Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

"By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

(Genesis 3:19; Mark 1:15. ESV)

From the Book of Common Prayer:

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and
ever. Amen.


Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This is season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith. I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.


If ashes are to be imposed, the Celebrant says the following prayer

Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth: Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, that we may remember that it is only by your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

The ashes are imposed with the following words

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.


Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desires not the death of sinners, but rather that they may turn from their wickedness and live, has given power and commandment to his ministers to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the absolution and remission of their sins. He pardons and absolves all those who truly repent, and with sincere hearts believe his holy Gospel.

Therefore we beseech him to grant us true repentance and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him which we do on this day, and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure and holy, so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy;through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Quote of the Year

“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”
John Newton

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Random Post of the Day 2

Sometimes I am really glad that we didn't get stuck in 80's culture. At other times I am glad for the 80's because I don't know any other decade that make a song such as the one below.

Random Post of the Day

Just Because. No reason in particular.

Ah...the 80's.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thoughts on Sunday

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
-Ephesians 4:11-16

One of the things that stood out most to me in Joey's sermon this past Sunday was when he said:

"The Church is a movement: not a museum or a monument."

Later that day I was doing some reading and writing, reflecting on the day and what was said. Here are some thoughts:

"Though we often think of revelation as conceptual, God sends persons to embody it, enable it, and speak it...God does not send a system of theology but Jesus and the Spirit, and we are bearing the Spirit."
-Arthur Freeman, The Nature of Scripture.

As the Church, our mission is to reclaim and redeem what Adam lost but Christ came to restore. Albeit the growth of the kingdom will be happening at the same time the world is increasingly becoming a hell on earth, God is presently at work through His word and Spirit bringing a partial but continual renewal of God's creation. God has given His Church the task of giving witness to the restorative work of Christ by living together in community as the redeemed new humanity and seeking to to engage the culture so as to implore all people to repent and believe the Gospel. The message of repenting and believing the Gospel is a message that denotes "one's old world [coming] to an end, whatever constitutes that old world with its struggles, and a new world [coming] into being which is constituted by God's grace" (Arthur Freeman, The Nature of Scripture).

Monday, February 9, 2009

No Comment

I am quite restless right now, stirred with nostalgia, questions about the future and about love, job stuff, and how the world is both very beautiful and broken. I feel very much hopelessly in love and am sifting through seemingly impossible possibilities.

Oh the joy and angst of being in your 20's.

So she says
"Everyone's going to the party,
won't you come if I come
with a friend for your friend?
I'd be so pleased to see you
out of the classroom wearing the smile that I'll bring you.
I was hoping to learn a few things like...
Do you do you like dishing the dirt
on the whole class or
talking the big smack or
playing the fool or
wearing all of the latest fashions
or bucking the new trends
or wearing your old threads.
or If you like coffee in the evening
These are a few things that I'd like to know
that I'd like to know"

So I say...
"I've been scheduled to work but I'll call in
and my friend isn't busy
he'd be happy to join me
and maybe my friend
and your friend
will hit it off or maybe we will?"

I'm dying to know
do you do you like dreaming of things
so impossible or only the practical
or ever the wild or waiting through all your bad bad days
just to end them with
someone you care about
or do you like making out
and long drives and brown eyes
and guys that just
don't quite fit in
yeah do you like them?
So yes, I'll see you there.

-"So Impossible", Dashboard Confessional

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hate the sin but love the sinner?: Biblical Reflections on hating evil

There is a phrase that is thrown around that says that people are to "hate the sin but love the sinner". But just how true is this statement for what is required of us? How true is this statement for God?

Does God hate sinners?

“For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.”
- Psalm 5:4-6

“The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD's throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
The LORD tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.”
-Psalm 11:4-5

“Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the LORD,
but those of blameless ways are his delight.”
- Proverbs 11:20

The passages are endless that tell us that God hates sinners. God hates sinners. If this does not seem pretty clear, please read Deuteronomy and the Psalms.

Should we hate sinners?

“Vindicate me, O LORD,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
Prove me, O LORD, and try me;
test my heart and my mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness.
I do not sit with men of falsehood,
nor do I consort with hypocrites.
I hate the assembly of evildoers,
and I will not sit with the wicked.”
- Psalm 26:1-5

“I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols,
but I trust in the LORD.”
- Psalm 31:6

As Christian's, we are also called to hate sinners. We...are called to hate sinners.

Practical Applications

God hates sinners. God hates whatever is not of Him. He is patient towards evil for now, but there is no guarantee of how much longer that will be; the wrath of God is coming. God has provided us a way to escape His wrath and hell. God has not only provided an escape from bad things, but He has also provided us to be made right with God and to know and to be infinitely loved by God. Apart from Christ, we have nothing. Nothing.

As sinful people who have recieved God's gift of life, we have been moved from being enemies of God to His friends. We, as believers, are supposed to love what God loves and hate what God hates. But how is this lived out?

This is a hard question, one that a lot of people ignore, but is vitally important if God is to be made known.

"Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord."
-Hebrews 12:4

To answer this question, there are two quotes that sum up how hating sinners is practically applied.

"Any and every unrighteous man must be the object of our hatred in respect of his unrighteousness and the object of our love in respect of his humanity; that by reproving the fault in him which rightly earns our hatred, we may liberate that in him which rightly earns our love, that is to say the human nature itself, and set right every fault in it.”
– Augustine

“There is a lawful hatred of the sinner; and indeed there must be, since such a hatred is the obverse of the love of God. The love of God hates all that is opposed to God; and sinners–not merely sin–are opposed to God. And if such a sentiment is lawful, its expression is lawful; and one may desire that the evil in another receive its corresponding evil–provided that this hatred is restrained within the limits of that which is lawful. These limits are:

1. Hatred must not be directed at the person of one’s neighbor; he is hated for his evil quality.

2. One may desire that the divine justice be accomplished in the sinner; but it must be a desire for divine justice, not a desire for the personal evil of another out of personal revenge.

