Saturday, August 22, 2009

MP3s and Podcast Resources

As you may have guessed, the Internet has mp3 and podcast and audio resources too many to list here. Let me provide a few which I think may be very helpful to you.

One Place
There is a site which contains links to (seemingly) every well known Christian broadcast that exists. You can find it here . If you want to find programs such as John MacArthur's "Grace To You", R.C. Sproul's "Renewing Your Mind" or a classic such as J. Vernon McGee's "Thru the Bible", you can find them here. They are downloadable as mp3s and are typically free. Many of the ministry sites found at One Place offer an RSS feed by which you can automatically download their program.

White Horse Inn

While it can be found on One Place, this ministry deserves special mention. It is a weekly podcast in which ministers from four different Protestant backgrounds will discuss a theological topic on a level which everyone can understand. The link to the White Horse Inn podcasts can be found here.

Issues, Etc.

This is a daily radio program which archives its programs online. They can be downloaded as mp3s. The host, Todd Wilken, is a minister in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. The programs cover a tremendous amount of topics. Sometimes, it is a Christian perspective on some recent world or national event. At other times, the topics will cover church history or theology. Like the White Horse Inn, the discussion is intelligent, insightful and geared for a popular audience. The link to Issues, Etc. on-demand mp3s can be found here.

Sermon Audio

This site probably contains more mp3 sermons than any other on Earth. As of this posting, there were over 267,000 audio sermons available. There are a number of current preachers whose sermons are on this site. There are also a number of sermons from pastors who have since died and whose sermons mean just as much today as when they preached them years ago (A. W. Tozer and Leonard Ravenhill are good examples). The link to Sermon Audio can be found here.

Troy Christian Chapel Sermons

Don't forget that TCC has a webpage with mp3s of sermons which have been preached at church. The sermons of Dan Lewis, Jon Enright, Jake Stirnemann, Chad Lewis and Brian Torres can be found here. There is also the option to download the sermon through a RSS feed. This is a great way to catch up on a sermon you may have missed while being out of town on vacation or a camping trip.

Theology Network

Theology Network is based in the United Kingdom and has a tremendous number of resources to grow in the faith. Their site contains numerous articles, electronic copies of entire books (such as "The Bruised Reed" by Richard Sibbes) as well as an abundance of teaching mp3 on a variety of topics. I've listened to tens of hours of the teaching mp3s from Theology Network and they cover a variety of subjects quite well and in a very easy to listen to style of presentation. Their link can be found here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Index to Resources

This is the master index of links to find Christian resources from a variety of online resources. This index links up to websites which are being used by the youth of Troy Christian Chapel to deepen their individual walks in Christ. It is our belief that many of today's Christian youth strongly desire to deepen their lives in Christ but are not aware of where to find online resources to help them. Hopefully, this site can help.

It is our hope that these links will be of benefit to the youth of our congregation as well as any other readers of this blog who may be searching for the same type of resources.

Click on the Links:

Bible Resources - Resources for Bible reading, study; Links to Bibles readable online as well as Bibles for mobile devices; Includes links for downloads of mp3 files.

Book Resources - Resources for Christian reading other than the Bible; Links to Christian Classics Ethereal Library, the largest collection of Christian e-texts in one place on the Internet.

Devotional Resources -Resources for prayer and daily devotions. They include links to Our Daily Bread from Radio Bible Class, the reading from Encounter With God from Scripture Union, as well as links to news websites which may act as a way of informing and focusing our prayers.

MP3 and Podcast Resources - Resources for Christian programming found on the Internet. This includes links to One Place, as well as several excellent discussion programs and also the sermon page of Troy Christian Chapel.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Devotional Resources

There are a number of great resources for devotionals which can be found on Internet

OUR DAILY BREAD - This is the online version of the printed devotional that we keep at the Information Center at Troy Christian Chapel. It follows a simple format of the reading a small Bible passage and a reflection on that passage.

Link: There is also an option for a feed to your mobile device:

ENCOUNTER WITH GOD - This is just one devotional from Scripture Union. It too has a brief reading of Scripture and then a reflection. Unlike "Our Daily Bread", the readings will go through a book of the Bible over a several day or several week period. Highly recommended as a supplemental to your daily Bible reading.

LINK to the Daily Reading:

There is also the option of getting the readings for the day sent to you by e-mail. You can even choose the version of the Bible you want the reading to come in:


This devotional was composed by Charles Haddon Spurgeon back in late 19th century England. Each day has a morning reading from Scripture (with a reflection) as well as an evening reading from Scripture (along with a reflection on the text). Spurgeon is very insightful into His reflection on short snippets of Scripture which, when thought about, carry remarkable weight.


