Thought on 2 Peter 1:3 

"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence"
> 2 Peter 1:3

In a few verses after this, verses five through seven, Peter states essentially that as a result of the work of God to reconcile us to Himself, we are to supplement our faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with steadfastness, steadfastness with godliness, godliness with brotherly kindness, and brotherly kindness with love. However, we cannot simply press in to obtain these qualities by our own power and strength. It is not possible. Jesus made this very clear. "Apart from Me, you can do nothing." We are corrupted in our nature and we must have something externally come in and change us. And not only is it not possible for us to morally reform ourselves and thus make these virtues our own, but if we pursue it in that fashion (as if it were possible), it is extremely dangerous and we stumble, as it were, over the stumbling block, that is Christ. This is what the Pharisees were guilty of. It is called self-righteousness, and it not only does nothing to profit you in your pursuit of holiness, but rather it stifles you. In addition to that, it is offensive to God Himself that anyone would suppose they could stand on their own moral merits, which simply amount to filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)! For anyone to even suppose that man has even a slight hint of any righteousness within him after the fall is pure arrogance, an idea itself resulting from the fall.

So what must we do to obtain these qualities? "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence." God Himself, through the death and resurrection of Christ has granted to us, His children, all things that pertain to life and godliness, including those virtues mentioned in verses five through seven. In Christ they are already ours! Fall empty handed before the Lord, laying out all of your ways, confessing each and every sin you are aware of, casting off your supposed righteousness and moral deeds, being honest with Him about your short-comings, failures, and the sin that so easy entangles you, and cling to His cross where cleansing and forgiveness for your wicked deeds may be found. Coming empty handed before the sovereign Lord, being honest about your estate before the Lord, that you are a desperately wicked sinner, morally bankrupt, look to Christ, the Author and Perfector of your faith, because in Him, you are completed morally because His perfect obedience and righteousness has now been credited to your eternal account.

In emptying yourself of yourself, lay hold of Christ and His perfect work, because in Him are all the delights and joy that nothing in all of creation can deliver. Sex, money, power, these things pail in comparison to the delight, joy, pure satisfaction that can be found in the One that all other earthly joys, delights and satisfaction are dependent upon. How much greater is His satisfaction compared to the satisfaction in His created things? Beloved, we have been granted all things pertaining to life and godliness; they are ours in Christ. Look to Christ alone who is alive right now and cares for you; see His arms stretched out on the cross, pierced as they were by nails, where He experienced the wrath you deserved in Him and look to His work on the cross where He purchased your redemption by His blood and know that in Him and His work, you have nothing else you can possibly offer. What more could we possibly offer to God as a payment for our sins than the sacrifice of His own Son? Again, I repeat, you have nothing else you can ever offer this holy and just God than what Christ has already offered to God on your behalf, namely the sacrifice of Himself. He is our great High Priest who forever lives to intercede for us. So simply fall on your face in wonder at this gift of righteousness, Jesus Christ, and that by His strength, not your own, you can possess these qualities spoken of in verses five through seven. Spend time in communion with this great and glorious God and contemplate this majestic work on your behalf, for those of you who believe in Christ. There is none like Him.
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The Heart of the Calvinism Debate: Monergism vs. Synergism 


(Image courtesy of Monergism.com)

Even though I could go through and give arguments for each of the five points, I believe this is much more helpful. This debate cuts directly through to the core of the matter. Many believers who know and love Christ disagree on Calvinism and its tenets, but the heart of the debate can be summed up in the debate between the theological system of monergism and synergism and nothing more. Though these may seem like high and lofty words, used merely by scholars to define doctrinal systems, just bear with me for a moment because these concepts are not difficult at all: synergism is essentially the idea that "faith arises out of an inherent capacity of the natural man," (Hendryx) or in other terms, that faith is produced by our unregenerated (i.e. sin bound) human nature, that man cooperates with God in salvation and more specifically in regeneration; and monergism is the idea that God alone does the work in salvation, having provided everything necessary to save His people, and that our faith in Christ is simply the result of a newly regenerated heart. Or simply put in a question format, does man cooperate with God in salvation, or is it God's work alone? When two people hear the Gospel, why does one person believe while another doesn't? Your answer to these questions reveals your system of doctrines on the nature of God, man, sin, election, regeneration, faith, justification, sanctification, as well as many other doctrines. And though many think these two opposing concepts to be mere hair-splitting over theological differences, these really do have larger ramifications in the areas of personal sanctification, evangelism, prayer, ministry philosophy, teaching/preaching, and many other areas. This is indeed a very important debate and much is at stake for the Gospel and ultimately God's glory. And the main question we must answer is, what does the Word of God teach concerning these things?

