The 42nd Dove Awards was held last week, April 20, in Atlanta, Georgia. And I admit that I am disturbed with the winning piece for Contemporary Gospel Recorded Song of the Year, Marvin Sapp’s The Best in Me. You may read the lyrics here or hear the song here.

Although the song runs for almost six minutes, it contains nothing but repetitive disregarding of the fallen-ness of man and the necessity of the cross. I hate to say that the Contemporary Gospel Recorded Song of 2011 is devoid of the Gospel. Let me explore three areas that are necessary for the Gospel but are squashed in the song.

The Total Wickedness of Man

Nothing good with eternal significance can ever come out of man. No good gospel tract will ever remove this point. No faithful evangelism will ever leave this unsaid. Romans 3:23 and Isaiah 64:6 are favorites in illustrating this. But the song starts and greatly lingers upon the thought that,
He saw the best in me
When everyone else around
Could only see the worst in me
When GOD sees man and He finds the “best” in him acceptable, then this drags His infinite holiness and demand for perfection. Just the chorus of the song insults GOD’s infinite perfection. GOD is perfectly holy and demands nothing but perfect holiness, something that only Christ can satisfy.

The Severe Sacrifice of Christ

When GOD sees man, He sees nothing but objects of His righteous wrath (Romans 1:18). A pinch of wickedness against the infinitely holy GOD demands an infinitely severe penalty. But it seems that Marvin Sapp believes otherwise,
See He’s mine, and I am His
It doesn’t matter what I did
He only sees me, for who I am
Does anybody know that today?
What you did DOES matter a lot. GOD hates all who do wrong (Psalm 5:5). And in the cross, let us feel how our deeds matter a lot in the eyes of GOD. Because of what we did and what Marvin Sapp did, the only begotten and most precious Son was compelled to take a form of a servant (Phil. 2:6-8), became sin (2 Cor. 5:21), and absorbed the full fury of GOD’s wrath for us (1 Pet. 3:18). To say that what we did does not matter is to disregard what Christ has severely suffered.

 The Awful Deviation of Sin

In the creation, GOD had indeed made man so privileged that He created Him in His own image (Gen. 1:26). At first, man was like GOD: he was made to be rational and mirrored some of GOD’s attributes such holiness, purity, and sinlessness. But Genesis 3 has massively destroyed this mirroring. Man became so tainted that his “holiness” has deviated with a great distance that no one can measure from the holiness of GOD. “The Best in Me” seems to neglect the fact that the image of GOD in man is so blurred by sin,
And the reason He sees me for who I am
Because He created me in His image and His likeness
Why did GOD predestine us to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29)? Why is Paul exhorting us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2)? Because sin has caused man an infinite gap from the privilege of reflecting GOD’s purity.

The Best in Man and the Worst in Cockroaches

Christ died for men. Did He die for cockroaches? No. It is not because we are better than these pests. It is actually the perfect opposite. Christ died for us because we are worse than cockroaches. These flying creations did not offend the holy GOD. They don’t need a Savior because they are not as bad as we are.


The hypocrite has his mind pleased and delighted, in the first place, with his own privilege, and the happiness which he supposes he has attained to, or shall attain to. True saints have their minds, in the first place, inexpressibly pleased and delighted with the sweet ideas of the glorious and amiable nature of the things of God.
~ Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections


Free Books and the Mystery Number Game

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 1:12 AM 0 comments



First, let me thank you all who played the Mystery Word Game and let us congratulate Shanie Ley Repato for winning. For all those who were not fortunate to bring home the two John Piper books (that means everybody except Shanie), you have a chance to win a consolation prize of another two books.

Prize

The first of the books is Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer. I got the copy of the book again from Nepo Booksale. Just like the Don’t Waste Your Life book, it is slightly used but in a good condition. You can learn more of the book here.

The second book is A Faith Worth Believing, Living, and Commending by Dennis Ngien. Dennis Ngien is so gracious that he sends multiple copies of this book to us. The one we are giving away is a spare copy. It better be handed to others so that it can be used rather than to collect dusts. By the way, it is signed by Ngien himself. You can read more about the book here.

The Mystery Number Game

Everybody is eligible to join this game except for Shanie (Sorry, Sha.. ^_^). To enter the draw, you need a little of research and math. I am looking for a mystery number. THIS NUMBER IS SO DEAR TO ME.

