Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Check is in the Mail

Your economic stimulus check is in the mail. Or will be. What are you going to do with it? Do you really need it? Will it help our economy?

Below is an article from one of my favorite authors and preachers John Piper ( on the Check that will be in the mail or direct deposited.

Economic Stimulus Payment & Christ
April 28, 2008 | By: John Piper

For a moment, forget the political puzzle of getting money back when the country is nine trillion dollars in debt. The more immediate question is: How will you make much of Christ with your "economic stimulus payment"? The president says it will be in the mail in time for Cinco de Mayo.

Clue: Nobody in the world will see you spend your money on yourself and conclude that Christ is your treasure. They will assume you are just like them, no matter how loudly you thank God for this boon. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend it on yourself (the way we do with most of what we earn). Not everything we do can look different from the world—eat, pay utilities, fill up the car, wear clothes (even thrift-store clothes). And yes, we hope (somehow) that spending on ourselves in some way contributes to our being more Christ-exalting people.

But do we really need this money? Very few do. We would have gotten on fine without it. If we didn’t know it was coming, we wouldn’t even be feeling the desires we are feeling right now.

May I encourage you to be radically creative and hedonistic. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). And those crazy Macedonians in a “severe test of affliction” and in “extreme poverty” had an “abundance of joy” that overflowed in a “wealth of generosity.” They even begged Paul “for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints” (2 Corinthians 8:2-4). They really believed what Jesus said. Really.

Before the check comes dream of some person or ministry which might make much of Christ because you treasured him above your next home project.

The reason God created money and enabled us to earn it is so that we could show by the way we use it that money is not our treasure, Christ is. That’s why the checks are coming. So we can make Christ look great.

“Be content with what you have, for he has said,
‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

What are you gonna do with your money?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Time To Build!

Today we had our "Time To Build" Commitment march.
Our church family made 3yr commitments for our new building.

Our church pledged to give $1,107,000 over the next 3 yrs.!!!
And we still have other commitments to come.
To God be the glory.
Saturday night we held our banquet to celebrate God goodness over the last 30yrs. It was a blessing.

I want to thank:

Our Long Range Vision and Building Committee - they have been meeting for over a year and they are still having meetings to get our project under way.

All of our Time To Build Committees - Communication, Hospitality, Advanced Giving, Tally and now the Follow up Committee -great job.

Marion Powell- He was our Stewardship leader during this time.

East Taylorsville church family- I am amazed at how you trust God with your finances.

God- Thank you for opening and closing doors, for leading us this way, and for your Grace that has changed us.

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich." 2 Corinthians 8:9

Friday, April 25, 2008

Do you have free will? Part 2

Below is the other perspective on the doctrine of Free Will in an article by Norman Geisler.

This is a little long and hard to follow so I will take out some of it.
Tell me what you think.

(Start Article)

Concepts of the nature of human choice fall within three categories: determinism, indeterminism, and self-determinism. A determinist looks to actions caused by another, an indeterminist to uncaused actions, and a self-determinist to self-caused actions.

There are two basic kinds of determinism: naturalistic and theistic. Naturalistic determinism is most readily identified with behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner. Skinner held that all human behavior is determined by genetic and behavioral factors. Humans simply act according to what has been programmed into them.

All who accept strong forms of Calvinistic theology hold to some degree of theistic determinism. Jonathan Edwards related all actions ultimately to God as First Cause. "Free choice" for Edwards is doing what one desires, and God is the Author of the heart’s desires. God is sovereign, in control of all and so ultimately the cause of all. Fallen humanity is totally without freedom of the affections, so they can do whatever they want, but what they want will forever be in the control of their corrupt, world-directed heart. God’s grace controls actions as God controls desires and their attendant thoughts and actions.

Response to Determinism. Nondeterminists respond that a self-caused action is not impossible, and all actions need not be attributed to the First Cause (God). Some actions can be caused by human beings to whom God gave free moral agency. Free choice is not, as Edwards contends, doing what one desires (with God giving the desires). Rather, it is doing what one decides, which is not always the same thing. One need not reject God’s sovereign control to deny determinism. God can control by omniscience as well as by causal power.

