Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Relient Who?

Is anyone else amazed that Relient K made the TRL?!


This is major major news folks!

What does this mean? Weeell, this means that you will be listening to the radio and may hear "Be My Escape" by Relient K. They are such an awesome band. They've gone from ska-punk, to more alternative-punk to alternative-emo-punk. Each cd is spectacular.

I almost forgot: Acceptance is also on the radio. Two bands that are a must listen to. props to Adam for giving me the "Phantoms" cd by Acceptance

Just wanted to share my excitement.

On another note, does anyone else prefer secular radio to "Christian" radio?


It is Well - Numero Dos

I just had to post the last verse:

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul.

I spoke with my buddies, Eli and Adam, Saturday night, and we agreed that were it not for our friends falling prey to Hyper-Preterism, we would not love the return of Christ as much as we do. Now, I thank God that He brought that trial to me. O, how I wait for his glorious appearing; for the final Day of Judgment when all wrongs shall be made right; for my resurrected body without indwelling sin; the New Heavens and the New Earth; and finally, for the day when my faith shall be sight.

May we all be found "13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus" (Titus 2:13).

*looks up towards the sky, then realizes it's 2:35am. time for bed* =)


It is Well

A couple weeks ago on the Lord's Day, we sang the familiar hymn, "It is well." The song is truly wonderful. When I arrived at the third verse, I was greatly moved. Here is how it reads:

My sin - O the bliss of this glorious thought! - My sin, not in part, but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more; Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

*Click here for the tune*

Even as I read this now, I cannot help but be overcome with joy - the joy that my sins have not been imputed to me. No, they have been borne by the only begotten of the Father. The writer of this hymn seems to have been so overjoyed with this thought that he interjects the phrase: "O the bliss of this glorious thought!" My sin, not in part, but the whole was borne by Christ on the tree.

You might think, as I did, of Peter's statement in his first epistle: "24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed" (1 Peter 2:24).

And of course: "19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:19, 21).

Christ, the God-Man, the Word who became flesh, though He Himself knew no sin, became sin on our behalf. Yet there is more good news: we become the righteousness of God in him. Our sins are covered by his atoning blood, and we receive his positive righteousness imputed to us through faith. Yes, one more time, I happily turn to my favorite text in the New Testament:

"6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 "BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. 8 "BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT."" (Romans 4:6-8).

Our justification before God is based on an alien righteousness imputed to us: the righteousness of Jesus Christ. This righteousness is imputed not by works, but through faith alone. Paul declares that this is a blessing! It is a blessing to receive the righteousness of Christ as our possession. It is a blessing to have our sins forgiven and covered. It is a blessing to not have our sins taken into account.

I love how the hymnist ended the verse: "Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!" After considering such a rich and humbling truth, how can you not stop to give praise to God for what He has done. What can be said of verse 3 but Amen!

Case of Base

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Harry Potter

It's quite unlike me to jump on the bandwagon, but I had to make an exception this time. Both my brothers, a lotta my friends, and so many others are hooked on this book series. I knew I would have to give it a chance.

My brother Kyle lent me the first one: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I read it in two days. I just could not put it down. So today I bought the first and second book at Borders (does anyone else prefer Borders over Barnes and Noble?). I'm stoked about beginning the second novel - in fact, only this blog entry is what separates me from some reading time =).

Kyle also owns all the movies (yay). When I finished my book last night I popped in the dvd and thoroughly enjoyed it. They did a fantastic job of recreating the book. It looked so much like I imagined it.

Everyone tells me that the books and movies keep getting better!

and now for something completely different ...

Well okay, not COMPLETELY different *grin*. I wanted to share some thoughts about why I used to oppose Harry Potter and why I no longer oppose it. Why was I against Harry Potter? Basically, I was against witchcraft and wizadry being in a movie. Why do I no longer oppose Harry Potter? Somewhere along the way someone asked me why I was opposed to Harry Potter when my favorite movies are Star Wars? I had no answer. I thought about it. And I thought some more. Then my brain hurt from all the thinking it was doing - after all, one brain can only take so much thinking you know. Finally, I came to realize that I was being inconsistent and unfair in my views about Harry Potter.

After all, why will I refuse to read books and/or watch movies involving wizadry yet have no problem enjoying books/movies featuring a religion based on Buddhist ascetics (Star Wars)? But, but, don't you know that JK Rowling (the author of Harry Potter) has stated that she hopes her books will spur an increase of witchcraft? Yes, but did you know that George Lucas has also been very open about the fact that Jedi are modeled after Buddhist monks? Lucas truly believes that human beings are capable of much of what the Jedi in his movies can do. Believe me when I say that I can go back and forth forever like this. Give me an example of non-Christian beliefs in Harry Potter and I can demonstrate another from Star Wars.

I've concluded that I am able to enjoy both Harry Potter and Star Wars for accepting them as fiction and nothing more. Both stories paint a clear picture of good and evil. Both stories teach certain moral truths.

