Saturday, September 09, 2006

How Can We Not Weep...

I have been doing some research this week on abortions in Canada as I prepare to preach tomorrow on the topic of how to respond to governing authorities that permit, endorse or promote that which God condemns. This in line with our series in Romans that finds us at chapter 13:1-7.

These statistics have put a cloud over my heart for the last 48 hours...

  • 1 in 4 pregnancies in Canada end in abortion.
  • 1 in 3 women ( 37.4%) undergoing abortion have already had one or more abortions. (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 1998)
  • 300 abortions occur each day in Canada.
  • 36.6% of abortions (39,037 babies) occur between 4 and 9 weeks when the baby's heart is beating, brain waves are detected and ultrasounds show them waving their arms and legs (at 7 to 9 weeks).*
  • 49.5% of abortions (52,795 babies) occur at 9 to 12 weeks when the child has fingerprints, urinates in utero, squints, swallows, wrinkles his or her forehead, sleeps, wakes and exercises.*
  • 9.6% of abortions (10,239 babies) occur at 13 to 16 weeks when the baby has fine hair on his or her head, is 8' to 10' long and can hear.*
  • 4.4% occur (4,692 babies) at 16 weeks to birth when the child can be startled by a sudden noise and can survive with proper care outside of the womb.*
Source. These numbers are all confirmed by my own research through StatsCan.

300 babies murdered per day.

25% of all pregnancies terminated in abortion.

Lord, forgive us.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Babel of Worship

One of the results of our increasingly connected age is the exposure we gain to other worship expressions of real Christians. One assumes that differences have always existed between, say, the manner in which Scots Presbyterians and colonial slave Baptists approached the Lord. For a very long time we knew those differences existed, but we were not forced to think too hard about them.

With the advent of mass communication and the internet in particular, we are now put in a place where we have to think through what everyone else is doing (and, more importantly, what WE are doing) in worship and ask if it is in line with Truth.

Lots of these conversations are off the mark from the start. A few work hard to stay Biblical. What I rarely hear much of, however, is the joy in the difference.

Adrian Warnock has been engaging some others in the essence of being a charismatic. It has been an interesting read, and although somewhat unrelated, I think the prod that got me thinking about this.

I wonder if too much of our discussion on worship forms (if we limit ourselves to just that for now) is trying to accomplish something the Bible does not command – a uniformity of practice that crosses all times and cultures? Not only do I think such a thing is not commanded, I think its pursuit flies in the face of the Scriptural emphasis which is always – Old and New Testament – on the heart.

You raise your hands. You kneel on a kneeler. You rarely pray out loud. You clap when you sing. You dress formally when gathering with other saints. Which of these is Biblically (and, in this sense, I mean “morally”) good or right? You could find Biblical precedent for each one, I think... but those actions were based more on the time and circumstance in which the worship was offered.

To try and boil Christian expressions of worship down to one set of rules is to try and build a tower to the glory of man, not God. Certainly there are actions and such that the Lord condemns as unfitting for His worship (animal sacrifice in the New Covenant comes to mind). There are also positive things that He commands we must do (like public reading of the Bible). But beyond these parameters, I say, rejoice in the difference – and stay away from high towers.

Faithful in Little

Stuart Olyott has a wonderful little commentary on Daniel entitled "Dare to Stand Alone" (in the Welwyn series published by Evangelical Press). I read the closing paragraphs of his comments on chapter one this morning and was freshly encouraged by his plain and direct manner of making the point. He writes:
"Many believers are yearning for higher positions where they can have more spiritual influence. Teachers long to be heads, juniors look forward to being managers, and union members hope to become shop stewards. ‘If only I were there,’ they say, ‘what influence I could have for the Lord!’

None of us can make a higher position count for God unless we live for Him now, where we are. If we are unwilling to stand up and be counted for Him over small things, how will we ever do so over bigger things? Is it possible to be faithful in much without first being faithful in little? If we cannot resist comparatively small temptations, what will we do when they are intensified?"

The four young Jews in Babylonian captivity did not compromise over what many would have thought was not that big a deal - eating food sacrificed to idols. There are all kinds of ways to justify that action, aren't there? But these (probably) 14 year olds held fast to God.

You are ripped away from family, your name is changed to honour a pagan deity, you are being schooled daily in a new language and culture and you are 14. As in Grade 9. Freshman. And you hold fast to God.

No wonder the Lord could trust these 4 with much!

[Endnote: I would commend to you anything Olyott has written. He is a choice servant of our Lord with a real knack for making the truth of the Word hit home. He has a great commentary in this Welwyn series on Romans (even though I disagree on his view of Israel in 9-11!) and many recorded sermons and such. I met him once at an ARBCA (then RBMS) Assembly and he was powerfully used of the Lord to give me some much-needed wisdom. Maybe I will blog about that one day...]

