Friday, February 16, 2007

Prosperity Preaching

John Piper has posted a great article on the deceitfulness and dangers of prosperity preaching.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Judge not, lest ye be judged

Ah, that famous verse from Matthew 7:1.. as popularized by bumper stickers and T-shirts all over. For years I struggled with that verse.. are we to judge or not judge? If I see a brother or sister persisting in sin, do I confront or do I overlook? Because.. "Judge not, lest ye be judged." And yet it just feels "wrong" to not confront the person in sin. It also seems contrary to the rest of Scripture, which exhorts us to build one another up, which I'm sure involves accountability and pointing out sin in each others' lives.

Recently, while reading a book ("Questioning Evangelism" by Randy Newman), I learned the full context of the verse for the first time. Like many "popular" verses, the verse itself is not meant to be taken in isolation. To understand the context, we need to read the whole passage:

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:1-5)

I have read that passage many times, yet I always stop at the part that says "first take the log out of your own eye." I somehow always miss the importance of "then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Jesus is warning us here not to be hypocrites. If we want to point out someone else's sin, we should really examine ourselves first. Are we practising the same sin? Are we involved in some other sin that is equally or more serious? Is our life generally reflective of Jesus, or is it one of persistence in sin ourselves?

After that humble self-examination, and repenting of any sins ourselves, then it would be appropriate to gently "take the speck out of your brother's eye."

So Matthew 7:1-5 is a warning about hypocrisy. We still need to be as careful as ever. Sin is sneaky. If the apostle Paul can say "I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing" (Romans 7:19), how much more do we need to examine ourselves and ask others for input about whether we are hypocrites ourselves?

I still have so much more to learn.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to my readers.. if any! ;)

Considering the number of blog posts I generate per year, I'm pretty shocked that you somehow found out about this blog and are actually reading this right now. :)

My sister asked me the other day why I don't blog as often as I should. Good question. I guess it just takes a lot of energy to put down my thoughts into words. Or perhaps I'm just not built for the spontaneity to transform thoughts into words that blogging requires.

Actually I'm not sure if spontaneity is a good thing. Recently I learned that our spiritual gifts should be used to build up the church.. although technically there is no "gift of blogging", I still think that blogging should be used for building up the church as well. That's why I feel the need to blog in a way that will hopefully encourage the reader, if I were to blog at all (see also Justin Taylor's post "Think Before You Post").

Having said that, hopefully this year I'll be able to increase the number of posts. Have a great new year!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Watch Your Life and Doctrine

Just found out from Justin Taylor's blog that Crossway will be publishing a book called Preaching the Cross, which is based on the sessions from the Together for the Gospel conference.

Crossway has allowed Justin to make a chapter by C.J. Mahaney available on his blog.. you can download it at the end of his blog post (limited time only!!!). The chapter is entitled "The Pastor's Priorities: Watch Your Life and Doctrine." Yet another item to add to our read-study-apply lists!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


When I was young (and very foolish), especially during my high school days, I used to find joy in sarcasm -- yes, I enjoyed stringing words together to form sentences that would rate extremely high on the sarcasmometer and use them on my friends. Of course it doesn't help that my friends were also fellow fans in the horrible art of sarcasm.

It was only recently that I learned, via a sermon from C.J. Mahaney, that sarcasm has no place in the Christian's life. C.J. gave a sermon on encouragement, where his key verse was Ephesians 4:29:

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."

The command from God here is that there must be no corrupt talk whatsoever, which would naturally include sarcasm. Instead, what we speak should be good for "building up" others.

I was challenged once again by a pastor's sermon on Sunday, from another verse in Ephesians:

"Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving." - Ephesians 5:4

That's a tough challenge for me indeed, especially at the lunch table at work, where there's always a tendency to start and dwell on unhelpful topics, and I'm very guilty of this as well.

Finally there is the sombre warning from the Lord Himself:

"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." - Matthew 12:36-37

Jesus did not make any distinctions -- believers and unbelievers alike will be judged for every careless word they speak. Oh, how many careless words have I muttered under my breath. God give me grace.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

How to be a success in life

"If you want to be a success in life, find out what God is doing and throw yourself wholeheartedly into it." - Arthur Wallace

It's not about us, it's all about God!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

What are you?

How would you answer that question? Most would probably answer based on their vocation (e.g. "I'm a doctor or teacher or ..."). That's how I would've answered it.

That's the question Mark Dever asked C.J. Mahaney on the Together for the Gospel blog last month.

Now, C.J. is the humblest man I know of. If you get the chance to see him speak, you can't help but see the overwhelming evidences of grace in his life.

So, when asked, "What is C.J.?", here is C.J.'s response:

What am I? Well, here is what I am. I am the worst sinner I know. And by the grace of God I am doing better than I deserve. For I deserve the righteous wrath of God because of my sin. I deserve to be punished eternally. But in the mystery of His mercy, God sacrificed and crushed His Son on the Cross--as my substitute--so that I might be forgiven of my sin and know God as my Father rather than my Judge. What am I? I am truly amazed by the grace of God. That’s what I am.

Whoa, what a response! It's so obvious that the gospel permeates every part of his life. What a fresh reminder of the need to place the gospel at the very center of our lives.

Young, Restless, Reformed

Christianity Today has published its article on the resurgence of Reformed thinking among youths. A lengthy read, but worth it.

Great quote from Joshua Harris:

"If you really understand Reformed theology, we should all just sit around shaking our heads going, 'It's unbelievable. Why would God choose any of us?'" Harris said. "You are so amazed by grace, you're not picking a fight with anyone, you're just crying tears of amazement that should lead to a heart for lost people, that God does indeed save, when he doesn't have to save anybody."