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Heart Conference 2013


The annual Northland Heart Conference began this week on Tuesday and has been a huge encouragement thus far. The theme for this year, The Sufficiency of the Gospel, focuses on the two aspects of salvation: justification and sanctification. You can view the general session from the streaming site here.

If you get a chance, visit the site and watch the messages from some great speakers whom God has used to declare his word in simple and clear ways.

Tuesday’s message was a great sermon from Dan Davey on the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. As I listened to the text I was reminded of how great a task Christ had in purchasing salvation for us. I stood in awe of the awesome suffering servant. Praise God my sin was placed on Christ who is the sufficient one for my relationship with God.

Music, Mood and Theology

The Reforming Baptist has an excellent post about how theology affects the mood of Christian music. Read about it here. His categories and descriptions are spot on and actually mirror what I have been trying to communicate myself for a couple years.

One of the biggest reasons this discussion is necessary is the distinction he makes between “mainstream” Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) and new CCM. This difference is not only significant, but crucial to understand especially for those interested in planing and leading a worship service. It is this same distinction which makes John Frame use the term “Contemporary Worship Music” to differentiate between these two general realms of Christian music. I would recommend his book on worship here and his book focused on music here.

Mr. Rogers Remixed

Ted S. linked to a remixed version of Mr. Rogers. Of course the nostalgia came back to me having grown up with the sweater wearing grandpa, so I had to read the Wikipedia article on him. Amazingly, the show ran for over 30 years and just about 1000 episodes! His take on educational television programming revolutionized the industry and (in my biased opinion) has not been surpassed in the current offerings (I’m talking about you, Teletubbies!) Anyway, for your enjoyment is the remixed video.

[youtube width=480 height=360]OFzXaFbxDcM[/youtube]

First Harvest

First harvest of radishes from my garden

This is the first year that I’ve tried growing a garden. I helped my dad here and there in his garden when I was little, but this is the first time where I had to take care of everything. Although I knew how much work my dad put into the garden I never experienced it for myself. I use the time in the garden to meditate and organize my thoughts and over the past week I’ve really spent some time thinking about the most famous and significant garden in the world: Eden. Events which transpired there have had lasting effects. Just thinking through the obvious ones:


  • First man and first woman were created and lived there.
  • First human disobedience occurred.
  • First curses placed on the earth, humanity, and everything else which was created.
  • First promise of a “seed” which would crush the serpent’s head was given.

My thoughts recently have focused on the effects of the curse especially as it relates to growing things. Adam’s purpose as given by God is that he would subdue the earth. He was uniquely created as a God’s vice-regent by virtue that he was created in God’s image. ((Eugene H. Merrill.  Covenant and the Kingdom: Genesis 1-3 as Foundational for Biblical Theology. Dallas Theological Seminary.))  However, this exercise of authority over the earth was not independent of God’s authority. This dependence upon God’s authority  is what made the forbidden fruit so destructive to humanity. In choosing to eat of the fruit, Adam and Eve asserted their authority over God’s. Thus, Adam lost the privilege of exercising authority over the earth. He was still responsible for subduing it, but he must now subdue it through hard, tedious labor.

This hard labor is frustrating because the earth does not submit to our will. Weeds grow where we don’t want them and good plants become infested with bugs and disease. Rain and sunshine come and go as they please, not as we desire. It’s an interesting connection between the first Adam and the second Adam, Christ, since Jesus was able to subdue storms with a word or destroy a fig tree with a curse. While these miracles are often ascribed to Christ’s deity (and rightfully so), there also seems to be an aspect that Jesus himself is subduing the earth in ways that humanity, which was patterned after him, should have subdued the earth back in the garden.

Praise God that his plan is “to unite all things in him [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth” (Ephesians 1:10). Jesus is the ultimate king over the cosmos as he subdues everything perfectly.

Around the web

Theologically Driven | Should Churches Abandon the King James Version? (part 2)

Dr. Combs gives an excellent summary on the issue. In part one he articulates what he believes to be the best argument for the priority of the modern text vs. the text used by the King James translators. In part two, he argues that modern translation improve upon older translation by adding clarity where the original translators did not have the body of knowledge of the Biblical languages that is available today. The discussion in the comments of part 2 in particular are helpful and certainly the KJV-only vs. modern translations issue will not be settled anytime soon.

David Crabb | Violent Men, Working Women, and Evangelical Gender Norms

Crabb presents a helpful article pointing out the deficiencies in maintaining Victorian gender roles when scripture is much more demanding. A good read.

Koinonia | On the role of the creeds

A good reminder that controversy though sometimes stressful to the church actually has a benefit in that the Church expresses doctrine most clearly when it is under attack. Makes a good case for the teaching of Church history in our churches.

Theologically Driven | “I Thank Thee That I Am Not as Other Legalists,” Or, How “Freer Than Thou” Became the New “Holier Than Thou”

Dr. Snoeberger makes an interesting observation about how those who abuse their freedom in Christ have actually become the new pharisees.

