Flotsam & Jetsam (3/31)

Take That! (slap…slap…slap)I like how my pastor applies this quote from Augustine’s City of God to dealing with a “long-term, committed, and informed atheist”.

Fear and the Last Judgment – Peter Hitchens  (brother of Christopher) shares how God used an artistic interpretation of the Last Judgment to lead him to faith: “I did not have a ‘religious experience.’ Nothing mystical or inexplicable took place – no trance, no swoon, no vision, no voices, no blaze of light. But I had a sudden, strong sense of religion being a thing of the present day, not imprisoned under thick layers of time.”

Bible History That Never Happened! – King David suffers from psalm-writers block… and decides to “redeem” a song from pop culture. Sound familiar?

The Three R’s – Bob Kauflin gives three reasons why it is important that Christians sing during corporate worship.

The Most Dangerous Thing – From Thabiti Anyabwile: “The real danger, the most perilous jeopardy, of disobeying God’s commands is not that we fail to present before Him a suitable righteousness or incur His wrath. The most serious danger inherent in our disobedience is that we ‘forget the Lord our God’ himself.”

His Greatest Failure As A Pastor – Thought-provoking and sad.

Misplaced Aims – Albert Mohler critiques Amy Chua’s bestselling book The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

Slandered – In a recent, emotional interview, Rob Bell says he’s been misunderstood and slandered by his critics. *sigh* Danny Burk points out, “If he is going to say that he has been misrepresented and slandered, I would like to hear some substantive engagement with his critics.”

Celebrating Superiority – A great post by Challies on envy. “To delight in the superiority of another. There is humility. There is envy slaughtered and laid to rest. I think I envy this lack of envy.”

March Book Briefs – From Kevin DeYoung.

God of Wonders – The heavens declare the glory of God… and so do the snow crystals.

“Appraisals are where you get together with your team leader and agree what an outstanding member of the team you are, how much your contribution has been valued, what massive potential you have and, in recognition of all this, would you mind having your salary halved.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

What’s With All the Bird-Hatching?

I’m currently reading Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October – a fantastic thriller, by the way – and I just had to laugh when I came across this passage:

“Ha!” Dodge laughed. “Johhnie says you have a bunch of new kids.”
“Number six is due the end of February,” Tyler said proudly.
“Six? You’re not a Catholic or a Mormon, are you? What’s with all the bird-hatching?”
Tyler gave his former boss a wry look. He’d never understood that prejudice in the nuclear navy. It came from Rickover, who had invented the disparaging term bird-hatching for fathering more than one child. What the hell was wrong with having kids?

Now, I realize that the last sentence isn’t exactly model Christian word-slinging; nevertheless, does it not faintly echo the words of Psalm 127:3? “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.”

Flotsam & Jetsam (3/29)

“Love Wins”: John Gerstner Style – Great stuff. “When God changes you, you will repent. Not when He warns you, threatens you, pleads with you. He must change you if you are ever to repent.”

Open Letter to Rob Bell – Since we’re on this topic, we might as well keep going. Frank Turk wrote a superb refutation of Bell’s book over at the Pyromaniacs. Here’s a snippet: “In the very best case, maybe you just haven’t read all the NT, and therefore you may simply not know the NT. That’s forgivable – but you are writing a book here, and the least an author can do is to actually know what his source material says before he refers to it. I think, however that you have read the NT, and this simply shows how you are willing to treat it as a text – which is, without respect.” (HT Diane)

Between Allah and Jesus – Jonathan Brack over at TGC Reviews addresses Peter Kreeft’s latest book, Between Allah and Jesus: What Christians Can Learn From Muslims.

Heaven Is for Real – When I first caught sight of this bestseller in the bookstore, my first reaction was, “Yeah, duh.” Challies offers a bit more in-depth assessment of the book.

How Can Movies Help You Understand Your Times? – From American Vision: “Should Christians watch movies at all? What does the Bible say about art and culture? Michael Minkoff, guest-hosting for Joseph Darnell, explores a biblical approach to watching movies, and how they can better serve God’s purposes to further the cause of Christ.”

The Greatest Gift – If you were blessed by Petra’s poem Homophones… well, here it is set to music. Pretty neat.

How Well Will You Die? – In light of actress Elizabeth Taylor’s passing, Greg writes, “Many people truly fear death. I think they fear death, first of all for good reason, and secondly, because it is natural to fear death. Death remains that great unknown and it is so very permanent. The person who has not been made alive by God through the Holy Spirit does not possess that comfort and assurance spoken of by Paul in II Corinthians 5:8, ‘…to be absent from the body…present with the Lord.'”

The Pulley – One of my favorite poems by the great George Herbert.

The Last Attack – If you’ve ever read the original Beowulf, you’ll get a kick out of this.

“God is not honored by emotion grounded in falsehood.” ~ John Piper,
Ligonier Minstries’ 2011 National Conference

Recap: Ligonier Ministries’ 2011 National Conference

Well, I can say without a doubt that Ligonier Minstries’ 2011 National Conference was an unqualified success. And for those interested, the following is a brief recap.

the Focus
For this year’s conference, the focus was “Light and Heat: A Passion for the Holiness of God”. Here’s an excellent summary provided by Ligonier’s website:

Essential doctrines of the Christian faith are under attack, even from within the church, and it is important that we be well grounded in biblical truths so that we may have a deep affection for our holy, triune God. Celebrating the faithfulness of God to the work of Ligonier Ministries and Desiring God, Ligonier Ministries’ 2011 National Conference looked at the holiness of God and the way it is to inform Christian living.

Great stuff, to be sure.

the Speakers
…were absolutely, positively, hands-down fantastic. R.C. Sproul, R.C. Sproul, Jr., Sinclair Ferguson, Steven Lawson, John Piper – all were clearly passionate about the holiness of God, and showed an earnest desire to instill this passion in their hearers, as well. And as a side note: have any of you ever seen John Piper teach? Up until attending the conference, I’d only listened to him via audio recording. I could tell he was an animated speaker even then, but watching him… boy, was that something. I’ve seldom seen a man evince such an explosive zeal for the glory and majesty of God. I envy him. And I don’t think there’s anything sinful in doing so.

the Lectures
All of the lectures were superb, but my favorites were “War on the Word” (feat. Steven Lawson), “Defending the Faith” (feat. R.C. Sproul), “Almighty Over All” (feat. R.C. Sproul, Jr.), and “Don’t Waste Your Life” (feat. John Piper). I also greatly enjoyed hearing Sproul and Piper reflect on the work of God in their respective ministries.

the Plunder
We left the conference with brains and notebooks packed full, but our luggage had its bulges, too. I mean, how could anyone expect us to visit something like this and return without books? We arrived home laden with Challies’ The Next Story, an extra copy of Sproul’s The Holiness of God, Carl Trueman’s The Wages of Spin, two complimentary copies of Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life, and Lawson’s Foundations of Grace (along with its companion Pillars of Grace).

I’d like to thank you all for your prayers. My Dad and I were undeniably blessed and edified, our flights to and from Orlando were safe (if not always speedy), and my note taking went pretty well, if I do say so myself.

Finally, I urge you to buy the conference CDs and listen to them for yourself. You won’t regret it – they’re worth every penny. Trust me.