The Idol of Communication

Life, Theology & The Bible

Helpful article from Tim Challies on the way in which “communication” dominates so much of our life.

Idols are typically good things that seek to become ultimate things. Communication is just the kind of good thing, the kind of very good thing, that can so easily become an ultimate thing. How would we know that there is an idol in our lives? It may be the kind of thing we look at right before we go to sleep and the first thing we give attention to when we wake up. It may be the kind of thing that keeps us awake even in the middle of the night.

By all appearances we have made communication into a kind of cultural idol. In most cases it is not Facebook or the cell phone that is the idol. Instead, they serve as enablers, as enhancers, of the greater idol of communication. Christians have proven to be far from immune to this idol, from following along as the culture around us becomes obsessed with communication and dedicates vast amounts of time and resources to it. Christians will do well to remember that in God’s economy communication is but a means to the far greater, far more noble end of enjoying God so we can bring glory to him. Communication can detract from this purpose just as easily as it can serve this purpose.

Read it all.

Hidden in Christ

Theology & The Bible

From our “Preparation for Worship” this morning

“In all your course, walk with God and follow Christ as a little, poor, helpless child, taking hold of Christ’s hand, keeping your eye on the mark of the wounds on his hands and side, whence came the blood that cleanses you from sin and hides your nakedness under the skirt of the white shining robe of his righteousness.”  – Jonathan Edwards, letter to Deborah Hatheway (June 3, 1741)

HT: Tommy Lee

Worship at the Church of Apple

Life, Theology & The Bible

A couple of days ago ABC News published a story called “Looking for a New Religion? Apple Gives Dose of the Divine.”  While our immediate reaction might be that it is absurd, I think there is a lot of truth in it.  There are many that worship at the Church of Apple.  How many people anxiously awaited their new iPhone 4?  

But this does not just apply to Apple (though they may have more devoted followers than most). I think that our technology can easily and very quickly becomes idols that we worship. Technology is a good thing . . . something created by the image-bearers of the the great Creator as they imitate Him.  What we do with it is the problem.  These items quickly grab the affections of our hearts.  

What grabs the affections of your heart?



Photo by Alexander Schaelss (License:  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

Who is the real Jesus?

sermon, Theology & The Bible

Third Millennium Ministries published an excerpt from an old sermon of Tim Keller’s on Matthew 11.2-6 on “Who is the Real Jesus” . . . and it gets right to the heart.

Someone says:

1) I am thinking about becoming a Christian, or I am thinking about Christianity and want to know whether it is true, but I am struggling. I want to be a doctor and I don’t whether I will make it through med-school. Will Jesus help me get through med-school? Or

2) I am struggling because I have a bad marriage and am thinking of getting a divorce. What is the Christian view on divorce? Will I be supported?

3) I have a problem with self-esteem. I have a problem with guilt. I have been in a lot of abusive relationships. If I come to Jesus, will he make me fell good about myself?

4) I am gay, and I want to know that if when I come to Christianity, will I be supported or will I be condemned?

What is Jesus answer to those four questions? They are actually all the same. You know what his answer is? Not yes, not no. He says that they are the wrong first question because of the reason the thief was wrong and John was right. The reason the thief says I want to know what you are going to do about my life before I give myself to you. I want to know whether you are the messiah by the way in which you support me. In other words, the thief says, if you let me live the way I know I should live then I know you are the one … and John the Baptist just says, “Are you the one?” And the reason that John is right and the thief is wrong, is not because John is more spiritual, but because he is more sensible. And that is this. The thief, and everybody who asks one of those four questions assumes they already know how their life should be lived, who they really are, and how the world out to go before they know whether he is the Author of life … Whether He is the One your heart was built for. How in the world can you assume that you know who you are and what you need before you even know if you were created or were an accident? How can you know who you are and what you were made for before you know whether you can communicate with and know the creator of the universe?

Read it all: Webpage  PDF  Word

The Idol Factory

Life, Theology & The Bible

Leviticus 19.4 “Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the Lord your God.”

“It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.” – Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters


If we want to identify our idols, we can ask ourselves some very simple diagnostic questions.

  • What makes you angry?
  • What frustrates you?
  • What depresses you?
  • What brings you the most happiness?
  • If you have answered these questions, you have likely found some of the idols of your heart.  

    For instance, just yesterday I was driving to a meeting in a neighboring city.  For about 10-12 of the miles I was stuck behind two trucks carrying the two halves of a modular home.  They took up both lanes and made it impossible to pass.  

