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There Are Worse Things Than Hiding Easter Eggs

Originally posted on Pulpit & Pen:

I’m not worried about churches that hide Easter eggs for kids once a year – I’m worried about churches that hide the Gospel from people every week. – Clayton Pruett

Dr. Jack Graham’s Prestonwood Baptist Church is having their annual Easter Egg Drop – in which they dump thousands of eggs out of a helicopter for an egg hunt at their Dallas campus. Graham, a two time president of the SBC and big fan of Beth Moore and Word-Faith, Hillsong pastors Brian Houston and Christine Caine, is a proven #DOWNGRADE specialist and so a helicopter egg drop (a Stephen Furtick specialty) at Graham’s church seems hardly newsworthy. Prestonwood’s press announcements about the egg drop, devoid of Christ altogether, narrowly avoided becoming the focus of Friday’s Daily #DOWNGRADE segment.

But the words of Clayton Pruett, circulating in social media, stung me back into focus and put things into perspective.

story

Clayton…

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The Centrality of Preaching

Originally posted on Reformed Baptist Fellowship:

By Pastor Tom Lyon of Providence Reformed Baptist Church of University Place,Washington

Preaching has fallen on hard times. The great Protestant Reformer, John Calvin, wrote: “At the present day there are many who are well-nigh sickened by the very name of preaching, because there are so many stupid, ignorant men who blurt out their worthless brain waves from the pulpit.” That was 450 years ago! Today not only has preaching been decentralized, but the greater part of what is called “preaching” no longer deserves to be at the center. This has created a vacuum and few have raised a voice while a Pandora’s Box of replacements has rushed in to fill the void.”

A.W. Tozer said of the danger: “One of the most popular current errors, and the one out of which springs most of the noisy, blustering religious activity in evangelical circles, is the notion that as times change…

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“Hosanna”–A Palm Sunday Poem

Originally posted on Soli Deo Gloria:

Today is Palm Sunday. Reflecting on the language used in Matthew 21, Mark 11, and Luke 19 about that event, here’s a poem called “Hosanna.”

“Hosanna”
April 13, 2014
Palm Sunday

“In the village,” said the Savior,
“Find a donkey that is tied,
On which no one else has sat.
Bring it so that I may ride.”

To the Master came the donkey,
Guided by the two he sent.
And they threw their cloaks upon it
Right before he climbed and went.

Toward Jerusalem he journeyed,
As the crowds were laying palms,
Shouting “Hosanna! Blessed is he
Who in the name of Yahweh comes!”

Then Pharisees commanded Jesus,
“Teacher, stop these words they shout!”
But Jesus said, “If they were silent,
Rocks themselves would still cry out.”

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Hercules Collins on Ministers’ Garb and Powdered Hair

Originally posted on Particular Voices:

There once was a time when young men tried to look old. Hercules Collins did not appreciate it.
Hercules Collins, The Temple Repair'd, 27-28

It’s funny to hear Collins speak of the Puritans as a thing of his past, and they were, but we tend to treat the “Puritans” much more broadly in a variety of ways.

From “The Temple Repair’d.”

Click the image for a larger version. (It’s a little hard to read, but believe it or not I actually cleaned it up quite a bit.)

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The Sands of Time

Originally posted on Live Life! Int'l:

Here is the full version of this hymn written by Mrs. A. Cousin. John Bunyan in his ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ speaks of heading to Immanuel’s Land, more commonly known as heaven. What joys await those who know their Saviour!

The sands of time are sinking, the dawn of Heaven breaks;
The summer morn I’ve sighed for—the fair, sweet morn awakes:
Dark, dark hath been the midnight, but dayspring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

O Christ, He is the fountain, the deep, sweet well of love!
The streams of earth I’ve tasted more deep I’ll drink above:
There to an ocean fullness His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.

Oh! Well it is forever, Oh! well forevermore,
My nest hung in no forest of all this death doomed shore:
Yea, let the vain world vanish, as from the ship the strand,
While glory—glory…

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Theological Anemia. Part I

Originally posted on Pulpit & Pen:

Theology has fallen on bad times. In one sense, it always has. The image of the guy with an insanely long beard, surrounded by books, looking like the guy in the photo above, is just not appealing to us. It’s too cerebral, too based on the brain, too intellectual. “Christianity is not intellectual, it’s faith, the heart, the soul” – according to a preacher friend of my dad’s. That attitude is pervasive in evangelical Christianity.

For instance, I recently went with my Dad to go and visit a church. Now, whenever I go somewhere with Dad and people see this burly guy right next to him, they usually think I’m one of his elders and so my Dad will point out that I’m actually his son. After the service, the pastor of the church, who used to pastor in the same denomination as my Dad when we lived in Germany, came…

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Choices, Choices, Choices

Originally posted on Live Life! Int'l:

Each day is filled with a multitude of choices, each with a range of significance. A believer in Christ has divine assistance available each moment. Will we choose wisely or foolishly? Will we choose with our own comfort or “eternity’s values in view?”

Today’s hymn by Horatius Bonar reminds us of the necessity of surrender to and engagement with God’s will. As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (surely one of the most difficulty prayers ever prayed) “Not my will but Thine be done.” Luke reminds us his sweat was as great drops of blood, because of the agony in which his body, soul and spirit were engaged.

Thy way, not mine, O Lord,
However dark it be;
Oh, lead me by Thine own right hand,
Choose Thou the path for me.

Smooth let it be or rough,
It will be still the best;
Winding or straight, it can…

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A Solution in Search of a Problem

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

boehner

Manly Passion

A week ago I wrote about the problem of a modern conception of God who is far too human. In our desire for a God who is relatable we have begun to think of him as having emotions very much like human passions.

This is contrary to the old doctrine of the church as it was expressed in the Westminster, Savoy, and Second London Confessions, which all proclaim that God is “without body, parts, or passions.” Moreover, it is contrary to Scripture, which tells us that God’s love for His people is quite different from even the strongest human love in that divine love is changeless. In much the same way that God expresses Himself to us in anthropomorphic language even though we know He does not have a human body, so He expresses His love to us in human terms so that we might comprehend it. It…

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The Problem with Passion

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

God is our Father, but is He our Daddy?  I understand that this has become a quite popular notion.  “Abba” we are told, is not Aramaic for “Father,” so much as for “Daddy.”  It invokes a father-and child relationship with God that is warm, comfortable, and very human.  Many Christians want that relationship; they want such a God.

But let’s consider it for a moment in light of two passages – one that we naturally turn to when we want to express the parental affection of God, and then another that we naturally forget.

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the…

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Once It Was The Blessing

Originally posted on Live Life! Int'l:

“Sinless perfection” – I’ve discussed it, studied it somewhat, longed for it, but concluded it will not be my reality until I reach heaven. Christ does ‘break’ the power of cancelled sin, but thus far this is a painful and prolonged process. O, I’ve heard testimonies of others – “I used to struggle BUT…” I’ve heard many sermons, had books and seminars recommended that “This is it….this is the key to victory!” yet honestly the struggle continues.
I am encouraged however that I am not left to struggle against sin in my own strength – God has given me (sealed me) with His Holy Spirit and has confirmed His residency in many ways. O to ‘keep in step with the Spirit,’ more often, to ‘sow to the Spirit’ and not ‘to the flesh.’ As some might say, “Aye, there’s the rub!” (Or for my ESL friends – “This is the…

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