Tuesday, March 22

Various and sundry Keller stuff

Yes, I'm on quite a Keller kick these days. Hopefully it's not idolatry ;-)

+ How Timothy Keller Spreads the Gospel in New York City, and Beyond, The Atlantic

+ Tim on MSNBC's 'morning joe', What is Christ's appeal in 21st century

+ Tim on Fox News: What is the True Word of Jesus?

Interestingly, in this one, the interviewer is a member of Keller's church.

+ Probably will interest only me: pdf of Keller's sermon notes -- abridged and somewhat cryptic.

+ The preachers Tim listens to on his iPod while he's jogging.

Monday, March 21

Sermon notes: Sin as Slavery by Tim Keller

Sermon Series: The Faces of Sin
Sin as Slavery (The mp3 can be streamed or downloaded for free here)
Num 11:4-6, 10-20

Notes preceded by '--' are my thoughts.

--God Sends Quails, The 77s
'you failed, you spit out manna and God sends quails'

why when we know what is right to do, don't we?
all religions basically agree on right behavior
the main reason for our problems is that we don't live that way
what is it about the human condition that we can know exactly what we're supposed to do and the consequences when we don't and we still do the wrong thing?
--and, a little more disturbingly, we go to great lengths to convince ourselves that those behaviors are not the right ones, after all
we are slaves to sin. sin is not just an action, it's a power.
every sinful action has destructive power on the faculty that engaged in it: reason, emotions, will

the Israelites want to go back to Egypt
that's insane
--in the same way, we trick ourselves into going back to slavery
'what rational person says 'there was an upside.'?'
they're spiritual slaves, powerless to do what's best for them.
so are we
Rom 7 -- i am sold as a slave under sin
if you're not aware of your spiritual slavery, your moral ambition is too low
'i challenge you to live be the Golden Rule for 12 hours'
--we all agree it's a nice idea, but few of us really try concertedly to live it out
if you think you can do any good you would want to, you're not trying very hard

structure of the slavery
sin undermines ability to do right
craving overwhelms reason
--God turned them over to their desires
addiction pattern
every sinful action becomes an addiction
3 parts of addiction cycle
1. distress
choose to deal with agent
agent promises transcendence and freedom, sense of liberation and escape
tolerance develops. the more you do, the more you need. your emotions are shriveling up.
2. denial
rationalization. can't think objectively
3. dissolves and destroys willpower
trying to deal with distress with very thing that caused distress
thinking disobeying God will bring you freedom is taking your freedom

sin is craving something more than God, living for something more than God.
there's a tolerance effect in life: desired career pales. marriage cannot satisfy us in place of God
emotions shrivel. mind shrivels.
Aldous Huxley is honest: i wanted there to be no God b/c i wanted to sleep around. philosophers aren't objective. i chose my atheism as an act of sexual liberation
holding a grudge rots your mind. you have to feel morally superior to that person.
will shrivels
Jonathan Edwards: sin turns the heart into a fire and there's never been a fire that said 'enough fuel, i'm satisfied'. in the same way, there's never been a heart that said 'i've had enough success, love, approval, comfort'.
what do i tell myself would make me happy if only i had it? shows your idol, your slavery.
the larger the fire grows, the more fuel, including oxygen, it wants

how are we healed?
few good examples in this passage, but some insights
God says 'You've rejected me'
God performs an intervention
we need waking up
our real problem is God is not burning at the center of our lives
there's no bigger slave than the people who don't know they're slaves
'you will loathe the meat b/c you have loathed Me'
we can't stop ourselves by willpower or trying harder
we need an appetite for God, tasting God.
beyond believing and obeying
taste and see that the Lord is good
we need great worship, as much as possible
you can't have quality time with God without quantity time
we need a new fire that says 'if only, i saw the Lord. if only i could feel Him to be as great as i know Him to be'
--and we can remember back to the times when He has shown Himself great to us
the reason nothing else tastes is you haven't tasted that the Lord is good
and there is no tolerance effect
His mercies are new every morning!

we need a real, better-than Moses
Moses wanted to die rather than bear the burden of the people
Hebrews 3: there's a better-than-Moses
Jesus was willing to take the burden and die thereby
if we know the Truth and continue in it, It will set us free

Friday, March 18

Sermon notes: Sin as Predator by Tim Keller

Sermon Series: The Faces of Sin
Sin as Predator by Tim Keller
Genesis 4:1-16, Cain and Abel

What's wrong with us, the human race? The evil we are capable of is terrifying.
'Terminator' -- Characters keep underestimating the predatory power of the Terminator.

