Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Review: Russell Moore - Tempted and Tried

Genre: Christian Living/Theology
Publisher: Crossway
Publication Date: March 2, 2011

Good Christian books on temptation are pretty hard to find. Maybe it’s because Christians like to pretend they don’t fight temptation like we do, I’m not sure, but not a lot of Christian authors are really tackling the subject. Off the top of my head, the only other one I remember reading was John Owen’s Overcoming Sin and Temptation, which seems to be the standard on the topic. That book opened up many new insights on temptation to me, but I hadn’t seen anything since that helped in that area.

That’s why I was so happy to get Russell Moore’s new book, Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ. This book was insightful, poetic, convicting, and inspiring to read. Moore has an ability (a la Tim Keller) to be able to take familiar passages in the Bible and connect them in poetic and powerful prose that communicates God’s truth to people in a fresh way. There were multiple times reading this book when I simply had to stop and take a breath from what I had just read (either from conviction or being moved by the truth of the gospel).

Moore begins with a personal anecdote to illustrate the insidiousness of sin and the seriousness with which we should encounter temptation. Then, he uses the analogy of a slaughterhouse to show how many Christians are literally walking to their own destruction willingly, not realizing the danger around them. The metaphor here was striking. These introductory chapters set the stage perfectly for encountering the temptation of Jesus by Satan in the desert. These chapters delve deeply into Jesus’ temptation for bread (“Starving to Death: Why We’d Rather Be Fed Than Fathered”), the temptation for self-vindication (“Free Falling: Why We’d Rather Be Right Than Rescued”), and the temptation for self-glorification (“Desert Reign: Why We’d Rather Be Magnified Than Crucified”).

These chapters are simply bathed in Scripture, with Moore pulling themes and passages together to paint a beautiful tapestry of the big picture of the Bible, all culminating in the cross of Christ. The themes in each chapter lend themselves well to related discussions about modern evangelicalism that were powerful commentaries in themselves. For example, in commenting on the commonplace occurrence of Christians lampooning caricatures of those who disagree with Christianity, Moore states, “The end result is a self-referential Christian rhetoric that not only fails to persuade outsiders but also fails to protect our own children and grandchildren from what we’re afraid of exposing them to in the first place. That leaves us with what amounts to, in the words of one secularist critic, little more than “a perpetual outrage machine” (p. 123). This statement, in the context of Christ’s temptation to self-vindication, was very convicting for me.

After moving through what we can learn from the three different temptations, Moore’s chapter on some of the more practical ways to fight and resist temptation is simply brilliant. He uses the example of a friend who doubted his faith because of the things he was tempted to do. As Moore explains, the temptation itself is not sin, nor are you unique because you are tempted by it. Becoming a Christian doesn’t eliminate temptation. In fact, it may actually increase it. But we can learn to fight the same way Christ did, through faith in His Father’s character and promises in scripture. If we learn to balance humility and confidence in our faith, we succumb to neither pride nor discouragement as we look to Christ’s finished work on the cross that frees us from Satan’s condemnation and God’s wrath. We are free to fight, and many times, walk in obedience.

Struggling Saints everywhere need to read this book. Modern Evangelicals tend to appear to have everything together as we fear being exposed as not what we say we are (and mostly want to be). We feel isolated. Like Adam and Eve in the garden, this cycle causes us to turn further and further inward into hiding, away from people and more importantly, away from our Father. This book will help you fight those urges. It will help you begin to take steps to walk in the Light. It will encourage you to see yourself rightly in relationship to God through Christ. I believe John Owen would be very happy with Russell Moore’s work here, and I’m thankful for men like them who understand the gospel so well and can articulate the themes and passages to help struggling sinners like me.

This book was provided for review by Crossway in exchange for a review. No expectation of a positive review existed.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


This is incredible. Take 5 minutes and watch this. It's well worth it.

G.O.S.P.E.L. from Humble Beast Records on Vimeo.

HT: Zach Nielsen

Monday, March 28, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Does Love Demand Unconditional Freedom?