Here I've listed what I feel are some very important articles addressing this subject with substantial Scripture references, and I ask you to take some time and read them, study the Scriptures mentioned, and determine it for yourself. I really do believe (speaking from experience of course) that once you understand and see that monergism is the more Biblical of the two positions, you will be drawn deeper into worship of the Almighty God, and stand in awe at your own unworthiness and His great might, power, and mercy to save His people from the consequences of sin and reconcile them to Himself (the latter being the greatest of all the blessings of salvation).

Two Views of Regeneration (A Very Helpful Chart)
Monergism vs. Synergism - John Hendryx
The Work of the Trinity in Monergism - John Hendryx
Monergism - Synergism Debate - Hendryx vs. Moser
Responding to Critics of Monergism - Hendryx
Regeneration Precedes Faith - R.C. Sproul
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A Quote from a Very Famous Edwards Sermon ... 

This is an excerpt from Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards. I think Edwards does an excellent, truthful, poetic, Scriptural job of summing up the destiny of all men apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit to bring us to faith Christ. As difficult as it is to swallow, it is simply the mere sovereign pleasure, power, and mercy of God that holds any wrath-deserving sinner living outside of Christ from falling into eternal condemnation forever. How patient and merciful is this great God who bears with wicked sinners who spit on His name day after day in their words and actions, who take for granted all that He sovereignly blesses them with? Thank God for Christ, that He underwent this very torment and was indeed cut off from the land of the living on the cross, experiencing the wrath of God Himself for the sake of His people, to rescue them from this awful, terrifying eternal torment. Praise God that whosoever believes in Him should not perish and experience this awful plight forever, but rather that they may have everlasting life to dwell before this great and powerful God forever.

"The use of this awful subject may be for awakening unconverted persons in this congregation. This that you have heard is the case of every one of you that are out of Christ.-That world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone, is extended abroad under you. There is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God; there is hell's wide gaping mouth open; and you have nothing to stand upon, nor any thing to take hold of, there is nothing between you and hell but the air; it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up.

You probably are not sensible of this; you find you are kept out of hell, but do not see the hand of God in it; but look at other things, as the good state of your bodily constitution, your care of your own life, and the means you use for your own preservation. But indeed these things are nothing; if God should withdraw his band, they would avail no more to keep you from falling, than the thin air to hold up a person that is suspended in it.

Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider's web would have to stop a falling rock."

"And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open, and stands in calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; a day wherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God. Many are daily coming from the east, west, north and south; many that were very lately in the same miserable condition that you are in, are now in a happy state, with their hearts filled with love to him who has loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood, and rejoicing in hope of the glory of God. How awful is it to be left behind at such a day! To see so many others feasting, while you are pining and perishing! To see so many rejoicing and singing for joy of heart, while you have cause to mourn for sorrow of heart, and howl for vexation of spirit! How can you rest one moment in such a condition?"

The entire sermon can be found here:
http://www.jonathanedwards.com/sermons/ ... inners.htm
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Recovering Data Off of a Hard Drive with Knoppix 

I found this posted out on the net about how to copy data from one drive to another using Knoppix. I have simply copied and pasted the information from this link: http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/l ... knopx.html

To download the ISO file for Knoppix (that you then burn to a CD), go here > www.knoppix.net


Getting started



If you want to run KDE or any other graphical desktop or window manager, you'll want at least 96 MB of RAM and a Pentium equivalent or better. In text mode, without X, it needs 20 MB to be happy and will even run on an old 486. It will use your existing Linux swap file.


Boot options



After booting up the Knoppix CD, it will pause at a command prompt for 30 seconds, then continue booting. There are a large number of boot options; hit F2 to see them. For example, this is how I boot Knoppix 3.2 on one of my test systems:

knoppix lang=us knoppix wheelmouse knoppix desktop=icewm

The default keyboard mapping is German, so I always boot with knoppix lang=us. By default, Knoppix boots to the KDE desktop. knoppix 2 boots to text mode, without starting X. failsafe starts up with minimal hardware detection.

Knoppix runs entirely in memory, or if you want to sound "leet," in a ramdisk. In fact you can see the ramdisk in the file tree. Remember, sometimes it will be slow, because it must fetch executables from the CD, which is slower than a hard drive. It can be installed to a hard disk, but that is a topic for another day.


Rescuing a non-booting Linux system



This is the most common scenario. Something goes haywire, and boom, no boot. No problem: boot up Knoppix and find all your local partitions nicely iconicized on the KDE desktop. (Or cruise the file tree to /mnt.) Click on the correct icon, and there are all your files. But they are wisely mounted read-only. Again, no problem: right-click the desktop icon to bring up a nice menu with a "Change read/write mode" option. This mounts the filesystem on the partition as read/write. Now you can edit any file.

