Misplaced Faith

What Is the Gospel? (9Marks)
“There is always a danger that when we begin to see fruit in our lives, we’ll subtly begin to rely on that fruit for our salvation, instead of on Christ. Guard against that temptation, Christian. Realize that the fruit you bear is merely that — the fruit of a tree already made good by God’s grace in Christ. To rely on your own Christian fruit to secure God’s favor is ultimately to shift your faith from Jesus to yourself. And that is no salvation at all.”
- Greg Gilbert, What Is the Gospel?
Love in the Truth

HT / Z

25 Years Ago Today, Where Were You?

I still remember watching this at school.  Everyone was excited and then, complete shock.  The feeling never really goes away for me.  What about you?

Love in the Truth.

1 John 2:6

Love in the Truth.

The Impossible Task

What is it you ask?  Try picking your 10 favourite songs.  A task set out by Alex Cavanaugh today. Well, it's Monday, so I figured I would give a go.  I'm quite certain that when I'm done, I'll kick myself for missing one, or two, or...you get the idea.  Here goes...
 10.  Lunatic Fringe ~ Red Rider ~ Neruda

Great song from a great album.  Although, I prefer the live version on "The Symphony Sessions".  One of those songs that is hard to forget.

9.  Purple Rain ~ Prince and The Revolution ~ Purple Rain

Had to include this one simply for the album alone.  It is definitely one of the best from back in the day.  

8.  Bad ~ U2 ~ The Unforgettable Fire

This is my favourite U2 song, and my favourite U2 album.  If I were to make a list of the top 10 albums of all-time, I am quite certain this one would make it.

7.  Time ~ Pink Floyd ~ Dark Side of the Moon

Simply a classic by Pink Floyd off yet another great album.

6.  The Prodigal Son Suite ~ Keith Green ~ The Prodigal Son

Simply put, this is a perfectly written song.  Keith Green was/is one of my favourite artists - Christian or otherwise.  So much talent!  Really wish he was still here, butI know he wouldn't want to come back!

5.  More Than A Feeling ~ Boston ~ Boston

I know what you're thinking - "too predictable".  But, here's the thing.  I bought this album on vinyl three times because I literally played "through" it.  So, for me, it needs to be included.

4.  Keep It Dark ~ Genesis ~ Abacab

I owe my big brother, Troy, all the credit for this selection.  He played it all the time growing up.  This was my introduction to progressive rock.  So, thanks Troy (insert, "I told you so" here)!

3.  Subdivisions ~ Rush ~ Signals

This one was really hard for me because, I could easily pick 10 Rush songs to fill this list.  And, Moving Pictures is my favourite Rush album!   

2.  Easter ~ Marillion ~ Seasons End

Easter on any given day can easily top this list.  It is a stunning display of music genius by my favourite band.  When Fish left, I was - like many I suspect - devastated, but when I heard "H" and this song in particular all was indeed well.  

For the record - my fave song from the "Fish era" would be Incubus from Fugazi.

1.  Endless Dream/Silent Spring/Talk ~ Yes ~ Talk

All I can say is you have to listen to it!  (Why I can't buy this on iTunes is a daily source of anger for me - I need your prayers!)

No doubt that tomorrow this would change.  For today, this is the best that I came up with.

Love in the Truth.


Love in the Truth.

