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March 24, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the music of Christa Wells and told you how much I’ve enjoyed her song “Weightless.” Christa came across that post and was kind enough to offer the song to all of you as a free download.

You can download it by clicking here. (You may want to right-click on the link and choose “Save File.”)

Also, I’ve got 5 copies of her album Frame the Clouds to give away. Leave a comment or retweet this post and I’ll randomly choose 5 winners. Each of the winners will be mailed a copy of the CD.

Here again are the lyrics to “Weightless,” a song about the freedom of forgiveness.

Nothing scalds
like the memory of wrongs I did when I was young
how could I, how could I
I’m sorry

I see the eyes
of the ones that I so carelessly abused
how could I, how could I
I’m sorry

Well, I’ve carried this a long time
in a well hidden bundle on my back
but I’ve realized repentance is weightless
so I’ll leave my burden on the tracks

And then I face
the yesterdays that disappointed
misunderstood by a cruel world
and I’m angry

You might suppose
the years would close the curtains on a scene
from such a time, but this was mine to harbor

Well, I’ve carried this a long time
in a well-hidden bundle on my back
but I’ve realized forgiveness is weightless
so I’ll leave my burden on the tracks

It’s gonna be like delivery that’s overdue and getting too heavy
Then suddenly, I’m weightless

If you’d like to buy the rest of her album, you can do so through her web site, through iTunes or through Amazon.

March 24, 2010

This Sunday evening I will be driving out to Heritage College and Seminary in Cambridge and will be talking to a group of young men. I’ve been asked to share with them some of what I discussed in my book Sexual Detox (which will eventually be available as a printed book, honest). Yesterday I began to think about what I would tell them, what I would challenge them with.

When discussing sexuality with young men, I feel a real burden to share with them the consequences of sexual sin and to compare that to the joy and freedom of obedience. And this, I think, is what I need to tell them on Sunday. Though their hearts and bodies are crying out for some kind of sexual fulfillment, some kind of false intimacy, they will ultimately find freedom in obedience to God.

This is a difficult concept to get our minds around. All around us we hear messages that we will find the greatest freedom in pursuing our deepest desires, whatever those desires may be. Recently I read the bestselling book Anticancer, written by David Servan-Schreiber. In this book he talks about the importance of a healthy immune system for battling against disease. He lists several factors that may cause an immune system to decrease rather than strengthen. And one of those factors is denying or ignoring one’s natural homosexuality. If you are homosexual, the best thing for your body and soul is to pursue your homosexuality. True freedom, he implies, freedom of both body and spirit, will be found in pursuing homosexuality; captivity will come by ignoring what he believes to be natural and good.

March 24, 2010

We Can’t Sing - Michael Krahn: “I see a parallel between the lack of confidence in singing and the world of visual images in tabloid and fashion magazines. Photoshopped images create unrealistic body expectations. In the modern era of music autotuned recordings give us unrealistically perfect sounds.”

An Interview - Frank Viola recently interviewed me about blogging and life in general.

Another Interview - I also guested on the Samson Society podcast a couple of days ago. We talked mostly about Sexual Detox. Scroll down and look for episode 17.

The Lost Girls - Carolyn McCulley points to an article that looks at the growing problem of sex slavery in the US. “Imagine you live in a country riven by war or poverty or both. There is no work. There is not enough food to feed your family or money for medicine when someone gets sick or injured. Education is nothing but a pipe dream. If you are a woman, your value is even more tenuous; you have probably been beaten or abused in some other way by a father, a husband, or an employer. You’re smart enough to understand that this life promises to be the only one you will get. It will last for another thirty or forty years, with no improvement. And that will be it.”

Voices of Haiti - Amazing photography highlighting the human devastation in Haiti.

Kindle for iPad - This app could change everything about the iPad for me. Then again, what are the chances that Apple will even allow it?

Christ Conducts His Choir - A reflection from David Murray. “In this astounding video, American composer and conductor Eric Whitacre spliced together nearly 250 videos of individuals singing individual parts of ‘Lux Arumque.’ He sent out the music, auditioned the singers, and then chose 250 of the submitted videos, which he spliced together to form this ‘virtual choir.’”

March 23, 2010

Dig DeeperI have been a Christian for two decades now and cannot deny it—the Bible is a difficult book to understand. Sure there are parts of it that are so simple that even a child can explain them. But to know the Bible well, to know how it all fits together, to know how it applies to me all these years after it was written, requires dedication, hard work and skill. Though there are many books that teach how to dig into the Word and to learn from it, many do so in a way that is difficult to understand for new Christians or young Christians. Dig Deeper by Nigel Beynon and Andrew Sach steps nicely into that void.

“This is a book to help you understand the Bible correctly. … We want to help you to dig deeper and find hidden riches in the Bible. We hope that parts of the Bible that previously seemed like gobbledygook will begin to make sense, and that bits that were clear already will become even more vivid and gripping.” They go on to say, “Most of all, we want to help you do all this for yourself.” While acknowledging the place of pastors and Bible experts, they want individual Christians to know that God has equipped them to understand the Bible on their own. And in this book they give them the tools they will need to begin to dig into the Bible on their own, mining its infinite riches.

March 23, 2010

Practical Shepherding - Brian Croft has created a blog called “Practical Shepherding.” The blog has this as a description: “Evaluating practical issues of local church ministry biblically, theologically, and pastorally.” This looks like a great one for pastors and church leaders to bookmark.

