Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Mystery of the Redeemer's incarnation

***UPDATED ****
 Thought I'd add a prelude to the poem below, now that I've been reflecting on what I read, it seems appropriate to add a few thoughts that if you read it again or for the first time you may think deeper about what was written.

First stanza lists some amazing things, biblical events, and biblical descriptions.  Things you might think odd such as living souls arising from withered bones which reminds me of Ezekiel's vison but could also apply to the widows son raised to life by Elijah and again by Elisha.  Or the body returning to life after touching the bones of Elisha or Jairus's daughter raised by Jesus and Dorcas raised by Peter. 

But as incredible as those first stanza things may be, the second stanza describes that which is most incredible, God manifest in the flesh.

The Fifth Stanza describes the hypostatic union, that is two distinct natures in the Person of Christ.

1) The two natures are not mingled, confused or mixed but distinct.
2) The two natures, human and divine are separate but in separably joined.
3) Two separate but inseparably natures joined in the one person Jesus Christ our Lord.

I think I best like from this poem the personification of "nothing."  Or maybe better stated, when Erskine describes man as "nothing."  I thought about that and thought of four ways we could apply this concept.

1) From Nothing God made all things.
2) Apart from Christ we can do nothing and are nothing.
3) Man himself is as nothing, and more so when compared to the God who is all.
4) The eternal Son of God took upon himself our nature, nothings that we are.

Also note, in the 8th stanza, Arian refers to an ancient but still present heresy that denys the full deity of Jesus Christ.

The Last two stanza's make for beautiful contrast.  What Man did in rebellion, what God has graciously done and for his own glory.

SO update complete, read again, or read for the first time, may it work to your spiritual profit.

Here is sweet heart music this Christmas Morning.   Read it yourself, read it again, then read it once more to a friend.

I borrowed my sweet Poem-Girl's header as fitting in our lowly state to commemorate the glorious incarnation of the most high God - how most dramatic the mystery from before creations dawn until the eternal living forever sing his song.

The Mystery of the Redeemer's incarnation, or God manifested in the flesh, 1Ti 3:16,  John 1:14

WHAT though the waters, struck with dread,
Rise up and form a pyramid?
Though floods should gush from rocks and stones,
Or living souls from wither'd bones?

To hear of an incarnate God,
Is yet more wonderful and odd;
Or to behold how God most high
Could in our nature breathe and die.

What though the bright angelic forms
Degraded were to crawling worms?
These creatures were but creatures still,
Transform'd at their Creators will.

Though creatures change a thousand ways,
It cannot such amazement raise,
Nor such a scene as this display,
Th' eternal Word a Piece of Clay. 

God-man a strange contexture fix'd,
Yet nor confused nor commix'd;
Yet still a myst'ry great and fresh,
A Spirit infinite made flesh.

What though, when nothing heard his call,
Nothing obey'd and brought forth all?
What though he nothing's brood maintain,
Or all annihilate again?

Let nothing into being pass,
Or back again to what it was?
But lo! The God of beings here,
As turn'd to nothing doth appear.

All Heavn''s astonish'd at his form,
The mighty God became a worm.
Down Arian pride to him shall bow,
He's Jesus and JEHOVAH too.

The Sum of Redemption

With haughty mind to Godhead man aspir'd,
With loving mind our manhood God desir'd:
Man was by pride from place of pleasure chas'd,
God man by love in greater pleasure plac'd.

Man seeking to ascend procur'd our fall,
God yielding to descend remov'd our thrall:
The Judge was cast, the guilty to acquit,
The Sun defac'd, to lend the shades the light.

Gospel Sonnets, ...Incarnation, Ralph Erskine, Page 257.

Merry Christmas to All and Glory to God in the Highest.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad!!!

Jas 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

One of the best gifts I've ever received from heaven is my Dad.  He is the coolest guy you could ever hope to meet.  He can do anything, make anything, fix anything, and he surely loves a great adventure.   He loves me, and when we are together - look out adventure for sure, maybe even a little danger. If it's not exciting enough, he's likely to go off road, two-wheel drive, don't matter.

Here's a story:

When I was maybe barely eight, we donned our winter clothes, and pulled our terra-tiger out to the river.  I had no idea what was in store.   The river was low, mostly ice covered.  No way to reach our duck blind by boat. So we hopped in the ATV and drove right into the river.   ATV  used to mean exactly that.  Drive on land, drive in the water.  The thing could float, and its six wheels served as our propulsion.  I don't remember much except that after a nice time heading up stream the six wheels paddling along and our ATV kind of like a little bobber we reached a point where it was time to drive up out of the water and onto the sand.  Only problem, the ice extended out from the sand over the water.   We thought would could simply drive the terra-tiger up onto the ice and out of the river but as we attempted the little bobber with six paddling wheels kept breaking through the ice.  UP we would climb at a precarious angle and then FWOOSH the ice would break and we would crash down into the water.  Seems like water was coming over the side and it was cold.  We tried and we tried maybe five or six times.  But discerning that this would never work my lowly status in life suddenly was elevated from passenger in an ATV to driver.  Never,  had I squeezed the accelerator on the handle bars of the craft, nor revv'd the engine, nor spun the wheels.  But the time had arrived, stranded in the river unable to climb out I was now the driver.  My Dad leaped from the ATV onto the ice which extended out from the sand bar and over the river.  He stood on this ice which could not quite support our craft and grabbed hold of the front of the Terri Tiger.  He pulled on the machine to help it up onto the ice while commanding me to gun it.   The whole thing is a blur to me now.  I can see him above me as the trajectory of the atv changed.  Front up in the air back down in the water.  I think I was getting wet.  It seems that things were happening fast.  I was squeezing on the gas for the first time - loving it.  Oh how  I loved the power.  But I think I saw some fear in my Dad's eyes at some point in the whole ordeal.  I don't remember getting out of that river.  But I'm sure we did.  We must have visited that duck blind.  We must have checked our decoys.  That's all gone from my memory now.  But I can see him pulling that craft up and out of the water.  Pulling me to safety.  Saving us both.   Hey, if it's boring you can always make it a little more exciting.