Two forms of determinism may be distinguished, hard and soft. A hard determinist believes all acts are caused by God, that God is the only efficient Cause. A soft determinist holds that God as the Primary Cause is compatible with human free choice as the secondary Cause.


According to the indeterminist, few if any human actions are caused. Events and action are contingent and spontaneous.

Arguments for indeterminism.
The arguments for indeterminism follow the nature of free actions. Since they follow no determinate pattern, it is concluded that they are indeterminate. Some contemporary indeterminists appeal to Werner Heisenberg’s principle of indeterminacy to support their position. According to this principle, events in the subatomic realm (like the specific course of a given particle) are completely unpredictable.

According to the argument from the unpredictability of free acts, an act must be predictable in order to be determinate. But free acts are not predictable. Hence, they are indeterminate.

Critique of Indeterminacy. All forms of indeterminism fall shipwreck on the principle of causality, which asserts that all events have a cause. But indeterminacy asserts that free choices are uncaused events.

Indeterminism makes the world irrational and science impossible. It is contrary to reason to affirm that things happen willy nilly without a cause. Hence, indeterminacy reduces to irrationalism. Both operation and origin sciences are dependent on the principle of causality. Simply because a free act is not caused by another does not mean that it is uncaused. It could be self-caused.

Use of Heisenberg’s principle is misapplied, since it does not deal with the causality of an event but with unpredictability.

Indeterminism robs humans of their moral responsibility,
since they are not the cause of these actions. If they are not, why should they be blamed for evil actions? Indeterminism, at least on a cosmic scale, is unacceptable from a biblical perspective, since God is causally related to the world as both originator (Genesis 1) and sustainer of all things (Col. 1:15-16).


According to this view, a person’s moral acts are not caused by another or uncaused, but are caused by oneself. It is important to know at the outset precisely what is meant by self-determinism or free choice. Negatively, it means that a moral action is not uncaused or caused by another. It is neither indeterminate nor determined by another. Positively, it is morally self-determined, an act freely chosen, without compulsion, in which one could have done otherwise. Several arguments support this position.

Arguments for Self-determinism. Either moral actions are uncaused, caused by another, or caused by oneself. However, no action can be uncaused, since this violates the fundamental rational principle that every event has a cause. Neither can a person’s actions be caused by others, for in that case they would not be personal actions. Further, if one’s acts are caused by another then how can he or she be held responsible for them? Both Augustine (in On Free Will and On Grace and Free Will) and Thomas Aquinas were self-determinists, as are moderate Calvinists and Arminians.

The denial that some actions can be free is self-defeating. A complete determinist insists that both determinists and nondeterminists are determined to believe what they believe. However, determinists believe self-determinists are wrong and ought to change their view. But "ought to change" implies freedom to change, which is contrary to determinism. If God is the cause of all human actions, then human beings are not morally responsible, and it makes no sense to praise human beings for doing good, nor to blame them for doing evil.

A dimension of this controversy has to do with how the "self" is viewed. By "self" the self-determinist believes there is an "I" (subject) that is more than the object. That is, my subjectivity transcends my objectivity. I cannot put all that I am under a microscope to analyze as an object. There is more to "me" than objectivity. This "I" that transcends being objectified is free. The scientist who attempts to study personal self always transcends the experiment. The scientist is always on the outside looking in. In fact, "I" am free to reject "me." It is not determined by objectivity, not subject to being locked into scientific analysis. As such, the "I" is free.

Objections to Self-determinism.

Free will rules out sovereignty. If human beings are free, are they outside God’s sovereignty? Either God determines all, or else he is not sovereign. And if he determines all, then there are no self-determined acts.

