Archive for June, 2014
That’s a question you need to settle.
In 2011, Christopher Yuan published a book by the title, Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope. It’s his story of salvation. He was a fully engaged in a homosexual lifestyle for years as his mother prayed for him. Then, as this good story goes, God saved him. Now he writes and speaks on the subject. Here’s his site.
This year, Matthew Vines published a very different book with a very different story on the same topic. It’s titled, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. You may have heard about it. In our seminar on the topic of homosexual marriage in April, we addressed a number of the arguments raised in Vines’ book. You should have confidence that the Bible is clear. The seminar will help.
So, will Christopher Yuan’s review of Vines’ book at Christianity Today, “Why ‘God and the Gay Christian’ Is Wrong About the Bible and Same-Sex Relationships.” Here’s from the opening section:
[Vines’] aim is not to present new information, but to synthesize gay-affirming arguments and make them accessible for a broader and younger audience. Vines does a good job fulfilling this goal. Unfortunately, his book consists of some logical and exegetical fallacies, and it does not address the shortcomings of the authors to whom it is most indebted. And although Vines professes a “high view” of the Bible, he ultimately fails to apply uncomfortable biblical truths in a way that embraces a costly discipleship.
Read his whole article here. For another helpful response to Vines’ book, check out, God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines, an ebook written by professors from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you
and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,
and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.”
— 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
[RSS and email readers, click here to view this video]
This is the video we played to your surprise and to the surprise of Ryan Kelly on Sunday morning after he closed his 500th sermon. It was also a good time to celebrate Ryan’s 10th year with us (which actually happened back in August). We’ve been tracking his sermon total for a few years now and Sunday provided a nice moment for us to reflect on God’s grace in the life of our church in the gift of a preacher and in the fruit born from his Word.
After Ryan preached, he prayed and then asked the congregation to stand before the last song. As he walked off stage, Drew asked everyone to sit and introduced the video. After the video, Ron shared for a few minutes from Ryan’s life and ministry and invited Ryan and Sarah up to receive two gifts. First, a signed used NHL playoff hockey stick from former Red Wings player, Steve Yzerman. This is a rare find from one of Ryan’s favorite players from Ryan’s favorite team from Ryan’s favorite sport. This gift was given from a number of Ryan’s friends, a few from the church and several from around the country. Then, our church family (though you didn’t know this at the time!) gifted Ryan and Sarah with a trip to watch the Red Wings play in a city of their choice sometime in the next year.
If you weren’t able to be with us and wish you knew ahead of time, we sure wish we could have let you know! But then Ryan would have almost certainly found out. And as it is, he was clueless and befuddled, and after that, choked up and crying right in front of us. It was perfect.
Here are a few photos from the end of the service.
Ryan Preaching #500
“500 Sermons” video
Ron tells the story of Ryan’s ministry
Ron asks Ryan where the Red Wings play hockey because he forgot
Ron presents the first gift
Ryan and Ron go in for the hug
Ron mentions a second gift that includes Sarah
In Sunday’s sermon, “Thus Saul Died,” from 1 Samuel 31, Ryan highlighted a number of contrasts between Saul and David that help bring the book of 1 Samuel to its climax and conclusion. Ryan showed these across a few slides, but we thought we’d compile these fascinating contrasts for you here on the blog.
Contrasting events, Same Day
On two separate days there are a series of contrasting events that happen alongside one another. There are clear queues in the text, but it can be hard to pick up at first. Ryan pointed them out to us on two slides.
- Saul hears of Philistines assembling for battle against the Israelites (1 Samuel 28:4-5)
- David discovers the terror of Ziklag city raided, burned, and families taken (1 Samuel 30:1-6)
- Saul inquires of the Lord in vain just silence (1 Samuel 28:5-6)
- David inquires of the Lord and hears and is led out with God’s blessing (1 Samuel 30:7-8)
- Saul sets out to Endor for a medium (1 Samuel 28:7)
- David sets out to pursue Amalekites (1 Samuel 30:9)
- Saul faces Philistines and is slain (1 Samuel 31:1-5)
- David finds Amalekites and decimates them (1 Samuel 30:16-20)
The Contrast Increases toward the Close of the Book
As the book nears its close, the contrasts between David and Saul get more and more pronounced.