Below is one of my favorite pictures of my Dad.  It was created quite by accident.  I think it actually exists as a "slide" and I have this from taking a pic of that slide.  Appears that the film in his camera failed to advance and at least three pictures were super imposed over each other.  It shows my Dad having returned from one of his great and extremely successful adventures, reclined at home, enjoying a hot a cup of black coffee.  While at the same time, memories from that adventure are on display demonstrating a hunt successfully completed
 My Mom titles this pic, "Coffee-Lope" and by that name I have long remembered this picture.

A couple of years back, we were elk hunting and decided that we would set up a spike camp 12 or so miles deep into the national forest following the Wyoming Trail right on top of the Continental Divide.  Though, I'm 21 years younger than my Dad - he's tougher and he knows it.  My cousin Alex was along with us.  We had one horse set up to pack all our gear and two others to ride.  The plan was to take turns leading the pack horse so we could equally and evenly spend our strength.  The air was thin, we weren't quite acclimated yet, and it's just plain hard going.   A couple of times along that long trail, my Dad  traded off with my cousin, but when it came my turn to lead the pack horse.  My Dad would say "No, not yet.  Just keep riding, I wanna walk a little longer."  The whole day went along like that.  And except for a couple of spells my cousin gave him, he walked the whole way in.  10,500 feet elevation, up and down mountains as we followed along the continental divide.  Tough Man.  He said later, he wanted to see if he could do it.  But I think actually he wanted to spare me so that I would have a little energy left to hunt during our spike camp soiree. 

That spike camp proved to be an incredible several nights.  Camping almost at 11,000 ft just off the Continental divide next to a beautiful lake.  We were raided by some crazy horse terrifying animal in the middle night.  We weren't sure what - a pack of something.  the Pake woke us with the running padding of their feet.  We saw the tracks in the morning next to our tent.  The horses were sure spooked and very relieved when seeing us exit our tents and come to their aid, soothing them.  We hunted in a very heavy snowfall one day. It was beautiful, it was wet, amazing.  One night as we slept, a thunderstorm rolled over the mountains.  We heard the burst of thunder and we felt the mighty power of it all rolling over us.  We weren't just experiencing thunder we were in the very center of it, with it, not below it, but right there a part of it, one with it, the sound waves crushing down and around our chests.  Amazing and never to be forgotten.

Please take special notice of the lean-to just behind my Dad and back a ways.  In this picture it's keeping our saddles and gear dry.   The lean-to was my Dad's invention and proved a boon to us.   This was a very wet camp.  The next day we sat  huddled under that lean to rain coming down using those two buckets at my Dad's feet as our chairs.  There we cooked our meal over a mini-backpacker stove.  We were very close that day for sure.  Wasn't much room under there.  But enough to sit, to cook and to eat and to enjoy and to remember.

Praising God this day, thanking him for every good and perfect gift that comes from heaven and especially this Dec 8th, for my Dad.
  Happy Birthday Dad and many more amazing adventures:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Too Busy Living to see that I'm Enjoying it.

Kevin deYoung has started a three part article on the sin or danger of busy-ness.  But I've been too busy to read it.  Click here

I try every day to leave work and have lunch with my family.  But I've been too busy to appreciate it.

Today, at lunch, though the busy-ness and stress of work was perhaps at the top of 1 to 10- scale, I was blessed to at least caution myself while admitting, "I've allowed myself to be too busy to note the enjoyment God has given me."

So as a way of counting my blessings, I want to enumerate the numerous enjoyments my lunchtime this noon provided.

1) The meal was delicious.  My soon-to-be-17-daughter and my 14-yr-old-daughter both prepared me a nice luncheon and took good care of me as we dined together.

2) Resulting from her enjoyment of, and appreciation for the Preface to Robin Hood, My 17 yr old asked: "Dad, have you read the preface to Robin Hood? It's so well written, so expressive, and so much fun too read."  And so my 14-yr-old retrieved said book and my 17-yr-old proceeded to read the same.  And this reminded me of a recent blog article I had read, written by Doug Wilson, in which he mentioned Robin Hood. This made for good discussion as we compared modern sentiment, the book, the article and what we think of all that.  click here for D. Wilson's article.

3) I then proceed to read to my girls from Ralph Erskine's Large Explicatory Poem on the Song of Solomon. Oh, how we enjoyed those poetic words.  Some of which were from Song 1:7-8.  See below at the bottom of the post to read for yourself those joyful words we also read.

Reading those words we then went on to discuss poetry, as my 14yr old explained from her reading that very day how beat and metre and even "thump" is built into certain styles of the poetry.  "Do you hear the thump, Dad?  You have to listen for the beat?"  she exulted.

We then proceed to discuss Song 2:1 "I am the Rose of Sharon..." and who is the person of that verse.  Is it Christ?  Is it the bride?  Both Poole and Gill mention both possibilities, but they both proceed with large explanation why the received understanding is the correct.  Christ himself is the Rose of Sharon.   We saw good cause for both sentiments but the words "I AM" struck us in the verse.  So then we searched the Song using MySword and discovered all the "I am's."   "I am Black,"  "I am the Rose of Sharon,"  "I am come into my Garden,"  "I am sick of love,"  "I am his,"  "I am a wall."   Others escape me, but we did enjoy the commentators explanation of how this assertion is not unbecoming of Christ, not in this poetical language of love. 

