Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The A - Z Challenge!

In the March 27, 2010 post from Lee over at Tossing it Out, he issued this "double dog dare you" challenge:

"In April I've decided to do a Blogging from A to Z theme and I'm inviting any of you who think you have what it takes to join me. In other words, I challenge you to join me--I double dog dare you! The challenge would entail that each day participating bloggers post at least 100 words based on the letter of that day, starting with "A" on April 1 and ending with "Z" on April 30. Does that sound too difficult for you?"

Now, most of you know that I am not the kind of guy that if everyone was jumping off the I-5 bridge at Lexington Avenue I would jump also. I haven’t succumbed to a double dog dare challenge since high school. Having said that I find his challenge interesting, intriguing, inspiring, and irresistible; therefore I accept! (Gulp!!)

So, beginning Tuesday, April 1st, I am going to begin this double dog dare challenge with a post that begins or is related to the letter “A.” I hope to remain informative, inspiring, and encouraging to my readers and followers during this month.

Please share the Gospel Driven Disciples with those whom you know and maybe they can join in this great experiment. You can also find a fan page on Face book now for the Gospel Driven Disciples, stop by there and click on becoming a fan. I hope that you will drop by Tossing it Out and see how he is doing with his blogging from A to Z theme!

Let the games begin!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Missing Link: No happiness apart from God!

This Week's Quality Quote:

"God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.
There is no such thing. "

--C. S. Lewis

Monday, March 29, 2010

Another Award for Gospel Driven Disciples!

Lee over at "Tossing it Out" has given me The Beautiful Blogger Award. Thank you Lee. I don't know what to say since I am such an amatuer. According to the rules I need to link to the person who nominated me for this award (done), share seven interesting things about myself, and nominate seven other beautiful bloggers.

So, here goes, seven things about myself that you don't know. Hopefully, you will find them interesting and we can interact on any one or all seven of them.

1. I graduated from Shasta Bible College in Redding, CA

2. I intended on planting or starting a church in Longview, WA

3. I bought my first drum set with my paper route money at age 11 and learned to play drums by putting George Jones, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and Buck Owens on the record player.

4. I co-won a national song-writers contest in 1999 sponsored by Jerry Hanlon and UAR Records with a song I co-wrote called "Haggard and Jones."

5. I have owned two Shelties, one named Lassie and one named Luke. My cat is named Theophilus which was the Roman official who became a believer and Luke felt bound to confirm in the faith by writing both the Gospel of Luke and the Historical narrative called Acts.

6. My favorite gospel is the Gospel of Luke

7. My favorite in door “sport” is reading


Now the hard part! How do you chose seven fellow bloggers out of all those who have been a blessing to me! So, I have decided to nominate and award the following seven bloggers with The Beautiful Blog Award.

1.  Pilgrim Mommy at Tried by Fire - she is a beautiful blogger, always positive and moving foward in faith.

2.  Kim from the Upperward Call - she is a careful and thoughtful writer that always leaves me thinking.

3.  Whitestone from Wanna Walk Along? - she is an amazing woman in a tremendous battle with cancer, yet is positive, interesting, and I enjoy reading her posts.

4.  Ian at Life on Acreage - great homespun writing from a true gentleman

5.  Bob over at Paradox Principles - he writes great informative posts that make me think

6.  Dan at Biblical Christianity - his posts are wild, make me laugh, think, and say hmmmm.

7. John at While We Sojourn - his blog is always informative, interesting, and always inspiring

In the words of Lee at Tossing it Out; I quote: "Hope everyone will drop by and give these bloggers a word of encouragement. And you award winners: relish it, display it proudly if you want to, and pass it on to some others if you want to take the time to recognize bloggers whom you appreciate."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Trusting in a Decision or Fruit of the Holy Spirit?

The Sunday Sound-Bite...

Gospel Driven Disciples introduces a new component: The Sunday Sound-Bite.

These "selections" will be from various men of God commenting on various topics with the goal of provoking a deeper appreciation of our Lord Jesus Christ and to facilitate obedience to the admonition given in II Peter 3:18 – “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Savior Jesus Christ.”

This selection is from the Alistair Begg, pastor of Parkside Church, Cleveland, OH. Alistair is challenging God's peope to be able to tell the difference between trusting in a decision and looking for the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Nature of True Virtue

“The Nature of
True Virtue"

Your Weekly
Exposure to Edwards

Gospel Driven Disciples posts some highlights from the prolific works of Jonathan Edwards. The following excerpt is taken from “A Dissertation on the Nature of True Virtue” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards.

“But now abideth…love.” (I Corinthians 13:13)

Whatever controversies and variety of opinions there are about the nature of virtue, yet all mean by it something beautiful, or rather some kind of beauty or excellency.

It is not all beauty that is called virtue; for instance, not the beauty of a building, but some beauty belonging to beings that have perception and will.

It is not all beauty of mankind that is called virtue; for instance, not the external beauty of the countenance – but it is a beauty that has its original seat in the mind. Yet, perhaps not everything that may be called a beauty of mind is properly called virtue. There is a beauty of understanding and speculation.

But virtue is the beauty of those qualities and acts of the mind that are of a moral nature, i.e., such as are attended with desert or worthiness of praise or blame. Things of this sort belong to the disposition and will, or the heart.

Therefore, I shall not depart from the common opinion when I say that virtue is the beauty of the qualities and exercises of the heart, or those actions which proceed from them. So then when it is inquired what it is which renders any habit, disposition, or exercise of the heart truly beautiful, what I mean by true virtue is that which belongs to the heart of any intelligent being.

