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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

T4G: Live-Picture-Blogging :: Bonus

I thought I'd post a few more pics as a bonus to what I have already posted (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday). This is the last crop that I will post here on P&P. I will periodically post additional photos which can be found at the T4G Group on Flickr. Also, I just read a great post by Mark Dever called "It May Be So" at the T4G Blog. I encourage you to check that out. Furthermore, stay tuned to more details concerning The Band of Bloggers which continues to grow and take a life of its own . . . Here are the images. To enlarge or download, click on the image. I am not a big stickler on copywriting my stuff, but all I ask is that you give the source as you would do any other reference. Thanks!

To those who served in the shadowlands, THANK YOU. Brothers together in prayer Bob Kauflin leading in worship T4G Bookstore Toogether in all languages Taking notes Ligonier Ministries Booth Panel Discussion John Piper in "expository exultation"

Saturday, April 29, 2006

T4G: Live-Picture-Blogging :: Friday

Here are some pics I took from Friday's sessions at the Together for the Gospel Conference. As I have time, I will continue to post pictures of the conference, although I do not know if I will post them here on P&P. I know for sure they will be available here or here. Thank you to all of you who were so kind to link my pics on your blog and to all of you who have commented the pictures. As is true for many of you, these guys and this conference was momentous in many ways, and I hope to just catch a glimpse of that reality. For those of you who could not attend, it is my hope that what Challies has been blogging and what you have been hearing can be combined with a visual or lens with which you can see all that took place (or at least some of it). So here you go. Again, more to come later . . . (remember click to enlarge).

The Cross (logo) John MacArthur preaching from 1 Thessalonians 1-2 C.J. Mahaney preaching from 1 Timothy 4:16 Tim Challies typing 200 words per minute Mark Dever and Don Elbourne (after Don asks, "Will you run for the president of the SBC if you are nominated?) Some of the Band of Bloggers (from left to right - Alex Forrest, Scott Lamb, Tim Challies, and Marc Heinrich) Some guys listening in (I know that sounds so nondescript)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

T4G: Live-Picture-Blogging :: Thursday

Here are some photos from Thursday at the Together for the Gospel Conference. I have posted some from Wednesday as well. Tim Challies is doing a wonderful job of live-blogging, but even with that, many of you (the visual type) want to see glimpses of the conference. Thus, my pictures are for you. I have many others which I hope to post, but if you want to find them at a later time, then go here. For a larger view, click on the image.

Vintage John Piper Lig (rapper) and Mel (beatbox) Duncan (Rappa's D-lite) R.C. Sproul (remember not to use flash) Self-__________ I want to be like Tim! (see anything peculiar . . . besides Tim smiling?) Dr. Mohler

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

T4G: Live-Picture-Blogging :: Wednesday

Together for the Gospel backdrop
The Band of Brothers Mark Dever preaching on 1 Corinthians 4 C.J. Mahaney sharing his heart (very moving moment) Purgatorio (Marc Heinrich) and myself Don Elbourne (Locusts and Wild Honey) and myself

Building Our Blogs on the Gospel

I just made it back to the house and in much need of sleep. The first day of the Together for the Gospel Conference was amazing, far exceeding my hopes and expectations. I presume that you will be able to catch up on all that is going on through various blogs, not the least of which is Tim Challies excellent live-blogging. I have, on the other hand, sought to post a few pictures of each day as a sort of "photo-live-blog" I guess you could say. You might be wondering how the Band of Bloggers went. I want to write in detail about it soon, but I will just say that I stand amazed at the goodness of God that he has allowed me to help put together such an event. All the guys who attended blessed me tremedously. This who deal is more than an event, and I pray that the days ahead will evidence that reality. I just want to express my love and gratitude to everyone who came, volunteered, and participated because without God's providene and your involvement, this would have remained a dream in my head. Lastly, as I have mentioned earlier, I have created a T4G Flickr group for anyone who wants to post pics of the conference (but you must join the group first). James Thompson has already posted over 30 pictures from the Band of Bloggers, and I hope to post some too when I get around to it. My good buddy Dan Canales helped as the photographer of BoB and has several hundred from the meeting that I hope to take a look at as well. Anyway, more than anything I need to rest up for a great day tomorrow. I have so much to say with a heart so full . . .

T4G: Band of Blogger Attendees

Well today is the big day for Band of Bloggers. I must say that this has been a fun ride. I never thought that a little idea could turn into all this in a matter of a couple of weeks. I have only a few hours to nap before the marathon gets going, so this morning I thought I'd post the attendees as it stands via email notification. The names as you shall see are in alphabetical order. I have also included those who have emailed me who are attending who do not have blogs but are necessarily associated with the meeting as well as the wonderful volunteers who have graciously given their time and effort to assist me. Here they are:

