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Saturday, December 30, 2006

CHRISTmas in New Bern

So we had the privilege of spending Jesus' birthday time in New Bern, NC, with my mother, stepfather, brother, and aunt. We thank God for them and the good time He gave us with them.

Our long weekend with them included baking cookies and desserts, playing basketball, taking the dogs for a walk, making jokes, eating big dinners, going for a carriage ride behind a large horsie, practicing the Treece family tradition of the "grab bag," sleeping a lot, opening many presents (especially those for our daughter), participating in a God-centered worship service at Temple Baptist Church, and playing a spirited game of pictionary.

We had a blast! We love you guys!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

To Movie Or Not To Movie? - Movie Reviews

I've been thinking for a while about posting some regular movie reviews, since my wife and I go see and rent quite a few. They make for good storylines, conversations, and dates, if well-chosen. Many evangelicals, especially the more "fundamental" or "conservative," shun movie-watching. They think it "unholy" to participate in such things, as if holiness comes mainly from abstaining from certain things. That thought is gnostic and wrong, but I certainly have that strand of thought in the backlog of my mind. By God's grace, I am learning to be schooled by His Word on this one. Some Biblical pointers:
  • God created all things, including artistic media, emotions, pictures, and words, for His glory. "For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer." 1 Timothy 4:4f
  • Seeing something evil does not constitute participating in that evil, especially in art. Isn't that our assumption as we read Biblical narrative?
  • We ought, however, to hate that which is evil, in movies and all of life. "Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good." Romans 12:9
  • We know, too, from experience that we struggle with certain things depicted in movies - things like immoral sex, foul language, crude joking, robbery and greed, slander, gossip, drunkeness and substance abuse, anger and violence, and many other things that spring from our hearts, as Jesus says in Mark 7:21.
  • So we must choose and watch movies (like everything) very carefully, knowing that it is not the art or entertainment that is sinful, but our own hearts and our specific sin struggles.
Now we're ready to review. On to the movies!

"How To Eat Fried Worms"
This is a great movie - fun, energetic, realistic, and hopeful. I can't remember the last movie that reminded me so well of middle school (and almost made me want to go back!), plus there is really nothing objectionable in this movie, unless you have a weak stomach. The eating-worms-all-kinds-of-ways jokes never get dull, either.

"The Illusionist"
This movie was interesting and entertaining. Midway through, I found myself wondering why it hadn't ended yet, but not in a bad way. It kept us guessing in a different way than most magic/murder/heist movies do. The love story, apart from the obvious fornication, was sweet, genuine, and winsome. Many would object to the movies use, almost commendation, of magic, but the reaction of the on-film audience gives us a distance from the truth-or-deception scheme that remains helpful throughout. We still found ourselves happily surprised at the end.

A pretty typical sports movie - your average, down-and-out, working-at-a-bar-part-time dude gets a chance to play for the big, hometown, down-and-out team, with relatively amazing results. Even though this plot has already been pretty well beaten down, I found myself rooting for Vince Papali, even if all the details weren't accurate. It's a rare movie that makes you want to move to Philadelphia, hang out with the down-and-outters, and play football in a muddy little field late at night.

Now on Video
"Rumor Has It"
An interesting modern American coming-of-age, finding-yourself story told through the eyes of the wishy-washy, flimsy-handed morality that appeals to postmodern relativists. The romantic comedy storyline is tried and leaves the view feeling empty in the end. I certainly wouldn't watch this movie with any children around, but it does have some beautiful shots and landscapes.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"
Hmmm, dark and disappointing. Lot's of good, weird material but without the spunk of the first installment. I'd skip it and wait for the third.

Good movie, great acting, good history lesson for my high-school-history-forgetting self. We especially like "Dumb and Dumber"s Jeff Daniels playing a serious role as a professor-turned-Army captain.

"Chariots of Fire"
Great movie. The film spends too much time on the arrogant, barely likable runner Harold Abrahams, and not enough on the Scottish sprinter Eric Liddell (for whom the movie is best known), yet it still packs enough of a God-centered punch to leave an impact for years to come. And it makes you want to get out and just . . . run.

"Almost Heroes"
Chris Farley and Matthew Perry are funny, very funny. Much of the subject matter is inappropriate and offensive. You make the call.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Roses and Mr. Clean?

For our Sunday afternoon of enjoying each other's company, Britt and I went to the Arboretum to walk around and see what was still alive. Amazingly, a lot of flowers were still there and the trees were beautiful. And like every time we go to the Arboretum together, some lady is walking around in a wedding dress.

But the most interesting event of the walk was at the rose garden. We were smelling all the roses that were somehow still managing to survive through the cold when we stopped at a flower named "Mr. Lincoln." We smelled it and Britt says, "Wow - that's really strong. Like perfume or something." I smelled it again and said "No ... it smells like cleaning products ... it's Mr. Clean!" That's right - there is a flower that smells exactly like Mr. Clean.