It is sufficient to note that God sovereignly delegated free choice to some of his creatures. There was no necessity for him to do so; he exercised his free will. So human freedom is a sovereignly given power to make moral choices. Only absolute freedom would be contrary to God’s absolute sovereignty. But human freedom is a limited freedom. Humans are not free to become God themselves. A contingent being cannot become a Necessary Being. For a Necessary Being cannot come to be. It must always be what it is.

Free will is contrary to grace. It is objected that either free, good acts spring from God’s grace, or else from our own initiative. But if the latter, they are not the result of God’s grace (Eph. 2:8-9). However, this does not necessarily follow. Free will itself is a gracious gift. Further, special grace is not forced coercively onto the person. Rather, grace works persuasively. The hard determinist’s position confuses the nature of faith. The ability of a person to receive God’s gracious gift of salvation is not the same as working for it. To think so is to give credit for the gift to the receiver, rather than to the Giver.

Self-determinism is contrary to predestination. Others object that self-determinism is contrary to God’s predestination. But self-determinists respond that God can predetermine in several ways. He can determine (1) contrary to free choice (forcing the person to do what he or she does not choose to do); (2) based on free choices already made (waiting to see what the person will do); and (3) knowing omnisciently what the person will do "in accordance with his foreknowledge" (1 Peter 1:2). "Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son" (Rom. 8:29). Either positions 2 or 3 are consistent with self-determinism. Both insist that God can determine the future by free choice, since he omnisciently knows for sure how they will freely act. So, it is determined from the standpoint of God’s infallible knowledge but free from the vantage point of human choice.

Connected with the argument from strong determinism is that, while Adam had free choice (Rom. 5:12), fallen human beings are in bondage to sin and not free to respond to God. But this view is contrary to both God’s consistent call on people to repent (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38) and believe (e.g., John 3:16; 3:36; Acts 16:31), as well as to direct statements that even unbelievers have the ability to respond to God’s grace (Matt. 23:37; John 7:17; Rom. 7:18; 1 Cor. 9:17; Philem. 14; 1 Peter 5:2).

This argument continues that if humans have the ability to respond, then salvation is not of grace (Eph. 2:8-9) but by human effort. However, this is a confusion about the nature of faith. The ability of a person to receive God’s gracious gift of salvation is not the same as working for it. To think so is to give credit for the gift to the receiver rather than to the Giver who graciously gave it.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Do you have free will?

Below is an article by C. Michael Patton on the subject of "Do You Have Free Will?"
Read him carefully and tell me what you think.
C. Michael would call himself a Calvinist. The next blog I post on "Free Will" will be from the Baptist or Arminian persective.

Let me be clear, these are the thoughts and words from C. Micheal Patton not Jamie Steele.

What Do You Mean by “Free Will”?
by C. Michael Patton

There are many words and concepts in theology that suffer from misunderstanding, mis-characterization, and misinformation. “Predestination,” “Calvinism,” “Total Depravity,” “Inerrancy,” and “Complementarianism”, just to name a few that I personally have to deal with. Proponents are more often than not on the defensive, having to explain again and again why it is they don’t mean what people think they mean.

The concept of “free will” suffers no less with regard to this misunderstanding. Does a person have free will? Well, what do you mean by “free will”? This must always be asked.

Do you mean:

That a person is not forced from the outside to make a choice?
That a person is responsible for his or her choices?
That a person is the active agent in a choice made?
That a person is free to do whatever they desire?
That a person has the ability to choose contrary to their nature (who they are)?
Calvinists, such as myself, do believe in free will and we don’t believe in free will. It just depends on what you mean.

When it comes to the first four options, most Calvinist would agree that a person is not forced to make a choice, is responsible for their choices, and is the active agent behind those choices. They would reject the forth believing that a person is not free to do whatever they desire. In fact, no matter what theological persuasion you adhere to, historic Christianity agrees on the first four. This is very important to realize.

It is with the fifth option there is disagreement.

Does a person have the ability to choose against their nature?
This question gets to the heart of the issue. Here we introduce a new and more defined term: “Libertarian Free will” or “Libertarian Freedom.” Libertarian freedom can be defined briefly as “the power of contrary choice.”

