Monday, August 28, 2006

Justin Taylor Owns the Internet

My friend Justin Taylor is officially the owner of the internet. Here's where you can catch him in action:

1. First, if you're a little behind, here's a more autobiographical interview Justin did with Adrian Warnock.

2. He's done an informative article on the emerging church for 9 Marks Ministry.

3. By the way, here are Justin's books (that he either wrote or edited).

4. You can read an interview series with Justin at the New Attitude blog:
• Part 1
• Part 2
• Part 3
• Part 4
5. If haven't already made it a bookmark, please repent and then visit Justin's blog Between Two Worlds.

6. It's also been recently revealed that Justin has personally written all the content on Wikipedia. Okay, that's a joke but the guy is prolific.
I thank God for Justin Taylor, his love for Jesus Christ and his keen mind that he's using for Kingdom purposes. He's a good man and I hope you'll join me in benefitting from his work.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Valley of Vision CD

See, it's not just me--Tim Challies thinks my wife's voice is beautiful, too.

Read Tim's review of Sovereign Grace's new Valley of Vision CD here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

New Music Alert: Leeland

For the past few months I've been wanting some fresh music. No offense to my man Matt Redman, but if one more band does a cover of Blessed Be Your Name I'm going to lose my mind.

Then today, I stumbled onto a brand new album by a band named Leeland.
Have ya'll already heard of these guys? Evidently they hit #1 on the iTunes inspirational chart.

I just downloaded their album and I'm in the middle (literally) of listening to it. So far I am very impressed.

Their sound is great. But even better, their lyrics seem to be God-exalting and continually draw your attention to our Savior's atoning work on the cross.

Here's their official promo site.

You can visit the more informative Leeland Myspace page.

If you know anything about them, please fill me in and share your thoughts. Anybody seen them in concert? And let me know what you think of the album.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Doubled Joy

J.I. Packer writes:

"I hold the heady doctrine that no pleasures are so frequent or intense as those of the grateful, devoted, single-minded, whole-hearted, self-denying Christian. I maintain that the delights of work and leisure, of friendship and family, of eating and mating, of arts and crafts, of playing and watching games, of finding out and making things, of helping other people, and all the other noble pleasures that life affords, are doubled for the Christian; for, as the cheerful old Puritans used to say (no, sir, that is not a misprint, nor a Freudian lapse; I mean Puritans—the real, historical Puritans, as distinct from the smug sourpusses of the last-century Anglo-American imagination), the Christian tastes God in all his or her pleasures and this increases them, whereas for other people pleasure brings with it a sense of hollowness which reduces it."—J.I. Packer, God Has Spoken
I read this yesterday after enjoying a tennis lesson that my dear wife gave me as a Christmas present. Mr. Packer's words rang true. I smiled as I considered the "doubled" joy I experienced smacking a yellow ball with a racquet, because it was God who gave me arms to swing and God who ordained the laws of physics (which I don't understand) that dictate how that ball will travel through space after I smack it, and God who made the sky so blue and clear and the air so crisp that morning.

I don't mind if it sounds silly. I tasted God as I swung that racquet (and no, that's not a statement of the quality of my play, which is in no way divine). But I met Him in one of the many gracious gifts with which he showers this undeserving world.

I hope whatever joy or simple pleasure you experience today will draw your thoughts and heart back to God, the giver of every good gift and, in so doing, be doubled in its intensity.

I'm so thankful for J.I. Packer. I hope we can play a little tennis one day on the new earth. I'm almost certain there will be grass courts there.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Desiring God '06 National Conference

This is Katherine. Josh wanted me to let everyone know about the upcoming Desiring God 2006 National Conference. Running September 29-October 1 in Minneapolis, it's theme is Above All Earthly Powers: The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World. Those attending will have the privilege of learning from John Piper, David Wells, D.A. Carson, Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, and Voddie Baucham, and from two panel discussions concerning “practical expressions of Christian living in a postmodern world.”