So the next time you use Mr. Clean, instead of saying it smells like cleaning products, you can say, "Wow - my bathroom smells like fresh roses!"

Friday, October 13, 2006


I thought we could start posting some pictures on here to let you know what we are up to. Here is a poster I made at of myself and my best buddy, Stephen Day. Yes, I make these posters while I'm waiting for other stuff to load at work. It really isn't very hard. Actually, I made this one at home. That's how much fun it is.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

B & B Day

Well, Lil B's birthday is next week, so I took her out for a birthday date today. We went to:
Highlights were some of the photos at the art museum, eating Bo's fries, laughing at costumes and the movie, and spending (down to two cents) a $50 gift card (thanks, Romit!). We had a great day enjoying God's world and His gift to us of each other.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Big B has his own blog! He's over here now. It's named, "Take Hold of One Man," after Isaiah 4:1-4, and obviously referring not to Britt, but Jesus Christ. Come check it out.

You can still catch us both here, but this site will now have more pictures, laughs, and updates, and less preaching . . . well, maybe, but not much less Bible. We love Jesus too much.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Make Your Own Posters

This is absolutely hilarious if you like to match pictures with words in the style of

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ten Facts about the "Prosperity Gospel"

1. The "prosperity gospel" is destructive.
"But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction." 1 Timothy 6:9

2. It is deceptive.
"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs." 1 Timothy 6:10

3. It is decisive. You either believe in the things of this world, or you believe in God. One or the other.
"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." Matthew 6:24
"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." Psalm 20:7

4. It is decrepit.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

5. It is decreasing.
"And the world is passing away, along with its lusts; but he who does the will of God abides forever." 1 John 2:17

6. It is declarative. Believing in this false gospel says something about your faith.
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1 John 2:15

7. It is defective.
"For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life?" Mark 8:35-37

8. It is delightful to sinful ears.
"Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching, for the time will come when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths." 2 Timothy 4:2-4

9. It is deductive. That is, it takes away from the truth of the Gospel.
"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve." 1 Corinthians 15:3-5

10. It is defeated. The lies about the Gospel are already finished off.
"As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed." Galatians 1:5
"Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!" 2 Timothy 2:8-9

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Sovereignty of God in Prayer

"I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company."
Romans 15:30-32

Pastor John Piper in last week's sermon, recounting an older sermon on the same verses:
"In response to prayer, God changes human wills! Otherwise, they're ain't no point in praying! . . . Prayer assumes the sovereignty of God over human wills. The sovereignty of God over human wills is not a problem for prayer, it's the basis of prayer!"
I had a great conversation with a loved family member this last week on this very topic, and this thought should get some more discussion going. For the record, this is exactly what the Bible teaches. Otherwise, why would you pray to God, for people? If He can't and won't touch our beloved free will, what can He do?

Thank God that He has not left us to ourselves, but has invaded our little kingdoms of wicked wills and led us into the infinite kingdom of His beloved Son.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

One Year Ago Today . . .

(To My Wife)

One year ago today I took you out to dance
to spin and shake and create romance
and on the ride home I stopped where we met
even if my excuse was too easy to get
you saw right through my little surprise
just like you always do with your clear eyes
and an awkward walk down the old sidewalk
- remember how I could barely talk?
my trembling heart and hands played a song
that He wrote on my heart so many months long
then to kneel and scramble and find the shiny thing
that signifies we two as one - a wedding ring
oh to cry and whisper and hold you so close
maybe we'll do it again tonight, who knows . . .

So we've been on the road so many times,
and staying out late and talking on the line,
working in our house and learning how to be
I know it's hard and I love you so
I can't do it all so let's remember to hope
in the One who is supreme in grace and power
Who comforts and helps in joy hour by hour
He is the one Who is infinitely wise,
Who wills and works and we don't know why,
He is good and He is Christ.

so I put this up for all to see
and I write with smiles of glee,
"I love you more today than I ever have."
Your words and heart and mind and love
are a gift to me from God above
so I love Him more today than I ever have.

God At Work

God at Work is a great book by Gene Edward Veith. He uses his pages well to explain and apply the Biblical doctrine of vocation as Martin Luther understood it. It is an encouraging look into not only (as the title appears to suggest) that God is present with people at work but also that God is Himself working in and through all of our callings in life. It was amazingly God-centered, God used it to bless B and I time and again. We happily recommend it to you.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Is This Other Gospel Really Any Gospel At All?

I was browsing through one of my favorite blogs when I came across this link to the front-page article of the latest Time magazine which asks the question, "Does God Want You To Be Rich?" (Here's the summary.) More and more of our country's "Christian" leaders are answering, "Yes, oh yes."