Let X be equal to the number of pages of this book [click here].
Let Y be equal to the number of pages of this book [click here].
Let Z be equal to the number of pages of this book [click here].
Let U be the year when this book [click here] was published.
Let V be the only number mentioned in the title of this book [click here].
Let W be the last three digits of the ISBN of this book [click here].
MYSTERY NUMBER = (W x V) + U + X + Y + Z


DOUBLE your chance of winning!

Like our Facebook page and you automatically get your draw entry doubled. (If you have already liked our page, your entry is automatically doubled.)






This game closes by Saturday (April 30) noon and the winner will be announced on Sunday. Enjoy the game.. ^_^

24 Costly Hours and 24 Dirty Feet

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 11:15 PM 0 comments



Puff Daddy opens a trash song with these words:  “I want you to ask yourself one question; If you had 24 hours to live what would you do?” Though the song is very very bad and very very poor, his question is valid. If you are to create a wish list in the last 24 hours of your life, what will surely stick to your roll? With whom will you want to spend these? What are your deepest desires that you will express? Whatever your answers are, there is one thing I am certain of. You will never think of washing 24 dirty feet. Actually, you will never think of doing it even in your last 24 weeks, or your last 24 months, or perhaps even in your last 24 years.

That makes Jesus incredibly amazing. In His last 24 costly hours, He deeply considered the 24 dirty feet of his disciples. Only a steadfastly loving and amazingly humble Person can do this. Let us revisit John 13:1-14.

Steadfast Love Stated (John. 13:1)

The story starts with Jesus' omniscience; He “knew that his hour had come.” He washed the disciples’ feet not because he did not know that He was about to die. He did the washing with His full knowledge that He was about to “depart out of this world to the Father.” And I don’t think He did this ALTHOUGH He knew He was leaving. I believe He did this BECAUSE He knew He was leaving. Why? Because of His steadfast love; He “loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

Steadfast Love Spurned (John. 13:2)

The divine love stated in verse 1 is an infinitely undeserved love that the eternal Lord dishes out freely. Only fools would reject this love. That’s why Judas acted to be so unreasonable. Verse 2 is seemingly so illogical. It is sandwiched between verses of the Lord’s steadfast love but it contained Judas’ rejection of this unparalleled love. What a contrast! And the Holy Spirit invites us to see the immense contrast of Jesus’ love and Judas’ hatred. Wasn’t Judas so foolish when he rejected such an intense love? If you answered yes, then a certain author Krumacher will argue that you have been as foolish as Judas in a thousand ways. He asks,
“… would that the traitor’s kiss that Judas gave was the only one, but in a spiritual sense Jesus still has to endure it a thousand fold to this hour, for hypocritically to confess Jesus with your mouth while your conduct belies Him, … to sing enthusiastic hymns to Him while trampling His gospel by word and deed, what is that but a Judas kiss by which men pollute the face of Jesus Christ?”

Steadfast Love Showed (John. 13:3-11)

In the times of Jesus and the apostles, almost everybody travels by foot in vast distances that modern day travellers can’t imagine. And since Israel is like all other Middle East countries, people walk through inch-deep dirt or mud. Just imagine the disciples’ feet! Therefore, it was common in Jewish houses to have big water containers for washing (just like in the wedding at Cana). When visitors come, the host may ask the lowest among his slaves to wash the feet of the guests.

Jesus and the Disciples. When they entered the upper room, Jesus and His disciples were left alone. There was no host. There was no slave. There was no one to wash their feet. No one among the disciples thought of serving his colleagues by washing their feet. Instead, everybody was greatly interested of who would be the greatest in GOD’s kingdom (Luke 22:24). For them, it was better to eat with dirty feet and endanger the food with dirt than wash the others’ feet. Jesus, having the greatest power and the highest position (see verse 3), stood and dressed like a slave and served as a slave. He rebuked them by showing them His steadfast love. If I was there and I was bragging about being the greatest (I am sure I would), and saw what Jesus started to do, I would be agonizing with regret and resentment. I think the next time the disciples gathered, they contested for the water.

Jesus and Peter. Here comes Peter’s feet. There were 3 exchanges of sentences between him and Jesus. In each exchange, Jesus wanted Peter to hover over some truths.

In verses 6 to 7, Jesus wanted Peter to see His picture of steadfast love portrayed in humility. And perhaps, He was even telling Peter that he would fully understand this simplier display of humility when he would already see the ultimate display of humility at the cross.

In verse 8, Jesus was implying to Peter that He was the only way for acceptable cleansing; that there is no other way to be fully acceptable to GOD but only through the only potent cleansing power of His blood.