It is plain by the Holy Scriptures that virtue most essentially consists in love.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Fountain of all Goodness

But although our mind cannot conceive of God, without rendering some worship to him, it will not however, be sufficient simply to hold that he is the only being whom all ought to worship and adore, unless we are also persuaded that he is the fountain of all goodness, and that we must seek everything in him and in none but him.”

(John Calvin)

It is only by God’s grace and the working of His Holy Spirit, that we are brought to an awareness that God is not only our maker but that he also supports us by His power, rules us by His providence, cares for us by His goodness, and gives to us all kinds of blessings.

We are gently and sweetly persuaded that we are to expect everything from Him and Him alone. We must be brought to a point where we ask everything from God. Then we not only have reason to give joyful thanksgiving, but we are eager to give to God the glory that is rightfully His.

It is this knowledge that a real life of faith in Christ and that a beneficial knowledge of God springs up! This is what teaches us to live a life of faith and holiness to the glory of God.

What is it? The knowledge that God, and God alone, becomes the very fountain and source of every good thing in our lives. It is the knowledge that we can trust Him as the supply for everything and every need that we will ever experience.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Finding The God of the Bible

A right concept of God is not only basic to sound theology, it is also basic to everyday practical living. We will only move in the direction of our mental image or understanding of God. One of the greatest issues that we face on a consistent basis is what we think God to be deep in our hearts.

Our concept of God and all that He is shapes what we think God is and what God does. Even our worship of God is shaped by these concepts. These concepts will determine whether our worship is theo-centric or ego-centric.

John Calvin wrote, "True and sound wisdom consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves." He also wrote, "It is necessary always to begin with this principle - to know the God whom we worship."

Rabbi Jack Bemporad once wrote, "Men believe in the kind of God they wish to believe in and reject the kind of God they dislike."

We would certainly not look to Rabbi Bemporad for any sound biblical theology or praxology, but we can certainly see the validity of his point and find it useful. The error of his thinking lies in the fact that he seems to think that we need to adjust our theology to our desires rather than recognizing that we must adjust our theology to who God really is. If we don't we become idolaters.

The end product of devising a God of our own imagination is very serious. When we devise a God of our own imagination, liking, desires, or even understanding we are creating a false god. This false god is an idol. We become idolaters. The truth of the matter is that in this post-modern world much of evangelicalism has imagined a God to fit shallow theology or praxology.

The danger we face today is becoming guilty of what Christ charged the Samaritans with when he talked with the woman at the well. Jesus said, "You worship what you do not know..."

God has revealed much about Himself in His Word. Let's go back to the bible so that we can worship, serve, and fellowship with the God of the bible that enriches our soul and magnifies His glorious character!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thinking Right Thoughts About God

Exodus 15:11 says, “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” (ESV) II Samuel 7:22 says, “Therefore you are great, O LORD God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”

More than a generation ago, A. W. Tozer wrote;

 What comes into our minds when we think
 about God  is the most important thing about us.”

If that statement were true and worthy of consideration in Tozer’s time, it is more than true today and even more worthy of consideration today. What people think of and about God has undeniable and consequential ramifications. People live out their various thoughts, philosophies and opinions about God in their everyday life. Knowing and understanding God therefore is not to be relegated merely to theological or theoretical musings. The knowledge of God and the understanding of God is very practical to every area of our lives.

It is of great importance what you conceive God to be in your heart. Tozer also wrote:

A god begotten in the shadows of a fallen heart will
 quite naturally be no true likeness of the true God.”

Psalms 50:21 says in part, “…you thought that I {Or that the I AM} was one like yourself.” (ESV) We have the tendency due to our fallen nature to conceive of a god in our own heart that we can, both love and feel comfortable with.

This must grieve our God tremendously. He alone is unique in every area of His being. He alone is the sole epitome of majesty, splendor, glory, and beauty. He is the very essence of holiness, exercising every aspect of this character and nature in perfect holiness. Yet, we so easily degrade and belittle Him with our humanistic imaginations of what we want Him to be to us or for us.

It is imperative for the honor and sake of God that we develop right thinking about Him. He is worthy of right thoughts. We are in desperate need of right thoughts so that we might honor Him, serve Him, enjoy Him, and share Him with those who yet have been instructed in the ways of thinking right thoughts about God.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Faith according to Luther

Today's Quality Quote

Martin Luther

(10 November 1483 –
18 February 1546)

Pastor, Theologian, Reformer

"Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times."

Monday, March 22, 2010

God's Sovereitnty: In the Moment and Means of Our Death

There is no doubt that the Bible gives us full evidence that God is Sovereign. The Bible clearly teaches that God is King, that God is Supreme, and that He is a ruler of the entire universe.

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.” (Psalms 103:19, ESV- emphasis mine)

“…having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will…” (Ephesians 1:11, ESV, emphasis mine)

It is not the purpose of this post to teach or prove the sovereignty of God. We may attempt to do that at another time in another post. Suffice it to say, that for the basis or foundational cornerstone of this blog, God is absolutely sovereign. By the way, I am not implying in any manner or fashion the idea of “fatalism.” The sovereignty of God and fatalism are not to be thought of as being the same.

Natural men, men who are void of the indwelling Holy Spirit, men who are in their “natural state” hate the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God. They demonstrate their hatred primarily by the very way they live their lives, “independent of God.” On occasion some men will voice their hatred of God’s absolute sovereignty of every area of their life. Men like to think that they are free agents and are the ones calling the shots.

Among the many areas of our life that God is absolutely sovereign over is our birth and our death. This is not to say that God is not sovereign over the span between our birth and death, but this post is dealing with a most unusual example of God’s sovereignty over death. God has ordained both the moment and the means of our death. It is already scripted and has been since eternity past. It cannot be changed. The good and glorious news is that in most cases God never reveals to us the moment or the means of our death.

