Monthly Archives: March 2009

The Arkes – Kmiec Debate

The following clips contain a debate between Dr. Hadley Arkes, who teaches at Amherst College and Dr. Douglas Kmiec who teaches at Pepperdine.  The debate took place at Villanova University as a a part of a conference titled, “The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Legacy of Abraham Lincoln.”

The content of the debate centers around President Lincoln, Slavery, President Obama, and Abortion.  Arkes cannot support Obama because of his consistent denial to protect life in the womb.  Kmiec, on the other hand, did support Obama in the election.  He explains why in the debate.

Both clips are about an hour long, but are worth your time to listen to.

HT: Moral Accountability

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 31, 2009 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , ,

On the Kingdom of God…

A quote from Christopher J. H. Wright in his book Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament

So when Jesus came proclaiming the kingdom of God, he was not talking about a place or an idea or an attitude.  It was not just pie in the sky nor joy in the heart.  The reality of God’s rule cannot be spiritualized into heaven (now or later) or privatized into individuals.  Now of course it does  have spiritual and personal dimensions which are fundamental also.  But the term itself speaks of the aligning of human life on earth with the will of the divine government of God.

‘Heaven rules’, said Daniel – on earth.  And the rule of the God of heaven demands a repentance that puts things right in the social realm as much as in personal humility (Dan. 4:26-7).  Jesus cannot have meant any less.  Espcially since his declared agenda, taken as we saw in its precise wording from Isaiah 61, could as easily have been taken from [Psalm 146] – a Psalm celebrating Yahweh’s kingship in specific terms related to human needs and social evils.

To enter the Kingdom of God means to submit oneself to the rule of God and that means a fundamental reorientation of one’s ethical commitments and values into line with the priorities and character of the God revealed in the scriptures.  The point of being Israel and living as the people of Yahweh was to make the universal reign of God local and visible in their whole structure of religious, social, economic and political life.  They were to manifest in practical reality what it meant to live as well as sing, ‘the Lord reigns’ (pp 247-48).

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 30, 2009 in Uncategorized


Tags: , ,

Moralistic Preaching


I was listening several weeks ago to a pastor preaching a sermon around Christmas.  The sermon was focused on Joseph, the husband of Mary.  The sermon was done quite well.  It was structured well.  There were numerous positive points highlighted from the life of Joseph.  These points in turn were used to instruct today’s men in the church on how they should live.

Sadly, the glaring ommision of the sermon was Jesus Christ.  He was a side point in this sermon. 

I am one of those who believe all sermons should have necessary parts where the Scripture should be tied into God’s redemptive purposes and how Christ fulfills that particular Scripture being preached.  Jesus himself taught his disciples from the entire Old Testament how the Scriptures spoke of him (see Luke 24:27).

Too often we turn sermons into moralistic lessons.  The Scripture is God’s self-revelation.  Sermons preached should always feature God’s work and God’s words.  Sermons preached should always feature that one whom God is glorifying, namely Jesus Christ.  Sermons preached should always feature the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in God’s redemptive plan.

Moralistic teaching is too frequently found in children’s lessons as well.  Ask your children what they learned, and they will tell you about Moses, Jonah, and David, but rarely will the first thing out of their mouths be about God.  Sometimes this is due to them being children, but other times because we have placed the emphasis in the wrong place.

Two questions we should always ask are:

What does this text teach me about God?   
What does this text teach me about myself and my need of God? 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 24, 2009 in Uncategorized


Tags: ,

A Small Child’s Draw to God

I was listening to Andrew Davis’ sermon in Matthew 19:13-15.  He quoted this wonderful insight about small children and their desire to know and be open to God (Andrew did not give the author):

As the flower in the garden stretches toward the light of the sun, so there is in the child a mysterious inclination toward the eternal light.  Have you ever noticed this mysterious thing that when you tell the smallest child about God, the child never asks with strangeness and wonder, “Who is God; I have never seen him,” but listens with a shining face to the words as though they were soft loving sounds from the land of home?

Or when you teach a child to fold its little hands in prayer it does this as though it was just a matter of course. As though there were an opening for that child of that world of which the child has been dreaming and longing with anticipation.

“but Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt. 19:14).”