Jared Wilson:
What every believer in every age is challenged to do is resist the innate compulsion to flatten out the expansive love of God. His lovingkindness is everlasting. God is in fact love. We then rush headlong into sentimental distortions, self-centered appropriations, assuming that to know simply that God is love is to know simply what this love is like. "Love demands freedom," we want to say.

Does it?

Love demands giving the loved what he or she wants. And by this, hell is maintained: a la Lewis, the doors are locked from the inside, yes?

No. If my daughter is unaware of the Mack truck bearing down on her, or she is aware that putting her finger in a light socket will electrocute her but she wants to do it anyway, do I love her if I am able to intervene but defer to her freedom? Or am I loving to tackle her out of the truck's way, to slap her hand away from the socket?

Perhaps the latter, and since God loves everyone, it means he will some day tackle everyone, including the unrepentant and dead haters of God, out of the way. But this not only fails to maintain hell, it fails to maintain justice. Is the alternative now that God does not love everyone?

Or maybe the reality is a love more multifaceted than we can understand with finite, fallen minds. Maybe the reality is that the God of the Bible is as transcendent as he is immanent, that his ways are inscsrutable, that his love is glorious and astonishing precisely because it is too wonderful for us. Maybe the heights and breadths of God's love do not refer merely to its size but its complexity.
Read the whole post.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Do We Really Believe What We're Saying?

A VERY helpful reminder from David Platt amidst the theological and intellectual debate about universalism recently. Seriously, take just a few minutes to watch this. Extremely convicting.

Do We Really Believe What We're Saying? from The Church at Brook Hills on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Sovereign Grace Music: Risen

The newest album from Sovereign Grace Music is out. Like all of their albums, there is a theme to the songs on the album. Risen focuses on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here's what Bob Kauflin says about the album:
One of our aims in producing this album was to provide more songs that explore why the resurrection is so important to the life of a Christian. It’s one thing to believe that Jesus rose bodily from the dead. It’s another thing to understand what implications that has. It’s yet another thing to live in the good of those implications.

Risen is our small attempt to encourage churches in all three areas. And it’s probably goes without saying that just as songs about the incarnation aren’t just for Christmas and songs about the cross aren’t just for Good Friday, so songs about the resurrection aren’t just for Easter. The gospel falls apart unless Jesus Christ was actually raised from the dead.

The resurrection is the sure sign that the power of the future age has broken into the present, that our justification is secure, that the powers of hell have been disarmed, that all those who trust in Christ will one day have glorified bodies, and that the new creation has dawned. Pretty significant, I’d say.
You can download the album for only $5 until April 4th (although the response might have crashed their servers - looks like it should be available again soon). In the meantime, if can't wait, Amazon also has it for only $6.99. Definitely worth checking out.

Here's the promo video for the album:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hiding Rebellion to God under Humility

There really is nothing new under the sun. There are, however, different manifestations of the same old things. People, for example, have always bristled at the idea of submitting to a truth outside them. Especially for the modern person, the idea of an authoritative truth outside himself is irritating to the individualistic, self-determining ethos in our culture. People simply don't want to be told what to think, do, and maybe most of all, believe.

That has contributed to a newly-framed attack on many teachings in the Bible, even among evangelical Christians. Many don't want to submit to what God has said in the Bible, but rather than outright reject it, they've taken a subtler approach - feigned humility.

Now they won't admit that at all. They'll use phrases like, "We can't understand exactly what Paul was communicating here," or "That's one interpretation, but you can't know for sure," or "Language is simply not able to consistently communicate ideas accurately." This post-modern ethic when it comes to Biblical interpretation is used to take a stance of humility ("Who am I to say that I know for sure what the truth is?") while in reality denying truth and refusing to submit to what God has said.

Evangelical Christians believe the Bible to be the Word of God. It's the way they know the truth about how God saves sinners through the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Are there uncomfortable truths that accompany that? Of course. No one WANTS to believe their unbelieving friends will go to hell. If Christians are going to believe the "good" parts of the Bible, though, they have to submit to the difficult truths as well.

