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Quick Hits (12/20/07)

Recovering from the flu, looking forward to finishing a bunch of half-read books during some end-of-the-year vacation time, and clearing the mental desk here of some miscellany too brief for their own posts. Blog stew, anyone?

Bauder on 2 John, Defending the Gospel, and Conservative Evangelicals

The message Ryan Martin links to from this post is excellent, and the discussion afterwards is fascinating. Dr. Bauder is always thought-provoking.

My Favorite Things: Listening to Barrett Preach on Christ

I listen to a lot of sermons by a lot of different preachers. However, few preachers bring me as much joy as Michael Barrett when he’s preaching on Christ. A couple of my favorites:

  • This one on John 1 is especially appropriate as a Christmas meditation. I commend it to you.
  • I just listened to this one on Hebrews 3. You should, too.
  • This one (or one like it) on justification from Zechariah 3 has done as much to shape my understanding of justification as any sermon I’ve heard. The Lord used it to open my eyes to this glorious truth when I was a student at BJU, and meditating on the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to me and of my sin to Christ has been a delight ever since. In fact, Dr. Barrett’s teaching on this subject, both in this sermon and in his book Complete In Him is a large part of what stirred me to write His Robes for Mine. (Note: This message by Barrett on justification is excellent, as well.)

His Robes for Mine, Take Two

Speaking of His Robes for Mine, it has been suggested to me that (a) the song might well do better with a fresh tune, and (b) the lyrics tend to “sprawl” a bit. I’ve reworked the lyrics, trying to “tighten them up” a bit, and Greg Habegger is finishing up a gorgeous new setting for it. It should be finished soon, and I think it will be a great blessing. I pray so!

Several Good Reads

  • This article by Phil Johnson on the low-cal gospel and its historical cause is excellent.
  • This article by Jesse Johnson on every member evangelism is just as good. I couldn’t agree more. The vast majority of TCBC’s our outreach ministry is our body giving the gospel, and the vast majority of those who profess Christ and grow in grace were introduced to us and our Savior by someone they know, now a cold call.
  • This article by Nathan Busenitz on ecumenism and the evangelical mindset which has given rise to it is worth the read, as well.

Update on the Gospel CD

Speaking of every member ministry, we were able to distribute over half of the 1000 Gospel CD’s to our church body on Sunday. We’ve been able to distribute many ourselves and have heard of others doing the same. Please pray with us for fruit from this ministry. And again, feel free to utilize the resource yourself! (Details here.)

Francine Rivers: Hmmm.

I read several books by Francine Rivers in 2007. I’m not sure what to think. Her writing is extremely engaging; the books are hard to put down. And they contain some powerful lessons. On the other hand, her theology is…interesting, particularly as it pertains to continuing revelation, and she isn’t at all shy when writing about provocative subjects. If you haven’t read her, I’m not suggesting that you do. If you have, I’d be interested in your take. Is there any profit here?

Merry Christmas to Me!

I recently purchased a treadmill on which I can run and Lori can walk during the long NE Ohio winters. That fact has nothing to do with anyone who reads MTC, but I wanted to tell you because I’m just pumped about it. :)


19 Responses

  1. I am glad that you are pumped up about your treadmill. I have owned a treadmill for about 8 years. In fact, I do not know where we would be without it, especially in the winter time. My wife and I use it regularly. I try to use it six days a week, but it often is only five. However, it seems to me that we have a stewardship to take care of ourselves and this can provide a good cardiovascular workout. Merry Christmas to you, Chris.

  2. Hi, Dr. McCabe.

    I’m glad to hear that you’ve enjoyed your treadmill. One of your former students (read: Mark Perry) has cynically insisted that I’ll hate it. I know it’s not like running outside. The problem is, I’ll run long distances in the fall—like a marathon—then get snowed in for several months, then be gasping for air in the spring after just a couple miles. It’s amazing how quickly you lose what you’ve worked hard to gain. (There’s a spiritual lesson there somewhere, I think.) Hopefully it won’t just turn into an expensive clothes hanger.

    Have a wonderful Christmas, friend!

  3. Thanks for the Barrett sermon recommendations! I can’t think of a much better way to spend an hour or so on my treadmill. :)

    I prayed for your special services last Sunday, and trust that the Holy Spirit will continue to drive home to hearts the truths that were taught both in the preaching and the worship.

    Have a rich and meaningful Christmas!

  4. Hi Chris,

    It sounds to me as if you are wired for year round running; and in this part of country, it is hard to run in the winter time. So I think a treadmill is great for someone like you.

    In a similar way, I am somewhat wired for this type of thing since I ran Cross Country when I was younger and I use to run in the spring and summer time until I was 48 to 50. So I have an inclination for this type of thing, and it sounds like you have the same tendency.

    When I first started using the treadmill, I did not like it; and initially I probably hated it. If Mark is referring to hating a treadmill because of monotony, he is correct. To defeat the monotony, I initially began using a tape player and I would listen to sermons and lectures. As my technological interests have developed, I have improved from the walkman days. I love using the treadmill on Sunday afternoon and watching my favorite football team play.

    A couple of items drive me to use the treadmill: my stewardship with health maintenance and mission trips. I am 58 and, as I see myself slowing down, I am driven to maintain a certain level of health. Though ultimately maintaining my health is in God’s hands (good health maintenance does not rule out heart attacks, cancer, etc), I am convinced that God expects us to persevere in maintaining a basic level of fitness so that we can effectively serve him. In addition, the missions trips have become more difficult with age. Since I feel that I can still serve Christ in these areas, I have to take care of myself.

    In short, though I no longer care about being athletic (my hand were made for lexicons and not for throwing footballs), I am driven because I think this is part of God’s stewardship for a believer (Eccl 9:7-10).

