Come On, Have You Ever Really Read the Declaration of Independence? Good Day for it!

The Declaration of Independence thoughtfully read in a compelling video.

Well worth the minutes spent.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uE-tqe0xsQ

A cover letter, dated in Philadelphia, July 6, 1776, was attached to the Declaration of Independence, as it was sent to the British authorities, wherein John Hancock states:

“Gentlemen, Altho it is not possible to forsee the consequences of human actions, yet it is nevertheless a duty we owe ourselves and posterity in all our public councils to decide in the best manner we are able and to trust the event to That Being who governs both causes and events, so as to bring about his own determinations.

Impressed with this sentiment, and at the same time fully convinced that our affairs will take a more favorable turn, The Congress have judged it necessary to dissolve all connection between Great Britain and the American Colonies, and to declare them free and independent States as you will perceive by the enclosed Declaration, which I am directed to transmit to you.”

So began the journey of the thirteen former British Colonies toward a lasting union of Independent Sovereign States.

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The Gospel in a Capsule

The Gospel brilliantly presented in 5 minutes by a rapper named Propaganda (Jason Emmanuel Petty) of Dare2Share Ministries.  Lyrics provided.

My favorite line: “Wrote a check with His life, but at the resurrection we all cheered, cause that means the check cleared!”

Propaganda

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhe5qLju3h4

It’s the full story of life crushed into 4 minutes. The entirety of humanity in the palm of your hand crushed into one sentence. Listen its intense right. God. Our. Sins. Paying. Everyone. Life. The greatest story ever told that’s hardly ever told. God. Yes. God. The maker and giver of life. And by life I mean any and all manner and substance. Seen and unseen. What can and can be touched. Thoughts, image, emotions, love, atoms and oceans. God.  All of it his handy work. One of which is masterpiece. Made so uniquely that angels looked curiously. The one thing in creation that was made with his imagery. The concept so cold. It’s the reason I stay bold, how God breathed in the man  and he became a living soul.  Formed with the intent of being infinitely intimately fond. Creator and creation held in eternal bold. And it was placed in perfect paradise til something went wrong.  A species got deceived and started lusting for his job. An odd list of complaints as if the system ain’t working and used that same breath he graciously gave us to curse him. And that sin seed spread though our soul’s genome. And by nature of your nature, your species, you participated in the mutiny. Our. Yes. Our sins. Its nature inherited, lack in the human heart, it was over before it started. Deceived from day one and lead away by our own lusts. There’s not a religion in the word that doesn’t agree that something’s wrong with us. The question is what is it? And how do we fix it? Are we eternally  separated from a God that may or not have existed? But that’s another subject. Let’s keep grinding. Besides trying to prove God is like defending a lion homie, it don’t need your help, just unlock the cage. Let’s move on how our debt can be paid.  Short and sweet. The problem is Sin. Yes. Sin. It’s a cancer. An asthma. Choking out our life force. Forcing separation from a perfect and holy God and the only way to get back is to get back to perfection but silly us, trying to pass the course of life without referring to a syllabus. This is us. Heap up your good deeds. Chant, pray, meditate but all of that of course is spreading colon on a corpse.  Or you could choose to ignore it as if something don’t stink.  It’s like stepping it dog poop and refusing to wipe your shoe and all of that ends with how good is good enough. Take your silly list of good deeds and line them up against perfection, good luck. That’s life past your pay grade. The cost of your soul you ain’t gotta big enough piggy bank. But you can give it a shot. But I suggest you throw away the list cause even your good acts are an extension of your selfishness. But here’s where it gets interesting. I hope your closely listening. Please don’t get it twisted. It’s what makes our faith unique. Here’s what God says is Part A of the gospel. You can’t fix yourself. Quit trying it’s impossible.  Sin brings death. Give God his breath back. You owe him. Eternally separated and the only way to fix it is someone die in your place and that someone gotta be perfect. Or the payment ain’t permanent. So if and when you find the perfect person, get him or her to willing trade their perfection for your sin and death in. Clearly since the only one that can meet God’s criteria is God. God sent himself as Jesus to pay the cost for us. His righteousness, his death, functions as payment. Yes. Payment. Wrote a check with his life but at the resurrection we all cheered cause that means the check cleared. Pierced feet, pierced hands, blood stained son of man. Fullness forgiveness free passage into the promise land, that same breath God breathed into us God gave it up to redeem us. And anyone and everyone. And by everyone I mean everyone who puts their faith in trust in him and him alone can stand in full confidence of God’s forgiveness. And here’s what the promise is, that you are guaranteed full access to return the perfect unity. By simply believing in Christ in Christ alone. You are receiving life. Yes. Life. This is the Gospel. God. Our. Sins. Paying. Everyone. Life.