The Neverclaim ~ Quietdown ~ A Review

Lord, this is our song: You’d awaken the hearts of Your people. We would repent and turn to You once again. Your Spirit cries, “Oh, come alive!”
And yes, this is our prayer: That the church would rise into her destiny. That through Your body a broken land would be set free.  So, we proclaim, yes we proclaim.
 That we were made for such a time as this, when every knee will bow and tongue confess Jesus Christ for who He really is. Revival! Revival!
And so begins the latest album from The Neverclaim entitled Quietdown.  It is simply a short intro to the first track, Revival, but I was hooked.  I came across the two song EP thanks to Come & Live (a great site BTW - and you can’t beat the price; free!).  That said, it didn’t long to head on over to iTunes and pick this gem up in its entirety.
It is becoming more rare in today’s day and age to have an album that is excellent from start to finish.  This is not one of those albums.  It is quality throughout.  But just who exactly is The NeverclaimFrom their website:
The Neverclaim was birthed out of a desire to see people come to a real encounter with God that would inspire life change. “When people encounter God they can’t help but be faced with two realities. 1) I am loved far beyond what I have ever imagined. 2) This love is worth giving all of myself to. This band wishes to lose claim of our lives and surrender our purpose to God,” says lead singer and songwriter Jeremiah Carlson. “We truly see our music simply as a tool to inspire a generation to live powerful, selfless lives inspired by intimacy with God.”
Musically speaking, Quietdown covers a wide spectrum of sounds and should appeal to a wide audience, but one thing is clear, this is worship.  Jeremiah Carlson has one of those voices that simply grabs you.  I’m not a big fan of making comparisons, but I’ll do it anyway (don’t you hate when people do that - I digress).  Think Phil Wickham mixed with Daughtry. I found when listening that these songs were not for me they were for someone far bigger.  This was an offering to the Lord. 
Lyrically speaking, Quietdown is brilliant.  For me personally, there are few artists that can make me feel so loved by God - but - for the right reason - that I may make much of Him.  God is the giver, the gift, and the goal of the gospel.  This is the message of Quietdown. These songs, ultimately, are God-centered.  For example:
Wonderful, beautiful Savior, how lovely is the grace that brings us favor. And I am overwhelmed.  And I am taken. Here I stand before You, I give myself. In this love before You, I lose myself. Powerful, glorious Savior, I’m caught up in the grace that brings me favor. And I am overwhelmed.  And I am taken. I am taken by the things that You have done.
I am Redeemed
Kiss Your feet, as brokenness runs down my cheek, may these tears be a sweet offering to You. Incomplete, so incomplete, yet declarations over me from the Eternal Son, “ Redeemed, Redeemed, Redeemed.” In my darkness You hold me close, and You promise me You’d never let go, my heart burns for You oh! I am redeemed! I receive redemptive work done deep in me, until this heart is fully given unto You. So please proceed Your kingdom reigning over me, because who I am right now is not who I’ll fully be. I find it hard to use these words, to fully describe Your deep, deep work. So I will pour out my heart to You and sing this song for You.
I could write them all, but hopefully this will entice you enough to go and pick this one up for yourself.  I highly recommend this album.  It is one of the best I have come across in quite some time, and for those that know me ~ that is saying a lot.  Quietdown closes with the title track.  After listening, I did “quiet down”.  In fact, I was speechless.  My mind was instantly brought to Zephaniah 3:17...
“The LORD you God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Love in the Truth.

"High Level of Concern"...but

Just in case we needed another reminder of the total depravity of human beings, enter Charlie Sheen and CBS.  Sheen, 45, who plays a womanizing bachelor on the comedy, Two and a Half Men, is the industry's highest-paid star with a reported salary of $1.8 million an episode.  He is also a drug addict, an alcoholic, an abuser of women - I guess we will say he is just about perfect for the part.
Reuters reports:
"But he has made numerous headlines in recent months after a conviction last year for attacking his then, third wife in Aspen, Colorado. Police said he drew a knife and threatened to have her killed. In August, a judge ordered him to spend 30 days in drug and alcohol rehab and placed him on probation.
In October, he was briefly hospitalized in New York when police found him acting drunk and incoherent in his room. His spokesman said at the time he had a bad allergic reaction to medication, but media reports said he had trashed his hotel room. A woman, later determined to be a porn star, had locked herself naked in the hotel room's bathroom and called for help to escape his rage."
In light of this CBS entertainment president, Nina Tassler, says...
"We have a high level of concern. How could we not? On a basic human level, there is concern that this man is a father, he has children, he has a family. But you can't look at it simplistically. Charlie is a professional, he comes to work, he does his job extremely well. It is very complicated. On a professional level, he does his job, he does it well. The show is a hit, and that's all I have to say." 
That is quite possibly the stupidest thing I have ever heard someone say!  That is evil.  There is simply no other word to describe the complete lack of concern for anything except the bottom line.  I am literally speechless...
Love in the Truth.

Have a Radical New Year

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. [Romans 15:13]

As the new year kicks off, open your heart to the Gospel with a fresh perspective through these radical action plans based on the New York Times bestseller, Radical,by David Platt.


  • New Year’s Resolution #1: Pray.
  • New Year’s Resolution #2: Read.
  • New Year’s Resolution #3: Give.
  • New Year’s Resolution #4: Go.
  • New Year’s Resolution #5: Serve.


  • Choose unreached people groups to pray about monthly through the year.
  • Make every member of your group a Bible teacher.
  • Figure out how to make your group a “gospel investment club.”
  • Turn your small group into a missions team in 2011.
  • Plan for the multiplication of your small group in the new year.


  • Lead your church to “pray around the world” in 2011.
  • Start a church-wide Bible reading plan.
  • Give a “firstfruits” offering to the Lord.
  • Set your most ambitious mission goals ever for 2011.