It does no one (especially them) any good for Christian leaders or laypeople to resort to ambiguity and uncertainty under the guise of humility in an attempt to rebel against God without seeming to do so. God has proclaimed truth in His Word. Believers, especially leaders, either need to be willing to proclaim as true that which God proclaims as true, or they need to be quiet. They aren't really helping anyone in the long run.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rob Bell, Martin Bashir, and "Truth Telling"

Martin Bashir's interview of Rob Bell has been making the rounds on many Christian blogs, with some applauding his refusal to accept Bell's squirmy, ambiguous "answers" to questions, and other attacking him for blindsiding Bell and using his position to make Bell look bad. I'm more in the former group than the latter. Bashir clearly knows his stuff and wanted some straight answers from someone who has made a living avoiding giving any.

Here's the interview:

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Many have wondered based on the interview whether or not Bashir is a Christian. He's since done an interview with Paul Edwards on the “God and Culture” radio program where he explains his thoughts about the interview and what bothered him about Bell. He also confirms he's a Christian and attends Tim Keller's church in NYC.

You can stream the interview online.

What I particularly liked was his discussion about "truth telling." In a post-modern world that seeks to simply tell a "better story," without regards to the true story, very nice to hear someone in the media still committed to the truth, wherever it leads. That was his problem with Bell's work, and it's the problem most Christians have with it as well. Even on his own terms, he's not being consistent and genuine in what he's saying. He's twisting the scriptures to his own destruction.

HT: Denny Burk

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Have you experienced "Gospel Wakefulness"?

An excerpt from Jared Wilson's book that comes out this fall, Gospel Wakefulness:
The purpose of this book is not to shake your assurance but to bolster it, and in doing so to invite you deeper into your own spiritual brokenness to find the glistening diamond-riddled cave of the gospel treasure. But if at this point you are scratching your head, stretching your faculties to understand what is meant by divine entertainment, transferred affections, gospel-centrality, and the like, allow me the tender ministry of pressing on your assurance like a doctor would a troublesome extremity. Allow the application of a diagnostic test.

The Scriptures do tell us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, so the aim of this diagnostic is not to shake your foundation, but to shake off whatever might not be of God that has been erected upon it.

Some signs you have not experienced gospel wakefulness:

1. The gospel doesn’t interest you—or it does, but not as much other religious subjects.
2. You take nearly everything personally.

3. You frequently worry about what other people think.

4. You treat inconveniences like minor (or major) tragedies.
5. You are impatient with people.

6. In general, you have trouble seeing the fruit of the Spirit in your life.
7. The Word of God holds little interest.

8. You have great difficulty forgiving.
9. You are told frequently by a spouse, close friend, or other family members that you are too “clingy” or too controlling.

10. You think someone beside yourself is the worst sinner you know.

11. The idea of gospel-centrality makes no sense to you.
Read the whole post. Also, you can pre-order Wilson's book at Amazon.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"If you drain the blood out of the church, all you are left with is a corpse."

I feel like I might as well have Russell Moore's blog feed directly here. Everything he writes in link-worthy.

Here's his take on Rob Bell's new book, Love Wins. He took offense at the book, but not really the universalism part. That was expected. His problem with the book was Bell's dismissal of the blood of Jesus.

Bell says,
There’s nothing wrong with talking and singing about how the ‘Blood will never lose its power’ and ‘Nothing but the blood will save us. Those are powerful metaphors. But we don’t live any longer in a culture in which people offer animal sacrifices to the gods.

People did live that way for thousands of years, and there are pockets of primitive cultures around the world that do continue to understand sin, guilt, and atonement in those ways,” he continues. “But most of us don’t. What the first Christians did was look around them and put the Jesus story in language their listeners would understand.
Moore proceeds to demonstrate how this is historically, biblically, and theologically wrong.

Here's Moore's conclusion:
By removing the blood language, the language of sacrifice, we remove what it means to sing with the redeemed of all of the ages, “for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9). If you remove the blood from the doorposts of Egypt, all that’s left is judgment. The same thing happens when you remove the blood from the gospel.