Jason Emmanuel Petty – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_(musician)

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I’m Just Sick and Tired of Trying to Help Ungrateful People

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This from a new book by Crossway: Counseling and Pastoral Headache.

“Life is hard enough with my own problems.  Why am I taking on other people’s?”

I have to admit, this thought passes through my mind more regularly than it ought. It usually finds me at some low point in ministry, then kicks me.

The situations that bruise a pastor most are those that come when you’ve spent countless hours delicately untangling complex issues and setting people on a trajectory of growth, only to have everything collapse in an instant. The people give in or walk away, but not before delivering a parting kick to your shins.

Walking with people in the complications of their lives will increase your heartache. There’s no use pretending otherwise. If you arrange your schedule to take on some counseling, you are creating opportunity for greater heartache. Why bother?

https://www.crossway.org/blog/2015/05/counseling-and-pastoral-heartache/

Right!  Many pastors have been burned so many times, they just get gun-shy.  “Forget it!  I’m done!  Not gonna make myself vulnerable again!”  Many Christians can relate.  “Often I try to help people, but it blows up in my face.”

But we can’t let self-preservation stifle risking our lives in love for others.

In 1953, Jim and Elisabeth tied the knot before a judge in Quito, Ecuador. After a honeymoon to Panama, the couple returned to Ecuador and set up their tent among the Quichuas in the town of Puyopungo until Jim could get a house built for them. Having lived separately in the jungle, both Jim and Elisabeth knew just how demanding this life could be. It consumed all one’s strength, time, and resources to keep the dense jungle, and the diseases it harbored, at bay.

The end of the spear

While diligently serving the Quichua Indians, Jim was drawn to the challenge of reaching a savage group of Indians among whom no white man had ever set foot and lived, known then as the Aucas (and now as the Waoirani). Realizing he could never accomplish this monumental task alone, Jim surrounded himself with four men who shared his vision: Nate Saint (a pilot with Missionary Aviation Fellowship), Roger Youderian (a missionary with Gospel Missionary Union—now called Avant—to the Shuar Indians), Ed McCully (a former classmate of Jim’s at Wheaton), and Pete Flemming (another Plymouth Brethren missionary serving alongside Jim).

For months they poured over maps of the Ecuadorian jungle. They also researched a similar attempt to reach a savage tribe in Bolivia in 1943, which ended tragically for all five New Tribes missionaries. This dream was not pursued on a whim; it was carried out in direct response to what the men believed to be the will of God for them in that place at that time.

When all of their meticulously engineered efforts ended in all five men’s deaths along the Curaray River in January of 1956, this was not the end of the story. It was merely the beginning. Out of their deaths came everlasting life for the Waorani people, through Elisabeth’s willingness to take her three-year-old daughter, Valerie, with her to live among the very people who had speared her husband to death.

The freedom of forgiveness

For five years, Elisabeth and Valerie (along with Nate Saint’s sister, Rachel) slept in hammocks, cooked over open fires, read by candle and lantern light, bathed in the river, and dissected the Auca language.

http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2013/october/elisabeth-elliot-pioneer-and-prayer-warrior.html

One might think it common sense for Elisabeth and her 3 year old daughter to take the next flight home to a safe refuge in the USA, bidding good riddance to the people who so viciously spurned Jim’s overtures of love.

