Archive for December, 2009

Weekly Links (12/31/09)

by Stephen Rodgers

Alright, here’s the last weekly links of the year, and it’s a bit of doozy since last week we focused exclusively on Christmas. So, to round out the year, we have the following:

And since it’s an appropriate time for resolutions and resolve, I thought I’d try to pass along some great advice regarding how to live your life differently this year:

“You don’t have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, perhaps just one, and then be willing to live for them and die for them. The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by one great thing. If you want your life to count, if you want the ripple effect of the pebbles you drop to become waves that reach the ends of the earth and roll on into eternity, you don’t need to have a high IQ. You don’t have to have good looks or riches or come from a fine family or a fine school. Instead you have to know a few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things—or one great all-embracing thing—and be set on fire by them.”

– John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life

See you next year!

Pro Rege

Weekly Links – Christmas Edition (12/25/09)

by Stephen Rodgers

Merry Christmas Everyone! This week, since it is Christmas and all, I’m going to focus purely on a collection of Christmas links for you. I hope you enjoy them.

  • In an interesting bit of Christmas triva, RC Sproul writes about why Christians being upset at “Christmas” being written as “X-Mas” may have misplaced their anger. He then follows that up with a post underscoring Christ as Savior in understanding the glory of Christmas.
  • Frank Turk of TeamPyro fame has a rather penetrating post dealing with the subject of the wise men who came to worship Jesus. The parallels for our own lives are convicting to say the least. I would greatly encourage you to read what he’s written on the subject of coming to worship.
  • CJ Mahaney reminds us all that before we can rightly celebrate Christmas (as it was meant to be celebrated), we must first be disturbed by what it means.
  • Al Mohler writes to remind us that the Christmas story does not begin with the four gospels of the New Testament.
  • And finally, Kevin DeYoung writes what could be considered the unabridged version of Al Mohler’s post (see above), in attempting to tackle the Christmas story from beginning to end. And yes, I saved this one for last because it requires not one, not two, not three, but four parts to tell that story.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Pro Rege

Editor’s Note: Beacon News (and Matt Chandler)

by Stephen Rodgers

Hey Everyone,

Just to let you know, I have been so encouraged by all of you visiting and reading the Beacon. I’ve had people thank me, challenge me, and seen conversations flying around on Facebook. And that makes it all worthwhile.

However, all this work doesn’t take place in a vaccuum. With Christmas here, the team needs a rest, I need a rest (mostly to work on other Beacon-related activities), and quite frankly, you all might need a rest to spend time with your families. And you should.

That’s why the Beacon is taking a two-week vacation (sort of). There won’t be any updates to the blog except for the Weekly Links feature (since I do that, and if I build up three weeks of links, it won’t be pretty). However, we should resume new LBC content on January 4th. And just to whet your appetite, there should be a big announcement then, so you don’t want to miss it!

Also, since I wrote my other post regarding Matt Chandler, I thought it appropriate to provide you with something of an update. Please keep him and his family in prayer.

Thanks again for making the first few months here at the Beacon a wonderful time.

Pro Rege

Weekly Links (12/18/09)

by Stephen Rodgers

Following the trend from last week, we’ve got fewer links than usual, which should give you time to really think about the ones we have. So without further ado, here we go:

  • Over at the A Different Story, there’s a great article on the dangers of anonymity in Christian community.
  • Mark Driscoll’s interview of RC Sproul continues; this week, he asks RC “How do you prepare yourself for ministry?” Find a pre-sem guy and ask him if he’s watched this yet; if he says no, you can give him a disapproving look. Really, you can, and you should.
  • Also on the Resurgence, there’s a great article entitled “Jesus is for Losers.” If you don’t think this applies to you, you may have missed the Gospel.
  • This one’s for Pastor John. Over at the Grateful to the Dead blog, there’s a great overview article on how Jonathan Edwards was kicked out of his own church. And before you ask, this is for PJ because he loves Edwards, NOT because we want him gone. Don’t even go there.
  • Some days you just need to get back to fundamentals. Over at the Straight Up blog, James MacDonald has an article on How to Benefit from the Bible.
  • For my more economically/mathematically/statistically/operationally-minded brothers and sisters, the Swerve blog has reposted a series of three articles that are great for starting to think about resource allocation in the church. Don’t be scared, they’re short, simple, and just designed to prompt thought. So hit up the introductory article, then check out the Cost vs. Excellence article, and finally read the Cost vs. Effectiveness article.
  • And last but not least, the Ligonier blog has a neat article reminding us that to be called to God is to be called to a struggle. Check it out and remind yourself what it means to struggle with God Biblically.