1. 'Sin is crouching at your door.'
Sin is what's wrong with us.
Sin hides itself.
'crouching', like leopards and tigers (in the Hebrew)
crouches in a kind of hiding, taking on a smaller profile
Our sin looks smaller than it is. We rationalize it. There's a monster in the middle of our ordinary lives.
both Cain and Abel bring offering ('minha' in Hebrew, used of dedications (v. commonly taught need for blood)).
like an engagement ring. expensive token of whole being
'i give you this ring and with all that i am and all that i have i honor you'
unless we back up worship with our whole life, it's not love, it's bribery
1 Jn 3:12: Abel's deeds were holy and Cain's were not
Cain is like the average churchgoer
doesn't give God everything. ordinary, half-hearted religion
Cornelius Plantinga's Not the Way It's Supposed to Be
Sin is treating yourself as first cause and God is accessory.
ordinary half-heartedness and absolutely infernal
'i deserve a better life than this!'
in this envy is hidden murder.
Eichmann and Nuremberg trials: terrifying because evil is ordinary. we wish it was only in monsters, but it's not. 'banality of evil'
FDR didn't believe reports coming out of Europe. was recommended Dorothy Sayers and Kierkegaard on original sin.
your biggest sins looks smaller to you than anyone else.
every grudge is murder in a little ball. it wants to be murder.
every lust is adultery in a little ball. it wants to be adultery.
every instance of envy wants to be robbery
sin says 'i'll just stay in the corner. i wont hurt you.'
we tolerate it.
'have quit with sin,' said the old Puritans
sin is coiled in a little ball
you think you can handle it, but it will not stay in a corner

2. Sin is powerful
'It's desire is to have you.'
Sin is not done with you after you are done with it.
Sin takes on a being and life of its own that will chew and devour you.
when you lie, you're not done with lying. you have to lie again. and you will be lied to.
sin has an addictive power. not all addictions are sins, but all sins are addictions.
it's easier to do it the next time.
at first the Nazis killed the Jews because they hated them, then they hated them because they killed them.
you have to keep hating to justify your murder
East of Eden
sin is not just wrong, it's self-damaging, which means it's stupid.
God is not mocked.
liars are lied to. cowards are deserted. haters are hated. gossipers are gossiped about.
The Terminator is after you.

3. There is hope for the defeat of sin.
'you must master it'
God appeals to Cain. he asks him. and not for information. God already knows. He's giving a chance for repentance.
to Adam and Eve: where are you?
to Jonah: do you do well to be angry?
to Cain: where is your brother?
your real enemy is not Able. your real problem is not what he or I [God] have done to you. your real problem is your sin
you're not miserable because of what has happened to you, you're miserable because of what's in you. you're not a victim. there's hope if you can take responsibility.
God says to us: why are you cast down and angry? yes, some bad things might have happened. but you're miserable b/c of your response to what's been done to you. self-pity, anger, bitterness, refusal to forgive, pride, hurt feelings, insistence that certain things (idols) will save you.
repentance is the only hopeful answer
God gives Cain one more chance to repent.
Cain says 'am i Abel's babysitter?'
'Abel's blood cries out to Me from the ground.'
every human life is valuable. our blood cries out to God and He cannot let it pass b/c that would be unjust.
what if Cain had repented?
what if we repent? 'my main problem in life is my sin.'
God takes us, also, to a pool of blood, but it's not Abel's
Abel was the first of pure people who show up the half-hearted
and Jesus was the ultimate Abel because he was perfect
Hebrews 12.24: Jesus cries out: Sin must be paid. I have paid.
'i'm religious, but not fanatical.' watch out, Cain.
when we repent, God takes us to Jesus' blood
the mark of Cain preserves us from getting what we deserve until we die so we have a chance to repent.

Tuesday, March 8

Where Does Home Field Advantage Come From?

Interesting excerpt in Sports Illustrated from new book Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won. ESPN calls it 'Freakonomics for sports', which makes the book sound like it's right up my alley, and I certainly enjoyed the part I read. Unfortunately, SI doesn't make it's articles available for free on the web anymore, so I can't link it for you. Here's the Wikipedia summary and some related resources:

+ Home advantage
Sports Illustrated, in a 17 January 2011 report, reported that home crowds, rigor of travel for visiting teams, scheduling, and unique home field characteristics, were not factors in giving home teams an advantage. The journal concluded that it was favorable treatment by game officials and referees that conferred advantages on home teams. Sports Illustrated stated that sports officials are unwittingly and psychologically influenced by home crowds and the influence is significant enough to effect the outcomes of sporting events in favor of the home team.[3]
+ More on home field advantage and why the price of beer at Wrigley is the largest influence on the Cubs' financial success: A Conversation With Tobias Moskowitz

+ Book excerpt: Wertheim's Scorecasting

+ The curse of the No. 1 draft pick