Ultimately, I believe that issues like this are to be left up to one's own conscience. If watching Harry Potter (or Star Wars) causes you to feel uneasy, hey, don't watch them.

If your conscience allows you to enjoy the Harry Potter storyline, then please get to it. You don't know what you're missing!

Case of Rusty. Wait, that's not right. Base of Crusty. No, that's not it either. Hrrrmmm. This is You-Know-Who signing off

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Heh, Amateurs

Monday night, Simon, Kelly and I checked out the new azswingnetwork venue: Hepkats. It was snazzy man. There was a live band and an open wood floor. Somehow, I was coerced into joining the night's amateur dance competition.

Each person was judged individually and danced with 3 different partners to 3 tempos: slow, medium, fast.

I was pretty nervous beforehand, but that quickly faded once I partnered up with my first follow.

At the end of it all, I placed 2nd (out of 20). Yay.

Now, it was an amateur competition, but hey, it was my first competition ever. =)

Bowing out,

Who's preaching to the Romanists?

The other night I got a call from Kayce. She and Colleen wanted to meet and ask me some questions about Roman Catholicism.

We met at InNOut, mmm mmm (too bad I didn't eat anything lol).

Colleen is currently witnessing to a Roman Catholic friend who has been attending her church. She wrote down a number of questions her Romanist friend asked that she wasn't able to answer. Let me stop right there - does this not impress anyone? This is EXACTLY what Christians need to do. When they don't have the answers or a sufficient response, they need to go study and get back to the person.

Colleen had questions about the Canon, authority issues (Sola Scriptura vs. Sola Ecclesia), Church History and the Gospel. I could tell that Colleen was genuinely interested in all the issues. She took notes like a madman (*cough* madwoman *cough*).

I was uber encouraged that she is passionate about understanding Romanism so she can best communicate the Gospel to her friend. What an encouragement to me!

Now, Colleen is obeying Peter's charge given to all believers: "15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;" (1 Peter 3:15). "Always being ready" ... that sounds like we need to prepare for evangelism. I know that this is very unpopular, because preparation takes work. Sometimes a lot of work. In Roman Catholicism's case, it takes a lot of time and energy to prepare. Yet, if you love your Romanist friends and family, you'll spend as much time studying so that when the time comes, you can clearly proclaim the Gospel of Peace to them.

I have often wondered why many in the Phoenix area choose to remain ignorant of Romanism. Maybe they aren't aware that it is the greatest religion in the Valley? In any case, there are some excellent books out there to help any who are interested in preparing to witness to their Roman Catholic friends. Let me know if you need some book recommendations.

In the meantime, I am thankful that at least two girls at EVBC are faithfully proclaiming the Gospel of Peace to our Romanist neighbors.

Thanks Colleen and Kayce for your example.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Flippin gosh darnit

This entry is about expletives, curse words ... cussing =).

I have recently crossed paths with a number of Christians who feel that it is within their "Christian freedom" to use words that are commonly considered by our society to be expletives. Advocates of this position have many different arguments, most of which cannot be applied consistently. Their arguments may go something like this:

"Look Case, I know you're an ultra-traditionalist, being a Reformed Baptist and all, but sooner or later you're going to realize that cuss words are defined by society and are therefore subjective. What is a cuss word to one person might not be a cuss word to someone else. Also, when I use certain cuss words, like the "D-Word" I don't mean it in a negative sense. I would only use the word positively, thus removing the ofttimes hateful usage."

When I first ran across this type of argumentation I seriously thought to myself: "Why is it so difficult for you to understand what an expletive is? Shouldn't that be fairly obvious?" I have discovered that many do not find this obvious, so they say.

This raises the question: what exactly is an expletive? a curse word? a cuss word? Expletives are words that are deemed by a society/culture to be innapropriate. These words are commonly used to express anger or frustration. Many expletives are words with a natural meaning but are used out of context, directed towards people or events. Finally, expletives can be used to simply fill out a sentence in a careless and reckless manner.

I am thankful that Scripture speaks to this issue:

"29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear" (Ephesians 4:29).

"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth..." Rather straightforward, yes? But still, I can hear the objector: "What's a curse word to you, isn't a curse word to me." How do I respond? Let's use damn as our example. The word damn is not in and of itself an innapropriate term. It can be used in reference to sinners who die outside of Christ as damned to hell. Yet this usage of damn is not an expletive. Now, if I direct the term towards a person out of anger, this would be an expletive. Also, if I use the word out of context, to fill up space, this would be an expletive. Hell works the same way.

On the other hand, there are specific words that are deemed to be inappropriate no matter the use: the "F-bomb" or Sh**. Both are clear examples.

Going back to the text in Ephesians, cussing Christians ought to ask themselves how their vocabulary is "good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear"? Will such advocates actually defend the argument that expletives are encouraging? Are expletives edifying? And if not, what purpose do they serve?

Paul continues his thought in chapter five of Ephesians:

"3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks" (Ephesians 5:3-4).

