Thursday, August 30, 2007

Just finished reading: The Five People You Meet in Heaven

I just finished reading The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. Very interesting story.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise Thee

Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise Thee,
For the bliss Thy love bestows,
For the pardoning grace that saves me,
And the peace that from it flows:
Help, O God, my weak endeavor;
This dull soul to rapture raise:
Thou must light the flame, or never
Can my love be warmed to praise.

Praise, my soul, the God that sought thee,
Wretched wanderer, far astray;
Found thee lost, and kindly brought thee
From the paths of death away;
Praise, with love’s devoutest feeling,
Him Who saw thy guilt-born fear,
And the light of hope revealing,
Bade the blood-stained cross appear.

Praise thy Savior God that drew thee
To that cross, new life to give,
Held a blood sealed pardon to thee,
Bade thee look to Him and live.
Praise the grace whose threats alarmed thee,
Roused thee from thy fatal ease;
Praise the grace whose promise warmed thee,
Praise the grace that whispered peace.

Lord, this bosom’s ardent feeling
Vainly would my lips express.
Low before Thy footstool kneeling,
Deign Thy suppliant’s prayer to bless:
Let Thy grace, my soul’s chief treasure,
Love’s pure flame within me raise;
And, since words can never measure,
Let my life show forth Thy praise.

--Francis S. Key

Just finished reading: The Grapes of Wrath

I just finished reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I very highly recommend it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Swing Time - Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers

Quote on Puritanism

"It does not seem possible to deny that the Puritans (using the word in the broad and inclusive sense) were strongest just where evangelical Christians today are weakest, and their writings can give evangelicals more real help than those of any other body of Christian teachers, past or present, since the days of the apostles. This is a large claim, but there is a solid basis for it. Consider the characteristics of Puritan Christianity.

Here were men of outstanding intellectual power, in whom the mental habits fostered by sober scholarship were linked with a flaming zeal for God and a minute acquaintance with the human heart. All their work reveals this unique fusion of gifts and graces. Their appreciation of God's sovereign majesty was profound; their reverence in handling His Word was deep. They understood the ways of God with men, the glory of Christ the Mediator, and the work of the Spirit in the believer and the church, as richly and fully as any since their day. Nor was their knowledge a mere theoretical orthodoxy. They sought to 'reduce to practice' (their own phrase) all that God taught them. They yoked their consciences to Scripture, disciplining themselves to demand a theological, as distinct from a merely pragmatic, justification for everything they did. They saw the church, the family, the state, the arts and sciences, the world of commerce and industry, along with the personal world and involvements of each individual, as so many spheres in which the Creator and Lord of all things must be served and glorified.

Then, too, knowing God, they also knew man. They saw him as essentially a noble being, made in God's image to rule God's world, but now tragically brutified and brutalised by sin. In the light of God's law, lordship, and holiness, they saw sin in its threefold character: as transgression and guilt; as rebellion and usurpation; and as uncleanness, corruption, and inability for good. Seeing these things and knowing as they did the ways and means whereby the Spirit brings sinners to faith and new life in Christ, and leads saints to grow up into their Saviour's image by growing downwards into humility and an increasing dependence on grace, the Puritans became superb pastors in their own day. By the same token, they can, though dead, yet speak to us for our guidance and direction.

For we evangelicals need help. Where the Puritans called for order, discipline, depth, and thoroughness, our temper is one of casual haphazardness and restless impatience. We crave for stunts, novelties, entertainments; we have lost our taste for solid study, humble self-examination, disciplined meditation, and unspectacular hard work in our callings and in our prayers. Again, where Puritanism had God and his glory as its unifying centre, our thinking revolves round ourselves as if we were the hub of the universe. The hollowness of our vaunted biblicism becomes apparent as again and again we put asunder things God has joined. Thus, we concern ourselves about the individual but not the church, and about witness but not worship. In evangelising, we preach the gospel without the law and faith without repentance, stressing the gift of salvation and glossing over the cost of discipleship. No wonder so many who profess conversion fall away!

Then, in teaching the Christian life our habit is to depict it as a path of thrilling feelings rather than of working faith, and of supernatural interruptions rather than of rational righteousness; and in dealing with Christian experience we dwell constantly on joy, peace, happiness, satisfaction, and rest of soul with no balancing reference to the divine discontent of Romans 7, the fight of faith of Psalm 73, or any of the burdens of responsibility and providential chastenings that fall to the lot of a child of God. The spontaneous jollity of the carefree extrovert comes to be equated with healthy Christian living, and jolly extroverts in our churches are encouraged to become complacent in carnality, while saintly souls of less sanguine temperament are driven almost crazy because they cannot bubble over in the prescribed manner. Whereupon they consult their pastor, and he perhaps has no better remedy than to refer them to a psychiatrist! Truly, we need help, and the Puritan tradition can give it."

--J.I. Packer