Category Archives: Faith & Practice

A hymn for the new year

I came across this hymn a couple of months ago in the chapel service of my kids’ school. It’s to the familiar tune of “Auld Lang Syne,” but with much better lyrics. I pray it edifies you as we head into 2014.

Should nothing of our efforts stand
No legacy survive
Unless the Lord does raise the house
In vain its builders strive

To you who boast tomorrow’s gain
Tell me what is your life
A mist that vanishes at dawn
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign we’ll ever sing
All glory be to Christ!

His will be done
His kingdom come
On earth as is above
Who is Himself our daily bread
Praise Him the Lord of love

Let living water satisfy
The thirsty without price
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign we’ll ever sing
All glory be to Christ!

When on the day the great I Am
The faithful and the true
The Lamb who was for sinners slain
Is making all things new

Behold our God shall live with us
And be our steadfast light
And we shall ere His people be
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign we’ll ever sing
All glory be to Christ!

Happy New Year! All glory be to Christ our king!

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Read the New Testament with BBC in 2014

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you…” – Col 3:16a

Tomorrow morning I’m going to be encouraging my church to read through the New Testament together in 2014. It’s a simple plan: one chapter a day, every day, Monday through Friday.

biblerpmslide

I’ve laid out a schedule which spreads the four Gospels out over the course of the year, so you’re not getting one on top of another. You can view and print out the entire schedule here. For more information on our church’s Bible initiative, click here.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Tim 3:16-17

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What’s in a name?: On a wife taking her husband’s name

And the two shall become one.

This morning I was listening to the “Ask Pastor John” podcast. I listen to several podcasts, mostly sermons, but I usually listen to this one daily because it’s only five or six minutes long and at double or triple speed on the Downcast app it’s even less, and John Piper is usually answering a very practical question from a biblical perspective. I don’t always agree with him, but it’s a good listen and I encourage you to join me.

Anyway, on today’s episode he answered the question “Must a Wife Take Her Husband’s Last Name?” He gave a very solid answer using reasons from the Bible and the culture. In short, he thinks it’s right for the wife to take her husband’s name because it’s a cultural norm based on a biblical principle (one flesh). When women don’t do it it’s usually (not always, but usually) from a perspective opposed to biblical womanhood. And (and this is no small consideration) it prevents unnecessary and unhealthy confusion for children later on. Continue reading

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We should be gospel-centered and that referee is a moron: On sports and the Christian’s tendency to take it too far

Angry Sports FanaticI want to start by acknowledging that I am one who has over the course of time (and by the grace of God) become increasingly aware of my own guilt regarding the sin about which I write. I’m a Christian and a sports fan, and it’s been that way for practically all of my life. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Sports has been an avenue for my enjoyment of the glory of God, just plain entertaining, and an agent of sanctification.

More agent of sanctification in the past couple of years than before, though, and for that I thank God. Perhaps part of it has to do with being the father of a ten-year-old son, himself a believer and sports fan, and wanting to train him up in the way he should go. In any event, I’ve enjoyed what has become (for the most part) a growing emotional detachment from the results of games. I’ve enjoyed not getting inappropriately excited over my team’s successes, and likewise, I’ve enjoyed not getting angry or sad at the opposite.

Do I still enjoy watching games? Very much. Do I still root hard for my teams? Absolutely. And do I still like it when my teams’ rivals fall flat on their face? Sure. That’s part of enjoying sports. But things are different now than they used to be. Continue reading

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Charlotte NBC TV affiliate on Steven Furtick and Elevation Church

Steven FurtickMy hometown NBC affiliate (WCNC) has been running an exposé on Steven Furtick and the church he pastors, Elevation, which in eight years has grown to a reported 14,000 attenders in several locations which view his sermon remotely.

Though I do not live in the Charlotte area anymore, I have great interest in this story and what is going on with this group because I personally know several who attend. Some used to go to my home church, but have left for various reasons.

This much is clear: Steven Furtick and Elevation are the flavor of the month and the last few years. What he is doing is working inasmuch as people are coming. But then again, that is not the determining factor of success in ministry. Joel Osteen draws his ten thousands as well. Continue reading

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Takeaways from Strange Fire and the conversation it generated

Strange Fire1. Shai Linne is right. Today the only heresy is saying that there’s heresy.