If you ask whether a person can choose against their nature (i.e. libertarian freedom) the answer, I believe, must be “no.” A person’s nature makes up who they are. Who they are determines their choice. If there choice is determined, then the freedom is self-limited. Therefore, there is no “power” of contrary choice for we cannot identify what or who this “power” might be. I know, I know . . . slow down. Let me explain.

First, it is important to get this out of the way. To associate this denial of libertarian freedom exclusively with Calvinism would be misleading. St. Augustine was the first to deal with this issue in a comprehensive manner. Until the forth century, it was simply assumed that people were free and responsible, but they had yet to flesh out what this meant. Augustine argued that people choose according to who they are. If they are good, they make good choices. If they are bad, they make bad choices. These choices are free, they just lack liberty. In other words, a person does not become a sinner because they sin, they sin because they are a sinner. It is an issue of nature first. If people are identified with the fallen nature of Adam, then they will make choices similar to that of Adam because it is who they are. Yes, they are making a free choice, but this choice does not include the liberty of contrary choice.

What you have to ask is this: If “free will” means that we can choose against our nature (the power of contrary choice), if “free will” means that we can choose against who we are, what does this mean? What does this look like? How does a free person make a choice that is contrary to who they are? Who is making the choice? What is “free will” in this paradigm?

If one can choose according to who they are not, then they are not making the choice and this is not really freedom at all, no? Therefore, there is, at the very least, a self-determinism at work here. This is a limit on free will and, therefore, a necessary denial of libertarian freedom.

Think about all that goes into making “who you are.” We are born in the fallen line of Adam. Spiritually speaking we have an inbred inclination toward sin. All of our being is infected with sin. This is called “total depravity.” Every aspect of our being is infected with sin, even if we don’t act it out to a maximal degree.

But even if this were not the case,—even if total depravity were a false doctrine—libertarian freedom would still be untenable. Not only are you who you are because of your identification with a fallen human race, but notice all these factors that you did not choose that go into the set up for any given “free will” decision made:

You did not choose when you were to be born.
You did not choose where you were to be born.
You did not choose your parents.
You did not choose your influences early in your life.
You did not choose whether you were to be male or female.
You did not choose your genetics.
You did not choose your temperament.
You did not choose your looks.
You did not choose your body type.
You did not choose your physical abilities.

All of these factor play an influencing role in who you are at the time of any given decision. Yes, your choice is free, but it has you behind them. Therefore, you are free to choose according to you from whom you are not able to free yourself.

Now, I must reveal something here once again that might surprise many of you. This view is held by both Calvinists and Arminians alike. Neither position believes that a person can choose against their nature. Arminians, however, differ from Calvinists in that they believe in the doctrine of prevenient grace, which essentially neutralizes the will so that the inclination toward sin—the antagonism toward God—is relieved so that the person can make a true “free will” decision.

However, we still have some massive difficulties. Here are a few:

A neutralized will amounts to your absence from the choice itself. Changing the nature of a person so that their predispositions are neutral does not really help. We are back to the question What does a neutralized will look like? Does it erase all of the you behind the choice? If you are neutralized and liberated from you, then who is making the choice? How can you be held responsible for a choice that you did not really make, whether good or bad?

A neutralized will amounts to perpetual indecision. Think about this, if a person had true libertarian freedom, where there were no coercive forces, personal or divine, that influenced the decision, would a choice ever be made? If you have no reason to choose A or B, then neither would ever be chosen. Ronald Nash illustrates this by presenting a dog who has true libertarian freedom trying to decide between two bowls of dog food. He says that the dog would end up dying of starvation. Why? Because he would never have any reason to choose one over the other. It is like a balanced scale, it will never tilt to the right or the left unless the weights (influence) on one side is greater than the other. Then, no matter how little weight (influence) is added to a balanced scale, it will always choose accordingly.