Radical 3D-white
“Do you believe that Jesus is worth abandoning everything for? Do you believe him enough to obey him and to follow him wherever he leads, even when the crowds in our culture -maybe even our churches- turn the other way?”
In Radical, David Platt invites you to encounter what Jesus actually said about being his disciple, and then obey what you have heard. He challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated a God-centered gospel to fit our human-centered preferences. With passionate storytelling and convicting biblical analysis, Platt calls into question a host of comfortable notions that are common among Christ’s followers today. Then he proposes a radical response: live the gospel in ways that are true, filled with promise, and ultimately world changing



Love in the Truth


Stop Trying and Start Abiding.

“The year before our eyes may hold in its bosom events, which may deeply concern and affect us. We do not know what is to come. What personal trials, what family trials, what providential trials may await us — we do not know. Sickness may attack our bodies, death enter our families, difficulties beset our circumstances, trials and temptations exercise our minds, snares entangle our feet, and many dark and gloomy clouds, make our path one of heaviness and sorrow. Every year hitherto has brought its trials in its train; and how can we expect the coming year to be exempt? Knowing what we are and have been when left to ourselves — the slips that we have made, the snares that we have been entangled in, the shame and sorrow that we have procured to ourselves — well may we dread to go forth in the coming year alone. Well may we say, “If Your Presence does not go with us — do not send us up from here (Ex. 33:15).”” ~ J.C. Philpot
If last Saturday taught us anything, it taught us that we live in a world of uncertainty. Sorrow seems to follow us everywhere we go, and tragedy can strike at any moment.  Who or what are you trusting in for 2011?  Where does your heart abide?
The Psalmist said, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty" (Ps. 91:1).
It is human nature, it seems to run to the wrong comforters. We think drugs and alcohol or sex will deaden the pain. We judge and critique others to elevate ourselves. We find sufficiency in our own strength and wisdom. Our hearts are “desperately wicked”; we are self-righteous in all we do. 
The great Puritan, Thomas Brooks, once said, "Every thing that a man leans upon but God, will be a dart that will certainly pierce his heart through and through. He who leans only upon Christ lives the highest, choicest, safest, and sweetest life."
We are commanded to abide in Christ. Jesus said, "Abide in Me, and I in you" (Jn. 15:4). 
There are serious consequences for failing to abide. Jesus again said, "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned" (Jn. 15:6).
Why would we not want to abide? Why do we wish to dry up spiritually, lose our assurance and shipwreck our faith (Jn. 15:6; 1 Jn. 2:24-25)? Why do we think it a burden to surrender to the One who loves us so much? Why are we content to live in sin when we have been set free? Why do we want our own hopes and our own dreams and not the perfection of God’s? Why do we continue life in the grip of Satan and thereby allow bitterness, emptiness and discontent to rule in our hearts?
The answer is deception. 
Instead of believing absolute surrender will bring us joy, we think absolute surrender will steal our joy. We reason to ourselves, "If I give God all of my heart, He might call me to give more money. He might send me to the mission field in Africa. He might even have the audacity to reveal unchecked sin in my life. I know the Word says He will provide ‘joy inexpressible’ (1 Pet. 1:8), but I think following my ways are better." Translation: "I don’t trust you, God!"
Partial surrender is no surrender at all. God is too glorious to settle for half of your heart. Grace does not desire your comfort; it demands your heart!  But...the good news about grace is that God desires our sanctification more than we do.  The cross is a reminder that we constantly blow it.  The Word is our reminder that God is eager to extend mercy and bring restoration.  He is our strength.  “Apart from me, you can do nothing.”  Stop trying and start abiding.
Love in the Truth.

Beware the SCHRUTE

Love in the Truth.

HT / Brian Molloy

Biblical Productivity

Tony Reinke:

January is a great month for personal planning. It’s the one time of year when a majority of us study our twelve-month calendar and put some thought into how to best structure our time. And this means January is a good month to think carefully about our personal priorities and goals. Hoping to help Christians think through how roles and goals impact scheduling, C.J. wrote a blog series that can now be download as a 36-page PDF by clicking here: "Biblical Productivity" (0.6 MB).

Love in the Truth.

HT / Z

Shut Up!

I've heard it plenty of times.  I think most of us have.  Some of us, however, never seem to get the message.  Case in point...

It kind of makes me want to SCREAM...

Love in the Truth.