See you Sunday!

Pro Rege

What’s Up Bro?

by Elder Peter Lim

Here in America, people frequently greet each other as a brother or simply as “bro”. It’s a common greeting especially between friends who have known each other for a long time. Sometimes it’s even used to greet a stranger when one wants to convey a sense of friendliness. Of course there’s nothing wrong with being friendly but as a Christian, the title of “brother” is a precious one. It brings to mind the preciousness of what Jesus accomplished on the cross that made it possible for us to have a common Father in God. (1 Cor 8:11)

To call someone a brother who is not a Christian cheapens the precious relationship that Christians have with one another. For Christians, a servant can call his master a brother. A man who has been deeply hurt and offended can truly forgive enough to call him a brother. A murderer can become a brother of those he once sought to kill. A man would rather suffer loss of property or rights rather than take his brother to court (1 Cor. 6:6). In fact it’s impossible for anyone to say that they love God if they don’t love their brother (1 John 4:20). Hating a brother is as bad as murdering a brother (1 John 3:15).

This is why I never use the term “brother” when referring to people in general. I wouldn’t want to bestow that title to someone who may not consider Jesus to be precious. On the other hand, whenever I do use this term, you can be sure that it’s something that I have thought through. Brothers (and sisters!) are precious. Jesus died for them. They deserve my deepest affections and service and love, no matter how badly we’ve been hurt in the past. Life is too short to live with grudges and bitterness.

Brothers, hurting each other during this lifetime is an eventual certainty, especially the longer we work with one another because we are all prideful sinners. This is why we must be especially slow to anger, and quick to forgive. Do you have broken/strained/difficult relationships with your brothers? Humble yourself and seek out peace. For the glory of God it will be worth it.

Living Theology #5 – The Clarity of Scripture

by Garrett Glende

For the past several weeks we have looked at different characteristics of the Bible: its cannon, authority, and inerrancy. In chapter 6 of Grudem’s Systematic Theology the question of the clarity of Scripture is addressed. You should have noticed by now that there is a purposeful ordering of these chapters, as the book begins with a foundation built on the Word of God. Grudem deliberately introduces these topics first so that we would be prepared to study the rest of the issues with a proper bibliology. This is necessary because we must think rightly about the source of our doctrinal convictions. Our beliefs about God will hold no weight if they are not firmly tied to a high view of His word. That being said, the topic addressed this week bears even more importance, for if Scripture is not clear about what it says, how can we be sure about any belief we have at all?

Thankfully, we can be sure of God’s character as revealed in Scripture because the Bible itself attests to its clarity. Grudem says, “The clarity of Scripture means that the Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who will read it seeking God’s help and being willing to follow it.” This doctrine is also known as the perspicuity of Scripture. This conclusion can be made by looking to Jesus’ understanding of the Old Testament. He often rebuked the Jewish people for not understanding or misinterpreting what was written for them (Matthew 12:3, 5; 21:42). Christ expected that the people would be able to comprehend the Old Testament for themselves and He blamed them, not the Scriptures, for their misunderstanding. There was no leeway given to the Jews because a certain aspect of Scripture was unclear on any point. Moreover, God commands His people to have His word on their hearts and to teach it to their children (Deut. 6:6-7), implying that God’s word is clear enough to be understood and taught to others. Discussion of the Scriptures was to be a daily part of life for the Jew, but this would not be possible if it were limited in its clarity. Even when we get into the New Testament writings, although Peter admits that some of Paul’s writings are difficult to understand, there is never any sense that one cannot ever come to a conclusion. Paul even wrote predominantly to a Gentile audience who knew little about Jewish culture, but he still expected that the churches would understand him. As the church age has progressed and we now live in a culture much unlike the one of the Bible, God’s truth remains the same in its clarity and usefulness to our lives.

