign of true and saving grace. But I may go further and assert that it is the chief of the signs of grace” (327).

At first appearance it seems odd that in a work entitled Religious Affections, in which Edwards meticulously argues for the significance of right affections in discerning true religion, that he would conclude by submitting actions as the greatest test of grace in the soul. However, this apparent contradiction is obliterated by a proper understanding of the relationship between the affections and the will. Edwards explains, “The affections are no other than the more vigorous and sensible exercises of the inclination and will of the soul” (24). And later he writes, “The Author of the human nature has not only given affections to men, but has made them very much the spring of men’s actions” (29). A man’s affections determine his will, and thus his actions. So examining the actions of a man is a valid way to discern his affections.

When faced with a choice, a person will always choose what he desires the most, or finds most valuable (see his still foundational work, Freedom of the Will). So it is in the day to day choices of men where the affections of the heart become most visible. Over time the Christian will demonstrate he has holy affections by an increasingly holy practice. For example, “If we see a man who in the course of his life seems to follow and imitate Christ, and greatly to exert and deny himself for the honour of Christ, and to promote His kingdom and interest in the world; reason teaches that this is an evidence of love to Christ” (330). On the other hand, if a man demonstrates by his lifestyle a disregard for Christ’s example and a selfish and prideful attitude, it is foolish to believe he is possessor of gracious affections. The true object of a person’s affections becomes most clear when he is forced to choose between Christ and sin. If one repeatedly chooses sin, he has no ground for assurance. But through consistently holy practice a Christian demonstrates the fruit of holy affections, and has reliable grounds for assurance.

There is a lot more I can say about this, and wish I could. Basically love for God includes necessarily love for His holy moral character, and if we truly love His moral character, we will desire to imitate His holiness and obey His gracious commands. I hope you will be encouraged to read the book.

Monday, August 06, 2007

First Birthday Pictures

Hope on her birthday.

Hope opening her birthday present from us.

Hope, Taylor, and Lily at the party.
The birthday cake.

The next few are the cake eating progression...

More pictures to come! It's been a good 1st birthday time for all of us.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Hope's First Birthday Poem

Yesterday was Hope's birthday. We went to the zoo. We are having her party in an hour. Stephanie's parents and sister are in town. I'm sure we will be posting pictures of all these fun times soon. For now, here is Hope's first birthday poem from her dad.

"Three Cheers for Little Hopey!"

God's love is wise,
His plans devise
A home so filled with joy.

He had a plan,
It all began
With the Love
Of a girl and a boy.

Then one day
God did say
"New Life!"
And you were here.

As Daddy's eyes
Filled up with tears,
The heavens filled with cheers.

Three cheers for little Hopey,
Daddy's little girl.
Your smiles remind
There is behind
God's hand a gracious will.

Today you'll open presents,
But the greatest gift is you.
Today we plan to celebrate
Last year's big debut!