A neutralized will amounts to arbitrary decisions, which one cannot be held responsible for. For the sake of argument, let’s say that libertarian choice could be made. Let’s say that the dog did choose one food bowl over the other. In a truly libertarian sense, this decision cannot have influences of any kind. Any decision without influences is arbitrary. It would be like flipping a coin. I chose A rather than B, not because of who I am, but for no reason at all. It just turned out that way. But this option is clearly outside a biblical worldview of responsibility and judgment.

Therefore, while I believe in free will, I don’t believe in libertarian free will. We make the choices we make because of who we are. We are responsible for these choices. God will judge each person accordingly with a righteous judgment.

Is there tension? Absolutely. We hold in tension our belief in God’s sovereignty, determining who we are, where we will live, who our parents will be, etc. and human responsibility. While this might seem uncomfortable, I believe that it is not only the best biblical option, but the only philosophical option outside outside of fatalism, and we don’t want to go there.

“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’” Acts 17:26
I encourage you to read J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig in their book Philosophical Foundations for a Biblical Worldview. They disagree with my thesis here, but they present a strong case for the other side.

Thoughts? Do you believe in free will? (END OF ARTICLE)

Please respond with your thoughts. I do ask that you use God's Word to explain your point. In Taterville we are good at spouting theology that doesnt' come from the Bible.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Five Points of Arminianism

Johnny Hunt, who is one of my favorite preachers, and his church will host a John 3:16 conference on the 5 points of Calvinism.
Should be interesting. Below is an announcement taken from Jerry Vines web page.

What do you think about this conference?

Taken from
John 3:16 Conference

November 6, 7 at FBC Woodstock

Did Jesus die on the cross for every person? Are believers eternally secure? Can grace be resisted? These and many other questions will be addressed.

This conference is not going to be a "Let's bash the Calvinists" conference. This conference is going to be a biblical and theological assessment of and response to 5-point Calvinism. It will be helpful for lay people as well as preachers.

$95 for conference only - Register here for conference only.

$110 for the conference with two meals (dinner Nov. 6; breakfast Nov. 7) Register here for conference with meals.

Featuring: (exact schedule to be posted later)

John 3:16 - Dr. Jerry Vines

Total Depravity - Dr. Paige Patterson

Unconditional Election - Dr. Richard Land

Limited Atonement - Dr. David Allen

Irresistible Grace - Dr. Steve Lemke

Perseverance of the Saints - Dr. Ken Keathley

John 3:16 to the entire world - Dr. Charles Stanley

- There will be a 60-minute Q & A session following the last speaker -

This conference is sponsored by: Jerry Vines Ministries, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Time to Build Advanced Giving

Last Wednesday at ETBC we hosted an Advanced Giving Luncheon for our "Time To Build" Campaign.
We had 39 in attendance and 29 made Advanced commitments.

The total amount committed was: $345,000!!

This past all our expectations. These men and women have set the bar. I praise God for their obedience and sacrifice.
Have you decided what you will commit for the next 3yrs.
Remember next Sunday we will turn in our commitments. I pray you will follow God's leadership.

6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 2 Corinthians 9: 6-8

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Giving and Tithing

Below is a short article on Giving and Tithing by Crown Financial Ministries.

Giving and Tithing
by Crown Financial Ministries

Psalms 24:1 declares, "The earth is the Lord''s, and all it contains," and in 1 Corinthians 4:7, Paul asks, "And what do you have that you did not receive?"

God owns everything and all blessings come from Him. We are to be good stewards – managers – of the many blessings for which we should be thankful. Money isn't our possession; it's God's possession, which we hold in trust.


Giving is an external testimony of God's ownership of everything in our lives. And tithing is one of the first standards of giving found in the Bible – Abraham tithed 430 years before the Law was given to Moses.

Under the law in the Old Testament, giving a tithe was required.
The tithe is not a limit. God's people in the Old Testament were to give nearly one-fourth of their income each year.
God doesn't own just 10 percent of our money; He owns the other 90 percent too.
Tithe and give with the right attitude. Not out of necessity, but with thanksgiving to the Lord.
Let your children witness your joyful giving and teach them the importance of commitment.