Gerry Rafferty: April 16, 1947 - January 4, 2011

Gerry Rafferty passed away today due to liver failure.  Best known for his hit Baker Street from the City to City album, Rafferty is also known for the song Stuck In The Middle With You, made popular to another generation in the movie Reservoir Dogs.

Most people don't even know who Gerry Rafferty is - was - but IMHO, City to City was an amazing album.  One of my all-time favourite albums.  Back in the day, I really "dug" it.  I guess you can blame it on the fact I was a child of the 70's.  Well, that and the fact that my mom practically wore the vinyl off of City to City listening to the sax blasting on Baker Street!

For those who don't know...enjoy!

Right Down The Line - one of my all time faves!

Stuck In The Middle With You - fans of Reservoir Dogs may get the sudden urge to cut someone's ear off...

If you're interested, you can read his obituary here.

Love in the Truth

Slave: A Review

"True Christianity is not about adding Jesus to my life.  Instead, it is about devoting myself completely to Him - submitting wholly to His will and seeking to please Him above all else.  It demands dying to self and following the Master, no matter the cost.  In other words, to be a Christian is to be Christ's slave."

John MacArthur is meticulous if nothing else.  His attention to detail and his faithfulness to the Scriptures has been a hallmark for many years.  This book, Slave; The Hidden Truth About Your Identity In Christ, is no different.  

From the start, Slave, identifies what it means to be called a Christian.  "When we call ourselves Christians, we proclaim to the world that everything about us, including our self-identity, is found in Jesus Christ because we have denied ourselves in order to follow and obey Him.  He is both Savior and our Sovereign, and our lives center on pleasing Him".  That is indeed a good biblical explanation of what a Christian is.  But is there a word that the Bible uses more than any other to identify the followers of Jesus?  "In a word, we are His slaves".

One thing that I admire and and respect about John MacArthur is that he doesn't just say things for shock value.  He says some shocking things, no doubt, but the motive has always been an obedience to the charge found in 2 Timothy 4:2 - "Preach the Word!"  So when one is confronted with the truth that "the gospel is not simply an invitation to become Christ's associate; it is a mandate to become His slave", they are also given ample biblical and historical evidence to this "glorious reality".  As MacArthur points out, "the truth of God's Word is always countercultural...To present the good news in terms of a slave/master relationship...is controversial, confrontational, and politically incorrect.  Yet that is precisely the way the Bible speaks about what it means to follow Christ".

There is a reason the Bible does just that and that is to exult Christ; He is Lord.  MacArthur masterfully reveals the fact we are "His exclusive possession".  As such, the disciples life should be marked by complete submission, singular devotion, total dependence, and personal accountability to Christ.  "Whether or not our faithfulness is rewarded in this life doesn't really matter.  One day we will stand before Christ to be recompensed in full.  What a glorious day that will be!"

Slave is a excellent and thoroughly biblical work on the Lordship of Christ and the nature of the gospel as revealed in the doctrines of grace.  "In order to fully grasp what it means to be a slave of Christ, we need to understand our previous slavery to sin - a universal reality".  The ugliness of sin that pervades the lives the unregenerate is such that it is completely blinding.  The promise of satisfaction that sin makes ultimately ends in condemnation.  "The astonishing reality is that even if the sinner could change the condition of his heart - which Scripture teaches is impossible (Jer. 13:23) - no unbeliever would ever will to do so".  But God..."in saving us from sin, God initiated and accomplished everything".  As MacArthur titles chapter nine; Saved from Sin, Slaved by Grace.

The book then shifts to the worship inspiring truth that the Christian moves from slave to son because of "the marvellous doctrine of adoption".  "The incomparable reality of adoption is this: If God is our master, then He is also our Father".

Slave closes by highlighting four compelling paradoxes; slavery brings freedom, slavery ends prejudice, slavery magnifies grace, and slavery pictures salvation.  It ends the way it began - asking a question, what does it mean to be a Christian?  

"The gospel message is not simply a plan of salvation; it is a call to embrace the person of salvation.  And He is both Savior and Lord; the two cannot be separated.  To truly come to Christ is to willingly surrender your heart, mind, and will - the whole person - to the Master..."He is the demanding Lord as well as the delivering Savior"".

Slave; The hidden Truth About Your Identity In Christ is an excellent book for many reasons.  But one reason stands far above any other.  It magnifies Jesus, our Lord and Christ!  I am certain that was the goal.  I am equally certain it was accomplished.  When I closed it's pages for the last time, I thought of those two little words at the end of the subtitle - In Christ.  What a glorious place to be, and all "to the praise of His glorious grace" (Eph. 1).

Love in the Truth.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes by the publisher.