A press release From Desiring God explains:
According to Dr. Piper, the specific aim of this conference is to call the church to a radical and very old vision of the Man, Jesus Christ—fully God, fully sovereign, fully redeeming by his substitutionary, wrath-absorbing death, fully alive and reigning, fully revealed for our salvation in the inerrant Holy Bible, and fully committed to being preached with human words and beautifully described with doctrinal propositions based on biblical paragraphs.

You might also check out Mark Driscoll’s post on the conference, which includes links to interviews with some of the main speakers.

If you're convinced and ready to register, click here, or call 1.888.346.4700.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Worship God 06

My new friend Tim Challies (who is in the process of re-designing my blog) is liveblogging the Worship God Conference being held here at my church, led by my fellow pastor Bob Kauflin.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Shannon's Interview on Valley of Vision

My sweet wife who sang three songs on the new Sovereign Grace album Valley of Vision has recently been interviewed about the project.

You can watch the video here.

Shannon is so incredible. I don't deserve this lady. What she didn't mention in the interview is that she learned her songs and did the recording in the midst of a very busy season of getting ready for a new year of homeschooling. She's given up so many music opportunities to support me and to care for our kids. I am so grateful that she values our children more than career success. That's why I love to see God use her on projects like this.

She puts so much of herself into each song she records. That comes through when you listen. I recently got a copy of the album. It really is top notch. Hope you get to check it out.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Purity Download: Tip 6 & 7

The following is excerpted from Sex is Not the Problem (Lust Is) and is the final two installments of a seven-part series on resisting internet porn.

6. Use website filters, blockers, and accountability software as a final line of defense, not the first. Programs that e-mail a list of all the websites you visit or block bad content are a wonderful tool. But they can’t replace a heart that truly hates sin and desires to please God. Utilize them after you’ve taken a look at your heart and examined the lies you tell yourself in the process of temptation. Do the work of digging into God’s Word, meditating on Scripture, making yourself accountable, and other steps listed above. Otherwise you’re likely to find yourself looking for ways and times to get around the technological fence you’ve put in place. Instead, get your heart convictions in the right place, recognize your dependance on the Spirit and then your blocking and accountability software can serve to support your commitments.

7. Fight this sin the hardest when you’re feeling strong.
Many people experience a level of “victory” over Internet porn for a season—only to be lulled into a false sense of security and fall again. If you’re experiencing a time of relative freedom from impure behavior online, that’s good…but don’t stop watching this part of your life carefully. It’s when you’re feeling strong that you should fight the hardest. In other words, kick sin when it’s down. You don’t have to fight like a gentleman here. Redouble your grace-motivated efforts. Keep “backing up” your definition of on-line compromise. Memorize Scripture. Pray for God’s power. By doing so you’ll weaken the power of this sin in your life even more.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Purity Download: Tip 5

The following is excerpted from Sex is Not the Problem (Lust Is) and is the fifth of a seven-part series on resisting internet porn.

5. Redefine “over the line”
(it’s not the edge of the cliff)

Jared had been struggling with temptation to look at on-line porn for a week. He’d been testing his resolve by visiting somewhat questionable sites and the urge to indulge kept growing. Unfortunately, he didn’t tell his accountability partner what was happening. Instead he battled in secret. A week later, after he “really messed up” and spent two hours browsing porn sites, he finally called his accountability partner.

Do you see the problem? Jared’s definition of “over the line” when it comes to sin is right at the edge of the cliff. That means that when he finally confesses he’s already fallen.

When it comes to accountability, I think it’s important to back up our definition of messing up on-line. We need to involve others much earlier in the process of temptation. So confess when you’re dabbling with somewhat questionable sites (or okay sites with provocative ads or other content). Share when you’re spending too much time on-line. Make these behaviors your definition of crossing the line so your friends can pray for you and challenge you long before you slip off the edge of temptation into sin. I like what Thomas Watson once wrote: “A godly man will not go as far as he may, lest he go further than he should.”

Time for your comments. How would this tip change the way you interact with your accountability partner? What does "redefining the line" look like for you?

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