Yahweh, The God of Jonah is Not So Easily Defeated! A Letter to the Caliph…

10352892_676838999063200_6984956955762787648_nOne of the most shocking events in recent days has been the exodus of thousands of Christians in Iraq. Christians in this city were told to convert to Islam, pay a huge tax or face death by an Islamic terrorist group called ISIS. This was put in place by their caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who is the leader of these terrorist persecutors. This city of Mosul has had a Christian witness for over 1600 years and once had 60,000 Christians as early as 2003. Today there is not a Christians left in this city! Those Christians who have survived have fled the city and are pilgrims trying to find refuge.  ISIS also destroyed the famous tomb of Jonah in Mosul which was said to be the burial ground of Jonah of what used to be called Nineveh. This act was an attempt to desecrate a figure in Judeo-Christian scripture.

I saw this letter written by Tim Keesee on the Desiring God blog today. It is a powerful letter written directly to the Caliphate Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi . I was so taken by Keesee’s letter that I felt it almost necessary to post it for my readers. It really reflects the differences between those men we see attempting to praise their god and those who have the God of Jonah as their God.  Please take the time to read this short letter and pray for our brothers and sisters who are being driven from their homes and murdered by these men.

One of the last paragraphs truly lays out the essence of the difference.

Some days ago, your sledgehammer-swinging and explosive-detonating disciples destroyed the tomb of the prophet Jonah. The God of Jonah, whose name was first proclaimed there in Nineveh by Jonah, is nothing like the god you claim to kill for. Jonah’s God, the only God, showed grace to his enemies in Nineveh. God’s mercy would later reach its greatest, deepest, widest expression in his Son Jesus Christ, whose death and resurrection forever secured life for all who come to him — even you, if you would come.

A Conference Weekend

richard-barcellos1There were several conferences going on this past weekend from a reformed Christian perspective with some being more well-known than others. This doesn’t mean that the Lesser known conferences were any less important and I thought I would share at least two very interesting ones that were held at this time..

The first was a conference called the Keach conference which was put on by the Reformed Baptist Fellowship of Virginia in the U.S. It had as its theme this year “of God’s Covenants” which was a talk on the London Baptist Confession of 1689 and chapter 7. The main speaker for this event was Dr. Richard Barcellos. For those who would be interested, the audio presentation for this conference is available here.

originalThe second conference I would like to mention is the Desiring God conference which had as its theme The Romantic Rationalist: God, Life, and Imagination in the Work of C.S. Lewis. There were multiple speakers involved including John Piper, Doug Wilson, Kevin Vanhoozer and Randy Alcorn. The video for the conference can be viewed here.

Last night I had the opportunity to watch a live streaming discussion between Douglas Wilson and John Piper on the topic of Christian Culture. There were several controversial topics discussed  which are usually ignored due to the fact that they can bring much tension to the table. Both men were exceptionally gracious and there were several things said that really convicted me. How often do we ignore cultural issues because we don’t think it’s any of our business? These men discussed exactly why we must never ignore these cultural issues. When the video is posted from this discussion I will link to it for others to watch.

John Piper’s Farewell Sermon

john-piperI saw this blog post over at Justin Taylor’s blog on the Gospel Coalition website. It is a post on the farewell sermon of John Piper which will be preached this evening. Dr. Piper is clearing the way for a new pastor after 33 years of pastoring Bethleem Baptist Church in Minnesota. John Piper has had a tremendous influence on my life. His passion for preaching expositionally the text of scripture with a focus upon the glory of God has been monumental in my walk in Christ. God gave him the ability to express his love for the supremacy of God in all things in a way that can only be described as supernatural. There are times in my life when I needed a swift kick in the pants and I can recollect often how all it took was listening to Dr. Piper to give it to me!  May God continue to bless the work of John Piper that he may continue to glorify Him

John Piper Quote

john-piper“Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.”

John Piper on the Priesthood of Christ

“God is one great massive fire of holiness. He hates sin and cannot abide it. We are little ant-like cinders of sin and if we got within ten trillion miles of this God, we would be consumed… The problem that the bible was written to deal with is “I have no hope of drawing near to God without being consumed because I am a sinner”. Unless there is some kind of asbestos –like priest who can wrap me around with all that He is and take me into the center of this fire, there is no hope for me at all.” (John Piper)