Is it revival? Test it with doctrine.

John Piper, on the Desiring God blog, writes about the aftermath of the Lakeland revival and the need for discernment:

Charismatics will not be the only ones who follow the Antichrist when he rises. So will the mass of those who today in thousands of evangelical churches belittle the truth of biblical doctrine as God’s agent to set us free (John 8:32).

Discernment is not created in God’s people by brokenness, humility, reverence, and repentance. It is created by biblical truth and the application of truth by the power of the Holy Spirit to our hearts and minds. When that happens, then the brokenness, humility, reverence, and repentance will have the strong fiber of the full counsel of God in them. They will be profoundly Christian and not merely religious and emotional and psychological.

The common denominator of those who follow the Antichrist will not be “charismatic.” It will be, as Paul says, “they refused to love the truth.”

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

Our test for every Lakeland that comes along should first be doctrinal and expositional. Is this awakening carried along by a “love for the truth” and a passion to hear the whole counsel of God proclaimed?

The one question you need to ask yourself

It would be good if we asked ourselves whether we needed something to really make us happy or are we just hoping to fill some hole with more stuff.
It would be good if we asked ourselves whether we needed something to really make us happy or are we just hoping to fill some hole with more stuff.

I came by this by way of Neatorama. Its creator made it as an anti-adverstising statement, but I think the sticker statement holds for anything. We are a consumer society and, especially in this country, we don’t always consider the question of whether we actually need something before we get it. As a Christian, I think it speaks to me as a question of whether I am relying on myself or God to satisfy my desires. Do I trust what the Bible says in Psalm 37:4?

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

And what are those desires? I think, if we delight ourselves in God, they are things that please God and bring us more satisfaction in him. Delighting ourselves in God brings us more and more pleasure, not in the earthly sense, but in the sense that we are not feeling like there is a lack in our lives. Think about how many times in your life — and I speak to this out of my own experience — you’ve gotten something you really wanted bad and then found yourself feeling like it wasn’t enough not long afterward. I think we can all picture the scene of the child on Christmas Day who opens all the presents and yet by the end of the day is bored or looking for just one more gift. So, ask yourself, do you need it?

What impresses God

While we are soaking in the pageantry of the Olympics this summer in China, let us not forget what life is really like for the Christians there. In a great post at The Blazing Center, Mark Altrogge compares what we see with what God sees:

The Lord who spoke the worlds into existence is not impressed by our pomp and technology and fireworks. But he is impressed by his people glorifying him despite persecution by a wicked government. His eyes are on his precious sheep singing his praises behind closed doors of their homes or praying under their prison covers.

When you watch the Olympics this week, lift up a prayer for the persecuted saints in China. Ask Jesus to have mercy on them, fill them with his joy and give them the grace to persevere. Ask Jesus to bring his kingdom, the most impressive kingdom of all, to earth.

Big news: Great Britain to repossess U.S.

Apparently, while we were all distracted with the Olympics and that skirmish between Georgia and Russia, this was handed down from Great Britain to the U.S.:

“In light of your failure to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.” 

“Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).” 

 

Read the rest here.

Team Jedi

My younger brother Merv is a career Army guy. He joined the Army out of high school in 1987 and has risen to his current rank of major since that time. He has served in two wars — The Gulf War and the current war in Iraq — and has been deployed all over the world.

But calling him “an Army guy” is just not enough. This is a guy, I remember when we were growing up, who always had a great sense of humor, was a great athlete, a talented writer and actor, a musician and a budding theologian (he memorized Galatians). Pretty awesome. He is a well-rounded guy, for sure.

I don’t see him that much since he’s usually training or traveling all over the world working to keep America a safe place for people to complain about what a crummy place this (you know who you are). For me, it was a thrill to see him in June at our Brott family reunion and for my kids to see and talk to him some.

These days he is back in Iraq serving with a unit he helped train from Fort Riley, Kan. The difference this time is that he is blogging for his hometown paper, The Sulphur Springs News Telegram. His blog, called Jedi’s Blog, will recount his unit’s preparation and yearlong mission in Iraq. I think it’s great for Merv to give people a glimpse of what life is like for the guys who serve in the armed forces. Besides being a decorated and outstanding soldier, he is also a very gifted writer. This is just a sample from his latest post, entitled “Nomads”:

We are still at the adapt and survive level, so the constant hum of the massive diesel generators powering our life-support systems is reassuring. These behemoths look like they were plucked from mammoth bulldozers. It’s kind of like listening to your own heartbeat. The constant thump-thump is intriguing, but there’s a little voice in the back of your head wondering, “What if it stops?” You hope you never hear silence with the big diesels.

