Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Alberta Blues?

I was born and raised in Alberta and I am a loyal Albertan. Our family has been in Alberta for almost 9 years and we are thankful to be here. There is no place we’d rather be. BC is a nice place to visit, but we wouldn’t want to live there again. I say this as a preface to some negative and pessimistic thoughts about this place because I want to make it clear that I really like Alberta. To be honest, I like prosperity as well, as far as it goes.

When we first moved here in 1997, oil prices were relatively high and the oil and gas industry was doing very well. I was pleased to hear the cautious tone of people out here regarding the strong economic times. “We remember ‘82” was an oft-heard reality check. High interest rates, low oil prices and the National Energy Program brought the party to an end after the prosperous 70s. People weren’t going to get fooled into thinking that good times were permanent this time.

Today, I don’t hear as much caution, particularly among younger folks. Older people see those in their 20s and 30s mortgaging their futures away and cringe, knowing that this long boom will have a future correction, as the economists call it. That correction is going to hurt.

Cowboy Clint has written an excellent Anthropological Study of Alberta. This is from an Albertan just back from Toronto. His reflections on boom time attitudes and the church’s accommodation are sobering and helpful. My thoughts are less philosophical. They are observations from the sidelines, largely, though our family is reaping some of the benefits of the prosperity of Alberta.

There are many evidences of a cavalier attitude regarding the prosperity here. I could do a series of blog posts to explain them, but I’ll just list them without much comment in one post. I think you’ll be able to fill in the blanks:

  • Danger signs in the workplace:

  • The presumptuous attitude of employees that says, “You need me.” Many workers are showing up late for work, don’t show up at all sometimes and display little aptitude to work hard. They know they are hard to replace and take advantage of that fact.

  • The disinclination of many young people to get a trade or further education because they are earning good money right now without these things.

  • Shortage of workers – there are frustrated employers here that are giving up, closing their doors and moving to a different part of the country because they simply can’t get people to work for them.

  • Dangerous patterns of debt

  • Expensive houses – even a ratty little old box is about $150,000.00. Rentals are scarce and expensive as well.

  • Everything on credit – quads, vacations, home entertainment, etc.

  • Bragging about how much you paid vs. what a good deal I got. This one was new to me, but I can see it. A very astute man in our church has heard guys bragging about how expensive their new trucks were. This boasting about spending is evidence of runaway acquisitiveness.

  • Refinancing of newly “valuable” homes to buy stuff – so much for the 25 year mortgage. What happens when the prices go back down?

  • Higher interest rates – they are rising already, but we could see them go much higher. Again, this will put the already stretched mortgages way, way out into the future and sharply raise monthly payments.

  • Debt games by banks / finance companies – our booming economy is full of people who don’t reflect on how these games work and spend a fortune on interest charges.

  • Bigger debt than product worth. This happens all too often to people with new cars. People buy a car that they can’t afford and then realize later that what they can get for their car is less than what they owe. Houses and motorized toys as well as vehicles will be dead weight, financially speaking, when a downturn comes.

  • Spiritual consequences

  • Greed = idolatry (Colossians 3:5) and boasting in what you have (James 5:1-5). The glory of temporary prosperity is an alluring substitute for the glory of God.

  • Independence – “I don’t need God or any church; I’m good as I am.” God’s work is not thwarted by prosperity, but many people who once had some spiritual interest are trusting in material things rather than Him.

  • Busyness – family and church have to wait “until things slow down a bit.”

  • Coming crisis – no marketable skills, big debt, burned bridges, no hope. We have big drug and alcohol problems now – they are bound to get worse if the economy slows down signficantly.

I know it is not just Alberta that is facing these issues, but with the boom, the potential consequences of misplaced trust are amplified. As strangers and aliens, Christians need to gently and firmly sound the alarm that prosperous times are no foundation for life.

The Gospel is for all of life. Being faithful disciples includes being faithful with our time, finances and opportunities. Pastors and mature Christians in the church need to train less mature believers to be good stewards and keep material things in perspective. In other words, we must remember that our treasure is in Heaven, not in the Alberta Advantage.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise

I love this hymn. The lyrics turn the singer's attention toward God's holiness and transcendence. The hymn writer was obviously hungry for the glory of God.

1. Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.

2. Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

3. To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish - but naught changeth Thee.

4. Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
All praise we would render; O help us to see
’Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee!

