On Preaching

It is true, when you are preaching, you are not doing a commentary on the passage. If someone wants to hear a commentary, they would go to the commentary. Preaching is about conveying a message from God. 

It is not a lecture. Definitely not, unless you are doing a bible study.

Interesting to hear local preachers who really are doing a lot of ‘lectures’ and ‘commentary’ and not a lot of preaching. 

Preaching is hard. Always have, always will be.

The Late Great Planet Church

Finally, a DVD to counter off a modern day distortion of biblical truth. 🙂 I’m totally getting this. Too many people are taken for a ride because of some media marketing carried out by Dispensationalists, the most famous being the “Left Behind” series.

“It is my conviction that many who are presently disposed toward Dispensationalism would not be victims of the system if they were better acquainted and informed about the system and its history – its theological roots and the doctrinal errors it has spawned.”
–The Late Ernest Reisinger, Pastor Emeritus, Grace Baptist Church, Coral Springs, FL

“Dispensationalism has thrown down the gauntlet; and it is high time that covenant theologians take up the challenge and respond to them Biblically.”
–Dr. Robert L. Reymond, author, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith

“The Late Great Planet Church (DVD) is a welcome and much-needed rebuke to the error of Dispensationalism which, for the last 180 years, has misrepresented the Scripture’s teaching on the unity of God’s purpose in the church. The historical facts presented reveal the fallacious foundation of Dispensationalism’s hermeneutic and theology. Dispensationalism is serious theological error and NiceneCouncil.com ought to be thanked for its diligent work in exposing the history of this movement.”
–Rev. Stephan R. Van Eck, Minister of Congregational Life, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Buy it from Monergism here. May God’s Truth be glorified! 🙂

Hezekiah’s Reformation Part 2

It was a declaration of intention. Making up the mind to repent is one of the hardest aspect of reformation, for it is dependant on the Spirit’s work to soften the hardened heart (see Ezekiel 11:19 & compare with Luke 15:17). Self will is not repentance as it leads to self-righteousness, which begins a new cycle of spiritual decline.

I mentioned this previously here, yesterday in fact. It is a hard thing to understand, especially with the majority of evangelicals in Malaysia believing in the neutrality of the human will (i.e. man or woman can ‘choose’ to do good or bad – ‘good’ and ‘bad’ as defined by God). They do not believe in the biblical doctrine of man’s depravity, where sin corrupts everything, even man’s so-called ‘free will’. 

Jeremiah was right in claiming that the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9) and with Solomon, puts out the reality that no one can know his or her heart accurately; seen in 2 Chronicles 6:30 (the rationale being ‘the heart is deceitful’). That is why, we see this:

(2 Chronicles 30:12)  The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD.

The singleness of heart in obeying God was given by God. It was not man’s will that determined that they wanted to ‘reform’. No, it was God’s doing. If He unites them, He is the one who flame them and changed them. That is grace. Not a cheapened grace which subscribed to the notion that man has a part to play. Man only has the ‘duty’ to obey, but the willingness is given by God. It is systematically dependant on God. And that scares a lot of mainstream evangelicals in this country somehow. I guess the prospect of not being in control, but in constant knee-bending, is humbling. Our society is not known to be humble.

You want real reformation like the one during Luther and Calvin’s time? Be submitted wholly to the work of God and His sovereignty. Real heart reformation can only come, ever come, through the Grace of our Lord. Amen.

The Best UI – Pointui

pointui

Everytime when I want to change my phone, I somehow come across something that extends its usefulness a bit longer. I am using an o2 XDA Stealth that was made by Gigabyte (yes, of motherboard fame). It is surprisingly lasting and sturdy. It has everything except a keyboard (although it has a keypad), GPS and accelerometer. It does have infrared (which is not a popular device at the moment). 

One good thing is this: it runs on Windows Mobile 5.0. Not an iPhone definitely, but it is skinnable and the type of applications that I am able to use is astounding. Makes it very easy to be mobile. 

I like Pointui (http://pointui.com/) the most. It is a skin over the hideous Windows Mobile desktop environment. Let me show you my current desktop outlook below:

screen01

This is the Mac OS X wallpaper that looks so cool on my phone now 🙂

screen02

This is the Clock widget. The User Interface (UI) is really clean and very friendly for touchscreen use.

screen03

Slideshow widget – Customized to Fullscreen

What is exciting about Pointui is its Widget desktop. There are many widgets that are being produced by independent developers, which are freely available to users on the forum page. Best of all, the UI is really attractive. Many people who have seen my old phone thought that it was a new one. 

My favourite widget at the moment? The fullscreen Slideshow. It shows my photos clearly, instead of half the size previously. Take a look for yourself… it’s really cool! And to scroll through the picture collection? Just click on the left of right of the screen… that’s it 🙂 Anyway, Pointui 2.0 is free… but a Pro edition is coming out real soon (which is paid). That will enable GPS usage and other cool stuff which my phone does not support. 

