Archive for 2011

Dec 2

Resource Center in December: Christmas Features

2011 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Book Nook,Recommended Resources

In December, we are highlighting a number of titles at the Resource Center and offering wild and crazy discounts on a few of them.

Two books we have available tuned specifically for Christmas are from Nancy Guthrie. Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: Daily Family Devotions for Advent, is a series of Christward advent reflections. And, Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas, edited by Nancy Guthrie, is a compilation of twenty fine essays related to Christmas by Christian pastors and scholars, such as John Piper, Charles Spurgeon, Randy Alcorn, and Tim Keller.

Then, of course, there are a number of books that we regularly carry that would make for a great Christmas gift. Here are a few of them:

In addition, we’re offering 50% off a number of titles from previous guest speakers, including books from Wayne Grudem, Carl Trueman, and G.K. Beale, and a number of other books are on sale for $3.00.

Finally, you can pick up a bundle of three DSC CD’s, discounted together for $12.00, including Cause for Praise, Psalterium, Vol. 1, and The Growing Place (a children’s CD).

Stop by the Resource Center this month for resources that center our lives on the One who has life in Himself, Jesus Christ.

Also, if you’re looking for a book to buy for a friend or family member but don’t find a good match at the Resource Center, you can always browse our Resource Page for a thorough list of recommendations organized by topic.




Nov 30

Sermon Follow-up: “God’s Words–Better than Gold”

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

In Sunday’s sermon, “God’s Words–Better than Gold,” Ryan unpacked the second half of Psalm 19, which is something like a love song about God’s Word. God’s Word, says David, is perfect, sure, right, pure, and clean. It revives the soul, makes wise the simple, rejoices the heart, endures forever. It’s better than much fine gold and sweeter than honey. All of this is true because it is true of the One who gave it to us. The Bible is the “Word of the Lord.”

If the Bible is true and it really is the Word of God, then what it says about itself must be true. It also does what it says it does. The Bible is, as Ryan said on Sunday, self-authenticating. It proves itself true. C.H. Spurgeon put it this way: “Scripture is like a caged lion. I defend the truthfulness of the Bible the same that I would defend a caged lion. I don’t need to defend the lion to prove to others that he is a lion. I simply need to let the lion out of his cage.”

If you’re interested in learning more about what the Bible is and how the Bible works, there are several resources worth checking out. First, a few years ago Ryan conducted a four part Saturday Seminar, The Reliability of the Bible, and the audio is available online.

Additionally, there are now two books at the Resource Center at a super cheap price that are worth picking up:

Finally, if you missed Clarus this past April, the theme of the conference was, Scripture: God Speaks. In the course of his talks, G.K. Beale mentioned three things that discourage us from reading our Bibles: 1) Media immersion, 2) Busyness, and 3) Expecting the sensational. These conference talks are full of helpful reflections like this. Here are links to the talks from this year’s conference:

The Law of the Lord is perfect, and it is perfect because the Lord is perfect. Therefore, it is good for us to make a big deal out of it, to read it, to hear it, to memorize it, and to speak it. It’s also right for us to respond as David did with the kind of prayer David prayed: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

Nov 24

A Thankful Thanksgiving

2011 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Meditation

Thankfulness is a deeply Christian thing.

We have come to terms with what we deserve: we deserve the just wrath of God. And yet we have come to know this God in a saving way. We deserve death, but we know eternal life. We deserve the curse, but we have every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus.

And while there is suffering in this life – even very great suffering – we can say with the apostle Paul, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). We can ask the best rhetorical question ever, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). And we can be sure of the boldest promise, “that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39).

All of those words are true. We have everything we need if we have the love of Christ, and the Christian life is one of growing in the deep conviction that these precious promises are true (2 Peter 1:3-4).

So what shall we give to God for all of this?

There are many answers to that question. Thankfulness is certainly one of them. Here, the book of Psalms gives us some helpful language for our prayers: “What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? . . .I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD” (Psalm 116:12, 17).

As those who belong to Christ, we can pray this prayer, for we have known the the benefits of the Lord.

Ryan touched on this subject in two sermons he preached a little over a year ago at the start of his series through the book of Colossians. In, “Thank God for Gospel Growth,” and “Our Prayers, God’s Priorities,” Ryan preached from Colossians 1:3-8 and 1:9-14, helping us grasp some of the reasons for thankfulness and the importance of thankfulness in the Christian life.