Walter Smith(1824-1908)

A Few Good Links

After doing a milquetoast mini-series on the state of Christian blogging, it is nice to have my observations validated by excellent blog posts. I now have more ammunition that Christian blogging has value.

I highly recommend the post by Kim over at The Upward Call on Pursuing Purity. Her observations on sanctification are excellent. This aspect of our salvation is misunderstood in much of the church. Gospel-centered teaching on this critical doctrine is far too rare in Evangelical circles, from what I’ve seen. Go read it!

I made the link to Kim’s post from her hubby’s comments (though I’m not at all ashamed to admit I read Homeschool Mom blogs). Neil has been doing a series on Lot that has a rare combination of creativity and faithfulness to the text. I love seeing new insights in familiar texts, as long as they are not merely the insights of the author or preacher imposed on the text. Bugblaster has done his homework very well.

Here’s a three-in-one: Pastor Garry Weaver has a new blog called Amazing Grace and Old Chevys. That title got my attention. There aren’t many people around to talk old Chevys with. He also talks about Amazing Grace topics. Those are good too. Garry also has two sons who blog – Jeremy the Doxoblogist and Pastor Steve. They are both excellent blogs – solid theology, good writing and nice page design to boot! I enjoy reading the comments at Garry’s blog because of the family repartee therein.

Sunday’s comin’. I need to get some sleep.

Way to Go Oilers!

They were tough, but we took the Ducks 4-1. A few days of rest and then off to the finals!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

No Boast Post Tonight

It's too bad. I was getting used to the Oilers winning. I had a board meeting tonight. Not bad timing, as it turns out. I can watch the "highlights" online tomorrow morning. I hear Laraque scored, though. That's something. I guess.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Serious Blogging? Part Two – Opportunities

I recently posted on the limitations of blogging. However, I do think the medium has merit as well. In fact, I have a higher opinion of blogs now than when I first began blogging. This may sound vain, but part of the reason that I think more highly of blogging now is that I have a few readers. I just did higgledy-piggledy posts for my older two kids and three guys in my church who read my blog, but now I try to be a little more thoughtful … most of the time (sorry kids and three guys, you’re important too!).

Blogging is still a new thing. It is immensely popular. Like many other fads, it will die down over time, but good blogs will survive. My favorite blogs are not self-consciously blogs, they are more like columns. The panelists at Band of Bloggers (Al Mohler, Tim Challies, Russell Moore and Justin Taylor) all have a different style and none of them fit the stereotype of blogs. For these gentlemen, blogs are more of an information based service to the Christian community than personal journaling online.

Knowing the benefit I have received from other blogs, I know that blogging can be an encouragement to like-minded believers. Some of the quotes of great writers, introductions to hymns (and reminders of old ones), reflections on biblical passages and even news of God’s goodness in the little things have helped me to be more thoughtful and thankful. I mentioned the “ghetto factor” in my blogging limitations post, but it is good to know that there are a few more people out there in my ghetto, even as I try to move beyond it.

Blogging is helping me to learn to write, though I still think of this Winnie the Pooh quote from time to time. When I know that a few other people are going to read my reflections, it makes me work harder at being comprehensible.

I do think that the medium of blogging could bear some fruit in evangelism. It’s not likely, but God can use any medium He chooses. Blogging is, after all, the written word in a public format. Gospel-centered posts and links to Christ-exalting resources may go farther than we expect. This is a reason why Christian bloggers have to be careful. Our words must be full of grace and seasoned with salt – perhaps particularly in the comments sections. We shouldn’t post anything that we wouldn’t say face-to-face.

One of the greatest benefits of blogging is the resource recommendations. I’ve found helpful sermons, lectures, books, book reviews, news, websites and, yes, blogs by reading other people’s blogs. I hope my links and recommendations can provide some good tips for my readers over time. Information overload may be a problem, but we can share an embarrassment of riches with each other. That’s a good thing – if we can also be good stewards of our time.  

Blogging may help people in particular church associations learn about issues facing their groups. There is a lot of that going on among our south-of-the-border brethren in the Southern Baptist Convention. Blogging can be a useful forum for intra-denominational discussion and debate. Blogs may not be able to reform the “world out there,” but we may be able to help people think through the doctrine and practice of people on the same team.

