Wednesday, October 31, 2007

a mighty fortress

in honor of the 490th anniversary of the beginning of the reformation, i give you the words of a hymn by one of the greatest reformers, martin luther.

i encourage you to read these words carefully and thoughtfully with the realization of the facts of yesterdays post about martin luther and in light of the fact that he wrote these words as a man excommunicated from what the world knew as "the church" and a marked man under penalty of death.

our god is indeed a mighty fortress...may we all have the humility to take refuge inside his walls.


A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;His rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure,One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,His kingdom is forever.

Monday, October 29, 2007

christianity and october 31st

this will not be a post railing against the evil's of halloween and trick-or-treating. my son, too young to go door to door, will nonetheless be a "smashing" pumpkin for his first halloween. (yes, that was intentional...)

rather, i wanted to take this chance to again remind us about our heritage as christians, particularly protestant christians. if october 31st doesnt remind you of more than ghosts and goblins, then let this be the last year that is the case, and the first of a lifetime of writing "reformation day" on our calanders every october 31st.

[aside from this article, i also recommend a very short but informative book that every christian should own and read:
the reformation: how a monk and a mallet changed the world by stephen j. nichols]

from jim elliff's website- christian communications online

It was October 31st, 1517 in Wittenburg, Germany.
Martin grasped a hammer and a long piece of paper
coveredwith his writing. He walked out into
the street and straight overto the castle church door.
It was here that community messageswere often posted.

Martin nailed his 95 points of discussion on the door. He
onlywanted to lay out his newly discovered views of the
Bible to other church leaders in the Medieval Catholic church.
He thought he was free to do so even though his thoughts were
radical. After all, he was an Augustinian monk and a professor
of theology.

Martin called himself a “stinking bag of maggots,” and certainly
did not dream of being a leader in a revolution of thinking
in Germany and across Europe that shaped history in a
powerful way. But God had determined something far bigger
than the monk Martin Luther expected when he penned
those 95 Theses.

Without his knowledge someone printed his words on the
newly invented Gutenburg press, distributing it all over
Within a very few days, Martin found that he was the
subject of everyone’s thoughts. In the cathedrals and great
stone castles of his homeland, the pubs and peasant’s
cottageseveryone was talking about the views of Luther.
Withouta signal to announce it, the Protestant Reformation

Just what was the Protestant Reformation all about? What did
Luther and others protest?

The protesters were seeing something new about how a
personis accepted by God that is, new to them. They protested
that the church had been teaching the wrong view about the most
important issue of life. They discovered that the Bible says we
are not accepted on the basis of our religious deeds, or even
our good deeds along with our faith, but that we are accepted
before a holy God only through faith in Christ.

“Through faith alone in Christ alone” began to be heard all
over Europe. The people must transfer their confidence for
salvation in the church’s religious traditions to Christ alone.
The reformers wanted the people to return to the Bible’s plain
teaching on how to be a true Christian.
Because heaven andhell were at stake, the passions rose very high.
Many would be persecuted and some even killed for this truth.

But through it all, tens of thousands of people were converted to
Christ andwere assured of heaven.

We have been feeling the effects of the Protestant Reformation
ever since. Many of our churches have their historical roots in
the Reformation. Returning to the Bible as the source of understanding
about how we are to relate to God has shaped nations.
Perhaps no other religious period since the coming of Christ
has been so influential as this one.

But many people, and even many churches, have forgotten the
great lessons that were made so clear beginning on October 31, 1517.

What difference can this mean to you nearly 500 years
This passage from the Bible is a good place to start. It describes
God’s way to understand salvation:
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
andthat not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of
works, lest anyone should boast
. (Ephesians 2: 8-9)

Through these 500 years since the Protestant Reformation,
andthroughout time, men and women, youth and children have
come to Christ in this simple way through faith alone in
Christ alone. Placing our full confidence in Christ’s perfect life
and sacrificial death for sinful people is the only way to God.

It is not that good works are not important they are a result of
true faith in every believer’s life. But those works cannot save.
Salvation is a gift of grace, not a reward for trying to be good.

Like Martin Luther, you may come by faith alone to Christ
alone even now, all these years later. In fact, this is the very
way the first New Testament believers came to Him!

Copyright © 2002 Jim Elliff
Permission granted to copy in full
for non-profit use, including all
copyright information. Other uses require
written permission.

print out as many as you want for free here!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

the anti narnia

according to (a site that researches , verifies, and denies those claims we all get in our email boxes) regarding the new movie, the golden compass, set to release this holiday season is in fact based on a set of books by an author who says "my books are about killing god".

go here for the whole story.

now having said this, i am not saying that we should picket movie theatres who show this film, or start picket lines and write angry letters to the editor over this. i may still watch it to see what an atheist thinks about god in order to better understand and remind myself that when i speak about my "faith" or "god", that i can be speaking with very intelligent people with their own ideas and preconceived notions- and i need to be clear about the truth.

i pass this on simply because this link has sources for its quotes. one of the worst things we christians can do is start railing against a movie, book, etc. with claims that have no foundation.

so if a co-worker asks if you know anything about this movie, you can say "i know a little bit.." and share what you do know-not what we have heard from a frantic email forward with no support for its claims.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

i'll be "back"

well its official...
i am having back surgery this coming tuesday, oct. 16th.