Jesus offends us with our own blood, reminding us that what runs through our veins will one day run cold. He tells us then that in order to live, we must be united to the life-blood of another, a blood spilled for rebels like us. Jesus’ blood speaks a better word than Abel’s. It tells us precisely what Bell would like us to ignore: God is just and judgment is sure.

The people around us already believe in hell, and not because they’ve heard a guilt-inducing message from the church. They may deny it consciously; everyone does, at first. But the Scripture tells us that, apart from Christ, we are all in captivity to the devil who holds us in bondage “through fear of death” (Heb. 2:15). How does anyone get free of this? It’s only by countering the accusations of Satan, and that can only happen, if there’s a just God, if there is a judgment. In Christ, we’ve already been to hell. In Christ, the devil’s indictments are answered. We have conquered him “by the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 12:10).

That’s why every church that has embraced universalism had died out, withering away from the gospel. In order for people to see Christ, they must see sin and, yes, judgment. In order to see justification, you must also see justice. If you drain the blood out of the church, all you are left with is a corpse.
Read the whole post.

Monday, March 14, 2011

"A Spike-Torn Hand Twitched"

This literally gave me chills as I read it. Tony Reinke is right - read it slowly and think through what he's saying.
Part of the curse Jesus would bear for us on Golgotha was the taunting and testing by God’s enemies. As he drowned in his own blood, the spectators yelled words quite similar to those of Satan in the desert: “Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe” (Mark 15:32). But he didn’t jump down. He didn’t ascend to the skies. He just writhed there. And, after it all, the bloated corpse of Jesus hit the ground as he was pulled off the stake, spattering warm blood and water on the faces of the crowd.

That night the religious leaders probably read Deuteronomy 21 to their families, warning them about the curse of God on those who are “hanged on a tree.” Fathers probably told their sons, “Watch out that you don’t ever wind up like him.” Those Roman soldiers probably went home and washed the blood of Jesus from under their fingernails and played with their children in front of the fire before dozing off. This was just one more insurrectionist they had pulled off a cross, one in a line of them dotting the roadside. And this one (what was his name? Joshua?) was just decaying meat now, no threat to the empire at all.

That corpse of Jesus just lay there in the silences of that cave. By all appearances it had been tested and tried, and found wanting. If you’d been there to pull open his bruised eyelids, matted together with mottled blood, you would have looked into blank holes. If you’d lifted his arm, you would have felt no resistance. You would have heard only the thud as it hit the table when you let it go. You might have walked away from that morbid scene muttering to yourself, “The wages of sin is death.”

But sometime before dawn on a Sunday morning, a spike-torn hand twitched. A blood-crusted eyelid opened. The breath of God came blowing into that cave, and a new creation flashed into reality….

~Russell Moore, Tempted and Tried (Crossway, 2011)

Music Video of the Week: Jimmy Needham

Jimmy Needham - "Grace Amazing"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Russell Moore: Strategies of Temptation

I am really looking forward to reading Russell Moore's new book Tried and Tempted. Looks fantastic. Here's an excerpt Crossway posted:
The nature of temptation is not random. There is strategy, purpose, and power involved.

The temptations of Jesus in the desert show us what kind of strategies the powers will use on us. In 1 Cor. 10:13 we learn that none of our temptations are new. There are just newer ways of surrendering to old temptations. The temptations themselves are, as the Scripture puts it, “common to man,” and in Jesus’ desert testing we see how true this is. It is here that the Scriptures identify for us the universal strategies of temptation. You will be tempted exactly as Jesus was, because Jesus was being tempted exactly as we are.

