Thursday, December 21, 2006

Love for the Local Church

I love the local church. Ever since I became a member at the First Baptist Church in Athens, Ohio, my understanding and appreciation for the local church has grown and changed. But it was in reading Don Whitney's book Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church that I was given a fresh love for this God-ordained institution.

The local church was set up by God to fulfill many important roles in the life of the believer. In this particular work Dr. Whitney has not only argued Biblically and cogently for membership in the local church, but he has written in such a way so as to implant a delight in the church in his readers. The church is our spiritual friend, this is so because the church is the people of God (not a building). With Biblical support, direct questioning, example stories, and his own personal love for the church Whitney has written a book that every Christian should read. I commend it to all pastors specifically: Read this book that you may not only understand and live out this love for the local church, but that you may infect your people with it too.

Love the local church, because Christ loves the local Church!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Why Baptism?

It is all too often assumed that Baptism is an unimportant issue, the icing on the cake which can be left off for a perfectly fine dessert. Such, however, is not the case. Over the next few posts I hope to expound upon the importance of baptism, but for the time being let me simply list what are some of the key reasons for being baptized once you have professed faith in Christ.

- It is a testimony of obedience to Jesus' command
- It is identification with Christ
- It is confirmation of the church that they beleive you to be saved
- It is a public profession of faith
- It is the comitment to the community of faith
- It is an assertion of belief in the Trinity
- It is an Evangelistic Witness

Each of these points I hope to expound in upcoming posts but dwell on them now and consider more carefully what it means to be a baptized believer.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Special News from the Dunham Home

I can hardly beleive it. My wife could not have given me a better birthday gift. It was 4:30 in the morning, and I was coming home from work. The lights were all out in our house and I was trying my best to be quiest, so as not to wake my slumberign wife. Suddenly the bathroom light came on and there she stood in the middle of the hallway wide awake.

"I have something to tell you," she said.
Thoughts went racing through my brain about all the possible bad news that I was about to hear. Someone was in the hospital, or someone had died, or we had been robbed, or some other horrific event was all I could think of. But I could not have been more wrong. She came bounding down the hallway with something behind her back. I was relieved to see it was not bad news as the smile spread across her face. Slowly out from behind her back she pulled a pregnancy test revealing the wonderful news: We're pregnant!

It's amazing, wonderful news. After a year and a half of trying, facing frustration and disappointment, seeing infertility specialists the Lord has finally seen fit to grant us a child. Soon I will be someone's daddy! The Lord has been so gracious to my family, and has taught us much. But in continually He reveals Himself to be the good God who not only saved me from the wrath and hell I deserve as a sinner before Him, but one who also gives good gifts throughout this life.

Rejoice with us friends, and pray for us as we await the arrival of this new addition to the Dunham family.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Design in the Spotlight

Why are you reading this? Were you destined to or did you choose to? A recent Sony Pictures film puts design in the spotlight and does a spectacular job.

In "Stranger than Fiction" Will Ferrell play IRS auditor Harold Crick who begins to hear the narration of his own life. He is the only one who can hear this narration, which of course makes for great comedy, and so he is the only one who hears that he will soon die. Both comedy and drama ensue.

What's unique about this film is not its comedy, or romance, or even drama for that matter, however. Even the story might be suggested as older than it first appears. But what is distinct about "Stranger than Fiction" is its applaud of design. In a culutre of autonomy and self-reliance a genius comedy that welcomes design as that which gives purpose to life is certainly unique.

The movie is by far the best comedy of 2006, Ferrell's best performance ever, and a breath of fresh air for Christians. It is adult content. The film is a dark comedy (death is the subject) and there are a few rather disturbing scenes of death (though not gore or even blood, completely clean). And there is one scene with a collection of old men's naked butts. Unless by principle you can't see those I urge, along with Marvin Olasky, that all Christians see this wonderful film and join in the applause of design (all the while remembering who that designer is).

After the film has been out of theatres I may write more on it. I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone.