Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My Daring Excursion into PC Land, Closing Thoughts

So in this final post, I’ll be discussing what I learned this week. If you want to know the interesting bits of wisdom and insight I picked up during class-time, read my other four posts. But overall, there were a few main things that I learned.

First, I learned that the guys in the PC are hilarious. Seriously. Not only are they incredibly smart and very wise, they also had us laughing so hard at points that our sides hurt. From Merritt’s desperate emergency to Bryce’s 10:31 award to “Super Won”, there were just so many things to laugh at, and I definitely learned that laughter is good for the soul. (On a related sidenote, I also personally learned that laughter can destroy pride pretty fast, as I discovered how to act when put into the hotseat the hard way. Never say anything around Brew that could be remotely construed to be insulting, because he will find a way to hang it around your neck so fast that you won’t know what hit you.)

Second, I learned that the narrative sections of the Bible have a much greater purpose than I was aware of. They show examples of men and women following God and of men and women not following God, but so much more importantly, everything points to Christ and the cross. Sometimes as you look at the individual stories you can’t really see quite how, but by looking at the big picture like we did, it becomes so clear. Judges and Samuel demonstrate the failure of the judges, the priests, and the kings to rule Israel in a righteous way, pointing to Christ, the King of Israel who would be everything the kings were not, and Ruth points to the inclusivity of the gospel and how anyone can be saved, even a Moabite, one of God’s sworn enemies.

Third, I learned the correct way to read Proverbs (something that Brew had hinted at in his last 10:31 message, but became very clear to me during the class) and Psalms. The proverbs are promises and will happen, although not necessarily in this life. The whole book of Proverbs is written with eternity in view, and eternally all the promises will be fulfilled just as God said. The psalms are written to be prayed, and although they grew out of specific experiences, they are widely applicable to our lives today.

The main thing I learned? God’s Word is so much more amazing than I thought at the beginning of the week, and as much as I discovered that this week, I’m sure that I will continue to rediscover it over and over and over again. Isn’t God so good?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

My Daring Excursion into PC Land: Day 4

Well, it’s all over. The last day of class has come and gone, and now I’m typing up this post in the audience watching the Godspell rehearsals. For just a half day, we sure covered a lot of stuff in Proverbs and Ruth.

1) The promises of Proverbs are perfectly true, just not necessarily temporally true. Looking at some of the proverbs (“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones” Prov. 3:7-8), it seems that they are wrong. I know plenty of people who fear the Lord and shun evil, and they are in terrible health. How do we reconcile the inerrancy of Scripture with this apparent untruth? Mr. Chick said it well (I hear include four separate quotes that all state different aspects of the issue):

Proverbs promises great things - these great things are true - yet their full enjoyment is often to be experienced in the future. We can trust God’s word knowing that we might not always see the big picture or experience immediate reward, but we know that we will not be disappointed in the end.

Proverbs are different from the rest of Scripture in the way we experience them, not in the truthfulness of God.

They speak a truth, but not the whole truth at once. They make one point while ignoring equally valid counter claims – this doesn’t mean they are unaware of ‘fuller’ truth - just as the writer in Hebrews in chapter 11 likely was aware of the shortcomings of many he listed in the ‘Hall of Faith.’

Proverbs is written for youth. These are the fundamentals of life. They don’t deny reality, but present a positive view ((e.g. “The righteous falls, but gets up again”).

2) The Christian life is all about pursuing wisdom. Mr. Chick said this was the whole point of Proverbs: The successful Christian life is a constant, ongoing, tenacious pursuit of wisdom and godliness, by way of child-like dependant humble trust, all subsisting and emanating from the empowering grace of God. I think that’s a pretty good summary.

3) Memorizing one or two pithy proverbs will not do if we are to successfully navigate the challenges of life. Mr. Chick quoted a professor of his who, when asked which proverbs should be memorized to give a good feel for the book, replied “All of them.” I need to have all of the book available to me because life is so complicated.

4) God moves as we move. As we studied Ruth, we saw that it was when Ruth stepped out in faith to ask Boaz to be her kinsman-redeemer that God blessed both her and Boaz. Though God has been working well in advance, His sovereignty is often apparent as we step out in humble reliant faith in his promises. He gives us the opportunity to take an active part in his plan for our lives.