ill be unable to sit for awhile, and as my laptop is less reliable than my old atari, i will be unable to be around these parts for a while.

but, i don't want anyone reading to abandon this place altogether, so please feel free to look through the archives. there are plenty of topics and posts from the past two years and comments can be made on any post, old or new.

since i wont be doing much beyond laying in bed for awhile, i hope to do quite a bit of reading. so in that spirit, may i recommend two books to you.

the first is mark dever's newest one the gospel and personal evangelism
this book just came out in the past few weeks or so. i picked up today and read about the first 40 pages in less than an hour. it reads quickly and is a pretty short book.
in it, dever discusses how to, why we don't evangelize and what is, and what isn't evangelism.
it is a very helpful book and very practical. for less than $10, i "commend" it to you.

the second is a daily devotional book. it is divided into over 100 daily meditations. they are kind of like "brain starters" for the day. i have come to it many times and use it often when i need to spend time with the lord in prayer, but don't know where to start. it also makes a good small group discussion starter.
the book is taste and see: savoring the supremacy of god in all of life , and the author is john piper.

i hope everyone enjoys a blessed month or so ahead, and that the passion for jesus christ will so consume your heart and mine, that the gospel will spread everywhere we go.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

moma's, dont let your babies grow up dressed like man eaters

an excellent free printable brochure for young ladies speaking to dressing in a way that honors the lord and doesn't knowingly create temptation for men. (without dictating your wardrobe)
get it here

while for the most part i think this list is right on, i am sure there are some aspects that we could argue are a bit too demanding. i would love to get some discussion going about this in the comments...


"Modesty Check"
Carolyn Mahaney
Nicole Whitacre
Kristin Chesemore
Janelle Bradshaw
“…Women should adorn themselves in respectable
apparel, with modesty and self-control ...
with what is proper for women
who profess godliness—with good works
~1 Timothy 2:

Start with a Heart Check…
“How does a woman discern the sometimes fine line between proper dress
and dressing to be the center of attention? The answer starts in the intent
of the heart. A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way
she dresses.
Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood? Is
it to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshipping God? Or is it to call
attention to herself and flaunt her beauty? Or worse, to attempt to lure
men sexually?
A woman who focuses on worshipping God will consider carefully how she
is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe and appearance.”
-John MacArthur

* What statement do my clothes make about my heart?
*In choosing what clothes to wear today, whose attention do I desire
and whose approval do I crave? Am I seeking to please God or
impress others?

*Is what I wear consistent with biblical values of modesty, selfcontrol
and respectable apparel, or does my dress reveal an inordinate
identification and fascination with sinful cultural values?

*Who am I trying to identify with through my dress? Is the Word of
God my standard or is the latest fashion?

*Have I asked other godly individuals to evaluate my wardrobe?

*Does my clothing reveal an allegiance to the gospel or is there any
contradiction between my profession of faith and my practice of

Before you leave the house, do a modesty check.
(What aresome things you should look for as you stand
in front of your mirror?)

From the top…
*When I am wearing a loose-fitting blouse or scoop-neck, can I see
anything when I lean over? If so, I need to remember to place my
hand against my neckline when I bend down.

*If I am wearing a button-down top, I need to turn sideways and
move around to see if there are any gaping holes that expose my
chest. If there are, I’ve got to grab the sewing box and pin
between the buttons.
(The same check is needed if I am wearing a sleeveless shirt.)

*When I move around, can I see my bra? If I do, I need the pins

*Am I wearing a spaghetti-strap, halter, or sheer blouse? Not even
pins will fix this problem! Most guys find these a hindrance in
their struggle with lust. It’s time to go back to the closet.

*Can I see the lace or seam of my bra through my shirt? In this
case, seamless bras are a better option.

More key questions:
*Does my shirt reveal any part of mycleavage?
*Does my midriff show when I raise my hands above
my head?
*Is my shirt just plain too tight?
If the answer to any oneof these questions is yes,
then I need to change my outfit.

Moving on down…
Does my midriff (or underwear) show when I bend
over or lift my hands? If so, is it because my skirt or
my pants are too low? Either my shirt needs to be longer
or I need to find a skirt or pants that sit higher.

*I also have to turn around to see if what I’m wearing is too tight
around my back side, or if the outline of my underwear shows. If so,
I know what I have to do!

*And as for shorts – I can’t just check them standing up. I need to see
how much they reveal when I sit down. If I see too much leg, I need
a longer pair.

*The “sit-down” check applies to my skirt or dress as well. And I must
remember to keep my skirt pulled down and my knees together when
I’m seated.

*And speaking of skirts, watch out for those slits! Does it reveal too
much when I walk? Pins are also helpful here.

*Before I leave, I need to give my skirt a sunlight check. Is it seethrough?
If so, I need a slip.

* Finally, I must remember to do this modesty check with my shoes on.
High-heels make my dress or skirt appear shorter.
And don’t forget – this applies to formal wear as well.

*A note on swimwear: It’s not easy but you can still strive to be
modest at the pool or beach. Look for one-piece bathing suits that
aren’t cut high on the leg and don’t have low necklines.
Modesty Check © 2002 Sovereign Grace Ministries
Republished in Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood
by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre (Crossway Books)