For my summary and a Biblical response, go here. This is a serious problem when the world is even picking up on the church's folly, so we by the grace of God need to learn and change more into Christ's image and words.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Stan's 40th Birthday Bash Weekend

We had a blast in Asheville this last weekend. The occasion was my uncle Stan's (surprise) 40th birthday party. My aunt Carolyn did a great job planning it, and everything went off without a hitch. The food at the restaurant was amazing, and our time with the family was just as enriching. B and I had a great time making Stan's posters, too. Earlier in the day we even go to visit a used bookstore! That was a treat for me.

So many thanks to God for Carolyn, Kyle and AJ, and Papa Ben and Dolores for setting it up, and praise be to God for making such a cool uncle - uncle Stan. You have always been a big brother to me.

Friday, September 01, 2006

New !!!

The folks over at DG have completely redesigned their (already excellent) website and made it even better. Now, you can access all of John Piper's sermons, audio, Q&A's, writings, articles, and several of his books - all for free to anyone who comes. Praise God for raising up such a ministry that regards Him as supreme, good, happy, and abounding in grace for all who call on Him.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Death by Love: Reflections on the Cross

This might be the best sermon on the cross I've ever heard. It has so many quotable lines that it was simply un-quotable for time's sake. Mark Driscoll lays out the person and life and death of Jesus in such a way that God lays his hearers bare.

God brought me to laughter and tears, repentance and faith, prayer, fuller desires for Him and His Word, and a deeper resolve to preach this true and right and good news about Jesus Christ. I learned to love and adore and think about and praise Jesus for who He is. I pray that you will, too.

The Dangers of Raising Children to Be Pharisees

John Loftness over at the Married Life blog writes:
Pharisees find their righteousness coming from their own works—what they do and what they avoid doing. They prefer to measure themselves by the standards of other people, either living in guilt that they have not attained self-righteousness or condemning those who do not measure up to their level of goodness.

We can feed this to our children. They need to know that based on God’s standards, we are all failures: that no one attains to righteousness by his own works; that the only remedy for our mounting sins is Jesus’ payment on the cross.

We train a child to be a Pharisee by:

* Calling her a “good girl”—despite her whining, or referring to him as a “basically good kid”—despite his recent rascally behavior.

* Accepting his grudging compliance to end correction rather than a willing heart.

* Allowing him to think that mouthing the words, “Please forgive me,” reflects a contrite heart that recognizes the need for forgiveness.

* Comparing him favorably to other children: “Don’t be like that nasty boy…”
This is a great article on parenting. Please read it. For our own hearts and those of our children, church, and neighbors, we would do well to examine our views and applications of Biblical, Christ-centered, heart-focused grace over against our own rampant self-righteousness and Phariseeism.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Justin Taylor Roundup

Thanks to JT for all these great links:
All are worth reading.

TheTwo-Night Update

Someone recently said that we don't keep you guys up-to-date on our lives enough, so here goes:
  • Sunday nights, we have "Pancakes at the Treeces," and you all are always invited. Stephen, Shem, Sarah, and Supe (the new Quad-Squad) came over and ate tons of food, then we went to see "Over the Hedge," at the $1.50 movie theater. The movie was funny, not to mention convicting. We may have to comment on that sometime . . .

  • Mom came to town yesterday for work, so B and I set up a dinner date with her. She treated us to On the Border, and it was delicious. My burrito was so big it couldn't fit on the plate! We enjoyed lenghty discussions about the faithfulness of God in family, maturity, provision, and life. Thanks for the fun, Mom!
We posted a new section of links to the right called, "Smart," which is meant to give you some help with those "hard to reach" websites like smart movie reviews and translating languages. Okay, basically it's a miscellaneous place to put cool stuff. Check it out.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Make My Mouth a Fountain of Life

Proverbs 10:11 says, "The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence." (See also 13:14, 14:27, 16:22)

This is so often my prayer because I know that my mouth is often not a fountain of life, but instead gives the "sword thrusts" that Proverbs also speaks of (12:18). So, wanting to get into a God-given habit of encouragement and knowing that believing precedes and requires doing, I post many of them here for you to read and be encouraged. May God use these word for His glory in Jesus. He is the only way I could write such words.

My wife, my love, the Bible says that you are God's gift to me (Prov 18:22, 19:14, 31:10), and I am believing it more and more every day. God's grace is so evident in the way you help, follow, encourage, and listen to me, and in how care for our neighbors and our church. You are my best friend, my #2 always to Jesus, my wife, my love, my song, His greatest gift in the flesh to me, and a great cook. I can see that your love for Christ and for me grows daily as we work Him out in more and more of our details. He is surely at work in you to pour out His love and make you more like His Son. I am excited about whatever length of time God gives us together.

Stephen, your notes over the summer have been just what my heart has needed. Your fellowship and conversation over the last two and a half years is just what the good Lord Jesus ordered for me. He has given you such a gift of encouragement, listening, and preaching. I miss you, my brother, and can't wait for you to get back.

