Guinness on Schaeffer

Check out Justin Taylor’s recent interview with Os Guinness on the 25th Anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s death:

I also recommend Guinness’ book review of Frank Schaeffer’s memoir, Crazy for God:

Benedictine Vow of Stability

I have been challenged by Dennis Okholm’s book Monk Habits for Everyday People where he challenges pastors toward solitude, listening, poverty (sharing the goods), obedience, humility, hospitality, stability (staying put to get somewhere), and balance (God in everything). By cultivating these disciplines, ministry leaders have great potential to change the world for Christ.

I’ve been especially blessed by chapter 8 considering the Benedictine monks who took a vow of stability to stay with one church community for life. This kind of consistency is rare for GenX who tend to lack commitment. I urge you to prayerfully read Okholm’s book as a reality check. It may help you re-think your future ministry.

The Unlikely Disciple

Kevin Roose has written an interesting book, The Unlikely Disciple, about his experience going “undercover” as a student for one semester at Liberty University.

Check out J. D. Greear’s excellent book review at:

Greear says, “It is worth reading just to see how we as Christians look to those on the ‘outside’, and to see what intelligent, articulate, surprisingly MORAL ‘unbelievers’ think about us.”

Challenge for Young Leaders

No generation has arrived. Every generation has gains and losses. I pray our generation will be prayerful, teachable, Scripture-centered, seeking counsel from ministry leaders who have paved the way, learning from history, and making greater strides for Christ in the decades ahead.

I recommend the following article by Nathan Akin: A Call for Foot Soldiers in a Great Commission Resurgence: The Positives and the Pitfalls for Young Leaders. A brief outline is below.

Positives of Young Leaders:
1. Energy and Creativity
2. Theological Renewal
3. A Missionaries’ Mindset
4. Expectancy

Pitfalls of Young Leaders:
1. Pride and Ageism
2. Follow through
3. Capitulation to Culture
4. Isolationist Attitude
5. Neglect of the Spiritual Disciplines


Here are some thoughts from John Stott on Self-Forgetfulness:

“If you look at yourself in the mirror, and listen to yourself on tape, or do both simultaneously on videotape, I fear you may find that you continue to look at yourself and listen to yourself when you are in the pulpit. In that case you will condemn yourself to the cramping bondage of preoccupation with yourself just at the time when, in the pulpit, it is essential to cultivate self-forgetfulness through a growing awareness of the God for whom and the people to whom you are speaking . . . I know actors make use of glass and tape, but preachers are not actors, nor is the pulpit at a stage. So beware! It may be more valuable to ask a friend to be candid with you about your voice and mannerisms, especially if they need correction. An Indian proverb says ‘He who has a good friend needs no mirror.’ Then you can be yourself and forget yourself.”

The Apostle Paul Wanted Books

During Ligon Duncan’s sermon at The Gospel Coalition conference he quoted Spurgeon’s sermon on 2 Timothy 4:13 where Paul asks Timothy to bring him his books/parchments.

Here is a section from Spurgeon’s sermon:

“We do not know what the books were about, and we can only form some guess as to what the parchments were. Paul had a few books which were left, perhaps wrapped up in the cloak, and Timothy was to be careful to bring them. Even an apostle must read. . . . A man who comes up into the pulpit, professes to take his text on the spot, and talks any quantity of nonsense, is the idol of many. If he will speak without premeditation, or pretend to do so, and never produce what they call a dish of dead men’s brains—oh! that is the preacher. How rebuked are they by the apostle!

He is inspired, and yet he wants books!

He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books!

He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books!

He had had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books!

He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a men to utter, yet he wants books!

He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books!

The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every preacher, ‘Give thyself unto reading.’ The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own.

Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all our people. You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible. We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, ‘Bring the books’—join in the cry.”

Some Thoughts on Singleness

There can be some risks and dangers in singleness. I appreciate John Piper’s warning against “adultolescence.” This is a common trend to extend adolescence through the 20s and purposely delay marriage due to selfishness, pursuing pleasure, irresponsibility, and refusing to grow up. I have heard Al Mohler say that “Christian men who are still single by the age of 30 are often guilty of indecisiveness, commitment phobia, and perfectionism.” There is a potential for singles over time to become more selfish, stubborn, dysfunctional, and set in their ways. Some singles are able to hide behind their secret sins like wasting time, pornography, or eating disorders, which would be more easily exposed in marriage. Marriage has a wonderful way of sanctifying believers, revealing sin, and promoting spiritual growth.

On the other side of the coin, there are many godly singles who have pursued education, ministry and careers though the 20s and 30s, and as long as they are walking in holiness and serving the Lord, this can be a good thing. Remember Psalm 84, “Nothing good does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

While some singles may need some moral support and encouragement to pursue marriage, local churches are often guilty of pressuring singles toward marriage, treating them as victims, viewing them as immature, and judging their status as sin. This has been a painful part of my experience as a single in ministry. An individual should not be judged negatively for their single status. A single is to remain content in the Lord whatever his/her status. While singles may struggle with various sins (such as self-sufficiency, commitment, indecisiveness, perfectionism, and other sins mentioned above), every person is a sinner. One is ultimately single or married because of the will of God. Married folks also struggle with sin. I have seen individuals pursue marriage with wrong motives . . . being desperate, on rebound, finding significance in a partner, etc. Motives are a messy thing. The Lord meets us where we are. He uses all of us and our experiences for his glory.