    I must admit two things: they were actually doing a good job of keeping up with the speed limit and according to my GPS I would easily make it to my meeting on time.  

    So how did I respond?  I got frustrated that I could not get around these trucks.  I was irritated and sulking for that entire 10-12 miles.  Why was I so upset?  My idols were at work.  Which one?  Take your pick . . . but maybe my control idol.  Particularly when I am driving I enjoy the control that I have . . . I am the king of the road.  That is why I do not like people driving slow in the left lane. (It’s for passing right?)  When my ability to control a situation is taken away, suddenly I am frustrated and begin to get angry.

    Why do we . . . no take that back . . . why do I so easily find my life so easily upset?  My heart is an Idol Factory.

    “From this we may gather that man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.”  – John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

    “. . . every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, expert in inventing idols.”  – John Calvin, Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles

    Prayer and Fellowship

    Books, Theology & The Bible

    In reading Bonhoeffer’s new biography by Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, I ran across this quote about prayer and it’s integral part in our fellowship with other believers.

    “A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner. This is a happy discovery for the Christian who begins to pray for others.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together

    It makes me think of why Christians fight so much, and I cannot help but think that Bonhoeffer is onto something.  How would our fellowship with other believers (both those in our church and in the broader Christian community) be changed if we prayed for each other more?

    The Perfect Bible for the iPhone (& iPad)?

    Theology & The Bible

    Crossway recently release their ESV Bible + for the OS4.  The introductory cost is $9.99.  Is it worth it?  

    First, you should know that Crossway has a free version of the ESV called the ESV Bible (with no “+”).  If you do not have the money to spring for the ESV Bible +, you should definitely get the ESV Bible.  

    If you have the money though, I think it is well worth it.  The interface is very elegant, probably the best of any Bible app that I have seen.  

    Over and above what you get on the ESV Bible, the ESV Bible + has the following features:

    • All of the ESV Study Bible notes and resources
    • ESV audio with text scrolling
    • An index of Study Bible Articles
    • Snap-Back feature for returning to previous screen
    • New My Notes interface, which will sync with your ESV Online account in the coming months

    These features make it a no brainer . . . the ESV Study notes, audio with scrolling, and coming integration with ESV Online.

    The price will be going up to $12.99 very soon, so get it now!

    Go to the ESV Bible Blog for more information.

    Free Audiobook by Tim Keller

    Books, Theology & The Bible

    I am a big fan of audiobooks.  They help to make unproductive times more productive (e.g. driving in the car).

    Every month the folks over at ChristianAudio give away a book of the month.  This month the book is Tim Keller’s Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road (Unabridged).  This is one of the best books out there on mercy ministry.  I would highly recommend it.  Use “AUG2010” as a coupon code when you checkout and it is free.  

    I’m downloading it now.

    More on Holiness

    Theology & The Bible

    Sunrise over Mt. SinaiMore quotes on Holiness (His and ours) . . . 

    A true love of God must begin with a delight in his holiness, and not with a delight in any other attribute; for no other attribute is truly lovely without this.  -Jonathan Edwards

    Nothing whatever in the way of goodness pertaining to godliness and real holiness can be accomplished without [grace].  -Augustine of Hippo

    The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of him— and of her. In all her prayers and labor this should have first place. We do the greatest service to the next generation of Christians by passing on to them undimmed and undiminished that noble concept of God which we received from our Hebrew and Christian fathers of generations past. This will prove of greater value to them than anything that art or science can devise.  -A.W. Tozer

    The command “be ye perfect”” is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command.  -C. S. Lewis

    To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labour to make us lovable. We cannot even wish, in our better moments, that He could reconcile Himself to our present impurities–no more than the beggar maid could wish that King Cophetua should be content with her rags and dirt, or a dog, once having learned to love man, could wish that man were such as to tolerate in his house the snapping, verminous, polluting creature of the wild pack. What we would here and now call our “happiness” is not the end God chiefly has in view: but when we are such as He can love without impediment, we shall in fact be happy.  -C.S. Lewis

    Nay, my brethren, I believe the holier a man becomes the more he mourns over the unholiness which remains in him; but he is in very truth a far better man, he is a spiritual and holy man.  -C. H. Spurgeon

    Those whom free grace chooses, free grace cleanses. We are not chosen because we are holy, but chosen to be holy: and being chosen, the purpose is no dead letter, but we are made to seek after holiness.  -C. H. Spurgeon

    How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets real thing, it is irresistible.  -C. S. Lewis

    Photo by Mark Southron (License:  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)