Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Romance & family idolatry

At Christ the Truth Glen Scrivener shares some valuable thoughts on sexuality, celibacy, family, and modern notions of romance.

Missing links

I've begun cleaning up and updating the sidebar links. In going over reciprocal links, I notice that some of you have kept your links to this blog even when I wasn't blogging. Thank you for your steadfast kindness.

Some of you seem to have lost your links to Transforming Sermons. If that omission is an oversight or relic of changing blog locations, I would be grateful for you to add me back. Even if you don't, I'll keep the link to your blog, at least for a while, in appreciation for your having linked to this blog earlier.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Living, dying, and Torah

My blogfather, Doug Floyd, reflects on learning how to live until we die.

In praise of biblical bluntness

This one is a few week's old, but it's new to me: Colin Adam's call for biblical bluntness in preaching.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Are these really our values?

What does it say about American media, and Americans in general, that everyone seems more concerned with an NBA owner going on a private, racist tirade against his girlfriend than that this man, blatantly and openly, had a girlfriend at all when he's been married to another woman since 1957?

Natural & unnatural sex

Peter Leithart reflects on Romans 1 "in an age of massive sexual confusion."

More treasures from Rob Bradshaw

Rob Bradshaw's is one of the few sites I visited regularly during my blogging break. One of his latest uploads is an article by Douglas Moo on tradition and the OT in Mt. 27:3-10. Rob has also made available the complete works of John Lightfoot.

What is Christ really looking for?

John Schroeder is one of the bloggers I stopped following over the years as my mental energy waned under the effects of sleep apnea. In returning recently to John's Blogotional, it seems John is still plugging along with the same format, but his insights seemed to have deepened over the past few years. See, for example, his recent post on discipleship and marketing. John is also spot-on in his reminder that Jesus is more than simply the Savior.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Kouyanet on who is serving whom

At Kouyanet Eddie Arthur writes about a dilemma for short-term mission work. Here's a sample:
There are serious issues involved when relatively rich and inexperienced people want to ‘make a difference’ in situations which are usually far more complex and nuanced than they realise.
The whole article is not long, and it's worth reading.

Bloggers and commenters I miss

They're mostly guys I've met IRL, and they aren't blogging or commenting much any more: Frank, Peter, Bill, Mike, Bob, Chris, and Scotwise. Most of you guys were or are trying to keep a low profile online and so don't use your last names much online. I won't either, but you know who you are. Peace.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

You can still scratch the itch...

... even though Jeff Weddle's blog has a new look.

On Tamar's vindicator

OT Prof. Claude Mariottini continues his series on the rape of Tamar with insights on the royal, social and familial dynamics among Amnon, Tamar, and Absalom. I found this one to be particularly readable and enlightening.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Throne room treasures

At Reading Acts, Phillip J. Long's study of Revelation has entered the heavenly throne room with posts here, here, here, and here. Prof. Long has begun recycling posts from years past, but I think these may be new.

Writing supercomputer Peter J. Leithart has also begun sharing his usual insightful nuggets on Revelation 4 with posts on his First Things blog here, here, here, and here.

Rick Oster, another super-scholar and a former Greek teacher of mine, also continues to blog on Revelation at Seven Subversive Letters.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Liked by God

I've always believed it's possible to love someone and not particularly like them. As a teenager, for example, I always loved my parents, but sometimes I didn't really like them. Looking back at my behavior in those days, I'm confident those sentiments were at times mutual.

As Christians, we are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves. And we're especially called to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. But in both cases we aren't commanded to like them. In practice, that means we desire the best for those we love and sometimes work actively, at our own expense, to help bring about that good for them. And certainly it means being kind, whether we like someone or not. But it doesn't mean we have to enjoy their company or desire to hang out with them. In short, loving is a choice, but liking is a preference. The former has a strong, intrinsically moral element, while the latter is primarily a matter of taste.

All of which is merely an intro to what this post is really about: I want God to like me.

I know God loves me. That truth, in fact, may be the central motivating power of my soul's existence. Knowing that I am loved by God has been transforming me inside-out into his image for decades. Many of God's people have shown me love through the years as well, and I'm pretty sure not all of them liked me very much.

But I want not only to be loved, but to be liked, too--by other people, but especially by God.

You may say that liking or disliking are meaningless concepts with God, but I don't think so. When we read in the Word that David was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22), I think what Paul is saying is that God really liked David. God loves everyone, but it seems he really liked David. In the same way, Jesus had lots of disciples and 12 apostles, but it seems Peter, James and John were the disciples he really liked. And from John's Gospel it appears Jesus really liked the "beloved disciple."

So I want God to like me. Granted, phrasing my desire in those terms may sound self-serving or naive. How about, "I want to be pleasing to God"? Call it what you will, but I want to be liked by God.

And when I take a look at who I really am and ask, "Does God like me?" I have to answer, "Probably not." That's because God sees not only my words and outward performance, but the real desires and darkness of my heart. And I know that, deep down, I'm not the man I like to think I am. I don't think I'm particularly unsual in this regard--we all have our shadows--but I still don't like what I sometimes see, and I'm pretty sure God doesn't, either.

So what to do? Well, I'm going to keep working to put off sin, put on Jesus Christ, and pray that I keep becoming a man whom God not only loves, but likes, too. And in the mean time, I'm holding on to these words I rediscovered this month from a song I wrote more than twenty years ago:
It seems I'm always running;
     It seems I run too fast.
Am I running the race with honor
     or letting it just slip past?
I've wounded and I've wasted,
     and my failures are a shame.
But I serve a risen Savior
     who loves me just the same.
Amen, amen, amen, and amen.

Copyright 1993, 2014, A. Milton Stanley

Friday, April 04, 2014

Underneath the rust

It's been more than two years since I regularly read the blogs that informed so much of the content of this one, but today I pulled up the old reading list and began checking on many of my old blog friends.

Several haven't posted anything for months, and others have quit blogging altogether. Several, too, have moved to flashier new sites, but right now, at least, I don't feel like navigating the more complicated pages. Call me an old-school blogger.

I'm happy to say that several of my oldest and best blogging friends are still going strong, and I still recommend them all:

Dan Edelen at Cerulean Sanctum is still writing insightful critiques of the interaction culture and discipleship. This week's post about three recent faith-films hits the nail on the head yet again.

Peter Mead, probably the web's best preaching blogger, is also still going strong at Biblical Preaching with five new posts this week offering thoughts on preaching from Martin Luther.

OT professor Claude Mariottini has a new post today about a writer asking the Egyptian government to sue Israel for the Exodus plagues. I like Claude's writing, but for some reason his weblog only displays one post at a time.

Elsewhere, Rob Bradshaw continues to make serious biblical studies articles available free online at, my brothers Royce Ogle and Keith Brenton continue to write, at least occasionally, and VOM's Persecution Blog continues to shine the light on the plight of Christians around the world.

Thanks to all of you for what you do. And for those of you who, like me, have been rather inactive lately, I haven't forgotten about you, either. As always, thanks for visiting.

Update:  I just noticed that in writing this post I left off the blogger at the top of my reading list, my own blogfather Doug Floyd, who now posts at Doug Talks Torah. I especially liked Doug's post this week, "The Way of Information."