Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of His Servant?

Latest

Some Thoughts on Psalm 73

These days I am preaching on psalm 73 at Wangsung English Ministry . This is a very deep wisdom psalm and it has a ‘pivotal’ role in the editing of the Psalter (it appears in the middle of the Psalter, the first of Book III).

To prepare for my sermon I try to read a few good commentaries (the best must be the one by Allen P. Ross) and to listen to a few good sermons (usually from the Gospel Coalition site).  Of course – one of the best on this must be Martyn-Lloyd Jones (see his book Faith on Trial).

This week I decided to also take a look at the Jewish perspective, and I found in my library the book   A Rabbi Reads the Psalms, by Jonathan Magonet.  It has some good insights, but I am not sure (from reading only the section on psalm 73), that it is worth the buy.

In any case, I find this quote from Levi Yitschak of Berditchev useful in connection with Psalm 73 (p. 188):

“I do not beg You to reveal to me the secret of Your ways – I could not bear it.  But show me one thing; show it to me more clearly and more deeply; show me what this, which is happening at this very moment, means to me, what it demands of me, what You, Eternal One of the world, are telling me by way of it.  Ah, it is not why I suffer, that I wish to know, but only whether I suffer for Your sake.”

Advertisements
Link

A New Website for My Beloved Hebrew Students

Due to my boundless love (chesed) for my Hebrew students I decided to start another website.  It is called One Proverb a Day and it is found here.

The intention is to provide 366 proverbs in Hebrew for students to read and memorize [YES – memorize!].  Also – I will provide notes on grammar and pronunciation, and some basic comments on the content (mostly based on Waltke and Bridges).

Because I do not know how to deal with the Hebrew well (help anyone?) in wordpress, all the files will be available for download in PDF form.  Those versions should be much better than what appears in the wordpress website!

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, and if you would like to contribute to this project!

Cristian

Tatsuya Shindo – The Commitment of a Yakuza Preacher

Tatsuya Shindo was a gangster in Japan.  More precisely he was a Yakuza.

He converted to Christianity in one of his prison stints and is now a pastor/preacher in a converted bar.  You can read more about him here.

What really inspired me, and should encourage every church planter, was his commitment to preaching.  After he became a Christian in prison, he felt called to be a pastor and to preach the gospel.  According to his testimony at the TTGU Chapel, he preached for 6 months only to a dog.  That was his only audience, but he persevered because he believed that God called  him to preach the Gospel.

How many of us have displayed and will display that kind of commitment and perseverence?

Now he has been blessed by the Lord.  His church is full and he has been used by God for a revival in some of Japan’s toughest jails.

Praise the Lord and let’s keep our brother Tatsuya Shindo and Japan in our prayers.  Maybe revival in Japan will start from the prison!?

Link

Jason Meyer to Succeed John Piper vs. Romanian Baptist Churches

Many of you know that I esteem and I learned very much from John Piper.  The fact that his church, together with him, seem to have a solid plan for transition enhances my esteem for this brother in Christ.

See the following posts on the transition at Bethlehem:one, two, and three. The second post has a clip with Jason Meyer preaching. And here is his CV.  From what I have read, he seems like an excellent choice.  I guess my own regret is that they continue with an NT major and not with an OT! 🙂

From reading some of these posts it is amazing to see how well the transition is being planned and the attitude of the ‘retiring’ John Piper.

I say amazed because I come from a tradition (Romanian Baptist) where these kinds of transitions and attitudes from older pastors are almost entirely missing.  In fact, I can think of only one Romanian Baptist Church with well-known pastors where the transition has been smooth (the one in Los Angeles/La Habra).

I know this is not easy, especially in the Romanian Baptist Community.  However, in my opinion, one of the qualities of a godly leader, is that he knows how to retire and prepare someone else for leadership (e.g. Moses and Joshua).

As I am writing this, I can think of at least three Romanian Baptist Churches (and there aren’t that many) where because the senior pastor did not (or does not) know how to retire, and because no wise preparations have been made by the leadership of the churches (so I am including the elders in this critique), the churches have split (or are about  to split) and they do not seem to have any sensible plan for transition.

I hope that we can learn even in this case from John Piper and his church.  There certainly is a lot to learn.

With love for Romanians and the Romanian Baptist Churches!

Salvation Belongs to the Lord

This is just a test to see if I can embed a sermon.

It is a sermon on Psalm 3: Salvation Belongs to the Lord.  And it was preached on October 30, 2011 at Wangsung English Ministry.