I then made note to my girls how Erskine also has a preface to his poem.  In fact he has two.  He as a preface To the Curious Reader, and a second To the Serious Reader.  And so we read a little from the second.

"But if you are exercised unto godliness, and acquainted with the sweet life of fellowship and communion with our Lord Jesus Christ, I hope you shall see here a picture and representation both of his heart towards you, and of your heart towards him : and a portraiture of the sweetest experience of intimacy with heaven, that the bride of Christ can have upon earth. And I judge, that a song upon this subject is not unseasonable amidst these evil days, wherein the songs of the temple are like to be turned into bowlings, and wherein the bride, the Lamb's wife, is ready to hang her harp upon the willows. How desirable were it, if this little book might prove a mean for helping her to sing away her sorrows, and to harmonize with the design of that precious promise, Hos. ii. 15. " I will give her the Valley of Achor for a door of hope, and she shall sing there !" To drive away the night of trouble with songs of praise, would be a work and exercise most suitable to that gracious name our Lord takes to himself, Job xxxv. 10. " God our Maker, who gives songs in the night."

Oh, and how those words gave us cheer and warmed our hearts in hope!

We then ruminated together, who could enjoy this Song, and who could appreciate this poem.  Would this not make such a gift to a brother, a sister, suffering trials?  Someone, who perhaps themselves, also, to busy living to take note how they enjoy life.  And so we really did have much enjoyment.  Thus beware the busy life, how good it is stop and praise God, who gives such precious gifts from above.

Ralph Erskine - The Song explained in poetic formClick here.    On Song 1:7-8
For why should I that am thy bride 
Be left to starve and stray, 
Or seem as one that turns aside 
To any crooked way ? 

All other loves my soul abhors, 
Thy rivals I disdain ; 
With flocks of thy competitors 
Why should I wander then ?

 I all thy feign'd companions hate, - 
They are a bane to me ; 
My soul affects no other mate, 
No other Lord but thee. 

O if I knew thy fix'd abode, 
 I'd lodge for ever there ; 
Where may I then enjoy my God ? 
O tell me, tell me where ! 

O thou my bride, whom I esteem 
The fairest of thy race, 
However black thy form may seem 
While griefs do veil thy grace ; 

Dost thou not know, my lovely bride, 
The shadow of the rock ? 
Nor pastures green where I abide 
And feed my little flock ? 

Come follow my directing grace, 
Which I afford to thee ;
 I'll lead thee to the sweetest place 
 Of fellowship with me : 

That hence thy feet may never swerve, 
 Nor fall in snares and wrack, 
The footsteps of the flock observe, 
And follow thou the track. 

See how they climb the rock in droves,
To social worship prone, 
And forthwith haunt retiring groves, 
To meet with me alone. 

Keep thou the beaten good old path, 
Yet new and living way, 
Which all my saints have trod by faith 
And prayer night and day. 

Though none of their dislik'd escapes
Must be a rule to thee ; 
Yet follow them in all the steps 
Wherein they follow me. 

And, while my under shepherds tents
Are kept in good repair, 
 Attend them still ; for heav'n presents 
My choicest dainties there. 

These holy ordinances are 
The pastures of my grace : 
There feast thyself, nor thence debar 
Thy little tender race. 

Bring children, servants, all thy kids 
Along to feed with thee ; 
Thy Lord all comers welcome bids 
In offers full and free. 

Make all within thy charge to haunt 
These goodly tents of mine ; 
For there my feasts of love I grant 
To nourish thee and thine. 

Thus, that thy feet no more appear 
With other flocks to roam, 
In these my best inclosures here 
Stay till I bring thee home. 

Matthew Henry on Song 2:1
What Christ is pleased to compare himself to; and he condescends very much in the comparison. He that is the Son of the Highest, the bright and morning star, calls and owns himself the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys, to express his presence with his people in this world, the easiness of their access to him, and the beauty and sweetness which they find in him, and to teach them to adorn themselves with him, as shepherds and shepherdesses, when they appeared gay, were decked with roses and lilies, garlands and chaplets of flowers. The rose, for beauty and fragrance, is the chief of flowers, and our Saviour prefers the clothing of the lily before that of Solomon in all his glory. Christ is the rose of Sharon, where probably the best roses grew and in most plenty, the rose of the field (so some), denoting that the gospel salvation is a common salvation; it lies open to all; whoever will may come and gather the rose-buds of privileges and comforts that grow in the covenant of grace. He is not a rose locked up in a garden, but all may come and receive benefit by him and comfort in him. He is a lily for whiteness, a lily of the valleys for sweetness, for those which we call so yield a strong perfume. He is a lily of the valleys, or low places, in his humiliation, exposed to injury. Humble souls see most beauty in him. Whatever he is to others, to those that are in the valleys he is a lily. He is the rose, the lily; there is none besides. Whatever excellence is in Christ, it is in him singularly and in the highest degree.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Gospel Sonnets - Chapter 1 - The Fall of Adam

The following is the first of Ralph Erskine's sonnet following the preface.  I could not go past it for days.  Reading and reading again the following words.  So much he says in so little space.  And so beautifully he says it.  And the imagination is engaged, the heart, the mind - O' God may such sublime truth possess me!

Please bear with me, my own ryhme,
Then Erskine below, Read him once, 
Read him a second time,
Do you his words and his sense divine?

What truths in these lines can your heart see?  
Federal Headship, Covenant of works, Man in his purity?
And original ability?
The Fall, Depravity, resultant inability?