1. Tempted with consumption (to provide for yourself)

2. Tempted with security (to protect yourself)

3. Tempted with status (to exalt yourself)

The danger we face presently isn’t cognitive but primal. Demons are thinkers. They know who God is, and they tremble before that truth (James 2:19). Mere intellect cannot ensure that we are “led not into temptation” or “delivered from evil.” Only “faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6) can do that. We are not simply overcoming something about human psychology. We’re wrestling against the cosmic powers (Eph. 6:12), grappling with an animal-like spirit intent on devouring us (1 Pet. 5:8). The gospel brings good news to tempted rebels like us. Just as our temptation is part of a larger story, so is our exit strategy from its power. The same Spirit who led Jesus through the wilderness and empowered him to overcome the Evil One now surges through all of us who are joined by faith to Jesus.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Prayer for Lent and a Reading Plan

May God saturate your Lent with a fresh awareness of the gospel and what Jesus Christ did for you and will do for you in the future.

Scotty Smith:
Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. Mark 2:19-20
Dear Jesus, it’s Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. For the next forty days we have the privilege of surveying your cross and preparing for the greatest of all celebrations—Easter Sunday, the foundation of our hope and the fountain of eternal joy.

For your glory and our growth, we ask you to inundate us with fresh grace in the coming weeks. We don’t want an ordinary Lenten season, Jesus. Saturate it with the gospel. It’s all about you, Jesus. It is all about you what you’ve done for us, not what we promise to do for you.

Sadly, I used to dread Lent like late summer football practice. A lot of striving and sweat mixed in with much uncertainty and fear. “What’s the coach think about my performance? Am I doomed to sit on the bench? Will I even make the team this year?” What a misuse of the season of Lent. What a complete misrepresentation of the gospel. What a dismal way to live the Christian life. We’re your betrothed bride, not a beleaguered people.

Indeed, Jesus, we begin Lent today anticipating our wedding, not our funeral. Jesus, for you’re the loving Bridegroom who died to make us your cherished bride. The work’s already done; the dowry has been pain in full; the wedding dress of your righteousness is already our; the invitations have been sent out; the date has been secured; you’ll not change your mind! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Over these next 40 days intensify our hunger, assurance, and longing for the Day of your return—the Day of consummate joy, the wedding feast of the Lamb. In light of that banquet, we choose to deny ourselves (fast) certain pleasures for this brief season. But we’re not looking to get one thing from you, Jesus, just more of you. Fill our hearts with your beauty and bounty, so very Amen, we pray, in your holy and loving name.

If you're interested in a reading plan designed for the season of Lent, YouVersion has one that looks interesting. It was created with Tyndale to go along with the Holy Bible Mosaic they have. Here's the description of the plan:
This daily devotional through the 46 day season of Lent, adapted from Holy Bible: Mosaic, brings together quotes, readings, and Scripture to help you focus your mind on Christ. Whether you are unsure about what the season of Lent is all about or you have been practicing Lent and the church year your entire life, you’ll appreciate the Scripture readings and devotional insight from Christians around the world and throughout history. Join with us and the church around the world in focusing on Jesus throughout the weeks that lead up to Easter.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Grace Interrupting Karma"

[Grace is] my favorite word in the lexicon of the English language. It’s a word I’m depending on. The universe operates by Karma, we all know that. For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. There is some atonement built in: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Then enters Grace and turns that upside down. I love it. I’m not talking about people being graceful in their actions but just covering over the cracks. Christ’s ministry really was a lot to do with pointing out how everybody is a screw-up in some shape or form, there’s no way around it. But then He was to say, well, I am going to deal with those sins for you. I will take on Myself all the consequences of sin. Even if you’re not religious, I think you’d accept that there are consequences to all the mistakes we make. And so Grace enters the picture to say, I’ll take the blame, I’ll carry the cross. It is a powerful idea. Grace interrupting Karma.
- Bono, in U2 by U2, p. 300

HT: Ray Orlund (via Zach Nielsen)

Monday, March 7, 2011

"I'm Reading a Book"

Oh, Julian...thanks for my new theme song.

HT: Kevin DeYoung

Music Video of the Week: Abandon Kansas

Abandon Kansas - "The Golden State"

You can also get their new album for only $2.99 today at Amazon.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Favorite Response (Sort-Of) to the Rob Bell "Issue"

It's all about Jesus, not Rob Bell.

