Archive - July, 2008

Preaching at Wellspring Church

I’ll be preaching at Wellspring Church in San Leandro, CA on Sunday, August 10. The subject will be “Singleness and Marriage Matter” and my message will deal with some of the themes in With One Voice: Singleness, Dating, and Marriage to the Glory of God. If you are so inclined, I would appreciate your prayers for my preparation. It has been awhile.

Ligonier Ministries 2009 Nat’l Conf: Holiness of God

R.C. Sproul announces the 2009 Ligonier Ministries’ National Conference, whose theme is “The Holiness of God”:

When I was preparing to lecture on the holiness of God years ago, I came across this quote from John Calvin’s commentary on Isaiah 6:3: “The angels never cease from their melody in singing the praises of God, as the holiness of God supplies us with inexhaustible reasons for them.” I was reminded that the Protestant Reformers’ understanding of the Creator’s transcendent purity was crucial to their recovery of the biblical doctrines that had been all but lost in their day. Knowing the Lord’s perfect holiness drove them to Scripture, where they found that the righteousness of Christ is the only way anyone can be reconciled to God. In turn, God’s holy love, wrath, knowledge, power, and character gave them inexhaustible reasons to praise Him, as Calvin said. God’s holiness informed the Reformers’ teaching on His unsurpassable worth and motivated them to do all things soli Deo gloria — to the glory of God alone.

Speakers include Thabiti Anyabwile, Alistair Begg, Donald A. Carson, J. Ligon Duncan III, Sinclair Ferguson, W. Robert Godfrey, Steven J. Lawson, R. Albert Mohler Jr., R.C. Sproul, R.C. Sproul Jr., and Derek Thomas.
The Conference runs March 19-21, 2009 in Orlando, FL, and will include a mini-conference observation of the life and legacy of John Calvin, whose 500th birthday occurs in 2009.

Atty. Gen. Changes Wording of CA Marriage Amendment

The LA Times reports:

Supporters of Proposition 8, the proposed state constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, said they would file suit today to block a change made by California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown to the language of the measure’s ballot title and summary.
Petitions circulated to qualify the initiative for the ballot said the measure would amend the state Constitution “to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
In a move made public last week and applauded by same-sex marriage proponents, the attorney general’s office changed the language to say that Proposition 8 seeks to “eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.”
Jennifer Kerns, spokeswoman for the Protect Marriage coalition, called the new language “inherently argumentative” and said it could “prejudice voters against the initiative.”

Read the whole thing.
The original wording of Proposition 8 reads: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California.” Given that Steve Smith, campaign manager for No on Proposition 8, applauded the language change, and the fact that some consider Attorney General Jerry Brown a possible candidate for Governor in 2010, this alteration of language (contrary to the desires of those who circulated petitions to qualify the ballot initiative!), seems highly suspect.

Math Performance: Gender Similarities or Differences?

Dr. Hyde (University of Wisconsin) and her colleagues have been studying gender differences in mathematics performance and ability. Last Friday, they published their most recent findings in Science magazine. Their study has generated a bit of a stir among the mainstream media, with headlines such as “Girls as Good as Boys at Math.” But not all respondents are striking the same chord. For example, Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute takes issue with Tamar Lewin’s New York Times summary and with Janet Hyde’s report itself.
What does it all mean? Well, while I won’t seek to unduly control the academic & career choices of my daughter(s), I can say that dessert on her third birthday and thereafter will be granted to Karis (squirmy girl on my left) upon (a) successfully eating her dinner and (b) successfully adding (if not multiplying) any pair of whole numbers less than 10.

More on Obama/McCain Joint Appearance at Saddleback

The folks at Saddleback have set-up a website describing the August 16 joint appearance between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain (moderated by Pastor Rick Warren). Ticketing information will be available August 1st.

This historic forum will be the only joint event for the two, and the last public appearance for either candidate prior to the two-week hiatus during each party’s national convention.
Due to Secret Service mandate, tickets will be required for the event in the main auditorium, but the program will be broadcast live in multiple venues on the Saddleback campus, as well as on several national broadcast networks and online. It will also be streamed live on

Related: My previous post

Free Preaching Class with Bryan Chapell

Bill Mounce is the President and founder of, a ministry that seeks to provide seminary-level classes free of charge via the Internet (accessible by some of the poorest of the poor in the majority world). They have launched a new Foundations course called Communicating the Gospel. The new class is a combination of Gary Parrett’s class on Christian Education, Bryan Chapell’s class on preaching, and Ron Pyle’s class on small group (which should be published by August). Byran Chapell is the author of several books, including Using Illustrations to Preach with Power (Crossway, 2001). Chapell’s preaching curricula in this course contains three parts:

The Heart of a Christ-centered Message
If we speak with the voice of Jesus, it is important that we speak the message of Jesus throughout the whole of scripture. The goal is to understand how all Scripture focuses on Christ. This is the unifying principle that binds all Scripture together.