Nov 22

Sermon Follow-up: “A Picture Worth a Thousand Words”

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

In Sunday’s sermon, “A Picture Worth a Thousand Words,” Ryan unpacked the first six verses of Psalm 19 for us. As Ryan said, Psalm 19 as a whole reflects on God’s communication through both “stars and Scripture,” or, “world and Word.” In verses 1-6, David reflects on that first way that God talks: through what He has made. The opening line is a nice summary for the section: “The heavens declare the glory of God.” In other words, “everything God made declares the glory of God.”

To be sure, creation isn’t all we need. As we will find out next week, God has also spoken specially and specifically with words, and we need those words to know Him, and not because His speech in creation is deficient, but because we’re deficient to receive it as we ought.

As those who have received the Word, who have traded the glory of creation back for the glory of the Creator, we can actually glory in God more fully for a right enjoyment of what He has made. And so we should.

Two resources can help us to this end. First, Old Testament scholar, Mark Futato, has written a helpful reflection on and exposition of the significance of creation, in, Creation: A Witness to the Wonder of God.

Second, in his book, When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy, John Piper writes a chapter on, “How to Wield the World in the Fight for Joy.” Considering Psalm 19:1-6, Piper writes,

Clearly this poet wants us to see and to feel that when the sun pours forth speech about the glory of God, the message is that the glory of God is an overwhelmingly happy thing. Why else would he say it is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber? The point here is not merely that the bridegroom is decked out in the finest clothes and surrounded by his noble groomsmen. The point is that this is the happiest day of his life. This is the fulfillment of dreams. This is the beginning of a whole new kind of joy. That’s what the glory of God is like. That’s the message we should hear when we see the sun rise with lavish red and gold and lavender in the eastern sky. God’s glory is a happy thing—like the happiness of a bridegroom on his wedding day. (190)

The joy poured forth by the sun is the same joy emitted by every good physical thing in this world. Piper sums this up well in his conclusion: “Joy in God is not the same as joy in sex or a sizzling steak or deep ravines or powerful music. But God’s will is that all these—and every part of his good creation—declare the glory of God. All the world, and even the imperfect representations of it in human art, is a witness to the glory of God. That glory is the ultimate ground of all human gladness. Therefore, the created world is a holy weapon in the fight for joy” (206).

This chapter and Piper’s whole book is available for free from Desiring God. This book is also available on Amazon and at the Resource Center on Sundays.

As Christians, we have a high view of the goodness of the physical world, because we believe that it was made to reflect and direct us to the One who made it. And as Ryan reminded us on Sunday, where things are not right in this present order, we are reminded that the world itself is “groaning” with us for the day when Christ will make all things new (Romans 8:18-8:23; Revelation 21-22).


Nov 18

Sermon Follow-up: “The Lord is My Rock”

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

In Sunday’s sermon, “The Lord is My Rock,” Ryan showed from Psalm 18 that God’s care, protection, and victory can be rightly seen from two perspectives – one heavenly, the other earthly.

From verses 7-17 David reflected on the heavenly perspective of God’s rescuing work in his life. God cracked open the heavens and came down (9a), the earth reeled and rocked (7), smoke went out from God’s nostrils (8), thick darkness came (9b), God rode on a cherub, on the wings of the wind (10), He thundered (13), He sent hail and coals of fire (13b), He sent lightning like arrows (14), and He exposed the foundations of the earth with a mere breath (15b).

But David didn’t actually see any of that. He believed it all, but his experience of God’s saving goodness was known from an earthly vantage point. In verses 31-49, David reflects on God’s rescue by thinking about what happened to his feet, his hands, and his arms: “He made my feet like the feet of a deer. . .He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze” (33, 34).

Behind the scenes God is working out His purposes in the world, and even the smallest parts of our lives have their place.

As we reflect on David’s account of God’s saving goodness, we can ponder the divine design of specific moments in our lives leading to salvation in Christ, specific people, and specific difficulties. And we can see God’s saving and sovereign goodness throughout the entirety of our Christian lives, as He works everything together for good for those who love Him, and conforms us into the image of Christ. He loves us, provides for us, and makes us like Christ through the most seemingly mundane things.

So what are some ways in which God has “invisibly” helped, orchestrated, and strengthened you (like vss 7-17), but behind the scenes you know all along it was God cracking the heavens and coming down to intervene powerfully and gloriously in your life (like vss 31-45)?