Archive for April, 2011

Apr 22

Sermon Follow-up: “An Unlikely Chain of Events”

2011 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Follow-Up

Ryan’s sermon on Good Friday, “An Unlikely Chain of Events,” was taken from Matthew 26 and 27. As Ryan said, if we weren’t already familiar with the twists and turns in these chapters some twenty things would be shocking and strange to us. It’s important for us to see these twists and turns with fresh eyes so that we might rightly marvel at the beauty, glory, power, and victory that lies beneath the surface of these seemingly odd events.

Here are Ryan’s twenty points along with four concluding reflections.

Twenty “oddities” found in Matthew 26 and 27:

  1. He prayed to be delivered (Matthew 26:39)
  2. His disciples slept while he prayed (Matthew 26:40-45)
  3. One of the twelve, Judas, turned him in (Matthew 26:14-16; Matthew 26:47-50)
  4. Another, Peter, tried to kill for him (Matthew 26:51-53)
  5. Shortly after, Peter disavowed him Three Times (Matthew 26:72-75)
  6. All of his disciples fled (Matthew 26:56b; Matthew 26:31)
  7. His religious/national leaders wanted him dead (Matthew 27:1)
  8. He gave no defense at his trial (Matthew 26:62-63a; Matthew 27:12-14)
  9. Pilate’s wife had bad dreams about Jesus (Matthew 27:19)
  10. The crowd chose to free a notorious criminal instead (Matthew 27:15-17; Matthew 27:21-23)
  11. He was caught in the middle of a political pickle (Matthew 27:20; Matthew 27:24)
  12. He couldn’t carry his own cross (Matthew 27:32)
  13. He was mocked, humiliated, and beaten (Matthew 27:27-30; Matthew 27:37; Matthew 27:39-40)
  14. He was crucified with common criminals (Matthew 27:38; Matthew 27:44)
  15. He was forsaken by his Father (Matthew 27:46)
  16. Nearing his death the sky went dark (Matthew 27:45)
  17. The temple curtain tore in two (Matthew 27:51a)
  18. There was an earthquake (Matthew 27:51b)
  19. There was a group-resurrection (Matthew 27:52-53)
  20. One of his captors believed (Matthew 27:54)

What conclusions can we draw from all this?

  1. If you were making up this story to try to start a political movement or a new religion, you wouldn’t include most of these 20 things. Some stories are too strange to not be true!
  2. Scripture says that, in all of these seemingly odd events, God was orchestrating affairs to bring Jesus to the cross (Acts 2:22-23).
  3. In God’s wisdom, he has chosen to bring power out of weakness and wisdom/salvation out of foolishness (1 Cor 1:21-24).
  4. In all these events one thing keeps coming up: no one is passing the test – not the religious establishment, not the governor, not the masses, not even the closest disciples. No one passes the test…except Jesus.

Apr 22

Getting to Know Carl Trueman, Part 2

2011 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Clarus 11

Carl Trueman has a number of videos sprinkled throughout YouTube, many of which are brief 5-10 minute teaching videos on various subjects, including  John Owenconspiracy theories, or even trivia on historical theology and 70’s rock.

In this video, Dr. Trueman answers questions about Scripture in an interview ahead of a conference at Oak Hill College.

Apr 21

Getting to Know G.K. Beale, Part 2

2011 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Clarus 11

Of all the books in the Bible, the book of Revelation may be the most universally intriguing. Well, our speaker for Clarus, G.K. Beale has written quite a bit on this book of the Bible, including a commentary.

When he was with us previously for Clarus in 2007, Dr. Beale delivered several helpful talks on the subject for that year’s theme, From Symbolism to Significance: The Book of Revelation.

Here are two popular talks from that year’s conference:

Justin Taylor summarized Dr. Beale’s talk on symbolism this way:

Professor Beale shows that the popular approach—interpret the verses literally unless you’re forced to interpret them symbolically—is actually backward. He argues that if you take Revelation 1:1 literally—especially in light of its OT allusion to the book of Daniel—then you’ll properly interpret the rest of the book symbolically. He goes on to show why the Prophets, Jesus, and John made use of such symbolism.

If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, you can do so online.

Apr 21

Clarus: Care for Children and Get a Free Ticket

2011 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Clarus 11

This is the first year that childcare will be offered at Clarus for the duration of the conference. To provide this for families with children, we’re offering a complementary ticket to anyone who works childcare for a session of the conference.