Ricky Alcantar Humble Orthodoxy Michael Beach i-Pastor Michael Beasley The Armoury Caleb Billingsley Pressing Godward Adam Bishop Reformation Station Peter Bogert Stronger Church Timmy Brister Provocations and Pantings Tom Brouwer Truthseeker Josh Buice Practical Theology Discussions Dustin Butts The Once Dead Poet Tim Challies Challies Dot Com Dan Cruver Eucatastrophe Clif Cummings Grace Full Words John Divito Reformed Baptist Thinker Don Elbourne Locusts and Wild Honey Ed Elliott Affections Fixed Above John Estes God’s Fame for His Name Dwayne H. Ewers Sr. The Gospel and the Kingdom Ken Fields The World From Our Window Alex Forrest Alex Forrest’s Blog Kerry Gilliard Think! Jon Grindell Jim Harrison Spurgeonite Tabernacle Joe Harrod The Harrod Family Marc Heinrich Purgatorio Mike Hess The World From Our Window Travis Hilton Baptist Reform Chris Hinton Truth or Consequences John Hollandsworth Light Along the Journey Bob Kauflin Worship Matters Scott Lamb Wisdom of the Pages Mark Lauterbach GospelDrivenLife Garrett Lee Crux Andrew Lindsey Call to Die Paul Martin Kerux Noemata Clint Miller Ex Quo Chad Mondragon Vintage Faith Stephen Newell The Silent Holocron Chance Nichols Shaun Nolan Pastor Shaun Brandon Porter Covenant Life Today Mick Porter Unveiled Face David Price Espresso Roast Daniel Randle Christ and Culture Nick Reddin Truth or Consequences Jason Robertson Fide-O Brandon Rogers John Rush Anvil & Fire Matthew Sims Under Sovereign Grace Terry Stauffer New Lumps Justin Taylor Between Two Worlds Jordan Thomas Solus-Christus James Thompson Speak Plainly Tad Thompson Total Truth Garry Weaver Steve Weaver Pastor Steve Weaver Blake White Redeemed, Reformed, & Relevant Adam Wilder Brad Williams Sojourner Adam Winters Slimer and the Real Erasmus Danny Wright Carnivorous Caribou Bret Rogers Carolyn McCulley Solo Femininity (Church and Ministry Relations @ Sovereign Grace Ministries

Scott Anderson Director of Events & Books @ Desiring God Ministries Ken Boer Director of Music (Covenant life Church, Gaithersburg, MD) Mel Duncan Director of Church Relations @ Ligonier Ministries) Kevin Meath Director of Communications & Print Publishing @ Sovereign Grace Ministries

Volunteers: Brad Hughes Chris Dilly Ben Dockery Ben Brado Mark Dolan Terri Coobs Daniel Canales Stephen Newell K.J. Pugh James Risner It has been great to see many of you bloggers joining the Band of Bloggers Blog Directory. Let me encourage you to do so if you haven't. Also, James Thompson has already built a website template for The Band of Bloggers in which future posts will be made concerning the gospel, our lives, and the glory of God. It will serve as a residual and remembrance of what this is all about. Once the conference is over, the band of bloggers is just beginning. More on that to come later. Finally, please pray for a great meeting for us. While the blogosphere has the tendency to be very polemical and divisive, it is important to affirm the essentials of our faith and rally our hearts, lives, and ministries around the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray that the Lord would do such a work in us and through us to impact our world and the blogsophere for the glory of Christ. Thank you.

- Timmy Brister

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Discerning Reader Is Back!

This is news that I have long been waiting to hear! Tim Challies announced today that he has recently redone the Discerning Reader website, and now it is better than ever! Let me be quick to note that there is no relation between Tim and the previous operators of the Discerning Reader, and it looks like there great things ahead for the website. Here are some of the things Tim mentioned today about the new site: New York Times Bestsellers - We are reviewing many of the books that appear on the New York Times list of bestsellers. We hope to be able to expand this section to include all the books featured in the top position in nonfiction. Expert Lists - We have asked some of the most discerning and widely-respected authors and teachers to send us lists of books they recommend for various purposes. Where To Start Lists - Interested in beginning to read about a new topic? Let our experts guide you to books that will bless you as you read about spiritual disciplines, church history, systematic theology, family issues and more. Church Bulletin Mini-Reviews - Discerning Reader now offers short, discerning reviews suitable for placement in church bulletins. Bookworm Reviews - Discerning Reader has looked high and low to find other discerning book reviewers. Our "Bookworm" program features off-site reviews written by a wide variety of discerning reviewers. Check any of the titles in our database for these bookworm reviews. In the future, it looks like there might be the Discerning Viewer as well. Be sure to check out and bookmark the new Discerning Reader and check back as the site continues to be developed and expanded. Thank you Tim, for redeeming this wonderful idea and allowing it to be a great place for new and experienced readers alike to learn and grow in our relationship with God. It is without question that this tool will be an effective stimulous to press on in knowing the excellencies of Christ more. O that I might know Him . . .!

T4G: Band of Bloggers One Day Away!

I haven’t posted anything about the Band of Bloggers for a couple of days, but being that we are one day away, I thought I’d catch everyone up on things. Right now, I am finishing up on some loose ends of the logistics (i.e. transportation, volunteers, etc.). It looks like everything is ready to go.

Several of you who live in or near Louisville who blog have asked if you could attend Band of Bloggers even if you are not attending the conference. Let me just say that you are more than welcome to come! However, due to the plans already made and limited resources, some things may or may not be available (by this I mean food and gifts). But that is not the point of this meeting; rather it is about the glory of Christ and the blogs which we are looking to be good stewards of.

For those of you who are not attending and would like to be a part of the T4G Blog Directory be sure to check out my previous post and include your information. For those of you driving and needing directions, I also would like to direct your attention to this post.