There are also options for getting each day's readings sent to your e-mail or picked up as a RSS feed. The links are found within Heartlight's Spurgeon web -page.

In a sermon preached in March, 1998, Pastor Dan Lewis challenged us to use the newspaper as a devotional guide to pray for the world around us. While print newspapers are becoming scarcer, there are a number of news websites which can help us to expand our vision for prayer and have us to pray beyond only our own families and our own neighborhoods.

BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION (BBC) - Centered in England, the BBC does a great job in presenting international news LINK:

CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION (CBC) - Centered in Canada, the CBC presents news, much of which is familiar to an American audience, with a bit of a different perspective

CABLE NEWS NETWORK (CNN) - Centered in the United States, CNN covers a number of national and international stories. LINK:

DETROIT NEWS - Centered in Detroit, the Detroit News covers stories which pertain to the Metropolitan Detroit area. LINK:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Book Resources

Christianity has a rich collection of literature written over a span of 2000 years. One site which probably contains more digitized Christian books than any other is the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (Link at Their recommended "short list" of classic Christian books includes the following:

St. Augustine
The Confessions of St. Augustine -- The most popular work of the man who more than any other shaped western civilization. The first 10 chapters constitute a spiritual autobiography and some spiritual and philosophical reflections; the last three chapters are a reflection on the creation story of Genesis 1.

John Bunyan
Pilgrim's Progress -- A spiritual allegory. Of books written in English, one of the all-time most popular. Audio available

G. K. Chesterton
Orthodoxy -- Chesterton's writing reminds me of C.S. Lewis, but a little more colorful, a little more quirky. This book is an apology for the Christian world-view.

Jonathan Edwards
Religious Affections -- "What is the nature of true religion? . . . [What are] the distinguishing notes of that virtue and holiness that is acceptable in the sight of God?" In this classic work by America's greatest theologian and philosopher, Edwards considers the nature of revival and the genuine work of the Holy Spirit. Don't read this book if you want to keep worshipping your idols.

George Fox
Autobiography of George Fox -- This is a fascinating journal of the exploits of the founder of the Society of Friends (Quakers). It is also very illuminating about the political and religious state of seventeenth century England -- for example, Fox lives through the commonwealth period, meets Cromwell, and prophesies his downfall after he treats Quakers badly. Audio available

Ignatius of Loyola
The Spiritual Exercises Spiritual exercises arranged into 4 weeks, by the founder of the Jesuits.

John of the Cross
Ascent of Mount Carmel
Dark Night of the Soul -- The writings of St. John of the Cross are unsurpassed for mystical theology. The "dark night" is a must-read for anyone seriously concerned about growing spiritually.

Thomas à Kempis
The Imitation of Christ -- This book is said to have been published in more editions than any other, apart from the Bible, with 6000 appearing by the turn of this century. This little devotional book is simply written but immensely moving. Highly recommended. Audio available

William Law
A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life -- This is one of two or three books that greatly influenced the young J. Wesley. Audio available

Brother Lawrence
The Practice of the Presence of God -- In this little collection of letters and reflections, Brother Lawrence encourages us to be continually in God's presence. Audio available

Keep in mind that these books span a large timeframe (Augustine wrote in the 5th century; Chesterton wrote in the late 19th century). Their authors span a wide range of Christian beliefs. You might find that you don't agree with every single author on every last detail. Yet, as a part of the body of Christ, they still have much to teach us.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bible Resources

We are blessed to live in a time in which so many resources which allow us to read, study, search and reflect on the Bible. Here are just a few links to finding a way to read or listen to God's Holy Word.

Bible Gateway is a great way to look for a text of the Bible. It can be read in a large number of translations such as the New International Version, New American Standard, English Standard Version or even the King James Version. You can look up passages by book, chapter and verse. You can search it by keyword. It also contains a number of links to non-English translations. If you're on your computer, IPod or some other mobile, wireless device, this is a great way to get a hold of the text you're looking for.

Perhaps you want to download a portion of the Bible for use on your IPod, mp3 or some other audio device. One site which offers free downloads of each chapter of the Bible. They are in the public domain. In otherwords, there is no copyright restriction. The site is for the World English Bible

There are a number of companies which produce Bible software for mobile devices. I have used Olive Tree software for my Palm Tungsten "E". A link to them here provides you the opportunity to download a number of currently used Bible translations for a minimal price. Olive Tree also offers a number of free resources, (found here at, some of which are older translations of the Bible, but some are other types of books, such as those of Christian biography, theology and prayer.