Jared Wilson:
The most concerning theological issue related to Bellpocalpyse 2011 is not universalism (or inclusivism or annihilationism or what-have-you) but an issue that appears latent, peripheral. To get to universalism or most forms of inclusivism you've got to fudge on justification by faith. I know many who call themselves Christians make no bones about desiring evangelicals do just that, but trying to answer the question "Would a loving God send a good man like Ghandi to hell?" doesn't require us merely to wonder about eternal conscious torment; it requires us to wonder anew how one comes to enjoy eternal life with God.

The Bible is very clear on how one does that, but many of those pleading the universalist case on Bell's behalf -- which is odd since the line seems to go "We have no idea if Bell is a universalist and he's probably not, so you critics should shut up about it . . . but universalism isn't heresy." Talk about bet-hedging -- are already asking us to see the biblical references to hell as fuzzy. It is not a big leap to go from "What the traditional church believes about hell is wrong" to "What the traditional church believes about justification by faith is wrong," especially when the discussion is being framed in such a way to pit "good people" who don't believe in Christ against a caricature of an angry God arbitrarily throwing them into hell for really no good reason.

Bell may or may not believe, as he suggests in his video, that if God were truly love he would not condemn Ghandi (which begs the question, "why Ghandi?" If you're not trying to implicitly assert a works salvation, why not ask if a loving God would let Hitler into heaven?), but the trajectory of such a question leads to this: "Shouldn't a loving God let people into heaven because of their good works?"

I've already been taken to task by some inclusivist types for misunderstanding the theology here: Ghandi would not be let into heaven on the basis of his good works, they say, but on the basis of Christ's righteousness which he unwittingly was exhibiting. (This probably makes Angelina Jolie a better Christian than you, although making such judgments is silly, of course.) Aside from the idea that one can do good works unwittingly to Christ while explicitly rejecting Christ's gospel -- as Ghandi did -- being utterly unbiblical, it makes nonsensical both the Bible's passages on justification by faith alone and the passages on good works. For instance, Paul should have saved his breath with that letter to the Galatians.

The means of condemnation in the Scriptures is simply this: rejecting Christ. The idea that rejecting Christ while doing all sorts of charity -- which the Bible calls self-righteousness, which is idolatry, which God forbids and for which he promises wrath -- is still in keeping with the righteousness of Christ is ludicrous. It may make sense in the world where grace and love are defined by us, where God is made in the image of the altruistic Christian hipster who wants to be nice to everyone (except those mean Calvinists and fundamentalists), but it doesn't make sense in the Scriptures. The inclusivist would have us go to the words of Jesus on this, and to those words we'll turn, and see that this doesn't even make sense in Jesus' world. The Pharisees were awesome at good behavior. But they rejected Christ. ("Ah, but their heart wasn't in the right place," we may be told. And this is true. But "the right place" is Christ.)...

...This ongoing discussion is larger than whether hell exists and if it does, what it's like. Lying in wait beneath this debate is one that is at the heart of the true Christian faith: how does one receive eternal life?

Let us commend faithfulness in caring for the least of these. When the Father welcomes his children with "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter the joy of your master," he means to commend our faithfulness. It is not optional for believers. But let's obey God remembering what the word faithfulness means: persistent obedience that is full of faith. And if faith in anyone but Christ earns a "pass," it will not mean God is love (as 1 John 4 means it) but that he's a liar.
Read the whole post. Thanks Jared.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

10 Reason to Be Optimistic About the Pro-Life Cause

Trevin Wax lays out 10 reasons why he is optimistic about the end result of the pro-life cause:
10. Recent Polls

A majority of Americans surveyed in a Rasmussen national poll say they believe abortion is morally wrong, a number that includes a large percentage of people who call themselves “pro-choice”.

9. Abortion’s Treatment on Television and in Movies

Such as this clip from House:

8. The Revulsion to Sex-Selection Abortion

Sex-selection abortion puts pro-choice advocates in a difficult position. They must defend such insanity (or only faintly protest it) if they wish to maintain their conviction that abortion can and should be provided for any cause at any time.