Gary, I spoke with you this morning and you are always an encouragement. "There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother," (Prov 18:24) is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus but He is certainly using you as one of my closer-than-brothers. Proverbs 17:17 says, "A friend loves at all times, a brother is born for adversity." That is you.

John Aaron, you always have something funny to say. You often lighten my heart. It is God's blessing on me to be able to see you - the brother I have long prayed for - grow up into His man.

Mom, I am growing more and more thankful for your involvement in our lives. You always want to help and encourage and share, just like the Holy Spirit comes along to help us. Your faith in God's enduring faithfulness is a constant testimony to your sons and daughter.

Dad, you always have some sort of practical advice to give me. The Lord has given you a gift with people and taught me many of those things through you. I am excited for you as God grows your third son up into a man.

Mattrock, I just wrote you an email and was reminded that we are as close as ever, even when you're far apart. I am reminded of how Paul wrote that he was with his churches "in spirit," and I think that means in prayer, in heart, in mind - not in some ghostly way, but in a real, heartfelt way. That is how I would characterize our communication lately - with each other in spirit. May God keep it that way, that we may press on toward His upward call in Christ Jesus. The music will be much better there!

John Aaron, how I enjoy being your older brother! You have taught me so much. I am thankful for your frank and honest look at life, your sense of humor, your care for others, and desire for happiness. May you find it in God the Son.

TCC - the elders, the guys, the community group, the families - you all are a constant encouragement to us. God has given our church the gift of hope - living hope in the resurrection of His Son - and you all live it before us and speak it to us regularly. Thank God for you being the body of Christ with whom we want to live and raise our family. We look forward to the coming weeks and years with you.

Papa Ben and Dolores, the Dunlaps, Stan the Man, the Macdonalds, the Bill Treece family - I'm not even sure you guys would come to our blog; but if you do, please know how thankful B and I are for your help and support during our engagement, wedding, and marriage. You all mean so much to us and are a tangible evidence of God's love and comfort toward us.

The E Family, how I have loved learning to love you. Steve called me yesterday and it was one oof the high points of my day. Praise God for your steadfastness in love and prayer and your commitment to each other and to us. We look forward to our next family vacation.

Jason and Paul and Robert - the guys at work - I am thankful for you three keeping me sharp, productive, and accountable. It can be boring and tedious working alone downstairs, but God has given me you guys to keep me jumping.

I'm sure I forgot some people, and I should have added some since I began this a month ago, but may God use this to encourage your hearts and point you toward the Life - Jesus Christ. He is the One who says, "I am the resurrection and the life," (John 11:25).

Monday, August 14, 2006

Are You Immersed in "Christian Subculture"?

"And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples."
Matthew 9:10 (see also Matt. 11:19, Mark 2:15, Luke 5:30)

"The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’"
Luke 7:34

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is pictured as the Son of God who spends time, even a great deal of time, with the known sinners of His day. In this Desiring God National Conference 2006 video, Pastor Mark Driscoll says,
"Many Christians don't have significant experience outside their Christian world. They listen to Christian radio; they listen to Christian music; they watch Christian television; they read Christian books; their kids go to Christian school; they go to Christian church; they go to Christian events; they go to Christian concerts; their friends are Christian; they go to community group or home Bible study with their Christian friends; they vacation with their Christian friends; and meanwhile their neighbors don't know Christ.

But the Bible says we're supposed to love our neighbor and we're supposed to practice hospitality, which is the welcoming of our neighbor. Well, to do that, we need to get to know our neighbor. And I think that is an attentiveness to the lives of lost people."
I am very convicted by this, and I suspect many of you are, too. It is sad that so many of us think that holiness before God consists in being around or not being around certain people and situations rather than in the blood of Jesus alone. This legalism is both sickening and deadly, and our very own "evangelical" churches are the ones who have perpetuated it.

So I asked myself, and I ask you now, "When was the last time you spent significant time with an unbeliever? A sinner? A tax collector? An atheist? And if you can't remember, or you haven't, why not?"

(The best thing I've ever read on Christian liberty is a paper by Martin Luther, called Concerning Christian Liberty.)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Friday Round-Up #2

John Piper has returned to Minneapolis to preach his first sermon since being back and write his second fresh words article. Both are based on Luke 18:9f, and both are excellent. The sermon is on justification by faith and the article on speaking to people rather than about people.

In this same justification vein, Phil Johnson has many posts on 2 Corinthians 5:21, this new one being quite strong. I really like this blog, too, even though it's long. The hard reads are worth it.

Desiring God has also put together this page for resources on justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Thabiti is still blogging away on preaching the Gospel to muslims.

Vishal Mangaldwadi, "an international lecturer, social reformer, political columnist, and author of thirteen books," has his own site, with helpful resources on the Bible's power for social and personal change, with a special focus on India.