2. For many, whether or not someone does something pridefully or with humility seems to be determined now by whether or not they are saying something you believe is wrong, and not whether or not what they’ve done is actually prideful.

3. For those who assert their neutrality in the question of cessationism vs. continuationism, but feel it’s a shame this conference took place when it’s dealing with an issue that they believe isn’t essential, how God has spoken is always essential. It seems no debate between those who profess the faith once for all handed down to the saints is worth having because it isn’t about the gospel. Get real. How God has spoken is a gospel issue.

4. My biggest beef with the gospel-centered crowd is their antipathy toward anyone who wants to assert any other non-gospel-specific doctrine is important. As if God hasn’t clearly revealed Himself in all manner of issues. The faux humble indignation should be directed toward your mirror, because if we can’t believe God has spoken clearly about things like creation, church polity, or revelation and gifts, then how can we be sure about what He has said regarding the gospel? (Hint: We can be sure.)

5. If you are a pastor and have a problem with what John MacArthur and Grace to You did, go read Titus 1:9. Then read it again. Then again. Then again. Whether you agree with MacArthur or not, that’s what he did. It was the pastoral thing to do. Someday you might need to address an issue in your church, or somewhere, that a lot of people aren’t going to agree with. Will you be faithful? Or will you cower from your convictions because some people might think you are unloving? It’s the easy thing in the world to do to make that accusation. The second easiest thing is to scream, “Misrepresentation! Misrepresentation!” The hard thing is to do what MacArthur and the rest did, and the mature thing is to actually listen and seriously consider what was said.

I grieve for my generation and the next if the consensus really is that what John MacArthur and the Strange Fire speakers did was wrong.

6. Speaking of maturity, I think I would have thought Mark Driscoll was cool twenty years ago, but then I left youth group. Seriously, this guy reminds me of the song “Cult of Personality.” Why does anyone take seriously a man who locked arms with T.D. Jakes and failed to seriously question him about the Trinity, and not ask a single question about his prosperity gospel? And why does anyone take him seriously after the publicity stunt he and buddy James MacDonald pulled on Friday? I’m telling you, these guys look more like Jannes and Jambres everyday.

Please go to the portion of this program that deals with a talk Driscoll gave to (I believe) some church planters last year. If you think he’s a good representative, please listen and defend that to me. His arrogance and condescension drip from the speakers. I am truly sad that people think this guy represents biblical Christianity and when the same tongue or keyboard accuse MacArthur of arrogance and condescension.

7. I really believe there is something to be said here, especially to people my age and younger, about respecting your elders. Have you noticed how it’s John MacArthur, who is in his 70s and has been a pastor-teacher at Grace Community Church for almost 45 years, who is getting the boatload of criticism? MacArthur and Phil Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You, longtime friend and right-hand man of MacArthur, and fellow GCC elder? Steve Lawson hasn’t been castigated nearly as much, and surely not Conrad Mbewe (because that would just be politically incorrect). The so-called Young, Restless, and Reformed crowd and others need to check themselves. It seems to me the younger crowd is just looking for reasons to dismiss MacArthur’s influence in a day when it is needed most, for I dare you to name three other pastors still going who have been doing it for nearly as long and have been as faithful in expository preaching of the word of God.

I’ve already gone longer than I thought I would so I’m stopping. Comments are closed, not that I get a lot of comments, but the past few days it’s just been unfruitful. If you wish to dialog, old fashioned e-mail is welcome – m a t t p r i v e t t AT t h e m a t t r i x DOT c o m.

Update – 9:50pm EDT: I meant to add the following verses. I’ve been memorizing 2 Timothy and the Spirit has really illuminated them for me to show my own need for resolve in the ministry. I thought about them as I watched the Twitter vitriol against MacArthur and the Strange Fire conference:

“You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. . . . You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” – 2 Tim 1:15; 2:1

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Satan’s favorite people

Satan’s favorite people are unsaved church members, deceived just enough to think they’ve got their ticket to heaven, just “sanctified” enough in their conduct to deceive others, just worldly enough to make sure their local church stays bogged down in the mud.

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Asked and Answered: The Christian and oppressive government

I was recently asked the following question:

Asked and AnsweredRight now, the government is becoming increasingly oppressive, but God says to submit to government/authority. If we eventually become socialist/communist would it be wrong to overthrow the government?

To which I answered: Continue reading

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