The default user is knoppix. For operations that require root privileges, you need to su to root and assign a root password:

knoppix@ttyp0[knoppix]# su
root@ttyp0[knoppix]# passwd

To mount a filesystem read/write from the command line:

root@ttyp0[knoppix]# mount -t reiserfs -o rw /dev/hda5 /mnt/hda5

To unmount:

root@ttyp0[knoppix]# umount /mnt/hda5

If you get an error message "Could not unmount device, device is busy," something is reading the filesystem. Close files and cd out of the filesystem.

How do you know what mountpoint and filesystem to specify? Just read /etc/fstab:

root@ttyp0[knoppix]# cat /etc/fstab
...
# Added by Knoppix
/dev/hda5 /mnt/hda5 reiserfs noauto,users,exec 0 0


Hardware detection



Before going on a mad config file editing spree, it often pays to examine hardware information. Knoppix excels at this, as it has the latest editions of Linux's excellent hardware and system utilities: fdisk, lspci, iwconfig, ifconfig, dmesg, /proc, and so forth. (Checking hardware information is also handy for testing a system for Linux compatibility before you buy it. Sound cards, softmodems, and wireless NICs are especially troublesome; manufacturers often change the chipsets without changing the model numbers, and you need to know the chipsets to determine if Linux drivers are available. The Knoppix CD also contains a number of sound files, for quick sound testing, starting with "OpenMusic" on the welcome screen.)

* fdisk -l displays all partitions on all hard drives.
* lspci -v gives detailed information about every device and chipset connected to the PCI bus.
* cat /proc/cpuinfo tells exactly what CPU is installed.
* ifconfig displays, and also manipulates, network interface settings. Most commonly Ethernet cards and ppp, the modem interface.
* iwconfig is like ifconfig, but for wireless network cards.
* dmesg is interesting. man dmesg isn't all that helpful if you're not a kernel hacker. Just using dmesg | grep <device> is a useful troubleshooting and system discovery tool. To see everything, run dmesg with no options.

And of course KDE provides a nice GUI to see all this; go to System > Info Center.


Rescuing data files



Usually the first rescue chore is to copy data files off of the troubled drive. This is my favorite method when there are large numbers of files to copy: install a second hard drive, then boot Knoppix, then copy files from the old disk to the new disk. Even if you don't have nice hot-swappable drives or removable drive cages, it takes just a couple of minutes to pop the case open and hook one up. Do you have a brand new blank drive, or an old one that needs to be wiped clean and reformatted? No problem, do the disk preparation from Knoppix.


Partitioning and formatting



First, install the second hard drive. Then boot Knoppix and open a root shell. If there are partitions already on the second disk, simply re-format whatever ones you need. Note that SCSI drives are designated sd, while IDE drives are hd. This command displays the existing disk partitions; be sure to use values appropriate for your system:

root@ttyp0[knoppix]# fdisk -l /dev/hdb

To format a disk partition:

root@ttyp0[knoppix]# mkfs.ext2 -c /dev/hdb1

This creates a plain-vanilla ext2 filesystem. -c checks for bad blocks. Of course, you can make it anything you like: ext3, ReiserFS, whatever:

root@ttyp0[knoppix]# mke2fs -j -c /dev/hdb1
root@ttyp0[knoppix]# mkreiserfs /dev/hdb1

What, no partitions? First, here's how to create them the command-line way, with fdisk. It's medium-safe to futz with fdisk, as changes are not written to disk until you give the command to do so. So, you can try different options and preview the partition table before committing to any changes. This sequence of commands creates a single partition:

root@ttyp0[knoppix]# fdisk /dev/hdb

Type "m" at any time to display a table of fdisk commands. Then, type "n" to create a new partition. Now, type "p" to create a primary partition. Hit Enter twice to accept the defaults. Or, if you don't want to use the whole disk, hit Enter once to accept the default starting point, then select the size you want:

+1000M

Hit "p" at any time to preview the new partition table. When everything looks good, press "w" to write the changes to disk. By default, fdisk creates a "type 83" partition, which means Linux. To see a list of partition types, press "l". To change the partition type, hit "t". Want to delete a partition? Easy as pie: press "d" and follow the prompts.


QTParted



Even easier is firing up KDE and using QTParted (System > QTParted). QTParted creates, deletes, and non-destructively moves and resizes partitions (even NTFS). So, you can make room to copy your data without losing anything.