As a side note, I would like to mention a few things which I am excited about. In our little Band of Bloggers meeting, there will be folks from some of my favorite ministries: Desiring God, Sovereign Grace, and Ligonier Ministries. I really look forward to meeting them as well and am grateful that they will be able to attend.

Finally, I want to thanks to those of you who have been so gracious to volunteer to help me. God has brought help from co-workers at UPS to SS teachers at church to fellow students at SBTS. To all of you I just want to express my gratitude and appreciation for you. Your joyful willingness to jump in and help has greatly encouraged me.

As this meeting takes place tomorrow, it is my earnest desire that what we do and talk about transcends two hours and unites our hearts and lives for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Over the past couple of weeks, it is has been a great joy to exchange numerous emails and conversations with those attending. Needless to say, I consider it a privilege to be named among them. Yet, in all of this, I believe we can all say that it is because of Jesus and his life-changing gospel message which we have received and take our stand and are saved (1 Cor. 15:1-2) that we glory. May He who alone is worthy of every blogpost be found on our lips and at the end of every sentence.

- Timmy Brister

********************************** T4G: Band of Bloggers Previous Posts:

Announcing Band of Bloggers Directions Announcing Panel Panel Theme Bloggers Book Gift Blog Directory

Please Remember Pastor Don Elbourne and the Lakeshore Baptist Family

Last summer, I first encountered the blog of Don Elbourne when he posted about the SBC convention. I was encouraged to see his bold yet well-balanced disposition on very volitile matters and admired how he handled himself in such heated debates (as in the Johnny Hunt fiasco). However, something of much greater significance occurred which has long since replaced such posts. Lakeshore Baptist Church, of which Don is the pastor, was totally demolished due to Hurricane Katrina. Many of you know this, and some of you have even been down there to help out with relief. I wanted to make this post as a reminder to all of us to remember them in our prayers, and in doing do to inquire of the Lord if and how we could help be an answer to the needs that they have. Since Katrina is no longer on the headline news or frontpage of the local newspapers, it is easy to be consumed with the hectic day-to-day events that we forget that we have brothers and sisters who don't have a normal day-to-day events except renovating homes, picking up debris, and rebuilding their lives. To keep us informed of the needs and plans of those rebuilding in the Katrina disaster area (especially around Lakeshore), a website called Rebuild Lakeshore has been established which explains the specific needs, provides pictoral updates, and gives you the necessary information on how you can get involved. Furthermore, if you feel led to give to lessen the financial burden upon these precious people, click here to go to a secure Paypal account where you can directly send funds to that cause. In addition to the challenge to rebuild the church building, many members are having to also rebuild their homes. Some homes were completely wiped away while others had to be stripped clean to the frame and rebuilt. I cannot imagine the incredible difficulty and adversity they have been through, and the work before them at times undoubtedly woult at times seem insurmountable. Yet, through Christ and the supplication of His Church, great things can be done. I pray that we all will bear with one another our burdens and help shoulder their pain and struggles. I have lived half my life on the Gulf Coast (born in Ft. Walton Beach, FL and attended college in Mobile, AL) and am well aware of the destruction that hurricanes bring. Yet when hear of another storm being named and the reporters on the scene reporting the devastation, it seems like a world away from us and often become jaded. With this in mind, I am very encouraged to hear the news that Pastor Don will be attending the Band of Bloggers meeting tomorrow with the rest of us. This will be the first time he has been away since Katrina. While I am excited that he will be here, my heart is heavy, wanting some way to be an encouragement to him. During his short time away, I pray that the Spirit of our God would strengthen our dear brother, refresh his heart, and renew his spirit and that the unquenchable love of Jesus would be expressed in our affectionate embrace and prayers for one another. Don, I am so glad that you are able to be at the T4G conference and especially the BoB meeting. Please know that we are together with you, not only for the gospel, but also for your church and community to which God has called you. To read a recent Baptist Press article of Lakeshore Baptist Church, click here.

Monday, April 24, 2006

40 Days of Purpose and Artificial Fruit

I can remember like it was yesterday. It was during a massive flood in my hometown and everything was shut down. I went into a meeting with the staff to meet with a minister of one of the "pilot innovator" churches in Alabama. They had just went through the 40 Days of Purpose Program that had taken the country by storm. We watched a video that stressed the "law of exponential thinking" and all that jazz that worked for Saddleback. So the leadership bought into, and the price tag was exceedingly great. We had everything from interactive CD's to huge banners to commercials to drama. Books were bought for free, and by the time the 40 days were over, over $10,000 was spent. I must say that there was tremendous excitement and a whole lot of hype, but it didn't even take until a couple weeks into this deal that it wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. Several years have passed and thousands of dollars (in my opinion) have been wasted. The gospel according to Warren was woefully inadequate, and the only real outcome that came of this program was the catapulting of this book to being the greatest hardback ever sold in the U.S. Over the next couple of years, just about every church I knew went through with the program and I would cringe when I saw the billboards or markee signs. The euphoria is over now, and I wonder how many pastors and churches would say that all that money and effort was really worth it. I say all this because this post was triggered by a recent question posed by Mark Dever on the T4G blog. He asked:

My pastor friend, how much of what we've done will continue to impact our town 50 years after our ministry is completed?

How much of what we've done will continue to impact our CHURCH 50 years after our ministry is completed?

How much of what we've done continues to impact individuals in our church 50 days after our ministry is completed?

