Six Lessons about Worship from The Golden Calf Incident

I have been reading through Ligon Duncan's book Does God Care How We Worship? in which Duncan makes a case for the regulative principle in worship. The regulative principle, simply stated, is "the corporate worship of God is to be founded upon the specific directions of Scripture" (Derek Thomas, I'll likely have more on the regulative principle later, but let it suffice it to say that I believe in the principle as at a fundamental level I believe it is an outworking of the doctrine of sola scriptura, that the Bible is the sole inspired and infallible source of authority for Christian faith and practice.

Six Lessons about Worship Duncan walks through some key scriptural passages that speak to lessons we learn about God's desires and commands for our worship. In the passage on the golden calf (Exodus 32-34, particularly Exodus 32:1-6) he notes that six applications:

Impatience with God's timi…

Discerning God’s Will - A Lesson from Jonathan Edwards’ Life

It seems to be popular among some Christians to say, “God has told me...” about a particular area of their life, yet have no discernible, practical explanation of what they mean by that. It seems some use the phrase “God has told me” or “The Spirit has led me” as a synonymous way of saying “I feel Ike I should”. I think there is danger here as it makes the will of God a subjective exercise in human feelings subject to the dangers of sinful motivations driving a decision.

While there is much more that could be said on this topic (in no small part the role of the Word of God), an example from the life of Jonathan Edwards serves as an overt example in the life of a godly man of what it means to listen to wise godly counsel in discerning God’s will in a particular situation.

The following was inspired by and adapted from Chapter 5 "Keep God Central: The Life of Jonathan Edwards" in The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper (Baker Books, 2015). (The books is a strongly recomm…

He Will Hold Me Fast

The Song - "He Will Hold Me Fast"The song "He Will Hold Me Fast" has been used by God in my life in the past year as a powerful reminder of God's goodness to me and Christ's steadfast love for me. It is particularly convicting to me as it states truly what I fear and know to be true, namely, that I am not strong enough to prevail over sin and Satan and that my love for God too often grows cold. But it encourages me as well as it reminds me of the certainty that the security of my salvation is not found in my ability to perform works of righteousness; rather, my security is found in the sovereign and steadfast love of Christ who I have placed my faith in. My security is found in Christ.

I share a bit of it here with you in the hope that you will find similar conviction and encouragement from it. Originally written by Ada Habershon in 1906; it was updated by Matt Merker in 2013. You will find the full lyrics and a recording of the song on Matt Merker's web…

Psalm 78 and Truth:78

5He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, 6that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, 7so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; 8and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God. Psalm 78:5-8 ESV A Discipleship Ministry for Children and Their ParentsIt is from these verses that the ministry Truth:78 (formerly Children Desiring God) draws its name. This ministry has been particularly instrumental in how we have discipled our own children. And this ministry has been influential on how we view children's ministry at The Hills Church. We have invested both as a family and as a church in their resources and in attending their conferences. If I had but one resource outside…

Eight (8) Lessons during COVID-19 from a Former Pandemic

Francis Grimke, pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D. C. during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, wrote a sermon about the pandemic entitled "Some Reflections Growing Out of the Recent Epidemic of Influenza that Afflicted Our City." The sermon is commendable in its entirety, making some salient points that we would all do well to reflect on. You can read it in full on the 9 Marks website:
Grimke wonders out loud "what is the meaning of it all?" and then makes eight (8) observations in that regards that might be summarized as follows: God's Patient Mercy - "How easy it would be for God to wipe out the whole human race."God's Sovereign Will - "...why of those who took the disease some recovered and others did to be found in the will of God."God's Inscrutable Will - "...why are …