There are a number of plans for reading the Bible through completely. One plan which I have used multiple times is that of the One Year Bible. Link at . There is a page for specific use of mobile devices which allow you to access these readings from your Blackberry, IPod, etc. Link at

Memorizing portions of the Bible is a great way to keep God's Word in your heart and mind. One site which can help is Another is which employs a number of techniques and even gives links to print off sheets which can be stored as small cards which can easily be carried and used where the opportunity allows.

There are two downloadable pieces of Bible software which I highly recommend. The first is E-Sword. E-Sword is software which enables in-depth study of the Bible. Once it is downloaded, it remains on your computer (thus it is not an internet link such as Bible Gateway). Some of the Bible downloads have a small cost. However, a version as recent as the English Standard Version (put out in 2002) is a free download. The link for E-Sword is here.

One other free Bible Study resource I would like to recommend is Quick Bible. It does not have all of the features of E-Sword. However, if you are looking for a free, searchable Bible in a modern translation, Quick Bible may be what you are looking for. It is produced by the Lockman Foundation, the translators of the New American Standard Bible (probably the most literal translation of the Bible into English). The link for the download can be found here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wheat and Tares

Recently, I happened to see a video of the contemporary hymn "In Christ Alone". It was sung by an Irish vocalist named Kristyn Getty. She read a passage from the first chapter of the Gospel of John and then sang the hymn, with a rather large choir behind her. As I researched this hymn further, I found that Kristyn's husband Keith, and another individual, Stuart Towend, wrote the hymn.

I've been rather taken with this hymn. It sounds like a creed put to music. Unfortunately, much of what passes today as Christian music, would, in my opinion, would have been better left uncomposed. This song is radically different.

I discovered that Keith and Kristyn Getty have made it their goal to write new hymns which are not tied into the musical tastes of one particular generation (i.e. market share to many others). They want to write hymns of "singable doctrine". As a Sunday School teacher, I could not be more pleased. I was very encouraged to hear their work and to know why they are doing what they are doing. What a wonderful thing!

Having read this, you might be wondering what the topic "Wheat and Tares" has to do with what I just wrote. Let me try to take you down the path of reflection which I took to get here. Like many others at this time, I do believe that much of what passes for Evangelical Christianity today is simply a consumer-driven effort to get people into a church. It's a game of numbers which waters down the Gospel to a product to be desired rather for its worldly benefits rather than glorifying God. That is why so many alleged churches today could accurately be described as a "circus church." From "7 day Sex Challenges" to "What James Bond can teach me about being a Christian" to an Easter sermon advertised in its community on the topic of "Beer, Babes and Baseball", much of the Evangelical church seems to be purposely weakening itself in the midst of a culture which seems more ignorant and more hostile to Biblical Christianity than ever before. (Oh, by the way, the three sermons I told you about just now weren't made up by me. They really happened over the last year).

In tracking things such as this, I am indebted to those such as Chris Rosebrough and his "Fighting for the Faith" podcast (which I highly recommend). Unfortunately, I found myself being in the position of feeding myself a lopsided view of God's church. All the things which I have mentioned are, unfortunately, true. However, I had spent a lot of time looking only at one side. When I came across the hymns of Keith and Kristyn Getty, I knew that I had missed something.

Those bad things happening in evangelical churches are very much like the tares (weeds), which the Lord Jesus spoke of in His parable on the "Tares and the Wheat" (Matthew 13:24-30). The summary of this is that the tares (technically known as darnels) and the wheat look so much alike as they are developing, you cannot easily tell them apart. However, once the harvest time comes, differences are obvious. One lesson which I drew from this is while the tares are growing to full maturity in this world, so is the wheat. If all we do is focus on the negative aspects in the church, we, unfortunately will have many things happen to support that view. But that will rob us of knowing that God's good work in His Son's church is also growing to full maturity as well. While there are "God is my girl-friend" songs being used in churches, there are people like Keith and Kristyn Getty, whose hymns are a wonderful reminder that God's good work continues and matures in His people. God be praised!

If you're interested in the great work which the Getty's are doing, please go to their website:

I particularly recommend their hymn "O Church, Arise". The biblical insights in the lyrics are remarkably profound.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Pressure

I saw this on Facebook several months ago and thought it worth re-posting on the blog.

