On my Gran’s first truly “happy birthday”: The Battle Won: Standing by grace in the holy place

October 2, 2013

Today would have been my Gran’s 92nd birthday.  Today was my Gran’s first truly “happy birthday.”

“[God] will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

My Gran, Lilian Ernestine Collins, born 2 October 1921, died on 19 June 2013 after several months of illness — and she is now more alive than ever.  Below is the sermon i was privileged to preach at her memorial service.  My Dad posted this previously on his blog.  My Gran specifically wanted Psalm 24 to be the text for her memorial service.

Read the rest of this entry »

“I am a debtor” — On the two-hundredth birthday of Robert Murray M’Cheyne

May 21, 2013

Today would have been the two-hundredth birthday of Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843), who was a faithful pastor in a small church in Dundee, Scotland for six years, until his early death at age 29. A life so short, and in many ways very ordinary, yet so powerfully used.

M’Cheyne is perhaps best known today for his widely used Bible reading plan, which goes through the Old Testament once every year, and the Psalms and New Testament twice (see this post for more info and suggestions).  He followed this plan much of his short life, and it was from this deep well that he ministered so powerfully.

M’Cheyne left few writings behind, but he was a memorable poet.  He wrote the following poem, titled “I am a debtor”, around 1837: Read the rest of this entry »

Weekend Web Watch 16 March 2013

March 16, 2013

In this WWW: Five theses on anti-intellectualism; “The Anti-Beatitudes, as taught by Satan”; fundamentals for a new reformation; “single, satisfied, and sent: mission for the not-yet-married”; cautions before engaging in controversy; the gospel and Biblical theology in poetry; and more conference media. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekend Web Watch 10 March 2013

March 10, 2013

In this WWW: What’s the point of marriage? — three books on marriage; ten sure signs we’ve lost our minds; word studies; Dr Tim McGrew on the reliability of the gospels; why the afterlife bores us; reading; Christians in business; preparing for suffering; and conference media from Ligonier and Desiring God. Read the rest of this entry »

What are you reading this Easter? Try “The Cross of Christ,” “Scandalous,” or “Cross-examined”

March 9, 2013

John Stott - The Cross of ChristI well remember the excitement of reading The Cross of Christ when it was first published. It expanded my mind and warmed my heart like nothing I had read before or have read since, apart from the Bible.

— Vaughan Roberts

i can echo Vaughan Roberts’ endorsement above.

If you’ve never before read John Stott’s classic, theologically rich yet readable magnum opus on what Jesus’ death means, The Cross of Christ (Inter-Varsity Press, 2006), why not do so this Easter?  i have now read The Cross of Christ three times, and each time it has been a fresh experience of growing in depth of understanding and devotion.  i highly recommend you read it at least once, even though it is a weighty tome (both physically and in content). Read the rest of this entry »

Why Dostoevsky was the greatest novelist and the greatest Christian storyteller

March 8, 2013

"Portrait of Fedor Dostoyevsky" by Vasily Perov [Public domain image from Wikimedia]i have greatly enjoyed reading the works of the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881), in particular his books The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment.  They plumb the darkest depths of the human psyche and rise to praise the heights of divine grace in ways few other works of fiction have done.

The well-read theologian J.I. Packer regards Dostoevsky as “the greatest novelist, as such, and the greatest Christian storyteller, in particular, of all time.”  Here is why he makes this bold claim: Read the rest of this entry »

The Master’s Seminary lectures now available online

February 24, 2013

The Master’s Seminary (TMS), founded in 1986 by John MacArthur to provide top-class training to future pastors and teachers, last week announced their Theological Resource Center.  The Theological Resource Center is intended to be a free, worldwide extension of TMS for pastors and others who cannot attend classes at its campus near Los Angeles, California.  It features free videos of graduate-level lectures from The Master’s Seminary (along with faculty lecture series addressing specific issues, chapel messages, and The Master’s Seminary Journal), chapel and conferences messages from The Master’s College (a Christian liberal arts college), sermons from Grace Community Church (where MacArthur has pastored and has preached verse-by-verse since 1969), and MacArthur’s sermon library and daily devotions from Grace to You.

Among the courses i am particularly excited to learn from are Steven Lawson’s 12 lectures on Expository Preaching in the Psalms, and William Barrick’s Hebrew Grammar I and Hebrew Grammar II, which so far are the only complete, free Biblical Hebrew courses I’ve come across (and Barrick is a top teacher and Hebrew scholar, having been involved in Bible translation projects).  At the moment there are also courses available in systematic theology, Old and New Testament survey, and marriage and family counselling.