There, that’s the shortest one yet, and most of it wasn’t even my own writing. Hope you have benefited from just these little tidbits of all that we learned over the past week.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

My Daring Excursion into PC Land: Day 3

These posts are also being posted on the 10:31 blog, run by the guy doing my internship, Dave Brewer. I have heard many complaints, especially from Brew, that the articles I write are way too long (I don't really have to tell you this if you've read this blog for any length of time, you already know). This is the response I gave to introduce Day 3, followed by the rest of the post:

I am well aware that I write too much for normal people to want to read. I think it’s a result of my reading too much Tim Challies and Pyromaniacs, excellent blogs with a penchant for exceeding 1000 words in a typical post. I also tend to have a lot to say no matter where I am, which translates into my blogging. So I’ll try to keep this post short, but since it has several parts, my suggested method of reading it is to browse the headings and read the sections that interest you.

Today we finished Samuel and started into Proverbs. Let me tell you, this course is one of those described as “drinking out of a fire hydrant.” However, I did manage to swallow some bits, so here they are:

1) The Lord’s regret versus the Lord’s sovereignty. As we were talking about how 1 Samuel 15:35 says “the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel” and 15:29 says “the [Lord]…is not a man, that he should have regret” and the apparent contradiction between the two statements. Mr. Chick shared a quote from Dale Ralph Davis that helped me personally as it expounded on the greatness and mystery of God:

Only in the consistent God of verse 29 and in the sorrowful God of verse 35 do we find the God worthy of praise. Here is a God who is neither fickle in his ways nor indifferent in his responses. Here is a God who has both firmness and feeling. If we cannot comprehend we can perhaps apprehend, at least enough to adore.

2) David’s rule, messed-up though it was, demonstrates God’s faithfulness. David sure messed up majorly during his rule. He slept with Bathsheba, killed her husband, took a census against God’s orders, was a failure as a father, etc. And yet he was still considered “a man after God’s own heart,” the man through whom God would found an eternal dynasty, the man from whom Jesus would descend. Why? Because God is faithful, despite our failures. He had promised David that his offspring would rule forever, and even though David failed to live up to his end of the bargain (to rule righteously), God keeps his promises. Plus, David’s failures point to a future king who will never fail: Jesus Christ.

3) A proverb is a short, memorable statement which crystallizes reality and exposes illusion, compelling the hearer to choose reality. That’s John Loftness’s definition, and I really find it a helpful way to understand the purpose of Proverbs.

4) Proverbs uses “Yahweh” as God’s name almost exclusively, showing the importance of the covenant to understanding the book. Yahweh is the name of God used in relation with his covenant with Israel. Since Proverbs uses it almost exclusively, it must have some significance to understanding the book, and what Mr. Chick said is this: “Wisdom is not to be separated from relationship with the one who gives it.” If we’re to understand Proverbs, we must be in relationship with God, the author of all knowledge.

5) He who knows not can be taught, but he who knows not that he knows not is a fool. Just a pithy saying from the mouth of Mr. Chick that I particularly liked.

6) Definition of the fear of the Lord. Brew may have shared this quote from Charles Bridges in his sermon at the last 10:31 meeting, but I thought it was so good I just have to share it again.

But what is the fear of the Lord? It is that affectionate reverence by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to his Father’s law. God’s wrath is so bitter and his love so sweet that we have this earnest desire to please him and to fear him, so that we will not sin against him.

There, that’s a little shorter and hopefully easier to read. Tomorrow’s the last day, and it’s only a half-day, so it will likely be a much shorter post. Until then…uh…eat your Wheaties! :-D

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My Daring Excursion into PC Land: Day 2

Day two of the class has come and gone. The heartburn from my Chipotle burrito is dying down (totally worth it), and the four of us guys are scrambling to find some talent that one of us possesses that will allow us to defeat the rest of the PC. The chances of us finding something before tomorrow are not very good. But that’s a little beside the point.

Today we focused on the book of Psalms, throwing in a little bit of Samuel at the end (I’ve always had an affinity for Samuel, and I’m still not sure quite why…:-P). By the very nature of the book, the subjects we covered were very eclectic and not terribly organized. There were certain points that stood out to me especially, though, that I’ll touch on in this post with the same eclecticism that I heard them in.

1) The Psalms are rooted in time and space history. This is a fact that we can often miss, since there’s really no story (like in the historical books) or argument (like the epistles) to follow. Studying a psalm in context does not mean looking at the psalms that come before and after, but looking at psalms with similar content. They are very general, rarely giving names, places, or events unless they are symbolic. Thus, we can forget that they were written by a real person in response to real circumstances. This can be critically important to truly understanding the psalm.

