Showing posts from September, 2013

How Much Grace Was Needed?

This morning I was reminded of the vast amounts of God's grace which were poured out for my sins. Have you ever wondered about that? Is there a definitive amount of grace? We sing about grace, read about grace, and even say grace. But, have you ever wondered about what actually happened at the cross to give us that grace? Here is some math to help figure it out. We have to start with sin, since grace covers our sins. How much do you and I sin? Let's be very conservative with this estimate, knowing that the numbers are probably much higher. How about 5 times an hour, give or take. When I think about all the times I even have an angry, anxious, lustful, lazy, or unkind thought I imagine that number could be higher. Perhaps five an hour is a pretty conservative amount, but we'll use it for now. Five sins an hour multiplied by the twelve or so waking hours of the day comes to 60 sins a day. 60 sins a day multiplied out over a year gives us 21,900 sins in a year. If we expan

Why I Believe in Infant Baptism Part 3: Baptizing Unbelievers and OT Examples

Baptism can be a very confusing topic. Hopefully, my last post wasn't too muddled. I've found that examples tend to help explain things well, and the Bible gives us two examples to help us understand baptism better. They help answer another hard question that is posed those who believe in infant baptism: "Why would you baptize an infant when they haven't professed faith in Christ? Aren't you effectively baptizing a non-Christian? All of the NT examples are belief, then baptism, not the other way around, so how do you support baptizing babies from the Bible?" That is a tough question. Is there any precedent for baptizing unbelievers? I would answer that there is, and they can be found in the examples I mentioned earlier. Both are Old Testament events which are referred to by New Testament writers. The first is found in 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 where Paul writes,  "I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed thr

Why I Believe in Infant Baptism Part 2: What is Baptism Anyway?

My transition to infant baptism started about 2 years ago when I began studying the issue in earnest. My brother gave me some resources for Christmas at the end of 2011 and over the next six months or so I read, studied, listened, and eventually changed my convictions. However, the change had really started many years earlier when I started to see all of scripture as one book, one story, rather than two stories separated by Old and New Testaments. The foundational question I had to begin with was this: What is baptism? I don't mean the means by which you baptize someone (immersing them in water, sprinkling, pouring, etc.). I don't even mean the age of the person being baptized or their spiritual condition. I was interested in the meaning behind the symbol. What is baptism? Why did God command this particular symbol? Is it simply something I do to show my commitment to God? The Westminster Confession defines baptism in Chapter 28 :   " Baptism is a sacrament of the

Why I Believe in Infant Baptism: Opening Thoughts

What images come to mind when you think of infant baptism? Is it a sacred ritual done with pomp and circumstance with robes and a gold plated dish of water? Is it a routine ceremony that is a regular part of your worship? Is it a crazy belief some of "those" people believe in, but certainly not someone serious about Bible study? Do you have images of a child being held up before the church like Simba in The Lion King? Is it just a glorified baby dedication? I think I've had all of the above mentioned thoughts at one time or another throughout my time as a Christian. I've believed the stereotypes and didn't really study it too hard on my own. But, once I did, I came to some revelatory conclusions, at least for me. I wasn't raised to believe in infant baptism. I grew up as a baptist, meaning that I believed what most baptists believe. A person professes faith in Christ first, then shows that commitment by obediently entering into the waters of baptism. From

Sunday Singables: "All I Have Is Christ"

"All I Have Is Christ"  by Jordan Kauflin, released on The Gathering  by Sovereign Grace Music (2011) As I looked through my past Singable posts I was shocked to see that I hadn't featured this song yet. This has become one of my favorites as it causes us to reflect on the singular need every human has, Jesus Christ. Why I recommend this song for worship- What is the story of your salvation? What did God save you from? What has He saved you to? This song tells the spiritual side of all our salvation stories. We once were lost in darkest night, thinking we had the truth. We had no hope on our own, but because of the grace of God we have been saved from our sin and adopted as one of God's children. This is the heart of the gospel and truth we need to remind ourselves of daily. Singing these truths will implant them deep in our hearts. The chorus of this song really says it all: "Hallelujah! All I Have is Christ..." In a culture that tries to tells u

Sinking, But Holding On

This past week our family traveled back to IL to move the rest of our stuff to our new home in TN. On Tuesday, as we prepared to leave, we assumed it would be a smooth trip, tying up all the loose ends, and moving us ahead to be able to fully focus on our new ministry. As we left on Wednesday afternoon things quickly took a different turn. The trailer we hoped to attach to our van couldn't be rented due to faulty electronics. Everything didn't fit into our moving truck, causing us to have to rent another vehicle. On top of that, our prospective buyer, who was supposed to move in on Saturday, decided to delay his move because of a delayed appraisal and higher than expected costs to repair some items that popped up on our home inspection. These are just a few of the discouraging things that happened during our brief time in IL. Granted, we did have some great help loading our truck from some wonderful friends from our old church. We got to spend a lot of time together as a fa

Sunday Singables: "All Creatures of Our God and King" (Baird Version)

"All Creatures of Our God and King" with new verses and arrangement by Jonathan and Ryan Baird, released on All That Thrills My Soul  by West Coast Revival , from Sovereign Grace Music (2013) All That Thrills My Soul by West Coast Revival This has been one of my favorite hymns since I first heard it as a child, continuing into college chapel services, and now as an adult hearing it in different churches. Most recently I heard this at the WorshipGod conference arranged with two new verses and parts for a modern choir. Why I recommend this song for worship-  This song is one of the oldest hymns around. The first two verses of this arrangement were written by St. Francis of Assisi who ministered during the early part of the 13th century. His life is exemplified with humility before God, and you can see that written into this poem which later became the hymn we know today. His verses center our thoughts around our place as creatures; created beings wholly dependent on

Sunday Singables: "Nothing In All the Earth"

"Nothing In All the Earth" by Joel Sczebel, released on Grace Has Come by Sovereign Grace Music (2013) Why I Recommend this song for worship- I've been waiting to post this song ever since I first heard it at the Worship God conference back in August. It is one of those songs that matches tune and text in an excellent way. One of the most encouraging passages in Romans is the end of chapter 8 , which this song is based on. It expresses that great truth of our unbreakable bond to Christ through his death and resurrection. This is the kind of truth our hurting hearts need to hear and sing and shout out in worship. It also flows from the admonishment from Colossians 3:16 to teach one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. What better way to do this than to sing actual scripture to each other? Be encouraged as you listen to this song, and remember that nothing can tear us from the everlasting arms of our gracious and saving God! Suggestions for