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Quick Hits (12/6/07)

Here’s a “casserole” post with some helpful links and ideas for your edification, ministry, and amusement:

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Faithful Men Teaching Others Also!

Perhaps the only thing more delightful for a pastor than preaching the Word is the joy of listening to those who have been under his ministry for years preach the Word. 2 Timothy 2:2 should be the heartbeat of every man in pastoral ministry, and it is an indescribable joy to see it fleshed out. By God’s grace—and I mean very sincerely by His undeserved favor—God has blessed our young church with an entire platoon of godly men who are serious-minded about the Bible and very capable of ministering it to our body. I thank God for this, and consider it one of His great kindnesses to me. Last Sunday night, our church family was blessed to hear a message from one of our young men as we prepared to observe the Lord’s Table together. This meditation on Jesus’ Preeminence in Genesis by Nathan Taylor is only 18 minutes long, but it will be a blessing to you. Nathan is quiet and thoughtful—the un-me!—and he doesn’t waste any words. It’s a rich message, and it effectively helped us to partake of the Lord’s Table with our eyes fixated on Christ. Praise the Lord!

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English Translation Series

Speaking of messages at TCBC, we recently finished a short series on The English Translation Issue. Joe Tyrpak, our excellent and gifted assistant pastor, taught 4 of the 5 messages, and he did a tremendous job combining thorough study, sound exegesis, helpful historical analysis and accessible presentation. I commend the series to you.

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Audio Tracts

Here’s an outreach idea for you to consider. We’re in the process of producing a 20-minute gospel message which we are planning to copy onto attractively-packaged CD’s as an “audio tract.” I was recently asked by someone at TCBC for a salvation sermon she could include with a Christmas gift or card for her unsaved friend. That excellent idea started a chain of other ideas, resulting in what we hope will be a valuable resource for our communication of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Rather than expecting a lost person to listen to one of our recorded sermons (which are generally 50-plus minutes), we’ve decided a CD recorded specifically for this purpose would be more effective. It is both simple and affordable to produce a quality audio recording in our day. More importantly, there is a unique power in the proclaimed and explained Word of God (1 Cor. 1:21). Please pray that our work (today!) will be successful and will bring forth fruit. I’d encourage you to consider a similar project at your church!

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MacArthur on Perseverance

This article by John MacArthur on the doctrine of perseverance is very helpful. I’ve been studying this doctrine lately, both for my preaching from 1 John at TCBC, as well as for my own benefit. Despite being raised in a godly Christian home and receiving very profitable training in seminary, I’m just beginning to understand the significance of this doctrine, and how much deeper it is than the “eternal security” portion of it which I have learned heretofore. I hope to write on perseverance soon, but I did begin to address it at in this sermon from 1 John 2:18-27. (It’s not 18 minutes long.)

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Piper on Entertainment

I’m preaching on the Christian’s response to the entertainment industry this Sunday evening. I’d be glad for any recommendations you’d like to make regarding readily available resources that would help in this study, which will focus on Ephesians 5. Fundamentalists have had a reputation for being “different” from the world when it comes to what we see and hear and read. I think this reputation is increasingly inconsistent with reality. Not only do we watch and listen to exactly what the lost do, but we watch and listen just like they do. We’re not only not distinct in the content of our entertainment, but we’re not distinct in our philosophy of entertainment. It’s just too important to us, and I wholeheartedly include myself in that critique. This 2-minute sound byte from John Piper addresses that troubling fact. Devastating.

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Mohler on The Golden Compass

This was buried in another post, and worth repeating:

Dr. Albert Mohler provides what is by far the most thorough and biblical perspective on The Golden Compass and His Dark Materials that I have read. He brings a distinct gospel focus to the discussion, as well. If you’re at all interested in the discussion of Pullman’s works and why they have been the source of concern for Christians, this is a must-read.

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Gospel-Driven Separation

The latest edition of The OBF Visitor is out. I was privileged to write the feature article this month: Gospel-Driven Separation. It argues from Jude that separation and militancy must not be ends in themselves, but must be motivated by our love of the gospel (not merely a movement) and accompanied by our proclamation of the gospel, both to believers and unbelievers. I think it’s an important issue, particularly for fundamentalists. I encourage those who don’t subscribe to the Visitor to do so.

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You Know You’re a Redneck When…

Finally, speaking of buried comments, this gem from Andy Henderson is buried at the end of a long thread and is worth digging up. Andy was exposed by a friend from college as a fan of The Cathedrals. I was amused and began ribbing him about it. His classic response?

Chris, man, give me a break. My family is from East Tennessee. Where I come from, “Garlock” was an obscure brand of homemade moonshine, “Forrest” was a place you went to smoke so mama wouldn’t catch you, and “Lynch” was something you and some buddies wanted to do to Bama fans. Cathedrals were high church, my friend.

All that is in the past now. Well, gotta go, the Gaither Christmas special is starting.

Too funny. :)

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14 Responses

  1. Re: Gospel-Driven Separation

    Chris, I am very interested in reading your article because I am in the middle of teaching a very similar SS series on Guarding the Gospel: Maintaining the Purity of the Gospel in Faith and Practice. I am approaching the subjects of separation and Fundamentalism from that perspective to show that if we are not following Biblical direction in our response to false doctrine, false teachers, persistently disobedient brethren, and worldliness, then we will end up distorting the gospel and the truth of the gospel will not remain with us (cf., Gal 2:5 for one key verse). I really believe this is the right approach, mainly because it lines up so well with the Scriptural emphasis. I don’t see your article online, though.

