A Seattle Winter

As the days waiver
and the sun goes to seed
in the flooded heavens

The temptation to blend in
with the drab palllete of
mirthless winter, overshadows

A people of evergreen and slate, waiting for the bus

As the will of the drab master seeps in
driving us away, from outside
we turn inward

But the rebel in citrus and rose
enters the scene of decay like
a whisper, turns one head
then another

A dawn of recollection
Eyes yawn from the sleep of winter hues
The flash turns minds out
toward ripeness and hope

Stirs, for a moment
tastes of Spring

The Triune God

Introduction to WCF, Chapter 2

Nature confesses there is a God. As Calvin stated:

“There exists in the human minds and indeed by natural instinct, some sense of Deity, we hold to be beyond dispute, since God himself, to prevent any man from pretending ignorance, has endued all men with some idea of his Godhead” (Institutes, 3.1)

The Christian’s knowledge of the Godhead is special because it is relational; it is covenantal. We know who God is because of what he does and what he tell us of himself.  The Lord’s creation, actions and disclosures recorded in the bible are the source for our special knowledge of him. Knowledge that goes beyond mere instinct or a vague “sense;” the God of the bible is relational and personal. Continue reading “The Triune God”

How Then, Do We Intrepret the Bible?

WCF, Chapter 1, Section 8-10

Section 8

The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical (Matt. 5:18); so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them (Isa. 8:20; Acts 15:15; John 5:39, 46).

But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them (John 5:39), therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come (1 Cor. 14:6, 9, 11–12, 24, 27–28), that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner (Col. 3:16); and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope (Rom. 15:4). Continue reading “How Then, Do We Intrepret the Bible?”

Emerging from the Wordsmithy

The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written i...
The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written in alliterative verse and paragraphs, not in lines or stanzas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used to write and write and write poems. 5 a week. Sometimes I would write for 6 hours a day. I loved to draw attention to the overlooked, everyday things of life. The magical things. The deep things in the foreground of our daily lives that we just don’t see because we’re usually so busy.

Then I was converted, over a two year period, from the age of 23-25. At the time I was baptized,  I had a fellowship with Jack Straw Productions and was well on my way to a promising career as a poet. But as the months passed me by and I began to read Spurgeon instead of Rousseau and Tolkien instead of Patchen, I found that something was different. I couldn’t escape how vainglorious my work had always been. I read it with new eyes and found that it was humanistic, shallow and self-centered.

I continued to write after my conversion, but I couldn’t help it from becoming sermonic. I would pull out my pocket notebook and pen and pour drivel all over the pristine page. Though I was clothed in the white of the lamb, my words were full of kitsch christian platitudes. Continue reading “Emerging from the Wordsmithy”

Five Offerings and Jesus

“Each of the five sacrifices that Leviticus requires of the Israelites points to Jesus’ life and death. The burnt offering symbolizes Jesus’ offering of Himself to the Father as the spotless Lamb of God. The grain offering points to Jesus’ life, with the flour representing His perfect character in word and deed. The fellowship offering symbolizes the peace we have with God through Christ (Col. 1:20). The sin offering explains Jesus’ death on the cross, when He took the place of every sinner who would ever believe. Finally, the guilt offering points to Jesus’ payment for our sins against others. None of these sacrifices actually forgives sin, but they point toward the ultimate sacrifice of God’s Son, who makes complete atonement for all sin (Heb. 10). It is through Jesus’ death that every believer is made holy in the sight of almighty God: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21 NIV). But not only has Jesus provided the means for our positional holiness, He also demands us to live with a practical holiness: “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life” (1 Thess. 4:7 NIV). This practical holiness is possible only through the power of the Holy Spirit, who gives us both the will and desire to obey Jesus’ commands (Phil. 2:13).”

Wiersbe, Warren W. (2010-11-01). Be Holy (Leviticus): Becoming “Set Apart” for God (The BE Series Commentary) (pp. 8-9). David C Cook. Kindle Edition.

The Greeting of Mary and Affirmation

Gabriel is not stealing praise from God by singling out Mary for a commendation uttered to only one woman in all of human history, by saying, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). He affirms her by (1) greeting her (a simple practice overlooked in many homes to the detriment of many relationships); (2) describing her as favored—she has earned nothing, can boast in nothing, and has passively received this bestowal, yet it is an honor to be savored, to be sure; and (3) declaring that the Lord is with her, for her, proactive on her behalf. Again, Mary is distinguished from all other women as being “favored,” and yet ultimately God gets the honor, for he is the one doing the favoring, the gracing, the bestowing.”