Thursday, September 07, 2006

'Goat-free roads made me speed'


A Swiss man told police it was not his fault he was speeding in Canada... since we did not have strolling goat speed bumps to slow him down.

If ever there was a fine illustration of man's propensity to shift the blame for his sin... this was it!

"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment."

Why Pray if it is All Predestined?

Here is Charles Spurgeon's able answer to such a difficult question:

"Another objection has been raised that is very ancient indeed, and it has a great appearance of force. It is raised not so much by skeptics as by those who hold a part of the truth. It is this: prayer can certainly produce no results because the decrees of God have settled everything and those decrees are immutable. Now, we have no desire to deny the assertion that the decrees of God have settled all events. Certainly, it is our full belief that God has foreknown and predestinated everything that happens in heaven above or in the earth beneath. I fully believe that the foreknown station of a reed by the river is as fixed as the station of a king, and the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered as the stars in their courses. Predestination embraces the great and the little; it reaches to all things. The question is, why pray? Might it not as logically be asked, Why breathe, eat, move, or do anything? We have an answer that satisfies us; namely, our prayers are in the predestination, and God has as much ordained His people’s prayers as anything else. So, when we pray, we are producing links in the chain of ordained facts. Destiny decrees that I should pray—I pray. Destiny decrees that I will be answered—the answer comes to me.

But we have a better answer than all this. Our Lord Jesus Christ comes forward, and He says to us, “My dear children, the decrees of God need not trouble you; there is nothing in them inconsistent with your prayers being heard. ‘I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you.’

Now, who is the One who that says this? Why, it is He who has been with the Father from the beginning: “The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:2). He knows what the purposes of the Father are and what the heart of the Father is, for He has told us in another place, “The Father himself loveth you” (John 16:27). Now, since He knows the decrees of the Father and the heart of the Father, He can tell us with the absolute certainty of an eyewitness that there is nothing in the eternal purposes in conflict with this truth, that he who asks receives and he who seeks finds. He has read the decrees from beginning to end. Has He not taken the book, loosed the seven seals thereof (Rev. 5:5), and declared the ordinances of heaven? He tells you there is nothing there inconsistent with your bended knee and streaming eye and with the Father’s opening the windows of heaven to shower upon you the blessings that you seek.

Moreover, the One who promises to answer prayer is God Himself. The purposes of heaven are His own purposes. He who ordained the purpose here gives the assurance that there is nothing in it to prevent the efficacy of prayer. “I say unto you.” You who believe in Him, your doubts are scattered to the winds; you know that He hears prayer."

-Charles Spurgeon, The Power in Prayer

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Don't Feed the Animals

If you are like me you use some nifty RSS reader to watch your favourite blogs. I have about 40 or so that I peruse (only 18 daily) and the reader lets me know when a new post has appeared (saves all that time clicking around to view different sites and see if anything new is there).
I have been using Wizz Reader 2.1.5 for a while now and it works mostly great - although I have had some stalls since the last upgrade. It is a free extension for Firefox and can sit as a sidebar by your open browser window.
Unfortunately, blogger seems to have some issues with their feeds. I am forever losing Justin's site, and the Pyro's have dumped off a few times. This week, my RSS feed seems to have tanked and the only way I could watch my own site was by switching over to an Atom 2.0 feed.
I really don't know what any of this means other than it might get me blogspotted by my old pastor's editor if he is really hard up for links. Maybe the said editor could explain to me what it is that is happening?!
Anyway, if you are a regular to this site who uses a Reader, you will have thought I stopped posting a while ago. But I am here and I am posting.... it's just that you don't know it. Which in many ways makes this like I am talking about you behind your back.
And check your feeds...

A Few Thoughts on Friendship

Christian Thought: A Few Thoughts on Friendship

Julian quotes from an excellent paper he wrote on Friendship in light of Augustine's writings. The kid can write and I would urge you to read the whole thing. You can follow the link above to his small blog quote, then scroll down to get to the link to the entire paper. It is well worth the read and a great encouragement to find delight in God by pointing others to Him!

Don't Trust a Theory You Cannot Sing

Don't Trust a Theory You Cannot Sing:

Mohler's post on evolutionary psychology's attempt to explain music is excellent. Read the whole thing which concludes with:

"The Christian believes that God created music as a gift to His creatures, and as a means for us to offer true worship. The evolutionist's argument for the meaning of music is as sterile as their argument for the meaning of life. No wonder there are no great evolutionary hymns. Don't trust a theory you cannot sing."