Sermon on Psalm 3
 

 

http://www.archive.org/embed/Psalm3SalvationBelongsToTheLord

The “Small-Town Mullah,” the “Saints,” and Liberty

I don’t write much these days, but there are some articles that leave you speechless – to say the least. Here  is Maureen Dowd accusing Rick Santorum of religious fanaticism, and praising the classical liberal agenda.

Rick Santorum is called “a small-town mullah” because he is personally against contraceptives and of course he is pro-life (among others).  Read the article for yourself.

According to Dowd, “Virginia’s Republican governor, Bob McDonnell… also wants to drag women back into a cave.”  That is because he wants to pass a bill that requires “women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound…an invasion that anti-abortion groups hope would shame some women into changing their minds once they saw or heard about traits of the fetus.”

Read the rest of this page »

Posting a Sermon

I am trying to see if I can post an audio sermon.

Here it is: Psalm 15 – The Genius of the Reformation

I hope it works!

Would Jesus Spank a Child?

The debate on spanking continues. Here are some of my comments with a lot of benefit from John Piper (as usual). See also the well done post by Martin Shields and the relevant philosophical approach of David Benatar from the Philosophy department of University of Cape Town.

Let me say first that both sides have been guilty of unwarranted argumentation: I have known children who have [not] been spanked who turned out fine.  Sure.  I am sure there are people who have been abused who have turned out “fine” (whatever that means).  God’s grace is great and unpredictable and many kids turned out just ‘fine’ despite our imperfect way(s) of raising them.  On the other hand, there may be children who have been raised ‘perfectly’ (what does that mean?) who did not turn out so well…

To get back to our issue – this question is certainly related to our theology of suffering and also of God.

Since many people on this blog (seems to me) lived and live in countries where Christians did not suffer (especially physical) pain, I can understand why suffering (it seems especially physical) is such a big problem. For some of us who lived in Communist or other countries where Christians suffered various kinds of persecution and (yes) physical pain, we learned to see its benefits too! While it can be argued that the pain was inflicted by the ‘bad guys,’ and that is mostly true, as believers in a sovereign God we also understood it as a way that God was disciplining us and working on our character. Some of the most beautiful characters I know/knew were people who were ‘chiseled’ by suffering (e.g. Richard Wurmbrand).

Contrary to what one commentator said [if I remember correctly] our God, the Loving Father, did punish His children [Israel etc] in various ways and some of them did involve PAIN (physical included).

Read the rest of this page »

Confessions of a “Spanked” Generation

[] Square brackets are used for ‘footnotes.’

The debate about “to spank or not to spank” continues and is even heating up.  The article and comments from Dr. John Stackhouse’s blog are very useful. Frankly – most times I learn more from the comments.  It is worth reading Andrew Tsui’s comments on that blog and also Roger’s.  I also wrote a short post here.

I sense from that blog that the attitude of the majority who are against spanking is one of superiority.  Here are these uncivilized “cave men” who still believed in spanking, but they actually need to grow up and learn the new and more effective ways to deal with their children.  As if the people who believe in some form of mild and loving spanking are not aware of these ‘new’ methods and every time they get into a difficult situation they resort to spanking! Oh brother! To borrow the expression of one startled commentator from the non-spanking side… 🙂

Personally – I have to confess again.  YES – I was spanked.  I was disciplined physically by my mother, my father, and by my grandparents.  And I am very happy and thankful for that.  I am fairly confident that most of the times I deserved it and it did good to me.  I am not anti social, I am not aggressive etc…and I am willing to bet [I may  try to do a mini study when I get back to my home church in Los Angeles] that most of the people from my generation were spanked [I am talking about Romanians and Romanian Americans here] and are thankful for that.

Read the rest of this page »

Spanking Kids and Common Sense/Eperience

I don’t have much time these days to write blogs, but this issue definitely caught my attention.   Here is a blog from John Stackhouse on this subject: Now You Can Finally Stop Hitting Your Kids.  The title says it all.

It is apparently based on a Canadian study.  One article dealing with this study can be found  here.  Here are a few relevant excerpts:

“We’re really past the point of calling this [spanking] a controversy. That’s a word that’s used and I don’t know why, because in the research there really is no controversy,” she said in an interview…”If we had this level of consistency in findings in any other area of health, we would be acting on it. We’d be pulling out all the stops to work on the issue.”

Read the rest of this page »