The Pressure

Why is it that water has decided to follow the moon? Maybe it has not overcome the influence of the elements around it. The trees move to the wind, just like water to the moon. Alas, we don't go our own way. We go with the flow of those around us, just like the water.

How do we not conform to those around us? Though we may push hard against the tide of becoming a mirror image of those around us, we always falter, and in time, become that mirror.

There aren't any ways to overcome the tide by yourself, only through one man may you beat it. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is that man. I encourage you to not use him only as a crutch in times of distress, but to thank him for every living moment of your life.

Now, I know that you may think that I’m just saying this, but I don’t only want your friendship at school to be with me, no, it is much larger than that. I want to bring you to church and for you to grow in faith, stature, and most importantly, with God.

This was posted by my son Rocky. It is an original and very much appreciated. His dad was very blessed to read this and know who it came from.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Morning and Evening

Since December of last year, I have been reading Charles Spurgeon's devotional "Morning and Evening." Spurgeon has two readings per day (morning and evening) in which he uses a brief passage of Scripture and provides a brief but very insightful reflection upon the text.

I highly recommend its use. Spurgeon has a way of writing which is very reminiscent of the Puritan's style of colorful and "on-spot" analogies. I can easily imagine him writing this out at his table in his study in Victorian-era London, leaving a great legacy for us today well over a century later. The text is available in print and at several sites on the Internet. One of those is at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Click here:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Reflection for the New Year

The following is a text of a reflection which I gave at the Troy Christian Chapel WatchNight service on December 31, 2008. I hope you find it useful to your walk in Christ.

New Years’s Day Reflection – December 31, 2008
Isaiah 43:1-7 NIV

1 But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. 3 For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. 4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life. 5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. 6 I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth- 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."

The start of a new year is often a time for reflecting on the year which has just gone by and forming some resolutions about things to do (or not do) in the new year. As each of us looks back at 2008, we remember that there are a number of significant things which have happened in each of our lives. The current state of the economy is probably among the biggest things which has influenced our lives as Americans. There have been other events which have influenced our lives as a community, as a church, as families and individuals, too many to mention here in detail.

There were a number of such events in my life during 2008. My mother died in January and it does seem unusual that she is still not here among us. My mother in law was hospitalized twice and required intestinal surgery only a week ago. However, there is one event in particular which I would like to reflect on and hope that the lessons which I learned will be of benefit to you in this New Year, the Year of Our Lord 2009.

Back in October, I was listening to an audio recording of an evangelist named Leonard Ravenhill. Some of you may recognize the name. His ministry of encouraging prayer and revival spanned at least five decades of the 20th century. In the audio, Ravenhill was preaching a sermon called “How Much Can You Lose Without Losing Your Faith?” In the last two minutes of the sermon, Ravenhill asked his audience: “Tell me honestly. Do you believe that you are precious in the sight of the Lord?” I was busy with some task at work while I was listening. I silently answered his question with a quick reply.”No”. I didn’t believe that I am precious in the sight of the Lord.

I knew what the answer was supposed to be. Yet, if I were being honest, I had to say “No”. I asked myself why I had responded like this. First, I needed to make sure that Ravenhill was basing his question upon the Bible and not something that sounds nice but has no basis in the Scriptures. While riding the People Mover in downtown Detroit heading back to my car that evening, I started searching through the Bible to find the verse which I thought Ravenhill might have been using. I found the passage and it is within the text which I read at the start of this reflection, namely Isaiah 43:4. The text was there in the Bible, but did it apply to me personally?

This caused me to do some real soul-searching. Please keep in mind that I am not a novice to the Christian faith. I came to faith in Christ in 1984. Also, I am not untrained in the faith. I do have a Masters Degree in Theology. What I believed about not being precious in the sight of God did not come from a lack of experience or formal training. Over the next few nights, I reflected on this disconnect. I knew what God’s Word says. Yet, I searched for my reason for answering Ravenhill’s question the way I did. To be brutally honest, I know my own sinfulness better than just about anybody. I did not deny that God loves me. Yet, I thought that the love on God’s part was merely one of putting up with me. I know that God loves my wife Julie, and my sons Zack and Rocky. Yet, I believed that God showed me favor merely to be a means of human blessing to my family, and not because I was precious in His sight. The comparison which I recorded in my journal at this time was that of a “weird uncle” or someone similar in most families. The “weird uncle” is often included in family events because of merely being family. Yet, in a one-on-one situation, no one would be friends with him on his own.