Copying files the GUI way



I like graphical file managers. It's a lot simpler to drag and drop than to type out long command strings. Click on the icons on the KDE desktop that represent your source drive and the drive you want to copy them to. Each one opens in its own file manager, for fast and easy drag and drop. Be sure to make the destination drive writeable.


Copying files at the command line



Remember to create a directory to move files into:

# mkdir /mnt/hdb1/home/carla/backup
# cp -r /mnt/hda5/home/carla /mnt/hdb1/home/carla/backup


Cloning an entire drive



You'll need two hard drives the same size, or a destination drive larger than the source drive. Make sure no partitions are mounted on either drive. In this example /dev/hda is the source drive, /dev/hdb is the destination drive. The dd command makes an exact, byte-for-byte copy, including the MBR (master boot record):

# dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdb


Mounting confusion



Are you losing track of what's mounted, and in what state? No problem, here comes /proc to the rescue:
# cat /proc/mounts

This displays all mounted filesystems, the filesystem types, read/write status, and other attributes. How many hard drives are on the system? One of these will tell you (and remember, SCSI drives are sd, IDE are hd):

# fdisk -l

or

# dmesg | grep hd

or

# dmesg | grep sd


Copying to CD



KDE and Knoppix make this easy. Assuming there is a CD writer on the system, simply right-click on the desktop icon for the partition containing your files, and you will see "Create Data CD with K3b." Do File > New Project, drag and drop the files you want to copy, and there you go. K3b is very good at autodetecting and autoconfiguring your CD drives; it should do it all for you. If something goes awry, please refer to the developerWorks article "Burning CDs on Linux", which also teaches how to burn CDs from the command line.


Copying to other media



Zip drives, floppy disks, and USB storage devices will be automatically recognized by Knoppix, and icons will be placed on the desktop. Simply make the drive you want to copy files to writeable, then drag and drop until it's all done.


Copying over the network



You can configure Knoppix to connect to a network, just like any other Linux. Knoppix has its own graphical configuration utility: on the main menu find Knoppix > Network/Internet. Again Knoppix's excellent hardware detection comes into play; it even works on wireless NICs (assuming it's a wireless NIC that is supported in Linux!). Simply answer a series of questions, and you're done.

It's just as easy from the command line. As root, run:

# netcardconfig

Once your network settings are configured, there are several options for transferring files. cp is fine for locally mounted filesystems. Copying files over an untrusted network should be done with scp (secure copy), and in fact Knoppix won't let you use anything else. scp uses ssh for encrypted file transfer and lets you move files without setting up NFS or Samba. You'll need an ssh server running somewhere on the network to receive the files. This command copies an entire directory:

# scp -rp /mnt/hda5/home/carla 192.168.1.5:/home/carla/tmp


SSH quickstart



What, you have no ssh server? If you really do not yet have ssh installed, here is a quick-start guide to running SSH. But before using it for even routine remote administration tasks, you should study ssh in more depth. Note also that there have been a number of important security patches issued recently.

OpenSSH comes with all major Linux distributions, and yours should already have it. (To find out, type locate sshd.) If not, download and install it. It doesn't need to be on a special machine; any Linux PC can run SSH. Start it up like so:

# /etc/init.d/ssh start

Then, all you need is for the same user to have accounts on both machines. Using root is easiest, but potentially dangerous. And, of course, you can create user accounts on Knoppix as needed, with useradd and passwd. Then run the scp command as in the example above, and there you go.

The first time you connect, you'll get a "The authenticity of host X can't be established...are you sure you want to continue connecting?" message. Answer "yes." It will ask for the root password of the SSH server, and then you're home free. To move files as a non-root user:

# scp -rp /mnt/hda5/home/carla carla@192.168.1.5:/home/carla/tmp


Open a root shell on the host system



This lets you operate on the host system, as though you were logged into it directly. Identify the partition the host system is on, then open a Knoppix root shell and mount it:

root@ttyp0[knoppix]# mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/hda1
root@ttyp0[knoppix]# chroot /mnt/hda1
root@Knoppix:/
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Redefining Christianity: Understanding the Purpose-Driven Movement 

"What in the world could possibly be wrong with the Purpose-Driven movement approach to the Gospel?"