Some folks are aware of the means of their death. I realize that countless others are aware of the means of their death by such things as aids, leukemia, various cancers, and other terrible diseases. Sometimes these very folks are privy to an approximation of the time of their death. Most of us are blissfully in the dark.

Unfortunately, not only are we blissfully in the dark, many times we feel we are invincible. We think, live, and act as if we are going to live forever, or at least until 100. However, the Bible tells us very clearly, “making the best use of the time, because the days are evil,” (Ephesian 5:15, ESV) and “walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.” Colossians 4:5, ESV)

I said all of that in order to say this: Robert Gary Jones on Monday arrived at his sovereign moment and means of death. He was jogging on a South Carolina beach when an airplane making a crash landing struck him from behind killing him. It seems to be so incredulous that it could not conceivably have happened. Yet it did.

God is not a cruel nor capricious God who acts on whims and impulses motivated by cruelty. His sovereignty is mediated through love, compassion, mercy, justice, holiness, wisdom, and many other attributes. Why the  various means and moments of a person’s death are determined by God is not for us to know. To accuse God of being capricious or cruel is absolute blasphemy.

I have often wondered speculatively what means has God ordained for my death? I am really not afraid of death at all since I know Christ as my Savior and more importantly that Christ knows me. I will admit I don’t like the process at all. I think the Irish had it right when someone once said, “If I knew where I was going to die, I would never go near the place.”

To be struck by an airplane while jogging on the beach is beyond my imagination. However, God owes Robert Gary Jones nothing. God owes no man – no explanation, no specific amount of time in this life, and no consideration of any kind. God did no injustice by Robert Gary Jones being struck by an airplane at only 38 years old.

I grieve with his family and I am sorry for their loss. Death is never an easy thing. His death will be an incalculable loss to all who know him and love him. Even knowing the Sovereign prerogative of God in this area doesn’t make it easy for anyone.

So, what is the lesson in this post and in this seemingly untimely and senses death of Robert Gary Jones? Hebrews makes it clear, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” God has never promised any living being a specific amount of time to live in this life. Some are ordained an hour of life, others a week, some ten years, some twenty three years, some thirty eight years and some one hundred years. We must live each day as if it is all that we have. We must be wise with the life that we have been given and we must realize that just like Robert Gary Jones, we too will die. God has ordained the moment and the means of my death and yours. Am I ready? Are you ready?

Let me leave you with one of the greatest view points on a man’s confidence about God’s sovereign determination of the moment and means of his death that I have ever come across. This comes from General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.

“Jackson's most famous attribute was his unflinching bravery, which won him the nickname of "Stonewall" at the Battle of Manassas (aka First Bull Run.) A devout Presbyterian, Jackson believed that the time of his death had already been determined, thus no space on the battlefield was any safer than the next."

He said, "My religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to always be ready, no matter when it may overtake me."

What do your religious beliefs teach you?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Do We Understand What It Means To Accept Christ?

The Sunday Sound-Bite...

Gospel Driven Disciples introduces a new component: The Sunday Sound-Bite. These "selections" will be from various men of God commenting on various topics with the goal of provoking a deeper appreciation of our Lord Jesus Christ and to facilitate obedience to the admonition given in II Peter 3:18 – “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Savior Jesus Christ.”

This  selection is from the John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, MN. John is challenging God's to recognize the problem with Christians in Evangelicalism.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Don't be a Fool to a God Whose True!

"Man’s Natural Blindness in the Things of Religion"

Your Weekly Exposure to Edwards

Gospel Driven Disciples posts some highlights from the prolific works of Jonathan Edwards. The following excerpt is taken from “Men’s Natural Blindness in Religion”, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards.

“Understand, ye brutish among the people; and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall, shall He not hear? He that formed the eye, shall He not see? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not He correct? He that teacheth man knowledge, shall he not know? The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity” (Psalms 94:8-11)

This blindness is not a merely negative ignorance. There is no fault to be found with man’s natural faculties. There is a principle in the heart that hinders the exercises of his faculties about the things of religion. God will make all men know the truth of those things which He speaks of in His Word. God will make them know that He is the Lord. And He will make them know that He bears rule. (Psalms 59:13)

What great care we all need to have so that we are not deceived in matters of religion. Let us, therefore, be warned to take heed that we are not deceived about our duty, our hearts, our ways, our state, or our opportunities. How foolish a thing it is for men to lean on their own understanding and trust their own hearts. They are fools who trust their own wisdom, and will not trust the infinite wisdom of God. Let us therefore become fools and be sensible of our own natural blindness and folly. Seeing your own ignorance and blindness is the first step towards having true knowledge. Let us ask wisdom of God. We have nowhere else to go for it but to the Fountain of light and wisdom. True wisdom is a precious jewel, and none of our fellow creatures can give it to us, nor can we buy it with any price we have to give. It is the sovereign gift of God.

Friday, March 19, 2010

How Do I Fulfill My Responsibilites?

The Scriptures are replete with various instructions given as commands that we as believers are to comply with. As we read these instructions or commands it is evident that we are expected to comply with or obey them.

At some point we have a tendency to develop a resistance to these commands. It seems that a little “mutiny” develops in our minds and our souls as we try to keep these instructions. I think there are at least three factors that lead to this frustration:

• We view the bible as a rule book or merely as a guide to living rather than see it as a revelation of a relationship with God

• We fail to see that these commands are normally given after a foundational discourse on why we should be obedient and the wherewithal that we have been given by God so that we can obey or keep these instructions

For example; we know that Paul spends 8 full chapters developing a foundation for his all consuming command in chapter 12 and verse one – “…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God…”

If you fail to fully comprehend all that has been said, all that has been done on our behalf, and all that God has given us in the first eight chapters, this command will not only be insensible, but it will be impossible to obey.