The Hands of a Christ-centered Message

How do we look at Scripture and see a redemptive message everywhere we turn? The goal is to understand how to interpret Scripture so as to communicate the Christ who is there. Our messages must proclaim that all is a result of God’s grace, both salvation and sanctification.
Theology of Change
How do Christ-centered messages effect change in the way we live our lives each day? We obey God because we love him, not to avoid punishment or to get things from him. Threatening people with punishment or enticing them with “stuff” cause people to respond to God out of selfish motivations. Encouraging people to obey God because of our love for Him and gratefulness for His love for us produces holiness. If grace is not put into the equation of human works and divine acceptance, then legalism or moralism results. The rules don’t change but the reason we obey changes. We motivate by grace, not by guilt.

Check out this course, along with a list of many more Foundation courses. The goal of the Foundation set of courses is to education laypersons and lay leaders in local churches.

You Cannot Serve God and Money

Matthew 6:24 reads “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Though this passage is well known, what makes it somewhat odd is the idea of serving money. We tend to think of money serving us rather than the other way around. In What Jesus Demands of The World (Crossway, 2006), John Piper writes a succinct, helpful explanation of this passage:

The surprising thing here is that serving God is compared to serving money. But how do you serve money? Not by helping money or meeting money’s needs. You serve money by treasuring it so much that you shape your whole life to benefit from what money can do for you.
So it is with God in the way Jesus sees the service of worship. We do not help God or meet God’s needs (“The Son of Man came not to be served,” Mark 10:45). Rather we serve God by treasuring him so much that we shape our whole life so as to benefit from what he can do for us. And, unlike money, what God can do for us above all other treasures is be for us everything we have ever longed for.

Greg Laurie Loses Son Christopher (33) To Car Accident

Pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie (Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, CA) lost his thirty-three year old son Christopher in an automobile accident yesterday (July 24). The Christian Examiner reports:

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Christopher Laurie—the 33-year-old son of Harvest Crusade evangelist Greg Laurie and his wife, Cathe—died July 24 in a car crash in Riverside County in Southern California, ministry publicist Laura Swickard McGowan, said.
According to local news reports, Christopher Laurie was traveling on Highway 91, when he entered a carpool lane that was being closed down by Caltrans. The car driven by Laurie then plowed into a Caltrans vehicle.

Read the whole thing.
Please be in prayer for the Laurie family as they enter a difficult season.

How Sweet and Awful Is The Place

This is the amazing hymn to which the Together For The Gospel 2008 Slideshow is set:

How sweet and awful is the place
With Christ within the doors,
While everlasting love displays
The choicest of her stores.
While all our hearts and all our songs
Join to admire the feast,
Each of us cry, with thankful tongues,
“Lord, why was I a guest?”
“Why was I made to hear Thy voice,
And enter while there’s room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?”
‘Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.
Pity the nations, O our God,
Constrain the earth to come;
Send Thy victorious Word abroad,
And bring the strangers home.
We long to see Thy churches full,
That all the chosen race
May, with one voice and heart and soul,
Sing Thy redeeming grace.

(HT: Challies)

Rick Warren Defends His Upcoming Presidential Forum

Rick Warren responds to the concern that the August 16 Presidential Forum, a joint appearance with Senators Barack Obama and John McCain to be hosted at Saddleback Church, is co-sponsored by the social justice group Faith in Public Life, whose board president is Meg Riley, a Unitarian Universalist minister who previously ran the denomination’s homosexual advocacy office.

Warren says he is not troubled that a left-wing advocacy group will be co-sponsoring the forum at his California church. “Really we just are…co-hosting [the event],” says the pastor. “[T]hey came up with the original idea, but…actually we’re in total control of the format, the program, the questions. It’s at our church; and so it’s not their event, it’s our event.”

Read the whole thing.
(HT: Challies)

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