The idea of building community in the blogosphere was shot down pretty quickly by the Band of Bloggers panel members. I mostly agree with that. However, if we are sensitive to the limitations of the blogging medium (no body language or voice inflection, for example) and understand the need to prioritize our local church family ahead of our blogging friends, then I believe that there are possibilities for meeting people through blogging. There are, one would hope, real people at the other end of the keyboard. I met a few of them at T4G and Band of Bloggers. They seemed pretty real. In fact, now that I’m home, I can see how much the personalities of these fellows shine through on their blogs.

I wouldn’t hesitate to contact a few of the bloggers that I’ve “met” online if we were in their area. I hope to meet a couple of Southern Alberta guys in early July, if possible. I know our family would be happy to meet any blogger friends that happened to travel through Edson. Jasper is very nice, and we’re on the way to Jasper and points west, two hours from Edmonton. You know, the place the Oilers call home.

Oilers Win Again!

What a wild and wooly third period! 8 goals! 3-0 series lead now.

Hey, I just noticed that this Blogger "create" page has Oilers copper and blue! Way to go, guys!

Monday, May 22, 2006

This is What I Did Today

Well, I mostly finished it today (I have to get sand for the sand box and some bark mulch or something for cushioning). Did I build it all today? I wish. I've been picking at it for a couple of weeks, here and there. Between hockey games.
Even the Finch is an Oilers Fan

(I think he's a bandwagon hopper. He hops a lot anyway).

How 'bout them Oilers, though?! Six straight wins and they're playing at home tomorrow and Thursday!

I hope to put up my next post on blogging tomorrow. I worked on it last night, but I need to let it sit and settle a little longer (don't get your hopes up - I'm shooting for "presentable" with this post).

Meanwhile, there's always hockey!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I Know Who I Have Believed

This is a simple, old-fashioned hymn. I sang it growing up, but it was only after I learned to love the doctrines of grace that I began to really appreciate it, particularly verse three! The text of the chorus is from 2 Timothy 1:12.

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.


I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.


I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.


Lyrics: Dan­i­el W. Whit­tle, 1883

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Blogging as Pamphleteering

Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press around 1450. Thus, pre-blogging was born. The 16th Century Protestant reformation rode the wave of pamphleteering (the mass printing and distribution of documents usually critical of the “establishment” church). The early pamphlets came from within the church. Erasmus had some real zingers, even though he never left the Roman Catholic Church. Perhaps the most famous pamphlet was Luther’s 95 theses on the indulgences that some enterprising hot-head copied and distributed far and wide courtesy of the printing press. This two was a criticism of the church from within the church, but it began the discussion that led to the schism.

Someone at Band of Bloggers compared blogging to pamphleteering. Perhaps the masses today can be influenced by the written word on blogs like Europe was taught by pamphlets in the 16th Century?

In my last post I considered some limitations and pitfalls associated with blogging. I’m posting this separately because the topic of blogging as pamphleteering intrigues me. Can blogging be this kind of a cultural force? I have my doubts. There are many significant differences between Europe in the 16th Century and North America in the 21st Century.

  • The masses are distracted. Reformation and counter-reformation debates were big news because there was far less competition for the attention of the populace. How many reading / viewing / playing options do we have in our information age?

  • The masses are atomized. There are about five million sub-cultures in Western culture today on ethnic, economic, geographical, religious, age and countless other grounds. The light and ethereal nature of the ‘net only compounds this atomization. Gospel blogging is mostly preaching to the choir, I’m afraid.

  • The masses are divided. Until relatively recent times, churches were established on the parish principle. In the early days of the Reformation, there was one church in a community. Pamphlets charging The Church with error were big news in a unitary society. Today, there is a tremendous smorgasbord of spiritual “options.” What D.A. Carson calls philosophical pluralism has really flattened out all of this diversity, marginalizing and individualizing truth claims to the point that the individual blog-reader will yawn at what he considers useless controversy.

I hate to be a spoil-sport, but I really don’t hold out a lot of hope for blogging as an agent of cultural change. I do not think that the comparison with pamphleteering in the past holds much water. I would love to be proven wrong, but that’s my two cents worth.

In my next post, I would like to write on some of the positive aspects of blogging and the opportunities available to good bloggers.  However, let me leave this grumpy post on a positive note. I do think that within the Christian community, Gospel centered blogging can have a positive influence and serve as an encouragement to like-minded believers.

