John Adams and Two Kingdom Prayers

McCullough on Adams worship while traveling in Europe
At Rotterdam, on a Sunday, attending services at an English Church, they listened as the English preacher prayed that “a certain king” might have “health and long life and that his enemies might not prevail against him.” Praying silently on his own, Adams asked that George III “be brought to consideration and repentance and to do justice to his enemies and to all the world.” (p. 244)

VanDrunen on prayer
If the minister prays for the peace and prosperity of America, this Christian from a foreign land should have no difficulty saying “amen,” since Scripture straightforwardly instructs believers to pray in this manner (e.g., see Jer. 29:7; 1 Tim. 2:1-2) and surely no Christian should wish war and poverty upon fellow believers anywhere in the world. Likewise, if the minister prays for a just resolution to an international dispute in which America is involved, this Christian should also be abel to repsond with “amen,” for what Christian would not wish justice to be done everywhere in the world?

But now we might imagine that the minister prays for America’s victory in an international dispute or that the congregation is asked to sing a patriotic American song after the sermon (perhaps this Christian just happens to visit America on Fourth of July weekend). What if her own native country is the one having the dispute with America, and her own livelihood and security are at stake? What if she feels patriotic sentiments for her own country and has no interest in expressing patriotism for America? She would be unable to yield her “amen” to such proceedings, and this would be perfectly understandable – just as understandable as an American worshiping in a Russian church and feeling disinclined to pray for the triumph of Russian foreign policy or to sing patriotic Russian songs. When we are immersed in our own culture and own national interests, it is often difficult to realize how often we attach the church’s identity to a national or ethnic identity, and hence betray the spirituality of the church. The scenarios that I have imagined might cause us to pause and to reflect upon how the church can do better at living as thought there really is no Jew, Greek, Barbarian, or Scythian within its walls. (p. 149-50)

Reflections on the Iowa Caucus

As they were related to me from Concord & Garfield Townships of Hancock County:
Gingrich: 25%
Santorum: 22%
Paul & Romney: 18% (tie)
Perry & Bachman: 8-10% (tie)

For the entire state:
Romney: 25%
Santorum: 25%
Paul: 21%
Gingrich: 13%

If Gingrich is taken out of the front runner position, the results look much closer to the state’s overall results. I wonder how much of Gingrich’s positioning is the result of a dinner & speech event he held at Mason City, IA (20 min. away) several weeks ago. Clearly, the two townships represented at this caucus were just slightly out of step with the rest of the state. It will interesting to see how Iowa, and Hancock county more specifically, matches up to New Hampshire and national primary votes for the GOP candidate. Continue reading

Tim Keller on How Satisfaction with Jesus Fuels Marriage


“The simple fact is that only if I love Jesus more than my wife will I be able to serve her needs ahead of my own. Only if my emotional tank is filled with love from God will I be able to be patient, faithful, tender, and open with my wife when things are not going well in life or in the relationship. And the more joy I get from my relationship with Christ, the more I can share that joy with my wife and family.”

The Meaning of Marriage, p. 124
(HT: Alex Leung)

Dabney’s 7 Points for Preaching

R. L. Dabney

T. David Gordon’s Why Johnny Can’t Preach is responsible for bringing R.L. Dabney’s (1820 – 98) 7 “cardinal requisites” back on my radar. I’m generally against “New Year’s Resolutions” as being far too American and theologia gloriae (wink, wink), but I do hope to reflect more proactively to my own preaching in light of Dabney’s requisites for the year to come.

When I first read these, I was surprised to see nothing about “Christ-centered,” “redemptive historical,” etc. Now, I would suggest that Dabney is getting more at preaching method than content. Thoughts? Without further ado, then, the 7 “cardinal requisites:”

1. Textual Fidelity
“Since the mind of God is disclosed in Scripture, the sermon must be entirely faithful to the text-a genuine exposition of the particular thought of a particular text.”

2. Unity
“Unity requires two things. The speaker must, first, have one main subject of discourse, to which he adheres with supreme reference throughout. But this is not enough. He must, second, propose to himself one definite impression on the hearer’s soul, to the making of which everything in the sermon is bent.” Continue reading

A Prayer for the New Year

You have been our shelter Lord, to every generation

From everlasting to everlasting, you are God

You make known the ends from the beginnings

All the days of our lives are written in your book

Because You do not change, O God, we are not consumed

You show steadfast love, to those who trust in You, for a thousand generations

In this new year, O Lord, we seek you and your Kingdom

Therefore, we will not worry, or be anxious, for anything

In this new year, O God, we will receive all things from Your Fatherly hand

Therefore, we will not grumble, or complain, but receive all things, with hope, and gratitude

We will not make plans on our own, but only as You will

For Jesus sake, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, Amen.