Expletives can surely be included with "any impurity." What does Paul mean when he said that these impurities "must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints"? Does Paul exclude course language?

But the Apostle isn't finished. He writes: "and there must be no filthiness and silly talk." What a perfect description of curse words. They are filthy, are they not? They are silly, are they not? Did anyone catch that this directly rebukes the "I don't use these cuss words in a hateful way, but in a positive sense" argument? Because if you aren't using curse words in the way they are normally intended or understood, you are left using them in a meaningless sense. Words carry meaning. So when you open your mouth to speak, remember that you are attempting to communicate MEANING.

If you believe that expletives are just a "fun" way to express yourself, you would do well to read the next clause: "or course jesting." The objector: "Oh brother Case! You're taking this a little too far. These words are harmless! It's just a bit of fun..." Not according to Paul. If you are using course language in a joking fashion, know that God is speaking directly to you from this text.

Besides all this course, filthy language, what are we allowed to say? "...but rather giving of thanks." If you find yourself with nothing to say, then thank the Lord. Don't fill up the time using your useless words that are offensive to God and His people.

The Apostle again continues his thought on the Christian walk beginning in verse 15:

"15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ" (Ephesians 5:15-21).

What a sweet passage! Notice Paul's exhoratation in verse 15: "Therefore be careful how you walk." Oh, that Christians would take seriously their walks with God. If there is one thing lacking in the Church today, it is a reverence for the triune Lord in all His majesty. "Not as unwise men but as wise"! Man, I could go off about this for like, ever =). But just briefly, what does it mean to be wise men? Consider verse 10: "trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord." I would love to see these cussing Christians try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord, rather than what is pleasing to their own ears. We should make the most of our time and not be foolish, then we will understand the will of the Lord. (16-17). Paul declares that we are not to be drunk, rather we are to stay in our right mind and be filled with the Spirit (18). Next, Paul gives us another item we shall add to our list of "things we should say" - "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father." I ask the objector: Where in this text is their room for expletives? When we examine verse 21, how is the use of expletives subjecting yourself to your fellow saints?

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are now His slaves. We are no longer slaves to the world. Therefore we must abandon our worldly ways, including the foolishness of the world's speech. In closing, consider the following verses from Ephesians 4:

"17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. 25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another."



Monday, July 04, 2005

Not with cleverness of speech

1 Corinthians 1:17, "17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void."

1 Corinthians 2:1-5, "1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God."

Elder James had the opportunity to preach during last night's worship service. The above passages were the primary texts for this introduction to a series he will be doing on 1 Corinthians 1-2. I wanted to share with you some of my sermon notes.

There is a clear parallel between the "cleverness of speech" in 1:17 and "persuasive words of wisdom" and "wisdom of men" in 2:4-5. In 1:17, whatever this "cleverness of speech" is, results in making the cross of Christ void, or empty. I think I speak for all of God's people when I say that we do not want to make the cross of Christ void. So what does Paul mean by "cleverness of speech"? Weeeell, Paul continues this same thought on what is called the "bookend" of this prologue in chapter 2. Paul explains his determination in sticking to the message of Christ and his crucifixion. This simple message of Christ was portrayed "in much fear and in much trembling." Take note of verse 4: "and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power." WOW. Does that amaze anyone else? Paul did not try to impress the people of Corinth with persuasive words - words that would impress the world. He came in meekness and preached the whole Gospel. The reason Paul did not try to impress the unregenerated man is because Paul could trust in the Spirit of God to save His elect people. If there was one thing the Apostle knew, it was that God saves, and saves perfectly.

Oh how liberating to be able to trust God in the preaching of His message! Oh what joy I found when I became a Calvinist and understood that it is not up to me to convince sinners to believe in God. My only responsibility in preaching the good news of Christ is to not compromise the message.

Elder James made some excellent points about the Emergent Church Movement, and the Seeker Sensitive Movement. Both texts in James' sermon are applicable to these movements. For the Emergent Church Movement - they appeal to a postmodern generation. For the Seeker Sensitive Movement - they don't want to turn anyone away by preaching the whole counsel of God. Both movements fear men. Their greatest concern is seeking worldly results: an increase in people (who will on ocassion give you some money). If you use worldly methods of preaching, you will reap worldly results. But if you use Biblical standards of preaching, the Holy Spirit will work through your ministry.

Paul's theme in these marvelous passages is that you do not need to satisfy the desires of the natural man. On the contrary, trust in the Holy Spirit to work through the preaching of the word of Christ. For indeed, it is the power of God that saves sinners. Notice 1:18; compare with 2:5. Isn't that incredible? What a dichotomy the Apostle sets up: not with words of human wisdom, but on the power of God! I don't know about you, but I am honored to be used as the means to bring the Gospel to the lost in this world. Most of all, I am thankful that we don't have to use fancy speech that impresses the world. But we preach Christ and Him crucified.

Time to hit the hay kiddos. *Honk Shooing*