2) The entire book of Psalms is meant to be viewed through the lens of Psalm 1. The example he used here was of the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). This is the first commandment for a reason: it’s the most important, and you can’t break any of the other commandments without breaking this one. You have to look at the Ten Commandments in light of the first one. In the same way, Psalm 1 needs to define how we look at the 149 other psalms. And what does it say? To pull a quote from the notes, “Psalm 1 indicates that this collection of writings should be studied and learned and reflected upon not merely performed.”

3) Christ is predicted throughout the book of Psalms. Mr. Chick drew our attention to Luke 24:44, where Christ tells his disciples after his resurrection “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Thus, we should be looking at every psalm to see what it tells us about Christ (some good ones to start with: 2, 6, 22, 41, 69, 118).

4) Thanksgiving means “confessing with praise.” This was just a slightly random bit we went over while talking about the genres of the psalms. A thanksgiving psalm (i.e. Psalm 18) acknowledges how God has delivered us from our affliction. Just an interesting thought. That’s how we should all approach thanking God, I guess.

Those are just some of the really interesting bits we studied today (after that point, there was a lot of technical poetry stuff that I slightly tuned out, with permission from Mr. Chick of course ;-) ). And here are two bonuses from the beginning of Samuel:

5) Throughout Judges and Samuel is a theme of women who are more righteous and spiritually upright than their husbands or other men in authority. Who says that the Bible is anti-woman? Just look at Deborah versus Barak (Judges 4), Heber versus Jael (Judges 4), Manoah versus his wife (Judges 13), Jephthah versus his daughter (Judges 11), Elkanah versus Hannah (1 Samuel 1), Phinehas versus his wife (1 Samuel 4), Nabal versus Abigail (1 Samuel 25), etc. The women are able to perceive things spiritually that their husbands are not. I just found this idea interesting.

6) The Philistines refused to let go of their idols. Even after they brought the ark of God into the temple of Dagon and God defeated Dagon (symbolized by the head and hands being taken off of the idol during the night), the Philistines merely turned the event into a new superstition (don’t step on the threshold). And even when they made an almost impossible test to see if it truly was God who was causing so much trouble, and God passed the test with flying colors (obviously he would, see 1 Samuel 6:7-12 for the test), they refused to believe in him, preferring to stay with their false gods. Mr. Chick asked this great question in application: “Has God been tearing down an idol in your heart only to find you embracing it again? Won’t you let it go and see the superiority of Yahweh?” So convicting for me personally, and I hope helpful for you too.

That’s my synopsis of Day 2 here at the PC. Tomorrow we finish Samuel and then go on a special surprise trip (all they would tell us: “Make sure you wear comfortable running shoes”…hmmm). Can’t wait to keep learning!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My Daring Excursion into PC Land: Day 1

We’re sitting in the Pastor’s College classroom, class has just let out, and we’re packing up our books and laptops to go home. Several of the students approach me to ask how I enjoyed my first day in the PC. “It was great,” I reply, “I learned a lot.” Good answer, I think, concise, but grateful. But as I think over what we’ve discussed in class over the day, I realize just how much I’ve learned.

The professor for the week is Bruce Chick, senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Community Church down in Roanoke, VA. He’s an engaging guy with a love for sports (one of his favorite things to do is throw a football at unsuspecting students during the lectures; if they miss the ball, the whole class gets to dogpile them…and yes, I did catch the ball, in case you were wondering) and a remarkable resemblance to Jim Carrey (at least, I thought so). Over the week he is teaching Old Testament 2: Judges through Proverbs. The prep itself was pretty extensive: 367 pages of reading and 28 hours of outside work, not counting the 15 hours of class-time (I should mention that Brew gave us grace and is only having us do half the reading, which is still quite a bit, but not quite as bad). I have a new respect for these students, let me tell you.

Today’s topic was the book of Judges. I never realized there was so much to learn from one of the historical books, but I now find this book absolutely fascinating. The purpose of Judges, according to Mr. Chick, is that it is “an apologetic for Israel’s monarchy.” It systematically shows the failure of the judges leading Israel, as they in fact lead Israel progressively away from God. The cycle started with Othniel, the brother of Caleb, who has no recorded faults and is in fact implicitly held up as the standard by which all the other judges are judged (pardon the pun). The cycle takes a familiar pattern:

  1. The people fall into apostasy (i.e. fall away from the Lord)

  2. The Lord hands them over to oppressors

  3. The people cry out

  4. God raises up a judge

  5. The people are delivered

  6. After a while apostasy returns and the cycle starts over

The judges we spent the most time on were Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson. It’s amazing the downward spiral shown just in these four.