On the surface, Rick Warren's approach seems so nice and palatable. I mean isn't it a good thing that so many people are going to these really large churches by the thousands? So what could possibly be wrong with the Seeker-Sensitive approach and ministry philosophy of this movement? Well from a biblical standpoint, there is no true seeker of God and who He is. This movement has been labeled "Seeker-Sensitive," and yet there are no true seekers of God. No one wants to approach God on God's terms, it's always on their terms, unless God opens their hearts and minds to see Christ and His sufficiency. Otherwise, left to themselves, all men would continue in a state of rebellion straight to the eternal wrath of God. What does Scripture say about man and his moral state? In Romans 3:10-18 it says of all men, both Jew and Gentile, "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." What a radical indictment against man. Sounds harsh, but this is the reality of how bad we are, even if we don't want to hear it. 1 Corinthians 1:18 states in no uncertain terms, "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." In Ephesians 2:3, Paul clearly shows that our nature before regeneration and conversion was that we "were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind." All men are by nature objects of wrath. God isn't just hateful (in a wrathful way) toward the sin of the sinner, but outside of Christ, He hates those very people who do iniquity (Psalm 5:5). He wants nothing to do with those who reject Him (which is exactly what Christ will say to many on the last day: "Away from Me, I never knew you").

Warren and others like him will not use the type of language the Scriptures use because it is offensive to the world (i.e. it might make them hate us), which is why so many droves of people are going to his church and others like his. I am always very leary of large movements within the church where thousands upon thousands, and millions upon millions go after a few people bringing up "new" language and ideas. The whole Purpose-Driven/Seeker-Sensitive movement seems to be a people-pleasing movement within the church that doesn't want to "offend" and turn people away with such "harsh" words and phrases as wrath, sin, judgment, hell, lake of fire, and outer darkness because that would turn people away. Where is the confidence in the message of the pure Gospel though? Who is it that actually converts people? Who is it that convicts the sinner of their plight? Is not God alone? And this is where we get down to what the Purpose-Driven movement believes theologically: synergism. At a fundamental level, they essentially believe that there is within man an island of righteousness left after the fall, left untouched by sin, where man still has the ability to turn to God without any prior regeneration. But this semi-pelagianism is error and was officially condemned by the church back in 529 AD at the Council of Orange. We must recover monergistic, Biblical preaching and teaching of the Gospel (that it is God alone who first regenerates the sinner that gives rise to the sinners' faith in Christ), with all its hard edges and difficult Biblical language, or else sacrifice the very thing that will actually save people from the wrath of God: the Gospel itself spoken through the Word of God.

If our preaching of the Gospel doesn't make the world (i.e. unbelievers) uncomfortable and hate us even (as Jesus Himself said would happen to believers who preach His Gospel) then could there be something wrong with our preaching and teaching? If we're not using Biblical language to describe the nature of God, man, sin, justice, wrath, the cross, atonement, resurrection, repentance, grace, mercy, salvation, then what other language can be used? Worldly language, language that is not of God, but is from man. What is left of the Gospel if we strip these difficult truths down to where the unregenerate, unbelieving world can swallow them? They are then not receiving the Biblical truth of man's plight but a man generated philosophy that exalts man's condition to not be nearly as bad as the Bible speaks of it. Is this movement not stripping the essential message of the Gospel of its power and content by making people feel good about themselves in their natural state of sin and wickedness? Could it be they have fallen victim to the liberal notion of political correctness to where it has now infiltrated the most essential, most important message in the history of man, the Gospel? The Gospel is an offensive message to man, it is folly to the world, because it means we must admit our fallenness, our sinfulness, that the deserved punishment of that sin is eternal hell, but then believing ( and that itself by the power of God through the message of the Gospel) that Christ came, lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and rose from the grave, that anyone who believes in Him will have the wrath of God turned away, and that the righteousness Christ earned would be credited to their account. The Gospel is an offensive message to those who are perishing (and yet we still preach it to all), but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God unto salvation. And so we preach the Gospel, using Scripture itself as the thrust of our message.

Bob DeWaay, in this series of messages on the Purpose-Driven movement, does an excellent job of laying out how they are redefining Christianity from its historical, Biblical context to fit the needs of the modern cultural "seeker".

Rick Warren (MP3)
Seeker Sensitive (MP3)
Do Methods Matter (MP3)
Redefining Vision (MP3)
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Two-Tiered Internet? 

Web inventor warns of 'dark' net - BBC.co.uk

"Recent attempts in the US to try to charge for different levels of online access web were not 'part of the internet model,' [Sir Tim] said in Edinburgh"

"'What's very important from my point of view is that there is one web.'"

"'Anyone that tries to chop it into two will find that their piece looks very boring.'"

I can't believe (well actually I can) companies would even conceive of such an idea, but apparently there are telecom companies within the US who desire this to become a reality. This would essentially involve a split in the internet where there would be two separate networks, one called the "open web" and the other known as the "private, stifled web" (as I call it). Sir Tim, the inventor of the concept of the web, highly advises companies against such a notion, and states this was never "part of the internet model".

