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

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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!

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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.”

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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).

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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.

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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.”

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Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi (1075-1141) – Bekhol-libbi

Judah Halevi (also Yehuda HaleviHebrewיהודה הלויArabicيهوذا هاليفي; c. 1075–1141) was a Spanish Jewish physician, poet and philosopher. He was born in Spain, either in Toledo or Tudela,[1]in 1075[2] or 1086, and died shortly after arriving in Palestine in 1141. Halevi is considered one of the greatest Hebrew poets, celebrated both for his religious and secular poems, many of which appear in present-day liturgy. His greatest philosophical work was The Kuzari. [from Wikipedia]

Here is a great Jewish song (translation only in Romanian) from Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi: With All My Heart.  You can listen to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsGxLKBXAZE and also read the English translation.

It sounds to me like many English worship songs in our churches, so I do not see why it could not be adapted!?

Bekhol-libbi emet, uvkhol meodi

Din toată inima, o, Adevăr, și cu întreaga mea vârtute

ahavtikha, uvigluiy vesodi.

Te-am iubit, pe față și în taină.

Șemakh negdi, veekh elekh levadi?

Numele Tău e înaintea mea, și unde mă voi duce singur?

Vehu dodi, veekh eșev yehidi?

El e-al meu iubit: cum să rămân stingher?

Vehu neri, veekh yidakh meori?

El e lumina mea: cum mi se va usca făclia?

veekh ețan, vehu mișan beyadi?

Sau cum voi șovăi, când El îmi întărește mâna?

Heqilluni metim: lo yadeu ki

Defăimătorii mei zac morți: n-au știut

qeloni al-kevod șimkha kevodi! 

c-a mea ocară-i perlă pentru mine în cununa Ta?

Maqom chayyay, avarekhekha vechayyay

Temeiul vieții mele, bine te voi cuvânta în viața mea

vezimrati azamerkha beodi.

și Ție-Ți voi cânta cât eu voi fi.

A Great Conference on God, Manhood, and Ministry

I am back from India and from a short vacation. 

I feel that I need some solid teaching from people who are wiser than me (and there are many of those).

Therefore, I decided to watch live the conference on manhood from John Piper’s pastoral conference.

Doug Wilson has has started with “Father Hunger” in Leading the Home.  It looks good with solid biblical teaching.  I highly recommend it.

If you are interested, you can find the link here: http://www.desiringgod.org/live. ENJOY!

This Coming Year… Eat Your Salad (A Brief Hebrew Lesson)

My kids actually like some vegetables…so I do not have to force feed them greens! 🙂

Due to my increasing pants size (ok – I still wear 34, but it seems that the pants are no longer a normal fit :() I am planning to eat mostly salads in the evening. Perhaps a brief Hebrew lesson and song (see below) should help me (and maybe you) with this resolution…and maybe my lovely wife will either stop cooking her delicious (but quiet rich) desserts, or I will have the wisdom and self-control to eat dessert only for lunch!?

Well – here is the brief Hebrew lesson on salads (from our friends at Learn Hebrew Online):

The one dish you find in almost every Israeli meal is the Israeli Salad (sometimes named “Arabic Salad”). This is a basic salad made of tomatoes and cucumbers thinly sliced and freshly seasoned. We may put it in pita bread, next to an omelet or simply as a meal by itself joined by a piece of bread and some cottage cheese.

Hungry? Well, today you’ll learn how to prepare an Israeli salad as well as the names of the ingredients in the Hebrew language, Don’t forget to cut it קָטָן קָטָן (to small pieces) and invite your family and friends!

Hebrew Words

סָלָט

Transcription: salat

Part of Speech: Noun, masculine

Literal Meaning: salad

Transcription: yerakot

Part of Speech: Noun, masculine, plural

Literal Meaning: vegetables

קָצוּץ

Transcription: katsuts

Part of Speech: adjective, masculine

Literal Meaning: chopped, thinly sliced

Israeli Salad Recipe
Ingredients:

Tomato (f) Agvanya עַגְבָנִיָּה
Cucumber(m) melafefon מְלָפְפוֹן
Onion (m) batsal בָּצָל
Parsley (f) petrozilya פֶּטְרוֹזִילְיָה
Olive Oil (m) shemen zayit שֶׁמֶן זַיִת
Lemon (m) limon לִימוֹן
Salt & pepper (m&m) melax vepilpel מֶלַח וּפִלְפֵּל
Preparation:
1. Slice and dice 2 tomatoes, 1 cucumber and 1 small onion.
2. Combine the veggies in a salad bowl.
3. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp of lemon juice, some salt and pepper and 2 tbsp of chopped parsley.
4. Mix, serve and enjoy!

Note:
You may add any other kind of vegetables, fresh leaves (like mint, oregano, or basil), garlic, or olives.

Salad Song
Lyric: Ayin Hillel
Music: Dafna Eilat מילים: ע. הלל
לחן: דפנה אילת

All of our family
Eat salad properly
But I love the most
To eat salad a lot. Etsleinu kol hamishpaxa
Oxlim salat kahalaxa
Aval ani yoter mikol
Salat ohev lizlol. אֶצְלֵנוּ כָּל הַמִּשְׁפָּחָה
אוֹכְלִים סָלָט כַּהֲלָכָה
אֲבָל אֲנִי יוֹתֵר מִכָּל
סָלָט אוֹהֵב לִזְלֹל.
You can listen to Dalia Friedland sing this song here .

Maybe my wife will read this post and I will eat an Israeli salad tonight! 🙂