    Concerning Pastor Henderson, I know for a fact that he has Rocky Top as his cell phone ringtone. I think that tells us everything we need to know about his redneck listening habits…

  2. Sorry if I was confusing on that point, Andy. The article was just printed, and there is a “lag time” before they are published online to encourage subscriptions.

  3. Andy,

    When it comes to “Rocky Top”, I think anyone with any music sense would wholeheartedly and without reservation agree that Bach had nothing on the brilliant musician that wrote and arranged that masterpiece. It is moving. I have seen that song bring over 100,000 to their feet in awe. I will just continue to pray that your music sensibilities mature.

  4. My maternal family being from “down home” as well, your comments really resonate with me Andy H.

    We may have gotten a red carpet laid on the sawdust trail at BJU, but the sawdust is still there nonetheless.

  5. Chris,

    Wayne Wilson, a SoCal pastor and former Holllywood industry guy, wrote a book several years ago that is available. The Title is Worldly Amusements. I found it helpful. Wayne is a TMS grad. You can contact Wayne at Acton Bible Church.

    Stay faithful,

    In Christ,

    Roger

  6. Chris,

    That was a great statement by Piper. That is an area about which the Lord is constantly convicting me. As much as I hate to admit it, I chase after vanity far too much. I believe I would be devastated if I truly knew the amount of time that I have needlessly wasted on entertainment. To think of all of the ministry that could have been done and growth in Christ that could have taken place in that amount of time makes me ill.

    Have you ever read the book “Amusing Ourselves to death” by Postman? It has been a little while since I read that book, but from what I remember it has some helpful points that may aid in your study.

  7. Hi, Roger. Wilson’s book has been a help to me in the past (especially when I wrote this article, in which I quote him several times), and I’ll be getting back to it this week. It is good.

    Andrew, Amusing Ourselves to Death has been on my reading list at MTC for a long, long time. Somehow, I haven’t found time to read it. Now how ironic is that?

    Set Apart by Kent Hughes is helpful, as well.

    And yes, the Piper statement is excellent. I think fundamentalists have mistakenly focused on the location issue (theaters), and I have focused instead on the content issue. Piper goes much deeper and addresses it from a gospel and stewardship issue. So it’s not just is it “clean”? Is it of any eternal importance? Is it worthy of our time and attention? Ouch. That’s gonna leave a mark.

    Thanks for the tips. Keep them coming.

  8. Here is an applicable quote from George Whitefield:

    My dear brethren, I speak of these things, these innocent diversions, as the polite part of the world calls them, by experience; perhaps none, for my age, hath read or seen more plays than I have: I took delight in, and was pleased with them. It is true, I went to church frequently, received the sacrament, and was diligent in the use of the forms of religion, but I was all this while ignorant of the power of God on my heart, and unacquainted with the work of grace; but when God was pleased to shine with power upon my soul, I could no longer be contented to feed on husks, or what the swine die eat; the Bible then was my food; there, and there only I took delight: and till you feel this same power, you will not abstain from the earthly delights of this age, you will take no comfort in God’s ways, nor receive any comfort from him; for you are void of the love of God, having only the form of godliness, while you are denying the power of it; you are nominal Christians, when you have not the power of Christianity.

    The polite gentlemen say, “Are we to be always upon our knees? Would you have us be always at prayer, and reading or hearing the word of God?”

    My dear brethren, the fashionable ones, who take delight in hunting, are not tired of being continually on horseback after their hounds; and when once you are renewed by the Spirit of God, it will be a continual pleasure to be walking with, and talking of God, and telling what great things Jesus Christ hath done for your souls; and till you can find as much pleasure in conversing with God, as these men do of their hounds, you have no share in him; but when you have tasted how good the Lord is, you will show forth his praise; out of the abundance of your heart your mouth will speak.

  9. Thanks for the help on the entertainment end. I mentioned that I’m studying up on Perseverance, as well. Any helpful resources for that study would be appreciated!

  10. The book of Hebrews is a pretty good resource on that topic.

    There is also The Race Set Before Us by Thomas Schreiner and Ardel Caneday — highly recommended.

  11. I second the recommendation for Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” It is not hard to read, but it can be quite painful to one’s toes. :) I just went through it with our almost 14 year old.

    For what it is worth, most fundamentalists think of amusement/entertainment as being a problem only if it is worldly. Postman presents a much deeper and more thorough look, pointing out the devastating impact of entertainment on our lives generally–including that which we tend to excuse as innocuous.

  12. Andy,

    Where did you find the Whitefield quote?

  13. It’s from his sermon, “The Folly and Danger of Being Not Righteous Enough.” This sermon was preached in response to a sermon by a Dr. Trapp on “The Folly and Danger of Being Overly Righteous” or something along those lines. Dr. Trapp was also critical of Whitefield’s open-air meetings.

    http://www.biblebb.com/files/whitefield/gw009.htm

  14. Update: we finished the writing and recording of the outreach CD today. Joe will be editing it tomorrow. I’m encouraged. I think it’s going well.

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