A Shot of Encouragement

A Blessed House

God has used the Scriptural teaching of three men to build the four walls of my theological house.

I have learned a LOT from the pen of saints now with the Lord, but the following are men whose hands are still at the plow.

The Lord used John MacArthur to build the first two walls, both of which are about the Bible. If I had to distinguish, I might say the first wall was about the AUTHORITY of the Bible and the second wall holds up the SUFFICIENCY of the Bible.

Then from that Bible, the Lord used John Piper (and his pointing to Jonathan Edwards) to show how truth is not complete apart from AFFECTIONS, the third wall. We must know God and LOVE God. I had gotten stuck in the doctrine without the delight, both as a Christian in my relationship with God and as a husband and pastor with my people.

And for the fourth wall the Lord used Douglas Wilson to demonstrate from the Bible that truth and affections WILL come out of our fingertips. For all that I knew about the importance of truth and love, I missed that truth and love ought to be EMBODIED. All that God says is good is GOOD, to be received with thanks (rather than avoided with suspicion) and to be stewarded with urgency and diligence (rather than excusing inactivity because “it’s all going to burn.”)

Mine is a blessed house.

If you read all the above and it was interesting to you (ha), you might enjoy this podcast where there’s related discussion.

A Shot of Encouragement

All Are Yours – the Podcast

“Do not start a podcast.”

This is the message of the world. Or at least it came from separate but united sources on the internet.

Which is fine, because I don’t really like podcasts.

Plus I don’t want to start a podcast.

Then my friend used some (other) of my arguments against me.

So, here we are.

A Shot of Encouragement


Sitzfleisch is the word I needed that I didn’t know I needed.

I saw it last week in a list from Ryan Holiday of keys to being a more disciplined person.

“Stay in the saddle

There’s an old German word sitzfleisch which means basically sitting your butt in the chair and not getting up until the task is complete.

Many a great conqueror in the days of horseback were called “Old Iron Ass” for their ability to stay in the saddle.”

It reminded me of an anecdote I’ve heard John MacArthur give a number of times about the key to being a better preacher.

“A young man said to me, ‘What is the– ‘ and he was kind of starry-eyed, and I’m sure he expected some spiritual esoteric answer. He said, ‘What is the real key to great preaching?’ I said, ‘Well, it’s the ability to keep your rear end in the chair till you understand the text.'”

Sitzfleisch = butt in chair

A Shot of Encouragement

The Golden Rule of Reading

The “Golden Rule of Reading” – however you want others to read what you’ve written, so read what they’ve written. At least start by considering their claims to be true. This isn’t immature, it’s loving. Love believes all things, it doesn’t doubt all things.

This applies to all sorts of material, but maybe most to what has been written in Scripture. At least when starting out:

Read carefully, not assumingely.

Read charitably, not critically.

Read acceptingly, not suspiciously.

For even more mental marination, Joe Rigney wrote “Do Unto Authors – Four Principles for Reading Well” in which he talks about Golden Rule Interpretation.

And with confirmation from Isaac Watts in 1741:

“Lastly, remember that you treat every author, writer, or speaker, just as you yourselves would be willing to be treated by others, who are searching out the meaning of what you write or speak.”

On the Improvement of the Mind
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A Clear and Concise Demonstration of the Divine Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures

John Wesley wrote “A Clear and Concise Demonstration of the Divine Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures” in 1789. It’s GOOD.

“I beg leave to propose a short, clear, and strong argument to prove the divine inspiration of the holy Scripture.

The Bible must be the invention either of good men or angels, bad men or devils, or of God.

  1. It could not be the invention of good men or angels; for they neither would nor could make a book, and tell lies all the time they were writing it, saying, ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ when it was their own invention.
  2. It could not be the invention of bad men or devils; for they would not make a book which commands all duty, forbids all sin, and condemns their souls to hell to all eternity.
  3. Therefore, I draw this conclusion, that the Bible must be given by divine inspiration.”

Based on what is in the Bible, the Bible is TRUE/right or FALSE/wrong, it can’t be just a “good” book.

A Shot of Encouragement

Light Doesn’t Need Handcuffs on Darkness

Great quote on the power of Truth in the public square from John Milton’s Areopagitica in 1644:

Who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter? … [Truth] needs no policies, nor stratagems, nor licensings to make her victorious; those are the shifts and the defenses that error uses against her power: give her but room, and do not bind her when she sleeps.

A Shot of Encouragement

Recognize and Resist Wicked Rulers Day

Today is September 28. It’s a good day to read Proverbs 28. Maybe the wise should call the 28th Recognize and Resist Wicked Rulers Day.

The wicked flee when no one pursues,
(Proverbs 28:1)

When a land transgresses, it has many rulers,
but with a man of understanding and knowledge,
its stability will long continue.
(Proverbs 28:2)

Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
(Proverbs 28:4)

When the righteous triumph, there is great glory,
but when the wicked rise, people hide themselves.
(Proverbs 28:12)

Like a roaring lion or a charging bear
is a wicked ruler over a poor people.
(Proverbs 28:15)

A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor,
but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.
(Proverbs 28:16)

When the wicked rise, people hide themselves,
but when they perish, the righteous increase.
(Proverbs 28:28)

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Business 300

I don’t always listen to podcasts, but when I do, it’s mostly from people whose thoughts I care about. The Contraratics have been at it for a few years, the Hauling Off ladies are going to keep at it, and here’s a new addition from one of the men at our church, Business 300 by Philip Kulishov. His “300” is his commitment to make his episodes 300 seconds or less, which brings him under the five minute mark. If you’re a listener, listen up.

A Shot of Encouragement

Learning in Wartime – the DEFINITIVE YouTube Edition

I put a link to this in my convocation notes, but it needs its own call-out. For what it’s worth, I actually searched for an online reading of “Learning in Wartime” before my first college Greek class of the year, but wasn’t satisfied with what I found so I read the whole thing myself. Glenn posted this the next day. I’ll be sharing this link with others in the future.

Glenn does a great job reading this great address. Glenn has also read/recorded Kuyper’s Lectures on Calvinism and he’s made a version of Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos (with permission) as well.

It also turns out that the artwork he used for this recording is an image he made as our church studied through the Apocalypse under the theme of “Just Conquer.”

Listen to this. Bookmark it. And comb your hair.

A Shot of Encouragement

Built of Very Different Stone

Abraham Kuyper on the chosen and precious foundation of our churches:

Your church is then a colony of heaven living on the earth. It has its own autonomous existence, resting on its own foundation; it is constructed in its own unique style; it is built of very different stone than those offered by the mines of the world; and in its state and organization it depends not on the laws of nature, nor on the legislation of earthly lawmakers, but only on the law of life of its divine founder.

On the Church, p. 323, emphasis added; think also of 1 Peter 2:4-5