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 17, 2009 in Uncategorized


Tags: , ,

Resources for Young Pastors

The new 9Marks eJournal is dedicated to helping young pastors. The sections of the eJournal are divided as follows:

     Young Pastors: Where do you begin?
     Young Pastors: What did you inherit?
     Young Pastors: How do you lead change?
     Young Pastors: How do you persevere?

I’ll be digesting these good resources over the next few days.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 16, 2009 in Uncategorized


Tags: ,

A Sunday Morning First


I was about halfway through my sermon on the Fifth Commandment this morning and the power went out. This has happened about three times in the past, but each time the power quickly came back on. This morning it did not come back on. So after waiting for a moment for the laughter to subside and for the power to possibly return, I began to preach in the dark.

The stained-glass windows and the security lights in the back let in just enough light for me to read a couple of long biblical passages in the sermon. Has this happened to anyone else?

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 16, 2009 in Uncategorized



Sermon: The Lord’s Right to our Everyday Lives & a Dependant’s Right to Humane Treatment


Here is my latest sermon in my series on the Ten Commandments.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 10, 2009 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , ,

The task of the preacher is…

…to show the listener his wretchedness before Almighty God and to show the listener the wonderful sufficiency of Jesus Christ as his only Savior.

I do not remember the source, but I heard it once said that for many people the problem is not showing them Jesus as Savior but showing them of their own condemnation because of their sin, and thus their need for a Savior.

One of my favorite hymns encapsulates these twin truths well.  The hymn is With Melting Heart and Weeping Eyes, performed by Red Mountain Church.


With melting heart and weeping eyes,
My guilty soul for mercy cries;
What shall I do, or whither flee,
To rid the vengeance due of me?
To rid the vengeance due of me?
Till late I saw no danger nigh,
I lived at ease, nor feared to die;
Wrapped up in self-conceit and pride,
“I shall have peace at last,” I cried.
“I shall have peace at last,” I cried.
But when great God Thy light divine,
Had shone on this dark soul of mine,
Then I beheld with trembling awe,
The terrors of Thy holy law.
The terrors of Thy holy law.
Should vengence still my soul pursue,
Death and destruction are my due;
Yet mercy can my guilt forgive,
And bid this dying sinner live.
And bid this dying sinner live.
Does not Thy sacred word proclaim,
Salvation free in Jesus’ name?
To Him I look and humbly cry,
“Lord, save a wretch condemned to die!”
“Lord, save a wretch condemned to die!”
1 Comment

Posted by on March 4, 2009 in Uncategorized


Tags: , ,

Israel’s Glory vs. The Church’s Poverty

I am working through the Gospel of Luke in our Bible Study on Wednesdays at Westwood Baptist Church.  I was struck today by a difference in the consequences to obedience during both the Old Covenant and New Covenant periods.

A fundamental aspect of God’s promises to Israel in her obedience was earthly blessing (see Exodus 23:22-33 & Deuteronomy 28).  Israel’s obedience equals a land flowing of milk and honey, prosperity, peace from enemies, etc.  Yet, when one considers what obedience brings for God’s Church is poverty, an absence of physical blessings.

In Luke chapters 5 & 6, a common theme of newness pervades the stories (new wine in old wineskins; fasting, new disciples).  And in Luke 6:20-26, Jesus is holding out to his disciples comfort because of what is their’s by virture of right relation with God through Christ.  Yet, in the way of physical blessings, Jesus does not hold out much promise.

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 

I heard one pastor categorize the Old Covenant as “come and see” and the New Covenant as “go and tell”.  I would add that in the Old Covenant God’s glory was particularly displayed in the glory of Israel’s prosperity while in the New Covenant, God’s glory is particularly displayed in the glory of God’s people faithfully clinging to God in spite of persecution.

*Note this is a general principle, but does not mean there are no exceptions.


1 Comment

Posted by on March 3, 2009 in Uncategorized


Tags: ,

The Prayer Cross

Here is the product I mentioned in a recent sermon. This item is just one in a long list which is claimed to bring comfort to the one who purchases it. The really sad part is this thing must be selling for it to still be up on the web and on TV commericals.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him or knows him.  You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you (John 14:16-18).”

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 3, 2009 in Uncategorized


Tags: ,