Read along below and with me do you see?

OLD Adam once a heav’n of pleasure found,
While he with perfect innocence was crown’d;
His wing’d affections to his God could move
In raptures of desire, and strains of love.
Man standing spotless, pure, and innocent,
Could well the law of works with works content;
Though then, (nor since), it could demand no less
Than personal and perfect righteousness:
These unto sinless man were easy terms,
Though now beyond the reach of wither’d arms.
The legal cov’nant then upon the field,
Perfection sought, man could perfection yield
Rich had he, and his progeny remain’d,
Had he primeval innocence maintain’d:
His life had been a rest without annoy,
A scene of bliss, a paradise of joy.
But subtle Satan, in the serpent hid,
Proposing fair the fruit that God forbid,
Man soon seduc’d by hell’s alluring art,
Did, disobedient, from the rule depart,
Devour’d the bait, and by his bold offence
Fell from his blissful state of innocence. Gen 3:1-6
Prostrate, he lost his God, his life, his crown,
From all his glory tumbled headlong down;
Plung’d in a deep abyss of sin and woe,
Where, void of heart to will, or hand to do;
For’s own relief he can’t command a thought,
The total sum of what he can is nought.
He’s able only now t’ increase his thrall;
He can destroy himself, and this is all.
But can the hellish brat Heav’n’s law fulfill,
Whose precepts high surmount his strength and skill?
Can filthy dross produce a golden beam?
Or poison’d springs a salutif’rous stream?  (life giving/health giving)
Can carnal minds, fierce enmity’s wide maw,
Be duly subject to the divine law?
Nay, now its direfull threat’nings must take place
On all the disobedient human race,
Who do by guilt Omnipotence provoke,
Obnoxious stand to his uplifted stroke.
They must engulf themselves in endless woes,
Who to the living God are deadly foes;
Who natively his holy will gainsay,
Must to his awful justice fall a prey.
In vain do mankind now expect, in vain
By legal deeds immortal life to gain:
Nay, death is threaten’d, threats must have their due
Or souls that sin must die, as God is true.   Eze 18.4 

For more click here

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A New Look, and Erskine's Gospel Sonnets

In honor of my poem-writing daughter who has just given "Taste-That-Which-Is-Good" a nice new look, I'm posting a preface from what has been a very encouraging book of poem.  I began my year with this book in hand, and I hope, now, by the grace of God to end the year once again looking deep into Ralph Erskines, Gospel Sonnets.

So below the Preface:

The Believer's Espousals:
Upon Isaiah liv. 5. Thy Maker is thy husband.

HARK, dying mortal, if the Sonnet prove
A song of living and immortal love,
'Tis then thy grand concern the theme to know.,
If life and immortality be so.
Are eyes to read, or ears to hear a trust ?
Shall both in death be cramn'd anon with dust ?
Then trifle not to.please thine ear and eye,
But read thou, hear thou, for eternity.
Pursue not shadows wing'd, but be thy chase,
The God of glory on the field of grace:
The mighty hunter's name is lost and vain,
That runs not this substantial prize to gain.
These humble lines assume no high pretence,
To please thy fancy, or allure thy sense:
But aim, if everlasting life's thy chase,
To clear thy mind, and warm thy heart through
A marriage so mysterious I proclaim, 
Betwixt two parties of such diff'rent fame,
That human tongues may blush their names to tell,
To wit, the Prince Of heav'n, the heir of hell
But, on so vast a subject, who can find
Words fitting the conceptions of his mind ?
Or, if our language with our thought could vie,
What mortal thought can raise itself so high
When words and thoughts both fail, may faith
Ascend, by climbing up the scripture-stair
From sacred writ theses strange espousals may
Be explicated in the foll'wing way. ............

And so I add (with apology):
Now find yourself a copy of Erskine's Gospel Song,
It may you by grace aid in pursuit of the home called Long.

Ahh - follow the link I place right HERE
Soon the Sonnets may in yourself enter to your own good cheer.
Not sure if you wish to buy
A partial copy online reposes HERE  free to your eye.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Called to Serve with Reckless Abandon

I really love, enjoy, and admire Dale and Lynn Lynam for their friendship, their life and their passion for Jesus Christ.  Last fall, it was a great privilege to spend the weekend with Dale and a few others at the 2011 Desiring God Conference, FINISH THE MISSION.   At one point during that conference Dale looked at me and with all seriousness and in the most sober, holy, intonation said, "I'm gone."    He had to repeat for me and then explain.  He was gone for the sake of the name of Jesus.  He intended to pursue the foreign field whatever and however he could.  It was a life moment one never forgets.

Pursuing this goal, Dale has been accepted by the Center For Pioneer Church Planting, the training school associated with "To Every Tribe."   And so now with Dale and Lynn and family we are waiting on the Lord for the support they need. 

It is my privilege to share below, the following letter, written by the Lynam's which gives glory to God, tells God's Gospel and the providential arm of God in delivering them from the Kingdom of Darkness to HIS Glorious light.

If after reading Dale's story below and sensing perhaps God leading you to join with Dale in making much of JESUS before those who have never heard feel free to contact him at the following email address:  ejnjh1308@yahoo.com

Please let me introduce you to my good friends, Dale and Lynn Lynam.  

Dear Friends and Family,
    Our family has some exciting and life changing news!  We will be moving to Los Fresnos, TX this August, as Dale has been accepted to go to school at The Center for Pioneer Church Planting (CPCP) with To Every Tribe ministries. In this letter we hope to tell you about this journey. Please read to see why we would even consider going on this journey.
    Bound in chains, slave to sin, in love with darkness and so afraid of the light. My days full of iniquities and I drown them out with the bottle, drugs, or through many other sinful ways. Who can rescue me from this life of sinful destruction? There is only one answer to the question, that answer is Jesus the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).  