Ligon Duncan posts this wonderful wedding and marriage prayer at Reformation 21.

Mark Dever posts on the Bible, church membership, and the Lord's Supper.

Finally, Tim Challies is live-blogging the Sovereign Grace Worship God 2006 Conference.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Reproof and Wise Men

"Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
reprove a wise man, and he will love you."
Proverbs 9:8

I was reading in Proverbs yesterday, trying to hustle through this middle section of chapter nine to get back to the contrasting descriptions of Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly, when I noticed this section of verses. The writer of Proverbs wants us to know something about wisdom and something about wise men. He wants us to know that wisdom and wise men are the polar opposite of foolishness and fools.

The following verse goes even further. It says that wise and righteous men are teachable - they grow in knowledge. Scoffers show a foolish hatred towards loving, reproving messengers, while wise men receive these words with love. And not only are wise men teachable, they're imperfect! Wise men are not perfect! Only God is perfect! What a freeing thought! God's people are called to be wise and yet not perfect! Amazing! His Word tells us to love reproof! Oh, that we would remember this truth when we feel the pressure of perfection! Oh, to be freed from legalism! To know the fear of the Lord forever!

So what do we do with these truths? Go around rebuking people for their incessant foolishness? Not exactly. These verses teach us that we ought to be thankful for loving rebukes, for kind reproofs, for good and hard words. That's right - thankful. We ought to love the messengers more, not less. And ultimately, we ought to love the God who constantly shepherds us with His rod and His staff (Psalm 23:4). Both the rod and the staff are meant to comfort God's sheep.

After quoting Proverbs 3:11-12 in Hebrews 12, the writer goes on to explain the text:
"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
So the sign of God's grace in a believer's life is not a nice, solitary, private life, but one in which there is love that disciplines and reproves. So the question for you and me is this: do you love reproof? Do you love the person who rebukes you in your arrogance and selfishness? Are you thankful for that person's kind words, or are you angry at them for breaking your bubble of self-righteousness and wounding your conscience?

The truth is that Jesus has already exposed our arrogance and self-rightouesness on the cross. He took upon Himself the wrath of God against all who would ever believe in Him and paid for their sins on His bloody cross. By His perfect obedience to God and at the price of His very life, He bought and gave to His people the ability to hear and believe the words of God - His Holy Spirit. Now, by trusting in Jesus's life and death and resurrection in our place, we can hear God's loving words - both the rod that breaks us and the staff that gathers us close. We can love the God who reproves us - both by His written Word and by His messengers, the very people around us. And we can even love those people, too. That, my friends, is the mark of wisdom.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

"God Told Me So . . "

Over against the simple reading of Scripture to hear God's voice (see below), many people say that God speaks directly to them outside of the Bible. Thabiti Anyabwhile proposes this Biblical response:
The next time you hear someone say "God told me to do so and so," ask them to prove it before you follow along with them. If God has spoken then surely it should be evident in His word. If God said it then it shall surely come to pass (Deut. 18). But if God has not said it, then that "prophet" is a false prophet, a deceiver, a twister of God's "word" to his or her own destruction. Mark such a man and avoid them.
Often it is quite a complicated and difficult situation when someone "baptizes their whims in God-talk," as Thabiti says. But the issue is still the same. Those who love Christ cannot stand to hear others lie in His name, and that is basically what is going on in these situations. We must love people and love them well enough to say, "No, God did not say that to you."

Monday, August 07, 2006


Check this out and worship the God of lightning and of the whole universe.

"Under the whole heaven he lets it go, and his lightning to the corners of the earth."
Job 37:3

Friday, August 04, 2006

Piper on Living an Eternally Valuable Life

Yesterday at work I listened to John Piper on Family Life Today" talking about his book, Don't Waste Your Life. His and the hosts' comments reminded me that deep, Biblical thoughts about eternity ought to be the Christian's daily bread. We need to be reminded that life isn't for playing; it's for enjoying and displaying Jesus Christ. Let this talk encourage you to think about the truths of the Bible and their implications in your everyday life.

I thought of:
  • posting more Scripture on our walls
  • reminding each other of eternity more often
  • clinging less tightly to treasured possessions that are not Jesus
  • clinging more tightly to the only Treasure, Jesus
  • giving cheerfully to others
  • praying together more
  • praying with eternity in view
  • talking of eternal wrath and eternal joy with our friends and family
  • using the final judgment to shape our thinking on particular situations
  • living as exiles and sojourners on this earth (Heb 11, 1 Pet 1)
  • becoming obsessed with Christ's heaven instead of hypnotized by this world
  • caring more about Scripture than movies, music, tv, or current events
  • surrounding ourselves with people who help us in these regards
  • ministering to people who need to know that ultimate judgment awaits and that only Christ can save
These are just a few of my own suggestions, and they are certainly not meant to be commands or law. I just want to learn how to live in light of the Savior who shapes our lives on this earth and in eternity.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Time of Our Exile

The Bible talks about exile and exiles quite a bit:
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
Hebrews 11:13

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia . . .
1 Peter 1:1

And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile . . .
1 Peter 1:17

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
1 Peter 2:11
And that's only from Hebrews and 1 Peter. Yet this is something that we have struggled with quite a bit - how do we live as exiles on this earth? How do we keep in mind the fact that this place is not our home? How do we wander on toward heaven?

