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What I Read Online – 11/24/2011 (a.m.)

24 Nov
    • Without doubt porn is killing us. It’s ruining us as lovers. It’s addictive. It’s training men and women to use each other, rather than love each other. It’s divorcing sex from love, relationships and self-sacrificial service. It’s killing healthy body image, and causing both men and women to betray those who are closest to them—their wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons. It’s destroying marriages. The victims of porn are everywhere: the young men and women stripped of their dignity to be part of the industry; the husbands and wives betrayed; our children as they grow up with a distorted and evil understanding of sex. And we mustn’t forget the men and women enslaved to porn—they’re also victims. Porn is a cancer on our society. It’s everywhere, and it’s in your living room. It’s a cancer even in our churches.
    • At Campus Bible Study4 we’ve recently partnered with Covenant Eyes to provide their accountability software to every student and staff member who would like to use it.5 Personally, I have Covenant Eyes installed on all my computers and iPhone. I’ve installed Open DNS on our work and home router, which filters out the particularly bad sites.6 These are good tools, but, quite frankly, they don’t deal with the real problem.
    • I say this because the solutions the book suggests are not Christian solutions. They’re not Christ-centred, nor driven by Christ. The solutions are entirely pragmatic. Why does this matter? A Christ-centred solution helps us anchor our understanding of sexuality in God, and thus how God has given us the solution in Christ. However, this does not mean the book’s solutions are not good solutions. In fact, I found them very helpful. The great news is that God’s good grace rests on all our world, and so solutions to problems—even Christian problems—can be found outside the sphere of Christianity.
    • Abhorrence of Porn
    • Adoration of God
    • Assurance of Grace
    • Avoidance of Temptation
    • Accountability to Others
    • Chester finishes the book with his strongest chapter, ‘Freed for the glory of God’. In this chapter he sets out a Biblical framework for understanding human sexuality.
    • This week on Help and Hope, Andrew Ray sits down with Dr. David Powlison to respond to this question from a listener: “How can Christ help me overcome my sinful past?”
    • I think we evaluate other works first on the basis of size. 
    • Another thing we do is evaluate Christian work on the basis of programs.
    • I think we are also impressed–perhaps we are most to be pitied here–by big budges and big buildings.
    • Faith really is the essential thing, not numbers or programs, not budgets or buildings.  It is by faith that we “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).  The apostle John said, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).
    • I will tell you the kind of reputation I pray we might have at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.  I pray that Tenth Presbyterian might be known as a church where people believe what God has told us in the Bible and then actually try to live by what they find there.  I want Tenth to be a church known for strong faith in Jesus Christ, where people speak often, lovingly, and fearlessly of him.  I want our church to be known for faith where God has placed us, not in some theoretical time or setting, but in the city of Philadelphia, demonstrating that Jesus is the answer to the city’s problems and the problems of those who live here. I want Tenth to be rock hard in faith, in adversity as well as in prosperity, when praised as well as when persecuted.
    • However we answer this question, we conclude that God Himself never had a beginning. He exists infinitely with respect to space and eternally with respect to time. His existence has neither a starting point nor an ending point. The dimensions of His existence are from everlasting to everlasting. This means that He always has been and always will be.
    • When we affirm that God is eternal, we are also saying that He possesses the attribute of aseity, or self-existence. This means that God eternally has existed of Himself and in Himself. He is not a contingent being.
    • f God’s love is eternal, we must ask whom or what did God love from all eternity? What was the object of that love? In the first instance we see that God’s eternal love had Himself as both the subject and object of His love. As the subject, God did the loving. Yet at the same time He was the object of His own love. Though this love was a kind of self-love, it was by no means a selfish love.
    • So is there any joy to be found in the midst of the holidays when you are grieving the loss of someone you love?
    • When you’re grieving, the songs you have sung in church your whole life suddenly sound different. Phrases that easily rolled off your tongue, that you barely thought about before, now bring tears.
    • Hope and joy at Christmas come from knowing that Christ’s life that began in a cradle ended on a cross. His death-conquering death was followed by resurrection, the first-fruits of all who will one day rise from their graves. Because of his death and resurrection, we can be sure that the day will come when we sing together like never before, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come! He comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found!”
    • Complementarians often hear that women’s gifts are being ignored or unused. Certainly in some cases this is true. However, in an effort to soften or eliminate biblical distinctions between women and men, women’s hardships are too often blamed on those distinctions rather than on sinful human hearts that—whether they lean toward complementarianism or egalitarianism—so easily pursue selfish gain rather than the other’s good.
    • The law is God’s law and it’s true and right (Psalm 119, 1 Timothy 1:8, Rom 3:31, Rom 7:12-16), and it’s an accurate summary or description of what it means to be obedient, happy, and fulfilled. If we were able to fulfill it, the law would be the answer to humanity’s problems.
    • The law tells us the truth about our condition and ourselves, but it fails to give the power to correct the maladies it diagnoses.
    • That grace provides the desire, motivation, and power to love God and others.
    • Carl gave us three sessions on the Trinity last week at our autumn ministers conference. Session 1 was some historical background – 500 years of history in 45 minutes, a useful recap. You can watch it here. Session 3 were Carl’s practical applications of the doctrine of the Trinity and preaching. You can watch it here. But best of all was the link between the Trinity and preaching, session 2 (below). It’s an exceptional defence of the priority of preaching without becoming either too mystical or, on the other hand, too cavalier about preaching. 

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

 
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Posted by on 24/11/2011 in Current Issues

 

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