In her book, Through Gates of Splendor, one can search high and low for Elisabeth’s justification for her outrageous choice to stay among her husband’s murderers.

All she provides is a quotation from Revelation 5:9: “You are worthy, for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood from every tongue, people, and nation.”

Since Christ poured out his blood for us Hell deserving sinners, we must be willing to pour out our lives for the same.

Enough said.

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Bruce Jenner Needs our Prayers, Not our Applause

jenner

David French, National Review Article on Bruce Jenner’s surgery:

A surgically damaged man appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair, and the applause is mandatory. There are some who call this latest turn in the sexual revolution “radical” or “transformative.” Yet, in reality, the only thing radical about Bruce Jenner’s transformation into “Caitlyn” is the harm to his body, inflicted in a desperate quest to be something that he’s most assuredly not: a woman. . . .

To those who say that Bruce Jenner’s body is his own — that he can do what he wants with it — realize that during this process his many children lost a father, and his wife lost a husband. These losses occur during every “transition,” as the sexual revolution demands — upon pain of shame and banishment — that family members treat fathers as mothers, sons as daughters, and husbands as wives. The Jenner/Kardashian clan has expressed support (though Kris and Kylie Jenner are still obviously struggling), but really, what other option did they have? For people who inhabit the pop-culture tribe, you disapprove of sexual radicalism at your own– very high — professional risk. . . .

There is no single person who can shift an entire culture, much less materially restrain cultural drift, but we can each do something. Increasingly, that “something” means resisting the temptation to stay silent, to acquiesce in absurdities for the sake of temporary social (or social-media) peace. Intimidated silence advances the cause of sexual radicalism every bit as much as enthusiastic acceptance. By refusing to speak, we contribute to the notion that even conservatives understand that something is wrong — something is shameful — about our own deepest beliefs.

Why does the intolerant Left so vigilantly police speech — introducing even a Twitter “bot” to automate the scolding about the “correct” gender pronoun to use in reference to Jenner? Because they know speech — including simple pronouns — matters. Don’t consent. Laverne Cox is not a woman, and neither is “Caitlyn Jenner.” He is a man with breast implants. He’s always been a man, and he will always be a man. Yes, he’s deeply troubled. Our hearts go out to him in his pain, but the answer is not found in radical self-regard, and it’s certainly not found in surgical mutilation. He is a man created in God’s image, yet a man experiencing deep anguish about his very creation. He needs our prayers, not our applause.

You can read French’s entire article here:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/419210/bruce-caitlyn-jenner-needs-our-prayers-not-our-applause-david-french

Here are some interesting quotes from The World and Everything in it podcast June 5:

A Whitehouse President Obama spokesman:

“The president does believe that Caitlyn Jenner has a tremendous courage as, uh, she has undergone this transition in a very public way, and that’s worthy of our respect.”

John Stonestreet (Colson Center):

Anyone who’s struggling with an identity crisis at that depth, that’s willing to do the sort of surgical procedure he’s willing to do to find relief, is certainly not someone who’s doing well.  And data shows that going to the other side doesn’t bring the kind of comfort or relief he’s looking for. . . . My prayer is that he’ll find his identity as created and redeemed in Christ. . . I wonder what people would do if he came to his senses. . . . Ryan Anderson has been mentioning on national media about folks who’ve transitioned, and then transitioned back.  Those are stories too.  One would wonder what would happen if that happens with Bruce Jenner. . . . This is a very sad story.  Clearly he’s not okay, and we know he won’t be okay now that he’s made this transition, because you can only deny reality so much before you reap those consequences, and that’s where he’s headed.”

“A lower named celebrity said something less than supportive (about Jenner) and he was immediately shamed.  Chuck Colson’s last appearance three years ago spoke of the ‘spiral of silence’ coined by a German thinker to describe the fact that most people actually did not support Hitler, but most people were silent, allowing the few to rule the many.  This is the case again. . . .”