That is why the “therefore” is there. Since you have all of this and all of this has been done for you; now do this. Paul appeals to our obedience because he knows it is possible to obey. Why? God has given us everything we need in order to obey Him.

In Ephesians chapter four, Paul gives the command “…to walk worthy of the calling to which you have been called…” Look at how he begins verse one, “I therefore…” Paul’s appeal and command stems from all that we have as our possession detailed in chapters one through three.

Don’t get scripture out of order. Paul in particular always gives the Doctrine prior to our Duty, the Edification before the Expectation.

• We fail to see a realistic plan or means to be obedient to the commands or instructions we are given, so we “persevere” in our own “energy”

In my devotional reading I came across recently Paul’s prayer for the Philippians to express or exercise their love for one another in a greater manner. “It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more.” (Philippians 1:9)

In addition to this apostolic prayer, I have committed 2010 to Holiness. This year the emphasis in my life is to discover, develop, and depict God’s holiness in my life. After all God said, “Be ye holy, as I am holy.” Peter gave the command “Because He is holy, I am to be holy in my everyday lifestyle.”

The question then is; since these things are only possible through the Holy Spirit, what can I do to fulfill my responsibility? In other words if I want to change my behavior, grow in any area, such as __________ (you fill in the blank) how do I do this?

Let me give you four means of fulfilling your responsibility:

1) In order to grow in ___________ (love, holiness, faith, etc.) saturate your mind and soul with Scriptures that describe ____________ (love, holiness, faith) and depict its importance. Study them, meditate on them and feed on them.

2) Pray for the Holy Spirit to apply His Word (that you have hidden in your heart) to your heart and daily lives. It is true, it is not an urban myth; God has given you everything you need to live godly in Christ Jesus. He hasn’t withheld one thing.

3) Confess the areas and instances that you have failed in and maybe failing in as you read this in ____________ (love, holiness, faith, etc.)

4) Obey. Simply do what ___________ (love, holiness, faith, etc.) dictates.

We have a tendency to make our Christian experience more difficult than it is. We allow ourselves to get bogged down in defeat, discouragement, and despair because we fail to see that the Bible is not merely a rule book of do’s and don’ts, but it is a loving relationship with God our Father and all that He has given to us in order to grow, be faithful, and obedient.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My First Blogging Award - Sweet Friends

Yesterday I received my first blogging award from a new friend and follower Cill, ILovePink1078. She lives in Cebu City, Philippines.

Visit her site at It seems that I am to list 10 things that make me happy. Since I am a bit older now and much more simpler than I use to be that shouldn't be too hard to do. So here goes:

1. Seeing God's name and character exalted above the heavens and the earth.

2. My wonderful, thoughtful, and gorgeous wife of 37 years, Irene

3. My four girls, my three son-in-laws, & my four grandchildren

4. Teaching, witnessing and discipling opportunities in the body of Christ

5. Selecting, buying, receiving and reading a good theological book

6. A good, hard core traditional George Jones country song

7. Surprise drop in visits from my friends & family

8. The Bills paid on time, food in the cupboards, and gas in the car

9. A thunderstorm with rain, lightening, and thunder rolling across the sky

10. A good, rich, and full bodied glass of Merlot

I am also to nominate ten of my "special friends" and pass this award along. The problem with this is how to you pick 10 friends out of all the wonderful friends God has allowed me to make since I began this "blogging thing?" It is impossible and I don't want to leave anyone out, so I give it to these 10 but I also give this award to everyone who I have become friends with:

Eddie Eddings - Calvinistic Cartoons - He helped put my blog on a tiny piece of the map. He is a comedic genious and a godly man who has been a blessing to me. Thanks, man!

John Bird - While We Sojourn - He has become a good, trustworthy friend who frequently encourages me. I respect his opinion and input.

Pyromaniacs - they never cease to bless me, encourage me, and make me laugh

Ron - The Old Geezer Blog - Ron helped me gain a few more followers and has become a great friend in Christ who encourages me and causes me to think critically. Thank you Ron!

Not Perfect - Only Forgiven - she has a great site and always leaves nice comments on my site

Mike - Christian Cognition - is becoming a good friend, I enjoy his insight, and he places his life and future on the line everyday as he "Serves and Protects" the citizens of his community.

James - At Beneath The Cross - His insight is beyond words. I am always challenged to think critically and biblically when I read his posts.

Lisa - Bombastic Bandicoot - I don't know what that means, but I enjoy her posts and pictures. She alwasys leaves nice, encouraging comments when she stops by my site. Thank you!

Pilgrim Mommy - Tried With Fire - she is a blessing to me as she weathers a challenging trial and continues to grow in our Lord Jesus Christ. I love her posts. Her grace and growth has both challenged me and blessed me!

Brian Ray Todd - Brian Todd Blog - Brian is a new friend, but I enjoy his posts and he has great comments for mine when he stops by.

There you have it; 10 things I like and the nomination of 10 friends to receive this award. Now each of you get to post 10 things you like and nominate 10 other peope. Hope to see these posts soon!

Please link the picture you paste on your site to

Thank you all for being such kind, generous, thoughtful, and encouraging friends!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Am Wearing White Today!

Happy March 17th! No, I did not say Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Most of you will be joining in the various types of celebrations or means of commemorating this annual “holiday.” The most visible means of lending support or expressing solidarity with this holiday is “the wearing of the green.”

