Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Still enjoying the Immanuel!? Feast your eyes on this portrait by Caravaggio (1609) and enjoy a modern English version of the ancient Christian Gloria (hum along with me), translated from the Latin that was adapted from the original Greek:

Glory to God in the highest,
And peace to His people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly King,
Almighty God and Father,
We worship you, we give you thanks,
We praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
You take away the sin of the world,
Have mercy on us;
You are seated at the right hand of the Father,
Receive our prayer.

For You alone are the Holy One,
You alone are the Lord,
You alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit
In the Glory of God the Father. Amen.

enjoy, ron

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Grace: Salvation!

Grace is impossible for sinners to grasp. And as soon as we gather that it is impossible, we turn the “grasping of it” into a contest. Once we get it, we begin to work it! And the winner of the best “grace project” award gets a stint at “the head of the class”. Yet in the end, grace means that some with the wrong answers will be saved and some with the right answers won’t be. The salvation that came to the world was all of grace!

Friday, December 22, 2006

God’s Plan: Immanuel!

I’m posting a small excerpt from my upcoming Sunday sermon (Christmas Eve, 12/24/06)

During the Christmas season we celebrate the fulfillment of God's intimate plan to be visibly present among us (Matthew 1.21-23). God’s Immanuel! The promise to become evident to His people given some 730 years before its time (Isaiah 7.14). Today we celebrate the birth of the "Immanuel"; we celebrate the birth of "God with us."

So the meaning of Christmas is that God’s intimate, visible presence with fallen mankind has been reestablished. God is now with us in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The question is: “What does it mean for you and me that the Immanuel has been born?” Three things!

First, it means salvation. The Immanuel is a sign of God's visible saving presence. The Immanuel is a sign that God will deliver His people. Remember what the angel said to Joseph, the husband of Mary! (Matthew 1.21) The Savior is the Immanuel and the Immanuel is the Savior!

The birth of the Immanuel means salvation from sin for everyone who believes (Rom 1:16), for everyone who repents of their sin and exercises faith in the powerful presence of Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah.

Second, the birth of the Immanuel means that God will not leave, forsake, or fail His people. The name "Immanuel" is a watchword among God's people; it is a word of hope. No matter how desperate conditions become we know that God is with us (Romans 8. 38-39).

Third, the birth of the Immanuel means we have no reason for ungodly fear. "If God is for us and with us, who can be against us?" asks Paul (Rom 8:31)? We know that no evil, no world, no flesh, no devil is so great that the actual presence of God in Christ Jesus and in our lives is not more than able to overcome it.

enjoy, ron

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bible Humor?


It’s been some time now since I’ve posted a little humor. I know that the below story isn’t new but what is? Besides I’m going with a safe one here. I hope it doesn't bomb!

There was this Christian lady that had to do a lot of traveling for her business, so she did a lot of flying. Flying made her nervous, so she always took her Bible along with her to read and it helped relax her.

One time, she was sitting next to a man of letters. When he saw her pull out her Bible, he gave a little chuckle and went back to what he was doing.

After awhile, unable to resist, he turned to her and asked, "You don't really believe all that stuff in there do you?"

The lady replied, "Of course I do. It is the Holy Bible."

He said, "Well, what about that guy that was swallowed by that whale?"

She replied, "Oh, Jonah. Yes, I believe that, it is in the Bible."

He asked, "Well, how do you suppose he survived all that time inside the whale?"

The lady said, "Well, I don't really know all the details. I guess when I get to heaven, I’ll ask him."

"What if he isn't in heaven?" the man asked mockingly.

"Then you can ask him." replied the lady confidently.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom 1.16).

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Rom 10.17).

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4.12)

enjoy, ron

Monday, December 11, 2006

Hebrews 9 & 10

Our Wednesday night Bible Study group is just entering a verse by verse study of the book of Hebrews. This video is from the WorshipGod06 Conference Aug. 9-12, 2006. Ryan Ferguson is giving a memorized dramatic recitation of Hebrews 9 & 10 from the ESV Bible. Take a listen! God’s Word is powerful!

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version is copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Einstein & a personal God

We read in 1 Corinthians 2.6-16 that a message of wisdom is spoken among the mature or spiritual. But this sort of wisdom remains a mystery to those without the Spirit, regardless their genius.

Albert Einstein knew something about mystery and considered himself to be a deeply religious man. We are told that he came to this position through his deep sense of the incomprehensible mystery in which he thought the cosmos was implanted. As far as we know, Einstein also looked favorably on the ethical teachings of Jesus and the prophets. However, he considered belief in a personal God to be the main obstacle to the reconciliation of science and religion. What do you think? Is belief in a personal God compatible with a scientific understanding of the world?

The Apostle Paul informs us that a person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God (2.14). So how is it that a human being, even an unscientific one, can know the wisdom of God? How can a person make such a high and exalted claim as to know the very mind of God, specifically, to have the mind of Christ (16b)?

In other words, how does the Spirit work? How does He impart this wisdom, this mind, to humankind? We are told that the Spirit's activity is an action of inward illumination (vv. 10, 13). That is, a person's natural, spiritual blindness is removed, the veil is taken from the eyes of their heart, their pride & their prejudice are alike broken down, & they’re given an understanding of spiritual realities.

The wisdom of God would have never been discovered by scientific investigation alone. Further, without the Spirit’s intervention, it would have never occurred to Einstein that God was (and is) personal. For as verse 7 says, it’s a "secret & hidden wisdom," or it’s a wisdom "in a mystery & concealed." So the only way for anyone to know it is for God to reveal it. Revelation is the act of God whereby what once was concealed from us is now made known to us.

Paul tells us something about this process in vv 10–13. He uses an analogy: among humankind a person's thoughts & concerns are only known to the spirit of that person. And only if he wills can another person become privy to what those thoughts & concerns are. If one desires one can reveal his thoughts. So it is with God: no one knows God’s mind except God’s own Spirit. But God has willed to impart God’s wisdom by his Spirit.

Consequently, it is not belief in a personal God that stands as the main obstacle to the reconciliation of science and religion. It is unbelief! After all without faith in a personal God (revealed by and through the Spirit in the Person and work of Jesus Christ) no one can even begin to plum the elements of compatibility between religious truth and a scientific understanding of the world?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Mind Games!

As most of you know the word "philosophy" means "love of wisdom." Personally, I have long considered myself a lover and seeker of wisdom. Christians would be hard put to oppose philosophy in principle. After all, in light of 1 Corinthians 2.6 “…we do speak wisdom!" There is a wisdom which we are commanded to seek and which we should treasure and which we speak. In that sense all Christians should be amateur philosophers - lovers and seekers of wisdom

All through the early years of my call to Christ, I was relentlessly challenged by and compelled to read the biblical wisdom literature. For example, “My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding…” (Proverbs 2.1-6).

Of course there can be no saving faith that rests on the wisdom of men (1 Corinthians 2.5). After all, according to 1 Corinthians 1.18ff worldly wisdom considers salvation through a crucified Christ to be foolishness! Absolute nonsense! Now the reason it does is because, on the one hand, the death of Christ is a severe indictment of humankind’s utterly sinful condition, but, on the other hand, the wisdom of the world is totally devoted to achieving and maintaining its own self-sufficiency and ground for boasting.

It’s important to note that the use of the mind per se isn’t evil. Believer’s are not to be anti-intellectual. Rather the Scripture is concerned with how you use your mind, what it comes up with, what it is motivated by (Romans 12.1-2). Which means that the alternative to a self-important use of the mind should not be no use but rather a Christ centered use. The alternative to self-righteous competence is not selfless incompetence but Christ competence.