  • Deborah was a woman of faith, conscious of her God-given role as a woman and yet taking responsibility in the absence of male leadership (exemplified by Barak’s cowardice as the leader of Israel’s armies).
  • Gideon needed fourteen different signs and the dream of an unbeliever before he finally believed that God would do all that he said he would, and even after the amazing victory he led the country into idol worship.
  • Jephthah was a great military leader, but the leaders decided to take matters into their own hands in choosing a deliverer instead of letting God raise someone up. Plus, he was (in an implicit analogy by Mr. Chick) a lot like Terrell Owens: a guy who can win games in the short-run but will cause lots of trouble in the long-run. He eventually sacrifices his own daughter because of a rash vow he made.
  • Samson totally disregards his God-appointed purpose in life, chasing after the lust of his flesh by marrying foreign women and corrupting his Nazirite vows. He can kill 1000 men with the jawbone of a donkey but can’t stand for a girl to cry, leading to his eyes being put out and being treated like a women. Even when he kills 3000 Philistine leaders by pushing down the temple, he does it purely for revenge, with no thought for pleasing God while doing it. The narrator of Judges clearly views him as a man with wasted talents and a wasted life (16:30).

The progression here is depressing, but it serves to illustrate the depravity of man apart from God’s grace—even when he saves them, they still rebel against his rule. Eventually they would need a king, but even that king could not save them for long, and within 600 years the country was conquered and the people put into exile. God’s chosen people need someone to rule them, but he progressively showed that no human could do that (for an excellent quote by Mark Dever on this very topic, click here). The only ruler who can rule righteously is God himself, and he shows this in detail throughout the Bible, but especially in the book of Judges.

Whew, condensing 24 pages of notes into six paragraphs is hard. I didn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what we covered, and there were the sections at the beginning and the end covering Israel’s failure to finish conquering the Promised Land and the total anarchy reigning under the Levites. But hopefully I’ve given a sufficient overview of the basic idea of Judges. What an amazing book. I’m looking forward to continuing our study in the Old Testament over the rest of the week.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Odds and Ends II

Not half as much this week for a very simple reason: I'm cutting back significantly on my blog reading. After a long talk with my parents, we determined that I am spending too much time reading blogs (I'm subscribed to 70 in my RSS feeder, of which probably 50 update at least once a week). Thus, from this point on I am only going to be reading the following blogs (my favorites, and the ones I would suggest for you too):

  • 10:31--The best youth ministry and the best youth pastor in the world
  • Al Mohler--Great current events analysis...when he's healthy (updates have been scarce the past few weeks, but give him time and he'll be back; keep praying for his health)
  • Tim Challies--Great theological articles and book reviews from the "#1 Christian Blogger"
  • Between Two Worlds--The domain of Justin Taylor, provides links to articles and books of interest to Christians engaging their culture
  • Pyromaniacs--The domain of Phil Johnson, Dan Phillips, and Frank Turk (i.e. Centuri0n), full of amazing, long articles on theological issues
  • Biblical Christianity--The other domain of Dan Phillips, with more Pyro-type articles
  • Centuri0n--The other domain of Frank Turk, with even more, longer Pyro-type articles every day
  • Funny Class Notes--My favorite satire blog, always something funny every day
  • Pulpit--Just started with this one, but as you can see by my last post, they have caught my attention, so I shall be a faithful reader at least until the spiritual gifts series is over
  • New Attitude--Well, if I'm going, I should be reading its blog, right? Plus, you never know when they'll be handing out something free

So the other 60 blogs on my blogroll will just have to be ignored for the next month at least, and possibly to the end of the school year.

Now, that's most of this week's Odds and Ends, but I did run across a few good articles that I'll leave for you guys to chew on.


  • Challies examines the state of abortion and genetic screening in our countries, and makes some fabulous points, bringing another great biblical voice to the topic.
  • Centuri0n discusses the apparent dichotomy between God's offer of salvation and his election of sinners.
  • How well do you know the words of Jesus? Take these quizzes and post your answers in the comments (My scores: Beginner: 9/10; Intermediate 8/10; Advanced 3/10).