I think these are great questions to ask, especially when we find ourselves buying into the next trend or novelty that glimmers in pragmatism and promises more artificial fruit in finely wrapped packages. Our churches are pressured by the immediacy of results and numbers so much so that the seed they sow is reaping a harvest of souls whose soil is shallow ground and never take root. Our church members should not be considered as Chia-pets; we should long for redwoods. When the storms of life come for us, what will be found tumbling with the wind? Dever concludes with a quote by George Whitefield about the ministry of Richard Baxter. Whitefield says, "I went to Kidderminster where I was kindly received. I was greatly refreshed to find what a sweet savour of good Mr. Baxter's doctrine, works, and discipline remained to this day." Dever remarks that this was written over 80 years after Baxter had completed his ministry in Kidderminster. It is to the glory of God that we should have fruit that would remain, and it is my prayer that when our churches faces the fires of adversity or the temptations of prosperity, what will be found is people who are abiding in Christ more than committed to a formula.

Because I'm A Little Busy . . .

{Click to enlarge}
Here's another picture I took last week. I also have a few from Thunder but probably won't be able to get around to them anytime soon! Hopefully, I will post again later tonight . . .

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Uh . . . No, I Don't Think So

Yet again. Another pastor has sought to "disarm" Calvinism. Dr. Bill Wilks of Northpark Baptist Church, Trussville, Alabama has recently preached a two-part sermon called "Predestined to Hell? No Way!" (sound familiar? Hello Mr. Rogers). Here they are: part one and part two. Notice the emphasis of "covenant." How ironic. I found out about this preacher from a link to my blog on Derek Webb's message board. The post says the following:

The chapel service at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary at the Birmingham center this Monday is to inform the students of the "dangers" of Calvinism and to "disarm" the Calvinistic position. I actually won't be there but some of the students called and wanted a paper written to correct his lecture. The lecture can be heard here (originally taught at his church): http://www.northparkbc.org/clientimages/26972/audio/010806_am.m3u I cannot believe some of the things this man is says (and is going to say). It is almost so outlandishly intellectually and exegetically dishonest that I am not even sure if it is going to be worth the time (except that 90% of the student body there is just as dishonest as he is). If you get a chance, see what you think. You may want to remove all breakables from your midst...
After listening to these two sermons, my heart is grieved. Here we see pastors with assumed authority preaching erroneously and with willful intent. Wilks appears to be an educated man (hence "dr.") and should handle Scriptures in a fair manner (I must give him credit that he actually attempts to address what the Bible says). If a pastor with a doctorate degree can butcher the Scriptures with such brutish misunderstandings, then what are we to think of the pastors who have no theological training attacking Calvinism? As such pastors quote from sources like BaptistFire and Dave Hunt whose only consistency is being flagrantly foul, how are we to have dialogue with those whom we disagree? Speaking of "drs.," you might want listen to Ergun Caner's recent sermon (if you can bear it) at Thomas Road Baptist Church. As many of you already know, Ergun and his brother Emir are scheduled to debate James White and Tom Ascol later this year. Be sure to listen to his exposition (or should I say imposition) on Romans 9. Lastly, let me provide you a quote from Dr. Wilks in his second sermon:
"If Calvinism is true, then Calvinism robs us of the greatest story ever told, of the greatest verse in the Bible (John 3:16)."
In light of this quote and his sermons, what is your response? What do you think? Is there any hope that those who hear such sermons will be encouraged to search the Scriptures and refuse to blindly accept such shameful packages of "truth"?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Sweet Flavor from Flavel

About six weeks ago I purchased the six volume set of John Flavel’s works, and I have grown to really appreciate this man and his ministry. Taking the advice of Dr. Mohler to try to work through a writer’s complete works, I have chosen Flavel this semester, partly because of his book The Mystery of Providence (puritan paperback) and my desire to have a better understanding of the doctrine of providence. What I love about Flavel is that he is so passionately pastoral and principally practical in all his ministry. Let me give you an example of this.

Many of the people whom Flavel ministered to were seamen who experienced the adversity of storms and inclement weather. In volume five, Flavel was a work entitled Navigation Spiritualized: A New Compass for Seamen. Consider what was written in the forward as addressed to “all Masters, Mariners, and Seamen; especially such as belong to the Borough of Clifton, Dartmouth, and Hardness, in the country of Devon":

“It is a gallant thing to be able to carry a ship richly laden round the world; but it is much more gallant to carry a soul (that rich loading, a pearl of more worth than all the merchandize of the world) in a body (that is as liable to leaks and bruises as any ship is) through the sea of this world (which is as unstable as water, and hath the same brinish taste an salt gust which the waters of the sea have) safe to heaven (the best haven) so as to avoid splitting upon any soul-sinking rocks, or striking upon any soul-drowning sands. The art of navigation is a very great mystery; but the art of spiritual navigation is by much a greater mystery. Human wisdom may teach us to carry a ship to the Indies: but the wisdom only that is from above can teach us to steer our course aright to the haven of happiness. This art is purely of divine revelation” (209).