A good example of bad exegesis

I was doing a little research online and came across this gem. It is written tongue-in-cheek so the author would not actually preach this. However, who would argue that something like this has never been done before?

Original source at http://www.walkwithgod.com/2010/08/women-dancing-in-church-and-wearing-high-heels/

Years ago, I wondered if it was proper for men or women to dance in church.  I searched the scriptures diligently.  My seeking was not in vain.  When I found Psalm 68:16 which reads, “Why leap ye, ye high hills?”  I realized that it was at least improper for women to do so.  We note that the Psalmist clearly delineates between men and women by using the phrase “high hills.”  Men don’t wear high heels.  Women do.  So women should not be dancing (use of “leap” here).

This intrigued me as to another question I had about women wearing those awful contraptions to begin with.  So, I did a further study.  I found a jewel of a scripture, Psalm 104:18 which states, “The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats.”  Wow!  Is that clear or what?  We know that women take great care in their selection of clothing, and this can be a type of refuge for them.  But there is no mistaking the clear intent of scripture here:  only a woman who is a “wild goat” would wear high heels.

If there is any question about that, I would refer you to Matthew 25 where Jesus says that the goats will be separated from the sheep.

So, from a careful study of scripture, I learned that women should neither dance in church or wear those wicked high heels!

Worship Part 2

In this post, I seek to define worship in a very rudimentary way. Certainly worship is much larger than can be described in a couple paragraphs, but I want to give a couple thoughts regarding its definition. The Wesminster Shorter catachism summarizes the entire topic of worship as it asks its first question, “What is the chief end of man” ((http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/WSC_frames.html)). The response is simple: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” ((Ibid.)) Thus, worship is expressly tied to God’s glory.

Jonathan Edwards also helps to understand this idea when he writes,

God is glorified not only by his glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those that see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it. God made the world that he might communicate, and the creature receive, his glory . . . both [with] the mind and the heart. He that testifies his having an idea of God’s glory [doesn’t] glorify God so much as he that testifies also his approbation [i.e., his heartfelt commendation or praise] of it and his delight in it” ((http://www.apuritansmind.com/jonathanedwards/JonathanEdwards-Miscellanies-Happiness.htm)).

At its basic meaning, worship is ascribing honor and worth to the one being worshiped. Worship is not for the benefit of the worshiper nor directed at the worshiper. Rather, worship is the response of God’s people to the person and work of the Trinity. As Frame writes, “worship ‘in Spirit and Truth,’ then is Trinitarian worship – worship that is aware of the distinctive work of the Father, the Son and the Spirit for our salvation.” ((Frame John. Worship in Spirit and Truth. (Phillipsburg: P & R Publishing,1996.), 7.)) Worship is foundational to the vertical relationship between the worshiper and the worshiped and therefore important to the life of believers.

Worship Part 1

When you think of worship, what comes to mind? Probably for a christian two things immediately are given as an answer. The first being music (and by extension the worship service) and second being the time when a bunch of people who gather in a place to hear someone speak something about some book called the Bible. Both of these views are popular, but neither takes into account the teaching of scripture. These next posts will deal with worship begining with the question” what is worship?”

In order to answer this first question, we must first deal with the above misconceptions of worship. First, worship is not limited to music, although music is an important aspect of worship. Rather, Paul indicates in his letter to the Ephesians that they are to build one another up with songs. Second, worship is not just a social gathering. Many treat the Sunday service as nothing more than a social event, even if that event is to hear a sermon.

Both of these events have a singular goal in mind: to build up the believers so that they are equipped for the work of the ministry. Worship is not an activity of a believer, rather it is their total attitude in every setting of life.


After graduation at Northland International University, I have been traveling with my parents and sister to her home in South Dakota. While here, I have opportunity to take in the local sights.

This morning, My parents and I visited Mount Rushmore. While not my first time to visit, it was the first time that I had clear view of the enormous sculptures. On my previous visits, it was dark, cloudy, and miserable as my family tried to distinguish the faces of the four presidents.

However, today was an amazingly beautiful day! We were finally able to see the mountain in the splendor of the morning sun.

Among many of the amazing facts about the mountain is that the sculptor Gutzon Borglum chose the exact spot that the monument rests to catch the morning light.  The incredible planing and the multitude of scale models and prototypes is staggering, but through all of the trial and error Borglum created on of the most recognizable landmarks of American history.

While the human race indeed can create works of art that are stunning in complexity or sheer size, God’s created works far surpassing the finite works of human beings.

From Genesis 1 and the creation account, the vast heavens, the masses of land, animals, plants, and everything else is declared to be the direct creation of God. Not only did he create it, but the quality of all of it was “very good.”

Not the least of God’s creation is human kind. In Psalm 139:14, the writer, David, states that he (any by extension every other human being) is fearfully and wonderfully made. In the providence of God, the human being is treasured by God and is special to Him. Perhaps because humans are created in the image of God, He takes delight in these creatures. It is  God’s delight in His creation (though defiled) that we should look back to our creator. And just like a mountain carved to reflect the images of great men of history, we should reflect back the image of the great God who created us.