You can hear the entire podcast at http://www.worldmag.com/podcast/

May the Lord kindly and graciously bring soul healing to Mr. Jenner.

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Kevin DeYoung at Harbor Church / Canceled for 2015

kev deyoung harbor

Kevin DeYoung was scheduled to preach at Harbor Church in Holland on June 28.  However, due to work load, he has canceled for this year.  But we hope that maybe next summer (2016) he’ll be able to make it to Holland and Harbor.

Pray that Kevin would have a profitable summer.

Kevin posted this on his Gospel Coalition blog yesterday:

Before I applied for the PhD program at the University of Leicester two years ago, my elders graciously agreed in principle to give me three consecutive summer sabbaticals to work on my dissertation. The first summer off was last year, which makes this the second. I have an elders meeting this Thursday and I’ll preach one more time on June 14, but other than that I will be free of regular pastoral responsibilities. It is a great gift. Taking time to do research and writing is good for my energy, good for my health, good for my longevity in ministry, and, I dare say, good for the church too. 

Last summer I allowed a number of extra responsibilities to crowd my sabbatical schedule. So this year my elders are forcing me to do as little a possible, except to spend time with my family, spend time with the Lord, and spend time in the 18th century. To that end they’ve made me cancel a number of speaking engagements and other events I had agreed to over the next three months. My sincere apologies if you were affected by these cancellations. I’m grateful that these men are looking out for me.

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2015/05/27/summer-plans-2/

May the Lord bless Kevin’s summer, and maybe give him the green light to speak at Harbor Church next year, DV.

We are now planning on having Eric Butterbaugh preach for us at Harbor Church on that same date — June 28, in the PM service.  Eric is an elder at Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA.  Del Ray Baptist is a church plant/rebuild of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC.  Two of Eric’s co-pastors are Garrett Kell and Shai Linne.  Come on along and visit us at Harbor.

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One Light-Post Perched Fool for Christ

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Saturday morning, I ran the River Bank Run 5 kilometer race in Grand Rapids, MI.  When I finished, sweating and holding courtesy samples of nutrition bars, yogurt, and muscle milk, I passed by the starting line of the 25 kilometer (15.5 miles) big race.  Thousands of wide eyed runners were packing the Monroe Ave. runway anticipating the starting gun.

The air was festive.  Fellow athletes were glad handing and backslapping encouragement to each other.  But there, on the corner of Michigan and Monroe, standing tall on the pedestal of a lightpost, was perched a young man like the others dressed in a gym shorts, a t-shirt, and running shoes.  But instead of warming up, he was speaking up.  He was respectfully, kindly, loudly and clearly reciting verses from the bible like:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (Jn 3:36).

“It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Heb 9:27).

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

This man exhilarated me far more than my race had.  He was a fool for Christ, but arguably the most sensible of us all.

He was planting strategic seeds in the fertile minds of thousands of souls who would be running a mind-bending race that would stir up thoughts amidst heartbreak hills of exhaustion, despair, weakness, fainting, and feelings of mortality.  I’ve run that big race many times and often found my drained mind almost hallucinating on strange and spiritual and near-death themes.  The Spirit plows up hearts when people are near their wit’s end.

“They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, and were at their wit’s end” (Ps 107:27).

Who knows how many runners at their wit’s end climbing a heart-breaking Butterworth St. hill during mile 12, or passing through John Ball Park during mile 13, couldn’t get out of their minds the fool on the corner lightpost and the gospel truths of Jesus and eternity he’d planted?

“For as seed to the sower. . . So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).

Maybe the last day will tell that River Bank Run day was actually salvation day for one or more.  Since the value of one soul is worth more than the price of all the material world (Matt 16:26), why aren’t more of us lightpost perched fools for Christ?

