Friday, July 21, 2006

Capping Off a Great Birthday... Newfie Style!

So I mentioned to my pal Hill the other day that the only thing I am concerned about when it comes to Cleezer is the winter... I don't want to shovel snow out of her bed... so a cap would be nice.

He calls me the next week with the news that two caps are sitting in somebody's trash just around the corner from him. He paid $400 for a used one so I jump in the Cleeze and off we go. As I am standing there hemming and hawing which one to grab, a guy in a Volvo slows down and stares.

"Am I in your driveway?"

"Nope. You gonna take a cap?"

"Yeah, you want one too?"

"Nope. Which one are you going to take?"

"I don't know"

"Take that one." He points and gets out of the Volvo, helps me lift it on top, ties it down for me, compliments the Cleeze on her fine shape, then says, "I'm from Newfoundland. We're helpful." And off he goes! And he was, too!

Here she is - ready for the winter and causing my bride to wonder where it will go until then!!!!

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Christian Retailers Put Their Print on Products - Los Angeles Times

Christian Retailers Put Their Print on Products - Los Angeles Times:

"Gospel Golf Balls are touted as 'a great golf ball with a greater purpose.' Manufactured by Top-Flite, the golf balls are printed with well-known verses from the Bible, such as John 3:16 ('For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…. '). Dave Kruse, president of Revelation, said they were meant as 'conversation starters,' to help men share their faith while teeing up.

An added bonus: Duffers need no longer feel bad about losing a ball in the rough. 'If you're playing great, good,' Kruse said. 'If you're spraying the ball, well … lose a golf ball, share the gospel.'"

And to think this convention used to be called the Christian Booksellers Convention!

Things I Learned While at Capitol Hill Baptist Church

Pure Church: Things I Learned While at Capitol Hill Baptist Church: Thabiti Anyabwile writes a very moving post describing his years on staff at CHBC (of whom Mark Dever is Senior Pastor). There are many excellent lessons here for every pastor and church member!

Canada Supports Illiteracy

Son of Man: Canada Supports Illiteracy

My buddy Josh, who is ministering the Gospel to "at risk" youth in our neighbourhood this summer, has a pithy post on the greatest danger of raising a generation that cannot read.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

DAC ATTACK - D. A. Carson at Knox Presbyterian (Toronto)

Every summer we cancel our Wednesday evening programs on the day D. A. Carson comes to Toronto to preach at the Knox Summer Fellowship. The reason we cancel is so that we can all head down and sit under his ministry.
It was a lovely night in T.O. last night, so Mrs. Martin and I jetted down and parked nearby to the grand old Knox. Roger Bergs was making the pipe organ sound lovely as we entered (like he always does!) and there was hardly a seat to be found... sort of. For some reason they had one side roped off... so we hustled down the other side to get as close to the front as possible. Most of our GFC folks were in the first 4 rows - keaners.
We sang 4 hymns, the most profound of which (in my mind) was based on Psalm 103 and written by Mollie Knight (no date given). It was entitled, "Praise the Lord, My Soul is Singing" and it the text did a lovely job of capturing the Psalm. It was sung to HYRFRYDOL for those interested.
D. A. took on the task of preaching the 4 prayers of Moses from Exodus 32-34. This was the fastest Carson sermon I have ever heard - some said it went for an hour - but it could have gone for another 2 hours in my mind - creaky, wood pew nonetheless!
Looking at the first prayer, DAC posed the question, "Does prayer change things?" As always, his explanation was splendid. The problem with the question, he stated, "is that the Christian is introduced as an independent agent" and there is no acknowledgement of the fact that God is inducing him to pray.
DAC listed several Biblical examples to flesh this out... Samuel being told to no longer pray for Saul... the 1 John 5 command to stop praying for certain sinners... the search of God in Ezekiel 22 for a man "to stand in the gap" (which DAC said most certainly refers to intercessory prayer)...
All of these, he deduced, teach that God is "utterly sovereign" and yet "interactive and personable along the lines of of His own covenental purposes." [Note: Just coming up with a sentence like that would probably take me... like... three days.]
As DAC progressed through the next three prayers, he showed how true prayer identifies with people in love and prays for what is most needed: in Israel's case, forgiveness!
He also demonstrated how Moses' greatest need is ours: knowing God better.

Of course, the real fun part of the night was when he tied the whole message together. He urged us to notice 5 themes in the Exodus passage:
1. Tabernacle
2. The glory and goodness of God
3. HSD - powerful, loving covenant-keeping faithfulness of God
4. The giving of the Law
5. God's words to Moses that no one could see Him and live.

Then he went to John 1 and showed how our glorious Lord Jesus is the fulfillment of all these things:
1. The Word "tabernacled among us"
2. We have seen His glory
3. He is full of grace and truth (especially as "truth" relates to "reliability")
4. The Law was given through Moses
5. Jesus has seen the Father and explains Him

O, that was good!

As always, the preaching was followed by a Q. and A. that more showcased DAC's patience than anything else. But I have never sat under DAC's ministry and left empty. I am so glad that the Lord has put it in his heart to use his giftedness for good in the Kingdom!

We grabbed a couple of TTC'ers and headed for drop offs and home. It was a great night.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Driscoll - Love Hopes All Things

Mark Driscoll is an interesting fellow.

I have been watching him via the web over the last few months and find myself quite encouraged by what I have seen.

Some history: Back in March, I published a research paper I had written on The Emerging Church (on this blog). What I found in my reading and study was that Driscoll embodied much of the emergent zeitgeist, but was also doing his best not to embrace the relativism, universalism and despair of "the conversation."

Since the writing of that paper, Driscoll has repeatedly distanced himself from emergent/US - Brian MacLaren in particular - as well as been "endorsed" by John Piper (through an invitation to be one speaker out of six at Piper's DG Pomo Conference). I have watched most of the "trailers" for this conference and it is clear that Driscoll is working hard to not be lumped in with the emergent movement.

The latest development happened today (I think it was today - I can't find a date stamp on his blog posts) when Driscoll published Chuck Smith, Sr.'s letter to Calvary Chapel pastors that warns them of the dangers associated with emergent - a letter I linked to back on May 23/06.

Why all this information?

Driscoll has been labelled a lot of things in his short ministry, not the least of which is "the cussing pastor." I made reference to the foolishness of a pastor cussing in a recent sermon for you GFC folks, although I did not mention Driscoll by name.

I am not sure you will ever find anyone you agree with about everything - in fact, I am not sure that such a goal is even a good thing! But, when you find people you agree with about a lot of things, I think you ought to do all you can to put into action the command of love that says, "Be of the same mind toward one another." In other words, do all you can to "agree in the Lord."

From what I can observe, the Lord is doing some great things through Driscoll in Seattle. I know I would not do everything the same way Mark does it, but it is clear he understands the gospel, preaches the gospel and is intentional in trying to live the gospel. At least, that is what it looks like over the web from here in Toronto.

So, I think it beneficial for many reasons to have a love that hopes all things. I never want to think of Driscoll as some kind of token, rescued-from-emergent trophy. But I think we ought to give the brother plenty of room to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Our Saviour and to correct over time what might have been some immature excess. That may sound condescending to some degree, but I am not sure how else to state that I want Driscoll preaching Christ in Seattle, to the glory of God. May God richly bless his ministry!

[Update: Roger Oakland touches on this same letter of Chuck Smith, Sr. and gives further explanation on the whole growing division with Calvary Chapels. HT: Challeez]