Of course that is followed by green hair, green beer, green water fountains, and green shamrocks. Most folks, who think about today, will get up and browse through their closets looking for something green to wear; from underwear to outerwear. The funny thing to me is that most folks don’t know what they are “conveying” by the wearing of the Green.”

As I get up this morning, among the many things tasks of the day, I will do two things. First, I will rummage around my closet looking for something white to wear today. Secondly, I will call my youngest daughter Stacy and wish her happy 28th birthday!

Now, you ask, why will you wear white? And What does the wearing of the green mean? Glad you asked, let me fill you in.

Since 1691 Ireland had been ruled by Protestant forces of the British Empire. Ireland had tried to put off this rule for years. Ireland was Catholic in faith and resented the protestant rule of England.

In 1798 the “Irish Rebellion” broke out in an attempt to win Catholic freedom. The wearing of a green shamrock in one’s hat was a sign of support or solidarity with the Catholic forces (Society of United Irishman) trying to overthrow the Protestant rule.

Unfortunately, the protestant regime of Britain responded with horrible tactics of murder, torture, wrongful imprisonment. I deplore the tactics of my “so-called Protestant” predecessors" and in no way support either their British rule over Ireland or forced imposition of Protestantism while suppressing Catholic freedom.

By the way, the wearing of green and the shamrock in the hat was a hanging offense. This was a very painful time during Ireland’s history. That is why if one is found not wearing “green” they are pinched. This way they can feel the pain of this oppression.

Where does the white come in? Orange is symbolic of Irish Protestants while green is symbolic of Irish Catholics. On the Irish flag, there is an orange stripe, a green stripe and a white stripe. The orange is for the Protestants, the green is for the Catholics and the white is for the hope of peace between the two.

The orange on the Irish flag stands for the Protestants widely known as Orangemen in Ulster after William of Orange. They dress in Orange for the day if they celebrate it.

Since, I am not catholic nor do I sympathize in any way with catholic dogma (theology) I choose not to wear green. However, as a “protestant” (I am really a baptistic non-denominationalist rather than “protestant”) I do not condone as I have said the behavior of the “Orangeman.”

The last few years, however, after learning the distinction and purpose of the colors green and orange, I took to wearing orange. I loved it when people who had no clue as to why everyone was suppose to wear “green” asked me why I was wearing orange.

However, this year, I realized something as I visited this subject again, I had forgotten about the third color on the Irish flag, white. I am going to wear white today to symbolize my solidarity and support for peace in this still war torn country.

I have no plans to dye my hair green or orange. Nor do I think I will put green or orange food coloring in my Merlot tonight. Regardless of what color my daughter wears today, I still am going to call her and tell here happy birthday and how much I love her.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pastoral Turnover

Ron over at the Old Geezer blog site asked me an interesting question. He asked me, “What were my thoughts on pastoral turnover”. With only 25 years of ministry, 10 years as a Senior or Teaching Pastor, BA from Bible College, and limited Seminary, 15 years to “simmer” on a backburner while reading, listening, and meditating, and oh yes, the Bible, here are my thoughts on pastoral turnover:

Monday, March 15, 2010

What color makes you rejoice?

"There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice."

--John Calvin

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Well...I Don't Know...

The Sunday Sound-Bite...
Gospel Driven Disciples introduces a new component: The Sunday Sound-Bite. These "selections" will be from various men of God commenting on various topics with the goal of provoking a deeper appreciation of our Lord Jesus Christ and to facilitate obedience to the admonition given in II Peter 3:18 – “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Savior Jesus Christ.”

This fourth selection is from the 2009 Shepherd's Confeence. The speaker is Pastor Steve Lawson of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church, Mobile, challenging God's people to know the truth.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

How Wonderful Was The Love...

"Men Naturally God’s Enemies"

Your Weekly Exposure to Edwards

Gospel Driven Disciples posts some highlights from the prolific works of Jonathan Edwards. The following excerpt is taken from “Men Naturally God’s Enemies”, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son…” (Romans 5:10)

The apostle, from the beginning of the epistle to the beginning of this chapter, has insisted on the doctrine of justification alone. Christ dying for us is here spoken of as a much greater thing than actually bestowing life on two accounts: (1) This is all that has any difficulty in it; (2) when God did this for us, He did it for us as sinners and enemies.

In actually bestowing salvation on us after we are justified, we are not looked upon as sinners, but as perfectly righteous persons. He beholds no iniquity in us. We are no longer enemies, for then we are reconciled. When God gave Christ to die for the elect, He looked on them as they are in themselves; but in actually bestowing eternal life, He does not look on them as they are in themselves, but as they are in Christ.

There are three epithets used in the text as pertaining to sinners as they are in themselves:

They are without strength and cannot help themselves

They are ungodly, or sinners

They are enemies

If natural men are Gods’ enemies, then we may learn how much we are indebted to God for His restraining grace. We may learn how wonderful the love is that is manifested in giving Christ to die for us. For this love is love for enemies.

How wonderful was the love of Christ in exercising dying love for His enemies!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Isn't It Great?

"God’s grace is his active favor bestowing the greatest gift upon those who have deserved the greatest punishment."

--William Hendrickesn

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible is Authenticate

I read a blog the other day that intrigued me. The author had an experience where he seemed to be communicating to another individual about the authenticity of the bible. It seems that he was trying to “prove” that the bible was a divine work of God and not a work of man.

Sometime ago, it came to me that you can not prove the bible to be authentic or God’s work by merely offering archeological, historical, or scientific evidence. Once again, I am reminded that the natural man does not “receive” or welcome the things of the Spiritual realm. They are void of life and any spirit that could latch on to any and all of the proof that we might offer.