  • This is specifically for all you other debate gurus out there, especially the NCFCA ones: how to define the terms of this year's resolution.


  • As you can tell, I've been doing a lot of reading of Old Testament Commentaries, and it's really exciting when you can see how the whole Bible fits into one whole! Here's a quote I ran into in An Introduction to the Old Testament by Raymond Dillard and Tremper Longman (assigned reading for the Pastor's College class I'm taking next week):

    What a collection of human beings in the book of Judges! Strange heroes they are--a reluctant farmer, a prophetess, a left-handed assassin, a bastard bandit, a sex-addicted Nazirite, and others. It is easy at a distance to point out the foibles and failures of the leading characters in this downwardly spiraling story. But...for all of their flaws, we are to learn from their faith. For it was in faith that Gideon, Barak, Jephthah, and Samson "conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised" (Heb. 11:32-33).

    I find it pretty amazing that people like Samson and Barak made it into the "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews. When I read about them, I don't see men full of faith, but men full of fear, doubt, and sin. But then I'm reminded that that's exactly what I am! And God can still use me in spite of it! What a wonderful truth.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Gifts of the Spirit

Nothing amazing coming from me today. I'm currently working on an evaluation of Harry Potter, but no promises as to when that will be ready since next week I'm taking a class at our church's Pastor's College which will take up most of my time. In its stead, I'd like to point you to a series on the spiritual gifts going on at Pulpit. It's being written by a cessationist for Reformed Charismatics such as myself, and I think it will be very helpful in at least raising questions. Nathan Busenitz is examining every applicable passage to see exactly what it does and doesn't tell us about the gifts. His introduction can be found here, and some key clarifications (including why this is specifically directed to Reformed Charismatics) here.

I think his systemology is very helpful for this study. He's broken down the issue into two main questions:

1. The WHEN Question: Both sides agree that the New Testament indicates that the gifts will cease at some point in history (1 Cor. 13:8). The question is when? Continuationists generally assert that the sign gifts will not cease until the return of Christ. Cessationists on the other hand contend that the sign gifts have already ceased, ever since shortly after the apostolic age.

In the continuationist/cessationist debate, the when question is clearly a central point of disagreement. But it is not the only issue that needs to be addressed.

A second key question involves the way in which each side understands (and subsequently defines or describes) the charismatic phenomena of the New Testament. In order to assess whether or not the miraculous gifts are still active today, it is imperative that we understand what they were in apostolic times.

2. The WHAT Question: Both sides agree that the New Testament indicates that the gifts were in operation during the apostolic age. The question is, does contemporary continuationist practice match what was happening in the New
Testament? Continuationists answer “Yes!” to this question, while cessationists answer “No!”

If contemporary charismatic practice matches the New Testament description of the sign gifts, then the continuationist position is greatly strengthened. But if it does not, then the continuationist position essentially evaporates (since what is happening now is not what was happening then).

He's started into the When question this week with some great posts. Each day he takes one passage and picks it apart, looking at all possible interpretations. (He's taken a detour into looking at the arguments for King James supremacy, which should be very interesting, but he'll be back to Gifts soon enough.) I'm looking forward to reading his arguments and using them as a springboard for my own study (and even some questions for the pastors).

Friday, January 12, 2007

Odds and Ends

So this is the first installment of this on HoldFast (although I've been doing it for several weeks over on my Xanga). Here's what the deal is: Tim Challies' A La Carte is one of my favorite places to go every morning to try and find something interesting that I otherwise would not have found. So I thought I'd put together my own. These are links to articles, videos, news flashes, and other such things around the blogosphere that I have collected over the week. This first installment is pretty hefty--there was a lot of good stuff this week! Enjoy.

  • I'll tell you what: I was going to get an iPod for graduation, but maybe I'll just get one of these babies. Here's a good press release for it, too. Will Mac's wonders never cease? (HT John Benefiel)
  • Calvinists and Arminians argue about "Limited" versus "Unlimited" atonement, but Trevin Wax explains why they both miss the point. (HT Tim Challies)
  • Mark Lauterbach at GospelDrivenLife has decided to stop viewing himself as a sinner. Wait, what? Before you judge, he has a very good point. Hear him out.
  • If any of you missed Bush's address to the nation about Iraq a few nights ago, Justin Taylor has a very helpful breakdown of the speech into Q&A.
  • Tim Challies meditates on accepting our "zealous immaturity" in the same way we accept a gift from a young child.
  • The Thirsty Theologian posts his thoughts on what free will is and whether we have it. What he has to say lines up exactly with Jonathan Edward's definition: "the ability to do what one pleases." Excellent for those struggling with this issue.