If this concept becomes a reality, it would make it to where telecom companies providing internet access to consumers would charge their customers a fee for access to certain sites (such as streaming video sites), thus limiting what you can access. The reason for this thinking is because of the massive proliferation of streaming media on the net such as TV shows and other high-bandwidth video streams. If there are a ton of people streaming shows at the same time, this can cause excess strain on the backbone of the access providers networks. And so to limit the amount of data being downloaded, they are considering making customers pay for access to certain sites as well as certain types of media. I really hope it does not come to that, mainly because it will stifle any further evolution of the internet into something even better than what it is now. There is legislation currently being introduced to keep this from ever happening (man I hope it passes), but for the sake of profit, there will always be forces attempting to stifle progress.

Maybe the telecom companies need to catch up with the times and either create larger backbone pipes or install more pipes than they currently have in order to diversify the traffic so that it is not all coming down the same few pipes? I don't know, it seems like they could work out some better kind of data-flow architecture instead of making people pay for access to certain sites and certain types of media. It's so frustrating that there are always people trying to make the internet, as well as software, solely proprietary in nature instead of allowing it all to be open-source. Seriously, figure out some other way to make money besides stifling the progress of the web ...
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C.S. Lewis, a Thought from a Quote in Mere Christianity 

"God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing." (p.50, Mere Christianity)

Some people just seem to not understand what this is saying. I hear from people, "I just don't agree with that statement. You can find happiness in things apart from God." But it is not saying that there is absolutely no joy that can be found in the world and what it offers, but that there is no ultimate joy or happiness found in anything outside of God. If God gave us these created things and they give us X amount of joy, how much more will the infinitely glorious God give us X times an infinite amount of joy in Himself, the one from whom the joy in those created things came from to begin with? If I find my ultimate happiness in created things, what do we know ultimately happens to all these things? They wind up going away in the end. And the joy and happiness they deliver is nothing, absolutely nothing compared to the joy, peace, and happiness found only in the One from which our whole existence is dependant, who holds the universe together by the power of His word.

Sure, I can find happiness and joy in Courtney, my wife. She is awesome and makes my life so much fun. But if I find my ultimate happiness in her, then I will be disappointed because we're all sinners, and inevitably, she will fail my expectations. And the reverse is true for her. If she stakes all her joy and happiness in me, (and the Lord knows) she will be utterly disappointed because I'm a sinner and fail her continually. And really if you want to get Biblically technical about it, if either of us stakes all our hope, joy, and happiness in each other, it's called idolatry. And this is true for anything within all of creation that we stake our ultimate hope and joy in outside of Christ. And so this quote from C.S. Lewis is stating that in comparison to all the things within creation that are so wonderful, that we enjoy on a daily basis, they do not deliver the satisfaction, the joy, the happiness, the peace, the love, the deep soul rest that can only be found in Christ, mainly because they can't give us any of that. In all honesty, they are not even worth comparing, because He is incomparable with anything within creation. And those things do not deliver because they are not ultimate, only God is ultimate. I think to understand this quote more though, we need to see what C.S. Lewis wrote leading up to that statement:

"God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing." (p.50)

God designed us in such a way that our souls can only be truly satisfied, truly happy, truly joyful, totally satisfied in Christ Himself and no other. The whole of the history of man has been spent trying to find an ultimate happiness in something other than God Himself. You cannot do it. It is not possible. Just look at history to see what man has done to himself by attempting to find an ultimate joy and peace apart from the Creator that they are dependent on for every breath. Men seek power, prestige, money, relationships, anything other than the true God that can give them all these things beyond understanding through Christ. And look at how utterly miserable people are outside of Christ! They run to and fro, from here to there seeking to find the next thing that will give them satisfaction, but as soon as they get what it is they are seeking, it fails to deliver. Why? Because it's a created thing, just like themselves, and because only the eternal God can give them what they need spiritually. In going along with C.S. Lewis' thought above, it's the equivalent of putting sugar water in the gas tank of an engine. It kills the car! So I would qualify the quote to say that there is no true, divine, ultimate happiness, joy, love, peace, satisfaction that can be found in anything outside of Christ. Sure, you can find satisfaction in created things, but it will last only for a season, and then fade away. But the satisfaction Christ gives is beyond comparison to the things of this world. The satisfaction obtained from created things only points to the greater satisfaction found in Christ alone. In speaking about this infinitely deep satisfaction that can only be found in Him, He says to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:13-14, "'Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'" And what an excellent comparison! Everyone who drinks of the water from the well will thirst again. But everyone who drinks of the water Christ gives will never be thirsty. And this living water He gives is the fullness of Himself. This is true happiness. This is true satisfaction.