For my MP3 player, I use another free software… S2P player, although there are some nice MP3 widgets available for Pointui. Ah… but that’s another story altogether 🙂 

If you have a Windows Mobile phone, why not give Pointui a try? You won’t regret it.

http://pointui.com/

Spiritual Reformation & Cleansing in Hezekiah’s Reign

heart-stone

This is a sweet passage to read from the Chronicles of the Kings (2 Chronicles 29:3-19). It is often depressing for the person who is steeped in a condition of prolonged spiritual slackness. The signs are certain and clear: lack of desire in reading the Word of God, lack of praying to God, lack of confession, lack of zeal for God’s Work, lack of spiritual sensitivity to the condition around the person, indulgement in habitual sins, indecisiveness, numbness of heart to people, reckless indulgement in worldliness and many others that are close to these sort of symptoms. 

It is for such a person that the hope of reformation (change) effected during the reign of King Hezekiah is given. The spiritual condition of Israel was at its lowest when King Ahaz (the previous ruler) dragged the nation through a wanton destruction of spiritual faithfulness to the LORD (Jehovah) as seen in 2 Chronicles 28:19. Yet, look at what Hezekiah did upon his ascension to rulership:
 

(2 Chronicles 29:3 & 5)  In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them.[He] said to [the Levites and priests], “Hear me, Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, and consecrate the house of the LORD, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place.

It was a declaration of intention. Making up the mind to repent is one of the hardest aspect of reformation, for it is dependant on the Spirit’s work to soften the hardened heart (see Ezekiel 11:19 & compare with Luke 15:17). Self will is not repentance as it leads to self-righteousness, which begins a new cycle of spiritual decline.

Confession of sin and the acknowledgment of guilt forms the bulk of verses 6 to 9. Here is not the intellectual assent of being a sinner, but the embracing of our sinful nature and a disgust towards the source and effect it has on our being. The heart of men is really deceitful and sick, like a keeper who can only look in aghast over the destruction caused by his rampaging wildbeast.

Finally, the desire to walk the path of repentance (of clearing and cleaning all the debris of sin in the life of the repentant sinner) does not come because of a feeling of mere remorse, or of the need to merely relieve the pain of spiritual deprivation; it comes from the acknowledgment and obedience to the duty imposed by God.

Look at Hezekiah’s closing command:

(2 Chronicles 29:11)  My sons, do not now be negligent, for the LORD has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him and to be his ministers and make offerings to him.”

The reasoning for covenanting with God (making a vow to walk in His ways instead of ours – i.e. repenting of our ways) is  to be not ‘negligent’. What does that mean? It means basically, do not be deceived or be thrown off course. Do what you know is correct because the LORD has given them the responsibility to maintain a clean temple for God’s sake! It may seem out of place, but remember, the temple was in a mess after Ahaz’s reign. In their spiritual trough, the Levites and priests have given up on reforming.

Hezekiah warns them to do what they ought to be doing for the LORD commands them to do so. They should not second guess and allow their feelings to be right or to be confirmed or anything to prevent them from doing what God commands them to do. It was their duty. Do it.

This flies against Christian Hedonism which proposes that the main reason or factor for spiritual obedience is bound up with satisfaction in God’s Law. However, the consistent teaching of Scripture tells us that many times, what is needed is obedience to the duty and command of what God has given, for the reason that He is God over all things. Obedience is our duty, as creatures created to worship our Creator.

So clean up the debris of sin from our lives, like the dutiful priests and Levites. Submit to God, not grudgingly, but in obedience and true submission, knowing that our heart is so easily ‘negligent’ (or deceived) by our feelings and moods. In due time, the repentant sinner will declare (like the priests and Levites to Hezekiah):

(2 Chronicles 29:18-19) …”We have cleansed all the house of the LORD, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the table for the showbread and all its utensils.  (19)  All the utensils that King Ahaz discarded in his reign when he was faithless, we have made ready and consecrated, and behold, they are before the altar of the LORD.”

Amen.

Spiritual Reformation & Cleansing in Hezekiah’s Reign

heart-stone

This is a sweet passage to read from the Chronicles of the Kings (2 Chronicles 29:3-19). It is often depressing for the person who is steeped in a condition of prolonged spiritual slackness. The signs are certain and clear: lack of desire in reading the Word of God, lack of praying to God, lack of confession, lack of zeal for God’s Work, lack of spiritual sensitivity to the condition around the person, indulgement in habitual sins, indecisiveness, numbness of heart to people, reckless indulgement in worldliness and many others that are close to these sort of symptoms. 