Stay tuned …

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Serious Blogging? Part One - Limitations

Because it is a relatively new thing, many people are talking about the usefulness and limitations of blogging. Mark Dever did a little post on The Unbearable Lightness of Blogs back in January. Carl Trueman over at Reformation 21 did a great little piece on blogs and the unfortunate egalitarianism they encourage, among other things (I can’t find that column now, the site’s giving me trouble. I think it was posted in January. If anyone else finds it, can you let me know? Thanks). I think everyone that blogs has done some navel-gazing about the usefulness of the forum for meaningful communication.

If you ask tech-savvy people what blogs are about, you’ll probably get the answer back that they are personal journals that people put up on the ‘net. Why? Because they can. If this was all blogs were about, then I never would have tuned in, or started writing one. Most of the blogs that I read are not personal journals, at least not primarily.

One of the funny things about my little blog world is how small the circle really is.  I look at maybe 20 blogs – only a few every day. On most of those blogs I see a lot of the same people commenting (some sites – like Purgatorio – receive a wider audience, though).

That brings me to the first limitation that I see: Good Christian blogging is not likely to be a powerful evangelistic tool. Atheists have their own blogs, as do agnostics, Wiccans, NASCAR fans … you get the idea. Evangelicalism has been accused of creating a ghetto, isolated from the world “out there.” Christian blogging can make that ghetto smaller (I don’t read blogs by seeker-sensitive types, Arminians, or emergent church people on the one hand, nor do I read blogs by fundamentalists, reconstructionists or other ultra-conservatives on the other hand). A friend in our church reminds me from time to time about the wisdom in reading books by people I don’t agree with. That’s good counsel. I celebrate the people out there in the blogosphere that think like I do – there’s something affirming about that  – but there is a downside to all this “home-teaming,” if you know what I mean. If I think that I am going to set the world on fire with my “sound doctrine posts,” I’m kidding myself. I will do more good face-to-face with folks here in Edson.

On the other hand, God can use anything He pleases. If one person takes a closer look at Christ’s claims because of our little blogging ghetto, fantastic. Some bloggers – like Frank and Neil, if you want some examples – have provoked some interesting response from unbelievers. More power to them!

Another limitation of blogs is the illusory factor they can create. Like online dating, the person at the other end of the keyboard might not live up to his or her self-promotion. In the blogging world, we can say at the very least that the blogger you are reading is not part of your “community,” no matter how faithfully you read his or her blog (okay, if the blogger goes to your church, or is your pastor, this point may not hold water. People in my church keep me honest with my blogging because they know the real me!). Your community is your community, and the center of that is your local church.

Most of the bloggers I read and certainly the bloggers I met at T4G understand this limitation. Two fellows who are examples of excellence in blogging spoke to this at the Band of Bloggers. Both Tim Challies and Justin Taylor downplayed the “community” aspect of blogs and saw them instead as sources of information, like books or periodicals. I can imagine Christian bloggers out there neglecting their “real people” responsibilities because they have an “online community.” This is not good.

Another pitfall in the blogosphere is the anonymity factor. Some people hide behind their alias or anonymous status that the ‘net provides and take potshots at others. This is not fair fighting. Rudeness, gossip and misrepresentation are rampant in email, in blogs and blog comments. Tim Challies has done an excellent post on this recently – I commend it to you.  

There is a transience to the medium of blogging. We can put stuff up that is timeless (like great hymns) but our definition of what is “dated” may contribute to chronological snobbery. If it’s new, it must be better. Most thoughtful readers should be aware of this, but it is a potential pitfall. There is something unsettling about the ethereal nature of blog posts. Some of the better ones I’ve copied and saved as Word files so I will be able to read them again (until my hard drive crashes). Which posts? I’m not telling, because maybe I wasn’t supposed to copy these!

Ah yes, copyright violations, or even violations of people’s privacy and / or information – another pitfall for the blogger. Things are easy to pick off the internet, but we need to be courteous – and legal – as believers and good citizens.

There are other disconcerting aspects to this new technology, but I’m going to quit. I am going to do a Part II on the potential benefits of blogging – maybe tomorrow!  In the meantime, if any of you are interested in this topic, go and get the Band of Bloggers audio. You can find it here. It is currently in six ten-minute pieces, but it is all there.