Flavel explains his approach to writing to the seamen by saying, “I have endeavored to clothe spiritual matters in your own dialect and phrases, that they might be the more intelligible to you; and added some pious poems, with which the several chapters are concluded, trying by all means to assault your several affections . . .” (208). This short epistle is comprised of 32 chapters, each with an observation, application, reflection, and poem. One of the poems I felt impressed to share with you as an encouragement on your journey that you may find such men as Flavel and others who will be a faithful friend to point you in the right direction and take you to God’s divine compass (His Word) so that you will find your happiness and haven in Him.

A ship of greatest burthen will obey The rudder; he that sits at helm, may sway And guide its motion: If the pilot please, The ship bears up, against both wind and seas. My soul’s the ship, affections are its sails, Conscience is the rudder. Ah! But Lord, what ails My naughty heart, to shuffle in and out, When its convictions bid it tack about? Temptations blow a counter blast, and drive The vessel where they please, tho’ conscience strive. And by its stronger persuasions it would force My stubborn will to steer another course. Lord, if I run this course, thy word doth tell How quickly I must needs arrive in hell. Then rectify my conscience, change my will; Fan in thy pleasant gales, my God, and fill All my affections, and let nothing carry My soul from its due course, or make it vary; Then if the pilot’s work thou wouldst perform. I should bear bravely up against a storm.

Chapter XI – “Ships are Guided by the Helm” in Navigation Spiritualized: A New Compass for Seamen. The Works of John Flavel vol. 5, 233.

Fill our affections with heavenly delights, Lord, and remind us that you are the Pearl which none can afford!

Friday, April 21, 2006

POTW :: 04.21.06 :: Falling

{Click to enlarge} To see Falling on my Flickr, go here.
I have really been in the sunset mood lately, and this is one that I ended up really liking. Usually, when you shoot sunsets, the sky is fiery red or orange, and I wanted to try something different. I changed the white balance (WB) to a cooler temperature (Kelvin) between tungsten and flourescent which kept the sky above the sunset blue. I thought it made for a great split-toned sky. This was also taken across the Ohio River, and the bridge is the Falls of the Ohio bridge. To see a similar picture with a frame set to landscape, go here.
Here's the exif data for the photogs: Camera: Canon 20D Lens: 28-135mm IS USM Focal Length: 56mm Tv: 1/800 sec Av: f/ 4.5 ISO: 100 WB: Custom (4000K) Friday's have turned out to be a great day for photography and poetry as other bloggers also are posting some of their work. I encourage you to check out the following: Steve McCoy :: Phriday Is for Photos Joe Thorn :: A Thousand Words Alex Forrest :: Friday Foto For those interested in poetry, check out ColossiansThreeSixteen.

Fifty and Seventy Five

I just noticed that yesterday was an eventful day for P&P in that the last state (Idaho) yet to visit here came last night at 11:06 p.m. from a reader in Twin Falls, Idaho. Whoever you are, thanks for reading! Earlier yesterday, there was a visitor from Yemen which made for the 75th country to visit P&P as well. Last month, I started to randomly check in to see from what countries folks were coming from, and here is the of the 75 countries. I thought it was neat to see how interconnected we are:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote D’Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Guam, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea (Republic of), Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Territory [Occupied], Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Yemen.
When I look at these countries, I am reminded that there are many brothers and sisters in heavily persecuted places and other places where there are missionaries whom I know and love serving King Jesus among a people who have yet to proclaim His praise. Yes, as Patrick Johnstone says, the world is bigger than you think.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

T4G: Band of Bloggers Blog Directory

I know that there are several bloggers who have been keeping up with what is going on with the Band of Bloggers meeting and cannot attend. There have been a lot of conferences that I would have given anything to attend (well, most anything) but simply could not make it. This post is for those of you who cannot attend T4G or the Blogger meeting.

One of the long term goals of this meeting is to put together a Blog Directory. If you are a blogger who believes in the purpose and goal of the Together for the Gospel Conference and would like to be included in the Blog Directory, I am inviting you to include your blog – yes YOUR BLOG. There are two ways to do this: If you have a Blogger account, please leave your first and last name, blog title, and city and state (or country) in the comment section of this post. If you do not have a blogger account or prefer to email, you can email the information to gospelcentral@yahoo.com. Please put “Blog Directory” in the subject line.

In the next couple of weeks, I hope to compile all the blogs submitted into this blog directory and make it available for everyone. This directory is not centered on a denomination or organization – it is centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ through which we come together.

I believe that in the future there will be other opportunities for such blogger meetings. It would be great if we could foster fellowship and camaraderie amongst one another. One of the great benefits of putting this together is that I have been introduced to some great blogs that I had no idea were out there. If we unite, let it be for the glory of God and because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

- Timmy Brister

T4G: Band of Bloggers Previous Posts:

Announcing Band of Bloggers Directions Announcing Panel Panel Theme Bloggers Book Gift

Mama Told Me, So What Do You Think?

Mama told me yesterday that when she saw our Easter picture on my Flickr page that I looked like the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Now, being that my mother is from Iran, I thought she might know what she is talking about. So I went grabbed a picture of the Ahmadinejad to make a portrait juxtaposition. What do you think?

Here are the possible answers:

  1. No Way, Not Even Close
  2. Distant Relatives
  3. Anachronistic Twins (“as one untimely born”)
  4. This Could Be Bad—Really Bad

I thought it would be helpful to get a second opinion on this, lest people think I might be a security threat. Trust me, I am a warm, fuzzy, 'can’t-hurt-a-bug' Middle Eastern guy. So if you google this and think otherwise, you’ve got something else coming. :)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

T4G: Band of Bloggers Book Gift

Today’s announcement (this has become a daily thing or so it seems) was something I really hoped to do for the bloggers attending the Band of Bloggers meeting. I just wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. To be honest, I couldn’t . . . Tim Challies and the great folks at Crossway did, so you can thank them for it.