It is for such a person that the hope of reformation (change) effected during the reign of King Hezekiah is given. The spiritual condition of Israel was at its lowest when King Ahaz (the previous ruler) dragged the nation through a wanton destruction of spiritual faithfulness to the LORD (Jehovah) as seen in 2 Chronicles 28:19. Yet, look at what Hezekiah did upon his ascension to rulership:
 

(2 Chronicles 29:3 & 5)  In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them.[He] said to [the Levites and priests], “Hear me, Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, and consecrate the house of the LORD, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place.

It was a declaration of intention. Making up the mind to repent is one of the hardest aspect of reformation, for it is dependant on the Spirit’s work to soften the hardened heart (see Ezekiel 11:19 & compare with Luke 15:17). Self will is not repentance as it leads to self-righteousness, which begins a new cycle of spiritual decline.

Confession of sin and the acknowledgment of guilt forms the bulk of verses 6 to 9. Here is not the intellectual assent of being a sinner, but the embracing of our sinful nature and a disgust towards the source and effect it has on our being. The heart of men is really deceitful and sick, like a keeper who can only look in aghast over the destruction caused by his rampaging wildbeast.

Finally, the desire to walk the path of repentance (of clearing and cleaning all the debris of sin in the life of the repentant sinner) does not come because of a feeling of mere remorse, or of the need to merely relieve the pain of spiritual deprivation; it comes from the acknowledgment and obedience to the duty imposed by God.

Look at Hezekiah’s closing command:

(2 Chronicles 29:11)  My sons, do not now be negligent, for the LORD has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him and to be his ministers and make offerings to him.”

The reasoning for covenanting with God (making a vow to walk in His ways instead of ours – i.e. repenting of our ways) is  to be not ‘negligent’. What does that mean? It means basically, do not be deceived or be thrown off course. Do what you know is correct because the LORD has given them the responsibility to maintain a clean temple for God’s sake! It may seem out of place, but remember, the temple was in a mess after Ahaz’s reign. In their spiritual trough, the Levites and priests have given up on reforming.

Hezekiah warns them to do what they ought to be doing for the LORD commands them to do so. They should not second guess and allow their feelings to be right or to be confirmed or anything to prevent them from doing what God commands them to do. It was their duty. Do it.

This flies against Christian Hedonism which proposes that the main reason or factor for spiritual obedience is bound up with satisfaction in God’s Law. However, the consistent teaching of Scripture tells us that many times, what is needed is obedience to the duty and command of what God has given, for the reason that He is God over all things. Obedience is our duty, as creatures created to worship our Creator.

So clean up the debris of sin from our lives, like the dutiful priests and Levites. Submit to God, not grudgingly, but in obedience and true submission, knowing that our heart is so easily ‘negligent’ (or deceived) by our feelings and moods. In due time, the repentant sinner will declare (like the priests and Levites to Hezekiah):

(2 Chronicles 29:18-19) …”We have cleansed all the house of the LORD, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the table for the showbread and all its utensils.  (19)  All the utensils that King Ahaz discarded in his reign when he was faithless, we have made ready and consecrated, and behold, they are before the altar of the LORD.”

Amen.

Just a word… (Acts 28:25)

The King James Version and NKJV says: “they departed after Paul had said one word”. But the main thing about that ‘word’ is: it was a statement with a quote from Isaiah 6:9-10. The better word for ‘word’ is of course ‘point’ in our current use of the word. It was a notion, an idea put forward by Paul to the stubborn Jews whom he was conversing and discussing with. 

I would go so far as to add [this] before ‘one point’. The main reasoning is εν (one) can bring a ‘certainty’ in contrast to just merely a numerical meaning (1), depending on the context. Reading the context of it being the ‘end of an arguement’ or at least the last say which Paul gives to the stubborn Jews, adding a ‘this’ to fix the reader to the point and reason for their departure is justified. 

At least it helps me in seeing the point of contention which made the Jews depart out of Paul’s presence.

Matthew Poole Biography

mattpoole2

His Life, His Times, His Contributions Along with His Argument against The Infallibility of the Roman Catholic Church

By Thomas Harley

Format: Perfect Bound Softcover

Pages: 232

Size: 6×9

ISBN: 9780595525027

Price is USD 18.95 

There is also an e-book version for USD 6 and a Hardcover Dusk jacket for USD 28.95.

Matthew Poole (1624–79), author of the famous Synopsis Criticorum Biblicum, was a seventeenth century ecclesiastical leader, nonconformist, apologist, and minister in England. Poole is best remembered for his Synopsis in the scholarly Latin tongue, and the English language Annotations upon the Holy Bible (the modern day A Commentary on the Holy Bible) written for the layperson. These works were highly valued by such divines as Charles Spurgeon and Jonathan Edwards.

I am very interested in getting hold of one version of his biography. A very remarkable Christian theologian whose commentary has helped me in many areas. You can purchase it from here: http://www.iuniverse.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000069949