So, why Jesus? Why do we need forgiveness from sins? Let's take a quick journey back to the beginning. See, there is this great God, who created everything through His word. This God created the heavens, the earth, all the animals, and mankind. When God created everything he said it was very good. Then God gave dominion to Adam and Eve to tend the garden, to be over all the animals, creatures and everything that was created by God. God gave them a command to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, if they do they will be cursed and surely die. 

See, God is so good, He wants us to love him freely, and not by making us love Him. I think that is why He tested Adam and Eve. Meanwhile Adam and Eve were chillin', naming the animals, tending the garden,and living in the presence of God. So everything is good, right? Then came the serpent who was cunning and evil, he tempted Eve by twisting Gods words saying, "Did God really say?"  Eve ate and gave to her husband, Adam, who was with her. Their eyes being opened, they saw they were naked and tried clothing themselves and hiding from God. 

There is some things about God you should know, first is that He is holy and righteous, there is only perfectness in God and no sin. God hates sin and just can't overlook it, God is not like humans in character and His thoughts are unattainable.  Adam and Eve fell and Adam being  our representative brought the curse on all of mankind. Now we continue to live against God until this day. One day God is going to come back and judge the earth.  We also will be judged for our wickedness and damned to hell. Sounds pretty bad right? But God who is rich in grace and mercy, sent His only begotten Son Jesus , who came down from the heavens, took on human flesh, and lived a perfect sinless life. Jesus was hung on a cross. While on that cross God the Father crushed him for our sins and Jesus took those sins and absorbed the wrath of God due us by suffering for our sin, for His people, those the Father had given Him, from every tribe, tongue and nation. Jesus died on that cross and was buried, but He didn't stay dead. On the third day He defeated death and rose from the grave. He was seen by over 500 hundred eyewitnesses. So now Jesus is alive and is seated at the right hand of the Father!  He is there to make intercession for us. So by repenting and turning from our sins through faith in Jesus, we can be freed from the darkness and be in His marvelous light and have eternal life. 

There is much more that could be said, so God has given us the Bible. You don't have to take my word for it, you can read it for yourself. If you have any questions please contact us. As you can see we need forgiveness from sins and that only comes through Jesus the Savior of the world.  God who is so kind has allowed us the privilege to be a part of his plan to reach and save the lost by sharing the Gospel of Christ. He uses broken vessels to plant and water seeds. God has given us a command in the Bible to go and share this message. Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. There are many other verses in the Bible that tell us to share the gospel and to support those that go out to advance His kingdom. We are writing this today because the Lord of glory has laid it upon our hearts to go to people that are held in the darkness by Satan and need the gospel of Jesus to set them free. In this letter, we hope to communicate to you what our plans are, why we are going, and our need to partner with others to share in the advancement of the Gospel.

    How did all of this happen and what will happen?  The Lord transformed my life and my family's a little over 3 years ago. When He saved me, He took out my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh. Shortly after getting saved the Lord started putting a burden on my heart for the nations. He continued to use means to pour gas on the fire, such as having a missionary spend little over a year at our church, His commands in the Bible,and reading books. Then in September of 2011, I attended (along with some peeps of mine) the Desiring God National Conference Finish the Mission. It was pretty much over from there. I was pumped up and ready to go. While at that conference, there was a speaker there named David Sitton, who is the founder of To Every Tribe, and he had a little bit of a passion, or a lot of passion to see the Gospel spread . After the conference, man, I was on fire and didn't want to just come home and return to the normal life of working, being a husband, a dad,(which are all great things) and leave that fire to simmer. From there I started contacting different mission organizations. 

    We were invited to an open house for the To Every Tribes school program,  The Center for Pioneer Church Planting (CPCP). You can learn more about both by visiting the web sites http://toeverytribe.com/ and http://www.centerforpioneerchurchplanting.com. We enjoyed the open house and the people at the school. We came home, applied and were accepted to join the CPCP this fall starting in August. In early August we will be leaving our home and family in Sioux City, IA and moving to Los Fresnos, TX. What a sad and joyous day that will be.  I (Dale) will be in the 2 year training program at CPCP. Where I will spend time in the class learning theology, cross-cultural issues, team building, dental training, first aid and learning to share the biblical account in story telling in order to share with other cultures. Around 40% of the time will be training in the field with experienced church planters in Mexico also there will be a trip or two to Papua New Guinea.

    There are several ways that you could come alongside us in this journey. First and most importantly, our family will need prayer. We need prayer for the packing up and moving ourselves and 5 kids from our friends and family and the only area Lynn and the kids have ever known, but Jesus is worth it! We need Prayer for the emotional, physical, and spiritual battles of moving, attending school, short term trips and growing in our walk with the Lord. This is not something we can do without prayer. Also very important is the cost. The tuition for 2 years is $13,750 or $12,375 if paid in full prior to arrival . We will have monthly rent of $625 and anywhere from about $90-$130 for electric. Also we will have to pay for insurance, food and other standard living expenses for the 7 of us. Our prayer and desire is to do this in partnership with you and from our end we will send out newsletters, prayer requests as well as praying for you, and sharing in the joy of the advancement of the Gospel.  We would like to ask you to prayerfully consider being part of our support team in bringing the Gospel of peace to the lost. Please contact us to learn more about To Every Tribe and how you can support us monthly or give a one time gift. Also you can donate online monthly or one-time  at  http://www.toeverytribe.com/ select donate on top and from the drop down you can select Dale and Lynn Lynam. All donations are tax deductible and all gifts are a blessing to us no matter how big or small. Thank you for your prayers, time and resources.