I think we misinterpret our mission, our responsibility, or our duty many times. We are not called to prove the existence of God or to authenticate His Word. We are called to be witnesses of His life, His voluntary and sacrificial death, His burial, and more so, His resurrection. This gospel, this good news is to be preached to every creature. Our mission, our responsibility, and our duty is to be a vessel of honor, clean and ready, in order for God, through His Holy Spirit to use us as an instrument in order to share this gospel, this good news.

At times, we will be confronted with people who will want proof or evidence of our claims. They will want proof that God exists or that the bible is divinely inspired. We must be able to reply to their real need, not their “presenting need.”

Nicodemus is a case and point. After Jesus had “cleansed” the Temple and ran the merchants and money changers out of the Temple, he left the Temple. What did he do? He went into the City of Jerusalem teaching and working signs or miracles. Do you realize the significance of his actions both in the Temple and in the City during the week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread?

The Sanhedrin did. Becasue they did, they engaged one of their own, Nicodemus, to meet with Jesus. Why? In the cleaning of the Temple and the working of signs or miracles, they saw Messianic activity. Jesus coming into the Temple was a fulfillment of Malachi 3:1. Nicodemus acknowledge that Jesus could not do the signs he was doing without God’s approval or authority, John 3:2. They were contemplating whether Jesus by these signs was a prophet or possibly the Messiah.

Nicodemus made that clear when he said to Jesus, “We know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these things unless God is with him.” What did Jesus say next? “…I say to you, unless one is born again (above) he can not see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus didn’t ask anything about the kingdom, did he? Why would Jesus bring up the kingdom of God when Nicodemus hadn’t said anything about it?

When Nicodemus said that Jesus must be a teacher with God’s approval or authority, Nicodemus was connecting Jesus to Messianic activity or being the Messiah. The Messiah is connected to what? The Messiah is connected to the Kingdom. If Jesus is the Messiah then what of the long promised and long awaited kingdom?

Jesus knew his heart and his need. He by passed the “presenting” need and went straight to the real need. Nicodemus don’t be concerned about the “house” because first, you need the key to the door. Don’t worry about the kingdom; you need to be made ready to get into the kingdom. In other words, Jesus was saying don’t get the cart before the horse.

So, when a natural man who is spiritually dead in trespasses and sins demands proof for the existence of God or for the authenticity of the bible, that is merely a “presenting” need. His real need is for the Holy Spirit as He did with Lydia on that riverbank, to open his heart and regenerate him. He needs to know that nothing will prove to him God’s existence or the bible’s authenticity unless he repents and turns to Christ for salvation. He will not do that until the Holy Spirit moves in his heart giving him life and the faith to believe.

I avoid arguments like that. I do offer reasons why I believe the bible to be true, authenticate, and the divine work of God. Here are ten (10) reasons why I believe the bible is God’s word. These are "proof" to me and more than likely to you, but they will not be proof to a spiritually dead man. Especially when that spiritually dead man wants you to put the cart before the horse. I simply explain why I believe the bible to be the word and then share various portions of the word of God so that it can do its job - not me doing its job - the word will not return to God without doing what it was sent to accomplish - it will either harden the heart or hammer the heart into submission and repentance. (Don't get squirrly with hammer, it only matches harden)

1. By the gift of faith given to me by God through his Holy Spirit, I believe it to be the Living, true, and inspired word of God

2. The Longevity of the Bible

The bible has lasted some 3500 years. It was written by some 40 authors in absolute unity with no contradictions. It continues to last, and last and last.

3. The Impact that it has made on humanity

The bible has made a major impact in every area of human life around the globe since it was completed.

4. The testimony of those who have died for it

So many people have died possessing this book. They have given their lives to translate into the heart languages of various peoples. They have died protecting it, possessing it, preaching it, and preserving it.

5. The intensity of the effort to destroy it

The enemies of the bible and of God’s word have made such an intense effort to destroy the bible since the Garden of Eden. If this book were not true and from God, why would such a concentrated effort relentlessly be given towards its destruction?

6. The change that it has made in my life

I believe this book to be a work of God because of the change and impact it has made in my life. It is alive and powerful.

7. The change that I have seen it make in others lives

I have seen, read, and been told of similar changes and impact in the lives of hundreds of millions of people around this globe from its time of completion until now.

8. The prophesized and predicted events that have come to pass

I have read of prophesies and predictions and have seen, read, or heard of the evidence that each and every one that has been fulfilled, was fulfilled perfectly in each and every detail.

9 The internal quality and spirituality of the bible. No man could have written what was written unless divinely inspired. Human minds do not think in these spiritual terms.

10. You, who stand before me or sit with me and deny its very authenticity, its divine inspiration, and its “unintelligible” messages, reinforce to me that these spiritual truths are not understood, welcomed, or received by the natural man. You, sir, are proof that the bible is true.

I realize that none of these reasons are proofs. I did not intend them to be. They are merely reasons why I believe the bible is authenticate and authoritative. They won’t change the heart of a spiritually dead man any more than tangible proofs will. I merely offer them as helps or tools that might aid you the next time this discussion comes up.

By the way, I am not criticizing the blog or blogger I read the other day. I simply saw myself in days gone by when I attempted to “prove” the authenticity of the bible with little or no success. Why? Let me leave you with this, “The man persuaded against his will, is of the same opinion still.”

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Amazing Grace: Just The Black Notes

Please, do not stop by this site today and not click on this video, You must hear this in it's entirety.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kahlua Chili

I am sorry for the delay in posting this. I had some things in queue that posted in rotation. I hope the wait only makes this Chili tastier to you. I am hoping as you try this that you will let me know what you think.