Persecution in Morocco - From TIME: “March 8 is not a day that Chris Broadbent will soon forget. The preceding weekend, gendarmes entered the Village of Hope, a Christian-run orphanage in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains where Broadbent, a New Zealand native, worked as a human resources manager, and began questioning children and staff. At first, he and the other foreign workers were assured that the interrogation was routine. But as it dragged on, the questions turned to subjects like ‘How do you pray?’ and the police began searching homes on the compound for children’s Bibles. On Monday morning, after being held in a separate room from the orphanage’s 33 children, Broadbent and his 15 colleagues were summarily deported from Morocco, accused of illegally proselytizing for their faith.”

Monergism Books Coupon - Monergism Books is offering a coupon to the readers of this site. “Take an additional 5% (off all orders) plus free shipping (in the USA) on orders over $35 when you use the coupon code challies310 at check out.  You must select Economy Shipping to receive the free shipping offer. Coupon expires Tuesday March 23rd, 2010.”

Do Your Friends Know What Easter Means? - Adrian Warnock says that they probably don’t.

Hope in Discouraging Times - Randy Alcorn: “There is a gift God has given his people in all ages that has enabled them not just to hold on, but to experience fulfillment even in times of great difficulty. This gift is hope.”

March 22, 2010

You know the words of Genesis 2:18. There God, having completed his work of Creation, having declared the excellence of all that he has made, says “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” It is useful to consider the context of the creation of Adam’s helper. God declared that it was not good for the man to be alone and that he had need of a helper. And yet he did not, at that moment, create such a helper and neither, as far as we know, did he say anything about this to Adam. Instead, he commanded Adam to name the animals. And he was obviously not just to name them, but to consider and evaluate each one. And as he did so, he must have realized that none of them were like him—none bore the image of God. An ache of loneliness must have developed within as he studied and pondered and realized that he was so much different from each of them. And there, in that context, God caused Adam to fall asleep and from his own body created a woman. And when Adam opened his eyes it is no wonder that he burst into praise. He looked upon this woman and saw at last his companion, his helper, and he cried out

This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.

It was after coming to an understanding of his loneliness, his incompleteness, that Adam was able to offer God heartfelt praise for such great provision. Having experienced loneliness even in perfection, he knew the greatness of his gift.

March 22, 2010

Time Blocking - An article at Fast Company talks about the importance of time blocking. “Being available to your boss and co-workers is part of your job. But the most creative and important work you do requires total focus and attention for an extended period of time. Your brain needs at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to dive in, concentrate on one thing, and get into the zone where you’re truly focused and doing your best work. Time blocking is a technique that sets the stage for that to happen.” (HT:Matt)

Harper Gets His Beer - A follow-up to one of the more amusing episodes to occur during the Olympics. “U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson delivered on Friday morning a case of Molson Canadian to Harper at 24 Sussex Drive—making good on Obama’s losing bet that the American men’s hockey team would win gold at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.”

Beep - “The beep is an ingenious creation. Like the railroad toot but unlike an old telephone ring, beeps have both a distinct start and finish, marked by the twin plosives “b” and “p,” and an elastic center that can generously expand and contract like an accordion: beeeeeeeep. You can create Morse code in beeps. Beeeep beep beep beep. Beep. Beep. Beep beeeep beeeep beep.”

Christians in a Tolerant Age - Dr. Mohler writes about an important upcoming case before the courts. “Like most colleges and universities around the nation, the University of California Hastings College of Law recognizes certain student organizations within the life of the school. Until recently, the Christian Legal Society had been one of those groups. But, controversy arose about five years ago, when leaders of the CLS chapter at Hastings asserted the national policy of the organization, which states: ‘In view of the clear dictates of Scripture, unrepentant participation in and advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle is inconsistent with an affirmation of the Statement of Faith.’”

March 21, 2010

Scotty Smith recently moved his blog to the Gospel Coalition web site. I’ve long regarded his site as a bit of a hidden treasure but I suppose it’s now less so having moved to a more public location. Nevertheless, his most recent prayer caught my eye as, through it, he reflects on a simple question. This is a worthwhile prayer for any of us, I think.

Dear Lord Jesus, driving into my home state recently, I came upon a billboard that pushed some buttons before it raised my palms. Just through the mountains of North Carolina, there is was, bold and in big red letters, Are You Saved? I’ll be honest, my first response was, “What an un-cool, cost-ineffective, out-of-date, impersonal way to do evangelism.” Then I ruminated, “People that put up highway signs like that are clueless about the gospel. They’re usually legalists and moralists, and have no idea about a theology of imputed righteousness. They’re culturally out-of-touch and don’t realize what a turn-off that kind of signage is.”

But after my momentary-arrogance and billboard-pontification, your Spirit gently disrupted my “cool” with this thought, “You completely avoided the question, Are You Saved?

I continued driving, but that’s when one palm went up anyway, for indeed, I am saved, Jesus, unabashedly and unashamedly so. And there’s only one reason and there’s only one basis… I have come to God through you. You are the permanent priest who offered the perfect sacrifice for me, once and for all. You completed your work on the cross and you will complete your work in me. You live forever and you forever live to thoroughly save me, and your whole pan-national trans-generational Bride. You were my substitute by your life and your death, and now you’re my righteousness and intercessor before the Father. Am I saved? Most definitely and most delightfully!

I don’t have to like highway billboards, but may I never ever tire of responding to the question, Are You Saved?, for there’s no question more humbling to me and honoring of you. So very Amen, I pray, Jesus, in your merciful and mighty-to-save name.