                    By His grace, for His glory

            May the Love of Christ shine upon you, 
            Dale and Lynn Lynam 
            Our Email address:  ejnjh1308@yahoo.com

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Most Terrifying Truth

While having breakfast with my brother in Christ, Dale, the Tuesday before last, he described a sermon he had listened preached by Paul Washer, missionary and founder of Heart Cry ministries.   Dale's words in quoting Paul Washer went deep, and returned frequently to my thoughts, in fact several fruitfull conversations came of them.   So thus encouraged I found the excerpt linked below, and transcribed the words.   As you read them, I might point out that it was the use of the word "good" instead of the expected "holy" that was most instrumental in impressing me with the truth described:

“Let me put it this way,…. just to cut straight to the chase, …let me tell you the most terrifying thing… that I can possibly tell you,… THE  most terrifying truth that I can speak to you…. Are you ready? …Here it is. … The most terrifying thing that I can tell you,… a man,… a woman,… a child, is this:  God …is good.  I said that a few years ago over in Europe when I was preaching at a secular university,… I said, IF you want to get down to it, the most terrifying news for man is this, God is good.  And someone kind of  laughed and said basically, ‘And what’s the problem with that?’ The problem with that.. is you’re not good.  Now… what does a good God do with someone like you.  ….That is the greatest theological and philosophical problem in all the Scripture.  God is good and that is terrifying.”  

Transcript taken from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeIIl44hi8Y

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Preaching the Gospel to Yourself Everyday

Bunyan gives an excellent example of "Preaching the Gospel to oursevles everyday" as he finds liberty and joy in the IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"One day, as I was passing in the field, and that too with some dashes of my conscience, fearing lest yet all was not right, suddenly this sentence fell upon my soul, Thy righteousness is in heaven; and methought withal, I saw, with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ at God's right hand; there, I say, as my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was adoing, God could not say of me, He wants my righteousness, for that was just before Him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ Himself, the same yesterday, to-day and for ever. Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed, I was loosened from my afflictions and irons . . . now went I also home rejoicing, for the grace and love of God."

If you have never read I would suggest you find a copy of the book, "Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners" Bunyans own autobiograhpy from which this quote is taken.  I'm due for another reading myself, and it is one of the few books I think my own dear wife has read multiple times.  
Online vesion: click here 
Kindle Version: click here  free from Amazon

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thinking about your Dying Day

PSALM 39:4  LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.

Click here for previous study I prepared in my youth on Preparing for a Safe and Happy Death: 

For Drivers-Ed my daughter was required to write a letter to her parents expressing her sorrow for recklessly driving the car and involving herself in accident which brought about her demise.   The instructor hoped it would add a necessary soberness to the young soon-to-be-drivers-ed graduate.   My daughter thought it would be a good opportunity to rejoice in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Below is the letter she submitted to the instructor.   There is a necessary degree of license as she fulfills the requirements of the assignment. She writes as if she could speak from the casket, which of course is not possible - nor are there any tears on the other side.  Note: I removed the names and replaced the name of the eating establishment to protect the innocent and her privacy.

Dear Mom and Dad,

It is evident that I am now experiencing the Apostle Paul’s words, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”  1Cor. 5:3

I am so sorry. The tears as I write this are heavy on my cheeks because of my actions. All the pain, hurt, and grief I have caused you and others. I didn’t just hurt myself on the corner of 39th St. but everyone else I love.

Why, oh why must it be this way? Why can’t I just rewind time and erase all the hurt I have caused? Why couldn’t I have just, turned my head, looked, and slowed down?! That’s all it would have taken to save all the pain and sadness.

I can imagine R___ and K____, crying together with you, praying that you, S____, A____, J___, K___, and themselves can go through the day, with rejoicing, confident that all things, work together for good to those who love God, so that God will be praised even through this.

J___ and K___, giving themselves so selflessly to help with anything you might need while they, themselves, cry out to God for mercy on their grieving hearts.
S____ and A____, each night, crying themselves to sleep. Trying to remember all the times I made them laugh. Forgetting all the times I’ve bossed them around like an annoying selfish big sister. Thinking, “Oh why did L___ have to be so careless? Why couldn’t I have been there to warn her?” and asking, “God, oh God, help me, Lord, calm me, use this as an opportunity to be closer to you, to know you more.” and “Please keep me alert and attentive when it’s my turn to drive.”

Each sister, taking turns waking up in the morning to make Dad breakfast, throwing pillows on each other's head to get the other one out of bed for breakfast, eventually the one still in bed yelling, in a groggy, angry, tired voice, “I’m coming, I’m coming, leave my room and shut my door!” I can see it just like it was yesterday. Then at breakfast opening the Bible and reviewing Jude, the first book we girls studied with you, Dad, at the start of our weekly Bible studies at the local grocery-store-with-dining-facilites.

Oh! Please forgive me for all that pain! It’s like a disease spreading to all my friends, family, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Mom and Dad, I know that you loved me and that your sorrows are exceeding.

But, do not trouble yourselves, take comfort. God is in control of all things. Like saving you both on the same day. I praise God that He saved both of you. He gave me the greatest parents I could have ever asked for. Parents who love each other so much, but only because you love God more.