I recommend the book, They Were Single Too: Eight Biblical Role Models, by David M. Hoffeditz. In chapter 1, he considers the apostle Paul and the “gift” of singleness in 1 Cor 7: “Often people neglect to see both [singleness and marriage] as gifts, and in so doing, regard singleness as a social oddity. Finally, note that Paul does not pit the two marital states against each other, but stresses the significance of each gift. Both are given by God. I am comforted to know that God is the one distributing marriage or singleness. The God who called me before He created this world, the One who knows the number of hairs on my head, and who gave His Son for me is the benefactor of these gifts. It is the Lord who has appointed—not Aunt Lilly, not my mother, not my so-called friends, not that well-meaning church member” (Hoffeditz, They Were Single Too, 9).

In the article, “Singled Out by God for Good,” Paige Benton writes: “I am not single because I am too spiritually unstable to possibly deserve a husband, not because I am too spiritually mature to possibly need one. I am single because God is so abundantly good to me, because this is his best for me. It is a cosmic impossibility that anything could be better for me right now than being single. The psalmists confirm that I should not want, I shall not want, because no good thing will God withhold from me” (Benton, Regeneration Quarterly 3 (1997), 21).

T4G 2008

I just returned from the Together for the Gospel 2008 conference in Louisville, KY. Each of the sessions were excellent featuring Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, C. J. Mahaney, Mark Dever, R. C. Sproul, John MacArthur, and John Piper. You can download all the 2008 messages for free at: and the 2006 messages at:

I was most impacted by the sermon from Thabiti Anyabwile of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman entitled: “Bearing the Image: Identity, the Work of Christ, and the Church.” He challenged us to remove race from our vocabulary, since it usually carries negative connotation. It would be better to incorporate words like ethnicity, people groups, and nationality. He reminded us that every person on earth is the “seed of Adam . . . like me, created in the image of God . . . like me.” Even more, Christians throughout the world should view one another as “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (1 Pet 2:9). I pray this would truly be our perspective.

Christ the Mediator – Baptist Confession

The Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) is a wonderful document, and Spurgeon’s revision is refreshing. This Section #8 concerns “Christ the Mediator.” We edited/removed some paragraphs due to its length to read this together in a recent church worship service. After looking closely at Psalm 16 and Acts 2 & 13, we brought back the original phrase “yet saw no corruption.”

For more info, go to:

Reader 1:

Pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon was England’s best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century. From 1854 to 1891 he pastored the New Park Street Chapel in London which later became the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Spurgeon wrote the following statement concerning the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith:

“This ancient document is the most excellent epitome of the things most surely believed among us. It is not issued as an authoritative rule or code of faith, whereby you may be fettered, but as a means of edification in righteousness. It is an excellent, though not inspired, expression of the teaching of those Holy Scriptures by which all confessions are to be measured. We hold to the humbling truths of God’s sovereign grace in the salvation of lost sinners. Salvation is through Christ alone and by faith alone.”

Reader 2:

This morning we will read highlights of “Section 8: Christ the Mediator” from The Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) with slight revisions by C. H. Spurgeon.

1. It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, in accordance with the covenant made between them both, to be the Mediator between God and man; to be Prophet, Priest, and King, the Head and Saviour of His Church, the Heir of all things, and the Judge of all the world. To the Lord Jesus He gave, from all eternity, a people to be His seed. These, in time, would be redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified by the Lord Jesus.

Reader 3:

2. The Son of God, the second person in the Holy Trinity, being true and eternal God, the brightness of the Father’s glory, of the same substance and equal with Him;
– Who made the world, and Who upholds and governs all things which He has made,
– did, when the fullness of time had come, take upon Himself man’s nature, with all its essential properties and common infirmities, with the exception of sin.
– He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit coming down upon her and the power of the Most High overshadowing her, so that He was born to a woman from the tribe of Judah, a descendant of Abraham and David, in accordance with the Scriptures.
– Thus two whole, perfect and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion;
– So that the Lord Jesus Christ is truly God and truly man, yet He is one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.

Reader 4:

4. This office and duty of Mediator and Surety the Lord Jesus undertook most willingly. To discharge it, He was made under the law, and perfectly fulfilled it, and He underwent the punishment due to us, which we should have borne and suffered. He was made sin and was made a curse for us; enduring the most grievous sorrows in His Soul with the most painful sufferings in His duty. He was crucified, and died, and remained in the state of the dead, yet saw no corruption. On the third day He rose from the dead with the same body in which He had suffered, with which He also ascended into Heaven, and there sits at the right hand of His Father making intercession, and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.

5. The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience and sacrifice of Himself which He, through the eternal Spirit, once offered up to God, has fully satisfied the justice of God, has procured reconciliation, and has purchased an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of Heaven for all those whom the Father has given to Him.


9. This office of Mediator between God and man is proper only to Christ, Who is the Prophet, Priest, and King of the Church. Free Will of God, and this office may not be transferred from Him to any other, either in whole or in part.

10. This number and order of offices is essential. Because of our ignorance we need His prophetic office. Because of our alienation from God and the imperfection of the best of our service, we need His priestly office to reconcile us and present us to God as acceptable. Because of our aversion to, and utter inability to return to God, and for our rescue and keeping from spiritual enemies, we need His kingly office to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, deliver, and preserve us until we reach His heavenly kingdom.