Crossway is giving a free copy of Spiritual Birthline: Understanding How We Experience the New Birth by Stephen Smallman to every blogger attending the Band of Bloggers meeting. I am so grateful for their generosity regarding this endeavor! (By the way, this was one of the reasons I have requested your email reply if you plan to come. I want to be sure we have enough books for everyone!). This book was published just last month (March 6th to be exact), so hopefully you guys haven’t purchased it yet! Scott Lamb, a friend and blogger, has recently written a review of the book which he tags, “Spiritual Birthline is not a long book, but it really packs a lot of thought-provoking theology into the pages. I think it would make a great tool for study among church leadership.”

Thank you, Tim, for being so helpful in this matter! To the folks at Crossway, your generosity makes you not only an excellent publishing company but also excellent people. You have my respect and admiration. I speak on behalf of all those who appreciate your kindness and charity toward us. We are exceedingly grateful that you have demonstrated God's goodness. May this gift, which we warmly receive, find fruition not only in our studies but in our lives and ministries.

Regarding questions: Several have asked about the recording of the panel discussion. Right now, all I know is that it will be recorded. I do not know what format it will be (MP3, podcast, etc.) and don't know about the video streaming yet. I have other details I am still working on, though I doubt they will be ready to share tomorrow. We'll see. Being curious about all the correspondence I have had with everyone, I tallied up the emails sent and received over the past couple weeks regarding the meeting, and it is over 250! I feel like I know many of you guys already. :)

******************************** T4G: Band of Bloggers Previous Posts: ********************************

Announcing Band of Bloggers Directions Announcing Panel Panel Theme

An Eventful Morning

These past few hours have been quite sobering for me. I rode home from work in what was one the most scary rides I think I have ever had. On a four-lane interstate, I was the only car (and only person foolish enough to be) in the midst of a serious thunderstorm. The lightning was simply amazing, and I wanted to get home in time to catch a few of them on camera (which I had not done before). Ten minutes into the ride things got bad—real bad. The hail was pinging off my windshield, and the lightning strikes were close enough to make the night sky look clear as day. I then remembered the last time I chased a lightning storm, and well, let’s just say that it was a hair-raising experience (please don’t ask me to explain . . . it’s kind of embarrassing!). I got off on the next exit and hung out at an Exxon gas station, called my wife to check in on her, and eventually made it back home.

I did, however, get a few pictures and thought I’d share a few with you. This was the first time for me shooting lightning, so I was working from scratch. I did pick up a few ideas and tips that I learned for you photogs that I thought might be helpful. Here’s my top ten list for shooting lightning:

  1. Shoot under some sort of ceiling (stay out of rain)
  2. Use Bulb feature and cable release if possible
  3. Tripod is a must
  4. Go wide-angle
  5. Focus to infinity
  6. Shoot Tungsten White Balance
  7. Track the lightning strike to determine the likelihood of strikes
  8. Anticipate the lightning but do not overexpose the image
  9. Shoot often (majority will be outtakes)
  10. Don’t get struck by lightning

Nothing fancy here, but I thought I’d put it out there. Any advice you experienced guys could give me?

Here’s two passages to consider when you are in the midst of a storm:

“For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in seas and all deeps. He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.” Psalm 135:5-7

And one more:

Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable. For he draws up the drops of water; they distill his mist in rain, which the skies pour down and drop on mankind abundantly. Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds, the thunderings of his pavilion? Behold, he scatters his lightning about him and covers the roots of the sea. For by these he judges peoples; he gives food in abundance. He covers his hands with the lightning and commands it to strike the mark. Its crashing declares his presence; the cattle also declare that he rises. Job 36:26-33

Note: For those in Louisville, in case you are wondering, the lightning strikes are on the Gene Snyder next to the Summit. These images were taken from my apartment porch.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

T4G: Band of Bloggers Panel Theme

The theme for the Q&A Panel Discussion will be “Blogging and the Glory of Christ.” I have given much thought to this over the weekend, realizing that not all of our blogs directly address this theme. Nevertheless, I believe as Christians, we blog for the purpose of God’s glory in Christ in whatever we do (1 Corinthians 10:31); therefore, it is fitting. It is my prayer that during this time we will discuss ways Christ may be displayed through the medium of blogging to advance the gospel and biblical truth. We want to contend for the faith once and for all handed down to the saints - all to the end purpose of magnifying His name.

Questions have been asked about the discussion and how it will be moderated. Here is what I am asking for those of you attending. Because the length is only one hour, not every question stirring in our minds will be able to be addressed. Therefore, I am asking you to think through 5-10 questions concerning blogging, the gospel, and the glory of God and email them to me (at gospelcentral@yahoo.com). In turn I will present them to the moderator. This will give you time to consider thoughtfully what exactly you would like to ask these guys. It will also ensure that our discussion is fruitful and substantive. Please have your questions emailed to me no later than this Sunday, April 23, 2006. I will turn them in that following Monday morning.