Mom, I was really noticing how wise God has made you. I remember thinking most of my life that you were smart, but I was so sure I was much smarter in most areas. Looking back at my life and all the things you’ve shown me through your actions, and words, I see how much God has used you to change the way I say, think and do things in a way that’s more like Christ. Like how I should be a hard worker and not complain, as you, yourself, do every day. You’re definitely not complaint-free, but if I was doing all that you do for us, I’m sure I would complain lots more than you ever would. I complain about just the little things I do.  I have no reason to complain, God’s given me Christian parents, wonderful brothers and sisters, work which is part of living and to be done joyfully for God’s glory, and God gave me a changed heart, so I might know the joy of serving my creator.
I love the way you discern how to do things and why. I see that your wisdom comes from God. When you don’t know if something is right or not, you go to the Bible, and not to your own wisdom, knowing our hearts are desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. Jer. 17:9

I love how you randomly start telling us something you’ve been thinking about or reading about. Often times when I was thinking about something serious, I thought back on those talks and God used them to help me understand himself more.
What a great God to make you such a mother!

Dad, that which was the start of the biggest part of my life, began the day you took me to "the local-grocery-store-with-dining-facilities" for breakfast, which became our, “Weekly breakfast and Bible study”. It was the start of our weekly “Breakfast and Bible study at the-local-grocery-with-dining-facilites”, at first, attended only by you and I. God used those studies in the scripture to show me so many unfathomable things about Himself. He used them to open my eyes enabling me to understand: why you and mom love each other so much, why Christians love God and actually want to know more about Him, why everything works together for good to those who love God, why Christians go to other countries to spread God’s name.

Dad, God opened my eyes through our Bible studies to what happened when 9 years ago, I was up late at night crying. It was God’s grace showing me how sinful I was, that I did not love Him, and so I came to you the next morning to pray that God would change my heart and come into it.

And through our Bible studies, God showed me that we are all sinners, and we can’t save ourselves because of this fact. Only someone without sin can pay for our sins. But no one is without sin because we are all counted sinful through Adam and have fallen in him. But Jesus, God’s only begotten son, came to earth to die for us. And He was the only one who could do it. Because He is one hundred percent God and one hundred percent Man. He had to be fully man to pay for our sins because man brought sin into the world, and he had to be fully God because all men are counted sinful. Only a sinless man can pay for sin. But He not only paid for sin, he also lived a perfectly righteous life on earth, in our place, so that this righteousness was counted to us as ours, God treating us as if we had done what He did. He bore the cup of God’s wrath. Because we are at war with God, Jesus bore the wrath God would have had upon us sinners. So now our sin is paid for, Jesus paid for it. We don’t have to bear God’s wrath, because Jesus did it in our place. And then He rose again on the third day! He is alive! And reigning, right now!

“What!?” Oh Dad, I thought, “How can this be, why would God do this for me?” He didn’t do it because I had something special in me. The only reason why I wasn’t as bad as I could be was because of his grace. I didn’t even want to know God before I became a Christian. In my heart I was disappointed every time you would talk about God or the Bible. I only wanted to be a Christian because I wanted a perfect, care free, pain free life in heaven or on earth. 
I didn’t want to be with Jesus, I didn’t love him. I loved myself and I was good with it. But God changed my heart!! A heart of hate and evil. Jesus made me his. It was a gift! I can boast in nothing but the cross.
When we were going through that in our Bible studies God opened my eyes to see Him fuller. To really want to rejoice and praise Him in a new way, more than before. I got a taste of heaven, being with Jesus our Savior every day, and totally undeserving of it. I wanted to go out to the nations to share this good news. So others might come to Christ and know the joy of being His. Knowing who He is. 

Thank you so much Dad for teaching us who Jesus is, and training us to be more like Jesus. I thank God that he made you my Dad. I remember as soon as we three younger girls could speak you had us start memorizing Bible verses. You were so patient with me. I remember that first day you took me on that special breakfast, you were teaching me what being “Born again means”. And you asked, “Does that mean we go back into our mothers stomach and then be born again?” Hehehe! I was so confused. Being born again is God changing our hearts and now we have a new life. Different from our life of sin and hate, but a life that is new in Christ. One of my favorite studies was in Jude when you were teaching us about “Justification” and “Sanctification”. When God gives us a new life he’s justifying us, (counting us righteous) then he sanctifies us, (is at work in our hearts to make us more and more like himself everyday). Thank you Dad for teaching me right out of the Bible so that I could hear the Gospel just the way Jesus tells us.

I love you so much Mom and Dad. God used you greatly in my life.  And what happened on 39th St. was my fault. I wish it never had to happen that way. But God’s in control of everything, even the bad things that happen. And God will use it for good. Rejoice! Rejoice that we have a God who cares for the helpless. Like me. 

Please, when my family, friends, niece’s, nephew’s, strangers ask about me or what I was like; tell them how ugly and corrupt my heart was. How God changed it. And how I couldn’t be perfect until I got to heaven and God gives me a new body. That Jesus counted me perfect when He changed my heart, so that I can be with Him in heaven. Show them the sin that was still in me, that I could still mess up, like on 39th St., but that God was at work in my heart and making me more like Him every day. Show them how messed up my heart was so that they can see what a great God we serve to save such a wretch like me.

Set your eyes on things above and not on things below.

See you soon.

In Christ,

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Beauty For Ashes - Repost

Two years ago I referred to this link from Laurie at Beauty for Ashes wherein she speaks frankly about abortion.   It's one of the posts that stick with you and perhaps change how you think.  I wanted to repost a link to her original article once again.  
Please click here and read Beauty for Ashes - wherein she speaks frankly about Abortion.

From my own reading I will never regret what this article taught me both about abortion, pro-life and the centrality of the Gospel as touching both these subjects.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Earth despicable, Heaven desirable..