  • Dan Philips, like myself, has little use for John McCain, but this video he posted is both hilarious and makes a great point. Props to McCain!
  • My favorite humor blog posted these nation mottos that made me laugh out loud. "France's motto: At least we have good food." HA!
  • I knew women had good memories, but a perfect memory? This kind of creeps me out, actually. (HT Justin Taylor)
  • After watching this video, I feel totally prepared to go be a better golfer.
  • And Funny Class Notes (yes, they make a lot of appearances here) has posted two very funny and very convicting articles: Up with the Mission, Down with the Troops and Raising the Minimum Wage. Boy are they good.


  • I read a marvelous essay by George Orwell this week called "Politics and the English Language" for my English class. The crux of the essay, which I'd encourage you to read in order to understand how politicians are able to twist language to their purpose, is contained in these two short sentences. Read and be enlightened:

    "What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around. In prose, the worst thing one can do with words is surrender to them."
  • Once again, Mark Dever strikes close to home in his chapter on 1 Samuel.

    "Some people desire to impress you with themselves....Others leave you impressed with their God."

    Am I like Saul, trying to impress everyone? Or am I like David, trying to make everyone impressed by my God? It's something to really think about.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Law of the Lord

I was reading in Psalms this morning and came across this beautiful passage in Psalm 19 that I wanted to share with you.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

How precious do I find the laws of God? Do I find them as sweet as the honeycomb? Do they revive my soul, rejoice my heart, enlighten my eyes? Do I desire them more than gold? Oh Lord, let this be the cry of my heart every day, to immerse myself in your word and your law.

Monday, January 08, 2007

A New Year's Resolution

Well, over the last four months since we started this blog, I have come to a conclusion: I am not Tim Challies. Not only do I not have the time or ability to write the lengthy articles that he is known for every day, I can't even post more than once a month. And since Josh went on a prolonged media fast in November, he hasn't been able to post anything either. For these reasons, I apologize for being a lousy blogger. This, therefore, is my New Year's resolution for this blog:

I hereby resolve to post something at least once a week.

No more with not posting unless the article could become a small book. I am committed to getting something onto this blog every week, preferably twice a week. With the way my schedule works, it appears as though the most likely times for me posting will be Monday and Friday. I don't know when the next time Josh will be posting is, but I hope it's soon.

One big thing I will be contributing is a feature called Odds and Ends that I already do on my Xanga. In the spirit of Tim Challies' A La Carte, I will link to interesting articles, videos, and other web content I've found over the week. I hope everyone enjoys them as much as I do.

Since I'm already running out of time for today, I'll leave you with this excerpt from Mark Dever's The Message of the Old Testament--Promises Made, from the chapter on Judges:

"When your state is genuinely desperate, it's good to know it. So once Adam and Eve had sinned and earned God's wrath, it was imperative for them to realize this. When God cast them out of the Garden, therefore, he was, in effect, mercifully giving them the opportunity to see that they could not save themselves. And as they saw their offspring die, they began to perceive that their own predicament affected all their descendents.

God then called Abraham to show Abraham and his descendents that he is a promise-making and promise-keeping God. But could Abraham's own faith save all is descendents? No, all the great patriarchs died.

God then gave the people of Israel his law and his priests. Did he do this in order to save them through his law and his priests? No, but he taught them more about his own holy character and their own sin. And he taught them that neither the law nor merely human priests and animal sacrifices could save them.

God then gave them judges. Did he do this so that these judges would save them? No, but these judges taught them more about God's power and authority. They also taught the people that a mere human judge could not save them.

After the judges, God would give the people what they would begin clamoring for in 1 Samuel: a king. Would he give them a line of kings so that the kings would save them? No, but eh kings would teach the people still more about God by foreshadowing the kind of rule God would ultimately assum with his people. And the kings taught them that a merely human king would never save them.

God would also give the prophets to his people. Would he do this so that he prophets would save them? No, but the prophets would teach still more about God and his words. And they would teach the people that a mere human prophet could not save them.

God would let his sinful people, who were determined not to rely on him, rely on every other possible means, until every other possible means was exhausted. Finally, they would learn that the only one who could save them was God himself, and then they would turn to him."