Thursday, February 26, 2009

Adoption Motives

From the Abba Fund Blog:
Jeremy has a must-read post on adoption motives:

It would seem nearly impossible for one to make the act of rescuing an orphan sinful. However, as someone recently thrust into the process, I have become well aware that adopting offers a myriad of opportunities for sinful behavior. I have even seen adopting Christians forget about the person they are rescuing because they are only concerned with how the process is affecting them at a given moment of delay or difficulty. Blinded by the deceitfulness of sin, what should inherently mean good for another is devoted to the altar of self. Feeling the natural tendency of my own heart, I have had to pray constantly, “Lord save me from turning the adoption of two Ethiopian orphans into an act of self-serving wicked idolatry.


May God help us to be more aware of the sufferings of these two boys than that of our own. Christ’s example teaches us that adoption has never been easy. May we be come to grips with the reality that whatever we have to endure over the course of several months (and maybe longer) for these two boys can never be compared to the suffering they have felt of being left fatherless. If this is what causes pain and turmoil in our lives so be it. But, may it not be just because we are not getting our way. Or because God is not doing what we think He should do.

I ask you to pray that we would remember that this particular adoption should not cause us to grieve the Spirit of adoption that indwells us. We must remember that we were orphans who deserve nothing but God’s judgment. By grace, we received adoption in Christ. By grace, we will receive this adoption as well.

Read the rest

(HT: Vitamin Z)

More Quotes!

Here are a couple of unrelated quotes, neither of which came from Of First Importance (from where I've been borrowing liberally lately).
The only way in which a state-controlled school can be kept even relatively healthy is through the absolutely free possibility of competition by private schools and church schools; if it once becomes monopolistic, it is the most effective engine of tyranny and intellectual stagnation that has yet been devised. (J. Gresham Machen: Selected Shorter Writings, 167)
(HT: Desiring God Blog)

No, Machen is not a contemporary politician, he wrote those words in 1933.

"If our theology does not quicken the conscience and soften the heart, it actually hardens both; if it does not encourage the commitment of faith, it reinforces the detachment of unbelief; if it fails to promote humility, it inevitably feeds pride."

J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness, page 15.
(HT: Vitamin Z)

Warning Against Chronological Snobbery

C.S. Lewis has been credited with coining the phrase "chronological snobbery." Dr. Art Lindsley, a Senior Fellow of the C.S. Lewis Institute, writes:
One of the often-heard objections to faith in Christ is that it is old fashioned or outmoded, a relic of the distant past and therefore easily discarded. After all, what could a two-thousand-year-old faith have to say to us in the twenty-first century?

This was one of the obstacles that C.S. Lewis had to overcome in order to come to faith in Christ. He dubs the problem as one of “chronological snobbery.” His friend Owen Barfield often argued with him on this issue. Lewis’s question was: How could this ancient religion be relevant to my present setting? Lewis defines this chronological snobbery as “the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate of our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that count discredited.”

(Quoted from C.S. Lewis on Chronological Snobbery)
Here's a lighthearted look at the problem of chronological snobbery:

(HT: Tim Challies)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Family Dinner Devotions

I found this post at Life Together to be a good resource:

Mark Driscoll gives a realistic approach to doing family devotions at dinnertime:

Step 1. Eat dinner with your entire family regularly.
Step 2. Mom and Dad sit next to one another to lead the family discussion.
Step 3. Open the meal by asking if there is anyone or anything to pray for.
Step 4. Someone opens in prayer and covers any requests. This task should be rotated among family members so that different people take turns learning to pray aloud.
Step 5. Start eating and discuss how everyone’s day went.
Step 6. Have a Bible in front of the parents in a translation that is age-appropriate for the kids’ reading level. Have someone (parent or child) open the Bible, and assign a portion to read aloud while everyone is eating and listening.
Step 7. Parents should note key words and themes in the passage and explain them to the kids on an age-appropriate level.
Step 8. Ask questions about the passage. You may want to begin with having your children summarize what was read—retelling the story or passage outline. Then, ask the following questions: What does this passage teach us about God? What does it say about us or about how God sees us? What does it teach us about our relationships with others?
Step 9. Let the conversation happen naturally, listen carefully to the kids, let them answer the questions, and fill in whatever they miss or lovingly and gently correct whatever they get wrong so as to help them.
Step 10. If the Scriptures convict you of sin, repent as you need to your family, and share appropriately honest parts of your life story so the kids can see Jesus’ work in your life and your need for him too. This demonstrates gospel humility to them.
Step 11. At the end of dinner, ask the kids if they have any questions for you.
Step 12. If you miss a night, or if conversation gets off track, or if your family occasionally just wants to talk about something else, don’t stress—it’s inevitable.

Adapted from “Family Dinner Bible Studies” by Mark Driscoll in Trial: 8 Witnesses from 1 & 2 Peter, a study guide. (Mars Hill Church, 2009), pages 69-70.

The study guide is a 208 page PDF that goes along with Mark's current preaching series, which you can subscribe to in iTunes here. Or check out more media resources from Mark and Mars Hill Church at their website.

The Only Reason I Can Sleep Well At Night

I know I've been an a quote binge lately, but I'm lazy and these quotes are good, so here's another one:

“My conscience does not render a positive verdict in God’s courtroom when I look inside myself. The only reason I can sleep well at night is that even though my heart is filled with corruption and even though I am not doing my best to please him, I have in heaven at the Father’s right hand the beloved Son, who has not only done his best for himself but has fulfilled all righteousness for me in my place.”

- Michael Horton, Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Baker Books, 2008), 88.

(HT: Of First Importance)

Monday, February 16, 2009

He Knows What We Need

Another gem of a quote, courtesy Of First Importance:

“Everything is necessary that he sends. Nothing can be necessary that he withholds.”

- John Newton

Sunday, February 15, 2009


If "Of First Importance" is not a blog you regularly check out, you should. Here are a couple more recent quotes I found over there:

“On Christ, and what he has done, my soul hangs for time and eternity. And if your soul also hangs there, it will be saved as surely as mine shall be. And if you are lost trusting in Christ, I will be lost with you and will go to hell with you. I must do so, for I have nothing else to rely upon but the fact that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived, died, was buried, rose again, went to heaven, and still lives and pleads for sinners at the right hand of God.”

- Charles Spurgeon

“The gospel, by telling us Jesus died for us, is also really insulting. It tells us that we are so wicked that only the death of the Son of God could save us. This offends the modern cult of self-expression and the popular belief in the innate goodness of humanity.”

- Timothy Keller, The Message of Romans (Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2003), 2.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Good Quotes

“You don’t have anything to prove to us or the world. The work is finished at Calvary, and that work has unlimited meaning and value. Keep your focus there.”
- C. John Miller

“The message of the gospel is that you are saved by grace through Christ’s work and nothing else at all. As soon as you add anything to it, you have lost it entirely.”
- Timothy Keller, Paul’s Letter to the Galatians: Living in Line with the Truth of the Gospel (Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2003), 13.
(HT: Of First Importance)