Monday, July 24, 2006

Messiah's Mansion Comes to Louisville

A full size replica of the Tabernacle will be at the Pewee Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church from July 29 - August 6.

A small Christian school located in Harrah, OK built the replica and has travelled across the United States, even to Bermuda, with the exhibit. Check out the Courier Journal story which includes a multimedia video on the setup of the exhibit when it travels.

I plan on making a trip to the Seventh-day Adventist Church one of the days the display is in town. If you want to go, just let me know.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I have it!

This weekend I am traveling to Princeton, KY once again. Yes, I am thoroughly excited to hold my nephew, Preston Luke for the first time. As enthralling as that is, our trip home was originally planned for my ten year reunion.

Ten years ago I, along with many graduates, could not wait to load up the car and hit the highway headed OUT OF TOWN, most notably - OUT OF PRINCETON. Eighteen years of childhood was now on the brink of extinction. Satisfaction was not in Princeton but somewhere on the horizon.

I was thilled when I ascended 75 North out of Kentucky looking onward to the grand skyline of Cincinnati (although, my mother did not hold the same emotion once Cincinnati's skyline dominated her vision).

Once I arrived and became acclimated with the school and other's who found their way to Mount St. Joseph, I was surprised to find disdain for the New World. For many, they were in the same situation - the city, at a private, Catholic school. Life was not in Cincinnati - it was somewhere else. There was nothing new, fresh, and exciting. It wasn't what they were looking for.

In the same way, people I met who had grown up in Louisville had the same disdain for life. There was no satisfaction in the present. It wasn't in Princeton; it wasn't in Cincinnati; it wasn't in Louisville.

This past Christmas, my wife and I were at Kroger in Houston, TX. We were shopping for Powdered Sugar, and to our surprise, Kroger was out. In my disbelief, I uttered my discovery outloud. A newby middle aged woman garbled, "What do you expect? It's Dickinson, TX."

The fourth largest city in the United States is out of confectionate sugar and is clearly the most desolate region in the world. Needless to say, nothing sweet can be found in Houston.

The dissatisfaction for all of these people is that everyone is truly longing for something better - something other worldly. The sad reality for many people is that ultimate joy is waiting for them. Every town or city that I claim as my home for the rest of my life will never satisfy my longings. I can search down every road and each establishment, but I will not find satisfaction apart from Jesus Christ. I will not find God apart from His Word, and I will not find a faithful witness of His Word apart from a New Testament Church.
The church is the evidence of the Kingdom of Christ in this present world. I can attest that the church is not the Kingdom nor will it ever be nor are there perfect people in the church. However, right now the Kingdom is reigning in the lives of those who are living with the peace of God that rests in hope of the coming King.
I know I want something better. I know I haven't found it in any city. But I have found the greatest treasure ever to be found.

A Great Question

I'm posting Mark Dever's recent blog from Together for the Gospel. Shively Heights is asking itself these very things due to the absense of the vast majority of our role.

Should Evangelists Question Professions of Faith?
by mdever

Sometimes I get the feeling that people think there's something wrong with questioning the reality of a profession of faith. It's legalistic, or judging, or holier than thou. Or something.

But if evangelists want to see lost sinners saved, and if evangelists know that we sinners can deceive ourselves, then it's not surprising that we want to try to make sure (with all appropriate qualifications about our limitedness) that conversions professed are conversions possessed.

Or is it just sour-faced theologians who think about such things? Are preachers who think about such things unevangelistic? Here's what one preacher said, reflecting on Jesus' parable of the sower and the soils. “There are so many stony ground hearers, who receive the Word with joy, that I have determined to suspend my judgment till I know the tree by its fruits. I cannot believe they are converts until I see fruit brought back; it will never do a sincere soul any harm.”

Does such a determination seem uncharitable or unevangelistic? What preacher would say such a thing? That was George Whitefield (as cited by Carey Hardy, “Just as I am” in John MacArthur, ed., Fool’s Gold, [2005], pp. 136-137). I don't think George Whitefield was unevangelistic for wanting to know a tree by its fruit, and neither are we today. In fact, I think such a concern would actually help our churches to do more real evangelism.

And besides, as Whitefield says, such caution "will never do a sincere soul any harm."

What should we do? Encourage the new believer in all things good. Remind them of the gospel. After some appropriate time (which would vary much from case to case) they should be baptized and join a church. They should regularly hear the preaching of the Word, commune, fellowship, pray and obey the Word. They should be building relationships in order to do that. And they should be told to hope in Christ alone for their salvation. Our desire is to find every professor getting safely home to heaven.

And then what about counting converts? The final tally will be made by God in due time. And that's the only tally that matters.

Monday, July 10, 2006

O Happy Day

My sister had a baby boy July 4. His name is Preston Luke. I am officially an uncle now!
Preston was born one month early, but still weighed a whopping 6 lbs. and 11 oz. Karen and I planned to attend a shower Saturday so we were able to see the baby. Preston is still in the Neonatul unit at the hospital, but he has had steady, rapid improvement. The last month of pregnancy really enables the development of a baby's lungs. We give God glory for answering many prayers and giving Preston and Cindy good health!
We went to the hospital Saturday, which was the first time my parents were able to hold the baby. My father was in a rush mood to get to the hospital and hold his first grandbaby. Even as I write those words, I get emotional again because I know the love, the excitement, and the joy that my dad has in this child. Mom was elated in the same way as she held her first grandchild. I am thrilled for Cindy and Ivan and their new boy. Let's continue to pray for Preston's recovery, Cindy's health, and for Cindy and Ivan as parents.

City of God

I just began reading Augustine's City of God. Augustine wrote this magnificient work over fourteen years due to his friend's, Marcellinius, request. A procounsel of the Roman Empire, Volusianus was in dialogue with Marcellinius and accused the Christians and their ethics for the fall of Rome. Marcellinius sent word to Augustine for a reply against these accusations. Augustine's entire City of God is twenty-two books, about three volumes. I am reading the abridged version. From time to time I will post certain quotes or blocks of text in order to share certain gems of Augustine's great work.

Nevertheless, God's patience is an invitation to the wicked to do penance, just as God's scourge is a school of patience for the good. In like manner, God's mercy embraces the good with love, just as His severith corrects the wicked with punishement. It has pleased Divine Providence to prepare for the just joys in the world to come in which the unjust will have no part; and for the impious, pains which will not afflict the virtuous. But, as for the paltry goods and evils of this transitory world, these He allotted alike to just and unjust, in order that men might not seek too eagerly after those goods which they see even the wicked to possess, or shrink too readily from those ills which commonly afflict the just.

Book 1 chapter 8