There is a type of joy that can be found in created things, but it is not ultimate. We all need water to live. And I do find joy in water after I go on a run or after I workout. But how long does that last? It dissipates very fast. I find joy in Courtney, my work, fellowship with other believers, Chipotle burritos, and many other things. But that joy is temporal and shallow, and it will fade faster than you could even anticipate; whereas the satisfaction God gives in Christ is eternal and infinitely deep. All the things the world offers are fleeting, and if we stake our hope in them, we will be terribly disappointed over and over and over again. Why is it that so many divorces are occurring in this nation? Is it not because people seek ultimate satisfaction in their spouse, and when the spouse fails them, they get out of the situation, hoping once again to find ultimate happiness in something besides the marriage? The story of the history of man is like that of a dog chasing its own tail. But in Christ, we can have that ultimate peace, that deep satisfying soul rest we all so desperately need. It can only be found in Christ, it can be found in nothing else. And if we set anything else up as God (as that ultimate joy), we will be miserable and utterly ruined, because it cannot deliver what God can deliver to you through the cross of Christ.

We see that because of this plight of man, attempting to find ultimate joy in created things rather than the Creator, we exchanged the glory of God for created things. How offensive must that be to God? Here He is, the great Author and Founder of all things, never created, always there, infinitely powerful, infinitely knowledgeable, the One from whom our entire existence is dependent, knowing full well that He is infinitely satisfying and the ultimate value in all the universe; and instead of being in awe of who He is and of all He's done, we take the things He's made and worship them instead, setting them up as our gods, and we thus sin in these things. This sin is infinitely offensive because it's telling God to His face that He is worthless, that His glory is worthless, that everything He does is meaningless. How infinitely, unbelievably offensive is that!? And because God is just, he must indeed punish sin, and that punishment is experiencing His eternal wrath forever, because the offense is infinite. It would be totally fair of God to send every single one of us to hell forever.

But in great mercy, this is not what He has done. He saw man's plight, that sin had corrupted every faculty of his being, that no one wanted God, that all had turned away, that no one wanted anything to do with Him, and left to themselves, they would all be damned forever. And so He Himself had to become like one of us. On our behalf, He lived the life that we could never live, and died the death that we should die for our wicked betrayal of the almighty God. In order to turn away the wrath of God, He offered Himself up as an eternal sacrifice of atonement on the cross in order to bridge the infinite gap we ourselves have created by exchanging the glory of God for created things. However, this turning away of the wrath of God comes only to those who by faith trust in Christ for their salvation. After He died, and then by the power of God, being that death couldn't hold Him, He burst forth from the grave and now sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven, where He lives and pleads for those who through faith are redeemed from eternal death. All the joy, happiness, peace, love, mercy, grace, deep soul-satisfaction you are looking for can only be found in the great God who became one of us: Jesus Christ.
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Church History - Tommy Nelson 

This is a great overview of the history of the church by Tommy Nelson, pastor of Denton Bible Church (not the publisher). I highly recommend this because it is so vitally important to know how we got where we are in the modern day church. Check it out!

Sermon 1 (MP3)
Sermon 2 (MP3)
Sermon 3 (MP3)
Sermon 4 (MP3)
Sermon 5 (MP3)
Sermon 6 (MP3)
Sermon 7 (MP3)
Sermon 8 (MP3)
Sermon 9 (MP3)
Sermon 10 (MP3)
Sermon 11 (MP3)
Sermon 12 (MP3)
Sermon 13 (MP3)
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One Last Note on the Da Vinci Code 

If you're going to see it tonight, just know that the historical "facts" claimed in the movie are mostly false. Brown mixes enough truth with lies to make his historical assessment of Christianity seem true, but it is indeed false, false beyond measure. He is no historian, and he is no scholar by any means. And yet he claims the history within his book is true. He has absolutely no idea what he's talking about on so many points. For example, it is asserted in the story that the idea of Christ being God was first introduced in the 4th century at the Council of Nicea. In the book it states,

“‘Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God’ was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea.’” (p. 233)

Absolutely False. The idea of Christ being God is clearly shown in the Gospel's, in Paul's letters, and other letters of the NT, written shortly (a few decades) after Christ's death and resurrection. Even atheistic scholars agree on this!