Reading out loud to my family now thrice,
Try aloud yourself, my advice
Thus many visions gloriously seen
Jesus my all, Saviour and King.
--- with much apologies for the above I now present you from Erkine a Gospel Sonnet


Earth despicable, Heaven desirable.

There's nothing round the spacious earth
To suit my vast desires;
To more refin'd and solid mirth
My boundless thought aspires.

Fain would I leave this mournful place,
This music dull, where none
But heavy notes have any grace,
And mirth accents the moan.

Where trouble tread upon reliefs,
New woes with older blend ;
Where rolling storms and circling griefs
Run round without an end:

Where waters wrestling with the stones,
Do fight themselves to foam,
And hollow clouds with thund'ring groans
Discharge their pregnant womb:

Where eagles mounting meet with rubs
That dash them from the sky:
And cedars, shrinking into shrubs,
In ruin prostrate lie:

Where, sin the author of turmoils,
The cause of death and hell,
The one thing foul that all things soils,
Does most befriended dwell.

The purchaser of night and woe,
The forfeiture of day,
The debt that ev'ry man did owe,
But only God could pay.

Bewitching ill, indors'd with hope,
Subscribed with despair:
Ugly in death when eyes are ope,
Though life may paint it fair.

Small wonder that I droop alone
In such a doleful place:
When lo, my dearest friend is gone,
My father hides his face.

And though in words I seem to show
The fawning poet's stile,
Yet is my plaint no feigned woe;
I languish in exile.

I long to share the happiness
Of that triumphant throng,
That swim in seas of boundless bliss
Eternity along.

When but in drops here by the way
Free love distils itself,
I pour contempt on hills of prey,
And heaps of wordly pelf.

To be amidst my little joys,
Thrones,sceptres, crowns, and kings,
Are nothing else but little toys,
And despicable things.

Down witH disdain earth's pomp I thrust,
Bid tempting wealth away:
Heav'n is not made of yellow dust,
Nor bliss of glitt'ring clay.

Sweet was the hour I freedom felt
To call my Jesus mine ;
To see his smiling face, and melt
In pleasures all divine.

Let fools after heav'n of shades pursue
But I for substance am:
The heart I seek is likeness to,
And vision of the Lamb:

The wothy lamb with glory crown'd
In his august abode;
Inthron'd sublime, and deck'd around
With all the pomp of God.

I long to join the saints above,
Who, crown'd with glorious bays,
Through radiant files of angels move,
And rival them in praise:

In praise to JAH, the God of love,
The fair incarnate Son,
The holy co-eternal Dove,
The good, the great Three-one

In hope to sing without a sob,
The anthem ever new,
I gladly bid the dusty globe,
And vain delights, Adieu.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ephesians Chapter Five Verse Twelve

"Would it make any difference to you—any difference at all to the way you talk, to what you watch, to the way you ‘engage culture’—if Eph. 5:12 had never been written?”  -- Carl Trueman

Ok,  I totally ripped this off from Carl Trueman.  Actually from Justin Taylor.  Or was it Tim Challies?   Challies linked to Trueman.  I read Trueman.  Trueman's question probed me.  But then I jumped over to Justin Taylor and he also picked up on Trueman and so once again- the question.  

Would it really make any difference in how I talk, how I express myself, and what I do had Ephesians 5:12 never been written?    Hmmmmm  - I really really hope not, but O' God that I would take this verse more to heart.  My Grandfather epitomized Eph 5:12.  When my mind goes to his example his purity of speech is one of the very first things I remember.  And I do not attain to his example much less than to Christ to whose image I am hoping to be conformed.

EPH 5:12 "For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Blog Commendation: Surprised by Optimism

Times are bad.  People are evil.  The government is corrupt.  Hopelessness abounds.  The world is falling apart.  People will always fail you.    But on the other hand, won't they somehow do what's right?   Isn't there a spark of goodness in every man?  Can't we hope that good men will prevail eventually over evil?  Should we place our hope in man?

My brother in Christ and friend, John, is writing to counter some of this very thinking.  I've come to respect John's words, and appreciate the insight God is granting him for the good of the body of Christ.   And because of this, I'm very excited to become a new follower of his blog, "Surprised by Optimism."  John openly and honestly writes:

"My reason for starting this blog is that I know the crippling power of cynicism, and I want to help others avoid it. Now, it’s not that I always walk around with a scowl on my face, as the song “He’s a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” plays ominously in the background. Instead, as Paul Miller explains in his book A Praying Life, my cynicism begins with my false assurance that “anything is possible”. However, optimism rooted in the goodness of people collapses when it confronts the darker side of life, such as disappointed expectations or downright evil in people (including myself). From the signs I see in our culture, I think that this type of cynicism is becoming a widespread problem."   

After reading John's words, I was made to reflect on my own cynicism.   Am I secretly and unwares cynical?   Admittedly this sin can blindside me unawares.  Is there hope for us to overcome this kind of cyncism?   John, again, writes in words meant to bring hope:

"However, there is a way out of this quiet cynicism. Rather than withdrawing into this negative spirit, we need an optimism that is founded on something more dependable than the goodness of people. We all know deep down that people, including ourselves, aren’t good. Nevertheless, the famous words of Psalm 23 hold the key: God is willing to be our Good Shepherd who won’t disappoint. Jesus proved this willingness when he came to earth to pay the penalty of our corrupted goodness by dying on the cross. Now we have the opportunity to have hope, and even the kind of fun that lasts! There is so much hope and joy to be found in God, and I’d love if you would join me in this journey of learning to be optimistic through Him!"

ht:  Unto-Him-We-Live 
ps:  Please be sure to read the comments on John's new blog seeing especially that from Father to Son and learn from grace.