2-0 - shutout for Rollie! Final 4! Way to go, guys!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Posts to Come …

I’m going to do some real posts soon. I have been picking away at a couple of essays (if I can call them that), but I can’t do either of them tonight. To keep myself honest, though, I’m going to tell you what they are.

First, I want to do a post on the nature of biblical revelation, particularly on how the light of revelation grows over time throughout Scripture. Or does it?  Neil has me thinking, even though I haven’t taken much time to write my thoughts down yet. Ligon Duncan’s message on preaching the Old Testament at T4G and Jesus’ teaching on the Old Testament have inspired me to think through this essential topic. I may even do a mini-series if I get my blogging act together.

Secondly, I want to add my voice to a chorus of bloggers that have been reflecting on the purpose of blogs, particularly in light of our Band of Bloggers meeting at Southern Seminary at the end of April.

I did a post at the beginning of April called “Crazy April.” May hasn’t been a lot less crazy, though I have been closer to home. And no, my busyness hasn’t all been related to the Oilers excellent playoff run, but that’s part of it. I actually got to see the game on Sunday night – on TV with some other folks. Thanks, John! It was a fun time! 6-3 Oilers again! Home game Wednesday night.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Whate'er My God Ordains Is Right

1. Whate’er my God ordains is right, Holy His will abideth.
I will be still whate’er He does, And follow where He guideth.
He is my God, Though dark my road.
He holds me that I shall not fall, Wherefore to Him I leave it all

2. Whate’er my God ordains is right, He never will deceive me
He leads me by the proper path, I know He will not leave me
I take, content, What He hath sent
His hand can turn my griefs away, And patiently I wait His day

3. Whate’er my God ordains is right, Though now this cup in drinking
May bitter seem to my faint heart, I take it all unshrinking
My God is true, Each morn anew
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart, And pain and sorrow shall depart

4. Whate’er my God ordains is right,
Here shall my stand be taken
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine, Yet I am not forsaken
My Father’s care, Is round me there
He holds me that I shall not fall, And so to Him I leave it all

©1998 David Braud Music. Words by Samuel Rodigast (1649-1708)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hockey? Hoogly!*

My eldest daughter (who turned 12 on Monday) has been bugging me to do another post. Here it is, my dear. It would be longer, but she wasn’t going for my deal. I said that I would be happy to sit and blog this evening before Bible study if she would do extra chores. My blogging apparently isn’t that important to her. She hates when I mention her in my blog (or so she says), so this is my way of saying, “Don’t bug me.”

Part of the reason I can’t do a serious blog post tonight is that the Oilers are playing the Sharks tonight, and losing again. They’d better pull this out of the fire, or, or … I’ll have to do something else with my time in a few days. That would be just wrong. The Senators are down 3-0 (the Oil are close to that). Go Canada!

*The word "Hoogly" copyright © 2005 by Paul W. Martin, a division of the Martin Family. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Laden with Guilt and Full of Fears

1. Laden with guilt and full of fears,
I fly to Thee, my Lord,
And not a glimpse of hope appears,
But in Thy written Word
The volumes of my Father’s grace
Does all my griefs assuage
Here I behold my Savior’s face
In every page.

2. This is the field where, hidden, lies
The pearl of price unknown
That merchant is divinely wise
Who makes the pearl his own
Here consecrated water flows
To quench my thirst of sin
Here the fair tree of knowledge grows,
No danger dwells within.

3. This is the judge that ends the strife,
Where wit and reason fail
My guide to everlasting life
Through all this gloomy vale
Oh may Thy counsels, mighty God,
My roving feet command,
Nor I forsake the happy road
That leads to Thy right hand.

©2001 Same Old Dress Music (ASCAP). Lyrics: Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Friday, May 05, 2006

Proverbs 31 and Mother’s Day

Dr. Dressler, an Old Testament professor from my Bible College days, made an inflammatory, heretical, impossible, chauvinistic observation regarding Proverbs 31. He said that it was not about the ideal woman, but rather an allegory on wisdom generally, personified as a woman because of the sustained imagery throughout Proverbs comparing the wise woman and the harlot who does not fear God. He said that this interpretation could really ease the burden of guilt for thousands of mothers who have to endure sermons regarding the Impossible Ideal year after year on Mothers’ Day. On the other hand, it applies to men as well. We too need to be diligent, organized and wise in the way we spend our days.

