My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

28 April 2008

The days are evil but my ipod isn't

A while back, I bought an 80-gig ipod. At the time, I really hoped it wouldn't be a waste of money; in fact, I had hopes of it being a help and blessing to my spiritual life. Towards that hope, I have delved into the world of podcasting: investigating, subscribing, unsubscribing and listening to a lot of different podcasts. In the end, I'm very happy with what I'm able to listen to every week. I thought some of you may be interested in this list of my regular downloads.

-Joel Beeke
-Mark Driscoll
-Sinclair Ferguson
-Thabiti Anyabwile
-Ted Donnelly
-R.C. Sproul (Renewing Your Mind)
-Alistair Begg (Truth for Life)
-Several RPCNA Pastors (see

-Covenant seminary's church history
-Covenant seminary's preaching class
-Sovereign Grace Leadership Series

-NPR's Car Talk
-Best of YouTube

-This American Life
-NPR's live concert podcast
-NPR's All Songs Considered
-NPR's Science Friday
-Mahalo Daily
-Paste Culture Club
-National Geographic's Wild Chronicles
-Grammar Girl

What am I missing? What podcasts help you or encourage you in some way?

17 April 2008


The internet is pretty nifty. Our sermons are hosted at, but now they have a little widget, which you should see in the right hand column under "recent sermons." Visitors to the sight will be able to listen to the sermons by simply pressing the play button. If you want to download it, you'll still need to click the title of the sermon to go to its specific page. I'll try to post our newest sermon there every week.

15 April 2008

A Prayer for Preachers

O Spirit of God, may you then waken my mind and tongue as a loud-shouting clarion of truth, so that all may rejoice, who are united in spirit to the entire Godhead.
-St. Gregory of Nazianzus, poem 1.1.1 De Filio

More from Bonhoeffer

When Bonhoeffer wrote The Cost of Discipleship, he was struggling to call the Lutheran church to wake up and prepare for to do battle with national socialism. His prescription went much deeper than mere laziness. He blamed it on poor theology masked with good theology. I read this paragraph with my mouth open (people at the coffee shop think I'm a little weird anyway); it is bracing prophecy, a powerful tonic even today.
We Lutherans have gathered like eagles round the carcase of cheap grace, and there we have drunk of the poison which has killed the life of following Christ. It is true, of course, that we have paid the doctrine of pure grace divine honours unparalleled in Christendom, in fact we have exalted that doctrine to the position of God himself. Everywhere Luther's formula has been repeated, but its truth perverted into self-deception. So long as our Church holds the correct doctrine of justification, there is no doubt whatever that she is a justified Church! So they said, thinking that we must vindicate our Lutheran heritage by making this grace available on the cheapest and easiest terms. To be "Lutheran" must mean that we leave the following of Christ to legalists, Calvinists and enthusiasts - and all this for the sake of grace. We justified the world, and condemned as heretics those who tried to follow Christ. The result was that a nation became Christian and Lutheran, but at the cost of true discipleship. The price it was called upon to pay was all too cheap. Cheap grace had won the day.

I'm not convinced this exalting of the doctrine of free grace is the problem in reformed churches today, but this is a clear warning: we are not justified by the doctrine of justification. We are justified by Jesus. A misplaced focus will give birth to a host of errors and sins.

Bonhoeffer, Luther & Cheap Grace

For our next book club, I'm reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship. In light of Bonhoeffer's historical context (the degeneration of the German confessional church giving way to Nazi control) and our own context (good reformed theology not always have the effect it ought to have), I thought his discussion about the reformer Martin Luther and cheap versus costly grace was fascinating. Here are some interesting quotes that struck me.
The grace which gave itself to [Martin Luther] was a costly grace, and it shattered his whole existence. Once more he must leave his nets and follow. The first time was when he entered the monastery, when he had left everything behind except his pious self. This time even that was taken from him.
[Before Luther left the monastery for the secular world] the Christian life had been the achievement of a few choice spirits under the exceptionally favourable conditions of monasticism; now it is a duty laid on every Christian living in the world.
The only man who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ. Such a man knows that the call to discipleship is a gift of grace, and that the call is inseparable from the grace. But those who try to use this grace as a dispensation from following Christ are simply deceiving themselves.

08 April 2008

Probably not

My lovely wife is out shopping, all four kids are in bed and relatively quiet. I'm back to studying and suddenly wondered, "Is God relieved when I go to sleep at night, just so He can have some peace and quiet?" 

Yeah, I didn't think so either. If only I were that obnoxiously constant in my prayers and singing. 

Now another thing pops to mind: during dinner tonight, I was trying to have a civilized conversation with said wife and #3 called out continually, "mama! mama! mama! mama! MAMA! MAMA!" So, I gave him whatever it was he wanted. No, God doesn't grant prayer requests because he's tired of me, but he loves that spirit, that continual cry until I receive from him the desire he's planted in me.