Crabtree, Sam (2011-02-10). Practicing Affirmation (pp. 14-15). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Sacrafice in the New Covenant

Like Marriage (which is a human covenant modeled after God’s covenant with his church, Eph. 5:22-33), God’s covenant with us has a definitive form and content. Furthermore, there is a distinctive way of renewing covenantal relations in the Bible, and that is by way of sacrifice (Gen. 8:20-9:17; Exod. 24:4-11; Lev. 24:1-8; Ps. 50:5).The way of sacrifice has not been abrogated: animal sacrifices have. Much of the language used to describe the Church and the Christian life in the New Testament is derived from the tabernacle, temple, and sacrificial system. This means that the reality of life in the new age was pre-figured in the sacrificial rituals of the old age. Hebrews 10:1 identifies the ritual/sacrificial system as the “shadow of the good things to come.” Jesus’ sacrifice not only did away with the old animal offerings, it also illumined for the Church the true meaning of the sacrificial rituals for life and liturgy. Continue reading “Sacrafice in the New Covenant”

How Then Should We Worship?

English: Communion setting at an Evangelical L...
English: Communion setting at an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America worship service: an open Bible, both unleavened bread and gluten-free wafers, a chalice of wine, and another containing grape juice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These Paragraphs are extended quotes lifted from Various books, listed below.

Put simply, the regulative principle of worship means obedience equates to worshiping God the way he requires and not by tradition or man-made invention.  The narrow interpretation of the regulative principle means, that which is not commanded in Scripture, is forbidden. The broader interpretation is that if it is not commanded, it might be prohibited: it depends. What does it depend on?  It depends on a sanctified common sense, constrained by general, biblical categories. This is not meant to be coy. Clearly, all Protestants adhere to the regulative principle and we believe the bible is the standard of life, faith and practice, but the narrow intepretation requires more than the bible could possibly provide. It is founded on an unbiblical hermeneutic that requires express commands and proof text, where proper biblical interpretation and application requires more; wisdom, humility and maturity. [1] Continue reading “How Then Should We Worship?”

The Methodist Painter

White House at Night
White House at Night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

History is a schoolroom. The lives of covenant members throughout history, teach us and our children lessons about our own trials, tribulations and faith. There is nothing new under the sun and the best way to deal with situations that arise in our times is to correctly understand our history. God moves and shapes events, and there is much we can learn from the dust that has risen up and been laid aground behind us.

Vincent Van Gogh can teach us a great deal about the real sin of Apostasy. Yet, the psychoanalysts would rather turn his struggle with faith into a steamy story of drugs, whores and artistic impetus. What few people know, is before he was a painter, he was a Methodist preacher. He was an evangelist and schoolteacher. He loved God’s word, studied it and declared it. Continue reading “The Methodist Painter”

The Covenant Structure of Worship

The purpose of the Sunday service is covenant renewal. During corporate “worship” the Lord renews His covenant with His people when He gathers them together and serves them. We do not renew covenant with God because it was going to expire or run out, like a lease. We renew our covenant with God because it is our life: we renew covenant with God in Worship the way food renews physical life or sexual communion renews marriage.

The covenant structure of creation and recreation

Yahweh’s covenant with Adam contains, in seed form, the other covenants in Scripture, as well as, covenant renewal worship. The post fall covenants are not ad hoc, novel arrangements, but renewals of the creation covenant. Following is the structure of covenant making and therefore covenant renewal and how it directly informs the liturgy of the Church.

  1. As covenant Lord, Yahweh takes hold of His creation in order to do something new with it.
  2. The Lord effects a separation. What God grasps is then transformed from one state to another, from the old to the new: a new creation. This new union (dirt and life-giving breath of Yahweh) receives from God a corresponding new name, which implies a new hierarchal relationship. There is a covenant head (Yahweh) and there are those who are dependent on that covenant head (human creatures).
  3. A new verbal communication of stipulation is expressed by the covenant Lord, a way of life fit for the new covenantal situation, a gracious enumeration of how to live fully and joyfully in this new covenant.
  4. The Lord offers His covenant partners a fellowship meal. He gives the gift of signs and seals of the covenant (two trees) together with a setting forth of blessings for grateful faithfulness and curses for ungrateful disobedience.
  5. The Lord arranges for the future succession of the covenant, which in this covenant involves marriage and children. Continue reading “The Covenant Structure of Worship”