In verse 9 and 10, Jesus was teaching Peter that when someone trusts the Lord, he becomes bathed clean – totally clean. And no more total cleansing like this will ever be needed again. But as he lives his still imperfect life here on earth, he may be gathering the earth’s dust. And although, these little dusts of the sinful world do not have condemning power anymore, it still has indwelling power. It still needs to be washed.

Jesus and Judas. Verse 11 displays another aspect of Christ’s unconditional love. The traitor, Judas, was there; he who would betray Jesus with a kiss; he who sold 3 years of ministry, fellowship, and friendship for 30 pieces of silver. He was there sitting with his dirty feet. Jesus washed his feet too.

Steadfast Love Shared (John 13:12-14)

In his last 24 costly hours, Jesus washed 24 dirty feet to show to the 12 disciples and share to them that, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.” Christ’s disciples (that now includes you and me) are instructed to practice untiring love displayed in humility even in your last 24 hours.

(Note: For this post, I am greatly indebted to John F. MacArthur.)

Free Book Give-Away and the Mystery Word Game

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 7:59 AM 2 comments



Weeks ago, when I visited Nepo Mall’s Booksale, I bought a used (but in a very good condition) copy of John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life.” But since I already have a copy of this book, I decided to give it away here in a draw.

To enter the draw, you shall complete a LATIN 6-LETTER WORD using the hints below:
LETTER 1 is also the first letter of the second word of this book's title (click here).
LETTER 2 is also the third letter of the first word of this book's title (click here).
LETTER 3 is also the fourth letter of the fifth word of this book's title (click here).
LETTER 4 is also the first letter of the first word of this book's title (click here).
LETTER 5 is also the fifth letter of the last name of this book's author (click here).
LETTER 6 is also the second letter of the last name of this book's author (click here).

You should then post your NAME, E-MAIL, and YOUR ANSWER in a comment below. You should only enter the draw once. (Remember that your comment will be hidden so others may not see.)

DOUBLE your chance of winning! 
Like our Facebook page and you automatically get your draw entry doubled.



In this case, you should include your FACEBOOK USERNAME in your comment below.

This giveaway game closes by Good Friday noon and the winner will be announced on Easter Sunday. Enjoy the game. ^_^





Update for April 12
Aside from the book, the winner will also receive a 124-page Don't Waste Your Life Study Guide which is worth $9.99.




Post a comment and enter the draw >>

Farewell Kevin Max

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 9:04 AM 1 comments



Farewell Rob Bell. Three words from John Piper (followed by Justin Taylor’s post, Rob Bell: Universalist?) that had made the internet vastly busy. And when the blogosphere was so dense because of Rob Bell, his new book Love Wins, and this promotional video, I thought it was already unnecessary for me to blog about it. I knew that I can’t contribute any weight to the responses of the names that I respect in the evangelical world (see this Reader’s Digest).

But I felt compelled to write when I woke up this morning and saw a post by Kevin Max (one of the trio that I love the most when I was in college, dc Talk).


Around the same time, he had this tweet:


Kevin Max has publicly announced his support of Bell and to those “that asks questions about the great mysteries that surround us.” He even adds that those who “have a problem with that” are out of the bounds of the Unicornian Church, an internet-based (according to him) church that he created.

I also love questions as long as it guides us to the objective truth. I can still remember the chorus of dc Talk’s most loved song Jesus Freak:
What will people think when they hear that I'm a Jesus freak?
What will people do when they find that it's true?
I don't really care if they label me a Jesus freak
There ain't no disguising the truth.
I’m so sad that Max is so blind to see that Rob Bell has disguised the truth.

Jesus Freak’s second verse was dedicated to a man “With skins on his back and hair on his face; They thought he was strange by the locusts he ate; The Pharisees tripped when they heard him speak; Until the king took the head of this Jesus freak.” The man is John the Baptist who shouts in the wilderness, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (Matthew 3:7)” This Jesus-freak John the Baptist did not disguise the truth about the wrath that we need to flee from. This is the very same wrath that Rob Bell blurs again and again.

Perhaps, my concluding words for Kevin Max will be best served by the chorus of another dc Talk song:
We know exactly where you are, and you're gone (my friend)
Don't know exactly where you're coming from
You've gone away (so long) my friend.

By the way, I wonder if Max knows that, in the Bible, the first question mark is raised in Genesis 3:1… by the serpent?

Farewell Kevin Max.

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