Kahlua Chili

½ Cup of vegetable oil
2 onions chopped
2lbs of ground beef
4 garlic cloves minced
¼ cup chopped parsley
3 Tbl chili powder
1 Tbl tomato paste
1 1.5 oz can tomatoes, semi drained
1 15 oz can red kideney beans, semi drained
½ cup green pepper chunked
2 tsb salt
1 tsb cayenne pepper
1 tsb cumin powder
1 tsb dried marjoram leaves crushed
1 tsp dried oregano leaves crushed
1 cup Kahlua (more or less to your taste)

In a large pot, heat oil and cook the meat until browned and drain. Add more oil then onions and garlic; sauté until transparent being careful not to burn the garlic.

Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered for around 45 minutes. To thicken if necessary add cornstarch.

Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, onions, and crust bread.

I think I would also "call" for a Cab...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Book Review: John Bunyan

Crisp, clear, concise, and coherent describes John Bunyan by Kevin Belmonte. This book was easy and a joy to read. John Bunyan is not an in-depth biography that bogs down in either massive or uninteresting detail that sometimes makes reading a slow go. This is a simple yet direct telling of a story that flows pleasantly. This book was not only interesting but it held my attention from the beginning to the end.

John Bunyan is a part of the Christian Encounters biography series published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. John Bunyan is a 142 page synopsis of the life of John Bunyan and the events that led to his writing of the classic Pilgrim’s Progress.

Belmonte weaves this wonderful story of this godly man through tales of civil war, persecution, and prison. In this short and easy to read tale one is privileged to gather a wonderful glimpse of the man who wrote one of the most endearing and lasting classics of all times.

As you read this book you are transported back to 17th century England. Belmonte makes the journey and transition easy as you join Bunyan and his family in their daily struggles. Belmonte makes it easy to experience the pain and sorrow of the Bunyan family. You can almost hear the soldiers and smell the powder as Belmonte tells the stories of war and revolution.

I give this little yet powerfully packed Biography of John Bunyan five stars. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who wishes to know more about this wonderful man.

I have received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for this review.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Let's Talk Post-Modernism and the Emergent Church...

The Sunday Sound-Bite...

Gospel Driven Disciples introduces a new component: The Sunday Sound-Bite.

These "selections" will be from various men of God commenting on various topics with the goal of provoking a deeper appreciation of our Lord Jesus Christ and to facilitate obedience to the admonition given in II Peter 3:18 – “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Savior Jesus Christ.”

This third selection is from Ligonier Ministries with Dr. R. C. Sproul, Sr., Dr. Al Mohler, and Ravi Zacharias who are discussing the critical issues involving the Emergent church movement.

"When the tide is low, every shrimp has its own puddle." - Vance Havne

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Justification by Faith in Jesus Christ

"Justification by Faith Alone"

Your Weekly Exposure to Edwards

Gospel Driven Disciples posts some highlights from the prolific works of Jonathan Edwards. The following excerpt is taken from Justification by Faith Alone, published by Soli Deo Gloria.

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:4)

We are justified only by faith in Christ, and not by any manner of virtue or goodness of our own.

To be justified is to be approved and accepted; but a man may be said to be approved and accepted in two respects: the one is to be approved really, and the other to be approved declaratively. Justification is twofold: it is either the acceptance and approbation of the judge itself, or the manifestation of that approbation by a sentence or judgment declared by the judge, either to our own consciences or to the world. If justification is understood in the former sense, for the approbation itself, that is only that by which we become fit to be approved; but if it is understood in the latter sense, for the manifestation of this approbation, it is by whatever a proper evidence of that fitness. In the former, faith alone is concerned, because it is by that only in us that we become fit to be accepted. In the latter, whatever is an evidence of our fitness is alike concerned.

The great and most distinquishing difference beween the covenant of grace and that of works is that by the covenant of grace we are not this justified by our own works, bt only by faith in Jesus Christ. It is on this account chiefly tha the new covenant deserves the name of a covenant of grace, as I evident by Romans 4:16: “…therefore it is of faith, that it might be of grace.” Therfore justification by works (Galatians 1:6-7) is not an evangelical doctrine, but a legal one; it is no gospel at all.

Note: Edwards is at times most difficult to read and grasp. Some attempts at grappling with his great mind can cause severe head-aches. That is why I expose you to him. Stretch your thinking and reasoning capacity! Read and re-read his writings. Work through them with the same energy and determination used when eating a coconut, or a crab, or any other food you have to beat with a mallet or a club in order to enjoy. Work at it and then enjoy the “juices” of godly truth that oozes out of the passage at hand and drips down into your soul!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Metcalf's Musings

I am still trusting the Lord for His provision during this season of unemployment. I have applied outside of our immediate area as far as Cheyenne, WY and even Billings, MT. I am flabbergasted that I have not been able to find work.

Our darling Daughter, Sonja turned 34 this February! Don’t know who was more shocked, she or us. And to think that our baby will turn 28 this month. We actually have two with birthdays this month, Stacy turns 28 on the 17th and Sharon turns 29 on the 18th. Yep, we had two within 364 days! Why? You got me. Shannon turned 36 this past September.

I will be preaching Sunday at our church. Our pastor has gone to the Shepherd’s Conference at Grace Community Church in Panorama City, CA. I have actually been to that conference once, what a fantastic time that was. Sunday’s text will be, II Peter 3:14-18. The subject is “How to wait for the return of Jesus.” The proposition states that, the delay in the return of Jesus presents a challenge to Christian men and women as they are waiting for his return. So, the question then becomes, “What should characterize our wait on the return of the Lord Jesus Christ?” The answer: this passage describes four attributes that characterize our wait. We are to be waiting proactively, prudently, passionately, and progressively.