- David inquired of the Lord and was led (1 Samuel 30:8)
- Saul inquired, but got only silence, then judgment (1 Samuel 28:6-7)
- With no strength David strengthened himself in God (1 Samuel 30:4, 6)
- With no strength Saul was “strengthened” by a witch (1 Samuel 28:20, 22)
- David was divinely rescued by Philistines (1 Samuel 29)
- Saul was divinely judged by Philistines (1 Samuel 31:1)
- David faced God’s enemies with confidence (1 Samuel 30:9, 10)
- Saul faced God’s enemies with fear (1 Samuel 28:5, 19-20)
- Facing death, David sought the Lord for strength (1 Samuel 30:6)
- Facing death, Saul asked his servant to expedite it (1 Samuel 31:5)
- David pursued and struck down the enemy (1 Samuel 30:17)
- Saul fled, hid, and was struck down by the enemy (1 Samuel 31:1-3)
- With David, none of his 400 men died (1 Samuel 30)
- With Saul, everyone around him died (1 Samuel 31:6)
- Israel’s enemies fled before David and his people (1 Samuel 30:17)
- Israelites fled after Saul’s death (1 Samuel 30:7)
- David plundered the enemies (1 Samuel 30:20)
- The Philistines plundered Israel (1 Samuel 31:7b-10)
- David sent out good news of victory to his people (1 Samuel 30:26)
- The Philistines sent out “good news” of Saul’s death (1 Samuel 31:9)
- David led Israel in peace, care, and blessing (1 Samuel 30:24-26)
- Saul led Israel into utter chaos, shame, and exile (1 Samuel 31:7-10)
Last year John Piper posted an article, “Parents, Require Obedience of Your Children.” In the eight months or so since I’ve read this, we’ve tried to implement the nine principles that Piper offers in the parenting of our children. Each time we discipline our children (who are all under the age of 6), we ask:
1) Why am I about to discipline you? (Because I love you)
– and –
2) What would happen if I didn’t require your obedience and discipline you? (You would be on a trajectory of greater disobedience and rebellion)
In these formative years of childhood, we are trying to cultivate quick obedience from our children to their human authorities, so that when they are no longer children, they will, Lord willing and by his grace, quickly obey their heavenly authority.
I am writing this to plead with Christian parents to require obedience of their children. I am moved to write this by watching young children pay no attention to their parents’ requests, with no consequences. Parents tell a child two or three times to sit or stop and come or go, and after the third disobedience, they laughingly bribe the child. This may or may not get the behavior desired.
Last week, I saw two things that prompted this article. One was the killing of 13-year-old Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa, California, by police who thought he was about to shoot them with an assault rifle. It was a toy gun. What made this relevant was that the police said they told the boy two times to drop the gun. Instead he turned it on them. They fired.
I do not know the details of that situation or if Andy even heard the commands. So I can’t say for sure he was insubordinate. So my point here is not about young Lopez himself. It’s about a “what if.” What if he heard the police, and simply defied what they said? If that is true, it cost him his life. Such would be the price of disobeying proper authority.
I witnessed such a scenario in the making on a plane last week. I watched a mother preparing her son to be shot.
I was sitting behind her and her son, who may have been seven years old. He was playing on his digital tablet. The flight attendant announced that all electronic devices should be turned off for take off. He didn’t turn it off. The mother didn’t require it. As the flight attendant walked by, she said he needed to turn it off and kept moving. He didn’t do it. The mother didn’t require it.
One last time, the flight attendant stood over them and said that the boy would need to give the device to his mother. He turned it off. When the flight attendant took her seat, the boy turned his device back on, and kept it on through the take off. The mother did nothing. I thought to myself, she is training him to be shot by police.
Click here to read Piper’s nine principles and how the gospel transforms obedience.