Of course, I would never endorse such and interpretation. In fact, I wouldn’t even bring the subject up in more, um, sensitive settings. Nevertheless, I have never preached a message on Proverbs 31 on Mothers’ Day. A mom even thanked me once for not doing so because of the aforementioned guilt that she had experienced during such messages.

Putting aside the “tongue-in-cheek” factor, I do think that Proverbs 31 does have particular application to women, though I am thankful for the balance provided by Dr. Dressler’s take. It bears reflection.

By the way, if you can help Kim at the Upward Call with good Proverbs 31 research material, pop over there and make a suggestion (never mind that she has way more readers than I do). Proverbs is a book that is still largely uncharted territory for me in terms of sustained study. That’s why I didn’t leave a comment over there. Her post did twig this post, however.

And, no, I’m not preaching on Proverbs 31 on May 14th.  

Thursday, May 04, 2006

On Blogging – Sort of

I was going to do a post on the state of blogging – Christian blogging and my blog in particular – but I have heard that Timmy Brister at Provocations and Pantings is going to post an MP3 of the Band of Bloggers meeting that we had last week just before T4G began (a big “Thank you” to Timmy for organizing this event). I think I’ll wait until I can hear that panel discussion again before I dive in. There were some sobering and encouraging observations at Band of Bloggers that bear a little more reflection.

In the meantime, let me direct your attention to the cultural high ground to get your blog analysis fix. The comics Grand Avenue and Zits have both been giving attention lately to the blogosphere (no, Neil, I’m not afraid of the word). Never underestimate the shrewdness of comics.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I’ve been thinking of a poem I read this morning all day. I read it in The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975). Some may find this poem depressing, even unhealthy. I found it strangely compelling. It so effectively strips naked the pretense of righteousness, even for a person that is outwardly doing “pretty good” (like me). The confession of sins of internal malice toward people below and above particularly convicted me.

When I come to God in prayer to confess my sins, I know that I don’t even come close to confessing my sin adequately. This poem has helped me to consider the remaining wickedness in my own heart. Even with the help of this poem, I still won’t fully appreciate how ugly my sin is to God. However, it is a sobering reminder that I am counted righteous by God, for His glory. God justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:5), and I am one of those! Praise God for the saving grace that comes from the active obedience of Christ!

My every sense, member, faculty, affection, is a snare to me,
I can scarce open my eyes but I envy those above me, or despise those below.
I covet honour and riches of the mighty, and am proud and unmerciful to the rags of others;
If I behold beauty it is a bait to lust, or see deformity, it stirs up loathing and disdain;
How soon do slanders, vain jests, and wanton speeches creep into my heart!
Am I comely? What fuel for pride!
Am I deformed? What an occasion for repining!
Am I gifted? How I lust after applause!
Am I unlearned? How I despise what I have not!
Am I in authority? How prone to abuse my trust, make will my law, exclude others’ enjoyments, serve my own interests and policy!
Am I inferior? How much I grudge others’ pre-eminence!
Am I rich? How exalted I become!
Thou knowest that all these are snares by my corruptions, and that my greatest snare is myself.
I bewail that my apprehensions are dull,
My thoughts mean
My affections stupid
My expressions low
My life unbeseeming;
Yet what canst thou expect of dust but levity, of corruption but defilement.
Keep me ever mindful of my natural state,
But let me not forget my heavenly title, or the grace that can deal with every sin.
T4G Downloads Available

Sovereign Grace has made the messages from Together for the Gospel available to download. The cost for all seven (no panel discussions yet) is $14.00. I downloaded mine this morning. You can also download individual messages or order CDs.

You can find them here.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Two Quick Links

First, Bob Kauflin – the worship leader for Together for the Gospel – has posted a song list from the conference. The songs were most appropriate theologically and musically, particularly given the diversity in the crowd (not theologically, but, uh, “expressively”).

Second, WOO HOO!

Ahem. I’m only interested in such things in order to share an interest with my son, you understand. After the game we talked about the good example of humility and sportsmanship given by Chris Chelios in the Detroit locker room and the “not so good” example of Manny Legace (lucky bounces indeed!). Sometimes sacrifices have to be made in order to seize teachable moments, don’t you know … .

We should be looking at Calgary in round two. A battle of Alberta – wouldn’t that be fun?