A friend's post helped me a good bit today. I remembered how I wept in longing for heaven, how I often feel a stranger here, how I feel helpless to get home. These are all good reminders - beautiful signposts God has placed along our journey as husband and wife. They scream out, "Come home," "My home is where your heart is!" and "I am the only who can get you here!"

Our hearts are there, our hope is in the enthroned Christ, and our eyes are fixed on Him. May He encourage us and bring us finally home. Home is where Jesus is.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

"Fountain of Life" in Psalms and Proverbs

For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. Psalm 36:9

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. Proverbs 10:11

The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. Proverbs 13:14

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. Proverbs 14:27

Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly. Proverbs 16:22

Friday, July 28, 2006

Thabiti On Living Evangelistically

Thabiti Anyabwile, former pastor/elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, and incoming pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman, wrote a great article entitled, "Things I've Learned At Capitol Hill Baptist Church - #7 Live Evangelistically."

One encouraging quote:
"I want the gospel central to every message I preach, central to the decisions the church makes corporately, and central to the habits of life the members live individually. I want the gospel, the God of the gospel, to take priority in every area of life."
And he offers some examples of things he's seen "encouraged and done" at CHBC:
* Intentionally frequenting the same stores (cleaners, restaurants, etc.) with the aim of building relationships and familiarity with store personnel, and hopefully having gospel conversations.
* Using vacations for short-term mission trips.
* Volunteering in community-based organizations to influence for the gospel.
* Hosting home discussions regarding religion and philosophy. A group of young men in the church have faithfully done this with a number of muslim friends and neighbors.
* A couple of brothers have conducted at the local Starbucks periodic apologetic and evangelistic talks aimed at non-Christians.
* A staple: inviting neighbors over for dinner or for holiday parties and talking with them about Christ.
* Hosting Bible studies in the work place.
* Praying together in the Sunday evening services and at meetings set aside specifically to plot and pray for evangelistic opportunities.
* Joining neighborhood clubs (garden clubs, cycling clubs, etc.) to build relationships and further gospel opportunities.
* Inviting friends to church and special lectures sponsored by the church called Henry Forums where the gospel was sure to be center stage.
This is something I've been thinking on quite a bit lately. How do my wife and I design our lives to be so centered on the Gospel that God defines everything we do, down to the smallest details? How can He build that kind of mindset into our marriage and family? Thabiti also tells a great story about meeting a muslim in the hospital. You can also check out his other wonderful posts on life at CHBC.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Monday Catch-Up

This weekend was a blast. Friday night we hung out with the Sylvies, Saturday we went to a great wedding (see vows below) and then an Olympic-level baseball game, and Sunday we worshipped with our church and relaxed together at home.

Some links:
Quiet-Time Guilt - a freeing, grace-filled, God-sent article that explains how the legalism of quiet-times has hurt the body of Christ and how the Bible helps us to see things rightly. Several of you have been helped by this, so I plan to post a summary of it soon. (HT again: Tim Challies)

USA Baseball - the official site of USA baseball. Go check them out if they are in your town.

Free online books -'s book site. Look for John Angell James and other Puritans (see below).

Tailenders - what we are watching on PBS tomorrow night. A documentary about Christian missionaries using primitive technology to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to unreached, untouched, untranslated people groups.

These are some of the wonderful vows used at our friends' wedding Saturday, taken from Puritan John Angell James:
1. Will you use watchfulness and care to each others' spiritual and eternal welfare?
2. Will you pray for each other and with each other?
3. Will you gently and affectionately bring to bear each others sins and defects?
4. Will you strive to stimulate the other unto spiritual ends by being a holy example?
5. Will you warn in temptation, comfort in dejection, and in every way assist one another in your pilgrimmage to your true home?
6. Will you converse often together on the themes of redemption by Christ, and eternal salvation?
7. Will you study each others' dispositions, weaknesses, troubles, decays in piety, that you may apply suitable remedies?
8. Will you exhort one another lest you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin?
9. Will you encourage one another to make communion with God your greatest priority?
10. Will you love Christ and labor together to make Him known?
11. Will you mutually share your thoughts, perplexities, joys, fears, and sorrows?
12. Will you lay down your lives that the other may hear the words from our Lord, "Well done good and faithful servant"?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Our Next-Door Neighbors

In Acts 17:26f, Paul says, "And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us."