Beyond The Tithe

Giving beyond the tithe should be an outward material expression of the spiritual commitment of a willing and obedient heart. When giving beyond the tithe, give out of your abundance, according to the principle taught in 2 Corinthians 8:14.
Faith promise – A commitment to give a certain amount. It's understood that if God doesn't provide the funds, you're not obligated to give them.

Pledge – An absolute commitment to pay something. This type of giving is presumptuous, but a faith promise is scriptural. "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).
Non-cash – This includes your time or services to an organization or gifts such as food, furniture, and clothing. You may also give gifts with appreciated values (an asset you bought at a low price that is now worth much more), such as stocks, bonds, real estate, or anything that grows in value.

Draw the line on borrowing – It is not scriptural to borrow in order to give. It requires little trust to borrow money. In the Scriptures God never uses a loan to manifest His will in the lives of His people.
Balanced approach to sacrificial giving – Sacrificing to give is a way to honor God, but this should be the result of a heart attitude and not a desire to impress others.

Remember that God is more concerned about the attitude of your heart in giving than the percentage or the amount given. Nevertheless, the minimum He asks His people to give is the tithe.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Time 2 Build

As you know, we are going into a stewardship campaign call "Time to Build".
Thru the month of April I have been preaching a series of messages on Biblical Stewardship.
Below is a great article by Ron Blue on "Unburied Treasure"

Published by Ronald Blue & Co., LLC
What comes to mind when you hear the word, “treasure”?
What kinds of things would you list as your treasures? How has
that list changed over time?

The natural tendency for many of us is to believe that our treasures (our time, our skills, our
relationships, our money) follow our hearts (our interests, our focus, our energy). Jesus said the
opposite –our hearts will be wherever our treasure is.

How have you seen your heart follow one of the treasures you shared about above?
Where have you been investing your treasures recently? How can you invest your treasures to
more effectively line up with where you want your heart to be?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
- Matthew 6:21

Very few people in our world are offering anything worth dying for. Most of the messages we receive are
about how to make life easier. The call of Jesus goes the other direction: It's about making our lives more
difficult. It is going out of our way to be more generous and disciplined and loving and free. It is refusing
to escape and become numb to and check out of this broken, fractured world.
- Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis

But what I know even more surely is that the greatest joy in God comes from giving his gifts away not in
hoarding them for ourselves. It is good to work and have. It is better to work and have in order to give.
God's glory shines more brightly when he satisfies us in times of loss than when he provides for us in
times of plenty. The health, wealth and prosperity "gospel" swallows up the beauty of Christ in the beauty
of his gifts and turns the gifts into idols. The world is not impressed when Christians get rich and say
thanks to God. They are impressed when God is so satisfying that we give our riches away for Christ's
sake and count it gain.
- John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life

What is your reaction to Jesus’ words about our treasures and our hearts?
How does this quote relate to Jesus’ words about treasure?
How does this quote relate to Jesus’ words about treasure?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Can't Wait!

The New ESV Study Bible will hit shelves in Ocotober and I can't wait. There are many ESV study Bibles out now but this one in my opinion will be the best because of the people whom add commentary to its work.

Below is a review by Mark Driscoll pastor from Seattle:

Posted by Pastor Mark Driscoll
My friends at Crossway have been great to work with on Vintage Jesus and other forthcoming books I am publishing both with my co-author Dr. Gerry Breshears and by myself this year. They sent me some prerelease, hush-hush confidential proofs of their forthcoming English Standard Version (ESV) Study Bible to look over and consider endorsing. To be honest, I actually got choked up when I looked through it for the first time because I know what a gift it is to an emerging generation of Bible preachers and teachers who are committed to timeless truth and timely methods.

To test my hypothesis, I showed the confidential proofs to some of our newly converted, well-tattooed indie rockers and they reported that it looked “filthy” and “sick”—for those of you who wear khaki pleated pants and tuck in your shirt, this is a really good endorsement. So, thank you Crossway for the “filthy sick” ESV Study Bible.