Of course, this is a ministry to parents, but also to children. We want them to know what it means that God has spoken in Scripture as well.

We still have a few gaps in our childcare lineup, so if you are interested in helping, please contact the church office at 505.797.8700 or email Kayla at

Apr 20

Getting to Know Carl Trueman, Part 1

2011 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Clarus 11

On Monday we began our series of speaker introduction posts with a post introducing you to G.K. Beale. Now it’s time to introduce you to Carl Trueman.

Thankfully, C.J. Mahaney has done much of the work for us. About a year ago, C.J. conducted an interview with Dr. Trueman (part 1, part 2).

Here are a few excerpts from Mahaney’s interview:

Carl, thanks for your time. Please describe your morning devotions. What time do you wake up in the morning? How much time do you spend reading, meditating, praying, etc.? What are you presently reading?

My children have to be at school by 7:30, so I rise at about 6:15 to 6:30. I usually wait until I arrive at work, ca. 8 a.m., to have devotions. Westminster offices do not open till 8:30 so this gives me a half hour of peace and quiet. I typically read four chapters of the Bible. I read continually from Genesis to 2 Chronicles; from Ezra to Malachi (excluding the Psalms); from Matthew to Acts; and from Romans to Revelation; I finish with a Psalm or two, reading continually through the Psalter. At this precise moment, I am in Numbers, Job, John, and 1 Corinthians, with the daily Psalm being 143. Prayer then involves adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. The simple ACTS pattern that I learned at college.

Carl, what single piece of counsel (or constructive criticism) has most improved your preaching?

From my wife, my most faithful supporter and most astute critic: be aware that when you preach, there are children in the congregation and I must neither make them stumble nor preach over their heads. I think particularly of a time when I preached on 1 Corinthians 1 and referred to the church in Corinth as probably containing the first century equivalent of “pole dancers.” My wife rebuked me afterwards for using a term which could have provoked embarrassing conversations for parents over a Lord’s Day family lunch. Point taken. Never done it again. Other times I have used pretentiously technical vocabulary which kids (and some congregants) would not understand. At such times, I did not preach Christ, I preached Trueman and how clever he is. I now try never to do this, and confess it when I think I may have slipped. As a professor, this is always a temptation, so now I assist my wife in teaching the 4 year olds in Sunday School. That has helped me—and humbled me—more than anything with regard to how I communicate in the pulpit.

What single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your leadership?

Again, I have to plead to be allowed to break the rule and list four things.

(a) Pick your battles. Not every hill is worth dying on; and not every battle is something you are competent to fight. As a younger man, I wanted to fight all comers and win every battle. Neither necessary nor possible.

(b) Be part of a team who care for you and whom you trust to tell you when you are going the wrong way or crossing a line that should not be crossed—and listen to them. Yes-men are fatal to good leadership. A trustworthy colleague who is prepared to oppose you to your face is worth his weight in gold.

(c) Understand that leadership is lonely; being liked by everyone is a luxury you probably cannot afford. Deal with it and get on with the job. If you want to be liked, be a circus clown; if you want to lead and lead well, be prepared for the loneliness that comes with it. This is why, for me, a happy home has been crucial for it has been a place where work is, as far as possible, kept far away. Home is the one place I can go each night and know that I am loved, and I guard it fiercely. I have even banned my kids from Googling my name—if there is nasty stuff out there about me, I deal with it at work; I do not allow it into my house.

(d) Don’t waste time defending your own name for the sake of it. If Christ’s honour is at stake, or the innocent are made vulnerable by some attack on your character, you need to respond; otherwise, let it be. If I responded to every wannabe crank who thinks I’m arrogant, hypocritical, lying etc. etc., I’d never have the time to do anything else. The secret is not caring about your own name except as it impacts upon others.

Do you exercise? If so, what do you do? If not, why not? (Please be specific.)

Fanatically. I spin, cycle, and especially I run distances. I’m a consistent sub-4 hour marathoner (but only on Saturday races—I am a Presbyterian, after all!), and hope this year to run a 50k ultramarathon with a friend who is a Presbyterian pastor in Colorado.

Currently, what sport do you like to play and/or watch?

I run. I love to watch rugby. Every summer, I spend three weeks watching the Tour de France on television (even had to switch my cable provider this year when the Tour switched channels!). Above all, I like to watch my sons compete in their sports, particularly middle distance running.

You can read the whole interview here and here. Tickets for Clarus are available for purchase online at the Clarus site.