As I mentioned earlier, following the panel discussion there will be plenty of time to hang out and fellowship with one another. I have more details yet to mention, so please stay tuned for more to come. Together,

Timmy Brister As a postscript, let me take a moment to thank all of you who have been so affirmative and encouraging over the past couple weeks as I have worked in putting this together. Already I have experienced the Lord's kindness toward me through you, and I am honored to be numbered among you.

Because Our Churches Should Be a Pillar and Buttress of Truth

Tom Ascol shared yesterday that he has sent the resolution he drafted on integrity to the Southern Baptist Convention Resolutions Committee. This resolution was originally kicked around last Fall and resurfaced over the past couple of weeks. I am very encouraged that Tom went ahead and sent this to the committee. However, there are not high hopes that this resolution will make it past the committee. Art Rogers did comment that if the committee does not pass it, it can be brought to the floor by the convention with a 2/3 vote. If that is the case, then 2/3 of the churches being represented must be willing to call themselves out on this all-important matter of being people of truth and integrity. Because I believe in this resolution and its importance of having the widest reading, I have posted it below. As Tom has stated in previous posts, this issue transcends theological constructions or disagreements with nuanced viewpoints. This is a widespread problem and requires widespread support. Therefore, I am asking that you consider this resolution and its importance and support it (however way you see fit). Whereas this 148th annual session of the Southern Baptist Convention marks the 26th anniversary of the conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention; and Whereas at the heart of this resurgence has been a determination to return to an unashamed commitment to the inerrancy and infallibilty of the Bible as the written Word of God; and Whereas the Baptist Faith and Message states that the Scriptures are "the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried" (Article 1); and Whereas the inerrant, infallible Word of God instructs us not to bear false witness (Exodus 20:16), but to put away lying and to speak truthfully to his neighbor (Ephesians 4:25); and Whereas in 2004 the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Church Profiles indicated that there are 16,267,494 members in Southern Baptist churches; and Whereas well over one half of those members never attend or participate meaningfully in the life of any local Southern Baptist church and are thus no different than non-members; and Whereas the ideal of a regenerate church membership has long been and remains a cherished Baptist principle; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED that the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-14, 2005, urge Southern Baptists to repent of our failure to maintain responsible church membership, and be it further RESOLVED that we urge the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention to repent of the widespread failure among us to obey Jesus Christ in the practice of church discipline (Matthew 18:15-18), and be it further RESOLVED that we plead with pastors and church leaders to lead their churches to study and implement out Lord's teachings on this essential church practice, and be it further RESOLVED that we encourage denominational servants to support and encourage churches that seek to recover and implement our Savior's teachings on church discipline, especially when such efforts result in the reduction in the number of members that are reported in those churches, and be it finally RESOLVED that we commit to pray for our churches as they seek to honor the Lord Jesus Christ through reestablishing integrity to church membership and to the reporting of statistics in the Annual Church Profile. May it be that the Lord graciously bring us to humility and repentance and cause us to be people of truth and integrity in what we profess and practice.

Monday, April 17, 2006

T4G: Band of Bloggers Panel

I am excited to share some details concerning the T4G: Band of Bloggers meeting which will take place a week from this Wednesday. To catch up on previous posts, go here and here to get general information about the meeting. If plan to attend, please be sure to email me at gospelcentral@yahoo.com and provide your name, blog title, and a contact number. Part of the meeting will be a one hour Q&A discussion panel which will go from 3:00-4:00 p.m. The Heritage Hall will be open 30 minutes prior to the panel discussion (2:30 p.m.), so be sure to get there early if you can to fellowship. Immediately following the panel discussion, we will take a big group photo of everyone attending and have about 45 minutes of unstructured fellowship to meet one another and fellowship together. It will conclude around 5:00 p.m. Here is the panel for the T4G: Band of Bloggers Fellowship:

Band of Bloggers Panel

Tim Challies Tim Challies is a web designer by trade. Although he is not in vocational ministry, his blog has proved to minister and impact a large section of the evangelical world. Tim graduated with a degree in history from McMaster University, and soon thereafter, Tim moved from being an aspiring historian to a web designer and started Websonix. Tim is also known for his numerous book reviews which can be found at Ex Libris, World Magazine’s book review blog of which Tim is the editor. Tim also owns and operates the Diet of {Book} Worms, an online collection of discerning reviews of Christian books. In the past, Tim has live-blogged several conferences including the 2005 Desiring God National Conference and the recent 2006 Shepherds’ Conference. He will be live-blogging the Together for the Gospel Conference this year as well. Commonly known as “The World’s Most Famous Christian Blogger,” Tim is a great success story of how he used blogging and his gifts for the glory of God.

Justin Taylor Justin Taylor is the ESV Bible Project Manager for Crossway Books in Wheaton, IL. and has edited four collections of essays:. Beyond the Bounds, Reclaiming the Center, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, and A God-Entranced Vision of All Things. Forthcoming are two more collections edited by Justin (Suffering and the Supremacy of God and Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen). Justin previously served as Director of Theology and Executive Editor at Desiring God. Furthermore, Justin also operates johnowen.org, a website dedicated to the life and works of John Owen. His blog, Between Two Worlds, is a mix of theology, philosophy, politics, and culture, and is one of the most widely read blogs in the blogosphere.