Without blowing all of their marketing strategies in preparation for its October 15, 2008 debut, I decided to leak a few details that are particularly exciting.

The ESV Study Bible is the result of extensive work from 93 evangelical Bible scholars from 9 countries representing nearly 20 denominations and over 50 seminaries and Bible colleges. To the best of my knowledge, none of the theological contributors owns a prayer labyrinth or has ever finger painted their doctrinal statement, which is very comforting. Heading up the team are Lane Dennis (Executive Editor), Wayne Grudem (General Editor), J. I. Packer (Theological Editor), C. John Collins (Old Testament Editor), Thomas R. Schreiner (New Testament Editor), and my buddy Justin Taylor (Managing Editor).

The ESV Study Bible includes the 757,000 words of the Bible along with an additional 1.1 million words of theological resources, which is the equivalent of a 20-volume resource library. Those resources include 25,000 notes, over 50 articles, 200 full-color maps, 200 charts, 80,000 cross-references, and some 40 color illustrations that are far cooler than the typical Bible pictures that look like a kindergartner tried to draw the Temple with their left hand.
As a geek who always reads the footnotes, I am particularly excited about Clinton Arnold’s work in Colossians and Philemon, Andreas J. Kostenberger’s work in John, Raymond Ortlund’s work in Isaiah, Grant Osborne’s work in James, Simon Gathercole’s work in Galatians, Thomas Schreiner’s work in Romans, 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude, and Frank Thielman’s work in 1 Corinthians.

The theological article lineup is nastier than the heart of the Red Sox order. Here are just some of the titles:
“The Authority and Truthfulness of the Bible” by Wayne Grudem
“How to Interpret the Bible” by Daniel Doriani
“Overview of the Bible” by Vern Poythress
“Reading the Bible Theologically” by J. I. Packer
“Reading the Bible as Literature” by Leland Ryken
“Reading the Bible for Application” by David Powlison
“Reading the Bible, Prayer, and Communion with God” by John Piper
“Reading the Bible with the Church” by John Hannah
“The Bible’s Use in Preaching and Public Worship” by Kent Hughes
“God’s Plan for Salvation” by Mark Dever
“The Theology of the New Testament” by Thomas Schreiner
“Reading the Gospels and Acts” by Darrell Bock
“Reading the Epistles” by Thomas Schreiner
“The Canon of the Old Testament” by Roger Beckwith
“The Old Testament and Critical Scholarship” by Walter Kaiser
“The New Testament and Critical Scholarship” by Darrell Bock

Lastly, I want to sincerely thank my friends at Crossway for pulling together all of the amazing scholarship and creative support that has culminated in the publishing of the ESV Study Bible. It sets a new standard in study Bibles and is an invaluable gift to the church. When it drops, I plan on carrying mine around with me like Linus’ blankie for a while and buying a copy for each of our elders at Mars Hill Church and for some newly converted indie rockers.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Expelled is the documentary/movie by Ben Stein. Below is an article from Worldnet Daily
describing the film.

From the WorldNetDaily By Jill Stanek On April 18,

“Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” will boast the largest U.S. opening of any documentary film ever.Scheduled for release in 1,000 theatres, “Expelled” will be hotter than “Farenheit 9/11,” which debuted on 868 screens, and much more convenient to see than “An Inconvenient Truth,” which I was surprised to find opened on only four screens nationwide despite all the hype, peaking at 587 before its appeal melted.What’s “Expelled” about? Synopsizes CNS News:

“Expelled” calls attention to the plight of highly credentialed scholars who have been forced out of prestigious academic positions because they proposed Intelligent Design as a possible alternative to Charles Darwin’s 150-year-old theories about the origins of life. Instead of entertaining a debate on the merits of competing theories, the scientific establishment has moved to suppress the ID movement in a “systematic and ruthless” way at odds with America’s founding principles, the film asserts.