In His good wisdom, God has placed a wonderful family next-door to us, a family from San Salvador. God Himself determines the boundaries of nations and the houses of families, and we are thankful to Him for the Fuentes family. We had the amazing opportunity of having them over for dinner on Friday night, followed closely by their kind hospitality to us on Sunday afternoon.

In many ways, these dinners were surreal. First, my wife and I do not speak much Spanish, and they do not speak much more English; yet the conversations went smoothly. God was surely at work even in our very communication. Second, I have long prayed for God to put an international family near us - a family for us to love and care for and minister to, a family for us to share our life with. And as we ate dinner both nights, I realized that God has answered my small prayer. At once I felt tiny and abundantly blessed in Christ.

Then the other night, uninvited and unannounced, their son Andy shows up at our door carrying a plate of hot taquitos and another of Spanish coleslaw. Amazing! B came into the bedroom and exclaimed, "The Fuentes family brought us more food! They must think we don't eat!" We were overjoyed at God's lavish grace upon us in the form of physical food. He certainly cares for us as His children. I went next-door to thank their father, and he gave us more tacos!

What a picture of cheerful giving, what a friendly and hospitable family they are. We thought that we would be the ones doing the giving, but we thank You, Lord Jesus, for encouraging us and humbling us by the Fuentes family. They are a gift from You.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hebrews 13 - Two Times in One Day

Hebrews 13:1-3 reads, "Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body."

Amazingly, God fulfilled these commands in me on Monday - it was a glorious day. First, I got to meet with one of my friends, "Jay," down at the county jail. Jay is awaiting trial for murder, yet God miraculously converted him a year and a half ago. He and I always have fun and deep conversations between thick plexiglass whenever I go visit him. Sometimes, the Lord brings Hebrews 13:3 to mind when I leave the jail, and I am thankful that God continues to help me remember my brother in prison.

Later that night, I met a new friend, "Nate." Nate is a homeless Vietnam veteran, and last night he needed a soda from the store. I was happy to help him. When Nate felt guilty for asking, I encouraged him that we are all beggars before God. We talked for several minutes as we walked back toward my house, and he was moved to tears and asked for help. His confession of need before God and man truly moved my heart. We had a long talk, about everything from God's evident favor to the local rescue mission, and he came back later that night and slept on our porch. Several times he either asked me if I was an angel or joked that he was. Hebrews 13 reminded us both that God commands us to show hospitality to strangers, and we were both happy to be a part of God's gracious plan.

Now I am not saying that you or I have to be any sort of special person to follow Jesus in these ways. According to the Bible, this kind of faith is the gift of God. So from God to all who believe, this way of faith is the way of happiness. Even when it's hard and doesn't make sense, the way of Jesus is always the best. In other words, the Bible tells us that taking up our crosses and following Jesus is the best thing that we can do with our lives. Even when it means going to jail and befriending strangers and receiving ridicule, staying with Jesus is always the only thing that matters. "For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it," (Mark 8:35).

Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday Helps

How I Want Our Children To Face Our Deaths
(encouraging, Biblical testimonies from young girls faced with their father's cancer)

New, Encouraging Voice of the Martyrs Book, (buy it here)
The Story of Iranian Christians

RC Sproul on the Poor in the Bible
recent message in Ligonier's series on money and stewardship

Upcoming John Owen book
on sin and temptation

Free Online John Owen Works

where to find the old stuff free

A Smorgasboard of Solid Sermons from Ligon Duncan's Church
Many Bible books and more available from FPC-Jackson

I can't believe John Blau beat me to this . . . Anyone who knows me should be amazed that I just now found this link, but God did use it to remind me how much I love Johnny Blau. And how I want to open up a Bojangle's franchise overseas . . .

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Two Great Writers

In Ephesians 3:4, Paul says "by reading this you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ." So if we are going to, by God's grace, undertake to explain the mysteries of Christ, we ought to be clear enough to be understood and vivid enough to open the mind and heart.

Justin Taylor's blog has some writing notes from J.I. Packer and C.S. Lewis. Here's my summary of both:

1. Don't write until you have something to say (Packer). This makes perfect sense. Don't blabber. Make a point.

2. Be direct and clear for your ideal audience (both). Write toward your specific reader. Don't waste words or sentences. Don't use big words when short ones will do. Make your meaning clear. Use the short, crisp word or phrase over the elongated one. Don't confuse the reader but enlighten him.

3. Use shade, color, and light (both). There are places for long sentences and short ones. Try alternating them and mixing them up. Use analogies, metaphors, and descriptive words. Impart color and light with your language. Use both sides of the brain and keep the reader awake. Make him feel what you want him to feel instead of simply telling him.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Grace Can Save Your Life . . .

"If it is by works, then it is no longer by grace," says Paul in Romans 11, yet I for one don't spend enough time thinking about God's grace over against my own works.

Check this out. May it help you meditate on Biblical grace and be freed from legalism.