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The Hermeneutics of the Emergent Church

 Chanski+Lecturing

by Dr. Bob Gonzales

Pastor Mark Chanski serves as a professor of biblical studies for Reformed Baptist Seminary and teaches the seminary’s course on hermeneutics (i.e., the science of interpretation). In the spring of 2014, Mark gave a special lecture on the Hermeneutics of the Emergent Church (see below). Chanski demonstrates how earlier neo-orthodox and existential ideas that predominated the academia in the early and mid-twentieth century gave rise to post-modern thought, which in turn found its way into the church. Uncertainty, doubt, and even skepticism are now praised and serve as the interpretive lens through which the Bible is interpreted. Chanski not only exposes but critiques this unbiblical hermeneutic, contrasting it with the hermeneutic of Jesus and the apostles, which is predicated on certainty, faith, and conviction in the veracity and authority of God’s Word.

You can view Mark Chanski’s lecture here:

http://drbobgonzales.com/2015/03/26/the-hermeneutics-of-the-emergent-church-2/

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Mistaking Green Jacket Treasure for Trash

spieth

2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth spoke with Tom Rinaldi about his autistic, special needs sister Ellie: “She provides humility to our family. She allows us to see the big picture of things — to not stress too much if I made birdie or par on that hole. In reality, I’m lucky to be there. I’m lucky to have this opportunity.”

spieth-schwester-golf-twitter

I remember years back reading of a man writing an essay on the most influential person in his life — his mentally retarded, invalid brother, who taught him the grace of humility and gave him perspective for life.  Wiping away drool and cleaning bedpans built character and taught invaluable lessons.

It sounds like Jordan sat at the feet of Ellie.  Undoubtedly, Ellie was used of the Lord as an essential ingredient in Jordan’s dauntless psychological makeup.  Profoundly, no Ellie for the Spieths, no green jacket for Jordan.

Tragic how many in our pro-choice culture would assess Ellie’s projected quality of life as unacceptable and worthy of pre-birth termination.  Our prenatal screening tests have become selective genocide against the disabled.

How poor we are when we mistaken God’s precious gifts for garbage, and His treasure for trash.

It would be like finding Jordan’s green jacket on the Goodwill rack, or worse yet, in a clinic dumpster.

Jordan’s interview with Tom Rinaldi:

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=12677256

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Where Was Jesus on Holy Saturday? Preaching in Hell?

tomb

Silence marked Saturday.

What was Jesus doing?

John Piper writes:

The Apostles’ Creed says, “[He] was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead.” There are many meanings given to this phrase. I simply want to ponder the traditional interpretation that Christ went to the place of the dead to preach the gospel to Old Testament saints that he might set them free for the full experience of heaven. This is the view of the Catholic Catechism and many Protestants as well. I don’t think this is what the New Testament teaches.

The view is based mainly on . . . passages in 1 Peter.

Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, (19) in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, (20) because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. (1 Peter 3:18-20) . . . 

I take these words to mean that Christ, through the voice of Noah, went and preached to that generation, whose spirits are now “in prison,” that is, in hell. In other words, Peter does not say that Christ preached to them while they were in prison. He says he preached to them once, during the days of Noah, and now they are in prison. . . . 

I would say, therefore, that there is no textual basis in the New Testament for claiming that between Good Friday and Easter Christ was preaching to souls imprisoned in hell or Hades. There is textual basis for saying that he would be with the repentant thief in Paradise “today” (Luke 23:43), and one does not get the impression that he means a defective place from which the thief must then be delivered by more preaching.

For these and other reasons, it seems best to me to omit from the Apostles Creed the clause, “he descended into hell,” rather than giving it other meanings that are more defensible, the way Calvin does.

You can read John Piper’s entire article here:

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/did-jesus-spend-saturday-in-hell

Below links to an excellent 4 minute video adding further insight to Jesus Holy Saturday activity.  It’s worth the listen.

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2014/04/18/holy-week-day-7-saturday/

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Good Friday?! Really?!

good friday

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed (1 Peter 2:14).

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.  But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him (Isaiah 53:4-6).

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