I have listened to guys who have served in the Middle East come back and talk about their mission. I deeply appreciate what they do, but it’s obvious that public speaking is not some of these guys’ strengths. But, without being biased, I can say that the average reader will get a lot of out of the Jedi Blog.

Take a few minutes to check out Jedi’s Blog and, then, to remember the men of that unit, the Iraqis they’re working with and the people they’re working for before God in prayer. Also, pray for the families back here who said goodbye to these men while they do their jobs.

The new ESV Study Bible

The new English Standard Version Study Bible, coming in October, promises to be a great resource for those seeking to understand better the Word of God.
The new English Standard Version Study Bible, coming in October, promises to be a great resource for those seeking to understand better the Word of God.

The English Standard Version Study Bible will be released on Oct. 15. The word of God is powerful, and this version I believe will be a tremendous tool to help many understand it better. The following video details some of this version’s awesome features and also includes some endorsements.

You can learn more about the ESV Study Bible at its Web site. Among the things you can find there are explanations into what went into this particular edition and free downloads of sample books and chapters in the new ESV Study Bible. And, for those who order a print version, you can get a free online version of the ESV, which features resources not available in the print edition.

Miscellanea: Piper’s “Specatular Sins,” Responding to the Poet, Pray for China, Stop Tinkering and Face God

News and notes after a long break from blogging:

John Piper's latest book is "Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ"
John Piper's latest book is "Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ"

PIPER’S NEW BOOK: You can now pre-order John Piper’s latest book, “Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ” from the Desiring God Web site for only $5. The 144-page book comes from a series of sermons Piper preached in 2007 at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. From the site:

“What does the fall of Satan reveal about Christ’s glory? How does Adam’s sin magnify our Lord? How does the glory of Jesus shine through in Judas’ betrayal? How is the honor of Jesus at stake in the sin and evil, the suffering and the calamities and the wickedness, which abound in the world today? In this book John Piper seeks to provide a biblical perspective on God’s sovereign and righteous governance over even the sinful acts of men. History’s greatest sins do not thwart God’s purposes to save his people and glorify his Son; they fulfill them. And being grounded in this hope is the key to “Christ-exalting strength in calamity and Christ-exalting courage in conflict.”

RESPONDING TO THE POET: Abraham Piper, on the DG site, shares an encounter a missionary doctor had with a Muslim man recently at a wedding. It is a great example of how the Holy Spirit gives us the right words at the right time. It reminds me of the sermon today at church on Acts 4 and how Peter spoke before the religious leaders.

PRAY FOR CHINA: Again, from the DG site, we are reminded to pray for China during the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games in the coming weeks. A good resource, mentioned there, is the China Games and Beyond 40-day prayer journal.

STOP TINKERING WITH YOUR SOUL: From the wonderful Of First Importance site, great words today from A.W. Tozer:

“While we are looking at God we do not see ourselves – blessed riddance. The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One. While he looks at Christ, the very thing he has so long been trying to do will be getting done within him.”

– A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, Inc., 1993), 85.

Getting from God what we need when we need it

Of First Importance is a great site that, each day, “provide(s) a thoughtful quote to help you remember what’s ‘of first importance’: the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

I especially enjoyed today’s entry:

“Take Heart”

“God’s grace means that I can rest assured that I’ll have everything I need to be what he wants me to be and to do what he wants me to do in the situation in which he’s placed me.

I’m no longer restricted to the limits of my own strength and wisdom. By his grace, I’ve a new identity and a new potential. I’m a child of God; the risen Christ now lives inside of me. I need no longer fear people or circumstances; I don’t have to feel weak in the face of suffering or temptation, because I no longer rest in the resources of my own ability. I’m in Christ and he’s in me.

This new identity gives me new potential as I face the realities of life in this bent and broken world. God’s grace gives me reason to ‘take heart.’”

—Paul David Tripp, “Psalm 27: Take Heart”

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