I finished the gospel of Luke in my morning devotions. I have now started the sequel, and so will be meditating and studying through Acts for the next few months. I love Luke. I can’t wait to meet him when I get to heaven. I hope he can spare a century or two.

I made some Kahlua Chili the other day that would knock your socks off! I love a good chili and I love to cook. This was a fairly easy recipe and like I said it is yummy.

I am loving our new cat. Sonja took back her dog and gave us her cat. She had named this little Tortoise colored short hair Coco. I am not too crazy about that name, so I took to calling her Miss Thing. She is now my office cat. Every morning I wake up with her sleeping on my chest. I feed her and open the closet door for her box. Then by the time I have showered and dressed, she is racing to the door to go out to my study with me. The garage had been converted into two or three rooms before we bought the place. So I turned one into a great study. I have my desk, hutch, book shelves, storage/supply cabinet, computer, printer, fax, phone, and file cabinets out here. It is here where I have my morning’s devotion in complete privacy. Miss Thing lays on the crook of my left arm while I type my Sunday school lessons or sermon notes or blog.

Irene was able to drive down with our daughter Shannon and our son-in-law Brien to San Jose, CA in order to visit with her mother last week. Irene hadn’t seen her mom in three years so it was a great time for all of them. Hard trip! It is about 12 hours from here by car and that is getting a little hard to do these days.

We finally finished John chapter 2 in the Sojourners Adult Bible class this past Sunday. I start John 3 this coming Sunday. We started John in September. We are taking our time and examining the text paragraph by paragraph.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Notable Quotes: It’s Just A Family Tradition!

Sometimes you just come across a statement that goes beyond the category of just simply scratching your head. Such statements go beyond categorizing and so they float around for while causing your eyes to itch, your stomach to burn, and you forehead to get all wrinkled and crinkled up. Here are such “notable quotes:”

“When you’re trying to market Jesus, sometimes there’s a tendency to mute traditional Christian symbols. Difficult doctrines are left by the wayside. Hell is a morally repugnant doctrine. People wonder why God would send people to eternal punishment.”

So stated The Rev. Fred Johns, pastor of Brookview Wesleyan Church in Irondale, Alabama. He gave this remarkable gem to the Religious News Service when he was explaining his avoidance of the doctrine of hell as a market-driven approach.

“My campaign is not based on a foundation of lies. My values are not lies. It’s just the information I provided to the people is false.”

This gem escaped from Antwon Womack, a candidate for the Birmingham, Alabama Board of Education when he explained why he would not drop out of the race after this resume was shown to be riddled with lies.

Hank Williams Jr. might like this third and final “Notable Quote.” You remember his song, Family Tradition? It starts out, “Country music singers have always been a real close family, but lately some of my kinfolk have disowned a few others and me. I guess it's because I went and changed my position, Lord, I guess I went and broke their family tradition."

Well it seems that once upon a time the United Methodist’s and the Evangelical Lutheran’s were a real close family, but at some point some of the kinfolk disowned a few others from each side. More than likely it was because someone went and changed their position and in doing so went and broke the family tradition.

Well good news its seems, The Rev. Donald McCoid, the ecumenical official for the Evangelical Church in America made this statement when approval was given for a communion agreement between the two groups:

“We have always been kin. We’ve been cousins, and now we’ll be a part of a closer family.”

Rev McCoid, I think Hank Jr. did his song in the Key of E. What key are you going to do this new rendition in?

What say Ye?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Is that service for here or to go?

It seems more families today are forgoing religious funerals for memorial services according to an article in the USA Today. The article states that many families are opting to forgo the typical sermon and scripture references in place of a “secular styled celebration.

USA Today reported that many memorials are being conducted with unique and personalized eulogies without any mention of God or the hereafter. Seems families are opting for a more religiously sanitized celebration than a gospel laced exhortation to the grieving families.

I have planned my memorial service. It started because of my penchant for writing poetry and songs. One day for some reason I wrote what I would like on my Tombstone. I opt for the celebatory memorial. It goes like this:

A Husband, a Father, a Friend for a time
He has now come to the end of the line
Since our gracious God was merely a lender
Would you please, return him to sender?

What about you? Have you thought or planned for your memorial service?

 Do you prefer the typical funeral or a celebratory memorial event?

What say ye?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Do Prisoners Need Protected from the Bible?

Put this one in the, “Well, blow me down, I’ll be dipped, and the never thought I would live to see the day” column! It appears that someone in the common sense and let’s do something right department over at the ACLU slipped up. They actually protested a Virginia Prison’s decision to censure religious material that was sent to the inmates.

ACLU Staff attorney David Shapiro said, “The censorship of religious materials sent to prisoners violates both the rights of detainees to practice their religion freely while incarcerated as well as the free speech rights of those wanting to communicate with prisoners.”

It seems that Anna Williams son was incarcerated at the Rappahannock Regional Jail in Stafford, VA. She went to the ACLU after her son informed her that her letters to him were being censored. She had apparently sent letters with verses from the Bible to encourage and support him during the time of his confinement.

It seems jail officials allegedly removed religious materials from her correspondence. It was reported that a three page letter had been reduced to simply the greeting, the first paragraph, and “Love, Mom.”

Daniel Mach, the director of Litigation for the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief said, “People do not lose their right to religious worship simply because they are incarcerated.”

Has it come to this, that mothers can not write their own sons in jail or prison words of encouragement from the Bible? Do prisoners need to be protected from the Bible? Are you writing words of encouragment from Scripture to someone who is currently incarcerated?

What say Ye?