Those who argue against the clarity of the Bible often bring up 1 Corinthians 2:14, where Paul writes that “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” However, this verse describes the inability of the unregenerate to discern spiritual truths, not the overall ambiguity of Scripture. It is obvious that a non-believer is able to understand what the Bible says in an academic sense, but they are not spiritually affected by what they learn. Only those who have been born again through the Spirit are able to be transformed at the heart.

In a world where there is much religious confusion, the Bible sheds light on the truth (Psalm 119:105, 2 Peter 1:19). Thus, instead of adding to the conundrum of philosophical and religious thought peddled by many, Scripture enlightens us, revealing clearly what is true about God and the way of salvation. We can turn there knowing that we will not leave without gaining further insight into the knowledge of our Creator. So what do we do when we come to something in the Bible that we just can’t make sense of? It’s not as if the Bible reads like a children’s novel, so what do we do with the hard parts? Grudem points out two reasons for our misunderstanding of the text. First, he writes, we could be “seeking to make affirmations where Scripture itself is silent.” Some common places where this may occur could be in making many practical decisions, such as music style or church size. In this case, it would be wise to stay away from any dogmatic stances, seeing that Scripture does not explicitly mention such issues. Secondly, our misunderstanding could be due to our own inadequacies in study, not the ambiguity of the Bible. We could have simply not read carefully enough or put aside the time necessary for comprehension.

The perspicuity of Scripture particularly applies to us especially in dealing with difficult subjects. When we wish to study controversial issues that there is much debate over such as miraculous sign gifts, the extent of the atonement, or end times prophecy, we can know that Scripture speaks clearly on such topics. Our approach in dealing with this should be one that sees comprehension as possible. We should not see the difficult road ahead, throw up our hands, and leave it to the seminary professors to decide the issue for us. There is no special society that alone can interpret Scripture correctly. We are all members of a royal priesthood, given the Holy Spirit to illuminate the Scriptures for us (1 Peter 2:9). With the proper prayer, dedication on the Spirit, and diligence in study, we are able to understand God’s word for ourselves.

Music Ministry

by Eugene Park

The music ministry at Lighthouse is a wide ranging ministry. My role is to oversee the whole ministry and make sure that everything in the ministry, from top down, represents solid Biblical worship. The one element that most people equate with the music ministry is the Sunday praise team. But there are other bands that serve the church as well. There’s the college praise team led by Tim Yu and the singles praise team led by Peter Park. These teams work hard in being excellent in their ministry. What most people don’t know is that we also have Abram Kim who is in charge of the children’s praise ministry. While there isn’t a full band, it’s still an important ministry because it’s an opportunity to teach the children God’s Word through music.

The music ministry also extends to the choir/vocal ensemble/singing group (depending on how big the group is). While the choir might be more “performance” based, it is still our desire to sing music that is biblically accurate that points the listener to Christ. This group sings for special events like the Christmas Concert and Resurrection Sunday and maybe one or two more times during the year.

Perhaps once every two months I like to have a time of praise through the singing of hymns. This is where the orchestra comes in. The orchestra provides the musical accompaniment for the congregation as we sing songs that generations have sung in the church.

Sometimes finding people to fulfill roles in this ministry is hard. People need to have the right heart in serving in this ministry, but they also need to have musical skill as well. You wouldn’t just throw anyone up on stage to preach, so why would you throw anyone up there to play/sing? So that’s challenging because sometimes people want to join the ministry playing an instrument and/or singing, but I have to gently tell them that perhaps they should try to find another area to serve.

Despite the hard work that is involved in this ministry, I consider it a joy to serve in this way.


About

The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

Subscribe