Liberals have been going ape about “Expelled” for months as it has been screened around the country. (end quote)

Go see expelled and support this film.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The 80's

It is Saturday. It is raining right now. This got me to thinking about the greatest decade known to mankind. The 80's.
From time to time I will do a post on the 80's.

Below is a picture of parachute pants. Did you wear them? I want to know. What colors and how often. I had a friend that had a different color for everyday of the week. THe more zippers the better.

Also is a picture of Michael Jackson's Beat it Jacket. Did you wear it?
When I was in the 8th grade at Sugar Loaf a classmate (I will protect his identity at this time for his families sake) wore the "BEAT IT" jacket to school. He was the coolest guy in school for about 3 days.
Did you own the jacket? Be honest. It has been 20 yrs!!!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Did Simon Get Saved?

The American Idol special "Idol Gives Back" that raises money for a number of worthy causes around the world,
closed the show with the eight remaining contestants singing the song "Shout to the Lord."

For whatever reason, they changed the lyrics from "My Jesus, my Savior" to "My Shepherd, my Savior." Why would you leave the name of Jesus out? A couple of weeks ago they sang Dolly Parton songs and mentioned the name of Jesus.
That doesn't make a lot of sense but they did a good job on the song.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thank You

Last night in Bible study we focused on the subject of praise in the Psalms.
We talked about how good God has been and is to all of His children.
Several people talked about how God had helped them during difficult times in their lives and many shared their salvation experiences with us.

We basically just Thanked our Father for His Goodness.

David said this in Psalm 145
I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
The LORD is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
and all your saints shall bless you!

I love this song by the Katinas. I hope it helps in your praise to the Lord!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Roy, You are not in Kansas anymore!

After UNC's terrible, pathetic, uninspired, unprepared and embarrassing performance in the Final Four, I probably would have gotten out of town faster than Benny Hinn at a Theology debate.
But not Roy, he stayed and socialized with his former team. Not just his former team but a team that just whipped and out coached him.

Now don't get me wrong I love UNC and Ol Roy more than almost anyone, but this is just in bad taste. And that sticker, I just don't want to talk about it.

What do you think? Let me know.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Prove the Tithe!

Sunday was our "Prove the Tithe" Day.
Our regular offering averages around $15,000 per week and Sunday East Taylorsville gave $32,600!!!!
Thank you for your faithfulness and obedience to the Lord and His Word.

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7

Friday, April 4, 2008

Do you Tithe?

Dave Ramsey said this about tithing: “If all Christians tithed there would be no more welfare in North America. In 90 days there would be no more existing church or hospital debt. In the next 90 days the entire world could be evangelized. There would be prayer in schools because Christians would buy all the schools.”

Everybody Loves Raymond's Patricia Heaton is a double Emmy award-winning actress, who has reportedly been pulling down over $6 million a year said this about tithing
“I struggle to keep it simple. Obedience, sacrifice, and modesty are not real popular buzzwords out here. An issue I'm dealing with lately is, "Do I have too much money, and am I being a good steward of it?" In fact, I was talking to a friend about tithing—just giving your 10 percent as opposed to giving until it actually starts costing you something, which is what I think tithing is all about.

God said this " 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the LORD of hosts,

“ If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.
Malachi 3:10

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I love the Duke Bluedevils
Coach K is a great coach who never uses bad language.
I am going to buy Joel Osteen's new book.
Joyce Myer is a great preacher.
Mark Marshall is underpaid.
I love Blue Grass music.
Rob Bell is cool.
I am preaching at next years Camp Meeting.
I charge $3,000 every time I go preach somewhere.
I am gonna start preaching out of the NIV.
I am gonna start buying the Holy water and bread from the guy on channel 14 who looks like Elvis and has a hairy chest and heals people.
Sunday i will preach wearing Lucky Brand Jeans and a Affliction T shirt with an earring and sport a mustache.
I love to read NT WRight.
Mark Marshall is over worked.
ETBC church services will be televised on TBN after the Paula White show.
Creflo Dollar is my Homeboy.

APRIL FOOLS!!!!!!!!!!