(Hat Tip: Tim Challies)

Mute Math

Luke 4:16-21 says that God sent Jesus and anointed Him with His Spirit to, "proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

I stumbled across Mute Math yesterdayand listened to their single, "Chaos." Check out these lines:
I know you stay true when my world is false
And everything around is breaking down to chaos
I always see you when my sight is lost
And everything around is breaking down to chaos
This reminds me a lot of Luke 4 and many other Bible passages. "You stay true when my world is false" is almost straight out of Scripture (see Proverbs, Isaiah 40:7-8, and Romans 3).

And there's more good stuff: one song talks about the dangers of careless words ("Stare at the Sun"), while another speaks of the "beautiful surrender" of knowing the Lord ("Control"). Great band.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Weekend Wrapup

Just wanted to let ya'll know that we did basically four things this weekend:

1. Went with three other couples to see "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" and, boy, would you have to pay us to see that one again. Yes, the reviews are true - it is too long, not interesting enough, and not a good sequel. Skip it and save your cash, seriously. We did have fun with Dave and Monica afterward, though, so all was not lost.

2. Went "garage-saling" the next morning and picked up some sweet deals.

3. Met up with Adam and Stephanie for a night full of Moe's quasi-Mexican food and Frankie's Fun Park. A plug for Frankie's here - it's a little expensive, but we had a blast. Still a good date, even at $6 a head per game. Plus, the Treece family whooped up on 18 holes of putt-putt, winning by five strokes.

4. Lil B got sick. She is still not well, and we will probably go to the doctor tomorrow. God is completely sovereign, so slease pray for her.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Jesus Sustains Hearts

John 14:1
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me."

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Life in NC

A good buddy of mine just asked me how life was back in NC. So, Stephen, this is for you:

Summer in NC
a poem

Summer in Caroliney, there's always a way
to get drenched and sweaty most any old day
or maybe just chill on a porch at night
and slap at 'skeeters bite after bite.

Often we take short walks to the store
and buy food so we can give even more.
Talking to homeless folks never gets old,
even it's late and you don't feel so bold.

So yes the rain, it comes and flows,
and when it stops, it breeds mosquitos.
But it keeps things so quiet at work,
finishing is done with a happy smirk!

(and yeah, there's other stuff,
like being late waking up,
eating good food and loving our church,
family and friends coming often for meals,
burning the rubber right off the wheels,
family devotions and reading at night,
movies and laughter and some late nights,
but to add those would take more time,
and besides, they don't rhyme.)

So Stephen, it must seem weird far across the sea,
and I'm sure you miss church, Supe, and the B's
but keep pressing on, our good Lord to know,
His saving grace He promised ever to show,
and no matter where in the world you may be,
in spirit you'll always be with us in NC.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Glorious Day

Yesterday was glorious. Thank God for the gift of Himself through the blood of Jesus' cross, for my beautiful and ever-fun wife, for our house He makes feel like a home, for our church family, and for a day off to enjoy Him and her and them.

Monday, July 03, 2006


I don't know anything about these guys, except that they rock. Still, I spend a lot of my time at work listening to Inkwell while punching the numbers.

If You're a God-Enthralled History Nerd . . .

This looks like a cool conference.

Our First Non-Honeymoon Solo Trip

Of course, of course, the honeymoon was first. But this weekend was fun, too. We got to ride around southeastern NC together for 6+ hours! God was good to us to give us quieter time together and with Him.

It was fun seeing Mom and Craig, Charlotte and Winston, and Bob and Melissa. We were all privileged to go see the "tall ships" extravaganza in Beaufort, NC. All those festivities made Bob and me want to climb the crow's nest and become sailors. Arrrrrrggggghhhh!!!!

The next day, we got to fight the great white waves of God's Atlantic Ocean. There was much pushing, falling, eating it, jumping waves, and riding them in. Lil' B also tried her hand at wave-jumping, but mostly got drenched. A www.

God was again good to us. We had sweet family time, play time, and most importantly, Jesus time. Praise Him for much-needed breaks!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

So Our Community Group Invaded Our House . . .

There was a time in many of our lives in which we lived more or less without the involvement of God's local church. Those days are gone now, and we don't miss them.

During our honeymoon, our community group invaded our house. They brought banners and cards and food and teddy bears, and generally made our house a happy place to come home to. We enjoyed it and love them dearly!

So we praise Jesus for Shawn and Heather and Tyler and the Breeds and the Sylvesters and Dana and Amy and Kristin and Ben and Megan and the Atkinsons !!! You all are God's blessing to us !!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wedding Pictures !!!

Hey guys, B and B here, just letting you know that you can access our wedding pictures

by logging in as "marty dehart" (the husband of our photographer)
then typing in as the password the name my wife generally goes by

then, Peruse!
Be amazed!

Let us know whatcha think!

God was very good to us on our wedding day. We enjoyed it very much.