7. The Exposing of Planned Parenthood’s Corruption

The fact that no Planned Parenthood advocate will go head to head on television with LiveAction president Lila Rose indicates that this organization cannot and will not respond directly to the allegations of corruption.

6. Planned Parenthood’s Recent Talking Points

The advocates of Planned Parenthood are seeking to cast their clinics as much more than “abortion providers.” These talking points indicate that fewer and fewer Americans can stomach the idea of “abortion as health care.”

5. Abortion as a “Tragic Choice”

The fact that [Whoopi Goldberg] and others like her see abortion as a “tragic choice” implicitly speaks to the immorality of the procedure.

4. Young People

The annual “March for Life” in Washington is a sea of young faces, prompting NARAL president Nancy Keenan to worry: “There are so many of them, and they are so young.”

3. Ultrasound Technology and Pregnancy Support Centers

In a Washington Post editorial, Frances Kissling recently advised abortion-rights advocates to shift strategies: “We can no longer pretend the fetus is invisible,” she wrote.

2. The Third Wave

John Ensor: “In the first wave, Catholics took the lead is declaring the inherent evil of abortion. Evangelicals then flooded in to help advance the pregnancy help movement. The Third Wave points to the victory of our movement and the downfall of abortion as a business, when Black and Hispanic Christians not only join this movement, but lead it.”

1. God Hears

Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and the needy. (Prov. 31:8-9)
Go to Trevin's post to see some more detail on each of these points.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 $5 Albums for March

Some great albums in Amazon's $5 albums this month. Some great new music (Civil Wars is a no-brainer at $5) along with some older albums if you never got around to buying them. Here are the ones I found notable:

The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
Radiohead - OK Computer
Jack Johnson - In Between Dreams
Eric Clapton - Behind the Sun
Inception - Music from the Motion Picture
The Killers - Hot Fuss
Fugees - The Score
Casting Crowns - Casting Crowns
Brandon Heath - Don't Get Comfortable
Dropkick Murphys - Going Out in Style
TobyMac - Welcome to Diverse City
Maroon 5 - Songs About Jane

Here's the full list of $5 March albums.

A Prayer About Stillness Of Heart

This was penetrating for me today. Scotty Smith:
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:10-11
Sovereign Father, whenever I hear the command to “Be still”, my first image is an array of elementary school teachers who were always telling me to “Sit still.” They had to, because I was a squirmy, restless little person. But you’re telling us to be still, not sit still, and there’s a world and gospel of difference.

You don’t get impatient with us or frustrated by us. Father, you never stare at us with crossed arms and a furrowed brow. If we hear your foot patting, it’s only because you are running towards us in compassion and strength. We don’t disrupt your classroom, but we often do have disrupted hearts, and you notice and you care. We’re certain you care because of everything you have done for us in Jesus. The gospel is an impregnable fortress, our haven of rest, a strong tower of grace. Thus we humbly and gladly proclaim, “The Lord Almighty is with us.”

It’s in stillness of heart that we remember that you are God, and nothing else is. That’s the best news of this or any day. You have no competition. Counterfeits clamor, but you have no real competition. There are demigods, semi-gods, and wanna-be-gods everywhere, but only you are God.

Kings and nations are not god, for one Day, you will be exalted among all the nations. The nations are like droplets in the bucket of your providence. Storms and environmental disasters are not god, for you will be exalted in the earth. You send the earthquake and harness the hurricane for your purposes.

Neither are our circumstances god; nor the opinions of others; nor is getting older; nor the choices of people we love, the mistakes we make and the sins we commit. In fact, the second most comforting news of the day is that I’m not God, though at times my attitude and unbelief would indicate a measure of presumed sovereignty.

Father, be exalted in the claims, confusion and chaos of this one day. Let us see your hand and heart at work in everything. You are working all things together after the counsel of your will. You are working in all things for the good of those who love you. That includes us—it includes me, only because you first loved us in Jesus and gave him as a sacrifice for our sins. With palms, up in surrender and praise, we enter this day expectant. So very Amen, we pray, in Jesus’ excellent and exalted name.
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