3. The infliction of evil may not be desired absolutely, but only under the condition that the sinner remains obdurate and unrepentant.

4. It must be accompanied by that true supernatural charity which efficaciously desires the supreme good–the eternal happiness–of all men in general, not excluding any individual who is capable of attaining it. In a word, the sinner may lawfully be hated only when he is loved.”

-John L. McKenzie, “The Imprecations of the Psalter.” American Ecclesiastical Review 111 (1944): 91.


God hates sin and He hates sinners. We CANNOT pretend that neither are true. This is not meant as a mean or hurtful fact; it is true and we CANNOT afford to act like it is not. I don't want to see ANYONE be apart from Christ. I DO NOT want anyone to experience the wrath of God. And, if you are reading this, I hope you feel the same way. I pray that we will wake up to the reality that life is short, hell is real and horrible, and that people will not escape God's wrath unless they turn to Christ. Christ HAS made a way. Christ CAN save us. Christ CAN save the people you know. TODAY is the day to cry out to the LORD on their behalf. TODAY is the day that the world needs the Gospel. TODAY is the day that people can be made no longer an enemy, but a friend of God.

Dear friend, please open your heart to recieve this. I am no better than anyone else. I deserve eternal death a thousand times over. And so do you. So does everyone. Please, please, please, know that Christ has made a way for people to be saved. I beg of you, don't forsake what the Scripture teaches because it is what our culture does. Cling to Christ because He is all that we have and is all that we need. Without Him we have no hope; we have nothing.

Prideful Men will go to Hell

This is a pretty intense video. I pray that you will recieve what Tim Conway is saying in this video because what he is saying is true. The video speaks for itself, so I will not say any more. Enjoy!!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Word of the Father now in flesh appearing

It is indeed not Christmas, but the Lord has put this song on my heart today. This past Christmas season has probably been the first Christmas I have experienced where the Christmas story has came to life for me. The idea that Mary rode a donkey or that there were three wise men are false, as are many of the ideas we have about the Season, but the most profound aspect of it all is that God became a man to do what we could not do for ourselves.

Christmas is the season where the "Word of the Father" is "now in flesh appearing", a time where the God who created all that is seen and unseen to step into time to save us from our sins and bring restoration to our lives and eventually the world.

The message of Christ becoming a man to die for us is a message that deserves to be sung of not only all year, but for the rest of eternity.

He alone is worthy, Christ the LORD.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

a tall glass of toilet water

Hey...somebody needed to say it.

God tells us that his people tend to satisfy their thirst not by drinking from his streams of living water, but instead drinking from man-made toilets (Jer. 2:13). This metaphor is particularly adept in a world where men such as Tom Leykis, Dr. Drew, Howard Stern, and a legion of men’s magazines and porno providers become wealthy by selling glasses of toilet water to thirsty men across our nation, many of whom claim to be sons of God. Meanwhile, the church alone has access to the living water from God’s perfect Word, but largely fails to teach men masculinity in any area, particularly regarding their sexuality.

The causes for this sin of omission are many. First, there is a propensity in many churches to take sexuality out of the hands of theologians and place it in the hands of secular counselors, whose philosophy is dominated by unbiblical evolutionary concepts of humanity and gender. This error prevents the church from speaking about men and women because they’re only permitted to see androgynous humanity. Second, the effeminate nature of pastors and churches causes many masculine men to feel unwelcome in what they perceive as an organization solely for women, children, and weaker men. Third, there is a timidity among weak pastors to wade into controversial issues in general, and sexual ones in particular. Lastly, the sad truth is that many pastors are also enslaved to their own sexual sins and/or are languishing in unfulfilling and infrequent sex with their wives, and therefore are unable to speak of sexual matters out of a sense of disqualification.

To speak of the matters of pornography and masturbation, I must speak frankly, as frankly as the Scriptures do on important issues. In 2 Timothy 3:16 God says through Paul that, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” These Scriptures that God breathed for our profit include the very frank discussions of sexuality throughout the Song of Songs and Ezekiel.

In Ezekiel 16:25–27 God says, “At the head of every street you built your lofty place and made your beauty an abomination, offering yourself to any passerby and multiplying your whoring. You also played the whore with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, multiplying your whoring, to provoke me to anger. Behold, therefore, I stretched out my hand against you and diminished your allotted portion and delivered you to the greed of your enemies, the daughters of the Philistines, who were ashamed of your lewd behavior.”

Also, in Ezekiel 23:18–21, God says, “When she carried on her whoring so openly and flaunted her nakedness, I turned in disgust from her, as I had turned in disgust from her sister. Yet she increased her whoring, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt and lusted after her paramours there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose issue was like that of horses. Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians handled your bosom and pressed your young breasts.” God basically called his people tramps for lifting up their shirts like it was Mardi Gras and chasing men with huge penises and semen emissions like fire hoses.

While God spoke frankly to Israel, he is certainly not crass like some meat-headed high school boys killing time in a locker room. God is honest and forthright about the truth and his people must not be so prudish as to try and speak in ways that are holier than their God. In our age of lewdness and perversion we, like our Father, must avoid crassness, while wisely and boldly speaking frankly about the joy and beauty of sexual intimacy when it is confined by the loving directions of the God who created both us and our desires. And, we must refuse to speak in sanitized clinical euphemisms like calling adulteries “affairs,” fornication “dating,” and perverts “partners” because God uses frank words for deplorable sin so we will feel its sickness without anesthesia.

-from Porn Again Christian by Mark Driscoll