    I hope you get your money’s worth out of your treadmill and have a Christ-centered Christmas.

  5. Chris, what keeps a treadmill from becoming an expensive clothes hangar is discipline.

    Dr. McCabe uses his treadmill six times a week, and has done so for the last eight years. He also does devotions out of his Hebrew Bible every day. He also writes articles, syllabi, and papers and finishes them on time.

    If that doesn’t rattle you, Chris, I dunno what can. [heh,heh]

  6. You don’t rattle me a bit, Mark. Motivate me? Sure.

    Anyway, if I ran little 5K races like you do, I probably could get by without running in the winter. [heh, heh yourself]

  7. Lyn,

    Your kind and substantial comment is like a drink of cool water in a blogosphere desert of sand-like cynicism. Thank you. :)

  8. Actually, Chris, that’s why I haven’t purchased a treadmill myself. I’m no model of self-discipline: the good doctor himself has been leaning on me about keeping my Hebrew up! :-)

  9. As well as Mark reads Greek, I think with a little work (15 to 20 minutes/day) Mark could develop the same expertise in Hebrew. Hopefully, if Mark is in summer school this year, I can exert a little more pressure about Hebrew. May be if you, Chris, keep the pressure on Mark, he may buy a treadmill and run a marathon in 2008 with Dan Winnberg:)

  10. That’s what I’m thinking. If I push him enough, I’ll get him to run a 1/2 Marathon. Once that happens, he’ll be addicted. My secret plan: 1/2 Marathon with Mark in the spring of 2008 and a full in the fall of 2008.

    The kicker is, he’ll smoke me at both.

  11. Can I play devil’s advocate for a moment? Why all the talk about treadmills? On a site that is linked to this blog, whenever the subject of physical conditioning comes up, we get people coming out of the woodwork claiming how it’s wrong to condition the body because it’s “selfish” and not spiritual.

    By the way, I admire people for wanting to keep fit. I won’t get into detail, but let’s be adults and not overlook the fact that the Bible tells married people to not defraud each other. One way to defraud your spouse could possibly be by letting yourself turn into a complete couch potato and letting your figure look like a potato. Also, Paul uses metaphors like “running the race.”

    I don’t want to make a big deal out of this, but I just find it refreshing to see someone who actually cares about their bodies and doesn’t claim that a Christian’s role is to look as ugly as they possibly can because to care about our physical selves is “selfish.”

  12. Well, I am a couch potato and do sort of resemble a potato. And the only time I ever criticize people for being in shape is when I’m secretly jealous because I’m as flabby as spaghetti. Hey, may as well be honest.

    But I would like to talk about the controversy of this thread. Who is right? Chris said: “Hi, Dr. McCabe.”
    And McCabe said: “Hi Chris,”

    While I was criticizing people in college who majored in physical therapy (again, because I was secretly jealous because I was already “going to pot” with too many pizzas), I tried to study in English. College was years and years ago for me, so I may be a bit rusty. But isn’t the correct salutation actually Chris’ instead of McCabe’s? I see very few people who put the comma after “hi” where it should rightly be, if memory serves. Congratulations for being one of the few to get it right!

  13. Hi j. Jones, :D

    The real kicker in this discussion is that I linked to 4 sermons and 3 articles, yet the discussion has focused on a passing comment I made about my new treadmill.

    Ah, the joy of blogging. :D

    Merry Christmas, all!

  14. hey, Chris (note comma – but not capitalization)

    Just remember the age-old adage:

    I’m in shape. Round is a shape.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  15. I know a little Hebrew, and I know a little Greek. The little Hebrew runs a clothing store, and the little Greek runs a deli!

    There, I commented on Chris’ first 2 comments, and I used the term “run” in this sentence, so I commented on most of this thread. Notice where I placed all of the commas! Great grammar!

    BTW, May our God and Saviour (that spelling is for Don) bless you at this Christmas time, and the coming New Year!

  16. Chris,

    FWIW, Dr. Bauder has removed his sermon for reasons provided in Ryan’s meta.



  17. I’d be interested to know which Francine Rivers books you read. It’s been so long since I read any that I can’t speak too intelligently about them. I don’t remember allusions to continuing revelation, but I may have just forgotten about it over the years.

    I thought her Mark of the Lion series about Christianity in first century Rome was quite good, though the frankness about the sexual temptations of the day may have gone overboard. I wrestled with whether it may have been justified because it was a time of promiscuity and perversion. I thought Redeeming Love did go overboard in that area. I enjoyed Leota’s Garden probably the most of any of her books but I also liked The Atonement Child and The Last Sin Eater. This isn’t a complete endorsement of any of them — as I said, it’s been so long since I read them I can’t remember if I encountered any problems with them or not.

    I haven’t read any of her series about Biblical people. I don’t usually like such books because there’s usually too much speculation.

  18. Hi, Barbara. I read the Mark of the Lion series and Redeeming Love. I enjoyed both, and was caused to think by both, but I also thought both were uncomfortably explicit. She’s definitely a gifted writer, and she does a good job developing characters. I’m not necessarily looking to read more of her books, though. I’m working through Les Miserables, which is taking me a long time. That really needs to be the extent of my fiction reading at present. I’ve got a tone of devotional, theological, and ministerial books I want to get through.

  19. Argh. Now Chris has uncovered his fiendish plan and put the pressure on me. And Dr. McCabe has gone and put the pressure on me. [sigh]

    My secret plan for Chris: get him to run a 10K with me in the spring and find out how exhilarating it is to run fast for 30-45 minutes instead of dogging it for two or three (or four or five and a half) hours. :-) I think one or two races and he’d be hooked.

    My secret plan for Dr. McCabe is to try to change the subject whenever Hebrew comes up. [heh,heh] Speaking of which, how ’bout those Pittsburgh Steelers? :-)

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