I looked for some commentary, book or article which would address my disconnect on this issue. In my searching, I came across the texts of two sermons preached by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the 19th century British minister who is often called “the prince of preachers.” Spurgeon preached on this Isaiah passage in sermons dating to 1870 and 1882. As I read through these sermons, I would have thought that somehow Spurgeon had come into the future and followed me around and interviewed me before preparing his sermons. He perfectly laid out my reasons for not believing that I was not precious in God’s sight. He then dismantled them using God’s Word as his basis. Through these sermons, God was kind enough to show me and have me believe that I personally am precious in His sight. What I thought was too good to be possible turned out to be very good, very possible and very true.

From his 1882 sermon, Spurgeon wrote:

Could it be that Jesus could speak thus in His infinite love to me? I needed to remember the power of the washing in His blood, and the power of His cleansing Spirit, and the power of His justifying righteousness before I could understand how He could say such a word to me? Do you not feel staggered as you hear this word, “You are precious in My sight”? Does not unbelief prompt you to say, “Lord, that love-word is meant for somebody else! It cannot mean me.” And yet, if you believe that Jesus is the Christ, you are born of God, and it is to you that this text is spoken, “You are precious in My sight.”

Spurgeon brought the point back to Christ and His work in each of His redeemed. That is what makes us precious in His sight.

Words cannot describe the tremendous and wonderful impact this has had on my life. This has been like an opening of the gates of heaven to me.

What I had believed before stemmed from a false humility. In common usage, when we speak of false humility, we think of someone who seems humble on the outside but is very prideful and egotistical on the inside.

Yet, there is a different kind of false humility. It is a humility, sincerely held, but is a humility based on falsehood. It is founded on a lie. During my first 24 years of life as a Christian, I clung to what I thought was a humble and honest view of myself and how God managed to love me in a way that was just merely putting up with me. I thought that that was blessing enough. Yet, this “humility” was built on a lie which failed to take into account the person and work of Christ on my behalf.

As this new year of 2009 begins, I urge you to reflect on your life and your view of God. Please, for your sake and the sake of those closest to you, put away false humility. It can take several forms. I’ve elaborated about one of those already.

Another type of false humility can be found in the realm of forgiveness. If we are believers in Christ and have confessed our sin, we are told in 1 John 1:9-10 that Christ is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Yet, are there times in which we might think it a holy and humble exercise to remind ourselves so much of our past sin that the one person in this life we fail to forgive is ourselves. Think with me about this. If we fail to forgive ourselves even though God has, are we not holding ourselves to a standard higher even than God’s? We fail to trust the promise of God for forgiveness by not thinking and acting as one who is forgiven. We remain unforgiven, not in God’s sight but in our own. We might think it impossible to let go of the guilt of some sin. We might think that failing to forgive ourselves is really some type of a pious humility. However, such an attitude is not really holy humility at all. Rather, it is idolatry, for we adopt our own standards as a law higher than that of God Himself.

Lastly, as we enter 2009, we will have a number of challenges before us. Life might be getting more difficult. Our culture will mourn that our nation’s material prosperity is diminishing. Don’t mourn as the world mourns. The troubles we face are an opportunity for our faith to grow and to glorify God. Verse 2 of the text brings this out so well. It says:”When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. The text indicates WHEN we face these trials, not IF. God is with us.

Genuine revivals have begun in times like those we are in now. The revival of 1857 which got its’ start in New York City and spread to cities around the English speaking world, including Detroit, started during a financial crisis in America which included a stock market crash. In the light of all the challenges we will face, don’t think that being a dour and sour Christian is somehow being more spiritual and more humble. Scripture tells us that it is the joy of the Lord which is our strength. It is a true joy which those in our culture are starving for. Let’s model it for them.

Our world is being turned upside down. Yet, while the world may be panicky as we enter into 2009, this should be a time of anticipation for us. Please do not get me wrong. I am not naïve. Believers are suffering in our current economic woes as well as unbelievers. Yet, this is a time of unprecedented spiritual opportunity as the myth of the material “good life” is slowly being seen for the fakery that it is. Spiritually, our culture is coming to the end of its’ rope. What better time to introduce them to Jesus Christ.

May the Lord God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, bless your endeavors as you seek Him joyfully in 2009 knowing that you are truly forgiven by Him and that He loves you, and you are personally precious in His sight.