Just take the whole movie as fiction, and enjoy it for what it is: a decent fictional conspiratorial movie that isn't in any way based on the reality of the history of Christianity.
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The Comparison of 1 John 2:2 with John 11:51-52 

"He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world."
> 1 John 2:2 (ESV)

"He (Caiaphas) did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad."
> John 11:51-52 (ESV)

Many will cite 1 John 2:2 to support their claim that Christ died indiscriminately for the sins of all men. And while on the surface this does indeed appear to be exactly what it says, upon closer examination within the context, using the reasoning skills God has blessed us with as humans, and in light of John 11:51-52 (written by the same John) amongst other passages, we have reason to think otherwise. First of all, we must ask ourselves, what exactly is a propitiation? It is a sacrifice (specifically of Christ) that effectually appeases, satisfies, turns away, or averts wrath for those the sacrifice is being made for. Now, in the book of Revelation, we have a very clear picture that in the end, there will be people both in heaven and in hell (Revelation 20:11-15). If Christ died to "appease, satisfy, turn away, or avert wrath" for all people for all time, then we must ask ourselves, why are there people that will still experience this wrath if Christ died effectually to take away that wrath for all men? Seems to me that if this is the case, God didn't accomplish all He had in mind, and that there are conflicting interests within the Godhead. But this just isn't the case. John Piper and Bethlehem Baptist Church, in the article entitled What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism, states of 1 John 2:2:

"If 'the whole world' referred to every individual in the world, we would be forced to say that John is teaching that all people will be saved, which he does not believe (Revelation 14:9-11). The reason we would be forced to say this is that the term propitiation refers to a real removal of wrath from sinners. When God's wrath against a sinner is propitiated, it is removed from that sinner. And the result is that all God's power now flows in the service of his mercy, with the result that nothing can stop him from saving that sinner. Propitiated sins cannot be punished."

Someone will now object to this and say the reason some will be in hell and others will be in heaven is that those in hell didn't have faith, they didn't believe in Christ, and that's true. But why does one person believe while another doesn't? To shed some light on this, I would like to quote from the same document:

"Which of these statements is true?

1. Christ died for some of the sins of all men.

2. Christ died for all the sins of some men.

3. Christ died for all the sins of all men.

No one says that the first is true, for then all would be lost because of the sins that Christ did not die for. The only way to be saved from sin is for Christ to cover it with his blood.

The third statement is what the Arminians would say. Christ died for all the sins of all men. But then why are not all saved? They answer, Because some do not believe. But is this unbelief not one of the sins for which Christ died? If they say yes, then why is it not covered by the blood of Jesus and all unbelievers saved? If they say no (unbelief is not a sin that Christ has died for) then they must say that men can be saved without having all their sins atoned for by Jesus, or they must join us in affirming statement number two: Christ died for all the sins of some men. That is, he died for the unbelief of the elect so that God's punitive wrath is appeased toward them and his grace is free to draw them irresistibly out of darkness into his marvelous light."

But aside from the logical reasoning above refuting the idea of a universal atonement, spefically refuting this idea within 1 John 2:2, we also have the passage of John 11:51-52 that goes against the idea proported by universal atonement advocates, written by the same author, using the same grammatical structure, using different wording. And we know that John did not contradict himself, mainly because God-breathed Scripture doesn't contradict itself, and neither does John. Now before I talk about those verses in particular, we need some background on the context of this passage. The chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together to figure out what to do about Jesus because so many people were believing in Him and they were afraid that if everyone believed, Rome would come and take away their land. John 11:48-52 states, "'If we let him (Jesus) go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.' But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, 'You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.' He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad."

Now with that context, we come upon verses 51-52 that states, "... [Caiaphas] prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad," and in comparing this with 1 John 2:2 that says, "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world," we have very similiar language that essentially states the same thing, that Jesus came to die for the sins of not only the readers of John's letter in 1 John (namely the Jewish believers, but also to gather into one the children of God scattered abroad (i.e. over the whole world), or the Gentiles. John was not saying that Christ died to effectually take away the sins of every individual person in the world, but rather that God would gather to Himself and purchase men for God from every tribe, language, people and nation. And in fact, in Revelation 5:9 (this book also written by John), the four living creatures and the 24 elders cry out this very thing by saying, "Worthy are you (Jesus) to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation."

So when we read 1 John 2:2, based on these other verses in Scripture that were also divinely inspired by the same author, the Apostle John, he's not stating that Christ died to effectually take away the sins of all men for all time (mainly because that's not what will happen in the end, Revelation 20:11-15), but rather that He would purchase men for God, who were given to Christ by the Father (i.e. chosen before the foundation of the world to receive divine, judicial, merciful pardon through Christ's atoning sacrifice on the cross, John 6:37, Ephesians 1:3-7) from every tribe, language, people and nation (i.e. the whole world, Revelation 5:9).

Articles and Resources Pertaining to this:

What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism - John Piper and Bethlehem Baptist Church
Limited Atonement - Part 1 - Piper (MP3)
Limited Atonement - Part 2 - Piper (MP3)
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