Dr. Albert Mohler Albert Mohler serves as the ninth president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world. In addition to his presidential duties, Dr. Mohler hosts a daily radio program for the Salem Radio Network, writes a popular daily commentary on moral, cultural and theological issues, and keeps up a daily blog. Dr. Mohler is considered both in and outside the evangelical world as “the reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the United States.” He has contributed to several books including Hell Under Fire, Whatever Happened to the Truth?, Here We Stand, Feed My Sheep, and The Coming Evangelical Crisis.

Dr. Russell Moore Russell D. Moore, Dean of Theology and Senior Vice President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, serves as executive director of The Henry Institute. Moore has edited and authored two books: Why I Am a Baptist and The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective. Moore is the senior editor of Touchstone magazine and executive editor of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. Dr. Moore’s blogs are at both The Henry Institute and Mere Comments (the blog of Touchstone magazine).

More information is still to come, so be sure to check in tomorrow for more details. - Timmy Brister

Dever, Spurgeon on Election and Evangelism

Mark Dever has a great post concerning sovereign election on the T4G blog. Here is a blurb:

"I understand that some worry that if we accept the Bible's teaching on election we will never evangelize. Should we not also be worried that if we reject the Bible's teaching on election we will never be humbled enough to make Christianity look like anything worth having? I love Spurgeon's humility. I love his boasting in God. I think it is attractive. I think it is motivating to evangelism. I think it displays God's love. A biblical doctrine of election highlights our poverty and Christ's riches, our weakness and Christ's strength, our need and God's supply."
Referring to Spurgeon, this is what he (Spurgeon) had to say about unconditional election:
"I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite sure that if God had not chosen me I should never have chosen him; and I am sure he chose me before I was born, or else he never would have chosen me afterwards; and he must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why he should have looked upon me with special love. So I am forced to accept that doctrine," (Lectures, book 2, page 47).
I must say, my respect and admiration for Mark Dever is growing by the day. Last week, he took a courageous stand for the penal, substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ as well as spoke at SWBTS where Paige Patterson is president (Patterson not fond of Calvinists). Dever's courage, character, and conviction has certainly been a biblical model of leadership which I hope to emulate.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Significance of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ: The "Therefore" of 1 Corinthians 15

Yesterday, I wrote about the significance of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ in reference to the “therefore” of Hebrews 10. Today, I would like to briefly write about the significance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in reference to the “therefore” of 1 Corinthians 15.

Paul explains that virtually everything in Christian depends on the resurrection. In a word, resurrection means vindication. Paul shows us where such vindication takes place:

  • Because of the resurrection, our preaching is not in vain (vs. 14)
  • Because of the resurrection, we are speaking the truth (vs. 15)
  • Because of the resurrection, our faith is not futile (vs. 17)
  • Because of the resurrection, we are no longer still in our sins (vs. 17)
  • Because of the resurrection, those who are asleep will not perish (vs. 18)
  • Because of the resurrection, we have nothing to be pitied over (vs. 19)
  • Because of the resurrection, we shall be made alive in Christ (vs. 21)
  • Because of the resurrection, every rule, authority, and power is being destroyed (vs. 24)
  • Because of the resurrection, all things are brought into subjection to God (vs. 27-28)
  • Because of the resurrection, we can face danger at every hour (vs. 30)
  • Because of the resurrection, we can face death every day (vs. 31)
  • Because of the resurrection, we can fight “wild beasts” (vs. 32)
  • Because of the resurrection, we have more to live for than to live a normal life (vs. 32)
  • Because of the resurrection, we shall be raised imperishable (vs. 42)
  • Because of the resurrection, we shall be raised in glory (vs. 43)
  • Because of the resurrection, we shall be raised in power (vs. 43)
  • Because of the resurrection, we shall be raised to a spiritual body (vs. 44)
  • Because of the resurrection, we have bear the likeness of the second Adam, the image of the man of heaven (vs. 45-49)
  • Because of the resurrection, we shall be changed (from perishable to imperishable, from mortal to immortal) (vs. 51-54)
  • Because of the resurrection, we have victory over sin and death through the Lord Jesus Christ (vs. 55-56)

Paul has effectively laid out the case that from the beginning to the end, all of Christianity lies in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. Truly, He is the resurrection and the life! “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet he shall live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26). Those who believe this will also treasure the significance of the THEREFORE and be encouraged to:

  • Be steadfast
  • Be immovable
  • Be always abounding in the work of the Lord
  • Know that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain (vs. 58)

O be encouraged, friend, to live because of resurrection. Let the words you speak, the deeds you do, and the life you live be vindicated on that great day when you shall be changed into his likeness and see him as he is (1 John 3:2). Let me conclude with a word from Dr. Mohler’s recent commentary:

“The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the vindication of the Gospel and the eternal sign of the atonement accomplished on the cross. The resurrection was recognized by the disciples as God's sign that Jesus was indeed the incarnate Son, that His messianic claims were true, that His preaching of the Kingdom of God would be realized, and that His sacrificial death was sufficient for the salvation of sinful humanity.”

Christ was no victim, and neither are we! Nay, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:37). May we carry in our bodies the death of Jesus Christ so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Corinthians 4:11). And may the significance of the “therefore” in 1 Corinthians 15 be a resounding declaration to live for the resurrection!

“When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:12-14

Triumphant Indeed

"O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 "When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile towards us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him." Colossians 2: 13-15

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